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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
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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:

Additional Various Studies --
"Saving Faith" - Dr. E. J. Waggoner
"What is Man" The Gospel in Creation - "The Gospel in Creation"
"A Convicting Jewish Witness", study on the Godhead - David L. Cooper D.D.

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

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

Spiritual Gifts. The Great Controversy, between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and his Angels - Ellen G. White

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy

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WWN 1986 Oct - Dec

 

1986 Oct -- XIX - 10(86) -- THAT I MAY KNOW HIM -- Theme of Annual Fellowship -- This year the Annual Fellowship meetings were renewed after a lapse of two years. We chose two topics for seminar discussions, one of which we recognized as very controversial - the Doctrine of God. While those attending the fellowship shared differing concepts in regard to the Godhead, a spirit of unity prevailed, not in every detail, but in broad lines which permitted individual conviction in certain details yet in an atmosphere of brotherly love. At the close, all without exception could testify - "It was good to have been here." Minds expanded as we attempted "to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God." (Great Controversy, p. 599)

There were several reasons for the decision to accept the risk of open discussion of such a controversial subject as the Doctrine of God.  1) The term, "trinity," is not found either in the Bible, or the Writings.  2) The term, "trinity," was first used in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs.  3) The unanimous Statement of Belief on the Doctrine of God in all Statements from 1872 through 1914 is in stark contrast to the Statement voted at the Dallas General Conference Session in 1980. (See Key Doctrinal Comparisons, Section #3) To add to these reasons, it was documented during one of the factual presentations preceding the discussion - "The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church." (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 12) This should cause immediate concern as to what one's belief should be if he does not wish to be involved in "the mystery of iniquity."

A group of laymen in central Ohio have given serious and careful study to this doctrine both in paganism and Catholic Church history, as well as doing research on the same doctrine in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We invited these studious lay persons to come and present their findings in a factual way, to be followed by an open discussion of the doctrine. Donald and Janet Cox from Heath, Ohio, gave the background of the "trinity" in Pagan and Catholic Church history, while Robert C. Diener of Newark, Ohio, discussed the development of the Doctrine of God in Seventh-day Adventist Church history.

Naturally, some questions of procedure, and the use of the Writings in the discussion had to be established. A sheet of quotations from the Writings of Ellen G. White as to how her writings were to be used in the formulation of doctrines had been prepared. It was pointed out that in the beginning when the Adventist pioneers searched to find truth, they studied the Bible till they came to an impasse, then the Spirit of the Lord gave guidance through His "messenger." (Special Testimonies, Series. B, #2, pp. 56-57)

p 2 -- The lesson of this example, we endeavored to use at various points in the discussion. I am sure that some when they listen to the tapes will wish that it had been used more frequently; however, at each point we sought to exhaust the Scriptural revelation before turning to any other source.

The method of how we should approach this doctrine was discussed. Do we seek to move from the pagan triad concept to the truth about God, or do we recognize paganism for what it is, and seek to find the true picture of God in the Old Testament as revealed in the earthly sanctuary - God seated between the cherubim - and one of those cherubim a created being?

It was observed that the Bible deals primarily with the revelation of God in time with only a glimpse back into the first Eternity, and with only prophetic suggestions as to the second Eternity. (Rev. 21:2-3) Thus, if we had full information of God in the first Eternity, and a full disclosure of God's intent for the 144,000 after all sin is annihilated from the Universe, we might find that we would have to formulate several different statements on the Doctrine of God - God in eternity prior to the entrance of sin, God in the Old Testament prior to the Incarnation, God in the New Testament as a result of the Incarnation and the Resurrection, and God in the eternity to come. Yet over all time and eternity, there abides the transcendent Being we call, "Our Father."

Human limitation was recognized. Job was asked - "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" (Job 11:7) - with the obvious answer being - "NO!" The secret things belong unto God, but everyone in attendance was determined to understand to the fullest those things which belong unto us and to our children. (Deut. 29:29) Superceding the knowledge of God as a doctrine was the challenge of the Lord through Jeremiah to understand His character. The Lord said:       Let not the wise son glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight. (Jer. 9:23-24)

Another factor was recognized as essential to an understanding of the Doctrine of God, that being the purpose of God in the creation of man, and what resulted when God's intentions were made known. "Human beings were a new and distinct order." (R&H, Feb. 11, 1902) "Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God." (Ibid., June 18, 1895) It was over this objective of God in the creation of man that triggered the rebellion in Heaven. Lucifer desired to be consulted in regard to the creation of man. "He wished to be highest, next to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony, and perfect submission to the government of God." (SG, 1:17)

A little thought over the origin of sin in Heaven and its transfer to this planet due to the surrender of our first parents to the sophistry of Lucifer gives insight as to the why of the pagan trinity concepts with their multiple triads. It also gives meaning to "the serpent's" suggestion - "Ye shall be as gods." (Gen. 3:5)

After the factual presentations on the concepts of the trinity in paganism and papalism, and the history of the Doctrine of God in Adventist literature, we began as a group, the study of the Bible to see what it actually taught - no more and no less. The first verse of the first chapter introduces the Doctrine of God - "In the beginning Gods" (Elohim, plural) Hebrew scholars would have us to understand the plural usage as "the majestic plural" (Sig. in force) The revelation of God in these early chapters of Genesis do not support this conclusion. The Elohim converse among Themselves - "Let us make man in our own image." (Gen. 1:26) When this man fell into sin, again the conversation is recorded - "Behold, the man is become as one of us." (Gen. 3:22)

The actual use of the singular and plural forms in Genesis 3:22-24 is thought provoking: "The Jehovah (singular) Gods (plural) said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil... So He (singular) drove out the man." The Shema of Israel (Deut. 6:4-5) also reveals this interesting use of plural and the singular. It reads:       "Hear (shema), 0 Israel: Jehovah (singular) your Gods (plural) is Jehovah one. You shall love Jehovah (singular) your Gods (plural) with all your heart."   The word, "one" in

p 3 -- verse 4 is translated from the Hebrew word, echad. As used elsewhere, its use here presents a challenge in concept. When the idea to be expressed is "one" in the sense of only one, the word, ye cid, is used. An example of this use is to be found in Genesis 22:2, where Abraham was told to take Isaac "thine son" to the land of Moriah. The use of echad as "one" is found in Genesis 1: 5, where "evening" and "morning" are declared to be "day one." In Genesis 2:24, Adam and Eve - two - are declared to be "one" (echad) flesh.

Based on the above, we wrote down the first conclusion - The Bible presents Elohim - though One - as more than one distinct Being.

In Zechariah 6:12-13, where the plan of redemption is outlined in prophecy, it is plainly stated - "And the counsel of peace shall be between them both." The Hebrew could have been rendered just as well as the counsel "between the Two of Them." Isaiah 44:6 tells us that "The Lord the King of Israel, and His redeemer the Lord of hosts" could say - "I am the first and I am the last; and beside Me, there is no Elohim."

We then wrote down a second conclusion - In the Old Testament, the Elohim consists of two Beings.

What then was the relationship between these Beings? When God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, He declared His name to be "I Am that I Am. " (Exodus 3:14) In the New Testament, this NAME is assumed by both the Almighty (Rev. 1:8) and Jesus Christ even though clothed in humanity. (John 8:58) This NAME is derived in the Hebrew from the verb - "to be."

We then placed a third conclusion - The Elohim are perceived as ever-existent and self-existent

At this point some demurred citing Micah 5:2 - a Messianic prophecy referring to Christ - that "His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." In this they were following E. J. Waggoner who in commenting on this text wrote:      "We know that Christ ' Proceeded forth and came from God' (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of men." (Christ and His Righteousness, p. 9)

Naturally a discussion of the Father-Son relationship followed. Was Christ a Son by generation, or by "decree"? (Ps. 2:7; Heb. 1:5) Or did He become a "Son" because of His entrance into humanity? Was He eternally the Son of God? Is the Sonship an "office" to which He was called, even as He was called to the "office" of the High Priesthood? (Heb. 5:5-6)

Some perceived Jesus Christ as eternally the Son of God through generation while others understood Him to be the Son of God Designate from all eternity, from the time that the counsel of peace was covenanted. But what was remarkable about this whole seminar discussion on the Doctrine of God was that the spirit of the Council of Nicaea which formulated the Nicene Creed was not manifest! No one engaged in a frenzied discussion over any point, much less falling out over an iota as the bishops at Nicaea did in 325 A.D. (See The Two Republics, pp. 347-350)

Coming to the New Testament, we faced the Incarnation as described by Luke. It reads:      The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall ovorshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

The word, "thing" is supplied by the translators because the word, "holy" is an adjective and requires a noun to modify. But since the same adjective is used to describe the Spirit which was to "come upon" Mary, it would be correct to conclude that the Holy "Spirit" which would be born of her would be the One called "the Son of God." The "how" of this transition into humanity remains a mystery to both men and angels. However a comment in the Writings indicates that at the Incarnation, "a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh." (48C:1147)

Further discussion ensued on the Holy Spirit, but it being evident that the Incarnation was definitely involved in any New Testament concepts which would enlarge our perceptions on the Doctrine of God, we concluded this section of the Seminar. Next year at the Annual Fellowship, one section of the Seminar studies will begin at this point on the Incarnation.

"And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent." - John 17:3

p 4 -- HOW SHALL WE INTERPRET PROPHECY? -- The second section of the Seminar studies of the recent Annual Fellowship concerned the rule of interpretation by which the prophecies could be properly understood. The importance of the methods of interpretation cannot be over-emphasized. Professor G. Ebeling, a scholar known for his expertise in Biblical interpretation, has suggested that "the history of the Christian church is the history of the interpretation of Scripture." Commenting on this concept, Dr. Gerhard F. Hasel, Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary wrote:        If there is validity, even in a general sense, in this suggestion, then it would follow that the history of any church body is also the history of its interpretation of Scripture. By implication a shift or change in the method used for interpretation of Scripture by a church, its scholars, or others within it inevitably would be accompanied by a shift or change in its course, doctrines, self -understanding, purpose, and mission. (Biblical Interpretation Today, p. 1)

Today we face in the Community of Adventism various concepts of prophetic interpretation with the resultant effect that the understanding of the books of Daniel and Revelation which have been the heritage of Adventism is completely altered. Those landmarks established by prophecy are no longer considered valid, and are removed. Adventism is facing a "new" innovation in prophetic interpretation, as well as a "new theology" in the understanding of Christ's atoning ministry. With this change comes bizarre explanations of the prophetic symbols of both Daniel and Revelation which are nothing short of speculation.

