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)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
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
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
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.
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WWN 1990 Jul - Sep
HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE
JERUSALEM IN BIBLE PROPHECY -- In 1944, the Pacific Press published a book entitled - Palestine in Prophecy. It was used as a "book of the month" by The Voice of Prophecy. The final paragraph of the book reads: 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 [from] the fall of that city in A.D. 70, Jerusalem has been "a burdensome stone" and "a cup of trembling unto all people" (Zechariah 12:2, 3); and it will be so till 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 a national restoration for the Jews are following a theological will-o'-the-wisp.
Then in 1947, the Pacific Press published another book The Jews and Palestine. In it were noted the objectives of Zionism: 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 for the Jewish people in Palestine." (p. 57)
Near the close of this particular chapter, the concluslon is drawn: The God of heaven who overthrew the city and nation and who because of their apostasy dispersed the inhabitants to the ends of the earth, forever settles the question of a complete return and restitution in old Canaan by asserting that it "cannot be." (p. 61)
In 1947, the Church took the position that it was absolutely impossible for a Jewish state to ever be re-established in Palestine. One year later, in 1948, the Jewish state became a reality.
In 1948, 1 became pastor of the First church in Toronto,
Ontario, Canada. The Sabbath following the establishment of the Jewish
state, I prepared a sermon to shore up confidence in the church's position.
I told the congregation - "Don't get too disturbed. Do not become
overly alarmed. There are still more Jews in New York City than can possibly
get settled in the small area of Palestine." I had no other answer.
What was I to say? In other words, as a result of then current events,
it became obvious that we as a Church were fallible in our prophetic interpretations,
and that there needed to be some re-thinking. By 1952, the Church returned
to a position as had been set forth by James Edson White, and faced up
p 2 -- reality of the prophecy Jesus had given in Luke 21:24 - "... and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." First, in considering this prophecy of Jesus, one must recognize what Jesus did not say. He did not tie this prophecy to the time of the restoration of the Jewish State. Therefore, in 1948, when Israel again became a nation, this event in and of itself was not a fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus did not talk about a Jewish state, nor Palestine, but a city - "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Further, Jesus did not associate this prophecy with the restoration of the temple or its services. A few hours prior to His giving this prophecy to the disciples, He told the Jewish leadership as He left the temple for the last time - "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) This prophecy was tied solely to the control and government of just one city, and that city was Jerusalem!
In 1952, the Church conducted a world-wide Bible Conference. It was held in the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church. Elder Arthur Maxwell, then editor of the Signs of the Times, presented a paper on "The Imminence of Christ's Second Coming," in which he directed the attention of the ministry of the Church to Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:24. He said: The recent dramatic restoration of the nation of Israel has focused the attention of mankind once more on 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). (Our Firm Foundation, II, p. 230)
The ministers of the Church from around the world were directed to this neglected prophecy of Jesus by Maxwell. Then he observed that a principle God applied to the Amorites might well apply in this instance, only on a wider scale. He stated: 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 until the probationary time allotted to the Amorites had run out.
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.,
p 3 -- As noted above, in taking this position, Maxwell reverted back to the position taken by James Edson White in his book - The Coming King. White wrote: We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24). Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews and will not until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished. (1898 ed., p. 98)
Up until 1947, in our evangelistic publications, we taught that there would never be again a Jewish State. Then in 1948, we were shocked into reality because a Jewish State - Israel - did come into existence short of Jerusalem. Maxwell at the 1952 Bible Conference said that "as by an unseen hand" the Jewish forces were "mysteriously ... held back from achieving this most cherished goal" of retaking Jerusalem. Then he asked, "What could be the reason?" and answered his own question - "Only that the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled." That was In 1952.
Now we are faced with certain other realities with which we must be concerned. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israeli military forces took Jerusalem, thus restoring to Jewish control the city. However, the Capital of the State of Israel remained in Tel Aviv. Then in 1980, the entire Jewish government - The Supreme Court, the Knesset, the office of both the President and Prime Minister - was moved to Jerusalem. The prohpecy of Jesus had met its complete fulfillment. And yet, here we are still in time. Again, it is obvious that this prophetic interpretation has failed us. How are we to relate to this fulfilled prophecy? Ignore it? We dare not - it was a prophecy Jesus gave!
You ask, why two dates? In 1967, Jerusalem was captured but not until 13 years later in 1980 was the government moved to Jerusalem, thus occupying the city and bringing it once more under full control of the State of Israel. Let us consider this question.
Luke, in both his Gospel and the book of Acts, uses twenty times the word translated, "until" (acri). But three different times, he combined with the preposition a relative, making it an idiomatic expression - achri hou (acri 'ou). One of these times was in Luke 21:24. The other two times are in the book of Acts. It is the last use in Acts which helps us to understand best the meaning of this idiomatic expression.
Take your Bible and turn to Acts 27. Paul, as a prisoner,
p 4 -- was on his way to Rome. The ship in the midst of storm was in trouble. All aboard had fasted for fourteen days. Then the record reads - "and while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take food." (ver. 33 KJV) The word, "While" is a translation of the words, achri hou. What does it mean -"while the day was coming on"? This morning as I left the library to go home for breakfast, in the east were the first glimmers of light. In a brief period of time, the sun arose above the horizon and all the shades of night disappeared. The day was coming on. To describe that brief but definite span of time, Luke used the idiomatic Greek expression - achri hou. The "times of the Gentiles" ended in a brief period of time marked by an event in the history of Jerusalem both at its beginning in 1967, and its ending in 1980.
You may now ask another question: "Are we not introducing something new in prophetic interpretation which is without precedent?" No! Let me give you an illustration. In 533 A.D., Justinian issued a decree establishing the Bishop of Rome the supreme ruler in the West. However, it was not until 538 A.D., that Belisarius, Justinian's general, with force of arms put into effect the decree. We begin the prophecy of the 1260 years not with 533, but with 538. "The times of the Gentiles" closes not with 1967, but with 1980, although the event in 1967 alerted us to what was about to take place had we had eyes to see and ears to hear.
Into this picture for Adventists, there are some factors that must be introduced and understood. In 1901, Ellen G. White wrote to Dr. P.T. Magan, that now very familiar warning. It read: We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel, but for Christ's sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action. (Ms.184, 1901)
Now what was said in 1901? "We may have to remain here in this world ... many more years". Have we? WE'RE HERE! The very fact that we are here, many years after 1901 attests to the accuracy of the possiblity and should tell us something. The statement also infers that we shouldn't be here! "We may have to remain." It was not God's purpose that we should so remain. Why? Various events that were indicated had already occurred. Let us review some history.
In the Review& Herald (Nov. 22,1892) Ellen G. White had written:
p 5 -- The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third ahgel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.
Why was "The time of test ... just upon us"? In August of 1892, a National Sunday Law had been attached as a rider to an appropriation bill and signed into law by President Harrison. It was a period of pronounced Sunday law agitation. In the closing years of the previous decade, Ellen White had noted a National Sunday Law as a sign for God's people. (Keep in mind "time and place.") Now I ask you a further question. Can you show me a single reference in the Writings - and I have asked many; I cannot find it - that after 1901, Ellen White ever referred to a National Sunday Law as a "sign" for God's people? Three weeks later, she did write about the "false Sabbath" being "enforced by an oppressive law" but does not note it as a "National Sunday Law," but as an event to occur "after the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations." (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892) Something went wrong, which caused the warning that "we may have to remain here ... many more years."
