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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
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Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, An
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Jerusalem In Bible Prophecy
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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:

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

Bible As History - Werner Keller

Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts

Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith

Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson

Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones

"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson

Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen

Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones

Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

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

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy

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The MISSION of this site -- is to put the articles from the WWN in a searchable Essay form. It is not our purpose to copy WWN in whole.

Any portion of the thought paper may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from WWN, Victoria, BC Canada."

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WWN 1996 Jul - Sep

 

1996 Jul -- XXIX -- 7(96) -- E & C T -- Part 6A -- Editor's Preface -- With the extensive circulation of the tract - "Jerusalem in Bible Prophecy" - the mailing list for WWN has been considerablely increased. On the tract, we noted WWN as a "newsletter" so that the reader would understand something about what they were requesting. This is true. Each issue does contain news items, but WWN is more than that. Some who have already received their copies of the paper have written back and used the term, "newsletter" and then added, "but it seems to be more than that, an in-depth study paper, or something like that." This is true. We use the term, "Thought Paper" here at the Foundation.

The idea of a "thought paper" was born when I was finishing my graduate work at Andrews University some three decades ago. In an Education class, taught by Dr. George Akers, we were required to write what he called a "thought paper." I thought that was a good idea to transfer to the area of religion, a paper which analyzed an issue and challenged the thinking of the reader regarding that topic. It permitted a departure from mere recitation of traditional data, and opened up new vistas for contemplation. In other words, "thought papers" probe; venture into new perceptions of traditional concepts, and challenge the status quo. Now every issue of WWN is not a "thought paper," but some are. In either this issue or the next will be articles which meet the criteria, as we review the Essay in E&CT by Dr. J. I. Packer.

The material presented by Dr. Packer, and to adequately address the issues which he raises, will more than fill one issue of WWN if we include other items of merit in each issue. The outgrowth of his suggestions require some "thought paper" type of articles. Whether, we can include such an article in this issue is problematical.

Keep in mind, also, that the editorial "Let's Talk It Over" writeups are many times miniature "thought papers."

p 2 -- E & C T - Part 6A -- "Crosscurrents among Evangelicals" is the title given to Dr. J. I. Packer's Essay in Evangelicals & Catholics Together. Dr. Packer, a recognized leader among Evangelicals, is Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. His theme concepts are Luther's words at the Diet of Worms in 1521 - "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen." He begins his Essay by telling his reaction to the film, Martin Luther, which he watched. These words of Luther were the high spot in the movie for Dr. Packer.

Then he writes:       "I did not at that time expect ever to be in circumstances that would make me feel like Martin Luther at Worms, nor for more than forty years was I. But during the past few months I have constantly identified with his words quoted above, as I answered a stream of letters telling me that I should withdraw my name from the published list of supporters of ' Evangelicals and Catholics Together' and thus recant my endorsement of its contents." (p. 148)

Packer then sets forth the threefold objective of his Essay:    1)     Review the criticisms of the Accord, ECT, from concerned Evangelicals;    2)     To clear ECT of misunderstandings reflected by the criticisms; and    3)     To re-argue ECT's case for parachurch cooperation in Christian political social action.

It must be kept in mind that the Accord drawn up by Chuck Colson, and Richard John Neuhaus with thirteen other Evangelicals and Catholics has done to the Evangelical Community what the SDA-Evangelical Conferences of 1955-56 did to the Community of Adventism. Interestingly, the Evangelical critics who wrote to Dr. Packer asked him how he reconciled two Biblical passages - Galatians 1:6-10 and 2 Cor. 6:14-15 - with his endorsement of the Accord. These are key texts, both of which we will discuss in separate "thought paper" type of articles.

Packer maintains that the problem is that the drafters of the Accord adopted what is called the "Lund principle," formulated at an ecumenical gathering wich states "ecclesiatically divided Christians should not try to do separately what their consciences allow them to do together. The document urged that Protestant evangelicals and believing Roman Catholics act together as far as possible in both societal and evangelistic tasks of Christian mission, which is in truth the mission of the Triune God, carried out through God's people." (p. 149)  [Keep in mind this reoccurring emphasis on the Trinity]  The application of the "Lund principle" is what those who protested to Packer, challenged. They do not perceive the Roman Catholic Church as a truly Christian Church, because, as Packer admits, these Evangelical protesters "have an informed commitment to a traditional Protestant vision, heritage, and policy." (p. 150) In fairness to Packer, it must be stated that he does not embrace Roman Catholicism, but seeks to differentiate between the Roman Church itself and those he terms as "good quality Roman Catholics" in that Church.

He seeks to give identity to Evangelicals. He writes:       "Historically, evangelical identity has been shaped and fertilized by a complex of movements:  the Protestantism of the sixteenth century, the Puritanism of the seventeenth, the Pietism of the eighteenth, the religious populism of the nineteenth, and the Pentecostalism, including the charismatic renewal, of the twentieth. Theologically, evangelicalism defines itself against naturalistic Pelagianism by affirming the need for radical renewing of our sinful hearts by the Holy Spirit and against mechanical sacramentalism by affirming the directness of the Spirit's regenerating work in our hearts with and through the gospel Word." (ibid.)

Packer lists seven principles to which Evangelicals adhere:

1)    "The supreme authority of the sixty-six book canon of Holy Scripture as the self-authenticating, self-interpreting Word of God. This is sometimes expressed as the sufficiency of Scripture... and it is sometimes abbreviated into the Reformation slogan sola scriptura ( 'by Scripture alone' )."
2)    "The majesty of Jesus Christ as God incarnate, mediator of the new covenant of grace, substitutionary sin-bearer, perfect Saviour, risen, reigning and returning Lord. ... Typically, this redemptive Christ-centeredness leads to a strong insistence that our present justification through faith in Christ - that is, our acquittal from the guilt of sin and acceptance as heirs of glory - is grounded entirely on His righteousness. ... This is referred to as sola fide ( ' by faith alone' ).
3)    "The lordship of the Holy Spirit as source and sustainer of all spiritual life and communion with

p 3 -- God."

4)    "The necessity of personal conversion. ...,"
5)    "The priority of evangelism in the Christian life. ... Christians should share the gospel."
6)    The need for community in the Christian life. "The Church is essentially a fellowship of believers in Christ with Christ" manifest in local churches, and "also in parachurch bodies."
7)     "The practice of administering the ordinances or two sacraments that Jesus instituted, i.e. baptism and the Lord's Supper."

To this seventh identifying mark, Packer adds a comment that needs to be questioned. He wrote:      "Many, if not all, see these rites as means of grace, conveying and confirming the benefits they signify, through the active exercise of faith that they evoke. The Lord's Supper, in particular, becomes an event of spiritual refreshment through thankful, intentional remembering of Christ's cross and self-offering to Him in gratitude for it." (p. 152; emphasis suppled)

This comment narrows the distance between the Roman Catholic perception of these "sacraments" and the Biblical revelation as merely symbolic acts with no merit resident in either the water, the bread, or the fruit of the vine. This leaves the only real distinction between the two viewpoints - Evangelical and Roman Catholic - as the power and authority of the officiant, who in the case of Roman Catholicism is the priest.

Packer continues with more definitive paragraphs about the commitment of his critics       "to a traditional Protestant vision, heritage, and policy."      He asks,       "What does that mean?" As for "vision" he indicates that       "the Protestant vision has historically been that the Roman Catholic Church should break up and dissolve; ... and that as a means to this end Protestants should constantly speak against Roman Catholic teaching about the Church, the papacy, the gospel, the Mass, the priesthood, Mary, and the Christian life, not only to keep the unwary from embracing these ideas, but also to hasten their demise." (p. 152; emphasis his)

In this, Packer has accurately written. Tragically today, this "vision" is dying, even in the Community of Adventism. Then Packer adds this insightful comment because of the resurgence of Romanism -       "To any who see the vision of Rome vanishing as expressing God's goal, the current call is for redoubled efforts in rebuttal of Rome's teaching and anything less appears as crass and perhaps treasonable folly." (p. 153)

As for       "the Protestant heritage,"       Packer defines it as       "a body of learned polemic against specific Roman Catholic tenets as expressed in the deliverances of the Council of Trent, the catechism of Pius V, the two Vatican Councils, the papal promulgations of Mary's Immaculate Conception (1854) and her Assumption (1950), and most recently in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994). Since Rome sees conciliar statements and papal definitions ex cathedra as infallible and irreformable, nothing changes here, and most of the polemical arguments go back in substance to the sixteenth century." (ibid.; first emphasis his; second supplied)

At the core of the problem is that in all of these expressed Roman Catholic beliefs is the denial of the gospel. Packer lists three ways in which the gospel is denied:

1)    "The doctrines of transubstantiation and the Mass-sacrifice in which, according to the Council of Trent, ' the same Christ ' is sacrificed ' in an unbloody manner, who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross."'
2)    "Rome's Mariology, Mariolatry, and regular invocations of other saints"       obscures       "the loving availability of Jesus"       and discourages       "people from directly approaching ' the throne of grace."
3)    "The Tridentine exposition of justification as a salvation through the efficacy of the ongoing sacramental system to produce what would once have been called meritorious righteousness."       This obscurs       "the Biblical meaning of justification... of the believing sinner on the basis not of our own righteousness (we have none), but Christ's."

