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WWN 2005 Apr - Jun


Apr 2005 -- XXXVIII - 4(05) -- Doctrine of the Incarnation -- Other Sources (1888-1915) -- Editor's Preface -- Pages 2 through most of 6 are devoted to the reproduction and refinement of Chapter 5 of the manuscript -An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation a Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Just as we were nearing the completion of this issue of WWN, we received in the mail key pages from the lst Quarter's Sabbath School Lesson Guide. As noted in the "Other Sources" the Sabbath School Lessons (now called "Study Guides") are key avenues to convey truth and to set forth just what the Church believes on a given doctrine. What was written in the two lessons of the Study Guide echoes the thinking of Rome. Observe carefully the article - "A Body You have prepared for Me." The editor of the Study Guide, Clifford Goldstein, needs to give an accounting of the introduction of Catholic thinking into lessons for the Church at Study. To my knowledge, he has never been enrolled or taken a single Bible course in one of the Church's institutions of higher learning. Yet he is placed in the sensitive position as an editor of the Sabbath School lesson quarterly. He is featured in the Adventist Review from time to time. (For an example see the November 25, 2004 issue, p. 27). A complete investigation needs to be conducted into Goldstein's background and why he was placed in this sensitive position and why his introduction of Catholic symbolism and nomenclature into the lessons for the Church at study.

The final article notes that the new ecumenical council being formed - Christian Churches Together in the USA - has as its objective, the visible unity of all Christian Churches into "the one apostolic faith." This translate into the Roman Catholic Church and Its Eucharist.

p 2 -- AN INTERPRETIVE HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION AS TAUGHT BY THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH - Part 5 -- [Webnote --Part 4, Feb. 2005] -- The Doctrine of the Incarnation As Taught in Adventism - OTHER SOURCES -- 1888-1915 -- The first Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly was published by the Pacific Press in 1889. This issue was preceded by three lesson pamphlets in 1888 and 1889, each of which contained lessons for six months (Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, art. "Sabbath School Publications," p. 1127). Along with the Writings, these Sabbath School Lesson Quarterlies for the Senior Division represent an authoritative source as to what was believed and taught by the Church at any given period. During the period from 1888 through 1915, where the subject of the Incarnation was either the lesson topic or was discussed as a section of the lesson, the concepts presented harmonized with what had been taught by the Church prior to 1888. Also during this time, the statements concerning the nature of the humanity assumed by the Son of God in becoming the Son of man became increasingly more positive and definitive.

In a lesson for the 2nd Quarter of 1896 which discussed the subject of the Incarnation, this note was found:      Christ was not only born a man, but was born under the law, both to be judged by the law, and to be dealt with according to the law in His own person; and as man's representative, to satisfy the law for all of man's transgressions of it. ... In order to meet man where he was after the fall, Christ emptied Himself of all His glory and power, becoming just as dependent on the Father for life and daily strength as sinful man is dependent upon Him (Senior Quarterly, 2nd Qrt. 1896, p. 11).

A lesson during the 4" Quarter of the same year contained this observation:       Christ in His humanity lived a life of dependence upon the Father. This He did, not of necessity, but of choice, that He might be a perfect example to us. He did not exchange His divinity for humanity, but, clothing His divinity with humanity, He emptied Himself, and did not avail Himself of His divine attributes in His contest with evil. ... He won for us in our human nature a life of victory over evil, and made it possible for us to live the life which He lived. ... Christ in His humanity, subject to all the conditions and limitations of humanity, obeyed perfectly that law which He in His divinity had proclaimed with His own voice from Sinai, and thus won for us a life of obedience, which, as our High Priest, He ministers to all who yield themselves to Him (ibid. 4th Qrt., 1896, pp. 11-12).

In 1902, a lesson was studied which associated the incarnation of Christ with the tabernacle constructed at Mount Sinai. After reviewing the gospel promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the author of the lesson stated that the chief provision of these promises was the commitment of "the Son of God in the flesh as the power of the promise to restore all things." Through these promises "the same lesson was being taught which was afterward given a more detailed form in the tabernacle and its services. The truth thus revealed was the incarnation of the Son of God and His mediatorship in the flesh ... The tabernacle and its services, afterward embodied in a more permanent form in the temple, constituted a parable, a concrete revelation of the gospel. This 'tent of meeting,' this 'tabernacle of witness,' was constantly testifying to God's purpose that humanity should be His temple, through the gift of His Son in the flesh, who would become 'the appointed meeting-place between God and humanity"' (Ibid 2nd Qrt. 1902, pp. 20-21).

The Sabbath School classes in 1909 studied a lesson based on John 1:1-18. The note which commented on verse 14 - "The Word became flesh" - stated:      Divinity tabernacled in the flesh of humanity. Not the flesh of sinless man, but such flesh as the children of earth possess. That was the glory of it. The divine Seed could manifest the glory of God in sinful flesh, even to absolute and perfect victory over every tendency of the flesh (Ibid., 2nd Qrt., 1909, p. 8).

Six weeks later a note in the Quarterly contained the comment:

p 3 -- Jesus was God acting in sinful flesh on behalf of the sinner. He made Himself one with humanity. He took upon Himself the woes, the needs, and sins, of humanity, so that He felt the consciousness and keenness of it as no other soul ever felt it (Ibid,, p. 20).

Among the topics for the First Quarter of 1913 was a study on the relationship between the Incarnation and the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The first note read:      It is very important that we should have a clear understanding of the relation of the incarnation of Christ to His mediatorial work. He was made priest "'after a power of endless life," in order that He might minister grace, mercy, and power to the weak and erring. This is accomplished by making such a close union with those needing help, that divinity and humanity are brought into personal relation, and the very Spirit and life of God dwell in the flesh of the believer. In order to establish this relation between God and sinful flesh, it was necessary for the Son of God to take sinful flesh; and thus was bridged the gulf which separated sinful man from God (Ibid., 1st Qrt., 1913, p. 14).

Note No. 3 concluded the lesson study for the Sabbath. It stated:      By assuming sinful flesh, and voluntarily making Himself dependent upon His Father to keep Him from sin while He was in the world, Jesus not only set the example for all Christians, but also made it possible for Him to minister to sinful flesh the gift of His own Spirit and the power for obedience to the will of God (Ibid., p. 15).

In this lesson not only were the positive aspects of the Incarnation in relationship to the mediatorial work of Christ presented, but also the false mediatorial system of the Roman Catholic church was discussed. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was declared to be a denial of Christ's true incarnation. It was observed that "this denial of the perfect union of Christ with sinful flesh opens the way for a series of substitutionary mediators whose duty it is to bring the sinner into saving touch with Christ." (Ibid., 1st Qrt., 1913, p. 14).

The lessons for the 2 nd Quarter of 1913 continued the general theme of the Sanctuary and Christ's mediation. It was pointed out that God through the sanctuary service sought to teach the vital truth that He indeed would dwell with man. One lesson noted that the Babylonian teaching was that the God of the heavens would not dwell with flesh (Dan. 2:11). The 18th question asked - "What is the teaching of modern Babylon concerning the same fundamental doctrine?" The answer read:      By the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Rome teaches that the mother of Jesus was preserved from the stain of original sin, and that she had sinless flesh. Consequently she was separated from the rest of humanity. As a result of this separation of Jesus from sinful flesh, the Roman priesthood has been instituted in order that there may be some one to mediate between Christ and the sinner (Senior Lesson, 2nd Qrt., 1913, p. 25).

The student was referred to Note #5 which quoted a Roman source as saying that a belief which considered Christ as assuming sinful flesh was "revolting." The note concluded - "Thus by shutting Christ away from the same flesh and blood which we have ..., modern Babylon really denies the vital truth of Christianity, although pretending to teach it. Such is 'the mystery of iniquity'" (ibid., p. 26).