A very concise differentiation between the various systems of prophetic interpretation is given in the Bible Students' Source Book. It reads:      The Preterist says that almost everything in the book of Revelation was fulfilled long ago, the Historicist, that it has been fulfilling all the time, and some of the things foretold are happening in our own day, the Futurist that nothing of that which is prophesied [in Revelation] from the beginning of chapter four on has yet taken place, nor can take place until just before the end. (Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 9, p. 769)

Dr. Desmond Ford suggests that if his "apotelesmatic" theory were accepted as a tool to understand the prophecies of the Bible, "some differences between the systems would be automatically resolved." (Daniel, p. 69) In other words, the differences between the Jesuitical interpretations - the preterist and the futurist - and the Protestant (Adventist) - the historicist - could be resolved by a compromise! And what does Ford mean by his "apotelesmatic" theory? Here is his definition:      "The apotelesmatic Principle is a convenient term for referring to the concept that a particular prophecy in outline or as regards a dominant feature may have more than one application in time." (Daniel 8: 14 et. al., p. 302)

Are the prophecies inspired by God no more specific than the revelations of the Delphic Oracle of paganism? Is God merely playing games with us when He asks us to give heed to the "more sure word of prophecy"? (See II Peter 1:19) The repeating of history does not mean a repeating of prophetic fulfillment. Prophecy is how God looks at a certain event and/or power involving or to be involved in human history. For example, prophecy tells how God views the Papacy. History is being repeated and the Papacy is once more asserting itself in the affairs of earthly governments - but are the prophecies which pointed out the rise of the Papacy the first time being repeated? No! - but the lesson of how God views that antichristian power is left written in fulfilled prophecy for us today.

A more recent intrusion into the prophetic interpretive milieu is the Hauser-Wheeling axis. Hauser in his book - Give Glory to Him - honestly tells his readers that the method of

p 5 -- prophetic interpretation which he is using "does not fit any of the previous models but is a combination." (p. 3) He refers to the fundamental Adventist historicist interpretation of the prophecies as "horse and buggy" which is to be displayed merely in an antique museum. Note his comparison:       The historical approach has served us well in the past, but, like the horse and buggy, no longer fits our needs. This is not to discard the historical approach as untrue. It is, like the horse and buggy, no longer relevant! (Ibid., p. 2)

The "roots" of the Advent Movement are in the Great Second Advent Awakening under William Miller. Miller was a careful student of prophecy. He devised for his own study a system of rules based on the methods of interpretation revealed in the Bible itself. By these rules He searched for the proper interpretation of the prophecies. These we considered carefully at the Seminar.

How should we approach the study of prophecy now that well over one hundred years have elapsed since the beginnings of the Advent Movement? Further, it would appear that perhaps there are some problems in our forefather's interpretation of the prophecies. Discard their understanding and study, and invent some new scheme as Dr. Hauser indicated he has done? NO! We have this counsel:      The Lord has made His people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. (March 30, 1897, emphasis supplied)

Discard that prophetic truth given to us? No! Never! Relegate it to a museum? No! Develop it - "that truth" - to a higher scale of understanding than it has been previously perceived? YES!

In the seminar studies, we started with the ABC prophecy of Daniel - Chapter 2 - and accepting the historic understanding as developed by our spiritual forefathers, we sought to expand the concepts to a higher plane of perception. There the head of gold represented Babylon; the breasts and arms of silver, Medo-Persia; the thighs of brass, Grecia. Then the legs of iron, Rome; but was this only imperial Rome? Or does it represent both Pagan and Papal Rome? In the dream, the "iron" as in the legs, goes into the toes - to the end! Thus it could not represent Pagan Rome only. As the prophetic message is amplified in Daniel 7 - "the little horn" arises from the fourth beast, and has no existence separated from the body of that beast. This fourth beast - Rome - with its "little horn" continues "till it is given to the burning flame" - the end. (Dan. 7:11) The "iron" then in Daniel 2 is seen to represent both the Pagan and Papal phases of Rome.

The development of "that truth" would place the division between the legs of iron and the feet of part iron and part clay at 1798, rather that 476. Therefore, the ten toes of the image would more aptly coincide with the "ten horns" of Revelation 17, than with the "ten horns" of Daniel 7, three of which were plucked up "by the roots," leaving only seven for the period following 476 A.D. See Daniel 7:8.

It was also observed, that in the dream as described to Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel, the "stone" struck the image upon its feet, and then were the empires of earth broken up to become as "the chaff of the summer threshing floors." Following this - the "stone" became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." (Dan. 2:35) In the simple symbolism of Daniel 2, the whole history of humankind from Daniel's day till after the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 is portrayed. Further, by checking the symbolism as used in Daniel, the expression "without hand" refers to direct intervention by God in the affairs of human history - something beyond the power and ingenuity of man to perform. (Daniel 8:25, 11:45; Hebrews 8:2, 9:11)

As we proceeded to review the prophecies given directly to Daniel beginning with Chapter 7, we sought to discover within each prophecy interpretive clues by which the vision given could be rightly understood. Daniel 7 is vitally important because it gives in sequence, events by which can be identified in history, "the man of sin."

Daniel was informed that "the great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth." (7:17) Further, he was told that "the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth" (7:23), thus giving an interpretive rule that "king" and "kingdom" are interchangeable. These

p 6 -- "beasts" arose in succession - there was the "first", and "another, a second," "after" which came a third, only to be followed by another - "after this... a fourth beast." (7:4, 5, 6, 7)

Daniel was primarily concerned with the fourth beast - his ten horns, and the little horn, "whose look was more stout that his fellows." (7:19-20) He knew the meaning of the symbolism of the lion with eagle's wings. Every day over the years of his government service, he saw in the mosaics of the walls, and in the statuary which lined the corridors, the symbol of Babylon - a lion with eagle's wings. The Bible student also finds this meaning attached to the same symbol in the prophecy of Jeremiah where the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar are prophecied. (Jer. 49:19a, 22a, 28). Here again then, is the same succession of empires as outlined in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar of the metallic image.

A new aspect is introduced in the succession of earth's empires - a judgment and a review of books of record. (7:9-10) The emphasis of this judgment is two-fold:   1) Against the "little horn" and  2) For the Son of man, and the subjects of His kingdom - "the saints." (7:21-22, 26)

Even though the reign of "the little horn" is given as "a time, and times, and a dividing of time" - 1260 prophetic days or years "his dominion" continues till the beast that succors him is "given to the burning flame." (7:25-26, 11)

Accepting the date as established by the continued revelation in Daniel 8 and 9 the 2300 days culminating in the beginning of the cleansing of the sanctuary in 1844 - we find that the judgment of Daniel 7 coincides sequentially with the time indicated for the "cleansing." Observe carefully this sequence:
The Lion - Babylon - 606-536 B.C. (7:4)
The Bear - Medo-Persia - 536-331 B.C. (7:5)
The Leopard - Grecia - 331-176 B.C. (7:6)
The Non-descript Beast - Rome 176 B.C 476 A.D. (7:8)
The Little Horn - Papacy - 538-1798 A.D. (7:8)
The Judgment - After 1798 - 1844 (7:9-10)

Then came the "voice of the great words which the horn spake." (7:11) In 1854, the Papacy promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and in 1870, the Dogma of Papal Infallibility when the Pope speaks ex cathedra.

This prophecy of Daniel 7 gives a solid basis for the doctrine of the investigative judgment when understood according to the historicist system of prophetic interpretation. Daniel is told that at the coming of the Ancient of days in judgment, a decision is rendered in favor of the saints, and then they possess the kingdom. (7:21-22) The saints possess the kingdom when Jesus comes the second time. (Matt. 25:31, 34: Note the "when" and the "then") The "judgment" rendered in favor of the saints precedes the second advent.

As Daniel 8 was surveyed, within it was observed a principle of interpretation which finds use also in a correct interpretation of sections of Revelation. The principle is simply that one looks at the vision from the time point and place where the prophet received the revelation. Here in Chapter 8, Daniel is stated to be "in the province of Elam" standing "by the river of Ulai." - (8:2) The symbols - ram, he-goat, and the little horn - are all described as coming or moving in relationship to direction east, west, north, south. This can only be correctly understood with reference to where Daniel was standing as the vision unfolded before him. This with the explanation of Gabriel, there is no doubt left as to the meaning of each symbol. (8:20-21)

p 7 -- COMMENTS FROM SOME WHO ATTENDED --
" The 1986 Fellowship at Pinecrest, Arkansas, was very outstanding. The Holy Spirit was present in great abundance, and the spirit of love and unity for each other was very manifest. The subjects presented were very easily understood and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, to be remembered for a long time."
Oregon

"We had our reservations [before coming] regarding the mode of study and research. Would they be effective? More importantly, would there be spiritual lessons and blessings?

