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1977 Jan -- EDITORIAL VERBAGE -- A recent series of articles by the Editor of the Review has attempted to explain the Palmdale Conference Accord and thus assure the laity of the Church that there were no compromises with the historic truths of Adventism in the areas of righteousness by faith and the Incarnation. (l)  But he did not tell the laity the background which necessitated this conference, and without this background no one can properly evaluate the statements of doctrine agreed to by the participants including the Editor and the President of the General Conference.

This conference resulted from the doctrinal agitation concerning the Incarnation and Righteousness by Faith In the Australian Division. The manuscript prepared and published by Mrs. Gillian Ford, wife of the head of the Theology Department of Avondale College, sets forth the position taken by the faculty of that department. Elder F. A. Basham in a paper presented to the Biblical Research Committee of the Australian Division established certain facts to show that the manuscript while bearing the name of Mrs. Ford was clearly the thinking of Dr. Desmond Ford and his cohorts. (2)   Further, Robert Brinsmead in a special "thought paper" which was not to be circulated among church members in which he confirmed his wholehearted agreement with the Ford position, stated that the manuscript prepared by Mrs. Ford has "the endorsement of Dr. Ford and the Theology Department of Avondale College." (3)  The manuscript itself expresses "indebtedness" to each member of the faculty, and gives their names. (4)

The first paragraph of the "Introduction" of this manuscript prepared by Mrs. Desmond Ford presents the issue clearly as it can be stated. It reads: A correct understanding of the human nature of Christ is crucial for a balanced presentation of Righteousness by Faith. Although the central emphasis of this paper is not Righteousness by Faith, the main reason for attempting it is to lay a foundation for a right understanding of that very topic. It could be put this way. What you believe about Christ's humanity will have a very strong influence on what you believe about Christ's righteousness, and both in turn will influence your view of Christian perfection. (5)

This analysis between the Incarnation, Christ's Righteousness, and Perfection is absolutely true, and this is why the whole of this discussion is so critical, and this is why the pronouncements found in the Palmdale Accord are so spiritually dangerous in the compromise made in regard to the Incarnation.

Mrs. Ford stresses Six Propositions and gives what the Theology Department teaches on each, contrasting what they bel ieve to be "The True and the.False Gospels." We shall note two of these which were a part of the Palmdale Accord, and what the Accord had to say about them.

p· 2 -- In Proposition #1 on the Nature of Christ, the manuscript stated -"The True Gospel" says that "Christ took on Adam's sinlessness but not his strength." The "Other Gospel" says that "Christ was exactly like us in His human nature." And what does the Palmdale Accord say about these two positions? After quoting Romans 8:3, Heb. 2: 14, 17, and 2 Cor. 5:21, they agree that:     Not all Christians view these passages alike. For example, for some they mean that Jesus did not commit sin in either word, deed, or thought; for others they mean that Jesus not only committed no sin but was without the inherited tendencies to sin common to fallen humanity.

And what was the conclusion?

Whichever of these views Christians may hold of Christ's humanity, we believe that the central concept is to recognize Jesus as the Saviour of all mankind, and that through His victorious life, lived in human flesh, He provides the link between divinity and humanity. (7)

While the Editor of the Review in his attempt to explain away the Munich at Palmdale, admits "that the Palmdale statement does not label one view as orthodox and the other as heretical" he seeks to place his emphasis of belief on the side of the question which the faculty of Avondale labels as the False Gospel. But since he signed the Accord which permits either belief, he must charitably state that, "Christians who are humble and possess the spirit of the Master will be loving and charitable, not critical and harsh, toward church members and leaders who hold views different from their own." (8) This is a false charity, unless the doctrine of the Incarnation is unimportant. The faculty of Avondale do not consider it so, and drew a line clear and distinct from their viewpoint which is contrary to the historic teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist Church relative to the doctrine of the Incarnation. (9)  Evidently the Editor of the Review has not been reading the Great Controversy of late in which the charity he manifests is labeled - Satanic liberalism! Observe closely these words:      The position that it is of no consequence what men believe, is one of Satan's most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning, the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods that were fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly and fearlessly opposed those who were turning men from the word of God. That liberality which regards a correct religious faith as unimportant, found no favor with these holy defenders of the truth. (10)

The sixth proposition set forth by Dr. Desmond Ford's wife is in regard to "Righteousness by Faith". She writes that "The True Gospel" teaches "Righteousness by Faith is justification alone." "That Other Gospel" states -"Righteousness by Faith is both justification and sanctification." It should also be understood that in the explanation of this position which the Faculty of Theology at Avondale labels as "That Other Gospel", Mrs. Ford indicates that "Adventists in contrast to the New Testament have often used the expression Righteousness by Faith to include sanctification." (11) Thus, the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church - and this involves the messages not only of the servant of the Lord, but also those brought through Elders Jones and Waggoner - is declared to be in direct opposition to what·

p 3 -- is termed New Testament teaching.