During the last Quarter of 1913, the book of Romans was the subject of the Sabbath School lessons. In the first lesson, Note #5 commented upon the phrase that Christ was "of the seed according to the flesh." It read:      Christ was, therefore, of the royal line through His mother. But He was more than this; He was the same flesh as the seed of David, in and through which for generations had flowed the blood of sinful humanity, - Solomon, and Rehoboam, and Ahaz, and Manasseh, and Amon, and Jeconiah, and others. The Son of God took this same flesh in order that He might meet temptation for us, and overcome with divine power every trial we must meet. Christ is our Brother in the flesh, our Saviour from sin (ibid., 4th Qrt., p. 6).

The study of the book of Romans reached into the first quarter of 1914. In the lesson which included Romans 8:3-4, this note is found:

p 4 -- What the law in sinful man could not do, God did by sending His own Son. That Son took the flesh of sinful man, and overcame where man failed, overthrew sin in the flesh; and so He can come into the flesh of those who will open their hearts to receive Him, with the same power, and conquer sin there (ibid., 1st Qrt., 1914, p. 16).

During this period, an editorial appeared in the Review & Herald, captioned, "Like Unto His Brethren" (Nov. 9, 1905). The editorial stressed the humanity of our Lord. Beginning with Genesis 3:15, a series of texts were introduced to show Christ's identity with humanity. Both the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the confirmation of His life in the New, were quoted in support of this position. Then this observation followed - "And it is further declared that the flesh which Jesus took and in which He was tempted, was the same as the flesh of the other members of the human family, sinful flesh." The results of this life were also spelled out for the reader: "Jesus is a perfect Saviour because, having lived in our sinful flesh without sin, [as] the Son of man, He has formed such a union between divinity and humanity that He is able to live the same life in us."

The editorial portrayed the risks that confronted Christ in His acceptance of fallen human nature. Even as a child, He would be subject to Satan's temptations, but in spite of the risks to His Godhead, "accepted the conditions which sin had imposed upon the human family." The Desire of Ages was quoted in support of this position:      Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's perils in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss (p. 49).

Reaction was quick in coming from the readers. Within a month another editorial appeared answering questions which the first editorial engendered. One asked about the risk which Christ accepted in the light of the foreknowledge of God. To this question, the editor replied:      Our correspondent practically raises the old question of free will and foreordination. His position is that God knew before He sent His Son into the world that He would not fall, and therefore there was no risk of failure. In the same way Christ must have known the outcome of His mission to this earth. ...

In coming to these conclusions our correspondent looks at the question from the standpoint of the divinity of Christ, and does not give due weight to the considerations which arise from the humanity of Christ. God sent forth His Son into the world as a man, subject to the conditions and experiences of humanity. As a man Jesus sustained the same relation to the foreknowledge of God as is sustained by every man. The foreknowledge of God did not limit His freedom as a man. His freedom as a man did not interfere with the foreknowledge of God. As a man endowed with the freedom of choice, [with] the second Adam, there was the same possibility of failure as there was with the first Adam in his sinless state. Otherwise there would be neither force nor comfort in the statement that He was "in all points tempted as we are." Otherwise the agony and the bloody sweat, and the cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" would have been merely as acting of a part, and Christ's experience on this earth would have been the same sort of an example of trust in God as is the villain in the play who knows that the revolver is loaded with blank cartridges, and that he will be all right again as soon as the curtain falls. As a man Christ knew, through faith in God's word, that His Father was able to keep Him from falling, just as any man may know it who will believe God. In the fullness of this faith Christ committed Himself to His Father's keeping power, and was not disappointed. The same privilege is offered to every man (Editorial, R&H, Dec. 7, 1905).

A second editorial appeared in December because of continued reaction from the field (ibid., Dec. 21, 1905). The editor began by stating - "A reader of the Review has written to the editor at some length concerning a statement in a recent editorial to the effect that the flesh which Jesus took was sinful flesh." The original editorial had supported this assertion by using Romans 8:3. The reader wrote:      I notice that this Scripture does not say that God sent His own Son ' in sinful flesh,' but 'in the

p 5 -- likeness of sinful flesh.' To me this seems a very different statement. How could one in sinful flesh be perfect, be holy, be unblemished (free from stain)?"

In replying to this question, the editor indicated there were two ways to answer it. One was to introduce "positive proof in support of our view." The other would be to reason from consequences which "would follow from the position taken by our correspondent." The editor decided to use both options. As "positive" proof Hebrews 2:14-17 was introduced with these conclusions:      The natural and legitimate conclusion from this declaration would be that the flesh and blood of Jesus were same as the children had. ...

The mission of Jesus was not to rescue fallen angels, but to save fallen man. He therefore identified Himself with man, and not with angels, and He became ""in all things" like unto those whom He professed to help. The flesh of man is sinful. In order to be "in all things" like unto man, it was necessary that Jesus should take sinful flesh.

The next text cited was the text used in the original editorial - Romans 8:3. The editor compared the wording with Philippians 2:7 where Christ came in the likeness of men, and then asked - "Do we not rightly conclude that Jesus was really a man when we read that He was made 'in the likeness of men'? - Most certainly. The only way in which He could be 'in the likeness of men' was to become a man. ... Is it not equally clear that the only way in which God could send His Son 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' would be for that Son to have sinful flesh?"

Turning to the consequences of rejecting the fact that Christ accepted the fallen nature of man when He assumed humanity, the editor wrote:      If the Son of God did not dwell in sinful flesh when He was born into the world, then the ladder has not been let down from heaven to earth, and the gulf between a holy God and fallen humanity has not been bridged. It would then be necessary that some further means should be provided in order to complete the connection between the Son of God and sinful flesh. And this is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has done. ... First come the priests on earth, which are known to have sinful flesh; then come those who did dwell in sinful flesh, but are now canonized by the church as saints in heaven; next the angels; and lastly the mother of Jesus. Thus the door to heaven is not Jesus, but the church, and such a price is charged for opening the door as it is believed the sinner or his friends can pay. These are the consequences which naturally follow the doctrine that Jesus did not take sinful flesh, and we avoid these consequences by denying this doctrine, and holding to the plain teaching of the Scriptures.

In answering the second part of the reader's question - "How could one in sinful flesh be perfect, be holy"? - the editor well stated:      This question touches the very heart of our Christianity. The teaching of Jesus is, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And through the apostle Peter comes the instruction, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." None will deny that we have sinful flesh, and we therefore ask how it will be possible to meet the requirements of Scripture if it is not possible for one to be perfect or holy in sinful flesh. The very hope of our attaining perfection and holiness is based upon the wonderful truth that the perfection and holiness of divinity were revealed in sinful flesh in the person of Jesus. We are not able to explain how this could be, but our salvation is found in believing the fact. ... It is the crowning glory of our religion that even flesh of sin may become a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

During this period - 1888-1915 - publications from two different publishing houses of the Church taught the same fundamental doctrine in regard to the Incarnation of Christ. Uriah Smith, while serving as associate editor of the Review & Herald, released a book - Looking Unto Jesus. In this book the following comments are found noting the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed as the Son of man:      ... He humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, by consenting to take the fashion of puny, mortal, sinful man. In the likeness of sinful flesh, He reached down to the very depths of man's fallen condition, and

p 6 -- became obedient unto death, even the ignominious death of the cross (p. 23).

He came in the likeness of sinful flesh to demonstrate before all parties in the controversy that it is possible for men in the flesh to keep the law. He demonstrated this by keeping it Himself. On our plain of existence, and in our nature, He rendered such obedience to every principle and precept, that the eye of Omniscience itself could detect no flaw therein. His whole life was but a transcript of that law, in its spiritual nature, and in its holy, just, and good demands. Thus He condemned sin in the flesh, by living Himself in the flesh and doing no sin; showing that it was possible for man thus to live (p. 30).

In 1911, the Pacific Press published a book - Questions Answered - compiled by the editor, Milton C. Wilcox, gathered from the "Question Corner" of the Signs of the Times. One question asked was concerning the text in Hebrews 2:14-17. In answering this question, the editor noted the steps in Christ's sacrifice "to break the power of sin, unify God's broken creation, and save man." Commenting on the step, "in the likeness of men," he wrote:      In this step the eternal Logos "became flesh," the same as we; for He was "born of a woman, born under the law," under its condemnation, as a human, having the flesh with all the human tendencies; a partaker of the "flesh and blood" of humanity; "in all things" "made like unto His brethren," "suffered being tempted." And He met all the temptations even as you and I must meet them, by faith in the will and Word of God. There is not a tendency in the flesh of humanity but what dwelt in His. And He overcame them all (p. 31).

