1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Seal of God
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
The MISSION of this site -- is to put the articles from the WWN in a searchable Essay form. It is not our purpose to copy WWN in whole.
Any portion of the thought paper may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from WWN, Victoria, BC Canada."
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WWN 1983 Oct - Dec
1983 Oct -- XVI - 10(83) -- The Final Question -- " IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION # 1 IS 'NO,' PLEASE HARMONIZE YOUR OBJECTION TO THE STATEMENTS OF BELIEF AS VOTED BY THE GENERAL CONFERENCE IN SESSION WITH THE COUNSEL AS FOUND IN TESTIMONIES FOR THE CHURCH VOL. 9, P. 260, WHICH READS: - 'WHEN IN GENERAL CONFERENCE, THE JUDGMENT OF THE BRETHREN ASSEMBLED FROM ALL PARTS OF THE FIELD, IS EXERCISED, PRIVATE INDEPENDENCE AND PRIVATE JUDGMENT MUST NOT BE STUBBORNLY MAINTAINED, BUT SURRENDERED.'" -- Editor's Note: On April 20, 1983, we sent to a list of 13 names a Questionnaire to determine how each of these men who profess to be upholding "historic" Adventism stand in regard to the Statements of Belief as voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980. As noted in the previous Thought Paper (WWN, XVI-9), the Statements of Belief which were voted do not reflect "historic" Adventism in several areas. Two of those who received the Questionnaire - Dr. James D. Wang and Elder R. J. Wieland - recognized this fact and voted "No" to the first question. The others - Lewis Walton, Charles Wheeling, R. D. Spear, Vance Ferrell, Dr. Colin Standish, Dr. Russell Standish, Elder W. D. Frazee, Lowell Scarborough, Wendell W. Gibbs, Elder W. L. Santee, and Dr. Lloyd Rosenvold - either wrote a letter(s) seeking to circumvent responding to the Questionnaire, or gave no reply. This Thought Paper will be devoted to the replies of the two men responding, and comment on the circumventing letters.
first to reply to the Questionnaire was Dr. James D. Wang, and therefore,
we shall quote his response to the final question first. He wrote: "The
quotation as found in Vol. 9, p. 260, is just a small portion of the
message sent to and read before the delegates at General Conference
in session, Washington D. C., May 30, 1909. The main burden of the message
is to discourage independent spirit, achieve unity in diversity, and
obey only the ' voice of God.' The Head of the remnant is always against
the kingly power concentrated in 'one man,' or in 'a few men,' or in
'a small group of men' to control the ' work,' or to make 'plans,' and
to 'restrict God's work.'
p 2 -- 1844. This statement made by Brother Carey is based upon ' It is written, ' and ' Thus saith the Lord.'"
So that you the readers may know what Brother Carey said in full, we will note his remarks as found in the General Conference Bulletin. He said: "I am a layman, a church elder, of some 40 years. I would like to say that my belief today regarding the Spirit of Prophecy and its relationship to the Word of God is the same as when I became a member. I believe in the historical and fundamental place of the Spirit of Prophecy in the church, both past and present. I do not believe we should weaken this belief [Christ's ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary] because it is controversial. I suggest the following for sentence four: 'At the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, in 1844, He entered into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, and began the second and last phase of His ministry.'" (April 27, 1980, p. 15)
The sentence to which Brother Carey referred in the working Statement given to the delegates read - "At the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, in 1844, He [Christ] entered the second and last phase of His ministry." It is obvious from his remarks that this local elder wanted it spelled out that Jesus in 1844 entered "into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary." However, in the final editing and voting of this Statement, only lip service was paid to this suggestion. The final voted Statement in contrast to the one given to the delegates admitted - "There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man."
It must be pointed out, as carefully noted in the previous Thought Paper, the real error in this particular Statement is to be found in the clause describing the work of Christ in heaven "as making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross." This concept structured in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56, and so worded to be understood in the framework of Evangelical theology, slipped past the delegates.
Dr. Wang indicated that this one, lone voice "should be regarded as the voice of God." In this he is echoing the conviction of that great Reformer, John Knox, who "insisted that the proclamation of one man founded on biblical truth was of more authority than an extrabiblical judgment reached by a council of the entire church." (Theology and Revolution in the Scottish Reformation, p. 10)
Wieland -- Elder R. J. Wieland answered the final question noting four points. They are:
The Statement of Beliefs is purposely vague in places; it is not
' truly representative of [my] confession of faith' because it is not
clear enough, specific and unambiguous. Vital areas of truth are, in
my opinion, evaded. It does not condemn what I teach.
This is indeed a very interesting reply. Laying aside the matter that we differ on what the facts of our denominational history for the past three decades are saying to the individual church member, certain observations by Elder Wieland need to be emphasized.
p 3 -- The vagueness of the 1980 Statement in certain places is very true. There is a reason for this. The Andrews University Statement of Beliefs voted at the Annual Council in 1979 for recommendation to the 1980 General Session was not vague. The new theology was plainly stated. This action was followed by the Desmond Ford presentation on the campus of PUC under the auspices of the Association of Adventist Forums. Then came the Walter Rea disclosures of extensive copying in the Writings of Ellen G. White. But not until February 21, 1980, less than three months before the Dallas Session was to begin, did a copy of the voted Andrews University Statement reach the laity of the Church through the Adventist Review (pp. 8-10). Immediately following this release, Elder David L. Bauer prepared a paper, - The General Conference Session and the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists - in which he documented the deviation certain positions as voted in the adoption of the Andrews University Statement took from historic Adventism. In every area cited by Bauer, there was a change made in the wording of the document which was presented to the delegates for consideration. This resulted in confusion. However, I also gave consideration to the Andrews University Statement, and found other areas which also deviated, but said nothing in writing, believing that the cause of truth is best served when apostasy is permitted to come to full fruition, rather than taking actions which would confuse the issue. Sure enough, in each of the areas which I noted, no change I was made in the transmission to the delegates, or in what was voted at Dallas. Only where field pressure was exerted were changes made, and then made in such a way, as Elder Wieland notes, to be ambiguous, and evasive.
Elder Wieland questions the application of the Testimony found in Volume 9 as to whether this permits the General Conference in Session to vote a Statement of Beliefs. It is true that the context, speaks of methods and qualifications for labor in the cause of God, and clearly states that "the full measure of authority and influence that God has invested in His church, in the judgment and voice of the General Conference" is limited to the planning "for the prosperity and advancement of the work." (p. 261) However, the facts of our history show that the General Conference does assume the prerogative to vote Statements of Belief, and that these become binding upon the ministry and laity of the Church. In the now famous legal case - EEOC vs PPPA - it was stated in a Brief submitted for the Church that the delegates to a General Conference Session have the power to "alter the doctrine" of the Church. (See Excerpts,Legal Brief, p. 44) This very issue brings us face to face with a single and simple question as to what our reaction should be in the face of this unauthorized assumption of power. Speaking of the changes which would have resulted had the Alpha of apostasy succeeded, Ellen G. White wrote: "We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working' of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. SHALL WE NOT REPUDIATE EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT IN HARMONY WITH THIS TRUTH?" ''(Special Testimonies, Series,B, #2, p. 55)
Elder Wieland indicated that in any future session of the General Conference
previous actions can
(emphasis his) be reversed. This is true, and such a reversal would
be recognized by God unless the Church had passed the point of no return
as illustrated in the experience of Esau.
