WWN 1993 Jan - Mar
1993 Jan -- XXVI -- 1(93) -- THE LINES ARE BEING DRAWN -- An insert in the Adventist Review (Nov 5, 1992) contained "an abbreviated and adapted version of a new book, Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries." This book is the result of a commissioned study authorized by the officers and Union Presidents of tbe North American Division of the Church. An article in the same issue of the Review by its editor noted this study as "Acts 15 Time Again," stating - "You will find something unusual in the insert and the book - mention by name of several private organizations that are causing church leaders serious concern." (p. 8) And name them it does, comparing them to the Shepherd's Rod, Robert Brinsmead, and Desmond Ford. However, this insert and Issues, according to the editor comes "as an appeal rather than a declaration of war." (p. 9) Time alone will tell which it really is, an appeal or warfare. We shall reserve final judgment until we can read and analyze the book itself.
A little thought reveals that the greater portion of Jesus'
earthly ministry was that of an "independent minister" heading
an "independent ministry." He did not intend it to be that way.
Jesus did not divorce Himself from the temple,
p 2 -- nor its services. He said in doing what He did, This is my church, this is my temple, "make not my Father's house an house of merchandise." (2:16) Further, in one of the outlying conferences of the Jewish Church, Jesus preached for a short period of time to the local congregations as they met in their synagogues. (Matt. 4:23) Finally, He was expelled, and any who would confess His ministry was to be excommunicated from his local congregation. (John 9:22)
He ordained a rninistry with a mission. The text reads
- "And He ordained twelve, that they should
Jesus even commissioned 70 other evangelists, and sent
thern forth "before His face into every city
Jesus made one final attempt to cleanse the Temple. It
was the beginning of the Last Week.
The setting of this act dare not be overlooked. Jesus had just wept over the city declaring - If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace! but now they are hidden from thine eyes. Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19:42-44)
The beginning of the end for the Jewish Church/Nation as a favored nation under God, and the city of Jerusalem as the Holy City of God had begun. Even yet, Jesus chose a text in cleansing the temple precincts that echoed His hopes - He still called it, "My house." But a few days later, when He left the temple for the last time, He declared - "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt. 23:38) lt ceased to be His temple, His church; it was left desolate.
On Thursday night of the Last Week, Jesus gathered together in an upper room the ministry of His church, and gave to them the symbols of their oneness. After the terrifying and shaking experiences which followed, the disciples kept returning to this "upper room." (Acts 1:13) [while the KJV reads, "an upper room," tho Greek text has the definite article, "the" - to huperoo?? Here a new era begins - momentous things were about to transpire.
FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY -- In the upper room, the followers of Christ studied diligently for ten days the Old Testament Scriptures. They conducted a business meeting with Peter in the chair. Then came the Day of Pentecost. Would they observe it? To do so, they would have to appear in the Temple for worship. (Ex. 34:23) But this temple had been declared desolate by Jesus. And if any had gone, they would have missed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Here is a lesson for us. We need to know where to be when God's Spirit is poured out in the Latter Rain!
The book of Acts is a "last day" book for God's
people now. It sets forth the issues clearly and
In the book of Acts, the disciples of Christ were first
called "Christians" at Antioch. (Acts 11:26)
p 3 -- Acts by Agrippa. (26:28) On the other hand, the Jewish hierarchy referred to them as the "sect of he Nazarenes." (24:5) However, another term is used consistently throughout the book of Acts to designate the disciples of Jesus - followers of The Way:
Acts 9:2 -
"of this way" Margin, Gr., "of the
Why followers of the Way? Jesus is the Way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Further, He opened "a new and living way," becoming "an high priest over the house of God." (Heb. 10:20-21) In the sanctuary truth revealed both in type and in antitype is to be found the way of and to God. (PS. 77:13) This way of truth was intended by Christ to be the pillar and foundation of His church. The whole issue of the great controversy is over truth. The devil abode not in the truth. And the Jewish Church leadership accepted him as their father, and in so doing, brought the Temple of God to the point where Jesus declared it desolate.
History has a way of repeating itself. God raised up a
people, and gave to them the sanctuary
The book of Acts presents another picture. When Paul returned
to Jerusalem from his third missionary tour, he reported to the leadership
of the Christian Church "the things God had wrought
In Corinth, when the members of the Jewish synagogue "blasphemed,"
Paul took the company of believers and began worshiping in the house of
a God-fearer, Justus, whose home "joined hard to
In Ephesus, after pleading with the Jewish congregation
in their synagogue for three months,
However, the leadership of the Christian Church at Jerusalem
could point to the "many thousands
How much different is today's situation in the Adventist
Community? There is the main body,
1 -- Seminar tapes on - -The Book of Acts; Its Message for Today" are available through the Foundation office. 3 tapes - $5.50 postpaid.
p 4 -- THE
LAST INVITATON -- In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus
gave a parable about a marriage. Those bidden, who would not come (Vs
3), were again called to attend a dinner (Noon
The parable continues with the instruction: "Go ye therefore into the highways..." In other words, go out of the city, or the then recognized Church. Paul was called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. Concerned for the salvation of his people, he made every effort to take the gospel to the Jews first. Time after time and place after place the organized Church fought against the preaching of the gospel to the people. Paul and Barnabas, in Antioch, finally told the Jews, "but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo we turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13:46b). Jerusalem, the city and center of Jewish worship, was destroyed in AD 70. The final rejection of the invitation by the Church leaders came with the crucifixion of Christ; the three and one-half years from the death of Christ to the stoning of Stephen represents the last invitation to the Jewish Church. Likewise the 36 years from the close of probation for the corporate church to the destruction of the city in AD 70, represents the time for the individual Jew to choose between the corporate church, lead by corrupt Jewish leaders or the church Christ started when he ordained the apostles.
