1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
As of 2010, all official sites of ALF in the United States of America were closed. The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website, www.Adventist Alert.com, is now the only official Adventist Layman's Foundation established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.
The MISSION of this site -- to put works of the Foundation online.
Any portion of these works may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from Adventist Layman's Foundation, AdventistAlert.com, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming
WWN 2005 Oct - Dec
Oct 2005 -- XXXVIII - 10(05) -- Conclusions We Face -- Editor's Preface-- With this issue of WWN, we conclude a year of articles based on the first manuscript the foundation released in 1972, on the doctrine of the Incarnation as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Each of the chapters - articles - were more carefully proofed than in the original manuscript, and paragraphs were rewritten to express more accurately the intended thought. Every aspect of the controversy which engulfed the Church was not covered. There was an exchange in the Ministry which we have passed by for another day. Things are taking place both in the religious world and in the Church which need to be evaluated. We will return to the subject of the Incarnation in a future issue, the Lord willing.
We have had in our library a manuscript on the Virgin Birth by L. E. Froom, who authored Movement of Destiny under the guidance of a committee chaired by Neal C. Wi1son when he was president of the North American Division. When one sees how far afield the thinking of men in high places actually went at the time of the SDAEvangelical Conferences and immediately following, the warnings sounded in 1903 by the Messenger of the Lord along with the description of what the Omega would be 1ike does not sound odd nor exaggerated. The tragedy is still the fact that there are those who can see and know these things, and yet still believe the Church will be turned around to an acceptable condition with the Lord Jesus.
p 2 -- Conclusions We Face -- In October 1972, the Foundation released its first research manuscript - An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incamation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Last year, in our October issue of WWN, we began a series of articles which were re-written chapters from the original manuscript. The original manuscript had many "typos" due to our inadequate proofing. These errors we sought to correct as well as to re-write some paragraphs so as to give better sense to what we were seeking to say. A careful comparison between the manuscript and the articles as they appeared during the year in WWN would reveal other changes also; but one thing did not change, and that is the basic premise upon which the original manuscript was written: - the documentation of what the Church taught in regard to the Incarnation from its inception in 1844 and its organization in 1863 to the present time. Now that documentation demands some conclusions.
IF the Seventh-day Adventist Church truly believes that Ellen G. White was the Lord's "Messenger" to the Remnant, then the historic position of the Church in regard to the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming the Son of man is crystal clear. From the very earliest beginnings of the Church, the "messenger" of the Lord wrote: "The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam" (R&H, Feb. 24, 1874). "It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man" - that "by experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptations" (R&H, March 18, 1875; emphasis supplied), - "He might understand how to succour those who are tempted" (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 3 9).
IF the Scriptures are to be taken as the rule and basis for all doctrine, then the conclusion is likewise inescapable that Christ laid aside "the form of God" and accepted instead the "slave form of man" (Phil. 2:6-7). See manuscript - In the Form of a Slave. He was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). "'He was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (11 Corinthians 5:21). "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (Heb. 2:14). ["Children" came after the Fall in Eden.]
The findings of this research indicate that since 1950, theologians and apologists of the Church have altered the historic position, and now teach that Christ in accepting a human form from Mary was preserved free from the working of the great law of heredity through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
Further, it is now proposed that the humanity Christ took, except for physical degeneracy, was the same as the sinless nature of Adam prior to the Fall. On some of the published writings of these theological leaders and apologists, the highest elected leaders of the Church have placed their "imprimaturs" making the doctrines taught therein as "authoritative" as any official position of the Church. Thus the theologians and leaders have united together in leading the Church into a state of apostasy in regard to the doctrine of the Incarnation.
This all leads to some personal questions: IF the factual data as presented in the issues of WWN this past year is correct, then what is my responsibility in the light of this apostasy? Further, can a Church involved in such apostasy "go through," or is it a basis for its rejection before God when weighed in "the balances of the sanctuary?" (8T:247).
Appendix C -- In the September issue of WWN (p. 5), we noted the 1972 action of the Biblical Research Committee in preparing a series of quotations from the Ellen G. White writings to replace those which had appeared as Appendix B, sec. III in Questions on Doctrine - "Took Sinless Human Nature" (p. 650). It was published as an "insert" in the February issue of The Ministry. At the time, we believed the new series prepared by the Committee did not reflect the depth of the condescension of Immanuel as stated in the Writings. We submitted another series to the
p 3 -- Committee. These statements follow (all emphasis supplied): In Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature. The nature of God whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the Son of man (Ms. 141, 1901; 7BC:926).
Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity and divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam (YI, Dec. 20,1900; 4BC:1147).
Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because in this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings in behalf of the fallen race. Thus He made it possible for us to partake of His nature (R&H, July 17,1900).
It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man, that He might be made perfect through suffering, and Himself endure the strength of Satan's fierce temptations, that He might understand how to succor those who should be tempted (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 39).
In our strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all those whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, the Lord prepared the way for us to overcome (The Desire of Ages, pp. 122-123).
Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation (5T:177).
The religion of Jesus Christ we need daily. ... Though He had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to temptation to do one single act which was not pure and elevating and ennobling (In Heavenly Places, p. 155).
The Mystery Years - 1930-1935 -- L. E. Froorn in his book, Movement of Destiny, tells of an informal group meeting of Adventist leaders at the headquarters of the Church during the years 1930-1935. They met "'periodically, on Sabbath afternoons for intimate Bible study, followed by informal round table exchange" (p. 429). He noted that these began "not long after the time of the issuance of the (1931) 'Fundamental Beliefs' statement." This statement was formulated by F. M. Wilcox, editor of the Review & Herald, whom Froorn lists as in attendance at the special Sabbath afternoon study group along with W. W. Prescott, A. G. Daniels and W. E. Howell as well as others. Froom does not mention F. D. Nichol as present, although in 1927 Wilcox had invited him to be his associate editor. We can conclude that he, too, was present. Froorn keeps emphasizing the fact that he was the youngest person present, and attributes it to his "close association with Elder Daniels" as well as his responsibilities with the Ministerial Association (p. 430).
First, let us note Nichol's "paper trail" in regard to the subject of the Incarnation. In 1932, he published a book, Answers to Objections, which was "an examination of the major objections raised against the teachings of Seventh-day Adventists." The "objections" he discussed focused on the Law, Sabbath, Second Advent, the "state" of man in death, and briefly on the atonement and the "scapegoat" as a "'saviour." There was no mention of the Incarnation. The book was reprinted in 1947, and finally in 1952 enlarged and revised to include other areas of the "Sanctuary, and Atonement," such as the Incarnation and a completed atonement at the Cross. After noting the objection to the use of "Sinful flesh" as applied to Christ's humanity, Nichol places a "word of counsel" to our "Adventist writers and speakers" in regard to the use of the phrase, "sinful flesh" (p. 397). The gist of the counsel was "tone it down." The
p 4 -- question is how far can truth be "toned" down? While Nichol's advice was excellent that we stay "within the protecting bounds of (Scriptural) quotation marks," then let us follow it, and permit Scripture to speak with finality. Christ took the "slave form (morfhn doulou labwn) of man (Phil. 2:7).
