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WWN 1979 Apr - Jun

1979 Apr -- How Can We Know?-- In teaching the class - Life and Teachings of Jesus at Old Madison College, early in the course, I would ask the students - "If you had been living at the time of the public ministry of Jesus, and had only the Old Testament, how would you have been able to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah?" The Old Testament abounds in prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, and the setting up of His kingdom. With our hindsight vision of 20/20, we can differentiate between those prophecies which applied to His first advent, and the ones to be fulfilled at the Second Advent, and those never to be fulfilled because of the failure of the Chosen People to meet the conditions for fulfilment. We, too often, conclude that it would have been easy, but remember that the vast majority with intelligent minds equal to ours rejected Jesus as the true Messiah the One to which prophecy, and their ritual pointed.

But keep in mind the question was - "How would YOU have recognized Jesus as the Messiah had YOU been living in His day with only the Old Testament available?" Placing yourself in that time environment consider Isaiah 40:1-11. There was to be a voice crying in the wilderness (40:3). The "glory of the Lord" was to be revealed (40:5). To the cities of Judah was to go forth the message - "Behold your God." (40:9) Then turn to another prophecy - Malachi 3:1-4. Again a messenger was to prepare the way before the coming of the Messiah who was to come suddenly "to His temple" (4:1).. The priesthood was to be cleansed so that the offering of Judah and Jerusalem would "be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in the former years." (4:4).

In 27 A. D. , a voice did come crying in the wilderness. John the Baptist proclaimed, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2) So commanding was this voice, that the hierarchy,at Jerusalem was forced to investigate its meaning and significance. They dispatched a delegation to the Jordan wilderness to inquire concerning his credentials. (John 1:19-23) The Baptist referred this investigating committee to the prophecy of Isaiah 40. All the other Gospel writers - Matthew, Mark, and Luke - use this same Scripture in introducing the narrative of the work of John the Baptist. (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:1-3; Luke 3:4-6)

The "glory of the Lord" was revealed. But it was in flesh - the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth! (John 1:14) They could have beheld their God - "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" - for only God can do that! But no, they misinterpreted the meaning of "glory" and the attributes of God which were revealed, they really didn't want - truth, and that grace which produces a hatred for sin. (GC, p. 506) That which was to be plain, they made mysterious. The religious leaders had the laity of Israel

p 2 -- believing that no man would know from whence the Messiah would come. (John 7:27) They covered certain facts to hide His place of birth so as to blunt the force of prophecy which they knew pointed to Jesus. (John 7:52) They tried to make themselves believe that it had no meaning nor significance for them.

BUT- the religious leaders of Israel , and the laity could have known. The Old Testament clearly taught that a Seed of a woman was to bruise the serpent's head. (Gen. 3:15) One from their midst, of their brethren, in flesh like Moses would come to teach them. (Deut. 18:15-18) A virgin would conceive, and that Baby from her womb would be called Immanuel (Isa. 7:14) The leadership at Jerusalem had the documents and records, and could have just as diligently investigated the circumstances of the birth of Jesus as did Luke decades later when he wrote his Gospel. They could have known that the Messiah would come as a "root out of a dry ground" and His outward appearance would not reflect a beauty which would meet human criteria. (Isa. 53:2) But they chose to confuse the prophecies of the Old Testament refusing to recognize a time sequence and its significance.

Even in this, they were not left without warning. Jesus, early in his ministry told His home town church goers that a certain Scripture had been fulfilled in their very hearing. In reading the text assigned from Isaiah, Jesus purposefully stopped in what we would say today was the middle of a verse. (Cmp. Luke 4:17-20 with Isa. 61:1-2) In so doing, He was telling the people "the day of vengeance of our God" was not yet, but rather it was then "the acceptable year of the Lord."

Understanding of prophecy must be placed in the time sequence devised by and held in the power of God. (Acts 1:7) Instead of rightly dividing the word of Truth, the Jewish leadership and the teachers of the people ruled out the prophecies which pertained to the Messiah's coming as the Saviour of the world, and in turn focused the people's attention on their interpretation that His coming would exalt them as a nation, and that He would take vengeance on their foes. Of this we read:      Christ did not come as the Jews expected. He did not come in a manner to glorify them as a nation. ... The Jews refused to receive Christ, because He did not come in accordance with their expectations. The ideas of men were held as infallible, because hoary with age. (TM, p. 64)

We are making the same mistake - only this time, instead of it being the coming of Christ, it is the coming of the Holy Spirit in the Latter Rain. And unless we recognize the true Latter Rain, we will not be ready for the coming of Christ. It is just that critical. In the same reference quoted above, this import is made. Note further:      This is the danger to which the church is now exposed, - that the inventions of finite men shall mark the precise way for the Holy Spirit to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. And because the Spirit is to come, not to praise men or to build up erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, many turn away from it. They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is
pure, unadulterated truth. The Holy Spirit flatters no man neither does it work according to the devisings of any man. (TM. pp. 64-65)

p 3 -- THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT -- Jesus told His disciples that when the Spirit would come, He would come as the Spirit of Truth, for the Holy Spirit is as much truth as Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6; TM, p. 122) In the days of the earthly ministry of Jesus, the religious leadership refused to accept the truths which prophecy revealed concerning the nature and the work of the Messiah. We, today, looking for and expecting the Latter Rain, the fulness of the Holy Spirit to witness to truth, cannot even find unity concerning the truth of the Incarnation which was the initial step to the whole work of redemption. How then can we proclaim the righteousness of Christ, "which is pure, unadulterated truth"? (TM, p. 65) Some of the same prophecies which foretold the first Advent of Jesus, which the Jewish leadership ignored, tell us the truth about the Incarnation.

In the first Gospel promise Gen. 3:15 God declared that the "seed of the woman" would bruise the serpent's head. These words were not addressed to Eve before she sinned, but after. The Seed of that woman as she stood in sin was to conquer wherein she had failed. This Seed did come after four thousand years of the working of the great law of heredity. (DA, p. 48) That law of heredity began working immediately. While Adam was created in the likeness of God, his children, born of Eve were in his own likeness, after his image - the image caused by sin. This the Scripture emphasizes. (Gen. 5:1-3) This was the only kind of nature, they could transmit to their children. The prophecy of Moses concerning the coming of the Messiah also emphasizes the "likeness" to humanity which was to be a part of the Saviour's lot. Moses declared that God would "raise up" a Prophet "from the midst of [Israel], of thy brethren, like unto me." (Deut. 18:15)

The New Testament penmen, in looking back on the event of the Incarnation, also stress the likeness in the identification of Jesus with humanity. Paul in Hebrews writes:       Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same ... Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made Iike unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest ... (Heb. 2:14, 17)

In writing to the Roman's, Paul further declared that Jesus was "made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:3) God sent "His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." (Rom. 8:3) To the church at Philippi, Paul wrote that He who was in "the form of God" denied Himself, and accepted instead "the form of a slave." (Phil. 2:6-7 Gr.) Now the Holy Spirit is not going to testify to any other truth other than He inspired "holy men of old" to write whether it be in the Old Testament or the New. To be baptized by the Holy Spirit means simply that one has been immersed in the truth of the Word both intellectually and spiritually so that one will not be moved from that Word regardless of the winds of doctrine that are blowing. And when the Holy Spirit shall come in the fulness of the Latter Rain, He will not empower for witnessing anyone except those who hold to the truth, pure and unadulterated. Let us not deceive ourselves that the Holy Spirit is going to place His witness upon any compromise which seeks to bring unity merely to sustain organizational power. The Holy Spirit will witness to only one unity - a unity based in truth. And this is the work of the Third Angel. (See Early Writings, pp. 88-89)

p 4 -- Elder R. H. Pierson, before his retirement from the position of "first minister" of of the Church, sought to salve over the deep rift in Adventism over the doctrine of the Incarnation. In an editorial, he wrote:       

Since the nature of Christ is a mystery that man will not be able to understand fully this side of the kingdom, should we not accept this fact and then unite on the great areas of agreement that are sufficient for our salvation, and not insist on our own private interpretations of the Lord's divine-human nature to the point that it brings division and dissension among us?

Would it not be correct for us to speak of the unique nature of our Saviour? The word unique means "having no like equal," or "one and only one." Certainly this describes the nature of our Lord Jesus - He has no like or equal. He is the "One and only One." No other being in the universe bears the impress of the divine and human as does Jesus Christ. Jesus is unique! (Review, Dec. 7, 1978, p. 3, Emphasis his.)

This suggestion from the outgoing president of the General Conference requires careful analysis. He first suggests that we consider the nature of Christ "a mystery" that man can never fully understand this side of "the kingdom." Now the Bible does clearly state - "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." (I Tim. 3:16) But the word, mystery (musthrion), as used in the New Testament does not carry the concept of incomprehension that is often associated with the use of the word in English. Quoting J. A. Robinson, Moulton and Milligan state that "in its New Testament sense a mystery is 'not a thing which must be kept secret. On the contrary it is a secret which God wills to make known and has charged His Apostles to declare to those who have ears to hear it.'" (The Vocabularies of the Greek Testament, p. 420, Emphasis, Robinson.) Now the Spirit of Prophecy does use the word, mystery, in
its English sense in speaking of the Incarnation, but not as Elder Pierson suggests we use it. Ellen G. White wrote - "The race in consequence of sin was at enmity with God. Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity." (Ms. 29, 1899; 5BC:1129) The "process" - the how - remains a mystery to man and angels; but the nature He assumed in humanity was no mystery to the Lord's messenger. She unequivocally wrote - "He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin." (4BC:1147) This language should contain no mysteries to those who have ears to hear it.