Packer at this point quotes Michael Horton's succinct statement taken from his Essay - "What Still Keeps Us Apart" - in Roman Catholicism (p. 257) Horton declared that the Tridentine (Council of Trent) equation of justification with sanctification "rejects Paul's whole point in Romans 4:1-5, that justification comes only to those who    (a)     are wicked and    (b)     stop working for it."

At this point, it needs to be emphasized that the community of Adventism is not exempt from this
issue. One has only to recall the front cover of a recent publication of a certain independent
ministry to know that the issue of justification and its relationship to sanctification is very much

p 4 -- alive. Tragically, as the regular Church drifts toward Rome in association, many of the independent ministries have already drifted there theologically denying the Protestant heritage. Further it needs to be remembered that the Message of 1888 in its emphasis on righteousness by faith was specifically a call to free "the everlasting gospel" from any and all traces of the Tridentine theology.

Since one of the specific criticisms of the E&CT Accord, to which Packer replied, involved an affirmation on this key doctrine, we need to discuss this point as completely as possible within the limitations imposed by space availability in this issue. The Accord read  - "We affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ." It was this affirmation along with its corollary  - "All who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour are brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ" -  which ignited the firestorms which have swept through evangelical circles. Packer's response to the criticism of the justification statement was "that, as it stands, [it] is no less compatible with the Tridentine doctrine of justification than it is with the Reformational view." (p. 155)

The question is, do we take this compromised affirmation as the real truth, or do we veer toward the Tridentine position as many of the "independents" have done; or do we accept the Pauline position as reflected in the Reformation credo - "by faith alone" - and as incorporated into the 1888 Message brought by Jones and Waggoner, who were designated as "the messengers of God's righteousness"? (See TM, p. 96)

Other points of Dr. Packer's defense as to why he signed the E&CT Accord, and their implications must be discussed also.    (To Be Continued)

PAUL'S POSITION -- The Apostle Paul was unequivocal in regard to what he understood the gospel to be. "It is the power of God unto salvation." (Rom. 1:16) It concerns "Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:3-4) The salvation resultant from His incarnation, death and resurrection "is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) The victory realized by the sinner is given by God "through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:57) Thus man's restored relationship to God is by and through Christ alone. It is ours to accept.

Further, Paul made it painfully clear that to teach any other gospel, even if done by an angel, was to "be accursed." Note carefully what he wrote:      "But 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)

This means simply and plainly that Romanism and its Tridentine gospel, and those in the community of Adventism who veer toward this Council of Trent teaching are "accursed." Now it is true that the Council of Trent also pronounces a curse. It reads:      "If any saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which renders sins for Christ's sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema." (Canon XII)

Why could Paul be so emphatic? Listen to his words -       "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11-12)

Now I am sure that if Paul were to be living today, - he would say the same words - there would be those who would sneeringly remark - "0, he has the Elijah syndrome" - as inferred from the words of Elijah, "I, even I only, am left." (I Kings 19:10) This attitude is going to be eternally costly to those who continue to hold to this concept. God has but one "everlasting Gospel" message for the final generation. (Rev. 14:6) This gospel does not vary from "the revelation of Jesus Christ" as given to Paul. Further, the "many voices" sounding in the community of Adventism today are a snare to the sincere people of God. God as "One" has only one "present truth" for any given generation. By this truth "the many voices" can be differentiated. While a present truth may be an adjunct truth, it will be presented in the setting of the gospel revealed to Paul.

We might press this point of the fallacy and de-

p 5 -- ception of what is called the "Elijah Syndrome" a bit further. Jesus Christ declared unequivocally "I am the way...: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." (John 14:6) His disciples perceived the same truth. Peter told the Jewish leadership - "Neither is there salvation in any other: there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts. 4:12) Jesus is the truth, and even as there are no multiple "Christs;" neither are there differing "truths." To think otherwise is to be self-deceived.

Why was the Reformation message centered in the concept  - "by grace alone, through faith alone" -  a concept clearly inferred by Paul? He wrote - "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without (Gr. koris, "distinct from") the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28) To answer this question, we need to start with man as sin modified him.

As created, Adam reflected the Divine likeness. (Gen. 1:27). His son, Seth, reflected "his own likeness, after his image." (Gen. 5:3) The degeneration was so rapid and intense that by the days of Noah, "every imagination of the heart was only evil continually." (6:5) Noah "found grace" (6:8) - he received a warning to give to the world, and a blueprint for deliverance. He carried out the directions. (6:22) Yet the record notes his heart was still corrupt, subject to indulgence. (9:21) The summary picture in Hebrews reveals that because of "faith" in God's word, and acting upon it  - Noah became "an heir" - not a possesser - "of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb. 11:7)

We need to distinguish between two realities - the reality of what God requires, and the reality of man's inability to so attain. God has not altered; He requires now just what He required in Eden  -  perfect obedience. The Old Testament is replete with the second reality - man's inability. Job asked - "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" His answer  - "not one." (14:4) Isaiah cried out - "We are all as an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." (64:6)

We need to pause and grasp what this picture from the Old Testament means. First, "our righteousnesses" -  those things we do that are good. A good "moral" life can be attained. Man can carry out the directions of God, even as did Noah in building the ark, and as Moses in the construction of the sanctuary. Yet each must admit with David  - "Our goodness extendeth not to Thee." (Ps. 16:2) It is a holy God with Whom we have to do. To a clear perception of God's holiness, there is but one human response  -  "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips." (Isa. 6:5) The gulf between the holiness of God, and the righteousnesses" of man must be bridged. "Filthy rags" are not the vestments of heaven!

It is from this take-off point that Paul outlines the "gospel" he received "by revelation of Jesus Christ." He quotes from the Old Testament - "There is none righteous, no not one." (Rom. 3:10) "Therefore, by the deeds of the law ("our righteousnesses") there shall no flesh be justified in [God's] sight." (3:20) This leaves only one solution  - "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (3:24) By grace alone, through Jesus alone,  -  no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" -  can man hope to again fellowship with an holy God.

But someone asks, isn't sanctification connected with our redemption? Most assuredly! "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." (Titus 2:11-12) Does this mean then that the "works" that had no merit in justification are now given a high priority rating in sanctification? Paul asked  -  "O foolish Galatians ("independents" - "historic Adventists") who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? ... This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:1-3)

Since sanctification is the work of a lifetime, let us consider what this means if sanctification is perceived as having redeeming merit. For example, say you have ten years from the time you were "justified freely" until death over takes you. Another person has twenty years. Does this mean that into your ten years, you must concentrate the perfection required for heaven while another will be given twenty years to obtain the same? Sanctification is not Protestant "penance" even though there are many who seek to so make it.

Jesus illustrated the place of sanctification by a parable. A servant coming from the field does not first feed himself, and then wait on the needs of the master of the house. No, he first prepares and serves the meal for the master, not even expecting a thank you "because he did

p 6 -- the things that were commanded him." Note carefully the conclusion Jesus draws  -  "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:7-10) Where then is there merit in sanctification? It returns to the simple fact  -  "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them"  -  which was our duty to do anyway! (Eph. 2:8-10)

Why are we so loath to accept the simple Reformation formula  -  by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone? I suspect that this is due in part to the unwarranted conclusion drawn by Evangelicals. Because Christ died once for all, then by accepting this once for all sacrifice supposedly brings to me once for all salvation. It seems to be forgotten that though Christ did die once for all, I must die daily (I Cor. 15:31) Jesus also emphasized this factor  -  "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23) The provision is there; the Word of God stands behind it; but daily I must renew my consecration to that provision.

In the final essay of the book, E&CT, Neuhaus discusses what he calls "The Catholic Difference." (We shall discuss this in due course) When God committed to the trust of Adventism the "everlasting gospel," He gave "the Adventist difference." That difference lies in the theology of the sanctuary, and the final atonement. In the type, the High Priest alone achieved that atonement, and it was that atonement through the mingled blood of the Lord's goat and the bullock which removed the uncleanness of the children of Israel so that they might "be clean of all [their] sins before the Lord." (Lev. 16:18-19, 30)

Since the dictum to the Old Testament question  -  "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" -  remains  - "not one," does not honesty require that we reject in toto the Tridentine Teaching of Romanism? The Day of Atonement required only two things  -  1)    soul affliction; and   2)    Cessation from our works. (Lev. 23:29-30) This is the same basic criteria of justification, recognition of    1)    our undoneness; and    2)    the reality of our inability to meet the law's demands.

The problem returns to a single point  -  Laodiceanism  -  a deception that one needs nothing. Strip the "blubber" of Laodicean egotism from many of the voices sounding in Adventism today, and they would be reduced to a pip-squeak. Tragically, there is being pawned off as "historic Adventism" the Tridentine (Council of Trent) doctrine of justification by faith.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- Everything that could possibly be conceived by Satan to thwart the Son of man from His objective of providing a redemption for fallen man was done. He dogged His footsteps from Bethlehem to Calvary but prevailed not. When in triumphant faith, Jesus cried from the cross  - "It is finished" -  heaven responded  - "Now is come salvation!" (Rev. 12:10)

Having been unsuccessful in defeating "the redemption in Christ Jesus," Satan turned his attention to mitigating its application in the lives of those who would hear the gospel as well as muting its force by those who would proclaim it. The history of the book of Acts is the story of that conflict.

