~~~ 1997 Oct-Dec ~~~
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 1997 Oct - Dec
-- XXX -- 10(97) --AXIOMS
AND POSTULATES -- EDITOR'S
--The first article in this issue is a condensation of the Sabbath
morning message which the editor brought to the annual fellowship, following
a seminar on the Eternal
Verities - the Godhead, Incarnation, and Atonement. We are
advised to study the Bible in a systematic way, but fail to recognize
a system by which to study the Word of God. There are verily axioms and
postulates for the understanding of the will of God. even as there are
axioms and postulates in Geometry. The God who will act in the closing
of time is the same God who has acted in time. With Him there is no variableness
nor shadow of turning.
A recent issue of Newsweek alerted the whole world
to the agitation currently sweeping through the Roman Catholic Church
in regard to Mary. However, unknown to us was the involvement of the Mary
issue in the establishment of the European Union. Material received from
Germany reveals the background of the flag chosen for this union. We share
with you the information received in this issue of WWN.
The final essay which is a review of an article in a current
issue of Christianity Today prove not only interesting but also
provocative. The material produced by Marcussen on a national Sunday law,
while enhancing his income, has been "flown" in the face of
the reality of the present. Sunday Is Coming makes a good sale's
title for Adventist reading. There is no question that the issue will
become a point of agitation and in time result in severe repression. But
will it come as we anticipated, and in such a way that it will be obvious
so we can be ready for the end? When "time and place" are not
considered in exegesis of the Writings, delusion can result. In the study
of the Scriptures, we have taken "traditional" concepts, called
them "historic: and closed our eyes to the advancing
light of truth. True, it leaves us very "comfortable" and satisfied
that we are no longer Laodiceans, when we are as Laodicean as we ever
were, if not more so!
p 2 -- Axioms
and Postulates of the Scriptures -- Coming
into the homes of the members of the Adventist Community is a vast amount
of printed material via the Postal Service. This is not counting the TV,
Video, and Short-wave propaganda which many tune into on their own volition.
The question which Pilate asked Jesus cries out for an answer -
"What is truth?" (John 18:38)
It is obvious that the mass of that which is being published
cannot be truth for two reasons: 1) It
is contradictory; truth is not; and 2)
It is confusing; truth is not. Truth may be divisive, but it does not
What answer can be found? In High School, I enrolled in
classes both for Plain Geometry and Solid Geometry. In fact, if I were
to be asked to draw up a curriculum for an undergraduate student desiring
to enter the ministry, I would require, at least, that such a student
take a course in Plain Geometry and pass it with no less than a "B"
average. Why? Because a student in such a class, in working out the theorems
required, "develops a habit of thought which is invaluable to him."
While students should be trained to be thinkers, this training should
not cease when formal schooling ceases. The adults in the pews of the
Church, or in the atmosphere of a "home church" should likewise
be taught to think and not be mere reflectors of other men's thoughts.
But for a teacher or a pastor to lead those under his care to think, he
must himself, likewise think.
What is happening is very different from this. A "parrot"
ministry has developed in the Church. The local pastor "parrots"
what the conference says, which in turn has parroted the Union Conference
leadership, which but echoes the Division mouthings, which in its turn
reflects the General Conference position. This same "parrot"
mentality dominates most of the "independent" ministries who
instead of thinking through what the Bible teaches, quote the Writings
without considering the "must" imposed by Ellen White herself
and place must be considered." (SM, bk I, p.57)
This is compounded when these "voices" refuse to recognize the
clear counsel -
"The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing
light." (Review & Herald, March 25,1890) Instead,
they remain in "historic" Laodiceanism.
In Geometry, theorems are worked, conclusions are reached
and proven. Basic in this process are axioms and postulates. An axiom
is a proposition regarded as self-evident. As an illustration, we note
from a Solid Geometry textbook the axiom - "If equals
are added to equals, the sums are equal." A postulate is an hypothesis
advanced as an essential premise of a train of reasons. An illustration
of a postulate is given in the same textbook - "One straight
line, and only one, can be drawn through two points." If such clear-cut
perception would dominate the theological thinking of the Adventist Community,
we wouldn't be plagued with three positions on the Incarnation.
God has set forth by His Word certain "axioms"
and "postulates" so that truth, pure and unadulterated, can
be determined. Regardless of all the theorizing, there are absolutes;
and Biblical truths are a part of those absolutes. By being guided by
Biblical axioms and postulates, we can stand on these absolutes
- the Rock, a solid foundation - amid all
the confusion, which is nothing less than capaticity to Babylon.
One area of prime confusion today is in the realm of Bible
prophecy. What methodology is to be used - historistic, preteristic,
futuristic, or the allegorical? To add to the confusion, Dr. Desmond Ford
introduced his theory known as the apotelessimatic concept. To compound
the confusion, some, such as Larry Wilson, use one hermeneutic for the
book of Daniel and a different one for the prophecies of Revelation.
We set forth the "theorem" that the only
valid method of prophetic interpretation is the historistic. The proof
is found in the basic introductory prophecy of the book of Daniel itself.
In the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, he was told, "Thou art this
head of gold." (2:38) There was to come "after" him another
kingdom, and a "third," to be followed by a "fourth kingdom."
History but responded to the voice of prophecy. In a vision given to Daniel
himself, he was plainly told by Gabriel that the "ram which thou
sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." (8:20)
Does this method of interpretation apply to the book of
Revelation? In speaking with Daniel, Gabriel had informed him that as
far as "the scripture of truth" was concerned, "none"
except "Michael your prince" held with him in these things.
(10:21) The same "two" are introduced in the very first verse
of Revelation - "Jesus Christ" and "His angel."
Nowhere in the book is an indication that a different methodology would
be followed than had been set forth in Daniel. Returning to our illustration
- Geometry - the textbook being cited observed that; "postulates
of plane geometry are equally applicable to solid geometry."
Perhaps Larry Wilson and those who are parroting him, might better take
a course or two in Geometry and thus learn to think consistently.
Early in human history, God set forth a postulate. To
Noah, He declared - "My Spirit shall not always strive
with man." (Gen. 6:3) A time was set on the activities of man. There
is a corollary to this. This postulate applies equally to nations, corporate
entities as well as to man as an individual.
Israel is an illustration of this postulate's all encompassing
p 3 -- intent. The nation chosen of God received
some key promises upon which its religious leadership relied, and defied
God to displace them. God had said to Jeremiah: Thus
saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances
of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, ... if those ordinances
depart from Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease
from being a nation before me for ever. (31:35-36)
Based on these promises, the leadership of Israel presumed
themselves eternally secure. "They defied earth and heaven to dispossess
them of their rights." (COL, p. 294; see also DA, p.106)
Yet God through the prophet Daniel warned them that they would be called
into account. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people,"
was the message of God through the prophet. The record of its fulfilment
is left on record for us to take heed.
We refuse today to recognize this postulate and its corollary.
Because God bestowed upon the corporate Church in sacred trust "the
most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals ... to proclaim to the world"
(9T:19), we feel that we are exempt from the postulate and corollary.
We fail to recognize that there is an equivalency between Israel's fate
and our own. Israel rejected and crucified the Lord of truth; today the
Church has crucified the truth of the Lord. A clear warning has been given.
In 1903, the messenger of Lord wrote: In
the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be
weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages she has had.
... By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged.
The consequence of finding the Church remiss in its sacred
trust is plainly stated: If
her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ,
at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessing conferred has not
qualified her to the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced
the sentence, "Found wanting." (ibid.)
As if in defiance of the evidence of apostasy, we hear
voices as strident as the Jews of old defying earth and heaven to dispossess
the Church of its trust. Other "voices" recognizing the facts
but unwilling to face them squarely and act accordingly, declare that
they will make the necessary moves when informed by a "prophet,"
all unmindful that He who is the source of all prophecy gave "the
Sign" of the close of probation for the Church. This brings us to
the next and a related postulate.
Through Amos, God declared that He "will do
nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets."
(3:7) This axiom closely follows the de-facto assertion of God in
the days of Noah. When He determined the Flood, He sent a message through
Noah. When God decided to punish Judah for its apostasy, He sent Jeremiah.
When at last He sent His Son, the way was prepared by John the Baptist.
Now in this final hour, God has refocused the attention of mankind upon
Jerusalem. Jesus had already prophesied - "Jerusalem
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles [Gr. "nations"] until
the times of the [nations] be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) This
prophecy has been fulfilled. It has been so recognized in various Church
publications, but when the full implications of its meaning dawned upon
the consciousness of the Church's leadership, it was dismissed by deceptive
interpretations of the Word of God. (See: "Why This Ignorance?"
in WWN, XXX 3 & 4(97); or write for the tract, "Jerusalem
in Bible Prophecy")
A postulate which is closely linked to these fundamental
axioms is found in Paul's epistle to the Corinthians. He wrote -
"God is not the author of confusion." (I Cor. 14:33) The
significance and verification of God taking singular steps to insure no
confusion can be seen in a series of direct pronouncements in both the
Old and New Testaments. To Isaiah, He revealed Himself, stating unequivocally: "There
is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside
Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am
God, and there is none else." (45:21-22)
Jesus Christ left no room for doubt or confusion. He declared: I
am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but
by Me. (John 14:6)
To the apostate leadership of Israel who had crossed the
unseen line, Peter stated: Neither
is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Now ask yourself and answer a series of questions based
on Bible revelation: How many arks did God have built
and how many Noah's did God send to the antediluvian world?
To how many peoples did God entrust the "giving of the law"
and the sanctuary patterned after Heavenly things? How
many Christs did God send to reveal Him? To how many
churches did God entrust the giving of the Three Angels' Messages?
Can you imagine the confusion which would have resulted had God given
the Three Messages to the Baptists and one or more branches of the Pentecostals?
God is not the Author of confusion, and He did not so do. Neither is He
doing so today!
Closely associated with this postulate is the corollary - "Be established in the present truth." (II Peter 1:12) To every generation, God has a present truth. This is not a denial of truth from previous ages, for truth is as eternal as
p 4 -- God Himself. The First Angel's Message
proclaimed the "everlasting gospel" but it also announced present
truth: - "the hour of His judgment had come"
and "worship Him who made." This day, God has a
present truth in which we need to be established.
Let us consider one more axiom or postulate. Paul wrote
in Romans: By
the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for
by the law is the knowledge of sin ... Therefore we conclude that a man
is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:20, 28)
Paul is likewise emphatic that there is only one gospel,
and this gospel was the gospel he proclaimed - "a man
is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." To the
Galatians, he wrote: Though
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before
so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that
ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)
God is not the author of confusion. He does not have multiple
ways to His throne, and various gates by which one may enter the pathway
to Heaven. Neither has He provided various "gospels" by which
men can be saved. It is not the Tridentine gospel proclaimed by Rome and
any modification of it to fit a "works oriented" program. It
is justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ only. He is not only the
singular means of our justification, but He has been "made unto us...
sanctification, and redemption." (I Cor. 1:30) We are complete "in
Him." (Col. 2:10)
In this hour when confusion reigns supreme in the community
of Adventism and it is difficult to determine what is "babylon"
and what is not, we truly need to heed the admonition given by Paul to
to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim 2:15)
One can no more rightly divide the Word of truth, without the Divine axioms and postulates of the Word itself, than one can work Geometric theorems apart from the axioms and postulates of Geometry. This is why there is so much confusion in the community of Adventism today, because that is what is being done. Sadly, many concerned souls not recognizing or giving due consideration to these axioms and postulates, have "bought" into this confusion. (This summary of the Sabbath morning message given at the 1997 Annual Fellowship can be secured separately from the Seminar series. You may request a cassette of the full message by writing to the Foundation office.)
Mary and the Flag of Europe -- Newsweek
(August 25, 1997) pictured on its cover a photo of the image of the "Virgin
of the Annunciation." Eight pages of the issue were devoted to "The
Meaning of Mary." The cover indicated that a struggle is growing
within the Roman Catholic Church over her role. The article itself, "Hail
Mary," was captioned - "A growing movement
in the Roman Catholic Church wants the pope to promulgate a new, controversial
dogma that Mary is a Co-Redeemer." In the last four years,
Pope John Paul II has received 4,340,420 signatures on petitions asking
him to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim "Mary
as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix Of All Graces and Advocate for the People
of God." Also of interest was that this article was not placed under
the usual category of "Religion," but rather under the heading,
"Lifestyle." (p. 48)
This places the Pope, himself a devotee of the worship
of Mary, in the middle of some issues and aims of the Roman Church. In
his encyclical, Tertio Millennia Adveniente, outlining the preparation
planned for Jubilee of the year 2000, he wrote: There
is ... a need for a synod on the occasion of the Great Jubilee in order
to illustrate and explain more fully the truth that Christ is the one
mediator between God and man and the sole redeemer of the world,
to be clearly distinguished from the founders of other great religions
[Buddhism and Hinduism]. (The Pope Speaks. Vol. 40, No. 2, 1995,
If, therefore, he consents to the requests of the growing
voice within the Roman Church to proclaim Mary as "co-mediatrix"
and "co-redemptrix," how will he reconcile such a promulgation
with his position in this encyclical? Then there is the reaction to be
expected from voices outside of Romanism which would impede the Pope's
goal to be recognized as the head of Christendom. and beyond that, the
supreme voice of the world's religions. What will the Pope do? Is this
public release on the issue within Romanism a "trial balloon"
to test the reaction from voices outside of Romanism, so as to assess
what the "fall out" would be, should the Pope heed the petitioners
within his own church, and do what the evidence indicates is the true
desire of his own heart?
To those who have noted this August issue of Newsweek,
may I suggest that you not overlook the following article -
"My Eve, My Mary." (p. 56)
p 5 -- At the same time that we received Newsweek,
we also received an article from Europe on the flag which it is anticicipated
will wave along side of the national flags of a European Union. On a background
of blue, the color of the mantle of Mary, are placed twelve stars. What
is thus symbolized? The article captioned, "Europe, Mary, Peace"
explains that "the flag of Europe [is] a Symbol of Mary." The
following documentation is given:
On September 12, 1958, the Archbishop Montini of Milan,
later Pope Paul VI, dedicated on Mount Serenissima a 20 meter tall statue
of Mary and called it: "Our Loving Lady and Mistress
of Europe." The Roman Church perceives Mary to be the
Biblical figure of "a woman clothed with the sun", and upon
her head a crown of twelve stars. John Paul II has prayed, "Turn
again our sight to the Mother of the Redeemer of this world, the woman
of John's Revelation secret, the woman clothed with the sun." The
Flag of Europe is designed to express that Mary is the mistress of Europe.
Pope Pius XII, demanded on December 24, 1941 "to
build a new Europe and a new world." An alleged vision of Mary called,
"Lady of all Nations", demanded on March 3, 1953:
"Nations of Europe, unite." On March 25, 1957 the European Common
Market was founded. Bishop Dr. Graber said on September 9, 1978
- "I have demanded a Marianic European International, ... We
pray and ask in silence, that the occident will be once more what it used
to be, an IMPERIUM MARIANUM."
At Fatima in 1917 an apparition of Mary promised peace
on the condition that the peoples of the world would be consecrated to
her. "The peace-conditions of Heaven are condensed in two parts:
the Rosary-Prayer and the consecration of the world to the
immaculate heart of Mary. Another vision states that as the
world languishes for unity in regard to their needs, the Lord and Master
will bring spiritual unity to the Nations of this world. That is why he
sends Mary as 'The Lady of all Nations.'"