Luke also records an invitation to a meal. (Lk 14:16-24) At first glance this parable appears to be parallel to that in Matthew. However, closer examination reveals this parable to be rather an extension of the one in Matthew. See the comparison below:
"And [He] sent his servant at
supper time to say to them that were bidden, come, for all
things are now ready." Being at supper time, this is the last invitation
of the day. Eighteen hundred years after the invitation to the Jews, God
raised up another people to give the last warning message to a
History shows the slide of the SDA church into apostasy.
In 1931, for instance, the church published changes to the 1889-1914 statements
of belief. The beliefs were compromised by
p 5 -- In 1950, two missionaries from Africa, came to the General Conference with a call for the Church to repent. Looking back from 1992 and understanding Jesus' prophecy in Luke 21:24b, it can be seen that this was to be the last invitation to the corporate SDA Church. The final rejection of this call was made by the SDA leadership in 1967. (A Warning and Its Reception, p. 8, buff section) Thirteen years later, the Church in General Conference Session in Dallas, Texas, voted the current 27 Statements of Belief. This compromise of truth consummates the final rejection by the corporate Church of the last invitation.
Note again in Luke 14:18-20, those that were bidden to the supper made various excuses for not accepting the invitation. They were too busy with the cares of every day living. Their thoughts and priorities concerned the things of this world. Revelation 3:17 pictures this group as saying, "I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing." Could the parable in Luke be illustrating the experience of the SDA church in the last days?
What about individuals--what is to happen after 1980? "The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the Church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet's illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand." (3T, p. 266, emphasis added)
After those bidden refused to come in (Lk 14:21), the
servant is instructed to go into the city, go to the church "and
bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind".
Bring in those perhaps mistreated by the Church, those limping along spiritually
who need help and those
Then the servant declares "it is done...and yet there is room" (Lk 14:22). There is room because many SDAs, just like the Jews, will reject the last invitation. The quotation referred to above from the Testimonies Vol. 3, p. 266, is in the setting of Ezekiel 9. The angel with the writer's inkhorn declares that he has completed his assignment. (Eze. 9:11) It is done. What comes after the angel completes the marking? (See Eze. 9:5, 6)
Next, the servant is told to go outside the city
(or church) and "compel them to come in". That is to urge them,
press them earnestly. Do not hear their excuses, but urge them to overcome,
to open their eyes, and lead them to the feast. In Adventism, we have
taught and always understood that
There is another call; but this is a wakeup call. It comes at midnight. (Matt 25:6) But note carefully,--the call is to go out to meet the Bridegroom. Only those who have accepted the supper invitation will go into the wedding. The many who reject the last invitation are unprepared to go in, therefore the door is closed to them; they shall not "taste of My supper" (Lk 14:24). "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh.. . lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping." "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:" (Mark 13:35-36; Lk 12:37)
Friend, you are among those that are invited. Are
you too busy with worldly things to recognize the final invitation? Are
you blind to the apostasy in the SDA Church and the confusion among the
independent ministries by their refusal to advance in truth? "I [Jesus]
counsel thee...anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see...Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man
1 -- See Luke 14:12. Ariston (dinner) is used in the parable of Matt. 22:4; deipnon (supper) is used in the parable of Luke 14:16.
p 6 -- LET'S TALK lT OVER -- Just after completing the lead article, we received the book, Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries. It contains 467 pages including facsimile reproduced documentation. The very nature of its contents warrants careful study before commenting. sitting as it were for the moment above the fray, and knowing the hypocrisy practiced by the leaders of the Private Ministries named, one's sympathy comes down on the side of the Church's hierarchy even with its hierarchal manner of governance and apostasy. The problem in this whole confrontation is the backdrop given to this action by the Editor of the Adventist Review in his article, "Acts 15 Time Again." He believes the creation of these ministries was unnecessary because "the Adventist tent is large, encompassing a variety of ministers and emphases." (p. 8) From his experience, it is very true. One wonders after reading some of the theology as expressed in his doctoral dissertation why the tent flap dropped to include him in and Desmond Ford out; the line between them can hardly be discerned.
The use of the "tent" symbolism, or "umbrella"
metaphor has overtones of ecumenism, and for
But we must return to one thing - truth. How big is the
"tent" of truth? Finding its source in
In 1914, a year before the death of Ellen
G. White, there was included in the Yearbook, a
Among those propositions, it is clearly stated that the
"Lord Jesus Christ...took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham
for the redemption of our fallen race." (ibid.) But in 1980,
this statement was removed, and the "tent" so structured that
you can believe any one of three views of the incarnation - the 1914 position,
the Evangelleal position, or the position of an Anglican divine -
If God sent us a "most precious" message in 1888 concerning Christ's righteousness, and He did, and then declared that message to be "pure, unadulterated truth," how large can the "tent" become and still remain that message? This is a question that must be answered, not only by the Church, but also by Wieland who though not named, is still a Private Ministry. If truth is going to be adulterated, then let those who wish to risk their eternity abide in that adulteration, but those who want truth in its purity as it is in Jesus, then let them walk apart from the "tent." But the fact is that those "private ministries" named and Wieland do not want it that way. They want a "tent" within a "tent" as the Church leaders charge. They want to call themselves Seventh-day Adventists because it is easier to get money that way. Do they not know that if their work is of God, He will provide for them without the hypocrisy of pretending to be what they are not.