Now what does the Palmdale Accord say? "We agree that when the words righteousness and faith are connected (by 'of', 'by', etc.) in Scripture, reference is to the experience of justification by faith." Then the Accord notes that the concept of the righteousness of God in the Bible encompasses more than merely justification as set forth by Paul in certain of his letters. "Therefore, although we are justified by the merits of the blood of Christ and through the instrument of faith, It is also true that works of loving obedience are the evidence of saving faith. ...Thus Seventh-day Adventists have often used the phrase 'righteousness by faith' theologically to include both justification and sanctification." (12)  It should be clear to anyone reading the Palmdale Accord with the knowledge of what the heretics of Advondale are advocating that the Church was sold out on two points: - I) That righteousness by faith is justification alone, and 2) That the Church is teaching contrary to the New Testament in their theological use of the phrase. We agreed to the first point as advocated by Avondale theologians, and acknowledged their charge against the teaching of the Church as correct!

Now let it be clearly understood by every reader of this thought paper there was no need to agree to the proposition that when the phrase "righteousness by/of faith" is used by Paul, he is referring only to what the heretics of Avondale call justification. Read Galatians 5:4-7; Hebrews 11:7; and then note also the faith of Abraham as recorded In Hebrews 11:8-12, 17, remembering that Paul In Romans 4:16 declared him to be "the father of us all." We do not need to make accommodations for the teachings of Evangelical Protestantism, which in reality is no more than a revival of apostate Protestantism. We need to understand the message of the Second Angel of Revelation 14 in its historic setting when the pronouncement went forth - "Babylon is fallen." (13)

What attitude should we, therefore, assume in this crisis over truth? We would do well to Review the lessons to be learned from the experience of the early church. So long "as persecution continued" the early Church "remained comparatively pure, but when it ceased, "converts were added who were less sincere and devoted." "When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism," the way was opened for Satan to use the compromisers to direct their "warfare against the most essential doctrines of Christ." (14)   Some of us can remember the time when it was difficult to be a Seventh-day Adventist because to keep a job, and to keep the Sabbath were in direct conflict. Converts to the Church were few compared to the number of baptisms reported today. Then came the change, and into the Church came affluence and numbers. The simple faith and Bible teachings which marked our departments of theology were not enough for those who wished to be like all the churches around about them. So we introduced men who had degrees In theology from the great universities of Europe -and the same results have followed that followed in the Early Church. Warfare has been made against the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ, that is, unless the Incarnation, and Righteousness by Faith through our Lord Jesus Christ are not essential doctrines of Christ!

The inspired commentary on what our attitude should be is given in the record of how those early Christians who wished to preserve their faith reacted to the apostasy they had to meet. Read with care and prayerfully these words:      After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from

p ·4 -- falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children's children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war. (15)

(1)  Kenneth H. Wood, "F. Y. I", Review, October 21, 28, November 4, 18, 1976
(2)  F. A. Basham, A Paper Presented to the Biblical Research Committee of the Australian Division on the Subject of "Righteousness by Faith", Feb. 3, 1976, p. 1
(3)  Robert D. Brinsmead, Thought Paper -"The Current Righteousness by Faith Dialogue", p. 1
(4)  Gillian Ford, The Soteriological Implications of the Human Nature of Christ, p. 3
(5)  Ibid., p. 2
(6)  Ibid., p. 8
(7)  Palmda1e Accord, Review, May 27, l976, p. 5
(8)  Kenneth H. Wood, "F. Y. I.", Review, November 18, 1976, p. 13
(9)  Adventist Laymen's Foundation, An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation oas Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
(10)  Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 520
(11)  Ford, Op. Cit, pp. 9-10
(12)  Palmda1e Accord, Review, May 27, 1976, p. 4
(13)  El1en G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 380-381, 383
(14)  Ibid., pp. 44-45
(15)  Ibid., p. 45

DO YOU KNOW WHY? -- Beginning with the October 28, 1976 issue of the Review, there appeared in consecutive issues a series of five articles on the "Role of Israel In Bible Prophecy." Do you know why these were prepared and published at this time? All that was told by the editorial staff is that these articles were a result of research done by the Biblical Research Institute directed by Dr. Gordon M. Hyde. (l)  The full story was not revealed as to why this research became necessary at this time. Top