However, in the very year that this warning was given - 1901 - Ellen White directed attention to another "sign" by which we would know the end was indeed "upon us." She wrote: 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 historyof 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; Counsels to Writers, pp. 23-24)
I ask you - In 1901, when Ellen White indicated that "we may have to remain here ... many more years" with what events had she that very year connected the end? A National Sunday Law? No! She connected it with events in Jerusalem and said study Luke 21. Now what is in Luke 21, that one does not find in Mark 13 or Matthew 24? Only one thing - "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This event would signal "the scenes which were to take place just prior to the coming of the Son of man" the second time. What then does the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 in 1980 tell us, if anything? It shouts loud and clear that we have reached the end of time. We are at the very end of human history as we know it today. We stand at the very border of the eternal kingdom and we need to recognize that fact.
p 6 -- Let us make a quick analysis of Luke 21 and see what is emphasized. You can do further study on your own; but let us observe certain highlights. Carefully compare Luke 21 with Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Luke does not even mention as does Matthew and Mark, the Dark Ages, "those days" of "tribulation." He concentrates on events in the history of Jerusalem. All three reports of this prophetic discourse of Jesus summarize general signs which were to occur. Then Luke literalizes the prophecy of Daniel to which Jesus alluded, writing: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh ... For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled ... And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations (ta ethne): and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles (ethne), until the times of the Gentiles (ethne) be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth, distress of nations (ethne), with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when ye see these things begin to come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:20-33)
Several points should be noted. Luke passes by with only a mention of the "signs" in the sun, moon and stars. (Compare with Matt. 24:29 and Mark 13:24-25) He focuses Jesus' prophecy "upon the earth" emphasizing "the nations" (ethne) whether translated in the KJV "nations" or "Gentiles." He speaks of their "times" and "distress" with "perplexity." In two instances, Luke has Jesus stressing - "When ye see" then "know ye." The first, when the armies surrounded Jerusalem, then they were to know that its destruction was nearing. We can ask - did that generation which saw this sign fulfilled live to see the destruction of the city? Likewise, Jesus said, those who see the end of the times of the nations and the events connected with it, that generation will not pass away till all be fulfilled.
When the times of the nations are fulfilled, they come into
distress with perplexity. The word in the Greek translated "perplexity"
carries the overtones of economic distress. Of interest is the fact that
the Department of Labor of the United States government uses 1967 as the
base year to chart the course of the dollar iri its -inflationary devaluation.
The economic instability of the nations has only increased since that
day with no way out. In other words we are seeing today a "sign"
fulfilled on earth as verily as our spiritual fore-fathers saw the fulfillment
of a "sign" in
p 7 -- the heavens.
This date - 1967 - was the beginning of the period when the times of the nations would be completed. The "times of the nations fulfilled", what does it mean? Nations are corporate bodies, corporate entities. There is a difference between the close of probations for corporate entities and for all mankind as individuals. No longer are the nations under the merciful intervention of God, but have been given over to Satan to work his deceptions so as to bring them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.
This understanding of the meaning and significance of "the times of the nations" being fulfilled opens before us two other doors of insight. One involves a deeper understanding of the sanctuary types of ancient Israel; the other, lessons we can learn from the parallel between the end of the times of the Jewish nation/church and the times to which we have come.
A LESSON FROM THE SANCTUARY -- The 16th chapter of Leviticus outlines the services on the Day of Atonement. All the details we will not discuss. We will only carefully consider the threefold cleansing outlined in ritual for the day. First, lest there should be any misunderstanding as to what I will write, let me make it very clear that in the great antitype which convened in Heaven in 1844, all judgment is made in the presence of the Ancient of days. In the type on earth, we are given a glimpse of the agenda of what is taking place in Heaven.
The first item was the cleansing of - making an atonement for - the most holy place. (Lev. 16:15-16a; the KJV uses "holy" with the word, "place", supplied to refer to the Most Holy apartment of the sanctuary.) The second item was the cleansing of the holy place, or what is noted as the "tabernacle." (Lev. 16:16b) The third item was the cleansing of the Altar in the court. (Lev. 16:18) It was not until these three steps were completed that Azazel, the scapegoat, was brought into the picture. The text reads: And when he [the High Priest] hath made an end of reconciling the holy place [most holy apartment], and the tabernacle of the congregation [first apartment], and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. (verse 20)
Now what was the significance of these three steps and what is God telling us in this type? Let us turn our attention to the daily service and how it relates to this
p 8 -- three-fold agenda.
When an individual sinned, a common priest ministered his offering. Of blood, the priest fingerprinted it on the horns of the Altar of the court, and poured the remainder at the base of the Altar. (Lev. 4:30) When the congregation sinned (a corporate act), the high priest ministerred the offering, and the blood was marked on the horns of the Altar of Incense in the first apartment, with the remainder of the blood poured at the base of the Altar in the court. (Lev. 4:16-18) During the year not one drop of blood of any sin offering ever was brought into the Most Holy Place. The closest any blood came to the Most Holy Place was that of the sin offering for corporate sin, when blood was sprinkled "seven times before the Lord, even before the vail." (4:17) Now what is the three-fold agenda followed on the Day of Atonement telling us in the light of where the blood of confession was placed?
Whatever was signified by the type, whatever was accomplished when our Great High Priest first came to the Ancient of days in judgment, the next cleansing or "Step Two" had to do with corporate guilt and confession. When the adjudication of corporate guilt was completed, the atonement passed to the individual record of confession, which in the type was placed on the horns of the Altar of the Court. Jesus in His prophecy gave the signal for the hour when the "times of the corporate bodies (nations)" would be fulfilled. Then judgment would pass to the individual cases. If there was ever a prophecy
p 9 -- which pinpointed the hour to which we have come in relationship to the judgment, this prophecy of Jesus does! Could it be that in the achri hou - that brief period of time from 1967 to 1980 - the judgment of the individual dead was completed and now we have passed to the judgment of the living? How desperate is such an hour, and how ought we to be living in the light of this possibility?
PARALLELS -- There are some parallels between the close of the "times of the Jewish nation/church" and the close of "the times of the Gentiles (corporate nations/churches)." The time that was allotted to the Jewish nation - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people" (Dan. 9:24) - ended in 34 A.D. However, the book of Acts reveals the varying times for the close of probation for the various segments of Jewry. Let us observe the message of that book, and see what it is telling us.
First, consider Acts 2. On that Day of Pentecost, to whom was the message given? Was it given to Gentiles? Was it a great evangelistic endeavor, as we think of evangelism today? No, that Day of Pentecost did not have such an objective. To whom was the message directed? Verse 5 states - "and there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven." What kind of people were they? "Devout" Jews!
What does the word, "devout" mean? How does Luke use the word? In his Gospel, he refers to Simeon, the man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, as "devout." (Luke 2:25) In describing the men who buried Stephen, Luke declared them to be "devout men." (Acts 8:2) The message of that Day of Pentecost was directed to "devout men" - good men. However, as the Spirit spoke through Peter, with what did He charge these men? Note carefully - "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. They "devout" Jews - crucified their own Messiah? Yes, that is what Peter accused them of - "You crucified the Lord of glory."
Some of these men - even the majority - were not even in
Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion. They had come for the celebration
of the Feast of Pentecost. How then
p 10 -- could they be charged with the crucifixion? Because of corporate involvement! They were a part of corporate Israel, and because of this, they were accountable forthe acts done by the leadership of that corporate entity, They responded - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
What was Peter's answer? "Repent."
What is this telling us? In 31 A.D., probation was still open to devout Jews. They could repent. But let us continue on.
Come now to Acts 3. We find a short time following the events of the Day of Pentecost, that Peter and John go to the temple to witness. Accosted by a man lame from birth, they heal him in the name of Jesus. This restored man holds Peter and John as a large group of people gather to assess what has happened. Peter seizes the opportunity and witnesses concerning Jesus, charging his hearers with betrayal, denial, and murder. (Acts 3:12-15) But he holds out hope; he counsels - "Repent ye therefore." (verse 19) The door of repentance was still open for these worshipers in the temple.
While preaching, the captain of the temple with the leading priests took them into custody for trial the next day. Observe now before whom they were arraigned the next day. Read carefully Acts 4:6: And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
Who were these men? Who were Annas and Caiaphas?
They were the spiritual leaders of the Jewish Church; they were also the very ones who had delivered Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified. Peter filled with the Holy Spirit charged them with the very act - "ye crucified" Jesus Christ. (v. 10) But he never held out to them the opportunity to repent. Why? The spiritual leadership of the Jewish Church had passed the unseen line! They could not repent. This was prior to 34 A.D.
