1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
The MISSION of this site -- is to put the articles from the WWN in a searchable Essay form. It is not our purpose to copy WWN in whole.
Any portion of the thought paper may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from WWN, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming back.
WWN 1993 Oct - Dec
Oct -- XXVI -- 10(93) -- PROGRESS IN YOUR BELIEF -- Out
of the confusion which followed the Great Disappointment in 1844, there
arose a small group of former Millerites who designated themselves as
Seventh-day Adventists. After organizing themselves into a corporate body
in 1863, they found it necessary within a decade to state in a forthright
manner what they believed. This statement, published in pamphlet form
on the Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association
at Battle Creek in 1872, was captioned - "A Declaration of the Fundamental
Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists." Even
the text chosen for the cover page revealed their thinking - "Built upon
the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being
the chief cornerstone." (Eph. 2:20)
Of even more interest for us today is the preface
to the statements, which stated their convictions for formulating them.
They wanted it to be "distinctly understood" that in presenting this "synopsis
of our faith," it was not a creed, and they had no "creed or discipline
aside from the Bible." It was simply to be "a brief statement of what
is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them."
The second paragraph of the preface could be used today to justify a statement of beliefs by every one of the differing "independent ministries." It read: "As Seventh-day Adventists we desire simply that our position shall be understood; and we are the more solicitous for this because there are many who call themselves Adventists who hold views with which we have no sympathy, some of which, we think, are subversive of the plainest and most important principles set forth in the word of God."
p 2 -- The regular Seventh-day Adventist
Church has declared where it stands in faith and practice through the
27 Fundamental Beliefs formulated and adopted at the 1980 General
Conference Session. Every "independent ministry" which cannot go along
with the Church should formulate their position so that every individual
concerned with the issues which now divide the Church can know where each
segment stands who wishes to be considered as an Adventist. It is self-evident
that the various "independent ministries" hold to positions which are
not in agreement with the 27 Fundamentals, or else they would not be "independent."
Further, it is self-evident that the various "independent ministries"
are at odds with each other or there would be today only one voice sounding
in opposition to the apostasy in the Church. The result is that there
is as much confusion without as there is within.
To meet this issue the "Independent Ministry"
at Nora Springs, Iowa, through much study and prayer prepared a Statement
of Beliefs reflecting their faith and practice. They did not set it in
concrete, nor did they consider it a creed. At our 1993 Annual Fellowship,
we had planned to discuss basic Adventism during the evening services.
Upon hearing of this project and study done by the Iowa group, we invited
them to bring a copy of the Statement they had formulated for discussion.
This they gladly did, and in place of our planned evening program, we
spent the hour in an open exchange of concepts and suggested changes in
the wording of the statement that had been drawn up. At the close of the
week, we stood amazed at the unanimity which was achieved as well as the
good natured manner in which disagreements were expressed and corrections
Due to the need for further study and clearer
articulation of certain statements of faith to meet some of the controversial
issues expressed by various "independent" ministries another group meeting
is planned for late September in Iowa. We desire to find the unity for
which Christ prayed, and express that unity of belief in a statement so
that every one who asks a reason for our faith can be given an answer.
Once the statement is formulated in its final revised form, it will be available upon request. Even at that point, we will welcome suggestions and even challenges which could send us back to the drawing board. We are interested in only one thing, and that is truth, "pure and unadulterated" - a truth upon which God's true people in this final hour may unify. Further, we challenge every "independent ministry" which cannot so unify, to formulate its own statement of beliefs so that its position may be clearly understood, and wherein it differs may be forthrightly stated. If it cannot do so, or show wherein it differs from the 27 Fundamentals, then we suggest it return as a "ministry" to the regular Church and submit to its discipline, doctrine and order.
ISSUES FACING EACH AND
EVERY ADVENTIST -- THE INCARNATION
-- During the month of March this year, while in Australia,
I was scheduled for an all day Sabbath series of studies in the Cooranbong
area near Avondale College. We arrived early in the vicinity so as to
see the College campus. As we walked the campus and corridors of Avondale,
we observed an announcement on one of the bulletin boards - Dr. William G. Johnsson, Editor of the
Adventist Review, was scheduled to speak at 9:30 that
Friday morning in the Ladies Chapel on "Issues Facing the Church." (He
had been called off of his vacation at Adelaide for the weekend. We heard
several explanations as to why Dr. Desmond Ford was in Sydney that Sabbath.)
We decided to hear what Dr. Johnsson considered the issues to be. Speaking
without notes, "off the cuff," he listed four major issues, one of which
was Christology, involving the nature of the humanity Jesus assumed at
the incarnation. He stated: "The Fundamental Beliefs do
not spell out exactly what nature Jesus came in, the nature before or
Now in the Review itself, Johnsson is opening a discussion of this issue in a series of five editorials on "Our Matchless Saviour." At this writing, four have already appeared - July 8, July 22, August 12, August 19, and the concluding article is to be in next issue, August 26. He indicated that he was "reluctant to add fuel to the debate" and "hesitated to take up this editorial series." He indicates that his only reason for getting involved was because of requests to give help to the rank and file of the members of "the mainline Adventist Church." His objective appears to be to obtain a consensus on the doctrine which would mute the present
p 3 -- polarization so that the controversy can be
shelved. Such an accomplishment is extremely doubtful. While we will wait
until the editorials are completed before making a full response, an observation
or two is in order.
In the third editorial (August 12) discussing the humanity
Christ assumed in the incarnation, his assertions are almost beyond belief.
He declared that Christ "experienced no inner conflict, as
if deity and humanity pulled Him in different directions." What
was Gethsemane all about? Who of humanity has "resisted unto blood striving
against sin"? (Heb. 12:4)
In the same editorial commenting on whether Christ took
the fallen nature of man, he wrote - "The silence of the New Testament
on this specific point of debate is deafening."
Here is a man whose doctoral emphasis at Vanderbilt was New Testament
and who has taught in that department at Andrews University, yet he has
not heard that Christ took "the slave form of man" (Phil 2:7) having been
"made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:3) What did
Vanderbilt do to him in addition to destroying his faith in the sanctuary
truth of Adventism!
Add to this menu of deception for the "mainline" Church
the "food" provided by many of the "independent ministries," and there
can be only one cry, "There is poison in the pot!" A recent letter from
a doctor in Australia tells of a distorted teaching on the incarnation
built around the sanctuary erected in the wilderness plus the revival
of the Holy Flesh teaching on the subject. Then he comments - "However,
these teachings, as we may expect from anything satanic, are extremely
alluring, and once people imbibe them, they seem as set in their 'new'
beliefs as concrete." Indeed, we have come to a sad hour. Therefore, each
individual member of the Adventist Community must himself check all of
his "spiritual food" by the Word of God.
In the last Commentary for this year, we will address
in detail the five editorials by Dr. Johnsson as well as other aspects
of the doctrine of the incarnation. With the introduction of the incarnation
issue and the sanctuary question which we will note next, the very issues
which grew out of the SDA-Evangelical Conferences and which divided the
Church are again projected into prominence. This can be no accident. It
is true that deviation in the church's teaching on the incarnation began
before 1950, and was not
discussed at the 1952 Bible Conference. Nevertheless the post-Fall nature
position was held by the vast majority of members and ministers at the
time of the conferences in 1955-1956.
THE SANCTUARY DOCTRINE
-- The recent publication of
The Sanctuary by Roy Adams, an associate editor of the
Adventist Review and a protege of Johnsson, catapaults this controversy
back into the arena of theologic debate. The position set forth by Adams
as "the heart of Adventist theology" is a far cry from the sanctuary theology
which marked the teaching of the Church for more than a century. The actual
jacket of the paperbound edition can be best defined by the Greek word
- hupokrisis - sheer hypocrisy.
While we will make a detailed review of the book in the
next issue of WWN, a few observations are in order as was the case
with the editorials on the incarnation.
The question is asked: "Was the heavenly sanctuary cleansed
at the cross?" (p. 144)
his own question: "Yes, the sanctuary was cleansed at
the cross." In justifying such
heresy, he modifies the word "cleansing" to mean - "in the sense
of clearing" - and by this, he means God's name, and the
vindication of His government.
In his explanation of the earthly sanctuary being a pattern
of the heavenly, Adams
adopts Johnsson's position: "'The
real will explain the shadow and not vise versa."' (p. 50)
Who living has seen the Heavenly? But God did give the earthly model,
and the data is recorded, so we might have some idea of the services to
be carried on in the heavenly - not
In the book, reference is made to the archaeological discoveries
of pagan temples which pre-date the Hebrew sanctuary which God commanded
Moses to build according to the pattern shown in the mount. Adams states
that "these pagan temples ... closely
approximated the later Israelite equivalent both in floor plan and, as
far as we can determine from the evidence, in certain accessories as well."
Then he asks:
"Were these heathen temples also designed
after the heavenly pattern? Or to put it another way, if the Israelite
tabernacle/Temple was patterned after things in the heavens, why was it
not unique in every way? Why was it anticipated at pagan places of sacrifice?"
(p. 51) Adams answer -
God chose a pagan form to illustrate heavenly theology. (p. 57) And this
is "the heart of Adventist theology"?
p 4 -- How does Adams diagram what he calls the "three
fundamental dimensions of salvation" which the court, holy place and most
holy place portray? He considers all as "Atonement" with a capital "A".
But the court representing the cross is the "finished atonement." (p.
134) The holy place is "intercession" from A.D. 31 to 1844, and the most
holy place is "judgment with intercession continuing." No final atonement
is indicated. (p. 56)
HERMENEUTICS -- First,
we should define the term so that all will understand what we are discussing
in this issue facing the individual Adventist. Hermeneutics is the study
of methodological principles of interpretation of the Bible. It is a transliterated
Greek word which in the KJV is translated as "interpretation." See John
9:7; Heb. 7:2. Thus simply it means various methods of interpretation
used in arriving at the meaning of the Scriptures.
A couple of months ago I received in the mail a few pages
from an article, "J'Accuse," by Dr. Desmond Ford, containing no comments
or explanation. A date was penned - "6.14.93" I am assuming this article
was from Ford's official organ. The point of interest was that he was
calling attention to a "recent doctoral dissertation from Uppsala University"
written by Elder Kai J. Arasola,
president of the East Finland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The title of the thesis for a Doctorate in Theology was The
End of Historicism: Millerite Hermeneutic of Time Prophecies in the Old
Testament. Ford charged that this research showed there
was no biblical basis for 1844, that Arasola pointed "out the flimsy nature of Miller's
chronological pillars and stresses that the whole scholarly world has
repudiated them." Several thoughts
ran through my mind, and I was determined to obtain a copy to read for
myself what Arasola had written. I wrote to the Swedish Publishing House
mentioned in the article by Ford. A few weeks later, Dr. Arasola sent
me a copy. In reading his dissertation, I did not find that it
said what Ford said it said. True, he gave an enlarged perception of the
various time schemes - fifteen in all - that Miller developed to sustain
his position that Christ was to come "some time between March 21st,
1843 and March 21st, 1844."
Some were very, very weak, and took the text upon which they were based
far out of context. Arasola points out that the "Millerites appear to have believed
that a multiplication of weak points makes one strong point."
But he also noted that "one should observe the strong
points of Miller's arguments. They were presented persuasively. There
were no hidden meanings or occult references. The meaning of every symbol,
or every important word was argued with biblical texts, often much to
the shame of Miller's opponents. The method employed widely accepted principles
of historicism....The hermeneutic simplified human history into straightforward
phases leading to the present." (p. 145)
What then is Arasola's research telling us? First it reveals
that Adventist historians, Froom and Nichol, in writing about our Millerite
heritage have overlooked "things that were essential
to Miller but are irrelevant for Seventh-day Adventism."
This is even carried over into current writings on Miller by such men
as Damsteegt and Maxwell. The point of this slanted reporting was to narrow
the interest down to Daniel 8:14 in discussing the great disappointment
at the end of the Seventh-month movement. Secondly, it clearly distinguishes
between the historistic hermeneutic used by Miller, and that hermeneutic
combined with sanctuary typology which forms the basis for the uniqueness
It should be pointed out that Miller's use of historicism
was in line with the method used for prophetic intepretation for centuries.
Arasola comments that "the elements that made up the historicist
interpretation grew up over a millennium from the early church to the
late middle ages. These included the continuous application of prophetic
symbols from the time of Babylon to the present age, the year-day hermeneutic
of prophetic time, and the indentification of the papacy with the little
horn. The full package of historicism was drawn together by Joseph Mede
aided bythe conceptions of Protestant scholasticism. The system was refined
and clarified by reputable eighteenth-century scholars whose research
was at the time widely acknowledged. Historicism was the most popular
method of prophetic exegesis from the seventeenth to the middle nineteenth
century." (pp. 47-48)
The heart of Miller's expositions of prophecy was the year/day
hermeneutic. This was held in such high regard by all students of Bible
prophecy that Miller's opponents rarely objected to it. Arasola cites
a Dr. Bush, who rejected Miller's view of the Advent, as writing: "In taking a day as the
prophetical term for a year, I believe you are sustained by the
p 5 -- exegesis, as well
as fortified by the high names of Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton,
Kirby, Scott, Keith and a host of others." (See page 88)
But why was the Millerite movement the end of historicism?