In 1915, a revised Bible Reading for the Home Circle was published by the Review & Herald Publishing Association. This work became the standard evangelistic publication of the Church for more than three decades. From this book many Seventh-day Adventists received their first knowledge of present truth. The chapter - "A Sinless Life" - is so completely representative of the teaching of the Church till about 1950 in regard to Christ's humanity, and the reproduction of that life in every believer that it is reproduced in full as Appendix B for comparison and study. The question and answer from that chapter which concisely summarizes the position of the Church on the nature of the humanity which the Son of God assumed, not only for this period, but from 1844, to 1950, reads as follows: The question is asked - "How fully did Christ share our common humanity?" The answer read (p. 115):      " Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" [Heb. 2:17].

Note: In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not "made like unto His brethren," was not "in all points tempted like as we are," did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. On the human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits, - a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way every one who is "born of the Spirit" may gain like victories over sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is to overcome as Christ overcame. Rev. 3:21. Without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7.

"A Body You Have Prepared for Me"

This title and representation of a Roman Catholic nun in habit prefaced Sabbath School Lesson #4 in the Study Guide for the 1" Quarter, 2005. The one sending me pages from both lessons #4

p 7 -- and #6 questioned, "A nun representing Mary?" This is a logical deduction inasmuch as Lesson #4 discussed the Incarnation. But it goes a step further. The title is a text from Hebrews 10:5, which was a key verse used by the "Holy Flesh" men of Indiana. This phase of the history of the doctrine of the Incarnation as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be discussed in the May issue of WWN.

Lesson #6 was captioned, "The Passion WEEK." The one sending me these pages commented with insight - "Catholic terminology" - and observed, "I find no Spirit of prophecy use of the word, 'passion' pertaining to Christ's sufferings and death." Then in the introductory paragraph to this lesson is to be found the assumption, "We adore the cross." Adoration is basic in Romanism. They "adore" the images of the Virgin Mary as well as the crucifix, and by the use of this terminology deny that they are worshiping these representations. But those following the Protestant ethic through song and voice proclaim, "We serve a risen Saviour." While we may "survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died," it remains only a symbol of "suffering and shame" not an object of adoration or worship as is the crucifix.

CCT in the USA -- This title stands for "Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A." It represents a new ecumenical organization to which the Roman Catholic Church through its American Bishops has united. This group - Evangelical, Orthodox, Pentecostal, mainline Protestant as well as Roman Catholics - have written to "all Christians in the United States to share [their] longing for an expanded Christian conversation" in the United States. They declared themselves to be "Christians who long for greater unity." They indicated that this longing most clearly points us to "something new" as a possibility for the churches in the United States.

What does this "something new" involve? The Catholic News Service (CNS) for Nov. 18, 2004 in reporting the decision of the US Catholic Bishops to join this new national ecumenical forum, noted the comments of Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, who is chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs of the Bishop's Conference. He emphasized that "for the Catholic Church the ultimate goal of ecumenism is the full, visible unity of all Christian churches in the one apostolic faith."

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, asked "if the other churches in the CCT are aware of the perspective from which the Catholic Church approaches the organization. To this question Blaire responded that "not only are the other churches aware of the Catholic view, but many of them also believe that full visible unity is the ultimate goal and that organizations such as the CCT are only interim steps." The CCT will seek to offer a "common witness" several ways, the first one being "a common confession of faith in the Triune God."

p 8 -- This Space - Page 8 -- Each issue of WWN is sent out in two mailings, one as "Bulkmail" to readers in the USA, and the other as a "Periodical" for readers overseas and Canada. The Bulkmail is folded and stapled thus leaving page 8 for mailing label and return address. The periodical mailing requires that the issue be placed in an envelope, and contain the information given in the above paragraph. Thus page 8 is left blank unless some additional data is placed on it. We try to place relevant material that would be of interest to our readers overseas and Canada who receive the periodical mailing. This becomes at times a difficult decision due to the volume of data received from the Webmaster, readers, and found in publications which the Library receives. Besides this, the Library has documentation from the past which is relevant to the present. This brief explanation will seek to illustrate the picture or problem, however, it may be perceived.

On January 6, 1895, Pope Leo XIII released an Encyclical Letter in which he stated:      It would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for state and church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. ... She would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favour of the laws and patronage of the public authority (Quoted in Facts of Faith, p. 257).

Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation tells of a telephone conversation he had with Karl Rove, President Bush's political guru. He asked Rove to tell the president that he had mastered the art of Catholic governance. To this Rove replied, "That's pretty good for a Methodist." The American Society of Tradition Family and Property indicates privately "that Bush is more Catholic" than any Catholic who could be elected as President in this country. That says something when the Democrats chose a Catholic for their candidate.

Weyrich continued to comment:      If you examine Bush's speech to the Republican delegates in Philadelphia, that speech had a deeply Catholic tone to it. And likewise Bush's inauguration speech, brief as it was, also had a Catholic overlay to it. This is far more than the work of a speechwriter. It obviously reflects some of Bush's strongly held views.

In an article in the New Republic April 3, 2001, Ryan Lizza tells of Bush's speech to commemorate the opening of the John Paul II Cultural Center at Catholic University. Then he commented: "Bush has courted the Catholic vote more doggedly than any modern president, explicitly - and often eloquently - placing 'compassionate conservatism' within the context of the Catholic tradition of aiding the underprivileged and protecting the sanctity of life." The same article further stated that the "President makes a point of meeting with local bishops wherever he travels, but especially on visits to swing states. He has made Catholic leaders fixtures at White House events, and his political staff holds a weekly conference call with conservative Catholics."

Another pre-election report stated that "Bush was so eager for a meeting with Pope John Paul II that he flew overnight to Rome to cram in a visit before the Pontiff - who said that he couldn't rearrange his schedule - left Rome the next day." He had, according to the report, his knuckles rapped by the pope over the war in Iraq. The question was asked, "Why would Bush subject himself to this?" The answer: "Bush badly needed Catholic votes." There is no mistaking the surge of Catholic votes for Bush, along with those of the Evangelicals, which speaks volumes. --- (2005 Apr) ---End --- TOP

May XXXVIII -5 (05) -- The Holy Flesh Movement -- Editor's Preface -- The Holy Flesh Movement did not die after the confrontation at the 190l General Conference Session. While there was musical extravaganza connected with the tent meetings and revivals conducted by the men in leadership, which did cease after the confrontation in 190l, and has only reappeared in recent years as a part of some Adventist church services, the doctrinal teaching regarding the Incarnation remained and is very much alive today. In 1985, the editors of Ministry printed essays giving the two divergent views held in Adventism today on the human nature that Christ assumed in becoming the Son of man, the pre-Fall or post-Fall nature of Adam. A year later Elder T. A. Davis responded with a resume of his book - Was Jesus Really Like Us? - giving what he called "an alternate view." This "alternate view" was the exact view as had been promoted by the Holy Flesh men of Indiana. Davis wrote in his book, Christ's "human nature was common only with those who have experienced a spiritual rebirth. . . Let us express this another way: Of Mary, Jesus was born 'born again' " (P. 30). This was followed by Ron Spear in his book, Waymarks of Adventism, p. 39, which was "blessed" by Dr. Ralph Larson (See Foreword). This was followed in 1986 by a called conference at Hartland Institute at which Davis presented his alternate view with only Dr. Herbert Douglass dissenting. Since then leading men of the SDA Reform Movement headquartered at Roanoke, Virginia, have been in conference with the leadership of Hartland, and are now holding this view of the Incarnation. Simply stated the Holy Flesh teaching on the Incarnation has again come to life and is being taught by Adventist dissidents. Those living in Australia should check out the new Standish school so as to know what their children will be taught.

p 2 -- An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught in Adventism - Part 6 -- The Holy Flesh Movement -- In evaluating the Holy Flesh Movement which involved the Indiana Conference during the years from 1898 to 1901, too often, the emotional extravaganza which accompanied the movement is considered to be the movement itself. This is not true, and until the exterior facade is penetrated a proper evaluation of the lessons which this deviate movement in the history of the Church should teach us cannot be made. This movement was based on and involved some basic doctrinal concepts. In retrospect, Ellen White, in 1907, wrote these words:      During the General Conference of 1901, instruction was given me in regard to the experience of some of the brethren in Indiana, and regarding the doctrines they had been teaching in the churches. I was shown that through this experience and the doctrines taught, the enemy has been working to lead souls astray (Ms. 39,1907; emphasis mine).

