1997 Oct-Dec




Special: 1997 -- XXX -- Special # 1 -- 46th INTERNATIONAL EUCHARIST CONGRESS



ABOUT "Watchman, What of the Night?"

WWN 1970s Start online:

1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)

1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)

1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)

1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)


1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)

1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)

1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)

1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)


1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)

1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)

1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)

1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)


1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)

1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)

1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)

1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)


1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)

1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)

1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)

1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)


WWN 1980s

1980 Jan-Mar

1980 Apr-Jun

1980 Jul-Sep

1980 Oct-Dec


1981 Jan-Mar

1981 Apr-Jun

1981 Jul-Sep

1981 Oct-Dec


1982 Jan-Mar

1982 Apr-Jun

1982 Jul-Sep

1982 Oct-Dec


1983 Jan-Mar

1983 Apr-Jun

1983 Jul-Sep

1983 Oct-Dec


1984 Jan-Mar

1984 Apr-Jun

1984 Jul-Sep

1984 Oct-Dec


1985 Jan-Mar

1985 Apr-Jun

1985 Jul-Sep

1985 Oct-Dec


1986 Jan-Mar

1986 Apr-Jun

1986 Jul-Sep

1986 Oct-Dec


1987 Jan-Mar

1987 Apr-Jun

1987 Jul-Sep

1987 Oct-Dec


1988 Jan-Mar

Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.

Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.

1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.

1988 Jul-Sep

1988 Oct-Dec


1989 Jan-Mar

1989 Apr-Jun

1989 Jul-Sep

1989 Oct-Dec


WWN 1990s

1990 Jan-Mar

1990 Apr-Jun

1990 Jul-Sep

1990 Oct-Dec


1991 Jan-Mar

1991 Apr-Jun

1991 Jul-Sep

1991 Oct-Dec


1992 Jan-Mar

1992 Apr-Jun

1992 Jul-Sep

1992 Oct-Dec


1993 Jan-Mar

1993 Apr-Jun

1993 Jul-Sep

1993 Oct-Dec


1994 Jan-Mar

1994 Apr-Jun

1994 Jul-Sep

1994 Oct-Dec


1995 Jan-Mar

1995 Apr-Jun

1995 Jul-Sep

1995 Oct-Dec


1996 Jan-Mar

1996 Apr-Jun

1996 Jul-Sep

1996 Oct-Dec


1997 Jan-Mar

1997 Apr-Jun

1997 Jul-Sep

1997 Oct-Dec


1998 Jan-Mar

1998 Apr-Jun

1998 Jul-Sep

1998 Oct-Dec


1999 Jan-Mar

1999 Apr-Jun

1999 Jul-Sep

1999 Oct-Dec


WWN 2000s

2000 Jan-Mar

2000 Apr-Jun

2000 Jul-Sep

2000 Oct-Dec


2001 Jan-Mar

2001 Apr-Jun

2001 Jul-Sep

2001 Oct-Dec


2002 Jan-Mar

2002 Apr-Jun

2002 Jul-Sep

2002 Oct-Dec


2003 Jan-Mar

2003 Apr-Jun

2003 Jul-Sep

2003 Oct-Dec


2004 Jan-Mar

2004 Apr-Jun

2004 Jul-Sep

2004 Oct-Dec


2005 Jan-Mar

2005 Apr-Jun

2005 Jul-Sep

2005 Oct-Dec


2006 Jan-Mar

2006 Apr-Jun

2006 Jul-Dec

last of WWN published

Site Overview









Publisher of the
"Watchman, What of the Night?" (WWN)... More Info
William H. Grotheer, Editor of Research & Publication for the ALF

- 1970s
- 1980s
- 1990s
- 2000s

SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
"Another Comforter", study on the Holy Spirit
1976 a Letter and a Reply: - SDA General Conference warning against WWN.
Further Background Information on Zaire -General Conference pays Government to keep church there.
From a WWN letter to a reader: RE: Lakes of Fire - 2 lakes of fire.
Trademark of the name Seventh-day Adventist [Perez Court Case] - US District Court Case - GC of SDA vs.R. Perez, and others [Franchize of name "SDA" not to be used outside of denominational bounds.]


Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, An
- William H. Grotheer

Bible Study Guides
- William H. Grotheer

End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation

Excerpts - Legal Documents
- EEOC vs PPPA - Adventist Laymen's Foundation

Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer

Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer

In the Form of a Slave
- William H. Grotheer

Jerusalem In Bible Prophecy
- William H. Grotheer

Key Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
- William H. Grotheer

Pope Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
- William H. Grotheer

Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer

Seal of God
 - William H. Grotheer

Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
 - William H. Grotheer

SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer

- William H. Grotheer

Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
- William H. Grotheer

Elder William H. Grotheer



Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary

Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear


Additional Various Studies --
"Saving Faith" - Dr. E. J. Waggoner
"What is Man" The Gospel in Creation - "The Gospel in Creation"
"A Convicting Jewish Witness", study on the Godhead - David L. Cooper D.D.

Bible As History - Werner Keller

Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts

Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith

Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson

Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones

"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson

Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen

Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones

Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

Spiritual Gifts. The Great Controversy, between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and his Angels - Ellen G. White

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy


As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.

The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.

Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."

Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming back.

Share your thoughts
with us




WWN 1997 Oct - Dec


1997Oct -- XXX -- 10(97) --AXIOMS AND POSTULATES -- EDITOR'S PREFACE --The first article in this issue is a condensation of the Sabbath morning message which the editor brought to the annual fellowship, following a seminar on the Eternal Verities - the Godhead, Incarnation, and Atonement. We are advised to study the Bible in a systematic way, but fail to recognize a system by which to study the Word of God. There are verily axioms and postulates for the understanding of the will of God. even as there are axioms and postulates in Geometry. The God who will act in the closing of time is the same God who has acted in time. With Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning.

A recent issue of Newsweek alerted the whole world to the agitation currently sweeping through the Roman Catholic Church in regard to Mary. However, unknown to us was the involvement of the Mary issue in the establishment of the European Union. Material received from Germany reveals the background of the flag chosen for this union. We share with you the information received in this issue of WWN.

The final essay which is a review of an article in a current issue of Christianity Today prove not only interesting but also provocative. The material produced by Marcussen on a national Sunday law, while enhancing his income, has been "flown" in the face of the reality of the present. Sunday Is Coming makes a good sale's title for Adventist reading. There is no question that the issue will become a point of agitation and in time result in severe repression. But will it come as we anticipated, and in such a way that it will be obvious so we can be ready for the end? When "time and place" are not considered in exegesis of the Writings, delusion can result. In the study of the Scriptures, we have taken "traditional" concepts, called them "historic:   and closed our eyes to the advancing light of truth. True, it leaves us very "comfortable" and satisfied that we are no longer Laodiceans, when we are as Laodicean as we ever were, if not more so!

p 2 -- Axioms and Postulates of the Scriptures -- Coming into the homes of the members of the Adventist Community is a vast amount of printed material via the Postal Service. This is not counting the TV, Video, and Short-wave propaganda which many tune into on their own volition. The question which Pilate asked Jesus cries out for an answer   -   "What is truth?" (John 18:38)

It is obvious that the mass of that which is being published cannot be truth for two reasons:   1)   It is contradictory; truth is not; and   2)   It is confusing; truth is not. Truth may be divisive, but it does not confuse.

What answer can be found? In High School, I enrolled in classes both for Plain Geometry and Solid Geometry. In fact, if I were to be asked to draw up a curriculum for an undergraduate student desiring to enter the ministry, I would require, at least, that such a student take a course in Plain Geometry and pass it with no less than a "B" average. Why? Because a student in such a class, in working out the theorems required, "develops a habit of thought which is invaluable to him." While students should be trained to be thinkers, this training should not cease when formal schooling ceases. The adults in the pews of the Church, or in the atmosphere of a "home church" should likewise be taught to think and not be mere reflectors of other men's thoughts. But for a teacher or a pastor to lead those under his care to think, he must himself, likewise think.

What is happening is very different from this. A "parrot" ministry has developed in the Church. The local pastor "parrots" what the conference says, which in turn has parroted the Union Conference leadership, which but echoes the Division mouthings, which in its turn reflects the General Conference position. This same "parrot" mentality dominates most of the "independent" ministries who instead of thinking through what the Bible teaches, quote the Writings without considering the "must" imposed by Ellen White herself   -   "time and place must be considered." (SM, bk I, p.57) This is compounded when these "voices" refuse to recognize the clear counsel   -   "The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." (Review & Herald, March 25,1890) Instead, they remain in "historic" Laodiceanism.

In Geometry, theorems are worked, conclusions are reached and proven. Basic in this process are axioms and postulates. An axiom is a proposition regarded as self-evident. As an illustration, we note from a Solid Geometry textbook the axiom  -  "If equals are added to equals, the sums are equal." A postulate is an hypothesis advanced as an essential premise of a train of reasons. An illustration of a postulate is given in the same textbook  -  "One straight line, and only one, can be drawn through two points." If such clear-cut perception would dominate the theological thinking of the Adventist Community, we wouldn't be plagued with three positions on the Incarnation.

God has set forth by His Word certain "axioms" and "postulates" so that truth, pure and unadulterated, can be determined. Regardless of all the theorizing, there are absolutes; and Biblical truths are a part of those absolutes. By being guided by Biblical axioms and postulates, we can stand on these absolutes  -  the Rock, a solid foundation  -  amid all the confusion, which is nothing less than capaticity to Babylon.

One area of prime confusion today is in the realm of Bible prophecy. What methodology is to be used  -  historistic, preteristic, futuristic, or the allegorical? To add to the confusion, Dr. Desmond Ford introduced his theory known as the apotelessimatic concept. To compound the confusion, some, such as Larry Wilson, use one hermeneutic for the book of Daniel and a different one for the prophecies of Revelation.

We set forth the "theorem" that the only valid method of prophetic interpretation is the historistic. The proof is found in the basic introductory prophecy of the book of Daniel itself. In the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, he was told, "Thou art this head of gold." (2:38) There was to come "after" him another kingdom, and a "third," to be followed by a "fourth kingdom." History but responded to the voice of prophecy. In a vision given to Daniel himself, he was plainly told by Gabriel that the "ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." (8:20)

Does this method of interpretation apply to the book of Revelation? In speaking with Daniel, Gabriel had informed him that as far as "the scripture of truth" was concerned, "none" except "Michael your prince" held with him in these things. (10:21) The same "two" are introduced in the very first verse of Revelation  -  "Jesus Christ" and "His angel." Nowhere in the book is an indication that a different methodology would be followed than had been set forth in Daniel. Returning to our illustration - Geometry - the textbook being cited observed that;   "postulates of plane geometry are equally applicable to solid geometry."   Perhaps Larry Wilson and those who are parroting him, might better take a course or two in Geometry and thus learn to think consistently.

Early in human history, God set forth a postulate. To Noah, He declared  -  "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." (Gen. 6:3) A time was set on the activities of man. There is a corollary to this. This postulate applies equally to nations, corporate entities as well as to man as an individual.

Israel is an illustration of this postulate's all encompassing

p 3 -- intent. The nation chosen of God received some key promises upon which its religious leadership relied, and defied God to displace them. God had said to Jeremiah:      Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, ... if those ordinances depart from Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. (31:35-36)

Based on these promises, the leadership of Israel presumed themselves eternally secure. "They defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights." (COL, p. 294; see also DA, p.106) Yet God through the prophet Daniel warned them that they would be called into account. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people," was the message of God through the prophet. The record of its fulfilment is left on record for us to take heed.

We refuse today to recognize this postulate and its corollary. Because God bestowed upon the corporate Church in sacred trust "the most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals ... to proclaim to the world" (9T:19), we feel that we are exempt from the postulate and corollary. We fail to recognize that there is an equivalency between Israel's fate and our own. Israel rejected and crucified the Lord of truth; today the Church has crucified the truth of the Lord. A clear warning has been given. In 1903, the messenger of Lord wrote:      In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages she has had. ... By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T:247)

The consequence of finding the Church remiss in its sacred trust is plainly stated:      If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessing conferred has not qualified her to the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." (ibid.)

As if in defiance of the evidence of apostasy, we hear voices as strident as the Jews of old defying earth and heaven to dispossess the Church of its trust. Other "voices" recognizing the facts but unwilling to face them squarely and act accordingly, declare that they will make the necessary moves when informed by a "prophet," all unmindful that He who is the source of all prophecy gave "the Sign" of the close of probation for the Church. This brings us to the next and a related postulate.

Through Amos, God declared that He  "will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." (3:7)  This axiom closely follows the de-facto assertion of God in the days of Noah. When He determined the Flood, He sent a message through Noah. When God decided to punish Judah for its apostasy, He sent Jeremiah. When at last He sent His Son, the way was prepared by John the Baptist. Now in this final hour, God has refocused the attention of mankind upon Jerusalem. Jesus had already prophesied  -  "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles [Gr. "nations"] until the times of the [nations] be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)  This prophecy has been fulfilled. It has been so recognized in various Church publications, but when the full implications of its meaning dawned upon the consciousness of the Church's leadership, it was dismissed by deceptive interpretations of the Word of God. (See:   "Why This Ignorance?" in WWN, XXX 3 & 4(97); or write for the tract, "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy")

A postulate which is closely linked to these fundamental axioms is found in Paul's epistle to the Corinthians. He wrote  -  "God is not the author of confusion." (I Cor. 14:33)  The significance and verification of God taking singular steps to insure no confusion can be seen in a series of direct pronouncements in both the Old and New Testaments. To Isaiah, He revealed Himself, stating unequivocally:      "There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (45:21-22)

Jesus Christ left no room for doubt or confusion. He declared:      I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. (John 14:6)

To the apostate leadership of Israel who had crossed the unseen line, Peter stated:      Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Now ask yourself and answer a series of questions based on Bible revelation:    How many arks did God have built and how many Noah's did God send to the antediluvian world?    To how many peoples did God entrust the "giving of the law" and the sanctuary patterned after Heavenly things?    How many Christs did God send to reveal Him?    To how many churches did God entrust the giving of the Three Angels' Messages?    Can you imagine the confusion which would have resulted had God given the Three Messages to the Baptists and one or more branches of the Pentecostals?    God is not the Author of confusion, and He did not so do. Neither is He doing so today!

Closely associated with this postulate is the corollary   -   "Be established in the present truth." (II Peter 1:12)  To every generation, God has a present truth. This is not a denial of truth from previous ages, for truth is as eternal as

p 4 -- God Himself. The First Angel's Message proclaimed the "everlasting gospel" but it also announced present truth:   -   "the hour of His judgment had come"  and  "worship Him who made."  This day, God has a present truth in which we need to be established.

Let us consider one more axiom or postulate. Paul wrote in Romans:      By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin ... Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:20, 28)

Paul is likewise emphatic that there is only one gospel, and this gospel was the gospel he proclaimed  -  "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."  To the Galatians, he wrote:      Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)

God is not the author of confusion. He does not have multiple ways to His throne, and various gates by which one may enter the pathway to Heaven. Neither has He provided various "gospels" by which men can be saved. It is not the Tridentine gospel proclaimed by Rome and any modification of it to fit a "works oriented" program. It is justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ only. He is not only the singular means of our justification, but He has been "made unto us... sanctification, and redemption." (I Cor. 1:30) We are complete "in Him." (Col. 2:10)

In this hour when confusion reigns supreme in the community of Adventism and it is difficult to determine what is "babylon" and what is not, we truly need to heed the admonition given by Paul to Timothy:      "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim 2:15)

One can no more rightly divide the Word of truth, without the Divine axioms and postulates of the Word itself, than one can work Geometric theorems apart from the axioms and postulates of Geometry. This is why there is so much confusion in the community of Adventism today, because that is what is being done. Sadly, many concerned souls not recognizing or giving due consideration to these axioms and postulates, have "bought" into this confusion.   (This summary of the Sabbath morning message given at the 1997 Annual Fellowship can be secured separately from the Seminar series. You may request a cassette of the full message by writing to the Foundation office.)