Pierson further suggests that we unite "on the great areas of agreement that are sufficient for our salivation." In this he rules out - "the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven - the incarnation of the Son of God." (E. G. White, Ms. 76, 1903; 7BC:904). He fails to understand - "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study." (SM, bk i, p. 244) He calls for us to see only an "unique" Jesus, instead of One "in the likeness of sinful flesh," "made like unto His brethren." Now Jesus was "unique" for He was the God-man - truly God and truly man. He was unique wherein being tempted, He did not sin. But the glory and power of the Incarnation is that Jesus conquered sin in the very nature that we have. Of this we read:

p 5 -- He [Jesus] came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God's Holy Law, and in this way, He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to this world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency, Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is be The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam, through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in human nature which we now have. (Our High Calling, p. 48)

Ironically, Pierson has placed himself in a very difficult position. If Jesus is "unique" to the extent that Pierson alleges - "one and only one" one of a kind - he has placed himself in the "camp" of those in the church who state that the 144,000 are merely a myth. In other words, will there be or not people who will become partakers of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust? Are the precious promises of the Bible just will-o'-the-wisps taunting the believer in Jesus? Must I deny the faith committed to this people, simply to preserve organizational unity? Must I compromise truth, pure and unadulterated, just to "close ranks"?

Here in this one example Pierson's final plea to the church before leaving his office as "first minister" - we have revealed the idolatry plaguing the church - the the worship of human organization over and above the Truth as it is in Jesus. Unless we can obtain the victory over this idolatry - and begin keeping the first commandment - we might as well forget about the fourth commandment; because in the crisis hour, human organization and power will be most important to the church's leadership and we will bow as the mark of the beast is urged upon us.

Observation -- The theological climate within the Church will not change with the elevation o f Elder NeaI C. Wilson to the seat of "first minister." Not only did Pierson place his imprimatur on the book - Movement of Destiny - which contains "deadly heresies" but Wilson did likewise as "Vice-president, General Conference for the North American Division" and as "Chairman of Guiding Committee for Movement of Destiny." See pp. 15-16 of the book. In this last position, Wilson becomes part and parcel with Froom's heresy regarding the Incarnation, and the misrepresentation of the teaching of Dr., E. J. Waggoner on this doctrine. For a full and complete review of the doctrine of the Incarnation, and the history of its teaching within the Church, we advise that you either review, or obtain the following - An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and In Form of a Slave.

God designs that the message of redemption
shall come to His people as the latter rain;
for they are fast losing their connection with God.
They are trusting in men, and glorifying men,
and their strength is proportionate to the strength of their dependence.
(ST, March 6, 1907)

p 6 -- BITS OF A PUZZLE -- From the Australian Record, August 28, 1978 comes this comment: (Note the date)       There's a saying that a lie gets halfway around the world while truth is getting its boots on. And Dame Rumor is not far behind the lie that is so fleet of foot either. There is a rumor circulating at the moment that Pastor Robert H. Pierson, the president of the General Conference, is poorly and that his health is failing. Let's nail that one good and hard. Pastor F. C. Webster, the assistant-to-the-president, says the rumor is nonsense and that Pastor R. H. P. is in fine fighting fettle, and is spending his usual long hours at his desk. Pastor Pierson's own comment on the matter came in a letter to our own president, Pastor K. S Parmenter. He wrote: "I would just like to take this opportunity to inform you that this is a terminological inexactitude." Nicely put, Pastor Pierson, and your Australian subjects pray for your continued good health every day. (p. 16)

[Apart from the general information in this report from the official voice of the Australian Division, I would point out the "species of idolatry" this note contains. When are the people of God to be "subjects" of any human being? Did not Jesus say that we have one Master, and that we are all brethren? Is the Australian hierarchy fostering idolatry and encouraging the laity in this violation of the First Commandment? How much better it would have been to have written - "your Australian brethren pray for your continued good health." Some one may contend that this wording reflects the relationship of the Australian and the Canadian as well - to "the Crown." But there is to be a difference between our relationship to governments, and the fellowship in the Kingdom of God. Jesus pointed this out, and specifically stated "But it shall not be so among you." (Matt. 20:26)]

From the Review, October 19, 1978, we read:(Again note the in-text dates)      Elder and Mrs. Alf Lohne, Mrs. Pierson, and I were the first General Conference official visitors invited by the Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in several decades. From August 17 through September 5 we spent 19 interest-fiIled days in four of the Soviet Republics. (p. 4)

The schedule kept by the President was not light. He comments further in the same article:      Lest Review readers receive the impression that this journey was some sort of a "vacation" I will tell you one incident that Elder Lohne shared with us. "We are so glad you came," they assured him. "We will greet you warmly, we will take good care of you, give you plenty to eat, and provided you good places to stay, but we will 'squeeze you like a lemon'!" We were squeezed like lemons, all right, as far as a heavy program was concerned. The long days were filled with preaching, visiting with workers and members, being interviewed by

p 7 -- the press and radio, shaking thousands of hands and "fellowshiping with the brethren.'' It was a blessed experience. It was also the kind that leaves one drained at the close of a long day. But it is certainly worth it all! (pp. 6, 7)

Then the next Review October 26, 1978 headlined - "General Conference President Announces Retirement" with Elder Pierson's own statement - which was made,on October 16, within two months of the above statements. Pierson's announcement reads:      There come times in our experience when we have to make decisions that we would prefer not to make - decisions that cut deep into one's heart and that have far-reaching effects. Last Sabbath morning before we went to Sabbath school, after much prayer and agonizing, Mrs. Pierson and I made such a decision.

Eight years of experience in emerging, exploding Africa with all of its pressures and perplexities and the 12-and-one-half years of happy, but problem- and stress-filled, years in Washington have taken their toll. Our physicians tell us we must shift our burdens to younger shoulders. We had hoped we could complete our term of service in 1980 at Dallas, but apparently the Lord has other plans for us and for the church. In harmony with medical counsel we plan to leave Washington for a few weeks' rest and then retire January 3, 1979. (P. 1)

Put with all of this another's comments:      WHY WAS THE APPOINTMENT [of N. C. Wilson] POSTPONED? -- We do not question the veracity of reports that Elder Pierson's health makes it unwise for him to continue in office, but we strongly doubt that this was the only reason for his retirement. We doubt even more strongly whether the postponement of that retirement until January 3, 1979, was in conformity to his physician's wishes. In our opinion it was merely the last in the series of political power plays that we have come to expect ... (Remnant - the Politics of Adventism, p. 1, December, 1978)

It should be obvious to all readers that the whole of the puzzle has not yet been put together, and that there are still other pieces to be put in place. When these pieces will drop into place, only time will tell - and only the Lord knows.

MORE ON "LOMA LINDA - A HOUSE DIVIDED" -- WILSON'S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT THAT IS SPLITTING LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED. Why, as Board Chairman of Loma Linda University, hasn't Neal C. Wilson seen to it that C. Victor Way is brought into court and convicted for embezzlement? One possible answer:       Elder Wilson would not welcome some of the revelations, that C. Victor Way

p 8 -- would be in a position to make before such a body. If this answer is wrong, then a better one should be given. Adventists deserve an explanation. (Remnant, op.cit., p. 4)

The new chairman of the Board at Loma Linda is Elder F. W. Wernick. He has become a close personal confidant of Elder Wilson, and no doubt the one Vice President upon whom he will most rely. Wernick received his first call to be a Conference President from Wilson, when Wilson was president of Columbia Union. He received his appointment as a Union President after Elder Wilson became president of the North American Division. They are both nearly the same age.

More on Loma Linda, and the embezzlement of funds:      The embezzlement of more than $900,000 from University-held funds has become a matter of record in Loma Linda. The Board knows who took it. They know what he did with some of it. They know who his partner was in purchasing some of these things. $100,000 has been recovered through insurance. For the rest, says the University's PR man, it is "hoped" that rancher C. Victor Way will reimburse. Nothing about the matter has appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Could it be that the University's attorney, Robert Warren, who holds a retainer from the Times, has something to do with this?

No movement toward dischurching either of the high officials implicated in the embezzlement has been made public. From his aerie in Loma Linda's new Veteran's Hospital, Dr. David B. Hinshaw continues to function as the opinion-molder of the LLU faculty's core. (Ibid., P. 5)

There are those who question the wisdom of presenting such sordid information about what is taking place in the midst of spiritual Israel. These advocates of "silence" tell us that we should not say anything about "mother." But do keep in mind that this "mess" at Loma Linda is public knowledge. As noted in the last thought paper, a Staff Writer * has already published a special feature article depicting the problems in detail. But the laity of the church as a whole have been kept in total darkness and ignorance. The Adventist Review has said nothing. This is a possible factor in Pierson's early retirement, and Wilson's elevation to the chair as "first minister" of the Church. The laity need to know what is taking place. True there is little that they can do about changing the administration of the Church, but they can heed the words of Peter - "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." (Acts 2:40 ARV) [ * for The San Bernadino Sun]


p 9 -- FAITH AND ORDER COMMISSION OF THE WCC -- In August, 1978, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches met in Bangalore, India. The viewpoint of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on this Commission is represented in the person of Dr. R. F. Dederen of Andrews University. I first learned of this meeting late in September of 1978. Usually there appears in the Adventist Review a report of such meetings, but to my knowledge no such report was published from the pen of Dr. Dederen. Whether he did write such a report, and the editors chose not to publish it, is for them to so state. I wrote to Dr. Dederen on October 1, 1978. In this letter, I asked:      Knowing that you are a member of this Commission, unless you have resigned or have been replaced , I was wondering if you attended this meeting. So far I have not read any report from your pen of this meeting in the Adventist Review which you usually write of such meetings, led me to write and ask you the question.

Did you, if you were in attendance, take part in all the discussions regarding the formulation of the common statement about Christian hope, and also the common statement on faith, and the meetings sponsored for and involving the members of the Faith and Order Commission?

