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
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."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming back.
WWN 1999 Jul - Sep
1999Jul -- XXXII -- 7(99) -- HISTORICAL DATA REVIEWED -- Part 2 -- Editor's Preface --In the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church there have been three lay organizations which operated independent of the control of the General Conference, yet with their approval or quasi-approval. Two are a matter of past history: Dr. Harvey J. Kellogg and the Battle Creek Medical association, Madison College and its units. At present, there is only one "independent lay organization with official approval of the General Conference." That organization is the Association of Adventist Forums which received that approval in 1967. In the first article - "Historical Data Reviewed - 2" - we discuss the impact which this association has had on the Church giving special attention to the doctrinal teachings involved. One, the question discussing the age of the earth involving its origin strikes directly at the fourth commandment as well as the First Angel's Message. The other doctrine is the message the sanctuary conveys in typology. This latter question raised by Dr. Desmond Ford at a Forum meeting cannot be laid solely at the door of the Association. Ford was merely articulating the full implications of the compromises made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences. One challenge raised by Ford needs to be given special study and an answer found that harmonizes with the type and other related Scriptural data. The whole of the agitation fomented over the "Investigative Judgment" points to the fact that we are still stumbling over what 1888was really all about - the advancing light of truth.
Recently, we have received calls from folk in the field asking about a video which is being circulated on the subject of the Alpha and Omega. We have spent considerable time reviewing, this video. "Review and Definitions" discusses some of the questions raised on the tape. The basic problem is that individuals want to make it so clear that they are anti Trinitarian, that they have gauged their beliefs by what the " pioneers" said instead of by a "Thus saith the Lord." There is a difference; and the fact that Adventist "pioneers" did not all teach the same thing, requires then a selection of whom to quote. This is deceptive because the average viewer is no, aware what unnamed, though leading "pioneers" taught.
p 2 -- HISTORICAL DATA REVIEWED -- Part 2 -- Not only did the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in the mid-1950s signal a doctrinal revision of some of the basic concepts of the Advent Movement, but in the decade of the 1960s, along with the controversy which ensued as a result of the compromises made with the Evangelicals, another "conflict developed in Adventism. For the first time in its history, a whole generation of scholars with doctorates from secular universities became active in church institutions" (Spectrum, Vol. 15, #2, p. 23). At this same time, a growing number of Adventists who were earning doctorates were also entering a secular society which increasingly regarded the role of the church in society as irrelevant. Many of these, though having been nurtured by the church, became convinced that their individual participation within the framework of the Church was ineffectual in helping them to meet the issues they faced in the late 20th century society in which they found employment. Others, though equally concerned, met together in small groups in America and abroad to seek a solution. Often these groups formed around a nucleus of graduate students and/or academic and professional people who had to deal directly with issues in interaction with their peers. The rapid growth of these groups and their contacts with each other made it clear that a co-ordinated effort was needed to extend the dialogue they were having to a wider community of interested people within Adventism.
"To further this spontaneous search for meaningful participation, the General Conference of Seventh-day Advendsts invited representatives from several of these groups to meet with them in October of 1967. The purpose was to discuss possible methods of establishing a cohesive program to provide a dialogue between the church leadership and this segment of the laity and to involve the later more significantly in the activities and concerns of the formal church. The outgrowth of that meeting was an action by the officers of the General Conference (taken at the 1967 Fall Council) to approve the establishment of an orgamization known as The Association of Adventist Forums." Its overall purpose as stated in its constitution was "to provide a Forum in which thoughtful persons of Seventh-day Adventist orientation" would "be encouraged to examine and to discuss freely issues and ideas relevant to the church in all its aspects." (Spectrum, #1, p. 5)
The. Association of Adventist Forums is "the only independent lay organization with official approval of the General Conference." (Spectrum, Vol.10, #4, p. 42) One of the moving figures in the growth of the Association was Dr. Roy Branson, grandson of a former General Conference president, W. H. Branson. When still a senior English major at Atlantic Union College in 1959, Branson envisioned a publication which would "encourage Seventh-day Adventist participation in the discussion of contemporary issues" as well as "to foster Christian intellectual and cultural growth." Two year: after the approval of the Association of Adventist Forums, the Association decided to make Branson's journal concept a reality. Spectrum made its debut with Dr, Mollerous Couperus as its first editor. Seven years later Branson hirriself became co-editor with Charles Scriven, These two changed the publication from an acadermic journal to a contemporary magazine. After three years Branson became the sole editor and expanded the contents of Spectrum to include news about the denomina tion. It provided an independent voice in Adventism by which the journal acted as the "Fourth Estate" for the church.
In this role there are some pluses. Insight into legal cases involving the Church, such as, the Mary Kay Silver legal suit, as well as the Davenport scandal were made available to the laity in the pages of Spectrum. The 1919 Bible Conference minutes in a critical area of thought in Adventism were published. However, the minuses out-weigh the pluses. Some of the forces at work in Adventsim did not begin with the Association of Adventist Forums; they were forces which created the Association. The impact of higher education raised questions which struck at the very heart of Adventism. All secular higher education is structured in the framework of the evolutionary theory whether in scientific disciplines, or in historical studies. The Adventist scholars with doctorates from the secular universities, "Imbued with the values and culture of higher education," began to re-evaluate Adventist tradition. Spectrum provided the "pulpit" for the articulation of these evaluations. The recognition of the Association in 1967 changed the face of Adventism and produced a chasm which has not been bridged. Liberal Adventism has gained the ascendancy.
The doctrine of Creationisn was one point of the conflict. This involves the First Angel's Message and the Sabbath. Are we to take an "open-minded approach"
p 3 -- assurning that "it [is] just as easy to make a mistake in interpreting the book of Revelation [the Bible record] as it [is] to make a mistake in interpreting the book of nature"? Or do we accept the Word of God as the norm by which all judgments are to be governed? The Bible declares that "in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day" (Ex. 20:11). This requires no interpretation. Do we accept the Word of God as spoken? The fruitage of "higher [secular] education" is to question God. The approval to do so by those within the Church who had drunk at the broken cisterns of such education was given by the leadership of the Church at the Fall Council in 1967.
A comment on the division caused in the Church by the cadre of scholars with doctorates from secular institutions, written from the viewpoint of one of their own, is most interesting as well as alarming. It reads: During the early 1960s the conflict did not flare into an open fire. Perhaps the church did not yet clearly understand where the progressives were heading. Progressive theologians, for example, did not attack traditional views. They used traditional terminology and concepts but infused them with new meanings. It may have taken a while for conservatives to sense that although the words and symbols were familiar, the theological perspectives were new.
But the arrival of R. H. Pierson to the General Conference presidency  brought a dramatic change. The new administration concluded that the progressives threatened the very soul and mission of Adventism. (Spectrum, Vol. 15, #2, pp. 25-26)
Yet it was the Pierson administration who gave recogmtion to the Association of Adventist Forums which in turn gave voice to this growing segment in the Church.
From the theological point of view, the use of one of the Association of Adventist Forums meetings as a podium by Dr. Desmond Ford to express his opinion that "the doctrine of the Sanctuary as traditionally held by Adventists could not be supported by Scripture" sent shock waves through Adventism in 1979. The local Forum chapter at Pacific Union College was in its second year, and the Forum's co-leaders invited Dr. Ford to speak at the first meeting of the new school year on the subject, "The Investigative Judgment: Theological Milestone or Historical Necessity."
The results that followed are now history. Ford was given a year's leave of absence to document in writing his views. The document was later privately published as Darilel 8:14, The Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment. Glacierview followed wIth Ford being defrocked, yet he still retains membership in the PUC campus Church. These, events both preceded and followed the 1980 General Conference session in Dallas where a new Statement of Beliefs would be voted by the Church in session.
The challenge which Dr. Ford had raised in the Forum presentation was not a new issue but one that had been discussed discreetly in theological circles for years. With Ford's presentation it was now in the open. Actually, Ford's presentation was "the chickens come home to roost." The Church through its representatives had in the 1955-56 SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and in the publication of Questions on Doctrine, denied the final atonement. (See, WWN, XXXII-5(99), p. 6)
We ask, why have these challenges to basic Adventism come into the church? One reason can be found in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 707, which reads: God will arouse His people; If other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat.
However, the context of this statement does not encourage "traditionalism." Two paragraphs prior to the revelation of God's intent is found this warning note: The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God's people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminatIng between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what. (ibid.)