"Never in our 36 years of Adventist life have we been so blessed, so thoroughly educated, so stimulated to deeper study and experience than this past week at the campus. We are already laying plans for the 1987 fellowship and only God's altering of our plans will prevent our presence there. Thank you for being an instrument in His hands." Oklahoma

"This has been a most precious ten days. Not just Monday through Sabbath - six days of the fellowship campmeeting - but all the days I have had the privilege of sharing with dear people I expect to see, visit, and dwell with through eternity. [Air flight schedules required this person to come in prior to time of meetings] I can not express my appreciation for this [first] opportunity to attend this Adventist Laymen's Fellowship campmeeting." Oregon

A Suggestion from a Reader: "May I suggest concerned laymen who wish to obtain a copy of Questions on Doctrine try looking in the following places: (1) used book stores; (2) second hand stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift Shops and other similar places; (3) Flea Markets; and (4) used book sales by social organizations like women's auxiliaries to colleges and hospitals. Of course, a library would be an obvious place to look, also." [From a Library you could check it out and make copies of key pages.) --- (1986 Oct) --- END --- TOP

1986 Nov -- XIX - 11(86) -- 1888 MESSAGE CONFERENCE -- Beneath the Surface, Behind the Facade -- To all outward appearances, the "Second" National 1888 Message Conference was a tremendous success. In attendance, it tripled the Mohaven meeting in Ohio last year. On Sabbath, 500 people filled the Chapel in Lamson Hall where all the meetings were held. David Newman, Executive Editor of Ministry was sent as an official observer from Washington. A minister from the Florida Conference was sent by his president to observe and report back. Dr. R. W. Schwarz, Vice President for Academic Administration at Andrews University attended most of the major presentations. The frequency of his attendance could have signaled a personal interest in the message of 1888 as well as observing for the University. His impression must have been favorable in every respect as the University invited the Planning Committee to consider Andrews University for the"Third" National 1888 Message Conference in 1987, which the committee did. It means money for Andrews at an "off-season."

This editor did not attend every meeting. The meetings were scheduled with such frequency that they were exhuasting to both body and spirit. Sufficient time was not given to think through carefully what was being presented, thus those in attendance could only hear, and be swept along by the emiotional appeal generated by the speakers. Feeling predominated over truth.

This Andrews University meeting propels the 1888 Message Planning Committee and the organization which it represents to the forefront of the periphery movements in the Adventist Community. It has all the earmarks of another "Brinsmead-type" of movement, except it appears to be more highly organized. An organizational input type of meeting was held on Sunday following the regular conference. The chairman, Dr. Miroslav Kavur of Ohio, called for the raising of $100,000 for a permanent office building and staff.

Since 1988 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Minneapolis Conference, the present upsurge will have the advantage of incorporating within it the enthusiasm generated in anniversary celebrations. The General Conference administration is very much aware of this factor. The question is - Will they treat this movement on the periphery of Adventism as they did the Brinsmead wave from Australia, or will they seek to capitalize on it as a means to restore their lost credibility resulting from the Davenport scandal! Such a restoration is asked for by the Associate Editor of the Adventist Review. (Sept. 25, 1986, p. 5, col . 1) Here is a ready-made situation for the hierarchy to cloke themselves in a "robe" of righteousness without altering the core of the organization.

Couple with this, the Adventist Satellite Television Network which is to begin telecasting in November of this year, and you have all the ingredients of a false latter rain, which, if possible, could deceive the very elect. Let the hierarchy in an encircling embrace take both of these "movements" into its bosom, and one could then see such an external enthusiasm that the apostasy and scandal which has marked the past three

p 2 -- decades of Adventist history would be covered by a "frosting" so tasty and eye appealing that it would rival most "wedding cakes." Thus the objective which God intended to accomplish in the call of Wieland and Short in 1950 would not be far different than the end realized in the call to Jones and Waggoner, except instead of being rejected, there would be an appearance of acceptance which is more deadly! For unless the issues are addressed as given in "An Open Letter to Elder R. J. Wieland" (WWN, XIX-9), the 1888 Message Conferences serve only as a facade giving a false spiritual hope to concerned and devout Seventh-day Adventists.

The Composition of the Conference -- One of the first comments to come from the desk as the Conference opened - and the comment was repeated by others following - was the fact that so many young people were present. Sitting up front so as to hear and take accurate notes, I was unable to see the group to which the speakers alluded. However, I sat in the lobby of Lamson Hall and carefully analyzed those coming and going. The core of the regular delegates fell roughly into two major groups. (This is not saying these were the only types in Adventism who attended.) The "youthful" category was made up of second generation leadership personnel from the Wildwood (Frazee) outposts and institutions. Some of these assumed lead roles in the conduct of the meetings. The other "core" of delegates appeared to be Adventist lay retirees with a sprinkling of retired or soon to be retired ministers. This latter group constituted concerned men and women who are disturbed about what they see in the Takoma Park based church, and hope that in these 1888 Message Conferences to find a way to avoid facing the reality of what they see.

However, the "core" from the Wildwood outposts presents another problem. These are folk who eschew the ways and the manners of the world - it was evident in their dress which contrasted to the majority present. They also strongly believe that righteousness is developed through good works. How this can be reconciled to the pure 1888 Message as presented by Jones and Waggoner remains to be seen. Waggoner taught -      "Being made righteous freely." How else could it be? Since the best efforts of a sinful man have not the least effect toward producing righteousness, it is evident that the only way it can come to him is as a gift. That righteousness is a gift is plainly stated by Paul in Rom. 5:17: "For if by one man's offense death reigneth by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ." It is because righteousness is a gift that eternal life, which is the reward of righteousness, is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Christ and His Righteousness, p. 60)

A. T. Jones at the Ottawa, Kansas, Institute and Campmeeting, the next year taught the same thing. The report of what he said was carried in the local newspaper. It makes for good reading and spiritual growth. [We plan to reproduce these articles in future Thought Papers]

This brings Wieland and Short to another fork in the road. Will they now compromise the heart of the message of righteousness by faith to hold this group of the Adventist community, as they have compromised the original force of the message God gave them in 1950 so as to be able to speak from the pulpits of the Takoma Park based church? [For any who doubt this assertion need only to read carefully the Wieland and Short letter to the officers of the General Conference in 1950. They charged that the "Christ-cented preaching" urge upon the ministry was "in reality merely anti-christ centered preaching." (emphasis theirs; see WWN, XIX-9, p.1) Their resulting manuscript - 1888 Re-Examined - was written in support of this contention. It further documented "Baal" worship in the midst of Modern Israel. Has there been a change? Not according to the Associate Editor of the Adventist Review. He wrote "Good, strong, biblical preaching is getting harder to find each year." (Review, op-cit. p. 4, col 2) Perhaps all the enthusiasts of the present 1888 Message Conferences should obtain a copy of A Warning and Its Reception, and review a little church history.

Both Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short have been strong in emphasizing the necessity to understand our Church history. It was from them that I was first made aware of Cicero's 34th Oration in which he stated that "not to know what has been transacted in former times is to continue always a child." This is true; however, today Wieland and Short would limit the laity of the Church in their development and maturity. Only certain sections of our history are open to study: 1888 to 1901, but stop just before the General Conference session. And nothing

p 3 -- more till 1950, and just only a peep then, and, -- by all means do not consider what has transpired since 1950! To limit one's understanding to only this select area of our Church history is to make a compromise with truth and remain immature.

Problems in the 1888 Re-Emphasis -- There are questions which those who are heading the 1888 Message re-emphasis must face. It is true and cannot be controverted that God did send "a most precious message" to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in general session through chosen "messengers" - Jones and Waggoner. In the end, Waggoner rejected outright, the uniqueness of the Adventist message - the final atonement. [See The "Confession of Faith" of Dr. E. J. Waggoner. I obtained my copy from Wieland himself. A note "To the Reader" states - "The manuscript of the following letter was the last thing written by Dr. , E. J. Waggoner, and was found on his desk after his death, which took place suddenly, May 28, 1916." To my knowledge, I have never heard a single advocate of the Message Conferences address this issue.

As for A. T. Jones, his break was concerning organization because this was his forte. His deviation doctrinally, though questionable, could be described as "cosmetic" and nothing vital to saving truth. [However, during this present conference at Andrews, one speaker, as we shall note, did accuse A. T. Jones of serious departure from truth.] But here again some major problems arise for Wieland and Short. Jones wrote two books which were published about the same time -The Consecrated Way and Individuality in Religion. They want to use the first book, but the second book, they want to believe that it was written by Jones the apostate. So far, they have not had much success in making this division. The explanation for accepting The Consecrated Way is that Jones was merely bringing together his studies on the book of Hebrews he had given in the 1890's. However, a careful comparison reveals that his presentation in Individuality in Religion coincides with concepts found in his Two Republics published in 1891!

At the Andrews conference another attempt was made to separate Jones "the messenger" from Jones "the apostate." The assignment fell to David Grams of Hartland Institute. But in using him to serve a multiple purpose, the Planning Committee got more than they bargained for. Grams placed two "albatrosses" around the neck of the 1888 Message Conference, not only for this time, but for some time to come.

Some background is necessary for the reader to perceive a full picture of what transpired. In the Program Bulletin, the second meeting of the Conference was on "The Role of Organization in the 1888 Message." Its structure was to be different from all other announced meetings. David Grams 1 who was assigned the the presentation was to have "A Laymember's Response." No other speaker was to have such an inter-reacting meeting. But this was a deviously contrived arrangement. A youthful and successful business man from Florida had been assigned the hour, but he was told that he had to share the time with Grams, and his presentation would be listed as a "repsonse." He did not even know what Grams was going to talk about till he heard him with the rest of us.