Let us face certain facts. The corporate Seventh-day Adventist
Church in general conference session (1980) declared their beliefs to
be the 27 Fundamentals. In General Conference, they have also set up their
structure and operating rules. This is the official Seventh-day Adventist
Church of the present time. When therefore, a group decides to form their
own organization, function separately from the Church structure, receive
tithes and offerings, ordain men to the ministry, then why do they continue
to seek to be a part of that organization from which they in reality have
Most of these "private ministries" are gung-ho
for the distribution of The Great Controversy,
A detailed study of Luke 21:24b may be obtained from Adventist Laymen's Foundation, P. 0. Box 69, Ozone, AR 72854, by ordering The Hour and The End, $4.00 postpaid.
p 7 -- The truths of the Word of God are the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin had clouded the understanding, is removed. The words, "A new heart also will I give you, mean, "A new mind will I give you." A change of heart is always attended by a clear conviction of Christian duty, and understanding of truth. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher plane of intelligence. Review & Herald, Dec. 18, 1913
--- (1993 Jan) --- End --- TOP
Feb -- XXVI -- 2(93) -- TAKING
ISSUE WITH ISSUES -- PART
1 -- One
of the key chapters of the book - Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist
Church and Certain Private Ministries (ISSUES) - is a recitation
of the Church's history from 1844-1992 in a specifically defined format.
The format consists of four categories: 1)
Content of faith, in other words, the teachings of the Church during the
specified period; 2) Structure,
meaning its organization and procedures; 3)
Spirit, which covers the tone and atmosphere in which the Church conducts
its work; and 4) Dissent, how
the Church has related to and dealt with dissident movements.
The Church's history is in turn divided into three periods
of time: 1) The Formative years
from 1844 to 1863 when formal organization was achieved; 2)
The Organized Church during the life time of Ellen G. White (1863-1915);
and 3) The organized Church
after her death to the present.
Each period as discussed in ISSUES warrants a careful
review, but in this first analysis, we shall focus on a glaring omission
which goes to the very heart of the problem not only for the Church but
also for the four independent ministries named, a problem which all have
thus far skirted.
p 2 -- the conference are quoted, including the
ones often used by dissidents, the history is made to turn on a quotation
used in C. C. Crisler's book, Organization - E. G. White Letter
54, 1901. It was written to a minister who was still critical of the
Church's direction after the session. The quotation from the letter reads: Your
course would have heen the course to be persued if no change had been
made in the General Conference. But a change has been made, and
many more changes will he made and great developments will be seen. No
issues are to be forced....It hurts me to think that you are using
words which I wrote prior to the conferencc. Since the conference great
changes have been made....(ISSUES, p. 44)
Crisler quoted one more paragraph from the letter which
is omitted in ISSUES. It reads: A
terribly unjust course has heen pursued in the past. A want of principle
has been revealed. But in pity to His people, God has brought about
changes....The course of action which before the conference might
have been a necessity, is no longer necessary; for the Lord Himself interposed
to set things in order. He has given His Holy Spirit. I am confident that
He will set in order the matters that seem to be moving wrong. (pp.
174-175; Emphasis by Crisler)
This omitted paragraph rounds out the picture. While "great changes" were made at the 1901 Session, and God entered the assembly "that the work [He] designed should be done and should not be hindered" (GC Bulletin, 1901, p. 463), yet there were matters which seemed "to be moving wrong" when she wrote the letter. The "changes" and what was taking place which hindered the full implementation of those changes is not discussed or even hinted at in ISSUES. There is at this point in the recitation of Seventh-day Adventist Church history a strange historical amnesia. The author of ISSUES"leap frogs" to 1909.
What "changes" were made in 1901? How were they
carried out? What happened in 1903? What was Ellen G. White's message
then? These questions must be answered because the whole of the present
crisis turns on this period in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist
THE CHANGES OF 1901
-- A new Constitution was drawn up in the 1901 session
which abolished the office of president of the General Conference. In
its stead was set up an Executive Committee which was given "power
to organize itself, choosing a chairman, secretary, treasurer, and auditor."
(GC Bulletin, 1901, p. 379) During the discussion of the Constitution,
a question was raised on this point. In replying to it, W. C. White said,
"It is quite possible that a sentiment will be created, or a sentiment
that already exists may manifest itself, that no one should be chairman
of this committee for a period of more than twelve months at a time."
(ibid, p. 206) Elder A. G. Daniells was in the chair when this
discussion took place, yet when the report of the organization of the
General Conference Committee was given to the session, A. G. Daniells
was listed as "Permanent Chairman." (ibid., p. 377)
The General Conference at that time was meeting every
two years in session. This suggestion of a rotating chairman of the Executive
Committee would be midway between sessions. The work of the chair would
come up for review by the committee as a whole. This discussion was not
lost on Daniells, but he maneuvered things to his own ends. As the first
twelve months were approaching their close, Daniells called a minority
meeting of the Committee on February 14, 1902. Only six of the 25 member
committee were present - Daniells, I. H. Evans, C. W. Flaiz, H. W. Cottrell,
W.W. Preseott, and S. H. Lane. Sorne others were called into this noon
meeting - Professor Magan, Elders Mitchell and Spicer, as well as Brethren
Edwards and Palmer. On the motion of I. H. Evans, it was moved that the
Chairman appoint a committee of three to nominate the officers of the
General Conference Committee. Daniells appointed Elder H. W. Cottrell,
Elder W. H. Thurston, and Professor Magan. Only Cottrell is a member of
the Executive Committee. Here is a clear violation of the 1901 Constitution
which stated the Committee was to organize itself.
This nominating committee reported back to the minority meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee held on February 15 at 7 p.m. While the same six official members of the Executive Committee were present, Elder Thurston was present for this evening meeting in addition to the other five who were present at the noon meeting the day prior. The Nominating Committee made several recommendations for changes in the personnel at the General Conference, but except for these changes, the officers of the Executive Committee were to remain the same for the next twelve month.
It is to be noted further that in this evening meeting,
Elder W. W. Prescott was chosen to be Vice President of the General Conference.
