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WWN 1979 Oct - Dec


1979 Oct -- A GOD OF JUDGMENT -- [This is the third part of the series on Corporate Accountability.] -- Even as there can be corporate repentance, there is corporate guilt; for unless there is guilt, there would be no need to even speak of corporate repentance. When therefore, judgment is executed because repentance has not followed the act of transgression which brought the guilt, how does God relate to the corporate identity involved? Does He separate the individuals who are not directly involved from the judgments which are to fall upon the leaders who have led the people into sin? In other words - to put it plainly - will the laity and the rank and file of the ministry be spared the judgments of God upon the hierarchy who have led in the apostasy from the truth of God? In seeking an answer to this question, we shall consider the God of the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament, and the God of the Spirit of Prophecy.

The God of the Old Testament -- In the days of ancient Israel, on their way to the land of promise from Mount Sinai, a rebellion broke out. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram challenged the leadership of Moses. In turn Moses called for the leaders, and those associated with them to appear before the sanctuary that God might reveal His will. Dathan and Abiram refused to come up. The Lord then ordered all of the congregation of Israel to separate from the tents of these men. Because Dathan and Abiram would not appear at the tabernacle, Moses went to their tents, followed by the elders of Israel. Observe carefully what followed. (Numbers 16:26-27) Moses spoke to the congregation saying:      Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. [These little children had not joined in the manifesto which their grandfathers had sent to Moses. See Numbers 16:12-14]

Here were two families - corporate identities - standing together. Two men had sinned - the heads of the households. Here were ties of loyalty, kinship - and there was the command which but a little while before had been uttered from Mt. Sinia - "Honor thy father and the thy mother." Would corporate identification take precedence over individual responsibility, or would the latter prevail? How would the decision of the sons of these men - Dathan and Abiram - effect their

p 2 -- "little children"? Would God separate them from the judgment upon their fathers who had sinned? The record continues:      And Moses said ... If the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave assunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, ... They and all that appertained unto them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them. (Numbers 16: 28-33)

While the families of Dathan and Abiram fell together under the judgment of God, because their sons refused to separate themselves from their corporate identity, on the other hand the record notes that the sons of Korah died not. (Numbers 26: 10-11) They did not appear with their father and the two hundred and fifty princes who had assembled at the door of the sanctuary to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron. They chose to exercise their individual responsibility, and refused to be identified in the corporate entity which in turn suffered under the judgment of God.

The God of the New Testament -- On the day of Pentecost - at the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit - there were assembled in Jerusalem for the feast, Jews, "devout men, out of every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5) These were not wicked men - but "devout" - who had come to Jerusalem from the diaspora in harmony with the instruction which God had given concerning the feasts. Some perhaps had come for the Passover, and remained the fifty days till Pentecost, but others had not even been present at the feast when Jesus was crucified. Quickly coming together due to the excitement and witness engendered by the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the faithful followers of Jesus, they listened intently as Peter explained the meaning of what had and was taking place. They heard him say:      Ye men of Israel , hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: ... ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. (Acts 2:22-23)

Those who had not been present at the feast of the Passover were not moved. They had had no part in the crucifixion of Jesus - they were not anywhere near. Those who might have come for both feasts knew that the Romans had done the act. It was their hands that were "wicked" not theirs. So they continued to listen, very sure they had no accountability. Then Peter returns to the theme again, and brings it home. Note:      Let all the house of Israel [the corpus of Israel] know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)

This now stirred them. Whether present or not, whether a part of the mob who

p 3 -- shouted, "Crucify Him!" - and definitely not a Roman soldier - still they were being charged by God as 'guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ, and partakers in the crucifixion, because of their corporate identity. Pricked in their hearts they cried out to Peter and to the rest of the Apostles - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37) And their response to Peter's answer determined whether they would be included in the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel.

The God of the Spirit of Prophecy -- There are those among the professed people of God who would have us believe that the God with whom we have to do today is not the God of yesterday. They vainly hope that the God who declared - "My Spirit shall not always strive with men" (Gen. 6:2) - no longer holds to this dictum, but will grant unlimited time to an insubordinate people so that they can repent of their backslidding. The laity are told that God is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Look, they are advised, at all the great and wonderful institutions which God has permitted to be built as monuments to His glory. Will He forsake such a people, and such an organization, they are asked. The reasoning goes - God is different today. Times have changed. He may have called into account the Jewish people who "cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and they were always to be exalted as the church of God." (C.0.L., p. 294) But this will not be true of the corporate body today. It is going through. To such the God of judgment has died. But, the God of the Spirit of Prophecy is the same God who spoke in Old Testament times, and Who through the Holy Spirit spake the same language on the Day of Pentecost. Read this prophecy carefully:      The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with the slaughtering weapons in their hands: ''Go ye after him through the city, and smight; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."

Here we see that the church - the Lord's sanctuary - was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust ...Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. (5T:211)

As we read this, we say, "Amen, so be it, Lord." Those who betrayed their trust should suffer the just vengeance of an offended God. BUT, this is not all to the prophecy. There is one more sentence. It reads - and as you read - tremble for yourselves, and weep for the others:      Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together. (Ibid.)

p 4 -- Why? Because they are identified corporately in the guilt of their leaders, and have refused to exercise their individual responsibility. The God who held the sons, the son's wives, and their little children guilty with Dathan and Abiram; the God who held the "devout men" of Israel equally guilty with the "wicked hands" who crucified the Lord of glory, is the same God who will visit in judgment, not only the leadership who have "betrayed their trust," but the laity - the men, maidens and little children of the Sabbath school - who have b their corporate identity supported the leadership by acquiescing to the apostasy, and who have upheld their hands in support by their means. Is it not time that an awakened laity, pricked by the Holy Spirit as were the devout men of Israel on the day of Pentecost, cry out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?."

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS IN RUSSIA -- [For sometime now, we have been receiving reports bearing on the arrest and trial of Elder Vladimir Sholkov. In the letters from our readers we have been urged to say something about this. We have been waiting, accumulating data until a clear picture emerged. This report will include many of the documents which have been sent to us, along with other material which we have researched from our files on this situation. The matter is not closed, and can be considered only fully revealed when Elder Sholkov is released and brought to this country where he can speak forth as has Pastor Georgi Vins of the underground Baptist church in Russia. To this end we should cooperate with all agencies which are seeking his release, and pray that the day will soon arrive when we can know the full facts of truth in regard to some of the evidence presented in the following report.]

On March 14, 1978, Elder Vladimir Sholkov, presiding elder of the Church of the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists, was arrested in Tashkent, a Soviet city in Central Asia. [As you continue to read, please keep dates, and locations clearly before your mind.] According to Amnesty International, a London based organization, "his arrest was clearly related to his exercise of the right of freedom of conscience." On March 12, 1979 - almost a year later to the day - Elder Sholkov was tried in Tashkent and sentenced to five years strict regime in a corrective labor colony. [The events which preceded this year, and those which occured during this year are most interesting when related to the experience of this man of God.] Amnesty International recommended in an "Urgent Action" bulletin that telegrams, and express letters be sent to Russian leaders calling for the immediate release of Elder Sholkov, and to express concern that the sentence poses a risk to the health of this 84 year old man. (Release dated, March 30, 1979.)

The combined Sunday edition of the Charleston, S. C., newspaper (March 25, 1979, p. 2A) carried the information that four other Seventh-day Adventists were also convicted along with Elder Sholkov. The Sacramento Union (Nov. 28, 1978, p. A4) reported that "Nobel prize winner Andrei Sakharov issued an appeal Monday to the World Council of Churches and to Pope John Paul II on behalf of an 83 year old Seventh-day Adventist leader scheduled to go on trial next month. Sakharov said Vladimir Sholkov, president of the Soviet Adventist Church, would be tried on anti-Soviet slander in late December in the Central Asian city of Tashkent." For some reason the trial did not take place till March.

p 5 -- Dr. Michael Wurmbrand, General Director of Jesus to the Communist World, Inc., in his December, 1978, issue of The Voice of the Martyrs (p. 2), published an article captioned - "Persecuted Adventist." [The full-article was reproduced in the February, 1979, "Watchman, What of the Night?" p. 10] In this article he called for all who would read it, regardless of denominational affiliation, to write to the General Conference leadership and ask them "to tell the truth about the Communist persecution and to start helping the victims." The reaction from Washington was anything but candid and forthright. One Adventist brother on the West Coast wrote directly to Kenneth Wood, editor of the Adventist Review, in a letter dated February 1, 1979, asking - "Is it true, that in spite of the glowing report of religious freedom for our Adventist brethren in the USSR, (as reported by Elder Pierson, Oct. 19, Review) that persecution is the order of the day there?" This brother cited the article in The Voice of the Martyrs noted above. Then he asked another penetrating question - "Are these conditions as reported by this group true? According to your knowledge, are there some good reasons for the cover-up by the former president of the General Conference, if the above is in fact true?" Elder Wood declined to reply to this inquiry, but instead sent a form letter dated January 17, 1979, written by Elder Alf Lohne who accompanied Pierson on his Russian itinerary. From the letter itself, it is apparent that the hierarchy in Washington found it necessary to formulate a "Dear Friend" letter to answer the many responses from Dr. Wurmbrand's appeal. The reply of Elder Lohne is so revealing that we reproduce the same in full:

January 17, 1979          Office of the Vice President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventistists

Dear Friends,    
You have written to us because of an article about Adventists in the USSR which appeared in the paper, "Jesus to the Communist World", December, 1978. The article mentions an organization in the USSR known as the "Union of the Faithful and Free Adventists" and gives names of members who have been persecuted because of their faith.