Personal Response -- I promised to answer this question as well as the first question. My answer is found in the experience of Peter. (Matt. 16:13-23) Peter made a confession in answer to Christ's question - "Whom say ye that I am?" He emphatically declared "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus assured Peter that this perception of truth had been revealed to him by the Father in heaven. In other words, he had been divinely inspired. In a few moments, Jesus began to explain to the disciples that He was to go to Jerusalem - the very center of their religious and spiritual devotion - and there suffer many
p 4 -- things of "the chief priests and scribes" - their church's leadership! What a stigma this would place upon Jesus' disciples to be associated with One who would be so dealt with by the respected leadership of their Church. And besides, their church's leadership would not do anything like that to One who was the Son of God. So Peter takes Jesus and shakes Him a bit to bring Him to His senses. He proceeds to rebuke Him - "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee." But to this Jesus responded, saying to Peter - "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Peter was not willing to accept the cross as associated with the Messiah, the Son of God. Within moments, he who had been inspired of God, was echoing the sentiments of Satan. When we accept truth - Jesus - as a commitment from Heaven, as the commission to give the Third Angel's Message was, and then because of the Cross entailed, seek to adjust that truth to be acceptable to both the World Council of Churches and the Evangelicals, we no longer continue to express "the things that belong to God,but those that be of men." We have become the voice of Satan. What authority then does such a voice have with the true people of God?
Other Comments -- Replies by the Standish brothers - one from Wiemar, and the other from Bangkok - were similar. Declining to answer the Questionnaire, they indicated their concern for what was not stated instead of facing up to the question - Was that which was stated truth or not? Dr. Colin Standish wrote - "As I have reviewed these [The 1980 Statement of Beliefs] I again come to the same conclusion that I did a couple of years ago. In their statements, it's hard to see error in what has been stated. My concern, perhaps, is for what is not there." (Letter dated, May 20, 1983) Dr. Russell Standish commenting on the Testimony in Volume 9, wrote: "This to me seems eminently sensible advice. I see nothing in this passage to indicate that brethren and sisters amongst us cannot believe that more detail could be given to certain items in fundamentals of faith or that additional items of truth could be included. But I do see in it a warning against a trend which has concerned me, and that is that we are increasingly depending upon a small group of theologians, most of whom are trained in non-Adventist Theological schools, to enunciate for us our statement of faith. As I look at the work of many of these people, it seems to be to obscure the specifications of our truths making our position closer to those of the fallen churches of Babylon." But as a delegate to the 1980 Session, Dr. Standish failed to see that that was exactly what was done in the voted Statement of Beliefs.
Another one to whom the Questionnaire was sent who also tried to circumvent direct answers to the questions asked, was Elder Willard Santee. He instead drew up a series of quotations from "Ellen," and signed his name to these. Among these quotations were two from Great Controversy, pp. 598, 595, in that order. In the light of events which have followed this one page letter from Santee, it is now clear why he declined to answer the Questionnaire. After having had circulated throughout the world a series of tapes on "The Circle of Apostasy," he now in his most recent tapes encourages his listeners to return to that apostasy, and to find fellowship therein! He goes so far as to suggest that we should pray daily for Pope John Paul II. Have we thrown to the four winds the description by Paul of "the man of sin" as the one in whom all iniquity has found its abode? But who knows when one begins playing with the devil in exorcism, to what lengths the Satanic spirit will lead?
Seemingly the one who became the most agitated over the Questionnaire was Lewis R. Walton. He first sent a letter demanding that it be published in full just as written. In the letter was much more than merely the subject matter involving the Statement of Beliefs as requested in the Questionnaire. He even made a very excellent observation, but due to the restrictions placed on his letter, comment cannot be made. It seems that he still is holding rancor over the Ankerberg Show.
his letter, I replied, and sent him another copy of the Questionnaire,
p 5 -- had returned the first with his letter. Several other letters followed. Finally, he suggested innuendo on a personal level, just legally shy of outright libel - then abruptly closed off correspondence, refusing to accept any more letters. For those readers who are interested in the nature of the exchange involving one who has been so highly promoted by the Church, and in harmony with Walton's request to have published his first letter in its entirety, we will make available upon request the, entire exchange of correspondence. [Send $1.00 (US) to cover postage and costs. Ask for the Lewis Walton-Grotheer Letter Exchange.]
From none of the others was any kind of a reply received. This should tell all who are interested in knowing, something of the fence straddling that is going on in the name of "historic" Adventism. Recent information indicates that one of the most prolific writers in supposedly upholding "historic" Adventism, and who was deeply involved with Brinsmead during his early "Awakening" Message, is seeking to restore this erroneous teaching. He is using the apostasy in the Church which resulted from the SDA-Evangelical Conferences as the bait on the hook of Brinsmeadism to catch the unwary. This is travelling over the same road that Brinsmead travelled. He, too, used the results of the Evangelical Conferences as a spring board for the presentation of teachings allied with the "Holy Flesh" doctrine. Brinsmead had sense enough to recognize this error, but was unable to resolve the theological inconsistencies inherent in his original teaching. This finally led to his complete abandonment of the Truth as it is in Jesus. We dare not go either to the right hand, nor to the left hand, but must stay on the "King's Highway" that pathway lifted high above the world upon which the children of God are to walk.
THE BASIS OF VICTORY -- "They overcame [the dragon] , by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death." Rev. 12-:11
SOVIET PRESS ATTACK ON TRUE AND FREE ADVENTISTS -- by Marite Sapiets -- Editor's Note: Miss Sapiets is senior Soviet researcher for Keston College, and is presently writing a book on Adventists in the USSR.
On July l, the newspaper Pravda Vostoka, the Russian-language daily of Uzbekistan, published a virulent attack on the past and present leadership of the unregistered "True and Free Seventh-day Adventist Church. The article by N. Shalamova, entitled "The Truth Behind the Mask" accused True and Free Adventist pastors of being traitors to the Soviet Union and "haters of humanity."
After referring approvingly to the activities of the 1982 World Peace Conference, organized in Moscow by the Russian Orthodox Church, Pravda Vostoka mentions "other voices" who want to continue the arms race, and increase military spending. Among these, it seems, are the True and Free Adventists - somewhat surprisingly for a religious group whose original quarrel with the Soviet authorities was based on conscientious objection to military service. However, their real crime is stated in the following sentence: "Full of hatred for anything Soviet, they write and secretly send abroad all kinds of distortions, which they describe as appeals."
They try to "blacken the Soviet laws on religious cults" and even send their "filthy slanders and baseless attacks on our socialist system" to the White House. (This is undoubtedly a reference to the 800-page document sent to the Madrid Conference in 1980 by the True and Free Adventists, describing their treatment at the hands of the local Soviet authorities, and the letter to President Carter by V. A. Shelkov, the late True and Free Adventist leader.)