To this letter, I have received no reply to date. In the January, 1979, thought-paper, I asked our readers if they could supply information as to whether Dr. Dederen attended this meeting, to please give me verification of the same. I also wrote some personal letters to sources who could give facts. It has been confirmed from a highly placed and official source that Dr. Dederen "was present at the meeting and took part in the deliberations." The mere attendance at the meeting in Bangalore, India, raises questions apart from the participation in the discussions. Who paid for Dr. Dederen's travel to India and back to Berrien Springs, Michigan? Who paid for his expenses while there? Were these funds from the tithes of God's professed people, or were they other funds? The laity of the Church have a right to know who paid for what, and from what source.

The meeting in Bangalore, India, of the Faith and Order Commission was concerned with two statements:   1)   "A common statement about Christian hope in the contemporary world," and   2)   A statement on "apostolic faith" to "further its work intended to bring divided Christian churches into unity." The second statement has as its avowed objective "a 'concensus statement' about baptism, Eucharist [the mass] and ministry in the Christian Church." The Commission did produce "the common account of Christian hope" which one observer urged all Christians to read "if only because it represents an expression of the common hopes of Christians from all parts of the world which many members of the Faith and Order Commission greeted as an action of God's Spirit among those who, with all their dissensions and disagreements, find themselves united in Jesus Christ in a oneness of hope which nothing else in this world can provide." (Religious News Service, Sept. 25, 1978, p. 6)

Any comment on this statement itself needs to be reserved till a full copy can be obtained from the Faith and Order Commission. However, it must be pointed out

p 10 -- this observer, Thomas Hopko, dogmatics professor at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, N. Y., noted that the members of the Commission hailed this statement as "an action of God's Spirit" at work in their midst. There can be no question that a "spirit" was at work, but who's spirit? If the Spirit of God is at work in the Faith and Order Commission, then why not join the full World Council of Churches? Is the Spirit of God at work only in this Commission, and the spirit of the devil in the full World Council of Churches? There needs to be some decisions made and an explanation given to the laity of the Adventist Church.

On the second statement regarding church "unity," Professor Hopko wrote:      The commission's work in Bangalore on Church unity was hurried and shallow. Not much was accomplished. There was just not enough time. The strong conviction was expressed in the final plenary sessions, however, that the theme of unity among Christians and the unity of the Christian Church must be dominant, if not the exclusive work of the commission in the years to come. The need for an elaboration of a common account of faith, similar to the common account of hope, was stressed, together with the accompanying need for further discussion and study of the place of baptism, eucharist, and the ordained ministry in the various churches so that Christian sacramental practices might one day exist in all the churches which all Christians could recognize as adequate to the catholic, apostolic faith, and which could, thereby, serve as the basis for "organic unity" of the Christian churches which remains the express goal of the ecumenical movement, at least as is undertaken in the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC. (Ibid, P. 7)

What Dr. Hopko is saying in simplest terms is that the Faith and Order Commission is seeking to find a common communion service (eucharist) and a common formula for the ordination of the clergy so that "organic unity" could be achieved among the Christian churches. Participating in this goal and objective is a representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dr. R. F. Dederen. Dr. Hopko cited as an example of the unity desired in the area of the eucharist the attendance by the Commission members at "a new 'Indian' form of the Mass at the Roman Catholic Liturgical Center" where "all present were invited to receive communion, with virtually all the Protestants partaking." This raises a very serious question. Did Dr. Dederen attend this Mass, and did he with other Protestants take part, or did he abstain? Where did Dr. Dederen stand on the question of a common communion service as he took part in the deliberations? If he voiced his opposition, and he should have, how can the Adventist Church continue to be represented on the Faith and Order Commission? Isn't it time that some official action be taken - either Dr. Dederen's resignation from the Commission, or a statement from the Editor of the Adventist Review, or Elder Neal C. Wilson on behalf of the General Conference Committee disassociating the Church from the objectives of the Faith and Order Commission?

If anyone can cast further light on the questions raised in this report, please share your answers with us. You might obtain information by writing directly to Dr. R. F. Dederen at Andrews University, or to the Editor of the Adventist Review, Elder Kenneth Wood.

p 11 -- "GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT" -- [The original article is to be found in The Signs of the Times, June 27, 1900. It is herewith reproduced because of its modern overtones of truth for the Adventist Church and its members. The article is not from the pen of Ellen G. White.] --    "Will the Lord withhold His gifts from one who is walking in the light, and who is wholly consecrated, and keep him back from manifesting the fulness of power because the church is backslidden? - Most certainly He will. For God to do otherwise would be to bring His truth and His name into disgrace. If those born blind or lame or dumb, were being healed by any worldly church today, that church would thereby be brought into great prominence, and every act of its members would be closely scrutinized as the acts of the people whom God was approving by miracles and wonders and signs; and the God who gave the power for working these wonders and signs would be measured and judged by the sins of the people of the church thus prominently pointed out and honored.

"But did not Christ, while a member of the Jewish church, perform His wonderful miracles of healing? Yes; but in order to save the reputation of God, He was compelled to denounce the sins of the Jewish church, and finally repudiate them before all the world.

"The Jewish church claimed to be the only representatives on earth of the true God. They claimed this when they were more wicked than the Gentiles. When the Gentiles heard their claim and saw their crimes, they blasphemed. Paul says they did. They not only cursed the Jews, but they blasphemed the God of the Jews. This is not strange. The Jews claimed to be like Jehovah. The Gentiles therefore judged Jehovah by the Jews. They knew they robbed widows, and committed adultery. They knew they did all this when they heard them making their long, loud prayers on the corners of the streets. This made them angry, and they blasphemed both the Jews and Jehovah. Paul presents it thus:      Thou therefore which teacheth another teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. (Rom. 2:21-24)

"Jesus came to save not only sinners, but the reputation of the Father. And in order to do this, He must tell the truth about His church. And He did. He declared in the hearing of the Gentiles that the leaders in the church were whited sepulchers, - rotten at heart, were robbers of widows, pious hypocrites, a generation of vipers. When the Gentiles heard this they stopped swearing at Jehovah. They saw that His professed church was misrepresenting Him. They listened to His gracious words. When the Jews ordered them to arrest the Son of God, they refused, and said, 'Never man spake like this man.'

"Christ's miracles followed the cleansing of the temple. 'And Jesus went into the

p 12 -- temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, ' It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple; and He healed them.' (Matt. 21:12-14)

"He could not perform His mighty cures without bringing honor to a dishonorable church, and without bringing dishonor to Jehovah. By calling the Jewish church a den of thieves, Jesus was able to work miracles, while a member of that church, without bringing disgrace upon His Father. But His faithfulness in rebuking the sins of His church cost Him not only His membership in that church, but His life.

"The church of today is not free of its hypocrites and whited sepulchers. It is not free from its generation of vipers and its robbers of widows. And, again, the Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of them... Who will follow the example of Jesus? ... This is the first step for a consecrated man to take who is seeking the gifts of the Spirit while holding communion in a world-loving church. But his power to cast out devils may be purchased at the cost of his being cast out of his beloved synagogue, and finding a home with some humble ["company" EW, p. 89] 'everywhere spoken against. ' And from the church which will not be cleansed, Christ, in the person of His true disciples, will depart, uttering the fearful words, ' Behold your house is left unto you desolate'... "   --- (1979 Apr ) ---END--- TOP

1979 May -- A QUESTION TO CONSIDER -- Jesus asked a question - "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) There are two things of interest in regard to this question which Jesus propounded. Both are revealed in the Greek text. In the Greek sentence is an untranslatable particle - ara - which marks an inferential question to which a negative answer is expected. However, it is the second aspect of this question that I would have you consider. The question literally reads - "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find the faith on the earth?"

Jesus was not suggesting when He comes, the world will be devoid of religion, theology, or doctrine. He had stated in the Sermon on the Mount that in the final day of judgment, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt. 7:22) Paul tells us "the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (I Tim. 4:1) In fact the whole of the final picture in the Book of Revelation indicates that there will be a deep interest in religious activities. Men will worship - but it will be the beast, and its image! (Rev. 13:15; 14:9) The world of religion - symbolized by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet - will have a great spiritual revival - "spirits of devils, working miracles." (Rev. 16:14) The question Jesus asked was simply - Would He find THE faith on the earth? - the faith which He left in trust to His followers.

There will be a group of people who will "keep. . . the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12); but compared to the vast throngs of humanity who will deny this faith for "the doctrines of devils" it will seem that the genuine faith will be nonexistent. The question thus comes to each professor of truth - "Am I in THE faith?" But this is not all of our responsibility. Jude wrote - "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (vs. 3) In an hour when every wind of doctrine is blowing, we dare not sit idly by thinking that because we are in THE faith, that is all that will be required. We must earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

When God raised up this Movement in 1844 - and let us keep this fact distinct from church "organization" which did not come till 1863 - He gave to the small company "who after the passing of time in 1844, searched for truth as for hidden

p 2 -- treasure" light which enabled them "to understand the Scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood." It was a "line of truth" that would extend from that date till we should enter the city of God. (Special Testimonies Series B, No. 2, pp. 56-57)

On this sure platform of truth, we are to stand, and for this truth we are to contend. We read:      As a people, we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time has not lessened their value. It is the constant effort of the enemy to remove these truths from their setting, and to put in their place spurious theories. He will bring in everything that he possibly can to carry out his deceptive designs. But the Lord will raise up men of keen perception, who will give these truths their proper place in the plan of God. (Ibid., P. 51)

Not only is it the constant work of the enemy to remove these truths from their setting, but God in His mercy has told us when we will have reached the most critical time in that attempt on the part of the devil and his human mouthpieces. Of this we read:       After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused. . .

Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. R&H, Dec. 13, 1892 (7BC:985)

We have limited the scope of our thinking to conclude that when the Sabbath truth has been proclaimed to all nations (The Greek can be also translated - "Gentiles") the end that would come would be the very event of the second coming of Christ in the clouds of glory. (Matt. 24:14) But the servant of the Lord, says that the "end" has a much larger meaning than we have previously supposed. It will be the "end time" in which "the devil is come down having great wrath" (Rev. 12:10) as he seeks to prepare the world for his appearance as Christ. "Every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation." "Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith" - the faith delivered to us in 1844.