As far as we know, this "Union" is not connected with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We have heard that one of its leaders left our church more than fifty years ago.

If members of the "Union" mentioned have been or are being persecuted because of their faith, we deeply regret this and sympathize with efforts being made to help and support them. We don't believe anyone should be Persecuted for his religious convictions.

p 6 -- It isn't easy to know the best way to help individuals in other countries who are having difficulties because of their religion. On this point, opinions differ widely.

We trust that the above gives the information you wanted, and send you Christian greetings.

Yours sincerely, 
  Alf Lohne    Vice President

This transparent "dodge" of the issue on the part of Alf Lohne is matched only by the flippant reponse given to the Australian believers by the editor of the Australian Record. R. H. Parr in his "Flash Point" (April 23, 1979) indicated that the news over A. B. C., telling of the arrest and sentence of Elder Sholkov caught "the officers of the Division" somewhat "unawares because they do not know of any problems in this area, or pending persecutions." Contacting the General Conference and Elder Lohne, Parr reported they received the information that "leading Seventh-day Adventist pastors in Russia inform us that Vladimir Sholkov left our church more than fifty years ago and has never returned. He calls his organization 'Seventh-day Adventists of the True Remnant.'" Then in a flippant, unconcerned manner concludes this section - "So now you know."

This aloofness and calloused attitude could not dampen the interest of the non-Adventist world in the plight of Elder Sholkov, and his relationship to the Seventh-day Adventist church. Reuters, the English news agency, took up the story. The hierarchy in Washington found it necessary to issue a news release. They used none other than Elder Roland Hegstad, editor of Liberty, and associate director of the Public Affiars Department of the General Conference. Religious News Service (March 30, 1979, p. 21) reported Hegstad's evaluation as follows:      "A Leading Adventist pastors with whom we have contact in the USSR indicate that Sholkov separated from the Adventist Church in 1924 and formed his own movement, the 'True Remnant.' We have not had direct contact with Sholkov.

"Our church is concerned that a nation should find it necessary to put an old man in prison because of his religious activities. This would be our stand whether he lived in the USSR or in any other nation. Seventh-day Adventists believe in human rights for all peoples of the world.

"We felt the need to clarify Sholkov's position with the Church because Adventists do not usually become involved with political activism to the extent that Sholkov has."

p 7 -- Some questions are in order for Elder Hegstad. What "political activism" has Sholkov been engaged in? Hegstad admitted - "We have not had direct contact with Sholkov." Do we judge a man before we hear him, or do we accept the judgment of his accusers?

Outside of the general comment that the Church would be concerned about the imprisonment of an old man regardless in what nation he resided, this news release was a definite attempt to disassociate the leadership in Washington from any relationship to Elder Sholkov, and to free themselves from any activity which could be interpreted as an appeal for his release. Now into this picture place this sequence of events:      Elder Vladimir Sholkov has spent 23 years of his life in Soviet prisons, having been released the time previous in 1969.

After his release in 1969, he went into hiding, and remained in hiding till his arrest in March, 1978.

One of the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recognized by the government of Russia was at the General Conference headquarters during the first part of 1978 to finalize on the trip of Pierson and Lohne to Russia.

Elders R. H. Pierson and Alf Lohhe were in Russia on an officially recongized visit by the government of Russia from August 17 till September 5, 1978.

Elder Sholkov was tried and sentenced March, 1979.

In the report of his visit to Russia (Review, Oct. 19 & 26, 1978), Elder Pierson while talking of consultations with Russian leaders, noting divisions in the Church, and attempts to "heal" these fractures, not once mentioned the plight of Elder Sholkov, or that he had interceded on humanitarian grounds, let alone religious motivation, on his behalf. And it is interesting that the Press, and News Services did not take up their cry in behalf of Elder Sholkov until after the Russian visit by the Church leaders. When the media did react, the Church was quick to disassociate itself from the connection. It is further significant that when the Nobel prize winner, Andrei Sakharov, spoke out in defense of Sholkov, he did not appeal to the world leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church, but to the WCC, and the Pope!

Another interesting factor in the over-all picture is that other officers of the General Conference had made trips to Russia to lay the ground work for Pierson's official visit. In a report given immediately after his return from Russia at a Sabbath afternoon service in the Fletcher SDA church, Elder Pierson stated:      There have been some other men who have been in Russia before. Some of them from the General Conference had gone in order to make arrangements for this journey, to talk with government officials, and our workers there in Russia. And I at this time want to pay tribute to the work that Elder and Mrs Lohne did, Elder Carcich and these men that had gone before and who had done a good job in laying a good foundation

p 8 -- And had made good impression on government there, and had made the arrangements well. (Taped Report, September 16, 1978)

Elder Alf Lohne's trip was reported in the Review (July 14, 19'7-7). He wrote:      Our trip began in Moscow, the capital. From there we went to Alma-Ata in the South, close to the China border. In this famous winter-sports city and the surrounding area, there are many believers. It was a joy to worship with them and to share with them a message from the Bible. Frunze and Tashkent were other cities we visited in Central Asia. (p. 4)

Now keep in mind that Tashkent was where Elder Sholkov was arrested less than a year later. The route from Alma-Ata to Tashkent via Frunze is on the north side of a high mountainous area, an area well situated for hiding as Elder Sholkov did from 1969 till his arrest in 1978. While Elder Lohne reported that this area contains "many believers" with whom he met, Elder Pierson's itinerary did not include Alma-Ata, nor Tashkent, although he paid tribute in the Fletcher church to Elder Lohne, that Lohne had "made the arrangements well."

Again there are some questions that require an answer. Did Elder Lohne on his trip in 1977 to Tashkent, Frunze, or Alma-Ata make any contact with Sholkov, or learn in any way about his whereabouts? Why was Pierson's itinerary so routed that Tashkent was avoided? Why did not Elder Pierson visit Elder Sholkov in prison. Perhaps in Pierson's eyes he was a "separated brother" but was he not also a soul for whom Christ died? If Pierson really believed him to be an apostate, should he not have as the self proclaimed "first minister" of the church sought to reach him?

I am sure that should Kenneth H. Wood, editor of the Adventist Review, read this report, he would no doubt say as he did when the Special Report was released on the official audience that Elder B. B. Beach had with Pope Paul VI, that Brother Grotheer is seeing something "sinister" in what is "entirely innocent and meaningless." It must be admitted that if all there was to the picture were the facts as noted in the above paragraphs, it could be concluded that this is a case based merely on circumstantial evidence. But other facts and personal admissions make the apparent circumstantial evidence subject to some close scrutiny and reasonably valid questions as to the timing.

Back in April of 1977 - just one month prior to the trip of Elder Alf Lohne to Russia, and Central Asia, a report appeared in The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA, April 17, 1977, p. A16) captioned - "Illigal Christian Groups Survive in the Soviet Union." These groups were noted as "active, but undergound." The article was an Associated Press release from Moscow. Among the "illigal sects" was listed Seventh-day Adventists. The parts of this newspaper story which are apropos to this report stated:      On March 14 (1977) in Tashkent, a man named Anatoly Kochergin was seized by police for transporting a cargo of 200 books illigally published by a Seventh-day Adventist printing plant. There has been no report of Kochergin's fate, but Adventists expected him to be interrogated in an effort to learn where this plant is hidden.

p 9 -- The nation's underground Baptists, who split away from the official Baptist Church in 1961, have a membership of some 40,000, according to best estimates ... The Baptists maintain close ties to the illegal branch of the Seventh-day Adventists, who do not disclose their total number of members. They split from the officially recognized Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1924-1928.