True and Free Seventh-day Adventist leaders are accused of setting themselves
up as "apostles"' and "little Christs," [Where have
we heard this before?] of living on the earnings of their followers
and terrorising them by threatening to call
p 6 -- down curses from heaven. Despite the fact that the Soviet Constitution allows freedom of conscience to believers "as long as it is not against the interests of our people and state," True and Free Adventist pastors are said to be calling on their flock to break Soviet laws, to indulge in anti-Soviet activity and obstruct the construction of socialist society. None of the laws allegedly broken is cited nor are the accusations explained in further detail.
The slanders of the True and Free Adventists against "our system and our country" consist of allegations that believers in the USSR are persecuted. The article explains such allegations by the hatred of the Adventists for the benefits of education and employment granted to them by the Soviet system and their desire to be "martyrs for the faith."
The central theme of Shalamova's article is that the True and Free Adventist leaders, such as the "notorious Shelkov," were really all collaborators with the German occupying forces during the last war and must be unmasked as such. V. A. Shelkov himself, who was tried in 1979 for slandering the Soviet system, sentenced to five years' imprisonment, and died in a labour camp in 1980 at the age of 84, is presented as a cunning pro-German agitator, like the former Adventist leaders Manzhura and Gadiukin. Gadiukin is even said to have been recruited as a spy by the "fascists" in 1918, after graduating from a Bible college in Germany. The "collaborationist" activities of all three True and Free Adventist leaders are listed: they lived under German occupation in Pyatigorsk and organised religious activities, including church services, they learned German, confirmed publicly that the NKVD (Soviet secret police) had brutally murdered people and preached conscientious objection to army service (in itself hardly very useful to the Germans) . This is described as "treason to human morality and conscience."
The fact that Shelkov and other True and Free Adventist leaders, subject to arrest under Soviet law since 1929 as pastors of unregistered religious organisations, lived on false passports without resident permits, is presented by Shalamova as fear of "just punishment" for their supposed treason during the war. Shelkov's campaign for human rights in the 1970's is presented as hypocritical in view of his supposed wartime "treason" and his "cooperation with foreign intelligence services" (a suddenly introduced new charge).
Shelkov's trial in 1979, together with his fellow "traitors" is described as if it had been treason, instead of for publicising the facts of anti-religious persecution of a pacifist group.
The reason for this new official attack on the True and Free Adventists, whose activities have certainly decreased in the past two years, is revealed at the end of Shalamova's article, when "a certain Leonid Murkin" is subjected to abuse. Murkin, although not previously prominent as a True and Free Adventist, now seems to have become the Church's new leader and Shelkov's successor. He is described as Shelkov's former assistant and has been an Adventist since childhood. The article accuses him of avoiding the military call-up during the last war, of forging documents, masquerading as a Soviet soldier (?!) and of living as a "parasite. " In other words, he is following the usual pacifist traditions of the True and Free Adventists and is forced to lead an underground existence because the state will not recognise these congregations as legal.
Shalamova's attack is based entirely on a "patriotic" condemnation of conscientious objectors and critics of Soviet society and makes not a single precise accusation against Murkin, Shelkov or any other True and Free Adventist except that of forging personal documents. Nevertheless, although the True and Free Adventists have provided much precise evidence about violation of their rights by the Soviet state in documents sent to Madrid, it is their new leader Murkin who is accused by Pravda Vostoka of really violating believers' rights (though it is not stated how).
is possible that the recent reconciliation between the official Seventh-day
Adventist Church and a group of Adventists who left the Church in the
1960's has led to a new campaign against the remaining "unofficial"
Adventists. Keston News Service, #178, July 14, 1983,
p 7 -- QUOTES FROM ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S PIPELINE -- "A reliable source in the Northern California Conference has just revealed that the final tally of dollars lost by the Conference and Association on the Stock Market amounted to $1.7 million ...
"Local and Union Conference officials had characterized the stocks purchased as 'all of the blue chip variety' and that they had been selected by 'a group of experts to whom we gave complete authority to buy and sell in our behalf.' Laymen learned that the 'group of experts' contained not one single Seventh-day Adventist Church member and that the portfolio of stocks described as 'all blue chip variety' consisted of such companies as Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey Circus, and among others, a host of small, insignificant, virtually unknown and highly speculative businesses.
"Elder James C. Chase, was the president of both the Northern California Conference and the NCC Association during the period most of the stock market purchases took place." July 1, 1983 [Chase now heads up one of the GC Depts.] --- (1983 Oct) --- END --- TOP
1983 Nov -- XVI - 11(83) -- Let's Talk About Money -- Editor's Note: On our recent trip West in September, the issue of money - tithes and offerings - was raised in several places. In most instances, individuals, aware of the apostasy in the midst of nominal Adventism asked in sincerity - "Where shall I pay my tithes and/or offerings?" Others sought to raise the money question to discredit the presentation of historic Adventism. In one place, the first elder told members of the local Seventh-day Adventist Church that he had a "ten year file on Elder Grotheer." This sounded impressive. When confronted, it turned out to be simply that he had received the Thought Paper - "Watchman, What of the Night?" - for ten years! But based on his "file," he asserted that we were there merely to collect tithes and bleed the people of their means. What did he think - that we had some kind of a "Davenport Connection"? The simple truth is that at no Watchman Meeting do we even take an offering, much less solicit funds from anyone. However since the issue was made so prominent in recent meetings, we believe that all of our readers are entitled to know where we stand on such a crucial issue as tithes and offerings. The following presentation was prepared several months ago when the same issue was raised by Lewis Walton in his exchange of correspondence over the Questionnaire. We believe that its release now can serve an useful purpose in the light of further questions and baseless insinuations.
In the long shadows cast by the Davenport scandal, the subject of money is not very apropos. However, there is much that can be revealed as to real conviction when money and the work of God coincide. No one launching a program or a business can do so without first counting the cost, and to meet that cost, the question follows - "Where is the money going to come from?" Jesus Himself stated that no man "intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28)
About twelve years ago, a group of five men sat down in their first session as the Board of Directors of the Adventist Laymen's Foundation. Already the Thought Paper, "Watchman, What of the Night?" had been in circulation for four years. The mailing list was growing. Folk were writing in - some sending contributions unsolicited and asking for tax deductible receipts. To answer these requests was one of the main reasons why the Foundation was formed. One of the first items on the Agenda was how we would relate to the subject of money - money to operate. Should we solicit funds through the Thought Paper? Just how shall the work be underwritten? Though legally formed as a Foundation, there had been no grant, or any capital for its base. It would have to be solely dependent on the means provided by those who received the Thought Paper, and appreciated its objectives. Should we in circular letters let the readers know our needs? These and other questions were freely discussed. The final decision - voted as a regular operating policy - was that at no time under any circumstance would we solicit funds for the operation of the Foundation and its outreach.