Mary and the Flag of Europe -- Newsweek (August 25, 1997) pictured on its cover a photo of the image of the "Virgin of the Annunciation." Eight pages of the issue were devoted to "The Meaning of Mary." The cover indicated that a struggle is growing within the Roman Catholic Church over her role. The article itself, "Hail Mary," was captioned   -  "A growing movement in the Roman Catholic Church wants the pope to promulgate a new, controversial dogma that Mary is a Co-Redeemer."  In the last four years, Pope John Paul II has received 4,340,420 signatures on petitions asking him to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim "Mary as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix Of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God." Also of interest was that this article was not placed under the usual category of "Religion," but rather under the heading, "Lifestyle." (p. 48)

This places the Pope, himself a devotee of the worship of Mary, in the middle of some issues and aims of the Roman Church. In his encyclical, Tertio Millennia Adveniente, outlining the preparation planned for Jubilee of the year 2000, he wrote:      There is ... a need for a synod on the occasion of the Great Jubilee in order to illustrate and explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one mediator between God and man and the sole redeemer of the world, to be clearly distinguished from the founders of other great religions [Buddhism and Hinduism]. (The Pope Speaks. Vol. 40, No. 2, 1995, p. 105)

If, therefore, he consents to the requests of the growing voice within the Roman Church to proclaim Mary as "co-mediatrix" and "co-redemptrix," how will he reconcile such a promulgation with his position in this encyclical? Then there is the reaction to be expected from voices outside of Romanism which would impede the Pope's goal to be recognized as the head of Christendom. and beyond that, the supreme voice of the world's religions. What will the Pope do? Is this public release on the issue within Romanism a "trial balloon" to test the reaction from voices outside of Romanism, so as to assess what the "fall out" would be, should the Pope heed the petitioners within his own church, and do what the evidence indicates is the true desire of his own heart?

To those who have noted this August issue of Newsweek, may I suggest that you not overlook the following article  -  "My Eve, My Mary." (p. 56)

p 5 -- At the same time that we received Newsweek, we also received an article from Europe on the flag which it is anticicipated will wave along side of the national flags of a European Union. On a background of blue, the color of the mantle of Mary, are placed twelve stars. What is thus symbolized? The article captioned, "Europe, Mary, Peace" explains that "the flag of Europe [is] a Symbol of Mary." The following documentation is given:

Maria Frieden
Die Flagge Europas - ein Mariensymbol

On September 12, 1958, the Archbishop Montini of Milan, later Pope Paul VI, dedicated on Mount Serenissima a 20 meter tall statue of Mary and called it:   "Our Loving Lady and Mistress of Europe."   The Roman Church perceives Mary to be the Biblical figure of "a woman clothed with the sun", and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. John Paul II has prayed, "Turn again our sight to the Mother of the Redeemer of this world, the woman of John's Revelation secret, the woman clothed with the sun." The Flag of Europe is designed to express that Mary is the mistress of Europe.

Pope Pius XII, demanded on December 24, 1941 "to build a new Europe and a new world." An alleged vision of Mary called, "Lady of all Nations", demanded on March 3, 1953:   "Nations of Europe, unite." On March 25, 1957 the European Common Market was founded. Bishop Dr. Graber said on September 9, 1978  -  "I have demanded a Marianic European International, ... We pray and ask in silence, that the occident will be once more what it used to be, an IMPERIUM MARIANUM."

At Fatima in 1917 an apparition of Mary promised peace on the condition that the peoples of the world would be consecrated to her. "The peace-conditions of Heaven are condensed in two parts:   the Rosary-Prayer and the consecration of the world to the immaculate heart of Mary.   Another vision states that as the world languishes for unity in regard to their needs, the Lord and Master will bring spiritual unity to the Nations of this world. That is why he sends Mary as 'The Lady of all Nations.'"

Europe is taking the first step by aligning itself under the flag of the virgin Mary. In Revelation there is pictured another woman, distinct from the "Woman clothed with the sun," the real "mistress," with whom the kings of the earth commit fornication. (Rev. 17:3-6) The day is far spent. Are we about to see another "dark age" settle upon the world as it enters a new millenium, and the eternal day dawn as the earth enters its seventh millenium? If so, we have a choice. Either a thousand years as a corpse on a earth desolated by God's response to the whoredoms of earth, or a thousand years with the blessed and only Redeemer in anticipation of an eternity when time shall be no more.

p 6 -- "Rediscovering the Sabbath" -- When I received the September issue of Christianity Today (CT), I observed that a special section was being dedicated to "Christian fiction." I turned the pages, and in the non-fiction section, I opened to the title above (p.38). There I stopped and didn't put the issue down until I had scanned the whole article excerpted from a book by Dorothy C. Bass, Practicing Our Faith. Ms. Bass directs the Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith at the Valparaiso University in Indiana.

The article is introduced by the editorial comment  -  "The Sabbath is the most challenging - and necessary - spiritual discipline for contemporary Christians." As one reads carefully this evaluation of the Sabbath for contemporary Christians, he is in for some surprises, as well as a need for some serious reflection in the light of the emphasis that is being placed on "A National Sunday Law" by Marcussen, and in the book, Sunday Is Coming, by Reid. This is not saying that we will not in the future face a Sunday issue, but it will come in a different way than it has been pictured to us. This article in CT introduces us to what that possibility might be.

Starting from the economic aspect of life, the author quotes from the Overworked American, a 1991 "surprise best-seller," that we live in an economy and society that are demanding too much from people." The answer  -  "In this situation, the historic practice of setting aside one day a week for rest and worship promises peace to those who embrace it. ... We need Sabbath, even though we doubt we have time for it." Then  -  and read carefully  -  "As the new century dawns, the practice of Sabbath keeping may be a gift waiting to be unwrapped, a confirmation that we are not without help in shaping the renewing ways of life for which we long. This practice stands at the heart of Judaism, but is also available for Christians."

The writer observes - "For all the spiritual descendants of Abraham  -  Jews, Christians, Muslims  -  time flows in seven-day cycles. ... The Sabbatarian pattern - six days of work, followed by one of rest - is woven deep into the fabric of the Bible. The very first story of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures climaxes on the seventh day, the very first time there was a seventh day. Having created everything, God rests, blesses this day, and makes it holy."

Interwoven in the author's motif is the concept that if the economic factors were such that all had sufficient without working overtime, or holding down two jobs, they would have time for a Sabbath. She stresses this as she recites Hebrew history. God gave them manna and connected with it the Sabbath concept before he gave them the Law of the Sabbath, which she noted as "the longest and in some ways the most puzzling" of the Ten.

The author's observations on the Sabbath are insightful. She observes that "unlike any of the others" the Sabbath commandment "takes quite different forms in the two passages where the Ten Commandments appear. Both versions require the same behaviour  -  work on six days, rest on one  -  but each gives a different reason. What is wonderful is that each reason arises from a fundamental truth about God's relationship to humanity." (p.40)

The Exodus version (20:8-11) follows God's pattern as Creator; God's people are to rest because God did. "In both work and rest, human beings are in the image of God. At the same time, they are not God but God's creatures, who must honor God by obeying this commandment." (ibid.) The version in Deuteronomy is linked to a people released from bondage. "Slaves cannot take a day off, free people can." Then the comment:       Together, these two renderings of the Sabbath commandment summarize the most fundamental ... beliefs of the Hebrew Scriptures: Creation and Exodus; humanity in God's image, and a people liberated from captivity. One emphasizes holiness, the other social justice. Sabbath crystallises Torah's portrait of who God is and what human beings are most fully meant to be. (ibid.)

After reviewing Jewish liturgy and ritual in the observance of the Sabbath with approval, the section following begins the discussion of "Sabbath Keeping in a Christian Key." Ms. Bass relates the observance of Sunday to the same principles which she set forth for the keeping of the Sabbath, but suggests that the Christian adds another dimension, that of Christ's victory over the powers of death. She accurately links the change to Sunday with the attitude of the Gentile Christians toward the stigma associated with anything Jewish. The play is on Sunday as "the eighth" day, "the day on which the future burst into the present." with the "twist" that Sunday looks "forward to the great banquet that would occur at the end of time." (ibid., p.41)

Following a review of various ways Christians have observed Sunday such as the Puritans, whose strict regulations gave rise to "blue laws," the author comments - "Sunday mass has been and continues to be central to Roman Catholics." This should be noted what it does not say, as well as for what it is saying. It does not say that "Sunday" continues to be central to Roman Catholics, but that "Sunday mass" is central. There is a difference!

The next section is clearing the "roadblocks." One "roadblock" interfering with a return to "a Sabbath rhythm" is how "to make Sunday special when it is no longer protected by legislation and custom." The author's observations at this point are most interesting:   "Sunday first received social governmental recognition in 321, when the emperor Constantine decreed it a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire. This spawned centuries of government sponsored Sabbathkeeping."   No where in the article does the writer suggest a return to this type of legislation.

p 7 -- Another "roadblock" perceived by the author are the economic forces which nibble away at the freedom of Sunday keeping. She perceives it as a vicious cycle. Those who spend extra hours per day in work to balance the family budget, need another day for shopping, "which prompts businesses to hire more Sunday workers." So the question is asked:      Will it be possible for twenty-first century Christians who need Sabbath but also respect diversity, who need Sabbath but also yearn for joy, who need Sabbath but also struggle to make ends meet, to enter the practice of Sabbath keeping?

And the answer   -  "Perhaps. But this can only happen as we help one another develop new forms rooted in the enduring truths of Creation, liberation, and Resurrection." (p.42)

Then the suggestions come, and not one of them suggests legislation, even though she judges that "most often, Sundays will make the best Sabbaths." In regard to commerce, the one who wanted to keep Sunday could refrain from Sunday shopping. But to the author, "Sunday worship is not just about 'going to church,' it is about taking part in the activity by which God is shaping a new creation. It is a foretaste of the feast to come."

"After worship, what many of us need most is time with loved ones - not useful time for planning next week's schedule - but time 'wasted' on the pleasure of being together, perhaps while sharing our enjoyment of art, nature, or athletics. For others, and for all of us at certain points in our lives, hours of solitude beckon, hours for sleep, reading, reflection, walking, and prayer." (p.43)

The final section of the article  -  "Sabbath for the good of all"  -  the author takes off from a Puritan concept that "good Sabbaths make good Christians," to the motto that "Good Sabbaths make good societies." Here at this point, the legislative power of the State could enter the picture, and regulate each life for the good of society. The author reveals a high degree of respect for the Jewish Community, and its observance of the Sabbath. She is also aware of the diversity of culture that makes up America, thus she realizes that "blue laws" are not the answer from her viewpoint.

But what about the Papacy in this whole picture? A careful review of the recent encyclicals of Pope John Paul II show a complete toning down of Sunday emphasis as he seeks to bring together the three monotheistic religions, and create dialogue with the Eastern religions - Buddhism and Hinduism. In his encyclical outlining his objective for a grand jubilee at the beginning of the 21st century, the suggestion is made for joint meetings to be held involving Christians, Jews and Muslims. These meetings, he says, could be "in places of exceptional symbolic importance like Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Mount Sinai." (The Pope Speaks, Vol.40, #2, p. 110)

Could it be that at this point in time, Satan will appear as Christ (II Cr. 11:14), and tell them that Sunday is his day. The whole concord would be deceived - the Jews who have been looking for a Messiah to come, the Christians who expect the return of Jesus a second time, and the Muslims who look upon him as a prophet. We have been warned that this will take place "in the last remnant of time," to be followed "by the outpouring of the wrath of God." (See The Great Controversy, pp.561-562) When this occurs, how much time will be available to set one's life in order? Row will you know in this quick succession of events the moment that all human probation will close? We need to keep in mind that it is not business as usual and that we can interpret the present in the light of what might have been in the past. Time and place must be taken into consideration. Let us not be beguiled with the history of the past with its proposed "national" Sunday laws, or by a fatal delusion that "Sunday is coming" in the format of traditional interpretations. Christ has given us "the sign of the end of time" (Luke 21:24), and through Daniel the prophet, He made known that sign by which the close of all human probation would be marked (Daniel 11:45-12:1).

It will be fatal for "historic" Adventists who continue in their traditional Laodiceanism; in blindness refusing to recognize that "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light" (R&H, March 25, 1890). What delusive darkness has settled down on those who think they are following "historic" Adventism, when they are but fol-lowing men in agendas based on the sparks of these men's kindling? --- (1997 Oct) --- End --- TOP

1997 Nov -- XXX -- 11(97) -- KEY ECUMENICAL EVENTS OF 1997 IN REVIEW -- EDITOR'S PREFACE -- This issue of WWN is a review of the ecumenical trends - statements and events - which have occurred during the year. Darren Lambert has gathered key facts as reported in the ENI Bulletin, a news release of the World Council of Churches. There is an intensity in the religious world, both within Protestantism and Catholicism, to achieve by the year 2000 or just beyond, a visible unity in some form. This was prophesied in the revelation given to John on the Isle of Patmos. (16:13-14.16) Due to our traditional understanding of the Seven Last Plagues, we fail to separate the plague itself from the reason God gives for pouring it out. For example, the first plague of "noisome and grievous" sores was afflicted on those who had received "the mark of the beast." The "mark" was received in probationary time: the plague fell after the close of all human probation. Likewise the sixth; the verses noted above refer to the reason why the plague, while Verse 12 gives the plague. Of interest, in The Great Controversy, after noting the intents of Satan, it is stated that he will achieve his objective "in the last remnant of time." (p. 561) Then the verses from Revelation 16 are quoted. What follows is a vital warning  -  "Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion."

With Satan transformed into an angel of light and his ministers transformed as ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:14-15), the coming deception will be overwhelming. The arguments advanced will deceive, if possible,"the very elect."