"Almost all the ministers of the (illegal) church must carry on an illegal way of life because of oppression by state atheism and there is not one family that has not felt the oppression,'' one Seventh-day Adventist wrote recently. He cited disruption of services and the confiscation of illegal religious literature.

The illegal literature - printed largely by Baptists and Adventists - ranges from religious texts to books on Soviet human rights problems. Many of the books come out in hard cover from well-hidden printing plants and are as professionally printed and illustrated as officially published books.

"We don't reveal how many we print, but I can tell you this:  We have plenty in reserve in case those in the hands of our believers are taken away, said one Seventh-day Adventist. ''Tens of thousands of people have these books," he asserted.

The Associated Press release from Moscow, and the reaction of the hierarchy in Washington have one thing in common, the date of the rupture of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Russia - 1924-1928. This date coincides with the death of Lenin on January 21, 1924, and the subsequent rise to power of Joseph Stalin. The time of the second period of persecution against Christianity in Russia is dated from 1923-1930, thus covering this same period of time. While the present policy of the Soviet government is becoming much more sophisticated than that which was used during the Lenin-Stalin period, we can formulate what issues were involved which caused the split in the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1924-1928.

Elder R. H. Pierson as noted previously in this analysis - spoke soon after his return from Russia in the Fletcher Seventh-day Adventist church on the afternoon of September 16, 1978. His remarks were tape recorded. He gave to the assembled group answers to previously posed questions. As to whether he and Elder Lohne were able to meet and preach freely while in Russia, he replied:      We could preach freely. There are some subjects that it is better to stay away from. It isn't best to talk about the imminent appearing of Christ, because the Socialist system has something better to offer than the return of the Lord.

Thus the proclamation of the basic teaching of the church in regard to the Second Coming of Christ is one issue. In other words, are we Adventists, or are we not?

In response to the question "Can our ministers baptize freely?" - Pierson responded - "The legal requirement in Russia, or the USSR, is that a person should not be baptized until they are eighteen years of age." [Under Krushchev, children were forbidden to attend religious services, and none were to be baptized under 30 years of age.]

p 10 -- In the matter of publishing, Pierson declared emphatically - "We are not able to do any publishing per se," and indicated that they were able only to print Morning Watch booklets with the texts only. This in direct contrast to the underground Adventist Church which was publishing hard cover books in a professional manner by the thousands, evidently according to the AP release in the area of Tashkent. A question again comes to mind. Did the AP release from Moscow signal Russian authorities' concern of a problem getting out-of-hand from their viewpoint, and did the hierarchy play with the government, for one month later Lohne was in the Tashkent area?

As to education, this Pierson report indicated that "there are no church schools of Seventh-day Adventists, or any type. The State takes full responsibility for education." Explaining this he said:       The Russian concept of religious liberty, however, falls a little short of the Western understanding of what religious liberty is. In the USSR, freedom of conscious there is, freedom for liturgical worship... However, it is not freedom to evangelize and spread one's beliefs outside of the church. It provides for the separation of church and state, and also provides for the separation of church and schools.

Herein, is one of the major problems. In conversations with government officials during his trip, the matter of required school attendance on the Sabbath was discussed. Concerning this point, Pierson commented:      This is not an easy one. It is very easy to sit in Fletcher or Washington and decide what you are going to do. But there are some' ramificiations in it that I am not going to mention publically here this afternoon. It takes it immediately out of the realm of the obvious and puts it into a very difficult problem.

And the problem which surfaces is very basic. The Soviet officials emphasized to Elder Pierson "that people are not punished for their religious beliefs, but for their violation of Soviet Law." And it is over this point, that the officially recognized Adventist church in Russia with the approval of the hierarchy in Washington, and the underground Adventist church separate. After mentioning the problems in the regular church - its various factions, Pierson told the Fletcher congregation:      
And there are some that many years ago went underground. And those people we have no contact with today, because as I mentioned a while ago, Seventh-day Adventists believe that as far as it does not conflict with the conscience or the teachings of God's word that we should be law abiding citizens. So we haven't had contact or fraternal relationships with those that have gone underground.

What is Pierson really saying? Because the law of the State says that the education of the children is their private domain, and that these children must attend school on Sabbath, then this must be, and only those who thus bow, will we in Washington have contact with in a fraternal way. Then because there are Seventh-day Adventists whose conscience says otherwise, the official leadership

p 11 -- of the church choose the Soviet government in preference to the conscientious and faithful laity and clergy. Then there is the gnawing question - Would the hierarchy in Washington betray to the State those who will not bow to their dictums?

Now let us "walk" this official pronouncement down "the corridor of time" a few years. When the State says - rest and worship on Sunday - it is the law of the land, and we are not arresting you because of your religious beliefs and convictions in regard to the Sabbath, but because you are violating the law of the land, will Wilson, or whoever his successor night be, disavow any connection with those who believe that they ought to obey God rather than man? Will they betray such to the State, who might have to go underground to follow their beliefs?

The real issue becomes even more poignant with the release of the Soviet Baptist leader, Georgi Vins. While the break in the Baptist group came much later than in the Adventist body, nevertheless the issue is very much the same. In an interview with Time's John Kohan, Vins stated - "Our situation is difficult for Western Christians to understand." (May 21, 1979, p. 83) It was explained that Baptists since the days of John Bunyan and Roger Williams have traditionally believed in the total separation of church and state. [I thought Adventists also held to this view, and that Roland Hegstad championed this concept.] However, attempts to practice this belief in the Soviet Union have received hard treatment from the government. "Baptists who follow Soviet rules can hold worship services, but the government forbids them to preach the word of God in public or to bring up their children with religious instruction." (ibid) The "reform Baptists" of whom Vins is a leader resist these strictures of the Soviet government, but insist that they are not "political dissidents," nor are they involved in "political activism." Vins in commenting on this stated:      In accordance with biblical teaching, we believe that every authority is ultimately from God and that we are obliged to submit ourselves to such authority on all civil matters. To work. To pay taxes. To show respect to the government. But when it is a question of faith, then we submit ourselves to God alone. (ibid.)

It is interesting to observe that the AP release from Moscow noted that the Reform Baptists maintain close ties with the illegal branch of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Evidently the Adventists whom Elder Sholkov represents believe the same as expressed by Pastor Vins. This means simply that the charge leveled by Elder Roland Hegstad (See p. 6) that the underground Adventists were involved in "political activism" which the Church could not countenance is totally absurd, unless the Church has abandoned the concept of total separation of church and state. Perhaps, Liberty, which Hegstad edits, no longer champions true religious liberty as once advocated by Roger Williams. How have the mighty fallen and great lights grown dim!

However this is not all of the revelation given by Vins of things behind the "Iron Curtain." He charged that the officially recognized All Union Council of Evangelical Christians and Baptists "is linked in the closest possible way with the authorities, including the KGB," the Soviet secret police. (RNS, June 8, 1979, p. 16) Does this mean then that those of the leadership of the government recognized Seventh-day Adventist Church are also in close connection with the KGB? Is the

p 12 -- Pastor Kulakov, who helped make the final arrangements for the Pierson-Lohne official trip to Russia, also linked with the KGB? Will those coming to the 1980 General Conference Session from Russia - this was one of the objects of the Pierson conversations with the government leaders while in Russia to secure Russian Adventist representation from Russia - be eyes and ears for the KGB? Is this why also, the Church leadership is not desirous for Elder Sholkov to be released and come to the USA, as has Pastor Vins? Could Elder Sholkov tell too much? Perhaps Dr. Richard Wurmbrand's appeal to ask the church's leadership "to tell the truth about the Communist persecution and to start helping the victims" if heeded, would reveal more than they really want known. And, all of this "cover up" on the part of the hierarchy in the light of what is now known through Pastor Vins release, lends validity to the circumstantial evidence beginning with the visit of Elder Alf Lohne to Tashkent in 1977, prior to Elder Sholkov's arrest in 1978.

Marxism is Satanism -- In his book - Was Karl Marx a Satanist? Dr. Richard Wurmbrand presented "un-challengeable documents that the founder of modern Communism was high priest of a sect of devil worshipers." More proof has since been adduced. "Lunatcharskii, a leading Soviet philospher, wrote in Socialism, a Religion that Marx put aside all contact with God and brought Satan in front of marching proletarian columns. The fight with Communism is a fight with the devil himself." (p. 3, "The Voice of the Martyrs," 7/1979)

Should We Bargain with the Devil? -- Pope Pius XI had said, "In the matter of salvation of souls, to prevent great evils which might lose them, I have courage to bargain even with the devil personally." John XXIII said he had the same courage. But one cannot bargain with the devil without making some concession to him. How then will souls be saved? How will evils be prevented?