From information gathered by certain ones on the Planning Committee had heard Grams give this presentation elsewhere and concluded he was the man to accomplish the two-fold purpose no one else wanted to undertake:   1) Mark any who might promote Individuality in Religion 2 as "bitter," and   2) Explain the A. T. Jones conduct following 1903 as apostate. Grams' approach to this Jones "apostasy" at the time he wrote Individuality in Religion was through a formulation of a Doctrine on Inspiration. He said - "I want to share with you something about the nature of inspiration." 3 He quoted from an article in the Review & Herald, March 25, 1890. Using an answer to a question asked Ellen G. White about our pioneer writers, Grams paraphrased Ellen G. White's response - "I wouldn't dare say they weren't inspired of God, but 'if they are not,' (I'm quoting now) 'fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing.'" 4 This, Grams thinks, is what happened to Jones. He urged:      Folks, we need to explore the nature of how God works, the nature of inspiration and how, how dangerous it is to have a fallen human nature which I dare say over 99% of us have. And how that danger, E. J. Waggoner puts it so clearly, is a threat that we carry with us until the twinkling of an eye when we're changed. And that is the problem that Jones had, not that he was all confused on his basic message, but that he allowed the old traits to come in and dominate, ...

p 4 -- Note carefully two things Grams said:  1) One called as an inspired messenger for God so speaks until such time as the fallen human nature asserts itself; and   2) This fallen human nature is possessed by "over 99% of humanity." After the meeting, I asked to have a meeting with him to discuss these and other positions. I told him in setting up the appointment that I considered his
presentation the most deceptive to which I had ever listened. The time was arranged, and after prayer, I asked him - "Would the Doctrine of Inspiration as he formulated it, and applied it to A. T. Jones, not also apply to any prophet or messenger including Ellen G. White?" His answer was an emphatic, "No!" I asked him why, and the response was "She was impeccable." I was stunned and asked the question over again to be sure he was hearing my question aright, and each time the answer was the same - "She was impeccable."

[Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary gives the following definitions:
IMPECCABLE - "1: not capable of sinning or liable to sin.   2: free from fault or blame."
IMMACULATE - "1 : having no stain or blemish: PURE   2:
containing no flaw or error."]

Grams has added to the 1888 Message Conferences an "Adventist Madonna" in his attempt to discredit Jones after 1903.

Before the Andrews University Conference ended, Wieland, wittingly, or unwittingly, retrieved a part of this most unfortunate presentation. He prefaced the Friday evening study with the following comments:       We've got ourselves into the place where I fear that a number of us are unwilling to believe anything that the Bible says unless first of all Ellen White gives us permission to believe it. And that is exactly contrary to the intent of the gift of prophecy. Ellen White was consistent throughout her lifetime. Her work was only a lesser light to guide to the greater light. On one occasion in 1901, the evening before the opening of the General Conference session, she said to our dear brethren - "Don't you quote Sister White" unless you can quote the words of the Bible. When Jones and Waggoner presented their message, they did not quote Ellen White. And Ellen White loved it because they did not quote her. You can read Waggoner's first book, Christ and His Righteousness. Not a line there from Ellen White that I remember. His book, The Glad Tidings, a beautiful book on Galatians, nothing from Ellen White. A. T. Jones' Consecrated Way, nothing from Ellen White. They based their message on Holy Scriptures and Ellen White was delighted. We cannot take a wheelbarrow load of Ellen White books and go door to door, even it our faces are shining with holy consecration. We cannot tell our neighbors, "Thus saith Ellen White." But we must take an open Bible and go door to door. The sad thing I have found is that some of our dear people who are very sincere, and I believe very consecrated, cannot bring themselves to believe what the Lord Jesus Christ says unless Ellen White gives them permission to believe what He says. (From a transcription)

The second "albatross" Grams placed on the neck of the 1888 Message Conferences was the Papal concept of organization. It was not organization per se which was the issue involving Jones according to Grams, but he charged that when Jones and Waggoner "disassociated [themselves] with the organization" this "constitute[d] falling off the platform." In other words, "organization" in and of itself is exalted to the same level of truth as the teaching of the Sabbath and the Sanctuary doctrine. In discussing this whole issue in the private conference with Grams, I asked him if he believed that "organization was only a vehicle by which truth is proclaimed." His reply was - "No!" - for to disassociate one's self from an organization, even though in apostasy is to depart from truth. This is the basis for the papal position that they are the true church - apostolic succession - no matter how corrupt they may become, nor how much error may be taught.

From Grams' papal concept of organization, Luther was a pure "off-shoot." He should have encouraged a "Council of Trent" from the very start, and endeavored to work from within to turn the Papal Church around so that it would be accepted by God. One has historical precedence for this in the attitude of Staupitz who pointed Luther to the concept of divine grace.

If we would but take careful note of the "roots" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we would find that few of the main Millerite Movement actually accepted the typology of the sanctuary as revealing the "open door" into the most holy place of the Heavenly Sanctuary. The main organization through a series of conferences beginning in Albany, N. Y., in 1845 and chaired by William Miller with J. V. Himes as secretary brought about what was declared to be a harmonious working together "with few exceptions" - these being

p 5 -- Joseph Bates and James White. But according to Grams' perception of organization Bates and White stepped off the platform - for was not the Millerite Movement led of God? - and became apostate! Would it not have been better for Bates and White to have joined in the conferences of the Millerite Movement from 1845 and onward seeking to direct their thinking to the "open door" promised to the Church of Philadelphia? (See Bates' article in the first publication of The Review & Herald, Paris, ME, 1850)

Meeting Apart on Sabbath -- Throughout the 1888 Message Conference, there was heavy emphasis on loyalty to the church organization, but interestingly when Sabbath came, the Message Conference group met apart from the main body which assembled for worship in the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus. Besides, there are several other churches in the Berrien Springs area to which the Conference delegates could have gone. I personally attended one of the worship services in the Pioneer Memorial Church to see if there would have been room to seat all of the 1888 Message conferees. Since there was no school in session, there would have been room for twice the number that met separately in Lamson Hall Chapel.

The thing that surprised and interested me at the worship service in the Church was the message given by the senior pastor Elder Dwight K. Nelson. His message was one that the sponsors of the 1888 Message Conferences desperately needed to hear. It was a message in due season for them, but they were meeting apart and did not hear it! Elder Nelson, on the parable of "The Patient Farmer" (Luke 3:6-9) climaxed his message with these words:       Patience - the question is (this business of waiting, this business of holding on a little longer, this business of suffering long, I ask you the question again) Is God a patient Farmer or an impatient Farmer? Which would you say? I don't know about you, but the moment you put God into the question, suddenly it almost seems blasphemous to ask a question that might even suggest that God is anything but patient. I suppose you are right. Maybe, the question is not - Is this a patient farmer or an impatient farmer? Maybe the question we ought to ask is this one: Is patience probationary? Does patience have eventually a cut-off point? Does it? ..

You think about the word, patience - it can't be forever, can it? If patience has within it, if its very definition means to suffer long, then patience contains the element of duration, and duration carries the connotation of eventual termination. ... Patience cannot and does not postpone eventual accountability. Patience is probationary. ...

I ask you the question, Is Divine patience probationary? Does there come a cut-off for God the Farmer? I don't think we can come to this parable and ask the question, Is God the Farmer patient, or is God the Farmer impatient? That is not the query to be brought to this parable; rather this parable answers the question, Is Divine patience probationary? Does there come a time of cut-off in Divine patience? Clearly Jesus answers; clearly He says, "Yes!" Divine patience is probationary! (From a Taped Recording; Ellipses are Illustrations)

True, the message of 1888 - free from error and side issues as mingled at the Andrews conference - was needed by every member of the Pioneer Memorial Church. (The Pastor was in attendance at one or two of the meetings.) But the irony of the whole picture was that each group met separately on Sabbath, and each missed the message of the other.

Beyond this, offerings were taken at both the Sabbath School and Worship service in the Lamson Hall Chapel. On Sunday at the "discussion" meeting, Don Cate, one of the key sponsors reported that over $300 was received in Sabbath School offerings which would be turned over to the Church. But thousands of dollars in offerings and pledges (approx. $15,000) made at the Worship hour would be kept for the Program Committee's work. It was suggested that they did not want tithe, but one would have to be awfully naive to believe that the thousands of dollars either given or pleged contained no tithe, nor will contain none. The bottom line is simply that the 1888 Message Conference organization is in reality is no different than other groups that meet separately in the community of Adventism. This conference at Andrews University exposed this facade. The delegates present at this Sunday meeting were counseled - "Don't antagonize the brethren" - but get into the churches and promote the 1888 Message Conferences.

Control -- According to the Program of the 1888 Message Conference there were scheduled three "Question Periods" and two Panels for questions and answers. All opportunities to question

p 6 -- in public meeting were carefully managed. The questions had to be written out, and then were screened for discussion by a hand picked panel. The "hierachical" control at these meetings was greater than at the pre-session seminars of the New Orleans Conference. There following the seminar presentations - at least in the seminars I observed - questions were taken from the floor. Managed control as exhibited at the Andrews University conference evidences one of two things - possibly both: Those in charge are not certain that what has been presented is really the truth and can be defended, or are not willing to consider the possibility there is more light that can be focused on the issues raised. Either way or both, the control mechanisms are generated by fear. But does not the Scripture teach - "Perfect agape casteth out all fear"? (I John 4:18)

1888 Message Newsletter -- As God's commandment-keeping people, we are being weighed in the "balances of the sanctuary," and are called to have an experience corresponding to the advantages bestowed upon us. We will be judged by the light we have been given (8T 247). We are warned: "Many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.... The heavenly Teacher inquired: 'What stronger delusion can beguile the mind than the pretense that you are building on the right foundation, and that God accepts your works when in reality you are working out many things according to worldly policy and are sinning against Jehovah?"' (8T 249). Vol. 2. #4, p. 6   Elder D. K. Short - Sabbath, 4:30 -- And so we are God's commandment keeping people. We are being weighed in the balances too, at the same time. We're called to have an experience corresponding with the advantages God has given to us as His people. We will be judged by the light we have been given. Well, the True Witness measures our situation and this is the appraisal we get. Sister White in 8T:249 says, "What stronger delusion could beguile the mind than the pretense that you're building on a right foundation, and that God accepts your works when in reality you're working out many things according to worldly policy." -- From Tape Recording   Testimonies, Vol. 8 -- 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. (p. 247)

Omitting and Mitigating -- On Sabbath afternoon, Elder D. K. Short presented a message noted as "Our Church and the Year 2000." The importance attached to this study is verified by the fact that it is the only message to appear in abbreviated form in the eight-page 1888 Message Newsletter telling of the Andrews University conference. (Vol. 2 #4, pp. 4-7) In this Newsletter, it is captioned - "The Year 2000 - Here or in Heaven?" Though not named, the presentation was clearly in response to a series of articles and interviews appearing the Adventist Review beginning with the January 2, 1986 issue.