The "paper trail" of Froom goes much further afield. An undated manuscript on "The Tremendous Truth of the Virgin Birth" composed of three chapters was circulated by Froom during the time of the controversy over Questions on Doctrine with a notation - "Confidential: Please Read and Return with Suggestions. - L.E.F." Froom's reason for the emphasis on the Virgin Birth was because he considered it as "the sole explanation of the sinless life" (p. 2). We shall quote excerpts from this manuscript in a selected type style. Comments which we shall make will be placed in a different type style and enclosed within brackets.
Froom engages the subject: First of all, we must recognize that the Incarnation - and its virgin birth - lies at the heart of God's method in redeeming a lost race. Everything in Holy Writ moves toward a destined moment of Incarnation until its accomplishment. The life of Christ finds fulfilment and explanation therein. It reveals the unity of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, the grace of God, and the Fatherhood of God, together with the Eternal Deity of the Son. Therein the Eternal Son becomes united with humanity by the Holy Spirit.
The mystery of the Incarnation, with its inseparable Virgin Birth, occupies its own solitary place in the Christian Faith. The Eternal Son, with all the fullness of His Godhead, assumed human nature. No man-made theories can explain it. No mind can encompass it. Nevertheless, the Incarnation, by the way of the Virgin Birth, is the foundation of all activities and provisions of redemption. Indeed, the Virgin Birth - God becoming man - is the most stupendous fact and event in all human history. Moreover, the Virgin Birth is the sole explanation of a sinless life, [ Is this not also the reasoning behind the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception?] and then the vicarious death and wondrous resurrection of our Lord, and all that follows thereafter. That a Person of the Godhead should become one of the human family - the sphere of His own creation - with a view to retaining that new form and relationship thenceforth throughout eternity, must ever remain an inscrutable mystery to the creatures of this world.
It should be said at the onset that it is foolhardy for quibblers to contend that Christ had to have two parents in order to assume humanity - for the simple reason that Adam, as the first man, had no parents. He came into being by direct creation. Creative power was similarly involved in the Virgin Birth. [ It was "the power of the Highest" (Luke 1:35), that was engaged; but was it in the creative mode? Paul gives the direction of the intent - alla eauton ekenwsen - "but Himself He emptied" (Phil. 2:7). It was God entering a "humanity" being formed in the womb of Mary. "A body hast thou prepared Me" in Mary (Heb. 10:5).] (p. 2; emphasis his) ...
As intimated, more than any other provision of redemption, the Incarnation - and its inseparable Virgin Birth - is a mystery unfathomable to the mind. In the Old Testament it is a subject of dim but definite prophecy which in the New Testament is elaborated, clarified, and irrefutably fulfilled. Indeed, we may say that the Incarnation, through the Virgin Birth of the Son of God, is the supreme fact of history, bringing the Eternal One to a human birth in time. It is God becoming Man according to the divine plan and redemptive provision. It is freely granted that the Virgin Birth was a stupendous miracle. It was a creative work for the redemption of a lost race - a creative work just as verily as was the original creation. ...
The tremendous truth of the supernatural coming into the world of Jesus Christ is the one doctrine that involves and compasses all other doctrines of redemption. God not only assumed human nature, and was manifested in human history as a Man among men, but the supreme purpose of that coming was to condemn sin in the flesh, and to redeem mankind from its consequences. That has vast involvements.
Jesus Christ is the one exception to the universal rule of sin and sinfulness. How did He escape the taint of sinful heredity? There is but one answer: His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous intervention, the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. The Virgin Birth is so inseparably related to the Incarnation, and is so vital to the whole plan of redemption, that it is an absolutely indispensable article of the Christian faith. This has not
p 5 -- been commonly recognized (pp. 2-4; emphasis his).
At one point in his discussion, it would almost appear that Froom borrowed from Andreasen rhetorically. He stated that "to deny the Virgin Birth is to abandon the Christ of the New Testament for another Christ - a philosophical, human Christ, one who may teach and inspire but has no power to save. Such a contention is the purveyance of 'another gospel,' a grave perversion, against which Paul most solemnly warns (Gal. 1:6-9). Denial of the Virgin Birth is actually reducing Jesus to the rank of a mere human personality. It is taking away our Lord" (p. 4; emphasis his). He then introduces another factor: The Virgin Birth and the Resurrection are the two indisputable evidences (that) we here have something unique and supernatural in the history of humanity. It is commonly admitted that the Apostles all believed in and taught the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But if there was a stupendous miracle at the close of Christ's earthly career, why could there not have been an equally amazing one at the beginning? And there was.
Christ, be it noted, was the "Seed of the woman," not of the man. By a creative act God broke through the channel of ordinary human generation and brought into the world a supernatural Being. But this should not stagger one unless he denies the possibility of the supernatural. Such a wonderful life as that lived by Christ, having a wonderful exit in the resurrection and ascension, logically calls for a wonderful and extraordinary entrance into the world, which involved the biological miracle of the Virgin Birth (Chap. 1, p. 4, emphasis his).
Pressing the two concepts - the "seed of the woman" and the "generation" of the humanity of Christ by the Holy Spirit, Froom continues his paper of the Virgin Birth. He links them as the fundamental elements of "the doctrine of Christ" (Chap. 1, p. 9). He wrote: The Eternal Son of God entered into the human race by means of the Virgin Birth. The Holy Spirit generated within the humanity of Mary the body of flesh by means of which the Son of God tabernacled among men (chap. 2, p. 9). [ Did the Holy Spirit "generate" the humanity in the womb of Mary, or did He merely stimulate the birth process to which He united Himself?]
Jesus' human nature originated miraculously in the humanity of His virgin mother by the creative power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20). Jesus was a real man, because He was born of a woman. And yet He was sinless, because He was generated by the Holy Ghost. The "power of the Highest" overshadowed Mary while the Holy Spirit was creating the humanity which He was uniting to Himself (chap. 2, p. 11). [ IF Jesus was God (John 1:1) how could He be generated? He who ever was came to be flesh; He emptied Himself. He took "upon Him (self) the form of a slave" (Phil. 2:7). Did the Holy Spirit create a "slave form"?]
Froom continues: Genesis 3:15 is the gospel in embryo, the epitome of all human history, the beginning of all prophecy and promise. ... Genesis 3:15 foretells deliverance and a Deliverer. ...