This past year, The Harvest Press published a book co-authored by Elders R. Allan Anderson, former Ministerial Secretary of the General Conference, and Jay Milton Hoffman, who established and directed the Times Square Evangelistic Center in New York City. It is entitled - All Eyes on Israel. The introduction to this book - six pages in all -was written by none other than Elder H. M. S. Richards, Sr. It is a glowing commendation of what is written in the book itself, and the reader is urged to study carefully some of thoughts expressed, even though they may be new to him. Dr. Kenneth Vine wrote the foreword. (2)  The thesis of this book is that Israel became a state in 1948 under the Providence of God, and has yet a part to play in the purposes and plans of God according to the Covenant made with Abraham and with his descendants. Several statements are quoted from the Spirit of·

p 5 -- Prophecy to support this contention but a close reading of these statements in context indicates that they are not saying what the authors are trying to make them say. It is true that the servant of the Lord did indicate that a work was yet to be done for the Jewish people, and that many would respond. (3)  But these statements do not indicate that Israel as a nation would ever be the chosen people of God again after 34 A.D.

The first three articles of the series appearing in the Review were right on key and presented the relationship between the promises of God to Abraham, and how they will be fulfilled in the new "congregation of the Lord" who came into being in the New Testament as the "ecclesia", or called out church of Christ. (4)  The fourth article introduces the well-known smear technique -"guilt by association." In other words, because certain modern-day interpreters of prophecy, who teach the secret rapture and other futuristic concepts also Include Israel as a State in their order of last day events, then any study of the fulfillment of prophecy that would relate to Jerusalem is also labeled, "futurism." This is very poor scholarship, and should be beneath the use of the General Conference Biblical Research Committee headed by Dr. Hyde.

The book by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Hoffman takes the position that the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 -"the times of the Gentiles" -occurred In 1967. And this is absolutely correct. The last article of the five in the Review seeks to void this conclusion. The arguments are weak, and the rules of interpretation used by the associate editor of the Review violate the principles of hermeneutics which are set forth in a book edited by Dr. Gordon Hyde himself and which was used in the 1974 North American Division Bible Conferences. (5)  Because this last article not only strikes at the book by Anderson and Hoffman, but also strikes directly at the monograph prepared by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation -The Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled -we shall discuss this fifth article in detail in the next thought paper.

(1)  "This Week", Review, October 28, 1976, p. 3
(2)  Roy Allan Anderson & Jay Milton Hoffman, All Eyes on Israel, pp. 243 (The Harvest Press, Ft. Worth, Texas, 1976)
(3)  Ellen G. White, Review & Herald, June 29, 1905
(4)  Walter F. Specht, "New Testament Israel", Review, November 11, 1976, p. 9
(5)  A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics, Editor, Gordon M Hyde, p. 176 Top

DO THEY REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY VOTED? -- The 1976 Annual Conference Action on Evangelism stated: It could well be that we are standing under a certain indictment of Heaven for not courageously and faithfully pursuing the finishing of God's work through direct evangelism, and that because of a "business as usual" attitude the calls for revival have not been followed with desired results as God has promised. (The Ministry, Dec. 1976, p. 4)

Did the hierarchy when they voted these words consider the Divine Purpose in Vol. 8, p. 247, par 2 in Testimonies for the Church? Could these men subconsciously

p· 6 -- know what Heaven's indictment is, and now they are going to attempt to storm the gates of Heaven for a reversal of the Divine Decree? Interestingly, this part of the action was omitted in the report to the laity of the Church through the Review. See December 2 ,1976, p. 14, col 2 -deletion marks after first paragraph of "The Real Issue". Thus for the laity the "real issue" was covered up!

THE ADVENTIST PROPERTIES & MORTGAGE TRUST (See Special Report, September, 1976, "Observation #2" for Review of details.)

From very reliable sources, I have been advised that this planned Trust has been dropped like a "hot potato". I was further advised that two of the proposed Managers of this project could not be "bonded." A friend in California after reading the Special Report went to the State Capitol in Sacramento and checked "Corporations Record, a division of the Secretary of State Office." In a letter to me dated, September 29, he reported: I checked to find what legal status this Adventist Properties & Mortgage Trust has. I was surprised there is none. Nothing of this kind is registered. If it was, it would be to some extent regulated by the corporate laws. I then went to the Justice Department where Charitable Trust Companies are registered. I talked to the Deputy Registrar and showed him that portion of the paragraph on your page 2, Special Report, "Observation # 2". He said their records show no such entity. But he did want to pursue this further to find out by writing Adventist Properties why they are not registered and if they think that their church connection exempts them from registering, then to give their reasons.