The conflict begins in Jerusalem itself. The very ecclesiastical body which condemned Christ to death was confronted with the fact that there was salvation in none other Name, but in Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) The apostles' doctrine was simple. God exalted Jesus to be "a Prince and a Saviour... to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." (5:31)

Soon persecution breaks forth and the Christians were scattered from Jerusalem (8:1). Paul is converted and spends time in Arabia being taught the gospel by direct revelation. (See Gal. 1:15-18) However, developments begin to appear among the Christians who regroup in Jerusalem. The Lord sought to enlarge the vision of the Church from the narrow confines of Judaism to the fact that Jesus is the Saviour for all mankind. Peter was sent to Cornelius. There he proclaimed the same doctrine  -  that through the name of Jesus "whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts. 10:43)

Returning to Jerusalem, Peter is confronted with a new force which had entered the church  - "they that were of the circumcision contended with him." (11:2) Peter gives a full report, and for the moment this "party" held its peace.

p 7 -- (11:18) When the issue again surfaces following the first missionary tour of Paul and Barnabas, Peter was no longer in the "chair." James presided, and the "party" which challenged Peter was very vocal. (15:5-6) What the devil could not accomplish in his contest with Jesus, he now seeks to bring about through the adulteration of the gospel itself.

James renders a decision. (15:19-21) Answers to basic questions raised in the contention were not spelled out. The issues reached the "mission" field where Paul had labored. Contention again arose, and it was under these circumstances that Paul sends off his firey Epistle to the Galatians. He pinpointed the source of the problem. Drawing from an experience from the past, he notes that the problem began when "certain came from James." (Gal. 2:12)

The final picture in Acts, of the Church in Jerusalem, needs to be carefully scrutinized. Paul returns and gives a report of his missionary outreach. He cannot point to "thousands of Jews" which believe, but to home churches composed of both Jews and Gentiles. Not so James; he notes the "thousands" which believe in Jerusalem, and "they are all zealous of the law." (Acts 21:19-20) What is interesting to observe is that when "thousands" believed at the beginning of the book of Acts (4:4; 5:14), persecution broke out. (8:1) Jerusalem was being filled with the Apostles doctrine concerning Jesus. (5:28) Now the "thousands" are zealous for the law, and no persecution ensued. They worshiped in the temple, and performed various rites and ceremonies. In fact, James in his Epistle speaks of conduct for the "Christian" in his synagogue. (James 2:2 margin) Paul took the converts out of the synagogues. (Acts. 18:7; 19:8-9)

The solution suggested by James and the elders for Paul to be accepted led to Paul's imprisonment. Persecution did break out against Paul, but not against James. A secret plot followed to assassinate Paul. How many knew about it? Did James? Who warned Paul? (Acts 23:16) All the details are not given, but we know that neither James, nor the elders, whose counsel Paul had followed, visited him in prison.

This illuminating paragraph is found in Sketches from the Life of Paul:      "When Peter had been made a prisoner and condemned to death, the brethren had offered earnest prayer to God day and night for his deliverance. "But no such interest was manifested in behalf of him who was looked upon as an apostate from Moses, a teacher of dangerous doctrines. (p. 226)

And what was Paul teaching? "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Thus at the very beginning of the apostolic age is to be found the seeds of the conflict between the pure gospel and the Roman Tridentine teaching. ---(1996 Jul) ---End---- TOP

1996 Aug -- XXIX -- 8(96) -- E & C T -- Part 6B -- Editor's Preface -- With this issue of WWN we conclude an analysis of Dr. J. I. Packer's essay in E&CT. We have been rather detailed in outlining just where he stood in regard to the Roman Catholic Church. It is evident that he understands well the teachings of that Church. How then could he sign the Accord? We give his answer. Yet he appears to have some doubts which he rationalizes away. We have discussed this in the editorial - "Let's Talk It Over." Perhaps you should read this first. Then there is a second question which we have not addressed in this issue. Why was his essay permitted in this book when he was so forthright in his position on key Roman Catholic teachings? John Richard Neuhaus has the last word as his is the final essay. This final essay will be discussed in the next issue of WWN.

While we were in the process of preparing the material for this issue, we received from Western Canada a copy of the paper published in Quebec. The sender asked that it be returned to him, and so we made copies of the two pages which were of primary interest to us. The issue of Rome's unchanged position on Church and State is addressed in the second article. What struck us was the approach, which was used a century ago, of subjugating the Incarnation to this diabolical design of Rome. In Canada, the Roman Church is spelling it out in plain language. In the States, the Church is using phrases - "an ordered society" - "ordered liberty" - to cover their same designs; and the Protestants are buying it.

The interesting experience which some are having in Iowa - see page 7 - you may also have if you desire. We will send to you, upon request, a copy of the ad they used. You will need only to adapt it to an address in your local area. We will work with you. Write or call for details.

p 2 -- E & C T - 6b -- In continuing his Essay, Dr. J. I. Packer observed that the "most poignant " criticisms of the Accord came from middle-aged and elderly individuals who had once been Roman Catholics and "who cannot believe that Protestants who back ECT know what they are doing." He seeks to answer these Evangelicals and allay some of their concerns.

Packer believes that his objective in signing the Accord has been misread, and that it was not his intention to infer that the Accord signaled an end of the historic war with Rome about the gospel doctrine. When he realized that the statement was being read this way, he with Michael Horton, who is connected with Christians United for Reformation (CURE), produced another statement. The preface of this CURE statement - Resolutions for Roman Catholic and Evangelical Dialogue" - states that it seeks to identify issues of concern to Evangelical Protestants that the thrust of the ECT document raised. It addresses seven issues:

1)    That while Evangelicals and Roman Catholics both affirm "the ecumenical creeds," this is not a "sufficient basis" for declaring that "agreement exists on all the essential elements of the Gospel."
2)    "The doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone has since the Reformation been acknowledged by mainstream Protestants as 'the article by which the Church stands or falls,' and the tenet that distinguishes a true from a false Church."

The #2 statement is lengthy, and its amplification of what is quoted above needs to be considered, for at this point, theologies being taught presently in the Community of Adventism enter the picture. " While affirming an indissoluble bond between justification and sanctification, this doctrine insists that justification itself is God's present forensic declaration of pardon and acceptance, and that the righteousness required for this declaration is neither attained by human effort nor infused or worked internally by God in the human soul, but is the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to those who believe."

The contrast with Romanism is noted: "The Council of Trent anathematized those who embrace this doctrine, and all subsequent magisterial declarations, including those of the Second Vatican Council, continue to bind Roman Catholics to the conviction that this gospel of free justification by faith alone, apart from works, and the assurance of salvation that springs from it, is not consonant with Roman Catholic teaching." The formulators of this CURE Statement "deny the adequacy of any version of the Gospel that falls short at this point."

It is at a "point" within this point which has caused problems for Adventism, and has led many to reject the Protestant affirmation, and in its place hold the Roman Catholic Tridentine teaching or a modified version of it. What is the "assurance of salvation" springing from "justification by faith alone"?    First, it is the realization of a forgiveness whereby I can stand before God as if I had never sinned. The depression resulting from the guilt of sin is removed. I bare it no more! However, it does not follow that once I have accepted this free gift, it can never be denied me, and that an entrance into God's presence is assured me no matter how I live thereafter. The "assurance" is based on two things: a daily crucifixion (I Cor. 15:31), and a growth in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). The problem in Adventism today is that the theologies being expounded by the "many voices" seeking recognition is that in rejecting the concept of once saved always saved," they in turn reject "the article by which the Church stands or falls," and substitute in its place a form of the Tridentine gospel of Romanism. In freeing themselves from the anathema of Rome, they come under the anathema of Paul. (Gal. 1:8-9)

3)    "We radically disagree with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that unbelievers may be saved by their good works, apart from faith in Christ."
4)     "The extent of the creedal consensus ... warrants the making of common cause on moral and cultural issues in society."
5)     "Christ's prayer for unity" means visible unity. "We deny that this prayer refers merely to the spiritual or invisible Church. ... We deny that the defined doctrines of the [Roman] Church's infallibility, Papal primacy, justification according to Trent, transubstantiation and eucharistic sacrifice, and the immaculate conception and assumption of Mary, can be proved from Scripture, and we cannot approve any form of joint action that appears to imply agreement with them. Also, we deny that visible unity has been or can be achieved where a common confession of the Gospel in all its essential elements is lacking."
6)     "We affirm that individual Roman Catholics who for whatever reason do not self-consciously assent to the precise definitions of the Roman Catholic magisterium regarding justification, ... but who think and speak evangelically about these things, are indeed our brothers and sisters in Christ. ... We deny, however, that in its present confession [the Roman Church] is an acceptable Christian communion, let alone being the mother of all the faithful to whom every believer needs to be related."

p 3 --

7)     "We affirm that the Great Commission of our Lord requires every Christian and every congregation to be engaged as witness to Christ, and that this is concerned not merely wth conversion, but with catechesis, nurture, and discipline of converts. Therefore, ... we insist that every Christian, Roman Catholic no less than Protestant, needs regular exposure to accurate, Christ-centered preaching and exposition from the Bible."