Eve is set forth as the "mother of all living," and Adam as the father of all who are destined to die (Rom. 5; 1 Cor. 15:22). But Eve was also to be the mother of all who would live again - through Christ. Here is the initial hint, in Holy Writ, of the Virgin Birth. Christ was to be the "Seed" of the woman, not of a man. Observe the implication of the term seed of the woman. The seed is the life element of man's nature, the symbol of the continuity of the race. Normally, it is in the masculine and never in the feminine. But here we have the seed of the "woman." Therefore the birth here indicated implies a biological miracle.
The promise of a Deliverer, made in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, consequently contemplated the birth of the virgin's Son. The promised "Seed" was to be the seed of the "woman" alone - the woman without connection with a man. Christ was that Son, "made of a woman (Gal. 4:4) because He had a human mother but no human father (chap. 1, p.13; emphasis his).
[ It is true that Jesus could have no "human" father, for if so, He would be a mere human being. He was God manifest in the flesh; but the flesh could be only that which Mary could provide as a daughter of Adam. The Roman Church recognized that fact and promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary! Froom recognized the same problem, and has the Holy Spirit "generating" in the
p 6 -- womb of Mary a new "humanity" different and distinct from the humanity as created in the beginning. The "ladder" does not reach to the earth - "the dust of the ground."]
The question might be raised, Why cite from this unpublished manuscript of Froom's when it has no church standing? Here is where the book, Movement of Destiny, enters the picture. The book, carried a "Foreword" by the president of the General Conference, and a "Preface" by the president of the North American Division, who also served as Chairman of the Guiding Committee for the publication of the book. Froom's position was affirmed in a letter to the editor of the Evangelical journal, Our Hope. The editor, Dr. E. Schuyler English, had contended: He [Christ] was perfect in His humanity, but was none the less God, and His conception in His incarnation was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that He did not partake of the fallen nature of other men (p. 469).
Froom replied: That, we in turn assured him was precisely what we likewise believe (p. 470).
As we conclude this article and with it the series on the doctrine of the Incarnation as taught by the Church, we return to the first article of this issue of WWN, "Conclusions We Face." Answers must be given to the questions which close the article. Read them again.
CORRECTION: The last sentence of the 2 nd paragraph in column 2 on page 4 of XXXVIll - 9(05) should have read - Thus editorials appearing in the Review "in no way bind the Church body to an action, nor do they reflect any particular official position that a committee has designated (H. E. Douglass, Letter to Editor, dated at Takoma Park, D. C., Dec. 29,1971). Online correction is done.
"Missionaries" to Australia -- For the past several months plus, we have been receiving in addition to The Remnant Herald and The Anchor, from Australia, a new publication The Australian Missionary Echo. It is edited by a husband and wife team who note themselves as "Self Supporting Seventh Day Adventist Missionaries." From the very first issue received we were intrigued with the self designation as "'Missionaries." Missionaries to whom? Those engulfed in the secular society which marks Australia? The Aborigines? Or are they "missionaries" to Seventh-day Adventists who have adopted the theology of Desmond Ford? We think they are reaching out to this latter group.
The Adventist presence in Australia began with a group of workers headed by S. N. Haskell in 1885, who established a base in Melbourne. Since that time, there has been an exchange of workers back and forth between North America and Australia. Elder C. H. Watson served not only as president in Australia but also of the General Conference during the difficult years from 1930 to 1936. Elder William G. Turner, born in Melbourne, served the Church in Australia in administrative positions, and then became president of the North American Division in 1940.
In the current issue of their publication (June/July 2005) they headline a part of a sentence from Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 247 "Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be "weighed." The whole paragraph is quoted with emphasis by underscoring and color contrast: In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: "Found Wanting." By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged.
Then as one pages through the publication he is stopped by another color headlined question on
p 7 -- page 4 - "Has the Seventh Day Adventist Church become BABYLON? The answer is given in a capital red "No." The first statement from Volume 8 was first written in 1903 between the sessions of the General Conference in Oakland and Battle Creek. Within the testimony are direct quotes from "the Heavenly Teacher," also called "our Instructor." One such is a question asked - "How is the faithful city become an harlot?" (p. 250). This was left untouched, and unexplained by the missionary editor. If the warning of being weighed in the balances of the sanctuary was given one hundred years ago, should there not be some revelation from God as to the present status? Has the Church grown steadily more spiritual? Has it been faithful to the sacred trust committed to it? See 9T:19, par. 1 &2). If not, what then must the decision of the sanctuary be? God is not going to give a warning of judgment and then not give sufficient evidence as to the decision reached. The language of 8T:247 is corporate language. Simply stated, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was to be weighed corporately.
There are various designations in Scripture as to how the Church is viewed from a corporate viewpoint. From the perspective of the Old Testament, the Church is viewed as a "nation." Isaiah wrote, "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in" (26:2). In the New Testament similar language is found by which the true Church is designated. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that at one point in their experience individually, they were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel ... but now in Christ Jesus ... are made nigh by the blood of Christ (2:12-13). "'No longer strangers and foreigners, (they are) now fellow citizens with the saints" (ver. 19).
Jesus Christ at the same time He was giving prophetic warning of what would mark the closing scenes for the Church or nation of Israel, which had become a "harlot" (GC:382), He also gave the sign which would mark the close of probation for corporate entities, the nations, whether secular or religious (Luke 21:24). [ta eqnh - "nations" used 4x in verses 24 & 25; translated (KJV) twice "Gentiles" and twice "nations."]
the twenty-first chapter of Luke Christ foretold what was
p 8 --
humanity of the Son of God is
we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds
Nov 2005 -- XXXVIII - 11(05) -- Back Door Exit -- Editor's Preface -- During the year, as we noted the history of the doctrine of the Incarnation as taught by the Adventist Church, we had to limit comment on other things which were transpiring including the 58th General Conference Session that was held in St. Louis, Missouri. It is now past. Several items need comment, but we will limit ourselves to the topic of the first article of this issue of WWN - the gain and loss in Church membership. With the emphasis being placed on "back door" exits, it will be doubtful if a correct assessment will be addressed or even recognized by the new vice-president charged with the responsibility of closing the "door." If the Church ceases to be the Church you joined, and you believe you joined the final "remnant of her seed," what do you do? Will Finley really address the issue? If he does discern the problem, will he have the courage to stand up to the hierarchy of which he has now become a part?
The Roman Church is also seeking to address its own problem of a morally corrupt clergy by the erection of a new University in Florida. it will be an Ave Maria instead of a Notre Dame the same Mary, but with an intensified worship of the "wafer" on Sunday. The new Pope was involved with Ave Maria as Cardinal Ratzinger; he is voicing the same agenda as Benedict XVI.
Other topics will be reviewed during 2006, one of which we hope to begin discussing in the next issue of WWN.
p 2 -- Back Door Exit -- At the recent General Conference Session in St. Louis, the Director of Archives and Statistics, Dr. Bert Haloviak, noted in his report to the Session: For the first time in (their) history, Seventh-day Adventists received into membership more than 5 million new believers within a five year period. During that same period, however, more than 1.4 million left (the) community (GC Bulletin #8, p. 27).