The very reliable source also advised me that Elder George Vandeman of IT IS WRITTEN telecast was pushing hard for this adventure in a $3,000,000 loan to the Seventh-day Adventist Radio-Te1evision-Film Center by the Adventist Properties & Mortgage Trust. This latter fact may account for the irritation caused among the staff of IT IS WRITTEN when some laity after reading Special Report wrote directly asking about IT IS WRITTEN'S involvement, and the use made of their funds. --- (1977 Jan) --- END --- TOP

1977 Feb -- "The 'Times of the Gentiles' " -- This is the title of the last article in a series of five appearing in the Review on the "Role of Israel in Bible Prophecy." (1)  The authority to be attached to these articles must be understood in the light of the fact that they had "grown out of research being done at the request of the Biblical Research Institute, Washington D. C., directed by Gordon M. Hyde." (2)  This Institute was established by an action of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This final article is given added authority since it was written by an Associate Editor of the Review.

The first point that Elder Don F. Neufeld seeks to make is that nowhere in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy does Sister White discuss "the times of the Gentiles". From this assertion he draws the conclusion that "it is hard to escape the suggestion that her silence means that, at least for us today, this sign is of lesser importance than the others she specifically relates to our day." (3)

Let us consider this argument briefly. In the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Series, one volume - 7A - brings together the combined Review Ellen G. White comments on the various texts of Scripture which appear in the seven volumes. Take, for example, the comments appearing under Isaiah 60:2 which is a quotation from her article in the Review & Herald, August 6, 1895. Nowhere in this article does she put in direct quotes -"darkness covereth the earth and gross darkness the people" -which is found in Isaiah 60:2. In fact, the whole article is setting forth the methods of Christ as a teacher when He came to reveal truth. And interestingly, she even quotes from the prophet Isaiah (chapter 53) and puts these references in direct quotes. But the Ellen G. White Estate in bringing these references together recognized that this quotation from the Review & Herald in 1895 did shed some light on the reference in Isaiah 60. In other words, a comment in the Ellen G. White writings can cast light upon a reference without directly quoting that specific verse.

Now the Associate Editor well knows that there is an Ellen G. White statement that does relate to Luke 21:24. He knew this was there when he wrote the article. He was (and still is) on the mailing list for the thought paper, "Watchman, What of the Night?", when this topic of the Times of the Gentiles was discussed, and the Spirit of Prophecy reference was used. Here is the reference: In the twenty-first chapter of Luke Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem, and with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of this world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (4) 

Note carefully what the servant of the Lord is saying, and what she is not saying. She did not state - In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 - but only - "In the twenty-first chapter of Luke ..." And what only is different in Luke 21 from the other

p 2 -- parallel passages? - the prophecy concerning "the times of the Gentiles"! Further, what event was to "come upon Jerusalem" stated by Jesus in Luke 21that could be connected with the scenes to take place in the history of the world "just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven" save the fact that Jerusalem would be freed from Gentile control?

Consider also the context of this reference from the pen of Ellen G. White. (5)  After writing the above statement - she quoted Luke 21:34-36 in which is the warning that we should beware lest the day of Christ's return take us unaware. Now keep in mind that she attaches this warning to the fact of what was to come upon Jerusalem, and she comments on the warning in these words: This is a warning to those who claim to be Christians. Those who have had light upon the important, testing truths for this time, and yet are not making ready for the coming of the Son of man, are not taking heed. ... There is no period of time when spiritual slothfulness is excusable.

Only by being clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness can we escape the judgments that are coming upon the earth. Let all remember that these words were among the last that Jesus gave to His disciples. ... In these sacred, solemn warnings the danger signal is lifted. It is this instruction that church members and the people of the world need; for it is present truth. (5)

Do not miss the point that this solemn warning quoted from our Lord is connected in the thoughts given to Sister White by the Spirit of God to what was to come upon Jerusalem in the last remnant of time. It was the sign to arouse us from our spiritual slothfulness and lethargy -a part of the instruction needed by the church and the world -verily a part of "present truth." Yet the Associate Editor would have us believe that it carries "lesser importance" than the other words of Jesus! How tragic and eternally dangerous is this attempt to lull the people of God into a fatal security.

In the article the Associate Editor admits that "the first part of Luke 21:24 clearly refers to the slaughter of the Jews at the time of the fall of Jerusalem to Titus in A. D. 70. (6) Yet in a few paragraphs, he is writing -"There is remarkably parallel language to Luke 21:24 In Revelation 11:2. Since both are prophetic passages the two ought to be compared." And from this comparison the conclusion is suggested that Revelation 11:2 and Luke 21:24 to refer to the same period of time, in other words to the 1260 years of papal persecution with 1798 being the date when the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled. But in so concluding, the basic rules of Scriptural Interpretation are violated. There can be no question but that Revelation 11:2 is written in prophetic symbolism, while the first part of Luke 21:24 had a literal fulfillment as admitted by the Associate Editor himself. On what grounds can it be justified to change interpretations in the middle of the verse from literal to symbolic representation?