As a result of the status given in 1967 to the liberal element, which had developed within the church through the influence of "higher education," divisions resulted, divisions which are still with us. In the regular Church itself, there are the liberals, who prefer to see themselves as progressives, and the conservatives; while on the pcriphery of the Church are splintered groups of "independents" who can best be described as "traditionalists," many of "whom designate themselves as "historic" Adventists.
Actually, one of the basic problems of 1888, is still with
p 4 -- us. We continue to discuss whether the message was accepted or rejected as well as what the message really was, and still do not face up to the real issue that was involved in the crisis - attitude toward truth. Those opposed to Jones and Waggoner were shouting "about standing by the old landmarks" when there was "evidence they knew not what the old landmarks were." (Ms. 13, 1889) The same thinking, articulated in different terms, is still with us. It was this attitude in 1888 and followirig, that caused the servant of the Lord to caution that "we must not think, 'Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.' The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." (R&H, March 25, 1890) In 1892, Ellen White would write: There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our positions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will loose anything by close investigation. (R&H, Dec. 20, 1892)
Earlier the same year, she had written: We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have an occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. (R&H, July 26, 1892)
Let me illustrate with one problem involved in the issue, raised by Dr. Desmond Ford. In his 425 page tome plus 37 appendices which he prepared during the leave of absence granted him to prepare his defence, he alleges: Few Adventists are aware that the Investigative judgment was a "late-comer" amongst us. It was not taught by our pioneers of 1845. It was not held by Edson, Crosier, or the Whites during the 1840s at any time. When Ellen G. White refers to the experience of searching out the landmarks in the forties, it is a plain fact of history that the Investigative judgment teaching was not among these. Neither do we find in the original visions any reference to an investigative judgment. The cleansing of the sanctuary was certainly a landmark. By this term was meant the eschatological antitype of the Day of Atonement. (p. 374)
There is no question but that Ford has fingered the core of the problem in the sanctuary teaching. While, he claims to accept the position of the pioneers before the investigative judgment factor was added during the 1850s, his explanation of the Heavenly ministry of Jesus, is at variance with the type arid the teachings of the pioneers. He states that the late Don Neufeld when associate editor of the Review wrote that we should not "equate the cleansing of the sanctuary with the investigative judgment." What Elder Neufeld concluded was most instructive: Some have not borne this distinction in mind and have made the judgment the major significance of 1844. The judgment is an important event, but the final atonement and the blotting out of sin were the items upon which the ritual of the Day of Atonement focused. (R&H, Feb. 14, 1980, p. 15)
Here is a major area for study, an area which, if carefully studied, will prove the accuracy of the counsel that ,we have "many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. "
Footnote: In the first issue of the Review for 1980, Elder Don F. Neufeld, associate editor, began a series of nine editorials on "How SDA's adopted the sanctuary doctrine." Two of these, February 7 and 14, focused or "The investigative judgment." Desmond Ford at this same time was in Washington D. C., preparing his defence which was later privately published as Daniel 8:14, The Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment. At the 1979 Annual Council a Statement of Beliefs had been voted to be recommended to the General Session in Dallas in April of 1980. This statement as voted by the Council appeared in the Review (Feb. 21, pp. 8-10) during these series of editorials. The fact that this statement was not published in the "General Organ of the Seventh-day Adventist Church" until four months after it was voted in Annual Council, and just two months prior to its consideration in General Session is indicative of the tensions which gripped the Church as the 1980 Session approached. These tensions will be noted further as we consider the course pursued in the adoption of the Statement in the next issue of WWN.
p 5 -- Review & Definitions -- When the subject of the Godhead is discussed, various terms are used to define the thinking of man, historically arid currently. General terms, such as, polytheism, monotheism, tritheism, are employed. Complications of thought follow when the terms, "Trinity" and "triune God" are introduced as expressions of a monotheistic belief. In some forms of polytheism with its myriad of gods, one finds a triad presiding over the lesser deities, such as in Egypt, the triad of Isis, Horus, and Serapis. In other forms of polytheism one has a single god reigning over these lesser gods, as in Grecian thought - Zeus the supreme ruler reigning on Mount Olympus. Add to this confusion the thinking of Gnosticism in both its pagan and Christian forms.
Today in the community of Adventism, Trinitarianism vs. Anti-Tinitarianism is being "hotly" contested. However, it is not new to Adventism. The pioneers, some of which the present-day advocates of an anti-Trinitarian stance wish to quote, held various beliefs. From believing that Christ was the first of all created beings (Uriah Smith), to the concept that Christ proceeded forth from God but so far back in eternity as to be perceived as having eternally existed (E. J. Waggoner), this range of concepts reveals only one thing, that is, our pioneers were not Trinitarians. To merely be "agin" an error does not mean that one has truth. Often the truth is in neither position being advocated.
The Scriptures plainly teach that there is a controversy between God and a created being named Lucifer who wished to exalt himself as a god (Isa. 14:12-14). In his rebellion against God, he took with him numberless other angels (Rev. 12:4). Polytheism is the worship of these fallen "spirits." However, over these "spirits" in certain forms of polytheism is the triad - three. Lucifer well knew as John declared in the preface to his gospel (1:1-2), there were Two Beings in the Godhead - the Theos and Logos. He, manifesting his original desire, placed himself in the godhead of polytheism. He did not place the Godhead as a "foursome" - a trinity plus one, but as a triad.
In the process of time, the controversy began at the throne of God and was carried out on earth with such intensity that the prophetic picture calls it war (Rev.12:7). But Lucifer prevailed not, and his ultimate destiny was sealed. Vengeful, he turned his wrath against the victor and sought to denigrate Jesus Christ. Christ would be proclaimed as having had a beginning; a lesser God having emanated from the Father. He would not be the sole mediator between God and man, Mary would be placed as co-mediatrix, and other "saints" as intercessors. Anything except joining in the chorus - "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing." (Rev. 5:12).
Over what issue did this great controversy begin? For the answer to this question we are indebted to the insight which the prophetic gift has given us. In Spiritual Gifts, Ellen White wrote: The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel In heaven, next to Jesus Christ. ... And I saw that when God said to His Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man. ... He wished to be highest in heaven, next to God, and receive the highes honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect subjection to the government of God. (Vol. 1, p.17)
What was in God's plan which made the creation of man so objectionable to Lucifer?
Observe closely the following insights: Human beings were a new and distinct order (R&H, Feb 11, 1902).
God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is capable of partaking of the divine nature; of co-operating with his Creator and executing His plans (R&H, April 21, 1885).
Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God ... (R&H, June 18, 1895).
What does "counterpart" mean? In Websters' Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, the word is defined by three synonyms: "duplicate," "compliment," and "equivalent."
In the light of all of this, it doesn't require a graduate degree to understand why the fallen Lucifer was intent on bringing man under his dominion. Nelther should it be difficult to perceive what God had in mind for Adam. Adam failed. However, the Scriptures presents a second
p 6 -- Adam, one who did not fail under a much severer combat with Lucifer. We usually use the motif of a second Adam in the contention over the nature Christ assumed in coming in humanity, rather than exploring to its depth, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus as the second Adam.
What Adam was to become in the purposes of God, the second Adam as man became. As a God-man, He returned to highest heaven and was there seated on the right hand of the Throne of Majesty on high. If the first Adam, "designed to be a counterpart of God," had "passed his test" would he have joined the inner council of Heaven? Would this then have made an "Heavenly Trio"? Not three Gods, or a Trinity, nevertheless Three, a Trio. When the God-man returned to the Courts above, the Writings note: There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these great powers - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ. (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p. 62  )
It needs to be kept in mind the time frame in which this was written. Two years previously Ellen White had written to Kellogg that he was "definitely not clear on the personality of God" (Letter 300, 1903). Kellogg had embraced the doctrine of the Trinity in seeking to establish his pantheistic teachings as orthodox. If language means anything, Ellen White was saying - No, there are not three fully Gods, a trinity; but there is a "Heavenly Trio" - a God-man, the Second Adam, has been added.
There is no question but that teh Incarnation enters the picture in full force at this point, and with it mysteries which the human mind cannot explain, but can by faith accept the facts revealed. Since I have set this portrayal in the light of the revelation as given in the Writings, I shall keep it there as the counsel reads - "The testimonies will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture" (SM, bk. 1, p. 42). Let us note two points that the Writings reveal about the Incarnation: 1) "Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity." (Ms. 29, 1899) The "how" remains sealed to human comprehension, as well as explanation. 2) [The Bible indicates that the angel said to Mary - "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35, KJV). However, in the Greek text there is no word for "thing." Linguistically, it would have been better translated had the word, "spirit" be supplied] "He (Christ) united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple" (4BC: 1147).