The Lord has not left us in ignorance concerning when this time will be. It is now! When the truth of the Sabbath - see context of statement in 7BC:985 - has been proclaimed as a witness to the Gentiles or nations, their time is up - it is then the "end-time." The prophecy of warning given by Jesus reads - "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles [nations] be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) This event was fulfilled in 1967. Thus God has signaled to those who desire truth that we have indeed reached the "end-time" when the enemy is seeking to tear down the pillars of our faith. Sadly the vast majority of the professed people of God are letting this be done without raising a voice in protest, or to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

p 3 -- Some who seem to be upholding "the faith" deny the fullfilment of this prophecy and declare they see no significance in it. Thus they are putting out the eyesight of the very saints they are professing to be helping to understand the message of righteousness by faith. What a tragedy!

This tragedy is being compounded in that this very tearing down of the pillars of our faith is being done not from without, but from within with the full approval and blessing of the hierarchy. The leadership appears to be giving lip service to the historic faith through the pages of the Adventist Review, but they continue to permit professors from our schools to have full rein to disseminate their deadly heresies upon the laity of the church. And these same teachers of religion are placing in the minds of the future ministers of the church, these same deadly heresies. Well may we cry with the Psalmist - "Help Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men." (Ps. 12:1)

Somehow, we seem to have overlooked the prophecy which reads:      Many (not just a few) will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. "If thou hadst known," said Christ, "even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." (TM, pp. 409-410)

Keep in mind that today no one can get into the pulpit of our organizational Seventh-day Adventist Church unless he holds valid, up-to-date credentials from the hierarchy. (The only exceptions are Catholic priests, and Apostate Protestant clergy.) Thus this prophecy tells us that the hierarchy will be responsible for the "false prophecy" which will be pressed upon the laity from the pulpits of the church they thought was keeping the faith. The "faithful ministers" will be removed and many of them have been this is a matter of record

Today, not only is Dr. Desmond Ford being given free access to the pulpits of our churches in many conferences, but he is instructing ministers at Worker's Meetings, and teaching future ministerial students in one of our schools - Pacific Union College. Further his damnable heresy of prophetic futurism - which came out of Jesuitism - is being lauded from the Southern Publishing Association which has published his book - Daniel. This publication is being hailed as the greatest work on prophecy in the church since Uriah Smith's Thoughts on Daniel. But Ford is not alone; he has cohorts in apostasy in the area of Justification by Faith and the Incarnation, such as Heppenstall, and others, both active and retired. Remember the servant of the Lord said this "false prophecy" would come right from the pulpits of the Church!

Thank God, the Movement it in His hands, and the firm platform is still solid for the feet of the saints. May God help the laity to see the difference between the church organized in 1863, and the Movement of God founded in 1844. Are you in THE faith? Are you contending for THE faith which was once delivered unto the saints? When the Son of man cometh, He will come to take "the saints" who " keep. . . the faith of Jesus."

p 4 -- TRUTH UPHELD IN AUSTRALIA -- Two veteran ministers of the Adventist Church in Australia Elders J. W. Kent and George Burnside 1 - have published a small tract entitled: - Dr. D. Ford Versus E. G. White on the Vital Subject of the Man of Sin. (Short title - The Man of Sin) The position of Dr. Desmond Ford is taken from his doctoral dissertation at Manchester University in 1972, a copy of which is in the Avondale College Library. The comparison is headed by a statement from Testimonies to Ministers which reads - "The Lord has called His people. . . to expose the wickedness of the man of sin." (p. 118) The following references are quoted from the Spirit of Prophecy:       God's Estimate of the Papal Power - By the treatment of His Word the popes have exalted themselves above the God of heaven. This is the reason that in prophecy the papal power is specified as the "man of sin." Satan is the originator of sin. The power that he causes to alter any one of God's holy precepts, is the man of sin. Under Satan's special direction the papal power has done this very work. (7BC:911)

The Representative of Satan - There is one pointed out in prophecy as the man of sin. He is the representative of Satan. Taking the suggestions of Satan concerning the law of God, which is as unchangeable as His throne, this man of sin comes in and represents to the world that he has changed the law, and that the first day of the week instead of the seventh is now the Sabbath. Professing infallibility, he claims the right to change the law of God to suit his own purposes. By so doing, he exalts himself above God. (7BC:910)

The special characteristic of the beast. . . is the breaking of God's commandments. Says Daniel of the little horn, the papacy, "He shall think to change the times and the law." And Paul styled the same power the ''man of sin," who was to exalt himself above God. One prophecy is a compliment of the other. Only by changing God's law could the papacy exalt itself above God; . . . (GC, p. 446)

. . . the beast itself, - - the papacy. (GC, p. 443)

. . . the representative of Satan, - - the bishop of Rome. (GC, P. 50)

The "man of sin," which is also styled the "mystery of iniquity," the "son of perdition," and "that wicked," represents the papacy, which as foretold in prophecy, was to maintain its supremacy for 1260 years. This period ended in 1798. The coming of Christ could not take place before that time. Paul covers with his caution the whole of the Christian dispensation down to the year 1798. It is this side of that time that the message of Christ's second coming is to be proclaimed. (GC, p. 356)

1 Elder George Burnside before retirement served as Evangelist and Ministerial Secretary of the Australian Division.

p 5 -- Opposite the quotations which we have copied on page 4, are given these from Dr. Desmond Ford's dissertation:      We have also noticed that many things can be said with certainty regarding what the Antichrist is not. He is not any past personage. He belongs to the future and not to history. (p. 246)

In a bygone polemical era Protestants assumed this usage in 2 Thessalonians and thereby found an effective club to batter the papal antichrist. This view, however, ignored not only the eschatological setting of 2 Thess 2, but also the truth that the Christian church must cease to be such once the Antichrist becomes its tenant. (pp. 248-49)

We have noticed also that the lawless one appears only at the end of' time. (p. 242)

In the setting of 2 Thess 2, Antichrist is an individual to be manifested at the end of time. His parousia is a sign that the end has come. Therefore, any interpretation which applies this passage to an individual of past history, or to a succession of such, misses the mark. (p. 238)

Then the conclusion is drawn by Elders Kent and Burnside as follows:      The above statements speak for themselves. Dr. Ford says the opposite to God's inspired penman.

Dr. Ford not merely refuses to follow this instruction, but joins with the enemies of Truth. To him the man of sin is not in "past history" but "appears only at the end of time." He joins with the futurists the most bitter opponents of God's Threefold Message. A careful reading of Dr. Ford's thesis has failed to find one indication that the papacy is the man of sin. His series of articles in the Signs of the Times is likewise silent on this vital truth.

Dr. Ford's strong emphasis on a future antichrist who is to "appear only at the end of time," who "belongs to the future and not to history" is a blunt denial and rebuttal to all that has been clearly stated in Great Controversy, Daniel and Revelation and scores of our other books, as well as Adventist preaching and teaching for over 130 years.

It is apparent that Dr. Ford has gone to the ranks of our opponents. It shows how far on this road he has drifted when F. F. Bruce, a Plymouth Brethren, will write a foreword to Dr. Ford's book and have his name in clear print on the cover. [See Daniel by Dr. Ford published by Southern Publishing Association.]

May God give every lover of the Advent Message grace to continually lift voice, pen, means and influence in combating this enemy of truth.      "If God abhors one sin above another of which His people are guilty, it is

p 6 -- doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality is regarded of God as a grievous crime, and in a religious crisis equal to the very worst type of hostility against God." (3T:281)

Because Elders Kent and Burnside sought to warn the professed people of God concerning "the hellish torch of false prophecy" kindled in the class rooms of Avondale College, published by the Southern Publishing Association, they were barred from the pulpits of The Greater Sydney Conference of the church in Australia. See the letter reproduced on p. 7. As you read this letter, you will observe that the Conference President, Elder K. J. Bullock, accused these ministers as producing an "unscholarly, unethical" document which "seriously misrepresents Dr. Desmond Ford." An evaluation of this tract has been made by Dr. Colin D. Standish, formerly president of Columbia Union College, and now Academic Dean of Weimar Institute in California. In a signed statement, he wrote:      I have carefully examined the section of Dr. Desmond Ford's thesis presented to Manchester University, 1972, dealing with the man of sin. As one who has served on graduate theses' committees, it is my opinion that the authors of "Dr. D. Ford verses E. G. White on the vital subject of the Man of Sin" have used their sources accurately and in context. I discovered three punctuational errors from the thesis which have no significance to contextual meaning. Two are abbreviation stops and one is a missing comma. There is also a capitalisation and a paging mistake and slight wording error in the references from Ellen G. White. This involves the reference from Great Controversy given as page 442, which in fact is page 443.

In my evaluation there is a very careful effort by the author of the thesis to make his point that the man of sin is not identifiable with the Papacy of the past, and it is my view that, not only are the conclusions to this effect in the paper referred to above, consistent with the thesis material, they are the only possible conclusions than can be made. Dr. Ford's views, as expressed in his thesis are diametrically opposed to, and irreconcilable with, the inspired writings of Ellen G. White on this topic of the man of sin.


December 18, 1978.

Dear Brethren:       Considerable anguish has been caused in the Conference by the circulation of an anonymous document entitled "The Man of Sin."

Pastor J. W. Kent claims that he and Pastor Burnside are responsible for the document. It has apparently been placed in the hands of some retired ministers and possibly some laymen at Cooranbong who have assisted in its circulation.

The document is unscholarly, unethical and seriously misrepresents Dr. Desmond Ford. The conclusions drawn in the document are totally invalid and the spirit of it is certainly not good.