There have been times when I, as the Executive Secretary, have been tempted to go to the Board and suggest - "Let's revise this policy. Perhaps with more funds, we could move forward more rapidly." But
p 2 -- no, we have rigidly held to this policy and at no time have we through the ThoughtPaper asked for money for the Foundation, nor have we sent letters to those on the mailing list soliciting funds. Why?
The discussion on the Board at that first meeting when formulating this guideline went something like this: Did we believe that which we were doing was of the Lord? The answer was emphatically - "Yes!" Then it was the Lord's work. Was He not, therefore, responsible to see that His work was sufficiently funded? The answer was again, "Yes. " This being so, He would provide through the moving of His Holy Spirit on human hearts. If we had to "beg" - and that is what soliciting is - then we would know that it is of human origin, and it was not the work we should be doing.
Soliciting money for religious purposes is quite revealing. If one appeals to men, and by so doing receives their support, then he will modulate his messages so as not to cut off the money supply. In whatever form a message is published - journal, paper, or folder - if there is a "begging" for money, you can mark down that work as of man, dependent on man, and will lead ultimately to the mark of the beast, which is really the mark of a man. See Rev. 13:18. God still owns the cattle upon a thousand hills; all the gold and silver are His. He has never made His work dependent upon man - the very stones would cry out, if human hearts, - many of them harder than stone - would not respond to the moving of the Holy Spirit.
To every one to whom means has been given, that individual becomes a steward of those means. To the child of God, this becomes an awesome responsibility. His monies dare not be used to support error, but only truth. Only the Spirit of Truth, through the Word of God, can tell him where truth is being proclaimed. Furthermore, his monies to be blessed of Heaven, can support only that which is of heavenly origin and planning: in other words, God's program, not one of human devising, no matter how seemingly worthy. This takes faith and the guidance of the Holy Spirit on the part of all parties - those proclaiming truth, believing that God is able to provide for that proclamation, and faith on the part of the giver that the Holy Spirit can speak to his heart and tell him what is right, and where the means entrusted to his stewardship are to be placed.
I know of individuals who have some money. I believe that I could go to these persons and by persuasion obtain from them some funds to be used in the work of the Foundation. However, if they did respond to my pleadings, I could only tell them, "Thank you." I could not bless them. Only as they gave freely - and that doesn't mean only liberally, but also free from pressure - can they receive a blessing from Heaven, if in their giving they responded to the moving of the Divine Spirit. How much better the blessing of Heaven, than the "mouthings" of men!
There are various human motivations that have been and are being used to obtain money. There is the poverty appeal. One is so poor, yet he is devoting his time and pittance for the proclamation of historic Adventism - even living on "Food Stamps" so that the work might go forward - surely you must give to support that program.
I am reminded of the time when we first accepted the Truth - now decades ago - that a retired minister in whose home the Sabbath services were conducted each week assumed as his responsibility the annual solicitation of the business men in the small Mid-western town in which we lived. During the year - on Sabbaths and other special occasions - this minister would dress as if coming right out of the most expensive men's store in town. But in doing Harvest Ingathering, as it was called then, he dressed as if in dire poverty - and he got the money! My mother was acquainted with some of the business people and when they found out we had become Seventh-day Adventists, she would be asked, "Are you unable to pay your preacher adequately?"
sometimes the appeal of sensationalism is used: The Number
666 is appearing out of nowhere, and if you are not careful, you are going
to be "marked" without even realizing it. Just anything to catch
a headline! Sometimes we forget that the God of Elijah is not in the fire,
whirlwind, or storm, but in the still small
p 3 -- voice of truth. To proclaim the truth, pure and unadulterated, is sensational enough today in the midst of the winds of apostasy and heresy which are blowing with gale force.
What is the appeal of heaven? "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isa. 55:1) He that is thus sustained - with the wine of pure doctrine, with the milk of the Word, and who has drunk freely of the waters of salvation - will respond in deep heart-felt appreciation whether out of his poverty, or out of his abundance. How then can any human motivation be in any way justified? It cannot. The appeal to the senses by human devisings, whether by sensationalism, the cry of poverty, or ill health, removes the need and opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move upon the human heart in either appeal or a test. And God is testing us in how we use our means, even as He is testing us as to our discernment of truth. Often these two tests blend into one.
Some folk believe that they can use the monies entrusted to them as "leverage" to obtain some desired objective. I recall as a pastor in a certain large city, a member became unhappy with my ministry. He went to the Conference President and told him that he was withholding his tithe until I was removed as pastor of that church. Fortunately, the Conference President was one of those rare men who could not be motivated by pressure. He told the young man to keep his funds; the conference did not need such money. A few years ago, I was invited to a fine home, and in the course of the conversation I was informed that they had laid up a sum of tithe which they did not feel free to place with the Conference. They suggested that if I would tone down the Thought Paper this money would be given to the Foundation. My answer was a simple but firm - "No." (This has occurred more than once since then.) God's message does not carry a price tag; it cannot be bought neither is it for sale. Believing what God has given me to do as Editor of "Watchman, What of the Night?" is of Him, I must remain free to speak His Word, and let the "chips" fall where they will, so long as the axe is laid to the root of the tree. This concept is shared by each member of the Board of Directors, and they do not seek to influence my work, nor bind it about with directives. This leaves me answerable to God alone to Whom I must give a final accounting.
Perhaps it would be in order to tell you how this work began. I was employed in an educational project in the State of Mississippi which required driving a 120 mile round trip each day. [At that time, I had requested, and received a leave of absence from the ministry.] Due to testing that I had to supervise, sometimes it was late at night - midnight and after - when I would return home. This left me with little time for my first love - study, and research. The dark clouds of apostasy were getting darker and heavier, and voices of warning were few indeed back there in 1967. Already the last sign Jesus had given was in the process of fulfillment. I had not perceived this fact at that time - that came a few years later. One morning - after one of those nights of testing in this Adult Learning Program - I was returning to the Center in Yazoo City. My mind was agitated - torn between what I was doing, and what God was calling me to do. I pulled over to the side of the road, and broke down in crying. It was then that I told the Lord that if He would find me a job closer to home so that I would have time to study and write, I would do it. He did, and I, by His grace, kept my word - the first Thought Paper was published, January, 1968, and has been in continuous publication since then.
are also other ways in which individuals seek to use their entrusted means
to manipulate a work to their own ends. We were informed earlier this
year that a sizable sum of money was to be given to the Foundation. It
represented a sum equal to 60% of what the total annual receipts were
for 1982. However, there were some strings attached. We would be asked
to use the channels of the Foundation to transfer monies to some of this
person's well-to-do relatives so they could avoid taxes. The integrity
of the Foundation is not for sale - the man still has his money.
p 4 -- When we talk about money, there always arises the question - what about the tithe? Where do I pay my tithe? This is not an easy question, for to answer this question some other questions must be answered. What is truth, and where is truth being proclaimed? We dare not follow the tradition to which one has been subjected to over the years. We have been told - "The Lord has not specified any regular channel through which means should pass." (EGW, Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 498, Letter dated, August 15, 1898) Turning to the Word of God, we have some specific instruction: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse." (Mal. 3:10) And here is where the hierarchy would like the text to stop. They interpret the word - "storehouse" to mean the Conference via the local church treasurer. But the text in Malachi does not stop there - it states the purpose of the tithe - "that there may be meat [food] in Mine house." Now the "house of God" is His church - no question about that. But what is His Church - a building? The Bible clearly states that the Church - His Church - is to be "the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15) Since the food which God provides is His word, which is truth, He designs that the tithe be used to support those who provide truth to His household. Those who so proclaim truth are called "faithful and wise servants" who have been set by God as overseers of "His household to give them meat [food] in due season." (Matt. 24:45) There can be no justification in using tithe to support error, and the spread of apostasy. Those who continue to so use their tithe will have to give an accounting in the day of judgment as to how they used the Lord' s means entrusted to them.