He observed that the "bottom line" for the five years which the session closed "is that for every 100 accessions, more than 35 others decided to leave." This is considerably more than the 24 subtracted for every 100 as reported to the previous session of the General Conference in 2000.
To seek to close what is thought of as "the back door" of the Church, the Session picked one of their international evangelists who has had no previous administrative experience and placed him as a vice president of the Church with the assignment to find the means, to close the door.
There is no question but that the situation has worsened during the past quinquennium. I recall that during the time I was privileged to work with Fordyce W. Detamore in his evangelistic crusade in the Globe Theatre at the Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, he told us in a worker's meeting that he expected a 25% loss in the total baptisms performed. This was the ratio as reported at the 2000 Session. It has now advanced to 35%.
Jesus referred to the apostolic calling as bringing "forth fruit," and that that fruit "should remain" (John 15:16). There are several ways to gather "fruit." One, "shake" the tree and gather more quickly a quantity of fruit, but it will be bruised in the fall and must be preserved promptly. If not, it will quickly spoil. Or one can hand pick the ripened fruit; it is more time consuming to do so, but the loss is much less. To apply this figure of speech properly to the problem of "soul-saving" requires study and serious thought.
Even in the apostolic period of the Christian church, there was attrition of membership. Paul noted that "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" (II Tim. 4:10). He warned the elders of Ephesus that even some of them would depart from the faith and carry others with them (Acts 20:30). In these notations of apostasy in Apostolic times, there can be found two basic causes for the current attrition of church membership. With some the ardor of their "first love" waned, and they went out "the back door." But there are others who have gone out the "front door" because of the direction the "elders " have taken in permitting apostasy from the truth to prevail. Some have even been escorted out the "front door" because they have dared to speak up regarding the direction being taken by the hierarchy.
In past decades, a part of the Church's ministry was Bible workers, not woman "officials." If the Church is going to make "officials" so as to be like "the nations" around about it, then the question needs to be asked, "have these 'officials' made full proof of (their) ministry" by doing "the work of an evangelist"? (II Tim. 4:5). It was a retired credentialed Bible worker who brought to my mother and me the truth of the Three Angels' Messages and then welcomed us into a "home" church, which was hers and her retired minister husband's personal residence. The group who met there was called a company.
Even after finishing my college work and entering the ministry, as a conference evangelist my team consisted of the song leader, a Bible worker and myself. At the same time, there was developing the big city evangelistic crusades, into which were brought young ministers for training. These supplanted the Bible workers, and the personal contacts and Bible studies which the Bible worker(s) gave those who attended the meetings disappeared. The emphasis shifted to "numbers," and the quality of the "fruit" changed. The "numbers game," and "quality fruit" are not synonymous. The elevation of women to "position" instead of restoring the service motif which the Bible
p 3 -- worker represented is not a solution to the "exodus" problem.
During this period, when the Bible worker was a part of the ministerial team, one individual stands out in my mind as qualified to be an "official," which she never assumed to be, - Mary E. Walsh. On an occasion of a visit to Canada by Sister Walsh, while I was serving as pastor of the First Church in Toronto, I asked her to speak at the Divine Worship service. She accepted the invitation, and in the message presented, and the Spirit which accompanied it, I sensed what it must have been like had I been privileged to hear Ellen G. White speak from the sacred desk.
The exaltation of women to ministerial positions in the Church will not contribute to the closing of the back door, but will contribute to the agitation for the ordination of women to the ministry. All, and I mean ALL, the problems which the Church faces could be solved by one thing, and one thing alone: the crucifixion of self. The selflessness of a dedicated pastor could not only close the back door, but could possibly lock it! But when young ministers see "ladder climbing" rewarded and the mark of attainment in the ministry, an "official" position, the whole objective for ministry - service - disappears.
All the 1.4 million who have left the Church during the past five years did not leave the "truth." Many merely walked out the "front" door into "home churches." They could no longer take the "Pentecostalism" which marked the services of the regular church. Nor could they continue to wrestle with the ideas being promoted through the Sabbath School lesson quarterlies. Many longed for what they perceived to be a "full course" spiritual meal at the Sabbath morning worship service, instead of a shallow just "love Jesus" message. It is true that a number of the "exiting voices" have had their own "hobby horses" they wished to present, and they themselves have their "egos" massaged. All in all, vice president Findley will not have an easy time fulfilling his commission, and will learn much about church administration.
"Spirits of Devils" -- The prophetic scriptures picture the gathering together for the battle of the great day of God Almighty as energized by "the spirits of devils" under the symbol of "frogs" coming "out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet (Rev. 16:13-14). We have perceived these symbols - the dragon, beast, and false prophet to represent the religious forces at work to accomplish the designs of the devil. This interpretation has led to the designations of paganism, papalism, and apostate Protestantism to the symbols. A new symbolism is added as the prophetic picture describes the final conflict - "frogs." Frogs are marked by their tongues by which they catch their prey and its unintelligible croaking noise in its spring mating season. Another part of the symbolism which we appear to have missed needs consideration. The symbolic powers involved in the final conflict - dragon, beast, and false prophet - are set in -heaven," "sea" and "earth" - when first revealed to John. The "dragon" is specifically declared to be "that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" (Rev. 12:9). Another reference is very definitive: the text reads - "the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan" (20:2). The first conflict is revealed as being in "heaven" - "There was war in heaven" (Rev. 12:7). The final conflict is in a "place called in the Hebrew tongue - Har-Magedon" (16:16 ARV). "Har" in the Hebrew means, "mountain." The phase of the conflict that brought "salvation" (12:10) was settled on a "mount" outside Jerusalem, Golgotha, "the place of the skull" (John 16:17). The final phase of the conflict both before and after the 1,000 years will be settled at the place called in the Hebrew tongue - Har-Mo'ed - "the mount of the congregation" - Jerusalem, and even as the first phase - outside the gates of the city (Rev. 20:9).
From the symbolic "heaven" the prophetic picture passes to "sea" and "earth" (12:12). The "beast" that comes up "out of the sea" is marked by the prophetic symbolisms of the beasts of Daniel 7 in reverse order - leopard, bear and lion, and is empowered by the dragon
p 4 -- (13:2; cmp. with Daniel 7). The designation in history was the papacy. The first protest - the original Protestantism - arose in the same area in which this "beast arose." The "false prophet" was to come "up out of the earth" (13:11). To this differentiation, we have not given sufficient study as the events of the present unfold before us. No longer using the designation of "Protestant" they speak of themselves as "Evangelicals" and are in lockstep with Rome. A part of this evangelical body is Pentecostal. Their "voice" is Christianity Today (CT), a publication founded by Billy Graham. It is now edited by one with previous Seventh-day Adventist connections.