At the International Eucharistic Conference in Poland, Pope John Paul asked a series of questions which are hard to answer for one opposed to the ecumenical movement. (See page 3, col. 2) The final question asked was  -  "Can we be reconciled with one another without forgiving one another?"  During the year the Pope and Catholic Bishops asked forgiveness for atrocities against Protestants, including the St Bartholomew Day Massacre in 1572. (See three news items following the above question)

p 2 -- Ecumenical Review 1997 -- UNITY AT ALL COSTS!
London, 11 December, 1996 -- The Archbishop of Canterbury's official visit to Pope John Paul II last week has left relations between the Anglican and Catholic churches firmly on track, despite the issue of women priests, according to the Archbishop's secretary for ecumenical affairs, Canon Richard Marsh. Archbishop George Carey was with the Pope on five occasions in Rome last week. The Common Declaration issued by the Pope and Archbishop Carey at the end of their meetings acknowledges that the ordination of women as priests and bishops in some provinces of the Anglican Communion (there are eight Anglican women bishops) creates a "new situation". However, it urges moves to "continue and deepen our theological dialogue". The issue of women priests is, according to the Common Declaration, only one of several fundamental issues that stand between the two churches and "that full visible unity which is God's gift and our calling". Canon Marsh said that "we have some problems of our own" with Petrine primacy (the Pope's claim, as successor to St. Peter, to leadership of the church). Archbishop Carey had previously accepted the idea of a "historical primacy of honor" for the Pope, but has warned against unity talks based on the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is "somehow 'more church"' than other churches. ENI Bulletin - 96-0013

London, 28 May -- Cardinal Basil Hume, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, on 27 May used the pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of Anglicanism, to declare that moves toward Christian unity could not include renunciation of the primacy of the Pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, spiritual head of the world-wide Anglican Communion, was in the congregation as Cardinal Hume recalled that in 1982 Pope John Paul had come to Canterbury as a pilgrim, "to plead for unity, not to cajole anyone into it". Echoing the Pope's 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Cardinal Hume said:   "It is not the primacy as such that is open to debate, but the manner of its exercise. That is important. It does not threaten, and indeed should not."   He added:   "I trust that I am not abusing the privilege of preaching in this pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral." Cardinal Hume's sermon followed a service of the previous day by Archbishop Carey, in the presence of the cardinal and the Prince of Wales, where he made an appeal for reconciliation and unity between Christians. In his sermon, Archbishop Carey, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke of the history of Christianity "littered with tragedy and division, the results of which remain with us today". He asked:   "Can we, successors of Augustine's mission in this land, reach for a vision of reconciliation that will lead us to the unity which we know to be the will of God?" ENI Bulletin - 97-0244

London, 24 January -- After centuries of difficult relations between Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, a shrine which honors the Virgin Mary but is part of a Scottish kirk (church) might seem to be the ultimate ecumenical fantasy. It is, however, a reality at St. Mary's Kirk, Haddington, 30 kilometres from Edinburgh, where the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister, Clifford Hughes, describes the adjoining Marian chapel, as "a marvellous working demonstration of ecumenical unity". Both Anglicans and Roman Catholics use the Marian chapel and, each week, an Anglican eucharist and a Roman Catholic mass are celebrated in the chapel, whose centerpiece is a handsome modern wood carving of Mary. The rector at Haddington, Ian Paton, acknowledges there are "tensions" surrounding the pilgrimage, when many hundreds of pilgrims converge on the church and chapel in the name of Our Lady, bringing more than a whiff of Rome to the highly Protestant Scottish lowlands. "A major event of the pilgrimage is a Roman Catholic mass in the kirk," Paton told ENI "Locals see this happening in their own church, and yet they are not able to take the communion. Some people have difficulties with that." However, Paton believes that the pilgrimage does far more good than harm. He is particularly keen on the prayer focus on healing - of individuals, nations and the divided Church itself - and notes with approval that increasing numbers of Presbyterians and Orthodox Christians are being drawn in. ENI Bulletin - 97-0031

Geneva, 11 April -- The spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I of Constantinople, has called on the Roman Catholic Church to join the World Council of Churches in time for the WCC's 50th anniversary next year. The WCC has 332 member churches around the world, among them the world's main Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox churches. However the Roman Catholic Church, whose 850 to 900 million members makes it the world's biggest church, is not a WCC member, although there is co-operation between the WCC and the Vatican on a number of issues. The call by Patriarch Bartholomeos - with its reference to the WCC's 50th anniversary - takes on a particular significance because the WCC is engaged in a wide ranging review of its activities and structure. The WCC describes this process as a search for Common Understanding and Vision (CUV). The WCC's general secretary, Dr. Konrad Raiser, has in the past appeared to rule out the possibility of the Roman Catholic Church joining the WCC. After meeting the Pope in 1994, he said that the different structures of the Roman Catholic Church, which is organised at the world level, and the WCC, which is a fellowship of nationally-organised churches, made it difficult to imagine the Roman Catholic Church in WCC membership. However, Dr. Raiser has also strongly affirmed the need to find new "models" which would allow the Roman Catholic Church to take its "natural place" in the ecumenical movement. One idea suggested by Dr. Raiser which has been taken up in a first draft document on the CUV process and sent to WCC member churches, is that the WCC could help create a new ecumenical forum which could include the Roman Catholic Church and other churches which are not WCC members. Patriarch Bartholomeos strongly reaffirmed his commitment to ecumenism saying: "Everyone who declares him-

p 3 -- self against the goal of full Christian unity stands against God's will." He also hoped that the Second European Ecumenical Assembly of Europe's Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican churches, to be held in Graz, Austria, in June this year, would "move all Churches further along the path to reconciliation". ENI Bulletin - 97-0140

Graz, Austria, 30 June -- Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Milan and possible successor to Pope John Paul II, has given his cautious backing to a proposal for a universal church council to resolve differences, such as disagreement over the papacy, which divide the main churches. The Cardinal's remarks differ from those of another prominent Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Earlier this month, Cardinal Ratzinger told a press conference in Rome that only the "Petrine principle" (the Roman Catholic doctrine that the Pope is the legitimate head of the Christian Church), and not "conciliarity" could restore the unity of the whole church. To consider any other path than the Petrine principle was, according to the cardinal, "a romantic, unrealistic dream". ENI Bulletin -97-0295

London, 24 July -- A forum of church representatives from England has called for the establishment of a permanent theology group to iron out points of doctrine standing in the way of Christian unity. Canon Martin Reardon, general secretary of Churches Together in England (CTE), which organised the forum, said, "Even the apparently sharpest differences of theology were not insoluble." "Christians will probably be divided on theology until kingdom come, but not about the same things," he told ENI. "Once it was the nature of the Trinity, then at the Reformation the nature of the sacraments, and now it's women priests." Cardinal Basil Hume, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, referring to previous meetings of the ecumenical forum, said in his closing remarks: "In 1987 and 1990 we went to watch one another praying; now we pray together. In 1987 and 1990 we were very polite to each other; now we are friends." Another key idea from
the forum is for the year 2000 to be marked with "some public expression of reconciliation, repentance, and renewal between the churches". "The idea is to express in public the unity we already have," Canon Reardon said. The end of the first millennium, he said, had produced division, so it was especially right that the end of the second millennium should produce unity. ENI Bulletin - 97-0343

Hong Kong, 11 July -- The Vatican's leading authority on ecumenism, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, today rejected suggestions that there were insurmountable barriers which meant that Roman Catholics and Lutherans would never be able to share the Lord's supper and restore full links between these two major Christian families. Cardinal Cassidy was asked by ENI at a press conference in Hong Kong wether the fact that most Lutheran churches ordained women, while the Pope had declared that the Roman Catholic Church would never ordain women, would prevent - forever - communion between the Catholic and Lutheran traditions. Cardinal Cassidy responded: "My reaction is always that this [work for the unity of the church] is not only our work. Our Lord is calling us, and we are not engaged in protecting ourselves. The grace is coming from God." Cassidy praised major progress in Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, which is close to resolving the theological question of justification by faith, which has been a key difference between the two traditions since Martin Luther broke with Rome in the 16th Century. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said that the progress on the issue ofjustification "offers a new paradigm, a new way of looking at things" between the two churches. When such an agreement was reached, sometimes other differences melted away, he suggested. Christoph Stier, the former Lutheran bishop of Mecklenburg, Germany, said: "Basic agreement on the doctrine of Justification can provide a basis for new mutual relationships ... To put it figuratively, a large, previously insurmountable stone which has blocked the way to unity for such a long time will be moved aside.... In the future, no one will be able to argue that we can make no progress along the path to communion between the churches because this obstacle is blocking the way. And then further steps can and must be taken along this path." ENI Bulletin - 97-0324


Warsaw, 2 June -- Pope John Paul II has made an impassioned appeal for ecumenical unity at the start of an 11-day pilgrimage to his native Poland. Addressing the International Eucharistic Congress in the southern city of Wroclaw on 31 May, the Pope said there could be "no turning back on the ecumenical path". He said that he was asking Roman Catholics and members of other churches for a new "joint Christian witness". "The future of evangelisation is linked to the witness of unity given by Christians", he told the conference. "In recent years, the distance separating churches and ecclesial communities from one another has diminished significantly. But it is still too great!" the Pope said. "Can we be fully reconciled with Christ without being fully reconciled among ourselves? Can we bear joint and effective witness to Christ if we are not reconciled with each other? Can we be reconciled with one another without forgiving one another?" ENI Bulletin - 97-0237

Rome, 20 February -- Italy's Roman Catholic bishops have taken the unprecedented step of asking forgiveness for the "suffering and injury" inflicted on the country's Protestant minority over the centuries. Italy's Waldensian Church, whose roots go back to the 12th century, is the oldest Protestant Church in the world. The appeal was made on Sunday, 16 February at a service held in one of the biggest Waldensian churches in Rome, less than a mile from the Vatican. During the service, Archbishop Giuseppe Chiaretti of Perugia, read a message from the Italian bishops committing themselves "to begin in earnest to work for the reconciliation of memories to accept the burden (of history) and salve the wounds of memory by recognising their existence and, when necessary, by forgiveness asked and given". The event was attended not only by many Protestants, but also by Catholics, Jews and Muslims who had just ended a three-day meeting at the nearby Waldensian Faculty of Theology. Writing in Italy's main Protestant newspa-

p 4 -- per, Riforma, the Waldensian theologian Paolo Ricca described the moment chosen by the Italian bishops for "their courageous gesture" as "highly symbolic". The service to mark the date of 17 February, 1848, is when "Waldensians give thanks to God for not allowing the Catholic Church and the powers in its service to wipe them off the face of the earth." ENI Bulletin -97-0064

Prague, 28 April -- Pope John Paul II has issued an appeal - in a part of Europe with an ancient history of violence between Catholics and Protestants - for charity, forgiveness and a renewal of the "longing for unity". The Roman Catholic leader was speaking at an ecumenical service in Prague's St Vitus Cathedral during a 48 hour visit to the Czech Republic. "In charity we can together ask God for forgiveness and find the courage to pardon one another for the injustices and mistakes of the past, no matter how serious and offensive they were. We must bring down the reciprocal barriers of suspicion and distrust so that we can build a civilisation based on love." The Pope reminded the congregation that two years ago he had, "in the name of the Church of Rome, asked pardon for the wrongs inflicted on non-Catholics, and at the same time I gave assurances of the Catholic Church's forgiveness of the sufferings which her children have undergone." The Pope also paid tribute to the work of an ecumenical commission examining the condemnation of Jan Hus, the Bohemian reformer who was burned at the stake in 1415 as a heretic. It was necessary, Pope John Paul said, to examine without prejudice, "all those events, still insufficiently understood, which led in the past to the disorder and excesses between those who belonged to the community of the Reformation and the Catholics". The Pope also spoke of his hope that churches and Christians would be able to make a renewed effort for unity for the new millennium. The experience of the annual world-wide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity made "the yearning for a common Eucharist still greater", he said. ENI Bulletin -97-0203

Paris, 25 August -- Pope John Paul II left Paris yesterday at the end of a triumphal four-day visit which attracted interest well beyond the organisers' expectations, and praise from Protestants who welcomed reconciliatory remarks by the Roman Catholic Leader. At a vigil service at Longchamp on the evening of Sat. 23 August, the Pope directly replied to criticism of the timing of his visit, which coincided with the 425th anniversary of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre on the night of 23-24 August 1572, when, on the orders of the Roman Catholic monarchy, thousands of French Protestants were killed. The Pope told the Longchamp crowd of between 600,000 and 800,000: "We cannot forget the sad massacre of St Bartholomew's Day, an event of very obscure causes in the political and religious history of France. Christians carried out acts which the Gospel condemns. Belonging to different religious traditions must not constitute a source of opposition and tension.

On the contrary, our common love for Christ impels us to seek tirelessly the path of full unity." The French Protestant Federation welcomed the Pope's comments. ENI Bulletin -97-0405


New York, 20 August -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), voted at its Churchwide Assembly in Philadelphia on 18 August to declare full communion with three US denominations in the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition - the Presbyterian Church, Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ. On the same day, the Lutherans failed narrowly to approve a similar "Concordat of Agreement" with the Anglican Church. However, the assembly approved resolutions leaving the way open for full communion with the Anglicans to be approved at the next assembly in 1999. The agreements allow for full acceptance of clergy and sacraments of the partners, and denial of doctrinal differences sufficient to justify church division. ENI Bulletin -

Graz, Austria, 30 June -- The biggest and most representative gathering of European Christians this century finished on 29 June with an open-air service attended by thousands of people. The official church delegates adopted a "message" calling for the "unflagging pursuit of the goal of visible unity" and the "unequivocal proclamation and defence of human rights". The president of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) John Arnold, told ENI that the Graz assembly had not brought the "visible unity" of the church closer "in the strict faith and order sense of the word" as the assembly was not intended to be a theological dialogue. "We haven't been able to make our unity visible at the point when people would see us all taking communion together," he said.

"However, at another level we have made visible the unity of very great diversity ... the worship occasions ... have had a quite extraordinary visibility which shows that short of full visible unity there is still a visible unity which is very well worth having." Many participants, particularly those from Protestant churches in Western Europe, wanted the assembly to make clear proposals on issues such as sharing the Eucharist across denominations..." ENI Bulletin - 97-0299

Leipzig, 23 June -- Germany's Protestants and Roman Catholics have decided to organise a major ecumenical gathering in the year 2003 - and they hope that the event will include a joint eucharist for Christians from both traditions. According to Professor Hans Joachim Meyer, president of the central committee of German Catholics both Protestants and Roman Catholics had a "common experience that the separation at the Lord's Table is especially painful." According to Rainer Meusel, president of the Protestant Kirchentag (church convention) there is a "clear desire for greater unity between the two major Christian confessions in Germany". But he stressed that carefully prepared discussions between Protestants and Roman Catholics were needed if the aim of a joint eucharistic celebration was to be reached. ENI Bulletin -97-0281


Rome, 4 February -- Pope John Paul II will almost certainly make an official visit to Jerusalem, following an invitation on 3 February by the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu told reporters

p 5 -- that the Pope intended to accept his invitation to visit Israel. He made the announcment after a 20-minute meeting with the Pope only at the Vatican. Although the Vatican did not confirm that the Roman Catholic leader will visit Jerusalem, Netanyahu told the Pope at the end of their meeting that he eagerly awaited the Catholic leader's visit. Pope John Paul replied:   "God bless Israel." Netanyahu later told journalists that the Pope intended to come to Israel before the year 2000. The Vatican has for some time been planning for the Pope to visit Israel as part of celebrations for the start of the new millennium. ENI Bulletin - 97-0056

Jerusalem, 27 March -- The Latin Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, who is the Roman Catholic (Latin) archbishop of Jerusalem, said the "Holy City of resurrection and redemption is still the main cause for the absence of peace. Everyone believes Jerusalem is the city of peace, yet it remains the source of disputes. It is still, for security reasons, forbidden for our believers." The Patriarch and the Custos of the Holy Land, Giuseppe Nazzaro both agreed that the peace process was in trouble. "We encourage our faithful to pray for peace, but they see no evidence of peace," Nazzaro said. "Still, Christians must believe in peace and work for peace." The Latin Patriarch reiterated a plea for Jerusalem to have "a unique and special status which guarantees its holiness and sovereignty alike. God wanted this city to be a holy heritage for the three monotheistic religions. The principle of sharing this city is the only way to peace." ENI Bulletin - 97-0138


Warsaw, 20 February -- Poland's churches hope that the first part of an ecumenical Bible will mark a major step towards overcoming confessional divisions. The 109-page edition of St. Matthews Gospel, signed by representatives of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Reformed churches, was presented at a ceremony organised by the Polish Bible Society in Warsaw on 17 February. Barbara Enholc-Narzynska, the director of the society, said the translation had been "readily accepted" by church leaders. She added that it was hoped a full ecumenical Bible would be published by the year 2000. "Although minority churches already enjoy good mutual relations here, real ecumenism in Poland can begin only when Roman Catholics are involved," she told ENI. The translation of St Matthews Gospel was undertaken by a team headed by Zacchariusz Lyko, leader of the county's 10,000-member Seventh-day Adventist church. The team expects to publish St. Mark's
Gospel in May. Barbara Enholc-Narzynska told ENI that ecumenical translations had a "special dimension" in Poland, where 95 per cent of the population of 38.5 million identify themselves
as Roman Catholics. ENI Bulletin -97-0074

London, 19 February -- A Church of England bishop has joined millions of Christians around the world by "giving up" something for Lent. But Dr Alan Smithson, Bishop of Jarrow, has made an unusual choice for his Lenten sacrifice - he has given up reading the Bible and has taken up the holy Muslim book, the Koran, instead. "If only Christians would take seriously the beliefs of other traditions and religions, we would be all the better for it," Bishop Smithson told reporters. "I am passionately concerned that we help the church to move into a wider scene where we are not just preoccupied with Christian issues, but understand other faiths, not as rivals, but as fellow travellers. The western world needs to learn from Islam. There are qualities of holiness and commitment that the faithful Muslim shows that the Western world can learn from." ENI Bulletin - 97-0071

New York, 28 August -- A museum and study centre designed to focus international attention on papal teachings and the impact of Roman Catholicism world-wide is to be constructed in the US capital, Washington DC. The centre is expected to draw half-a-million visitors a year and also to provide facilities for visiting scholars. The Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre is due to open in 2000, a year the Pope hopes will bring renewed commitment to the Christian faith and the mission of the church. Pope John Paul II suggested that the centre be located in Washington DC because of the US capital's leading role in world affairs. While the museum and research facilities were directed towards learning, the centre was also intended to serve the papal goal of evangelisation. ENI Bulletin - 97-0381

Warsaw, 4 June -- Pope John Paul II has called on his fellow Poles to "beg God on [their] knees" that he will live to lead the Roman Catholic Church into the next millennium. "My years are adding up," the 77-year-old Pontiff said to worshippers. "So you must beg God on your knees that I cope with this task." In response, the crowd of 400,000 chanted:   "We will help you."  ENI Bulletin - 97-0238 --- (1997 Nov) --- End --- TOP

1997 Dec -- XXX - 12(97) -- WHY STUDY? -- Editors Preface -- The first article in this issue will serve as a preface to the series of articles which will begin with the January issue of WWN. In this series on the "Eternal Verities"  -  the Godhead, Incarnation, and the Atonement  -  we will put in summary form the studies of the 1997 Seminar. Too long have we held our peace while a new Gnosticism has been sweeping through the corridors of Adventism in America and spreading its deception to three other continents. The denigration of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the projection of the papal doctrine of the Trinity under the guise of professing to oppose it, needs to be exposed so that all who honestly want truth can find it.