Miller and his associates carried the method to extremes. The results
and failures of time setting lost its appeal, and "few wanted to take
the risks involved in fresh time setting." The conservative wing in Protestantism
adopted the futurism hermeneutic of the Jesuit Ribera with some modifications
and additions, while the liberal Protestant thinking accepted the preteristic
scheme of the Jesuit Alcasar.
What is the challenge to Adventism today? The Seventh-day
Adventist Church finds it roots in the final phases of the Millerite movement,
accepting from Snow's research and conclusions as much, if not more, than
from William Miller. When the target year, 1843, approached and the concentration
of study focused on Daniel 8:14, the exegesis of the Millerites "changed
from regular historicism into a combination of typology and historicism."
Add to this the concepts derived from the parable of Jesus in Matthew
25, and the conclusion is inescapable that much of this past history must
be re-evaluated, painful though it may be.
Arasola points out two extremes in the use of typology. One was the Cocceian school for which he borrowed Harnack's term for Origen's exegesis to apply to its extreme applications of the types - "Biblicalalchemy." The other called Marshian, a reaction to the undiciplined method prevailing, required a Scriptural sanction for each type perceived. With the present undisciplined use of sanctuary types among various independents, we have again a form of Biblicalalchemy. We need to stop majoring in minors in the study of the sanctuary, and delve honestly and accurately into the major revelations it contains. Further, the relationship between the sanctuary and the prophecies of Daniel need to be firmly established. Dr Arasola, rather than meeting the ecstasy of Ford's assumptions, has contributed to the basis for such a careful study.
-- No issue facing the individual Seventh-day Adventist
is so pregnant with emotion as the questions arising continuously about
the writings of Ellen C. White. While she herself said that her writings
were not to be made a test, it has now come to a critical point where
individuals are judged whether they be saints or sinners by how they view
what she has written.
The main thrust of this article by Gordon is in regard to
the 1911 edition of The Great Controversy, but with this he has
mingled some comments in regard to the 1888 edition. However, what is
not told is the story of the revision of the 1888 edition as revealed
in research done by Dr. D. R. McAdarms, former president of Southwestern
Union College. This manuscript - Ellen G. White and the Protestant
Historians: The Evidence from an Unpublished Manuscript on John Huss
- though written in 1974 when McAdams was connected with the History Department
of Andrews University, still remains unpublished because, as I am informed,
the Estate will not give release to certain documentation in the manuscript.
This document is a review of a rare find in the Estate files
- an autograph of a manuscript written by Ellen White on John Huss for
inclusion in the 1888 edition of The Great Controversy. The facts
are that little of it was included, and in its place other material was
substituted. W. C. White,
in a letter to C. B. Jones, manager of the Pacific Press, stated:
"Mother has written enough about
Huss and Jerome, to make one or two new chapters. She has written something
about Zwingli; and may speak of Calvin. The chapter on the Two Witnesses,
has been doubled in size, and quite a change will be made in the chapter
on William Miller. And some important additions are made to 'The Sanctuary'
chapter." (May 18, 1887)
A third letter by W.
C. White to Jones at the Pacific Press stated that after Chapter
4, "the largest additions were to be made."
p 6 -- commented: "The manuscripts for chapters
5, 6, and 7, [werel to be prepared by Sr. Davis after mother had gone
from Basel. The work of preparing these is nearly completed, and will
soon be sent to her in England for examination." (July 21, 1887)
Blind faith is one thing; an intelligent faith is another. Until the Estate is willing to come clean with all the facts they have, and are covering up, no individual Adventist can have an intelligent faith concerning the spiritual gift manifest to the Church in the ministry of Ellen G. White. In 1915, just prior to Ellen White's death, Prescott wrote to W. C. White and almost prophetically predicted the crisis the Church and each individual Adventist now faces. He stated in a personally typed letter: "The way your mother's writings have been handled and the false impression concerning them which is still fostered among the people have brought great perplexity and trial to me. It seems to me that what amounts to deception, though probably not intentional, has been practiced in making some of her books, and no serious effort has been made to disabuse the minds of the people of what was known to be their wrong view concerning her writings. But it is no use to go into these matters. I have talked with you for years about them, but it brings no change. I think however that we are drifting toward a crisis which will come sooner or later and perhaps sooner."
LET'S TALK IT OVER
-- In the preface to the 1980 Statement of Beliefs
voted at Dallas, Texas, there is an interesting observation made. It reads:
"Revision of these statements may be
expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the
Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language
in which to express the teachings of God's Holy Word." (Adventist
Review, May 1, 1980, p. 23)
This presupposes that in 1980, the Church believed that it was led by
the Holy Spirit to rewrite its beliefs as contained in the previous statement
voted in 1950. Herein is the present issue facing every Seventh-day Adventist.
There are those in the Adventist Community who believe that the 1980 Statement
rnerely confirmed the compromises made with the Evangelicals in 1955-56,
and reflects the influence which the dialogue with the World Council of
Churches had upon its leadership.
The three decades from 1950 to 1980 were momentous years
for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To list and only briefly comment
on the key events during this period of time from the 1952 Bible Conference
to the Dallas session would more than fill an issue of WWN. Those
who first took issue with the compromises with the Evangelicals in 1955-1956
have also perceived "advancing truth" through the study of the Word. This
"increasing light" and the compromises of the main body are now in direct
Every individual member of the Church must now decide which
way his soul shall go. This issue
lead article, we have challenged every "independent ministry"
to state in a forthright manner their beliefs so that everyone can know
where they stand, and wherein they have advanced in truth, and are now
walking in "the increasing light" of that truth. (R&H, March
25, 1890) However, if all they are doing is merely "church bashing" to
obtain monies for their personal "ego" trips, then they need to come clean
and either put up or shut up.
In the second article on issues facing individual Adventists, we called attention to a recent doctoral dissertation written by Elder Kai J. Arasola for the Faculty of Theology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. It should be noted that Dr. Desmond Ford's evaluation of the dissertation reveals his deceptive tactics in seeking to bolster his personal heretical teachings. Having noted his conclusions and being able to read for myself the dissertation, his integrity in dealing with any source document
p 7 -- is now questionable in my judgment. He is
truly a "paper tiger."
Actually, I received a blessing from the reading of the
dissertation. My faith was strengthened in the viability of a union of
sanctuary typology with the historicist hermeneutic to arrive more fully
at present truth for this hour. It is true that there will need to be
much "fine tuning" of the data to achieve a correct application between
type and antitype. There will be lessons to learn as well as many, many
My perceptions of the Millerite movement were broadened.
I had often wondered why the heavy emphasis on our connection with Miller's
thinking when so little of his poslitons were accepted by our spiritual
forefathers. The article by Joseph Bates in the first issue of the Review
& Herald, November, 1850, now comes into better focus.
One thing about the dissertation of Arasola is that it was
not the faith denying and truth destroying type of study as was done by
William G. Johnsson, now editor of the Adventist Review, when he
wrote his dissertation at Vanderbilt University. The tragedy of the Vanderbilt
dissertation is the damnable concepts which underlie it and are now being
foisted on the Church through the Adventist Review by himself as
well as in publications of his protege, Roy Adams.
The final issue which the individual Adventist has to face
is how shall he relate to the writings of Ellen G. White in this doctrinal
crisis. Roy Adams in his book, The Sanctuary, quotes Ellen C. White
to sustain his position. The conclusions he draws on these references
will not be acceptable to the so-called leading "independent ministries." Johnsson in his fourth editorial
on the doctrine of the Incarnation (August 19, p. 4) also gives
various quotes from the Writings, and comments: "We could list many more in support
of each side. And from those lists each party in the debate draws its
ammunition. Some Adventists have striven mightily to bring these apparently
contradictory statements together under the post-Fall view."
Then he adds, "I
do not think this can be done." While
this opinion will be challenged, I have to admit that I have tried it,
and anyone acquainted with Larson's published works knows he tried it
after I did. In my judgment, the question goes deeper than that, and only
the Estate holds the answer. The individual Adventist who desires truth
pure and unadulterated has his "home work" cut out for him.
OBSERVATIONS & COMMENT
-- Recently, we received an
invitation through the mails to subscribe to Health & Healing,
a journal edited by Julian Whitaker, M.D., "an advocate of a healthy,
non-toxic approach to living a healthy life." We subscribed. On the first
page of Vol.
As I thought about the force of this observation, I could not help but realize that here is the one basic reason which has promoted much of the confusion in the Adventist Community. Those involved in the "independent ministries" will not engage in "open and well-aired discussion." They will not lay their positions on the line. Of what are they afraid? If such is good counsel in the area of physical health issues, how much more in the realm of the spiritual and eternal.
A friend recently enclosed with his check, an article from
The Prophetic Observer, a journal which from the concluding paragraph
of the article indicated it espouses the secret rapture theory. However,
that was not the main thrust of the article. Captioned, "The Battle Over
Jerusalem," it quoted news items appearing in The Jerusalem Post.
One read in part: "The issue of Jerusalem is one of international
proportions, and must be dealt with on a global scale. Both the Vatican
and the Moslem world will insist on having a say in the matter, and it
may be safely assumed that their attitudes will be less than friendly
to Israel's position. A long, hard struggle lies ahead." (May 29, 1993)
The April 3 edition of the same paper carried a picture of an Architect's drawing of the future home of the pope in Jerusalem. Isn't it time to wake up and give heed to some key prophecies of Scripture? - Daniel 11:45, for example. How can we keep our focus straight when we seek to belittle and ignore Luke 21:24? However, do not forget, Daniel 11:45 is followed by Daniel 12:1, even though in the KJV, there is a chapter break. [In the January 1994 issue of WWN, p. 4, "Let's Talk It Over" section, this article is disclaimed] --- (1993 Oct) --- End ---TOP
Nov -- XXVI
-- 11(93) --THE SANCTUARY -- The
Heart of Adventist Theology -- The
heart of Adventist theology is indeed the revelation of God in the sanctuary.
His way, His holiness, is revealed in its services, and in its structure.
God desired to dwell with man and in man. In type and shadows God outlined
how this might be realized by man. This study became the heart of the
teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as it emerged from the Great
Disappointment under Millerism. Now for almost four decades, it has been
under attack, first by compromise during the SDA- Evangelical Conferences
of 1955-1956, then in a direct attack by Dr. Desmond Ford.
The most recent attack has now come from within the framework
of the Church at one of the highest levels of influence by an associate
editor of the Church's official organ, the Adventist Review. It
is the more devastating of any previous attack made on the sanctuary doctrine
because it comes disguised in the hypocrisy of professing to be giving
a true understanding of the heart of Adventist theology. It seeks to revive
and promote as truth a heresy promoted in Adventism just after the turn
of the Century by Albion F. Ballenger.
Roy Adams' interest in Ballenger's theology did not begin with the publication of his book - The Sanctuary. It was a part of the doctoral dissertation written for his degree at Andrews University. The dissertation - The Sanctuary Doctrine - researched "Three Approaches in the Seventh-day Adventist Church," one of which was the teaching of A. F. Ballenger. This is deception in itself because Ballenger was relieved of his credentials and disfellowshipped from the Church because of his teachings. In this the Church repudiated his teachings, thus his views cannot in truth be presented as an acceptable approach by the Church until now. They are being revived in this new publication by Adams as the true heart of Adventist theology, and promoted by Folkenberg as the theological showpiece of his administration.
p 2 -- In his dissertation, Adams notes Ballenger's position on the atonement, and its corollary in Christian experience. He wrote: "In his discussion of the atonement Ballenger's purpose was to emphasize the concepts of righteousness by faith and Christian assurance through a finished, universal work of Christ on the cross." (p. 241, emphasis his)
You will observe there are two main points in the Ballenger
sanctuary concept - a completed atonement at the cross, and the "Christian
assurance" of salvation resulting therefrom.
In the previous issue of WWN (10/93, p. 2), we noted
for you this editor's attendance at an
Johnsson also revealed that Folkenberg believes that he
did not experience salvation until he was serving as president of the
Carolina Conference. It was at one of the campmeetings where he arranged
for Jack Sequira to speak. In listening to his presentations he caught
the perception of the assurance of salvation. Johnsson noted that in the
United States there is concern about the failure to understand grace,
and a great worry about the lack of assurance of salvation in the lives
of many of the laity of the Church, but he concluded: "Maybe, we are starting to get it right."
The basic fact emerges, there is now a concerted effort
to turn the church to the teachings of Ballenger which its leadership
repudiated in 1905. In the introduction to his book,
Roy Adams recalls an experience which took place when Ballenger
appeared for his hearing before a selected committee of Church leaders.