No such office was provided for in the 1901 Constitution. Obvious rebellion
was beginning to set in against what Ellen G. White perceived to be a
divinely inspired Constitution. While a structure of Heaven's ordering
had been voted in 1901, the hearts of those operating the structure were
not sanctified. At this very time in 1902, Ellen White was writing of
the individual heart work that should have been done at the 1901 session.
While writing, she was taken off in vision and saw a work of confession
and repentance as enjoined upon Laodicea taking place in Battle Creek.
But when aroused to consciousness, she was told, "This might have
been." Then she wrote - "I thought of where we rnight have been
had a thorough work been done at the last General Conference "
(8T:104-106) It still hasn't been done, and the Church's leadership
is unwilling to come to grips with what happened in 1903 because it was
not done. The power behind ISSUES prefers historical amnesia instead
of simply facing truth.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1903?
-- Committee on Plans and Constitution chaired by
H. W. Cottrell at the 1903 session submitted a "Majority Report"
which set aside the 1901 Constitution and submitted in its place an instrument
which returned the Church to the hierarchical form of governance under
which it functioned prior to 1901. This is the same Cottrell who had been
appointed by Daniells to chair the nominating committee in 1902. However,
for the first and only time in the history of the Church a "Minority
Report" was submitted by E. J. Waggoner, David Paulson, and Percy
T. Magan. This report read: The
minority of your Cornmittee on Plans and Constitution beg leave to submit
that the Constitution proposed by the majority of the Committee appears
to us to be so subversive of the principles of organization given to us
at the General Conferences of 1897 and 1901 that we can not possibly subscribe
We therefore recommend that the Constitution of 1901 be qiven a fair trial before it be annihilated. (GC Bulletin, 1903, pp. 146-147)
As soon as this "Minority Report" was read,
a motion was made to adopt the majority report, and was immediately seconded.
P. T. Magan countered with a motion of substitution recommending that
the minority report be considered in place of the majority report. His
motion was seconded by E. J. Waggoner. This motion was rejected. The rest
of the morning session was used by Waggoner in stating why he opposed
the newly proposed Constitution.
In the afternoon session with Cottrell again in the chair,
the Constitution was the subject of discussion. P. T. Magan asked to speak
to the matter as a whole. He was interrupted by a motion to limit every
speaker to five minutes because of the shortness of time. The motion was
immediately seconded, but the chair declined to push the issue opening
the question for remarks. A.
T. Jones obtained the floor. He said in part: It
seems to me that it is rather late to begin to talk of calling time, under
the circumstances. Here is before us the most complicated situation, in
many ways, that this General Conference has ever seen; and it is a matter
that concerns the whole cause. ...
I know that
it is late in the session, and therefore it is [too] late to bring in
such a report as this in such a complicated situation. How could it be
expected by anybody that such a report as this, involving such important
thinqs as this does, should be brought in and simply swept through. Why,
even the first thing has not yet been done on a constitutional question
in all matters of a constitution. There has been presented to this Conference
for adoption a constitution, when we already have one, and I have not
heard a single word as to why the one we have is so altogether defective
that we have got to have a new one, and it is so open on its face that
everybody shall simply say, Amen, and let it go. I have never learned
of any such proceeding as that, on a constitutional question from the
day of the Magna Charta unto today. (lbid., pp. 147-148)
After another delegate, A. J. Breed, suggested that restricting the time of each speaker "is not the best thing to do," A. G. Daniells stated that he "would not want to see this motion passed." - "The question was called, and the motion was
p 4 -- lost." (ibid.) P. T. Magan was allowed to speak to the question as a whole. He said in part: As a member of the minority of the Committee on Plans and as a man, if I had not been on the Committee on Plans at all, I am conscientiously opposed to the proposed new constitution. I have always felt that the hardest place that any man could be put in in this life is to have to stand conscientionsly opposed to what the majority of his brethren believe to be right. To me it has always appeared to be a much easier thing to stand in a position of opposition to the world, and even to have to face a court of justice in the world, for your faith, than to have to face your brethren for your faith. And therefore I shall say to-day, as briefly and modestly as I know how, what I shall say. ...
It may be stated there
is nothing in this new constitution which is not abundantly safeguarded
by the provisions of it; but I want to say to you that any man who has
ever read Neander's History of the Christian Church, or Mosheim's,
or any of the other of the great church historians, - any man who has
ever read those histories can come to no other conclusion but that the
principles which are to be brought in through this proposed constitution,
and in the way 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.
Further: This whole
house must recognize this, before we are through with this discussion,
that the proposed new constitution, whatever improvements may be claimed
for it, whatever advantages it may be stated that it contains, that in
principle, as far as the head of the work is concerned, it goes back precisely
where we were before the reformatory steps of two years ago.
Another point: It is a fact which I do not believe any one in this house will deny, but that for many years every General Conference that we have come to has been more or less of a crisis over the question of the progress of the General Conference and the General Conference administration. ...
Now I want to
say in all candor and sincerity, this afternoon, that this question will
never, and can never be, settled until it is settled right. This whole
new constitution may pass this body, I do not know, but that will not
settle it. This thing will keep on coming up until the principles of
the gospel, approximated and aimed at in the last constitution, are
given their full and free place in this church. (ibid.,
pp. 150-1 51; emphasis supplied.)
In an evening session, April 9, the discussion continued,
and the new constitution was approved by a vote of 85 to 20 with three
absentions. On April 13, the General Conference adjourned in Oakland,
California, to reconvene again in Battle Creek, Michigan on April 22.
