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WWN 1992 Jul - Sep


1992 Jul -- XXV -- 7(92) -- DIABOLICAL PERVERSION OF TRUTH -- Several years ago, Brother Allen Stump, who was at the time associate editor of WWN, and I had conducted an all day Bible study session in the Altamont area of Tennessee. It was near Pilgrim's Rest. As we were getting ready to leave, Brother Stump suggested that he would like to see and visit with Vance Ferrell. A minister friend who had attended the all day meeting gave us directions. We found him in his office, and Brother Stump asked Ferrell if he could visit and ask some questions. To this Ferrell agreed, and we sat together in an upper lounge area overlooking a scenic valley. Brother Stump was very low keyed throughout the conversation. The first part of the conversation involved colporteur work and literature distribution. The discussion turned next to church membership and Ferrell's relationship to the regular Church. Then a discussion of Luke 21:24 - "the times of the Gentiles" - was introduced by Brother Stump. To each question asked, the reply of Ferrell was, "In my opinion this" and "In my opinion that." Finally, Brother Stump asked - "Would you mind giving me Bible references to substantiate your opinions?" At this, Ferrell reared up in his chair, and shouted at Brother Stump - "You are not going to put me on the spot. If you don't like my answers, you can get up and get out of here." Brother Stump was taken by surprise, and replied, "Brother Ferrell, if you had asked me to give a Bible answer for my belief, I would have been glad to have given it." Again Ferrell's response in an even louder voice - "If you don't like my answers, get out of here!" We did, and Ferrell escorted us to the car, and jogged back down the incline to his office. Stump dropped into the front seat, and asked, "What did I say wrong? Now I understand what you have told me regarding Ferrell."

Evidently, Ferrell believes he has some answers

p 2 -- now rather than mere opinions as when the above related experience took place. In a recent series of releases noted as WM 393, dated May, 1992, he seeks to set aside the force of Jesus' own prophecy in a diabolical perversion of truth. But he is still interjecting unsubstantiated assertions which are merely personal opinions. We shall compare these undocumented statements - these opinions - with the facts, giving documentation.

Beginnning his series on "Jerusalem and the Mount," Ferrell opinionated - "For decades our denomination taught that the Jews would never again return to Jerusalem." What did the Church actually teach on this point prior to 1948 in regard to the nation of Israel? In 1944, the Voice of Prophecy offered as a book of the month - Palestine in Prophecy - by J. C. Stevens. Stevens concluded his book with the following paragraph:         The apostle Paul speaks of old Jerusalem as being "in bondage with her children." Gal. 4:25. Had the Jews been faithful, Jerusalem would have been enlarged and beautified to become the center of the whole earth, beautiful for situation. But throughout the generations [since] the fall of that city in A.D. 70, Jerusalem has been "a burdensome stone" and "a cup of trembling unto all people." (Zech. 12:2, 3); and it will be so to the end of time. Palestine and Jerusalem do not have a bright future in this present world, and those who are holding the hope of national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o'-the-wisp. (p. 95; emphasis supplied)

Observe, that instead of the Jews "returning to Jerusalem" - a phrase coined by Ferrell - the Church taught that "national restoration" would never again occur. There is a vast difference between returning to a geographical location to live, and having that geographical area created into a national state under the control of those returning.

In 1947, just one year prior to the State of Israel coming once again into existence, the Pacific Press published a paperback by Roy F. Cottrell. First, he sets forth the objectives of modern Zionism, writing:      The father of modern Zionism was Theodor Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian journalist. In 1896 he published a book entitled, The Jewish State. The following year the first Zionist Congress convened in Basel, Switzerland, and presented to the world its program for a "publicly assured and legally secured home tor the Jewish people in Palestine." (p. 57)

After quoting various Scriptures including Jeremiah 19:10-11 and Ezekiel 21:26-27, Cottrell concluded the chapter by stating:       In the light of these pronouncements of Scripture and other prophecies to be considered in succeeding chapters, it is evident that the present World Zionist program can never achieve its cherished and ultimate goals. (p. 62)

Again observe that the teaching of the Church involved Palestine as well as the City of Jerusalem. It was not "the returning to Jerusalem" but the re-establishment of a State of Israel. This did occur in 1948. The recognized capital was at Tel Aviv. How did the Church view this change of events which caused their previous teaching to come up short?

In a paper presented at the 1952 Bible Conference held in the Sligo Park Church in Takoma Park, Arthur S. Maxwell called attention to this event in Palestine, and directed the ministry of the Church to Luke 21:24. He declared it to be one of "three significant areas of unfulfilled prophecy which deserve close attention. All are signs for which we should be watching in these momentous times." (Our Firm Foundation, II, p. 228) Of the development in Palestine in 1948, Maxwell declared:        The recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more upon Palestine. Many Christians have mistakenly permitted themselves to believe that the return of thousands of unconverted Jews to their native land is in fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not realizing that, since the death of the Son of God on Calvary, there is no salvation. nor any eternal homeland, except for those who believe in Him and accept His sacrifice.

However, there is one prophecy concerning Palestine that we should all be watching with special care. Said Jesus, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24.

For nineteen centuries Jerusalem has been trodden down of the Gentiles. It is still [1952] trodden down of the Gentiles. Despite the amazing prowess of the Israeli troops, the ancient city of Jerusalem is still in Arab hands. A Mohammedan mosque still stands upon the site of Solomon's Temple. Victorious as were the forces of Israel in every other part of Palestine, they failed to take the most dazzling objective of all. Mysteriously they were held back from achieving this most cherished goal, this culminating triumph. as by an unseen hand.

What could be the reason? Only, that the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled.

Centuries ago Israel was not permitted to enter Palestine for a certain time because "the iniquity of the Amorites" was "not yet full" (Gen. 15:16); that is, not

p 3 -- until the probationary time allotted to the Amorites had run out.

It may well be that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles has run out. If this be correct, how much hinges upon the fate of this ancient city and the power that occupies it! (Ibid, pp. 230-231; emphasis supplied)

Note that the emphasis of Maxwell was on "the fate of this ancient city and the power that occupies it." This he connected with the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 - "the times of the Gentiles fulfilled."

Opinion #2 - Ferrell's next opinion reads:     "But, then, in 1967 they [the Jews] returned! Our Church became silent on the subject."

This is far from the truth. The 20th Century Bible Course by which many studied their way into the Church taught in Lesson 5, "Time Running Out," the following in regard to Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:

2.   What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city was at hand? Luke 21:20

The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman armies in A.D. 66. After a period of time the army withdrew and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ (Matthew 24:15-20) fled the city and did not return. In A.D. 69 the Romans returned, and destroyed the city in A.D. 70. Nearly a million people died or were sold into slavery at that time, but not a single Christian died. They watched for the sign Christ had given and obeyed His instructions. The temple was burned to the ground as Christ had foretold (even though the soldiers had orders not to destory it). Christ foresaw the future and outlined it to His followers so they could be saved. (Emphasis theirs)

3.   How long did Christ say that Jerusalem would be trodden down? (verse 24)

Old Jerusalem and the temple site has been occupied by the Gentiles nations until 1967 when the Jews took possession of it in a "lightning victory." This portion of Christ's prophecy was fulfilled in our day! (Emphasis supplied)

For the second quarter in 1980, the Sabbath School Adult Lessons focused on a series of
studies prepared by Dr. Jean Zurcher, Secretary of the Euro-Africa Division. A book he had written was translated from the French as the Lesson Helps for the Quarter. It was published by the then Southern Publishing Association. In this book, Zurcher wrote:        We shall not linger over the numerous signs given by Jesus in this discourse (Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). One only will occupy our attention, the one that especially deals with time. Even in our days it constitutes a critical point in the political world: Jerusalem. In fact, Jerusalem is both the beginning and the culmination of Jesus' prophecy....Having predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews "into all nations," Jesus declared, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). (Emphasis his)

Few today would deny the precision of this prophecy. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in AD 70 is a historical fact...The dispersion of the Jews among all nations is still a reaiity. As for Jerusalem, nineteen centuries of history provided adequate proof that it has been "trodden down of the Gentiles" -...until the Six-Day War in June, 1967.

This prophecy of Jesus was a sign for the Christians ot the Apostolic Church, who lived at the beginning ot the times oft the Gentiles, and it remains a sign for us who live at the end of the times of the Gentiles. (Emphasis supplied) ...

lf we cannot see that Jerusalem is an exceptional sign of the times, then might we not be placing ourselves in the same position as the religious leaders who knew how to "discern the face ot the sky" but could not discern the obvious "signs of the times"? ...