We believe Jesus is the truth. He never lies. The devil is a liar. He never says the truth. Jesus spoke with the devil but only to tell him "No" to all proposals. Let this also be your attitude toward all his proposals. Do not enter into any, further discussion with the evil one. (Ibid.)

"When men who profess to serve God ignore His paternal character, and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing with their fellow men, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his attributes. They are following in the track of Romanism.'' (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 362.)

--- (1979 Oct) --- END --- TOP

1979 Nov --"MEN AND BRETHREN, WHAT SHALL WE DO?" -- [This is the final essay of the series on Corporate Accountability] -- When convicted of the reality that God does hold individuals accountable for the actions of leaders and officers in a corporate identity, "devout men" of the House of Israel realizing that they had shared in the crucifixion of the Son of God, cried out from an anguished heart - "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" In response to this heart cry, Peter outlined certain specific steps to be taken by which they could escape the judgment of God. He said - "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) Part of what Peter recommended is not recorded, but his counsel closed with the appeal - "Save yourselves from this untoward [crooked] generation." (2:40) These Spirit-indited directives if studied in the setting of the time when given can profit a professed people of God who face the fast approaching hour when "the church - the Lord's sanctuary" will be "the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God" because the leadership, "those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as I guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust." (5T:211)

Peter told the "devout men" of Israel to "Repent." This word - metanoew - in its basic use means simply to change one's mind. This change of mind for the men of the house of Israel involved a change of understanding in regard to Jesus Christ. They had knowledge concerning the fact that "Jesus of Nazareth" had been a man "approved of God." (Acts 2:22) Why then had they not accepted Him prior to the day of Pentecost? While approved of God, Jesus had not be approved by the leadership of the Church to which they belonged. In fact, it was the leadership of that Church which had turned Him over to the Romans for crucifixion. While these "devout men" had not taken part in the deliberations, nor voted the death of Jesus, they had in reality consented to the crime, committed by continuing in the forms and ceremonies of that Church, and quietly acquiescing to the direction the leadership was taking them. Why?

"The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to disposses them of their rights." (COL, p. 294) And "the foundation" upon which they built their hope was none other than the "word of God" to Jeremiah. (See Jer. 31:35-37) How could this word fail? Here was a promise of "eternal favor" - the House of Israel was going through. All they had to do was to stay with "the House." But they overlooked the "conditions" upon which the promise was made. "To a

p 2 -- people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured." They are one with Him." (DA 106) But here was a people whose leaders had made of none effect the commandments of God by their tradition - teaching for doctrine, the theology of men, instead of the truth of God. (See Matt. 15:6) And these devout Jews assembled together on the day of Pentecost were following those leaders right or wrong. [Concerning this very concept held by the Jews that they were to be always exalted as the church of God, the servant of the Lord wrote "These things 'are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.'" (DA 106)] Peter told these men of Israel to "repent" - change your mind, come to your senses, cease to be deluded by a false sense of security.

The admonition of Peter carried the same theme as sounded by John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus. John told his hearers - "Bring forth therefore fruits answerable to an ammendment of life and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our fathers." (Matt. 3:8 margin; Luke 3:8) Get this theory that you are and always will be the favorites of heaven out of your mind for God is able to raise up out of these "stones children unto Abraham." (Luke 3:8) The challenge of Peter carried even greater inward conviction than did John's message, for Peter had heard Jesus Himself declare - "Your house [no longer God's house] is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) The temple veil had been rent, and the apartment of the Unseen Presence could be gazed upon by human eyes with no fear of retribution, because that Presence was no longer there. (Matt. 27:51) [It dare not be overlooked that similar phraseology is used of the present time concerning the Church:  "The glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking." (5T:210) "'My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!'" (8T:250)]

Besides changing their way of thinking - repentance - the "devout Jews" were to make an outward confession which would publicly declare their change of thought. Each one who changed his mind was to be "baptized ... in the name of Jesus Christ." Among those assembled to hear Peter on the Day of Pentecost were "proselytes." (Acts 2:10) These had been baptized as a symbol of their acceptance into Judaism so as to be numbered among "the House of Israel." (8BC:113) Now they were told to be baptized again, and the other "devout Jews" who would also change their thinking, would by this act change their identity from the corpus of Israel to the corpus Christi. Only thus could they find remission from the sin of the ages - the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, which was in reality the crucifixion of truth - doing the desire of their father, the devil, who abode not in the truth. (See John 8:44) [Rebaptism of "devout" Seventh-day Adventists, when truth is truly understood, is also called for. See Evangelism, p. 375]

Peter concluded his advise and counsel, by telling those convicted to "save themselves from this crooked generation." (Acts 2:40) In so advising, Peter was bringing together a concept from the Pentateuch, and a charge that both Jesus and John the Baptist had used in meeting the Jewish hierarchy. Moses had written that God was "the Rock" upon which Israel was founded - "a God of truth." But Israel had "corrupted themselves" and had become "a perverse and crooked generation." (Deut. 32:4-5) Both Jesus and John the Baptist had zeroed in on the why of Israel's predicament. John the Baptist seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees among the crowd that gathered to the Jordon to hear him, spoke directly

p 3 -- to them - using a symbol of crookedness - saying: - "0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7) Jesus was even more emphatic. Addressing the scribes of the Law and the Pharisees, He declared: - "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33) Thus Peter,` knowing through the Holy Spirit, the damnation upon the hierarchy, warned those who did not wish to be included in the corporate guilt, and thus the corporate judgment to "Save [themselves] from this crooked generation.."

Those who responded to the counsel of Peter were baptized signifying the passing from the corpus of Israel to the corpus Christi - and "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship." (Acts 2:41-42) Through Christ the Truth, and by the coming of the Spirit of Truth, the original faith was restored to men. No more need men follow the traditions and perverted concepts of the scribes and Pharisees. The truth as given by the Rock os Israel became the basis of the corpus Christi.

In the final hour of human history, when the power of the enemy to deceive the world would appear to be supreme - "It seemed the whole world was on board; that there could not be one left" - the messenger to the Remnant was advised to "look in an opposite direction" and she saw "a little company travelling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, 'The third angel is binding, or sealing them in bundles for the heavenly garner." (EW, 88-89) Thus the basis of the final revelation of the corpus Christi is the same as it was in its inauguration Truth, not human organization. This group - brought about by the Third Angel (EW, 118) come unto Mt. Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." (Heb. 12:22) These realize that the Jerusalem "which now is ... is in bondage with her children," therefore, they transfer their allegiance and loyalty to the "Jerusalem which is above" which "is free, which is the mother of us all." In this they find the answer to the question "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

UPDATE ON FORD -- Following the Silver Lake II convocation, I responded to speaking appointments elsewhere in Northern California and Southern Oregon including the Medford area. When in the Medford area, I received a copy of a tape which Dr. Ford had prepared as an asnwer to the brochure - Dr. D. Ford's Dangerous Doctrines. Dr. Ford in his taped reply seeks to make a conflict of personalities from his interne

p 4 -- days in the Australasian Division a factor in the reason why these senior ministers, and one in particular, were so writing, by suggesting that certain questions he asked regarding "the king of the North" of this Evangelist placed himself as a "threat" to this man., This could very well be for such circumstances have been known to have happened in other instances. However, the heart of Dr. Ford's reply concerns not only the Church in Australia, but every Seventh-day Adventist in the whole world. His key defense is based on minutes from the records of the Biblical Research Institute of the Division. The part he quotes from these minutes is not only revealing but alarming! He stated:      In the minutes of the Biblical Research Institute that were issued in March, 1976, it was stated, as follows: "The Biblical Research Institute has on two occasions, February 3, 1976, at Avondale College, and February 4, 1976, at the office of the Australasian Division heard the plea of a number of senior ministers who have expressed their concern about the teaching of theology at Avondale College particularly in the area of the sanctuary, the age of the earth, and inspiration. It now desires to present its findings to the administration of the Australasian Division, as follows:

"1. (a) The Theology Department of Avondale College is committed to generally accepted Seventh-day Adventist doctrinal positions as central from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. And Dr. Ford ably demonstrated that such stances as he takes which appear to diverge from what some senior men hold as present truth, can be justified by reference to majority positions taken by current Seventh-day Adventist quarters and scholars.