Packer hoped that this statement, signed by 35 Evangelical leaders including three who had signed the ECT Accord, would remove all doubt as to where he and others stood in regard to the teachings of Roman Catholicism. It did not, and there were some sharp exchanges on the leadership level. The result was that on January 19, 1995 a group of leaders and theologians met with Chuck Colson, J. I. Packer and one other signer of the ECT Accord at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This opposition group included John Ankerberg, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul and D. James Kennedy, pastor of the Coral Ridge church. Out of this meeting came a statement drafted by Packer and signed by other Evangelicals who also signed the ECT Accord. The preamble declares this new statement to be an elucidation of their understanding of what they were signing in committing themselves to the Accord. It reads:

1)    Our parachurch cooperation with evangelically committed Roman Catholics for the pursuit of agreed objectives does not imply acceptance of Roman Catholic doctrinal distiinctives or endorsement of the Roman Catholic church system.
2)    We understand the statement that "we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ," in terms of the substitutionary atonement and imputed righteousness of Christ, leading to full assurance of eternal salvation; we seek to testify in all circumstances and contexts to this, the historic Protestant understanding of salvation by faith alone (sola fide),
3)    While we view all who profess to be Christian - Protestant aud Catholic and Orthodox - with charity and hope, our confidence that anyone is truly a brother or sister in Christ depends not only on the content of his or her confession but on our perceiving signs of regeneration in his or her life.
4)     Though we reject proselytizing as ECT defines it (that is "sheep-stealing" for denominational aggrandizement), we hold that evangelization and church planting are always legitimate, whatever forms of church life are present already.
5)     We think that the further theological discussions that ECT promised should begin as soon as possible. (E& CT, p. 161)

Two things need to be noted in this statement:    1)    The emphasis on "eternal security" ("once saved always saved") in #2. By connecting this concept with "sola fide," they draw an unwarranted conclusion in regard to the meaning of the atonement of the Cross, and the failure to separate this combined concept by "historic" Adventists leads to the acceptance by them of a modified form of the Roman Catholic Tridentine gospel.    2)    After clearly defining his perceptions of Roman Catholicism in the CURE statement, how could Packer include in this statement a call for early "theological discussions" with them as in #5. Further, why should the dissidents to the ECT Accord want this as well?

Immediately following this Statement, Packer wrote -       "At this point I must state explicitly that I am not and could not be a Roman Catholic because of certain basic tenets to which the Roman system, as such, is committed."       He then notes these tenets:

1)     The claim of Rome as the only "Church of Christ." This for two reasons:    a)    "In the New Testament the Church is not a sacramental and juridical organization sustained by priests channeling divine life through set rituals, but it is a worldwide fellowship of believers who share in the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ ..."    b)    "Bowing to Peter among the apostles as having definitive personal and pastoral authority over all congregations" as defined by Rome, "is not however part of the New Testament picture. Nor does the fact that John Paul II ... has done a wonderful job as a world Christian ambassador make the papacy a credible institution or the Catholic claim to conciliar and ex cathedra infallibility at all plausible." (pp. 161-162)
2)     The papacy which is supposed to be the essence of the Roman Church "was a relatively late development," and not through apostolic succession.
3)     The papal teaching on the Mass and on merit cuts across Paul's doctrine of present justification ... in and through Jesus Christ."    "All modes of the Marian cult, of the invoking of other saints, and of the belief in purgatory, and all reliance on the disbursing of indulgences (which still goes on, as in Luther's day, and is explained and justified in the new Catechism) have the effect of cutting across, and damping" the fruitage of justification. (p. 162)
4)     The doctrine of papal infallibility "claimed for all church teaching, and the insistence that the faithful take their beliefs from the Church rather than the Bible" makes self-correction and spiritual growth impossible within Roman Catholicism.

Because of these tenets, Packer declares, as stated in the CURE statement, he is not able to affirm that the Roman Church "in its present confession is an acceptable Christian

p 4 -- communion." Then he adds - "What I mean by that is that Rome's official doctrinal disorders, particularly on justification, merit, and the Mass-sacrifice, so obscure the gospel that were I, as a gesture of unity, invited to Mass - which of course as a Protestant I am not, nor shall be - I would not feel free to accept the invitation." (pp. 162-163)

This is a most interesting observation. He perceives what the or "mark" of Rome is, more clearly than many Adventists. Further, he declares, he will not accept this "mark" of Rome. However, he should not be too sure, that he will not be offered the opportunity.

Then comes the question  - "Why then should I, or any Protestant like me, want to develop mission activity in partnership with Roman Catholics? What reason is there to abandon the historic pattern of isolationism?" (p. 163)

Packer perceives a renewal within Catholicism which has brought to individual Catholics the same experience as the Evangelicals, even to the point of holding some of the same doctrinal teachings which he considers basic. His conclusion is that, therefore, with these "evangelical" Catholics, there can be a working arrangement as envisioned by the ECT Accord for the purpose of bettering the moral character of society. He calls this a "Parachurch Association." By this designation. he means a company of Christians  -  be they of different denominations  -  pursuing together churchly goals. This is what he perceived was the joint action envisoned by ECT, and because of this perception he signed the document. Then he wrote a very significant paragraph:      ECT is tentatively feeling its way towards a pattern of this kind that would involve Roman Catholics and would do so on a principled basis, with out compromise on either side. The difficulties are obvious; but should the desired cooperative action prove to be practical politics, it would be an event of watershed significance. What form the pattern might take is not yet clear to anyone; what is being explored is wether the quest for such a pattern is not an idea whose time has come. (p. 166)

Packer goes so far because of his own experience and belief to question  - "Is God ... starting something through E&CT?" Then he answers  - "I do not know, but I think it is worth giving time and labor to find out." While he declares there is no problem with working together for "Christian moral and cultural values in society," yet when it comes to the point of proclaiming Christ the Savior, the case is different. Neither Evangelicals nor Roman Catholics can stipulate the distinctives they believe as the basis for partnership. Then what follows  - compromise  - "E&CT lets go Protestant precision on the doctrine of justification and the correlation between conversion and new birth, just as it let go the Roman Catholic dogmas of baptismal regeneration and the sacramental structure of the doctrine of grace."

This picture of what is contemplated  -  implementation through joint action of "Christian moral and cultural values," but with an admittedly compromised perception of the gospel  -  is ominous. While "the form the pattern" might take may not be clear to some of those who are advocating its trial adoption, it should be clear to the student of Bible prophecy. None dare take what is beginning to surface, lightly.

First, we need to be sure that we believe that we have a truth which admits of no compromise. We need to understand that only truth that is pure and unadulterated is the righteousness of Christ. Then, on these premises, how do I relate to that which is not such a truth? This brings us to the second Scripture with which shocked evangelicals challenged Packer - II Cor. 6:14-15. Packer quoted it from the NIV. Note what it says:      "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliver?

So bluntly, the first question is, Is Rome Christian? If viewpoint of Heaven as revealed in prophecy is valid  - and it is  -  the answer is emphatically  -  No! What about the voices of renewal heard in Catholicism today as noted by Packer? Do they lead to a renouncement of the Papacy or to a greater devotion to the Pope? One needs only to be reminded of the Papal acceptance of the Charismatic (tongues speaking) movement in the Catholic Church because those involved manifest a deeper devotion to Rome.

This working Accord between Evangelical Protestants and "evangelical" Roman Catholics moves toward the fulfillment of certain Adventist perceptions of the end time confrontation. There is an uniting upon such points of belief which are held in common. Packer lists these "common" beliefs. Observe them carefully  -  "the Trinity, the incarnation, the Atonement, and the historic Resurrection, present heavenly reign, and future personal return of Jesus Christ." (p. 163) Further the universal and increasing depravity of humanity, which horrifies even the ungodly, has become the motivating factor for common cause in an attempt to alter the downward course of society. This unity, based on common beliefs and goal, is perceived as God working  -  an "idea whose time has come." However, behind this Accord is a compromised "gospel." Herein is indeed the "great controversy" false "gospel" versus "the everlasting gospel." The community of Adventism is not exempt for the battle is joined even within the community itself.

p 5 -- The UNCHANGED Position of ROME - CHURCH and STATE -- The "Michael" Journal published in Roughening, Quebec, covered Canada with 13 million copies of a 16 page offprint calling for the Prime Minister of Canada to exercise his authority and reorganize the monetary system of Canada. On pages 14 and 15 of this paper in bold type was this caption - "Jesus Christ, King of all Nations." A subheading indicated that this "kingship" was social and political. The article is excerpted and translated from a book written in 1923 by a French priest, Theotime de Saint Just - The Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Cardinal Pie.