"All the tithe ... is the Lord's." (Lev 27:30) It has been defined as the tenth - "the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord." (Lev. 27:32) Over this we have no control, except in its allocation as a steward. The guidelines specify - "I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Numbers 18:21) From the Levite who carried away the ashes of the Altar, to the High Priest who ministered in the Sanctuary, all were supported by the tithe. The tithe was not used for non-Levitical ministries. In the New Testament, Paul asks - "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?" He then concludes - "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." (I Cor. 9:13-14) To appropriate the tithe to any other use, is a misuse of the tithe.
Beyond the tithe, there are offerings. (See Mal. 3:8) Now what is an offering? It is something freely given of an undetermined amount. This comes back solely and squarely on the individual with the entrusted means. It is beyond the tithe, monies which God recognizes as belonging to the individual. How then do we determine an offering? How did God use what belonged to Him - His Son? Our offerings reflect what we think of the gift of Jesus. This is why no man has the right to "beg" from you your means. Your appreciation of Jesus must be determined in communion with the Holy Spirit alone at the Altar of Prayer in the study of the Word. There at that Altar, both he that is doing the work of God, and he whom God gives the privilege to support that work find their common fellowship.
OF INTEREST --
on the West Coast, I was approached by a brother who was concerned about
the ministry of Charles Wheeling. He had called the headquarters of the
Alabama-Mississippi Conference in Montgomery, Ala. He told me with whom
he had talked, and having had personal contact with him, I knew that I
would need better documentation than just this telephone conversation.
Being close to Pacific Union College at the time, I went to the Library
and secured a copy of a page from the 1983 Yearbook (p. 254). Sure
enough, Charles E. Wheeling is listed as a member of the Conference Committee,
the policy making body of that Conference. This explained why Wheeling
could not answer the Questionnaire sent to him. While setting himself
forth as an expositor of historic Adventism, he is "walking"
in "policy making" fellowship with those who support the 1980
p 5 -- Dallas Statements of Belief which is a denial of historic Adventism. This is a conflict of interests. How can two walk together lest they be agreed? The officer of the Conference assured the brother on the West Coast that Charles Wheeling was a valued and esteemed member of the Conference Committee. With this conflict of interest, Brother Wheeling can only urge the "awakening virgins" to go to them that sell to obtain their oil for their flickering lamps. You can read the results of such action in Matthew 25:1-13.
"LAY BIBLE MINISTRY" -- This is the title of one of the front page articles appearing in the July issue of BC Adventist Highlights. "BC Adventist Highlights is issued to bring news, plans, schedules, and opinions to the attention of the Adventist Church in British Columbia" (Canada). In the article the question is asked "What does a person have to do to become a Lay Bible Minister and hold credentials for this position?" There are seven points listed, but #3 holds the key as to the theology the Lay Bible Minister must espouse, and the kind of doctrine the prospective member of the neo-Adventist Church will be taught. It reads: "Believe and practice the 27 major doctrinal beliefs as stressed at the last General Conference in Dallas."
The author of this news article stresses "With all my heart, I believe that this is God's plan." Let us be absolutely honest - while a person's heart may believe that something is truly God's plan, God's plan does not include an affirmation to apostasy, nor does it commit a person to teach heresy.
This program raises several questions. What if a person decides to give Bible studies, but gives the Bible studies according to the fundamentals of historic Adventism? Will those who accept the Truth under such a presentation be accepted into the Church; because if so instructed, such a convert to Truth will not be able to agree with the 1980 Statements of Belief? Perhaps the desire of local pastors for "numbers" to report will mute this question somewhat. But what conflicts will the "new" member find as he or she comes in contact with the theology of the pastor, and the concepts expressed in the Sabbath School lessons? Then on the other hand, if such a person is not accepted into the neo-Adventist Church, to where shall he or she be taken? This question must be addressed by all who in sincerity hold to the faith committed to our trust in the beginning of the Advent Movement, and magnified in the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith, and renewed in the 1950 Call to Denominational Repentance. Perhaps it is time that we give serious consideration to what constitutes the "cry" at midnight which in the parable-prophecy awakens the sleeping virgins. See Matt. 25:6.
TITHE DE-SANCTIFICATION -- In the same issue of BC Adventist Highlights, another front page article was captioned - "Your Tithe Dollar." A diagram indicated the breakdown reflecting the British Columbia Conference allocations.
-- to GC and Canadian Union
will notice that 10% is assigned as "Tithe Exchange." This is
the process by which a conference de-sanctifies their tithe dollars, and
receives back in exchange non-tithe funds. The article explained - "The
funds used for Tithe Exchange are amounts that are exchanged through the
General Conference wherein such tithe dollars are used in mission work
and an equal amount of non-tithe dollars
p 6 -- is exchanged or returned to the BC Conference." This raises a very interesting question. If each conference in the North American Division seeks to de-sanctify 10% of their tithes, this would amount to a very large sum of money to be sent back from the General Conference as non-tithe funds. Where does the General Conference obtain such a large amount of non-tithe monies? Does this money come from Ingathering funds? Or are there other large supplies of capital unknown to the laity?
You will also observe that 4% is listed as "Administration Expense." This is explained as costs "for such items as telephone, postage, general printing, insurance, equipment, maintenance and repairs." (p. 3) Some of these items fail to qualify to be paid for from the tithe. In the sanctuary service, Moses was instructed "to command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always." (Ex. 27:20) Besides this specific command, there was the half shekel atonement money which was appointed "for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Ex. 30:13-16) This was an offering not tithe. Perhaps, if we followed more closely the "way of God" in the sanctuary, we would not need to engage in tithe de-sanctification, or use the sacred tithe for expenditures which fail to come under the category of proper tithe uses. But when we seek to mute our sanctuary teaching in the doctrinal area, we find it an easy matter to alter the other lessons that God placed there for us. Such guilt is not alone shared by those who so use the tithe, but also by those who continue to support such a program by their tithe.
TWO NEW TAPES -- "Only Elijahs Can Give the Elijah Message" - also "Issues Facing Seventh-day Adventists"
The second tape presents issues arising from our church history, the "messenger" office given Ellen G. White, and squarely confronts the challenge of the so-called "Deliverance Ministry."- See Order Form.