We come now to the year 34 A. D. itself. In Acts 7, Stephen
is arraigned before the highest "council" of Israel. (See 6:15)
Adjured by the high priest, he makes his defense. Hear carefully His final
stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the
Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have
not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before
the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and
p 11 -- He didn't call upon them to repent. He charged them with the act which brought corporate guilt upon the Jewish nation/church. They took Stephen out and stoned him, and Israel's probation as a church/nation closed. But what about the individual member's probation?
Now let us ask ourselves a question? From this point on, the book of Acts is primarily the story of whom? Paul. And what did Paul do? Turn to Acts 13. He was on his first missionary tour, and here is the record of his sermon in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia. Observe what he told them: Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethern, that through this Man is preached unto you forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (13:38-39)
What did he tell them? Keep in mincl that he was now out among the Jews of the Diaspora. To these individual Jews, he assured them that "forgiveness" was still extended to them if they would believe and accept Him whom their spiritual leaders had crucified. The Jewish church/nation had closed their probation as a corporate body, but now to the individual Jew of the synagogue was given an opportunity to make a judgment concerning the decisions of their hierarchical leadership in regard to Truth.
We find that as we study Paul's ministry in the book of Acts, this is the consistent pattern. When he arrives in a new city, where does he go on the Sabbath? To the synagogue. Whom does he proclaim? Jesus and calls upon them to believe and follow Him whom their church leadership had rejected and crucified. When they did not respond, what did Paul do? He left them. (Acts 13:46; 19:8-9) The book of Acts ends on this very theme. (Acts 28:23-25)
The book of Acts also closes within the shadow of the destruction of Jerusalem. Through all that time from 34 A.D. till 66 A.D., there was opportunity for the laity of the Jewish Church as individuals to repent of the sin that closed the day of probation for their hierarchy. This fact needs to be kept in mind as we consider the parallel between the close of the Jewish church/nation and the ending of the times of the nations of earth and the corporate body which we call the Church today.
The parallel between the fulfillment of the times of the
p 12 -- nations (Gentiles) and our own ch urch history is remarkable and dare not be overlooked. We need to recognize that we cannot divorce ourselves from the fact that the Three Angels' Messages which was committed to the Church in sacred trust involves the nations. The very prelude to these messages reads: And I saw. another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, ... (Rev. 14:6)
When the times allotted to the nations is fulfilled, the giving of "'the everlasting gospel" to the nations is also affected. The two cannot be divorced. Furthermore, we are told: 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. (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 247)
As Ellen G. White was writing this intent of God following the 1903 General Conference Session, she noted the only condition where-by the judgment of "found wanting" could be averted. It reads: Unless the church, which is now  being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself. (Ibid., p. 250)
This is not a call to individual repentance but to corporate repentance. In the light radiating from the agenda of the sanctuary as revealed in the type with the fulfilling of the time of the Gentiles - nations as corporate bodies - we should now understand the weighing of the Church in the same balance, and the decision that was rendered. Follow closely now the parallel as diagramed. (p. 14)
In the lefthand column, we have the significant dates in the history of the State of Israel. Let us review them. In 1948, the State of Israel was re-established. The event itself did not fulfill any prophecy. However, coming events were casting their shadows before. Jerusalem still remained in Jordanian control, trodden down of the Gentiles.
In 1967, in the Six-Day War (June 5-10), Jerusalem was captured, and a government under the control of Israel was set up. It was the beginning of the end. It constituted a warning to the Church of the corporate judgment she faced. In 1980, the entire government of Israel, was
p 13 -- transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The prophecy of Jesus had reached complete fulfillment. This was done on July 30 of 1980.
In the righthand column is a review of our own Church historyin parallel with the events which fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus. ln1949, Bible Readings for the Home Circle was revised. In the study on "The Sinless Life," the paragraphs defining the human nature Christ took upon Himself were altered. l.n 1950, Elders Wieland and Short presented a restudy of 1888 to the leadership of the Church and called for a "denominational repentance" - corporate repentance. While these young men did not perceive the connection of the message of 1888 with the General Conference session in 1903 - and still do not understand it - they did answer the call of God in giving to the Church, the only remedy which could avert it being "spewed out" by Christ. (See Rev. 3:16)
In 1952, a Bible Conference in the Sligo Park Church called the ministry's attention to the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24, noting "that we should all be watching [it] with special care." Then came the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, in which we compromised our basic teachings on the incarnation and the atonement. Instead of repentance, we were continuing to betray the sacred trust making it virtually impossible to give the "ever-lasting gospel" message in its purity.
Then came the fateful year - 1967. In the very month that Jerusalem was retaken, a committee appointed by the General Conference rejected Wieland and Short's call for denominational repentance for the third and final time. In July, Dr. Earle Hilgert then of Andrews University took his place as a voted member on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. In October, the Annual Council gave its approval to the Association of Adventist Forums from whose podium at PUC in 1979, Dr. Desmond Ford was to attack the sanctuary doctrine of the Church. Between 1967 and 1980, in 1977, Dr. B. B. Beach would place in the hands of the reigning pope, Paul VI, "a gold-covered symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (Review & Herald, August 11, 1977, p. 23)
Then came 1980. At the General Conference session in Dallas, Texas, the Church voted a new Statement of Beliefs, and included in them language from the Constitution of the World Council of Churches, and confirmed the compromises on the atonement and incarnation made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56. Within three months God permitted Jesus' prophecy to reach its complete fulfillment. Corporate judgment was then completed in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
p 14 -- A COMPARISON OF SIGNIFICANCE --
p 15 -- A FINAL PROPHECY -- There is one final prophecy concerning Jerusalem in Daniel. Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 11:45. Thisprophecy in Daniel is a literal prophecy and can no more be spiritualized away than can the prophecy Jesus gave concerning Jerusalem. Daniel 11:45 reads: And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him.
Daniel understood well what "the glorious holy mountain"
was, for he had prayed - "0 Lord ... let ... Thy fury be turned away
from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain." (9:16) This "he"
of the prophecy will "plant" the "tents" of his abode
in Jerusalem. This "he" is "the king" of Daniel 11:36,
or the Papacy. He will welcome the personified Christ to "the throne
of his father, David." But what then? The next verse reads: "And
at that time shall
Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of
thy people." (Dan. 12:1) It will be the end - the close of all human
probation. Every individual will have made his decision.
p 16 -- We have been given foreknowledge: Fallen angels upon earth form confederations with evil men. In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world. Rebellion against God's holy law will be fully ripe. But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him. But Omnipotence will interpose, and to the apostate churches that unite in the exaltation of Satan, the sentence will go forth, "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." (TM, p. 62)
All that Jesus prophesied about Jerusalem as signs to God's people has taken place. The shadow of coming events was cast in 1948; the first warning came in 1967; the final warning in 1980. We are living between a fulfilled Luke 21:24, and yet to be fulfilled Daniel 11:45. We are at the end! "Heir of the kingdom, why dost thou slumber? ....Wake thee, arouse thee." "Lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." "When ye see these things come to pass, then KNOW that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand ... This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
1990 Aug -- XXIII -- 8(90) -- Enoch Olivera Keynotes General Session of ATS -- Secret Business Meeting Follows Session See p. 5 -- Preceding the Ministorial Councillor the ministry of the Seventh day Adventist Church held in conjunction with the General Conference was the general session of the Adventist Theological Society (ATS). This meeting was conducted in the large Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indianapolis beginning on the evening of June 28 and closing with a business meeting on Sunday, July 1.
The keynote address was presented by Elder Enoch Olivera, vice president of the General Conference, who has indicated he is retiring as of this session of the General Conference. This message from Elder Olivera's deep personal convictions as to the direction the Church is taking in America and Australia was the outstanding presentation of the whole session of the Society. While his topic was listed as "The Crisis in Adventist Theology," he captioned his subject as "The Horse of Troy in the Church," citing the story of the downfall of Troy by their bringing the Trojan horse into the city itself. While he avoided specific names, he left no doubt that the "Trojan horse" within the Church were the liberals of various shades and hues, both theologians who are desiring a revision of the church's basic theological concepts, and certain vocal laity who are teaching prophetic futurism.