First a word about Cardinal Pie. He was Bishop of Poitiers, and made a Cardinal by Leo XIII in 1879. Keep in mind that Leo XIII had no love for the American form of government. To refresh your mind recheck the chapter - "Americanism Versus Romanism" - in Facts of Faith pp. 256-272. Saint Just begins his book with direct quotes from Cardinal Pie which stated:      Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the structure of society. ... and in the hearts of our contemporaries, of our officials, this pry found conviction that they can do nothing to strengthen the homeland and its freedoms as long as they do not establish it on the cornerstone given by God; Petra autem erat Christus.

Then he questions -       "Our Lord Jesus came on earth to sanctify souls. Did He come also to impose His will upon social institutions, codes, parliaments, even monarchs, and thus become the supreme King of nations and peoples?"       To his own question, he replies -       "There is no question of more paramount importance than that of the social Kingship of Christ."       Such a Kingship would produce the true peace so longed for by the world.   [Keep in mind that this book was written in 1923, following World War I, and the establishment of the League of Nations]   To emphasize his point, Saint Just quoted from Pius Xl's Encyclical, Ubi arcano Dei, which reads:      Once cities and republics follow the teachings and precepts of Jesus Christ in their domestic and foreign affairs, then they will enjoy true peace. ... The peace worthy of its name, that is to say, the longed-for peace of Christ, will never exist if Christ's doctrines, precepts, and examples are not kept by all, in public and private life as well, and if the Church, in such an ordered society, does not exercise her divine role, protecting all the rights of God over individuals and nations. This is what we call "the reign of Christ." (Emphasis supplied; underscored, his)

Two more questions are asked -       "Is this social Kingship of Jesus being accepted by nations and peoples? Is Christian law - the code of the social reign of our Lord - the rule of conduct of human societies?"       In answer, Saint Just cites Bishop Pie's observation of the past when for many beautiful centuries, the social Kingship of Christ had been recognized by the family of European nations. Then he quoted Pie direct -     "Christian law had been for a thousand years the general law of Europe."       This is nothing short of calling for a return to the Dark Ages!

How is this to be accomplished? Note the following carefully: Saint Just declared:      Now we must speak about the supreme duty that is incumbent, not upon the intellectually elite, but upon the leaders of nations. They must carry out the program of the Christian government. According to Bishop Pie, this program requires the civil power to remain united with the Church, and make legislation in accordance with Christian principles.

The union of the Church and the State is the primary condition for a Christian government The perfect agreement between the priesthood and the empire is common law and the normal state of Christian societies, says Bishop Pie, along with the whole Catholic tradition, and he rejects energetically all ideas of separation. (Emphasis supplied)

The example cited for union of Church and State is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the God-man. "Jesus Christ has indissolubly united in Himself the natural and the supernatural order, and that He has set a similar union for Christian society." The two natures were kept distinct without merging, "similarly, Christian society is made up of two elements:   the Church, and the State, which must remain distinct, and not merged, but united, not separated." Then the conclusion is drawn  - "that since the two natures of Christ are unequal, and consequently, one nature is subordinated to the other  -  the human nature to the divine one  - [so] the two elements of Christian society must also be subordinated:   the State must be subordinated to the Church."

Bishop Pie went so far as to declare those who would separate State and Church as antichrist, and the dissolution of Jesus Christ Himself. A version of  I John 4:3 was quoted which read  -  And every spirit that dissolves (disunites) Jesus Christ is not of God; and this is the Antichrist." Thus the power which is indeed the Antichrist turns the epithet on the form of government which reflects the separation which Jesus enunciated  -  unto Caesar the things of Caesar, and unto God, the things of God.

Calling the American system of government "eternally illegitimate," Saint Just declared "the normal state and salvation

p 6 -- for governments can be found only in union with the Church." And why?        Once fully realized, the union of the Church and the State would imply Christian laws, since the State would then receive moral guidance from the Church, and would strive to apply it.

In the light of this forthright declaration of the Roman Catholic position, we can better understand the force of the phraseology being used by those engaged in the defense of the ECT Accord when they call for "a new understanding of the First Amendment religion clause" of the American Constitution; when they use the words, "ordered liberty;" and call  "for the right ordering of civil society." (See WWN, 4(95), p.4; 4(96), p.3) Rome is forthright when she feels she has nothing to lose; deceptive when she believes she has much to gain. Tragically, Evangelical and professedly Protestant voices are ignoring the prophecies of God's word which unmasks the facade of Rome.

LET'S TALK IT OVER -- Consider for a few moments what you have just read, especially what Dr. J. I. Packer has written as he has endeavored to justify his signing of the ECT Accord. Keep in mind who he is - Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Review in your thinking what he knows and what he said about Roman Catholicism. He has carefully studied the thinking of Rome in the Vatican II Council, and as expressed in their new Catechism, noting that even now they are defending the disbursement of indulgences which was the spark which ignited the Reformation. Yet with this knowledge, he believes he can work with them on social issues, and remain unscathed. And what do "social" issues mean to Rome? Rethink the second article. "Social issues" means simply to Rome an "ordered society" in which the Church dominates the State, so that the dogmas of Rome become the Constitution of the nations. Does Packer not know this?

Packer thinks there are good Catholics, and there are bad Catholics. This is true in most any category you wish to suggest. He believes that he has signed this ECT Accord with "good" Catholics. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Word of God reveals the reality of the matter. We need to remind ourselves that "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 the final deception of the devil. (See Great Controversy, p.562)

Packer realizes, as all must, that the moral decay of society has reached intolerable depths and that something must be done. He perceives ECT as a possible working arrangment to accomplish a desired goal. He sees a realignment of force from the time when "Western Christendom's deepest division" was between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and now, when in his words, "the deepest and most hurtful division is between theological conservatives, who honor the Christ of the Bible and the historic creeds and confessions, and theological liberals and radicals who for whatever reason do not." (E&CT, pp. 171-172) Then after being unable to affirm that the Roman Church "in its present confession is an acceptable Christian communion," Packer can write -
"domestic differences about salvation and the Church should not hinder us from joint action in seeking to re-Christianize the North American milieu." (ibid., p. 172) How can you re-Christianize with that which is not Christian?

This reveals the confusion of mind which can even effect recognized religious thinkers. But Packer does have some doubts. In Christianity Today, (May 30, 1996, p.15) is a full page advertisement for Peter Kreeft's new book - Ecumenism and the Cultural War - in which he calls for "all God-fearing Christians, Jews and Muslims to unite together in a 'religious wa r' [a "Jihad"] against the common enemy of godless secular humanism, materialism and immorality." The advertisement uses brief comments from three names - all involved in the essays of E&CT - J. I. Packer, Chuck Colson, and Richard Neuhaus. Packer writes - "Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox alike need to ponder Kreeft's vision of things." Then he adds a question - "What if he is right?"

But what if Kreeft is wrong? Here is where "the sure word of prophecy" enters the picture. The prophecies of God's Word were effective weapons used by the Reformers. So effective were they, that Rome responded with two schools of counter interpretations by the Jesuits, Alcazar and Ribera. Antithetical to each other, they nevertheless directed the fulfillment of the prophecies away from Rome. This same technique was used in the paper reviewed in the second article of this issue. The "Antichrist" is to be understood as one who opposes the union of Church and State, instead of the Antichrist being the Papacy, which is the union of Church and State.

The prophecy of Daniel 7 clearly identifies in history who the "little horn" is. The Revelation of Jesus Christ tells the reader specifically that the "dragon" symbol of the 12th chapter is the devil. It is this "dragon" who gives the "beast" of chapter 13, "his power, and his seat, and great authority." (ver. 2) This beast is also "non-descript" as is the fourth beast of Daniel 7 which nourishes to the end "the little horn." The beast of Revelation 13 is a composite made up of the symbols of Daniel 7 in exact sequence, only in reverse order.

p 7 - Its prophetic time parallels the "little horn" of Daniel 7 - "forty two months" and the "time and times and the dividing of time." Paul likewise identifies this power in his second letter to the Thessalonians as "the man of sin," the "Wicked [One]" (2:3-9) The well known and respected Lexicon by Thayer defines the force of the Greek word translated "the Wicked [One]" as "he in whom all iniquity has fixed its abode." [art., anomos]

To those who would have exercised faith in God's prophetic Word, the decision to sign or not to sign the ECT Accord would have been simple. Did Christ parley with the devil so as to work out the redemption of the "kingdoms of the world"? Did not Christ plainly state to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world"? (John 18:36) It is true that "society" has hit an all-time low. The depravity of man is manifest over all the earth. There is only one solution - not the evangelization of the third millennium as is anticipated, but the coming of Jesus to put an end to human history as it is now being written. There is only one message that should be proclaimed, and that message is the message of the final atonement being consummated both in the courts of heaven, and "the everlasting gospel" which makes it possible - "the redemption in Christ Jesus." The line has been drawn by Heaven, and the nations of earth have been given over to Satan to work his will, which he is doing "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness" gathering them together for the battle of the great day of God Almighty to a place called in the Hebrew tongue, "the mount of the congregation." (Rev. 16:14, 16; Isa. 14:13)

Of Interest -- In an endeavor to circulate the booklet - The SIGN of the End of Time, the Remnant Seventh Day Adventist Church of Nora Springs, Iowa, ran a two column six inch advertisement in the Mason City Globe-Gazette offering it free to all who would write to their postal address. The ad was headed in bold type - "Jerusalem" and stated "The Pope's Plan for Jerusalem" quoting Daniel 11:45. Next they listed Lucifer's design and quoted Isaiah 14:13. The question was asked - "Will they support each other?"