Europe is taking the first step by aligning itself under the flag of the virgin Mary. In Revelation there is pictured another woman, distinct from the "Woman clothed with the sun," the real "mistress," with whom the kings of the earth commit fornication. (Rev. 17:3-6) The day is far spent. Are we about to see another "dark age" settle upon the world as it enters a new millenium, and the eternal day dawn as the earth enters its seventh millenium? If so, we have a choice. Either a thousand years as a corpse on a earth desolated by God's response to the whoredoms of earth, or a thousand years with the blessed and only Redeemer in anticipation of an eternity when time shall be no more.
p 6 -- "Rediscovering
the Sabbath" -- When I received
the September issue of Christianity Today (CT), I observed that
a special section was being dedicated to "Christian fiction."
I turned the pages, and in the non-fiction section, I opened to the title
above (p.38). There I stopped and didn't put the issue down until I had
scanned the whole article excerpted from a book by Dorothy C. Bass, Practicing
Our Faith. Ms. Bass directs the Project on the Education and Formation
of People in Faith at the Valparaiso University in Indiana.
The article is introduced by the editorial comment
- "The Sabbath is the most challenging - and necessary - spiritual
discipline for contemporary Christians." As one reads carefully this
evaluation of the Sabbath for contemporary Christians, he is in for some
surprises, as well as a need for some serious reflection in the light
of the emphasis that is being placed on "A National Sunday Law"
by Marcussen, and in the book, Sunday Is Coming, by Reid. This
is not saying that we will not in the future face a Sunday issue, but
it will come in a different way than it has been pictured to us. This
article in CT introduces us to what that possibility might be.
Starting from the economic aspect of life, the author
quotes from the Overworked American, a 1991 "surprise best-seller,"
that we live in an economy and society that are demanding too much from
people." The answer - "In this situation, the historic
practice of setting aside one day a week for rest and worship promises
peace to those who embrace it. ... We need Sabbath, even though we doubt
we have time for it." Then - and read carefully
- "As the new century dawns, the practice of Sabbath keeping
may be a gift waiting to be unwrapped, a confirmation that we are not
without help in shaping the renewing ways of life for which we long. This
practice stands at the heart of Judaism, but is also available for Christians."
The writer observes - "For all the spiritual descendants
of Abraham - Jews, Christians, Muslims - time
flows in seven-day cycles. ... The Sabbatarian pattern - six days of work,
followed by one of rest - is woven deep into the fabric of the Bible.
The very first story of Hebrew and Christian Scriptures climaxes on the
seventh day, the very first time there was a seventh day. Having created
everything, God rests, blesses this day, and makes it holy."
Interwoven in the author's motif is the concept that if
the economic factors were such that all had sufficient without working
overtime, or holding down two jobs, they would have time for a Sabbath.
She stresses this as she recites Hebrew history. God gave them manna and
connected with it the Sabbath concept before he gave them the Law of the
Sabbath, which she noted as "the longest and in some ways the most
puzzling" of the Ten.
The author's observations on the Sabbath are insightful.
She observes that "unlike any of the others" the Sabbath commandment
"takes quite different forms in the two passages where the Ten Commandments
appear. Both versions require the same behaviour - work on
six days, rest on one - but each gives a different reason.
What is wonderful is that each reason arises from a fundamental truth
about God's relationship to humanity." (p.40)
The Exodus version (20:8-11) follows God's pattern as
Creator; God's people are to rest because God did. "In both work
and rest, human beings are in the image of God. At the same time, they
are not God but God's creatures, who must honor God by obeying this commandment."
(ibid.) The version in Deuteronomy is linked to a people released
from bondage. "Slaves cannot take a day off, free people can."
Then the comment: Together,
these two renderings of the Sabbath commandment summarize the most fundamental
... beliefs of the Hebrew Scriptures: Creation and Exodus; humanity in
God's image, and a people liberated from captivity. One emphasizes holiness,
the other social justice. Sabbath crystallises Torah's portrait of who
God is and what human beings are most fully meant to be. (ibid.)
After reviewing Jewish liturgy and ritual in the observance
of the Sabbath with approval, the section following begins the discussion
of "Sabbath Keeping in a Christian Key." Ms. Bass relates the
observance of Sunday to the same principles which she set forth for the
keeping of the Sabbath, but suggests that the Christian adds another dimension,
that of Christ's victory over the powers of death. She accurately links
the change to Sunday with the attitude of the Gentile Christians toward
the stigma associated with anything Jewish. The play is on Sunday as "the
eighth" day, "the day on which the future burst into the present."
with the "twist" that Sunday looks "forward to the great
banquet that would occur at the end of time." (ibid., p.41)
Following a review of various ways Christians have observed
Sunday such as the Puritans, whose strict regulations gave rise to "blue
laws," the author comments - "Sunday mass has been and continues
to be central to Roman Catholics." This should be noted what it does
not say, as well as for what it is saying. It does not say that "Sunday"
continues to be central to Roman Catholics, but that "Sunday mass"
is central. There is a difference!
The next section is clearing the "roadblocks."
One "roadblock" interfering with a return to "a Sabbath
rhythm" is how "to make Sunday special when it is no longer
protected by legislation and custom." The author's observations at
this point are most interesting: "Sunday first received
social governmental recognition in 321, when the emperor Constantine decreed
it a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire. This spawned centuries of
government sponsored Sabbathkeeping." No where in the
article does the writer suggest a return to this type of legislation.
p 7 -- Another "roadblock" perceived
by the author are the economic forces which nibble away at the freedom
of Sunday keeping. She perceives it as a vicious cycle. Those who spend
extra hours per day in work to balance the family budget, need another
day for shopping, "which prompts businesses to hire more Sunday workers."
So the question is asked: Will
it be possible for twenty-first century Christians who need Sabbath but
also respect diversity, who need Sabbath but also yearn for joy, who need
Sabbath but also struggle to make ends meet, to enter the practice of
And the answer - "Perhaps.
But this can only happen as we help one another develop new forms rooted
in the enduring truths of Creation, liberation, and Resurrection."
Then the suggestions come, and not one of them suggests
legislation, even though she judges that "most often, Sundays will
make the best Sabbaths." In regard to commerce, the one who wanted
to keep Sunday could refrain from Sunday shopping. But to the author,
"Sunday worship is not just about 'going to church,' it is about
taking part in the activity by which God is shaping a new creation. It
is a foretaste of the feast to come."
"After worship, what many of us need most is time
with loved ones - not useful time for planning next week's schedule -
but time 'wasted' on the pleasure of being together, perhaps while sharing
our enjoyment of art, nature, or athletics. For others, and for all of
us at certain points in our lives, hours of solitude beckon, hours for
sleep, reading, reflection, walking, and prayer." (p.43)
The final section of the article - "Sabbath
for the good of all" - the author takes off from a Puritan
concept that "good Sabbaths make good Christians," to the motto
that "Good Sabbaths make good societies." Here at this point,
the legislative power of the State could enter the picture, and regulate
each life for the good of society. The author reveals a high degree of
respect for the Jewish Community, and its observance of the Sabbath. She
is also aware of the diversity of culture that makes up America, thus
she realizes that "blue laws" are not the answer from her viewpoint.
But what about the Papacy in this whole picture? A careful
review of the recent encyclicals of Pope John Paul II show a complete
toning down of Sunday emphasis as he seeks to bring together the three
monotheistic religions, and create dialogue with the Eastern religions
- Buddhism and Hinduism. In his encyclical outlining his objective for
a grand jubilee at the beginning of the 21st century, the suggestion is
made for joint meetings to be held involving Christians, Jews and Muslims.
These meetings, he says, could be "in places of exceptional symbolic
importance like Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Mount Sinai." (The Pope
Speaks, Vol.40, #2, p. 110)
Could it be that at this point in time, Satan will appear
as Christ (II Cr. 11:14), and tell them that Sunday is his day. The whole
concord would be deceived - the Jews who have been looking for a Messiah
to come, the Christians who expect the return of Jesus a second time,
and the Muslims who look upon him as a prophet. We have been warned that
this will take place "in the last remnant of time," to be followed
"by the outpouring of the wrath of God." (See The Great Controversy,
pp.561-562) When this occurs, how much time will be available to set one's
life in order? Row will you know in this quick succession of events the
moment that all human probation will close? We need to keep in mind that
it is not business as usual and that we can interpret the present in the
light of what might have been in the past. Time and place must be taken
into consideration. Let us not be beguiled with the history of the past
with its proposed "national" Sunday laws, or by a fatal delusion
that "Sunday is coming" in the format of traditional interpretations.
Christ has given us "the sign of the end of time" (Luke 21:24),
and through Daniel the prophet, He made known that sign by which the close
of all human probation would be marked (Daniel 11:45-12:1).
It will be fatal for "historic" Adventists who continue in their traditional Laodiceanism; in blindness refusing to recognize that "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light" (R&H, March 25, 1890). What delusive darkness has settled down on those who think they are following "historic" Adventism, when they are but fol-lowing men in agendas based on the sparks of these men's kindling? --- (1997 Oct) --- End --- TOP
1997 Nov -- XXX -- 11(97) -- KEY ECUMENICAL EVENTS OF 1997 IN REVIEW -- EDITOR'S PREFACE -- This issue of WWN is a review of the ecumenical trends - statements and events - which have occurred during the year. Darren Lambert has gathered key facts as reported in the ENI Bulletin, a news release of the World Council of Churches. There is an intensity in the religious world, both within Protestantism and Catholicism, to achieve by the year 2000 or just beyond, a visible unity in some form. This was prophesied in the revelation given to John on the Isle of Patmos. (16:13-14.16) Due to our traditional understanding of the Seven Last Plagues, we fail to separate the plague itself from the reason God gives for pouring it out. For example, the first plague of "noisome and grievous" sores was afflicted on those who had received "the mark of the beast." The "mark" was received in probationary time: the plague fell after the close of all human probation. Likewise the sixth; the verses noted above refer to the reason why the plague, while Verse 12 gives the plague. Of interest, in The Great Controversy, after noting the intents of Satan, it is stated that he will achieve his objective "in the last remnant of time." (p. 561) Then the verses from Revelation 16 are quoted. What follows is a vital warning - "Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion."
With Satan transformed into an angel of light and his
ministers transformed as ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:14-15),
the coming deception will be overwhelming. The arguments advanced will
deceive, if possible,"the very elect."
At the International Eucharistic Conference in Poland, Pope John Paul asked a series of questions which are hard to answer for one opposed to the ecumenical movement. (See page 3, col. 2) The final question asked was - "Can we be reconciled with one another without forgiving one another?" During the year the Pope and Catholic Bishops asked forgiveness for atrocities against Protestants, including the St Bartholomew Day Massacre in 1572. (See three news items following the above question)
p 2 -- Ecumenical
Review 1997 -- UNITY AT ALL COSTS!
London, 28 May -- Cardinal Basil Hume, leader of
the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, on 27 May used the pulpit
of Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of Anglicanism, to declare
that moves toward Christian unity could not include renunciation of the
primacy of the Pope. The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, spiritual
head of the world-wide Anglican Communion, was in the congregation as
Cardinal Hume recalled that in 1982 Pope John Paul had come to Canterbury
as a pilgrim, "to plead for unity, not to cajole anyone into it".
Echoing the Pope's 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Cardinal Hume
said: "It is not the primacy as such that is open to
debate, but the manner of its exercise. That is important. It does not
threaten, and indeed should not." He added:
"I trust that I am not abusing the privilege of preaching in this
pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral." Cardinal Hume's sermon followed
a service of the previous day by Archbishop Carey, in the presence of
the cardinal and the Prince of Wales, where he made an appeal for reconciliation
and unity between Christians. In his sermon, Archbishop Carey, the 103rd
Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke of the history of Christianity "littered
with tragedy and division, the results of which remain with us today".
He asked: "Can we, successors of Augustine's mission
in this land, reach for a vision of reconciliation that will lead us to
the unity which we know to be the will of God?" ENI Bulletin
London, 24 January -- After centuries of difficult
relations between Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, a shrine which honors
the Virgin Mary but is part of a Scottish kirk (church) might seem to
be the ultimate ecumenical fantasy. It is, however, a reality at St. Mary's
Kirk, Haddington, 30 kilometres from Edinburgh, where the Church of Scotland
(Presbyterian) minister, Clifford Hughes, describes the adjoining Marian
chapel, as "a marvellous working demonstration of ecumenical unity".
Both Anglicans and Roman Catholics use the Marian chapel and, each week,
an Anglican eucharist and a Roman Catholic mass are celebrated in the
chapel, whose centerpiece is a handsome modern wood carving of Mary. The
rector at Haddington, Ian Paton, acknowledges there are "tensions"
surrounding the pilgrimage, when many hundreds of pilgrims converge on
the church and chapel in the name of Our Lady, bringing more than a whiff
of Rome to the highly Protestant Scottish lowlands. "A major event
of the pilgrimage is a Roman Catholic mass in the kirk," Paton told
ENI "Locals see this happening in their own church, and yet they
are not able to take the communion. Some people have difficulties with
that." However, Paton believes that the pilgrimage does far more
good than harm. He is particularly keen on the prayer focus on healing
- of individuals, nations and the divided Church itself - and notes with
approval that increasing numbers of Presbyterians and Orthodox Christians
are being drawn in. ENI Bulletin - 97-0031
Geneva, 11 April -- The spiritual leader of the
world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I of Constantinople,
has called on the Roman Catholic Church to join the World Council of Churches
in time for the WCC's 50th anniversary next year. The WCC has 332 member
churches around the world, among them the world's main Protestant, Anglican
and Orthodox churches. However the Roman Catholic Church, whose 850 to
900 million members makes it the world's biggest church, is not a WCC
member, although there is co-operation between the WCC and the Vatican
on a number of issues. The call by Patriarch Bartholomeos - with its reference
to the WCC's 50th anniversary - takes on a particular significance because
the WCC is engaged in a wide ranging review of its activities and structure.
The WCC describes this process as a search for Common Understanding and
Vision (CUV). The WCC's general secretary, Dr. Konrad Raiser, has in the
past appeared to rule out the possibility of the Roman Catholic Church
joining the WCC. After meeting the Pope in 1994, he said that the different
structures of the Roman Catholic Church, which is organised at the world
level, and the WCC, which is a fellowship of nationally-organised churches,
made it difficult to imagine the Roman Catholic Church in WCC membership.
However, Dr. Raiser has also strongly affirmed the need to find new "models"
which would allow the Roman Catholic Church to take its "natural
place" in the ecumenical movement. One idea suggested by Dr. Raiser
which has been taken up in a first draft document on the CUV process and
sent to WCC member churches, is that the WCC could help create a new ecumenical
forum which could include the Roman Catholic Church and other churches
which are not WCC members. Patriarch Bartholomeos strongly reaffirmed
his commitment to ecumenism saying: "Everyone who declares him-
Graz, Austria, 30 June -- Cardinal Carlo Maria
Martini, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Milan and possible successor to
Pope John Paul II, has given his cautious backing to a proposal for a
universal church council to resolve differences, such as disagreement
over the papacy, which divide the main churches. The Cardinal's remarks
differ from those of another prominent Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger. Earlier this month, Cardinal Ratzinger told a press
conference in Rome that only the "Petrine principle" (the Roman
Catholic doctrine that the Pope is the legitimate head of the Christian
Church), and not "conciliarity" could restore the unity of the
whole church. To consider any other path than the Petrine principle was,
according to the cardinal, "a romantic, unrealistic dream".