While the brethren were crossing the continent, Ellen G. White returned
to her home in St. Helena, and was moved to write a testimony, dated April
21, 1903. In it she wrote: In
the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to be
weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she
has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages
that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred
have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be
pronounced the sentence, "Found wanting." By the light bestowed,
the opportunities given, will she be judged. (8T:247)
The language of this paragraph is corporate language - "She" - "on her," etc. The Lord put the Church on notice that "she" faced a judgment in the sanctuary above. She was "to be weighed" and she would "be judged." Further, there was the possibility that the verdict would be negative - "she" could be "found wanting." The judgment of heaven on the action taken at the session was declared to a "backsliding." A remedy was indicated - "Unless the church. which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted,..." (p. 250) Here is the call to denominational repentance, and that repentance is related to the issues involved in constitutional change in 1903.
Here is the point which over the years both Wieland and Short have missed and are still missing. In the final section, "Constructive Recapitulation," of their original edition of 1888 Re-Examined, they used the reference in Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250 to support their call for corporate repentance - but not for what the Lord called, but what they perceived the call to be - the 1888 message itself. Now in a recent publication, Wieland again renews his call for denominational repentance, but stops short of a discussion of 1903. In his chapter - "What Our Denominational History Tells Us" - he asks the question - "Did the 1901 General Conference Cancel the 1888 Unbelief?" - and ignores any reference to 1903, when the call for repentance was given. (See Corporate Repentance, p. 131)
p 5 -- This we shall discuss in depth when, in
a future issue of WWN, we discuss this latest book by Wieland.
We have already written to him calling his attention to factual and linguistic
errors he has made in the publication which leads to deceptive conclusions.
ISSUES also chose to ignore the Church's reaction
to the 1901 Constitution as well as Heaven's reaction to the rebellion
at the 1903 session. They would have the laity of the Church believe that
all has been well since 1901 and the leaven of "backsliding"
has not done its baleful work. One has only to look at the present state
of the Church to know that this "backsliding" has come to full
The intent of the break in the recitation of the Church's
history in ISSUES can be discovered
The "private" ministries named in ISSUES
will not come to grips with the message Ellen White gave following the
1903 session. With an agnosticism which parallels the Jews of old (See
John 7:27 and Matt. 21:23-27), they declare, "When the probation
[of the Seventh-day Adventist Church] does close, no one will know."
(0FF, Vol. 7, #8, p. 24)
Herein lies the answer to the whole issue troubling the
Community of Adventism today. "In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists
have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. The most solemn
truths ever committed to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the
world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is
to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to
In 1903, this people were warned that they would be weighed
in the balances of the sanctuary concerning how they related to this trust.
It is ludicrous to think that God, who called a special people, and gave
to them a sacred trust unparalleled in history, and who told them that
they faced an accounting of how they handled that trust, would not give
a sign when it was about to occur, and tell them when it occurred, and
the decision rendered. Why do we continue to insult God either with our
agnosticism, our presumption, or by ignoring God's sovereignty? A series
of soul-searching questions are in order:
1) Has the Church been true to
the trust committed to it? Or has the Church officially or unofficially
compromised its doctrinal integrity? If the latter in any respect,
how is the Church any longer able to proclaim the everlasting gospel?
-- The November 9, 1992 issue of Christianity Today
(p. 68) carried a report in its "News" section on Saturday Worship
Services in large Evangelical Churches in the United States. While this
trend has only involved 1% of the nation's churches, it represents 10%
of America's "100 largest." The question is asked - "Why
Saturdays?" The answer should give us pause. It read:
One operative factor involves
cultural acceptance of alternate-day worship engendered by the Roman Catholic
Church. In 1970 the Vatican gave approval for Saturday masses. Now, two
decades later, a number of dioceses report that attendance is greater
for Saturday's masses than for Sunday's.
Carl F. George, director of the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth, call the alternate-day services "the trend of the future." For a number of churches, it is already here. One church in Kirkland, Washington, hopes to fill its 1 200-seat auditorium twice on Saturday night. Another church in Alta Loma, California, conducts five services a week - two being on Friday night.
LET'S TALK lT OVER -- History
is not merely a revelation of facts in a particular human drama, but also
a revelation of character, the character of the players in any particular
historical episode. The events of 1901 and 1903 in the history of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church are no exception. During the discussion of
the 1901 Constitution, W. C. White spoke positively that it seemed "to
be the mind of this Conference that responsibility not be centralized
and fixed upon a few individuals for a long period," suggesting the
very concept that there be a rotating chairman of the Executive
There is another factor from history which needs to be
carefully considered. When Ellen G. Whilte
The desire to omit, forget, obliterate the history of
1903 is even reflected in the Seventh-day
This is simply a blatant falsehood, and casts a shadow
on the Encyclopedia itself. Does the
"UNITY MEETING" REPORT --
Richard Sutton, Pastor
As a church body, we have become very concerned that things vital to God's people were not being really addressed by "independent" ministries. So we sent out invitations for various like believers to join us in Nora springs, November 6-8, in an attempt to speak with one voice, rather than being "many voices" leading to confusion.
lt is our conviction following two attempts to arrange
and host similar meetings that not many
p 7 -- We invited brethren whom we had met in various meetings; others who through their written and/or spoken word, we thought were standing for truth, and who would be willing to work together to help fulfill Christ's prayer for unity. (John 17:20-23)
Not everyone invited was able to attend - some because
of distance, some because of concern for
Because of a misunderstanding concerning the format, the
meetings were conducted somewhat
It is our opinion that the general consensus of the group on the topics discussed is as follows:
"State of Affairs in the Adventist Community" -- Confusion and chaos reign both inside and outside of the regular Church.
"Final Atonement - - Jesus' End-Time Prophecy" -- We discovered that these topics need much more Discussion and study. The final atonement is one of the most vital truths which needs to be fully understood now. Most recognized Luke 21:24 as"present truth" for this time. Much more study needs to be given so that we can understand how best to relate in this end-time period.