The two major doctrines which formed the basis of this movement were the teachings in regard to the Incarnation of Christ, and the perfection of the believer. The simple fact is, and might as well be admitted in any study, these two concepts cannot be separated. One's understanding of the nature which Christ accepted in becoming the Son of man conditions his belief relative to perfection. Because the special testimony given by Ellen White at the General Conference Session in 1901 in regard to the Movement in Indiana (1901 GC Bulletin, pp. 419-422) centered on only one of these doctrines - perfection in the flesh - the tendency is to equate the Holy Flesh Movement of Indiana with only this one teaching. However, the primary source material available by which to evaluate this Movement contains as much discussion in regard to the subject of the Incarnation as to the doctrine of perfection in the flesh. What did the leading brethren in Indiana teach as to the nature which Christ assumed in humanity?

The peak of the Holy Flesh Movement was reached during the camp meetings of 1900. The meeting at Muncie, Indiana, was attended by Elder S. N. Haskell and his wife, Hetty. Their experience at Muncie caused them to write a letter to Ellen G. White upon their return to Battle Creek. In his letter dated September 25, 1900, Elder Haskell wrote:      When we stated that we believed that Christ was born in fallen humanity, they would represent us as believing that Christ sinned, notwithstanding the fact that we would state our position so clearly that it would seem as though no one could misunderstand us.

Their point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this was the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will have "translation faith," and never die.

This doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the advocates of the "Holy Flesh" revival in Indiana is a forked road. They took one fork. If Christ did take the nature of Adam before the Fall, then men, by accepting Him and becoming conformed to His image, would receive the same nature He had. It was to be left to another generation of Adventist theologians to travel the other fork, that if Christ did take upon Himself a sinless humanity, it is impossible for the believer to overcome as Christ overcame. One doesn't have to have the externals, the "emotional extravaganza" (See Selected Messages, bk. II , pp. 35-37), of the Holy Flesh Movement to teach and believe the doctrine of the Incarnation as the leaders of that Movement taught it.

Not only in 1900 was there the confrontation which occurred at the Muncie camp meeting, but in November and December of that year, the first editor of the Review & Herald, A. T. Jones, in a series of editorials on "The Faith of Jesus" wrote, "The condescension of Christ, the position of Christ, and the nature of Christ, as He was in the flesh in the world, are given in the second chapter of Hebrews more fully than in any other one place in the Scriptures" (Dec. 11, 1900). Thus the battle was to be drawn as to

p 3 -- what Hebrews 2:9-18 was stating in regard to the humanity Christ assumed in becoming man. Jones' position was the same as it had been, in 1888 and onward that Christ assumed the fallen nature of Adam in the Incarnation.

Elder R. S. Donnell, president of the Indiana Conference, responded in a series of articles which he placed in the Indiana Reporter. In his first article he quoted a sentence from an article in the Signs of the Times (June 13, 1900). It read, "Christ came to this earth and stood where Adam stood, overcoming where Adam failed to overcome." Then he commented:      Now Christ stood where Adam stood, and Adam stood there without a taint of sin. So Christ must have stood where Adam stood before his Fall - that is, without a taint of sin. This must be so, for Paul continues the subject, and in verse 11 he says: "For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified (not those he is going to sanctify, but they who are sanctified) are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Notice it is the sanctified ones who (sic) He is not ashamed to call brethren. Further it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. "Forasmuch, then, as the children (or brethren, sanctified ones) are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise (just as the sanctified ones are partakers) took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." Heb. 2:14 (What I Taught in Indiana, pp. 4-5).

In his "Article Two", Donnell continued this supposition. He wrote:      In taking up this subject we will begin just where we left off in our last [first] article. In that, when we closed we were considering the fact that Christ Himself took part of the flesh and blood, just as the children did. That is, He took part of the same flesh the children possessed. We found, also, that the children are the sanctified ones. Now the sanctified ones are surely those upon whom the truth of God and the power of the Holy Spirit has wrought - the ones who are new creatures in Christ Jesus, those who have been created unto good works, the same which God hath before ordained that they should walk in (ibid., p. 5).

Why did Donnell assume the necessity of such a conclusion? He explains:      Men can continually do righteous acts only as God is incarnate in them; and it was God's purpose from the beginning to dwell in every created being, so that good works, or He Himself, might always appear in them. But in sinful man Satan is incarnate, and God and Satan cannot dwell together. The only reason why God does not dwell in man is because sin is there, and in order for God to again dwell in man sin must be eradicated. The body of Christ was a body in which God was incarnate, and as God and Satan cannot dwell together, the body of Christ must have been a body from which even every tendency to sin must have been wholly eradicated (ibid.).

While the whole Conference Committee, and most of the ministry followed the leaders of the Movement (S. S. Davis, the conference revivalist, and R. S. Donnell, the conference president) one minister, Elder S. G. Huntington, voiced his opposition and gave form to his protest. He printed a tract on the "Mission Press, La Fayette," Indiana. The conclusion of this sixteen page tract read:       Now, since we have been studying the humanity of Christ, let none think that we would distract from or forget His divinity. Although Jesus "the sinbearer endured the wrath of divine justice, and for our sakes became sin itself " [D. of A., p. 907] yet, through His implicit faith in His Father, He was fortified so that His divine nature overwhelmingly triumphed over His sinful nature and hereditary tendencies. Thus from the cradle to Calvary, His days of trial and probation, He lived a pure, holy and sinless life. Thus He met the demands of the broken law, and became "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

Now just as God In Christ, 4,000 years this side of Creation, lived a perfect, spotless life in sinful flesh, so through faith in Him, He will cleanse us from all our unrighteousness, impart to us His own righteousness, take up His abode in our hearts, and live the same kind of life in our sinful flesh six thousand years this side of Creation. Then we can truly say, "as He is [in character] so are we in the world" I John 4:17 (The Son of Man, p. 16, emphasis his).

In this same tract, Huntington scored the interpretation given by Donnell in regard to the "brethren" (Heb. 2:17) whose nature Christ supposedly took when "the Word flesh came to be" (John 1:14, Gr.). (Both sides quoted extensively from the Writings of Ellen G. White.) In a section captioned, "The Brethren," he wrote:

p 4 -- "But not to any class is Christ's love restricted. He identifies Himself with every child of humanity. That we might become members of the heavenly family He became a member of the earthly family. He is the Son of man, and thus a brother to every son and daughter of Adam. His followers are not to feel themselves detached from the perishing world around them. They are a part of the great web of humanity; and heaven looks upon them as brothers to sinners as well as to saints" (Desire of Ages, p. 638). Notice, His brethren are every child of Adam - sinners, men and women under the law, and not simply the spiritual seed of Abraham alone. Now if the spiritual seed of Abraham and the sanctified ones only are those referred to, and they being redeemed and no longer under the law, and Jesus was made like unto them, then it would be evident that Jesus was not made under the law at all. But the Scriptures, which cannot be broken [John 10:35] declare plainly that He was. So let God be true, and every man a liar. Romans 3:4. (ibid., p. 3; emphasis his).

The question between the men in Indiana was not the matter of whether the gospel provided men redemption from sin, or whether the power of the Holy Spirit could keep human beings from sinning. The question was the humanity of Christ - in what flesh did He come as the Son of man, the flesh of Adam after or before the Fall; and if after the Fall, in what likeness - "the likeness of sinful flesh" or the likeness of sanctified or "born again" humanity.