ENI Bulletin -97-0295
London, 24 July -- A forum of church representatives
from England has called for the establishment of a permanent theology
group to iron out points of doctrine standing in the way of Christian
unity. Canon Martin Reardon, general secretary of Churches Together in
England (CTE), which organised the forum, said, "Even the apparently
sharpest differences of theology were not insoluble." "Christians
will probably be divided on theology until kingdom come, but not about
the same things," he told ENI. "Once it was the nature of the
Trinity, then at the Reformation the nature of the sacraments, and now
it's women priests." Cardinal Basil Hume, the Roman Catholic archbishop
of Westminster, referring to previous meetings of the ecumenical forum,
said in his closing remarks: "In 1987 and 1990 we went to watch one
another praying; now we pray together. In 1987 and 1990 we were very polite
to each other; now we are friends." Another key idea from
Hong Kong, 11 July -- The Vatican's leading authority on ecumenism, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, today rejected suggestions that there were insurmountable barriers which meant that Roman Catholics and Lutherans would never be able to share the Lord's supper and restore full links between these two major Christian families. Cardinal Cassidy was asked by ENI at a press conference in Hong Kong wether the fact that most Lutheran churches ordained women, while the Pope had declared that the Roman Catholic Church would never ordain women, would prevent - forever - communion between the Catholic and Lutheran traditions. Cardinal Cassidy responded: "My reaction is always that this [work for the unity of the church] is not only our work. Our Lord is calling us, and we are not engaged in protecting ourselves. The grace is coming from God." Cassidy praised major progress in Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, which is close to resolving the theological question of justification by faith, which has been a key difference between the two traditions since Martin Luther broke with Rome in the 16th Century. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said that the progress on the issue ofjustification "offers a new paradigm, a new way of looking at things" between the two churches. When such an agreement was reached, sometimes other differences melted away, he suggested. Christoph Stier, the former Lutheran bishop of Mecklenburg, Germany, said: "Basic agreement on the doctrine of Justification can provide a basis for new mutual relationships ... To put it figuratively, a large, previously insurmountable stone which has blocked the way to unity for such a long time will be moved aside.... In the future, no one will be able to argue that we can make no progress along the path to communion between the churches because this obstacle is blocking the way. And then further steps can and must be taken along this path." ENI Bulletin - 97-0324
RECONCILIATION WITH A "BEASTLY" APOLOGY
Warsaw, 2 June -- Pope John Paul II has made an
impassioned appeal for ecumenical unity at the start of an 11-day pilgrimage
to his native Poland. Addressing the International Eucharistic Congress
in the southern city of Wroclaw on 31 May, the Pope said there could be
"no turning back on the ecumenical path". He said that he was
asking Roman Catholics and members of other churches for a new "joint
Christian witness". "The future of evangelisation is linked
to the witness of unity given by Christians", he told the conference.
"In recent years, the distance separating churches and ecclesial
communities from one another has diminished significantly. But it is still
too great!" the Pope said. "Can we be fully reconciled with
Christ without being fully reconciled among ourselves? Can we bear joint
and effective witness to Christ if we are not reconciled with each other?
Can we be reconciled with one another without forgiving one another?"
ENI Bulletin - 97-0237
Rome, 20 February -- Italy's Roman Catholic bishops
have taken the unprecedented step of asking forgiveness for the "suffering
and injury" inflicted on the country's Protestant minority over the
centuries. Italy's Waldensian Church, whose roots go back to the 12th
century, is the oldest Protestant Church in the world. The appeal was
made on Sunday, 16 February at a service held in one of the biggest Waldensian
churches in Rome, less than a mile from the Vatican. During the service,
Archbishop Giuseppe Chiaretti of Perugia, read a message from the Italian
bishops committing themselves "to begin in earnest to work for the
reconciliation of memories to accept the burden (of history) and salve
the wounds of memory by recognising their existence and, when necessary,
by forgiveness asked and given". The event was attended not only
by many Protestants, but also by Catholics, Jews and Muslims who had just
ended a three-day meeting at the nearby Waldensian Faculty of Theology.
Writing in Italy's main Protestant newspa-
Prague, 28 April -- Pope John Paul II has issued
an appeal - in a part of Europe with an ancient history of violence between
Catholics and Protestants - for charity, forgiveness and a renewal of
the "longing for unity". The Roman Catholic leader was speaking
at an ecumenical service in Prague's St Vitus Cathedral during a 48 hour
visit to the Czech Republic. "In charity we can together ask God
for forgiveness and find the courage to pardon one another for the injustices
and mistakes of the past, no matter how serious and offensive they were.
We must bring down the reciprocal barriers of suspicion and distrust so
that we can build a civilisation based on love." The Pope reminded
the congregation that two years ago he had, "in the name of the Church
of Rome, asked pardon for the wrongs inflicted on non-Catholics, and at
the same time I gave assurances of the Catholic Church's forgiveness of
the sufferings which her children have undergone." The Pope also
paid tribute to the work of an ecumenical commission examining the condemnation
of Jan Hus, the Bohemian reformer who was burned at the stake in 1415
as a heretic. It was necessary, Pope John Paul said, to examine without
prejudice, "all those events, still insufficiently understood, which
led in the past to the disorder and excesses between those who belonged
to the community of the Reformation and the Catholics". The Pope
also spoke of his hope that churches and Christians would be able to make
a renewed effort for unity for the new millennium. The experience of the
annual world-wide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity made "the yearning
for a common Eucharist still greater", he said. ENI Bulletin
Paris, 25 August -- Pope John Paul II left Paris
yesterday at the end of a triumphal four-day visit which attracted interest
well beyond the organisers' expectations, and praise from Protestants
who welcomed reconciliatory remarks by the Roman Catholic Leader. At a
vigil service at Longchamp on the evening of Sat. 23 August, the Pope
directly replied to criticism of the timing of his visit, which coincided
with the 425th anniversary of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre on the
night of 23-24 August 1572, when, on the orders of the Roman Catholic
monarchy, thousands of French Protestants were killed. The Pope told the
Longchamp crowd of between 600,000 and 800,000: "We cannot forget
the sad massacre of St Bartholomew's Day, an event of very obscure causes
in the political and religious history of France. Christians carried out
acts which the Gospel condemns. Belonging to different religious traditions
must not constitute a source of opposition and tension.
On the contrary, our common love for Christ impels us to seek tirelessly the path of full unity." The French Protestant Federation welcomed the Pope's comments. ENI Bulletin -97-0405
EUCHARIST AND/OR COMMUNION
New York, 20 August -- The Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), voted at its Churchwide Assembly in Philadelphia
on 18 August to declare full communion with three US denominations in
the Reformed (Calvinist) tradition - the Presbyterian Church, Reformed
Church in America, and the United Church of Christ. On the same day, the
Lutherans failed narrowly to approve a similar "Concordat of Agreement"
with the Anglican Church. However, the assembly approved resolutions leaving
the way open for full communion with the Anglicans to be approved at the
next assembly in 1999. The agreements allow for full acceptance of clergy
and sacraments of the partners, and denial of doctrinal differences sufficient
to justify church division. ENI Bulletin -
Graz, Austria, 30 June -- The biggest and most
representative gathering of European Christians this century finished
on 29 June with an open-air service attended by thousands of people. The
official church delegates adopted a "message" calling for the
"unflagging pursuit of the goal of visible unity" and the "unequivocal
proclamation and defence of human rights". The president of the Conference
of European Churches (CEC) John Arnold, told ENI that the Graz assembly
had not brought the "visible unity" of the church closer "in
the strict faith and order sense of the word" as the assembly was
not intended to be a theological dialogue. "We haven't been able
to make our unity visible at the point when people would see us all taking
communion together," he said.
"However, at another level we have made visible the
unity of very great diversity ... the worship occasions ... have had a
quite extraordinary visibility which shows that short of full visible
unity there is still a visible unity which is very well worth having."
Many participants, particularly those from Protestant churches in Western
Europe, wanted the assembly to make clear proposals on issues such as
sharing the Eucharist across denominations..." ENI Bulletin
Leipzig, 23 June -- Germany's Protestants and Roman
Catholics have decided to organise a major ecumenical gathering in the
year 2003 - and they hope that the event will include a joint eucharist
for Christians from both traditions. According to Professor Hans Joachim
Meyer, president of the central committee of German Catholics both Protestants
and Roman Catholics had a "common experience that the separation
at the Lord's Table is especially painful." According to Rainer Meusel,
president of the Protestant Kirchentag (church convention) there is a
"clear desire for greater unity between the two major Christian confessions
in Germany". But he stressed that carefully prepared discussions
between Protestants and Roman Catholics were needed if the aim of a joint
eucharistic celebration was to be reached. ENI Bulletin -97-0281
Rome, 4 February -- Pope John Paul II will almost certainly make an official visit to Jerusalem, following an invitation on 3 February by the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu told reporters
p 5 -- that the Pope intended to accept his invitation
to visit Israel. He made the announcment after a 20-minute meeting with
the Pope only at the Vatican. Although the Vatican
did not confirm that the Roman Catholic leader will visit Jerusalem, Netanyahu
told the Pope at the end of their meeting that he eagerly awaited the
Catholic leader's visit. Pope John Paul replied: "God
bless Israel." Netanyahu later told journalists that the Pope intended
to come to Israel before the year 2000. The Vatican has for some time
been planning for the Pope to visit Israel as part of celebrations for
the start of the new millennium. ENI Bulletin - 97-0056
Jerusalem, 27 March -- The Latin Patriarch, Michel
Sabbah, who is the Roman Catholic (Latin) archbishop of Jerusalem, said
the "Holy City of resurrection and redemption is still the main cause
for the absence of peace. Everyone believes Jerusalem is the city of peace,
yet it remains the source of disputes. It is still, for security reasons,
forbidden for our believers." The Patriarch and the Custos of the
Holy Land, Giuseppe Nazzaro both agreed that the peace process was in
trouble. "We encourage our faithful to pray for peace, but they see
no evidence of peace," Nazzaro said. "Still, Christians must
believe in peace and work for peace." The Latin Patriarch reiterated
a plea for Jerusalem to have "a unique and special status which guarantees
its holiness and sovereignty alike. God wanted this city to be a holy
heritage for the three monotheistic religions. The principle of sharing
this city is the only way to peace." ENI Bulletin - 97-0138
Warsaw, 20 February -- Poland's
churches hope that the first part of an ecumenical Bible will mark a major
step towards overcoming confessional divisions. The 109-page edition of
St. Matthews Gospel, signed by representatives of the Roman Catholic,
Orthodox and Reformed churches, was presented at a ceremony organised
by the Polish Bible Society in Warsaw on 17 February. Barbara Enholc-Narzynska,
the director of the society, said the translation had been "readily
accepted" by church leaders. She added that it was hoped a full ecumenical
Bible would be published by the year 2000. "Although minority churches
already enjoy good mutual relations here, real ecumenism in Poland can
begin only when Roman Catholics are involved," she told ENI.
The translation of St Matthews Gospel was undertaken by a team headed
by Zacchariusz Lyko, leader of the county's 10,000-member Seventh-day
Adventist church. The team expects to publish St. Mark's
London, 19 February -- A Church of England bishop
has joined millions of Christians around the world by "giving up"
something for Lent. But Dr Alan Smithson, Bishop of Jarrow, has made an
unusual choice for his Lenten sacrifice - he has given up reading the
Bible and has taken up the holy Muslim book, the Koran, instead. "If
only Christians would take seriously the beliefs of other traditions and
religions, we would be all the better for it," Bishop Smithson told
reporters. "I am passionately concerned that we help the church to
move into a wider scene where we are not just preoccupied with Christian
issues, but understand other faiths, not as rivals, but as fellow travellers.
The western world needs to learn from Islam. There are qualities of holiness
and commitment that the faithful Muslim shows that the Western world can
learn from." ENI Bulletin - 97-0071
New York, 28 August -- A museum and study centre
designed to focus international attention on papal teachings and the impact
of Roman Catholicism world-wide is to be constructed in the US capital,
Washington DC. The centre is expected to draw half-a-million visitors
a year and also to provide facilities for visiting scholars. The Pope
John Paul II Cultural Centre is due to open in 2000, a year the Pope hopes
will bring renewed commitment to the Christian faith and the mission of
the church. Pope John Paul II suggested that the centre be located in
Washington DC because of the US capital's leading role in world affairs.
While the museum and research facilities were directed towards learning,
the centre was also intended to serve the papal goal of evangelisation.
ENI Bulletin - 97-0381
Warsaw, 4 June -- Pope John Paul II has called on his fellow Poles to "beg God on [their] knees" that he will live to lead the Roman Catholic Church into the next millennium. "My years are adding up," the 77-year-old Pontiff said to worshippers. "So you must beg God on your knees that I cope with this task." In response, the crowd of 400,000 chanted: "We will help you." ENI Bulletin - 97-0238 --- (1997 Nov) --- End --- TOP
Dec -- XXX
- 12(97) -- WHY
Editors Preface -- The first article in this
issue will serve as a preface to the series of articles which will begin
with the January issue of WWN. In this series on the "Eternal
Verities" - the Godhead, Incarnation, and the Atonement
- we will put in summary form the studies of the 1997 Seminar. Too
long have we held our peace while a new Gnosticism has been sweeping through
the corridors of Adventism in America and spreading its deception to three
other continents. The denigration of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the projection
of the papal doctrine of the Trinity under the guise of professing to
oppose it, needs to be exposed so that all who honestly want truth can
The second article on the new thrust which the ecumenical
movement is seeking to take, has been largely confined to books and articles
in German. We have been able to get bits and pieces through the ENI
releases from the WCC. Material received from Germany has been translated,
and our Librarian, Terrie Lambert, has been working diligently to put
together this information so that our readers can be aware of this new
emphasis which will include all the religions of the world. This new emphasis
carries as its slogan - "Justice Peace, and the Integrity of Creation."
And as the brother in Germany, who supplied us with the German documents,
asks, "Are you not for Justice, Peace, and the integrity of Creation?"
Yet behind this new force is the Spiritism of the Eastern religions combined
with socialistic ideology. One is reminded of the words in The Great
Controversy. "Except those who are kept by the power of God,
through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks
of this delusion." (p. 562)
On the last Sabbath in September, Darren Lambert and I
visited, as observers the weekend Campmeeting of the Reformed Seventh
Day Adventist Church held near Springdale, Arkansas. The speaker for the
Sabbath service presented a challenge to those who embrace "historic"
Adventism. We invited him to carry through on his own challenge, and make
suggestion in "Let's Talk It Over" that it would be a good idea
for all who profess "historic" Adventism to do likewise.
p 2 -- Why Study?
-- When we first announced at the
beginning of this year that our seminar studies in connection with the
1997 Annual Fellowship would be on the Godhead - Incarnation - Atonement,
some asked, Why these subjects? Yet, when the hour arrived for the fellowship,
we were pressed as to where to place all the folk who came. It was evident
from the start that God was blessing the study of His Word. So again the
question - "Why study the topics of the God-head, Incarnation, and
The Godhead -- An
ancient heresy which plagued the Early Church has again reared its diabolical
head. There is a new Gnosticism being foisted on the unwary. As with the
old pagan Gnosticism which perceived of one supreme deity from whom emanated
lesser aeons, and the Christian version which perceived of Jesus Christ
as one of the aeons, so today in neo-Gnosticism, Jesus Christ is perceived
as having emanated, or generated from, or was "birthed" by God
the Father. In America a quartet of "voices" - Allabach, Beachy,
Goslin, and Stump - promote this ancient heresy, while in Australia, Pittard
and Gibbons resonate this concept . Basically, the issue, or bottom line,
is the denigration of the pre-existent Logos, who was with God, and who
was God as much as the Father is God. (John 1:1-2)
The Incarnation -- While
the ever-existent, self-existent I AM is being denigrated on the one hand,
the victory which this same I AM achieved in the flesh is being denied
or muted by those whose faith cannot grasp the reality of the Mystery
of Godliness - God manifest in the likeness of a flesh of
sin. (I Tim. 3:16; Rom. 8:3 Gr.) Yet man's redemption cannot be separated
from a true understanding of the condescension of the Eternal Logos. (John
1:14) Tragically, various "alternate" theories of the Incarnation
have arisen in the community of Adventism which are but a "generation"
removed from the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Many
of these "voices" come from "high" places in the regular
The Atonement -- Within the
community of Adventism, there are few who would deny that an "atonement"
was achieved on the Cross, but by far the larger portion of the community
conceive of this atonement as completed, thus denying the "atonement
of atonements," or final atonement prefigured in the typical service
of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary. Living at the very time of the closing
work in the sanctuary above, little is said, or discussed as to what is
involved in this last work of Christ as the great High Priest. The very
heart of Adventism has ceased to pulsate. It is true that an understanding
of what is meant by the "final atonement" is fraught with perils
of extremism, and must be grasped by faith, because the "evidence"
is not seen. Movements of the past with their failures and errors stigmatize
any attempt to forthrightly discuss what the "final atonement"
actually means or could be.