"Use of the Spirit ot Prophecy" -- We discussed the nature of "spiritual gifts" and their relationship to Scripture. Everyone agreed that the Bible is the only infallible source of truth, and that further, the Writings of Ellen G. White places that emphasis on the Bible. In many ways the Writings are being misused by those both inside and outside of the regular denomination.
"Sunday Laws" -- Consensus was that with "all" the events taking place, we must not side track ourselves with the single "Sunday law" issue, but must he awake and watching as tbe scroll unrolls.
"Closing Work - Present Truth" -- Some present expressed their concern that adequate consideration be given to the part health reform is to play in the closing work. Personal preparation was stressed, and the need to work for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
-- It was generally agreed that how we relate
to God individually is not necessarily the same as how we relate to the
Church collectively. God's church is ORGANIZED! There must be gospel order.
We need - under the Holy Spirit - guidance to be better organized so that
Summary: -- There were some misunderstandings and disagreements on all points discussed. However, we believe there was nothing which separated any of us to the extent that we cannot network together and help each other as well as others to become better prepared for the "end-time" crisis just before all of us. No specific date or time was set, but future meetings are planned.
---(1993 Feb) ---End---- TOP
1993 Mar -- XXVI -- 3(93) -- TAKING ISSUE WITH ISSUES -- PART 2 -- Following the "gap" in the recital of Seventh-day Adventist Church history which was discussed in detail in the previous issue of WWN, the writer of ISSUES turns his attention primarily to history of the doctrinal teachings of the Church, and spirit in which they are to be discussed. Speaking of the era of our church history from 1863 to 1915, in regard to the proper "spirit," it is stated: During this era it was the voice and pen of Ellen White that preserved the emphasis on the Christlike spirit as the significant factor in all aspects of church life. Without that spirit, it was not safe to discuss either the content of the faith or church structure. (p. 45; emphasis theirs)
While no one would deny the necessity for a Christlike
spirit in all areas of human intercourse, it must also be remembered that
when confronted with error, that Christ did not hesitate to tell the religious
hierarchy of His day -- "Ye are of your father the devil, ... he
... abode not in the truth." (John 8:44) To use "the Christlike
spirit" as a facade to accommodate error is in itself a deception
In the balance of the discussion of the era from 1863 to 1915, and in the discussion of the period from 1915 to the present, three key doctrines are noted - Trinitarianism, the Incarnation, and the Doctrine of Character
p 2 -- Perfection. Comments are made on the authority
of the various Statements of Belief published
Two things mark this Paragraph: 1)
If the various "independent ministries" do not concede to the
dictums of the Church, there is to be a parting of the ways.
2) That which Magan warned the
However, in this paragraph is a statement of vital concern
- "The landmarks must be clear; here must be room for present truth."
The landmarks have been set, but how does "present truth" come
to a people? Through the decree of the Church, or
by the Spirit of truth? How is it to be checked to determine if it is
truth - by the Church, or
by the Word of God? This determination is critical for no church can grow
spiritually without an advancement in truth. Herein, the "private"
ministries named in ISSUES create deception for the concerned people
of God. They are crying, stay with "historic
In this analysis of ISSUES, we shall note the doctrlnes introduced, the history of our Statements of Belief, and how these statements are interrelated to the continuing authority of Ellen White.
TRINITARIANISM -- This
doctrine is drawn into the discussion as a challenge to those who hold
the basic concept of the Incarnation as taught by the Church until recent
decades. If we have changed our thinking in regard to the Trinity, what
is wrong if we now hold differing views from the
First let us note what the 1872 Statement of Beliefs said in regard to the Godhead. Statement I declared "that there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal...and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit." Statement II read "that there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things." Here indeed is the recognition of "the Heavenly Trio." (Evangelism, p. 315)
The writer of ISSUES declares this 1872 Statement
to be "remarkable" in that it is "non-Trinitarian."
(p. 45) In a previous reference to the Statement, he points out that nowhere
does it identify Jesus "as God or as eternal." He is simply
the 'Son of the Eternal Father."' But let it be also noted that this
statement does not refer to Jesus as being a created Being. One of the
co-authors of this 1872 statement, Uriah Smith, had in his first edition
p 3 -- on Revelation published in 1867 declared
Christ to be "the first created being (p. 59) He did
Herein lies the problem. It was not until 1980 when tbe 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief were voted that this formula of the Church Council of A.D. 381 appeared. Number 2 - The Trinity reads - "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons." The problem is complicated further by the fact that this Statement is found in the Constitution of the World Council of Churches, the confession of which is made a part of the basis for membership in that Babylonian body. (See So Much in Common, p 40) The "issue" does not end here. The Faith and Order Commission of the WCC - on which there is Seventh-day Adventist representation - still holds as its objective the achievement of "the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship." To this end the Commission has prepared a study - "Towards the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today - through wich it is asking churches today to "celebrate in common...the same apostolic faith that was expressed in Holy Scriptures and summarized in tbe creeds of the early church."
Now note this: "For the study, the Faith and Order Commission has chosen the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 - already officially recognized by many churches - as a summary of the apostolic faith." (One World, No. 132, p.15) The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognized it in the 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs as voted in 1980!
THE INCARNATION -- The author of ISSUES wrote emphatically that "all formal statements of belief - the 'unofficial' one of 1872, the first official one in 1931, and the one fully discussed and voted by a General Conference in session in 1980 - have specifically avoided defining the precise nature of Christ as either pre-Fall or post-Fall, the one point that seems so very crucial to the critical independent 'holiness' movements in Adventism." (p. 49)
This is a blatant falsehood. If the leadership of the North American Division, and the presidents of the various unions do not understand the English language, tben they are in no position to lead the Seventh-day Adventist Church in an area where the English language dominates. The 1872 "unofficial" statement declared: "There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father....He took on him the nature of the seed ot Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race." (Emphasis ours)
This same position was repeated in the 1889-1914 Statement. The Battle Creek Church statement of 1894 read - "that He took on Him the nature of man, for the redemption of our fallen race." The 1931 voted statement declared that "He took upon Himself the nature of the human family." The question is simply - What kind of nature did the human fmily possess, and what was "the nature of man" when Christ came to redeem "the fallen racae"? It is obvious! And then, the Church never took an official position on the nature Christ assumed in tbe incarnation? Who is trying to deceive whom?