In this experience, the tone of the book is set. It reads: "In 1905 Albion Fox Ballenger fell under
the wrath of Adventist Church leaders for teaching, among other things,
that the atonement was finished at the cross. His trial was held in a
small building in Takoma Park, Maryland, at the site of the church's General
Conference session that year. Milian Lauritz Andreasen, then a young unordained
minister, tells how he and fellow minister L. H. Christian took turns
standing on each other's shoulders so as to eavesdrop on the proceedings
at that predawn inquiry. Under the light of day, as other meetings of
the session proceeded, Andreasen took time to canvass the views of the
embattled pariah. With much time on his hands - so few of the more experienced
brethren had time for him - Ballenger shared freely.
"The irony of
the situation was to come some 50 years later when Andreasen found himself
at serious loggerheads with church leaders over the very question of the
atonement - among others. This time, curiously, it was the church that
defended the view of a finished atonement at the cross, with Andreasen
digging in his heels for an unfinished atonement, the very position church
leaders were championing in 1905." (pp. 12-13)
Now what does this show? According to Adams it shows "that the church is not closed and
that, however slowly, it does move eventually in the direction the Spirit
is leading." (p. 13)
Not only did we compromise our doctrine of the atonement with the Evangelicals
in 1955-1956, but now this compromise is declared to be "the direction
the Spirit is leading." And the book by Adams seeks to revise "the heart
of Adventist theology" in accordance with Ballenger's teaching.
The rationale in which Adams
sets his heresy is beyond question and at the same time deceptive. He
quotes from the Writings the statement: "There is no excuse for anyone in taking
the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all
our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain
doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not
proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth,
and truth can afford to be fair. No doctrine will lose anything by close
investigation." (p. 11; R&H, Dec. 20, 1892)
Based on this, Adams writes that we should "not approach the doctrine of the sanctuary as if the church has learned nothing new since our pioneers fell asleep." "Theology, therefore, is never static." (p. 13) In all this he is correct. But the deception comes in the application. He
p 3 -- indicates that we are merely standing on the
shoulders of the pioneers, and "ought to be able to see a little farther
than they did." Therefore,
"those who expect the shaking
of the pillars in these pages
[of his book] will probably be disappointed." The
suggestion is that he is in line with the pillars of the Advent faith
because he is assuming that he is standing on the shoulders of those whose
feet rested on the firm platform of eternal truth. This is a self-deception.
The first pillar or landmark reads: "The cleansing of the sanctuary in
heaven, and having a decided relation to God's people upon the earth."
(Ms. 13, 1889)
Adams' theology is not the theology of one standing on the shoulders of
one whose feet was placed firmly on this foundation. In his book, he is
teaching a false gospel under the guise of scholarship and praying that
by "his feeble effort many readers
may come to know a deeper appreciation for the sublime truth of the sanctuary."
The effort is indeed feeble, but the deception is strong.
Adams in his book does recognize the various weaknesses
which can be found in the historic Adventist interpretation of the sanctuary
and related prophecies in Daniel. Any honest student of the Adventist
theology built around the sanctuary must admit to the reality of these
problems. The deceptions found in this book are the solutions Adams suggests
for the correction of these problems. You do not cut down the tree of
truth while seeking to clear it from the tentacles of error that have
used the tree for their support.
What was the purpose of God in giving the instruction for
the erection of the sanctuary? Adams lists three, the third reason being:
"To provide additional details regarding the plan of salvation." Then
he states that at this point: "we begin to enter potentially controversial
territory." (p. 27)
The problem in his thinking is "interpretational." Except for a hint,
as Adams describes it, the rituals of the sanctuary were left undefined
until the New Testament. This should give no problem for we are dealing
with one book, the Bible, the formation of which was supervised
by the Holy Spirit, and thus it carries one message for all time. Its
our perception, not the revelation, that is faulty.
Paul in the book of Hebrews clearly declares that it was
the services of the sanctuary which revealed the Heavenly agenda. (Heb.
8:5) While recognizing the possibility of this factor (p. 28), Adams stresses
in another chapter that the teaching of Paul in Hebrews "reasons principally by
contrast and less by comparison. This means that the movement
is from the new to the old as much as, or even more than, from the old
to the new." (p. 49, emphasis his)
No one questions that the book of Hebrews majors in "contrasts" showing
the superiority of the Heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ over the priesthood
derived from Aaron. However, you do not understand the meaning of the
services of the Aaronic priesthood through the Heavenly, but rather you
understand the agenda of the Heavenly through the revelations given in
As his authority for this "interpretation," Adams quotes his mentor who has written: "It is the heavenly and not the earthly that is genuine. The earthly was but a pale shadow, a temporary device pointing to the real.... The real will explain the shadow, and not vice versa." (p. 50; see footnote #11, p. 58) This concept is also to be found in a research paper presented at the Glacier View conference by another Australian, A. P. Salom. Salom wrote: "Neither the structure of the earthly tabernacle, nor its services should be used as a basis for detailing the heavenly sanctuary. While some general conclusions about the heavenly sanctuary and its services may be reached by studying the shadowy outline of the earthly sanctuary, care should be taken not to press these points too far. The heavenly sanctuary is better described as an archetype than an antitype and thus our reasoning concerning the sanctuary should be in the reverse direction to that which it usually takes. The true nature of the type can only be distinguished by first understanding the archetype, not vice versa." (Exegesis of Selected Passages of Hebrews 8 and 9, pp. 7-8; emphasis his)
But the next question: Where did this
concept break into Adventist thinking? Note:
"It is better to see and study the great realities of the sacrifice
and priestly ministry of Christ than to dwell too much upon the details
of the typical service, which gave an inadequate portrayal of the sacrifice
and ministry of Christ. Far better to interpret the earthly tabernacle
in the light of the heavenly, rather than to circumscribe the antitypical
realities oy the limitations of too close an application of the type."
(Questions on Doctrine, p. 379; emphasis theirs)
Thus we see that in his perceptions, Adams is not standing
on the shoulders of the pioneers,
p 4 -- Conferences.
To further his downgrading of the force of the typical sanctuary
in understanding the realities of the Heavenly, he appeals to the Jesuit
theologian, Avery Dulles. Dulles had written in a book on the
church "that images are useful up to
a point, and beyond that point they can become deceptive." (p. 63)
To Adams, the visions of John in Revelation did not describe
the realities of the Heavenly sanctuary, but were merely to give us a
vocabulary so we are able "to speak about the unspeakable, to
comprehend the incomprehensible, however dimly." (p.64)
After quoting his mentor again that there is "'a real ministry
in a real sanctuary,"' he
adds - "That question is settled so far as
I am concerned." (p. 62)
Yet before he closes that chapter, he writes -
"I prefer to see the heavenly sanctuary
as the dwelling place of God, the seat of His government, the nerve center
of the universe. As such, it has always existed," (p. 71)
The heart of Adams' objective and argument in writing this book begins to unfold in Chapter 6, "The Heavenly Sanctuary: Its Defilement and Cleansing." In this chapter, in assessing the Adventist contention that there is a connection between Leviticus 16 and Daniel 8:14, Adams outlines Uriah Smith's position, Ballenger's, and then makes an assessment of the two together. Finally, he presents what he calls an "Historical-Theological Background of Daniel 8:14."
While Adams concluded in his original dissertation that,
had the Church adopted the position of Ballenger,
"It would have made them the theological
laughingstock of Protestantism,"
and lie now sees no reason to modify that position. Nevertheless,
he can write that Ballenger's "basic contention as regards the
defilement of the sanctuary was correct." (p. 87) What
was Ballenger's position? According to Adams' documentation, Ballenger
taught that "the sanctuary was defiled by
the sinful act itself, before the confession of sin," and
thus "even the devil's sins defile the sanctuary."
Ballenger went a step further,
and maintained that "confession" belongs to the process of cleansing,
rather than defilement. Ballenger also argued that the cleansing of the
heavenly sanctuary took place at Christ's ascension, when He sprinkled
the blood on the mercy seat. The cleansing in 1844 refers to the sins
of the devil as the instigator of sin. (p. 86)
How does Adams reconcile his assessment of Ballenger's position
as correct, with the Church's position that the sanctuary is defiled by
the sins of God's people? He invents a new term:
This whole theology concerning the transfer of sin needs
to be re-thought through carefully without reference as to who believed
what as far as our past theological thinking is concerned. The type was
concerned with sins of ignorance. See Leviticus 4. The sin had already
been recorded. The type outlined a process of confession by which an atonement,
ministered by the common priest was made, bestowing forgiveness on the
sinner. The record of that confession was left on the Altar in the Court.
The cleansing of the sanctuary, as far as the individual sinner was concerned,
could involve only two things - the record of his sins and his uncleanness.
The balance of the sin problem involves the very basic issues of the great
controversy between Christ and Satan. The sin problem must first be resolved
at the point where it began, in heaven itself, at the Throne of the Eternal.
This is where the prophecy of Daniel 7 places the beginning of the judgment.
When Daniel 7:9-14 is brought into the picture, both Leviticus 16, and
Daniel 8:9-14 can be seen in proper perspective.
Adams ignores Daniel 7 altogether, and develops an extensive "historical-theological" background around the book of II Chronicles which makes interesting reading. He perceives it as the "bridge between Leviticus 16 and Daniel 8:9-14" which he says "when combined with an understanding of the dual concept of defilement [Smith's and Ballenger's], gives us an insight into the ultimate, eschatological linkage of the two passages." (p. 89) By his approach, Adams is seeking to avoid the controversy over a linguistic connection between the two passages of Scripture. He writes: "Seen in this way, the need for a linguistic connection between taher of Leviticus 16 and tsadaq of Daniel 8:14, as some would demand, does not arise." (p. 98)
What is interesting at this point is the fact that tsadaq is found only in the Masoretic text, while the LXX and the Vulgate both use the same word in Daniel 8:14 for cleansed in the Greek and
p 5 -- Latin which corresponds to taher in the Hebrew of Leviticus
16. In fact the LXX uses the same identical word both in Daniel 8:14 and
Leviticus i6:30. Further, current Hebrew scholarship indicates that the
is an incorrect translation of the Aramaic word first used. These Hebrew
scholars maintain that the whole of Daniel was originally written in the
Aramaic, and the present Hebrew section of the book is a translation out
of the Aramaic.
In his next
chapter - "Christ and 1844" - Adams raises the question
as to where Christ went upon His ascension into Heaven. His conclusion
is that Christ went directly to the right hand of the Throne of God, and
there has remained. To support this contention, he uses Ballenger's arguments
"within the veil." He then
concludes: "Nowhere in Hebrews does the author
speak of a Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in contradistinction
to a holy place. The contrast, rather, is always between the earthly sanctuary
and the heavenly." (p. 110)
Let's take a look at Hebrews. In Hebrews 9:2-3, Paul defines
his terms because the LXX from which he quotes uses the words, to
hagion, in Leviticus 16:2 to refer to the Most Holy Place of
the sanctuary. He had just used the same words to refer to the sanctuary
as a whole. (Heb. 9:1). To avoid any confusion, he indicates (verses 2
& 3) that Hagia, means the first apartment,
and Hagia Hagion,
means the second apartment. He even emphasizes that concerning this second
apartment with its ark of the covenant, "we cannot now speak particularly."
(verse 5) Throughout the rest of the book of Hebrews, ta
hagia, is used six times, and hagia
hagion, where the ark was, and where the services of the Day
of Atonement began, is not used once. The services performed - the daily
and the yearly - are noted as "a figure for the time then present." (9:9)
Christ is declared to have entered the hagia "to appear in the presence
of God for us." Then where was God when Christ ascended back to Heaven?
On the throne of grace, or sitting in judgment? (Heb. 4:16)
So how does Adams relate to all of this? He writes that
"we stand on their [the pioneer's] brave shoulders
now, and without altering a single plank of the basic pillars of the
faith, we do indeed perceive a clearer vision." (p. 113; emphasis
his) What is that vision? He writes:
"Perhaps a better way of expressing
the same truth that came to Hiram Edson on that tear-filled morning
would be as follows: At the Ascension, Christ went into the presence of
God (and in saying this, we are in line with the New Testament) and there
commenced a ' first apartment ministry' (in line with the ancient typical
service). At the end of the 2300 days (years) in 1844 (in line with the
book of Daniel), He commenced a 'second apartment ministry' (in line with
the ancient typical service on the Day of Atonement) - namely, the restoration
or vindication or cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary (in line with Leviticus
16 and Daniel 8:14)." (p. 113; emphasis his)
There is no question, Adams has created for himself a very "neat" package, but nevertheless an outline that does not conform to the type. If it is as Adams has stated it, then God was playing games in giving the type, for in so doing, He commanded Moses to do much that was irrelevant. For example, in the type, Moses supervised the building of the tabernacle, and after its erection annointed the whole, before Aaron began any ministry therein. (See Exodus 40:1-16) The prophecy of Zechariah indicates that He who was to "build the temple of the Lord" would also be "a priest upon His throne." (Zech. 6:12-13) In Christ, the typical work of Moses was combined with the typical ministry of Aaron. Paul emphasizes, when he asks us to consider "the High Priest of our profession," that Christ as a son over His own house, was as faithful as Moses was over all his house. (Heb. 3:1-6) Further, it is stated that Moses' service was to be "a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after." Here the contrast is between Christ and Moses, but "the house of Moses" included the priesthood of Aaron.