Limitations -- Returning
to the subject of the Godhead, we need to note the limitations which the
Scriptures impose on this study. Paul, writing to Timothy, clearly stated
that God dwells "in the light which no man can approach unto: whom
no man hath seen, nor can see." (I Tim 6:16) By the senses, we cannot
define or describe God. The curtain is drawn over His Being. The only
One through which a revelation of God has come is the
monogenes theos, as indicated in John's preface to his Gospel.
(John 1:18; alternate Gr. Text) This God Jesus Christ, we likewise have
not seen. But John did. He writes: That
which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which
we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word
of life; . . . declare we unto you. (I John 1:1,3)
Further, John declared that He whom they saw and with
whom they had had physical contact, was "that eternal life, which
was with the Father"- the Logos (ver. 2). While the curtain is drawn
on aspects of God, there is no question expressed as to the "eternalness"
of Him who was with God from the beginning. The challenge "to comprehend
as far as mortal can, the deep things of God" (Great Controversy,
p.599), is further heightened by Paul when he states that Jesus Christ
(the Word made flesh) "in His times shall show, who is the blessed
and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords." (I Tim.
6:14-15) Yet when He shall return the second time, on His vesture dipped
in blood is the name written - "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
( Rev. 19:13,16) How shall He show the only Potentate as "King of
kings and Lord of lords", and He Himself carry the same name emphasized
on a garment dipped in blood? This picture, if meditated upon, opens a
rich field for thought. This unique revelation of God, we shall discuss
more completely when we study the linguistic aspects of the Shema of Israel
in up-coming issues of WWN.
In noting the limitations imposed on our understanding
of the Incarnation, the curtain is drawn over the "how." We
can know that God was manifest in the flesh, but the "how" is
wrapped in mystery incomprehensible to men. It was the question Mary asked
when Gabriel revealed her role in the unfolding of the purposes of God.
p 3 -- The answer Gabriel gave did not explain the "how" but merely emphasized the fact that the One who "shall be [not "is" nor "was"] called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35) was "conceived ... of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 1:20)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ -- While
the curtain is drawn over aspects of the Godhead, and the "how"
of the Incarnation, certain symbolic representations given in the "unveiling"
of Jesus Christ can enlarge our thinking as we "exert all the powers
of the mind in the study of the Scriptures." The post ascension revelation
given to John in Chapter 4, pictures God seated on the throne clothed
in light which bars penetration. Out of the throne "proceeded lightenings
and thunderings and voices." Before the throne were seven torches
of fire declared to be "the Seven Spirits of God." (Rev. 4:3-5)
As the next scene comes before John, he again sees the
throne. This time there is an added dimension to the vision. He beholds
a Lamb as it had been slain in the midst of the throne, and a changed
relationship of "the seven Spirits of God". In symbolism, they
are represented as "seven horns and seven eyes" of the Lamb
"sent forth into all the earth." (Rev. 5:6)
In seeking to understand the meaning of these symbolic
presentations, are we to study them in the light of John's Gospel and
Epistles? This possibility and meaning will be explored as we begin the
articles in the 1998 issues of WWN. John does begin his Gospel
with the Logos ("Word," KJV) and God, and defines the relationship
be-tween them, and the work of the Logos (John 1:1-3). This Logos became
flesh and dwelt among us. He is declared to be "the Lamb of God."
(John 1:14, 29). In his Epistle, John describes Jesus as the Paraclete
("Advocate"- I John 2:1). In his Gospel, he quotes Jesus as
saying, when He returns to the Father He would send "another Paraclete."
Yet the relationship would be so close that they could conclude that He
had come to them. (John 14:16, 18) Much of this we have missed as we have
indulged in a surface reading and comprehension of the revelation God
has given in His Word.
Indeed a veil is drawn on aspects of God and the Incarnation,
and the "how" remains a mystery - the "secret things belong
unto the Lord our God." However, there is much that is revealed,
and these "things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children."
(Deut. 29:29) Facts are revealed in clear pronouncements and in symbolism.
The problem is in how we read them. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in metaphor,
and he asked - "How can these things be?" To this "how,"
Jesus responded - "Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not
these things?" (John 3:9-10) Tragically, the siren "voices"
sounding in the corridors of Adventism today, professing to be "teachers"
of Israel, are giving only surface answers which echo heresies which have
plagued God's people in times past. It is time that we gave heed to the
admonition of Paul to Timothy: Study
to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Tim. 2:15)
Ecumenical Initiative --
The ecumenical movement in Europe is in commotion.
The new goal-objective - "The Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace
and Integrity of Creation" has raised the feelings of many, as Christians
from all different denominations, from laymen to leaders in high positions,
have been disturbed. However, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has applied
for membership with the Working group of Christian Churches (ACK), which
lists the pursuit of this conciliar process as one of its duties. What
is the background of this initiative, its goals and terms?
One of the main players in the "conciliar process"
is the famous nuclear physicist and philosopher, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.
Von Weizsäcker had been frightened about the catastrophic effects
of his own discoveries and inventions and started to search for a way
out of the recognised danger. In 1985 he used the platform of the German
Evangelical Church Convention in Düsseldorf, to call for a universal
peace council. He said: We
ask the churches of the world to call a council of peace. Peace is necessary
today for the survival of mankind. It is not ensured. At an ecumenical
council that is called ill the name of peace, the Christian churches must
make a statement of common responsibility, which mankind cannot ignore.
Time is running out.
We ask the church leaders to do everything in their power, so that the
council can meet as soon as possible. We ask the church communities to
call for a council and give it strength through their explicit support.
(The Conciliar Process - Utopia and Reality, p.15)
The leading head of those who are strongly opposed to
the conciliar process is Dr. Peter Beyerhaus, Professor for Mission-Science
and ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen, Germany. He, together
with Lutz von Padberg, Professor for Church-History at the Evangelical
Theological Faculty in Loewen, co-edited the book "The Conciliar
Process - Utopia and Reality", a compilation of 23 chapters from
19 different authors. Commenting on von Weizsäckers call for a Universal
Peace Council, Beyerhaus writes: This
call first found support among the communities and church leaders of the
Lutheran Church in Germany, with the Lutheran World Union and with a series
of other churches and church or-
p 4 -- ganisations
in central Europe. Through a number of lectures, essays, television appearances
and not the least through his widely published books "Change of
Consciousness" and "Time is Running Out" (200,000
sold in 1988!), the initiator of the Düsseldorf Call passed over
geographical and denominational boundaries in his drive to win endorsement
for his cause. Additionally, the Day of the Prayer for Peace of the Churches
and Religions, which Pope John Paul II presented the following year on
October 27, 1986 in Assisi, was the echo of this initiative (ibid.,
The question needs be asked - from what philosophical
background did von Weizsäcker develop this conciliar vision? On a
study trip to India in 1969, von Weizsäcker found a long-sought contact
with Indian wisdom. At the grave of the Hindu guru, Maharshi, he experienced
a mystic vision, which he later described in his autobiographical report,
"The Garden of the Humane." He wrote: As
I took off my shoes and stepped in Ashram in front of the grave of Maharshi,
it hit me: "Yes, this is it. " Actually,
all the questions have been answered. ... Afterwards I sat next to the
grave on the rock floor. The knowledge was here, and in thirty minutes
everything had happened. I still knew what was going on around me, the
hard floor, the humming mosquitoes, the light on the rocks. But in no
time the layers to the core were broken through, it can only be hinted
at with words: "You" "I" -
"Yes". Tears of bliss. Bliss without tears. I became somebody
different ... With a gentle tenderness, the experience left me in the
following days and weeks. Its substance will always stay with me. (ibid.,
Von Weizsäcker termed this experience as "a
cosmic-mystic experience of unity in all beings." He concluded that
the atomically threatened world peace, even the survival of mankind is
only possible by the common efforts of all leaders in responsible positions,
based on a spiritual union of western technology and eastern religions.
Originating from hinduistic pantheism, von Weizsacker views "development
and decay, success and failure, western and eastern thought as developmental
stages toward a mutual understanding and life" or "an evolution
of consciousness" (ibid., p 155). Thus evolution is seen as
more than the recent theory of the Cosmos, but the goal of all nature
towards the total unity of mankind. This is the basis of the ecumenical
thought - the uniting of all religions and ideologies through
In the conciliar process, truth is seen as relative; i.e.
nobody knows the truth, but rather that a lot of people strike to find
it together. A parable is given as an illustration, where there are five
people living together in a cave, each of them having just one of the
five senses; seeing, feeling, hearing etc. One day water starts rising
in the cave, leaving only one alternative, - "either they have to
take a chance and use a completely unknown path, or they will die. The
five step toward the exit. The one with the sense of feeling touches the
wall and feels that the cave ends here and after that there is 'nothing.'
If he would be dependent on himself he would have to jump into the 'nothing.'
But the one with the sense of sight describes the 'nothing': a wide
field and in some distance some kind of frame, which lie can't recognise
as a tree. They step forward and out of the cave. The one with the sense
of hearing hears a predator growling at them from behind. Only he can
warn the others etc. All five depend on each other. It would have been
completely wrong if the group would have sit down in the cave and thought
about which one of them had the 'true' sense. Everyone has only one perception;
all perceptions combined lead to the ultimate truth" (ibid.,
It is at this point that Beyerhaus and others are opposed,
as they fear that the truth of the Christian belief loses its uniqueness
when it unites with non-christian religions. The "Conciliar Vision"
offers an alternative salvation story to that of Christianity. The redemption
of mankind "must be recognised under the pressure of surviving in
the present of 'the one' (Hinduism), the 'yourself ' (Buddhism), 'cosmic
harmony' (Confucius), and in the 'good' (Judaism and Christianity)."
(ibid., p.177) Christ and His gospel are seen as only part of the
wisdom of mankind and the unique role of Jesus Christ as Son of God and
redeemer of the world are removed. When confronted with this criticism,
von Weizsäcker remarked: "It dissolves one of those wonderful
myths, which Christians have believed for so long a time. God will know
if this myth should be removed or not. I don't care." (ibid.,
The catholic response to this conciliar process has been
interesting. Pope John Paul II, excited by von Weizsacker's idea, conceived
of a plan to invite all high-ranking officials of churches and world religions
to a big common day of prayer for peace, on October 27, 1986 in Assisi.
Earlier in the year, February 1, 1986, he had the sign of the God "Shira"
painted with red powder his forehead while on his visit to India. On September
21, on the eve of the gathering in Assisi, he said: "Nobody
can be surprised when members of different religions meet to pray together."
In attendance in October were almost all of the Christian denominations
and next to them Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hinduists, Sikhs, Parsens,
Shintoists, Indian shamans and African wizards.
In John Paul's address before the gathering of representatives,
he explained in pontifical style that the historical development of humankind,
according to God's will, should be "a brotherly migration, in which
we move together toward a mutual, transcendental goal, that He set for
us." In Assisi the following were called by name: a Bodhisattva,
Vishnu (Brahma), the Indian spirit, Allah, Mother Earth, the four winds,
the thunder and African spirits, at the same position with Jesus Christ.
Many more such days followed this first common day of prayer for peace,
and the Pope is reportedly determined to make this interreligious meeting
into a world-wide movement.
In 1991, the conciliar process was continued at the Seventh
Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra, Australia. Under
the theme: "Come, Holy Ghost, Renew Thy Entire Creation",
the Korean theologist Chung Hyung Kyung, one of the two main speakers,
generated much audience enthusiasm. After ritually calling on the souls
of the dead, she spoke not only of the polytheistic beliefs, but also
introduced her concept of a female Christ. In addition, there were thirteen
representatives of non-Christian religions participating; a further step
toward world unification.
p 5 -- While the "New Age" background
of "The Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation"
is evident, terms like Justice and peace, which at first sound biblical,
are meant to be socio-political. Its goals are based on common social
questions and extend from social concerns to economy and politics, to
questions of environmental protection. They deal, therefore, with areas
which in the past have been considered the responsibility of worldly authorities.
In 1983, at the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of
Churches in Vancouver, Ulrich Duchrow, a regional worker for Ecumenism
and World Mission in the National Church in the province of Baden, Germany,
presented his plans. He stated: We
want to develop a network of Christians who see the fight for justice,
peace and the preservation of creation, world-wide and start to act according
to it. During this time, we have to act as a Christian group, be politically
purposefull, work critically and with solidarity, work with political
groups for peace, Ecumenism and the Third World (The Ecumenical
Connection, Inter-Euro Publishing, pp.164, 165).
The resulting program rules from Vancouver state the following: The crucial point of the conciliar process .... deals therefore with forming Christian resistance groups against the demonic powers of death in racism, sexism, economic exploitation, militarism, and abuse of science and technology (ibid.).
Beyerhaus suggests that because Duchrow developed the
program for the conciliar process, we should watch very carefully his
future plans and activities. For example, Duchrow
writes in his book "World
Economy Today" that: In
the fight for justice and human dignity we must oppose the powers of oppression.
We are called upon to show solidarity with the ones who fight for tile
power of the people to develop a strong participatory society through
the legitimate practice of power. ... From this point, international networks
for support of churches should be enforced and expanded ... These networks
help the poor to pool their strength to oppose the powers of oppression
Commentators have noted that this book is nothing but
Marxist and Socialist ideology. The question then arises as to why this
conciliar process with its obvious "New Age" and political background
could take off as it has? The answer is simple: Fear! The
task is to use the words "concern" and "fear" and
through this, to convince the dispositions to accept this ideology (The
Conciliar Process - Utopia and Reality, p.283).
As von Weizsäcker has stated; "Mankind at present is in a crisis, whose catastrophic climax is probably still before us." By listing of the dangers to mankind - poverty, wars, environmental decline which have existed for decades, and which keep the population in fear, they can in turn be used by radical movements to demand drastic solutions as an alternative to the present political situation: 1) The starvation and famine in the explosive growing population of the Third world, which splits the world in two unequal pieces [Justice]; 2) in the wake of the re-armament threatening outbreak of a nuclear holocaust [Peace]; 3) the ever expanding environmental destruction, either by negligence of chemistry or cause of exploitation [Preservation of Creation] (ibid., p.22).