In the preface to the 1897 edition of Thoughts on the Prophecies of Daniel, Uriah Smith wrote concerning the Protestant interpretation of prophecy as contrasted to the spiritualizing system invented by Origen -"Every declaration is to be taken in its most obvious and literal sense, except where the context and the well-known laws of language show that the terms are figurative, and not literal; and what is figurative must be explained by other portions of the Bible which are literal."(7)

p 3 -- In 1974 a series of Bible Conferences were conducted in various parts of the United States with the emphasis on biblical hermeneutics -or, in other words, the interpretation of the Scriptures. Prior to this conference a group of research articles were brought together by Dr. Gordon M. Hyde of the Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. (8) Keep in mind it is this same committee that has sponsored this special study on "The Role of Israel in Bible Prophecy." One of the authors in this edited book was none other than Elder Don F. Neufeld who wrote one "Biblical Interpretation in the Advent Movement." In this article he quotes the very reference from Uriah Smith to which we have referred in the above paragraph. (9) And then he sets forth in this article what he terms "General Hermeneutical Principles." Number six reads: The Bible must be interpreted according to the plain, obvious, and literal import unless a figure is employed. (10)

He was not alone in emphasizing this principle. Another writer in the Symposium states: The basic principle of biblical interpretation is to take words always in their literal sense unless there is unmistakable contextual indication to the contrary. (11) Top

But what has now happened to the research procedures of the Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference? In order to avoid a conclusion unacceptable to the hierarchy of the Church are they willing to deny historic Seventh-day Adventist principles of Biblical interpretation? And then to palm off on the laity of the Church through the Review such interpretations of prophecy only compounds the tragedy! Let us face the facts of the Words of Jesus Himself. As the Associate Editor admitted, the first part of Luke 21:24 "clearly refers to the slaughter of the Jews at the time of the fall of Jerusalem to Titus in A. D. 70"(6) - so also the "Jerusalem" in the last part of Luke 21:24 is that very same literal city, that is, unless you wish to abandon the historical principles of Biblical interpretation that have been the heritage of the Seventh-day Adventist Church up until this present article in the Review.

One of the final objections which Elder Neufeld raises to the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 in 1967 is that a "political or international event" is a precarious basis upon which to establish the fulfillment of prophecy. Here are his exact words: It is always precarious to present some political or international event of recent occurrence as a fulfillment of prophecy. The reason is that a political or international scene can change quickly. As a result an event that when it occurred seemed bright with promise as a significant fulfillment of prophecy, may turn out to be a minor, ephemeral incident when viewed in the later perspective of history. (12)

Let us in our minds eye envision the community of Christians still living in Jerusalem in 66 A. D. Cestius had surrounded the city. What was to be the response of these followers of Jesus to this political event? Imagine one of the leaders of that church getting up and advising the Christians to hold on, since the scene might change quickly, and Cestius could possibly withdraw from the siege. You see Jesus had not said how long this compassing of Jerusalem with armies was to be; He had only given an event as a sign! And what if the Christians, when Cestius did quickly

p 4 -- withdraw, had concluded that such a short -lived event could not possibly be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus? The event that fulfilled the first part of the prophecy of Jesus concerning Jerusalem lasted but a few months, but now we have an event which fulfills lis the last part of the same prophecy remaining before our eyes for nearly a decade, and we still in stubborn rebellion seek to mitigate its force and refuse to ascertain its meaning and significance to us as a church. Can we not see Jesus weeping over us and saying: 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that makest of none effect the writings of the prophetess, and throwest "black balls" at them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate.(13)

(1) Don F. Neufeld, "The 'Times of the Gentiles"', Review, November 25, 1976, pp. 7-10
(2) "This Week", Review, October 28, 1976, p. 3
(3) Neufeld, op. cit., p. 7
(4) Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 23-24
(5) Ibid., p. 24
(6) Neufeld, op. cit., p. 8
(7) Uriah Smith, Thoughts on the Prophecies of Daniel, p. 6
(8) A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics, Gordon M. Hyde, Editor, pp. 273
(9) Don F. Neufeld, "Biblical Interpretation in the Advent Movement", A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 114
(10) Ibid., p. 119 (Emphasis his.)
(11) Gerhard F. Hasel, "Principles of Biblical Interpretation", A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 176
(12) Neufeld, Review, op. cit., p. 10
(13) Paraphrase of Matthew 23:37-38 based on Selected Messages, bk., i, p. 48, and Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 349, 353.

(The discussion concerning the series of articles on the Role of Israel in Bible Prophecy will be concluded in the March thought paper.)