Besides dealing with the question of whether the Church will be here in 2000 A.D., and if so, why; it was almost paradoxical that Short wove into his message what could be construed as an answer to the Sabbath morning message in the Pioneer Memorial Church. He would tell, Elder Dwight K. Nelson - "You are wrong! - Divine patience knows no probationary cut-off when it comes to Laodicea." In this Short sadly denies the revelation of God in sacred history. God says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with men," (Gen. 6:3) whether in corporate bodies, or as individuals. But in so seeking to prove that the God who ruled before the Flood is not the same God who "knows" Laodicea, Short is willing to omit, and thus mitigate one of the clearest statements in the Writings that the God of the Bible is the same God with whom Laodicea has to do.

At the top of this page are two reports what Elder Short said, one as it appeared in the Newsletter, and the other from a taped transcription.

p 7 -- The third column is the exact quotation from the Writings which was mitigated. In other presentations during the conference when Elder Short wished to emphasize a key sentence in the quotes, he would say, "Now here is the 'punch line.'" But on Sabbath afternoon, he omitted the "punch line" from 8T:247, thus mitigating the force of what the Lord's messenger wrote. The reference states plainly that the Seventh-day Adventist church as a corporate body is to be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. "God the Farmer" will look over the "tree"! Then "if" she has not produced "figs" corresponding "to the advantages that Christ,
at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessing conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence, "Found want." In the parable, the "farmer" says, literally in the Greek, "cut it out" (ek kopto) of the vineyard. [Could the "vineyard" represent the "seven churches" collectively? Short stated - "Though spanning history from the cross to the second coming yet it [the Seven Churches] is one church, one corporate body built by Jesus." (Newsletter, op.cit., p. 4) But Short (and Wieland) do not believe what Jesus says. To them Divine patience is not probationary.

Here is another irony of history. This chapter from Testimonies, Vol. VIII was the one on which these men based their call for "denominational repentence." On p. 250, this testimony reads:      Unless the church, which is now [1903] being leavened with her own backsliding shall repent and be converted, ...

Notice the use made of this statement in 1888 Re-Examined (p. 203, in A Warning and Its Reception, p. 242) The.response of the church to this call is also given in A WarnIng and Its Reception:      The solution proposed ... of a denominational repentance, is not possible nor would an attempt to do so be of value. (p. 259)

Two other things are of interest in Elder Short's Sabbath afternoon messaae. One is a quote from this same chapter in Vol. VIII as given in the Newsletter, but was not read to those listening. 5   The Lord's messenger wrote, quoting Paul (I Tim. 4:1) - "Many will depart from the faith." Short (and Wieland) failed to differentiate between the true "faith" entrusted to the church and the "church." The "many" do not necessarily leave the church - they are the very ones controlling the corporate church. In fact, the WrItings indicate that after "the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel" the "many still continued the forms of religion" buit God's "power and presence were lacking." (5T:210) To equate "depart from the faith" as synonymous with "depart from the church as a corporate body" is a deception.

Also in the abridgment as given in the Newsletter, Short quotes "the heavenly Teacher," but he fails to quote in the same context this divine "Instructor" who asked the question - "'How is the faithful city become an harlot?'" (8T:250) But what Elder Short did quote comes back - sadly - on his own head. It speaks of the delusion that will beguile the human mind - a pretense of building on the right foundation. The True Witness, Jesus Christ, the firm Foundation, says of Laodicea - "I will spue thee out of my mouth." But Short (and Wieland) reject this pronouncement and build upon some other foundation which is a delusion.    ###

1  This message by David Grams was perhaps the most deceptive message I have ever heard presented in Adventist circles in recent years. In his presentation, he used every technique of public speaking to carry his audience emotionally with his theme, and played to the hilt the added atmosphere which a sound system can give the voice. It was real showmanship using the arts of public address to manipulate minds. Since returning home, I have had the taped presentation transcribed. In reading it with all the sound effects removed, it revealed the absolute bareness of real substance, and came acros as the "east wind" from the Arabian desert. (See Jer. 5:13; Hosea 12:1)

2   The attack on this book, and Wieland's attack on Ron Spear's position on Righteousness by Faith as set forth in the publication, Our Firm Foundation were the only two open attacks I heard during this conference. Wieland was correct in so doing because Spears knows nothing about the message of Righteousness by Faith either from a theoretical nor a practical standpoint. He is a decoy of the enemy of all righteousness. (See II Cor. 11:15)

3   All direct quotes from Grams have been taken from the taped recording of his presentation, Thursday morning, August 21.

4  The full statment in context from the R&H, March 25, 1890 reads:       "'Sister White ... do you think that these men who have brought out the truth in the past were inspired of God?' I dare not say they were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth; but when it comes to inspiration in the fullest extent, I answer, No. I believe that God has given them a work to do, but if they are not fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing, and will put their mold upon the work, and fashion men in religious experience after their own pattern."

5  1n all of Elder Short's presentations, it appeared that he was reading from a prepared text. The difference, therefore, between the taped transcription and the Newsletter could be attributed to ad-libbing. In both, however, it was obvious, he sought to mitigate the force of 8T:247.

p 8 -- THE "FIRST" 1888 MESSAGE CONFERENCE -- Following the 1888 Message Conference at Andrews University, A. L. Hudson wrote a letter to Wieland, Short, Sequeria, the Cates and this editor. He enclosed the picture reproduced on the right which he had taken on the front lawn of our home in Indiana. In the letter - dated September 13, 1986 - he indicated this picture, "of some historical significance," was a record of "the first 1888 Conference" which was held in the Marion Seventh-day Adventist Church of which this editor was pastor at the time. It was held just after the General Conference session in Cleveland in 1958. Of this meeting, Hudson wrote:        At this meeting, I played for the small group my recorded conversation with Dr. Barnhouse. It was at Cleveland, Barnhouse secured permission of Figuhr to sue me for recording the conversation. The meeting was cordial and enjoyable, I thought. It's concensus was to my recollection:  An independent journal is neede to deal with the developments in Adventism, but the time in 1958 was not quite ripe. In 1960 I started the Church Triumphant with Grotheer writing under the pen name of Ben Ezra II. Bob [Wieland] would never write at all.

This was almost thirty years ago. There is no point in trying to cover the history of these years. Today, we all know the immediate situation as pertains to these principals and to quite an extent the situation in the world and in Adventism. The only question of significance is:  Where do we go from here, or do "we" go anywhere from here?

Unless God does something "we" aren't going to go anywhere together, and God won't and can't do anything unless we want Him to.

When we got together in 1958 had God given us a picture of the situation in 1986, what would we have done? What about ten years down the line? I am saying God has given us a picture not in terms of years but in terms of developments, but Bob and Don, you are saying "taint true. Our theories are truth." Bob and Don, I can't go with you any longer on your program. Had I attended your meeting I would have had to attend as Grotheer did. I think you men are crying peace and safety when God is saying something quite different. God will not forever wait on the organized Seventh-day Adventist church to experience "corporate repentance."

What is the "true Christ" saying to Adventism today?

In the first part of his letter, he tells of the reports he had heard of the "success" of the meeting, and that God had "been gracious." Then Hudson comments - "He was gracious to the meeting, because He is a gracious God." He then raises some probing questions which dare not be set aside lightly. The questions and comments are:      But the next meeting, will He again be gracious? If He is a gracious God, how can He be any thing but gracious; but history has some very perplexing problems about God's graciousness

p 9 -- I would still have my hands "washed" of the situation but one of my publications was distributed at the meeting, and I was invited to the meeting specifically by Bob, Don, and Helen [Cate] while Grotheer was asked not to come and I advised him not to go. If Christ decided to come today, whom of us would He pick up and whom would He leave dead on this earth? [Emphasis Hudson's]

If this question is not serious, this letter is not serious. If you friends do not consider it serious, then another meeting at Andrews next year is pure hypocrisy. But I believe all of you do consider it serious, or I would not be writing.

A word of explanation is in order at this point. Prior to the Andrews University 1888 Message Conference, Mrs. Helen Cate had requested Brother Hudson to print 500 copies of the booklet - Union with Christ - which he did. However, there is a background to this booklet about which those attending the conference were not told when the "sales pitch" was made by Mr. Cate. "This booklet is only two chapters from a large EGW compliation published in 1971 unde the title, Seventh-day Adventism at the Crossroads. A year or so later this was followed by another compliation Shall We Be Found Wanting?" (Letter dated Sept. 13, 1986)

With this background, I am sure the reader can better understand the thrust and concern expressed in Brother Hudson's letter quoted throughout this article, and what now follows:      I am saying that the true Christ of Adventism [here he alludes to the motif found in 1888 Re-Examined] is speaking to His church today in these "whole chapters" from the "published works" of His prophet.

Bob [Wieland] and Jack [Sequeria], you were both at the meeting in the Conference president's office in Boise some months ago when I brought out these three compilations. None of the Adventist preachers present were even interested enough in what was in them, to say nothing of studying them.

I know of no Adventist preacher brave enough and honest enough to make an open, organized effort to put Ellen White together! ...

So what is a layman suppose to do? (Ibid.)

Hudson in this letter on behalf of The Adventist Council on Attachment is extending "a specific invitation" to the 1888 Message organization and those addressed in the letter to "a meeting to study how to study the material in these two E. G. White compliations and comprising the testimony of-the true Witness to Laodicea emanating from the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary."

This editor has advised Brother Hudson that he will make every effort to be present when the time has been agreed upon . Elder Wieland has not as yet responded to the "Open Letter" sent to him, and so it will be of great interest to learn of his reaction to this invitation, The reason is very simple. Wieland is the "hold-out" in this present situation, and the "king-pin" in what attitude the 1888
Message organization takes. In simple language, how much longer can the facde of the 1888 Message Conferences be maintained?