CHARACTER PERFECTION -- Besides
the doctrine of the incarnation, the teaching of "perfection"
is scored as not having a basis in historic Adventist teaching. The writer
of ISSUES states, placing his remarks in emphasis:
has the church ever 'formally' adopted a position on perfection and the
precise nature of human obedience." (p. 47)
p 4 -- It is true, there is no statement on the
subject of perfection as direct, or as clearly stated as
Among the early pioneers,
the cleansing of the sanctuary itself was seen primarily as the means
by which God focused the attention of the Advent believers on the Sabbath
All one has to do is to read the statement of what constitutes "basic" Adventism - the landmarks (p. 36, col. 2), to know that "the cleansing of the sanctuary" headed the list, and was not related to the Sabbath or the Law of God, but focuses on the very experience which ISSUES now seeks to deny. That foundational teaching in "basic" Adventism reads: "The passing of time in 1844 ...[opened] to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having a decided relation to God's people upon earth." This is the very heart of the teaching of perfection - the decided experience that the final intercession of our Great High Priest will have for the people of God on earth. The sin record of God's people cannot be wiped out in Heaven until God's people stop sinning here below, for to close human probation under such conditions would close them out. Herein lies the major controversy in Adventism today.
There has been a denial of the doctrine of the final atonement
with the insistence that all was
On the other hand, the "private" ministries
named in ISSUES refuse to "unlearn" certain traditional
STATEMENTS OF BELIEF -- ISSUES comments on three Statements of Belief: 1) The 1872 Statement which it insists was "unofficial" (p. 39) and "nonbinding" (p. 45); 2) The 1931 Statement declared to be "the first official Adventist statement of Adventist beliefs" (p.46); and 3) The 1980, "27 Fundamentals" voted at the Dallas session of the General Conference. However, there are other key statements of belief which have been formulated besides the three noted in ISSUES. The question raised focuses on the meaning of "official" and the intent of the Statements.
In 1946, the General Conference voted that a Statement of Beliefs, as well as the Church Manual, could only be revised at such a session. It was at that session and not before that the 1931 Statement was voted with certain cosmetic changes plus, for the first time, the addition of Ellen G. White's name in such a statement. The question remains, what then makes a statement "official?"
ISSUES points out, and rightly so, that the Church did not design that these statements of belief be looked upon as a Creed which would tend to solidify the thinking of the Church doctrinally. All statements prior to the 1931 statement carried a preamble which stated in some form as did the 1872 Statement: "we wish to have it distinctly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible." But still, the question remains, what makes a statement of beliefs - "official" - reflecting the basic positions held doctrinally?
Consider the 1872 Statement: It was first issued as a pamphlet from the Battle Creek Press. It was published as an editorial in the first issue of the Signs of the Times, July 4, 1874, by James White. The same year it appeared in the Review & Herald (Nov. 24), the official organ of the Church. It had various subsequent reprintings. While not a creed, it did express "with great unanimity," the beliefs held by the Church. How much more "official" does one require a statement to be?
Between1872, and 1931 two statements appeared. In 1889,
the year after the 1888 session, and continuing till 1914, the year prior
to the death of Ellen G. White, a Statement of Beliefs, written by Uriah
Smith was inserted into the Yearbooks of 1889, 1905, 1907-1914.
p 5 -- It should be noted that the Yearbook was not published every year during the period between 1889 and 1914, but General Conference Bulletins served as substitutions and did not contain a Statement of Beliefs. How "official" was this Statement? It was never challenged by Ellen G. White. How official was the Yearbook in which it appeared?
The first Yearbook resulted from an action of the
General Conferenoe Committee in December,
Further, the Statement of Beliefs which was placed in
this Yearbook had an altered preface which stated not only the
fact that the Church had "no creed but the Bible," but also
The other statement of beliefs was issued in 1894 by the
Battle Creek Church, the headquarter's
In considering the 1931 Statement, which had no preamble,
one must again take note of Froom's
This "first official Adventist statement of Adventist
beliefs" according toISSUES, used the word, "Trinity"
for the first time in reference to the Godhead, a word not found in either
the Scriptures or the writings. Actually, apart from the use of the word,
"Trinity," the statement varied little from previous statements
on the Godhead. The omissions which ISSUES noted as being in the
1872 Statement (p. 39) making it "non-Trinitarian" are likewise
omitted from this 1931 Statement. Jesus Christ is declared to be simply,
"the Son of the Eternal Father." What is ISSUES trying
to prove or
It was the 1946 General Conference session which finally voted the 1931 Statement as the official position of the Church. Two sentences were added at that time to Article 19. These read: That the gift of the Spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church. They recognize that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White.