Von Weizsäcker has proved a marketing wizard, as
the success of his strategy shows. He does not speak as a fatalist, but
has turned the expressions - "Misery, War and Environmental Destruction"
- around into their opposites - "social justice, political peace
and preserving nature." Beyerhaus comments; "He uses his crisis
analysis as a compassionate appeal to the common sense of the leaders,
yes, even to the whole of mankind, to get them to a determined change
of course" (ibid., p. 23). As a brother in Germany put it:
"The conciliar idea will fly! We hear it on the news, church news
and elsewhere. They all ride on the slogan Justice,
Peace and Integrity of Creation. With this slogan they will
get everyone, because ... are you not for Justice, Peace and Integrity
This slogan certainly has "got" the Adventists
in Europe. One example are the German Unions. Having fallen from the purity
of truth, and therefore from the power of the gospel, their leaders greedily
grasped for the power of the Ecumene. During a session, April 6-8, the
North German Union (NDV) voted 80% in favour of membership in the Working
Group of Christian Churches (NCC). Later the same month, April 20, the
delegates of the South German Union voted 129-109 for guest membership
in the ACK. Many members now fear the possibility of a split and those
opposed being thrown out, as they would be in the minority. It is interesting
to recall that the East German Adventists are now a part of the North
German Union (NDV). Prior to the unification of Germany in 1991, this
union held full membership in the ACK (NCC).
It is tragic that certain evangelical voices can discern
that the entire conciliar process is in absolute opposition to biblical
thought, while the Seventh-day Adventist Church is seeking alliance with
those that advocate it. Beyerhaus aptly puts this down to theological
confusion over six points: 1.
A General disregard for the Holy Scripture; It is shown by the
twisting of the meaning or careless use of important statements, in the
use of violating "contextual" methods of interpreting the Bible,
which is typical for the so-called freedom theology, and in the consuIting
of other known sources from non-Christian Religions and ideologies;
p 6 --
position of a religious founder beneath others, or to a historical principle;
secularizing change of the essence of the church, where the Body of
Christ expands universally to the "Body of Mankind," in which
the community is obliged to disregard the reforming message about tile
relationship between church and state, and support the executing organ
of political assignment;
How true it is that a disregard for the Scriptures has
led to confusion in Adventism. It is a sad day when the organised structure
seeks justice and peace on the basis of a political world order, and not
the peace of Christ and the justice of God, which are gifts only to be
received through faith. To be working towards the preservation of creation
might seem a worthy duty to the secular world, but the church should be
with those looking "for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth
righteousness" (II Peter 3:13), recognizing that God Himself will
destroy this earth as a final judgment on impenitent mankind.
One last point that Beyerhaus makes should give some sobering
thoughts to the thinking Adventist: This
systematic strategy is preparing Christianity, step by step, for the organization
of a coming world peace council of all churches, religions and ideologies,
which would give, in the name of God, obliging instructions for living
in a political-religious world order. Biblically-ground Christians
recognize in such "conciliar visions" alarming parallels to
the kingdom of the Antichrist. which was prophesied to us (Revelations
17:12-18). (The Ecumenical Connections, p.218, Emphasis ours)
The warning is clear and strong that only "biblically-ground Christians" will recognize the conciliar process for what it truly is. We also have to come to terms with the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has ceased to be the proclaimer of the genuine Three Angel's Messages, although they continue to give lip service to them. Therefore, what courage will the individual have to have to be able to stand alone against these "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" in earth's final hours! (We are indebted in this article to Brother Jürgen Krahne of Auggen/ Germany, for alerting us to this issue and for source documentation relative to the conciliar process.)
is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people.
The principles of the Bible
Let's Talk It Over -- The
last Sabbath in September, we attended the campmeetmg of the Seventh Day
Adventist Reform Movement in northwest Arkansas. We had several reasons
in mind for doing so. Over a decade ago, we had attended a like gather
mg near Leslie, Arkansas. We wanted to see what changes, if any, had taken
place in the Reform Movement. We were aware of the call in the Reformation
Herald, their official publication, to members of the regular Church
who had become concerned with trends within the Church, to come and take
a look at them. It was evident from the enlarged attendance and from comments
which interlaced testimonies and conversations, that a number of those
present had done just that, and having taken a look, remained.
Present at this campmeeting were two veteran ministers
of the Reform Movement whom I had met and had conversed with on previous
occasions. One was a former president of their General Conference, and
the other the head of their Sabbath School department. Neither of these
men were asked to speak during the Sabbath School or to offer prayer at
the noon day Worship service that I attended. The head of the Sabbath
School Department and editor of their quarterly was not even asked to
teach a Sabbath school class. (He sat in the same class as I as the teacher
floundered through the lesson.) Either protocol is not known by the younger
men who are leading out, or the accent of the senior leadership of the
Movement is considered a negative in their present objective in the States.
The Worship service was semi-formal, and in some aspects
seemed in disarray. The one who spoke, Elder Peter D. Lausevic, was a
third generation minister in the Refom Movement. He was pastor of the
Nashville, Tennessee, area of the Movement His presentation both in substance
and delivery was excellent, closely resembling the "old time"
Adventist campmeeting sermons with which I have been familiar. This would
have an appeal to members of the regular Church who can no longer countenance
the present trends. The music also reflected the type with which concerned
Adventists were familiar.
The Reform Movement has been long on standards especially in women's dress codes, and ministerial attire. I sense an easing up in both areas. The pianist even wore a red dress, and the minister's suits varied in the darker shades from the standard black (2T:61O) Their friendliness, openness, and hospitality, were the same as on previous occasions with a few exceptions. One can count on a frank and open exchange of ideas with the leadership present from their General Conference, at least, I have found it so. The younger men who are now leading out seem fearful and apprehensive of observers.·
p 7 -- The morning sermon by Elder Lausevic was
a call to recognize the meaning of Christ's counsel to the apostolic church,
to tarry until endowed with the power to witness. He noted that one cannot
win converts to the Gospel, unless endued with the Holy Spirit. It is
the Holy Spirit which con-victs of sin; man cannot. He correctly exegeted
the promise of Jesus that "the gates of hell" cannot prevail
against the Church. He recognized that this was a call to aggressive witness,
even penetrating the gates of hell in warfare against Satan and his hosts.
Near the conclusion of his presentation, he asked - "Do
you want to know what should mark true 'historic' Adventism?" He
then directed the large congregation to a message found in The Review
& Herald, July 26, 1892 titled - "Search the Scriptures."
The question is asked - "How shall we search the Scnptures?"
It Is answered by another question: "Shall we drive our stakes of
doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our
established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures,
and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth?"
What was the "historic" experience and example?
Ellen White testified: We
would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in
faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point
at a time was made the subject of investigation...We did not generally
study together more than four hours at a time.
"If dissension arose, the study would be adjourned
so that all could pray and contemplate the issues and questions in private
study, then they would return to the task, because they knew that "it
is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the
test of trial."
This challenge and experience is apropos to the present
when division marks the community of Adventism. I challenge the voices
in "historic" Adventism, Dr. Ralph Larson, Drs. John Grosboll,
Colin and Russell Standish, Elders Wieland, Marcussen, Spear and perhaps
others to meet together with me and discuss one at a time, the major doctrines
of Adventism which are in controversy, such as the Sanctuary, Incarnation,
the Atonement, the Godhead, the prophecies of Jesus, and the place of
the Writings in formulating doctrine. No single discussion would be more
than four hours in length.
A report would be rendered in each one's published journal
as to the progress made, the issues raised, the points that divide, so
as to keep the laity informed as to the progress made toward the unity
for which Christ prayed. It should be kept in mind that the "messenger
of the Lord" has specifi-cally cautioned that "we have many
lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn." The unlearning process
will no doubt be the most difficult But "as long as we hold to our
own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the
unity for which Christ prayed."
A Statement Questioned -- In the Special Issue - 'The Bottom Rung of the Ladder' I wrote that Willard Santee, Minister of Reconciliation for the Oregon Conference, was sent to Florida by the General Conference to 'reclaim' John Osborne. I stated this on information received through the Church where Santee is pastor. A call from a person connected with Prophecy Countdown stated that he had originally recommended Santee, and that the request was made by Osborne via the Florida Conference President to the Oregon Conference President and was thus approved. Anyone aware of hierarchical procedure must know that the two administrators, because of the nature of this request would not unilaterally concur without consultation with higher authority, perhaps even to the level of the North American Division. The one calling me indicated that he did not know in advance the direction which Santee's presentations would take, and that until a tape of one of Santee's sermons was heard by a Prophecy Countdown officer, they did not know who Santee was. I was also informed that Prophecy Countdown paid for the travel of Willard Santee to the Florida appointment. We respect the integrity of the Oregon Church source of our original statement but should have tried to verify it further. --- (1997 Dec) --- End --- TOP
-- XXX -- Special -- Part
1 -- 46th
INTERNATIONAL EUCHARIST CONGRESS -- EDITOR'S
PREFACE -- This
year the 46th International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Wroclaw,
Poland. For the first time in the history of Eucharistic Congresses, this
Congress will emphasize the theme of Freedom as reflected in the Eucharist.
The choice of Wroclaw in Poland was to point up the fact that the nations
of Eastern Europe "during the last decades have experienced the tragic
negation of personal and social freedom. Thus, the Eucharistic mystery
will highlight not only the positive experience of both the historical
and social aspects of freedom but also the supernatural quality of the
freedom with which Christ has set us free."
Two factors are involved in this objective:
1) The re-defining of "freedom." In the
mind of the Roman Catholic curia, the meaning of "freedom" does
not mean "liberty" as it is understood in America. American
liberty as understood and defined by the Constitution is in the mind of
Rome, "unbridled liberalism." 2)
Much is implied in the words,"supernatural quality," as the
Mass is perceived to be.
The Pontifical Committee which has the oversight of International
Eucharistic Congresses prepared a document which they released November
13, 1996. This document set forth the relationship between the Eucharist
and freedom as the Committee perceives it. Inasmuch as the Eucharist is
"at the center of the Church's faith and life" and has been
declared to be the "ultimate sign and seal" of church unity
by a Roman Cardinal, close attention needs to be given to this International
Congress. A section of the document also addresses the question of Sunday
as "the day of the Church."
In this special issue of WWN, we have given the
teachings of the Roman Church on the two sacraments involved, one in preparation
for, and the other involved in the Congress itself. We have used an authority
recognized by the Church. Lest one should think that Rome has altered
its theological stance with the passing of time, we have also included
a recent statement by John Paul II on the subject - "Ministerial
Priesthood - the Gift of Redemption" - as he reflected
on the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
p 2 -- 46th
International Eucharistic Congress -- The
46th International Eucharistic Congress will be celebrated in Wroclaw,
Poland this year. The theme chosen is "The Eucharist and Freedom."
The Pontifical Committee for International Eucharisitic Congresses issued
a document on November 13, 1996 outlining the objective for the Congress.
The document read that the Congress will focus "on presenting and
celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist in the light of a concept of
far-reaching anthropological, social and salvific significance: freedom."
This document reveals the subtlety of the new face of
Rome, and gives force to the warning that "so closely will the counterfeit
resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them
except by the Holy Scriptures." (The Great Controversy, p.593)
For example, this document enlarges on the use of the word, "freedom."
It reads: This
word, "freedom" expresses the great quest of humanity, the desire
of all people. Freedom is an expression of that spark of truth and life
with which humanity was created in the image and likeness of God. Freedom
both signifies humanity's noblest expression and is also fraught with
its greatest risk: "God willed that man should be ' left in the hand
of his own counsel ', so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator
and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to Him."
[Quotation from the new Catechism of the Catholic Church]
How much different is this than the following concepts?
Every human being,
created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the
Creator, - individuality, the power to think and to do. ...
Higher than the highest
human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness
- godlikeness - is the goal to be reached. (Education,
The document continues:
is God's gift made to humanity in creation, and even more in redemption.
It is, indeed, to the mystery of redemption that Paul is referring when
he says: "For freedom Christ has set us free." (Gal
5:1) Precisely because freedom is a fragile and endangered
gift, it has been "redeemed" from sin and is "saved"
by the gift of the Holy Spirit, in whom we have become children of God,
freed from the slavery of sin so as to cry out together, "Abba! Father
!" (cf. Gal 4:4-6) The same Spirit enables us to turn to others as
our brothers and sisters in the freedom and evangelical fraternity of
the children of our Father. [ Ecumenism? ]
For this reason, so
that we may remain free, Christ himself willed that the mystery of redemption
and our liberation - His and our Passover should be sacramentally
presented to us in the Eucharist at all times and in all places until
His glorious and definitive return, when "freed from the corruption
of sin and death, we shall sing the glory of the Father with every creature."
It is obvious from this introduction that the Roman Catholic
concept of "freedom" is interlocked with their perception of
the Eucharist. It will be of value to us at this point to review how the
Roman Church views the Eucharist, and what they believe happens in the
celebration of the Mass.
The document itself states - "The Eucharist
is at the center of the Church's faith and life." The Catechism
of the Catholic Church reads - "In the blessed Eucharist
is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself,
our Pasch." (#1324) "In brief, the Eucharist is
the sum and summary of our faith: ' Our way of thinking is
attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of
thinking." ' (#1327) In the same section, it gives an
insight as to why the Church of Rome has designated this "sacrament"
as the "ultimate sign and seal" of church unity. (EPS 91.02.74)
The Catechism declares - "The Eucharist is the efficacious
sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity
of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being."
(#1325; emphasis supplied)
Briefly the position is: No Eucharist,
no Church; No Eucharist, no "Divine life" (power). The "power"
involved in the Eucharist is little perceived. In the book,
His Holiness, the authors commenting on the first mass
celebrated by Karol Wojtyla wrote: His
former teacher, Father Kazimierz Figlewicz served as manuductor,
the elder confrere who guides a new priest during the celebration, steadying
him as, for the first time, he experiences the tremendous power involved
in the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
There can be no question that such an experience of power
galvanizes a priesthood and thus a whole Church around a central concept
involving the Eucharist.
It should not be forgotten that the final issue as expressed
in the Three Angels Messages is worship. Either one responds to the message
of the First Angel and worships "Him" who created all things,
or "the beast" who claims to create "god" for men
to worship. (Rev. 14:7, 9) A thousand "Sunday laws" could be
legislated regulating the work place, yet so long as no man would be compelled
to worship on that day, no mark can be inferred. The only thing that such
laws could accomplish would be the interference with man's observance
of the command, "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work."
p 3 -- Not only is there "power" involved
with the Eucharist, but there is "blasphemy against God... and His
tabernacle." (Lev.13:6) Whether one interprets the word, "tabernacle"
a literal sense, or in the symbolical usage as found in Rev. 21:3, the
focus of the blasphemy is on the mediatorial ministry of Jesus Christ
beginning with the incarnation and continuing through the crucifixion.
The priest himself usurps the mediatorial ministry of the resurrected
Let us review what the Church of Rome actually believes
the Eucharist to be, and what they perceive the priest actually accomplishes
in its celebration.
First, how does the Roman Church perceive the priest?
The sainted doctor of the Church, Alphonsus
de Ligouri in his approved work, Dignity
and Duties of the Priest, quoting a "saint" of
the Church declares the priest to be "a divine man." "For
us," he writes, "it is enough to know, that Jesus Christ has
said that we should treat his priests as we would his own person:
He that heareth you, heareth me; he that despiseth you despiseth me. He
cites another "saint," Mary of Oignies, who kissed the ground
on which a priest walked. (p.24) This presumed dignity arises from the
Roman perception of "the exalted nature of his offices." The
chief of those offices is manifest in the celebration of the Mass. Alphonsus
de Ligouri wrote: The
entire Church cannot give to God as much honor, nor obtain so many graces,
as a single priest by celebrating a single Mass; for the greatest honor
that the whole Church without priests could give to God would consist
in offering to him in sacrifice the lives of all men. But of what value
are the lives of all men compared with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
which is a sacrifice of infinite value? What are all men before God but
a little dust? ... Thus by the celebration of a single Mass, in which
he offers Jesus Christ in sacrifice, a priest gives greater honor to the
Lord, that if all men by dying for God offered to him the sacrifice of
their lives. By a single Mass, he gives greater honor to God than all
the angels and saints, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, have given or shall
give to him; for their worship cannot be of infinite value, like that
which the priest celebrating on the altar offers to God.