"What Are the Characteristics of a 'Real' Seventh-day Adventist?" -- This question was asked and answered by an Associate Editor of the Review in the first issue for 1977. He suggested in answer to this question six "norms by which to identify a genuine Seventh-day Adventist.'. The editor also invited "concerned readers to express their thinking on this subject." We are expressing our thinking on Norm #5 which Raymond F. Cottrell stated in these words: Another essential characteristic of a genuine Seventh-day Adventist is loyalty, in spirit and in conduct, to the church and its leaders, as it and they speak and act for Christ. The church is a team, and every member of the team will play with the team and its leaders, not against them. The church and its

p 5 -- earthly leaders are human; sometimes they make mistakes. This they themselves would be first to acknowledge. But as a member of the team the genuine Seventh-day Adventist will, even under such circumstances, continue to work in a positive way with the team and cooperate with its leaders. (Review, January 6, 1977, p. 13, col. 2) Top

One's first reaction after reading this paragraph would be to say that the Associate Editor had been watching the football games that dominate the American scene this time of the year, and had been caught up in the "sports" syndrome that has taken possession of the world. But this idea that the church is a team and you either play ball with the team or else you are marked as not being a genuine Seventh-day Adventist is too real to be passed by so lightly.

One night from the past (circa, 1960) will never be forgotten by this writer. Following an evening service at the Camp Meeting on the campus of Indiana Academy all the workers were asked to meet on the rostrum. The Conference President, T. E. Unruh, stated that he was tired of the controversy on the campground over the book, Questions on Doctrine, and that the workers could either line up and play ball with the team or they could get off. He then announced that all workers were to go to the old chapel in the administration building immediately after being dismissed. That night two other workers and I withstood R. Allan Anderson to the face till one o'clock the next morning over certain heresies to be found in the book. This was the beginning of my being "benched" which in turn has led to the work which I am doing as Manager of Research and Publications for the Adventist Laymen's Foundation.

While still working in Indiana, I began research on the Holy Flesh Movement which engulfed that conference at the turn of the Century. One of the confessions of a conference worker involved in that Movement is vital in the light of what the associate editor termed a "norm" for a genuine Seventh-day Adventist. Elder F. M. Roberts confessed to the delegates assembled at the 1901 General Conference Session that "while [he] did not belong to the Conference Committee, [he] stood with the committee, and believed what they were teaching was the truth." (1901 General Conference Bulletin, p. 358) This man Roberts was no novice. In the same confession he testified -"I am a firm believer in the Testimonies. I have studied them for years." Yet he got involved in a deadly heresy of which Sister White declared that there was "not a thread of truth in the whole fabric." (Document File #190, E. G. White Estate, G. A. Roberts) Why did Elder F. M. Roberts make this mistake -because in the judgment of the Associate Editor of the Review, he was following one of the "norms" of what makes a genuine Seventh-day Adventist. In other words, Roberts was playing ball on the team right or wrong!

This spirit of blind loyalty was a problem which the servant of the Lord had to meet as she dealt with problems which arose in the Church at the turn of the Century. She called it a "false experience." Here are her words: This message is spoken to our churches in every place. In the false experience that has been coming in, a decided influence is at work to exalt human agencies, and to lead some to depend on human judgment, and to follow the control of human minds. This influence is diverting the mind from God. God forbid that any such experience should deepen and grow in our ranks as Seventh-day Adventists. Our petitions are to reach higher than erring man - to God. (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 484)

p 6 -- Here at the beginning of 1977, we are being told by one of the editors of the Review that this false experience is to be a "norm" by which a genuine Seventh-day Adventist is to be recognized. Even non-Adventist writers recognize this spirit which is permeating the masses, and call it by its right name. One such writer has analyzed the call for "loya1ty"thus: As totalitarianism increases - in a school, or a country, or a church - the use of the word, loyalty, increases. A strange and frightening word. The mob's word. The gang's word. A word people shout in unison - while honor and responsibility and integrity are words an individual can speak and act out.

How does one measure the quality of man's relationship with a large entity such as a church or school or government? It is an interesting fact, and one many of us have observed all our lives, that people demand loyalty of us only when they are doing something to us (or somebody else) of which we don't approve and cannot wholeheartedly participate in, and which weakens our love and admiration. Let's admit it: loyalty is a verbal switch-blade used by little and big bosses to force us quickly to accept a questionable situation which our intelligence and conscience should reject. (Lillian Smith, The Journey, pp. 223,224.)

May I suggest to the readers of this thought paper that they take another careful look at Chapter VI, "Lessons and Sidelights" in the manuscript, The Holy Flesh Movement, and then think carefully what it means to be a truly genuine Seventh-day Adventist, and not be misled by the "false experience" which the Associate Editor is offering to the laity of the church.