As I understand the Biblical language, the times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations. It is not the time needed for them to be converted to Chrlstianity, as some think, but for them to hear the gospel. It is in this sense that Jesus said: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

I believe the times of the Gentiles began in AD 34...And if I have understood the prediction of Jesus properly, this time will be "fulfilled" when Jerusalem will cease to "be trodden down of the Gentiles." The fact that since 1967, Gentiles no longer have occupied Jerusalem means, therefore, that we are now living at the end of "the times of the Gentiles."

Jerusalem here constitutes the last sign of the times by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its climax and that the restoration of all things is at hand. (Christ of the Revelation, pp. 71-72)

And the Church was "silent" on the subject since 1967! How ignorant can one be? But this is the price one pays for exalting personal opinion above plain facts of record. May God have mercy on the souls who continue to walk

p 4 -- in the darkness of that ignorance.

Opinion #3 -- Ferell continues to opinionate:        "The Jews have indeed returned to management of Jerusalem, but they have not regained control of the Temple Mount ...They lack full governmental authority."

Where did Jesus say that the "Temple Mount" had anything to do with the fulfillment of "the times of the Gentiles"? Ignorance of the Scriptures brings even more darkness to the human mind than the ignorance of historical data. Let us observe the context of Jesus' prophecy as recorded in all three synoptic gospels. It was given during the last week of His earthly ministry. He had denounced the religious leadership in scathing terms (Matt. 23), and told them in no uncertain terms - "Behold your house is left unto you desolate." (ver. 38) He did not refer to the temple mount again. It was not a part of His prophecy; He had already pronounced its judgment. The city, though no longer the holy city of God, became a sign to Christ's followers, first to those who lived in the city in AD 66, and to us today, who live in the time when that city has been restored to Jewish control not by alien armies but by Jewish prowess.

Consider the report as given in Luke. First, he quotes Jesus as saying - "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." (21:20) He did not say, when ye see the temple mount surrounded, then know. If the Christians had waited till that moment, they would have perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. This same city - Jerusalem - not the temple mount - was to be trodden down of the nations until the times of the nations were fulfilled. [In the Greek, there is but one word for "Gentiles" or "nations" - ta ethne] Again, if we today adopt the opinion of Ferrell and wait for the Jewish temple to be built again on the mount, we will find ourselves in the same position that the Christians would have found themselves in, had they waited for the temple mount to be surrounded in AD 70. Again, I repeat, it is not the temple mount that Jesus noted in his prophecy - that, He declared desolate - but the events connected with the city, and the city alone was to be the sign. So the question is simply - Does the State of Israel control the city of Jerusalem? Ferrell opinionates - "They lack full governmental authority." Again, what are the facts?

On July 30, 1980 - a date which Ferrell ignores, or is ignorant of - the Knesset of Israel passed the following Law - called "Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel." This Law reads as follows:

1.   Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital ot Israel.
2.   Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.
3.   The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings towards those places.
4.   (a)   The Govemment shall provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants by allocating special funds, including a special annual grant to the Municipality of Jerusalem (Capital City Grant) with the approval of the Finance Committee of the Knesset.
(b)   Jerusalem shall be given special priority in the activities of the authorities of the State so as to further it development in economic and other matters.
(c)   The govemment shall set up a special body or special bodies for the implementation of this section.

Prime Minister
President of the State

Now what governmental authority does Israel lack in the control of Jerusalem? And this is all that Jesus' prophecy requires! To say that Gentile tourists visiting the various "holy places" of their respective religions nullifies Jewish control of the city is ludicrous. Does the fact that foreign embassies with their nationals walking through the streets of Washington DC, mean that the United States does not control its own capital? How dark becomes our darkness when human opinion is exalted above the very words of Jesus Himself!

It is really a waste of time to detail answers to human opinion were it not for the fact that sincere Seventh-day Adventists reading the material and not having the facts could be deceived by the diabolical emphasis on the "temple mount." Then to say in addition that this prophecy will be fulfilled after the 1000

p 5 -- years of Revelation 20 - as Ferrell does - perverts the truth as it is in Jesus. If Luke 21:24 was not to be fulfilled till after the Millenium, why would Jesus place this sign prior to His coming as "the Son of man in a cloud with power and great glory"? (21:27) In His prophecy, Jesus does not even allude to the New Jerusalem! Even as the signs in the sun, moon, and stars point to the beginning of the events in the Heavenly Sanctuary, so the fulfillment of the times of the nations mark the beginning of "the distress of nations with perplexity." Jesus said, "When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (21:31) Well did Zurcher write - "Jerusalem here constitutes the last sign by which the Lord shows us that the history of this world is coming to its climax." (See above) Ferrell professes to be upholding the Church's teachings, yet in his very attack on truth as it is in Jesus destroys what the Church has taught as late as 1980.

Opinion #4 -- There is, however, one more opinion stated by Ferrell that needs to be noted. He writes:      "The punishment of being mingled with the Gentiles, in lands not fully theirs, is referred to as 'the times of the Gentiles."'

Contrast this with the Church's position as stated by Zurcher - "The times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations." (See above) And Zurcher is on the solid ground of Scripture. Luke records the words of Jesus spoken at the beginning of His last week of ministry. He told of the same things to happen to Jerusalem as in His prophecy - the days of desolation - and He gave the reason for it. He said: "For the days will come upon thee that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee about on every side,...because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44) There are two words for "time" in the Greek - chronos - chronological time, and kairos, seasonal time as here used in Luke 19:44, 21:24 and II Cor. 6:2. "The times of the Gentiles nations" are the times of their visitation, even as the Jewish nation had its time of visitation. The diabolical distortion of Jesus' prophecy can mitigate against our discernment as to the signs of the times even as the distortion of truth by the Jewish leadership caused Jerusalem of old not to know the time of its visitation.

Contradictory statements emerge from the diabolical analysis which Ferrell makes. He asks - "Who is in charge of the city?" (p. 12) Then he illustrates - "Jerusalem is still being trodden down of the Gentiles. It has not stopped. Indeed, it has greatly increased since 1967." Then he cites an acknowledged fact that "prior to 1967, the Arabs would permit no Jews to step foot on the Temple Mount" and if any did, he was killed. Ferrell even adds that the Arabs would permit "no other non-Muslim there either." Then he wrote:      One of the first actions of the Jewish government after winning the war was that everyone - Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever - could freely go up onto the Temple Mount and enter any building there.

Now answer the question - "Who is in charge of the city? And all that is required for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus is this control!

Ferrell's obsession is with the "Temple Mount." He writes - "The problem is with the Temple. Every rabbi will tell you that the services on the Temple Mount must be restored for the religious services of the nation to begin in full again." (p. 11) Are Jewish religious leaders to be the interpreters of Jesus' own prophecy? Jesus said, the Temple and its services were left desolate. The message of the book of Hebrews is that the Heavenly Sanctuary is to be the focus of the followers of Jesus. Only the historical events connected with the God-forsaken city were to have any significance for the Christian. When surrounded by alien armies in AD 66, they were to leave. When no longer under Gentiles control, they would know that the times of the visitation of the nations had ended.

Another prophecy concerning Jerusalem given in Daniel could well involve the "Temple Mount." It reads - "And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountian." (11:45) Without defining the "he" but recognizing the power behind the "he" as Satan, this could well infer his coming as Christ in the final act of the drama of the ages. But when this hour arrives, it will be too late, for "at that time, Michael shall stand up." (12:1) All the factors and forces of these prophecies, Ferrell ignores and places the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 after the Millenium. And for what reason? To seek to blunt the force of Jesus' prophecy as it relates to the mission of the Church, and the withdrawal of its commission.