Moreover, in the holy Mass, the priest offers to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the graces bestowed even on the Blessed in Paradise; but such a thanksgiving all the saints together are incapable of offering to him. Hence it is, that on this account also the priestly dignity is superior to all celestial dignities. (p.25)
In the next section - "The Grandeur of
the Priestly Power" - de Ligouri wrote: With
regard to the power of priests over the real body of Jesus Christ, it
is of faith that when they pronounce the words of consecration the Incarnate
Word has obliged himself to obey and to come into their hands under the
sacramental species. ... We find that in the obedience to the words of
his priests - Hoc est Corpus Meum - God himself
descends on the altar, that he comes wherever they call him, and as often
as they call him, and places himself in their hands, even though they
should be his enemies. And after having come, he remains, entirely at
their disposal; they move him as they please, from one place to another;
they may if they wish, shut him up in the tabernacle, or expose him on
the altar; or carry him outside the church; they may if they choose eat
his flesh, and give him for the food of others. "Oh how great is
their power," says St. Laurence Justinian, speaking of priests. "A
word falls from their lips and the body of Christ is there substantially
formed from the matter of bread, and the Incarnate Word descended from
heaven, is found really present on the table of the altar! Never did divine
goodness give such power to the angels. The angels abide by the order
of God, but the priests take him in their hands, distribute him to the
faithful, and partake of him as food for themselves." (pp.26-27)
Barnardine of Sienna has written: "Holy Virgin, excuse
me, for I speak not against thee: the Lord has raised the priesthood
above thee." The saint assigns the reason of the superiority of the
priesthood over Mary; she conceived Jesus Christ only once; but by consecrating
the Eucharist, the priest, as it were, conceives him as often as he wishes,
so that if the person of the Redeemer, had not yet been in the world,
the priest by pronouncing the words of consecration, would produce the
great person of the Man-God. "0 wonderful dignity of the priests,"
cries out St. Augustine; "in their hands, as in the womb of the Blessed
Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate." Hence the priests are
called the parents of Jesus Christ: such is the title St. Bernard gives
them, for they are the active cause by which he is made to exist really
in the consecrated Host.
Thus the priest may,
in a certain manner; be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying
the words of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament,
by giving him a sacramental existence, and producing him as a victim to
be offered to the eternal Father. As in creating the world it was sufficient
for God to have said, Let it be made, and it was created ... so it is
sufficient for the priest to say, "Hoc est corpus meum," and
behold the bread is no longer bread, but the body of Jesus Christ. "The
power of the priest," says St. Bernardine of Sienna, "is the
power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires
as much power as the creation of the world." And St. Augustine has
written, "0 venerable sanctity of the hands! 0 happy function of
the priest! He that created me (if I may say so) gave me the power
to create him; and he that created without me is himself created by me!"
As the Word of God created heaven and earth, so, says St. Jerome, the
words of the priest create Jesus Christ. "At a sign from God there
came forth from nothing both the sublime vault of the heavens and the
p 4 -- of
the earth; but no less great is the power that manifests itself
in the mysterious words of the priest." The dignity of the priest
is so great, that he even blesses Jesus Christ on the altar as a victim
to be offered to the eternal Father. In the sacrifice of the Mass, writes
Father Mansi, Jesus Christ is the principal offerer and victim; as minister,
he blesses the priest, but as victim, the priest blesses him. (pp.32-33)
[Observe the use of the word, "power" in the
above paragraphs, and compare it with the statement taken from the book,
His Holiness, quoted on page 2, col. 2. Then note II Thessalonians
2:8-9. The Greek word translated, "working" in the KJV is,
energeian, from which our English word, "energy" is derived.
Farrar Fenton translates the verse: "This outlaw's
arrival will be accompanied by the energy of Satan with all powers, and
signs, and terrors of falsehood."]
Returning to the document, The Eucharist and Freedom,
the first section comments on "The Gift of Freedom in a Time of Crisis,"
It suggests that such "a crisis of true freedom is being experienced
in the developed nations which have a long tradition of democracy."
The questions are then asked: "What action must
be taken to enable the Church, meditating on the Eucharist, to restore
a true sense of freedom?" and "How can
it be the basis of a society whose citizens and Christians, as well as
the nations and peoples of the world, who are called to be one single
family, may live together in fraternal solidarity?"
Briefly noting "the brutality of Stalinist oppression,"
and "the tyranny of Nazism" as these forces effected freedom,
the document focuses on "the risk of freedom in contemporary culture."
This "freedom" is termed, "unbridled liberalism,"
and is used to encompass "the lifestyle created today ... based on
a notion of freedom that is almost absolute, lacking the moderation which
the dignity of redeemed humanity demands for true freedom." Recognizing
that "the humanistic currents of the Enlightenment shaped the notion
of human rights, the interpretation of these rights without reference
to the perspective of natural law failed to recognize the dignity of the
human person as a person. This resulted in liberal and subjective trends
which are based on certain individualistic claims regarding how to define
and decide the nature of truth, justice and morality."
The document then goes to the core of the problem as perceived
by Rome. It reads - God did not "entrust to a liberal
state the task of reflecting the divine. Human beings, in fact, as persons,
bear within themselves the image of the personal God, an image reinstated
by the Redeemer's grace. They are, however, born not already free
- as liberal thought affirms - but with the capacity
of becoming free and assured by the promise of liberating salvation."
Here the lines are being blurred. True it is, the state was never given
the task of causing its citizens to reflect any spiritual, in contrast
to moral, aspect of God's kingdom, neither is the state to enforce any
particular aspect of what a Church may perceive to be truth. The document
states clearly what Rome perceives and is seeking to carry out. It reads,
and note carefully the basis of truth: The
problem of freedom in the world today concerns the relationship between
freedom and truth - that relationship perceived by conscience formed according
to the revelation of the Gospel and the Church's teaching. John
Paul II states: "only the freedom which submits to the Truth
leads the human person to his true good. The good of the person is to
be in the Truth and to do the Truth." (Emphasis supplied)
To this statement of the Pope, out of context, we could
consent. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free." (John 8:32) He also stated in prayer to God - "Thy
word is truth." (John 17:17) The document left no doubt as to whose
word, they were referring. It reads - "All the false interpretations
of freedom, so often denounced by the Church's magesterium [the Pope]
in our time, find expression in a crisis of true freedom in the life of
individuals, families and society."
Within the document are expressed some lofty concepts
in regard to the Cross and the Resurrection as these experiences of Christ
relate to freedom. Quoting from the encyclical, Veritatis
Splendor, the document reads: The
crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; He lives it
fully in the total gift of himself and calls His disciples to share in
His freedom. Contemplation of Jesus Crucified is thus the high road which
the Church must tread every day if she wishes to understand the full meaning
of freedom: the gift of self in the service of God and one's brethren.
Communion with the crucified and risen Lord is the never-ending source
from which the Church draws unceasingly in order to live in freedom, to
give of herself and to serve ... Jesus, then, is the living, personal
summation of perfect freedom in total obedience to the will of God. His
crucified flesh fully reveals the unbreakable bond between freedom and
truth, just as His Resurrection from the dead is the supreme exaltation
of the fruitfulness and saving power of a freedom lived out in truth.
The Eucharist is defined as "the sacrament of love."
Quoting again from an encyclical of John Paul II,
the comment is given - "Man cannot live without love.
He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless,
if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does
not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately
in it." How is man to have this love? By being "nourished
by the Eucharistic Bread"! The document declares - "We
need to experience the indissoluble relationship between sharing in the
Eucharistic Liturgy and the authentic freedom of God's children. We celebrate
and bear witness to the freedom with which Christ has set us free by being
p 5 -- ished by the Word of the Gospel and the
In the document, the Eucharist is defined as "the
new Passover" and so it is. (I Cor. 5:7) It is described as "the
sacrifice of the New Covenant." Its celebration "constitutes
the people of the New Covenant; it makes present the risen Lord and unites
all who share in the one bread and the one chalice into one single body
in Christ in the Holy Spirit." This perception by Rome as "the
true meaning of the Eucharist" dare not be overlooked. This is why
it was declared to be the "ultimate sign and seal" of church
unity by Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Vatican Council for
promoting Christian Unity. In the Handbook for Today's Catholic
a section discusses "How to Receive Communion." It reads: When
the minister raises the eucharistic bread or wine, this is an invitation
for the communicant to make an Act of Faith, to express his or her belief
in the Eucharist ... A clear and meaningful "Amen" is your response
to this invitation. In this way you profess your belief in the presence
of Christ in the eucharistic bread and wine as well as his Body,
the Church. (emphasis
The document suggests a relationship between this 46th
International Eucharistic Congress and the Church's celebration of the
Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. This event in 1997 "offers a great
opportunity for constantly 'proclaiming' the true meaning of the Eucharist.
It also expresses the task of ongoing re-evangelization of the Christian
community on the basis of Eucharist, which is the synthesis of Word and
sacrament. Christ's teaching turns us towards communion with Him. What
is proclaimed becomes reality. There is a change in the form of proclamation.
Evangelization becomes the proclamation of God's present action, creating
through the Eucharist the greatest event of the ecclesial community. The
community is called together and fashioned by the Word as it relates to
the sacrament and especially to the Word made flesh in the Eucharist."
The document states that "Christian freedom begins
by acknowledging our need for forgiveness. This is the only way to come
to authentic Christian transformation." Then the power of the priest
is again introduced. "Everything begins and is celebrated in the
mystery and ministry of reconciliation, that is, in the Sacrament of Penance.
Without this there is no true conversion sealed by the mediation of the
Church, which in Christ's name pronounces the word of reconciliation,
calls for reconciliation with God, bestows His grace, remits sin and frees
This facet of Rome's blasphemy needs to also be clearly
understood. Again we turn to the sainted doctor of Romanism, Alphonsus
de Liguori. He wrote: With
regard to the mystic body of Christ, that is, all the faithful, the priest
has the power of the keys, or the power of delivering sinners from hell,
of making them worthy of paradise, and changing them from the slaves of
Satan into the children of God. And God himself is obliged to abide by
the judgment of the priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according
as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of
it. "Such is," says St. Maximus of Turin, "this judiciary
power ascribed to Peter that its decision carried with it the decision
of God." The sentence of the priest precedes and God subscribes to
The priest holds the
place of the Saviour himsell, when, by saying "Ego te absolvo,"
he absolves from sin. This great power, which Jesus Christ has received
from his eternal Father, he has communicated to his priests. "Jesus,"
says Tertulian, "invests the priest with his own powers." To
pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God. ... But what
only God can do by his omnipotence, the priest can also do by saying "Ego
te absolvo a peccatis tuis;" for the forms of the sacraments, or
the words of the forms, produce what they signify. How great should be
our wonder if we saw a person invested with the power of changing a negro
into a white man; but the priest does what is far more wonderful, for
by saying, "Ego te absolvo" he changes a sinner from an enemy
of God into a friend of God, and from the slave of hell into an heir of
Cardinal Hugo represents
the Lord addressing the following words to a priest who absolves a sinner:
"I have created heaven and earth, but I leave to you a better
and nobler creation; make out of this soul that is in sin a new soul,
that is, make out of the slave of Satan, that the soul is, a child of
God. I have made the earth to bring forth all kinds of fruit, but to thee
I confide a more beautiful creation, namely, that the soul should bring
forth fruits of salvation. The soul without grace is a withered tree that
can no longer produce fruit, but receiving the divine grace, through the
ministry of a priest, it brings forth fruits of eternal life. (pp.34-35)
The document suggests that "the preparation for the
Eucharistic Congress should heighten an awareness of the true freedom
through this Sacrament of Penance." It also suggests: This
occasion of the Congress, while we look towards Christ, "the awaited
of the nations and their Liberator," who is the Eucharistic Sun of
truth and grace and whose rays light up the geography and history of humanity,
this Eucharistic Congress should inspire a great prayer of intercession
so that the freedom, attained at so high a price, may be enduring and
become deeply rooted in all nations.
Think this suggestion through carefully. While the context
is a call to prayer for "freedom" for "all nations,"
consider what it is saying: - that the anticipated "Liberator"
is "the Eucharistic Sun." The Scriptures tell us plainly, as
noted previously, that the power behind the Eucharist is the "energy
of Satan." He it is, who has symbolised himself in
p 6 -- "the geography and history of humanity"
as the Sun!
The ultimate dimension
of the truth about the Eucharist is its mystery: the saving
presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. For the Lord
willed to be permanently present in His Church as Emmanuel, God with us.
... The Eucharist as the mystery of presence invites us to adoration.
Pope John Paul II has written about the intrinsic relationship between
freedom and adoration: "True
worshipers of God must worship him ' in spirit and truth' (Jn. 4:23):
in this worship they become free. Worship of God and a relationship with
truth are revealed in Jesus Christ as the deepest foundation of freedom."
It should be coming through clearly what the confrontation
of the near future will involve. Rather than the cry of the American heritage
- "Give me liberty or give me death" - the
demand will be - "Take our freedom, or we will give you
Into this picture is introduced Sunday. The document reads: One
characteristic sign of the Christian life is under strong attack today
from contemporary culture. We are referring to Sunday, the Lord's day
and the day of the Church. This holiday is coming to be seen more and
more as something secular and recreational, while the Christian meaning
of Sunday is becoming excluded from the public sphere. In face of the
alternative of a weekend dedicated solely to relaxation and amusement,
the Christian community should reaffirm the sacred significance of Sunday
as an occasion for freedom to adore God and to make his presence manifest
in the midst of our society.
The context of this pronouncement needs to be carefully
considered. First, Sunday is termed "the day of the Church."
But the objective of Rome is just one Church. In that one church, there
is according to their theology an ever presence of God in the Eucharist.
The new Catechism of the Catholic Church associates these two factors
together. It reads - "The Sunday celebration of the Lord's
Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. 'Sunday is
the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in the light of apostolic
tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation
in the universal Church."' (#2177, p.582)
The factor is "worship" not merely a Sunday
Law. There can be ever so many "Sunday Laws" on the books, and
even enforced, but merely the closing down of the work place on Sunday
will not be the mark of the beast. The emphasis by various voices in the
Community of Adventism on Sunday Laws suites the purpose of the enemy
well. It diverts the attention from the real issue at stake -
"worship." This is the emphasis in the prophecies of Revelation.
worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they
worshipped the beast ... (Rev. 13:4)
If any man worship
the beast and his image, and receive his mark ... (Rev. 14:9)
Certain things need to be observed in the whole document.
The word, "liberty" is not used. In its place is the word, "freedom"
with the observation, "a crisis of true freedom is being experienced
in the developed nations which have a long tradition of democracy."
The "Enlightenment" out of which our present concept of "liberty"
developed is acknowledged in the document but in a negative way indicating
that it constitutes a risk to freedom in contemporary culture. It speaks
of "the public sphere" where "the Christian meaning of
Sunday" is being excluded. While "liberty" holds the separation
of church and state, the Roman Catholic use of "freedom" blurs
the distinction. All of the present trends in our modern society which
pose a threat to Rome's objectives are stated to be "unbridled liberalism."
This harks back to Leo XIII and his antipathy for the form of government
developed in the United States. (See Facts of Faith) Leo XIII gave
to Louis Veuillot, the title of "Lay Father of the Church."