We consider that while this document is in circulation Pastors W. Kent and G. Burnside should not occupy the pulpit in our Conference churches and we are therefore asking you not to list them for preaching appointments.

With very best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

K. J. Bullock, PRESIDENT.

p 8 -- THE PROBLEM -- The concerned brethren in Australia are seeking to contend for the faith which has been committed to us as a people against the inroad of apostasy as represented in the teachings of Dr. Desmond Ford now of Pacific Union College. But these brethren have failed to reckon with the "new" official position of the hierarchy of the Church as stated in the Briefs submitted to the United States District Court of Northern California in the case of EEOC vs PPPA. In a Brief filed with the Court on March 3, 1975 by the lawyers for the Pacific Press, it is stated in a footnote:      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. 4, #2)

The question now arises, how can the officials of the Church and the Brief quoted above was submitted with their full approval - take sides against Dr. Desmond Ford, who is merely articulating these same concepts from a slightly different viewpoint? What the brethren in Australia fail to realize is how deep and dark the apostasy actually is within the Church. They see only Dr. Desmond Ford, and do not see that he has cohorts in apostasy within and without the hierarchy of the Church. Word has come to this desk that the new president of the General Conference - Elder Neal C. Wilson - is planning to rein in Dr. Ford. But how can he challenge Dr.. Ford on his position in regard to the "Man of Sin" when soon after his elevation to the chair of "first minister" he sought to pay a "courtesy visit" on a Catholic cardinal? You can read about it in the Adventist Review. Here is the report:      Church leaders in Britain made contacts with the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Donald Coggan, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminister, Basil (Cardinal) Hume, with a view to Elder Wilson's paying courtesy visits. Unfortunately, the Adventists were not able to give these religious dignitaries sufficient notice for dialogues to materialize on this occasion; however, both archbishops sent greetings and best wishes to the new General Conference president on his assuming office. (March 22, 1979, p. 19)

We dare not forget - "It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backslidding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy." (Signs of the Times, Feb. 19, 1894)


"At a mass officiated by the Pope at the Palafoxian seminary [during his Mexican tour], the official guide stated that John Paul II 'fills the place of Christ, is the greatest human mediator between God and man, and is assisted by the Holy Spirit and cannot err.' During his appearance in Oaxaca, a priest who later received a papal blessing led the crowd in shouting, 'For those who have sight, you, John Paul II, are for us, Christ."' Christianity Today, March 2, 1979, "News"


p 9 -- DR. D. FORD'S DANGEROUS DOCTRINES -- This is the title of, a 20 page booklet published in Australia by the Watchman Press (P. 0. Box 18, Beecroft, NSW 2119) which covers not only the teaching of Dr. Ford in regard to the "Man of Sin," but also other doctrines which are at variance with the historic faith of the Advent Movement. Elder J. W. Kent in the "Preface" writes:      In the early 1970's the senior ministers, and especially the evangelists in our Australian division faced a serious problem. They found themselves having wide doctrinal differences with the young interns fresh from Avondale College coming to work with them. This very different theology was traced back to the Bible Department, then headed by Dr. D. Ford.

In their perplexity the senior men, some active and some retired talked amongst themselves, and ultimately formed a study group to investigate the new theology. Having studied the new theology, we found it did not harmonize with the foundation Adventist teaching we had been and were still preaching. As a group we have consistently opposed the new theology. To date we have endeavored to confine our approach to the president and officers of the division. Now we are widening our approach to include senior ministers and eIders.

The next page carries the names of eight ministers in the Australian Division:   J. W. Kent, Herbert White, A. W. Knight, R. N. Heggie, J. E. Cormack, George Burnside, J. B. Keith, and W. G. Ferris. Over these names, it is written concerning this publication:      This is the voice of concerned men. As is well known we have given our lives in the preaching of the Everlasting Gospel - The Three Angels' Messages of Rev. 14:6-12. This is God's last appeal to a sin-doomed world, reaching from 1844 to the coming of our Saviour as King of kings. This message is a line of truth that stretches from 1844 to the End. Not a pin or a pillar is to be removed. This is the instruction of Inspiration. We gladly write in its defense.

Every Adventist who is awakened from his Laodicean nap can say "Amen" to the concern of these men. In the booklet they list the dangerous doctrines of Dr. Desmond Ford as follows:

1)   Dr. D. Ford denies there is a Two Apartment Sanctuary in Heaven.

2)   Dr. Ford claims that Heaven Is the Sanctuary.

3)   Denies the Papacy is the Man of Sin.

4)   The Bible is not unerring. [The Bible contains errors.]

5)   The Age of the Earth is much older than the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy indicates.

6)   The Apostle Paul did not write the Book of Hebrews. (Also held at Andrews University.)

p 10 -- 7)   Christ expected the END in His generation

8)   The four methods of prophetic interpretation Historicism, Preterism, Futurism, and Idealism - all contain aspects of truth. [The same thing is taught in his book - Daniel - published by SPA. See pp. 68-69. Preterism and Futurism were methods invented by Jesuits.]

9)   Dr. Ford teaches "The Finished Work of Christ" on the Cross. (So also Dr. Heppenstall, and the books, Questions on Doctrine and Movement of Destiny.)

10)   Dr. Ford down-grades the imparted righteousness of Christ.

These men are to be commended on the stand they are now taking. However, there remains some gnawing questions. Where were these men some twenty-five plus years ago when all of this apostasy started in the Church? Are they so naive as to believe this all began with Dr. Desmond Ford? What stand did these men take when the book - Questions on Doctrine - was published? How did they respond to Elder Andreasen's Letters to the Churches? Where were they when the book - Movement of Destiny - was presented to the Church with Pierson's and Wilson's imprimatur? Both - Questions on Doctrine and Movement of Destiny teach some of the same
doctrines these men now consider dangerous. Were their voices raised then to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints?

This booklet contains another major problem in regard to the truth. No where in its 20 pages does it score Dr. Desmond Ford in regard to his false theory concerning the Incarnation. On this subject there is a strange silence. Yet, Dr. Ford through his wife, Gillian, presented an unequivocal challenge that what one believed in regard to the Incarnation effected what one believed in regard to Righteousness by Faith. (See The Soteriological Implications of the Human Nature of Christ, p. 2) While these venerable men challenge Ford in the area of the imparted righteousness of Christ (See point #10 above), they say nothing in regard to the Incarnation, and the historic position of the Church on this subject. We need to keep in mind that the recent Sabbath School lessons on this topic received open opposition at high levels in Australia. Where did these men stand at that time?

Since these brethren are now "widening" their approach "to include senior ministers and elders" let us pray that they will not only give truth, but the whole truth as it is in Jesus. And when they write - "On these truths we dare not compromise" (p. 18), may they have the courage to include "the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven - the incarnation of the Son of God." (Ms. 76, 1903: 7BC:904)

WHITE MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER BEING MORTGAGED? -- On the next page is a copy of an advertising letter received by a Catholic family in Wisconsin, -- who turned it over to his Adventist neighbor who did not receive one. All underscoring in the reproduced letter was done by the B. C. Ziegler and Company. With the letter was a colored sheet picturing the $8,000,000 White Memorial Medical Center. This sheet notes that "holders of the bonds due March 1 , 1994 have the option to have such bonds mature on March 1, 1989." --- (1979 May) ---END--- TOP

1979 June -- THE SABBATH QUESTION - IRENIC OR POLEMIC? -- First we need to define our terms so that all may clearly understand the question. "Irenic" comes from the Greek word - eirhnh - which means peace, thus suggesting that the question we have proposed in the title of this article be approached in a peaceful manner. On the other hand, the word "polemic" comes from the Greek word - polemoV - which means, war. Is the Sabbath Question, therefore, to be considered a question involving warfare? Are we to contend for the Sabbath as a part of the faith once delivered to the saints?

Why do we raise this question? In a brochure published by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi commending his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - he quotes book reviews by theological scholars, both Protestant and Catholic. From these reviews we note in two instances, reaction expressed by the words, irenic, and polemic. The Dean of Northwest Baptist Theological Seminary wrote - "Dr. Bacchiocchi's
well-researched and well-written treatise combines erudition, devotion and an irenic spirit." Dr. Cosmas Rubencamp, Director of Campus Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond (VA) commented - "This non-polemical work, to my mind, represents a significant milestone in the dialogue between Seventh-day Adventists and Sunday-keeping Christians." Therefore, the question - Is the Sabbath Question - Irenic or Polemic?

In the chapter entitled - "The Impending Conflict" from the book, The Great Controversy, the servant of the Lord wrote:      The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering - a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.. (p. 582)

No one can possibly interpret such words and phrases as "conflict," "struggle," "battle," and "long-standing controversy" as irenic. These words suggest a war which has been raging for a considerable period of time - from the very beginning of the controversy between good and evil. The Law of God is involved. How can anyone take an irenic approach to an issue as grave as this one?

The "long-standing controversy concerning the law of God" has been and still is being fought on more than one front. 1 However, in this essay we are concerned with the Sabbath. The Law of God is specific - "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." (Ex. 20:10) The commandment which so states was placed in

p 2 -- the very heart of the Law with the name of God, and His right of authority clearly expressed. He is the Creator, and as the Creator blessed the seventh-day, and no other, as the memorial of that finished work. This day God designated to be a sign between Himself and His faithful people. (Eze. 20:20) No one, therefore, dares to take an irenic position in regarding any aspect of a question involving the Sabbath or the Law of God as a whole.

We may research, as Dr. Bacchiocchi has done (See from Sabbath to Sunday, Chapter VIII), and show that Pagan influences in their sun-cult worship, and sun-day had a direct effect on the acceptance of Sunday as the day of worship by the nominal Christian world. If, however, we fail to include the real meaning of Paganism in the over-all interpretation of such research, we produce merely a lukewarm presentation which serves only as a basis for dialogue.