Note - If you do not have a copy of the manuscript -The Holy Flesh Movement -1899-1901, you may obtain a copy from Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P.O. Box 69, Ozone AR 72854 with $1 for postage. --- (1977 Feb) --- END --- TOP

1977 Mar -- SCHOOLS OF PROPHETIC INTERREPTATION -- Our understanding of prophecy reaches back through the Great Second Advent Movement led by William Miller to the very beginnings of Protestantism. The Reformers were "historicists", and so was William Miller. "Historicism" is the teaching that the events portrayed in prophecy "have been fulfilling all through history, with some having been fulfilled, others being fulfilled, and still others yet to be fulfilled in the future."(1)

Based on this understanding of prophecy, the Reformers with telling effect pointed to the papal system as the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the antichrist. The Jesuits launched a counter attack and through two of its scholars developed two other schools of prophetic interpretation. Alcasar invented what has come to be known as "Preterism" which seeks to show that all prophecy has been fulfilled in the past, thus the antichrist had to be Nero or some other infamous person of history who persecuted the Christians. The Jesuit Ribera invented what is called "futurism" which points forward to an antichrist to come thus taking the stigma off the pope and the papal system of the Dark Ages. This latter system of interpretation has taken root among certain segments of Protestantism, mainly the Evangelicals. Much of that which is being published today on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation reflects the Futuristic concepts of Ribera.

As we reach the final scenes of this world's history the line of distinction between the futuristic and the historistic systems will become very fine. Events which have been indicated as taking place in the future will become fulfilled events of the present. The event itself will need to be evaluated in the light of the context of the prophecy, and the whole of the historistic system of prophetic interpretation.

Because the futuristic scheme includes certain concepts relative to the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, we should not seek to use the smear technique to mitigate against a fulfilled prophecy which can be understood in the light of the historistic method. In other words, the city of Jerusalem, the same city that was surrounded by Roman armies, was under Gentile control till 1967. This is a matter of history. The prophecy of Jesus said that the Gentiles would control this city till their time was up. By using the principles of interpretation that have prevailed since the advent of the Reformation, we can say that again prophecy has been fulfilled in an event of history.

In the series of articles on the "Role of Israel in Bible Prophecy" as found in the Review, Professor Frank B. Holbrook of Southern Missionary College indulged the smear technique, and sought to associate the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 with Futurism's timetable of last day events. (2) Then Elder Don Neufeld actually brought into play the Preteristic method, by seeking to have the last half of Luke 21:24 as fulfilled in the past at the close of the 1260 day prophecy. (3) Thus a two-pronged

p 2 -- attack was launched by the Church against a prophecy the hierarchy does not wish to face up to in its meaning and implication. First the smear by association with a Jesuitical method of interpretation. and then the adoption of the other Jesuit method to remove the force of the prophecy from the present. What church needs Jesuitical infiltration when it can get its learned scholars to use Jesuitical methods and techniques.

If the leadership of the Church will not have any part of the historistic method of interpretation of prophecy as it applies to Luke 21:24, and would wish to spiritualize all away, then let them take heed to the spiritual comparison between Jerusalem of old and the Church today. It reads: Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to receive and walk in the light that God had given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depository of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. The temple courts were perverted with merchandise and robbery. Selfishness and love of mammon, envy and strife, were cherished. Everyone sought for gain from his quarter. Christ turned from them saying, 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how can I give thee up? "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God.(4)

(1) Don F. Neufeld. "Biblical Interpretation in the Advent Movement", A Symposium on Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 111
(2) Frank B. Holbrook, "Futurism -Fact on Fantasy", Review, November 18, 1976, p. 10, col. 2
(3) Don F. Neufeld, "The 'Times of the Gentiles'", Review, November 25, 1976, p. 9
(4) Ellen G. White, Letter 31, 1898 Notebook Leaflets, "Christian Experience", No.6, p. 2

PAPAL INFALLIBILITY -- Because we do not understand what Papal Infallibility means from the viewpoint of the Roman Catholic apologist, we do not perceive its force when such techniques are used within our own church. The dogma may be defined that when the Pope "speaks from the Chair (ex Cathedra), that is, when performing the function of pastor and teacher, ...he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals. ...possesses that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His church to be equipped."(1) Top

The Church Historian Newman, commenting on what this means, writes: It can be interpreted to mean much or little, according to the purpose to be subserved. Its chief aim was to place the pope entirely above councils and to give him the undisputed right to decide all doctrinal questions that arise without the consent of the church assembled representatively in general councils. (2)

p 3 -- Cardinal Gibbons in his apology for Rome has gone to great lengths to show what this doctrine is not as it pertains to the Pope. We do well to consider a point or two which he makes. He writes -"Infallibility does not mean that the Pope is impeccable or specially exempt from liability to sin."(3) In other words the Popes can make mistakes, both in administration, and in their personal conduct. Neither is a pope above open criticism. Gibbons points out that should a Pope write "a treatise on Canon Law his book would be as much open to criticism as that of any Doctor of the Church."(4) Rather than making a person infallible within himself, this doctrine provides for a procedure whereby doctrine and morals can be promulgated without subjecting the pronouncements to discussion and question. The devout Catholic as a member of the "team" is expected to play along with the captain when he speaks from "the Chair."