"2. The senior ministers as represented by their speakers were somewhat unaware of the movement in Adventist thought and the style of doctrinal presentation in recent years, a fact which explains their reaction to some contemporary expositions." (Tape dated, June 10, 1979)

The absence of such words and phrases as "historical," "fundamental," "the landmarks and pillars of our faith;" and in their place the use of "generally accepted Seventh-day Adventist doctrinal positions;" "majority positions taken by current Seventh-day Adventist ... scholars;" and "contemporary expositions" in itself justifies the deepest concern. The phraseology used by the Biblical Research Institute of Australia is the language of the books and reports of those who have been leading the apostasy in the Church during the last three decades. We cite two examples: 

In the book, Movement of Destiny - bearing the imprimatur of both the preesnt president of the General Conference and his immediate predecessor, Elder R. H. Pierson - Dr. Leroy E. Froom sought to justify the changes made in Bible Read for the Home Circle in 1949, by Professor D. E. Rebok, then president of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, by stating that the change represented a correction of an "erroneous minority position" which had crept into the 1914 edition. (p. 428) In making the change in the study on "A Sinless Life" it was suggested that the true "majority" position of the Church all along had been the position on the incarnation which Froom was advocating in his book, namely, that Christ took the nature of Adam before the Fall. (p. 497) However, from the very

p 5 -- beginning of the Movement, until the 1950's, the consistent teaching of the leaders of the Church in regard to the Incarnation is that Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of the sons of Adam. This we have documented in the manuscript - An Interpretive Historyof the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The only exception to this in our history up to 1950 was the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana which did teach the same doctrine on the Incarnation as advocated by Froom in his book, Movement of Destiny. Of that movement, Ellen G. White stated - "There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric." (See our manuscript The Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901)

The second example is from the report of Elder T. E. Unruh found in the Adventist Heritage magazine (Vol. 4, #2) regarding "The Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956," commonly known as the Barnhouse-Martin Dialogues. In describing what took place, Unruh noted that the Evangelicals were satisfied that the Adventist representatives - which included Froom and R. Allan Anderson - "were presenting contemporary Adventist doctrines" in contrast to the historical faith. (p. 38) Further in defending the book - Questions on Doctrine - which resulted from the conferences, Unruh writes that this book was but "clarifying and amplifying the doctrines most generally believed by contemporary Seventh-day Adventists." (p. 44) [This whole presentation in Adventist Heritage has been analyzed in the second section of a Special Report
under the title - "Now It Can Be Told in Part."]

In Austra1ia, the attack by the concerned ministers has been against Dr. Desmond Ford, and this has washed ashore over here; but those who have become concerned have failed to realize that Dr. Ford is merely articulating in a more forceful way the apostasy which has been going forward in the Adventist Church since 1950. This apostasy from the very beginning has had the approbation of the hierarchy in Washington D. C. A case in point concerning the failure to recognize this
connection is what has become known as the Bangkok tapes. Twin brothers, Dr. Colin Standish of Weimar Institute, and Russell Standish M. D.., of the Bangkok Adventist Hospital have delineated in a forceful and scholarly manner the history of the Brinsmead era in Australia and the part which Dr. Desmond Ford played in it, which placed the leadership of the Australasian Division in debt to him. These tapes note that the leadership of the Division in the late 1950's and 60's were willing to embrace the errors of Ford to stop the tide of Brinsmeadism which was sweeping the subcontinent. 1  However, these men have failed to discern that Ford is merely one voice of what has become "contemporary Adventism" in contrast to the historical position once held and taught. 2  The Standish brothers seek to clear the hierarchy in Washington, and Pierson in particular, evidently willing to overlook the fact that it was Pierson who placed his imprimatur along with Elder Neal C. Wilson on Froom's book - Movement of Destiny. "Contemporary Adventism" is one whole package, and cannot be labeled with a single name.

Dr. Ford on his defense tape, documents that the leadership in Australia were following the dictation from Washington in regard to the sanctuary question which at that time was basic in Brinsmeadism. He quotes the then president of the Australasian Division who wrote in the 60's as follows:      I note that when Uriah Smith in 1910 wrote the Fundamental PrincipIes

p 6 -- in the Year Book, he stressed the position of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, whereas, the Year Book since 1933 has been emphasizing the phases of Christ's ministry. We counsel you men to direct where necessary that all future discussions on the subject of the sanctuary should be in harmony with the General Conference reply to our inquiry, that is, that we refrain from bringing the detail literality of the heavenly sanctuary to the forefront of discussion. (Tape dated, June 10, 1979)

It is interesting also, in further justifying his position that there are not two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary, Dr. Ford quotes various Adventist authors including Arthur Spalding, and then comments:      That is the emphasis of all our Bible scholars in the denomination. And my position is identical with that of my brethren in this respect. Indeed as one of our Bible department chaimen commented when he saw the paper - Dr. Ford's Dangerous Doctrines - "Why is this thing leveled at Dr. Ford?" And he went on to say that to his knowledge the position taken by our scholars around the world are pretty much one on such matters as this. (Ibid.)

If we really want to get down to the basic roots for the existence of a "contemprary Adventism" in contrast to the "firm platform" established at the beginning of the Movement following the disappointment in 1844, we need only to recognize that the leadership of the Church has encouraged, and in many cases supported 3  our Bible teachers in obtaining advanced degrees from the theological seminaries and universities of Babylon. The result is that all manner of false doctrines have come in which have destroyed the historic faith of our fathers. But the tragedy does not end there. The younger ministers of the Church who have sat at the feet of these apostates are now going forth into the pulpits of the church "with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan." (TM, 409-410)

The thrust of the Bangkok tapes in regard to the Australian Division is to pinpoint the fact that the leadership there was willing to use error to combat error, and are thus stuck with the defense of the man who was their champion against Brinsmead. On the tapes, as I recall, the Standish brothers
do not tell why, if Dr. Ford was so far out of line from "contemporary Adventism," he was given a place on the faculty of theology at Pacific Union College, a move which widened his influence rather than curtailing it. It is, however, evident in listening to the tapes that these doctors have fallen into the same error which they condemned in the leadership of Australia. Seeking to put distance between themselves and Dr. Desmond Ford, they, too, have set forth errors in theology. Those listening to the tapes will need to keep this fact in mind, and compare Scripture with Scripture as they listen. The historical data presented, along with the personal sidelights, is so overwhelming that one is apt to become so involved in this phase of the tapes that he will
fail to discern the pitfalls of the theology which arealso interwoven in the presentation.

p 7 -- 2  This year, 1979, there was published by the Religion Department of Pacific Union College, where Dr. Desmond Ford is presently teaching, Study Papers, a series of essays on "Righteousness by Faith." 'The contributors of these papers not only included Dr. Ford, but all the the members of the faculty of Religion, and the Pastor of the College Church, Morris L. Venden. An Appendix featured an article by Elder R. J. Wieland. Each paper presented was to include a study of three basic questions. Interestingly, these three areas of study followed the same basic' outline and questions as set forth in the paper written by Gillian Ford entitled - "The Soteriological Implications of the Human Nature of Christ.'' (See Introduction, p. 2) [This paper received the approval of the faculty of theology of Avondale College, when Dr. Ford was its chairman.] The basic questions include: Anthropology (the Incarnation and the nature that Christ assumed); Soteriology (the relationship between justification and sanctification); and Eschatology (Will the saints be perfect before the close of probation?). As an example to show how Ford in integrated into ''contemporary Adventism" in one area alone - the Incarnation - observe the close affinity between the position of the head of the Religion Department at PUC, Dr. Fred Veltman, and Ford's position:      

Christ came as a "second Adam" with a human nature like that of Adam before his fall, i.e., an unfallen, sinless human nature, to overcome where the first Adam fell, and to be the "progenitor" of the "second humanity," i.e., those who are "in Christ Jesus." - Veltman, pp. 9-10

For Christ to be the second or last Adam, He, the Divine One, must possess a sinless human nature, otherwise He could never have met the law's demand for such, and neither could He have been an acceptable Representative, or Substitute, to provide infinite merits for imputation to the guilty. - Ford, p. 22

And this is the position which Froom set forth in the book, Movement of Destiny which received the approbation of both Pierson and Neil C. Wilson. How can you fault Ford without including Veltman, Pierson, and Wilson? To return the Church to the "firm platform" from which these men have stepped, one would have to start removing men in high places, starting with Wilson and decimating the Seminary Faculty at Andrews University, besides leaving large gaps in the Bible Departments of our senior colleges. (Re-read - "Men and Brethren, What Shall We Do?)