The last book of the Bible is declared to be "The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." (Rev. 1:1) In this book - not by accident, but by design - the enemy is represented as a "dragon." (Rev. 12:9) The words "dragon" and "serpent" are used interchangeably. (Rev. 20:2) The color of the "dragon" is given as "red."
(Rev. 12:3) But this word in the Greek - purroV from pur, meaning fire - signifies "having the color of fire." The expression - "the great red dragon" that "old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan" - can be understood as the "firey serpent" of pagan antiquity. Hislop tells us that "along with the sun, as the great fire-god, and in due time, identified with him, was the serpent worshiped.
'In the mythology of the primitive world,'- says Owen, 'the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun.' In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc with a serpent around it." (The Two Babylons, p. 227) What the book of Revelation is telling us is simply that the Sun-god of paganism is the old serpent, the devil and Satan.

Satan's angelic name - Lucifer - is given in the Hebrew as "He1el" or light-bearer. (Isa. 14:12) As one of the covering cherubs "he had been the highest of all created beings, and foremost in revealing God's purposes to the universe." (DA, p. 758) In the garden of Eden, as a bearer of light through the serpent, he sought to bring to our first parents knowledge which God supposedly was withholding from them. (Gen. 3:5) In his continued deception of man, he has sought to identify himself in symbol with that which bears light to the earth - the sun - and to use the day on which light was created - the first day - as his day. Isaiah thus reveals Lucifer as "the day star, son of the morning" or the sun. (Isa. 14:12, margin) Revelation combines the picture of the Old Testament, and identifies him as the "firey serpent."

The Old Testament is replete with experiences individual and collective of the struggle between the God of heaven and the sun-god of earth. In the oldest book of the Bible, Job is quoted as saying that if he had looked at the sun in its rising, and had thrown a kiss in adoration, this would have been "an iniquity to be punished by the Judge" for in so doing he would "have denied the God that is above." (Job 31:26-28) When Moses sought the release of the Israelites in the name of the Lord God of Israel , he was met with the response from Pharaoh "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the

p 3 -- Lord, neither will I let Israel go." (Ex. 5:1-2) And the immediate point of contest between Moses and Pharaoh was the observance of the Sabbath, for Pharaoh charged Moses - "ye make them rest [Hebrew - sabbatize] from their burdens." (Ex. 5:5) The name - Pharaoh - was merely the official title of the Egyptian rulers and meant - "Son of Ra." Cumont, the recognized authority on ancient Sun worship, says of the Egyptians:      Not only did the royal race derive its origin from the Sun god Ra, but the soul of each sovereign was a double detached from the Sun god Horus. All the Pharaohs were thus the successive incarnations of the great daystar. They were not only representatives of divinities, but living gods worshiped on the same footing with those who traversed the skies, and their insignia resembled those of this divinity. (Franz Cumont, Mysteries of Mithra, pp. 91-92, quoted in Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 233, 1944 edition.)

The deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt was more than merely being delivered from physical slavery; it was deliverance from the power of Satan. The Sabbath, a memorial of the true God of heaven, takes on a new significance when viewed as the symbol of the contest with the son of the sun-god Ra - Pharaoh.

The apostasy at Sinai in the worship of the golden calf can be better understood when seen in its relationship to the sun-god worship of Egypt. In the Egyptian city of On, known to the Hebrews as Bethshemesh [house of the sun, Jer. 43:13], the sacred bull, Mne, which symbolized the sun was worshiped. In the only figure so far discovered of this bull, it is colored bright yellow, representing gold thus suggesting that the golden calf worshiped at Sinai was formed according to this Egyptian sun-god. Interestingly the calf or bull symbols of the sun gods of the Egyptians, whether Mne, or Apis, are pictured as accompanied by the serpent, "representing the spirit of the gods." (J. McClintock and J. Strong, Cyclopeadia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol 2, p. 27; quoted in Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 234)

In the ordinances which God gave Israel, the worship of the sun was punishable by death. (Deut. 17:2-5) The apostasy of Israel during the times of the Judges is often prefaced with the sentence - "They forsook the Lord and served Baal." (Judges 2:13; 10:10; 1 Sam. 12:10) Baal - or Baal-shemim, Lord of the heavens "is the name of the Sun god, the chief of Syrophoenician nations, as Astoreth was the principal female deity." (New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 303; quoted in Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 235) With this information certain aspects of Hebrew history acquire a deeper significance. For example, the story of Jericho - with the sin and punishment of Achan - can be better understood when one realizes that Jericho was devoted to the worship of Astoreth, the goddess of the moon. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 487) She was adored as the wife of Baal, and as the queen of heaven. The contest on Mt. Carmel, and the preceding years of famine was a confrontation between the God of heaven, and the satanic Sun-god, Baal. Keep in mind that God has chosen to represent the final message as the Elijah message. If the Lord be God, then serve Him, is not irenic in import, but rather, polemic!

p 4 -- The fall out of permitting "that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce" the children of Israel, is well summarized by Odom. He wrote:       (Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 236, 1944 edition) -- It seemed for a time that the cult of the Phoenician Sun-god would entirely supplant that of Jehovah. It spread over into Judah until its groves, high places, altars, and "the Sun images that were high above them," (2 Chron. 34:4 margin) were found everywhere. Its abominations entered into the very precincts of the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, and a monstrous idol was set up there. (Jer. 7:30; 2 Kings 21:2-7) They "burned incense unto Baal, to the Sun, and to the Moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. (2 Kings 23:5) God-fearing prophets and kings from time to time called the people to repentance, and partial reforms were effected. But the apostasy became so great that God permitted the heathen Assyrians and Babylonians to take His people, into captivity. However, in all this there was a faithful remnant that did not bow the knee to Baal.

The climax of these pagan abominations came shortly before the fall of Jerusalem under the onslaughts of Nebuchanezzar in the sixth century B. C.. Concluding a description of the heathen practices there, Ezekiel says: ''He brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the Sun toward the east." (Eze. 8:16)

In the Gospels, the Sabbath controversy does not involve a day of worship, but rather how the seventh-day was to be observed. (Matt. 12:12) In the times of the Apostles, the seventh-day Sabbath was universally recognized by the Christians. Reference is made to the first day, but never noted, nor commanded as a day of worship. Christ's resurrection took place on that day, but its memorial is given as baptism. (Rom. 6:4) A man's entrance into "newness of life" is not restricted to a day, but can occur on any day. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." ( II Cor., 6:2) The memorial of the Saviour's death is given - not as a day, but as a Supper. Its celebration, likewise, is not subject to a day. Originated on a Thursday night, it was celebrated by the disciples of Jesus, sometimes daily, sometimes on occasions of departure one from another. (Acts 20:7)

It must be noted that the Apostle Paul kept raising the danger signals in his recorded sermons, and epistles that soon after his death - and this would include the other Apostles - there would be a departure from the faith, a falling away, and "the man of sin" would be revealed. (Acts 20:29-30; II Thess. 2:3) In the first Century B. C., an oriental cult - Mithraism - made its appearance in the Roman Empire. "From the 2nd Century, the Emperors encouraged Mithraism because of the support which it afforded to the divine right of monarchs." Identified with Sol Invictus, Mithra, the sun-god of the Persians became the giver of authority and victory to the imperial house. This oriental religion became the chief antagonist to the Christian religion as both were developing within the Roman

p 5 -- Empire at approximately the same time. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Article, "Mithras" - 1958 edition)2

It was at this point in its contact with Paganism that Christianity departed from the faith "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." A. Paiva, a Portuguese writer on the subject of Mithraism, states:      The first day of each week, Sunday, was consecrated to Mithra since times remote, as several authors affirm. Because the Sun was god, the Lord par excellence, Sunday came to be called the Lord's day, as was later done by Christianity. (0 Mitraismo, p.3)

This same author comparing the two religions wrote - "The one and the other hallowed Sunday, as the Lord's day, and the one and the other celebrated the birth of its god on the 25th of December; and it is beyond doubt that Mithraism preceded Christianity on this and other points." (Ibid., p. 60 Quoted in Sunday in Roman Paganism, p. 149) Out of this amalgamation developed the Papacy.

Interestingly, Bacchiocchi while, recognizing the pagan factor in the adoptance of Sunday as the day of worship seeks to cover and justify the actions of the Catholic church in this decision. He writes:      The specific choice of Sunday as the new Christian day of worship in contradiction to the Jewish Sabbath was suggested, however, not by anti-Judaism but by other factors. It appears that anti-Judaism caused a devaluation and repudiation of the Sabbath, thus creating the necessity to seek for a new day of worship; but we found the reasons for the specific choice of Sunday elsewhere. The diffusion of the Sun-cults, which early in the second century caused the advancement of the day of the Sun to the position of the first day of the week (the position held previously by Saturn), orientated especially Christian converts from paganism toward the day of the Sun. The choice of the day of the Sun, however, was motivated not by the desire to venerate the Sun-god on his day but evidently by two different factors. On the one hand, the existence of a rich Judaeo-Christian tradition which associated the Deity with the sun and light, apparently predisposed Christians favorably toward the day and symbolism of the sun. On the other hand Christians realized, spontaneously perhaps, that the venerable day of the Sun provided a fitting symbology that could efficaciously commemorate and explain to the pagan world two fundamental events in the history of salvation - creation and resurrection: ''It is on this day that the Light of the World has appeared and on this day that the Sun of Justice has risen." (Quoting Jerome]

Sunday, moreover, commemorated adequately both the beginning of creation in contradiction to the Sabbath, the memorial of its completion - and the resurrection of Christ, viewed as the beginning of the new creation. We have shown that the motif of the resurrection, which initially was not regarded as exclusive or dominant, in time did become the preponderant reason for Sunday worship. Lastly Sunday was chosen inasmuch as, being the eighth day following the seventh-day Sabbath, it could express the continuation, the fulfillment and the supersedure of the Sabbath

p 6 -- both temporally and eschatologically.