In a recent issue of CT (July, 2005), Jack Hayford was featured as "the Pentecostal Gold Standard" in a "cover story." A year ago he was elected president of the Foursquare denomination which was founded by Aimee Semple McPherson. While seeking to bring Pentecostals together with other Evangelicals, and involvement in interdenominational activities, he does all this "without toning down his Pentecostalism one decibel." The preface of the cover story warrants careful consideration. It reads: In 1969, a 35-year old Jack Hayford pulled up to a traffic light in front of the First Baptist Church of Van Nuys. Like any other pastor in Southern California, he knew of the Baptist congregation. It was growing like a weed, drawing nationwide publicity under the leadership of Pastor Harold Fickett. Hayford's church, a few blocks down Sherman Way, was an aging Foursquare congregation with just 18 members. Two weeks before, Hayford had taken on the church temporarily while serving as dean of students at L.I.F.E. Bible College (now Life Pacific College), an institution of his Pentecostal denomination, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
Parked at the light, Hayford felt a burning sensation on his face, a startling physical sense of the church's intimidating presence. Through an inner voice God spoke to him reprovingly: "You could at least begin by looking at the building."
He turned and saw nothing but a modern brick structure. "What now?" Hayford asked. "I want you to pray for that church," God said. "What I am doing there is so great, there is no way the pastoral staff can keep up with it. Pray for them."
As Hayford began to pray, he felt an overflow of love for Van Nuys Baptist. It seemed to take no effort. Through the days to come, the same sensation came to him every time he passed a church - any church. "I felt an overwhelming love for the church of Jesus Christ. I realized I had them in pigeonholes."
A few days later, he approached a large Catholic church. Having been raised to take strong exception to Catholic doctrine, he wondered whether he would have the same feelings. He did, and heard another message from God: "Why would I not be happy with a place where every morning the testimony of the blood of my Son is raised from the altar?"
"I didn't hear God say that the Catholics are right about everything," Hayford says now, remembering the experience that changed his ministry. "For that matter, I didn't hear him (sic.) saying the Baptists are right about everything, nor the Foursquare."
The message was simply that people at those churches cared about God. These were sites dedicated to Jesus' name. And he, Hayford, was supposed to love and pray for them (p. 25).
What conclusions can be drawn from these experiences of Hayford? Number one - it was not God Who spoke approvingly about the Catholic mass. He had already spoken through His Word - "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Heb. 10:12). Jesus Christ does not come down from that throne and descend to the Roman altar every time a priest calls Him! It was the "spirits of devils" who were approving the eucharist of Rome and mingling it with the "miracles" of Pentecostalism.
We have observed in recent issues of WWN the objective of Benedict XVI to bring about the unity of the Christian Church under Rome. In a homily given at the Mass to close the 24th Italian National Eucharistic Congress in Bari, Italy, the Pope declared, "I would like to reaffirm my desire to assume as a fundamental commitment working with all my might for the re-establishment of the full and visible unity of all of Christ's
p 5 -- followers" (L' Osservatore Romano, June 1, 2005, p. 7).
In the same Homily, Benedict XVI declared: The Eucharist, let us repeat, is the sacrament of unity. Unfortunately, however, Christians are divided, precisely in the sacrament of unity. Sustained by the Eucharist, we must feel all the more aroused to striving with all our strength for that full unity which Christ ardently desired in the Upper Room (ibid.).
He closed the Homily with these words: Dear Friends who have come to Bari from various parts of Italy to celebrate this Eucharistic Congress, we must rediscover the joy of Christian Sundays. We must proudly rediscover the privilege of sharing in the Eucharist, which is the sacrament of the renewed world.
Christ's Resurrection happened on the first day of the week, which in the Scriptures is the day of the world's creation. For this reason Sunday was considered by the early Christian community as the day on which the new world began, the one on which, with Christ's victory over death, the new creation began.
As they gathered round the Eucharistic table, the community was taking shape as a new people of God. St. Ignatius of Antioch described Christians as "having attained new hope" and presented them as people "who lived in accordance with Sunday. ...
Then he closed with these words: It is this that gives rise to our prayer: that we too, Christians of today, will rediscover an awareness of the crucial importance of Sunday Celebration and will know how to draw from participation in the Eucharist the necessary dynamism for a new commitment to proclaiming to the world Christ "our peace" (Eph. 2:14). Amen!
How will this be achieved - the Sunday Mass as the unifying factor? The prophecy of Revelation 16 gives that answer - "spirits of devils."
A Rival to Notre Dame -- The Foundation Library subscribes to The Catholic World Report, a conservative Catholic journal. The founder of the journal and its publisher, the Ignatius Press, was Joseph Sessio, S.J. who is now Provost of the new university being erected near Naples, Florida. The seed money for the new Ave Maria University was given by the multi-millionaire founder of Domino's Pizza, Thomas S. Monaghan, who is serving as Chancellor of the school. Being on their mailing list as a subscriber to the World Report, we received a 32-page report of their progress, which is being used to solicit more Catholic funds to add to the millions already received. However, there are some interesting facts revealed in this brochure.
The reason for the establishment of Ave Maria University is what is perceived by the founders to be declension from what are Catholic norms. In a letter by Monaghan, he wrote that they must rely on conservative Catholics to keep sending students who might "attend Catholic colleges that often are, incredible as it may sound, debating whether or not to have crucifixes in class rooms ... routinely putting young men and women together to live on the same dorm floor ... teaching blatantly unsound theology that questions some of the basic teachings of our Faith" (pp. 10, 11 ).
A Franciscan friar, Benedict Groeschel, who has taught in several Catholic schools of higher education and who has joined the Board of Directors of Ave Maria University gave as his reason for withdrawing from the schools, is that "they (have) lost their Catholic identity." He wrote, "To call a school Catholic and not teach the Catholic faith is to take the name of the Lord in vain. If you run something you call Catholic, you must take care that you are not teaching something else or counter to what the Church teaches" (p. 15). This friar cited that at a recent conference involving Catholic colleges, a professor of philosophy from one of the largest universities "gleefully presented himself as an atheist to those assembled." This state of affairs is unacceptable and it is Ave Maria University which seeks to reverse the trend in Catholic
p 6 -- higher education on a large scale, more or less immediately" (p. 16).
In the Chancellor's letter names are given. He wrote, "We are enormously blessed to have the enthusiastic participation, as advisors, four of the Holy Father's trusted Cardinals: Schonborn (Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, and primary author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church), Pell (Australia), Stafford, and Arinze (Africa)" (p. 10).
Ave Maria has several highly respected Catholics in the nation who have welcomed us. Men like Fr. Richard Neuhaus, the brilliant editor and Lutheran convert; Fr. Benedict Groeschel; and Florida's own Governor Jeb Bush, the president's brother, who is a convert to Catholicism. Women who have welcomed our effort include the much-admired activist and writer Phyllis Schafly; Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard, who also serves as a lay advisor to the Holy Father; and my friend, Mother Angelica, who has offered her steadfast support and holy prayers (p. 11).