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE CONFERENCE -- The unique and the outstanding presentations above all as given at the 1888 Message Conference at Andrews University were the messages brought. by Elder E. H. Sequeira, pastor of the Pacific Press Adventist church in Idaho. His sermons were thought provoking, Biblically centered, and spiritually insightful in the development of the "in Christ" motif found in the gospel of John and the letters of Paul. The are worthy of continued research and deep study. Elder Sequeira indicated that he did not speak about the 1888 message, he endeavored to preach that message. And he did!

In grasping the "in Christ" concept of the Bible, Elder Sequeira has caught the"corporate" concept revealed in the gospel for men's cleansing in the final atonement. In Christ the individual faces the judgment, and passes from death unto life. This "corporate" concept needs to be expanded to all areas of discussion of the 1888 message - not merely "corporate repentance" but also "corporate accountability" with its ultimate outcome in "corporate judgment." (5T:211)

Elder Sequeira was born in Goa, a former Portuguese colony on the West coast in India to devout Roman Catholic parents. His contact with the truth came when in Nairobi, Kenya, he lived across the road from Elder and Mrs. R. J. Wieland. He observed the agape spirit manifest by Elder Wieland in meeting the needs of the native workers. This opened his heart to the Advent message. After attending Newbold College and Andrews University, he returned in missionary service to Kenya and Ethiopia.

p 10 -- "AS MANY AS I LOVE" -- Christ's Call to Laodicea -- A New Book by.Elder R. J. Wieland -- Each conferee attending the 1888 Message Conference was given a copy of Elder R. J. Wieland's latest book - "As Many As I Love". This book did pass through a book committee of the denomination but was printed by the Eusey Press at Leominster, MA, for Adventist Realities located in Uniontown, OH. Since this was not published under the official imprimatur of the Church, does it mean that it is an "off-shoot" publication? Certainly not! A publicaion can either stand or fall on its own merits. The validity of any publication is determined by checking its positions against a "Thus saith the Lord."

The title of the book indicates that it is an analysis of the message to Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-21 ) Wieland indicates -      that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in an unique sense Laodicea. It follows that the "angel of the church the Laodiceans" is primarily the responsible leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church on all levels, each segment appropriately responsible. (p. 59)

(In this he is setting forth his basic concept for "corporate repentance".) He continues:      God "intends that the 'angel of the church' shall repent first, and then minister the experience to the world-wide church. The Laodicean message is evidence that this is His plan." (p. 60)

Then at this point, he himself interjects a parenthesis in his thesis:     (Suppose the leadership fails, or rejects the Lord's appeal? Israel's history demonstrates that "the people" can intervene and demand repentance; see Jeremiah 26).

In this he gives a clue as to the objective of the 1888 Message Conferences. In other words, incite the laity "'to demand" of the hierarchy a statement of repentance. Wieland knows how the hierarchy have already answered 1888 Re-Examined and declared that such a repentance "is not possible nor would an attempt to do so be of value. " (See p. 9, col. 1) But let us suppose that Wieland and Short with the Cates are able to generate enough pressure on the leadership in Washington so that the "demand" is assented to. Would this then be a genuine repentance? Let us suppose again that the "brethren" in Washington become convinced that this development in Adventism can be used to bring their "90" numbers game to a successful conclusion. So they give lip service repentance to accomplish their objective. How will Wieland be able to tell whether this is genuine or not? He will not come face to face with the events in our history - 1901-1903 - at the point where the Lord's messenger indicated the church "was being leavened with its own backsliding." (8T:250) But unless he does, he has no basis upon which to judge the genuineness of a repentance on the part of the hierarchy. John the Baptist declared: "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance." (Luke 3:8)

In the book, Wieland proceeds to ask the question - "Will Christ Reject Laodicea?" (p. 60) He takes cognizance of the fact that in the Laodicean message, the true Witness declares plainly - "I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16) Then he writes:       The original language does not say unconditionally that Christ will reject His lukewarm church. What He said was, "I am about to spue thee out of my mouth."

In another part of the book, he states:      The expression, "I will spue thee out of my mouth " is not an accurate translation of the Greek. Christ did not say that Laodicea must suffer His final rejection, without hope. The Greek is mello se emesai, which means literally, "You make Me sick with nausea," or "I am so nauseated that I am on the point of vomiting." But the verb mello does not require final action. (p. 98)

To seek to ilustrate the force of the word, mello, in the Greek, he appeals to an illustration in John's gospel concerning the son of a nobleman. He concludes that because the word, mello, is used there and the son did not die, this means that Laodicea is not to be spued out. The reason that the son did not die is that Jesus intervened. But where in Rev. 3:14-21 is Christ pictured as intervening for Laodicea? The only picture is of Christ standing at the door, asking the individual - anyone (tis) - who hears His voice to open the door. Christ is never pictured as coming into Laodicea!

Wieland could have found illustrations of the use of mello right in the messages of the Seven Churches. Note these uses:       Rev. 2:10 - Fear none of those things which thou shalt (mello) suffer: behold the devil shall (mello) cast some of you into prison.

p 11 -- Rev. 3: 10 - Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall (mello) come upon all the world.

Do these uses of the word, mello, suggest the meaning of "about" which carries the connotation of "perhaps"?

Consider the close parallel sentence structure and thought pattern between verses 10 and 16 of Revelation 3. In verse 10 - "Because" Philadelphia kept the word of Christ's patience, He would keep them from the hour of trial which "shall" come upon all the world. Will this "hour" come - perhaps? No, it will come! Now note verse 16 - "Because" Laodicea is lukewarm, the true Witness declares - "I will (mello) spue thee out." Perhaps? Thayer in his Lexicon indicates that the general use of.mello .signifies "what is sure to happen."

Wieland knew better than to appeal to similar uses of mello in the book of Revelation. Several years ago while still in Africa, Wieland and this editor exchanged a number of letters over this very point. He finally pled, nolo contendere as he said he was not a student of the Greek.

To know that one's position is questionable, and then to put out a book with the concept emphasized avoiding a clear comparison in Revelation itself is hardly in line with the Message of 1888. . The Righteousness of Christ is declared to be "pure unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65) This is adulterating truth to sustain a cherished position. When I sent to Elder Wieland a copy of "The Open Letter" before publishing it, I sent in the cover letter a suggestion that he might wish to add to the topics suggested a discussion of Revelation 3:14-21.. So far no response!

In Appendix B of his book, Wieland takes note of the position "that Philadelphia, not Laodicea, represents the true church that will be ready for Christ's coming. Joseph Bates is cited as a venerable authority for this view. But the dear pioneer was mistaken on this, as he was on some other points." (p. 96) Space does not permit a discussion of this accusation against Bates. However, if one wishes to study Bates' position on this point as found in the first issue of Review and Herald published in 1850, from Paris, Maine, send a self-addressed stamped envelope indicating this article, and we will send it free of charge.

"Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. It is always dangerous." (5T: 292)

--- (1986 Nov) --- End --- TOP

1986 Dec -- XIX - 12(86) -- REPENTANCE ON DEMAND -- Wieland's New 0jective -- In the previous Thought Paper The Special Report on the 1888 Message Conference held at Andrews University, August 20-24 - we commented but briefly on two factors in Elder R. J. Wieland's latest book - "As Many As I Love". This book was not cleared by any book committee of the church, and is, therefore, a private publication. However, this book is directed primarily to the denomination and specifically refers to the leadership of the Church.

Noting the trust committed to the Church from the various Writings - omitting key references - Wieland writes:      If the Seventh-day Adventist church has such a trust committed to her, it is equally true that Christ's message to Laodicea is addressed primarily to her. But notice that in Revelation 3:14-21, Christ is not speaking primarily to the church at large, but to its ministerial and administrative leadership. (p. 59)

What does Wieland perceive the response of the ministerial and administrative leadership should be? Since the leadership is symbolized by "the angel of the church of Laodicea," he believes that Christ "intends that the 'angel of the church' shall repent first, and then administer the experience the worldwide church." (p. 60)

Then the question is asked - "Suppose the leadership fails, or rejects the Lord's appeal?" The answer given is unique! "Israel's history demonstrates that 'the people' can .intervene and demand repentance." [Jeremial 26 is cited as a reference] (Ibid. ) This is repentance on demand!

Before commenting further on what this means when applied, we need to understand the meaning of the word itself, and words and phrases connected with the gospel message as committed by Christ to His church.

The word repentance is translated from the Greek word, metanoia, which means simply a change of mind which leads to a reversal of the past. Connected with this, is the word - "converted." Peter told the "men of Israel" gathered together in Solomon's porch of the Temple, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted." (Acts 3:19) This word in the noun form, epistrophe, signifies "a turning about, or turning around."

Biblically and prophetically, there is another dimension to this picture. The prophecy of Malachi indicates that prior to the coming of the Lord, "Elijah the prophet" will be sent. (Mal . 4:5) The objective is to turn the children of Israel to the Lord, lest He "come and smite the earth with a curse." (Compare Mal. 4:6 & Luke 1:16) The end-time prophecy of Isaiah states - "the curse devoured the earth." (Isa. 24:6) The context of this prophecy is based in the experience of Elijah who was sent to Israel to arrest the worship of Baal. The tide of Baal worship was only momentarily effected. Israel went into captivity never again to be a nation of the Ten Tribes.

The fulfillment of this prophecy at the first Advent of Christ in John the Baptist

p 2 -- presents vital factors for consideration. Noting the Pharisees and Saducees who came to observe his preaching and baptizing, John cried out - "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7) Then he challenged them: "Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentace." (Luke 3:8) Here is the key. Any genuine repentance on the part of the leadership of the church must be marked by a change of mind which leads to a reversal of the past.