Based on these references, we can conclude that Christ who was "in the form of God" (Phil. 2:6), which is "spirit" (John 4:24 Gr.), by a mysterious, and painful process united Himself with a temple of flesh formed in the womb of Mary. The condescension that began at Nazareth (Luke 1:26-27) was concluded at Calvary.
We continue. The Scripture is clear, Christ "emptied Himself " (Gr. Phil 1:7, ARV) of "the form of God" in accepting "the temple of flesh," "the form of a slave." What became of "the form of God"? If the "form ofl God" is eternal, immortal as it obviously is, for Christ to be able to die had to lay it aside, then what became of it? If we should say, that it was assimilated back into God, we would be accepting two things: 1) That the Roman doctrine of the trinity has merit inasmuch as they claim that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit come from one substance; and 2) We would virtually suggest that Christ in His pre-existence emanated from the Father, a Gnostic related concept.
Another factor faces us: Luke states clearly that the Holy Spirit was the active agent in the conception of Mary. She conceived by the Holy Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit pre-existed Bethlehem. Yet the "divine spirit," (See above) the God-man born of Mary and which after His birth "shall be called the Son of God" could claim to be the "I AM." "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). At this point, the humar mind can only define, not explain.
Whether we wish to accept the reality which Divine revelation demands, or not accept it, the inescapable conclusion is that which can be stated in two words, the God-man, Jesus the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit an alter egos, together the Paracletoi (Rev. 5:6; 1 John 2:1 John 14:16). United in counsel with Him who sits upon the Throne, for the redemption of man, these constitute the "Heavenly Trio."
Sin and the means heaven expanded to redeem man was costly to the Godhead. There was the "sundering of the
p 7 -- divine powers" (Ms. 93, 1899). If one act above all others was more costly than another, it was the "emptying of Himself" which the Word did, "wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, (the God-man) and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11). ("God" and "Lord" are synonyms in expressing quality of Being. Ps. 50:1, 3; 110:1, 4)
One needs to be exceedingly careful in his zeal to show how anti-Trinitarian he is, lest by so doing, he denigrates the Lord Jesus Christ and consigns Him a lesser place than God has placed Him as a result of the Incarnation. Prior to Bethlehem, "the Word was Divine" (John 1:2, Gspd), "equal with God" (Phil 2:6). Even as a Babe in Bethlehem's manger, God said - "Let all the angels of God worship Him" (Heb. 1: 6). Only a God is worthy of worship. What is man to assign in his finite judgment "lesser" and "greater" to God? God is God, period. To quote statements of Jesus when in "the form of a slave," suggesting "lesser" and "greater" aspects of Being, is to show ignorance of the "emptying" involved in the Incarnation. Such categorizing is a neo-Gnosticism which marks a vocal segment of the current agitation on the periphery of Adventism today.
There is a warning that is too little heeded in the book of Hebrews which asks - "How much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (10:29)
Presently in circulation is a video captioned, "The Alpha and the Omega." The position takeen is that the Trinitarian doctrine of Romanism placed in the 27 Fundamentals Statements of Belief at the 1980 session of the General Conference at Dallas, Texas, is the omega of apostasy. We hold no brief for the teaching of Rome regarding the Trinity, or of the other deviations from truth in the Statement of Beliefs; but we are concerned over some of the premises and historical positions taken on the tape along with suggestive filming which is deceptive. For example, What has Waco got to do with the doctrine of the Trinity? We have written a four page letter to the speaker on the video challenging some of the data with documentation. A copy of this letter is available upon request. The letter gives answering data to the assertions made on the video that every sincere seeker for truth on this subject needs to know.
Observations -- We have refrained from any comment involving the change of leadership in the Church at the General Conference level. We well knew from past experience that the complete story in full detail would never be given to the laity through the official organs of the Church at the General Conference or Union Conference levels. However, Christianity Today (Apr. 5, p. 20) did have a write-up of Folkenberg's resignation. They indicated that the law suit had been settled. Further, they revealed the progress during his nine-year tenure, 68% growth in membership and a 57% jump in finances to $1.5 billion. Here are the factors of recent Adventist criteria for success, numbers and money. However, the article in CT also noted Folkenberg's "bursque management style" and quoted one University president who accused him of "managment by destabilization." It now appears that the law suit factors, as wrong as they may have been, were used to accomplish the objective of the liberal elements on the West Coast. The article in CT mentioned two issues, the ordination of women, and the proposed Board of Ministerial and Theological Education. It is interesting that the President of Andrews University chaired the Special Committee of investigation.
Now a new president is in the chair, Dr. Jan Paulsen, who has served as a Vice President of the General Conference since 1995. A report of the meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee which elected him, as well as a resume of Paulsen's service in the Church is given in the Columbia Union Visitor (April 1, 1999, p. 5). One fact in Paulsen's service record as vice president should be noted. The article stated that his was "a key role as chairman of the board for ADRA, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency." Has the investigative report in the Los Angeles Times of ADRA been so soon forgotten? --- (1999 Jul) ---End---- TOP
1999 Aug -- XXXII -- 8(99) -- HISTORICAL DATA REVIEWED -- Part 3 -- Editor's Preface -- With the April issue of WWN when we discussed "A Fearful Warning" which called attention as to how God viewed the message His Messiah would speak, we began a review of the prophecy that Jesus gave concerning Jerusalem. Next, based on the premise that the truth as it is in Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus, the Truth, we noted the "Parallels" between how the Jewish Church related to Jesus,and how the Adventist Church has related to the truth entrusted to it. We continued this theme by reviewing in the June and July issues Historical Data from the last four decades. With this issue we conclude the review of the data noting how the events in the 1960s related ultimately to the major revision of the Church's Fundamental Statement of Beliefs in 1980. The second article, "A Summary Analysis" again relates the trust committed to the Church - the giving of the Three Angels' Messages - and the reality of the present in the light of the warning given in the Writings. The conclusion to be drawn is as abhorrent to the professed Church of God today as was the message of Stephen to the Jewish Church in AD 34. We need to ponder long the warning given in the final paragraph of the first article which is quoted from Christ's Object Lessons. No doubt there will be those who will state that we have placed a wrong interpretation on the history of the Church from 1950 through 1980. These will also deny that what Jesus prophesied has significance for us, and that His words should be given instead a "spiritualized" interpretation.
In the final article we continue to explore the meaning of Jesus as "the Second Adam." How the current anti-Trinitarians apply the Biblical Father-Son relationship to the Godhead is "earthy" and from a human perspective, while the Scriptures relate the Sonship concept to the Second Adam motif. We had also hoped, if space allowed, that we would be able to take the original 1872 Statement on the Godhead and compare the changes and the meaning of those changes in the following 1931 and 1980 Statements of Belief. Is the issue really "the Heavenly Trio" concept, or is it the Nicene Creed? This we plan to explore in the next issue of WWN.
p 2 -- HISTORICAL DATA REVIEWED -- Part 3 -- The initiative which restilted in the 1980 Statements ot Belief was made in 1965. Bernard E. Seton, secretary of the Southern European Division wrote from Berne, Switzerland, to the General Conference administration expressing his conviction that the 1931 Statement "needed revision both from a theological and literary point of view." The response was negative, and temporarily dropped.
In 1965, as a result of contacts made, at Vatican II, an informal meeting consisting of Seventh-day Adventists, and representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was held. Those chosen to attend were selected by the organizers of this informal meeting; for the Adventists by Dr. B. B. Beach, and for the WCC by Dr. Lukas Vischer, of the Faith and Order, Secretariat. In reporting this event in So Much in Comnion, Beach indicates that subsequent meetings held annually were authorized by the three European Divisions of the Church (p. 98). While the indications suggest that Bernard Seton was one of the Adventists chosen by Beach for the first informal meeting, attempts to verify this fact have been met with silence, neither affirmation nor denial. The question then arises, why would Bernard Seton make the initial request for a revision of the 1931 Statement the same year of the informal meeting?
Whether there was a record kept of what was discussed at the first informal meeting, is not known; but it would be obvious that the purpose and objectives of the WCC would be included in any initial discussion as well as what Adventists believe. The first problem arises from the requirement stated in the WCC Constitution. Eligibility for membership is based on the individual church's expression of "agreement of the basis upon which the Council is founded." This basis reads: The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (ibid., p. 40)
The 1931 Statement of the Adveritist Church does not state the doctrine of the Trinity in the terms of the Nicene Creed as is required by the WCC Constitution. Was this a factor in Seton's request? This we do not know, but events which followed do verify that the subject of Adventist membership in the WCC was at the top of the list of' items discussed and that the Adventist conferees did not negate this possibility. Neither did Seaton forget his original suggestion made in 1965.