There is a close connection between Ave Maria University and the new Pope, Benedict XVI. The Provost, Fessio, of the University took his doctoral work under the direction of Benedict when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he was professor of theology at Regensburg, Germany. He has seen Ratzinger every year for the past thirty-three years. It was Ratzinger who approached the Jesuit General asking that Fessio be assigned to Ave Maria University. Fessio reports that every year for the past three years, Ratzinger has inquired about the progress at Ave Maria. He wrote that Benedict "has great hope for us" and stated that when Ratzinger took the name Benedict, he "realized at once what a powerful symbolic meaning that had for ... Ave Maria University" (p. 2). He explains: In the Sixth Century the great super power of the ancient world, the Roman Empire, was in terminal decline. It was rotten from within. There was moral corruption, hedonism, hatred of children - abortion and infanticide. And it was besieged from without by barbarians, who while unlettered and uncultured themselves, were far stronger than the effete Romans who had lost all their moral bearings.
Benedict was a magistrate in Rome and he didn't try to change the Roman Empire. He fled it. He went into the hills south of Rome and prayed and offered his life to God. Others joined him and the first Benedictine monastery was established. His goal was to pray and to work - ora et labora. And their greatest work - their Opus Dei - was liturgical: to offer fitting praise and worship to the Divine Majesty.
From that monastery more were founded, and still more, until by the year 1200 there were over 40,000 Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe. The great classics of Greek and Roman culture were carefully copied and transmitted. Whole generations were educated, churches and cathedrals built. Gothic spires soared to the sky. Benedict has rightly been called the Father of Europe. He is in the origin of that great artefact of history: Christian Europe, Christendom.
I knew that Cardinal Ratzinger took the name Benedict because he would work tirelessly for the re-Christianization of Europe and the West, and for the evangelization of all the world. But like St. Benedict, he will not do it by force, not by violence, not by political machinations or revolutions. But by the power of prayer, especially liturgical prayer (sic). He is a great lover of the liturgy. He was born on Holy Saturday and his mother took him to the church for the Easter Vigil where he was baptized just a few hours after his birth. His life has been immersed in the liturgy. It is his great love. So I know that his desire is to renew the Church from within. To change hearts by rounding and enfolding them in the Divine Mysteries that reach their apex in the Holy Sacrifice of the Holy Mass (pp. 2-3).
Then Fessio referred to Benedict XVI's opening address - "four pages single-spaced in Latin which he must have penned rapidly because there was little time between his election and Mass the next morning!" Fessio commented that Benedict "made it crystal clear that his very first priority was the Holy Eucharist." The pope said: "I ask everyone to intensify in the coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and correctness of the celebrations" (p. 4).
Questions: Will the "Sunday" issue come riding in on the wings of the Sunday Mass? Will it be seen then whether Fessio's assessment of
p 7 -- Benedict XVI is correct - "He will do it not by force?"
Postscript: -- The Brochure from which we have gathered most of the data for the above article closes with a summation by Fessio, the Provost. In part it states:
"'The last few years have been very discouraging both for Holy Mother Church and for this country founded on faith, family and freedom. To recall only the most obvious wounds: priestly sexual abuse and 'gay marriage' which of course, is neither gay nor marriage). In the midst of this surrounding darkness, I am experiencing at first hand the grace-filled beginnings of what could become a spiritual and cultural counter-revolution with a profound impact on both our Church and our country. ...
"God chose to begin his first spiritual and cultural counter-revolution in a little known village that was sanctified by the presence of a young woman named Mary. From that Mustard Seed grew a world-wide, culture forming, holiness engendering Catholic Church that transformed the failing Roman Empire into Christendom. ...
"In the Fall of 2003, a group of Catholics laymen, priests, and religious sisters took the first steps to build a new Catholic university in a little known place called East Collier County, Florida. There isn't even a village there. But there soon will be. Both the new university and the new town have been placed under the patronage of that counter-revolutionary, civilization building-woman, Mary: Ave Maria.
Ave Maria University's interim campus in Naples, Florida, with 101 pioneering
students. There were so many blessings in that first year - and second
that even a long letter would not have space enough to recount them all.
Here's a sampling:
"'One of the most respected and authentically Catholic theologians in the United States, Fr. Matthew Lamb, joined Ave Maria in the summer of 2004 to become Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. In only our third year, Ave Maria University has launched under his direction both a doctoral program in theology and the most rigorous Master's program in North America.
"'Thanks to Thomas Loome, the largest seller of used Catholic books in the world, our graduate theological library has more than twice as many volumes as one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic graduate schools in the country (which shall remain un-named).
"Why is this important? Because we intend to teach the future teachers of theology, preparing them for positions in universities and - more critically - seminaries across the country. Think about the origin of the present crisis in the Church." (pp. 17-19).p 8 -- Take Note -- We are living in the time of the end. The fast fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.
The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones. -- Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 11--- (2005 Nov) ---End --- TOP
Dec 2005 -- XXXVIII -- 12(05) -- God - Who is He? -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue of WWN, we complete thirty eight years of continuous publication. The first issue was January, 1968, i n line with the f ulfilled prophecy of Luke 21:24. While we did not sense the meaning of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy when the Thought Paper was first published, the events that have followed have confirmed our conviction that we had responded to the "time clock" of heaven, not in prophetic "days" - time setting - but in line with prophetic events as foretold by Jesus Himself. If you have not read the tract - "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy" - write to us and we will send you a free copy. The events in the close of Israel's day of grace find a parallel in modern Israel's history.
WEBNOTE: 1990 July -- XXIII -- 7(90) -- Tract "Jerusalem in Prophecy" was sent out in lieu of WWN --
In AD 31, Jesus told the Jewish hierarchy, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38). In AD 34, Stephen was stoned and the 490 years of Daniel 9:24 were completed. Israel's probation as a nation ended. Thirty-six years later in AD 70, the desolate temple of Israel was destroyed and Jerusalem passed to Gentile control not to return to Jewish control until 1967. Keep in mind that Jesus did not refer to the "temple" in his prophecy as found in Luke 21:24, but to the "city"! Approximately 40 years - 39 to be exact - passed from AD 31 to AD 70. We today are facing the close of the same amount of time - 1967-2006 - with signs we little dreamed of seeing fulfilled being fulfilled before our eyes. The end is upon us. Read "P. 0. Box 69"!
p 2 -- God - Who is He? -- It was Zophar, one of Job's erstwhile friends, who asked the question: Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
--- and he answered it himself: It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea (Job 11:7-9).
There are those today on the periphery of Adventism who think they know the answer and are proclaiming themselves to be the "other angel come down from heaven" with great light (Rev. 18:1).