The second article on the new thrust which the ecumenical movement is seeking to take, has been largely confined to books and articles in German. We have been able to get bits and pieces through the ENI releases from the WCC. Material received from Germany has been translated, and our Librarian, Terrie Lambert, has been working diligently to put together this information so that our readers can be aware of this new emphasis which will include all the religions of the world. This new emphasis carries as its slogan - "Justice Peace, and the Integrity of Creation." And as the brother in Germany, who supplied us with the German documents, asks, "Are you not for Justice, Peace, and the integrity of Creation?" Yet behind this new force is the Spiritism of the Eastern religions combined with socialistic ideology. One is reminded of the words in The Great Controversy. "Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion." (p. 562)

On the last Sabbath in September, Darren Lambert and I visited, as observers the weekend Campmeeting of the Reformed Seventh Day Adventist Church held near Springdale, Arkansas. The speaker for the Sabbath service presented a challenge to those who embrace "historic" Adventism. We invited him to carry through on his own challenge, and make suggestion in "Let's Talk It Over" that it would be a good idea for all who profess "historic" Adventism to do likewise.

p 2 -- Why Study? -- When we first announced at the beginning of this year that our seminar studies in connection with the 1997 Annual Fellowship would be on the Godhead - Incarnation - Atonement, some asked, Why these subjects? Yet, when the hour arrived for the fellowship, we were pressed as to where to place all the folk who came. It was evident from the start that God was blessing the study of His Word. So again the question - "Why study the topics of the God-head, Incarnation, and Atonement?"

The Godhead -- An ancient heresy which plagued the Early Church has again reared its diabolical head. There is a new Gnosticism being foisted on the unwary. As with the old pagan Gnosticism which perceived of one supreme deity from whom emanated lesser aeons, and the Christian version which perceived of Jesus Christ as one of the aeons, so today in neo-Gnosticism, Jesus Christ is perceived as having emanated, or generated from, or was "birthed" by God the Father. In America a quartet of "voices" - Allabach, Beachy, Goslin, and Stump - promote this ancient heresy, while in Australia, Pittard and Gibbons resonate this concept . Basically, the issue, or bottom line, is the denigration of the pre-existent Logos, who was with God, and who was God as much as the Father is God. (John 1:1-2)

The Incarnation -- While the ever-existent, self-existent I AM is being denigrated on the one hand, the victory which this same I AM achieved in the flesh is being denied or muted by those whose faith cannot grasp the reality of the Mystery of Godliness  -  God manifest in the likeness of a flesh of sin. (I Tim. 3:16; Rom. 8:3 Gr.) Yet man's redemption cannot be separated from a true understanding of the condescension of the Eternal Logos. (John 1:14) Tragically, various "alternate" theories of the Incarnation have arisen in the community of Adventism which are but a "generation" removed from the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Many of these "voices" come from "high" places in the regular Church.

The Atonement -- Within the community of Adventism, there are few who would deny that an "atonement" was achieved on the Cross, but by far the larger portion of the community conceive of this atonement as completed, thus denying the "atonement of atonements," or final atonement prefigured in the typical service of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary. Living at the very time of the closing work in the sanctuary above, little is said, or discussed as to what is involved in this last work of Christ as the great High Priest. The very heart of Adventism has ceased to pulsate. It is true that an understanding of what is meant by the "final atonement" is fraught with perils of extremism, and must be grasped by faith, because the "evidence" is not seen. Movements of the past with their failures and errors stigmatize any attempt to forthrightly discuss what the "final atonement" actually means or could be.

Limitations -- Returning to the subject of the Godhead, we need to note the limitations which the Scriptures impose on this study. Paul, writing to Timothy, clearly stated that God dwells "in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see." (I Tim 6:16) By the senses, we cannot define or describe God. The curtain is drawn over His Being. The only One through which a revelation of God has come is the monogenes theos, as indicated in John's preface to his Gospel. (John 1:18; alternate Gr. Text) This God Jesus Christ, we likewise have not seen. But John did. He writes:      That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word (logoV) of life; . . . declare we unto you. (I John 1:1,3)

Further, John declared that He whom they saw and with whom they had had physical contact, was "that eternal life, which was with the Father"- the Logos (ver. 2). While the curtain is drawn on aspects of God, there is no question expressed as to the "eternalness" of Him who was with God from the beginning. The challenge "to comprehend as far as mortal can, the deep things of God" (Great Controversy, p.599), is further heightened by Paul when he states that Jesus Christ (the Word made flesh) "in His times shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords." (I Tim. 6:14-15) Yet when He shall return the second time, on His vesture dipped in blood is the name written - "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." ( Rev. 19:13,16) How shall He show the only Potentate as "King of kings and Lord of lords", and He Himself carry the same name emphasized on a garment dipped in blood? This picture, if meditated upon, opens a rich field for thought. This unique revelation of God, we shall discuss more completely when we study the linguistic aspects of the Shema of Israel in up-coming issues of WWN.

In noting the limitations imposed on our understanding of the Incarnation, the curtain is drawn over the "how." We can know that God was manifest in the flesh, but the "how" is wrapped in mystery incomprehensible to men. It was the question Mary asked when Gabriel revealed her role in the unfolding of the purposes of God. (Luke 1:34)

p 3 -- The answer Gabriel gave did not explain the "how" but merely emphasized the fact that the One who "shall be [not "is" nor "was"] called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35) was "conceived ... of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 1:20)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ -- While the curtain is drawn over aspects of the Godhead, and the "how" of the Incarnation, certain symbolic representations given in the "unveiling" of Jesus Christ can enlarge our thinking as we "exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures." The post ascension revelation given to John in Chapter 4, pictures God seated on the throne clothed in light which bars penetration. Out of the throne "proceeded lightenings and thunderings and voices." Before the throne were seven torches of fire declared to be "the Seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:3-5)

As the next scene comes before John, he again sees the throne. This time there is an added dimension to the vision. He beholds a Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne, and a changed relationship of "the seven Spirits of God". In symbolism, they are represented as "seven horns and seven eyes" of the Lamb "sent forth into all the earth." (Rev. 5:6)

In seeking to understand the meaning of these symbolic presentations, are we to study them in the light of John's Gospel and Epistles? This possibility and meaning will be explored as we begin the articles in the 1998 issues of WWN. John does begin his Gospel with the Logos ("Word," KJV) and God, and defines the relationship be-tween them, and the work of the Logos (John 1:1-3). This Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. He is declared to be "the Lamb of God." (John 1:14, 29). In his Epistle, John describes Jesus as the Paraclete ("Advocate"- I John 2:1). In his Gospel, he quotes Jesus as saying, when He returns to the Father He would send "another Paraclete." Yet the relationship would be so close that they could conclude that He had come to them. (John 14:16, 18) Much of this we have missed as we have indulged in a surface reading and comprehension of the revelation God has given in His Word.

Indeed a veil is drawn on aspects of God and the Incarnation, and the "how" remains a mystery - the "secret things belong unto the Lord our God." However, there is much that is revealed, and these "things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children." (Deut. 29:29) Facts are revealed in clear pronouncements and in symbolism. The problem is in how we read them. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in metaphor, and he asked - "How can these things be?" To this "how," Jesus responded - "Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:9-10) Tragically, the siren "voices" sounding in the corridors of Adventism today, professing to be "teachers" of Israel, are giving only surface answers which echo heresies which have plagued God's people in times past. It is time that we gave heed to the admonition of Paul to Timothy:      Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Tim. 2:15)

The "Conciliar Process" The Ecumenical Initiative -- The ecumenical movement in Europe is in commotion. The new goal-objective - "The Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation" has raised the feelings of many, as Christians from all different denominations, from laymen to leaders in high positions, have been disturbed. However, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has applied for membership with the Working group of Christian Churches (ACK), which lists the pursuit of this conciliar process as one of its duties. What is the background of this initiative, its goals and terms?

One of the main players in the "conciliar process" is the famous nuclear physicist and philosopher, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. Von Weizsäcker had been frightened about the catastrophic effects of his own discoveries and inventions and started to search for a way out of the recognised danger. In 1985 he used the platform of the German Evangelical Church Convention in Düsseldorf, to call for a universal peace council. He said:      We ask the churches of the world to call a council of peace. Peace is necessary today for the survival of mankind. It is not ensured. At an ecumenical council that is called ill the name of peace, the Christian churches must make a statement of common responsibility, which mankind cannot ignore.

Time is running out. We ask the church leaders to do everything in their power, so that the council can meet as soon as possible. We ask the church communities to call for a council and give it strength through their explicit support. (The Conciliar Process - Utopia and Reality, p.15)

The leading head of those who are strongly opposed to the conciliar process is Dr. Peter Beyerhaus, Professor for Mission-Science and ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen, Germany. He, together with Lutz von Padberg, Professor for Church-History at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Loewen, co-edited the book "The Conciliar Process - Utopia and Reality", a compilation of 23 chapters from 19 different authors. Commenting on von Weizsäckers call for a Universal Peace Council, Beyerhaus writes:      This call first found support among the communities and church leaders of the Lutheran Church in Germany, with the Lutheran World Union and with a series of other churches and church or-

p 4 -- ganisations in central Europe. Through a number of lectures, essays, television appearances and not the least through his widely published books "Change of Consciousness" and "Time is Running Out" (200,000 sold in 1988!), the initiator of the Düsseldorf Call passed over geographical and denominational boundaries in his drive to win endorsement for his cause. Additionally, the Day of the Prayer for Peace of the Churches and Religions, which Pope John Paul II presented the following year on October 27, 1986 in Assisi, was the echo of this initiative (ibid., p.16).

The question needs be asked  -  from what philosophical background did von Weizsäcker develop this conciliar vision? On a study trip to India in 1969, von Weizsäcker found a long-sought contact with Indian wisdom. At the grave of the Hindu guru, Maharshi, he experienced a mystic vision, which he later described in his autobiographical report, "The Garden of the Humane." He wrote:      As I took off my shoes and stepped in Ashram in front of the grave of Maharshi, it hit me:   "Yes, this is it. "   Actually, all the questions have been answered. ... Afterwards I sat next to the grave on the rock floor. The knowledge was here, and in thirty minutes everything had happened. I still knew what was going on around me, the hard floor, the humming mosquitoes, the light on the rocks. But in no time the layers to the core were broken through, it can only be hinted at with words:   "You" "I"  -  "Yes".  Tears of bliss. Bliss without tears. I became somebody different ... With a gentle tenderness, the experience left me in the following days and weeks. Its substance will always stay with me. (ibid., p.25)

Von Weizsäcker termed this experience as "a cosmic-mystic experience of unity in all beings." He concluded that the atomically threatened world peace, even the survival of mankind is only possible by the common efforts of all leaders in responsible positions, based on a spiritual union of western technology and eastern religions. Originating from hinduistic pantheism, von Weizsacker views "development and decay, success and failure, western and eastern thought as developmental stages toward a mutual understanding and life" or "an evolution of consciousness" (ibid., p 155). Thus evolution is seen as more than the recent theory of the Cosmos, but the goal of all nature towards the total unity of mankind. This is the basis of the ecumenical thought  -  the uniting of all religions and ideologies through dialogue.

In the conciliar process, truth is seen as relative; i.e. nobody knows the truth, but rather that a lot of people strike to find it together. A parable is given as an illustration, where there are five people living together in a cave, each of them having just one of the five senses; seeing, feeling, hearing etc. One day water starts rising in the cave, leaving only one alternative, - "either they have to take a chance and use a completely unknown path, or they will die. The five step toward the exit. The one with the sense of feeling touches the wall and feels that the cave ends here and after that there is 'nothing.' If he would be dependent on himself he would have to jump into the 'nothing.' But the one with the sense of sight describes the 'nothing':  a wide field and in some distance some kind of frame, which lie can't recognise as a tree. They step forward and out of the cave. The one with the sense of hearing hears a predator growling at them from behind. Only he can warn the others etc. All five depend on each other. It would have been completely wrong if the group would have sit down in the cave and thought about which one of them had the 'true' sense. Everyone has only one perception; all perceptions combined lead to the ultimate truth" (ibid., p.165).

It is at this point that Beyerhaus and others are opposed, as they fear that the truth of the Christian belief loses its uniqueness when it unites with non-christian religions. The "Conciliar Vision" offers an alternative salvation story to that of Christianity. The redemption of mankind "must be recognised under the pressure of surviving in the present of 'the one' (Hinduism), the 'yourself ' (Buddhism), 'cosmic harmony' (Confucius), and in the 'good' (Judaism and Christianity)." (ibid., p.177) Christ and His gospel are seen as only part of the wisdom of mankind and the unique role of Jesus Christ as Son of God and redeemer of the world are removed. When confronted with this criticism, von Weizsäcker remarked: "It dissolves one of those wonderful myths, which Christians have believed for so long a time. God will know if this myth should be removed or not. I don't care." (ibid., p.26)

The catholic response to this conciliar process has been interesting. Pope John Paul II, excited by von Weizsacker's idea, conceived of a plan to invite all high-ranking officials of churches and world religions to a big common day of prayer for peace, on October 27, 1986 in Assisi. Earlier in the year, February 1, 1986, he had the sign of the God "Shira" painted with red powder his forehead while on his visit to India. On September 21, on the eve of the gathering in Assisi, he said:   "Nobody can be surprised when members of different religions meet to pray together."  In attendance in October were almost all of the Christian denominations and next to them Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduists, Sikhs, Parsens, Shintoists, Indian shamans and African wizards.