Elder Olivera asked the question, "Who are promoting liberalism?" He answered that these consisted of those who wish to shed the designation of the Church as a "cult," and move it into the mainstream of Evangelical Christianity. He indicate that the liberals were fostering the idea of pluralism within the Church indicating that there could be unity on the essentials between the conservative and the liberals, but that freedom be allowedl to each group on the non-essentials. Olivera asked - "Who decides which are essentials, and which, are non-essentials?"
p 2 -- The retiring vice president was also deeply
concerned about those who were substituting the
Another speaker at the session, Dr. George Reid of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI), kept stressing that the change in Adventism began in the 1950's. In this he was correct. Elder Olivera entered the ministry in 1945, if I have recalled correctly his personal history as he gave it. He came to the General Conference as a vice president directly from the presidency of the South American Division. He indicated that this new theological liberalism has not as yet penetrated the Church in South America, and he vowed in retiring to keep it from so doing down there. This also indicates that he does not have firsthand information or experience in what did take place in America in the 1950's. Thus, perhaps unwittingly, he is blaming the wrong people for what happened in the 1950's. It was not the liberals then who desired to be free from the "cult" designation, but rather those who then operated in the "mainstream" of Adventism. There is no question that Olivera is aware of certain facts connected with the 1950's because in discussing the sanctuary teaching, he quoted Barnhouse's perception of it as a "face-saving" devise. Naturally, and rightly so, he rejected this charge.
The final devotion of the society 's meetings was given
by Elder F. W. Wernick. He spoke on
First , we must get our history straight and I find out who are the present day inheritors of what took place in the 1950's. The first fact in getting our history straight is that those now designated as liberals did not receive official recognition so as to effectively influence Adventism outside of their own circle until 1967. In the Fall of that year in connection with the Annual Council "the officers of the General Conference" voted "to approve the establishment of an organization known as the Association of Adventist Forums." (Spectrum, Winter 1969, p. 5) It is this organization which has fostered the liberalism within the Church - the very things now so abhorent to the ATS. But who was president of the General Conference at that time? R. H. Pierson. Who was the vice president for the North American Division? Neal C. Wilson.
Then the date of the action - the Fall of 1967. Already in June of that year, the State of Israel had captured the old city of Jerusalem, beginning the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy of Luke 21:24. There was no excuse for the ignorance of any of us regarding the meaning of that event. Both Pierson and Wilson are listed as being delegates at the 1952 Bible Conference where Arthur Maxwell highlighted Luke 21:24 as a major unfulfilled prophecy and its significance. (See Our Firm Foundation, Vol. II, pp. 230-231. Pierson was a delegate from the Southern Asiann Division, and Wilson from the Middle Eastern Division. Vol. I, p. 39). Simply stated, the liberals have not "crashed the party" but were welcomed by a then "conservative" leadership into the party. Let us put the blame where it belongs. And if by 1967, it was perceived that the graduates frorr non-Adventist seminaries and universities were teaching concepts contrary to historic Adventist principles, then the action giving recognition to the AAF was a betrayal of stewardship in high office. And anyone who attended Andrews University in those years prior to 1967 can testify that heretical concepts were being advocated. This editor knows from personal experience and can so testify.
"Cult" Issue -- This issue began prior to 1967 in
the middle of the 1950's in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. Compromises
were made with the Evangelicals, Barnhouse and Martin, with the objective
of escaping the "cult" designation as perceived by both of the
these men. The results of these conferences could not have been stated
more succinctly than T. E. Unruh did in his report of them - "It
was a time when the gates between sheepfolds stood open." (The
Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2, 1977, p. 35; see manuscript, The
Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences 1955-1956)
p 3 -- The number of "sheep" that have left the Adventist "fold" for the Evangelical far out number those coming into the Adventist "fold" from the Evangelical. The greatest tragedy of the open "gates" has beon the "fodder" brought in to feed the Adventist"sheep.
Let us take a look as to whom the conferees for the Adventists
were - Unruh chaired the conferences, and with him were R. Allan Anderson,
W. E. Read, and L. E. Froom. In retrospect, none of these men could be
termed liberals in the sense that, this designation is now being used
by the ATS. Further, a committee was appointed by R. R. Figuhr, then president
of the General Conference, to oversee the publication of the answers given
to the quesitions asked by Walter Martin "in convenient" reference
book form"as "a definitive statement of contemporary
Adventist theology." (ibid., p. 41; emphasis added) [Notice
the use of the word, "contemporary." This meant the theology
of Adventism as modified and compromised in the conferences.] Now observe
who the members of the committee were - A. V. Olson, W. B. Ochs, L. K.
Dickson, H. L. Rudy, A. L Hamm, J . I. Robinson, W. R. Beach, C. L. Torrey,
F. D. Nichol and the Adventist conferees named
The men at the Society's meeting are aware of this, fact,
and seek to minimize it. One speaker,
What norm was offered for "conservative" Adventism? What was the standard suggested? The same 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs to which the liberal editor of the Adventist Review, William G. Johnsson, so pathetically appealed in his debate with the late Walter Martin on the John Ankerberg Show. In fact, one must confess his belief in these 27 Fundamentals before he can become a member of ATS. Here is where a major problem arises.
Let me illustrate: In Questions on Doctrine, under
the heading, "Redemption Absolute by the
If the words of the English language mean anything at all,
this is saying, there is no final atonement; it was all finished on the
cross. The meaning of the final sentence is explained by the sentences
preceding it. That there be no misunderstanding that this phraseology
carries the concept of no
final atonement, note another statement from the same book: When,
therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature
- even in the writings of
Let me repeat, lest there be any miscomprehension. The clause
- "making application of the
p 4 -- In it ["a sanctuary in heaven"] Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. (Emphasis supplied)
It might be argued that in 1980 when the 27 Fundamentals were formulated at the General Conference session in Dallas, this phraseology meant something different than as used in 1957 when the book, Questions on Doctrine, was first published. But in 1983, three years after the Dallas session, in response to a letter by Walter Martin to the General Conference, W. Richard Lesher on behalf of Elder Neal C. Wilson, replied that "Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers" given therein "as they did in 1957." (The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410)
The "new theology", - Ford's theology, Norman Gulley's theology - is merely the "chickens" come home to roost as a result of the compromises of the mid-1950.'s. Yet here comes this new-formed Adventist Theological Society, and while professing to be against the liberalism in the Church, is fostering the basic betrayal of the sacred trust committed to the Adventist Church in the sanctuary doctrine. Let it be remembered that the 27 Fundamentals are the pronouncement of "contemporary" Adventism, not historic Adventism.
Futurism -- Let us consider, next, Elder Olivera's justifiable, concern for the adoption of the Roman Catholic futuristic method of interpreting prophecy which has manifest itself in many quarters of the Church both in America and Australia. At whose door does this lie?
When the Church's, leadership through its "Briefs" in Federal Court stated emphatically that the concepts which the Church once held in regard to the Roman Catholic Church based on the Protestant understanding of Bible prophecy had "now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church was concerned, what can one expect? Is it not saying that our understanding of how to interpret Bible prophecy was faulty, therefore, a new interpretation is in order? Do not try to take the "beam" out of your brother's eye, till you get the "beam" out of your own eye. (I use the word "beam" for both "liberals" and the now self-proclaimed "conservatives" because in either case it is not a "mote.") And who were the men in the hierarchy who approved this "Brief" in the EEOC v. PPPA case? Again R. H. Pierson and Neal C. Wilson! (For full documentation, see Excerpts - Legal Documents, published by the ALF of Mississippi, Inc.)