Now let us consider some recent church history from our own viewpoint. Take for example the book - Questions on Doctrine. In the "Introduction" it is clearly stated -"No statement of Seventh-day Adventist belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General Conference in quadrennial session, when accredited delegates from the whole world field are present." Yet this book claimed to be "an expansion of doctrinal positions contained in [the] official statement of Fundamental Beliefs. Hence this volume can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church."(5) However, this book which not only expanded but altered basic Adventist doctrine was not approved by the General Conference in quadrennial session but was rather "Prepared by a Representative Group of Seventh-day Adventist Leaders, Bible Teachers, and Editors."(6) Gibbons tells us that before the Pope speaks on doctrine he may gather "around him his venerable colleagues, the Cardinals of the Church", or he may call "a council of his associate judges of faith, the Bishops of Christendom." "Then, after mature and prayerful deliberation, he pronounces judgment and his sentence is final, irrevocable and infallible."(7) The finality and infallible attitude with which the book - Questions on Doctrine -was pressed upon the ministry of the church was most marked in the persecution -and this is the proper word -of Elder M. L. Andreasen. His big crime was that he did not think of himself as a player on the "team" but considered his honor, responsibility, and integrity above misplaced loyalty.

Consider a second example - the book, Movement of Destiny. For the most part this book merely affirmed the basic deviations from the historic faith of the Church which had been set forth in the book, Questions on Doctrine. This book like its predecessor was not discussed nor approved by any General Session of the Church in regard to what it taught. But it did bear the imprimatur of the self-styled "first minister" of the Church, (8) and the chairman of "the Secretariat" formed to guide in its preparation.

Now at the beginning of 1977, we are told through the editorial pages of the Review that one of the norms by which we can test a genuine Seventh-day Adventist is by his loyalty, "in spirit and in conduct, to the church and its leaders, as they speak and act [ex cathedra] for Christ." But we will go even further than the Catholic Church will go. If the leaders err, "even under such circumstances" the genuine Seventh-day Adventist "will continue to work in a positive way with the team and cooperate with its leaders" (9) and not subject their leaders to open "criticism" as the Catholics can do the Pope!

The whole sorry mess that has marked the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

p 4 -- since its first noticeable doctrinal deviation in 1949, (10) and its refusal to heed the warnings that have been coming to it since then, could have been avoided by accepting the first commandment just as it was spoken - "thou shalt have no other gods before me" - understanding simply that - "God and heaven alone are infallible." (11) Then as a second step of a real spiritual policy would have been to understand what Jesus meant when He said - "All ye are brethren." (12) And finally: Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister. (13) Top

(1) A1bert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol. 2, p. 512
(2) Ibid., pp. 512-513
(3) James Cardina1 Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, 88th Edition, p. 121
(4) Ibid., p. 123
(5) Questions on Doctrine, p. 9
(6) Ibid., Cover page
(7) Gibbins, Op. cit, p. 125
(8) Spectrum, Vol. 7, No. 2, p. 49
(9) R. F. Cottrel1, "In Diversity, Unity", Review, January 6, 1977, p. 13, col.2
(10) L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, pp. 427-428. See also, An Interpretive History of the Questions on Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, pp. 64-66
(11) E11en G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 30
(12) Matthew 23:8
(13) Matthew 20:25-26

FROM AUSTRALIA -- A news item appearing in The Western Australian, December 13,1976 reported that at the "two-yearly" session of the Conference, the president, Elder H. G. Moe told the assembled delegates that "belonging to a trade union is not a sin in the Seventh-day Adventist church." The president indicated that he had no quarrel with people who joined unions voluntarily, but that the Church "does object to compulsory membership in any organization."

When questioned about his stand by telephone, the president told the inquirer that he had been misrepresented by the press. However, a letter received a few days later by this person from the Director of the Communication Department, W. G. Dowling read as follows:       In response to your request, I am happy to send you the enclosed copy of a statement made by Pastor Moe at our recent session with regard to unionism. This statement has come to us through our Communications Department from the General Conference. You will probably recognize that it was not quoted in full in the Western Australian newspaper, however, I think we can say it was a correct report of the statement.

This is an interesting incident in the light of what the servant of the Lord wrote in 1902. She said:

p 5 -- These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire decalogue. (Letter 26, 1903)

Some questions come to mind. How can a church organization which countenances membership
in the unions help prepare a people to keep the commandments of God, when to belong to these unions means disregarding the entire Ten Commandments? Can there be any doubt as to the verdict which has been rendered in the heavenly sanctuary relative to the Church? See Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 247. --- (Mar 1977) --- END ---
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