In John Paul's address before the gathering of representatives, he explained in pontifical style that the historical development of humankind, according to God's will, should be "a brotherly migration, in which we move together toward a mutual, transcendental goal, that He set for us." In Assisi the following were called by name:  a Bodhisattva, Vishnu (Brahma), the Indian spirit, Allah, Mother Earth, the four winds, the thunder and African spirits, at the same position with Jesus Christ. Many more such days followed this first common day of prayer for peace, and the Pope is reportedly determined to make this interreligious meeting into a world-wide movement.

In 1991, the conciliar process was continued at the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia. Under the theme:   "Come, Holy Ghost, Renew Thy Entire Creation",   the Korean theologist Chung Hyung Kyung, one of the two main speakers, generated much audience enthusiasm. After ritually calling on the souls of the dead, she spoke not only of the polytheistic beliefs, but also introduced her concept of a female Christ. In addition, there were thirteen representatives of non-Christian religions participating; a further step toward world unification.

p 5 -- While the "New Age" background of "The Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation" is evident, terms like Justice and peace, which at first sound biblical, are meant to be socio-political. Its goals are based on common social questions and extend from social concerns to economy and politics, to questions of environmental protection. They deal, therefore, with areas which in the past have been considered the responsibility of worldly authorities.

In 1983, at the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver, Ulrich Duchrow, a regional worker for Ecumenism and World Mission in the National Church in the province of Baden, Germany, presented his plans. He stated:      We want to develop a network of Christians who see the fight for justice, peace and the preservation of creation, world-wide and start to act according to it. During this time, we have to act as a Christian group, be politically purposefull, work critically and with solidarity, work with political groups for peace, Ecumenism and the Third World (The Ecumenical Connection, Inter-Euro Publishing, pp.164, 165).

The resulting program rules from Vancouver state the following:      The crucial point of the conciliar process .... deals therefore with forming Christian resistance groups against the demonic powers of death in racism, sexism, economic exploitation, militarism, and abuse of science and technology (ibid.).

Beyerhaus suggests that because Duchrow developed the program for the conciliar process, we should watch very carefully his future plans and activities. For example, Duchrow writes in his book "World Economy Today" that:      In the fight for justice and human dignity we must oppose the powers of oppression. We are called upon to show solidarity with the ones who fight for tile power of the people to develop a strong participatory society through the legitimate practice of power. ... From this point, international networks for support of churches should be enforced and expanded ... These networks help the poor to pool their strength to oppose the powers of oppression (ibid.).

Commentators have noted that this book is nothing but Marxist and Socialist ideology. The question then arises as to why this conciliar process with its obvious "New Age" and political background could take off as it has? The answer is simple: Fear!      The task is to use the words "concern" and "fear" and through this, to convince the dispositions to accept this ideology (The Conciliar Process - Utopia and Reality, p.283).

As von Weizsäcker has stated; "Mankind at present is in a crisis, whose catastrophic climax is probably still before us." By listing of the dangers to mankind - poverty, wars, environmental decline which have existed for decades, and which keep the population in fear, they can in turn be used by radical movements to demand drastic solutions as an alternative to the present political situation:      1)   The starvation and famine in the explosive growing population of the Third world, which splits the world in two unequal pieces [Justice];   2)   in the wake of the re-armament threatening outbreak of a nuclear holocaust [Peace];   3)   the ever expanding environmental destruction, either by negligence of chemistry or cause of exploitation [Preservation of Creation] (ibid., p.22).

Von Weizsäcker has proved a marketing wizard, as the success of his strategy shows. He does not speak as a fatalist, but has turned the expressions - "Misery, War and Environmental Destruction" - around into their opposites - "social justice, political peace and preserving nature." Beyerhaus comments; "He uses his crisis analysis as a compassionate appeal to the common sense of the leaders, yes, even to the whole of mankind, to get them to a determined change of course" (ibid., p. 23). As a brother in Germany put it: "The conciliar idea will fly! We hear it on the news, church news and elsewhere. They all ride on the slogan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. With this slogan they will get everyone, because ... are you not for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation?"

This slogan certainly has "got" the Adventists in Europe. One example are the German Unions. Having fallen from the purity of truth, and therefore from the power of the gospel, their leaders greedily grasped for the power of the Ecumene. During a session, April 6-8, the North German Union (NDV) voted 80% in favour of membership in the Working Group of Christian Churches (NCC). Later the same month, April 20, the delegates of the South German Union voted 129-109 for guest membership in the ACK. Many members now fear the possibility of a split and those opposed being thrown out, as they would be in the minority. It is interesting to recall that the East German Adventists are now a part of the North German Union (NDV). Prior to the unification of Germany in 1991, this union held full membership in the ACK (NCC).

It is tragic that certain evangelical voices can discern that the entire conciliar process is in absolute opposition to biblical thought, while the Seventh-day Adventist Church is seeking alliance with those that advocate it. Beyerhaus aptly puts this down to theological confusion over six points:      1.   A General disregard for the Holy Scripture; It is shown by the twisting of the meaning or careless use of important statements, in the use of violating "contextual" methods of interpreting the Bible, which is typical for the so-called freedom theology, and in the consuIting of other known sources from non-Christian Religions and ideologies;
2.   A false picture of creation and history, in which the death fall has been turned upside down and portrayed optimistically as a steady upward trend, and in which the history of salvation and of the world are mixed together and nature is idolized;
3.   An ideologically distorted understanding of salvation, which, in its establishment of inner- wordly harmony through the autonomous man, has replaced the forgiveness of sins and peace with God;
4.   A trivializing of the person of Christ, who is degraded to the

p 6 -- position of a religious founder beneath others, or to a historical principle;

5.   A secularizing change of the essence of the church, where the Body of Christ expands universally to the "Body of Mankind," in which the community is obliged to disregard the reforming message about tile relationship between church and state, and support the executing organ of political assignment;
6.   A one-sided portrait of the biblical promise of the apocalypse, which rejects the mission, and in which the future kingdom of God is taken away through an inner historical order of world peace, and biblical hope is eventually displaced. (ibid., p. 364)

How true it is that a disregard for the Scriptures has led to confusion in Adventism. It is a sad day when the organised structure seeks justice and peace on the basis of a political world order, and not the peace of Christ and the justice of God, which are gifts only to be received through faith. To be working towards the preservation of creation might seem a worthy duty to the secular world, but the church should be with those looking "for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13), recognizing that God Himself will destroy this earth as a final judgment on impenitent mankind.

One last point that Beyerhaus makes should give some sobering thoughts to the thinking Adventist:      This systematic strategy is preparing Christianity, step by step, for the organization of a coming world peace council of all churches, religions and ideologies, which would give, in the name of God, obliging instructions for living in a political-religious world order. Biblically-ground Christians recognize in such "conciliar visions" alarming parallels to the kingdom of the Antichrist. which was prophesied to us (Revelations 17:12-18). (The Ecumenical Connections, p.218, Emphasis ours)

The warning is clear and strong that only "biblically-ground Christians" will recognize the conciliar process for what it truly is. We also have to come to terms with the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has ceased to be the proclaimer of the genuine Three Angel's Messages, although they continue to give lip service to them. Therefore, what courage will the individual have to have to be able to stand alone against these "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" in earth's final hours!      (We are indebted in this article to Brother Jürgen Krahne of Auggen/ Germany, for alerting us to this issue and for source documentation relative to the conciliar process.)

It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible
are the ground work of human freedom.
Horace Greely

Let's Talk It Over -- The last Sabbath in September, we attended the campmeetmg of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement in northwest Arkansas. We had several reasons in mind for doing so. Over a decade ago, we had attended a like gather mg near Leslie, Arkansas. We wanted to see what changes, if any, had taken place in the Reform Movement. We were aware of the call in the Reformation Herald, their official publication, to members of the regular Church who had become concerned with trends within the Church, to come and take a look at them. It was evident from the enlarged attendance and from comments which interlaced testimonies and conversations, that a number of those present had done just that, and having taken a look, remained.

Present at this campmeeting were two veteran ministers of the Reform Movement whom I had met and had conversed with on previous occasions. One was a former president of their General Conference, and the other the head of their Sabbath School department. Neither of these men were asked to speak during the Sabbath School or to offer prayer at the noon day Worship service that I attended. The head of the Sabbath School Department and editor of their quarterly was not even asked to teach a Sabbath school class. (He sat in the same class as I as the teacher floundered through the lesson.) Either protocol is not known by the younger men who are leading out, or the accent of the senior leadership of the Movement is considered a negative in their present objective in the States.

The Worship service was semi-formal, and in some aspects seemed in disarray. The one who spoke, Elder Peter D. Lausevic, was a third generation minister in the Refom Movement. He was pastor of the Nashville, Tennessee, area of the Movement His presentation both in substance and delivery was excellent, closely resembling the "old time" Adventist campmeeting sermons with which I have been familiar. This would have an appeal to members of the regular Church who can no longer countenance the present trends. The music also reflected the type with which concerned Adventists were familiar.

The Reform Movement has been long on standards especially in women's dress codes, and ministerial attire. I sense an easing up in both areas. The pianist even wore a red dress, and the minister's suits varied in the darker shades from the standard black (2T:61O) Their friendliness, openness, and hospitality, were the same as on previous occasions with a few exceptions. One can count on a frank and open exchange of ideas with the leadership present from their General Conference, at least, I have found it so. The younger men who are now leading out seem fearful and apprehensive of observers.·

p 7 -- The morning sermon by Elder Lausevic was a call to recognize the meaning of Christ's counsel to the apostolic church, to tarry until endowed with the power to witness. He noted that one cannot win converts to the Gospel, unless endued with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit which con-victs of sin; man cannot. He correctly exegeted the promise of Jesus that "the gates of hell" cannot prevail against the Church. He recognized that this was a call to aggressive witness, even penetrating the gates of hell in warfare against Satan and his hosts.

Near the conclusion of his presentation, he asked - "Do you want to know what should mark true 'historic' Adventism?" He then directed the large congregation to a message found in The Review & Herald, July 26, 1892 titled - "Search the Scriptures." The question is asked - "How shall we search the Scnptures?" It Is answered by another question: "Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth?"

What was the "historic" experience and example? Ellen White testified:      We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation...We did not generally study together more than four hours at a time.

"If dissension arose, the study would be adjourned so that all could pray and contemplate the issues and questions in private study, then they would return to the task, because they knew that "it is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the test of trial."

This challenge and experience is apropos to the present when division marks the community of Adventism. I challenge the voices in "historic" Adventism, Dr. Ralph Larson, Drs. John Grosboll, Colin and Russell Standish, Elders Wieland, Marcussen, Spear and perhaps others to meet together with me and discuss one at a time, the major doctrines of Adventism which are in controversy, such as the Sanctuary, Incarnation, the Atonement, the Godhead, the prophecies of Jesus, and the place of the Writings in formulating doctrine. No single discussion would be more than four hours in length.

A report would be rendered in each one's published journal as to the progress made, the issues raised, the points that divide, so as to keep the laity informed as to the progress made toward the unity for which Christ prayed. It should be kept in mind that the "messenger of the Lord" has specifi-cally cautioned that "we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn." The unlearning process will no doubt be the most difficult But "as long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed."

A Statement Questioned -- In the Special Issue - 'The Bottom Rung of the Ladder' I wrote that Willard Santee, Minister of Reconciliation for the Oregon Conference, was sent to Florida by the General Conference to 'reclaim' John Osborne. I stated this on information received through the Church where Santee is pastor. A call from a person connected with Prophecy Countdown stated that he had originally recommended Santee, and that the request was made by Osborne via the Florida Conference President to the Oregon Conference President and was thus approved. Anyone aware of hierarchical procedure must know that the two administrators, because of the nature of this request would not unilaterally concur without consultation with higher authority, perhaps even to the level of the North American Division. The one calling me indicated that he did not know in advance the direction which Santee's presentations would take, and that until a tape of one of Santee's sermons was heard by a Prophecy Countdown officer, they did not know who Santee was. I was also informed that Prophecy Countdown paid for the travel of Willard Santee to the Florida appointment. We respect the integrity of the Oregon Church source of our original statement but should have tried to verify it further. --- (1997 Dec) --- End --- TOP

1997 -- XXX -- Special -- Part 1 -- 46th INTERNATIONAL EUCHARIST CONGRESS -- EDITOR'S PREFACE --  This year the 46th International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Wroclaw, Poland. For the first time in the history of Eucharistic Congresses, this Congress will emphasize the theme of Freedom as reflected in the Eucharist. The choice of Wroclaw in Poland was to point up the fact that the nations of Eastern Europe "during the last decades have experienced the tragic negation of personal and social freedom. Thus, the Eucharistic mystery will highlight not only the positive experience of both the historical and social aspects of freedom but also the supernatural quality of the freedom with which Christ has set us free."

Two factors are involved in this objective:    1)    The re-defining of "freedom." In the mind of the Roman Catholic curia, the meaning of "freedom" does not mean "liberty" as it is understood in America. American liberty as understood and defined by the Constitution is in the mind of Rome, "unbridled liberalism."    2)    Much is implied in the words,"supernatural quality," as the Mass is perceived to be.

The Pontifical Committee which has the oversight of International Eucharistic Congresses prepared a document which they released November 13, 1996. This document set forth the relationship between the Eucharist and freedom as the Committee perceives it. Inasmuch as the Eucharist is "at the center of the Church's faith and life" and has been declared to be the "ultimate sign and seal" of church unity by a Roman Cardinal, close attention needs to be given to this International Congress. A section of the document also addresses the question of Sunday as "the day of the Church."

In this special issue of WWN, we have given the teachings of the Roman Church on the two sacraments involved, one in preparation for, and the other involved in the Congress itself. We have used an authority recognized by the Church. Lest one should think that Rome has altered its theological stance with the passing of time, we have also included a recent statement by John Paul II on the subject  -  "Ministerial Priesthood - the Gift of Redemption"  -  as he reflected on the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

p 2 -- 46th International Eucharistic Congress -- The 46th International Eucharistic Congress will be celebrated in Wroclaw, Poland this year. The theme chosen is "The Eucharist and Freedom." The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharisitic Congresses issued a document on November 13, 1996 outlining the objective for the Congress. The document read that the Congress will focus "on presenting and celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist in the light of a concept of far-reaching anthropological, social and salvific significance: freedom."

This document reveals the subtlety of the new face of Rome, and gives force to the warning that "so closely will the counterfeit resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures." (The Great Controversy, p.593) For example, this document enlarges on the use of the word, "freedom." It reads:       This word, "freedom" expresses the great quest of humanity, the desire of all people. Freedom is an expression of that spark of truth and life with which humanity was created in the image and likeness of God. Freedom both signifies humanity's noblest expression and is also fraught with its greatest risk: "God willed that man should be ' left in the hand of his own counsel ', so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to Him." [Quotation from the new Catechism of the Catholic Church]

How much different is this than the following concepts?

Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator,  -  individuality, the power to think and to do. ...

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness  -  godlikeness  -  is the goal to be reached. (Education, pp.17,18)

The document continues:          Freedom is God's gift made to humanity in creation, and even more in redemption. It is, indeed, to the mystery of redemption that Paul is referring when he says:   "For freedom Christ has set us free." (Gal 5:1)   Precisely because freedom is a fragile and endangered gift, it has been "redeemed" from sin and is "saved" by the gift of the Holy Spirit, in whom we have become children of God, freed from the slavery of sin so as to cry out together, "Abba! Father !" (cf. Gal 4:4-6) The same Spirit enables us to turn to others as our brothers and sisters in the freedom and evangelical fraternity of the children of our Father. [ Ecumenism? ]

For this reason, so that we may remain free, Christ himself willed that the mystery of redemption and our liberation  -  His and our Passover should be sacramentally presented to us in the Eucharist at all times and in all places until His glorious and definitive return, when "freed from the corruption of sin and death, we shall sing the glory of the Father with every creature."