The picture then that emerges from the present investigation is that the origin of Sunday was the result of an interplay of Jewish, pagan, and Christian factors. (From Sabbath to Sunday pp. 307-308)

By his concluding sentence, and the reasoning used to arrive at this conclusion, Bacchiocchi removes the whole issue of the Sabbath question from the polemic to the irenic. The change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh-day of the week as commanded by God to the first day of the week, according to Bacchiocchi resulted from an interplay of not only Jewish, and pagan factors, but also Christian factors. A "Christian factor" which would seek to change God's Holy Law is apostate, and savors of "the Man of Sin," "the Little Horn of Daniel 7" which would think to change times and laws. (Dan. 7:25) But Bacchiocchi calls this power "Christian"! Has Bacchiocchi forgotten, or doesn't he believe that "the papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times?" "Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in
the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ?" (GC, p. 571) Bacchiocchi says, "Yes." God's word says - "No, a thousand times NO!

1   "The long standing controversy concerning the law of God" (GC, p. 582) has a much broader meaning than merely the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. ''In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, ..." and "when men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared that the law could not be obeyed." (DA, p. 761). Thus those who are teaching today within the Seventh-day Adventist Church that it is impossible to reach perfection prior to the close of probation as the Scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy indicates to be the privilege of the saints through the power of God, are but false teachers, only echoing the sentiments of the devil. They are leagued with him against the law of God, and its Author, Whom the Bible pictures as being able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before His throne of glory. (Jude 24)

2   "Relation to Christianity. - The most interesting aspect of Mithraism is its antagonism to Christianity. Both religions were of Oriental origin; they were propagated about the same time, and spread with equal rapidity on account of the same causes, viz., the unity of the political world and the debasement of its moral life. The points of collision were especially at Rome, in Africa, and in the Rhone Valley, and the struggle was the more obstinate because the resemblances between the two religions, which were so numerous and so close as to be noticeable as early as the 2nd century, causing mutual recrimination.

"The fraternal spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the connection of their central figures with the Sun; the legends of the shepherds with their gifts and adoration; the flood, and the ark; the representation in art of the fiery chariot; the drawing of water from the rock, the use of bell and candle, holy water and the communion; the sanctification of Sunday and the 25th

p 7 -- of December; the insistence on moral conduct, the emphasis placed on abstinence and self-control; the doctrine of heaven and hell, of primitive revelation, of the mediation of the Logos emanating from the divine, the atoning sacrifice, the constant warfare between good and evil and the final triumph of the former, the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, the resurrection of the flesh and the firey destruction of the universe - are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity. At their root lay a common Eastern origin rather than any borrowing." Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol 15, p. 624, col 1, 1958 edition) With this evaluation, one can determine what Mithraism borrowed from Judaism as a result of the Exile in Babylon, and what was introduced in Christianity through pagan influences.

EUSEBIUS AND BACCHIOCCHI -- Elder A. T. Jones in his book Individuality in Religion - sets forth in a concise and authoritative way how the observance of Sunday became binding upon the Christian world following its adoption by the hierarchy of the nominal Christian
church. Jones also reveals why the bishops of the church took the road they followed in the sanctification of the Lord's day of the pagan Sun-god, Mithra. He wrote - "The first legislation in behalf of Sunday was that by Constantine; and it originated in the church and was enacted solely upon the initiative and the demand of the bishops." (p. 120) [All references from historical sources will be taken from Individuality in Religion, Chapter IX] The first religious legislation on the part of Constantine included both Friday and Sunday, closing the courts and civil offices, "so that the day might be devoted with less interruption to the purposes of devotion." In the second law issued in A.D. 321, Friday was dropped, and Sunday alone remained a day for devotion. Bishop Eusebius, who was foremost in influencing this legislation, sets forth the objective in his Oration in Praise of Constantine, Chapter XVII. Speaking of Constantine, Eusebius declared:      
Who else has commanded the nations inhabiting the continents and islands of this mighty globe to assemble weekly on the Lord's day and to observe it as a festival, not indeed for the pampering of the body, but for the comfort of the soul by instruction in divine truth.

.Eusebius justified this action because "all things whatsoever it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Sunday." (Commentary on the Psalms) While Bacchiocchi abjures legal legislation to effect changes in the present trends of secular society which has altered "traditional religious values such as the sanctification of the Lord's Day," he suggests we need "to revitalize both the worship and rest content of the Lord's day, by educating our Christian communities to understand and experience the meaning and obligation of the

p 8 -- seventh-day Sabbath." (The Sabbath Sentinel, August, 1978, pp. 3, 6)

While on the surface, this suggestion from Bacchiocchi may appear to be consistent Adventist teaching, one must keep in mind that Bacchiocchi never refers to the Sabbath as the Lord's day, but when he uses that term, it means, Sunday [In his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - he denies that Revelation 1:10 refers to the Sabbath day. (p. 111f )] His suggestion pure and simple is that the nominal Christians who observe Sunday, use the meaning of the true Sabbath to enrich their observance of Sunday! This is exactly what Eusebius and his fellow bishops sought to do by legislation. Lest there be any lingering doubt as to Bacchiocchi's position, we need only to look at his message before a session of the Lord's Day Alliance, February 14, 1979 as reported in The Sabbath Sentinel, April, 1979. He stated to the convention:      As a Seventh-day Adventist I can only applaud and support your noble objectives and efforts, since a major raison d'etre for the existence of my church is to lead men and women into a deeper experience with the Saviour through a rediscovery of the meaning and blessings of Sabbath keeping. Though we differ on the day on which we rest, we mutually agree on its vital function for the survival of Christianity...

The fact that you are here tonight to plan how to preserve and promote the Lord's day in our Christian communities indicates that you fully recognize how vital is Sabbath keeping to the survival not only of Judaism but of Christianity as well. (pp. 6, 7)

During his presentation, Bacchiocchi quoted Dr. Wesberry, excessive director of the Lord's Day Alliance as stating unequivocally that "one of our nation's greatest needs. . . is to get back to the Fourth Commandment and once again 'Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.'" Wesberry affirmed - "I will do all in my power to put great emphasis on the Fourth Commandment and to keep this before the people I speak to and talk to." On this commitment of Dr. Wesberry, Bacchiocchi stated:      I would like to urge all of us to make the same pledge tonight. Let us pledge by God's grace to lead our congregations to a renewed understanding and experience of the blessings of the Sabbath and we shall soon see the physical, spiritual, and social life of our people revitalized. (Ibid., p. 16)

The fraternization between Bacchiocchi and Dr. Wesberry resulted from Bacchiocchi sending Wesberry a copy of his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - beautifully autographed and signed with the notation from Bacchiocchi - "In recognition of your noble commitment to the preservation of God's holy day." (Ibid., p. 19) Is not this reminiscent of a contact which Elder T. E. Unruh made with Barnhouse, which has resulted in so much apostasy within the Church?

But again let us note another parallel between Eusebius, his fellow bishops and Bacchiocchi . The church historian, Neander, noted that there has arisen in the

p 9 -- church of Eusebius's time "a false theocratical theory ... which might easily result in the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and outward way." (Quoted by Jones, op. cit., pp. 126-127) The bishops had worked out a scheme of a human theocracy patterned in imitation of the original and divine one projected by God for Israel. In the Life of Constantine by Eusebius the picture is crystalized. A. T. Jones summarized in these
The church was Israel in Egypt oppressed by Pharaoh Maxentius, and Constantine was the new Moses who delivered this new oppressed Israel. The defeat of Maxentius by Constantine in the battle of Milvian Bridge, and his drowning in the Tiber, was the overthrow of Pharaoh in the sea and his ''sinking to the bottom like a stone.'' After this deliverance of the new Israel by this new Moses, the new Moses with the new Israel went on to the conquest of the heathen in the wilderness, to the full establishment of the new theocracy, to the entering of the promised land, and to the saints of the Most High taking the kingdom. Accordingly, by the new Moses a tabernacle was set up, and a priesthood in imitation of that divine original in the Scriptures was established. And still in imitation of that divine original in the Scriptures, Sunday was by law made the sign of this new and false theocracy, as the Sabbath was and is the sign of the original, the true, and the Divine Theocracy. (Individuality in Religion, pp. 127-128)

Now what does Bacchiocchi propose for this space age with its secularized society? Note carefully his conclusion, remembering that nowhere does he use the term, "Lord's Day" to mean the seventh day Sabbath, but rather to mean the first day of the week, Sunday. He writes:       In our cosmic age the Sabbath could well be the fitting expression of a cosmic faith, a faith which embraces and unites creation, redemption, and final restoration; the past, the present, and the future; man, nature and God; this world and the world to come; a faith that recognizes God's dominion over the whole creation and over human life by consecrating to Him a portion of time; a faith that fulfills the believer's true destiny in time and eternity; a faith that would treat the Lord's Day as God's holy day rather than a holiday. (The Sabbath Sentinel, August, 1978, p. 7; Liberty,, Jan/Feb, 1979, p. 17)

p 10 -- THE EVOLUTION OF BACCHIOCCHI -- [In this analysis of the rise of Bacchiocchi from a child in a Roman Adventist home near the Vatican to a chair of theology at Andrews University via the Jesuit's Vatican University - The Pontifical Gregorian - will be based on the "Acknowledgments" (p. 5) in his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - and Bacchiocchi's personal testimony before the annual meeting of the Lord's Day Alliance's board of managers held in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 14, 1979. The latter was reported in The Sabbath Sentinel, April, 1979, pp. 8-9. Direct quotes from the book will be noted by (2).]
"I was born a stone's throw from the Vatican wall and under its shadow I spent
the first 20 years of my life," so begins Bacchiocchi's recital of his life. 2  His father was a devout Roman Catholic until a Waldensian gave him a Bible to read. Discovering for himself from that Bible, the Sabbath truth, Bacchiocchi's father began keeping it before he knew of the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pressures brought by relatives and friends because of this change can only be imagined, never fully recited. "Bacchiocchi tells of priests and relatives urging him as a youth to abandon "the heretical ideas" of his parents. It was during this period of his life he dreamed "that some day by God's grace [he] would investigate the Sabbath/Sunday question and the meaning
of God's holy day for Christians today." 2  In his acknowledgments, he credits his parents for "the love they instilled in [him] for the Saviour and His Sabbath" which stimulated his desire "to investigate the historical and theological development of God's holy day." 1