For further study, write for the manuscript - The Hour and the End ($ 4.00 postpaid) Request that the FREE tract, "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy" be sent with your order.

p 6 -- THE DOCTRINE OF GOD -- Part 3 of 3 -- In our two previous studies of the Doctrine of God, we observed that the Old Testament presented two Co-Eternal, Self-Existent Beings, as composing the Elohim. The New Testament introduces a third Being, most commonly called the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised the disciples that He would "send...from the Father, ... the Spirit of truth." This Spirit of truth "proceedeth from the Father." (John 15:26) Just prior to this announcement, Jesus had indicated that the "Father" would "send in [Jesus'] name the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26)

The first problem is that in the Greek language, the word for "spirit" is a neuter noun. But the name by which the Holy Spirit could be designated is "Comforter," the Paracletos, a Greek masculine noun. The Greek text of John 14:26 supports this designation. It reads literally - "But the Paracletos, the Holy Spirit, the One the Father shall send in my name, that One shall teach you all things." In both the use of the article in "the One" being sent, and the pronoun, "that One," the masculine form is used. This removes some of the vagueness from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus also refers to the Spirit of truth as "another Comforter." (John 14:16) The word used for "another" is allos in contrast to Heteros, another Greek word for "another." Heteros means one distinct from, but of unequal quality or rank. This word is used in Luke 23:32 to distinguish the two malefactors from Jesus. But where allos is used, it also means two distinct entities, but of equal character or essence. This is why Peter could say to Ananias that in lying to the Holy Spirit, he had lied to God. (Acts 5:3-4)

One very interesting verse picturing the work of the Holy Spirit is found in II Corinthians 3:18, which reads that "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Lord the Spirit." (Gr.)

The close relationship existing between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can be seen in various verses of Scripture:
1)   The symbolism of Revelation pictures Jesus as "the Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (5:6)
2)   The messages to the Seven Churches of Revelation begin with a message from Jesus Christ, and close with the words, "Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (See Rev. 2:8, 11 as illustration)
3)   Jesus presented the relationship between Himself and the Holy Spirit as so close that when He spoke of the coming of "another Comforter" - One distinct from, but equal to Himself - He said, "I will not leave you orphans, I will come unto you." (John 14:18, margin)
4)   In the first letter of John, Jesus is pictured as a Paracletos. John wrote "If any man sin, we have an advocate (paracletos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (2:1)

So close is the relationship portrayed in the Scriptures between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, that one Commentary on the Greek New Testament text refers to the Holy Spirit as Christ's alter ego. (The Expository Greek New Testament, Vol. 5, p. 195)

The incarnation stands as the Great Divide both of time and eternity. It is at the Incarnation that the Holy Spirit is introduced. The angel Gabriel making the announcement that God was about to be revealed in flesh said to Mary - "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy [Spirit] which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) The word, "thing" as the KJV reads is a supplied word based upon the fact that the word, "holy" is hagion, a neuter adjective. I have inserted "Spirit" because in The Youth's Instructor (Dec. 20, 1900), a thought provoking comments reads - "He (Christ) united humanity with divinity: a divine Spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple." (4BC:1147) From the Incarnation forward, the language used in the Writings to describe the Godhead is very apropos and harmonizes with the whole of the Biblical picture - "the heavenly Trio." (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p. 62) (Concluded)

p 7 -- LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In early 1948, I assumed the pastoral and evangelistic responsibilities of the Awde Street Seventh-day Adventist Church in Toronto, Canada. A few months thereafter, Israel once again became a nation. This sent shock waves through the Church because the evangelists had taught that this would never happen based on the Church's understanding of prophecy. The faith of the individual Adventist in the pew had to be reassured that the prophetic interpretations of the Church were still intact. The Sabbath morning following the event, I preached a sermon on Luke 21:24. I assured them that the city was still under Arab control, and as far as Jews in Palestine, there were still more in New York City than could ever get into the new nation. This answer was no answer but shored up "the tradition of the elders," and blunted the force of the fact that coming events do cast their shadows before.

In 1952, I was a delegate to the Bible Conference held in the Sligo Park Church. I made a special point to listen to Arthur S. Maxwell because in preparation for his presentation, he had made a survey of the ministry of the Church in which I was interested. (The report of this survey was censored from the published report because of what it revealed.) But the section of Maxwell's study on "Events in Palestine" never registered, so strong was the mind set controlled by tradition. Years later Elder D. K. Short called my attention to that section of the study for which I am grateful.
Then came 1967 and the Seven Day War during which the forces of Israel recaptured the old city of Jerusalem. A brother, who had served as lay elder in the Hartford City Church when I pastored the Marion District, wrote and asked me how the event related to Luke 21:24. Again, I brushed off the question with an answer which was no answer and continued to become more deeply involved in the controversial issues of the Church resultant from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences and the book, Questions on Doctrine.

Several more years passed, and one day I was reading the section on Religion in a weekly news magazine. It mentioned the Seven Day War and its possible prophetic significance. The scales dropped from my eyes, and I decided to investigate its relevance. I went to the city library in Jackson, Mississippi, and checked a day by day chronicle of the events in 1967 as they pertained to Israel. Then I came home and checked the Writings to see if there was anything written which would negate a conclusion that the prophecy of Jesus had begun to meet fulfillment in the retaking of old Jerusalem. I found nothing. I studied and wrote up my findings in a red-covered manuscript. In the process of time, my wife, in her reading of the Writings, came upon the statement which read:    In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem, and with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Letter 20, 1901)

It was obvious that by citing Luke, and not Matthew or Mark, that the only difference in Luke's account was the statement of Jesus - "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This event of history was connected to the scenes that were to take place "just prior" to the return of Jesus.

Whether intentional, or by mere coincidence, an article was printed in the Ministry, following the publication of our red-covered manuscript, seeking to mitigate the force of "until" in Luke 21:24. This sent me back to the "drawing board." Then I discovered Luke's use of an idiom in 21:24 - achri hou - translated, "until." He also used this same idiomatic expression twice in the book of Acts. In Acts 27:33, it is translated, "while," and denoted a brief but definable period of time. I had no way to define the time "while" the times of the visitation of the nations were closing. I had to wait.
Then came 1980 with its series of events not only involving Israel but also the Church. These new factors relating to the prophecy of Jesus were incorporated into the 1984 printing of The Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled. Now a 2nd Printing of the 1984 edition - The Hour and the End - enlarges the documentation and explanations of the original printing.

What is interesting is that 13 years elapsed between 1967 and 1980 in the final transfer of the govemment from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the declaration that Jerusalem united was the capital of Israel. If - and note, I write, "if" - God is using the same cycle of time for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 11:45 in relationship to the completion of Luke 21:24, then we stand indeed on the very borders of the close of all human probation. For when an "alien" power plants "the tabernacles of his palace in the glorious holy mountain," Michael stands up. (Dan. 12:1)

It is the potency of this prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24, and the prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel that makes the attack of Ferrell so diabolical.

" For such are false apostles. deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. "
II Corinthians 11:13-15

-- (1992 Jul) --- End ---TOP

1992 Aug -- XXV -- 8(92) -- THE ROAD FORKS THRICE -- EVERY ADVENTIST MUST CHOOSE! -- It is decision time in Adventism. The options are multiple.The road forks thrice.Once down two of the forks, there are various by-paths. In 1896, reporting on the first campmeeting in Tasmania, Ellen G. White wrote:       My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896)

This parable presents two forks. (Matt. 25:6-9) Either we "go out" to meet the Bridegroom, or else we "go rather to them that sell and buy for" ourselves. This last option is fatal. If we go and buy of the venders, on us "the door" will be "shut." (25:10)

Into this picture must be projected another concept for consideration from the Writings. It reads:        The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state. (R&H, August 19, 1890)

This introduces consideration of the message to Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-20) There are two "because" clauses in these verses:   1)   Because Laodicea is lukewarm, the True Witness declares, "I will spue thee out of my mouth."   2)   Because "thou sayest," and are not - corporate deception - divine counsel is given. Then comes the call - "Be zealous therefore, and repent." (v. 19) This is followed by a change of direction for the appeal - "if any man hear my voice." From a corporate approach with the "thee" and "thou," it centers on the individual - tis (Greek) - "anyone."

In Revelation 3, the figure of speech is changed from "go out" to "let Jesus in." In each reference, there is a clear distinction in regard to the two classes - the Wise and the Foolish.

A recognized pioneer writer and editor of the Adventist Church didn't teach the concept of Rev. 3:16 as we are hearing it today in connection with the 1888 Message. Uriah Smith wrote:         I Will Spue Thee out of My Mouth.    - Here the figure

p 2 -- is still further carried out, and the rejection of the lukewarm expressed by the nauseating effects of tepid water. And this denotes a final rejection, an utter separation from His church. (Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, p. 373, 1899 edition)

Beyond these two distinct options is a third which a poet has put into verse:

The high soul climbs the high way; the low soul gropes the low,
and in between on the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro.
But to every soul there openeth a high way and a low,
And every man determines which way his soul shall go.