Among the responses they received was a letter from the Roman Catholic priest of the Forest City parish. He also sent a similar letter to the "Editor's Mailbag" of the Globe-Gazette, which included an additional paragraph chastising the editor for permitting such an ad to be published. The letter to them read:      I was rather amazed at your ad in Friday's Globe-Gazette. I had hoped we were beyond the days when the papacy and the Catholic Church were alleged by some to be in league with Satan. I hope that you will read the enclosed brochures; they might be helpful in explaining the scriptural basis for the papacy and the Church's role in its formation and interpretation of the Bible.

If you wish, you may send me your booklet - my parishioners and I are always interested in learning about various attacks on the Church.

They did, and included the tract - "Antichrist - Who Is He?" - although he might have written for it after receiving the booklet. The tracts which the priest sent - "Peter and the Papacy" and "What's Your Authority for That?" - based primarily on the Bible, need careful analysis. The latter is aimed directly at the Evangelicals in its closing challenge. This is interesting in the light of the ECT Accord. We hope to say more concerning this tract in another issue of WWN. ---(1996 Aug) ---End---TOP

1996 Sep -- XXIX -- 9(96) -- E & C T -- Part 7 - THE CATHOLIC DIFFERENCE -- EDITOR'S PREFACE -- This issue concludes the series of reviews of the essays in the book - Evangel icals & Catholics Together. In our judgment the two most important essays are the ones by Dr. J. I. Packer and John Richard Neuhaus. We devoted two issues of WWN to Packer's and this issue in its entirety to what Neuhaus wrote.

There are certain salient points made by Nuehaus which dare not be overlooked. He views the ECT Accord as a part of the objective of Rome for the coming millennium - a "springtime of Christian unity." He boldly outlines the Roman Catholic difference, and by difference he does not only mean contrast with the position of the Evangelicals, but also why the Roman position is superior and should be the ultimate one. To justify this difference, he alludes to Scripture, not always accurately but often with telling effect. We have not been able, because of space limitations, to discuss in each instance his use of Scripture to justify his position, but it should be evident what issues we will face in the very near future and what we should be doing now to prepare for that confrontation - studying the Bible carefully and thoroughly.

Let us not be naive. We shall not only face what Rome is teaching but the combined forces which result from the hand clasp across the gulf. We should not forget that in the first confrontation with the Evangelicals, the Adventists lost. Perhaps it would be worth one's time to review the SDA-Evangelical Conferences and really note what caused the veritable rout on key doctrinal questions which were a part of basic Adventism. We should also remember that the men were "historic" Adventists who confronted the Evangelicals. Many of them but a few years previous had been a part of the 1952 Bible Conference where "historic" Adventism had been reaffirmed.

Inasmuch as we have devoted this full issue to the review of Neuhaus' essay, the article is long and involved. You will not get the full benefit intended by a one-time reading, and merely through a casual reading. You will have to do some serious thinking on the points raised and the answers projected by Neuhaus. "Woe unto them that are at ease in Zion." (Amos 6:1)

p 2 -- E & C T - Part 7 -- The final essay of the book, Evangelicals & Catholics Together, was written by Richard John Neuhaus, a Lutheran minister turned Roman Catholic, and who with Chuck Colson laid the groundwork for the Evangelical and Catholic Accord. In his essay, Neuhaus attempts two things:    1)    he addresses some of the criticisms which the accord occasioned, and    2)    gives reasons to believe that at this time in human history, Christians have a rendezvous with destiny. He titled his essay, "The Catholic Difference" and chose a quote from John Paul II's book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope -"Be not afraid!"- for his theme thought.

Neuhaus uses the term, kairos, one word in the Greek for time, which suggests "an opportune and decisive moment." He believes that God may be doing something in anticipation of the coming Third Millennium. He perceives of John Paul II as cognizant of this possibility as he looks forward to the year 2000 as a "springtime of evangelism" and a "springtime of Christian unity." He writes:       "There is a tremor of an intimation that something like a kairos may be at hand." (p. 176)

As a part of this "tremor," Neuhaus perceives the ECT Accord as making such an impact. He writes -       "I believe the declaration and the discussion it is generating will be a continuing point of reference for many years to come."        Then he states his reason: The document        "reflects a historic reorientation in our understanding of the Christian mission in and to the world."         After listing certain ideological political forces of this present century, which he now considers to lie "in ashes," and the collapse of "a secular Enlightenment," he writes:      "It is not too much to say, that as we enter the third millennium, the world historical stage has been largely cleared to make room for the presentation of the Christian understanding of the human drama, the Divine-human drama that is the story of salvation. And it is not too much to believe that it is this moment that God is bringing evangelicals and Catholics together to present to the world its promised future in Jesus Christ." (p. 177)

This should cause us to pause and sense the import of this whole Evangelical and Catholic togetherness. It is a union across the gulf that has long separated Romanism and Protestantism. But what "gospel" and which "Christ" is to be presented to the world? Neuhaus claims that "Christianity is today the champion of universal truth." But again, the question must be asked not only as Pilate asked it, "What is truth?" (John 18:38) - but as Jesus answered it - "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) As we continue to survey Neuhaus' essay, we shall see how he answered it from the Catholic viewpoint.

From the Neuhaus viewpoint, the most important affirmation of the Accord document is that "all who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour are brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have not chosen one another, just as we have not chosen Christ. He has chosen us, and He has chosen us to be his together." Here again is a deceptive facet, and brings to mind the original manuscript written by Wieland and Short in 1950. Two chapters were devoted to "The True Christ vs. the False Christ." In their revised edition of 1987, this was largely omitted or toned down - and tragically at a time when the church and the religious world were moving to what we see today. It depends on which Christ we proclaim as Lord as to whether we are "brothers and sisters in Christ" be it in the Church, or as a part of an independent ministry, or in fellowship with a group outside of the Community of Adventism. There is but one true Christ though there be many false christs.

This is equally true in regard to the gospel. There is but one gospel and that gospel is "the everlasting gospel." Tragically within Adventism today, there is being proclaimed by "the many voices" a false gospel which purports to be the true gospel, but verily a gospel that Paul would not recognize.

It is over this "most important affirmation of ECT" that Neuhaus perceives a skepticism from both the left and the right. He sees the "liberal" Christians as viewing the document as a "sociopolitical compact" between Christian conservatives with the theological affirmations as so much veneer. The Evangelicals on the right who oppose this document do so because they believe that naive members of their group have been taken in by the Roman Catholics. Neuhaus freely admits that there has been very little theological criticism from the Roman Catholic side. This in itself should be a cause for concern. Neuhaus dimisses this concern by saying that Catholics "are accustomed to ecumenical engagements" and that such engagements hold no fears. He says that any talk about "ecclesial reconciliation" is premature. That would be fifty or one hundred years down the road if time should last. What then is the significance of this accord? He writes:      "As for our historical moment, it is enough that, after four centuries of suspicion and hostility, we have found one another; it is enough that we are able to address our differences with candor and clarity; it is enough that we are learning to engage one another in mutual respect for the institutions, traditions, and patterns of discipleship that have developed over the years of our separation ... It is more than enough. It is something like a kairos. (p. 180)

p 3 -- What if in the encounter of the wilderness, Jesus had entered into an "ecumenical engagement" with Satan and concluded that after all the centuries of separation, they had found themselves and that they could work together for the good of the kingdoms of this world. What a kairos that would have been! The situation is no different in this encounter. Paul states without equivocation that the machinations of "the man of sin,"   "that Wicked one," are "after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." (II Thess. 2:9) There is no fellowship of righteousness with unrighteousness; no communion of light with darkness; no concord between Christ and Satan. (II Cor. 6:14-15) The moment such a dialogue would begin; that moment there is the admission that there is some light in darkness; some righteousness in unrighteousness. Only the conviction that we have a truth that admits of no compromise, and hold to that conviction are we safe. However, we must be sure we have that truth. Elijah was sure - why continue to vacillate between two opinions? Jesus was sure - I am the way, the truth and the life."

It is at this very point that Neuhaus begins his defense against the criticisms leveled against the Accord. He thought, so he states, that the assertion in the Accord was "quite uncontroversial" which read - "There are different ways of being Christian ... that we are all to be one does not mean that we are all to be identical in our way of following the one Christ." He indicated that certain evangelicals objected that "there is only one right way of being a Christian and that is the way revealed in the Bible." He said - "True enough." but - and confused the diversity of gifts through the Spirit as evidencing diversity of ways for becoming a Christian. While there are "diversity of gifts" there is only one Spirit of truth, and while there are "differences of administration," there is only one Lord - who is the way, the truth and the life. (See I Cor. 12:4-5) We dare not confuse the one gate and narrow way with the graciousness of God in giving us manifold gifts as we walk in that way.