To cite another emphasis of Scripture: Daniel indicates
that when the judgment hour was come, thrones were placed, "and the Ancient
of days did sit." (7:9-10) There is movement in heaven. The throne of
God is not set in concrete; neither is God immobile as an idol upon a
Let us say, that Adams' "package" has merit. Does this then
justify acceptance of the position of Ballenger that the atonement was
completed, and that the sanctuary was cleansed at the Cross? (p. 144)
Never! To set concepts, no matter how correct they may be, in a false
setting, does not present truth, but only increases the subtlety of the
deception which is covered thereby. This Adams has done!
Note: Throughout the book, Adams never notes Paul as the
author of Hebrews. He was only
p 6 -- Hebrews as the "auctor ad Hebraeos." Ellen White notes Paul as the author of Hebrews, and the noted scholars of the New Testament text, Kurt and Barbara Aland, observe in their book, The Text of the New Testament: "The early Church assumed Hebrews to be Pauline." (p. 49) I, too, so assume.
LET'S TALK IT OVER
-- Adams in his book, at the
very beginning, lays a basis for his ultimate conclusions on the fact
that truth is ever expanding. But in his very first sentence, he intimated
that in his book he would be presenting change in the doctrinal perception
which Adventists have held on the subject of the sanctuary teaching. He
wrote - "understandably some within
the church will always be uncomfortable with the idea of change when it
comes to matters of doctrine."
In his book, he has performed "a heart transplant" on "the heart of Adventist
Theology." This "new heart," however, is the "heart" of Ballenger's teachings
which the Church under the guidance of the living messenger of the Lord
rejected, but which in the compromises with the Evangelicals it accepted.
There is no question that "theology is never static," but
truth is unchangeable. Our perceptions of that truth will grow under the
guidance of the Spirit of truth. The question is how do we properly relate
to these changing perceptions of the truth? First comes the hermeneutic
- the method of interpretation. Is it valid? Then it must be applied to
what the "pioneers" of the Adventist Movement taught in regard to the
sanctuary. (It appears that we are going to hear a lot about the "pioneers"
in connection with "historic" Adventism as the controversy over truth
intensifies. Evidently the PR boys, among some of the "independent ministries,"
are finding it a good "catch word.")
Our spiritual forefathers used a typology hermeneutic combined
with the prophetic interpretive principles of fundamental Protestantism
prior to 1844. From this combination came our sanctuary theology. How
do we relate to this? The messenger of the Lord told us that God and heaven
alone are infallible, and that "we have many lessons to learn," as well
as "many, many to unlearn." (TM, p. 30) When a child learns that
2 + 2 = 4, he does not abandon that and accept as accurate that 2 + 2
= 5. However, he does add to this basic knowledge and learns that 8 +
5 = 13. In the experience of learning, various traditional concepts, even
old wives' fables, become a part of his store of knowledge. These false
and questionable perceptions must be unlearned, and truth substituted
for the false. All of this will be involved in any restudy of the sanctuary
theology of the Adventist Community.
Such a study will be a painful experience for many, if not
all. It will mean that we will recognize that our "pioneers" did make
some mistakes in their perceptions of truth as they reacted to the opposition.
For example, the early pioneers denied that there was an atonement at
the Cross. Yet the type clearly taught that at the Altar of the Court,
the common priest "shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin,
and it shall be forgiven him." (Lev. 4:26) It was a forgiveness that restored
the sinner to a oneness relationship to God. This Christ achieved by His
death on Calvary. But was this all that was necessary for man to be at-one-ment
with God? No! There was another atonement - the final atonement.
The issue of the "investigative judgment" will come into
focus with the contrast between it and our current descriptive word, of
a "Pre-Advent" judgment. There is much in Daniel 7 to which we have given
little, if any, thought, but which is connected with the concept of judgment
both in relationship to Daniel 8:14, and Leviticus 16.
There is truly much to learn, and much, much to unlearn. Yet it is not doing "a heart transplant" on "the heart of Adventist theology."
OBSERVATIONS -- During the first week in September, we were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Foundation business. While visiting with friends, we were given a handbook by Elder Mark Finley, Studying Together. As we were driving home, my wife paged through the handbook, and noted a section on "Understanding Churches, Denominations, and other Religious Groups." It reminded me of an encounter with a Mormon missionary early in my ministry, who pulled from his pocket such a handbook and followed the suggestions it contained as we discussed various points of doctrine. What was more intriguing was the fact that in this section of Finley's book was a discussion on "Former Seventh-day Adventists." This topic was prefaced with the observation that "research indicates that most former
p 7 -- Adventists do not leave the Church because
of doctrinal reasons. Some do, but not the majority." (p. 188)
He then lists four reasons why individuals leave, and tells how to meet
those reasons, so as to help the person to return to the Church. However,
in this counsel he does not even hint at a suggestion as to how to relate
or answer those who have left the Church because of doctrinal reasons.
Is he saying by this, there is a valid reason doctrinally for leaving
the Church, and there is no answer?
There are only two reasons for leaving the Church over doctrinal
issues. 1) The Church
is teaching what one has come to believe is error. This would involve
such as are following Dr. Desmond Ford. However, there is a Biblical answer
to Ford. 2) The Church
has apostatized from the truth which was taught when one accepted the
message. For this there is no answer as Finley's book indicates.
Within the week after arriving back home, the October issue
of Ministry was on my desk. Its cover emphasis was "Adventists
and Change: The Dynamic Nature of Present Truth." The illustration was
intriguing. A man stood before a ful1 length mirror dressed in the ministerial
attire of the pioneers. The reflection in the mirror was a minister of
today in street dress. There it was, cosmetic change, but dare there be
a change of heart and mind in regard to the truth itself between the two
There can be no question that "Present Truth" is dynamic,
and our perception of it should be on the "cutting edge." But when basic
truth, committed in sacred trust to a people, is altered and in its place
error is accepted, then there is a need to cry out in alarm.
In the Ministry one third of the space was devoted to two articles which reflect the cover design. One by Dr. Woodrow Whidden, associate professor of religion at Andrews University, contrasts "essential" Adventism with "historic" Adventism. He chooses two areas of belief to discuss - the incarnation and perfection. On the subject of Christ's human nature he writes: "While Ralph Larson has demonstrated that there was a rather strong concensus on a post-Fall view until the middle 1950s, George Knight has shown that there was provocative opposition to the post-Fall view of A. T. Jones in the mid-1890s."
He is citing Knight's analysis in the book, From
1888 to Apostasy. However, in checking over this analysis,
we found that Knight plainly wrote that the view of Waggoner, Jones and
Prescott, the post-Fall view, "created no controversy in the
Adventism of the 1890s. It was a generally accepted theological nonissue."
Knight indicated that this did not change until
"the 1950s when it became the
theological subject for many Adventists on both sides of the question."
(p. 133) Somebody is misreading
Knight's article in the same issue of the Ministry
notes changes in Adventist teaching and diet during its history. He cites
the teaching on the Godhead as evidence of doctrinal change, and even
notes Ellen G. White's change of thought in regard to 1844, and "the shut
door." On the dietary question, the original practice of the White's in
regard to the eating of pork is noted. How does this relate to change,
and the dynamic nature of present truth? The last word is not yet in on
the Godhead, and the present formulation is open to serious question.
It must also be remembered that there is a vital difference in how one
perceives the atonement, as revealed in the sanctuary truth, and the evangelical
concept. Substitution of error for truth is not evidence of the dynamic
nature of present truth.
--- (1993 Nov) --- End --- TOP
-- XXVI -- 12(93) --
WHICH BLOOD ARE YOU UNDER? -- One of the biggest problems facing hospitals today is an adequate
blood supply. Donations drop off during the summer months, around holidays,
and sometimes for no reason at all. Blood can be stored only for a limited
time. The blood cells remain alive from 35 to 45 days after they are drawn
from the donor. Following this time lapse, the blood cells die and have
to be destroyed. Old units have to be constantly replaced with fresh units
due to this limited "shelf life." When donations slow down, a shortage
occurs. It is readily seen that a shortage can be a grave concern for
a blood bank.
To fully understand the problem, let us take a short look
at an aspect of God's wonderful creation. Not everyone's blood is the
same. There are four major blood groups which are called types. The four
major types are O, A, B, and AB. The occurrence of these types also varies.
About 47% of the population is type A; 45% is type O; 3% is type B; and
0.3% is type AB.
Each of these blood types have similar but very distinctive
characteristics. Therefore, it is very important when a patient receives
a blood transfusion that he or she receives his or her own blood type.
If the patient accidently receives the wrong blood type, that person's
body will recognize the blood cells as foreign objects. The body will
then respond and use antibodies to attack and destroy the foreign cells.
This event can easily be fatal to the patient. Herein lies the problem
of keeping a constant blood supply to accommodate everyone's blood type.
There is an interesting observation that helps blood bankers
in their struggle to keep up with the demand. It is true (as noted above)
that you can't give type A blood to a type B patient or vice-versa, but
there is one type of blood that can be infused into all other blood types.
This is type O, hence the title "universal donor". To understand this
phenomenon, let's briefly look at how God created the red blood cells.
All red blood cells start out with the same structure. The surface of
the cell is made up of proteins.
Embedded in these proteins are chains of sugars. These chains
of sugar all have the same roots, with the only exception being the last
sugar in the chain. The next to last sugar is always galactose. If the
last sugar is only fucose, you have the structure of a type O cell. If
on the next to the last sugar (galactose) an N-acetyl-galactosamine is
attached and is positioned next to the terminal fucose you have the structure
of a type A cell. If attached to the next to the last sugar (galactose)
another galactose is attached and lies next to the terminal fucose you
have the structure of a type B cell. The type AB cell has both the terminal
N-acetyl-galactosamine and terminal galactose structures. (See top of
next page for diagram) Looking at this closely, we can see that type O
cells contain nothing different from type A or type B cells, and the body
does not recognize these cells as foreign.
This knowledge gave birth to an idea. A bio-chemist from New York theorized that if he could turn type A or type B blood into type O blood (which can be infused into any blood type) the shortage would be solved. He reasoned that if these sugars are attached to the red cell by enzymes, he could also remove them with the use of enzymes. He found he could make a modified type O cell by using an enzyme found in coffee beans. This enzyme had the effect of clipping off the end galactose from the type B cell, thus making it appear like a type O cell. Then the biochemist decided to test his modified cells to see if they acted like normal red blood cells. It lived as long as a normal cell; it carried oxygen
p 2 --
just like a normal red cell; and he was convinced they were
just like real type O cells.
After a period of animal testing, the blo-chemist was ready
to challenge one of God's most intricate components in His crowning act
of creation, the human immune system. He infused his modified type O cells
into a type O patient. His modified O cells did not fool the patient's
immune system. The patient's immune system recognized these cells as foreign.
His counterfeit blood did not meet the need to save a patient.
We are also saved by blood; both literal and spiritual.
In Revelation 7:11-14 is pictured the redeemed around the throne of God,
arrayed in white robes. John was told by the angel that, "These are they
which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb." This group did not settle for
a counterfeit blood to save them. They chose to stand up for truth and
permitted themselves to be covered with the cleansing blood that Christ
shed for all. We cannot save ourselves or have another save us with their
blood. But, today we face groups of people that claim just that.
One of the largest religious movements today is the "New
Age" movement. They believe that one can achieve perfection on this earth
and become a god himself. In other words, you can save yourself by your
own blood. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that you can confess your
sins to a priest and he can remove your sins; or in other words, someone
else can save you with their blood. This holds true also for many Protestant
denominations and Independent Ministries. They teach, as did the Pharisees
of old, that to be saved you must be numbered amongst their ranks.
Paul noted these people when he wrote "... they have a zeal of God,
but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Rom. 10:2-3)
It is easy to sit back and say, "What do I have to do with the New
Age Movement or the Roman Catholic Church? This doesn't apply to me."
But wait! John wrote of another class of people which said, "I
am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing..." (Rev.
3:17) This, of course, is referring
to the Laodicean period of church history. This is the very period of
time in which we are now living. If you believe that you are in need of
nothing, you, too, believe that your own blood is sufficient to save you.
Looking at the full impact of this thought, you now have also broken the
first commandment - "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." In other
words, you have placed yourself before God. Once casting aside this commandment,
the others will fall in order and you will then have broken all the commandments.
John, however, writes about the people of Jesus, "here
are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev.