These "misty flats" present the greatest problem and the greatest deception today for every concerned Adventist. The banners flying today on thes "misty flats" proclaim "Historic Adventism, "Our Firm Foundation," "Vital Truths," "Waymarks," and a host of other names. There is no question, the pillars of our faith remain steadfast. They are what they have always been:   1)    "The cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having a decided relation to God's people on earth."   2)   The Three Angels' Messages.   3)   "The temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God."   4)   "The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment."   5)   "The nonimmortality of the wicked." (See Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 30)

How we have perceived these pillars, and the way we have proclaimed them have failed us. In 1952, an historic Bible Conference was convened at the Sligo Park Church in Takoma Park The fundamentals were proclaimed forthrightly according to the historical teachings of the Church. Yet, just three years later in 1955-56, we were unable to meet the challenge of the Evangelicals and caved in with a deadly compromise of basic concepts which had been the heart of the Church's teaching from its inception.

In 1979, Dr. Desmond Ford crystallized the challenge to our sanctuary teaching which the Evangelicals had introduced. Ford was given a leave of absence with pay to put into writing his challenge, and his reasons for such a denial of faith. In 1980, the "venders of oil" worked out a Statement of Beliefs which confirmed the compromises of 1955-56, but they also prepared an "out" in the Statement by which they could meet Dr. Ford's challenge. Following the General Conference session, the theologians and administrators of the Church gathered at Glacier View in Colorado to hear Ford defend his teachings which challenged the very core of historic Adventism. This conference was reported in a "Special Sanctuary Issue" of the Ministry magazine (Oct. 1980). This issue also reported Ford's perception of the Church's response to his defense. Asked if "his doctrinal positions were more than tentative," Ford replied that -    the brethren had made tremendous progress in the past few days and that the church's position was closer to his than it had ever been before. He expressed the thought that if we have come this far in four days, imagine how far the church will go in four years in changing its position. (p. 9)

At this point the Church hierarchy put the brakes on. They resorted to the "out" prepared in the 1980 voted statements - a position never before taken by the Church. In Statement #17, on "The Gift of Prophecy," had been inserted this sentence - "As the Lord's messenger, her [Ellen G. White's] writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth." So this position could be taken, the same Statement of Beliefs omitted the word, "only" which had been included in all previous statements in regard the Bible as "the only infallible rule of faith." So then if the Church hierarchy could not respond to Ford with a Biblical, "Thus saith the Lord," they could quote Ellen G. White as equal authority with the Bible, and if necessary as an addition to the Bible.

As if anticipating this new position, or perhaps even suggesting it, in the liberal publication of the Church, Spectrum, Raymond F. Cottrell in an article - "Sanctuary Debate: A Question of Method" (Vol. 10, #4) - indicated that the New Testament was a reinterpretation of the Old and "Ellen G. White provides a continuing reinterpretation appropriate for our time." (p. 20) Such a perception was sustained and written into the 1980, 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief.

The "independent ministries" which sprung up after the 1980 General Conference - and 97% of them have - sought to reaffirm "historic Adventism," and one even adopted the title of the official report of the 1952 Bible Conference - "Our Firm Foundation." But all have run, as it were, with the "new theology regarding the writings voted at the 1980 session even going to the extent of declaring that you cannot know that the Bible is the inspired word of God unless you accept Ellen

p 3 -- G. White. Standish writing in Spear's "official organ" stated:       The acceptance of the prophetic gift in the ministry of Sister White is essential not only to the preparation of God's people for the eternal kingdom, but also to the acceptance of the Scriptures as inspired. (0FF, April, 1989, p. 15)

This is nothing more than pure Roman Catholic teaching garbed in the nomenclature of Adventism. Note the Roman Catholic position:       The only authority which non-Catholics have for the inspiration of the Scriptures is the authority of the Catholic Church. If the latter is rejected, there remain no logical grounds for retention of the cardinal tenet of all Protestants - the inspired character of Scripture. (The Faith of Millions, p. 145)

In answer to the question, "Can we not prove the inspiration of the Bible from 'the inward testimony of the Spirit'?" the Catholic Church replies:       No, this criterion is no criterion whatever, as Dr. Eck told Luther at the Leipzig Disputation, when he [Eck] argued that the inspired and canonical character of the books of the Bible could be known only by the divine authority and tradition of the Catholic Church. (The Question Box, p. 66, 1929 ed.)

Keep in mind that the Roman Catholic Church believes that - "tradition" - and they do not use the term as we use it - is one of two sacred streams of divine origin flowing from Paradise. To them, "tradition" is not human opinion, but the divine teaching of an infallible Apostolate established by Christ Himself." (ibid., p. 78) Why should any Jesuit want to penetrate an "independent ministry" when so many are proclaiming Catholic teaching clothed in the "new theology" of Adventism?

Our problem - and we have not perceived it, or else are unwilling to perceive it - is the failure to understand the progressive nature of truth. Truth parallels Christian experience. We are to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18) Stagnation of either is spiritual death, plus holding to a fossilized theology and calling it historic Adventism. We have been clearly warned of this condition. The servant of the Liord stated:    Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God's word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. (5T:706-707)

What does God indicate He will do? In fact, it is evident that He has already permitted it to happen. Note carefully:      "God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat....God would have all the bearings and positions of truth thoroughly and perseveringly searched, with prayer and fasting. Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the Word of God, so when the testing time shall come, and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith, they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear." (5T:707-708)

"Historic" Adventism as proclaimed on the "misty flats" is not the answer to the present crisis in Adventism, but a progressive understanding of truth is. Well did the servant of the Lord write:       "The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done." (Ms. 27, 1897)

This concept is not something new given to Seventh-day Adventists, but is a principle stemming from our Protestant heritage. When the Pilgrims were about to embark for the New World, their pastor, John Robinson, charged them:        I charge you, before God and His blessed angels, that you follow me no farther than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has yet more truth to break forth out of His Holy Word. I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. Luther and Calvin were great and shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God. I beseech you, remember it - 'tis an article of your church covenant - that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written Word of God. (Source Book, p. 528, 1940 edition)

When the Puritans first chose to separate from the English Church, they covenanted together, as the Lord's free people, "to walk together in all His ways made known or to be made known to them." This is "the true spirit of reform,

p 4 -- the vital principle of Protestantism." (GC, p. 291) It is not only America that can repudiate the principles of Protestantism. We can do the same in our own experience and lose our souls on the "misty flats."

Observe again the "high road." The admonition of the parable of the Ten Virgins is "Go ye out to meet the Bridegroom." (Matt. 25:6) This parable pictures two "going outs." The first brought the "virgins" together. Jesus began the parable by stating - "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom." (Matt. 25:1) The verb, "went forth" is exelthon, the aroist, or passive of exerchomai, meaning to "go out." At the beginning of the parable, all ten went out together. In the midst of their corporate experience comes another call - "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." (25:6) Here the word for "go out" is exerchesthe, a present form of exerchomai, and carries the force of "be going out" to meet the bridegroom. This second call to "go out" separates the virgins, five respond, and five "go rather" to the venders of oil. On them the door is shut!

In the beginning all ten desired to go to the wedding. In the end the ten chose different routes. Jesus is the Bridegroom of the parable. He is the truth, pure and unadulterated. The issue that separates is truth. To respond to truth and truth alone is a lonely path, and tragically, "few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:14) On this high road, there are no by-paths, and no "hobby horses" are trotting along its path. Truth alone as it is in Jesus marks every step of the route. And that truth is a progressive understanding of that light which lit up the beginning of the entrance to the high road.
The road forks thrice, which fork have you taken? The high soul climbs the high way, and the low soul gropes the low, and in between on the misty flats the rest drift to and fro.

" We may divide thinkers into those who think for themselves, and those who think through others.
The latter are the rule, and the former the exception.
The first are the original thinkers in a double sense,
and egotists in the noblest meaning of the word.
It is from them only that the world learns wisdom.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

"AnchorPoints" -- Part 3 -- As the previous article was being prepared from the "Notes" of a monthly Convocation message presented at the Foundation Chapel, the Adventist Review (June 4, 1992, pp. 8-11) published another article in the on-going series on the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief which were voted at the 1980 General Conference session. It has become obvious that these analyses are not following the order as found in the Statements, but rather a picking here and there through the list for reasons known only to the editors. The one in the June issue concerned the role of Ellen G. White as a "prophet" in the Adventist Church.

The writer, an associate editor of the Review, sought to reconcile the newly formulated concept set forth on the role of Ellen G. White in Statement #17, and the Protestant tenet of sola scriptura - an impossibility! He rightly stated that the New Testament teaches the doctrine of "spiritual gifts" - He uses the term, charismata - and, therefore, the acceptance of that gift in the ministry of Ellen G. White is valid. But to assign a "canonical" role, as the editor did, invalidates the Protestant position of sola scriptura. It was so obvious that the thrust was directed toward Dr. Desmond Ford that he should have come out forthrightly and named him.