The whole question revolves around one single event - the Incarnation, the great divide in time as well as eternity. If we do not recognize that event and its resultant effect on God, one cannot accurately answer the question - ""Who is He?" In the Bible, there is a pre-Incarnation revelation of God, a revelation of God from Bethlehem to Calvary, and a post-Incarnation revelation of God.
To John on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed Himself as "the first and the last, the Living One ("o zwn) and (I) was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore" ( Rev. 1:17-18).
While we have been advised that we "should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God" (Great Controversy, p. 599), we have been cautioned that in ""contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend" (Signs, July 30, 1896); and that in approaching "the subject of Christ's divinity clothed in the garb of humanity, we may appropriately heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Ms. 67, 1898).
The caution regarding the Holy Spirit is equally as positive: "The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. ... Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden" (Acts of the Apostles, p. 52). Only glimpses of the nature and work of the ParaklhtoV stand revealed in the Scriptures. Our failure to distinguish between "nature" and "work" in these glimpses does not help us to understand what can be understood of the "mystery."
CONCEPTS OF THE GODHEAD -- The Catholic Church teaches that the fathomless mystery we call God has revealed Himself to humankind as a Trinity of Persons - the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11).
This doctrine as stated is the basis upon which all the other teachings of the Roman Church rests. It is defined in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church: We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity." The divine persons do not share one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire." "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son is that which the Father is, the Father and the Son which the Holy Spirit is., i.e., by nature one God." In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215): "Each of the Persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature."
The divine persons are really distinctfrom one another. God is one but not solitary. "Father," "Son," "Holy Spirit" are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: "He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son." They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten,
p 3 -- and the Holy Spirit who proceeds." The divine Unity is Triune [Three in One] (pp. 66, 67).
The World Council of Churches (WCC) express their perception of one God in their Constitution. It reads (Article I): The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (So Much in Common, p. 40).
The Seventh-day Adventist Church's current understanding of God is expressed in the second article, "The Trinity," of the Statement of Beliefs voted at the General Conference Session at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. It reads: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons (Church Manual, 1981, P- 32).
At the time of the "alpha" apostasy, Ellen White wrote: "There are three living persons of the heavenly trio" (Series B, #7, p. 62). This position could be called tri-theistic. It clearly sets forth a Trinitarian position in contrast to the Triune concept of Romanism. There are, however, other questions that need to be clarified such as - How do they relate One to the Other?
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN AND THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST -- The last two written books of the New Testament - the Gospel of John and the Revelation of Jesus Christ - both by the same human penman, while casting light upon the mystery of God, also add questions to it. As an illustration of the latter, John wrote concerning the Word made flesh, that "all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). Yet in quoting the 24 elders, as they worship before the throne on whom is seated "the Lord God Almighty," John indicates they declare of Him, "Thou hast created all things" (Rev. 4:11). These two statements are not contradictory if we accept the statement which opens our Bible - "In beginning, created Gods (Elohim)." (Heb.)
Revelation presents Three in connection with the Throne, the Almighty on the Throne (4:2-8); before the Throne "'the seven Spirits of God" (4:5) which were to be "sent forth into all the earth" (5:6); and in the midst of the Throne "a Lamb as it had been slain" (5:6). The closing picture is still "the (one) Throne of God and of the Lamb, but (two) shall be (on) it" (22:3). The Spirit is pictured with the bride; they speak as one (22:17).
FROM CREATION TO INCARNATION -- Both the Gospel of John and Genesis begin at the same point of time "beginning" (no article). In Genesis: "the Elohim (plural) created (singular);" In John: "the Word was with God" and " all things were made by Him." The plural subject, and the singular verb in Genesis could indicate unity of action, a Plurality functioning as One. Nothing further is hinted until the decision is made in regard to man - "Let Us make man in Our image after Our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). What "likeness" did Adam and Eve reveal? That one of the Elohim was female? One would almost think so the way the New Testament word, (monogehV) is applied to Christ by certain periphery sectors of Adventism. The emphasis in Genesis is "they (two) shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).
Isaiah echoes the same concept of God. He wrote: Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first and
p 4 -- the last: and besides Me there (are) no Gods [Elohim] (Isa. 44:6 ARV).
The Shema of Israel when translated as linguistically written expresses the same concept - "Hear 0 Israel, Jehovah thy Gods is one Jehovah" (Deut. 6:4).
Zechariah, writing about the man whose name is The BRANCH who was "to grow up out of His place," quoted the Lord of hosts as stating that this Branch shall build - the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between the Two of Them (6:12-13, Heb.).
A Duality is not a Trinity. God "created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:9). It was "the Spirit of God (Who) moved upon the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2)." While "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:21), it was "the Spirit of Christ which was in them" that "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (I Peter 1:10).
BETHLEHEM TO CALVARY -- Paul and Luke were travelling companions over the Roman roads and the Great Sea. There can be no question but that they discussed the birth of Christ in those many hours together. Yet in their basic statements on the Incarnation they reflect the same concept as noted in the previous paragraph. Luke speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary (1:35), but Paul declared that Christ "'emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:7, ARV).
While we stand before an unfathomable mystery, which the human mind cannot comprehend, we dare not overlook the fact that when that child conceived in Mary came to birth, God gave orders to the angels - ""worship Him" (Heb. 1:6), He did not cease to be God. The Duality did not end and a single Deity emerge. Although one Jehovah became "'the only true God," ""life eternal" still remained based in the knowledge of the "TWO of Them" (John 17:3). The Word had become unique, a God-man; never before known in the universe - a union of Creator and creature!
This second phase of the revelation of God - Bethlehem to Calvary - prepared the way for the priestly ministry of the Word - "the Word came to be flesh" (John 1:14). He could "be touched with the feelings of our infirmities" (Heb. 4:15). Having "suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:18). Having "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9), He ever liveth to make intercession for the "many sons" whom He brings to glory (Heb. 7:25; 2:10).
Into this second phase of the revelation of God is injected another mystery - the promised Holy Spirit as the Parakletos (John 14:16 - "Comforter"). We noted when first mentioned (page 2) that the failure to distinguish between what has been revealed as the work and what has been revealed as the nature of this Parakletos has resulted in false conclusions.
Let us consider one revelation of His nature in Acts. 13:2-4: Now there was in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; ... As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands upon them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed unto Seleucia.
It should be obvious to the most casual reader that the "I" refers to a "person;" and that that ""I" is the Holy Spirit, not
p 5 -- just an "influence" or a "power," but a Being with power and authority; with a consciousness to direct and plan.