But the story does not end here. At the ATS meeting, speaking f rom the same podium as Elder Olivera was Dr. Mervyn Maxwell, author of God Cares, Vol. I. In this book, he teaches that Papal Rome is really "Christian" Rome, and "the embodiment of 'our' Christian heritage, for better or for worse." (p. 127) Must we mitigate the force of the prophecy of Daniel 7? The "little horn" is ever rooted in the iron toothed beast which represented Pagan Rome. Is our "heritage" from Paganism? God have mercy on us. Why should the ATS, or anyone else be concerned that some in Adventism are teaching "futurism" which clears the Roman Catholic Church, of its pagan origin, and the "finger of God" in prophecy until they set their own house in order. Would it not have been far better to have screened the speakers and chosen men who could have enlarged upon the concerns of Elder Olivera instead of men who are teaching some of the same things which have led to the problems in Adventist theology today?
Did not Jesus. say: What miserable frauds you are, you scribes and Pharisees! You build tombs for the prophets, and decorate monuments for good men of the past, and then say, "If we had lived in, the times of our ancestors we should never have joined in the killing of the prophets." Yes, "your ancestors" that shows you to be the sons indeed of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead then, and finish off what your ancestors tried to dol You serpents, you viper's brood, how do you think you are going to avoid being condemned to the rubbish heap? (Matt. 23:29-33 Phillips)
p 5 -- The Adventist
Theological Society -- In the Ministry (Dec., 1989)
J. R. ' Spangler, then editor, wrote a report on the Adventist Theological
Society (ATS). The response he
The Constitution of ATS plainly stakes out the theological
position they seek to represent within Adventism. They declare their society
promotes study among Seventh-day Adventists "who hold to a centrist
position." (Preamble A-2) It is interesting to note that Spangler
in his editorial introduced his comments with reference to an article
appearing in Christianity Today (Feb. 5, 1990) entitled, "The
Recent Truth About Seventh-day Adventism." From it he noted the three
distinct theological categories in Adventism today - "evangelical,
traditional, and liberal." ATS perceives itself as "'trational"
but being 'in reality, "evangelical" combined with elements
of the traditional. They perceive of ASRS as being liberal. Granting this
evaluation, they look upon all others, not in harmony with them in all
details, as being the "right wing" in Adventism. The fact is,
there are few scholars in this "wing" though many divergent
"voices." This is tragically confusing! Spangler's
In the "Statement of Mission/ Purpose" of the ATS, they maintain that the organization is "supportive of spiritual revival and reformation within the Seventh-day Adventist Church." The question is, do their actions and proclamation support this objective, or are they a divisive element doing what they accuse others of doing? Spangler noted comments from letters he received as a result of his report on ATS. These, need, to be carefully considered. From this editor's attendance at the session of the ATS in Indianapolis, he must, say they are a correct evaluation of the Society. Here are some of the quotes from Spangler's mail: I am frightened by its divisive and secretive nature, and the potential it has to split Adventist theological ranks once and for all by forcing people to make un-natural choices. (emphasis, the writer's)
[ATS is] an insulated special-interest group. The entry gate is narrow, and it is hedged about with protective barriers to keep the unwanted out, and with authority to purge the unfaithfull within.
[ATS is] harrowingly self-righteous. ... Its policy of invitation only for membership - how haughtily safe. ... its purpose - how seemingly honorable ... yet its potential effect on the SDA ministry/church in North America - how horribly divisive and destructive. (ibid.)
From my observation and conduct of those in control - Blanco,
Gulley, Hasel and the platform
During the presentation by Wernick, there was a scampering about by Blanco. Elder Loor was called out. Then when Wernick finished, it was explained that it was decided to hold the business meeting in the basement of the church, but no one had a key to the room. It was finally secured via Loor, the pastor, and the custodian was called. At the stairway entrance a table was set up, with only enough room for one person at a time to pass through. Gulley stood guard, checking each of the "sheep" as they entered. When Gulley left the table another guard was posted. "Despicable" is the only word to describe the fear-mentality of those who those who operate the society and their masonic rules for membership and entrance.
During the session, I asked Gulley to sit down and discuss his series of articles in the Adventist Review. This he refused to do, stating, "What I wrote, I believe." If the "centrist" position is Gulley's teaching, which is "new theology," then count me in the "right wing" as a progressive fundamental historic Adventist. We will have more to say about the ATS in future issues - both good and bad. It is a mixture, like the "tree of the garden," a theology of truth and error.
p 6 -- LET"S TALK IT OVER -- Over the past two months, there were several items which came to this desk, that I set aside as items which needed comment. One was the new publication - Adventism Triumphant , the "Journal of the 1888 Message Study Committee." Its name is reminiscent of A. L. Hudson's first publication - The Church Triumphant. One could identify with Hudson's choice of name. The church of the living God is to be "the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15) Such a church will be triumphant. But the name chosen by the 1888 Message Study Committee is defiant of the revelation of God in salvation history. The word, "Adventism" is not defined, but can be assumed to mean, "Seventh-day Adventism." The only official version of such is designated as "contemporary" Adventism. So the question must be addressed - Can "contemporary" Adventism triumph any more than "contemporary" Judaism triumphed in New Testament times?
Then during this same period, the May-June Newsletter of the 1888 Committee came with a report of Snyman and Wieland's overseas ministry. A subheading proclaimed that around the world the members of the Adventist Church were, "hungry for pure gospel." [Wieland also investigated an approach to Hinduism while in India] This concept that these men were preaching the "pure gospel" raises a question. Is there another being preached by the church in those overseas countries. If so, Paul said that those so doing should be accursed. (Gal 1:8) Evidently, the editor of the News Letter does not believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is preaching the "pure gospel" in Africa and Australia. Yet the report on Snyman indicated that he earnestly sought to channel the tithes and offerings into what in their judgment is less than "pure gospel." Such actions are in contradiction to the heading on the report and reveals either an unmitigated egotism, or pure confusion, or both!
It was of interest to note that Snyman's meeting in the Brisbane area was sponsored by Morris Harnell. If he is now sponsoring the "pure gospel", what has he been sponsoring in the past? How our foibles and lack of discernment must grieve the heart of God, in this final hour of human history when He had hoped for so much and sees so little sanctified judgment.
There is much more that could be said about items coming across the desk, such as, the newspaper report of the person being jailed who refused when requested to leave the Mount Vernon [0hio] Seventh-day Adventist Church. Then there was a question asked in one "flyer" - "When was the last time you heard good ole, straight, Seventh-day Adventist preaching?" It is certain that one cannot hear such from one who yo-yo's in and out of the conference not knowing which end is up or down. The bottom line of the "flyer" was to get money. One can understand why the conference reacts as it often does. They, too, want money; and here are all of these competitors. If you were in their boots, you would react the same way. The sad part is that those who profess to be God's concerned people do not seek the Holy Spirit and ask, "Where, do you want me to place the means entrusted to me?," Instead they fall for the "sale's pitch" coming from facades.
Perhaps, now I had better talk over a key concept, lest
I run out of space. There has been much said and written lately about
"progressive Adventism". At the three national conferences in
1989 of the Association of Adventist Forums (AAF), the topic was "Progressive
Adventism: Oxymoron - or Wave of the Future." (Spectrum, Vol.
20, #3, p. 1) ["Oxymoron" means "pointedly absurd"
and could mean, "obviously a fool"] The "liberal"
perception calls for a "pluralism" in order that Adventism might
be the "'wave of the future." The first president of AAF, when
This organization (AAF) is calling for a "velvet revolution" in Adventism led by the laity, and are urging it to begin now. While the liberals are much more kindly disposed towards the conservatives, at least, on paper, their concepts are anathema to the Conservatives as represented by the ATS. The issue as seen by ATS, is,really a social gospel versus a theologically orientated gospel based on the Bible as interpreted by their interpretation of Ellen G. White. The ATS at their session mounted an attack on the designs of the liberals on two fronts.
The social gospel was attacked as "liberation theology"
borrowed from the Catholic Church. As one reads the report in Sepctrum
p 7 -- of the 1989 conferences, it becomes evident that there is much borrowing from Catholicism even to the point of having a Catholic theologian address the conference held in Seattle. The second front was in the area of "progressive revelation," or as one speaker at the ATS meeting modified it - "progressive understanding."