The demise of the Holy Flesh Movement came at the General Conference Session in 1901. The reorganization controversy at the Conference overshadowed the doctrinal conflict projected by the advocates of the "Holy Flesh" doctrines. Fifteen days after the session opened, Elder E. J. Waggoner was asked to give the evening message at 7 p.m. He chose for his text Hebrews 10:4-10. Then he introduced a question that had been given to him which read as follows:      Was that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that ours does? (1901 GC Bulletin, p. 403).

In Waggoner's answer there was left little doubt as to what he was talking about. He mentioned the concept of sinless flesh, and declared it to be "the deification of the devil" (ibid. p. 405).

He stated very specifically as to when the change would come in the flesh, and what the results would be. His words were:      The flesh will be opposed to the Spirit of God so long as we have it, but when the time comes that mortality is swallowed up of life, then the conflict will cease. Then we shall no longer have to fight against the flesh, but that sinless life which we lay hold of by faith and which was manifest in our sinful bodies, will then by simple faith be continued throughout all eternity in a sinless body (ibid., p. 406).

What then is the purpose of this earthly struggle? Waggoner continued:      When God has given this witness to the world of His power to save to the uttermost, to save sinful beings, and to live a perfect life in sinful flesh, then He will remove the disabilities and give us better circumstances in which to live. But first of all this wonder must be worked out in sinful man, not simply in the person of Jesus Christ, but in Jesus Christ reproduced and multiplied in thousands of His followers. So not simply in the few sporadic cases but in the whole body of the church, the perfect life of Christ will be manifested to the world, and that will be the last crowning work which will either save or condemn men; and greater testimony than that there is not, and cannot be, because there is none greater than God. When God is manifest among men, not simply as God apart from man, but as God in man, suffering all that man suffered, subject to everything that man is subject to, what greater power can be manifest in the universe than that? (Ibid.)

During the sermon, Dr. Waggoner challenged those listening to settle it, each for himself, whether or not he was truly "out of the church of Rome." He then commented:       There are great many that have got the marks yet, but I am persuaded of this, that every soul who is here tonight desires to know the way of truth and righteousness, and that there is no one here who is unconsciously clinging to the dogmas of the papacy, who does not desire to be freed from them.

Do you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours (because we know that ours is sinful) necessarily involves the idea of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary? Mind you, in Him is no sin, but the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, the marvel of the ages, the wonder of angels, that thing which even now they

p 5 -- desire to understand, and which they can form no just idea of, only as they are taught it by the church, is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its spotless purity in the midst of sinful flesh. 0 that is a marvel is it not? (ibid., p. 404).

The next day, April 17, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg spoke at the morning meeting on the subject of the medical missionary work. At the close of the meeting, Ellen White arose and presented her testimony concerning the Movement in Indiana. (Ibid., pp. 419-422). The next day, the two leaders of the Movement, Donnell and Davis, made confession to the delegates. On the 19th three other members of the Indiana Conference committee added their testimonies. The Holy Flesh Movement as such was over; but the doctrinal teachings of this Movement regarding the nature of Christ's humanity, that He came "born - born again," or like His "brethren" - "the sanctified ones" has appeared again in the Church and is promoted by Tom and Margaret Davis, as well as being taught by certain "independent ministries," the Standish brothers and Ron Spear.

Even though the two leaders - Donnell and Davis - confessed their error and professed to accept the Testimony given, neither abandoned his belief in the Incarnation as he taught it during the Holy Flesh revival. Relieved of their ministerial responsibilities following the General Conference session, S. S. Davis retired to his home in Elnora, Indiana, and R. S. Donnell went there to live for a few years. In 1905, Elder Donnell was called to serve the church in Raleigh, Tennessee, near Memphis. He continued his contact with Davis by correspondence. On one occasion, he sent to him a ten page manuscript which he had written on the nature of Christ and man. In this manuscript, Donnell wrote:      For one I must say, and upon the authority of the Bible, that Christ never sinned, and if He never sinned, that man don't (sic.) live, and never has lived that can prove that He was in sinful flesh. The only way by which one can prove it, is to point out the sins, or even one sin that He committed. He took a body which showed by its deteriorated condition, that the effects of sin was shown by it, but His life proved that there was no sin in it. It was a body which the Father had prepared for Him (Heb. 10:5). Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature, but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature. It was a body redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His divinity; thus by His life, on earth, He showed what humanity will do when filled with the divine mind. Then every member of the human race, who will renounce Satan and his works, and will permit Christ to clothe himself with his humanity, in that act, becomes a member of the family of heaven. That is just what it will be, if we will let the divine mind come into us. It will be divinity clothed with humanity, and that is just what Christ was. And thus clothed He did no sin. Is that putting it too strong? Well that is just the way that God wants it to be put ("The Nature of Christ and Man" - An unpublished manuscript in the Foundation Library).

In 1903, Elder I. J. Hankins, who succeeded Donnell to the presidency of the Indiana Conference, wrote to S. S. Davis in Elnora, Indiana, asking him certain questions about his beliefs. Of the eight questions asked, four of them involved the doctrine of the Incarnation. To these questions Davis responded. We shall list the question and the answer given:

Question #4 -- Please state in a few words your views on the nature of Christ?
Answer - Luke 1:35: " that holy thing."

Question #5 -- Did Christ's flesh have in it any weakness or natural tendency to sin as the result of the Fall?
Answer - Testimony No. 2 the last three words on page 201 and continued on page 202 - "was a brother in infirmities, but not possessing like passions." That is all on that point I care to say.

Question #6 -- Was Mary the mother of Jesus like all other women, sinful?
Answer - I could not say how full of sin she was but I suppose that she had her share, perhaps not as bad as some, and maybe more than some,as there are degrees in heredity and depravity, and there is no evidence that she had an immaculate conception.

p 6 -- Question #7 -- Is every child born into the world naturally inclined to evil, even before it is old enough to discern between good and evil?
Answer - Yes, unless preserved from the law of heredity in conception by the power of the Holy Ghost. See Ps. 51:5 "Shapen in sin," also Eph. 2:3, "by nature children of wrath" (Letter: S. S. Davis to I. J. Hankins dated March 15, 1903).

Of all the men involved in the "Holy Flesh" Movement, only S. S. Davis never returned to the ministry of the Church. In 1920 the Davis family moved to Nebraska, where on September 26, 1926, S. S. Davis was re-ordained as a minister in the General Baptist Church (Copy of Ordination Certificate is in Foundation Library).

POSTSCRIPT - 1 -- While serving as pastor of the Marion Indiana Church, I had occasion to visit with Jesse E. Dunn, who at the time was residing near Rockford. He had served as the Book Agent for the Conference (later called the Publishing Department Secretary) during the time of the Holy Flesh Movement. Our conversation turned to the book, Questions on Doctrine, which had just been released. In discussing the change made in the Church's position on the Incarnation, Dunn commented, that this was what was taught by the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement. This sparked my interest. He volunteered to help me reconstruct the story of what happened. Knowing S. S. Davis and members of his family well, he himself wrote to, and placed me in contact with individuals who could supply information as to the teachings and activities of the ministers involved In the Movement. Before his death he gave me a complete file of his own
correspondence during the time of the initial research. Later, when teaching at Madison College, I asked one of the senior students, Eddie Barton , to continue gathering documentation. When Madison College closed, and I was sent to Andrews University to complete work on a graduate degree, this research was brought together to meet the requirement for the course, Research in Theology, under the supervision of Arthur White, who besides presiding over the Ellen G. White Estate, also taught a class at Andrews on the Spirit of Prophecy.

In writing the initial paper on the Holy Flesh Movement, which later became the manuscript by that name published by the Foundation, I also received valuable assistance from Dr. E. K. Vande Vere, who was then chairman of the History Department at Andrews University. When completed in absentia, a copy was sent to Dr. Vande Vere. He wrote back -       Yesterday, I read the paper with care. It seems to me that you have wrung every bit of material possible from your sources. It's too bad that the whole episode could not have been written in 1905. Hence as matters stand, it is quite likely that no one else will ever shed more light on the affair than you have. I hope a copy of your paper will always be available at the White Estate or in the White Library for those who in the future might be interested enough to read.