In 1970, he was elected as an associate secretary of the General Conference and as one of his duties served as secretary of the Church Manual Committee. In this capacity, he pressed for revisions in the Church Manual. Due to an action taken at the 1946 General Conference which stated that no change could be made in the Church Manual except as would be authorized by the General Conference in session, there was "Official reluctance to change a jot or tittle." Because of this attitude, Seton refrained from including the 1931 Statement in the initial suggested editorial changes.
After the 1975 General Conference session, Seaton believed "the time seemed ripe for attention to the Fundamentals," however he found that the Fundamentals were "surrounded with an aura of untouchability," and that he was the only one on the committee "convinced of the need for revision." He prepared a one-man revision of the 1931 Statement, and presented it to the chairman who in turn appointed a subconimittee to prepare a revision. The outcome was that in 1978 an ad hoc committee was given the responsibility of preparing a statement for presentation to the 1980 GC Session with "minimal revisions in deference to the generally held idea of the sacrosanct nature of the Manual and the sensitivities of the church membership respecting any change that might appear to touch the. doctrinal beliefs of the Church."
When In mid-1979 a preliminary draft was completed Seaton suggested that this document be sent to the theologlans at Andrews University for their input, rather than wait for their challenges at the 1980 Session. This was done, and the result was that the University prepared its own set of Fundamentals which were presented to the 1979 Annual Council for adoption at the 1980 General Conference.
A word might be of interest in regard to the draft of the ad hoc committee. It was sent under a cover letter by the chairman to the General Conference officers, division presidents and union presidents of North America. The chairman noted "that formal and substantive changes in the 1931 statement had been made." The substantive changes, besides the added sections, was that "the sections on the Trinity had been expanded from two paragraphs to four." This enlargement continued in all sub-
p 3 -- sequent revisions and modifications of the document as well as the final draft as voted at Dallas. And in all the prepared Statements available to us, the Statement as approved by the 1979 Annual Council, the revised Statement given to the delegates upon their arrival it the Dallas Session, and the affirmed Statement votled at the Session all contained the definifion of the Trinity as stated in the WCC Constitution in contrast to the 1931 Statement, in other words, the Nicene Creed.
Our knowledge of how the ad hoc committee's Statement read on various concepts is limited to evaluations of this Statement in a secondary source (Spectrum, Vol. 1, # 1, pp. 3, 4), as we do not have a copy of the original in the Library. One point noted in Spectrum would lead us to believe that the Nicene Creed was being closely followed in the section on the Trinity. Speaking of Jesus, it stated that He was born of the Virgin Mary," capital "V" the same as in the Nicenc Creed. (Creeds of Christendom, Vol. II, p. 59)
As the "finger print" evidence points to the contacts made at Vatican II with WCC representatives as the source of the suggestion for a new Statement of Beliefs, the conclusion can be drawn that the 1931 Statement on the Trinity did not reflect in the judgment of the representatives of the WCC the affirmation of the Nicene Creed as required in their Constitution so as to have a working relationship with the Council. Whether, the ad hoc. committee's statement reflected the exact language required would have to be determined from the source document itself. However, that all successive proposed Statements, as well as the affirmed Dallas Statement, did is a matter of fact.
In October 1979, the Annual Council adpted the Statement of Beliefs which was to be presented to the General Conference Session. These, reflected in principle the Statement prepared by "the Committee of Twelve" ' as the Andrews University theologians were called. It was sent immediately to division committies as well as to unions and overseas colleges. It was supposed to have been published in the Adventist Review, at the same time, but for "reasons never disclosed" did not appear till the February 21, 1980 issue. Reaction from the field, and alterations made in Washington at the General Conference level produced a document which was presented to the delegates on their arrival to the 1980 Session which differed from the one vvoted at the 1979 Annual Council. Thus for one to accurately assess the thinking within Adventism at that time, one has three written statements to compare - the Andrew's University Statement from"the Committee of Twelve;" the Statement presented to the Delegates upon their arrival at Dallas; and the Statement finally voted at Dallas in session. Besides this, the thinking of the deligates at Dallas, as they discussed on the floor the final draft, would need to be included as it reflected what bona fide Seventh-day Adventists believed.
Since the Session, a book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... was published seeking to amplify these beliefs as well as to harmonize divergent views. Now there is being prepared for publication a 12th Volume for the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary series which in its 1000 planned pages will seek to accomplish the objective. The release date is set for 2000 in time for the General Conference Session. What can be done in a seven page issue of WWN? Nothing except to note a few major changes in thought as expressed in the wording of various statements. What can the Adventist in the pew do, or the dissdent who recognizes that something has gone wrong? Take the time to study carefully Ihe differences between the 1872, the 1914, the 1931, and the 1980 Statements of Belief, then take the Bible and know for himself, "What saith the Lord?" Coupled with this study experience must be the personal desire to know not only what is truth, but also Him who is the truth.
In the remaining space allotted for this article, we shall cite examples of changes made, and the significance of those changes as they relate to what basic Adventism once was.
"Only" or One Among Others? -- The Statements of Beliefs as published thirough 1914, including the original1872 Statement declair "That the Holy Scriptures, of the Old & New Testaments, were given by inspiration of God, [and] contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only infalible rule of faith and practice." (emphasis supplied) The 1931 Statement alter the phrases, "a full revelation" to " an all-sufficient revelation;" and "only infalible rule"to "only unerring rule," retaining the word, "only." The 1980 Statement indicates that "The Holy Scriptures are the infalible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoratative revealer of doctrines, the trustworthy records of God's acts in history." Gone is the critical word, "only." Why?
In #17, the 1980 declared of Ellen G. White: "As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing source of truth." The word, "author-
p 4 -- itative" had been used in reference to "the Holy, Scriptures." The word, "only," cannot be used when a declaration is made that there are"two." The pioneers also addressed the subject of spiritual gifts in the 1872 Statement declaring "that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation." They also noted that the Bible cannot take the place of the Holy Spirit whose work is to lead to an understanding of the Scriptures it had inspired, and that to "deny to the Spirit its place and operation," is to "deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position." (XVI)
The pioneers were, however, emphatic in their differentiation between the Bible and the Gifts of the Spirit. James White plainly declaired: Every Christian is duty bound to take the Bible as the perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. (R&H, April 21, 1851)
From the view point of the pioneers of Adventism the 1980 Statement takes "an extremely dangerous position." Interestingly, those who now consider themselves "historic Adventists" take the same position as is stated in the 1980 Statement. Some of these voices even go so far as to declare that "the acceptance of the prophetic gift in the ministry of Sister White is essential ... to the acceptance of the Scriptures as inspired." (Our Firm Foundation, April 1989, p. 15) This is not "historic" Adventism, but rather "dangerous" teaching!
It should be noted that in all published Statements of Belief during the lifetime of Ellen G. White, her name did not appear in any statement, not even in the original 1931 Statement until amended in 1950 in a General Session of the Church. Even then, the added sentences only indicated that "the gift of the Spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church ... and was manifest in the life and ministy of Ellen G. White." Not until 1980 did the Church exalt her Writings as a third canon of Scripture - "a continuing and authoritative source of truth."
Some questions naturally follow: Do the Writings of Ellen G. White contain truth? The answer is, Yes. Are portions of that truth not specifically stated in the Holy, Scriptures? Again, the answer must be, "Yes." One could possibly perseve of it as simply an amplification of Scripture. However, in one area cited in the previous issue of WWN [7(99), p. 5, col 2] this would be difficult to substantiate. There can be no question that through the teaching ministry of Ellen G. White, the "great controversy motif" of Scripture was expanded with "new light" introduced. (I am not speakinf of, nor referring to, the book The Great Cotroversy) How then could this be worded in a Statement? Possibly, one could say that in the Writings is to be found "new light", insights which enlarge the perceptions of truth revealed in the Scriptures.
Additions and Omissions -- The 1872 Statement and the Statement which had been published in the Yearbook till 1914 both defined the papacy as "the man of sin." (#13). The 1980 Statement of Fundamental Belief as well as the 1931 Statement omitted any reference to the papacy. Yet all the Statements set forth the necessity of the proclimation of the messages "symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14." It is impossible to proclaim the Third Angel's Message without reference to the papacy as "the man of sin."