How do we reconcile the Adventist position in the 1980 Statement and the Protestant position? We don't. It is just a part of the "new theology" injected into this 1980 Statement along with other concepts. Previous Statements of Belief created no problem of the proper relationship between the Bible and "spiritual gifts." Both the original 1872 Statement, and the one published intermittingly between 1889 through 1914 stated - "that these gifts ["as enumerated especially in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4"] are not designed to supercede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation,..." In other words, the original position of the Church was the teaching of "the primacy of the Scriptures," and the recognition that these same Scriptures taught that "gifts" (plural) from Jesus would be a part of the heritage of God's true people till the end of time. Ellen G. White's name never occurred in any statement of belief until 1950 when the General Conference in session added it to the 1931 Statement.

In The White Truth, an answer to Walter Rea's, The White Lie, Dr. John Robertson quoted George I. Butler as giving "the natural relationship" between the Bible and the Writings. Butler had written:         We do not hold them [the visions] to be superior to the Bible, or in one sense equal to it. The Scriptures are our rule to test everything by, the visions as well as other things. That rule, therefore, is of the highest authority; the standard is higher than the thing tested by it. lf the Bible should show the visions were not in harmony with it, the Bible would stand, and the visions would be given up. (R&H, August 14, 1883)

This position would solve many of our problems, and place Ellen G. White in her proper role as a "messenger" of the Lord. Tragically, most of the "independent ministries" have embraced the "new theology" in the 1980 Statement on Ellen G. White and carried it to even further extremes, clothing it with Roman Catholic teaching.

Editor's Note: It is our plan to set forth in a future issue of WWN the Biblical teaching on "Spiritual Gifts" and let "the chips fall where they will." One should not be afraid of truth, if he himself is honest.

by W. Burkholder -- The enjoyable summer weather intensifies the problem of people appearing in public with abbreviated clothing. This plague of public immodesty has accelerated the breakdown of morals in our society, and tends to also condition our minds to accept what God has declared sinful.

Many forces are at work, propelling this demoralizing situation. First of all, the nominal church has gone down the road of shameful immodesty. The tolerant attitudes and acceptance of this perversion by many professing Christians have undoubtedly weakened the conscience of society. From a secular viewpoint, many of the clothing designers, commercial advertisers, - Hollywood producers, television programmers, and magazine publishers seem to be, for a profit, intent on removing all modesty and decency from our society. Also, the current emphasis on physical fitness and beauty has planted the notion that the body is for public attraction and display.

The Bible speaks very explicitly about clothing. In the context of end-time developments, the child of God is commanded, "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." (Rev. 16:15) A curse is pronounced upon those who bare the leg and uncover the thigh. (Isa. 47:2-3) Women are commanded to adorn themselves with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety (1 Tim. 2:9). Sinful women are pictured in gay, gaudy clothing that draws attention to their bodies and reveals their sinful motives (Proverbs 5; Revelation 18). In contrast, God's people are always pictured modestly and fully clothed.

The Bible equates nudity with moral degeneracy and demon possession. The demoniac of Gadara dwelt among the tombs, had an unclean spirit, and "wore no clothes." (Luke 8:27) After the devil was cast out of him, and he came to know the Lord, he was found "sitting. . .clothed, and in his right mind."

But some will reply that Adam and Eve were unclothed in the Garden. True, but in their unfallen state, they were clothed as God is clothed, "with honor and majesty." (Ps. 104:1-2) They were clothed with a veil of purity and light, which was lost in the Fall. Immediately after they had sinned, they were ashamed of their nakedness and hastily prepared aprons of fig leaves. Adam said, "I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Gen. 3:10) God was not satisfied with their makeshift aprons, but made coats of skins and completely clothed them. (ver. 21) This act of God carries redemption types, but it also reveals His will for the covering of the body.

Satan is the father of the "undress" parade of our day....Satan, like Adam and Eve, was made naked through transgression, but no covering was provided for him. In contrast to Satan, Christ is portrayed modestly dressed in His earthly life, and in heaven He is pictured with a full garment down to the foot. (Rev. 1:13) Immodesty and undress are most prevalent where Satan is most active. This is the reason people do not wear clothing in some dark, superstitious, heathen cultures of the world. It is also the reason our society is rapidly approaching this same point. Although immodesty is now considered acceptable and cultured in Western society, it is no less satanic than before, and God is no less tolerant of sin, but will surely bring judgment upon it.

There is a definite relationship between immodesty and the moral corruption of our day. The eye gate is a direct route to the mind and the soul. The power of sensory perception is well understood and utilized by the devil. David, the man after God's own heart, committed adultery by first of all lusting with his eyes. The Proverb writer gives many warnings against the allurements of the "strange woman" attracting her prey by her clothing and her body. (Prov. 5:3-6; 7:10) Social and moral sins, such as infidelity in marriage, adultery, and sex crimes, can often be traced to perverted visual exposures. This does not excuse the person sinning with his eyes, but the seducer is likewise guilty.

Much of what we have discussed here will not be changed. The ungodly world is headed on a downward course toward judgment. But the Christian outlook must remain positive. God has placed the believers here in our day for a purpose. Jesus has already prayed for us, that we may be kept from the evil of this world. He has given us His Word as the sanctifying agent in our life. (John 17:15-17)

p 6 -- The following guidelines will help us in properly relating to the problems we have discussed:

1.   We must continue to testify against the immodesty of our day rather than adapt it. We will live our testimony by dressing modestly ourselves, and by explaining Bible principles and applications to others. The tendency to become insensible to unscriptural practices is real in our own lives.
2  .  We must maintain the needed reserve and protection in our own homes. Careless, rather than planned, immodesty may be a danger for us. Children learn social and moral values in the home. For this reason, family members should be well-clothed. Catalogs, magazines, newspapers, and advertising flyers should be closely guarded. Clothing advertisements have become extremely sensual, and they must not become an influence in our homes.
3.   We must guard our exposures to the world. We cannot isolate ourselves completely from the prevalent immodesty of our day, but we should not intermingle unnecessarily with the world. Attending or viewing places such as swimming pools must be strictly avoided. Occupational exposures must also be guarded. In the past, many employers had dress regulations for their employees, but today it is different. The intermingling today of men and women on the job actually requires more caution, and more, rather than less, regulation.
4.   We must maintain a Scriptural community of believers that continues to speak to the dress issue of our day. Bible teaching and Ministerial leadership are needed to maintain a standard of modesty. If a community of believers does not regulate the standard of modesty, the world will. Even in regulated groups, the tendency is to follow the standards of the world at a measured distance, rather than maintaining a truly Biblical standard. The hemline of the Christian woman's dress will not go up and down with the current style; it will stay down.
5.   We must implore the power of God in resisting temptation and lust. We cannot help seeing some of the immodesty around us, but as Christians, we must not look for it, but must close the mind and the soul to it. Sinful imaginations must not be allowed to fasten themselves to the mind. Victory and cleansing can be experienced through prayer, Bible reading, and meditation on "whatsoever things are pure."

The plague of public immodesty need not effect us - it must not. God is looking for a separated people to convey a consistent witness to the world. As one person has wisely said, "If we want men to see the image of God in our faces, we will need to keep our bodies clothed." Reprinted by permission

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- The Bible clearly pictures the followers of Christ as sheep among wolves. When Jesus sent out the disciples, He instructed them to "go not in the way of the Gentiles,...but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel....Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." (Matt. 10:5-6, 16) The inference is clear that the lost sheep of Israel are also in the midst of wolves. Paul warned that men would arise from among the very leadership, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves. (Acts 20:30) Peter refers to such as false prophets and teachers. (2 Peter 2:1) Jesus warned that inwardly these false prophets are ravening wolves in sheep's clothing. (Matt. 7:15)

In Jesus's day, the disciples and people saw an organized Jewish Church, but the discerning eye of Jesus saw a people "scattered as sheep having no shepherd." (Matt. 9:36) When sheep become scattered, they are in most danger from predators. But predators that can be seen are not the most dangerous; it is the wolf disguised as a sheep, that conceals his real purpose so that he can ravage the flock.