From him, he gained much of his anti-democratic perceptions. It was Veuillot
who wrote the book, The Liberal Illusion in which is the following: When
the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt
according to eternal standards, be it tomorrow, or be it centuries from
now, the Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. Undeterred
by those who prefer to abide in death, they will re-establish certain
laws of life. They will restore Jesus to His place on high, and he shall
be no longer insulted. They will raise their children to know God and
to honor their parents. (p. 63)
These words are echoed in present day objectives voiced
by the "Religious Right" and Conservative Catholic journals
as well as the encyclicals of John Paul II. The issue is "the social
edifice." But this is not all which Veuillot envisioned. He continued:
They (the Catholics) will make obligatory the religious observance of
Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking
the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito,
Monday or Saturday on their own account. Respect will not be refused to
the Creator nor repose denied the creature simply for the sake of humoring
certain maniacs, whose phrenetic condition causes them stupidly and insolently
to block the will of the whole people. ... In a word, Catholic society
will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its
charity, but they will not be allowed to disrupt its unity. (pp.63-64)
Noting the words used by Veuillot, it is the "religious
observance" of Sunday which is emphasized. The goal will also include
"revoking the permit" to celebrate (worship)
p 7 -- on Saturday or another day. Again, I would
emphasize that the issue is much more than merely a "Sunday Law."
At the present time, the Roman hierarchy is caught between a policy of
not only dominance of the Christian world, but the desire to rule the
whole world, and this involves the Islamic sector as well as the Jewish,
which means both Saturday and Friday enter the equation. At the moment
this document places the Eucharist as the central emphasis for the restructuring
of the social edifice. However, both this document and the new Catechism
of the Catholic Church note that "the day of the Church"
is the time for its celebration.
The concluding section of the document contains two comments which are very revealing. Note: In considering the value of human activity in the light of the paschal mystery, the Second Vatican Council emphasized the meaning of that freedom which will only be complete when all humanity will be presented to the Father as an acceptable offering. While we are on our way towards the future, the Church gives us this assurance: "A pledge of this hope, sustenance for this journey, our Lord left us in that sacrament of faith in which natural elements cultivated by men are turned into his glorious Body and Blood, the supper of fraternal communion, the foretaste of the heavenly banquet."
it not "the natural elements cultivated by men" which Cain brought
as his offering? (Gen. 4:3) Will God today accept an "offering of
Cain" any more than He did at the dawn of civilization? A bloodless
offering brings no remission from sin. (Heb. 9:22) The offering of Abel
signified that one, once for all time, Sacrifice on Calvary. (See Hebrews
9: 28; apax -
one time, "used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity
and never need repetition,
once for all." Thayer)
The closing section of the document introduces Mary. It reads: In the program of the Eucharistic Congress, although not explicit, there is the implicit conviction that our incorporation in Christ becomes possible through the maternal mediation of Mary, the Mother of the Son of God. ... For she is clearly at all times in communion with God and in solidarity with the people of God. ... John Paul II invites us to contemplate the one who is "totally dependent on God and completely directed towards Him, and at the side of her Son, she is the most perfect image of freedom and the liberation of humanity and of the universe."
Already now we entrust to her maternal intercession the Celebration of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw. May there be abundant fruit springing from the Eucharist so that humanity and all nations enlightened and nourished by Christ, the Light of the world and the Bread come down from heaven may enjoy the true freedom for which he, the Redeemer of humanity, has set us free. (All quoted references not otherwise noted are from "The Pope Speaks", March-April, 1997, pp.97-116)
Those who wish photo copies of the pages from de Liguri's book, Dignity and Duties of the Priest from which we quoted, and also the pages from The Liberal Illusion by Veujilot, may obtain them by writing to the Foundation, and please include a #10 self-addressed stamped envelope and $1.00 for costs.
Often when one reads the official pronouncements of the
Roman Church from centuries past, he is inclined to comment, "This
is not the current position of Rome. Surely they do not believe in that
"hocus pocus" stuff now." In the same issue of The Pope
Speaks were John Paul II's reflections "marking the 50th anniversary
of his ordination" to the priesthood. He said: The
Eucharist perpetuates this sacrifice (of Christ) in the life of the Church.
"My flesh is food indeed," Jesus says, "and my blood is
drink indeed." (Jn 6:55) His bloody sacrifice is accomplished in
an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine, in fulfilment
of the very ancient figure of Melchizedek, King of Salem, "priest
of God Most High" who, after blessing Abraham, victorious over an
enemy coalition, "brought out bread and wine." (Gen. 14:18)
Fifty years have passed, my jubulirian brothers. The words of the Letter to the Hebrews apply to us all: "For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins." (Heb 5:1) [p.94] --- (1997 -- XXX -- Special # 1 -- 46th INTERNATIONAL EUCHARIST CONGRESS) --- End --- TOP
-- XXX -- Special -- Part
2 -- THE BOTTOM
RUNG OF THE LADDER -- THE RENEWING
CONTROVERSY OVER THE INCARNATION IN THE COMMUNITY OF ADVENTISM -- EDITOR'S
PREFACE -- The
title of the essay for this Special issue refers to Jacob's dream in which
he saw a ladder, "set up on the earth and the top of it reached to
heaven" (Gen. 28:12). Jesus alluded to it as being Himself in His
conversation with Nathaniel (John 1:51). The significance of this ladder
is stated by Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and
the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). Today,
Jesus Christ is being denigrated by those who would deny His eternal Oneness
with God, while others would seek to rob Him of the great victory He achieved
as the Son of man. This study is primarily concerned with the bottom rung
of the ladder, and its being set up
on the earth. It is as difficult for many today, including
the larger portion of the Adventist Community, to believe that Jesus lived
"in the likeness of the flesh of sin" (Rom. 8:3, lit. Gr.);
as it was for the Jews of Biblical times to believe that Jesus of Nazareth
was the Eternal One, the Logos who had been with God from the beginning.
Dr. Harry Johnson, in his book, The Humanity of the
Saviour, defines "fallen human nature" as that nature "which
has been affected by the sin and rebellion of previous generations, a
nature which produces temptation in all of its seductive power, a nature
with dreadful power and potentialities for evil." He wrote that the
position he would advocate in his book was that this "fallen human
nature... was assumed by the Son of God at the Incarnation, and that 'sinlessness,'
understood in terms of obedience, and an unbroken relationship with God,
refers to the incarnate life of Jesus." Then he succinctly summarizes
- Christ "assumed what was imperfect, but He wrought out of
it a life that was perfect." (p. 27)
It is when we truly realize how imperfect we are, that
we begin to appreciate the marvelous victory which Jesus obtained in the
flesh. He achieved this victory "on the earth" in the realm
of the flesh, and now in Heaven, He at the Throne of Grace, can be touched
with the feelings of our infirmities.
p 2 -- The Lowest
Rung of the Ladder -- This year the
Review & Herald released a publication titled, Ellen G. White on
the Humanity of Christ. It was authored by Dr. Woodrow Whidden II,
a professor of religion at Andrews University. The title is a misnomer.
While the book discusses in detail what Ellen G. White wrote in regard
to the Incarnation, the Writings are used to sustain what Whidden believes
about the Incarnation, and thus should have been titled Whidden on
the Humanity of Christ.
The thrust and intent of the book is reached in Chapter
Ten which is addressed "To 'Historic Adventism': A Proposal for Dialogue
and Reconciliation." By "historic" Adventism one can but
conclude, Whidden is referring to two sectors of the Adventist Community;
those involved with Dr. Ralph Larson, and those associated with the 1888
Study Committee, as he quotes both Larson and Wieland as interpreting
what Ellen White has written contrary to the way he sees it.
Whidden describes himself as "a self-confessed former
post-Fall perfectionist." (p.79) Basically, what he is saying is:
"I was once out there where you "historic" Adventists are,
and I have seen the light. Therefore, you see the light that I have
seen, and come let us be reconciled into a once again happy Adventist
family." Further, he is suggesting that since you "historic"
Adventists quote Ellen G. White, for the most part, to sustain your doctrinal
positions, come now, I have gathered together all that she has said on
the subject, and here is what she teaches, so let us unite around Ellen
This is flawed from the start, and is absolutely contrary
to the very teachings of Ellen G. White herself. In the book, The Great
Controversy (p.595), it is clearly and emphatically stated that "God
will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and
the Bible only, as the standard of
all doctrine" (Emphasis supplied). If Whidden really wanted
to set forth the doctrine of the Incarnation in its true light, he would
have approached his subject so that the book could have been titled
- The Bible on the Humanity of Christ. I am sure that such
an approach would have been welcomed by Wieland, but how Larson would
have reacted is open to question.
The publication of this book by a convert to "the
new theology" on the Incarnation, as well as another event this year
in the Community of Adventism, appears to set a pattern borrowed from
the past. During the year, Willard Santee, Minister of Reconciliation
for the Oregon Conference, was sent to Florida by the General Conference
to "reclaim" John Osborne. Santee himself had in the past fervently
proclaimed the declension of the Church from the truth in his series of
taped recordings - "The Circle of Apostasy."
After an experience in the "Deliverance Ministry," he performed
the necessary "penance and was received back into the ministry of
the Church. He was successful in his mission to Florida, for John Osborne
was re-baptized into the Church in July of this year. A similar policy
followed the breakup of the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana in 1901. One
of the first acts of the newly formed conference committee was to select
a pastor for the Indianapolis Church which had been deeply involved in
the "holy flesh" exercises. An Elder Arthur W. Bartlett was
invited to serve as the pastor. He himself had recovered from an experience
in 1878-79 very similar to the "holy flesh" idea. (See The
Holy Flesh Movement, p.25) The policy in and
of itself is not wrong, but one has to consider which is the direction
of the flow; from truth back into apostasy, or is it really a return to
truth? In the current circumstances, one has to add the factor of the
human-ego. There can be no question that Osborne's erratic movements were
indicative of an inflated ego trip, and the fall out of the busted balloon
can be measured in the souls of men, and lost life-savings' accounts.
One must also ask himself the question - Could Whidden ever
have become a professor of religion at Andrews University and continued
as a "post-Fall perfectionist"?
Whidden's thesis is simple. He uses two terms, "uniqueness"
and "identity." He holds that when Ellen White spoke of Christ
as a sinless Substitute, she was "pre-Fall" but when emphasizing
His "identity," she was "post-Fall. Here are his words: "When
it came to Christ as a fully sinless, sacrificial substitute, she was
pre- Fall. But when she wrote of His ability to sustain in times of temptation,
she emphasized His identity and spoke largely in post-Fall terms.
A careful balancing of the terms uniqueness and identity
seems to reflect more accurately the profoundly rich tensions involved
in this heavy theme." (p.75; emphasis his)
By linking the term "identity" with the humanity
of Christ, Whidden has failed to take into consideration the identity
Ellen White gives Christ, even though the book is supposedly
her position. She wrote: The
Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from
p 3 -- eternity,
a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory
of Heaven. He was the commander of heavenly intelligences, and the adorning
homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This is no robbery
There is light and
glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundations
of the world were laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making
it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious
in itself explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths,
while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible.
(R& H, April 5, 1906)
The "identity" of Christ is divine -
the Eternal Spirit - for when He came to earth, "a divine
spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple."
(YI, Dec.20, 1900) The "uniqueness" was that at Bethlehem
a new Being, never before known in the Universe, came to be -
a God-man. He was monogenhV, the unique
one of a kind. (John 1:14, 18) The question is not the "uniqueness,"
but rather, what was the nature of the "temple of flesh" in
which this "Divine Spirit" dwelt? The answer is simple
- a "temple" formed in the womb of Mary.
Whidden avoids this aspect of Christ's incarnation, chosing
rather to approach the question from the viewpoint of sin. His argument
is that if Christ accepted the fallen nature as evidenced in the results
of sin on man - depravity and defilement - He could not be a Saviour,
and would Himself need a saviour. To avoid a question does not mean you
can escape the question. Froom, who advocated the pre-Fall position in
regard to the Incarnation, was honest enough to admit that to the question
- "How did He escape the taint of sinful heredity?" - "There
is but one answer: His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous
intervention, the over shadowing of the Holy Ghost." ("The
Tremendous Truth of the Virgin Birth" - No. I, pp.3-4;
unpublished manuscript) In another section of this manuscript, Froom
enlarges on this intervention. He wrote:
Mary, it is contended
by some, being herself sinful, would inevitably convey the taint of her
corruption to Jesus - for sinful human tendencies could as verily be conveyed
by one parent as definitely as from two. But the crux of the matter is
not compassed simply by saying that Jesus was born of a virgin mother.
There is another and more vital factor - He was "conceived"
by the Holy Ghost. A divine, creative miracle brought to pass this
new union of Godhead with Humanity, begun in the womb of Mary, which assured
freedom from the slightest taint of sin. The human element was not determinative
in that origin." (ibid., #2, p.15; emphasis his)
All that Froom did was to put a "generation gap"
between himself and the Roman Catholic position expressed in the dogma
of the Immaculate Conception. Froom would have the dogma - "the Blessed
Virgin Mary... was preserved free from every taint of original sin"
to read that Jesus' humanity "was preserved free from every taint
of original sin." Whidden, on the other hand, by going the "sin
route" seeks to select that part of the fallen nature from which
Christ escaped, and what part was permitted to become His through Mary.
He chooses two words, "affected,"
Jesus was "affected" but not "infected" by sin. Again
it is the problem of not differentiating between His pre-existent "Identity"
and the "body" He received from Mary. Was "the form of
a slave" He took in laying aside "the form of God" (Phil
2:7) only "affected" by sin, but not "infected" with
sin? Did Mary accomplish this selectivity? Now we are back to the same
basic question asked by Froom - "How did Jesus escape the taint of
sin heredity?" - to which he said there was only one answer. Does
Whidden believe that God intervened in the law of heredity? If so, wherein
is the real basic difference between his Christological perceptions and
the Roman Catholic, except again a "generation gap"?
Consider for a moment the sin argument, that if Christ
had taken our fallen nature in all its aspects, He could not have been
a Saviour and would have needed a saviour Himself. Again, we are not facing
the reality of the Scripture revelation. The Logos "emptied Himself'
(Phil 2:7 RSV) in becoming flesh (John 1:4). He, God, died (I Cor. 15:3).
He made a divine sacrifice for sin. Beyond this, taking upon Himself,
"the likeness of sinful flesh," and having "condemned sin
in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), He presented a perfected human character
as an offering to God. He finished the work given Him to do (John 17:4).
The same has been carried into highest Heaven, and through His intercession
is made available to all who accept Him as Substitute and Surety. Why
do we want to rob Jesus of His marvellous victory, a victory we cannot
achieve of ourselves (though many are trying)? Why seek to minimize the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Worthy indeed is the Lamb who conquered
both inwardly the perverted fallen nature and overcame outwardly the temptations
of the evil one!
In Historical Perspective -- Out of the 1844 experience
and the Seventh Month Movement arose Seventh-day Adventism to whom God
entrusted the Three Angels' Messages. Their position on the nature Christ
assumed in the incarnation is clearly stated in the 1872 Statement of
Beliefs: "He took on Him the na ture of the seed of Abraham."
In one of the earliest (1858) of Ellen G. White publications, Spiritual
Gifts, Vol.1, the
p 4 -- statement is made that Jesus told the unfallen
angels of heaven He would "take man's fallen nature, and His strength
would not be even equal with theirs." (p.25) At this very time the
Roman Catholic Dogma on the Immaculate Conception was formulated in 1854.
Thus parallel till into the 1930s, the two contending forces were at work
in the world - one to whom was committed the everlasting gospel, and one
whose coming was after the working of Satan. The Adventist position was
not only contrary to the Roman Dogma but was heresy in the eyes of the
A change first occurred in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs.
The phrase - "the nature of the seed of Abraham" was made to
read - Christ "took upon Himself the nature of the human family."
As innocuous as this change may appear to be, it softened the force of
the previous statements with no apparent reason for doing so, except for
one thing: the purpose and motivation for this new Statement in
1931. If Froom's account in Movement of Destiny can be believed,
the objective behind this new Statement was to clarify misrepresentations
and "distorted caricatures" of Adventist positions (p.410).