It is obvious that as time moves forward - and now a full century separates us from the beginnings and primary development of Adventism - there must be some evaluation of where we are and what we stand for. The ATS perceives of this present hour as a "crisis in Adventist theology" (and such it is), while the AAF perceives it as a time to implement a social gospel of "working with the Lord to restore justice to His creation." The questions are asked by the liberals - "How can we make the everlasting gospel meaningful to society?" "How can we transform a suffering world?" Here the liberals are aiming at the very heart of Adventism. We believe in the need for the soon return of Jesus because there is no human force that can transform a suffering world. Only the destruction of the present system and the setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven can accomplish this objective.
What has caused "conservative" Adventism to loose
its vitality and effectiveness? The answer
Through the gifts of the Spirit, as He guides into all truth, this understanding was to be sharpened. But we have come to a period wherein our perceptions have been dulled and we have become unwilling to review our past understandings to see if in reality they square with the primary revelation of God. We compromised with the Evangelicals in the 1950's instead of carefully restudying our positions on the sanctuary and other vital concepts to see if indeed they were in line with the Bible. The "messenger to the remnant" revealed a duty we have not performed. She wrote: 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. (March 30, 1897)
Notice it says, "that truth" - that which was and is designated "present truth" is the truth to be developed to a higher scale. It is not to be abandoned, or mitigated, but developed. Some of our cherished concepts may have to be given up, and rays of light not previously perceived substituted for our faulty perceptions. Even our spiritual forefathers had to clean up much of Millerism. This any theological society in Adventism worthy of the name should do. ATS has not so proved itself. --- (1990 Aug) --- End --- TOP
1990 Sep -- XXIII -- 9(90) -- The 1990 GC Session -- Blighted Hopes - for Wilson and the Church -- The 1990 General Conference session was actually in three parts, though not officially so recognized. The pre-pre-session, the meeting of the Adventist Theological Society, was theological in content. As a church thinketh in its heart theologically so it is. While this society does not represent the theological thinking of all sections of the Church, it was nevertheless addressed by a vice president of the General Conference, and at its business meeting, a former vice president gave the devotional. Further, at this session, the president elected was a member of the Southern College Board, the College where the ATS originated. Add to this that the new president of the North American Division was chairmar of the same board. We have discussed this part of the session in the previous issue of WWN.
The pre-session conducted by the Ministerial Department of the General Conference was devoted to the problems of the church pastor. (See p. 10. Bulletin # 1) The main session, the business of the Church, with its reports, discussions, and voted actions, was politics as usual. Behind the facade of mission pageantry, and glowing reports from General Conference Department heads, and Division presidents, plus the propaganda of heralding the work of the Nominating Committee as the moving of the Holy Spirit, stands the stark fact that the question asked in the opening devotion of the session - "It didn't happen in 1901! Will it happen in 1990? - must be answered, "No, it did not!" (Bulletin #2, pp. 26-27) Tragically, in the assessment of this session in the months to come, the question as to "why" it did no happen will be avoided like poison, or it will be deceptively explained that it did happen.
So that there be no misunderstanding from what viewpoint
I am discussing this 1990 session of the General Conference, know that
I did not attend either the Ministerial Council, nor the session itself.
I am writing from the picture portrayed in the Bulletins, the fine
print of the business meeetings, and the reports of the committees, especially
the Nominating Committee. In so writing, I recognize there are limitations.
The messages are not fully reported, but are abbreviated and condensed
summaries. There was much editing done. For example, compare the size
and material in the
p 2 -- General Conference Bulletins of the 1890s, and the ten issues of the Adventist Review which carried the 1990 report of the session. Even a casual comparison indicates the editing that was done. Note what the writer of "The Day in the Dome" for Friday, July 6, had to say about the devotional referred to on page I (Bulletin #2, p. 6, col. 2) and the content of that devotional as reported on pages 26 & 27 of the same Bulletin. This variation is minor and inconsequential, but does this hold true in all areasof editing? There is much left unsaid, and from what is written, one must take the liberty to read between the lines. Probably, one of the most frank, and best written reports of "The Day in the Dome" was written by Nina Martinez for Sabbath, July 7. (ibid., pp. 9-11)
In discussing this General Conference session, and the actions taken, I will interpret these in the light of my own observations and experiences of local conference sessions I attended as a teenager, and in my ministerial experience of sitting on the nominating committee of those sessions both seeing and hearing what took place. Things have not changed drastically, nor will they. The committees are much larger and the democratic process being used is lauded, but the behind-the-scenes maneuvering has changed little. However, I will seek to write from an objective viewpoint from the data supplied in the Adventist Review, and other reliable sources. I know f rom the experience in attending the New Orleans session that I can obtain just as clear a picture through the Bulletins, as being present and taking notes.
The title for this'article on the session could as well have been captioned -"They Got Him!" meaning Wilson, or "Blighted Hopes" - depending upon which aspect one wished to focus.
There is no question but that Wilson expected and intended to be re-elected president of the General Conference. He also knew there were segments of the world church who were opposed to him and his re-election. He was advised by at least four persons to announce his retirement at the session because they warned the opposition was so strong, he could not be re-elected. Two of these according to my informants were Kenneth Wood and Willis Hackett. From another reliable source, the last straw that sent Wilson into "limbo" was his double talk with the presidents of the Union Conferences in the North American Division. In a meeting with these men, he advised them to take the lead in the Nominating Committee (every one of them was on the committee), suggesting that one of their number become chairman. But when Wilson chaired the organization of the Nominating Committee, he suggested that the Chairman be a North American Union president, but one with overseas experience which not one of them had. In casting about among their associates, they lighted upon Folkenberg who was one of them, a local conference president from the Carolinas with overseas union conference leadership experience.
Wilson felt comfortable with this choice as Folkenberg had worked closely with him in the "Global Mission" project preparation. However, the South and Central American Divisions were solidly opposed to him as reflected in the man first tapped for the General Conference leadership - Brown, president of, the Inter-American Division, and in the final choice of one who had served "south of the border." Wilson no doubt counted strongly on Africa to come to his defense, but one leading delegeite from Africa approached a North American Union president and asked if they wanted a change. The president replied in the affirmative, and was told to lead out, and they would follow.
The rejection of Wilson is not that he did not have his
supporters on the Nominating Committee. He did. The Vice Chairman of the
committee in reporting out the name of Folkenberg, for president, prefaced
his remarks with the fact that the first name placed, in nomination was
that of Wilson, and that many speeches were made "concerning the
outstanding ministry and service Elder Wilson had given as leader of the
General Conference and during his previous service as vice president for
North America. Many spoke of the respect and love that exists in the world
field for Elder Wilson
Wilson adopted a strategy for re-election so out-of-character with his previous image that it was obvious as to the intent. Appearing in the Ministry and the Adventist Review were a series of articles on the need for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit if the Church were to accomplish the Global Mission planned for it. At the Adventist Theological Society meeting, I heard rumors and they were just rumors that these articles had been "ghost" written and/or researched by another person. Interestingly, the one named as doing this job, Dr. George Rice of the E. G. White Estate, was the one who gave the opening devotional
p 3 -- reflecting the same theme and thoughts. This raises some questions. Did Wilson believe that by emphasizing the need for the Spirit, thos who were opposed to him would bury their opposition for the sake of unity which is prerequisite for the reception of the Spirit? Did Wilson forget that many of those opposed to him were political "animals" just like himself? Can a leopard change his spots? There was no evidence that during the weeks these article were being written and published that Wilson made any attempts to right grievous wrong inflicted on his fellow church members during his time in Washington. So with hopes blighted, Wilson reaped what he had sown during his time as head of the Church However, if the readers of the Bulletins have noted carefully other aspects of the election process, they will have observed that Wilson was given a "sop." The re-elected Secretary of the General Conference felt so sorry for Wilson that he recommended, and the Nominating Committee accepted, the placing of Wilson's son Ted N. C. Wilson, as one of the associate secretaries of the General Conference. This son has had only one term of service in the Africa-Indian Ocean Division, with very, very limited prior experience. This is a tragic decision, but one which warmed the former president's heart that a Wilson presence would still be in the General Conference.