Neuhaus at this point begins a very subtle line of argument to emphasize "The Catholic Difference." He emphasizes the term, catholic, and suggests that Roman Catholics are not the only ones who claim the term "for all Christians who confess the great creed of Nicea affirm their faith in the 'one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.'" Then he emphasizes that the term, evangelical, is a general term with no "copyright" attached. It is a term which refers to the "good news" of the gospel embraced by all Christians "although they do not always articulate that gospel in the same way." (p. 181) In other words, the difference is between the emphasis on Church (catholic) as community, and the emphasis on the giving the "good news" (evangelical). To Neuhaus, the Accord is simply saying that those formulating it found themselves to be both catholic and evangelical thus they could be together.

While the question returns to the basic issue of what is the true gospel, and there is only one, there is also another factor which we need to recall. It is the injection of the Nicene Creed into the presentation. The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches has adopted the Constantinopolitan-Nicene version of this creed as the basis of their objective to bring about visible unity within the Christian community. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in its 1980 Dallas Statement of Beliefs incorporated the same version into its beliefs.

Neuhaus uses several pages of his essay in discussing the meaning of "evangelical," and "Evangelical" in contrast to "catholic,." and "Catholic." It is true that evangelicals have no super church structure, but operate as individual "spiritual entrepreneurs" each with his following. This seems to disturb Neuhaus because he writes -    "If in the years ahead evangelicals develop a more communal and ecclesial understanding of what it means to be a Christian, evangelicals and Catholics may come closer together in appreciating the different ways of being Christian." (p. 182)     He see the evangelicals who are opposed to ECT as people who are against Roman Catholicism, as well as against mainline liberal Protestantism, but who if they perceived the necessity as he perceives it, of having an "ecclesial" structure to be a Christian, then there could be a closer "togetherness between Catholics and all Evangelicals. He looks forward to this possibility and writes:      As we look to the possible reconfigurations of the entire Christian movement in the twenty-first century - configurations that will also involve developments in the Catholic Church - the Spirit may lead us to discover ways of being together and acting together in a manner that comprehends differences that are now thought to be dividing. That at least is the hope held out by ECT. (ibid.)

Neuhaus wants "evangelicals" to be "Evangelicals," to be "a distinctive ecclesial community," because he perceives that "serious engagement with different ways of being Christian requires a measure of what might be described as ecclesial confidence." Behind this whole attempt at "togetherness" is the concept of "unity in diversity" but with "independent" identities involved, how do you achieve a unity that is not so diversified that Rome finds it impossible to accomplish its objectives.

With this background of thinking, Neuhaus enters into "the Catholic difference." The Roman Church makes distinctions among the various groups in which it is in ecumenical dialogue. Vatican II distinguishes between "churches and ecclesial communities." The churches of the East which composes the Orthodox Church are fully churches. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes the statement of Pope Paul VI that the communion with the Orthodox Church is so profound 'that it lacks little

p 4 -- to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist.'" However, with other ecolesial communities and Christian groupings, the situation is different, sometimes dramatically different, from the Roman viewpoint. Neuhaus gives a spectrum of five stages of a group's progress toward Rome - hostility to coexistence  to cooperation  to sharing  to full communion. He perceives ECT as having past hostility, coexistence to cooperation and entering into the "sharing phase" - "those sacred activities that spring from the heart of being Christians together" such as "evangelization, prayer, Scriptural study, and correction and edification in the gospel." (p. 186)

This whole picture should alert us as to the steps which Rome is now taking to achieve its goal of the universal dominion she once held. It should also alert us to the significance of the various ecumenical moves which have been taken by the hierarchy of the Adventist Church in the last few decades as well as help us to evaluate present activities. It may not be direct contact with Rome but all ecumenical dialogue serves but one purpose and that is unity, and the direction of that unity is Romeward. There is but one acceptable unity, and that is unity in the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

Neuhaus indicates that even though the ECT Accord brings evangelicals and Catholics to a position approaching the fourth stage, it is still "a long way from what the Catholic Church declares to be the goal of the search for greater Christian unity which is full communion." (p.187) He indicates that this full communion may never be reached between evangelicals and Catholics short of the final kingdom of God. The Vatican II Council declared that "this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." The Council , therefore, stated that they are awaiting a manifestation of "the power of the Holy Spirit" to bring about this objective. Here is stated tho objective, and a recognition of how they perceive that goal will ultimately be achieved. While it will be termed "the working of the Holy Spirit" the Bible declares it will be "the spirits of devils working miracles." (Rev. 16:14)

Neuhaus next proceeds to a discussion of what constitutes the "Church." Is the true Church visible or invisible:   perfect or imperfect? On this latter question. Neuhaus uses Luther's phrase simul justus et peccator  ("at the same time righteous and a sinner")  -  which Luther applied to the individual Christian, to describe the Church. He borrowed another expression to deline the Church  -  "Chaste Whore." In a warped application of an event at the Cross, Neuhaus writes:      On the cross, the dying Lord entrusts Mary to John, but note the startling absence of Peter from this scene. In the New Testament, Peter represents the institutional Church par excellence. Peter is, in Catholic teaching, the rock on whom Jesus would build his Church, and he reflects at the same time the cowardice and denial there is, until the end of time, an inextricable aspect of Christ's body, the Church." (p. 190)

Neuhaus draws another line between the Church, and the members of that Church. While admitting that one can use the expression  - "a sinful Church" -  he noted that Vatican II carefully avoided the expression because "sin does not implicate the Church in its formal constituents (apostolic faith, sacraments, and ministry)" but rather only the members, both clerical and laity.       "The concern here is to acknowledge fully the sinfulness of the members of the Church, while taking with full seriousness the truth that the Church is the body of Christ who is like us in all respects except sin." (p. 191)

This lays the groundwork for the first question  -  Is the Church visible or invisible? While admitting to the fact that there is a Church invisible, Neuhaus declares - "The Church is conceived and constituted Christologically" -  and then quotes Ignatius of Antioch  - "Where there is Jesus Christ, there is the Catholic Church." Ignatius meant "universal" not Roman Catholic, and the converse is not true  -  that where the Roman Catholic Church is, there is Jesus Christ. However, Neuhaus is trying to make a point in regard to "the Catholic difference." This should be fully understood. He wrote concerning Ignatius' observation:      Twenty centuries later, Vatican Council II elaborates that insight by affirming that in local churches ' the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ [?], and [where] the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated .... In these communities, though they may often be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted.' The local church is understood, first of all, as the priests and the faithful gathered around their apostolically ordained bishop in a particular place. Thus each diocese is a local or particular church that is fully and rightly ordered by virtue of its communion with another particular church, the church of Rome, which, in the words of Saint Ignatius, ' presides in charity' over the entire Christian people." (p. 192-193)

As a point of passing observation, one would need to change only a few words in the above paragraph and it would also describe another hierarchical structure with which many of us are painfully familiar.

Neuhaus next passes to a discussion of "The Church:  High and Low." He observes that Protestants have a low doctrine of the Church while Catholics hold a high doctrine of the same. The Protestant position was due to

p 5 -- a Reformation protest against the ecclesiastical claims of Rome to authority and jurisdiction. Neuhaus declares that the Catholic position prior to Vatican II  -  that there was no salvation outside the Church  -  was responsible for this position. However, he insists that since Vatican II there has been a change. In support of this assertion, he quotes the Council document, Lumen Gentium, "The sole Church of Christ is that which our Savior, after His resurrection entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it ... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsisti in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."

To the average reader, this does not reflect a change but rather is saying the same thing over again in different language. Neuhaus maintains that "scholars highlight the fact that the council very deliberately said subsisti in and not est. That is, the Council did not say that the sole Church of Christ is the [Roman] Catholic Church." Then the "double talk" begins. "If one wants to know where the Church of Christ is, the answer is that it is here, it subsists here, in the [Roman] Catholic Church." Then Neuhaus quotes the Catechism, and this is interesting in what it says. As you read, analyze it carefully:        Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of the truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church:   the written Word of God, the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements. Christ's Spirit uses these churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to Him, and are in themselves calls to Catholic unity.(p. 195)

This is astounding. There is still no salvation outside of the Catholic Church because what "salvation" is to be found outside, is derived from and through the Roman Catholic Church. Neuhaus calls this "a God-given gravitation" towards unity with Rome. He says the "pull" works both ways. Not only have Protestants returned to Rome - he himself is a prime example - but Catholics are drawn into unity with other Christians "precisely because of their communion with the Catholic Church, for it is here that they learned to recognize as brothers and sisters those who are 'truly but imperfectly' in communion with the one Christ and the one Church." In this conclusion, we see the justification for ECT. (p. 196) How the Evangelicals who signed the Accord, and/or wrote Essays for this book can continue their names on the document is mystifying in the light of this forthright position stated by Neuhaus, and are they deceived and thus blinded?