14:12) And again, "Blessed are they that do His
commandments that they may have right to the tree of life." (Rev. 22:14)
If we do not come to the point in our lives where we can
admit we are "wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,"
and in need of the saving blood that Christ shed for us (Rom. 5:9), we
will try to save ourselves with a counterfeit blood, which is in fact
trying to establish our own righteousness.
In these last few moments of this world's history, we dare not be caught ignorant of God's righteousness. If we try to establish our own type of righteousness, just as the biochemist tried to establish his own blood and fool the human immune system, we also will fail. Failure in this sense not only means just death, but the second death from which there is no return. We, therefore, have to ask ourselves the question: Which blood am I under? Is it the original blood that Christ shed for me, my blood, or some other modified blood that won't pass the test? -- Clifford Haak, MT (ASCP)
p 3 -- "AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
POSITION" -- After writing the lead article for WWN-10(93),
"Progress in Your Belief," my attention was called to an article in Landmarks,
a new publication from Steps to Life. Put together by John Osborne, it
attempted to answer the question - "Who is an Historic Seventh-day Adventist?"
The heart of the article is the editorial found in the first issue of
the Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874. Placed there by James White,
it was the formulation of the principal doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist
Actually this same
Statement of Beliefs, unsigned, had been published in pamphlet form on
the Steam Press in Battle Creek in 1872.
In the Landmark article, John Osborne places his personal comments (in italics) at various intervals in the Statement of Beliefs. However, he writes a preface in which he contradicts the very fundamentals which the pioneers set forth as constituting their beliefs. First note what the beliefs state. Article 3 reads: "That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice."
Article 16 reads
in part: "That the Spirit of God was promised
to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts enumerated especially
in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4; that these gifts are not designed
to supercede, or to take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient
to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place
of the Holy Spirit;
As early as April 21, 1851 in The
Review and Herald published from Paris, Maine, James White
had set forth in clear unmistakable language the relatonship of "The Gifts
of the Gospel Church" to the Bible. He wrote: "The gifts of the Spirit should
all have their proper places. The Bible is an everlasting rock. It is
our faith and practice. In it the man of God is ' throughly furnished
unto all good works.' If every member of the church of Christ was holy,
harmless, and separate from sinners, and searched the Holy Scriptures
diligently and with much prayer for duty, with the aid of the Holy Spirit,
we think, they would be able to learn their whole duty in 'all good works.'
Thus ' the man of God may be perfect.' But as the reverse exists, and
ever has existed, God in much mercy has pitied the weakness of His people,
and has set the gifts in the gospel church to correct our errors, and
to lead us to His Living Word. Paul says that they are for the ' perfecting
of the saints,' ' till we all come into the unity of the faith.'
The extreme necessity of the church in its imperfect state is God's opportunity
to manifest the gifts of the Spirit.
"Every Christian is
therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and
duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching
the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not
at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts.
We say that at the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong
place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. The Word should
be in front, and the eyes of the church should be placed upon it, as the
rule to walk by, and the fountain of wisdom from which to learn duty in
'all good works."' (Vol. I, No.9; Emphasis mine)
Now what did John Osborne state was evidence of an "historic" Seventh-day Adventist? He wrote: "It should also be said that an Historic Seventh-day Adventist believes Ellen G. White to have been a prophet of God and that her writings have divine authority. Therefore, an Historic Seventh-day Adventist will give precedence to God's last day prophet, to His last day church, over his own opinion. ... Either Ellen White was
p 4 -- a
prophet of God on the same par as the Biblical prophets or she
was no prophet at all. (p. 4; emphasis supplied)
According to our spiritual forefathers, the position of John Osborne is "an extremely dangerous position." It is surely not the position of "historic Adventism." The pioneers of this movement placed the Bible as "the only infallible rule of faith and practice." They declared plainly that "the gifts" which included the ministry of Ellen G. White, though not named, were "not designed to supercede, or to take the place of, the Bible."
From whence has this "extremely dangerous" position arisen?
Actually it is "new theology." In 1980, the 27 Statements of Fundamental
Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, omitted the word, "only" from
the statement on "The Holy Scriptures" as "the only infallible revelation
of His will." This made way for the statement on "The Gift of Prohecy"
to read that the writings of Ellen G. White "are a continuing and authoritative
source of truth," along with the Scriptures as "the authoritative revealer
of doctrines." John Osbone is not giving you "historic Seventh-day Adventism,
but rather presenting one of the tenets of the "new theology." It is a
deceptive theology which he sets forth, mingled with the first detailed
Statement of Beliefs which our spiritual forefathers formulated. Sadly
many a concerned Adventist will accept this deception, and continue to
support such a ministry.
In the layout of this article by the staff of Steps to Life
was an abbreviated quotation from Medical Ministry reading - "Christ
was a Seventh-day Adventist" - no period, or deletion marks. This kind
of an assertion was not the norm for Ellen G. White. The actual and full
sentence reads - "Christ was a Seventh-day Adventist, to all intents and
purposes." In other words, it is the "intent" and "purpose" that tells
whether a person is a Seventh-day Adventist or not, not the name. In all
honesty, the offical name today stands for those who believe and accept
the 27 Fundamentals as voted at Dallas, Texas. Plainly it represents a
"new thoelogy" which our spiritual forefathers would never embrace.
We may deny belief in certain teachings of the "new theology," but if we accept and promote arother teaching which is also "new theology," what advantage have we? Yes, Christ was a "Seventh-day Adventist" both in intent and purpose, but can an "independent ministry" say they are "historic" Seventh-day Adventists when they take an "extremely dangerous position" to which our spiritual forefathers did not subscribe.
LET'S TALK IT OVER -- The
article in Landmarks by John Osborne on "Who is an Historic Seventh-day
Adventist?" raises again the question about what kind of an Adventist
should one be at this period of the world's history. It seems in our zeal
without knowledge we are unable to learn lessons from history.
When the Pilgrims were about to set sail from Holland for
the New World, their pastor, John Robinson, told them that both "Luther
and Calvin were great and shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated
not into the whole counsel of God."
But the followers of Luther, and the followers of Calvin had "come
to a period" in their religious
experience. They wanted only "historic" Lutheranism, or "historic" Calvinism
depending upon whom they followed. Lest the Pilgrims fall into the same
spiritual state, John Robinson told them, "The Lord has more truth
yet to break forth out of His Holy Word." (Source Book, 1922
edition, p. 528)
In 1738-39, Wesley, "a lighbearer for God" (GC, p.
253), laid the foundation for the Methodist Church, yet one hundred years
later, I do not read where Ellen G. White, whose spiritual roots were
in Methodism, advocated staying in "historic" Methodism. More truth had
broken forth from the Word of God. In 1890 in the wake of the 1888 call
to righteousness by faith, Ellen
White could write: "We must not think, ' Well, we have
all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may
rest on this knowledge.' The truth is an advancing truth, and we must
walk in the increasing light." (R&H, March 25, 1890)
Now today, over 100 years beyond 1888, we are hearing the
cry, "We have all the truth, stay with 'historic' Adventism." In so doing
we have put a period to our spiritual growth, and blinded our eyes to
"the advancing truth" and "increasing light" God would have shine upon
p 5 -- dangerous.
Some want to distinguish between "landmarks" and "pillars."
But whether you draw up a list of landmarks or pillars, you do not find
a single list where "the gifts" are listed as one of them. Seventh-day
Adventism was built on the Bible. The "advancing light" of 1888 came from
Equality of inspiration is one thing; equality of authority
and infallibility is another. One of the gifts of the Spirit is evangelism.
An evangelist may be inspired as he speaks truth, but this does not give
him an authority equal to the Bible, nor make him infallible. A teaching
pastor may be equally as inspired as an evangelist, but does this give
him the authority to lord it over the flock of God and claim infallibility?
Then how do we relate to the present hour of the utmost
confusion caused by "the many voices" with their siren songs. One thing
should be crystal clear that "an extremely dangerous position" is not
truth. Truth does not put one in such jeopardy. We need basic Adventism
- the pillars and/or landmarks. Then we need to square our perceptions
of truth with these basics, discarding that which does not square, and
enlarging that which does. Such an Adventism is a progressive Adventism.
Those adopting such an Adventism will be walking in the light that shines
more and more on their pathway as the perfect day approaches. (Prov. 4:18;
II Peter 1:19)
There is another aspect to the question of "spiritual gifts."
In the 1872 Statement of Beliefs co-authored by James White and which
he used as the first editorial in The Signs of the Times in 1874,
White did not single out one gift above another. It was not until 1950
when an addition was made to the 1931 Statement, that Ellen C. White's
name is included, and priority is given to "the gift of the Spirit of
prophecy" as "one of the identifying marks of the remnant church." In
all of the Statements from 1872 through the amended 1931 Statement in
1950, there is included within the statements
Ephesians 4 gives the list in this order: apostles, prophets,
evangelists, pastors and teachers. (ver. 11) In I Corinthians 12, the
list varies, except for the first two. In the enumeraton of these two,
priority is suggested: "first apostles, secondarily
prophets." (ver. 28) The
meaning assigned to the word, "apostles" must be given its broadest concept
- the gift of administration. There is not a single "independent ministry"
that I know who would accept this order of authority. Apart from this
vertical interpretation suggested by Paul, is the horizontal - all the
gifts enumerated in Ephesians 4 are of equal authority, since they all
come from the same Spirit. This likewise is no more acceptable than the
vertical by these ministries. But is the solution, taking what James White
termed, "an extremely dangeorus position"?
Much more study must be given to this doctrine than has been given, but let us not suggest as "historic" Adventism a position which the pioneers did not espouse. This is deception. I would suggest that every one who desires truth obtain for himself a copy of "Statements of Belief - A Comparison" and study the statements from 1872 through 1980, checking these points. ($1.50 postpaid from the Foundation) --- (1993 Dec) ---End---- TOP
1993 -- Commentary Vol VII -- Part 1 -- THE 27 STATEMENTS -- SOME HISTORY -- On January 3, 1989, Ron Spear addressed a letter to us through his Associate Executive Director, Joe DiGiacomo. in part it read - "Up to this time we have not performed a thorough analysis of the 27 fundamental beliefs." This was nine years after they had been voted. it is interesting that ISSUES cites a statement in OFF, (June, 1989) just six months later in which Hope International does give a summary of how they perceive the 27 Fundamentals as voted at Dallas. it reads: The official Seventh-day Adventist statement of beliefs is couched in such a way that pivital doctrines such as victorious Christian living, the nature of Christ, and, the atonement are left sufficiently general that all but the most rabid New Theology teachers can give confident assent to them. Thus it is hard to take a strong action against them. (ISSUES, p. 13)
Whether in this article, the writer explains why there is such generality and confusion, we cannot tell not having the whole article available. However, the record behind the history of the 27 Statements which resulted in their present general formulation reveals that Spear himself played a part, as well as others. Now he complains about their lack of forthright expression in certain areas.
From the same locality and in the same year that the informal Conversations began between Adventist leaders and the World Council of Churches, a letter was placed before the General Conference administration suggesting a revision of the 1931 (1946) Statement of Beliefs. While at Vatican II, "a WCC staff member and an Adventist representative [B. B. Beach] came to the conclusion that an informal meeting of a small group of Seventh-day Adventists with an equal number of representatives from the World Council of Churches would fulfill a useful
p 2 -- purpose." (So Much in Common, p. 98) " The first meeting was held in 1965, the participants being selected by the two organizers." (ibid.) That B. E. Seton was one of the Adventist conferees chosen by Beach, this editor has not been able as yet to verify, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that he was one of the participants. However, it was B. E. Seton, writing from Berne, Switzerland, in 1965, who made the suggestion for a revision of the statements of beliefs "both from a theological and literary point of view." (Spectrum, Vol. II, No. 3, p. 60; emphasis mine)
The leadership of the Church at that time, gave no encouragement to the suggestion. However, in 1970 a series of interesting events began to unfold. At the General Conference session held that year in Atlantic City, New Jersey, B. E. Seton became an associate secretary of the General Conference and was assigned to serve as secretary of the Church Manual Committee. He immediately began to work on revision of the Church Manual overcoming strong opposition. Because of the "official reluctance to change a jot or tittle of the Manual," Seton refrained from including the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs in the initial editorial suggestions. At the 1975 Session, editorial revisions in the Church Manual were voted. After the session, Seton perceived the time to be ripe for an attempt to revise the Fundamentals but found himself as "the only one convinced of the need for revision." He, therefore, produced a one-man revision and presented it to the chairman of the committee. A subcomittee was appointed by the chair which in turn, "with the initial one-man revision as its base," spent many hours producing a revision for presentation to the full Church Manual Committee." Seton continues the recitation of what happened: At every step, however, it was dogged by the tradition of untouchability concerning the Fundamentals: indeed, there appeared to be an aura of "inspiration" that hamstrung most suggestions for refinement and improvement of each Statement of Belief. This greatly hampered the work of the committee. If that aura could have been laid to rest, the way could have been opened for a much more effective revision. Under that weighty handicap the subcommittee revised the original Statement and presented it to the full committee for its reaction. An ad hoc committee was then appointed, early in 1978, with the specific task of preparing a document that, via the Church Manual Committee, would prepare a Statement for presentation to the 1980 Session.