A plank in the "firm platform" on the subject of the Incarnation reads:   ''Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin." (Y.I., Dec. 20, 1900: 4BC:1147)

3  A prominent case in point is that of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi presently teaching on the Seminary faculty of Andrews University who received his doctoral degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome. In his book - From Sabbath to Sunday - he expresses his "heartfelt gratitude" to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for assisting him "during my doctoral studies." (p. 5) To what extent the Australian Division assisted Dr. Desmond Ford in his doctoral program at Manchester University has not surfaced yet. [The next thought paper will continue the Ford Update - An Exchange of Letters.]

p 8 -- "New-model the Cause" -- "What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen. The apostle Paul declared, even in his day, 'The mystery of iniquity doth already work.' (2 Thess. 2:7) During the lives of the apostles the church remained comparatively pure. But 'toward the latter end of the second century most of thechurches assumed a new form; the first simplicity disappeared, and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts, ... came forward and new-model ed the cause.' To secure converts, the exalted standard of the Christian faith was lowered, and as a result 'a pagan flood, flowing into the church, carried in its customs, practices, and idols.' As the Christian religion secured the favor and support of secular rulers, it was nominally accepted by multitudes; but while in appearance Christians, many 'remained in substance pagans, especially worshiping in secret their idols.'

"Has not the same process been repeated in nearly every church calling itself Protestant? As its founders, those who possessed the true spirit of reform, pass away, their descendants come forward and 'new-model the cause.' While blindly clinging to the creed of their fathers and refusing to accept any truth in advance of what they saw, the children of the reformers depart widely from their example of humility, self-denial, and renunciation of the world. Thus 'the first simplicity disappears. ' A worldly flood, flowing into the church, 'carries with it its customs, practices, and idols.'" Great Controversy, pp. 384-385

To set up a false theology - a study of God - is to create a false god; and to accept such a theology is verily idolatry. "Thousands have a false conception of God and His attributes. They are as verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. Are we worshiping the true God as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, in nature, or are we adoring some philosophical idol enshrined in His place? God is a God of truth."(5T:173-174) It was Lucifer who abode not in the truth. (John 8:44). When we therefore, step down from the "firm platform" we are following the steps of the devil, and reveal who our new father is.

Think on This -- Many of those to whom the people look for instruction are not leading their flocks to the pure river of life. If by reading the Word one is awakened to search for truth, if by seeking to know what the Scri'ptures teach, he shows that he would become a wise householder, he is charged with doing great mischief. He sees the truth, not as the ministers have declared it, but as Christ presented it in the Old and New Testaments, and as a faithful steward he tells those around him; for he would have them share with him the message of grace. But how is he treated by the religious teachers? - Just as Christ was treated by the Jewish leaders. He is held up for ridicule. The ministers denounce him from the pulpit, declaring that he is causing division in the churches. (Signs of the Times, March 1, 1899)

p 9 -- Signs of the Trends -- "A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words" --

''The day will come when the last terrified man will no longer question the nationality of our last shepherd. Among the corpses and the rubble it will scarcely matter whether he came from Europe or America. They will press about his white robe which will be the only light in the darkness at the end of time and suddenly he will raise his hand and the heavens will open and he will point out to them the sign of the cross." (Francois Mauriac, Look, March 8, 1955, pp. 32-33)

ADVENTISTS INSPIRED BY ANTICHRIST -- "The Adventist Church in Poland is entering a new era since the recent visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland, during which Catholicism was strengthened. If anything, the Pope's visit has inspired the Polish Seventh-day Adventists to
even greater evangelism and Adventist witness in Poland.'' (Adventist Review,
August 30, 1979, p. 23)

p 10 -- DOES THE ANTICHRIST SPEAK TO ADVENTISTS? -- In the Pacific Union Recorder (Sept. 1, 1979, p. 1) An article was captioned - Pope Speaks on the 'Virtue of Temperance."' It noted that his first doctrinal discourse bore that title. In appealing for renewal of temperance in the Catholic Church, the pontiff said "that this virtue should not be judged on the basis of 'the criterion of psychophysical health.' He sees it primarily as a spiritual principle." Then the article concludes - "Perhaps he could be speaking also to Seventh-day Adventists." Did not God tell Elijah to say to the messengers of Ahaziah - "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron?" (2 Kings 1:3)

UPDATE ON RUSSIA -- "Imprisoned Soviet Is Not an Adventist" so proclaimed the Pacific Union Recorder. (Aug. 20, 1979, p. 1) In explaining why the Church will say nothing to effect the release of Vladimir Shelkov, leader of the Union of the Faithful and Free Adventists, the article stated - "The Church makes no contacts with government in instances like these; rather a low profile is kept so that faithful belivers will not have their own privileges jeopardized." What privileges? The privilege of sending their children to school on Sabbath? The privilege of refraining from speaking publically on the subject of the Second Coming of Christ? Really, who are the "faithful believers" in Russia? --- (1979 Nov) ---END --- TOP

1979 Dec -- AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS -- The controversy over doctrines resultant from statements and positions taken by Dr. Desmond Ford, formerly head of the Department of Theology at Avondale College in Australia, and now a Professor of Religion on the staff of Pacific Union College, has generated quite an exchange of correspondence. While we would like to publish for you exact photo-copies of all correspondence which we will reproduce in this thought paper, we are unable to do, since we will be working for the most part from photo-reproductions ourselves, a number of which are too dull to reproduce on our press equipment. However, while our primary objective will be to give you these original source documents for your evaluation, we will make comments on these letters so that you can draw deductions as to intent of the words used and references given in these letters. You can rest assured that all documents used in this thought paper can be quoted without fear of contradiction as either the original, or a copy of the original will be held in the research files of the Foundation.

Following the reprint of a tract in The Layworker which had been circulating among Seventh-day Adventists in Australia, entitled - "Dr D. Ford Versus E. G. White on the Vital Subject of the Man of Sin" - Dr. Desmond Ford wrote to Dr. G . Harvey Rue, editor of The Layworker as follows:

May 11 , 1979
Dear Dr. G. H. Rue,

Regarding the recent issue of The Lay Worker and its refererence to myself ---- I would like to point out that the authors of the anonymous document you quoted have been labelled by the Australasian Division as unethical and academically dishonest in their use of my thesis.

Dr Rue, I believe you to be an honorable man who loves the Lord and therefore seeks only truth. Therefore I offer you this opportunity of correcting the false impression you have unwittingly made in your publication.

I certainly believe that 2 Thess. 2 had an initial application to the great apostasy of the middle ages -- my commentary on Daniel makes that very plain -- but it is certainly not the complete fulfillment. See Ellen White's usages of this passage as in G. C. 624-625, 553, 561, 389, 390, 593. The papal application is only a subsidiary, in

p 2 -- the same sense" that AD 70 was subsidiary in the fulfillment Mt. 24 and John the Baptist of Mal. 4:5, 6.

The position I have taken is identical not only with the Spirit of Prophecy but also the SDA Bible Commentary.

I believe as an honest man you will not Iet this misrepresentation go uncorrected and I thank you. Wishing you His richest blessing,
Desmond Ford,

[We are trying to preserve both the punctuation and capatilization as nearly ,as possible to the original.]

You will observe that Dr. Ford uses the word, "subsidiary" in reference to certain prophecies - "the man of sin" as applying to the Papacy, and the fulfillment .in A. D. 70 of the prophecy which Jesus gave in Matthew 24 concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines the word subsidiary - as meaning "of secondary importance." At no time, to my knowledge, prior to the last two decades, has the historic fulfillment of these prophecies been considered by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as of "secondary" importance, and some future event, primary. The emphasis given to 2 Thess. 2:3-10, has been succinctly stated as follows:      

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. (Great Controversy, p. 356)

The references from Great Controversy listed by Dr. Ford in his letter do not support his contention that "the man of sin" as fulfilled in the Papacy is an incomplete fulfillment of II Thess. 2. In the references cited (p. 390) the servant of the Lord does say that "the perfect fulfillment" of a certain prophecy "is yet future," but it is not the prophecy concerning "the man of sin"! Ford makes repeated reference to pages 624 and 625 of Great Controversy. It is on page 624 that this sentence is found - "As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ." On his defense tape dated June 10, 1979, from which we quoted in the last thought paper, Ford stated: "No one reading Great Controversy 624 and 625 could miss the fact that Ellen White
is applying this passage of Scripture [II Thess 2] as she does in at least a half a dozen other places to the Satanic counterfeit of Christ's coming." But nowhere on these two pages is there a single reference to II Thess 2. Other references are quoted, but not a single reference to "the man of sin" being fulfilled in Satan's personation of Christ.