This was not to be. Neither he nor I were aware at that time of the fact that the Indiana Conference published its own news letter - The Indiana Reporter. In this paper, Donnell placed a series of articles on the Incarnation in reply to A. T. Jones' series in the Review & Herald. Later when challenged as to his belief regarding the doctrine, Donnell brought the series together into a pamphlet captioned - "What I Taught in Indiana." This document was discovered by Jeff Reich, who kindly gave me a copy.

This addition to the data regarding the Holy Flesh Movement, and probably the last, helps to clarify the teaching which the men of Indiana held theologically on the Incarnation and Perfection.

Haskell, in his letter to Ellen White after returning to Battle Creek from the 1900 Camp Meeting in Muncie, set forth the belief

p 7 -- of the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement as being that Christ took the nature of Adam before the Fall when He became incarnate. This was not an accurate summation. That position was not to be promoted until the book Question on Doctrine was written. S. G. Huntington in his tract - "The Son of Man" - stated clearly and challenged the concept as held by Donnell and Davis, that Christ took the nature of a sanctified person, in other words came "'born, born-again." Thus the conclusion which links QonD with the Holy Flesh teaching and which is reflected in my original research based on Haskell's evaluation that Christ assumed the unfallen nature of Adam in the flesh, is faulty. There is, however, a direct parallel between the teaching of the men of Indiana in regard to the Incarnation and Perfection and the teachings of Tom and Margaret Davis which has been presented as "an alternate view" to the two divergent positions concerning which nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation the pre-Fall or post-Fall nature of Adam. The "Holy Flesh" teachings have also been adopted and/or promoted by others - Ron Spear and the Standish Brothers - who profess concern for the direction the Church has taken doctrinally in recent years.

There are two aspects which marked the Holy Flesh Movement, one was the music, and the other was the doctrinal teaching concerning Christ's Incarnation. In the first article of this issue of WWN, we discussed only the doctrinal aspect. The lively music which accentuated the meetings involved Donnell's stepdaughter who was married to a Salvation Army Captain. She was accomplished in the use of the tambourine. At one of the Camp Meetings in 1900, she was asked by her father to lead the music by the use of the tambourine. Haskell wrote: "They are as much trained in their musical line as any Salvation Army choir that you ever heard. In fact, their revival effort is simply a complete copy of the Salvation Army method" (Letter 1, Sept. 25, 1900 to Ellen G. White). In Adventism today, we see the revival of both of the major marks of the Holy Flesh Movement of 1899-1901. While those who are advocating the "born, born-again" theory of the Incarnation are not involved in the musical extravaganza which was a part of the Holy Flesh Movement and which has been introduced into Adventist worship services, some unite with their concepts a "perfectionism" which reflects the Holy Flesh teachings. It is confusion compounded, yet set forth as a part of the "firm foundation" which the Lord prepared for His people.

In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.
He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses
by which man is compassed, "that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying,
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses"
(Matt. 8:17). -- Selected Messages, Vol. 1, P. 256.

p 8 -- POSTSCRIPT - 2 -- Prior to the 1888 Message Conference at Andrews University in August 1986, a group of "leading lights" within corporate Adventism who profess concern about the apostasy in "Israel" were invited to Hartland Institute in Virginia (See WWN XX-2) with the objective of finding common ground on certain doctrinal areas so as to speak with one voice. Among the names of the attendees as given to me, was Dr. Ralph Larson, and so I included his name in the WWN report of the conference. He wrote me immediately denying attendance because he had seen an advance copy of what Thomas Davis was going to present in leading the discussion on the Incarnation, and was not "comfortable with all the views expressed in it" (Letter to Editor dated, March 1, 1987). This is a conundrum. In 1981, Larson placed his blessings on a book written by R. D. Spear, Waymarks of Adventism, which taught the same thing that Davis was going to present. The bottom line is simply that the position Tom Davis presented on the Incarnation at the Hartland Institute conference was nothing else but the same concepts as taught by R. S. Donnell in 1900 when president of the Indiana Conference.

What Davis presented was opposed only by Dr. Herbert Douglass, even though both Elders R. J . Wieland and D. K. Short were present. Since then, I have learned that leaders of the SDA Reform Movement located in Roanoke, Virginia, have had discussions with the leadership at Hartland, and have come away believing the same heresy. Now with another "Standish" school being inaugurated in Australia, parents who are sending their children either to the new school or to Hartland, are placing them in danger's way and subjecting them to the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement in regard to "the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven - the incarnation of the Son of God" (7BC:904). --- (2005 May) ---End --- TOP

Jun 2005 -- XXXVIII - 6(05) -- From 1915 - 1952 -- Editor's Preface -- In 1931 a new Statement of Beliefs, written by the Editor of the Review & Herald, was inserted into the Yearbook. In regard to the Incarnation it stated, "He took upon Himself the nature of the human family" (#3). All previous Statements had declared that "He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race." - From this assertion there could be no question but that Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of man. The new statement was ambiguous.

Froom in his book, Movement of Destiny, reveals that at the time of the issuance of the 1931 Statement of "Fundamental Beliefs" a group of leaders at the General Conference headquarters were meeting on Sabbath afternoons for Bible study and informal dialogue. These were not official gatherings. There was no chairman nor secretary, however, some in attendance took copious notes (p. 429). Froom does not reveal who these men were, nor where such notes might be found at the time he was writing the book. It can be reasonably assumed that he was one of those who took notes. The question remains as to where these notes might be for verification. They could cast light that might explain why Rebok in 1949 was asked to revise Bible Readings for the Home Circle, and that revision be focused on the Incarnation (p. 428). Froom does indicate that those in attendance were those of the leadership who were "home" any given Sabbath, which could indicate that the regular attendees would be primarily editorial personnel. The record indicates that from the pen of these men - Wilcox and Nichol - the first deviations in the formulation of the doctrine of the Incarnation took place.

p 2 -- The Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught in Adventism- 7.
From 1915 - 1952 -- Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, died in 1915. In the intervening years from that date till 1952 the belief of the Church concerning the doctrine of the Incarnation can best be described in the language of the book of Joshua - "And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that He had done for Israel" (Joshua 24:31).

The Sabbath School lessons for the Senior Division continued the same clear testimony in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity that had been evidenced during the preceding decades. A lesson in 1921 on the purpose of the Incarnation quoted with approval a comment from a source documented only as "The Great '1 AM's' of Christ." The writer had written:      Christ assumed, not the original unfallen, but our fallen humanity. In this second experiment, He stood not precisely where Adam before Him had, but, as has already been said, with immense odds against Him - evil, with all the prestige of victory and its consequent enthronement in the very constitution of our nature, armed with more terrific power against the possible realization of this divine idea for man - perfect holiness. All this considered, the disadvantages of the situation, the tremendous risks involved, and the fierceness of the opposition encountered, we come to some adequate sense both of the reality and the greatness of that vast moral achievement; human nature tempted, tried, and miscarried in Adam, lifted up in Christ to the sphere of actualized sinlessness (pp. 248-249; Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, 1st Qrt., 1921, p. 16).

In another lesson the same year on the Priesthood of Christ, a note commenting on the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews read:      He who is introduced in the first chapter as Son, God, and Lord, whose deity and eternity are emphasized, meets us in the second chapter as the Son of man, with all the limitations of our common humanity. He is known now by His personal name, and as one who can taste of death (Heb. 2:9), and can be made "perfect through sufferings" (verse 10). He partook of the same flesh and blood which we have (verse 14), becoming just as truly man (verse 17) as He is truly God (ibid., 2nd Qrt. pp. 13-14).

A further lesson in 1921 emphasized the same concept. A note taught that "when the Son of God was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) and partook of our sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), the eternal life was manifest in a human body (I John 1:2)" (ibid., 3 rd Qrt., p. 10).