This is the very problem of the Church today. Every wind of doctrine is blowing, and people, like sheep, are drinking from the polluted potholes of just about every false doctrine imaginable. One concerned brother from Maryland stated aptly today's dilemma in a telephone conversation, when he said, "I don't refer to myself as a Seventh-day Adventist anymore because I don't know what it means - historical, Evangelical, or Pentecostal." When searching for the truth, how does one recognize the disguised wolf; how does one expose the wolf, and then what does one do when encountered by one?

Recognition -- "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." - "Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good." (1 John 4:1; 1 Thess. 5:21) There is more Biblical admonition in this area; however, it must be applied to our lives to be useful. "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines, and the basis of all reforms." (GC, p. 595) The Seal of God is not merely attendlng religious services on a certain day of the week. It is having God's written word, the Bible, in the

p 7 -- mind, through diligent study. By studying the Bible and being obedient to the light revealed, we, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will be prepared to recognize wolves disguised as sheep.

Exposure -- The Bible has clear instructions on how to approach a fellow believer who is in error. It is not my intent to repeat these basics. But what about a wolf? A wolf disguised as a sheep would be someone professing truth and teaching error. If I understand what Jesus meant when He warned the disciples that they would be among wolves, He was describing someone who disguises himself under a garb of truth. Being in sheep's clothing, he could be a Sabbath School teacher, a minister of the Church, or even an independent minister who professes to be concerned about the apostasy in the Church. He may quote frequently, or print profusely from the Writings of Ellen G. White. Outwardly, he professes truth, but inwardly he is a ravening wolf. The Scriptures say that the Devil has come down with great wrath, but this is a disguised wrath. We are told that he is transformed into an angel of light, and his ministers profess to be ministers of righteousness. (II Cor. 11:13-15)

A few years ago as a reader of WWN, I was occasionally upset over Elder Grotheer's method of exposure of those teaching error. I thought he was being unusually harsh and critical of them. Then, I began to think about how little time there is left for this world and how vitally important it was for every individual to receive the straight truth and facts that would enable sincere searchers for truth to quickly investigate and make decisions. Also, I looked at Jesus' example in Matthew 23. It was during His last week of public ministry. It was time to be plain spoken. Jesus revealed what the laity did not see. He called the Jewish Church leadership hypocrites seven times, murderers three times, inferred they were liars five times, and called them blind five times. He also called them fools twice, extortioners once, and serpents/vipers twice. Would you say that Jesus was being unjust or harsh because He was forthright? You might also note carefully what Jesus did next. (Matt. 23:38-24:1)

Do you believe the end is near? Would you appreciate knowing if someone you had placed confidence in spiritually was teaching error? We need to know those which labor among us. Those who teach "in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught," you are to "avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of th simple-minded." (Romans 16:17-18, RSV) --- (1992 Aug) --- End --- TOP

1992 Sep -- XXV -- 9(92) -- AN OPEN LETTER TO ELDER R.S.FOLKENBERG -- Editor's Note: For some months now, through the Adventist Review, and various organs of the Union Conferences, Elder R. S. Folkenberg has been writing about "independent ministries." Inasmuch as "Watchman, What of the Night?" is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuing publication of such a ministry, we felt it adviseable to respond to what Elder Folkenberg had written. While it was in the background of our minds to make it an "open letter," we believed it best to first try and make it a personal exchange, if Elder Folkenberg was willing to do so. Since the reply to the first letter was via his assistant, and did not really address the points raised, and no reply has been forthcoming to the second letter directed to the assistant, we are now making the exchange an open report to our readers. Rather than photographically reproducing the letters, we will copy them in full within the confines of our usual layout.

The letter to Elder Folkenberg was dated April 20, 1992. It read:

Dear Elder Folkenberg:

In the current issue of the Adventist Review (April 16, 1992), a lead article features your concern about "independent ministries." Much of what you wrote is true, and such irresponsible reporting as was illustrated by your referring to the allegation that you had visited the pope, is reprehensible, and which we as a foundation deplore. We will note this as well as other things which this "voice" has written in future issues of WWN which you receive.

However, we do take exception to what you have written under the section, "A false litmus test of orthodoxy." You wrote - and this does include some - "By proclaiming their convictions on a narrow list of topics, not accepted by the body as a whole as vital to our message, they, in effect, turn acceptance of their position on these issues into a litmus test of orthodoxy." (p. 6) Enclosed with this letter will be a document of "A Comparison of Statements of Belief" for the major statements issued from 1872 to the 1980

p 2 -- Statement which we call into question.

[Note: Those not having this statement for reference may obtain a copy for $1.50 postpaid. May still be available.]

Consider the very first statement of the 1980 Statements, and compare it with the previous three statements. In everyone of the former statements appeared the conviction that the Bible is "the only infallible rule of faith and practice," or "the only unerring rule of faith and practice." The word, "only" is removed from the 1980 Statement. A quick look at Statement #17 tells you why. Here has been inserted a position never previously held by the Church that the Writings of Ellen G. White "are a continuing and authoritative source of truth." While the Writings are a manifestation of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, never had a previous statement clothed that gift in the authority equal to the Scriptures. By so doing, they could not follow the previous statements and use the word, "only" in the statement on "The Holy Scriptures." The "why" of this change against the backdrop of the Ford challenge in 1979, and the Glacier View conclave which followed the 1980 session makes interesting contemplation.

Consider another statement - #2. "The Trinity." It reads - "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity in three co-eternal Persons." Not until 1931 is the word "Trinity," introduced into a Statement of Beliefs, and then not stated as written into the 1980 Statement. Nowhere do we find the word, "Trinity" in the Bible, nor in the Writings of Ellen G. White. Furthermore, the New Baltimore Catechism, No. 3, rev. ed., 1949, p. 20 reads - "By the Blessed Trinity, we mean one and the same God in three Divine Persons." Please tell me wherein the Roman Catholic position differs from the new position of Adventism as expressed in the 1980 Statement? Now let us go one step further. In the Constitution of the World Council of Churches, Article II indicates that membership in that organization must confirm the "Basis" (Article 1) upon which the WCC rests. This basis requires a confession of "the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour" as they seek their "common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." (See So Much in Common, p. 40) This position credally formulated did not appear until "the council of Constantinople (381)" for at that time "the formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons" was "formally ratified." (Early Christian Doctrines, p. 88)

Add to this fact, that in no previous Statement of Beliefs was "The Church" defined. (See # 11, 1980) And when it was defined in 1980, the language was paraphrased from the Constitution of the WCC, and declared the universality of all who profess "Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour" whether according to the truth as it is in Jesus, or a theoretical dogma formulated by a Church Council. Is there no true "doctrine of Christ"? Is the confession of any "christ" false or true, the basis of the "community of believers" in "the universal church"? This has mitigated the force of Article #12 of the 1980 Statement.

Consider the 1980 Statement #4. Where in this statement is the confession of all previous
statements, that Jesus "took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of the human race," or "He took upon Himself the nature of the human family"? Are you saying in your article that the position of the pioneers on the nature that Christ assumed in humanity is no longer a litmus test, just because it was omitted from the 1980 Statement? Is this not a departure from truth?

I could cite several more differences, but let us notice one of the more subtle insertions into the 1980 Statement not found in any previous statement. Number 23 reads in part - "In it [the heavenly sanctuary] Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the
benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross." Nowhere in all the
previous statements do you find this wording.

But you do find it in Questions on Doctrine, pp. 354-55, 381. There this language is declared to be an annulment of the unique teaching of Adventism of the doctrine of the final atonement. It goes so far as to declare that though Christ is in the presence of God for us, "it is not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. NO! He had already obtained it for us on the cross." (p. 381, emphasis theirs) Since your office under a previous administration confirmed to the late Walter Martin the continuing firm adherence of the Church to the book, Questions on Doctrine, and the denial of the final atonement is written into the 1980 Statement of Beliefs by borrowing the language of that book, why should not the disclosure of these things by an "independent ministry" note it as a litmus test of the doctrinal apostasy of the Church?

I have not made this letter an "Open Letter to the President of the General Conference." I want to give you time to reply before going public with an answer to your attack on "Independent ministries" which included us. For over

p 3 -- twenty-five years we have been calling the attention of the laity of the Church to the
growing apostasy in the Church, and we shall continue to do so as long as the Lord gives us the breath, and the means to do so. In all of these years, we have not solicited a single penny either via the publication of WWN, or by means of "electronic letters," but in all of these years we have lacked nothing, and have been abundantly supplied by the moving of the Spirit of truth upon sincere and concerned hearts.