It is obvious from this introduction that the Roman Catholic concept of "freedom" is interlocked with their perception of the Eucharist. It will be of value to us at this point to review how the Roman Church views the Eucharist, and what they believe happens in the celebration of the Mass.

The document itself states  -  "The Eucharist is at the center of the Church's faith and life."  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads  -  "In the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."  (#1324)  "In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith:    ' Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking." ' (#1327)   In the same section, it gives an insight as to why the Church of Rome has designated this "sacrament" as the "ultimate sign and seal" of church unity. (EPS 91.02.74) The Catechism declares  -  "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being." (#1325; emphasis supplied)

Briefly the position is:    No Eucharist, no Church; No Eucharist, no "Divine life" (power). The "power" involved in the Eucharist is little perceived. In the book, His Holiness, the authors commenting on the first mass celebrated by Karol Wojtyla wrote:       His former teacher, Father Kazimierz Figlewicz served as manuductor, the elder confrere who guides a new priest during the celebration, steadying him as, for the first time, he experiences the tremendous power involved in the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. (p.70)

There can be no question that such an experience of power galvanizes a priesthood and thus a whole Church around a central concept involving the Eucharist.

It should not be forgotten that the final issue as expressed in the Three Angels Messages is worship. Either one responds to the message of the First Angel and worships "Him" who created all things, or "the beast" who claims to create "god" for men to worship. (Rev. 14:7, 9) A thousand "Sunday laws" could be legislated regulating the work place, yet so long as no man would be compelled to worship on that day, no mark can be inferred. The only thing that such laws could accomplish would be the interference with man's observance of the command, "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work." (Ex. 20:9)

p 3 -- Not only is there "power" involved with the Eucharist, but there is "blasphemy against God... and His tabernacle." (Lev.13:6) Whether one interprets the word, "tabernacle" a literal sense, or in the symbolical usage as found in Rev. 21:3, the focus of the blasphemy is on the mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ beginning with the incarnation and continuing through the crucifixion. The priest himself usurps the mediatorial ministry of the resurrected Lord.

Let us review what the Church of Rome actually believes the Eucharist to be, and what they perceive the priest actually accomplishes in its celebration.

First, how does the Roman Church perceive the priest? The sainted doctor of the Church, Alphonsus de Ligouri in his approved work, Dignity and Duties of the Priest, quoting a "saint" of the Church declares the priest to be "a divine man." "For us," he writes, "it is enough to know, that Jesus Christ has said that we should treat his priests as we would his own person:    He that heareth you, heareth me; he that despiseth you despiseth me. He cites another "saint," Mary of Oignies, who kissed the ground on which a priest walked. (p.24) This presumed dignity arises from the Roman perception of "the exalted nature of his offices." The chief of those offices is manifest in the celebration of the Mass. Alphonsus de Ligouri wrote:       The entire Church cannot give to God as much honor, nor obtain so many graces, as a single priest by celebrating a single Mass; for the greatest honor that the whole Church without priests could give to God would consist in offering to him in sacrifice the lives of all men. But of what value are the lives of all men compared with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is a sacrifice of infinite value? What are all men before God but a little dust? ... Thus by the celebration of a single Mass, in which he offers Jesus Christ in sacrifice, a priest gives greater honor to the Lord, that if all men by dying for God offered to him the sacrifice of their lives. By a single Mass, he gives greater honor to God than all the angels and saints, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, have given or shall give to him; for their worship cannot be of infinite value, like that which the priest celebrating on the altar offers to God.

Moreover, in the holy Mass, the priest offers to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the graces bestowed even on the Blessed in Paradise; but such a thanksgiving all the saints together are incapable of offering to him. Hence it is, that on this account also the priestly dignity is superior to all celestial dignities. (p.25)

In the next section  -  "The Grandeur of the Priestly Power"  -  de Ligouri wrote:       With regard to the power of priests over the real body of Jesus Christ, it is of faith that when they pronounce the words of consecration the Incarnate Word has obliged himself to obey and to come into their hands under the sacramental species. ... We find that in the obedience to the words of his priests  -  Hoc est Corpus Meum  -  God himself descends on the altar, that he comes wherever they call him, and as often as they call him, and places himself in their hands, even though they should be his enemies. And after having come, he remains, entirely at their disposal; they move him as they please, from one place to another; they may if they wish, shut him up in the tabernacle, or expose him on the altar; or carry him outside the church; they may if they choose eat his flesh, and give him for the food of others. "Oh how great is their power," says St. Laurence Justinian, speaking of priests. "A word falls from their lips and the body of Christ is there substantially formed from the matter of bread, and the Incarnate Word descended from heaven, is found really present on the table of the altar! Never did divine goodness give such power to the angels. The angels abide by the order of God, but the priests take him in their hands, distribute him to the faithful, and partake of him as food for themselves." (pp.26-27)

Further:       St. Barnardine of Sienna has written:   "Holy Virgin, excuse me, for I speak not against thee:  the Lord has raised the priesthood above thee." The saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the priesthood over Mary; she conceived Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating the Eucharist, the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes, so that if the person of the Redeemer, had not yet been in the world, the priest by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce the great person of the Man-God. "0 wonderful dignity of the priests," cries out St. Augustine; "in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate." Hence the priests are called the parents of Jesus Christ: such is the title St. Bernard gives them, for they are the active cause by which he is made to exist really in the consecrated Host.

Thus the priest may, in a certain manner; be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental existence, and producing him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. As in creating the world it was sufficient for God to have said, Let it be made, and it was created ... so it is sufficient for the priest to say, "Hoc est corpus meum," and behold the bread is no longer bread, but the body of Jesus Christ. "The power of the priest," says St. Bernardine of Sienna, "is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world." And St. Augustine has written, "0 venerable sanctity of the hands! 0 happy function of the priest! He that created me (if I may say so) gave me the power to create him; and he that created without me is himself created by me!" As the Word of God created heaven and earth, so, says St. Jerome, the words of the priest create Jesus Christ. "At a sign from God there came forth from nothing both the sublime vault of the heavens and the vast extent

p 4 -- of the earth; but no less great is the power that manifests itself in the mysterious words of the priest." The dignity of the priest is so great, that he even blesses Jesus Christ on the altar as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. In the sacrifice of the Mass, writes Father Mansi, Jesus Christ is the principal offerer and victim; as minister, he blesses the priest, but as victim, the priest blesses him. (pp.32-33)

[Observe the use of the word, "power" in the above paragraphs, and compare it with the statement taken from the book, His Holiness, quoted on page 2, col. 2. Then note II Thessalonians 2:8-9. The Greek word translated, "working" in the KJV is, energeian, from which our English word, "energy" is derived. Farrar Fenton translates the verse:   "This outlaw's arrival will be accompanied by the energy of Satan with all powers, and signs, and terrors of falsehood."]

Returning to the document, The Eucharist and Freedom, the first section comments on "The Gift of Freedom in a Time of Crisis," It suggests that such "a crisis of true freedom is being experienced in the developed nations which have a long tradition of democracy." The questions are then asked:    "What action must be taken to enable the Church, meditating on the Eucharist, to restore a true sense of freedom?"   and   "How can it be the basis of a society whose citizens and Christians, as well as the nations and peoples of the world, who are called to be one single family, may live together in fraternal solidarity?"

Briefly noting "the brutality of Stalinist oppression," and "the tyranny of Nazism" as these forces effected freedom, the document focuses on "the risk of freedom in contemporary culture." This "freedom" is termed, "unbridled liberalism," and is used to encompass "the lifestyle created today ... based on a notion of freedom that is almost absolute, lacking the moderation which the dignity of redeemed humanity demands for true freedom." Recognizing that "the humanistic currents of the Enlightenment shaped the notion of human rights, the interpretation of these rights without reference to the perspective of natural law failed to recognize the dignity of the human person as a person. This resulted in liberal and subjective trends which are based on certain individualistic claims regarding how to define and decide the nature of truth, justice and morality."

The document then goes to the core of the problem as perceived by Rome. It reads  -  God did not "entrust to a liberal state the task of reflecting the divine. Human beings, in fact, as persons, bear within themselves the image of the personal God, an image reinstated by the Redeemer's grace. They are, however, born not already free  -  as liberal thought affirms  -  but with the capacity of becoming free and assured by the promise of liberating salvation."  Here the lines are being blurred. True it is, the state was never given the task of causing its citizens to reflect any spiritual, in contrast to moral, aspect of God's kingdom, neither is the state to enforce any particular aspect of what a Church may perceive to be truth. The document states clearly what Rome perceives and is seeking to carry out. It reads, and note carefully the basis of truth:       The problem of freedom in the world today concerns the relationship between freedom and truth - that relationship perceived by conscience formed according to the revelation of the Gospel and the Church's teaching. John Paul II states:  "only the freedom which submits to the Truth leads the human person to his true good. The good of the person is to be in the Truth and to do the Truth." (Emphasis supplied)

To this statement of the Pope, out of context, we could consent. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) He also stated in prayer to God - "Thy word is truth." (John 17:17) The document left no doubt as to whose word, they were referring. It reads - "All the false interpretations of freedom, so often denounced by the Church's magesterium [the Pope] in our time, find expression in a crisis of true freedom in the life of individuals, families and society."

Within the document are expressed some lofty concepts in regard to the Cross and the Resurrection as these experiences of Christ relate to freedom. Quoting from the encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, the document reads:       The crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; He lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls His disciples to share in His freedom. Contemplation of Jesus Crucified is thus the high road which the Church must tread every day if she wishes to understand the full meaning of freedom:  the gift of self in the service of God and one's brethren. Communion with the crucified and risen Lord is the never-ending source from which the Church draws unceasingly in order to live in freedom, to give of herself and to serve ... Jesus, then, is the living, personal summation of perfect freedom in total obedience to the will of God. His crucified flesh fully reveals the unbreakable bond between freedom and truth, just as His Resurrection from the dead is the supreme exaltation of the fruitfulness and saving power of a freedom lived out in truth.

The Eucharist is defined as "the sacrament of love." Quoting again from an encyclical of John Paul II, the comment is given  -  "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it." How is man to have this love? By being  "nourished by the Eucharistic Bread"! The document declares  -  "We need to experience the indissoluble relationship between sharing in the Eucharistic Liturgy and the authentic freedom of God's children. We celebrate and bear witness to the freedom with which Christ has set us free by being nour-

p 5 -- ished by the Word of the Gospel and the Eucharistic Bread."

In the document, the Eucharist is defined as "the new Passover" and so it is. (I Cor. 5:7) It is described as "the sacrifice of the New Covenant." Its celebration "constitutes the people of the New Covenant; it makes present the risen Lord and unites all who share in the one bread and the one chalice into one single body in Christ in the Holy Spirit." This perception by Rome as "the true meaning of the Eucharist" dare not be overlooked. This is why it was declared to be the "ultimate sign and seal" of church unity by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican Council for promoting Christian Unity. In the Handbook for Today's Catholic a section discusses "How to Receive Communion." It reads:        When the minister raises the eucharistic bread or wine, this is an invitation for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief in the Eucharist ... A clear and meaningful "Amen" is your response to this invitation. In this way you profess your belief in the presence of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine as well as his Body, the Church. (emphasis supplied)

The document suggests a relationship between this 46th International Eucharistic Congress and the Church's celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. This event in 1997 "offers a great opportunity for constantly 'proclaiming' the true meaning of the Eucharist. It also expresses the task of ongoing re-evangelization of the Christian community on the basis of Eucharist, which is the synthesis of Word and sacrament. Christ's teaching turns us towards communion with Him. What is proclaimed becomes reality. There is a change in the form of proclamation. Evangelization becomes the proclamation of God's present action, creating through the Eucharist the greatest event of the ecclesial community. The community is called together and fashioned by the Word as it relates to the sacrament and especially to the Word made flesh in the Eucharist."

The document states that "Christian freedom begins by acknowledging our need for forgiveness. This is the only way to come to authentic Christian transformation." Then the power of the priest is again introduced. "Everything begins and is celebrated in the mystery and ministry of reconciliation, that is, in the Sacrament of Penance. Without this there is no true conversion sealed by the mediation of the Church, which in Christ's name pronounces the word of reconciliation, calls for reconciliation with God, bestows His grace, remits sin and frees from guilt."

This facet of Rome's blasphemy needs to also be clearly understood. Again we turn to the sainted doctor of Romanism, Alphonsus de Liguori. He wrote:       With regard to the mystic body of Christ, that is, all the faithful, the priest has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise, and changing them from the slaves of Satan into the children of God. And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of the priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it. "Such is," says St. Maximus of Turin, "this judiciary power ascribed to Peter that its decision carried with it the decision of God." The sentence of the priest precedes and God subscribes to it. (p.27)

The priest holds the place of the Saviour himsell, when, by saying "Ego te absolvo," he absolves from sin. This great power, which Jesus Christ has received from his eternal Father, he has communicated to his priests. "Jesus," says Tertulian, "invests the priest with his own powers." To pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God. ... But what only God can do by his omnipotence, the priest can also do by saying "Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis;" for the forms of the sacraments, or the words of the forms, produce what they signify. How great should be our wonder if we saw a person invested with the power of changing a negro into a white man; but the priest does what is far more wonderful, for by saying, "Ego te absolvo" he changes a sinner from an enemy of God into a friend of God, and from the slave of hell into an heir of paradise.

Cardinal Hugo represents the Lord addressing the following words to a priest who absolves a sinner:  "I have created heaven and earth, but I leave to you a better and nobler creation; make out of this soul that is in sin a new soul, that is, make out of the slave of Satan, that the soul is, a child of God. I have made the earth to bring forth all kinds of fruit, but to thee I confide a more beautiful creation, namely, that the soul should bring forth fruits of salvation. The soul without grace is a withered tree that can no longer produce fruit, but receiving the divine grace, through the ministry of a priest, it brings forth fruits of eternal life. (pp.34-35)

The document suggests that "the preparation for the Eucharistic Congress should heighten an awareness of the true freedom through this Sacrament of Penance." It also suggests:       This occasion of the Congress, while we look towards Christ, "the awaited of the nations and their Liberator," who is the Eucharistic Sun of truth and grace and whose rays light up the geography and history of humanity, this Eucharistic Congress should inspire a great prayer of intercession so that the freedom, attained at so high a price, may be enduring and become deeply rooted in all nations.

Think this suggestion through carefully. While the context is a call to prayer for "freedom" for "all nations," consider what it is saying:  -  that the anticipated "Liberator" is "the Eucharistic Sun." The Scriptures tell us plainly, as noted previously, that the power behind the Eucharist is the "energy of Satan." He it is, who has symbolised himself in

p 6 -- "the geography and history of humanity" as the Sun!

The ultimate dimension of the truth about the Eucharist is its mystery:   the saving presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. For the Lord willed to be permanently present in His Church as Emmanuel, God with us. ... The Eucharist as the mystery of presence invites us to adoration. Pope John Paul II has written about the intrinsic relationship between freedom and adoration:       "True worshipers of God must worship him ' in spirit and truth' (Jn. 4:23): in this worship they become free. Worship of God and a relationship with truth are revealed in Jesus Christ as the deepest foundation of freedom."

It should be coming through clearly what the confrontation of the near future will involve. Rather than the cry of the American heritage  -  "Give me liberty or give me death"  -  the demand will be  -  "Take our freedom, or we will give you death."

Into this picture is introduced Sunday. The document reads:       One characteristic sign of the Christian life is under strong attack today from contemporary culture. We are referring to Sunday, the Lord's day and the day of the Church. This holiday is coming to be seen more and more as something secular and recreational, while the Christian meaning of Sunday is becoming excluded from the public sphere. In face of the alternative of a weekend dedicated solely to relaxation and amusement, the Christian community should reaffirm the sacred significance of Sunday as an occasion for freedom to adore God and to make his presence manifest in the midst of our society.