IMPRESSIONS FROM THE ANNUAL FELLOWSHIP MEETING -- by Daniel Werezuk -- When I made the decision to leave Canada and my closely knit family, and head for Arkansas, I claimed the promise of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30: "Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come, eternal life."
Somehow, though, I just couldn't believe that I could ever again experience the closeness and the caring that I had left behind. During my three years as an Adventist, I had attended all the SDA campmeetings in my home area; but somehow, the pioneering attitude of learning and fellowship I had read so much about, with the Holy Spirit walking about the campgrounds, was never really realized.
Imagine my surprise during six short days I spent at the Annual Fellowship at Pinecrest Camp. To be able to walk up to a total stranger, and within minutes be hearing and sharing deep, spiritual thoughts and experiences, was to me, a joy long overdue. How many brother, sisters, mothers and fathers I received, I failed to keep account of ...
It was also made evident by the sermons shared that the Holy Spirit was also present. The unity of all the messages brought forth lessons such as the importance of establishing and being able to prove our beliefs from the Bible and the Bible only; the danger of not studying out for ourselves the things we hear; the danger of trusting in man; the great responsibilities we now bear to the SDA organization, and to those in the world who will hear; and the importance of Christ's life as our example in all things. The apostasy of the hierarchy was made so evident and simple that everyone clearly understood the crisis now being faced.
tears were shed during the Sabbath afternoon Communion Service, as thoughts
p 7 -- of returning to a bleak, loveless world, and thoughts of parting company, maybe never to meet on this Earth again, filled many hearts with loving sadness. Only the remembrance of our divine commission and of the work to be done, comforted us, as did the promise of eternal fellowship with Christ, a fellowship that will never end. Enfeebled and defective as it may seem, the church of Christ, His body of true believers, with Him as its head, rests in the promise of His soon return, with the assurance that it shall indeed go through.
I was very grateful to be at the Annual Fellowship this year. I was able to meet many people who stand for historic Adventism. There was a friendly spirit of fellowship and devotion in the camp. From many parts of the United States people came, as well as some from Canada.
To discern present duty in the face of apostasy, and to discern truth from error the burden of the speakers. In all that was done and said, it was realized that we need a much deeper experience with God than we have now attained. To read about Daniel is one thing, but to be like him is a different matter. May God help us to be settled in His truth that we like Daniel may have the courage to stand for that truth as individuals and as people. The fellowship helped me to see that we must not allow man to stop us from worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth.
CIA AND VATICAN POLICY -- Church and State in its September, 1983 issue tells about a year-long investigation financed in part by the Mother Jones Investigative Fund. The cover story written by Martin A. Lee, the investigator, in the July issue of the Mother Jones magazine noted the following findings: 1) "The CIA supported factions within the Catholic Church that were instrumental in promoting and electing the current pope. John Paul II, whose Polish nationalism and anti-Communist credentials, they thought, would make him a perfect vehicle for U.S. foreign policy."
2) "The CIA hired undercover agents to lobby the Vatican government and spy on liberal churchmen on the pope's staff who challenged the political assumptions of the United States."
3) "About 1, 000 prominent American Catholics, including CIA director William Casey and former Secretary of Defense Alexander Haig, are members of a legendary Vatican order called the Sovereign Military Order of Malta that informally influences Vatican policy. Though the list of members is supposed to be secret, Mother Jones revealed familiar names like Lee Iacocca of Chrysler; Robert Abplanalp, aerosol tycoon and Nixon confidant; Barron Hilton of the Hotel chain; John Volpe, former US ambassador to Italy; William Simon, who served as both treasury secretary and energy czar in the 1970s; William Buckley, a former CIA operative and editor of the National Review; and his brother, James Buckley, a former US Senator from New York and now undersecretary of state for security assistance.
"Mother Jones concluded its report with the observation that the CIA is revising its Vatican strategy: instead of using the church to promote American policy, it is encouraging internal conflict between progressive and reactionary elements to make the church ineffectual on political issues that might negatively affect American policy." (Church and State, September, 1983, p. 20) --- (1983 Nov) --- End --- TOP
1983 Dec XVI - 12(83) -- Books Opened In Heaven -- What Is the Basis -- Presently, the book of Revelation is the basis of our Sabbath School lesson study here on the Campus. In studying the message to the Church of Sardis, we noted carefully the promise to him "that overcometh." It reads: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." (Rev. 3:5)
This promise evoked some very interesting questions. Does the book of life contain only names? What about the record of our lives? The Bible does tell us that when "the judgment was set ... the books were opened." (Dan. 7:10) The book of Revelation amplifies this concept of books as it reveals another judgment other than the one pictured in Daniel. Of this judgment - the Judgment of the Great White Throne - we read: "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works," (Rev. 20:12)
Those who come up in the second resurrection are described as "dead." They have no life for they have cut themselves off from the Source of life. Thus their names are not found in the book of life. Their judgment can be based only on the books of record. Even those within the Holy City had the record of their lives in those books. But something else had occurred in respect to them. They had responded in probationary time to the plea as given by Peter - "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19) It is either our record, or our names that will be blotted out, and the difference is Jesus! Why? "Because [God] hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised him from the dead." (Acts. 17:31)
We might ask further - Are these books of record kept as a balance sheet, and then computed? Does a negative balance mean simply that we have our names blotted out of the book of life? If the record should show a balance in our favor - the good deeds outweighing the bad deeds does this insure that our names are retained in the Lamb's Book of Life?
To find an answer to these questions, we must turn to the sanctuary where the way of God is revealed. (Ps. 77:13) As we survey the daily ministration, we see that the sinner's sins are mediated through the sin offerings. Only sins are recorded in the sanctuary. The prophet Jeremiah declared: "The sin of Judah is written with a pen
p 2 -- of iron, and with a point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart and upon the horns of your altars." (Jer. 17:1)
The only memorials ever placed within the sanctuary were objects representing the care and choice of God - a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded. Nothing that man did was ever memorialized before the Lord in the sanctuary. No plaques lined the walls of the sacred enclosure, nor were any hung in the Court telling of the gifts made by man; neither were the names of the greats in Israel and the record of their service displayed before God.