That ad hoc committee was commissioned to work within the framework of minimal revisions in deference to the generally held idea of the sacrosanct nature of the Manual and the sensitivites of the church membership respecting any change that might appear to touch the doctrinal beliefs of the Church. Once again, the brakes were on, and revision had to be carried out on a very limited basis.
When that further limited revision was completed in mid-1979, I [Seton] ventured to suggest that it would be wise to submit the document to our professional theologians, on the basis that it would be better to have their reactions before the document went further rather than to await their strictures on the Session floor. There was some hesitation, but eventually the suggestion was accepted, and the document went to Andrews University, with the request that it be studied, that comments and emendations be referred back to the ad hoc committee. Those terims of reference did not register, for the University prepared its own set of fundamentals, which were presented to the 1979 Annual Council for eventual presentation to the 1980 Session.
The University's action accomplished what a timorous interpretation of Church Manual procedure had failed to effect. Hindsight suggests that it would have been wiser if the Church Manual Committee had worked closely with Andrews' theologians from an early date but the traditional reticence to touch the Manual would probably have made that a too-revolutionary suggestion! (ibid., pp. 60-61)
Elder W. Duncan Eva, chairman of the ad hoc committee, had sent the draft of the Statementof Beliefs which the committee had prepared to Dr. Joseph Smoot, then president of Andrews, who in turn selected nine members of the Seminary faculty along with the vice president for academic affairs to review it. This committee of ten was further enlarged to twelve with two more of the seminary faculty added later. How did they view this document? It was noted that in general, the statement was "a genuine improvement over the 1931 statement." However, some questions were raised. The ad hoc committee document had read that Christ "was born of the Virgin Mary" (virgin with a capital "V") (Spectrum, Vol. II, No. 1, p. 3)
On October 16, 1979, the Annual Council adopted without change, the Statement from Andrews University which had been submitted by the General Conference Church Manual Committee with only slight committee modifications. This
p 3 -- Statement was supposed to have been published immediately in the Review so that as much reaction as possible could be received from the field prior to the 1980 session in Dallas. "Unfortunately, for reasons never disclosed, it did not appear for four months." (ibid., p. 6) Finally, the Febraury 21, issue of the Review (pp. 8-10) carried the Statement, inviting "church members to consider it carefully and to send comments or suggestions" to Elder Eva.
At this time, Ron D. Spear, was serving as field representative for the Review. It is my understanding that he and Elder David L. Bauer united their efforts to seek to derail this proposed Statement of Beliefs. I urged Bauer to let the hierarchy proceed so that the lines would be clear and distinct between truth and error. Bauer had prepared a paper entitled - "The 1980 General Conference Session and the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists." The subtitle read - "Come to the help of God against the mighty." (Emphasis his) He scored the Romish vocabulary used in certain sections, and documented well his challenge to the "new theology" expressed in the Statement.
How widely this was circulated, I do not know, but the
position which Ron Spear occupied did
It should have been clearly seen at this point that the resulting statement, which would be voted, would be so worded as to be general in content in order to serve as a "tent" over all the various voices which had been raised due to the agitation which had been aroused. Spear does not need to be crying now "that it is hard to take a strong stand against them" because they are so general, when he helped to create the situation. I asked Bauer why he did it, and he responded that he "felt sorry for the 'brethren.'" This is misplaced sympathy. One to whom has been committed the feeding "of the church of God" should take heed to "the flock" rather than be sympathetic to the "grievous wolves" which enter in "not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:28-29)
One can read the reports in the 1980 General Conference Bulletins to learn much about the discussion that ensued over X-1535, the Statement submitted. However, these accounts were edited, and some "interesting exchanges do not appear fully,...and one long dispute was completely stricken from the official General Conference minutes (by vote of the delegates)." (ibid., p. 9) Elder Ralph Larson, who at the time was pastor of the Loma Hill Church, made a 12 minute speech which "decried the whole process as pre-mature and ill-advised during this time of theological crisis and uncertainty." He asked that the entire Statement of Fundamental Beliefs be tabled. When questioned, it was found that he was not even a delegate, "whereupon Neal Wilson declared him out of order." (ibid.)
The only way which one can adequately judge between the Statement formulated by the Andrews University theologians; the Statement presented (X-1535); and the Statement voted (GC Bulletin, No. 9), is to place key beliefs from these statements side by side for comparison. This we shall do beginning on page 4. it should be kept in mind, however, that when Elder Duncan Eva distributed the ad hoc committee's preliminary draft of the Statements of Belief to the General Conf erence officers, division presidents, and union presidents in North America, he noted in an accompanying letter "that formal and substantive changes in the 1931 statement had been made." To get the fullest impact of these changes, one should have available a copy of the 1931 (1946) Statement for comparison.
There is some other informative detail which should be known to those interested in what has taken place. Actions do not result without people acting. The ad hoc committee which had the oversight of this new Statement of Beliefs was chaired by Elder Duncan Eva as noted above. The members of this committee were B. F. Seton, C. E. Bradford, N. R. Dower, C. O. Franz, W. J. Hackett, Richard Hammill, G. M. Hyde, Alf Lohne, and A. L. White. The "Committee of Twelve" who wrote the Andrews University Statement included among others, Dr. Raoul Dederen who was at that time serving (and still is) on the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC; Dr. William Johnsson who now serves as Editor of the Adventist Review.
In our comments (pages 4 - 7) on two of the statements - the one on the "Trinity" and the one on "The Church," we noted in the "Comments" that these were new statements, and never used previously. We also commented that they were "borrowed," the phraseology of which can be found elsewhere. The Constitution of the WCC reads: The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (So Much in Common, p. 40; emphasis supplied)
Why was this particular language borrowed from the WCC Constitution? The answer is to be found in Article No. 2 of the same Constitution it reads: Those churches shall be eligible for membership in the VVorld Council of Churches which express their agreement with the Basis [Article I quoted above] upon which the Council is founded and shall satisfy such criteria as the Assembly or the Central Committee may prescribe. (ibid)
The leadership of the Church denies that then are members of the WCC. This may be true, but the General Conference holds "associate membership" status in the body. It cannot be written off as a happen stance that the request to rewrite the 1931(1946) Statement of Beliefs came immediately following the first meeting between Adventist leaders and leaders of the WCC. The 27 Statements of Fundamental Beliefs voted at Dallas, Texas, in 1980 incorporates the compromise made with the Evangelicals in 1955-56, and reflects the requirements for uniting with the WCC.
p 4 -- COMPARISONS (All emphasis is supplied)
Comment: The omission of "only" is to accommodate the "new theology" expressed in Statement #17. (see page 6)
Comment: Consistently and unaltered the emphasized sentence comes through in all three Statements. This formulation never appeared in any previous statement. Why? See page 7.
Comment: Omitted is the 1931 (1946) declaration that "While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family."
p 5 --
Comment: Both the Andrews statement, and the Voted statement speak of the atonement of the Cross as "perfect." The word, "sacrificial" in connection with the atonement is not used. The objective of "this perfect atonement" is "our forgiveness." What about our cleansing? It may be averred that Statement #23 spells this out. Does it? See pp. 6 - 7.
Comment: No previous statement of beliefs contained a statement on the Church. Consistent in all of the above formulations is the concept that the Church is a community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. This is borrowed language. See page 7. In the voted statement, Statement #12 preserves the concept that - "The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ." The Scripture says - "The devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19) Belief is not enough. The "church of the living God" is "the pillar and ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15)
p 6 --
Comment: A careful reading of these three statements reveals an "evolution" in concept in regard tc the Writings, which ultimately led to the deletion in the voted statements of the word, "only" from the statement on the Bible as the word of God. (See p. 4) From "a continuing source of divine counsel," to "a continuing source of truth and divine counsel," it was finally stated that the Writings were an "authoritative source of truth." Since Jesus declared, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17), the voted statement is saying that the Writings are of the same authority as the Scriptures, hence the Church has a third canon of Scripture. This is "new theology." The original statement of beliefs (1872) declared simply - "That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in I Cor. 12 and Eph. 4; that these gifts are not designed to supercede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation,..." It was not until 1946, when the 1931 Statement was voted as the official statement of the Church did the name of Ellen G. White appear in a statement. Two sentences were added which read - "That the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church. The remnant church recognizes that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White."
p 7 --
Comment: Through these three statements runs a common thread - "making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross." This phraseology never appeared in any previous statement of beliefs, not even the voted one in 1946. While the voted statement does use the phrase - "atoning sacrifice" - elsewhere in the Statement this "atoning sacrifice" is declared to be "this perfect atonement," not "this perfect atoning sacrifice." In the book, Questions on Doctrine, it is declared, "Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. 'Christ hath redeemed us' (Gal. 3:13) 'once for all."' (p. 390, emphasis theirs) Further, the new phraseology is defined. In the same book, it is stated: When, therefore, one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature - even in the writings of Ellen G. White - that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrifical atonement He made on the cross;...(pp. 354-355; emphasis theirs)
Thus in the very statement which supposedly defines the church's unique teaching on the doctrine of the sanctuary, is the denial of the final atonement, even to the point of seeking to re-define what Ellen G. White has written on this subject. And this after setting the Writings forth as "a continuing and authoritative source of truth." The words of Daniel the prophet aptly describe the present situation - "confusion of faces." (9:7)
p 8 -- PAGAN INFILTRATION -- In a SPECIAL REPORT by a Senior Editor of the Reader Digest's European Bureau in Paris, Vijay Menon, an Anglican delegate of Indian origin to the Seventh Assembly of the WCC held in Canberra, Australia, in 1991, is quoted as declaring, "Pagan culture has infiltrated the WCC." Of "the animism, spiritism and New Age beliefs" presented, Menon said: "I left that behind to become a Christian." (Feb. 1993, p. 68) What took place? The report reads: Before the opening worship service at the last general assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), in Canberra, Australia, delegates passed through the smoke of burning leaves. This was a pagan cleansing rite. The congregation then listened to recorded insect noises and watched a male dancer impersonate a kangaroo. The next day, as two painted, loinclothed Aborigines cavorted, South Korean theologian Chung Hyun Kyung invoked spirits of the dead and exhorted the audience of more than 4000 to read the Bible "from the perspective of birds, water, air, trees" and to "think like a mountain." (ibid.)
At this Seventh Assembly was Dr. B. B. Beach as a "Delegated
Representative" of the General
When Adams reported his observations of the Seventh Assembly, he noted the theology of the Korean professor, writing that she sought "to explain the Holy Spirit in the context of the indigenous gods of Korean (and Asian) folklore." (AR, May 2, 1991, p. 9) He described the reaction of the various WCC leaders to her theology, even noting what the general secretary, Dr. Emilio Castro said: "Dr. Chung has the right to utilize [native] traditional categories to plant the gospel in Korean culture. Let us listen! Let us correct! Let us review. Let us challenge. But let us not condemn." While in the three article report, Adam's personal bias broke through on various topics discussed, he did follow the advice of Dr. Castro. He did not condemn or react to Dr. Chung's theology, as he reacted to protests by dedicated Adventist. He declared that their protest "deeply embarrassed and sickened" him. (ibid, p. 10) Evidently pagan spiritism didn't.
In summary of how the Seventh-day Adventist Church should react to the WCC, Adams called for a cooperative attitude instead of urging the Church to disassociate itself from the WCC and bring their Statement of Beliefs into harmony with the Bible rather than the Constitution of the Council.
The Special Report in the Reader's Digest also revealed the Marxist thinking dominating the WCC. The editor noted that when "a study group at the Canberra assembly wanted to consult the Bible on a point, a WCC staffer protested, 'Oh no. It's Christian imperialism to suggest that the Bible has more to say than other books.'" ( op., cit., p. 69) This same editor pointed out that the retiring General Secretary, Dr. Castro, in 1989, at a reception in the Kremlin stated that Karl Marx "was dreaming out of the same biblical tradition from which we come." (ibid., p. 72) Castro is a "liberation theologian." There appears to be little hope for the future of the WCC. Castro's successor, Konrad Raiser, served for 10 years as a deputy to Philip Potter a Marxist, whose "roots" come from the same region as does Adams. All through Adam's three article report were echoes of the same Marxist agenda. And if this reporting reflects the thinking of the Church's hierarchy, there is little hope that the course pursued by the Church since 1967 will be rectified, or that there will be a restructuring of the 27 Fundamentals to reflect the Biblical truth once held by the Church.