This is the first
time that Ellen White's name was placed in a Statement of Beliefs. All
What ISSUES has to say about the current Statement of Beliefs as voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980, is significant. It reads: The 1980 statement is like the 1931 statement in that it is fully Trinitarian, but departs from both [all] earlier statements by describing Scripture as the "infallible revelation of His
p 6 -- will," rather than "the only infallible rule of faith and practice." (1872) or "the only unerring rule of faith and practices [sic]" (1931). The deletion of the "only" from the 1980 statement reflects an attempt to preserve an authoritative role for the writings of Ellen White in Adventism. Fortunately, from the standpoint of "historic Adventism, the "only" still appears in the preamble, even if it is absent from the explicit statement on Scripture. (p. 46)
This is simply "new theology" as much as the doctrine that the atonement was completed on the cross, or that there will be no cessation of sin prior to the second coming of Christ. It is not simply the removal of the word, "only;" it is the added insertion in regard to the Writings, not found in any previous statement, which compounds the problem and contradicts the use of "only creed" in the preamble. Article 17 -The Gift ol Prophecy - declares Ellen G. White's writings to be "a continuing and authoritative source of truth..." This is setting up a third canon of Scripture. Why?
While ISSUES would have one believe that they are interested in preserving "an authoritative role for the writings of Ellen White in Adventism," they do not tell you that this is to preserve their authority as the "voice of God to the people." The last direct quotes from the writings, as ISSUES finalizes the discussion of the period of Adventist Church history covering Ellen G. White's lifetime, has as its last sentence: "God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference shall have authority." (p. 44) This doctrinal authority is expressed in the 27 Fundamentals voted at Dallas in 1980.
But the irony of this "new theology" is that
the "Private" ministries named in ISSUES likewise
This very point - this "new theology" - gives
evidence as who the people of God are not, for
This does not mitigate nor mute the ministry of Ellen
G. White as a "messenger of the Lord" as
~~~START~~~ This correction appeared in Commentary Vol VII Number 1(93) -- THE 27 STATEMENTS -- SOME HISTORY -- A CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION -- In "Part Two" of the series of responses to ISSUES, we devoted a section to "Statements of Belief." (WWN, 3-93, pp. 4-5) Regarding the 1931 Statement we wrote: It was the 1946 General Conference session which finally voted the 1931 Statement as the official position of the Church. Two sentences were added at that time to Article 19. (p. 5)
In re-checking our manuscript, Key Doctrinal Comparisons, p. 3, we noted that we had used the date 1950 as the date of the General Conference session which added the two sentences in regard to the ministry of Ellen G. White. Realizing that both dates could not be correct, we decided more thorough research was in order. Here is what we found.
in 1946, the General Conference in session voted in regard to the 1931 Statement of Beliefs: "No revision of this statement of Fundamental Beliefs as it now appears in the Manual shall be made at any time except at a General Conference session." (GC Bulletin, #8, p. 197) This represented the de facto recognition of the 1931 Statement as the official Fundamental Beliefs of the Church.
in 1950, the General Conference voted: "in harmony with the action of the 1946 Session of the General Conference that no change is to be made in the statement of Fundamental Beliefs as it appears in the Church Manual except by approval of a session of the General Conference,
we recommend that paragraph 19 of this statement be amended to read as follows: ' That God has placed in His church the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as enumerated in I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. That these gifts operate in harmony with the divine principles of the Bible, and are given for the perfecting of the saints, and the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body of Christ....That the gift of the Spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church....The church recognizes that this gift was manifest in the ministry of Ellen G. White. "' (1950 GC Bulletin, July 23, p. 230) Written, Feb. 10, 1993 ~~~END~~~~
LETS TALK lT OVER -- In a recent mailing of Freedom's Ring, Trefz included a copy of a letter written to Dr. Wm. G. Johnsson, Editor of the Adventist Review by Dr. Sudhir K. Pandit of Amity, Arkansas. It was read with interest. It was obvious that Dr. Pandit had not carefully reviewed all the documented evidence presented by the "brethren" in ISSUES in regard to the "independent ministries" named, and was writing as a devotee of these men.
We wrote to Dr. Pandit commending him for writing to Dr.
Johnsson. He had every reason to
While some of the details of the documentation given by
the hierarchy may be faulty, and will be
In the dccumentation supplied by the hierarchy relative
to John Osborne is to be found a very
p 7 -- As various rumors kept coming through about
activities at Prophecy Countdown, I believed the only honest thing to
do was to talk to Osborne himself. I dialed "HIS LOVE," but
could not get
I next introduced a matter of which I had personal knowledge. It involved the purchase of a mailing list. The purchaser was given the assurance that it was current and up to date. We had helped underwrite this brother's outreach program, and helped him get the mailing out. The commercial mailer told me there were thousands of duplications in the list as he worked it through his computer equipment. I personally checked some of the names listed, and found my own daughter's name at an address she had some five years previously. This was only one of a number which I discovered. When I related this to the office manager, she said, "Just a moment." When she retumed to the line, her comment was, "You are not talking to me as a Christian," and "HIS LOVE" evaporated in a click of the receiver.
This is not the only incident of deception and lying of
which I am personally familiar. I can understand why the Hartland Administrative
committee asked Osborne to take a polygraph test as
The issue comes down to a bottom line. What is A sincere,
concerned, professing Seventh-day
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING -- Nutritionists used to staunchly defend fat's role in the diet, saying that fat provides a fatty acid (linoleic acid) that the body can't make by itself, that it provides fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and induces satiety (a full feeling). That argument may have been appropriate for subsistence-level societies, but not for well-fed Americans, who are never more than a Big Mac away from satisfaction. No one we've ever heard of suffers from nutritional deficiences because he or she eats too little fat.
On the other hand, plenty of people suffer from eating too much fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat promotes heart and cardiovascular diseases, as does the fatlike substance, cholesterol. High-fat diets contribute to obesity and are implicated in colon and breast cancer. It is ironic that after centuries of fighting starvation, much of humankind is suffering from the ravages of food excess.
Fat supplies calories in more concentrated form than protein or carbohydrate. Ounce for ounce, fat has more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrate. These concentrated calories are vital for infants and toddlers, but they cause problems for many of the rest of us. Face the Fats, p. 3
that which is good, and let your soul
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