What is Wieland's concept of the repentance called for by the Lord when he challenges "the angel of the church" to repent? He asks - "Would repenting of our rejection of the beginning of the latter rain lay the axe to the root of our present spiritual problem?" Then he answers - "Yes, for this is indeed its root." (p. 84, emphasis his)

There is no question but that the church in its highest session - the General Conference did in 1888 "reject" the beginning of the latter rain. A. T. Jones through congregational response verified this at the 1893 General Conference session. Here is the report of this exchange:      Now brethren, when did that message of the righteousness of Christ, begin with us as a people? [One or two in the audience: "Three or four years ago."] Which was it, three? or four? [Congregation: "Four"] Yes, four. Where was it? (Congregation: "Minneapolis."] What then did the brethren reject at Minneapolis? [Some in the congregation: "The loud cry."] What is that message of righteousness? The Testimony has told us what it is; the loud cry - the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain - the loud cry of the third angel's message. (1883 GC Bulletin, p. 183. Emphasis his)

Jones did not stop there. In his 15th study at the same session, he again entered into dialogue with the delegates. Here is that record:      Now I want to ask a few questions on what we have gone over. What is the latter rain? [Congregation: "The teaching of righteousness according to righteosness."] What is the loud cry? [Congregation: "The message of the righteousness of Christ."] The loud cry has already begun in the message of the righteousness of Christ. Where does the latter rain come from? [Congregation: "From God."] All of it? [Congregation: "Yes."] What is it? The Spirit of God. (Ibid., p. 359)

Here is the key as to what was rejected:  It was the Spirit of God - the Spirit of truth. (John 16:13)

Ellen G. White concerring what happened at Minneapolis wrote in these words:      All the universe of heaven witnessed the disgraceful treatment of Jesus Christ represented by the Holy Spirit. Had Christ been before them, they would have treated Him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ. (Special Testimonies, Series A, #6, p. 20)

And what did the Jews do to Christ? They turned Him over to the Romans to be crucified!

The "rejection" in 1888 is also defined as the rejection of "the message of the righteousness of Christ," which has been defined as "pure, unadulterated truth." (TM, p. 65) To deffne "rejection" simply in terms of "the beginning of the latter rain" without amplification of all that that meant is to create a false basis for "denominational" repentance. Individuals thus could be led to believe
that the achievement of denominational repentance on demand will be much easier than they first thought it to be. It is very conceivable for "the angel of the church of Laodicea" to recognize the very clear statement in the 1893 Bulletin, and so publi
cally admit that that is what was done back there. BUT would this be genuine repentance? It could well be repentance on demand without bringing forth "fruits worthy of repentance."

While the "rejection" of "the beginning of the latter rain" took place in 1888, when did the fruitage of that rejection begin to take permanant.form? In 1903, Ellen G. White wrote - "Unless the church which is now being leavened with her own backslidding, shall repent. (8T:250) [Let it be kept in mind that this very reference from the Writings was that which Wieland and Short based their call for denominational repentance in 1950. See 1888 Re-Examined, pp. 202-203; A Warning and Its Reception, p. 242]

What had taken place at the 1903 General Conference session? (Ellen G. White wrote this testimony only eight days after the session closed in Oakland, California, and prior to its reconvening in Battle Creek on April 22.) The simple fact is that the reorganization called for and accomplished at the 1901 session was reversed. A new organization was set up; a new constitution was adopted. Of this 1903 Constitution,

p 3 -- P. T. Magan, prior to its adoption, stated:      It may be stated there is nothing in this new constituion which is not abundantly safeguarded by the provisions of it; but I want to say to you that any man who has ever read Neander's History of the Christian Church, Mosheim's, or any of the other great church historians, - any men who have ever read those histories can come to no other conclusion but that the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when the Papacy was made. (1903, GC Bulletin, p. 150)

It is intersting to note that A. T. Jones at the 1893 session contrasted the true message of righteousness by faith with the papal teaching. He used a book entitled, Catholic Belief, by Di Bruno, and stated as his reason for so doing - "I shall read some from it. And that you may have the two things - the truth of justification by faith, and the falsity of it - side by side, ..." (p. 261) The lesson that can be drawn is again very simple - You depart from the true message as given in 1888, and that "backsliding" will inevitably lead not only to papal teaching but to a papal form of organization. In other words, it is either the Spirit of truth, or the spirit of error - the spirit of him who abode not in the truth!

Then, will the call to "corporate repentance" include only the admission of the rejection of "the beginning of the latter rain," or will it also involve a call to a change of mind that would lead to a reversal of the past backsliding? Or is "Jerusalem" to continue as it now is - "in bondage with her children"? (Gal. 4:25) Is "repentance on demand" to be merely a "whitewash"?

What about the denial of sacred truth entrusted to God's people that has been set aside, and was being set aside when Wieland and Short first called for "corporate repentance" in 1950?

As is already known by many, in 1949, the Review & Herald requested Professor D. E. Rebok to revise the book, Bible Readings for the Home Circle. This revision involved the alteration of the Doctrine of the Incarnation in the chapter on "The Sinless Life."Documentation of this can be found in the following references: Movement of Destiny, pp. 427-428; and in the manuscript published by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation - An Interpretive History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation, pp. 64-66. But not alone was this doctrine being altered. On May 6, 1948, the General Conference Committee voted to set up a committee composed of D. E. Rebok, A. G. Emmer, and Robert Kitto to prepare an Academy textbook on Bible Doctrines. (Committee Minutes, p. 1039) Then in 1951, the General Conference officers appointed a Bible Textbook Reading Committee to give final approval to the textbook - Principles of Life. (Minutes, May 23, p. 138) This is still in use. This Academy textbook reads in the lesson on "The Day of Atonement": "Jesus has made full and complete provision for the putting away of the sins of all who are willing to accept His sacrifice on Calvary's cross. There is no need for any further atonement." (p. 234)

[It might be argued that the context of this statement was to contrast the ministry of Christ with the work typified by the "scapegoat". The whole lesson being on the services of the Day of Atonement in the earthly type, the contrast, if this was indeed the point, could have been established by directing the student to Leviticus 16:20-21 - "when he (the high priest) had made an end of reconciling" then was the live goat brought into the services of that day.]

In whatever way this may be rationalized, it remains a fact that during the 1955-1956 Seventh-day Adventist-Evangelical Conferences, the Adventist conferees compromised the faith in these two areas. See Questions on Doctrine, pp. 381, 383; Andreasen's Letters to the Churches, Series A, #1 & #6. Is "repentance on demand", therefore, going to include only the rejection of the latter rain in 1888 or is genuine repentance to include the fruitage of the rejection of the Spirit of truth. Is it to be lip service, or is it to be, as in the call of John the Baptist - "fruits worthy of repentance"?

It must be kept in mind that when Wieland and Short made their representations to the General Conference officers in 1950, they charged that the emphasis at the Ministerial Association meetings on "Christ-centered preaching" was "in reality merely anti-christ centered preaching." (Emphasis theirs; quoted ,in Preliminary Memorandum, p. 3; See WWN, XIX-9, p. 1 for full context)(SEP 1986) When this theme was developed further in their manuscipt - 1888 Re-Examined - this "anti-christ" emphasis was likened to Baal worship. The final four chapters of this manuscript was

p 4 -- devoted to documentation of this fact. Chapter 10 - "Warnings of Subtle, Internal Apostasy" is introduced by the following perceptive deduction:      If the findings of this essay are correct [and they were] that the light of the loud cry, as presented at Minneapolis in the teaching of Christ's righteousness, was rejected and spurned by "us", it can be seen how inevitably there would be an infatuation with false and counterfeit "light". Precisely in proportion as the true, genuine light presented at Minneapolis was undiscerned and misunderstood will the counterfeit "light" be undiscerned and misunderstood for its true nature. The apostasy within would therefore be unconscious, specious, subtle, and would likely become widespread before it is discerned. (p. 121 )

How true this has been! But are we to ignore this apostasy which has now been discerned and say that if we can merely create enough voices to demand repentance and the hierarchy hearing the outcry gives lip service to the fact that "the beginning of the latter rain" was rejected in 1888, this will turn the church around? Is this the message coming to us from the Lord's servant? In 1905, over two years after Ellen G. White had written that the church was then being leavened with its own backslidding, she wrote:      One thing it is certain is soon to be realized, - the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. (Special Testimonies, Series B, 17, pp. 56-57)

Is this not saying in simple language that which makes certain what the True Witness said in His message to "the angel of the church of Laodicea" - "I will spue thee out of my mouth"? How deceptive then, to hold out to Laodiceans now in 1986, this false hope as evidenced in the book - "As Many As I Love"!

One is led to ask some questions: Why so late in human history, standing on the very verge of the eternal world, have Wieland and Short deviated from the call which the Lord laid on them in 1950? Has Baal worship ceased in the Church? Is the Church teaching "pure and unadulterated truth" - the basis of the message of the righteousness of Christ? Will mere lip service to a fact of history really be laying the axe to the "root" of the tree? Have they forgotten what they wrote in 1950? -      

Another characteristic of modern prophets of Baal is their lack of courage to stand forth boldly for what they are convicted in their souls is truth. The omission of the principle of the Cross from their Christian experience is the cause of this cowardice, which is falsely represented to be "patience" or broad-mindedness. There are still today many who secretly believe on Him, but because of the Pharisees, do not confess, lest they should be put out of the fraternity. For they love the praise of men more than the praise of God. A love for majority-opinions, and a fear of singularity, are inevitable effects of Baal-worship. (1888 Re-Examined, p. 169)

There is a fact that is overlooked - "the principle of the Cross." We can search for the Cross - but we will never find it in "Jerusalem." No cross was ever erected there only sword and famine desolated the doomed in the city during the final Roman seige. The real, true, and genuine Cross was erected outside the city gates on a hill called Golgotha. To that place the ones to whom the book of Hebrews was addressed, were counseled to go:      Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. (Heb. 13:12-13)

There is a warning that is also overlooked. God is no respecter of persons, be he a common layperson, or a messenger called of God. When we will not receive the love of the truth, and refuse to recognize the facts of history, God permits strong delusion to becloud our vision. (II Thess. 2:10-11) We are willing to believe that the True Witness does not mean what He says - "I wil spue thee out of my mouth." We reject the voice of Christ as heard outside of the door of the Church, saying to the individual, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door I will come in to him." (Rev. 3:20) We seeem to overlook in our delusions that "the stat of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state." (Review and Herald, August 19, 1890) However, it is very true as Elder Wieland has pointed out so emphatically -"the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in a unique sense Laodicea." Many As I Love", p. 59)

"Error is never harmless.
It never sanctfies,
but always brings confusion and dessension.
It is always dangerous."
(5T:292)

p 5 -- AN ALLEGORY -- Allen Stump -- [Editor's Note: This Allegory was presented as a part of one of the evening messages during the 1986 Annual Fellowship Meeting. It is being printed by the request of those who heard it.]