The bottom line is truth, pure and unadulterated. The "church of the living God" is to be "the pillar and the ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15) There is to be no agreement between the "temple of God" and paganism. We can not eat of both "the table of the Lord and the table of devils." (II Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor. 10:20-21) The course the Church has pursued in relationship with the WCC, and is still pursuing, denies to it the status as "the Church of the Living God."
p 9 -- THE GOSPEL OF GOD -- The correction of the detail associated with the 1946 and 1950 General Conference sessions casts light on another important factor in the present controversy which was raised by ISSUES. in 1950, when the first alteration was made in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs by the addition of two sentences, it dare not be overlooked that the statement defining the nature of the incarnation was left standing and untouched. It read concerning Jesus Christ: "While retaining His divine nature, He took upon Himself the nature of the human family."
It also needs to be recalled that at this very time, alterations had been made in the book, Bible Readings for the Home Circle, which changed the teaching on the incarnation that had appeared in the book for over three decades, and which teaching was in harmony with the 1931 Statement as well as the previous Statements. Also in 1950, Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short presented to the officers of the General Conference their original manuscript in which they clearly warned that to deny that Christ "took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin" - "the nature of the human family" - would be equivalent to Baal worship, the worship of a false christ. (See A Warning and Its Reception, White sec., p. 152, 135) But - as Elijah in days of old ran to the desert of Sinai, so these men ran back to Africa, and now the Baal worship of which they warned has overtaken the Church.
In five years, Adventist conferees during the SDA-Evangelical Conferences would declare that Christ was "exempt" from the "nature of the human family." (Questions on Doctrine, p. 383) This change would be reflected in the 1980 Statement voted at Dallas by omission of the 1931 confession and thus enlarge the "tent" of Adventism so "there are at least three views on the nature of Christ current in Adventist circles" today. (Tithe, Supplement to the Adventist Review, p. 3)
we are not willing to perceive the enormity of the Church's backsliding into Baal worship. Even Wieland has put his own spiritual eyesight out. In his latest book, he writes - "Our problem is not our '27 doctrines' or our history. Their general validity is unquestioned." (Corporate Repentance, p. 30) But what did the "omission" of 1980 do?
To the Church was committed "the everlasting gospel" (Rev. 14:6) it is the basis of the whole of the Three Angels' Messages. This gospel is clearly defined by Paul. it reads: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, ... concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which 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. 1:1, 3-4)
To deny that Christ took upon Himself the flesh of the seed of David received through Mary with all that this involves is to deny the gospel - the everlasting gospel which God "had promised aforetime by his prophets through the scriptures." Further Paul wrote: "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:9) By the official action of the Church in General Conference session they have denied the trust committed to them in the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14, and have come under the curse of God.
-- Commentary --
Vol VII -- Part
2 -- WHAT
CAN WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE INCARNATION? -- Every
human pregnancy is an incarnation - the process by which one comes into
the flesh. From a theological perspective the term is applied to the birth
of Jesus Christ conceived in the womb of Mary. The difference between
His pregnancy and our pregnancy is the source of conception. Of His conception,
the angel Gabriel said to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come
upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you." (Luke 1:35
NKJV) Our conception
is from an earthly father. Jesus had no such father.
The Scripture takes this unique Incarnation one step further.
Jesus Christ was God incarnated. "The Word became flesh." (John 1:14,
NKJV) He had pre-existed as God
in the form of God. (John 1:1; Phil. 2:6) His transition to the flesh
was not the beginning of a new Identity. He had existed from eternity.
Our conception is the beginning of a new distinct identity.
In reading various dictionaries as to the meaning of the
word, incarnation, I found in one a unique but challenging definition:
"the process of healing in a wound."
(Funk & Wagnalls, New College Standard Dictionary, 1950 ed.)
What better definition could be applied to the objective and nature of
Christ's incarnation? Yet it is at this very point that the controversy
over the doctrine of the Incarnation centers. How deeply did God become
involved in healing the "wound" sin had inflicted?
In the Seventh-day Adventist Church today, one has three
options in regard to God's involvement with the "wound" sin has inflicted
in humanity. He can believe that Christ either took the nature of Adam
before the Fall, or the nature of Adam after the Fall. If he should not
opt for either one of these two positions, he can choose the theology
of the Anglican divine, Henry Melvill, who proposed that Christ took a
little of each. (See p. 3, Tithe insert, by Roger W. Coon of the
Ellen G. White Estate; SDA's Believe..., pp. 47, 57)
Why the Incarnation? -- Man needed a Saviour, one who could accept in his stead the penalty of death because of sin. Jesus Christ in the form of God could not die; but by becoming incarnate, He could die. "In fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:8)
Further, the Law of God was weakened "through the flesh."
Therefore, God sent His Son, that by becoming incarnate, He "condemned
sin in the flesh." God did not condemn sin by merely pronouncing against
it as a judge sitting on the judgment seat. In Jesus Christ, God manifest
in the flesh, sin was condemned at its very source: "that the righteousness of
the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after
the Spirit." (Rom. 8:3-4)
It is this second objective of the Incarnation, the condemnation
of sin in the flesh, which is the root of the controversy regarding the
nature Christ assumed in humanity. How could He condemn sin in the flesh,
if He took a human body that did not possess sin which could be condemned?
If He took the nature of Adam before the Fall, where was the flesh of
sin to be condemned? If Christ took only that part of human nature which
Melvill assigns to Him, "innocent infirmities," Christ did not really
condemn sin, in the flesh, for "innocent infirmities" are not sin, but
the results of sin.
p 2 -- (See SDA's Believe ..., p. 57) Yet
the Scriptures plainly teach that God "made [Christ] to be sin for us,
who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(II Cor. 5:21) The basic
thoughts expressed in Romans 8:3-4 and II Corinthians 5:21 are parallel.
We seem to be unable to grasp the concept that the Divine pre-existent Identity "knew no sin," but that He took upon Himself a "slave form" which contained the same elemental "sin" every other child of Adam possesses. It is what He did in the flesh as compared with what we do in the flesh that produces the sharp contrast which we see. We do not condemn sin in the flesh, but allow it to control us. Christ condemned sin in that flesh, and brought the life He lived in the flesh into harmony with the will and purposes of God. Thus the two objectives of the incarnation Substitute and Example - are realized in Him.
It is true that when we set forth the dual objective of the Incarnation, the subject of perfection becomes involved, because Christ lived a life free from all sin in both thought and deed. The texts noted above plainly teach that Christ's involvement in the sin problem had as an objective that "we might be made the righteousness of God in Him," with the ultimate realization of "the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us" as we cease to walk after the flesh, but live by the power of the Spirit. The "how" of this experience is just as controversial as the issue of the nature that Christ assumed in the Incarnation. First, the "form" Christ took in place of the "form" of God must be settled before the "perfection" problem can be accurately addressed. The nature of the perfection to be realized is directly related to the victory which Christ obtained in His humanity. But "how?" - that is the question.
"What Does the Bible Tell
Us About Jesus' Humanity?" -- This question
is asked in the third editorial of the series on "Our Matchless Saviour"
by the Adventist Review Editor-in-chief, William G. Johnsson. August
12., 1993, p. 4) The answers which he gives are open to serious question
and challenge. Before noting specific deviant assertions by Johnsson,
we shall seek to find the truth as revealed both in prophecy concerning
the Promised One, and in the reports on that life as lived in humanity.
The first gospel promise found in Genesis 3:15 states clearly
that "the seed" of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. This promise
was made to our first parents not as they stood in their innocence in
Eden. There would have been no need, but the promise was made to them
in sin. Three of the first sons by Adam are named - Cain, Abel and Seth.
Adam gave them not only an inheritance but also "identity." In Eve their
humanity was formed. The power to form the body of every child became
the prerogative of each and every daughter of Eve. The nature of that
body of flesh was the same for every child of humanity, unless there was
a divine intervention in that process. This is the other side of the coin
in the controversy.
Peter tells us that the prophets of the Old Testament both
searched diligently and inquired concerning the salvation which the grace
of God would bring into humanity. (I Peter 1:10) He would be a "tender
plant" but as "a root out of a dry ground." (Isa. 53:2) These "roots"
would be based in Jesse. (11:1) This "Branch" from Jesse would grow up
"out of His place." (Zech. 6:12) Both in environment and in heredity,
the Divine "Identity" would tabernacle in flesh.
When God desired to dwell among His People, He gave instruction
to Moses to make a tabernacle of the finest materials available to man
- gold, silver, and linen. Even those ministering within the tabernacle
were to be attired in "fine linen" to reflect glory and beauty. (Ex. 28:39-40)
But the covering of that tabernacle was of ram's skins dyed red and badger's
skins. (39:34) This revealed the contrast between the "identity" of the
One who would be "manifest in the flesh and the "flesh" He would assume.
"Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness." (I Tim. 3:16)
In announcing the coming of the Word into flesh, the angel
Gabriel told Mary that "the Holy Spirit shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also
that holy [thing] which
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
The first thing that Gabriel revealed was the energy God would devote
to the accomplishment of the Incarnation. The inherent power of the Highest
would be involved. The result - a divine "Identity" in human flesh would
be called "the Son of God."
The word, "thing" is supplied and not in the Greek text, because the adjective, hagion (holy), is in the neuter gender. Some have suggested the word, teknon, a neuter word for "child," thus having the text read - "The holy child which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of
p 3 -- of God." While this linguistically is feasible,
it does not convey the idea of the transition of God into flesh, but only
that God initiated a fetus to begin in the womb of Mary. There is another
word which meets the requirement both lingistically and Scrinturally.
It is the word, pneuma (spirit), making the
text read - "The holy Spirit which shall be born of thee shall be called
the Son of God." This concept is also suggested in the Writings. Speaking
of the Incarnation, Ellen
White wrote - "He united humanity with divinity:
a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the
temple." (YI, Dec. 20, 1900)
Paul introduces his Epistle to the Romans with a statement as to what constitutes the Gospel of God. It concerns "His Son Jesus Christ our Lord." The first point, the basic point, is that Jesus Christ "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:1, 3) In all of the books and articles which the Editor-in-chief of the Adventist Review has written, I can find nowhere where he defends or declares that David was impeccable. Yet Paul writes that the humanity which Jesus assumed in the Incarnation was "of the seed of David."
In Romans 8, Paul again introduces the subject of the nature
which Christ took upon Himself in humanity. He writes that Christ was
sent "in the likeness (en
homoiomati) of sinful flesh." (8:3)
Thus the force of Paul's use of the word, "likeness" in
Romans must be measured by his use
The reality of the forces operating in the body of Jesus
is expressed by John as he denotes "the seed of the woman" as "the Man-Child."
He does not use the Greek word, anthropos,
man in the generic sense, nor aner,
man as a human being, but rather arsen,
the male sex. Jesus was not an anaphrodite. The forces which surge through
man, He also felt, but ruled that nature with a rod of iron. Caught up
unto God and to His throne, having been made like unto His brethren "in
all things" (Heb. 2:17), and understanding "the feeling of our infirmities"
(Heb. 4:15) He could there make intercession for us.
With all this plain testimony in the Bible as to the nature
Christ assumed in humanity, Johnsson
would write in the Adventist Review, "The
Scriptures don't give a specific answer,..."
(August 12, 1993, p. 4, col. 2) Then
he would add a few paragraphs later - "The
silence of the New Testament on this specific point is deafening." (col.
3) These observations shout loud and long
telling us that something is wrong in the Church. In reality it pin-points
one primary source of the problem, the editorship of the Adventist
These distortions of truth about the testimony of Scripture
in regard to the Incarnation were but added comments to another perversion
of the reality. Johnsson
had written (col. 1), Christ "experienced
no inner conflict, as if deity and humanity pulled Him in different directions."
We cite two references for consideration
of how Christ in humanity viewed events in relationship to the Father's
viewpoint: (l) In the
course of His ministry, Jesus knowing Himself to be what He was, felt
keenly His rejection, and "began to upbraid the cities wherein most of
His mighty works" had been performed. (Matt. 11:20) Then He paused to
pray. In this prayer, He told the Father that He was resigned to this
rejection by "the wise and prudent" because "it seemed good in [the Father's]
sight." (ver. 26) Not His!
His earthly infirmities pulled in a different direction.
However, by bringing His humanity into line with the Divine viewpoint,
He was able to give the call to one of Heaven's greatest gifts - rest
of soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
(2) The second illustration is found in the experience of the Garden of Gethsemane. Three times His humanity pulled in a different direction
p 4 -- from the commitment He had made as a part of the counsel of peace which He and the Eternal One had formulated for the redemption of man. All that was within Him abhorred going into "outer darkness" which He faced in doing the Father's will that sin might he eradicated from the universe. Each time it was His will - "take away this cup from Me" (Mark 14:36) - versus the Father's will. Finally the decision was made · "Thy will be done." He drank the cup; He went into "outer darkness." This struggle was real for the fallen nature He took was also real. He brought into subjection the fallen human nature to the will of the Divine. He became our Example.
The Writings of Ellen G. White
-- In the
fourth editorial on
the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, Johnsson asks the question -
"What did Ellen White tell us about Jesus?" (August 19, 1993, p. 4)
After listing several quotations from her pen which indicate that Christ
took the unfallen nature of Adam (the prelapsarian view), he quoted another
which unequivocally read:
"He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled
by sin." Then he comments: "We
could list many more statements in support of each side. And from those
lists each party in the debate draws its ammunition. Some Adventists have
striven mightily to bring these apparently contradictory statements together
under the post-Fall view. I don't think it can be done."