The step toward the Jesuit's university at the Vatican came while Bacchiocchi was serving the Seventh-day Adventist church in Ethiopia as a Bible teacher in the college. A casual contact with "Father Rovasio" whom he terms "a beloved Catholic priest" led to his making application to attend the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome. The priest told Bacchiocchi that he was no longer a "heretic" but now "a separated brother," and thus could be accepted because of the new climate in the Catholic Church due to Vatican II. This new concept of being "a separated brother" is heavily emphasized in his book. He writes - "I am particularly indebted to the Pontifical Gregorian University not only for admitting the first 'separated brother' in over four hundred years of her history, but also for treating me as a real 'brother.' I will treasure for the rest of my life the memory of the warm reception received and especially the example of moral integrity and dedicated scholarship so well exemplified in the life of the professors and students there." 1

We can only conclude that at this point Bacchiocchi began to loose his hold on the Word of God, and began the trail into fable and tradition. What had happened in his theological training prior to this point so that he forgot the messages of the book of Revelation, we are not told. It is evident that Bacchiocchi did not understand that no one who is "separated unto the gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1) is a "separated brother" from Rome; but is rather called out of darkness into the marvelous light of truth. To return to such darkness and consider one's self a "brother" is to put out one's spiritual eyesight.

p 11 -- There is another interesting facet to this educational period in Bacchiocchi's life. He states that "it took about six months to process [his application to the Gregorian University] and to grant [him] some special dispensations" before being admitted. 2  He also acknowledges his heartfelt gratitude to his Seventh-day Adventist Church "for assisting me during my doctoral studies."l What, "assistance" he received is not spelled out, nor what contacts were made and with whom prior to his admittance to the university. But it is evident that upon the completion of his work, he was given immediately a teaching position at Andrews University.

It is most difficult to put together the environment under which he lived as a youth in a home where his father made such a decisive decision in regard to the seventh day as the Sabbath, and what youthful Samuele must have believed then, with the belief expressed by the Dr. Bacchiocchi before the board of managers of the Lord's Day Alliance in Atlanta, February 14, 1979. The Dr. Bacchiocchi said:      Since to try to bring about a general return to the observance of the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath would be even harder than trying to go from miles to kilometers - especially today when most Christians, want holidays and not holy days it is perhaps most desirable and fruitful for us to discuss how we can work together to help our people to experience the physical and spiritual blessings of a day of rest, worship and service, whether this be Saturday or Sunday. (The Sabbath Sentinel, April, 1979, p. 14)

The only possible conclusion to be drawn is that the influence of the Jesuit university has had a molding and adverse effect on a brilliant mind so that it is now under the control of a power foreign to the truth of God that "the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God," and that day, and that day alone did receive the blessing of God - a blessing conferred on none of the other days, and a blessing that cannot be transferred!

The emphasis which Bacchiocchi is giving the Sabbath - exemplified in his booklet - Rest for Modern Man - published b the Southern Publishing Association is simply - "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." This is the same emphasis to be found in Catholic Catechisms; the same emphasis given by the Lord s Day Alliance; and the only part of the Fourth Commandment inscribed on the gold medallion given to the Pope by Dr. B. B. Beach as a symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. So while every sincere Seventh-day Adventist may be aghast at Bacchiocchi's remarks, Bacchiocchi is but echoing the new emphasis as proclaimed by the Church in the medallion struck for the Church to give to dignitaries. [ For picture of the medallion, see Friendship Edition of The Adventist Review.] This writer has carefully checked the booklet - Rest for Modern Man - and has failed to find a single place where the part of the Fourth Commandment which reads - "The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God" - is quoted. The closest reference to this point is a question asked in the beginning of the book, but never answered. It reads - "Should man sanctify the Sabbath by resting the twenty-four hours of the seventh day?" (p. 6) Bacchiocchi answered the question before the board of managers of the Lord's Day Alliance. The answer was - "No" - just keep one day in seven as a holy day! How tragic the evolution of Samuele Bacchiocchi.

p 12 -- REPORT OF BOARD OF MANAGERS ANNUAL MEETING OF THE LORD'S DAY ALLIANCE -- [This report is taken from The Sabbath Sentinel, April, 1979. The meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia, February 14, 1979.] -- Opening remarks of Dr. Charles A. Platt, president of the Alliance:      "One of the principle features of the Alliance in its ninetieth year of service to Christ and His church [Do not forget the Lord's Day Alliance was first organized in 1888.] has been the expansion of our horizons through the dynamic leadership of our executive director, Dr. James P. Wesberry. He has led us along new paths and opened new vistas of Christian witness not heretofore emphasized. Evidence of these expanded horizons is the fraternal relationships we have enjoyed with our Roman Catholic brethren and representatives of the seventh-day Sabbatarians. Dr. Terril D. Littrell [President of the Bible Sabbath Association] and Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, who have taken of their time to share with us the concept of the Lord's Day observance from a new and fresh perspective, have broadened our horizons, and I am convinced that men of their ability and caliber can be included in our work. If the Sabbatarians interpret the Sabbath in a different way, that is all right; it helps us to broaden our persepctive and to be more inclusive."

Dr. James P. Wesberry, Executive Director, reported on his visit to Andrews University:      "One of the most far-reaching and effective visits since our last board meeting was to Andrews University and Seminary in Berrien Springs, Mich., on December 2, 1978. Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, professor of history and teacher of theology, (author of From Sabbath to Sunday ), extended the invitation for me to address a forum in the Seminary Chapel. There were about 800 college and seminary students and other distinguished guests present, some sitting on the floor and others standing, with all seats packed. I spoke on 'The Lord's Day Alliance,' followed by Dr. Bacchiocchi, and answered questions from the audience. I was later also interviewed for a radio program. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful hospitality of Dr. and Mrs. Bacchiocchi and by the gracious response of the audience, all of whom stood, and applauded in expression of their appreciation.

"Dr. Bacchiocchi was the first non-Catholic to graduate from the "Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He received a gold medal from Pope Paul VI for graduating with the academic distinction of summa cum laude.

"Dr. Bacchiocchi had very kindly sent me a copy of his book beautifully autographed with his compliments, 'In recognition of your noble commitment to the preservation of God's holy day.' This has led us into a friendship through correspondence and to an invitation to visit Andrews University and Seminary, which was one of the highlights of my many beautiful, ripe, rich and rewarding experiences as executive director of the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States. In spite of any differences of opinion in reference to the Sabbath question I had once again clasped hands across differences and denominational lines and felt the warm grip of sincere and gracious friendship among my brothers and sisters in

p 13 -- Christ. I came away from Berrien Springs feeling that we really helped each other toward a better understanding and in good Christian fellowship."

Atlanta, GA, Feb. 14, 1979. Dr. Wesberry, Executive Director of the Lord' s Day Alliance welcomed Dr. Terril D. Littrell, President of the Bible Sabbath Association to the annual meeting of its Board of Managers as "a friend and brother who shares concern for the observance of the Fourth Commandment." He was invited to stay for the closed session of the board of directors of the Alliance. (The Sabbath Sentinel, April, 1979, p. 20)

Further:  "Dr. Littrell has been invited by Father William Robbins, an Episcopal priest and one of the board members, to speak before the Lord's Day League of New England. This organization was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1895 'to maintain the observance of the Sabbath as a civil day of rest and a day for religious worship.' Father Robbins said, 'After Dr. Littrell's address to us last year, we are including both Saturday and Sunday keepers in our organization.'" (Ibid.)


Aos Secretarios da Familias Confessionais Mundiais
(To the Secretaries of the World Confessional Families)

(Seeking the objectives of complete unity

These were the headlines of the Vatican report on the special audience given by Pope Paul VI to the Secretaries of the World Confessional Families which included Dr. B. B. Beach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The full article which gives the Vatican viewpoint appeared on page 12 of the May 22, 1977 issue. The translation which we have just received follows:      After the general audience of Wednesday, the 18th inst., the Holy Father received the participants of the Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families. The group was accompanied by Bishop John Howe, General Secretary of the ''Anglican Consultive Council'' and Mr. B. B. Beach, General Secretary of the "Seventh-day Adventists" met the Pope. This was the first time that the representatives of the "Seventh-day Adventists" met the Pope.

To commemorate this significant moment, they offered an artistic gold medal to the Holy Father.

The Holy Father directed the following discourse to them:

p 14 -- "Dear Brethren in Christ,

"We rejoice to be able to receive such an important group today, and we welcome you to Peter's See. In you we greet the representatives of a considerable portion of the Christian people, and through you we send our wishes of grace and peace in the Lord to your Confessional Families.

"We are happy to express, in your presence, our common faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only Mediator with the Father, the Saviour of the world. Yes, brethren, together with the Apostle Peter, we proclaim that 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' Acts 4:12.

"On her part, the Catholic Church is solemnly engaged, through Vatican Council II, in an ecumenism based on increased fidelity to Christ the Lord and on heart conversion (see Unitatis Redinte-gratio, 6-7). At the same time she is conscious that 'nothing would harm the Catholic doctrine and obscure its genuine and precise meaning.' (ibid.)

"Reinforced by the power of the word of God, let us therefore pursue, despite all difficulties, the objective of full unity in Christ and in the Church. And, with humbleness and love, let us direct our thoughts and our hopes to our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be given to Him, as well as to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, forever and ever." -- (1979 June) --- END ---

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