To this letter, Dr. Rue replied as follows:

Dear Doctor Ford:
Thank you for your confidence in my "honesty." I trust that I would

p 3 -- correct any misinformation that I publish. I have done so on several occasions. I am sure you would not intend to flattery.

I propose that I publish your letter and this my response in the next LAYWORKER letting the readers know that you have a voluminous file of testirnonials which support your views, although there may be a difference of opinion on this point. If there is further concern for truth on the readers part, they may contact you. Why don't you submit your Ms [Doctoral Thesis] to one of our publishing houses for printing, so that the whole church may read?

Personally, the statements that are quoted from your thesis seem very clear, definite and emphatic: they should speak for themselves. I am not a theologian and am not prepared to enter into a theological discussion. All I can know is what the Scriptures speak and what the Spirit impresses on my mind.

Therefore, I ask, what did you mean when you stated:      We have 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.

We have noticed that the lawless one appears only at the end of time.

These are surely Jesuitical sentiments concocted at the Council of Trent. Can I believe Sr. White when she declares:      The man of sin, which is also styled the mystery of iniquity, the son of perdition, that wicked one, represents the Papacy GC 356

The Papacy - the beast. GC 442

Can a man believe the Scriptures and inspiration speaking to his mind. How else may we judge truth?

Sincerely, your brother in the church,
Rue (Signed)

A further response was received from Dr. Ford. He wrote as follows:

May 25,79
Dear Dr Rue,

Thank you for your kind reply. I appreciate your openness

In reply to your inquiry:

The Antichrist of 2 Thess 2 who comes with aII power and signs and wonders,

p 4 -- counterfeiting the parousia and revelation of Christ, has not yet appeared. The prophecy meets absolute fulfillment only in Satan's final deception. See G. C. 624 etc. Like other prophecies such as Mt. 24; Mal 4:5,6; Joel 2:28 this passage has been fulfilled in prior time but only in a subsidiary minor manner. This took place in the Papacy, for example. As my thesis plainly states: Antichrist is not only the eschatological counterfeit of the true Christ but is also a genus. Scripture so affirms. See I Jn 2:18 "many antichrists."

Yes, you can certainly believe Sister White, but I suggest you believe ALL she says on this topic, not just isolated fragments. Note how the SDA Commentary on 2 Thess 2 has listed her applications of Antichrist to Satan himself.

Feel free to use this in any way you wish. God bless you richly,

Desmond Ford (Signed)     
[All emphasis his. He personally with pen underscored "only."]

Observe again, Dr. Ford uses the word - subsidiary - and adds another word which strengthens just where he stands - "minor manner." Thus he is saying that the prophecy of, "the man of sin" found only a "minor" fulfillment in the Papacy.

When Dr. Rue published these letters in The Layworker (Summer, 1979, p. 18), he added this comment:      Do yourself the favor of reading the "SDA Commentary on 2 Thess 2," the antichrist. How can a man leap-frog over so many statements on these two pages clinging to one which suits his purposes? We are witnessing terrible events. Let us be sure of "the power of God unto Salvation," dear friends!

On his defense tape, Dr. Ford suggested that those interested write to the Australasian Division, and to Elder Alfred S. Jorgensen in particular. We did not need to do so as we had received the material previously. The Division has come to the defense of Dr. Ford, and is seeking to justify his position on "the man of sin." It should be noted that Elder Jorgensen, the Field Secretary of the Division, and Chairman of the Biblical Research Institute for Australia, prepared a six page paper entitled - "Some comments and observations on -- Dr D. Ford Versus E. G. White on the Vital Subject of The Man of Sin." He requested "that circulation of [his] paper be restricted to the group named at the head of this letter for whose information it has been prepared." (Letter dated "15th November, 1978") The group named in the heading of this letter were "Division Officers, Union Conference and Union Mission Presidents, Local Conference Presidents, and Division Departmental Directors.".

In this paper, Elder Jorgensen tells us:

p 5 -- Incidently, I have written to Professor Bruce requesting a statement from him as to his position, and I propose to share his reply with you, if and when he acknowledges my letter. (p. 2)

Dr. F. F. Bruce is Emeritus Professor at Manchester University in England, and was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the time that Desmond Ford took his doctoral degree at the University. He wrote his thesis - The Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology - under the supervision of Dr. Bruce. Dr. Bruce's letter to Elder Jorgensen is as follows:

University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL, England
November 25,1978

Mr. Alfred S. Jorgensen
48 Fox Valley Rd.
Wahrooga, NSW 2076

Dear Mr. Jorgensen,
Thank you for your letter of November 13, regarding Dr. Desmond Ford. I am glad to know you are a friend of his; so am I, and if any words from me can be of help to him in face of criticism, I shall be glad.

It would never have occurred to me to classify Dr. Ford as a futurist, either in his Ph. D thesis or in his commentary on Daniel. (As Dr. Ford himself, remarks on p. 66 of his commentary, I am no partisan of J. N. Darby; I am in full agreement with Dr.Ford's criticism of futurism on that page. My own position, regarding the interpretation of both Daniel and the Revelation, is commonly designated "contemporary historical".) But even if I were a futurist, I fail to see how this could reasonably be made a ground for censure: futurism is a perfectly reputable and orthodox option in the interpretation of Biblical prophecy, although it is not the option preferred by Dr. Ford or myself.

You have my best wishes for all success in your efforts on Dr. Ford's behalf.

Yours very sincerely,
F. F. Bruce,
Emeritus Professor
University of Manchester

P. S. I have re-read my preface to Dr. Ford's commentary on Daniel. No one who reads that preface with any care could equate my views with futurism.

Here is a vital letter, and one that needs to be carefully considered. Dr. Bruce refers to p. 66 in Ford's book - Daniel - for which Dr. Bruce wrote the foreword. On this page, Ford explains ---- the "futurism" ---- Darby embraced of which Bruce

p 6 -- is no partisan. Ford wrote:      It was J. N. Darby, an earnest Christian lawyer, who had the most to do with the development of that type of futurism, commonly called dispensationalism, which dominates Protestant Fundamentalism today. In 1827 he entered that fellowship at Dublin which later flowered at Plymouth, England, and became known as the Brethren movement. ... Not all the Brethren followed Darby in the idea of a pretribulation secret rapture, but the group that did follow him became the most influential for the modern world scene. ... The most well-known of modern Brethren, F. F. Bruce, is no partisan of Darby's. (p. 66)

You will observe in his letter, Dr. Bruce describes himself as a "contemporary-historical," rather than calling himself a "futurist." But he indicates that "futurism" is "a perfectly reputable and orthodox option in the interpretation of Biblical prophecy." Ford in his commentary - Daniel - does not rule out "futurism," but declares its affirmations are correct! After listing and defining the various systems of prophetic interpretation - Preterism (p. 65); Futurism (pp. 65-68); Idealism (p. 68); and Historicism (p. 68); Ford writes:      Having now viewed the respective systems as wholes, what counsel can be given to one who comes to the task of exegesis with the sole intent of discovering truth regardless of whether it supports or wrecks systems?

It must be said that each of the systems is right in what it affirms and wrong in what it denies. (p. 68, emphasis his)

Since "Futurism" includes dispensationalism, and the secret rapture, many wish to disassociate themselves from these doctrines by inventing another category for themselves. But there is a distinguishing mark of Futurists spelled with a capital "F". Albertus Pieters in his Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Mich., Eerdmans, 1950) states: "A distinguishing mark of the
Futurist is that all believe in the coming of a personal Antichrist." (p. 54) See SDA Bible Students' Source Book, p. 770) Ford cannot deny that he wrote in his doctoral thesis at Manchester University - "We have also noticed 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)

However, to better understand what Dr. Bruce meant by the designation - "contemporary-historical" we wrote to Dr. Bruce as follows:

June 17, 1979

Dr. F. F. Bruce
Emeritus Professor
University of Manchester
Manchester, England M13 9PL

Dear Dr. Bruce;
A letter which you sent to Mr. Alfred S. Jorgensen in Australia dated

p 7 -- November 25, 1978 has come to my desk. In this letter you indicate that you consider yourself a "contemporary-historical" interpreter of the prophecies of the books of Daniel and Revelation.