Yet Israel appeared before the Lord in the ministry of the High Priest. For he carried the names of Israel "upon his heart" and he carried them "upon his shoulders" before the Lord "for a memorial." The record is worth contemplating. It reads: "And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial. And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; ... And thou shalt set in it settings of stones ... and the stones shall be with the twelve names of the children of Israel ... And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial unto the Lord continually ... And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually." (Ex. 28: 12, 17, 21, 29-30)
In the ministry of the sanctuary for the individual another important lesson is taught. When a common person sinned, or a ruler, the blood was not brought into the sanctuary. The law of the sin offering was very definitive. It read: "This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Lev. 6:25-26; See also Lev. 4:22-35)
It dare not be overlooked that access and acceptance of the individual was through the mediation of the priest chosen and appointed by God. This was the type; thus also the antitype. Christ is our Sin offering - our Substitute - and our High Priest. By Him, and Him alone, our names are either retained, or blotted out of the book of life. Well has it been written: "We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. Ye are accepted in the Beloved. The Lord shows, to the repenting, believing one, that Christ accepts the surrender of the soul, to be molded and fashioned after His own likeness." (SM, bk ii, pp. 32-33) [This statement was made at the 1901 GC Session in connection with the testimony given by Ellen G. White against the Holy Flesh Movement. The whole context is well worth pondering for much of what is being pawned off today as "righteousness" and the means of attaining "perfection" is nothing more than variations of the basic teachings of the men involved in the Holy Flesh Movement which plagued the Indiana Conference from 1899-1901]
In the experience of the condemned thief who was crucified with Christ, we find the only relationship that will carry us through the judgment wherein our names are retained in the Book of Life. He confessed - rebuking his companion in sin - We are here "justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss." Then turning to Jesus, he said - "LORD, remember me, when thou comest in thy kingdom." (Luke 23:41-42) Only by heartfelt confession of our utter destitution, and our acceptance of the Lordship of Christ in our lives, do we have any hope in the Judgment. We cannot blot our sins, neither can we be covered by a "fig-leaf" apron of our own devising.
One responds "But we must overcome!" And it is true that in each epistle of Jesus to the seven churches of Revelation, a promise is made to him "that overcometh."
p 3 -- However, we have prescribed our own course of activity by which we think that we can overcome. The book of Revelation tells us the only way we can truly overcome the wicked one and his wiles. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death." (Rev. 12:11) Here is the Divine formula which the heart of the Laodicean Pharisee refuses to accept. Surely we who profess to believe and teach the message of the sanctuary service, must know that the first step back to the glory of God in the Most Holy Place was contingent upon the blood of the sin offering with all that it meant - meaning simply that the offerer confessed himself a sinner, unable to cover his transgressions. The reason we will not accept this simple fact is that we think so highly of our own works. But God thinks differently. Isaiah tells us plainly that "our righteousnesses" - not our unrighteous deeds - are filthy rags. (Isa. 64:6) [One might profitably take time to check the meaning of the Hebrew word, translated as "filthy rags." It would tell us more vividly how Heaven does view our works.]
Jesus asked an interesting question of His disciples: "Which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink?' Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not." (Luke 17:7-9 NKJV) Now note carefully Jesus' comment: "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" (verse 10 NKJV)
Who has ever heard a modern Pharisee with all of his works of reform - diligently performed - confess himself to be an "unprofitable servant"? We are just not willing to accepts Paul's proof text from the Scripture - "There is none righteous, no not one" - and he was addressing the self righteous Jewish Christian! (Rom. 3:10) But someone remarks - "Why don't you get over into Romans 8? I have passed Romans 3 a long time ago in my experience." That may be true - and that may be just the trouble! If you and I are to be converted daily, then I must start with Romans 3 daily, for no man will recognize his true need each day, until he recognizes his own real condition each day!
The second phase of overcoming - by the divine blue print of Revelation - is "by the word of their testimony." (12: 11) Here is where another set of books come into the picture. Of these we read: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not." (Mal. 3:16-18)
A moment of reflection should teach us much. These "jewels" do not reflect upon themselves - they "thought upon His name." They "serve" Him, not themselves - even though it could cost them their lives. Any reform - or work of our righteousness - which causes us to concentrate upon ourselves is self-serving. When we do those things by which we "feel" good in so doing whether right or wrong - such doing is based on the wrong motivation. Jesus said - "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33) This is speaking of the now present temporal life. But there are many who are seeking to "overcome" by this very means of doing works to preserve the present temporal existence.
the rewards are noted in Heaven, the recipients themselves will be surprised.
Their life on earth was not lived in anticipation of the reward. They
did not structure their mode of living to project the fact that they "fasted
twice a week." (Luke 18:12) They loved not their lives! Knowing their
Saviour, and that in Him their eternal life was secure, they served selflessly
without thought of reward.
p 4 -- They were willing to be even "obedient unto death" as set before them in the great Example. Being constantly "dead" in this life - their life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3) They do not come up in the second resurrection, because they died here. When Christ - Who is their life - appears, they appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:4)
However, those who seek to project self here - either in self preservation or self indulgence - their works, all of them, are written down in the books. These come up in the second resurrection, and are declared, "dead." (Rev. 20:12) Evil deeds and the "filthy rags" of our righteousnesses, both are worthy only of the lake of fire. If our names are not found in the Lamb's Book of Life, we shall be consigned with our righteousnesses to that lake. This is the reward of all such works. (Rev. 20:15)
brings us face to face with the crucial question - "What is the basis
for the Judgment?" There is only one answer Jesus
Christ. And the supreme question "How shall we face it?" Again
The multitude in the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, asked Him on one occasion - "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" To this question, Jesus replied - "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." (John 6:28-29) Then He proceeded to tell them that unless they ate of the "flesh of the Son of man" and drank "His blood," they had no life in them. They were "dead" - just as dead as they would be in the second resurrection. This insistence as to what constituted "the work of God" brought the ministry of Jesus to what is called "the crisis in Galilee." This same teaching causes a crisis whenever and wherever it is taught. Sensing that His own disciples rebelled at it, Jesus said to them - "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63)
To these disciples, the words of Jesus were - "Without Me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) Let us face it. That which we can do - constitutes our righteousnesses - even if it is the right thing to do. Let me illustrate. I am fully persuaded that I should follow a vegetarian diet. Although raised on a meat diet as a child, I do not eat it now. I can do that. So does the Hindu, and so do many Spiritists. Does this place their names in the Book of Life? Again, there are many who have eaten meat - great men whose names are given in the 12th Chapter of Hebrews. Does this remove their names from the Book of Life? But when something is done through me and in me, which I cannot do, it is no longer I that do it, but Christ that dwelleth in me by His Spirit. "The Spirit breathes where it wills, and you hear that sound of gentle stillness, but you cannot tell how it came, nor where it is leading - you only follow. This is the experience of every one who is born of the Spirit." (A free, interpretive translation of John 3:8)
Instead of seeking to project what Christ is like by our works of outward righteousness and show, even as the Pharisees of old, we yield ourselves - accepting His word that we cannot do anything without Him. Then as in His life - He is the Example - "the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." (John 14: 10) Such living becomes selfless service, not self-service. Their names are retained in the Book of Life, for they have no record of their own to put there. All that was done for them, in them, and by them - was His doing! This they realized. It was His blood that washed away their sins; in His power they testified; and their lives - the value of which can be seen only in the cross - could be sacrificed, even unto death. But their identity is preserved - their names are retained. Losing their life, they found it - even eternal life. And this is life eternal, said Jesus, that we might know the only true God, and He who was sent to give life unto men. (See John 17:3)
"The effort to earn salvation by one's own works, inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. For, seeing, that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. All this turns the mind away from God to self. His loves dies out of the heart, and with it perishes love for their fellow-men."
p 5 -- OMISSIONS -- by Daniel Werezuk -- Of interest to many will be the following information with which our Heavenly Instructor is blessing those who are diligently seeking for the truth. Photocopies of the complete letter written by Ellen G. White to brethren Butler and Haskell, from Basel, Switzerland dated December 8, 1886, are now circulating in underground Adventist circles. The mutilated version of this letter appears in Selected Messages, bk, ii. (pp. 376-383, and a small paragraph on pp. 334-335) It is possible the only reason this letter made its way into Selected Messages is so a much abused quotation might find its way into the hands of those who wish to portray the misconception that the organization is "going through." (See page 380) Others, who have had their peaceful security threatened by one of God's messengers, will go to a knowledgeable leader, who will refer them, along with other quotations taken out of context, to this very page. The quotation reads - "The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall."