Wilson's Successor -- The second Bulletin carrying a picture of Elder R. S. Folkenberg, also carried two lead articles giving a "profile" of the man. Certain firsts and comparisons are noted by the editor of the Adventist Review. He is the youngest man to take office since A. G. Daniells. He is als the first General Conference president to come directly from the local conference level. There are some other firsts. He is the first chairman of the Nominating Committee to become president at the same session. One staff writer cited this as a coincidence (?). (Bulletin #2, p 2) It is also interesting to note that since the 1922 session when the General Conferenc ended the "reign" of Daniells, Folkenberg is the first conference president to ever chair the Nominating Committee who has not had experience as a Union President in North America., Back in 1941, F. H. Robbins who was then president of the East Pennsylvania Conference chaired the Nominating Committee, but he had been president of the Columbia Union from 1918-1932, and was in that very year to return to that office in the Columbia Union merry-go-round. From 1922 through 1985, the Chairmen of the GC Nominating Committees have been North American Union presidents except in 1930 when F. M. Wilcox, Editor of the Review & Herald chaired the committee, and in 1985, when Dr. Richard Lesher, president of Andrews University, presided.
In selecting men for high office, the children of this generation are wiser than the children of the light. The one nominated to high office in the United States is closely scrutinized before being confirmed. Not so with the Church. The session elects a "dark horse" and declares that the Spirit of God was at work, and the laity and under-clergy re-echo this sentiment as they return to the members sitting in the pews back home. There is given in the counsels of the "messenger to the remnant" a criterion by which a man could be evaluated. It reads: Honesty and policy will not work together in the same mind. In time, either policy will be expelled, and truth and honesty will reign supreme, or, if policy is cherished, honesty will be forgotten. They are never in agreement; they have nothing in common. One is the prophet of Baal, the other the true prophet of God. (5T:96)
The question is did the session elect a "prophet of God" or a "prophet of Baal"? From letters and telephone conversations coming from the Carolina area, there are things which need to be investigated. It is our plan to do so, and as documentation is available, we will reproduce it, and then you can make a determination, whether Folkenberg is a "policy" man, or a man of integrity.
There are other items of a "political" nature which could be noted from the 1990 session, but there are some overriding issues that came up which need to be considered. These we will discuss in the other articles.
p 4 -- "Quiet Diplomacy" -- Over arching and of far more consequence than any action taken at the 1990 session of the General Conference, was the revelation of the behind-the-scenes activities of B. B. Beach. While the Nominating Committee replaced Wilson, B. B. Beach and his team of cohorts remain in place, as well as the head of the Communications Department of the Church.
This session has served to highlight a major shift in Adventist theology revealed during the EEOC v. PPPA case, better known as the Merikay Silver case. In a Brief submitted to the Court by the Church, a footnote read: Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term "hierarchy" was used in a perjorative sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the Church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread anti-popery among conservative protestant denominations in the early part of this century and the latter part of the last, and which has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned. (p. 41, Excerpts Legal Documents)
At this session, as well as at the New Orleans and Dallas sessions, B. B. Beach presented representatives from various Churches who were in attendance as "observers." In some instances, what these persons said were far more significant in interpreting what was taking place within the Church than what the leadership was revealing to the laity. For example, at the Dallas session, Bishop Robert Terwilliger of the Anglican Consultative Council told the delegates that in reading the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs, he had "hoped to find some degree of disagreement." He then added: I had the most awful disappointment. I found increasingly that we are together in our faith. Therefore, the unity that we share is not simply of good will and fellowship but unity in faith ..." (AR, May 1, 1980, p. 16)
In Indianapolis, the same ecumenical process was carried forward. The f irst to appear was an archbishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. He was followed by others including the same representative from the WCC who had attended the New Orleans session. However, in addition, at this session a fax was received from the General Secretary of the WCC, E. Castro, extending greetings. Joan Campbell, the WCC representative stated - I bring you the warmest of greetings from the World Council of Churches and from all our member churches around the world. ... When I was at your worship service yesterday, it seemed as though it was my own time of worship, as well as yours. And it said to me that there are many things that we hold in common - that there is, in fact, one Lord, one God and Father of us all. So as fellow Christians, like those Pentecost people in the earliest days, we look as one another and we say that we hold all things in common." (Bulletin #4. P. 6)
(For those who want to know more of this "holding in common" between the SDA Church and the WCC, So Much in Common, co-authored by B. B. Beach and the Secretary of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC)
This session forwarded more than all previous sessions, the ecumenical process. Beach presented T. J. Murphy, a Roman Catholic pastor in Indianapolis to the delegates as "an observer and official guest representing the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity." Not only did he represent the Council promoting unity, but he stated - "I bring you personal greetings from the archbishop of Indianapolis, promising and assuring you that prayers are being offered within our community for the blessed success of this General Conference." Then he added - "It is a deep honor to be present as an observer of these momentous and Spirit-filled proceedings and deliberations. For it is the desire of the Saviour Himself that His disciples might be one so that the world may believe." Then he closed his remarks with a prayer from the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. (Bulletin #7, p. 8)
This is mind boggling. First consider the fact that the Roman Catholic hierarchy were saying prayers for the "blessed success" of the session. To whom were they praying? And if answered, who answered the prayers? What has happened that the Roman Catholic Church can pray for the Adventist Church in session, when this movement was originally raised up to give the Third Angel's Message - "If any man worship the beast and his image ..."? This should send a message to every sincere and concerned member of the Church. But this is not all. The Roman Catholic observer sensed what he termed "Spirit-filled proceedings and deliberations." Through out the Bulletins, one
p 5 -- can find remarks about the guiding of the Spirit in the surprising outcome of the work of ,the Nominating Committee, and other actions taken. One must ask in all seriousness, what "spirit" filled the session's proceedings and deliberations that could be perceived by a Roman Catholic observer? The answer to this question should give every Adventist some second thoughts.
When I f irst read the report of Murphy's appearance and remarks, I wondered about the fact that he was representing the Pontifical Council. This meant that he was coming with the blessing and approbation of the Vatican itself. This past weekend, we met together in Annual Fellowship. Attending this meeting was a brother from Ft. Smith, Arkansas, who is employed by a firm operated by Catholics. The office secretary showed him a report in the Arkansas Catholic, published by the Diocese of Little Rock. This article was captioned "Adventists spread anti-Catholic tracts." This coincides with reports in The Indianapolis Star telling of the circulation of the tract - "United States in Bible Prophecy." My first reaction to the report in the Bulletin of the session telling of Murphy's appearance was that this had been quickly arranged to counter the effect of the tract. However, the article in the Arkansas Catholic tells the real story of why the reaction on the part of the GC Communication Secretary was so shocking. John F. Fink, editor of the Criterion, the Indianapolis archdiocesan newspaper, stated: The Seventh-day Adventists have a history of anti-Catholicism, like many other Protestant religions in the U.S. during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the main body of the Church has moved away from an anti-Catholic position. The new position of co-operation with the Catholic Church was exemplified by the invitation from the Seventh-day Adventists to the Vatican to send an official observer to the conference. (July 29, 1990, p. 8; emphasis supplied)
Who sent this invitation? Who is known at the Vatican for giving the Adventist Church in symbol into the hands of the Pope? None other than B. B. Beach! (See Steps to Rome, p. 26) Do not forget that at Dallas, as well as a new Statement of Beliefs being formulated, the session created what is called the Church's "Department of State" - the Department of Public Affairs. Heading this is B. B. Beach! (See Liberty Sentinel, 1981 promotional issue, p. 7) Not only is the Department involved in religious liberty issues - that is the front for the laity to see - but according to the report, it is involved in "quiet diplomacy."