No statement had been placed in the Yearbook since 1914. This 1914
Statement took the same position in regard to Christ's humanity as had
the 1872 Statement.
Froom notes the year 1931 as "a really momentous
yet little-heralded transition point" in Adventist doctrinal formulation
(p.409). In fact, he writes - "While 1931 was the crucial year,
it was more accurately the
decade - embracing the years 1931-1941 - that marked the pivotal
turn of events for unity of belief in our post-1888 history" (p.415;
emphasis his). While his emphasis in discussing this epochal period in
two chapters is primarily focused on the doctrine of the Godhead, he closes
the discussion by noting a change in Bible Readings for the Home Circle
in 1949, well after the decade being discussed. Froom alleged that the
note in the chapter on "A Sinless Life" which read that "Christ
partook of our sinful, fallen nature" (p.115) was an "erroneous
minority position" which D. E. Rebok corrected in his revision of
the book. The question arises as to why Froom would introduce this change
at the close of these two chapters discussing the decade, 1931-1941, if
during this period, the question of the incarnation had not arisen.
Froom, in discussing this period, also makes another interesting
allegation. F.M. Wilcox, editor of the Review, wrote the draft
for the 1931 Statement. Froom states that Wilcox turned the draft over
to "his able young associate editor, Francis D. Nichol ... asking
his opinion as to its adequacy and accuracy as a suggested outline, or
reflection, of Adventist beliefs" (pp.413-414). In an enlarged publication
of Answers to Objections,
Nichols would write: Adventists
believe that Christ, the ' last Adam,' possessed on His human side, a
nature like that of the ' first man Adam,' nature free from any defiling
taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin, and that that nature was
handicapped by the debilitating effects of four thousand years of sin's
inroads on man's body and nervous system and environment. (p.393; 1952
If Nichol, as alleged, was asked for advice on the 1931
Statement, his position in this book could cast light on what is meant
by "taking on the nature of the human family" in that Statement.
It is essentially the Whidden position.
Further, at the 1952 Bible Conference, no assignment for
a presentation involving a discussion of the Incarnation was made. The
planning committee included both D. E. Rebok and F. D. Nichol. Perhaps
some research into the epochal decade, 1931-1941, and its aftermath needs
to be made to verify Froom's allegations, and to see if more light might
be shed on the discussion of this vital doctrine of the Incarnation during
During this same time as Adventist theological thinking
was drifting Romeward, leading Protestant theologians such as Karl Barth,
Emil Brunner, and Rudolf Bultman, Oscar Cullman, J. A. T. Robinson, as
well as others, were coming in their thinking toward the position on the
humanity of Christ as was first held by Seventh-day Adventists. Dr. Jean
R. Zurcher in his book, Le Christ Manifeste en Chair, soon to be
released in an English translation - Christ Manifest in the Flesh
- by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, in citing these Protestant
thinkers comments - "How interesting it is that the Christology of
[the Adventist pioneers] is now confirmed by the elite theologians dealing
with contemporary Christology."
One observation by J. A. T Robinson quoted by Zurcher, illustrates the views of these men noted above. Robinson is an Anglican bishop, who in his study of what Paul meant by "body" stated: The first act in the drama of redemption is the self-identification of the Son of God to the limit, yet without sin, with the body of the flesh in its fallen state. ...
It is necessary to
state these words because Christian theology has been extraordinarily
reluctant to accept at face value the bold, and almost barbarous phrases
which Paul uses to bring home the offence of the Gospel on this point.
Traditional theology, both Catholic and Protestant, has held that Christ
assumed at the Incarnation, an unfallen human nature. ... But, if the
question is restated in its Biblical terms,
p 5 -- there
is no reason to fear, and indeed the most pressing grounds for requiring,
the ascription to Christ of a manhood standing under the effects and consequences
of the Fall. At any rate, it is clear that this is Paul's view of Christ's
person, and that it is essential to his whole understanding of His redeeming
work. (Quoted from The Body, a Study in Pauline Theology, pp.37-38)
In Adventist nomenclature, we describe Protestants as
apostate and fallen. It seems that these eminent Protestant theologians
have now espoused the position held by Adventism from its beginning. Would
it not seem advisable now to apply this designation we give to Protestants
to certain Adventist theologians of recent decades?
A Recent Reassessment -- Obtaining the book, Ellen
G. White on the Humanity of Christ, by Dr. Whidden, I started reading
beginning at the "Preface." After concluding the first chapter,
"Where Have We Been and How Shall We Proceed," checking carefully
his footnotes, I became very disturbed with certain of his assertions,
as they did not jibe with facts as I knew them and the documentation did
not sustain the conclusions drawn. Without reading further, I wrote directly
to Dr. Whidden. He replied, sending me a copy of his presentation, which
he gave at the Sanctuary Bible Conference held in Berrien Springs, Michigan,
in June of this year. In sending this paper, Whidden explained that "it
contains an even more advanced version of my thinking on Christology than
does my book, though I did draw heavily on certain portions of my book
in that presentation." (Letter dated July 21, 1997) It does; and
also brings to light views held on the Incarnation by certain "historic"
Adventists such as Dennis Priebe and Vernon Sparks. One thing must be
said to Whidden's credit (and there are other plus marks) is that he does
not hesitate to name names.
First in this paper, Whidden states plainly his present
position in contrast to where he stood as "a confessed former post-Fall
perfectionist." He stated - "It should come as no
surprise that I resonate with the 'Alternate Christology' pioneered by
Heppenstall and supported by the authors of Seventh-day Adventists
Believe." (p. 18) What does he mean - "Alternate
Christology"? On one side of the question, regarding the humanity
Christ assumed in becoming man, are those who believe He took the unfallen
nature of Adam - pre-Fall or the Pre-lapsarian position. On
the opposite side are those who hold that Christ took the fallen nature
of Adam - post-Fall or Post-lapsarian position. The first
is also considered in Adventism as "The New Christology" while
the latter is noted as "The Traditional or Historical Christology."
In between is the "Alternate Christology" introduced in the
book, SDAs Believe...,
adopted from the Anglican clergyman, Henry Melvill. He considered his
view of the incarnation - "the orthodox doctrine."
(p. 57, footnote #13) It was a compromise between the pre-Fall and post-Fall
positions. As Melvill stated
humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is, the humanity of Adam before
the fall; not the fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity
of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent
infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it had never
descended into moral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity,
but without sin." (p.47)
By "innocent infirmities," Melvill meant "hunger,
pain, and sorrow." (See footnote #13)
Tim Poirier, an assistant secretary in the Ellen G. White
Estate, has shown that Ellen G. White "borrowed frequently"
from one of Melvill's collections of published sermons, a book she had
in her library. The sermon in question, from which the conclusion as stated
in SDAs Believe... was titled, "The Humiliation of the Man
Christ Jesus." "In writing her article, 'Christ, Man's Example'
for the Review and Herald of July 5, 1887, she drew extensively
from this sermon." However, Poirer had to admit "we have not
found that Ellen White directly borrowed any material from this digression"
on the nature of the humanity of Christ in Melvill's sermon. (Ministry,
Dec., 1989, p.7)
Today in Adventist schools - colleges, and universities
- the Melvill position is the prevailing belief. According to Whidden
there is no one that he knows "currently active in ministry and teaching"
in the Church who holds to the pre-Fall view of the Incarnation. (Paper
presented to Sanctuary Bible Conference, June 11,1997, p.15) This needs
to be carefully noted, as this is a transition from the position adopted
as a result of the infamous compromises made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences
of 1955-56. This would make the whole question revolve around just two
positions, the post-Fall view, and the "Alternate" view based
on Melvill's defining. However, this cannot be as there is another "alternate"
view being promoted within the ranks of those who seek to place themselves
in the category of "historic" Adventism.
his paper observes - Sometimes
it is hard to differentiate figures like Vernon Sparks aand A. Leroy Moore
from A. T. Jones, Joe Crews, Kevin Paulson, and possibly Dennis Priebe.
What is held in common by Sparks, Crews and Priebe is that they all teach
something to the effect that Christ was born converted ... (p.13)
p 6 -- Then he quotes Priebe, as he considers him
"quite typical of this school of interpretation," - "The
solution that I favor is that because of the supernatural birth of Christ
through the Holy Spirit, He was born much as we are re-born. Because the
power of the Holy Spirit was directing His life from birth, He did not
develop the sinful habit patterns or propensities which we develop from
birth." Face to Face with the Real Gospel, p. 55)
Automatically certain questions arise: What
difference is this concept from the one put forth by Froom in his unpublished
manuscript? (Review Froom's position as stated on p.3, col. 1 of this
essay) Further, did Christ come to save sinners, or was it just "born-again"
sinners? Was "the Ladder" set up "on the earth," or
slightly above the earth? All of these perceptions are downgraded from
the Roman Catholic Dogma, trying to accomplish the same objective, which
is in reality the denial of Christ's victory in the condemnation of sin
in the flesh. It has been developed because of a confused soteriology
(the study of salvation), a failure to recognize "the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:24), and the gift
of "the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 15:57).
We need to understand that justification is doing for the repentant sinner,
what he cannot do for
himself, and that sanctification is "revealing to man what is his
real nature, that in himself
he is worthless." While we are on this point, we need to observe
the basic factor on man's part in true soteriology - the victory
is not won by human power,
but comes from surrender,
the greatest battle that egocentered men will ever have to fight
- the surrender of self to the will of God. Until we can get this
straight, we will continue to put a false Christology together with a
There is another facet to this "born-born again"
teaching by Priebe. The first one, to my knowledge, that introduced this
"alternative" concept on the incarnation was Tom Davis in his
book, Was Jesus Really Like Us? It was introduced into "independent'
ministry circles by Colin Standish who invited a group to come to the
Hartland campus to discuss the incarnation as well as other topics. Elder
Tom Davis presented his "alternate" view at this meeting. Dr.
Ralph Larson was also invited, but declined to attend because of the Davis'
presentation. He didn't want to have open conflict with him. And truly,
the position which Larson set forth in The Word Was Made Flesh
was in conflict with Davis. However, the picture now ends in hopeless
confusion as Larson has endorsed, Seventh-Day Adventist Believe ...
as setting forth "the true doctrine of the nature of Christ."
(OFF, Sept., 1991) So instead of accepting Davis' "Alternate"
Christology, Larson has opted for the Church's.
Here again, we have a major problem. Tom Davis' "alternate"
position is the same as that which was taught by the Holy Flesh leaders
in Indiana. To assess accurately this identity of Davis's position on
the Incarnation with the position held by the leading voice of the Holy
Flesh Movement, some background needs to be noted. The Movement reached
its height in 1900. One of the series of Campmeetings held in Indiana
that year was at Muncie, Indiana.
Elder S. N. Haskell attended, and from his observations wrote
to Ellen G. White in Australia concerning their teaching on the Incarnation: Their
point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They
believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell. (Letter #2,
Whether Haskell did not take the time to completely understand
what the men in Indiana taught, or whether he considered both positions
- theirs and his conclusion - identical, we cannot determine. He does
leave the door open as to what they actually believed - "seems to
be this." When we researched this subject and published the manu
script - The Holy Flesh Movement - we were unaware of the series
of articles in the Indiana Reporter, which we have since obtained.
We took Haskell's conclusion in discussing their teaching on the doctrine.
However, there were men who opposed the teachings of the Movement's leaders.
One, G. A. Roberts, observed that "Hebrews 2:7-14 was used to prove
that Christ was born with flesh like 'my brethren' and 'the church' would
have after they passed through the garden [of Gethsemane] experience,"
in other words, converted and cleansed. (E. G. White Estate Document File
In our original research, we had in our possession an
essay which R. S. Donnell, who had been president of the Indiana Confence,
later sent to S. S. Davis, the Movement's founder, after their dismissal.
It stated: " Christ's
body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature,
but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature."
Apart from the use of the word, "redeemed,"
this position is identical with the Melvill "orthodox" position
as set forth in SDAs Believe ... Melvill does not explain how the
mixture of the pre-Fall and the post-Fall was accomplished in Christ.
The use of the word, "redeemed" resonates the teaching of Thomas
First, for careful comparison between the position of
R.S. Donnell, and that of Thomas A. Davis, let us compare what each has
written. Donnell wrote in
the Indiana Reporter, quoting Hebrews 2:11:
p 7 -- Notice
it is the sanctified ones who He is not ashamed to call brethren. Further,
it is the sanctified ones of whose flesh He partakes. "For as much,
then as the children [or brethren, sanctified ones] are partakers of flesh
and blood, He also Himself likewise [ just as the sanctified ones] are
partakers of the same; ... " Hebrews 2:14.
Now let us read
is a particular group - those who are being "sanctified" - who
are referred to as Christ's brethren. Who are these people? Romans 6:22
tells us: "But now that you have been set free from sin and have
become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end,
eternal life." (RSV) No proof is required to state that those "set
free from sin are those who have been regenerated, born again. It is,
then, those born-again ones, those being sanctified, whom Christ is not
ashamed to call His brethren - and no others ... But we read in Hebrews
2:17 that Jesus was "made like unto His brethren [the born-again,
sanctified ones] in every respect. (Ministry, June, 1986,
Davis reiterates in his book,
Was Jesus REALLY Like Us? There he wrote: Now
carefully consider the following statement from Hebrews 2:17, and as you
read, emphasize the word in capital letters: "Therefore he had to
be made like his BRETHREN in every respect." The point that presents
itself so forcibly here is that Jesus was not incarnated with a nature
common to all men. He did not come to this world to be in all respects
like all men. The human nature He was endowed with was not like that of
unregenerate sinners. His human nature was common only with those who
have experienced spiritual re-birth. Let us express it another way:
of Mary, Jesus was born, "born-again." (p.30)
If the "holy flesh" of Indiana could hear Thomas
A. Davis, they would rise up and call him blessed. They could not have
articulated their position any better than Davis has done. BUT, how could
Mary give to Jesus this sanctified nature, and your mother and mine did
not? This brings us back to "square one" again, and to Froom's
question - How did Jesus escape the taint of sinful heredity?" And
he said there is only one answer - a divine intervention! Another minister
of Indiana who opposed the Movement knew full well the basis of all such
teaching. He wrote: In
adopting the theory of sinless flesh, though its advocates have ever been
loathe to admit it, they are nevertheless unconsciously led into the papal
error of the Immaculate Conception and other errors of the Catholic church.
The theory of sinless flesh is pre-eminently papal - the foundation tip
on which the Catholic church stands. Remove this, and the whole structure
of the Papacy, as a religion, falls to the ground. The expression, "sinless
flesh," is nowhere found in the Bible; then why adopt such an expression
... The record says that Christ was "made in the likeness of sinful
flesh" (Rom. 8:3), "Of the seed of David" (Rom 1:3), "Of
the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2:16). Then let us believe that it was
just that way without trying to spiritualize these plain declarations
to suit a perverted fancy, and by so doing entangle ourselves in an inextricable
web of inconsistencies. (S. G. Huntington, The Son of Man, p.12)
In the Ellen G. White Estate Document File #190, is to be found a statement attributed to Ellen G. White, while specifically addressed to the Holy Flesh teaching, is apropos to all the theories discussed in this special issue of WWN, including Melvill's. She is quoted as saying in Indianapolis where she attended the "burial" of the Holy Flesh Movement - "When I am gone from here, none are to pick up any points of this doctrine and call it truth. There is not a thread of truth in the whole fabric." --- (1997 -- XXX -- Special -- Part 2 -- THE BOTTOM RUNG OF THE LADDER) --- End ---