Further, the 1980 Statement added a paragraph not found in any previous statement on "The Church." Not only does the Constitution of the World Council of Churches a "belief" in God accoding to the Nicene Creed, but also an acknowledgment of the WCC as "a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures." (So Much in Common, p. 40) Dutifully, this concept was witten into the 1980 Statement declairing " the church is a community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour." (#11). In #12 a distinction is made between this "universal church" and a remnant whose commission was to proclaim the Three Angel's Messages of Revelation 14. What does the Secoud Angel's Message mean? Is not Babylon composed of those who make profession of Christ, and yet have rejected the First Angel's Message? Is this position which made Adventism unique no longer valid?
First, we compromise in the 1955-1956 conferences with the Evangelicals our doctrinal positions on the Incarnation and the Atonement, and modif our concept of the "remnant" and redefine, "Babylon" so as to exclude the Evangelicals. (See Questions on Doctrine, pp. 188-189, 201) Then as a result of conversations with representatives of the World Council of Churches we
p 5 -- adopt an ancient creed, and enlarge our concept of 'church" so as to permit a working fellowship with "the man of sin." This may be perceived as all unwarranted conclusion, but consider the following data:
In a section of the joint publication, So Much in Common, B. B. Beach has listed the results obtained from the contacts with the WCC. He wrote: Since 1968 the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has been actively represented at the annual meeting of "Secretaries of the World Confessional Families." This participation is largely the result of the WCC/SDA Conversations and contacts made at the time of the Uppsala Assembly [of the WCC]. (p. 100)
Actually the Secretaries of these various church bodies have been meeting together annually since 1957. Though not directly connected with the WCC, they are recognized as a vital link of the ecumenical chain. In the World Council of Churches Yearbook 1995, the, various communions whose secretaries meet together annually are given. In this listing is not only the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (p. 54), but also the, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church (p. 55). The Adventist Church sits in council with "the man of sin"! It was through this organizational means that B. B. Beach was able to place in the hands of Pope Paul VI, the gold medallion, as a symbol of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
We could continue to contrast the Statements of Belief from 1872 to 1980, but sufficient evidence has been given above to establish the fact that the Second Angel's Message is no longer believed in practice even though lip service is given to it. By setting aside its significance,the church is not prepared to give the Third Angel's Message which in its simple essence of truth, oure and and unadulterated, will declare that an image has been formed to "the man of sin." God knows this, and this is why He acted in permitting the prophecy of Jesus in Luke, 21:24 to be fulfilled. That is what Luke 21:24 is all about.
Again, there is a "parallel" between ancient literal Israel, and modern spiritual Israel. "The, Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seern to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights. But by lives of unfaithfulness they were preparing for the condemnation of heaven and for separation from God." (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 294)
A Summary Analysis -- The prophecy of Jesus as given in Luke 21:20-24 is a unit of thought involving the literal city of Jerusalem after it ceased to be the earthly "holy city" of God. Jesus, indicated that the events connected with its history were to be signs to His followers - those who truly believe His word.
The first event which Jesus noted was a sign that would mark its destruction. He said - "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." The abomination that maketh desolate would be standing at its gates. Those who saw this sign and believed the words of Jesus were to flee not only the city but all Judea. This counsel would have no affect on the one still steeped in Judaism. He, with his fellow adherents, defied earth and heaven to be dispossessed of their assumed status before God.
Likewise the second sign evolving out of the history of Jerusalem would have little meaning to the worldling whose philosophy is aptly described by Peter - "since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the. beginning of the creation" (II Peter 3:4). The fulfilling of "the times of the nations" would have meaning to those to whom God had given a responsibility to the nations. This would mean those to whom God entrusted the giving of the Three Angels' Messages "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:6). This trust with its significance is plainly stated in the Writings: In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning to a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them. (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 19)
You will observe that the trust is not generalized, but all three angel messages are specified - "the first, second, and third." You will also note that the word "entrusted" is used twice, as well as the word, "trust."
p 6 -- One cannot be true to the "trust" of the second angel's message, and sit in council with Babylon. Neither can one be preparing to give the third angel''s message with a "loud cry" and fellowship with "the man of sin" in ecumenical dialogue to "realize the goal of visible Church unity" - the goal of Rome as well as the WCC.
It is not that the Church has been left without warning. Using the same weighty word, "entrusted," the messenger of the Lord warned that"in the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be weighed." If the appropriation of "the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her ... have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her [the giving of the first, second, and third Angel's messages] on her will be pronunced the sentence, 'Found wanting. '"(ibid.,Vol. 8, p. 247)
Jarmes Edson White in his colporteur circulated book, The Coming King, called attention to the meaning of Luke 21:24. He wrote in 1898: We also read that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Luke 21:24. Jerusalem has never again come into possession of the Jews, and will not until "the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." This will be when the work of the gospel is finished." (p. 98)
This definitive statement was set aside in two paperback publications in the 1940s, one of which was used as a "Book of the Month" by the Voice of Prophecy. These books indicated that Israel would never be a nation again. Yet in 1948, the State of Israel was re-established. The Church corrected its position at the 1952 Bible Conference. Arthur S. Maxwell in the paper he presented to the Conference - " The Imminence of Christ's Second Coming" - noted this prophecy of Luke 21:24 as one of "three significant areas of unfulfilled prophecy which deserve close attention." (Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 2, p. 228) Observing that in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, their armies were unable to recapture Jerusalem, he asked, "What could be the reason?" and replied to his own question - "Only that the times of the Gentiles are not yeti fulfilled." (p. 230; emphasis supplied) Applying a Biblical principle (Gen. 15:16), Maxwell then concluded, " If so, then Jerusalem is to remain trodden down by Gentiles till the probationary time of all Gentiles be run out." (p. 231) In this, Maxwell re-affirmed Edson White's conclusion.
June 1967 carme and with it the restoration of the control of Jerusalem to the State of Osrael. Probation did not close for the inhabitants of earth. What was to be done, jettison the words of Jesus, or take another look to see if we had misread them. In context, the KJV translates the word, "gentiles" as "nations" (ta eqnh) when used the first time in 24, and also in verse 25. This is a more accurate translation. "The times of the nations" (corporate bodies, not individuals) were coming to an end. What did we do? We betrayed the trust committed to the Church; we negated the second angel's inessage by our actions.
Still time lingered, Jerusalem though under the control of the State of Israel, remained only an occupied city. Then in 1980, the Church in General Session openly voted the positions required for ecumenical fellowship. On April 25, 1980, the new Statement of Beliefs were affirmed. Three months later, July 30, 1980, the Knesset of Israel voted that "Jerusalem united in its entirety is the capital of Israel." The prophecy of Jesus was completely fulfilled. God was saying something to the Church. It had betrayed its trust; its trust was revoked.
In AD 34, the Jewish Church as a corporate body fulfilled the 490 prophetic days allotted to it (Dan. 9:24), but the judgment on Jerusalem lingered another 36 years. Why, so that the individual Jew could decide whether the judgment of the Sanhedrin was correct, or whether it had indeed worked the execution of the Messiah. Every Seventh -day Adventist faces the same question only in a different form. Was the 1980 Statement of Beliefs a denial of the trust entrusted to the Church in the giving of the Three Angels' Messages? Was it the crucifixion of truth? The book of Acts outlines what the correct reaction of the individual Jew to the decision of the Sanhedrin in regard to Jesus should have been. Its recorded experiences speak to us today.
NOTE: Manuscripts documenting the prophecy of Jesus and its fulfilment, along with the documentation on the Statements of Beliefs from 1872 to 1980 as well as the ecumneical activities of the Church in connection with the WCC are available through the index on the left.
p 7 -- The Second Adam Motif -- Jesus the Son of God -- Adam was a "son of God" (Luke 4:38). In the previous issue of WWN - 7(99), p. 5, as we discussed the great controversy, we noted God's design in the creation of man. He was a new order of created being "designed to be a counterpart of God" (R&H, June 18, 1895). As the representative of the new race, Adam stood at its head as a "son of God."
This designation of status or position is held by the head of each created world. The Lord asked Job where he was when He "laid the foundations of the earth," "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (38:4-7). Even allowing for the parallelism which marks Hebrew poetry, this concept of "sonship" as designating the representative of each world of beings is strengthened in the prelude to Job's experiences. "There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them" (1:6). Satan was not "a son of God" but he came among them as representative of earth, having usurped Adam's dominion. When asked for his credentials, he asserted this dominion - "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (11:7), implying that he was its undisputed sovereign.