Looking forward to your reply, I remain,
Respect fully yours,
Wm. H. Grotheer, Manager
Publication & Research


On May 21, 1992, we received the following reply from Elder B. E. Jacobs, Assistant to the President.

Dear Brother Grotheer:

Elder Folkenberg has asked me to respond to your letter dated April 20. I apologize for the delay, but I wanted to wait until I could visit with Elder Folkenberg regarding your letter.

We appreciate your sharing some of your views with Elder Folkenberg. We have shared a copy of this letter with our Biblical Research Department and they too are aware of the concerns that you have expressed. Your input is appreciated.

May the Lord continue to bless you in your witness for Him.

(Signed)B. E. Jacobs
Assistant to the President


To this response, we replied on May 28, 1992 to Elder B. E. Jacobs:

Dear Elder Jacobs:

First thank you for the acknowledgment of my letter to Elder Folkenberg dated the 20th of April. However, let us be honest, this is not an answer.

In the letter of April 20, I pointed out that Elder Folkenberg had lumped all "independent Ministries" save the ASI into one category. This is not perceptive evaluation nor does it Enhance his image as one who can with a clear discernment lead the Adventist Church. There are those among the "independent ministries" who sware allegiance to the hierarchy and profess great loyalty with the objective in mind of being able to use the facilities of the Church, but by their very message are saying the Church has rejected this message. There are others who cry to "high heaven" that they are being "persecuted" when their credentials and/or membership is called into question. Yet they are establishing independent churches and appointing pastors over them trained in their own institutions. Some of these same "voices" when removed from the church rolls have their membership hidden on another church list, or are invited in by profession of faith to another church. This is pure hypocrisy and deception.

The Adventist Laymen' s Foundation makes no apology for the fact that we are not a part of the regular church organization, and we state clearly our reasons. In the previous letter, we set forth those reasons, and to this point Folkenberg did not reply. Merely sharing with the BRI a copy of my letter is not an answer. If they are aware of these facts, why have they not addressed them? The fact is that the BRI in a position paper - "An Appeal for Church Unity" - actually sets aside the position of our pioneers on one of the points set forth in the April 20th letter as nonessential, and went even further and falsified the data connected therewith which I submitted with the letter of the 20th.

Now let us be honest with one another. Elder Folkenberg has a right to write what he wishes but let it be accurate and show a clear grasp of the situation. Then let us not shunt aside documented evidence. If you have an answer, then give it. If not, be honest enough to say the Church has erred and departed from the faith of our fathers. I shall await a bit longer before going to press with this exchange.

Sincerely yours for truth, unadulterated. (TM, p. 65)

(Signed)Wm. H. Grotheer

p 4 -- THE ORDINATON -- "On June 13, 1992, John Wesley Osborne, Jr, Robert Joseph Trefz and Michael John Thompson were ordained to the gospel ministry at the Steps to Life Campmeeting near Wichita, Kansas" so stated the opening sentence in a letter dated June 17, 1992 from Dr. John J. Grosboll, Director of Steps to Life Ministries. In a cover letter for documents pertaining to the ordination, Trefz called it a "new era" and the "dawning" of the "long awaited revival of primitive godliness." He indicated that in presenting the ordination sermon, Dr. Ralph Larson "drew powerful, unanswerable truths trom Scripture and history" to justify the ordination. (Letter dated June 18, 1992) These we shall examine.

Dr. Larson read as his opening text Acts 13:1 - 4. Then he stated -      "This is an interesting
situation which is worthy of study and reflection."
      Indeed it is, and more so, since it has been made the basis for justifying the ordination which took place on June 17. Larson indicated in his sermon that these men were being ordained because of the call of three churches -      "the Rolling Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Steps to Life Seventh-day Adventist Church and a home church in South Dakota."       Larson bestowed upon these churches the authority to issue such a call. He declared - "From New Testament times until now, true Biblical ordination has always been a response to the call of God's people." Whatever other precedent may be cited, the text in Acts 13:1-4 does not so teach. Let us consider this experience carefully.

In the first Christian Church at Antioch, there were men possessed of specific gifts of the Spirit - prophets and teachers. They are named - Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul. As these men "ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit [not the church] said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." (Acts 13:2) These men obeyed not a mandate from a church, but a directive by the Holy Spirit. No big fanfare is recorded, and no videos were offered for sale displaying the service! Neither did a panel discussion as to what constituted the church precede the carrying out of the directive. The Scripture simply reads - "So they [Barnabas and Saul] being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed" on their mission. (verse 4) Larson has misused and distorted the Word of God.

The justification of this ordination recalls to mind an experience from the history of ardent Israel. King Saul had been directed of Samuel to destroy utterly all of the Amalekites, and their possessions. He set forth on his mission. On his return he was met by Samuel, whom he greeted with the words, "Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord." (1 Sam. 15:13) Samuel asked him what meaneth "this bleating of the sheep in mine ears,and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" To this Saul replied, "They have..." Protesting further that he had obeyed "the voice of the Lord," he declared, "But the people took of the spoil." Yes, the "people" made him do it. Just so now, "the voice of the people" forced Larson and Grosboll to perform this ordination. It was not "the voice of the Lord," because the Lord does not work this way. He has no part in the distortion of His word, nor does He recognize man's attempt to sanctify inflated human ego. The question of Samuel to Saul is very apropos - "When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?" (1Sam. 15:17)

Larson in his ordination address asserted - "We are most emphatically not starting a new
organization. We are not starting a separate church." Did Jesus not start a separate Church
when He ordained the Twelve? At the very base of every new church and ecclesiastical
organization is the establishment of its religious leadership. This is done by ordination. When
men are ordained to the ministry apart from the approval of the established church, they are in
that very act putting a new church organization into operation, call it what you will. Thus
beyond the distortion of the Scripture incident in Acts 13, is the distortion of basic truth, a failure
to recognize what is the Church. Even though Trefz declares Grosboll to be "the foremost
authority in Biblical Adventism on the nature of the church," his ecclesiology at this point is
heretical. In this false premise, Larson joined Grosboll. Jesus Christ warned -      "Take heed that
ye be not deceived." (Luke 21:8)

The issue involved here is very simple. Is the Church in apostasy, or is there only apostasy in
the Church? This question was projected when the Tithe problem was brought out into the open.
Both the regular Church through the release of the tithe insert by Dr. Roger Coon in the
Adventist Review (Nov. 7, 1991), and an article

p 5 -- by Dr. Ralph Larson in 0FF (Sept., 1991) addressed the issue. Dr. Coon went to the heart the matter. If a church is in apostasy, you do not pay tithe to that church, but if not, and there is only apostasy in the church, you continue to support that church with your tithes and offerings.

Resulting from Larson's article in 0FF, Dr. Douglas Devnich, president of the Canadian Union
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, accurately zeroed in on Larson's distortion of the writings
to support his contention. Seeking to justify himself, Larson has now presented his position in
a 39 page booklet published by Steps to Life - The Tithe Problem. In the heart of this booklet, one finds the basic premise for not only the tithe problem but also for the ordination question. Here the heresy of the ecclesiology of both Larson and Grosboll - for they are working close together - surfaces. Larson writes:     
The Review tract writer suggests that there is a significant difference between saying there is apostasy in a church and saying a church, speaking of the entire body of believers, is in apostasy. This point is well taken. I know of only one independent ministry leader who has a conviction that the church is in apostasy. The rest would say, like the Review tract writer, that there is apostasy in the church, although they would not minimize it as he does. (p. 18; emphasis his)

If one considers the Church to be merely a loose confederation of individuals, and not a corporate
body of believers, then apostasy would be determined by a head count. But the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a corporate body and so recognized as such in the Writings, as well as in
organizational structure. It is this corporate Church that must face the judgment of the sanctuary. In 1903, Ellen White plainly 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 that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T:247)

No amount of verbalizing can erase the fact that there is corporate language. The Church as a
corporate body is to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. The basis upon which the
judgment will be rendered is given - the sacred trust of truth. Then only one question remains
to be answered. Has the Church as a corporate body betrayed that trust? If she has, then the
Church is in apostasy. If the issue is only the life-style of the Church - the conduct of its services, the programing of its ministry, the defining of the personality of its members, and the core of truth remains unchanged, then there is only apostasy in the Church. Working under this kind of a premise, and such a premise lies at the foundation of the Grosboll-Larson ecclesiology, there is no justification for the ordination service conducted, or the suggestion that tithe should be diverted from the regular Church channels. Instead they should be every Sabbath in some recognized regular church working to correct what they believe to be apostasy in the life-style of the Church. But they are not doing so. Grosboll is organizing a network of independent churches setting up pastors over them. Now he and Larson have ordained men, not at the moving of the Holy Spirit, but on demand of "the people" to satisfy the human ego of at least two of those ordained.