Once there was a certain Rabbi, who was the leader of a synagogue. One day he went out to hear a certain Greek or Hellenist speaking on God's salvation. As he listened, he was thrilled to hear this so called Gentile speak on the righteousness of God. He even heard this Greek say, "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." The Rabbi was so thrilled with what he heard that he requested an interview with the man.

To the surprise of the Rabbi, the Greek told him that the Jews were not really God's chosen people; they were too interested in working their way to heaven and did not realize that salvation was a free gift. To this the Rabbi replied, "I am a born again believer as much as you are." To this the Greek said, "How could that be so, Rabbi? You are a Pharisee, one who majors in works." To this the Rabbi responded, "All of our people do not believe as you think they do. We have many who are born again as I am. I think that we should get together and talk about this."

So in the passing of time, meetings were arranged between the Jews, who were truly the people of God, and the Greeks, who were just as lost in their sins as Sodom and Gomorrah were lost the night of their visitation. Four of the best Rabbis, were chosen to participate in the meetings with the up and coming great minds of the Greeks.

Now just why the Pharisees thought they needed the acceptance of the Greeks has never been revealed; however, it became clear that the Jews were willing to make almost any compromise to be called evangelical and to be able to have unity with the Greeks. One of the first things that had to be taken care of was this idea of only one God. The concept of the "Trinity" had been officially introduced twenty-four years before the conferences. Now it must be reaffirmed in the strongest of terms. From now on the Jews were to accept the doctrine of the Trinity (or three' gods), as one of the pillars of their faith. Also the idea of the sanctuary services having any typological significance had to go. Then there was the teaching that when the Messiah came, He would come as a man among men. This could not be tolerated.

As if this was not enough, the evangelical Greeks insisted that the Jews give up their confidence in the latest "messenger" God had sent to His people. Not only this, but no longer could the Jews consider themselves the chosen of God, but rather they were only just a part of the body of God along with the rest of the evangelical world. To all these issues and more, the Pharisees were willing to compromise their faith for the sake of unity. Not only did they compromise their faith, but they agreed to sway as many of their fellow believers as within their power to this "New Theology." To prove:this, they would publish a scroll entitled, The Pharisees Answer Questions on Doctrine. This would show to all the Gentile world the "true" position of the Evangelical Pharisees.

Immediately after the publishing of the scroll, the greatest living Rabbi of the Pharisees took issue with the "New Theology" that was taught in the scroll. A student of theTorah, he was mighty in the Holy Writings, especially had he done much study in Leviticus. (Chapter 16) In the teachings of the new scroll the aged Rabbi could see the whole unearthing of the Jewish faith. Speaking with the leaders of the synagogues and the Sanhedrin, he hoped to stop these erroneous teachings and bring about a true work of repentance. The Sanhedrin would not give ear to the protests of the old Rabbi, saying, "Poor old Emel, he's lost his mind." Since the Sanhedrin would not give ear to him, Rabbi Emel took his case to the people of Judah. Writing scrolls to be read among the people about the apostasy, he hoped to alert some as to what was going on.

Since Rabbi Emel had been a teacher in the School of the Prophets, he received a portion of the tithes as his support for the teaching and preaching he had done. However, when word got around as to what he was doing, his retirement was cut off. When he went to the Romans for welfare (you see, he was well advanced in years at this time), the Proconsul asked him whom he had worked for

p 6 -- during his lifetime. Rabbi Emel explained that for more than 50 years he had been in the service of the Jewish religious establishment, but that the Jews had quit paying his retirement because of disagreements they had. At this the Proconsul was shocked, and ordered the Sanhedrin to resume his payments.

As Rabbi Emel thought, the mind of the aged scholar went back to a meeting of the Sanhedrin that he had listened in on, when he was much younger. At this meeting, a Rabbi by the name of Alballen had been stripped of his credentials for believing and teaching the same doctrine as was written in the "New Theology" scroll. How it hurt him to see his people move into the broad road of apostasy. The writings of Rabbi Emel inspired others to study and to take a stand for the truth.

During this time the little flock who were standing by the pillars of the faith read from the Holy Writings words such as these:      Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath [God] Christ with Belial? or what agreement hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?

The people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations. 2

This faithful little flock standing in the light turned to the Writings of the Lord's "Messenger" and read:       There is to be no compromise with those who make void the law of God. It is not safe to rely upon them as counselors. Our testimony is not to be less decided now than formerly; our real position is not to be cloaked in order to please the world's great men. They may desire us to unite with them and accept their plans, and may make propositions in regard to our course of action which may give the enemy an advantage over us. "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy." (Isa. 8:12). While we should not seek for controversy, and should not needlessly offend, we must present the truth clearly and decidedly, and stand firm to what God has taught us in His Word. You are not to look to the world in order to learn what you shall write or what you shall speak.3

At just the time many were making an atempt to discredit the Writings of the Lord's "Messenger," the little flock, while thinking of the apostasy that had occurred as a resuli of the Evangelical Conferences, found this message written by the servant of the Lord:      I am bidden to warn you that deceptive sentiments are entertained, a false modesty and caution, a dispostion to withhold the profession of our faith. In the. night season, matters have been presented before me that have greatly troubled my mind. I have seemed to be in meetings for counsel where these subjects were discussed, and written documents were presented, advocatIng concessions. Brethren shall we permit the world to shape the message God has given us to bear? 4

This testimony gave courage to the littl flock as they could see that Jehovah God was not taken by surprise in anything that ha happened, and that He was still in control of the destiny of the world.

How sorry that our story cannot finish here with a sweet ending. The Jews, because of their acceptance of the "New Theology", went deeper and deeper into apostasy. The principles of truth that God in His wisdom had given them were discarded. Their religion was changed. The fundamental principles that sustained the work were accounted a! error. A new organization was established. Other scrolls of a new order were written. A system of intellectual philosophy wa! introduced. The founders went into the cities of the Roman world and did aseemingly wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course, was lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of this new movement, despite calls from messengers for corporate repentance. The people went to sleep becoming lukewarm ir their experience. The Jews joined the World Council of Faith and Order, and finally played a great roll in helping the abomination that maketh desolate to stand in the holy place. The leaders taught that virtue was better than vice, but God being removed, they placed their dependence on human power, which being without God, was worthless. Their foundation was built on sand, and storm and tempest swept away the structure. The nominal Jew became so Laodicean that when the Messiah did come, He had to spew them out. 5 (Let him that readeth, understand.)       ###

1  Acts 17:28
2  II Corinthians 6:14-16; Numbers 23:9
3   SM, bk ii, p. 371
4  CtoW, pp. 94-95
5  See SM, i, pp. 204-205; Revelation 3:14-22.

p 7 -- LAODICEA or PHILADELPHIA - WHICH? -- Elder R. J. Wieland in Appendix B of "As Many As I Love" has written:       Serious efforts have been made to convince church members to leave the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church, or at least to withdraw their support and fellowship. The argument is that Philadelphia, not Laodicea, represents the true church that will be ready for Christ's coming. Joseph Bates is cited as a venerable authority for this view. But this dear pioneer was mistaken in this, as he was on some other points as well. (p. 96)

What did Joseph Bates actually teach? In the f irst issue of The Review and Herald, published in Paris, Maine, November, 1850, Elder Bates wrote an article on "The Laodicean Church." He concluded his article by stating:       "In all the land saith the Lord: TWO PARTS therein shall be cut off, and die; but the THIRD shall be left therein. God says he will bring the THIRD PART through the fire and refine them. They shall call upon him, and he will hear them. He will say IT IS MY PEOPLE; and they shall say the LORD IS MY GOD." First part, Sardis, the nominal church or Babylon. Second part, Laodicea, the nominal Adventist. Third part, Philadelphia, the only true church of God on earth, for they asked to be translated to the city of God. Rev. iii,12; Heb. xii, 22-24. In the name of Jesus, I exhort you again to flee from the Loadiceans, as from Sodom and Gomorrah. Their teachings are false and delusive; and lead to utter destruction. (p. 8)

Interestingly, we can find this teaching in church publications as late as 1911. In the Signs of the Times, January 11, 1911, Milton C. Wilcox wrote:      The last three churches present three present-day conditions: (1) Great worldliness, dead while professing to live, having not the life of Christ, seen in the great popular churches; (2) Devoted, earnest seeking of God, manifested among a far smaller number who are looking for their Lord's coming; (3) Those who possess an outward knowledge of God's truth, who feel rich because of their knowledge, proud because of theirsuperior morality, but do not know the sweetness of God's grace, the power of His redeeming love.

There is no hope in neither Sardis nor in Laodicea. Out of these conditions must the victors come into that Philadelphia - brotherly love. He pleads with the few names in Sardis. Upon the greater part of them in Sardis, Christ will come as a thief in swift judgment, but He will save some. He has no promise to Laodicea as a whole. "If any man hear my voice," - He pleads with the individual; but the individual who opens the heart's door and lets Christ in, who comes into that wonderful communion with his divine Lord, will by that very process come into the condition of brotherly love. They will constitute the remnant who keep the word of His patience, against whom He has no condemnation, who are ready for translation. Out of that condition of lukewarmness means a hard struggle, earnest zeal, severe conflict; but he who wins shall share Christ's kingdom eternally. (Emphasis his)

Ellen G. White adds her endorsement:      The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name. (Early Writings, p. 15; compare with Rev. 3:12) --- (1986 Dec) ---End----

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