In highly symbolic language, the prophet Micah declares that the "tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion" shall retake "the first dominion" (4:8); for out of Bethlehem would "He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting" (5:2) Gabriel from the very throne of the Godhead declared that He who was to be born of Mary "shall be [future tense] called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35) He would be "the second Adam" and stand at the head of the race even as Adam had stood, "a son of God."
In the formulation of the covenant by which redemption would be assured to all who would renounce their allegiance to Satan, it was agreed that the Word in becoming flesh would rescue the lost dominion and in doing so would stand as the corporate head of the redeemed race, a son of God. To as many as would receive Him, to them He would give "authority to become sons of God" (John 1:12, Gr.) It would be a costly venture, for in "bringing many sons to glory ... the Captain of their salvation" would be made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10)
In the Messianic second Psalm, the coming One is designated as the Lord's "anointed" (Messiah), and in His kingship He will break those arrayed against Heaven with a "rod of iron" (Ps. 2:6, 9; Rev. 19:15). But who is this "anointed" One? None other than the "to be" second Adam, the Son of God designate. Wrote the Psalmist, "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (2:7). Paul in Hebrews tells us that these words became reality when God brought "the first in preminence into the world" and commanded the angelic host to worship Him (1:5-6). Gabriel who knew the Beings of Heaven declared that that "holy One shall be called the Son of God."
Why should we continue to reason according to the flesh - an earthly Father-Son relationship - instead of searching the Scriptures so as to reason according to the Spirit of Truth, Who searcheth the deep things of God? (1 Cor. 2:10). At Bethlehem, God was manifest in the flesh. That God was the Word who had been with God from "the days of eternity" and Who from the time of the formulation of the "counsel of peace" became the Son of God designate, the second Adam. When He wrested the dominion from the power of Satan becoming "obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:8), that He might "through death destroy him who had the power of death" (Heb. 2:14), "God ... raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee" (Acts. 13:33).
Having been raised from the dead, Jesus, the second Adam, ascended into highest Heaven there to be enthroned at the right hand of God as the Paracletos with the Father (1 John 2:1; Gr.) symbolized in Revelation as "a Lamb as it had been slain (5:6). He becomes the "surety of a better covenant" (Heb. 7:22) which "hope we have an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedec." (Heb. 6:19-20)
That which was lost by the first Adam will be completely restored by the second Adam, and with Him on His throne will finally sit those who overcome "even as (He) also overcame" (Rev. 3:21); for they too, "loved not their lives unto death" (12:11). --- (1999 Aug) ---End---- TOP
1999 Sep -- XXXII -- 9(99) -- The Godhead Statement -- 1872 - 1914 - 1931 - 1980 -- Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- In this issue of WWN we carefully compare the major doctrinal statements which the Seventh-day Adventist Church issued from 1872 to 1980 in the area of one doctrine only; that is, the doctrine of God. This study and comparison has been most enlightening and stimulating to the editor, and we pray that you will find it likewise challenging. There are some unanswered questions. How could the unchanged statement on God from 1872 through 1914 be written as it was, and "thought" leaders - editors. theologians and writers - during the same period express concepts concerning God which did not harmonize with the Statement? Furthermore the concept held as to the "origin" of the pre-existent Christ by "many" changed from the belief that He was the first of the creation of God to the concept that in the remote eternity of the past He proceeded forth from the Father. Yet there is no reflection of this original concept nor the changed perception, expressed in the wording of the Statements of Belief during this period.
"Some of the earliest SDA's - for example James White and Joseph Bates - had formerly been members of the "Christiar Connection," a church that at that time held to a form of thp Arian belief concerning Christ's nature .... Upon becoming SDA's they retained this belief. which found expression in their writings." (SDA Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, pp. 286, 287: 1976 ed.) Thus these earlier concepts cannot be considered as "pillars" of the Adventist faith, because they never originated with Adventism such as the sanctuary teaching and the Three Angels' Messages. Technically, it could be stated using Adventist terminology that these concepts came from "Babylon," the same as the Trinitarian teaching expressed in the Nicene Creed and made a part of the 1980 Statement.
We are hearing much about what the "Pioneers" taught. The word is misapplied. In a published booklet there are omissions which, had they been included, would have altered the deduction drawn. We would be hesitant to judge this as intentional, rather it represents a "zeal without knowledge."
p 2 -- The Godhead Statement -- 1872 - 1914 - 1931 - 1980 -- In comparing these stateirients certain factors must goverri our thinking. Changes made from a previous statement do not necessarily make the new statement apostate; it could be a reflection of a deeper insight into truth. However, such changes could reflect apostasy from truth. Any given statement is not the ultimate enunciation of truth of a doctrinal position; the Holy Scriptures must remain the final word. A Statement of Beliefs is what a group of people perceive truth to be at a given time in their corporate experience. There is no question but that the 1980 Statement on the subject of God is not saying the same thing that the 1872 Statement did. Further, it will be observed that all statements, official and unofficial, from 1872 through 1914 did say the same thing in the same way concerning God.
This data also means that during the lifetime of Ellen G. White, the stated position of the Church not only on the doctrine of God, but in all other major areas of doctrinal thought, remained constant. This is not saying that sincere men, devoted to the work of the Church were saying the same things on the subject of God. They were not. From Uriah Smith, theologian, prophetic writer and editor of the Review & Herald, who stated that Christ was the first of all created beings, to Dr. E. J. Waggoner, who perceived of Christ as having proceeded forth from the Father so far back "in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man," these men reflected beliefs not stated in the published statements of the Church. In fact the authorship of the 1914 Statement is assigned to Uriah Smith. The tragedy of this present anti-Trinitarian agitation is that men are selecting from among the "pioneers" those who wrote what they want to believe, and present these "pioneer" positions as the basis for belief. The fact remains you cannot find in any Statement of Beliefs from 1872 through 1914 a position on Christ's origin which stated what either Uriah Smith or E. J. Waggoner taught.
Would it not be the point of wisdom just to take the two statements defining the Godhead which did not vary in any published statement from 1872 to 1914, and read these carefully to find out what the Church said it believed at that time. When the 1872 Statement was published in Battle Creek, the preface read that it was not being "put forth as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is it brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity held by them" Two years later when James White launched the Signs of the Times, his first editorial was the 1872 Statement with the same preface note. When the, 1914 Statement of Beliefs credited to Uriah Smith first appeared in the 1889 Year Book, it was prefaced by the assertion that "the following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principle features of [the Church's] religious faith, upon which there is, so far as is known, entire unanimity throughout the body." It is interesting to note that from the 1872 Statement, thought to be largely the work of James White, to the 1889 Statement, the work of Uriah Smith, the phrase was changed from "great unanimity" to "entire unanimity" as far as the acceptance of the stated beliefs "throughout the body."
What, did the two statements on God actually state? Article # I reads: That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit.
Article #2 as it states the relationship of Jesus Christ to the Godhead reads: That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist. ...
What is not stated is as consequential as what is stated. The eternal Deity of Christ is not affirmed. Either Christ was innately divine, the I AM, or His was a derived divinity. The statement affirms that He was before all creation for by Him "God created all things." Jesus is declared to be "the Son of the Eternal Father" which would infer that at sorne point in eternity, He was derived. It does not say, "the Eternal Son of God." The "how" is left unstated. The word, "birthed," used by the neo anti-Trinitarians is not used, neither the word, " generated."
In setting forth the Word as Lord and the Father As "one God" therewas Biblical precedence (Eph. 4:5-6). However, the word, "God" and the word, "Lord" as used in the Scriptures are synonyms. The issue turns on worship. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, arid Him only shalt thou serve." (Luke 4:8). Yet, "the Lord thy God" whom Jesus referenced in this verse, commanded the angels at His birth to worship Him (Heb. 1:6).
p 3 -- In this 1872 Statement, the Holy Spirit
is defined as the "representative" of the "one God."
The word, "representative" does not mean "force,"
"power," nor "influence," nor is it a synonym of any
of these words. Webester's
New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (2nd Edition) the word
A group of synonyms are, given:
An analytical reading of the 1872 number one statement on God reveals that of the three attributes usually assigned to Deity - omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing) are ascribed to "the one God," while omnipresence ("everywhere present") is manifest in a "representative, the Holy Spirit."