In 1923, a Sabbath School lesson on "The Godly Life" was studied by the Senior Division. The first note of the lesson declared:      Christ took upon Himself the infirmities and sins of the flesh ... ; but to every sin He died, every lust He crucified, every selfish desire He denied Himself - all for our sakes (Ibid., Second Quarter, 1923, p. 22).

The First Quarter's Lessons in 1928 were on the book of Ephesians. A note in comment upon Ephesians 2:15 read:      Carnal, natural man cannot abolish his enmity against God. It is a part of his nature. It is intertwined in every fiber of his being. But Jesus took upon Himself our nature of flesh and blood; (Heb. 2:14), "in all things ... to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17), "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom 1:3); He met and "abolished in His flesh the enmity," "the carnal mind" (Rom 8:7), "the mind of the flesh" (Rom 8:7 ARV). He conquered sin in the flesh for us forever (Ibid., First Quarter 1928, p. 15).

The positive emphasis which marked the Sabbath School Lessons from 1889 in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity was muted in a lesson for the Senior Division in 1941. An introductory note stated:      Through sin man finds himself without hope and without God in the world. "The wages of sin is death" - death confronts every son and daughter of Eve. Into this hopeless

p 3 -- picture the Son of God presents Himself. Because of His infinite love, He took upon Himself the form of man and the frailties of a long ancestral line. Having accepted human nature, He endured the sentence of sin in His body on the cross. He suffered, the death that is ours because of sin, that we might live the life that He merited because of righteousness. This is the only avenue by which man might escape the penalty of sin and enter into life - the more abundant life here, and everlasting life in the eternal kingdom (Ibid, 4 th. Qrt., 1941, p. 6).

Three books, one printed by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, and the other two by the Southern Publishing Association, presented from two different approaches the same basic truth on the Incarnation of Christ, which marked the Sabbath School lessons during the first part of the period under review. In 1924, Meade MacGuire's book - The Life of Victory was published. In the chapter, "The Awful Nature of Sin," after describing various manifestations of the sin problem he wrote, "still another aspect of sin is set forth strikingly in Romans," where Paul indicated that in the body there is a law "warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." What is the answer to this aspect of the sin problem? MacGuire replies:       There is only one means of deliverance from this inherent law of sin. That is Christ. He took humanity upon Him. He conquered sin while in a body which had come under the hereditary law of sin. He now proposes to live that same sinless life in my members. His presence completely counteracts the power of the law of sin (pp. 17-18).

In another chapter - "Delivered from Death" this comment is found:        When Jesus bore the cross, He acknowledged the death sentence upon the sin nature. He took our nature, the Adam nature, the Saul life, and agreeing with the Father that this nature was fit only to die, He went voluntarily to the cross, and bore that fallen nature to its inevitable and necessary death. ...

By this great sacrifice Christ made provision for the death of the Adam nature in you and me, if we are willing to bring this degenerate nature of ours to His cross and nail it there (p. 43).

Approaching the subject of the humanity of Christ from another angle, Christian Edwardson in 1942 discussed the text in 2 John 7 which states that the antichrist would deny that "Christ came in the flesh." He observed there were objections in applying this identification of the antichrist to the Papacy because it is argued that the Catholic church does not deny the incarnation of Christ. To this argument Edwardson replied:       This argument, however, is based on a misunderstanding, caused by overlooking one word in the text. Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come in flesh, but was to deny that He had "come in the flesh," in the same kind of flesh, as the human race He came to save. ... On this vital difference hinges the real "truth of the gospel." Did Christ come all the way down to make contact with the fallen race, or only part way, so that we must have saints, popes, and priests intercede for us with Christ who is removed too far from fallen humanity and its needs to make direct contact with the individual sinner? Right here lies the great divide that parts Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. ...

Through sin man has separated himself from God, and his fallen nature is opposed to the divine will. ... Only through Christ, our Mediator, can man be rescued from sin, and again brought into connection with the source of purity and power.

But in order to become such a connecting link Christ had to partake both of the divinity of God and the humanity of man, so that He with His divine arm could encircle God, and with His human arm embrace man, thus connecting both in His own Person. In this union of the human with the divine lies the "mystery" of the gospel, the secret of power to lift man from his degradation. "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). The "mystery," or secret of power to live a godly

p 4 -- life in human flesh, was manifest in the life of Jesus Christ while on earth. ...

But mark! It was fallen man that was to be rescued from sin. And to make contact with him Christ had to condescend to take our nature upon Himself (not some higher kind of flesh). "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same ... Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17. This text is so worded that it cannot be misunderstood. Christ "took part of the same flesh and blood as ours; He came in "the" flesh. To deny this is the mark of Antichrist. (Facts of Faith, p. 204-205; emphasis his).

Another book that presented Catholic doctrine in contrast to the plain teachings of Scripture published by the Southern Publishing association was written by Mary E. Walsh, whose forebearers "for many generations ... were confirmed believers in the doctrines of the papacy." She herself was "a faithful communicant of that
religious body for 20 years" (Wine of Roman Babylon, p. 3). In the chapter "The Immaculate Conception," Ms. Walsh wrote: "All that Mary gave to Christ was His human body. It is a law of nature that one cannot give what one does not possess, and Mary, being human in every respect of the word, could not impart to her Son the nature of divinity" (p. 32). Prior to this statement she noted that Mary was a sinner in common with all mankind. Then showing both the divine and human characteristics of Jesus in His earthly ministry and quoting such texts as Romans 8:3 and Hebrews 2:14, 17-18, she wrote:           
In the genealogy of Christ as given In Matthew we find Jesus called the Son of David and also the Son of Abraham. One has to study only the characters of Abraham and David to learn that they were very human and had a tendency to sin. Thus we see what kind of human nature Christ inherited from His progenitors (p. 134).

During this period a feature article appeared in the Signs of the Times ("'The Begats,"' March 22, 1927), which contained two sentences which enemies of the Church lifted out of context and used to attack the teaching of the Church in regard to the human nature of our Lord. In his book on Adventism, Walter Martin cited this article as one of the chief sources of the critics, stating:       Since almost all critics of Seventh-day Adventism contend that Seventh-day Adventists believe Christ possessed a sinful human nature during the incarnation, a word should be said to clarify this point. These charges are often based on an article in the Signs of the Times, March 1927, and a statement in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists, p. 86).

Martin then proceeded to quote from an evangelical source the statement found in the Signs of the Times. The ignorance and lack of scholarship evidenced by the evangelical writer would indicate that it could be ignored with impunity were it not f or the part it played in the dialogue between representatives of the Church and Barnhouse and Martin. Resulting from these SDA-Evangelical conferences, L. A. Wilcox, the author of the article in the Signs, thirty years after it was written, wrote an apology retracting his statements. From this letter, Martin also quoted.

In analyzing Wilcox's article, there are two questions that need to be answered: How was he quoted? What had he written in context? The evangelical writer is quoted by Martin as follows:      In March 1927 [Wilcox] wrote: "'In His (Christ's) veins was the incubus of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and destroy. Temptation attacked him where by heredity He was weakest, attacked Him in unexpected times and ways. In spite of bad blood and an inherited meanness, he conquered " (Martin, op. cit. ).

What did Wilcox write in context? The paragraphs involved, which follow, are presented in full context with the evangelical's quotations from the Signs' article underscored. The article on the "Begats" was the answer to a simple question that had been asked - "Is there hope of overcoming our inherited tendencies toward

p 5 -- evil?" In responding to this question, Wilcox used the genealogy of Christ. He asked the reader to "look for a moment at this pedigree" - Jacob, Judah, Rahab, Ruth, David, and others. Then he wrote - "Yes, Jesus came from a line of sinners." The paragraphs from which the evangelical quoted follow:      And I am glad for that [Christ's genealogy]. For it helps me to understand how He can be "'touched with the feelings of all my infirmities." He came where I was. He stood in my place. In His veins was the incubus (weight) of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and destroy. For four thousand years the race had been deteriorating in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of humanity at its worst. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of degradation.

"If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured."