The facts have now surfaced. What was to have been a triumph if the "quiet diplomacy" in having a representaive at the Indianapolis session from the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity, had a wrench thrown into the cogs - the tract - "United States in Prophecy." As far as I know the dissidents who prepared the tract which caused the uproar were totally unaware of what Beach's "quiet diplomacy" had planned. But the stir this tract made caught the Communication Department off-balance, and the further outburst on the part of Ms. Burton has given deeper insight into the thinking of the church's leadership.
When confronted with the consequences of the tract - "The United States in Prophecy" Burton called the tract - "trash." (The Indianapolis Star, July 13, 1990, p. 16) Reports vary as to the substance of the tract, and since I do not have a copy, I cannot verify these reports. For your information one report in The Star, quoting a headline hungry dissident, said it was "merely a condensation of The Great Controversy" This past week-end, I was told that it was a combination of material from both The Great Controversy and Uriah Smith's Daniel and Revelation.
Whatever, the situation by this happening provides a way to find out the attitude of the new General Conferenece president as to where he stands. Write a letter in a courteous matter-of-fact way, citing the report in The Star and calling for the removal of Ms. Burton as head of the Communications Department. Keep your outrage at such an outburst on Ms. Burton's part under control. See what reply you will receive. If enough write, they will have to formulate a stock letter. As soon as I obtain a tract, I will join in writing also. We would appreciate a copy of whatever response you receive in answer to your letter. You might also wish to call for the resignation of B. B. Beach citing the report in the Arkansas Catholic. To have invited an observer from the Vatican to a session of the General Conference is unacceptable by any standard or reason. It was totally unjustified.
p 6 -- New Baptsimal Vow -- In 1980 at the Dallas session, along with the formulation of the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief, the session voted a Baptismal Vow which all candidates for entrance into the Church whether by baptism or profession of faith were required to affirm. Now at the 1990 session in Indianapolis, this has been altered. The two vows may be compared by noting the 1980 voted vow in the 1981 Church Manual, p. 61, and the new version in Bulletin #8, p. 15.
The major change in . wording is to be found in # 1. All
of the other changes are merely cosmetic. Vow # 1 in the 1980 version
you believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit?
Where did this new formulation originate? It is taken first from the 27 Fundamentals, #2, "The Trinity." Of its origin, J.N.D. Kelly, in his book, Early Christian Doctrines, tells us: (I obtained it at the LLU Book store): The doctrine of one God, the Father and creator, formed the background and indisputable premiss of the Church's faith. Inherited from Judaism, it was her bulwark against pagan polytheism, Gnostic emanationism and Marcionite dualism. The problem for theology was to integrate with it, intellectually, the fresh data of the specifically Christian revelation. Reduced to their simplest, these were the convictions that God had made Himself known in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, raising Him from the dead and offering salvation to men through Him, and that He had poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Church. Even at the New Testament stage ideas about Christ's pre-existence and creative role were beginning to take shape, and a profound, if often obscure, awareness of the activity of the Spirit in the Church was emerging. No steps had been taken so far, however, to work all these complex elements into a coherent whole. The Church had to wait for more than three hundred years for a final synthesis, for not until the council of Constantinople (381) [Keep this date in mind] was the formula of one God existing in three co-equal Persons formally ratified. (pp. 87-88)
As a result of this voted action revising the Church Manual, those joining the Church will be expected to affirm their belief in a formulation of a Church Council three hundred years after Christ. This makes the candidate double talk for in Vow 5, he is asked to affirm that he believes in the Bible as "the only rule of faith and practice" - not a pronouncement of a Church Council. (See Great Controversy , p. 595)
But there is still more to this than merely semantics. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is represented on the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC. The objective of this Commission, the same as the WCC itself, is "to proclaim the oneness of the church of Jesus Christ and to call churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe." (See So Much in Common, p. 40) In 1982, the Commission released a document Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry - in view of seeking a new way to approach sacramental questions which divide churches.
Now a second Faith and Order study "is seeking to discover whether Christians can confess their faith together ecumenically." This study, "Towards the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today", will not write a new ecumenical confession of faith. Rather, it will ask whether churches today can "witness to, confess, live out and celebrate in common ... the same apostolic faith that was expressed in Holy Scriptures and summarized in the creeds of the early church."
For the study, the Faith and Order Commission has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 [Here is that date again] - already officially recognized by many churches - as a summary of the apostolic faith. (One World,, Jan.-Feb. 1988, p. 15)
The Seventh-day Adventist Church will have no problem when
a world church is realized. In the 27 Fundamental Statementsof Belief,
there is written the "Basis" as outlined in the Constitution
of the WCC. (See Statements #2 & # 11, in Church Manual, pp.
32, 36; and compare with WCC Constitution, So Much in Common, p.
40) Now we have placed in our Baptismal Vows, the confession of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Creed which the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC is using to achieve
"visible unity in one faith."
p 7 -- Add to this the presence of the observer which the Church invited the Vatican to send. Note that when he appeared before the delegates, they applauded. (Bulletin #7, p. 8) With all of what has and is taking place, is it any wonder that the Papal representative could sense a "spirit" in the session's "procedings and deliberations" to which he is attuned? What more should be needed to arouse those still slumbering in Laodicea, and those blinded by the false hope that the Church can be turned around. Will they now accept an entrance vow based on the creeds of the Church which laid the basis for the "little horn" of the 1260 years?
Lets Talk It Over -- We have seen enough pages written on the Hawaiian case to make a book. Perhaps Ferrell is getting ready to publish such a book now, who knows? There has been much hand-wringing over the poor little orthodox (?) preacher who wanted to use the name, Seventh-day Adventist, and his "big" hierarchical brothers wouldn't let him. He was defended by one, Corbett, who volunteered his services to such a worthy cause. There the story rests and the Church remains painted black.
In some respects, the Church deserves the results of its actions. They should not have sued the Hawaiian Church, and if they thought they had to sue, there were better targets. The choice of the lawyer also became an issue. But whether a lawyer is one who was raised a Catholic and then became another faith later, or whether one is a professing Seventh-day Adventist, the measure of the lawyer is his integrity. In the past month, I received a letter from one I had never heard from before. Responding, I received a second letter in which the Hawaiian case was used as an illustration. The comment and information are very apropos. The person wrote: Partial material can be very misleading. For example, you would never know from some of the protest materials I have read on the Hawaii church situation, that the federal judge gave the defendant three days to file a stay while they were on appeal so the pastor would not go to jail, and several times reminded defense counsel of that fact. A stay was never entered, as defense counsel wanted the warrant issued and the pastor arrested for the negative publicity it would create against our church. It was a good defense tactic and worked well. (Emphasis theirs)
Did you ever read about this tactic in Ferrell's material? If one lawyer is to be painted black, then isn't it a pot and kettle picture? It seems that in all of this battling of the Church, and there is much that needs to be exposed, simple Christian ethics and honesty is forgotten. Or could it be, it was never in the life in the first place?
While we are talking about the pot and the kettle, I have seen recently an exchange of letters, or perhaps it was just one letter between administrators in the North Pacific Union in regard to Ron Spear. It is not that Ron Spear should not be called to an accounting, but the things for which they could charge him, they are guilty themselves. They were originally all in one pot, but Spear found it more lucrative to create his own kettle.
Then the other evening I was visiting in a home, and they showed me a current publication which had come that week with an Idaho return address. As I perused the articles I noticed some historical data. There was only one possible source from which it was derived. But no documentation was given. An unkowing reader would assume that the author of the article had produced the data from his own research. Yet this person would be incensed if one questioned his Christain experience. Yet even Jesus Christ, who was the Spirit in the writers of the Old Testament, gave credit in calling attention to what the men had written under His inspiration. See I Peter 1:10-11; Matt. 15:7.
I, personally, have no objection to one copying material I produce. I recall that some of the men who worked under my guidance as assistants, when about to go out on their own, spending many hours copying my rather detailed evangelistic notes. I have even had the privilege of sitting in an evangelistic meeting listening to my notes being run through the mind of one who had done so. But when men take another man's material without permission and use that material to deceive or to make personal profit, I am outraged. Their religion is zero. Sadly, "many voices" on the periphery of Adventism are in that category. --- (1990 Sep) --- End ---