Two decades later this same dichotomy would be used by Ellen White to describe the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. She wrote: Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for [the disciples] advantage that He should leave them, go to His Father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent. (Letter 119, 1895)
Some of the "pioneers" were very specific in what they believed relative to the Holy Spirt. For example, Uriah Smith, in answer to the question from a reader of the Review and Herald, who asked, "Are we to understand that the Holy Ghost is a person. the same as the Father and the Son?" replied: This Spirit is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit being the same whether it is spoken of as pertaining to God or Christ. But respecting this Spirit, the Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present. (October 28, 1890, p. 664)
Here we have a conundrum. The 1872 Statement on God declared
the Holy Spirit to be "His representative," yet in his answer
Smith uses terms - "medium" and "influence," which
are neither synonyms nor definitions of the word, "representative."
Besides this, in the Statement of Beliefs which first appeared in 1889
The, conundrums do not end with Smith in 1890. This same question was basic in the controversy which developed over the book, The Living Temple, which J. H. Kellogg published In 1903. ln a letter which he wrote to George I. Butler on October 28 of that year, Kellogg plainly stated - "As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to this question: Is the Holy Spirit a person?" Kellogg's solution, if' A. G. Daniell's interpretation of a letter sent to him the same day by Kellogg can be relied upon, was that"it was God the Holy Ghost, and not God the Father that filled all living space." (Letter from Daniells to W. C. White, October 29, 1903) This same distinction is found ln the 1872 Statement. Omnipotence and omniscience are attributed to the"one God," while omnipresence Is assigned to His "representative, the Holy Spint." According to Daniells, Kellogg in his letter opted for the Trinity doctrine, and used Trinitarian terminology, "God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost."
Earlier in 1903 (March 16), Ellen White had written to Kellogg and cautioned him - "You are definitely not clear on the personality of God." (Letter 300) Late in 1905, she would cite "spiritualistic representations" which tose of the "medical fraternity" were using to define God. While condemning these representations by stating that "God cannot be compared with the things His hand have made," she emphatically wrote - "There are three living persons of the heavenly trio." (Special Testimonies, Series B, #7, p. 62)
In plain English, this is what the 1872 Statement and the succeeding statements from 1889 through 1914 said about God - there is "one God," and "Lord Jesus Christ." These with the "Representative, the Holy Spirit," make a Trio and are declaired to be "living persons."lt is true that the "pineers" did not perceive of the Holy Spirit as a "person" even though they used the word "representative" to define His work in the Statement of Beliefs. Neither did they profess the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. This they declared by omis-
p 4 -- sion. Does this then make the writings of thes "pioneers" the basis of our faith, and what Ellen White wrote on this point, error? Keep in mind that she used the word, "trio," not "trinity" nor "triune God." There is a difference.
What Makes a Statement Official? -- As we pass to the consideration of the 1914 Statement, which in reality first appeared in 1889, the question is raised as to whether it was an official Statement of Beliefs. (We used the 1914 Statement, because it was the final year that it appeared in a Church publication, and thus the 1872 Statement and the 1914 Statements covered the lifespan of Ellen White with the Church) There are some variations between the two statementsts, but on the Statements concerning God, they are identical. As noted above the 1872 Statement was prefaced with the fact that the beliefs set forth were held "with great unanimity" by them, while the Statement first appearing in 1889 was prefaced with the assertion that there was " entire unanimity" in regard to the stated beliefs.
The litmus test for being official is now stated to be the action of the Church in general session. However, this criterion was not set until the 1946 General Conference session when it was voted that "no revision of this  Statement of Fundamental Beliefs as it now appears in the Manual shall be made at any time except at Conference session." (GC Bulletin, June 14, 1946, p. 197) Because of this action, some have concluded that the only "official" doctrinal pronouncement by the Church is the 1980 Dallas Statement of Fundaital Beliefs. This conclusion cannot be sustained.
In December 1882, the General Conference Committee voted to publish a Yearbook. When, published it contained "the statistics of [the] denomination, the proccedings of [the] General Conference, T & M [Tract and Missionary] Society, and other associations, the financial condition of [the Church's] institutions, [the] General Conference Constitutions, and a good calendar, and full directories of all Conference and various societies throughout the country." (Quoted in the SDA Encyclopedia , Vol. 11, p. 595) Such made the Yearbook an authoritative voice of the Church's position and standing. In this Yearbook of 1889 was placed the Statement of Beliefs which appeared again in 1905, 1907-1914 and which were authored by Uriah Smith. It was as official as any Statement could be until a new criterion was set as in 1946. In fact the 1931 Statement was prepared for publication in the Yearbook. "It, was not until 1932 that an official Adventist Church Manual appeared issued by the General Conference."
A Change in Wording - 1931 -- By a request from the African Division, the General Conference Committee authorized on December 29, 1930, the preperation of a Statement of Beliefs for inclusion in the Yearbook. On the subject of the Godhead, a change was made. The new Statement read: That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the work of redemption.
That Jesus Christ is very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father. ...
There can be no question but that the change of wording of the Statement on the doctrine of God also was a substantive change. Not only are the attributes of God - omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient - consigned to the Eternal Father, but also while the Holy Spirit is declared to be a "person" it is defined as a "power."
Jesus Christ is declared to be "very God" thus
eternally co-existant with "the Eternal Father." There is no
suggestion of "there is one God" as in both the 1872 and 1980
Statement. Being "very God," is amplified to
Was this Statement to be coconsidered an official Statement? The answer is clearly, "Yes." It was placed in the Yearbook , and as noted above the 1946 General Conference took an action which affirmed the Statement. It read: - "No revision of this Statement of Fundamental Beliefs as it now appears in the Manual shall be made at any time except at a General Conference session. (GC Bulletin, June 14, 1946, #8, p. 197)
How was this 1931 Statement on the Godhead understood in Adventism? We know of no specific analysis,
p 5 -- but we do have a current illustration. In 1979, one year prior to the adoption of the current Statements of Belief, the Southern Publishing Association released a book, Knowing God, by Dr. Edwin R. Thiele. This book was used as the basis of the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the last quarter of 1998. The lessons reflected what Dr. Thiele had written, except for one chapter, "The .Triune God" (Third Lesson). Some editor for the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference wrote a substitute lesson differing from Thiele's presentation knowing that what Thlele had written which reflected the 1931 Statement did not harmonize with the current 1980 Statement.
Dr. Thiele summarized his understanding of the Godhead in the final paragraphs of the chapter on "The Triune God." He wrote: Each member of the Trinity of Heaven is a divine personage in His own right and is worthy of our homage and petitions. ...
If any of the Three Personages of the Holy Triad were not divine, it would not be proper to recognize Him as holy or to pay homage to Him. As God is holy, so also is Christ, and likewise the Holy Spirit. All three being divine and holy, each must receive recognition for the part He plays, and to each we must accord the deference and veneration that is His due. (pp. 33, 34)
Observe that Dr. Thlele perceived the Godhead as composed of "Persons" even as we are individually persons. It is over this point, that we can deduct from the Sabbath School Lesson "Study Guide" how the 1931 Statement about God was understood. In the third lesson was found this explanatory note: The word persons used in the title of today's lesson must be understood in a theological sense. If we equate human personality with God, we would say that three persons means three individuals. But then we would have three Gods, or tritheism. But historic Christianity has given to the word person, when used of God, a special meaning: a personal self-distinction, which gives distinctiveness in the Persons of the Godhead without destroying the concept of oneness. (p. 24)
Thlele's understanding of the 1931 Statement which he expressed in his book as, "Three Personages of the Holy Triad," was seen as Tritheism and not in agreement with the Nicene Credal summation - "one God, Father., Son and Holy, Spirit."
The 1980 Statement -- The statement as voted at Dallas, Texas in 1980 is lengthy compared with all previous statements. Not only is there a general statement which embodies the Nicene Creed summary concept, but a paragraph is devoted to each of the "three co-eternal Persons," but"persons" used in a theological sense, as noted above.
The general statement, captioned "The Trinity,"' reads: There is one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation.
This is a triune - three in one - concept of God, never before expressed officially in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. All previous Statement of Belief perceived of' the Godhead as individual Persons.