In checking through the material available to me, I find the expression "continuous-historical" used to describe one school of prophetic interpretation, but according to Merrill C. Tenney in his book, Interpreting Revelation, p. 137, this is synonymous with the "historicist view.'' I have read carefully the foreword which you have written in Dr. Ford's Daniel, and I note that you commend the "historico-critical method" used by Dr. Ford. As this approach what you mean when you designate your thinking as "contemporary-historical"?

For your information, this foundation is primarily a research foundation devoted to the research of the historical background of the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We have produced two manuscripts in this vein; namely, An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and The Holy Flesh Movement, 1899-1901. Since the prophetic concepts of the Church are now being projected to the attention of the laity, in part through the teaching and writing of Dr. Ford, we are now turning our attention to this area.

Your answer in helping to clarify the meaning of the position indicated in the letter to Mr. Jorgensen will be much appreciated. Looking forward to your reply, I remain,

Sincerely yours, (Signed)
Wm. H. Grotheer, Manager
Publications and Research
P. 0. Box 178
Lamar, AR 72846, USA

To our request, Dr. Bruce replied:

The Crossways
2 Temple Road
Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 9BA

July 6, 1979

Mr. Wm. H. Grotheer Manager,
Publication and Research
P . 0. Box 178
Lamar, AR 72846 ,USA

Dear Mr. Grotheer:      Thank you for your letter of June 17.

I use the term 'contemporary-historical' in the sense given it by R. H.

p 8 -- Charles, Studies in the Apocalyse (Edinburgh, 1913), pp. 4 ff., to denote the view that 'the visions of the writer relate to contemporary events and that is, they relate to such to future events arising out of these' first-century events as the imperial persecution of Christians and the siege and fall of Jerusalem, and see the events of the end-time as the sequel to these. This is in contrast to the continuous-historical view which interprets the visions in terms of Christian history through the subsequent centuries.

I have attempted to expound Revelation along the lines I have indicated in A New Testament Commentary, ed. G.C.D. Howley (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970, pp. 629-666)

Yours sincerely, (Signed)
F . F. Bruce

Dr. Bruce's designation of himself as a "contemporary-historical" interpreter of the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation embodies both Preteristic and Futuristic concepts, both of which were developed by Jesuits. Dr. Ford has written concerning Preterism:      This system views the apocalyptic prophecies as having a contemporary or near contemporary fulfillment. ...Thus the vast majority of modern commentaries fall-into this category. ...

Most commentators on the Book of Revelation who are preteristic believe that book to have been chiefly fulfilled in the first century of our era. (Daniel, p. 65)

Observe that Dr. Bruce in his letter to us, states that the "visions of the writer" relate "to such first century events as the imperial [not Papal] persecution of Christians and the fall of Jerusalem," in other words - "contemporary or near contemporary fulfillment" as defined by Dr. Ford. However, Dr. Bruce sees end-time events "as the sequel" to these first century events, and leaves a prophetic blank between these events and the end time fulfillment. He thus adopts in a modified form "the gap theory" of Futurism, which is involved in dispensationalism. By denying "the continuous-historical view," as Dr. Bruce has done, the objective of the Jesuit Ribera, who invented the scheme of Futurism, is fulfilled whether projected by a Catholic or a Protestant. The prophecies of the Antichrist, "the man of sin" are successfully removed from the Papacy.

Ford was caught between the Bruce position, and the historic and fundamental position of the Advent Movement. In his thesis for his doctoral degree, he writes the Bruce position - The man of sin is not any past personage - and in his letter to Dr. Rue (May 25, 1979) he indicates that the Papacy fulfilled the prophecies in "a subsidiary minor manner." But it must be apparent to anyone that Dr. Ford did not depart far from the position of Dr. Bruce in his writing of Daniel for Dr. Bruce to write the Foreword. It is true that Dr. Bruce in the "Foreword" recognized that "some aspects" of Ford's interpretation differed from his, (p. 6) but cites no major differentiation. He indicates that his "own sentiments towards

p 9 -- ecumenists, charismatics, and our beloved brethren of the Roman obedience are more positive than" Dr. Ford's appear to be.

No matter in what way one looks as this picture - the projection of Futurism - spelled with a capital "F" is an assault by the enemy of all righteousness upon the pillars of the Advent Movement. And Dr. Desmond Ford is involved in that assault. But he is not alone, and this is what has been overlooked by the concerned brethren in Australia, and what is avoided in the production of the Bangkok tapes by the Standish brothers. In fact, one would gather the impression from the tapes, that these men are seeking to "white-wash" the other aspect of this assault on the pillars of the Advent faith.

While Dr Ford considers the Papacy as only "a subsidiary minor" fulfilment of the prophecies concerning the Antichrist, the hierarchy of the Church through its legal staff has told a Federal Court in California that the Adventist position of the past was merely a part of the manifestation of "anti-popery" prevalent "among conservative protestant denominations" and has "now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned." (Reply Brief, March 3, 1975, submitted by attorneys for the Pacific Press Publishing Association, one of whom was Boardman Noland, who holds Missionary Credentials from the Church, p. 4). In the same Brief, we are told that it is "not good Seventh-day Adventism to express. . . an aversion to Roman Catholicism as such." (p. 30) [Note it does not say, ".Roman Catholics" but "Roman Catholicism."] How can one believe that "the man of sin" represents the Papacy (GC 356) - he in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode (Thayer on II Thess 2:8) - and not have an "aversion to Roman Catholicism"? The answer:  The whole of our understanding of the Antichrist has been thrown to the trash heap of history. Why then fault Dr. Ford, when he is merely trying to articulate a substitutionary view - a Futuristic "man of sin" - for what we have discarded - the historical Protestant interpreation of the Antichrist! Why should we be so alarmed when Dr Ford writes that the Antichrist "is not any past personage," when we are saying that our belief that he was, has now been dumped!

There is no question - Dr. Ford is a Futurist with modifications. But where does the hierarchy now stand on this same question since the filing of the Legal Briefs. We say stand by the pillars of our faith, and not condemn only the one who seeks to modify the faith, and white-wash the others. Let us judge righteous judgment.

An Observation:      As one reads the Foreword to Dr. Ford's Daniel written by Dr. F. F. Bruce, the last sentence sinks deep into one's thinking. It reads:  "The gospel which he [Dr. Ford] proclaims is the gospel which I acknowledge: may it continue to speed on and triumph!" (p. 6) It is obvious that Dr. Bruce does not accept, teach, or acknowledge the "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14. If the gospel which he does acknowledge is the gospel which Ford is preaching and teaching, then it is not the gospel committed to the trust of the Advent Movement. It is "another gospel" which Paul declared if any man preach - ''Let him be accursed." (Gal. 1: 809)

p 10 -- OTHER VOICES - PAST AND PRESENT -- [The late Arthur S. Maxwell after his return from Vatican II Council in Rome, gave his impressions of the Council in the Loma Linda University Church in a sermon entitled - "The Outstretched Hand." The following is extracted from the sermon report appearing in Present Truth, #3, 1968]

"Another aspect of this new friendliness was the pope's opening speech. I have it with me. I'm not going to read it because it took a long time, but it was a beautiful speech. This was at the opening of the final session. Do you know what his subject was? Love. ...

"Then, of course there was all the elaborate ceremonial. There was one most interesting thing that happened there which signified a change. Right after the service of the mass, the pope was given an illuminated New Testament which he took and held in the air, and he walked all around the high altar, all down the nave of Saint Peter's and back again. ... They've done that every day throughout the council to indicate the new attitude of the Catholic Church towards the Bible. Right after the mass every day, somebody takes the New Testament like that all around the church. Most significant!, Tremendously significant!

"Well, I must close. I've kept you much too long, but I feel this very sincerely that we, as a people, must rethink our approach to these dear people. We must rethink our approach to our Roman Catholic friends. How can we reject an outstretched hand and be Christians? How can we say that they belong to antichrist when they reveal so many beautiful Christian attitudes?"

[Dr. B. B. Beach, who by authorization of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division Committee presented a gold medallion to Pope Paul VI, spoke on Oct. 6, 1979 to an Adventist Forum Meeting in Worthington, Ohio. From a taped recording, we excerpt the following:]

"This pope [John Paul II], I tell you, brethren, if you want to be open-minded, read his messages, and see how much of his messages you can agree with, and I think you will find that you can probably agree with about 95%. He is one of the few voices in the world that actually speaks out strongly for morality."

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

"Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only?" Great Controversy, p. 625   --- (1979 Dec) --- END ---

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