The context of this pronouncement needs to be carefully considered. First, Sunday is termed "the day of the Church." But the objective of Rome is just one Church. In that one church, there is according to their theology an ever presence of God in the Eucharist. The new Catechism of the Catholic Church associates these two factors together. It reads  -  "The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. 'Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in the light of apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church."' (#2177, p.582)

The factor is "worship" not merely a Sunday Law. There can be ever so many "Sunday Laws" on the books, and even enforced, but merely the closing down of the work place on Sunday will not be the mark of the beast. The emphasis by various voices in the Community of Adventism on Sunday Laws suites the purpose of the enemy well. It diverts the attention from the real issue at stake  -  "worship."  This is the emphasis in the prophecies of Revelation. Observe:       They worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast ... (Rev. 13:4)

If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark ... (Rev. 14:9)

Certain things need to be observed in the whole document. The word, "liberty" is not used. In its place is the word, "freedom" with the observation, "a crisis of true freedom is being experienced in the developed nations which have a long tradition of democracy." The "Enlightenment" out of which our present concept of "liberty" developed is acknowledged in the document but in a negative way indicating that it constitutes a risk to freedom in contemporary culture. It speaks of "the public sphere" where "the Christian meaning of Sunday" is being excluded. While "liberty" holds the separation of church and state, the Roman Catholic use of "freedom" blurs the distinction. All of the present trends in our modern society which pose a threat to Rome's objectives are stated to be "unbridled liberalism." This harks back to Leo XIII and his antipathy for the form of government developed in the United States. (See Facts of Faith) Leo XIII gave to Louis Veuillot, the title of "Lay Father of the Church." From him, he gained much of his anti-democratic perceptions. It was Veuillot who wrote the book, The Liberal Illusion in which is the following:        When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from now, the Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. Undeterred by those who prefer to abide in death, they will re-establish certain laws of life. They will restore Jesus to His place on high, and he shall be no longer insulted. They will raise their children to know God and to honor their parents. (p. 63)

These words are echoed in present day objectives voiced by the "Religious Right" and Conservative Catholic journals as well as the encyclicals of John Paul II. The issue is "the social edifice." But this is not all which Veuillot envisioned. He continued:        They (the Catholics) will make obligatory the religious observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito, Monday or Saturday on their own account. Respect will not be refused to the Creator nor repose denied the creature simply for the sake of humoring certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently to block the will of the whole people. ... In a word, Catholic society will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its charity, but they will not be allowed to disrupt its unity. (pp.63-64)

Noting the words used by Veuillot, it is the "religious observance" of Sunday which is emphasized. The goal will also include "revoking the permit" to celebrate (worship)

p 7 -- on Saturday or another day. Again, I would emphasize that the issue is much more than merely a "Sunday Law." At the present time, the Roman hierarchy is caught between a policy of not only dominance of the Christian world, but the desire to rule the whole world, and this involves the Islamic sector as well as the Jewish, which means both Saturday and Friday enter the equation. At the moment this document places the Eucharist as the central emphasis for the restructuring of the social edifice. However, both this document and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church note that "the day of the Church" is the time for its celebration.

The concluding section of the document contains two comments which are very revealing. Note:       In considering the value of human activity in the light of the paschal mystery, the Second Vatican Council emphasized the meaning of that freedom which will only be complete when all humanity will be presented to the Father as an acceptable offering. While we are on our way towards the future, the Church gives us this assurance:  "A pledge of this hope, sustenance for this journey, our Lord left us in that sacrament of faith in which natural elements cultivated by men are turned into his glorious Body and Blood, the supper of fraternal communion, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet."

Was it not "the natural elements cultivated by men" which Cain brought as his offering? (Gen. 4:3) Will God today accept an "offering of Cain" any more than He did at the dawn of civilization? A bloodless offering brings no remission from sin. (Heb. 9:22) The offering of Abel signified that one, once for all time, Sacrifice on Calvary. (See Hebrews 9: 28;  apax -  one time, "used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition, once for all." Thayer)

The closing section of the document introduces Mary. It reads:       In the program of the Eucharistic Congress, although not explicit, there is the implicit conviction that our incorporation in Christ becomes possible through the maternal mediation of Mary, the Mother of the Son of God. ... For she is clearly at all times in communion with God and in solidarity with the people of God. ... John Paul II invites us to contemplate the one who is "totally dependent on God and completely directed towards Him, and at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and the liberation of humanity and of the universe."

Already now we entrust to her maternal intercession the Celebration of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw. May there be abundant fruit springing from the Eucharist so that humanity and all nations enlightened and nourished by Christ, the Light of the world and the Bread come down from heaven may enjoy the true freedom for which he, the Redeemer of humanity, has set us free. (All quoted references not otherwise noted are from "The Pope Speaks", March-April, 1997, pp.97-116)


Those who wish photo copies of the pages from de Liguri's book, Dignity and Duties of the Priest from which we quoted, and also the pages from The Liberal Illusion by Veujilot, may obtain them by writing to the Foundation, and please include a #10 self-addressed stamped envelope and $1.00 for costs.

Often when one reads the official pronouncements of the Roman Church from centuries past, he is inclined to comment, "This is not the current position of Rome. Surely they do not believe in that "hocus pocus" stuff now." In the same issue of The Pope Speaks were John Paul II's reflections "marking the 50th anniversary of his ordination" to the priesthood. He said:      The Eucharist perpetuates this sacrifice (of Christ) in the life of the Church. "My flesh is food indeed," Jesus says, "and my blood is drink indeed." (Jn 6:55) His bloody sacrifice is accomplished in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine, in fulfilment of the very ancient figure of Melchizedek, King of Salem, "priest of God Most High" who, after blessing Abraham, victorious over an enemy coalition, "brought out bread and wine." (Gen. 14:18) ...

Fifty years have passed, my jubulirian brothers. The words of the Letter to the Hebrews apply to us all: "For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." (Heb 5:1) [p.94] --- (1997 -- XXX -- Special # 1 -- 46th INTERNATIONAL EUCHARIST CONGRESS) --- End --- TOP

1997 -- XXX -- Special -- Part 2 -- THE BOTTOM RUNG OF THE LADDER -- THE RENEWING CONTROVERSY OVER THE INCARNATION IN THE COMMUNITY OF ADVENTISM -- EDITOR'S PREFACE -- The title of the essay for this Special issue refers to Jacob's dream in which he saw a ladder, "set up on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven" (Gen. 28:12). Jesus alluded to it as being Himself in His conversation with Nathaniel (John 1:51). The significance of this ladder is stated by Jesus:   "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). Today, Jesus Christ is being denigrated by those who would deny His eternal Oneness with God, while others would seek to rob Him of the great victory He achieved as the Son of man. This study is primarily concerned with the bottom rung of the ladder, and its being set up on the earth. It is as difficult for many today, including the larger portion of the Adventist Community, to believe that Jesus lived "in the likeness of the flesh of sin" (Rom. 8:3, lit. Gr.); as it was for the Jews of Biblical times to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Eternal One, the Logos who had been with God from the beginning.

Dr. Harry Johnson, in his book, The Humanity of the Saviour, defines "fallen human nature" as that nature "which has been affected by the sin and rebellion of previous generations, a nature which produces temptation in all of its seductive power, a nature with dreadful power and potentialities for evil." He wrote that the position he would advocate in his book was that this "fallen human nature... was assumed by the Son of God at the Incarnation, and that 'sinlessness,' understood in terms of obedience, and an unbroken relationship with God, refers to the incarnate life of Jesus." Then he succinctly summarizes  -  Christ "assumed what was imperfect, but He wrought out of it a life that was perfect." (p. 27)

It is when we truly realize how imperfect we are, that we begin to appreciate the marvelous victory which Jesus obtained in the flesh. He achieved this victory "on the earth" in the realm of the flesh, and now in Heaven, He at the Throne of Grace, can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.

p 2 -- The Lowest Rung of the Ladder -- This year the Review & Herald released a publication titled, Ellen G. White on the Humanity of Christ. It was authored by Dr. Woodrow Whidden II, a professor of religion at Andrews University. The title is a misnomer. While the book discusses in detail what Ellen G. White wrote in regard to the Incarnation, the Writings are used to sustain what Whidden believes about the Incarnation, and thus should have been titled Whidden on the Humanity of Christ.

The thrust and intent of the book is reached in Chapter Ten which is addressed "To 'Historic Adventism': A Proposal for Dialogue and Reconciliation." By "historic" Adventism one can but conclude, Whidden is referring to two sectors of the Adventist Community; those involved with Dr. Ralph Larson, and those associated with the 1888 Study Committee, as he quotes both Larson and Wieland as interpreting what Ellen White has written contrary to the way he sees it.

Whidden describes himself as "a self-confessed former post-Fall perfectionist." (p.79) Basically, what he is saying is:  "I was once out there where you "historic" Adventists are, and I have seen the light.  Therefore, you see the light that I have seen, and come let us be reconciled into a once again happy Adventist family." Further, he is suggesting that since you "historic" Adventists quote Ellen G. White, for the most part, to sustain your doctrinal positions, come now, I have gathered together all that she has said on the subject, and here is what she teaches, so let us unite around Ellen G. White.

This is flawed from the start, and is absolutely contrary to the very teachings of Ellen G. White herself. In the book, The Great Controversy (p.595), it is clearly and emphatically stated that "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine" (Emphasis supplied). If Whidden really wanted to set forth the doctrine of the Incarnation in its true light, he would have approached his subject so that the book could have been titled  -  The Bible on the Humanity of Christ. I am sure that such an approach would have been welcomed by Wieland, but how Larson would have reacted is open to question.

The publication of this book by a convert to "the new theology" on the Incarnation, as well as another event this year in the Community of Adventism, appears to set a pattern borrowed from the past. During the year, Willard Santee, Minister of Reconciliation for the Oregon Conference, was sent to Florida by the General Conference to "reclaim" John Osborne. Santee himself had in the past fervently proclaimed the declension of the Church from the truth in his series of taped recordings  -  "The Circle of Apostasy."  After an experience in the "Deliverance Ministry," he performed the necessary "penance and was received back into the ministry of the Church. He was successful in his mission to Florida, for John Osborne was re-baptized into the Church in July of this year. A similar policy followed the breakup of the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana in 1901. One of the first acts of the newly formed conference committee was to select a pastor for the Indianapolis Church which had been deeply involved in the "holy flesh" exercises. An Elder Arthur W. Bartlett was invited to serve as the pastor. He himself had recovered from an experience in 1878-79 very similar to the "holy flesh" idea. (See The Holy Flesh Movement, p.25) The policy in and of itself is not wrong, but one has to consider which is the direction of the flow; from truth back into apostasy, or is it really a return to truth? In the current circumstances, one has to add the factor of the human-ego. There can be no question that Osborne's erratic movements were indicative of an inflated ego trip, and the fall out of the busted balloon can be measured in the souls of men, and lost life-savings' accounts. One must also ask himself the question  -  Could Whidden ever have become a professor of religion at Andrews University and continued as a "post-Fall perfectionist"?

Whidden's thesis is simple. He uses two terms, "uniqueness" and "identity." He holds that when Ellen White spoke of Christ as a sinless Substitute, she was "pre-Fall" but when emphasizing His "identity," she was "post-Fall. Here are his words:      "When it came to Christ as a fully sinless, sacrificial substitute, she was pre- Fall. But when she wrote of His ability to sustain in times of temptation, she emphasized His identity and spoke largely in post-Fall terms. A careful balancing of the terms uniqueness and identity seems to reflect more accurately the profoundly rich tensions involved in this heavy theme." (p.75; emphasis his)

By linking the term "identity" with the humanity of Christ, Whidden has failed to take into consideration the identity Ellen White gives Christ, even though the book is supposedly her position. She wrote:      The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from

p 3 -- eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of Heaven. He was the commander of heavenly intelligences, and the adorning homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This is no robbery of God.

There is light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundations of the world were laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible. (R& H, April 5, 1906)

The "identity" of Christ is divine  -  the Eternal Spirit  -  for when He came to earth, "a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple." (YI, Dec.20, 1900) The "uniqueness" was that at Bethlehem a new Being, never before known in the Universe, came to be  -  a God-man. He was monogenhV, the unique one of a kind. (John 1:14, 18) The question is not the "uniqueness," but rather, what was the nature of the "temple of flesh" in which this "Divine Spirit" dwelt? The answer is simple  -  a "temple" formed in the womb of Mary.

Whidden avoids this aspect of Christ's incarnation, chosing rather to approach the question from the viewpoint of sin. His argument is that if Christ accepted the fallen nature as evidenced in the results of sin on man - depravity and defilement - He could not be a Saviour, and would Himself need a saviour. To avoid a question does not mean you can escape the question. Froom, who advocated the pre-Fall position in regard to the Incarnation, was honest enough to admit that to the question - "How did He escape the taint of sinful heredity?" - "There is but one answer: His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous intervention, the over shadowing of the Holy Ghost." ("The Tremendous Truth of the Virgin Birth" - No. I, pp.3-4; unpublished manuscript) In another section of this manuscript, Froom enlarges on this intervention. He wrote:

Mary, it is contended by some, being herself sinful, would inevitably convey the taint of her corruption to Jesus - for sinful human tendencies could as verily be conveyed by one parent as definitely as from two. But the crux of the matter is not compassed simply by saying that Jesus was born of a virgin mother. There is another and more vital factor - He was "conceived" by the Holy Ghost. A divine, creative miracle brought to pass this new union of Godhead with Humanity, begun in the womb of Mary, which assured freedom from the slightest taint of sin. The human element was not determinative in that origin." (ibid., #2, p.15; emphasis his)

All that Froom did was to put a "generation gap" between himself and the Roman Catholic position expressed in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Froom would have the dogma - "the Blessed Virgin Mary... was preserved free from every taint of original sin" to read that Jesus' humanity "was preserved free from every taint of original sin." Whidden, on the other hand, by going the "sin route" seeks to select that part of the fallen nature from which Christ escaped, and what part was permitted to become His through Mary. He chooses two words, "affected," and "infected." Jesus was "affected" but not "infected" by sin. Again it is the problem of not differentiating between His pre-existent "Identity" and the "body" He received from Mary. Was "the form of a slave" He took in laying aside "the form of God" (Phil 2:7) only "affected" by sin, but not "infected" with sin? Did Mary accomplish this selectivity? Now we are back to the same basic question asked by Froom - "How did Jesus escape the taint of sin heredity?" - to which he said there was only one answer. Does Whidden believe that God intervened in the law of heredity? If so, wherein is the real basic difference between his Christological perceptions and the Roman Catholic, except again a "generation gap"?

Consider for a moment the sin argument, that if Christ had taken our fallen nature in all its aspects, He could not have been a Saviour and would have needed a saviour Himself. Again, we are not facing the reality of the Scripture revelation. The Logos "emptied Himself' (Phil 2:7 RSV) in becoming flesh (John 1:4). He, God, died (I Cor. 15:3). He made a divine sacrifice for sin. Beyond this, taking upon Himself, "the likeness of sinful flesh," and having "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), He presented a perfected human character as an offering to God. He finished the work given Him to do (John 17:4). The same has been carried into highest Heaven, and through His intercession is made available to all who accept Him as Substitute and Surety. Why do we want to rob Jesus of His marvellous victory, a victory we cannot achieve of ourselves (though many are trying)? Why seek to minimize the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Worthy indeed is the Lamb who conquered both inwardly the perverted fallen nature and overcame outwardly the temptations of the evil one!