This opens some other questions:    Can I be in fellowship with other hierarchical systems structured as Rome is structured, and not find an affinity with Rome which could ultimately lead me into communion with Rome?   Did not Dr. P. T. Magan warn the delegates at the 1903 General Conference as they were about to vote the new Constitution that any one familiar with church history could come to "no other conclusion but that the principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution, and in the way in which they are brought in, are the same principles, and introduced in precisely the same way, as they were hundreds of years ago when
the Papacy was made." (1903 GC Bulletin, p. 150) Where does affinity to, lead? Did not Ellen White hear the divine "Instructor" say just following this conference  - "How is the faithful city become a harlot?" (8T, p.250)

Returning to an analysis of Neuhaus' essay, he becomes at this point very explicit concerning the position and claim of Rome. He writes:   "The Catholic claim is that the Catholic Church is the fully and rightly ordered expression of Christ's Church through time." The chief reason he gives for this assertion is that of the "Petrine ministry" as perceived by Rome. He admits -  "Of course the line of historical development from Petrine ministry to papal primacy is not undisputed. But why is it to be recognized? Because "Catholic doctrine recognizes that development as an instance of the Holy Spirit continuing to guide the Church into the fullness of truth." (p. 19)

What can be said in answer to this reasoning for sooner than many realize, we shall have to give an answer. Peter did preside at the first business meeting of the Apostolic Church after the ascension of Jesus. (Acts 1:15)  It is of interest to note his "style" as "chairman" -  his appeal to the Scriptures, and the decision made by the group. (vers. 16,23)  Peter was the chief spokesman on the Day of Pentecost (Acts. 2:14). However, he did not preside at the first General Session of the Church. He had been superseded by James. We have not perceived the whyfore because of our lack of in-depth study:   but the contrast of "style" can be distinctly observed. (Acts 15:19)  It might be more accurate if Rome claimed a succession from James.

Following his claim for a "Petrine ministry," Neuhaus begins some more double talk. He says that ECT repeatedly insists "that the only unity we can rightly seek is unity in the truth." He recognizes that if such searching were done, there would be some risks entailed. Somebody may have to change. He even goes so far as to write that

p 6 -- the risk is welcomed if our deepest devotion is indeed to truth and not merely to our present views of church affiliation." Who can argue with that! Then he illustrates. He suggests that a Protestant who comes to believe that the Catholic Church is "in fact the most fully and rightly ordered expression of Christ's Church through time" but who "may believe [that] the Catholic Church is wrong about a number of teachings" does not believe that the Catholic Church "is what she claims to be" when she claims to be "the authoritative teacher of Christian truth." He is saying simply that certain things taught by the Roman Church are actually not Biblical, but the Church guided by the Spirit-indited "magesterium" is a continuing source of truth. This line of reasoning and position is not foreign in Adventist thinking. We need to ask ourselves whether we are following the Roman position adapted to Adventist nomenclature, or are we truly Protestant  -  "The Word of God alone is truth, and the basis of all truth." Further, we need to recognize the continuing guidance of the Spirit into all truth but in that guidance we need to see to it that it is not self contradictory. We dare not reject advancing truth nor deny existing truth. In the coming confrontation we will need to know what truth is in contrast to tradition and fable.

Neuhaus approaches this question again from another angle with telling force. He states that most evangelicals have "a high Christology, having accepted the decisions of the great councils of the fourth and fifth century as to the true interpretation of Scripture."Then he comes in for "the kill"! He writes:     " Implicit in that acceptance is a trust in the Spirit's guidance of the Church, not only in recognizing and defining orthodox Christology but also in recognizing and defining the Scriptures to which orthodox teaching appeals. With respect to the Bible, Christology, and much else, decisions were made at a determinate time in a determinate place by a determinate community that then called itself and today calls itself the Catholic Church." (p. 198)

Dare I write into my theology the positions of the Councils  -  Nicea and others? Should I not rather know what the New Testament writers, indited by the Holy Spirit, taught, and what that revelation actually reveals in regard to truth? A deeper study of that Word will bring forth advancing truth that can be trusted for the Word is verily the Holy Spirit's "take off" point.

Neuhaus next turns his attention to the "Article" upon which the Church stands or falls. He claims that the distracters of ECT claim that a discussion of the doctrine of "Church" (ecclesiology) is empty unless agreement is secured on the issues of "justification by faith alone," because this is declared to be the basic true "gospel." Then he adopted the approach that Paul used before the Jewish Council (Acts 23:6-7), stating that certain sections of evangelicals were closer to Roman Catholic perceptions of justification and sanctification than were some of the evangelical distracters of ECT. However, since these antagonists to ECT "have a strong and well-earned influence" among those who do not hold to the "Lutheran or Calvinist" traditions, in other words, those who are closer to Roman perceptions, he directs his answer to the antagonists. He calls into perspective his own religious experience which was "powerfully" influenced by the formula  -  "justification by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone." Then he writes  -  "The truth of the gospel that the formula was intended to protect is, I am convinced, entirely compatible  ...  with the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church." He claims that the formula is a theological construct of the sixteenth century that is not found in the Bible, and is absent from the theological debates of the Reformation. He said that, because of these "facts," the ECT Accord affirmed that which is "undisputed biblical truth."

The Community of Adventism is not exempt from this controversy. Those who seek to attack this formula which is Biblically based, in spite of Neuhaus' assertion, do so under the guise of an attack on Calvinistic teachings. It should be kept in mind that to accept the Biblical revelation of the doctrine of justification does not mean that one accepts the Calvinistic corollary that "once saved always saved," or that such a deduction is warranted. Too often, we simply do not rightly divide the Word of Truth, or to phrase it another way, we throw the baby out with the bath water.

Let us restate the issue clearly. The position of the Roman Church is expressed in the Council of Trent  -  Vatican II did not annull it   -  that those who believe in justification by faith alone are anathema. This on the other hand is the Reformation position based on the declaration of Paul, who claimed to have been given this gospel by Jesus Christ. The question is simply  -  Is there a middle ground between Rome and Paul? There are those calling themselves "historic" Adventists who by their teachings declare there is. Thus we face a crisis as to what constitutes the "everlasting gospel" of the Three Angels's Messages and the fact that the message of 1888 was declared to be the Third Angel's message in verity.

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church was introduced into the controversy by an article appearing in Christianity Today (Dec. 12, 1994). In summary, Neuhaus replied:       The Catechism of the Catholic Church,s then, does not reject the distinctive Reformation formula that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. Neither does it affirm it. It does affirm its continuity with the Council of Trent, which condemned the formula in the sense that it understood the

p 7 -- formula at that time. (p. 204)

This is a poor attempt to explain the critical conclusion drawn on this point in the CURE document which Packer and Horton had released. (See WWN XXIX - 8(96), p. 2, col. 1; art. "E&CT- 6b") It is just plain double talk, because Neuhaus admits that the Catechism affirms its continuity with the Council of Trent. On the Gospel, Romanism has not given a single centimeter, nor will it.

Neuhaus seeks to explain what the Catechism would have stated had it addressed the issue:       Were the Catechism to address directly the justification formula, it would have had to make clear that grace is not alone but confirms human freedom, that living faith is not alone but issues in a life of obedience, that Christ is not alone but always to be found in the company of his Church. (ibid.)

These three assertions in regard to the Reformation formula if discussed would require a separate article. However, it is the last part  -  Christ is always "in company with his Church"  -  which Neuhaus emphasizes as he concludes his perception of "the Roman Catholic difference." Note carefully his conclusions:      The Catholic cannot agree with ' the decision of the committed Christian with respect to his communal allegiance ' if that decision means living in permanent separation from the community in which the Church of Jesus Christ, fully and rightly ordered, subsists ....

In Catholic teaching, every element of Christian faith and life gravitates toward Christian unity in communion with the Petrine ministry instituted by Jesus and continued in the ministry of the bishop of Rome. (p. 214)

In simple language, the whole objective is back to Rome and the Papacy. In a continuing section of his essay. Neuhaus becomes emphatic on this point. He wrote:       In accord with the entirety of orthodox Christianity, from the first century to this very day, Catholics are convinced that the Church is an integral part of the truth intended for us by God. Permit me to put it more sharply, for this is the heart of ' the Catholic difference' :   For the Catholic, faith in Christ and faith in the Church are one act of faith. (pp. 215-216)

This is not just a passing issue in the dialogue between Evangelicals and Catholics, this issue enters the community of Adventism. Loyalty and relationship to the Church is at the heart of the present conflict which has divided the Adventist Community. Do we continue loyalty to the Church even though it alters the truth committed to its trust, thus separating ourselves from Christ who is the truth; or do we follow Him who is the truth and separate ourselves from the Church. To what and to whom must our supreme loyalty be? To one segment of the Adventist Community today comes the searching question  -  can I be loyal to the message of righteousness by faith alone, and at the same time be loyal to an organization which rejects the truth committed to its trust? Or will I accept "the Roman Catholic difference" that Christ and the Church are one.

What Christ intended the Church to be, and what the Church is, are two different things. This is just what the Jewish Christian discovered when he accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. The God of Abraham, and the Jewish Church were not one. What then was he to do?
Paul responded -      
Ye are come unto mount Sion, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. (Hebrews 12:22-23)

While this article will conclude the specific review of the Essays found in Evangelicals & Catholics Together, it will not be the last time that we will touch base with these presentations. There is much enlightenment in the issues raised here as to what we shall face a few years hence when the final confrontation between the religion of the Bible  -  the Gospel  -  comes head-on with the religion of fable and tradition. ---(1996 Sep) ---End----

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