Another experience recorded in the same book declares plainly that to lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie unto God (5:3-4). The book of Acts also gives us further insight into the working of the Holy Spirit. Concerning Philip, one of the seven deacons, we are told that an "angel of the Lord spake unto Philip" telling him to go down to Gaza. When he got there he saw a man in a chariot reading and "the Spirit said to him, 'Go near and join thy self to this chariot'" (8:26-29). Then the final picture - after the baptism - "The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more" (8:39). Philip was next found at Azotus (8:40). This record concerning Philip suggests a close working relationship between the Holy Spirit and the angels of heaven.
We should return to the revelation of God as given to Isaiah (44:6) and note God's declaration of Himself as emphasized in the final book of the Bible. Both the Lord, "the king of Israel" and "the Lord of hosts" declare of themselves, "I am the first, and I am the last;" and "Beside me there is no Elohim" (Heb., Gods). The "first and the last" concept expresses "eternity," no beginning, and no ending.
The first revelation of the ""only true God" in the Apocalypse is the declaration - "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (1:8). The first revelation of Jesus is as "the Son of man" standing "in the midst of seven candlesticks." John had heard Him declare, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." (1:11). The Apocalypse closes with all things restored, a "new heaven and a new earth" (21:1). From the One sitting on the throne John was instructed to write, "These words are true and faithful." "It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end" (21:6). From the Lamb who shares the throne, he hears the final promise given in the Upper Room reiterated, - "Behold I come quickly ... I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (22:12-13). The same Duality which opens the Bible, closes the Bible. In the time between is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (13:8), the Living One who was dead but is now "alive forevermore" (1:18).
WORDS -- There are certain Greek words used in the New Testament in regard to the Incarnate Christ which if incorrectly defined can lead to false conclusions about God and the Word made flesh. One is monogenhV ("only begotten"). So translated in the KJV, this word is found nine times in the New Testament, and only in the gospel and first Epistle of John is it used in reference to Christ. In the other two books where used - Luke and Hebrews - it defines human relationships.
Its first use in the Gospel of John (1:14) is in reference to the Incarnation. This limits its use to the same event in all of John's other references. The Greek word, monogenhV, is a compound word: monoV (alone, only) and genoV (kind, species, kindred). This latter word is used in the LXX of Genesis 1 for our word, "kind." Thus monogenhV could be translated, "one of a kind" or "unique." He truly was unique, a God-man, One of a kind. The second use of the word, monogenhV, by John is in verse 18. Some of the early manuscripts of the New Testament, read "only begotten God," rather than "only begotten Son." This is true as Jesus Christ was the only One of the Duality to become flesh, yet His God status was never lost in becoming flesh.
p 6 -- Another Greek word is prwtotokoV. This word, as the one above, is likewise found nine times in the New Testament. Seven of the nine references refer directly to Jesus Christ. One,, Col. 1:15., allows for variant translations. Should prwtotokoV pashV ktisewV be translated "the first born of every creature" (KJV), or "born before all creation," (EGC), or "His is the primacy over all created things" (NEB). It, too, is a compound word: (prwtoV - "first") and (tikto - "to bear" "to give birth").
To better understand its meaning in relationship to Jesus as far as "birth" is concerned is to observe another use made of the word in connection with His death. Twice the New Testament notes Jesus as being "the first begotten of the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). Factually, Jesus was not the first to be resurrected from the dead. He Himself called forth Lazarus. But the same reference in Colossians, which admits to various translations, also clarifies this apparent contradiction. It reads "that He who is the beginning, the first born from the dead" is so "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence" (Col. 1:18). Thus the NEB translation of verse 15 stays closest to context and meaning by using the word, "primacy" to express prwtotokoV, "first begotten."
P. 0. Box 69, Ozone -- It is called by various names. Some, who receive it call it for what it is, "junk mail." Others jokingly call it "fan mail." Whatever it is, each day our postal box gets its share, and then sometimes, more than its share. More than a week ago we received an advertising brochure wanting us to join an apparently new book club called the American Compass. It is being presented as "The Conservative Alternative." It is cheap to join and easy to retain membership. Buy five books for $1.00, and the same number of books during the next two years to retain that membership; -- and these books at 50 % off publisher's edition prices. The new book club also has a connection with the "religious right" and the History Book Club through which we have purchased books during past years.
The front cover of the brochure sparked my interest. There were three pictures of individuals whom they called "voices you respect." And with each picture there is a quotation from a current publication of the one pictured. It was the quotation from Ann Coulter's book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), that caused me to come to immediate attention. It read: I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever (p. 21).
Across my mind a text of prophecy flashed. It declares: And he (the false prophet of Rev. 13) had power to give life unto the image of the beast (first beast of Rev. 13), that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (v. 15).
Today it is Iraq; tomorrow it may be Iran; but down the road it will be "Mordecai" in the gate. We need to determine now as to where we will be standing. A re-reading of the book of Esther is advisable with close attention to what it took to stand in those centuries past. No less will be required tomorrow.
trying experiences that came to God's people
p 7 -- Katrina - Any Lessons? -- As I was nearing the close of the first draft of this current issue of WWN, a young man from back East called and asked if he could make a suggestion of what an issue in 2006 might contain. He assumed that I had already completed this December issue, and I should have, but hadn't. His suggestion was concerning what Katrina should tell us. After the conversation I mulled over his suggestion, and decided that since it was a good one and I did have some space left, I would take his advice. He was thinking of the counsel given to the Church - "Get out of the cities." He said that he could not find the references, but when I mentioned Country Living, he immediately recalled that that booklet was the source he had in mind. The balance of this article will be counsel compiled in Country Living.
"Out of the cities; out of the cities!" --- this is the message that the Lord has been giving me. The earthquakes will come; the floods will come; and we are not to establish ourselves in the wicked cities, where the enemy is served in every way, and where God is so often forgotten (Life Sketches, p. 409).
There are reasons why we should not build in the cities. On these cities God's judgments are soon to fall (Letter 158, 1902).
The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments (Evangelism, p. 29)
The world over, cities are becoming hotbeds of vice. On every hand are the sights and sounds of evil. Everywhere are enticements to sensuality and dissipation. The tide of corruption and crime is continually swelling. Every day brings the record of violence, - robberies, murders, suicides and crimes unnameable. ...
It was not God's purpose that people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. In the beginning He placed our first parents amidst the beautiful sights and sounds He desires us to rejoice in today. The more nearly we come into harmony with God's original plan, the more favourable will be our position to secure health of body, and mind, and soul (Ministry ofHealing, p. 363, 365).
Cities full of transgression, and sinful in the extreme, will be destroyed by earthquakes, by fire, by flood. ... Calamities will come calamities most awful, most unexpected; and these destructions will follow one after another (Evangelism, p. 27).
There are reasons why we should not build in the cities. On these cities, God's judgments are soon to fall (Letter 158, 1902).
The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments (Evangelism, p. 29).
0 that God's people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry (R&H, Sept. 10, 1903).
p 8 --
AN EARLY VISION
I saw the nominal church and nominal Adventists