In Historical Perspective -- Out of the 1844 experience and the Seventh Month Movement arose Seventh-day Adventism to whom God entrusted the Three Angels' Messages. Their position on the nature Christ assumed in the incarnation is clearly stated in the 1872 Statement of Beliefs:   "He took on Him the na ture of the seed of Abraham."   In one of the earliest (1858) of Ellen G. White publications, Spiritual Gifts, Vol.1, the

p 4 -- statement is made that Jesus told the unfallen angels of heaven He would "take man's fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs." (p.25) At this very time the Roman Catholic Dogma on the Immaculate Conception was formulated in 1854. Thus parallel till into the 1930s, the two contending forces were at work in the world - one to whom was committed the everlasting gospel, and one whose coming was after the working of Satan. The Adventist position was not only contrary to the Roman Dogma but was heresy in the eyes of the Protestant world.

A change first occurred in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs. The phrase - "the nature of the seed of Abraham" was made to read - Christ "took upon Himself the nature of the human family." As innocuous as this change may appear to be, it softened the force of the previous statements with no apparent reason for doing so, except for one thing:  the purpose and motivation for this new Statement in 1931. If Froom's account in Movement of Destiny can be believed, the objective behind this new Statement was to clarify misrepresentations and "distorted caricatures" of Adventist positions (p.410). No statement had been placed in the Yearbook since 1914. This 1914 Statement took the same position in regard to Christ's humanity as had the 1872 Statement.

Froom notes the year 1931 as "a really momentous yet little-heralded transition point" in Adventist doctrinal formulation (p.409). In fact, he writes - "While 1931 was the crucial year, it was more accurately the decade - embracing the years 1931-1941 - that marked the pivotal turn of events for unity of belief in our post-1888 history" (p.415; emphasis his). While his emphasis in discussing this epochal period in two chapters is primarily focused on the doctrine of the Godhead, he closes the discussion by noting a change in Bible Readings for the Home Circle in 1949, well after the decade being discussed. Froom alleged that the note in the chapter on "A Sinless Life" which read that "Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature" (p.115) was an "erroneous minority position" which D. E. Rebok corrected in his revision of the book. The question arises as to why Froom would introduce this change at the close of these two chapters discussing the decade, 1931-1941, if during this period, the question of the incarnation had not arisen.

Froom, in discussing this period, also makes another interesting allegation. F.M. Wilcox, editor of the Review, wrote the draft for the 1931 Statement. Froom states that Wilcox turned the draft over to "his able young associate editor, Francis D. Nichol ... asking his opinion as to its adequacy and accuracy as a suggested outline, or reflection, of Adventist beliefs" (pp.413-414). In an enlarged publication of Answers to Objections, Nichols would write:      Adventists believe that Christ, the ' last Adam,' possessed on His human side, a nature like that of the ' first man Adam,' nature free from any defiling taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin, and that that nature was handicapped by the debilitating effects of four thousand years of sin's inroads on man's body and nervous system and environment. (p.393; 1952 edition)

If Nichol, as alleged, was asked for advice on the 1931 Statement, his position in this book could cast light on what is meant by "taking on the nature of the human family" in that Statement. It is essentially the Whidden position.

Further, at the 1952 Bible Conference, no assignment for a presentation involving a discussion of the Incarnation was made. The planning committee included both D. E. Rebok and F. D. Nichol. Perhaps some research into the epochal decade, 1931-1941, and its aftermath needs to be made to verify Froom's allegations, and to see if more light might be shed on the discussion of this vital doctrine of the Incarnation during that period.

During this same time as Adventist theological thinking was drifting Romeward, leading Protestant theologians such as Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Rudolf Bultman, Oscar Cullman, J. A. T. Robinson, as well as others, were coming in their thinking toward the position on the humanity of Christ as was first held by Seventh-day Adventists. Dr. Jean R. Zurcher in his book, Le Christ Manifeste en Chair, soon to be released in an English translation - Christ Manifest in the Flesh - by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, in citing these Protestant thinkers comments - "How interesting it is that the Christology of [the Adventist pioneers] is now confirmed by the elite theologians dealing with contemporary Christology."

One observation by J. A. T Robinson quoted by Zurcher, illustrates the views of these men noted above. Robinson is an Anglican bishop, who in his study of what Paul meant by "body" stated:      The first act in the drama of redemption is the self-identification of the Son of God to the limit, yet without sin, with the body of the flesh in its fallen state. ...

It is necessary to state these words because Christian theology has been extraordinarily reluctant to accept at face value the bold, and almost barbarous phrases which Paul uses to bring home the offence of the Gospel on this point. Traditional theology, both Catholic and Protestant, has held that Christ assumed at the Incarnation, an unfallen human nature. ... But, if the question is restated in its Biblical terms,

p 5 -- there is no reason to fear, and indeed the most pressing grounds for requiring, the ascription to Christ of a manhood standing under the effects and consequences of the Fall. At any rate, it is clear that this is Paul's view of Christ's person, and that it is essential to his whole understanding of His redeeming work. (Quoted from The Body, a Study in Pauline Theology, pp.37-38)

In Adventist nomenclature, we describe Protestants as apostate and fallen. It seems that these eminent Protestant theologians have now espoused the position held by Adventism from its beginning. Would it not seem advisable now to apply this designation we give to Protestants to certain Adventist theologians of recent decades?

A Recent Reassessment -- Obtaining the book, Ellen G. White on the Humanity of Christ, by Dr. Whidden, I started reading beginning at the "Preface." After concluding the first chapter, "Where Have We Been and How Shall We Proceed," checking carefully his footnotes, I became very disturbed with certain of his assertions, as they did not jibe with facts as I knew them and the documentation did not sustain the conclusions drawn. Without reading further, I wrote directly to Dr. Whidden. He replied, sending me a copy of his presentation, which he gave at the Sanctuary Bible Conference held in Berrien Springs, Michigan, in June of this year. In sending this paper, Whidden explained that "it contains an even more advanced version of my thinking on Christology than does my book, though I did draw heavily on certain portions of my book in that presentation." (Letter dated July 21, 1997) It does; and also brings to light views held on the Incarnation by certain "historic" Adventists such as Dennis Priebe and Vernon Sparks. One thing must be said to Whidden's credit (and there are other plus marks) is that he does not hesitate to name names.

First in this paper, Whidden states plainly his present position in contrast to where he stood as "a confessed former post-Fall perfectionist." He stated  -  "It should come as no surprise that I resonate with the 'Alternate Christology' pioneered by Heppenstall and supported by the authors of Seventh-day Adventists Believe." (p. 18) What does he mean  -  "Alternate Christology"? On one side of the question, regarding the humanity Christ assumed in becoming man, are those who believe He took the unfallen nature of Adam  -  pre-Fall or the Pre-lapsarian position. On the opposite side are those who hold that Christ took the fallen nature of Adam  -  post-Fall or Post-lapsarian position. The first is also considered in Adventism as "The New Christology" while the latter is noted as "The Traditional or Historical Christology." In between is the "Alternate Christology" introduced in the book, SDAs Believe..., adopted from the Anglican clergyman, Henry Melvill. He considered his view of the incarnation  -  "the orthodox doctrine." (p. 57, footnote #13) It was a compromise between the pre-Fall and post-Fall positions. As Melvill stated it:      Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is, the humanity of Adam before the fall; not the fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it had never descended into moral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity, but without sin." (p.47)

By "innocent infirmities," Melvill meant "hunger, pain, and sorrow." (See footnote #13)

Tim Poirier, an assistant secretary in the Ellen G. White Estate, has shown that Ellen G. White "borrowed frequently" from one of Melvill's collections of published sermons, a book she had in her library. The sermon in question, from which the conclusion as stated in SDAs Believe... was titled, "The Humiliation of the Man Christ Jesus." "In writing her article, 'Christ, Man's Example' for the Review and Herald of July 5, 1887, she drew extensively from this sermon." However, Poirer had to admit "we have not found that Ellen White directly borrowed any material from this digression" on the nature of the humanity of Christ in Melvill's sermon. (Ministry, Dec., 1989, p.7)

Today in Adventist schools - colleges, and universities - the Melvill position is the prevailing belief. According to Whidden there is no one that he knows "currently active in ministry and teaching" in the Church who holds to the pre-Fall view of the Incarnation. (Paper presented to Sanctuary Bible Conference, June 11,1997, p.15) This needs to be carefully noted, as this is a transition from the position adopted as a result of the infamous compromises made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56. This would make the whole question revolve around just two positions, the post-Fall view, and the "Alternate" view based on Melvill's defining. However, this cannot be as there is another "alternate" view being promoted within the ranks of those who seek to place themselves in the category of "historic" Adventism.

Whidden in his paper observes -      Sometimes it is hard to differentiate figures like Vernon Sparks aand A. Leroy Moore from A. T. Jones, Joe Crews, Kevin Paulson, and possibly Dennis Priebe. What is held in common by Sparks, Crews and Priebe is that they all teach something to the effect that Christ was born converted ... (p.13)

p 6 -- Then he quotes Priebe, as he considers him "quite typical of this school of interpretation," - "The solution that I favor is that because of the supernatural birth of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He was born much as we are re-born. Because the power of the Holy Spirit was directing His life from birth, He did not develop the sinful habit patterns or propensities which we develop from birth." Face to Face with the Real Gospel, p. 55)

Automatically certain questions arise:   What difference is this concept from the one put forth by Froom in his unpublished manuscript? (Review Froom's position as stated on p.3, col. 1 of this essay) Further, did Christ come to save sinners, or was it just "born-again" sinners? Was "the Ladder" set up "on the earth," or slightly above the earth? All of these perceptions are downgraded from the Roman Catholic Dogma, trying to accomplish the same objective, which is in reality the denial of Christ's victory in the condemnation of sin in the flesh. It has been developed because of a confused soteriology (the study of salvation), a failure to recognize "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:24), and the gift of "the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15:57). We need to understand that justification is doing for the repentant sinner, what he cannot do for himself, and that sanctification is "revealing to man what is his real nature, that in himself he is worthless." While we are on this point, we need to observe the basic factor on man's part in true soteriology  -  the victory is not won by human power, but comes from surrender, the greatest battle that egocentered men will ever have to fight  -  the surrender of self to the will of God. Until we can get this straight, we will continue to put a false Christology together with a false Soteriology.

There is another facet to this "born-born again" teaching by Priebe. The first one, to my knowledge, that introduced this "alternative" concept on the incarnation was Tom Davis in his book, Was Jesus Really Like Us? It was introduced into "independent' ministry circles by Colin Standish who invited a group to come to the Hartland campus to discuss the incarnation as well as other topics. Elder Tom Davis presented his "alternate" view at this meeting. Dr. Ralph Larson was also invited, but declined to attend because of the Davis' presentation. He didn't want to have open conflict with him. And truly, the position which Larson set forth in The Word Was Made Flesh was in conflict with Davis. However, the picture now ends in hopeless confusion as Larson has endorsed, Seventh-Day Adventist Believe ... as setting forth "the true doctrine of the nature of Christ." (OFF, Sept., 1991) So instead of accepting Davis' "Alternate" Christology, Larson has opted for the Church's.

Here again, we have a major problem. Tom Davis' "alternate" position is the same as that which was taught by the Holy Flesh leaders in Indiana. To assess accurately this identity of Davis's position on the Incarnation with the position held by the leading voice of the Holy Flesh Movement, some background needs to be noted. The Movement reached its height in 1900. One of the series of Campmeetings held in Indiana that year was at Muncie, Indiana. Elder S. N. Haskell attended, and from his observations wrote to Ellen G. White in Australia concerning their teaching on the Incarnation:      Their point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this:   They believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell. (Letter #2, Sept.25, 1900)

Whether Haskell did not take the time to completely understand what the men in Indiana taught, or whether he considered both positions - theirs and his conclusion - identical, we cannot determine. He does leave the door open as to what they actually believed - "seems to be this." When we researched this subject and published the manu script - The Holy Flesh Movement - we were unaware of the series of articles in the Indiana Reporter, which we have since obtained. We took Haskell's conclusion in discussing their teaching on the doctrine. However, there were men who opposed the teachings of the Movement's leaders. One, G. A. Roberts, observed that "Hebrews 2:7-14 was used to prove that Christ was born with flesh like 'my brethren' and 'the church' would have after they passed through the garden [of Gethsemane] experience," in other words, converted and cleansed. (E. G. White Estate Document File #190)

In our original research, we had in our possession an essay which R. S. Donnell, who had been president of the Indiana Confence, later sent to S. S. Davis, the Movement's founder, after their dismissal. It stated:     " Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature, but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature."

Apart from the use of the word, "redeemed," this position is identical with the Melvill "orthodox" position as set forth in SDAs Believe ... Melvill does not explain how the mixture of the pre-Fall and the post-Fall was accomplished in Christ. The use of the word, "redeemed" resonates the teaching of Thomas Davis.

First, for careful comparison between the position of R.S. Donnell, and that of Thomas A. Davis, let us compare what each has written. Donnell wrote in the Indiana Reporter, quoting Hebrews 2:11:

p 7 -- Notice it is the sanctified ones who He is not ashamed to call brethren. Further, it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. "For as much, then as the children [or brethren, sanctified ones] are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise [ just as the sanctified ones] are partakers of the same; ... " Hebrews 2:14.

Now let us read Davis:      It is a particular group - those who are being "sanctified" - who are referred to as Christ's brethren. Who are these people? Romans 6:22 tells us: "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life." (RSV) No proof is required to state that those "set free from sin are those who have been regenerated, born again. It is, then, those born-again ones, those being sanctified, whom Christ is not ashamed to call His brethren - and no others ... But we read in Hebrews 2:17 that Jesus was "made like unto His brethren [the born-again, sanctified ones] in every respect. (Ministry, June, 1986, pp.14-15)

This position, Davis reiterates in his book, Was Jesus REALLY Like Us? There he wrote:      Now carefully consider the following statement from Hebrews 2:17, and as you read, emphasize the word in capital letters: "Therefore he had to be made like his BRETHREN in every respect." The point that presents itself so forcibly here is that Jesus was not incarnated with a nature common to all men. He did not come to this world to be in all respects like all men. The human nature He was endowed with was not like that of unregenerate sinners. His human nature was common only with those who have experienced spiritual re-birth. Let us express it another way:   of Mary, Jesus was born, "born-again." (p.30)

If the "holy flesh" of Indiana could hear Thomas A. Davis, they would rise up and call him blessed. They could not have articulated their position any better than Davis has done. BUT, how could Mary give to Jesus this sanctified nature, and your mother and mine did not? This brings us back to "square one" again, and to Froom's question - How did Jesus escape the taint of sinful heredity?" And he said there is only one answer - a divine intervention! Another minister of Indiana who opposed the Movement knew full well the basis of all such teaching. He wrote:      In adopting the theory of sinless flesh, though its advocates have ever been loathe to admit it, they are nevertheless unconsciously led into the papal error of the Immaculate Conception and other errors of the Catholic church. The theory of sinless flesh is pre-eminently papal - the foundation tip on which the Catholic church stands. Remove this, and the whole structure of the Papacy, as a religion, falls to the ground. The expression, "sinless flesh," is nowhere found in the Bible; then why adopt such an expression ... The record says that Christ was "made in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), "Of the seed of David" (Rom 1:3), "Of the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:16). Then let us believe that it was just that way without trying to spiritualize these plain declarations to suit a perverted fancy, and by so doing entangle ourselves in an inextricable web of inconsistencies. (S. G. Huntington, The Son of Man, p.12)

In the Ellen G. White Estate Document File #190, is to be found a statement attributed to Ellen G. White, while specifically addressed to the Holy Flesh teaching, is apropos to all the theories discussed in this special issue of WWN, including Melvill's. She is quoted as saying in Indianapolis where she attended the "burial" of the Holy Flesh Movement - "When I am gone from here, none are to pick up any points of this doctrine and call it truth. There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric." --- (1997 -- XXX -- Special -- Part 2 -- THE BOTTOM RUNG OF THE LADDER) --- End ---

Read More