It is good to know that. He, the Son of God, became the Son of man, that I, a son of man, might become a son of God. He became as I am that I might become as He is. He partook of my human nature that I might partake of His divine nature. In every temptation that assails, it is strength to know that just such a temptation in all its overwhelming force attacked Him, attacked Him where, by heredity, He was weakest, attacked Him in unexpected times and ways; and that," with equal tendencies toward evil, in spite of bad blood and inherited meanness by the same power to which I have access, He conquered. He won for me. He offers me His victory for my own - a free gift. And so in all these things I am more than conqueror through Him that loved me.

Wilcox's position doesn't vary from the teachings of the Church through previous decades. Some may quibble over his terminology and figures of speech. The word "incubus" is from the Latin, incubo, "to lie upon." Did Christ accept the weight of our heredity? If not, why then did He "in the days of His flesh" find it necessary to offer "up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears" to His Father to keep Him from sinning (Heb. 5:7). The word - "meanness" - which Wilcox used in connection with heredity is defined as "low of grade, quality, or condition." Isaiah pictured Christ as a "root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isa. 53:2). Was Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled or not?

The figure of speech used by Wilcox was also very interesting. The inherited tendencies were pictured as a caged lion seeking to break forth and destroy. This is closely parallel to the statement of the Lord to Cain - "if you do not do right, sin (as a wild beast) crouches at the door and awaits you" (Gen. 4:7, Farrar Fenton, trans.). Cain did not overcome "the beast;" Christ did!

By mid 20th Century, the winds of change were blowing through the corridors of Adventism, and changes were being made in the teachings of the Church. The doctrine of the Incarnation was openly being altered. In 1932 when the associate editor of the Review & Herald, F. D. Nichol, published the first edition of Answers to Objections, the answers included various subjects on which the Church is challenged, such as, the Sabbath, the state of man in death, the atonement, but not one paragraph discussed the Incarnation. The book was updated and enlarged in 1947 and again in 1952. The final edition carried, a foreword by W. H. Branson, then president of the General Conference. "Objection 94" of this 1952 edition discussed at length the position of the Church on the Incarnation. . Nichol indicated that "Adventists have never made a formal pronouncement on this matter in their statement of belief. The only pronouncement in our literature that could be considered as truly authoritative on this is what Ellen G. White has written" (p. 390). His assertion that no pronouncement is made in the statement of beliefs is open to question, and yet he writes pontifically that "Adventists believe that Christ the "last Adam," possessed on His

p 6 -- human side, a nature like that of the "first man, Adam," a nature free from any defiling taint of sin" (p. 393). This, too, can be challenged if Ellen G. White is to be the final source of authority as stated by Nichol, for she wrote: "He took upon Himself fallen, suffering humanity, degraded and defiled by sin" (5BC: 1147).

Nichol closed his discussion of "Objection 94" with a note of counsel. It reads:      A word of counsel to some of our Adventist writers and speakers may be in order here. The incarnation is a very great mystery. We shall never fully understand how a Being could at once be both the "Son of God" and "Son of man," thus possessing both a human and a divine nature. Likewise, the presence of sin in the universe is a very great mystery. We shall probably never understand fully the meaning of the term, "sinful flesh," which we and others often use without attempting to define it. When we speak of the taint of sin, the germs of sin, we should remember that we are using metaphorical language. Critics, especially those who see the Scripture through Calvinistic eyes, read into the term "sinful flesh" something that Adventist theology does not require. Thus if we use the term "sinful flesh" in regard to Christ's human nature, as some of our writers have done, we lay ourselves open to misunderstanding. True we mean by that term simply that Christ "took on him the seed of Abraham," and was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh," but critics are not willing to believe this.

Let us never forget that a Scriptural mystery is always most safely stated in the language of Scripture. Hence, when we must move amid the mists of divine mystery we do well to stay within the protecting bounds of quotation marks. We need not move beyond in order to secure from that mystery its saving, sanctifying power. And staying thus within those bounds, we best protect the mystery from the ridicule of skeptics, the Adventist name from the attacks of critics, and ourselves from becoming lost in the mist (p. 397).

If caution enshrines heresy, and truth is blunted to accommodate error, then let caution be thrown to the four winds, and truth and truth alone be uplifted. If it means a "cross," so be it. He who was the Truth, so accepted the reality of the "great controversy."

The real meaning of the counsel given by Nichol had already been translated into reality prior to 1950. According to Froorn, "in 1949, Prof. D. E. Rebok, then president of our Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, when it still was in Washington DC., was requested by the Review & Herald to revise Bible Readings for the Home Circle" (Movement of Destiny, p. 428). He accepted the invitation, and coming to the Chapter, "A Sinless Life," he judged certain notes to be erroneous and proceeded to make corrections. The note under the question, "How fully did Christ share our common humanity?" stated clearly:      

In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not "Amade like unto His brethren," was not "in all points tempted like as we are," and did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved ... On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits, a sinful nature (1915 edition, p. 115).

Rebok altered this to read:      Jesus Christ is both Son of God and Son of man. As a member of the human family "it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren" - "in the likeness of sinful flesh." Just how far that "likeness" goes is a mystery of the incarnation which men have never been able to solve" (1949 revision, p. 121).

Then he added:      There is no Bible support for the teaching that the mother of Christ, by an immaculate conception, was cut off from the sinful in heritance of the race, and therefore her divine Son was incapable of sinning (ibid.).

If Mary was not cut off, then what kind of nature on the human side did she give Jesus? What then was wrong with the 1915 note when the conclusion was drawn that Jesus inherited what every child of Adam

p 7 -- inherits, - a sinful nature." (See statement above.)

The most interesting omission and alteration that Rebok made is to be found in the note under the question - "Where did God, in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over temptation and sin?" The 1915 edition stated that "God, in Christ, condemned sin "by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh" (p. 116; emphasis, author). Rebok revised this note by omitting "in sinful flesh" in both instances of its use in the 1915 edition.

Rebok, in making these changes was logical. If Christ did not condemn sin "in sinful flesh," then God cannot make the demonstration in us of a "sinless life in sinful flesh." The brethren of Indiana at the turn of the Century believed that it was necessary to have "holy flesh" before the demonstration could be made. There is just one step from a Christ in sinless human nature conquering sin to the concept of "holy flesh." Otherwise, the only alternative is the denial of the possibility that the life of Christ can be reproduced in humanity this side of the Second Advent.

The last half of the 20th Century was just beginning. Much more was to be written. A church would be divided doctrinally.

The Pope's Intent -- Pope John Paul II died following the close of the first Sabbath in April. In March he had set his prayer intentions for the month of April against the backdrop of the "Year of the Eucharist." The weekly edition of L'Osservatore Romano, March 23, 2005, reported these intentions. The "general" intent read:      That Christians may live Sundays more fully as the Day of the Lord, to be devoted in a special way to God and their neighbours (p. 12).

Does this indicate the direction Papal thought and action was tending as the Year of the Eucharist would come to its climax?

With the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Benedict XVI will this intent change? Under Benedict XV, the "wound" began to heal; under John Paul II, the wound has been healed. What next under Benedict XVI?

p 8 -- IN ARKANSAS -- The Arkansas House of Representatives has rejected a resolution supporting the First Amendment principle of church-state separation.

The Arkansas House voted 44-39 against Resolution 1005 that quoted the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment and a section of the state constitution, which holds that citizens cannot be "compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship. "

Democrat Rep. Buddy Blair sponsored the resolution. Following the House action, he told the Arkansas Democrat, a Little Rock daily, "Apparently, the churches are dictating how they vote, not their conscience."

Blair, a Methodist, said, "Too many people use their own church or their own religion as an example of how they're going to vote on legislation. I felt like I wanted to remind them that there is a wall [of separation between church and state] there."...

Some observers lamented the House vote. Mike Doughtery, a staffer at the Benton Courier, a Benton, Ark., weekly, blasted House members for rejecting the pro-church-state separation resolution.

"People who don't believe there should be a separation of church and state are the people who believe mixing government and religion is OK, as long as it is their religion that is government sanctioned," wrote Doughtery, the weekly news editor (Church & State, April 2005, p. 21). --- (2005Jun) ---End ---

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