There is only one conclusion that can be drawn, a new organization has been formed, a new order
of clergy ordained. Sadly many will continue to be deceived by this venture. If the Word of God is distorted to justify what has been done, as Larson did in his ordination sermon, the Spirit of God will not bless such a work, for He is the Spirit of truth. Trefz in his cover letter telling of the ground plans laid for the ordination at the Prophecy Countdown campmeeting called that meeting "a revival of primitive godliness" which "began a thrilling new era in Seventh-day Adventism." (Letter dated June 18, 1992) What needs to be kept in mind is the fact that before the genuine revival comes the false. A genuine revival does not make provision for the exaltation of self, and the massaging of the human ego.

The Fallout -- On June 3, 1992, Dr. John J. Grosboll, in a 24 page letter with 3 additional pages added as a postscript on June 4, wrote to Ron Spear defending the pending ordination service and a justification for including John Osborne in that rite. This letter was resultant following "telephone conversations" which had taken place with Spear, "members of his staff, Colin Standish and a number of other individuals." Hope International and Hartland Institute refused to go along with the ordination plans. Spear responded in a document - "The Final Appeal to the Steps to Life Board" - dated June 12. In this 3 page appeal, he wrote:

p 6 -- John [Grosboll] you beIieve that I would have agreed to the ordination of Bob Trefz, but that I have taken this stand, because of my "bias" on John Osborne. This is entirely untrue. I told you on the phone I had no problems with Bob personally, but we do have a problem with John. Our file backs up our reasons for this and we are as conscientious on this as you are on your stand to be John's protector. Hope International is not comfortable ordaining anybody to the ministry. (p. 2)

The telephone conversations must have become rather heated. Grosboll in his letter indicating that Spear had threatened "to go public," suggested that "it is appropriate for a person who has threatened to publicly oppose a ministry to not be the board chairman of that ministry." (p. 23) Spear in his document replied that "if this ordination is carried out, you will be forced to accept this document as my resignation from the board." (p. 2)

One cannot adequately grasp the internecine warfare taking place between various independent
ministries over this "ordination" unless he can read carefully the emotiunally charged letter which Grosboll wrote to Spear. It was evident throughout that Grosboll was thinking with his emotions rather than with his head. We shall seek to give some brief but incomplete evaluations of this letter as it has impressed us after reading it as objectively as it is possible for us to do, knowing the two leading characters through experiences with them, that is Spear and Osborne. We have never met Grosboll, and have had no direct personal dealings with him.

Grosboll in his letter charged Spear with having utilized his position as chairman of the board of
Steps to Life to depart from the "agenda" and bring charges against Osborne, charges which he
claims could net be substantiated. (p. 16) This is very understandable when one has experienced
Spear's smear techniques. I can cite evidence of such personal attacks, so libelous and slanderous that he canceled a speaking appointment in the State of Arkansas for fear that I would have him arrested and placed in jail. I know that when I did confront him at the l985 General Conference session in New Orleans, he lied without batting an eye, and has since violated his word to me. He just cannot be trusted. But this is not saying that this clears Osborne, because he, too, can lie and falsify a situation for monetary ends. The problem is that two individuals having the same habit problems have crossed each other, and neither can trust tbe other, even if they agreed to "bury the hatchet."

While the letter is intended to be a defense both of Osborne, and the ordination, an illustration used by Grosboll from his past experience in this ministry with either a "parabolic" meaning, or
"double application" would negate the objective. Dr. Grosboll tells of a young man whom he calls,
"Pastor John, in Florida." He describes him as having "a very volatile temperament" with an uncontrollable temper. (pp. 2-3) He became acquainted with "Pastor John" when he first went
to North Dakota. "Pastor John" wanted to be a preacher in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
He was made "the singing evangelist for the evangelistic team of the North Dakota conference." Then Grosboll continues - "Now as is the case with some other individuals in this world, Pastor John was not really a manager of money. That was not his talent. In fact, he had a problem of getting into debt, and not being able to pay his debts. He was a man of world vision, and of large plans. He was a visionary, but he needed the help of his wife (who was a very talented person) to make his visions come to pass. Both of them were excellent musicians."

Due to monetary problems in the conference, the evangelistic team was dissolved, and "Pastor John" was left without resources. Hot relationships developed between Pastor John and the Conference leadership. Grosboll tells of "a most heated" telephone exchange between "Pastor John" and the Conference President [Trout], at least on "Pastor John's" part. (p. 4) Finally, "the time came when secretly, without telling anybody, he left town...He just packed up his family and quickly left town. He not only left town, he not only wasn' t an Adventist minister, he was so discouraged he wasn't even an Adventist at all. He went back to Florida."

Why is Grosboll telling this experience? He writes - "I have thought a lot about Pastor John over the years. And I have thought exceedingly a lot about him over the last few days...And the thing that keeps coming back to my mind - Oh, I know, he had lots of faults. He didn't pay his bills. He didn't manage his money. He made lots of mistakes. But I have always wondered, "Is it partly my fault? Is it partly my fault because I didn't put my reputation, my job, and my career on the line to try to save him?" It is obvious that in Grosboll's mind he sees a comparison between two "Pastor Johns." Now Larson and Grosboll have placed their hands in ordination upon the second "Pastor John," even through sensing this parabolic comparison. What an accounting they will have to render before the bar of God for such a lack of judgment

p 7 -- based on retrospective emotional evaluation. The instablility of the characters of all involved in this ordination should cause some serious thinking on the part of concerned Adventists. The relationship of the first "Pastor John" with the North Dakota Conference has marked the relationship of the second "Pastor John" with the Florida Conference. Reports appearing in Osborne's publication told of meetings with the leadership which he claimed was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Then when the conference crossed his path, they were instruments of the devil.

A report received in this office from the one supplying the documents, upon which this article is based, told of Osborne's volatile reaction to one suggesting that the ordination be delayed. It was checked and verified as accurate. Yet the ordination was carried out for two reasons - the demand of the "people" and judgment based on emotion.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- Thinking with one's emotions instead of with one's head leads to some inconsistent positions. Grosboll in his letter indicated that if Spear was going to "publicly oppose" the Steps to Life ministry, he should resign from the Board - in other words, get out. But Grosboll seems not to believe that if he "goes public" in opposing the Church, and exposing it, he should "get out." Now he wants to operate as a Seventh-day Adventist Church, train ministers for various independent churches he is establishing in different places, and have the right to ordain on the demand of the "people," men who have not yet demonstrated their call to the ministry. Should he not follow the same counsel he gave Spear?

This same emotional approach to the "ordination" of questionable candidates has blinded the eyes
of both Larson and Grosboll to the fact that in this act they have established a "new" organiza-
tion. The three churches named as requesting the ordination of their pastors are now a new and different organization from the Church headquartered in Silver Spring. It will be interesting to see what working arrangement these churches will form with each other. Will they become a conference? It is not beyond the ego of Osborne to envision a General Conference with himself as president! The real problem returns to the very issue raised by Dr. Roger Coon in his Tithe tract - "There is a fine line - but a significant distinction - between 'a church in apostasy' and the 'apostasy
in the church."' (p. 3) Now if we are going to deal only with church life-style - mode of worship, NLP training for the ministry, and the classification of the laity's temperaments, etc., then we can say that there is "apostasy in the church." In such a case, there is no justification for the existence of Osborne's Rolling Hills congregation, nor for Grosboll's Steps to Life Church near Wichita, Kansas, nor for Trefz ' home church in South Dakota. They should each Sabbath be in some regular Seventh-day Adventist Church seeking to correct in a Christian way what they perceive to be apostasy and supporting that church with their tithes and offerings.

However, if the core of beliefs has been changed and what the Church once stood for doctrinally altered, then the Church is in apostasy. This calls for a whole new approach. The once fundamental and orthodox Church has structured a "new" organization, and we cannot enter into a "new" organization and be true to the counsel which has been given us. (SM, bk. ii, p. 390)

The "blind spot" in the ecclesiology of both Grosboll and Spear is the failure to recognize corporate accountability, and individual responsibility, and to differentiate between the two. This we shall address in another issue of WWN.

For Bible information, conversation and/or discussion call 1-800-4 LAYMEN. If you would like a free copy of this issue call this number also. --- (1992 Sep) --- End ---

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