To what is this Statement actually confessing? ln a book prepared by the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC - Confessing the One Faith - with a subtitle, "An Ecumenical Explication of the Apostolic Faith as it is Confessed in the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed (381)," it is stated: The Nicene Creed as a confession of faith belongs to the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church. In the Nicene Creed the individual joins all the baptized gathered in each and every place, now and throughout the ages, in the Church's proclamation of faith: "we believe in." The confession "we believe in" articulates not only the trust of the individuals in God's grace, but it also affirms the trust of the whole Church in God. There is a bond of communion among those who join together in making common confession of their faith. (p. 15)
The Nicene Creed begins with "We believe in" in contrast with the Apostolic Creed, "I believe in." The individual who confesses, "I believe in," then unites in fellowship with those who confess, "we believe in." This is the step the Seventh-day Adventist Church took in 1980 in making the Nicene Creed a part of thier Statement of Beliefs. When the curtains are pulled on the final drama on the stage of time, there will not be much difference between "the one, holy, catholic, apolostic Church" and what is now called, "the holy Roman Catholic Church." The current "unity in diversity" theme now promoted on the basis of the Nicene Creed doctrine of the Trinity will tolerate very little "diversity." It will be "one" Church as
p 6 -- it is declared to be "one" God.
The, Nicene Creed as written into the 1980 Statement declares, "There is one God," even as the 1872 and 1914 Statements of Belief also declared. What is the difference?
Interestingly, the WCC's Faith and Order Paper (#153) just referenced above explains how three can equal one. In discussing the second section of the Creed - "We Believe in One Lord Jesus Christ" - is found this observation: The most difficult and controversial expression in this section of the [Nicene] Creed is the homoousios - "of one being with the Father." The main point behind the use of this word was to exclude any idea that the Son was a different kind of reality from the Father, contingent and created. On the contrary, the Son, though dependent on the Father, is inseparable from the life of the Father: ... As later Church Fathers (e.g. Gregory of Nazianzus) were to put it, the word "God" means nothing other than the life which is actively shared by Father, Son and Spirit. (pp. 44-45)
On this point, the difference between all previous statements and the 1980 Statement on the subject of God is that the 1892, 1889-1914, and 1931 Statements contained this phrase describing God - "a personal, spiritual Being." The 1980 Statement omits this concept.
The current problem involving the neo-antiTrinitarianism being propagated today is twofold: their rejection of 1) The Eternal Deityship of the Word, and 2) The Holy Spirit as One of "the Heavenly Trio." In the light of the above "Explication" of the Nicene Creed, to follow " the truth as it is in Jesus" one cannot be a Trinitarian. The real answer is to find "the truth as it is in Jesus" - the emphasis being placed on "Jesus," ' as the God-man.
Two Suggested Statements of Belief -- (Neither Trinitarian nor non-Trinitarian) -- We believe in the oneness of God (Deut. 6:4) as manifest in the "counsel of peace" which was between the Two of Them (Zech. 6:13, Heb). That counsel defined the Father-Son relationship (Ps. 2:7; Heb. 1:5), and outlined the conditions incumbent upon the Son so as to provide for the redemption of man. In the outworking of that plan, the Holy Spirit was manifest to make effective, in the lives of all who believe, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In the oneness of God is manifest omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. From that oneness flows to all created beings life, truth, love and grace.
We believe that Jesus Christ, who in His pre-existence was eternally and fully God (John 1:1-2), emptied Himself so as to become truly man (Phil 2:6-7). While retaining His divine Identity, He took upon Himself the fallen nature of man (Rom. 1:3), so as to condemn sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3-4), thus becoming our Example, and to die a sacrifice for the redemption of those who accept him as their Substitute. Resurrected from the dead, declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4), He carried into highest Heaven a glorified humanity to be incorporated in Himself into the Godhead thus revealing God's purposes for the redeemed. In Christ, God and man remain eternally One.
"Pioneers"? -- In the present agitation fostered by the neo-antiTrinitarians in the community of Adventism, much is being made of what the "pioneers" taught on the subject. I have before me a booklet which contains "Quotes from Adventist Pioneers concerning the Doctrine of the Trinity" with the question asked - "Did They Believe in the Trinity?" By definition a "pioneer" is "a person or group that originates or helps open a new line of thought" (Websters Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). In reading the material compiled from various Adventist writers in the early decades of the Movement, I fail to find any "new line of thought." It is all anti-Trinitarian in emphasis, the religious thinking they brought with them into the Advent Movement. If the compilation had been on the sanctuary doctrine, a true pillar of our faith, then the term "pioneers" would have been appropriate. As it stands in the usage by the author of the booklet, it is deceptive.
Actually, the booklet is an attempt to justify the position held by these neo-antiTrnitarians so as to make it appear that they are in harmony with the earliest leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the doctrine of the Godhead. This compilation has glossed over certain positions, held by some of these "pioneers" by omission. One leading voice in early Adventism was Uriah Smith. He taugh in the first edition of Thoughts on Revelation, in commenting on 3:14, that the pre-existent Christ was "the first created being" (p. 59). This is not found in the booklet. Why? If this "pioneer" view were accepted, it would classify the neo-antiTrinitarians as Arians.
The booklet does quote James White as writing in 1852 of "the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God" (p. 5, col. 1). Yet in 1876, in writing of the differences between Seventh-day Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventists, White would state that "S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the Trinitarians that we apprehend no trial [problem] here" (R&H
p 7 -- Oct. 12, p. 116). This was omitted from the compilation. What is observable in the booklet is the change in thinking on the part of Uriah Smith who was not alone in holding that Christ was "the first created being." This belief was held by "many" early Adventists. One finds E. J. Waggoner openly challenging this teaching. He wrote of "an opinion that is honestly held by many ... who through this opinion, do actually deny [Christ's] divinity. It is the idea that Christ is a created being." (See p. 28, col. 2) Waggoner gives his view: There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father, but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning. (p. 29, col. 1)
By 1898, Uriah Smith had come around to the same view. See Booklet, p. 15, col. 2. This was practically a complete turn around from his original belief along with "many" others of the early Adventists. Thus by omissions, an important point is missed. The church's earliest "thought" leaders changed from their first position, to that adopted by the second generation of thinkers. (E. J. Waggoner was a second generation Adventist minister, his father being, J. H. Waggoner) Because of this change in position, White could justifiably write that "S.D. Adventists hold (the position on) the divinity of Christ" nearly with the Trinitarians.
The fact remains that so long as Christ is presumed as "begotten" at some point in the eternity of the past, just so long will the concept of God held by the neo-antiTrinitarians reflect the Nicene Creed. The Creed reads "And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of God before all worlds ... begotten, not made." This is exactly the step from Smith's first position, to E. J. Waggoner's formulation. The simple conclusion to be drawn is that the booklet does not give an accurate picture of what took place from the beginnings of Adventism to 1900. It is deceptive by omission and by an incorrect association of the data, the work of a novice.
One segment of the neo-antiTrinitarians appear to have latched on to the statements of A. T. Jones and W. W. Prescott, and proclaim that they have "new light." These declare that prior to Bethlehem, sometime in the remote past, Christ was "birthed," even as Abraham begat Isaac, which infers the involvement of a direct divine action. Jones had written that Jesus "came from heaven, God's first-born, to the earth and was born again." (Pioneers, op. cit., p. 6, col. 2) Prescott had worded the same thought a bit differently: "As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again here in the flesh ... " (ibid., p, 2, col. 2).
It would be much simpler just to accept the prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-2, 14), and seek to understand the affect that the Word becoming flesh had on the Godhead. The Godhead paid a price for man's redemption that the human mind can but vaguely perceive. One could then understand why Ellen G. White was inspired to write - "the Heavenly Trio." Add to this the "second Adam" motif for the enlightened heavenly viewpoint as to why the designation, "Son of God" was given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will see why Gabriel told the truth when He said that the One born to Mary "shall be called the Son of God."
Events of Interest -- An official Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission has proposed that the world's Anglicans accept the papal authority of "the Bishop of Rome" even before the two traditions achieve full communion. It also declared that the Bishop of Rome - the Pope - has a specific ministry concerning the "discernment of truth," and calls this "a gift to be received by all the churches." (ENI, 99-0172, 21 May 1999)
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Vatican have reached agreement on an historic document which aims to resolve the theological controversy dating back to the 16th century split between Martin Luther and the papacy. The document will be signed in the German city of Augsburg on 31 October this year - 482 years to the day after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the town church in Wittenberg, an event widely reckoned to mark the start of the Reformation. Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Church Unity, said at the Press Conference June 11 announcing the coming of the signing of the document that Pope John Paul II had given his blessing to the signing of the joint declaration. Cassidy further stated that the joint declaration was "one of the great acquisitions of the modern ecumenical movement" and "not just of importance for the LWF and the Catholic Church, but for the whole ecumenical movement." (ENI, 99-0211, 16 June 1999) --- (1999 Sep) ---End----