The fact is that from the beginning of this letter as quoted in Selected Messages (bk ii, p. 376) to the much abused quotation (p. 380), there are four major omissions. The most significant omission begins at the well known series of "dots" which appear at the end of the first paragraph on page 377. The last sentence of that paragraph is "I think how this grieves Jesus." (No interrupting, misleading, suggestive sub-titles are found in Ellen G. White's letter.) The following three revealing omitted paragraphs read: "I think of His great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, ' 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.' [Luke 13:34] God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have had great light and blessings. In the rejecting of Jerusalem it was because great privileges were abused which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their keeping. Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages, for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility.
"The more and increased light God has given make the receiver more responsible. It does not place the receiver in any safer position unless the privileges are wisely improved, prized and used to advance God's glory. Christ said, ' Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.' [Matt., 11:21] 1
"When Jerusalem was divorced 2 from God it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depths of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever entrusted to mortal man to give to the world?"
Another interesting omission occurs at the end of the second series of "dots" on page 379. The context indicates that Haskell and Butler had inquired "in regard to the course which should be pursued to secure the rights of the people to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience." [This, too, was omitted.] Her reply at the point of omission reads: "All the policy in the world cannot save us from a terrible sifting, and all the efforts made with high authorities will not lift us from the scourging of God just because sin is cherished."
These omissions give a different, more specific tone than the mere broad "wrist-slapping" impression left by a casual reading of the letter as found in Selected Messages, bk. ii. The parallels drawn here between historical and spiritual
p 6 -- Israel are indeed sobering, yet they were omitted. WHY? How, Testimonies Vol. 8, pp. 247-251, made its way into print, only God knows! How do we explain the various changes and omissions to be found in Testimonies, Vol. 5, and The Great Controversy?
1 Compare Ellen G. White's use of this text with her use of the verses which follow - Matt. 11:22-23 - as found in the Review & Herald, August 1, 1893. The date indicates that the added light of the message brought by Elders Jones and Waggoner had been given. The Review article reads: "Of those who boast of their light, and yet fail to walk in it, Christ says, 'But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh- day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which had been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. ' "
2 The significance of the use of the word, "divorced" in connection with Jerusalem and spiritual Israel can be seen in a reference found in The Kress Collection, p. 153. It reads: "When Christ saw in the Jewish people a people divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian church united to the world and the Papacy. And as He stood upon Mount Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hills, so He is watching over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, ' Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of my law.' Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and knowledge, as He said to the Jews, ' 0 that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace. But now they are hid from thine eyes.'?"
"The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition" (R&H, July 23, 1889)
"The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicean state." (R&H, August 19, 1890)
SHADOWS BEFORE -- "Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before" -- "One of the main topics discussed at the meeting of the National Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission of the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans, September 6-9, was SUNDAY. It was an in-depth study. The question addressed was: Do we keep Sunday or does Sunday keep us? The study began with a summary of the scholarly consensus on the origins of Sunday and some brief remarks on its subsequent history. This served to bring us some key images; the first day of the week, the eighth day, the day of the resurrection - the Lord's day. On the basis of these images, Sunday was sketched as a sacrament of the Christian life: an unmistakable temporal sign of the hidden reality of grace in the world. The observance of Sunday, the study declared, properly understood is a way of living.
"Dr Wyeth Willard, president of The Lord's League of New England, and the editor and executive director [Dr. James P. Wesberry] of the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States were in attendance as invited guests." (Sunday, Summer, 1983, p. 21)
The language is ominous: Sunday is declared to be a "sacrament" of the Christian life, and this must be understood in the light of the meaning of that term in Catholic teaching. Further, Sunday is conceived as a "sign" of grace in the world. The "observance of Sunday" is to be considered as "a way of living." New battle lines are taking shape. Over and above the issue of which twenty-four hours are to be observed as the Sabbath, comes the appeal that Sunday is a "sign" of grace, and in its observance is to be a "way" of living.
must not forget the early Christians were known as the followers of "The
Way." (See Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14) They followed the Lord Jesus
Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) That
way led to the Cross. Then should it be any surprise to find in a letter
written by Ellen G. White in 1898 (Letter 126: 7BC:968) , a question
is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His
She then gives an answer to her
p 7 -- own question. It is "a mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord's adopted sons and daughters." The Sabbath as revealed to us by Him who is the truth, becomes a "sign" of a way of living, which involves the Cross. What greater "temporal sign" of "grace" could be conceived than the Sabbath "rest" in connection with the "rest" provided by Jesus for our sins. And this is the relationship in which the Sabbath is placed in the New Testament. (See Hebrews 4) Thus we face two Christs, two ways, and two signs of those ways, one representing true grace, and the other a false grace.
As the tensions in the world mount, the appeal to "rest" both physically and spiritually will increase. One must never forget that the book - Divine Rest for Human Restlessness - by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, carries a "Foreword" by none other than the editor and executive director of the Lord's Day Alliance, Dr. James P. Wesberry. In this book, Dr. Bacchiocchi discusses the plucking of grain on the Sabbath, and Jesus' reply citing the example of David. He then writes - "It is human need and not position that takes prior claim over the law." (p. 157) Will the "need" for rest in our modern society finally be argued as a "prior claim" to the fact that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God?
One professor at Andrews University in recommending Bacchiocchi's book wrote: "This new book, which dialogs with virtually all the literature on the subject, is a must for those who are tired of dissertations on which day is the Sabbath and when to keep it but wish to move on to why and how of satisfying Sabbath observance." (Ibid., insert)
Can a satisfying way be realized separated from truth? Jesus is not only "the way, He is also "the truth."
THE LORD'S DAY ALLIANCE BELIEVES: -- "that the Lord's day is the weekly festival of Christ's resurrection from the grave and that it should be kept joyfully, gladly, reverently and prayerfully by all of His followers as a day for worship, rest, religious instruction, human service and family culture in token of deepest love, loyalty, gratitude and faith.
"The Lord's Day Alliance aims to promote the fullest recognition of the divine purpose of the Lord's Day, to conserve this priceless heritage for all people and to secure the proper and conscientious observance of the day in the interest of those attainments in religion and morals upon which the stability and well-being of our nation depends.
"We set ourselves unreservedly and unapologetically to contend against the adverse influences arising both from business and pleasure which so strongly assert themselves and which threaten the integrity of this blessed day of rest and worship....
"We believe that Sunday is a holy day, not a glorified holiday and that the whole day should be kept holy, not half of it." (Sunday, Summer, 1983, pp. 4-5) --- (1983 Dec) ---End----