In this conclusion of Johnsson, we must concur. The first
manuscript we published in 1972 was -
To illustrate one problem in this contradictory picture,
we shall use the reference cited by Johnsson from The SDA Bible Commentary,
Vol. 7, p. 924. This statement from the Youth Instructor, April
25, 1901, as published in the first edition of The Commentary did
not read as Johnsson quoted it. Note the difference.
[Christ] vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan
obtained the victory."
In Volume 7, first edition, the statement read: "He [Christ] vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan had obtained the victory."
Just the addition of one word - "had" and the statement moved from the prelapsarian view to the postlapsarian position. However, in this same first edition, the statement is also found in Vol. 5, p. 1108 with the word, "had" omitted as quoted by Johnsson. The second edition of The Commentary series harmonizes the two references omitting the word, "had." This conforms to the facsimile reproduction of The Youth's Instructor Articles (p. 512.) which confirms the omission.
We did our research prior to the publication of The
Youth's Instructor Articles, and found it necessary to go to the Ellen
G. White Estate Archives at Andrews University to clarify these contradictory
statements. The question for us was - Was the word, "had" in
the original text? After seeing the article on film, we asked if we might
see the autograph from which the article was written. This is a reasonable
request in any critical area. The process through which the article had
to go - secretary, typesetting, proof reading and editing - could have
been the cause for the omission of the word, "had." We were
told, however, that the autograph had been burned in the Review &
Herald fire. This means that when the article was sent from Elmshaven,
the autograph, secretarial copies - all - had been sent to the Youth's
Instructor editor. This simply "blows" one's mind!
To maintain that the "had" was not in the autograph only adds to the problem. This article was published in the April 25, 1901, issue of the Youth's Instructor. Four months prior in the same journal, Ellen White had written: "Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen suffering human nature, degraded and defiled of sin." (Dec. 20, 1900) To omit the "had" from the 1901 statement, leaves it in complete contradiction with the 1900 reference. Either Ellen White wrote one of the statements, and the secretaries the other, or else somebody removed
p 5 -- the word, "had" from the 1901 article, and the fire proved to be a good "cover up." Whatever happened, the Ellen G. White Estate needs to come clean with a viable explanation and/or admission. We can name the respected person who stated that the autograph had been burned.
The clarification of this reference could remove one contradiction immediately; however, there are others as every researcher knows.
In this fourth editorial, Johnsson uses a ploy to bolster his thesis in regard to the nature Christ took in the Incarnation as set forth in the Writings of Ellen White. He wrote: "In all her thousands of comments about Jesus' humanity, she nowhere calls this matter one of the pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Although she refers to the 'pillars,' ' foundations,' ' waymarks,' and 'landmarks' in a number of places - apparently using the terms interchangeably - we fail to find mention of the human nature of Christ." (op. cit, col. 2)
He then lists the "pillars" citing Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 30, 31. Technically, he is correct. There is no specific mention of the Incarnation in this list or any other that might be cited. But has not God given to every human being the power to think? There is listed as one of the "pillars," the three angels' messages. Basic to the three angels' messages is the "everlasting gospel." (Rev. 14:6) And what is that age-long gospel? Paul specifically wrote that "the gospel of God" concerns "His Son Jesus Christ our lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:1, 3 NKJV) Further he wrote to the Galatians that should he, "or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8)
Basically, the bottom line in this whole question of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is whether we are going to preach the "everlasting gospel" committed to the Advent movement, or whether we are going to preach "another gospel" which is not another, but a perversion of "the gospel of Christ." (Gal. 1:-7)
What then is the teaching which one can find in the Writings
of Ellen White on the nature of the humanity of Jesus? In 1848, Ellen
White was given a vision "concerning the great controversy of the
ages between Christ and Satan." Ten years later at Lovett's Grove,
Ohio, the vision was repeated with instruction to write it out. The result
was the book, Spiritual
Gifts, Vol. I. (Life Sketches, p. 162) In chapter III
- "The Plan of Salvation" - two statements are
"Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man's fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man's nature, he could overpower Him, and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation." (p. 27; emphasis supplied in both quotations)
During this very interval of time between 1848-1858, Satan, through "another gospel," promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception which declared that Mary, mother of Jesus, "was preserved free from every stain of original sin." Commenting on this, Cardinal Gibbons wrote: "Unike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 171, 88th Edition)
Thus the battle was drawn between two gospels, the "everlasting gospel" committed to the Advent people, and the gospel of "the mystery of iniquity." It is no accident that the "mystery of godliness" is declared to be God manifest in the flesh of the seed of David, born of a woman, and made subject to the law of human heredity.
It was not until the SDA-Evangelical Conferences in 1955-1956, that the key word of the Roman Catholic explanation of her Dogma of the Immaculate Conception appeared in Seventh-day Adventist Publications. In the book, Questions on Doctrine, it was stated of Christ: "Although born in the flesh, He was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." (p. 383)
Johnsson in setting forth the objective of his series of editorials on the Doctrine of the Incarnation stated that his "purpose" was not "to try to prove that one side is 'right' and the other 'wrong'." His hope was to draw all together. This cannot be done, for there is a right and there is a wrong side to this controversy. There is the "everlasting gospel" committed in sacred trust to the Advent
p 6 -- Movement, and there is the false gospel, "the mystery of iniquity." The stage was set at the very beginning of this movement and was plainly revealed as a part of the great controversy hetween Christ and Satan. The climax has been reached today in the apostasy that has engulfed the Church.
"The Real Issue" -- In his final editorial, Johnsson attempts to deal with what he calls "the real issue." (August 26, 1993, p. 4) He wrote: "The issue behind the issue is the concept of sin." (Emphasis his) There can be no question but that the real issue is sin. That is what the plan of salvation is all about. But the question is how did God deal with this issue? Did He promulgate against sin from the Throne of the Universe, or did He come into the region of sin and condemn sin in the flesh? Johnsson wrote: "In a penetrating analysis, Paul describes sin as a force, an indwelling principle, a state - 'sin living in me' (Rom. 7:14-20). So not only are our acts sinful; our very nature is at war with God." Then he asks a question: "Did Jesus have such a nature?" His answer was "No." But Paul also wrote that Christ was made "to be sin." (II Cor. 5:21) He did not write - "to he a sinner committing acts of sin." Acts arise from the flesh wherein sin resides. Jesus condemned sin in that flesh! (Rom. 8:3)
Then Johnsson rests his case by citing the proverbial argument that if Christ had such a nature - a fallen nature - "He would Himself need a Saviour." (ibid.) The problem is that Paul declared of himself that sin is "living in me." Here is the difference. Though taking "upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin," He condemned it, He crucified it; it did not live in Him. And this Paul recognized as his only source of victory writing: "I am crucified with Christ." (Gal. 2,:20) That which Christ did at the end of His earthly ministry, was but the climax of what He had done every day of His life in regard to the human nature He assumed. This Paul also recognized as his need, writing, "I die daily." (I Cor. 15:31)
Now we reverse the picture. If Johnsson's answer to the question - "Did Jesus have such a nature?" - remains, "No," then Jesus was "exempt" from that which every other child of Adam receives by the operation of the great law of heredity. This very issue was discussed at the General Conference session of 1901. To a question raised, Dr. E. J. Waggoner responded in an evening sermon, April 16. The question asked was: "Was that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that ours does?" (1901 GC Bulletin, p. 403) In response, he stated: "Did you ever hear of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception? And do you know what it is? Some of you possibly have supposed in hearing of it, that it meant that Jesus Christ was born sinless? That is not the Catholic dogma at all. The doctrine of the immaculate conception is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born sinless. Why? - Ostensibly to magnify Jesus: really the work of the devil to put a wide gulf between Jesus the Saviour of men, and the men whom He came to save, so that one could not pass over to the other. That is all.
"We need to settle, everyone of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not. There are a great many that have got the marks yet ...
"Do you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours (because we know ours is sinful) necessarily involves the idea of the immaculate conception of Mary? Mind you, in Him was no sin, but the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, the marvel of the ages, the wonder of angels, that thing which even now they desire to understand, and which they can form no just idea of, only as they are taught it by the church, is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its spotless purity in the midst of sinful flesh." (ibid, p. 404)
The editor of the Adventist Review needs to settle the question as to whether he is out of the Roman Catholic Church or not. If he is not willing to come out, then he needs to be relieved, with all of the others of his staff who also so believe, of their positions. However, if such a course was boldly pursued by the General Conference administration, no one knows where it would end, so completely has the enemy infiltrated the thinking of the leadership of the Church.
The Provision of a Saviour -- It is assumed that if the doctrine of the Incarnation is stated so as to teach that Christ took the fallen nature of man, He Himself would have needed a saviour. God does not hold one accountable for that which he is not responsible. Christ was not accountable for sin even though He created man, and man fell. Neither is a child of Adam accountable for what he received
p 7 --from Adam - a fallen nature.
Christ, to meet the sin problem, became "sin for us," accepting the working of the great law of heredity. What He accomplished - the condemnation of sin in the flesh and the provision of a sacrifice for sin - provides for man the only means of salvation. It is "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 3:24)
Man is held accountable for what he does in the fallen nature received from Adam, not the nature itself which he did not choose to be in. However, in that nature, he can do only acts of sin, break the Law. In the final judgment the decision will revolve around how he related to the provision through Jesus Christ. Did he recognize his total inability, relying completely on the merits of Jesus Christ, or did he still try to do his righteousness in the fallen nature? Did he seek to justify his course because he believed that Jesus was not like him, and thus he could not be like Jesus?
Johnsson seeks to frame the whole of the Incarnation controversy in the picture of "Our Matchless Saviour," yet he robs Him of His glorious victory over sin. It is only when I truly perceive the struggle of Jesus both in life and in dying, that there is called forth from me an appreciation of the matchless charms of Christ so that I willingly bow at the foot of the Cross, the highest place that I can attain. There, I too, die that the life which I now live in the flesh, may be lived by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. That faith conquered in a fallen nature like mine, and it can conquer in my fallen nature. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:57)
THE ROAR OF THE "PAPER TIGER" -- In the October issue of WWN, we commented on Dr. Desmond Ford's analysis of the dissertation written by Elder Kai Arasola for his doctorate from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Ford had written: "For over a hundred years, loyal Adventist ministers have contended that the supposed prophetic date of 1844 and the theory of the Investigative Judgment were contrary to Scripture and alien to the gospel of Christ. Protester after protester has arisen, been overwhelmed by prejudice, vilified, and passed by. Today they are vindicated by a recent undeniable turn of the tables in Europe." (J'Accuse!, 6/14/93)
He cites, as this European event, the research of Dr. Arasola, stating that "Arasola writes what the scholars of Adventism in Europe, America, and around the world have long known - that there is no biblical (sic) basis for 1844." (ibid.)
We, too, obtained the book but failed to find the vindication of the position which Ford claimed it supported. We wrote: "that Dr. Desmond Ford's evaluation of the dissertation reveals his deceptive tactics in seeking to bolster his personal heretical teachings. Having noted his conclusions and being able to read for myself the dissertation, his integrity in dealing with any source documents is now questionable in my judgment. He is truly a 'paper tiger'." (WWN 10/93, p. 6)
Naturally, Ford did not like what I wrote. The "paper tiger" roared. In a letter dated October 18, 1993, he threatened: "With reference to your recent statements on Dr. Arasola's book we plan to print the enclosed. The only thing that might cause us to change our mind would be a frank retraction on your part in print reaching us by November 12."
The enclosure was a three paragraph article. The first paragraph noted my statement quoted above with the omission of the last sentence. The second paragraph read: "For the sake of those who do not yet possess the book, we will quote some passages to see whether it is William Grotheer or myself who has misread this splendid volume. Let the reader
p 8 -- keep in mind that the primary issue is whether we are justified in saying with historicism that significant prophetic dates in New Testament times can be calculated from the symbolic language of Scripture. Does Dr. Arasola believe that there are good grounds for saying that 538, 1798, August 11, 1840 (sic), October 22, 1844 are biblical (sic)?"
The third paragraph is a summary of the points in which
Ford thinks William Miller was correct, and those in which he believes
that Miller erred.
To the "paper tiger's" roar, I replied: "You may proceed to do as you wish as I have no plans to retract what I have written. It stands, and I am ready for any assault which you might make on truth." (October 26, 1993)
A comment or two on Ford's second paragraph is in order. Any one who has done public evangelism, as others and I have done in our ministries, and who have been willing to preach the sanctuary teaching in the light of the prophecies of the book of Daniel, know that the date, 1844, can be sustained using the hermeneutic concepts of historicism. It is true that one must make an adjustment for the absence of a Year 0, which the Millerites failed to do, and which Arasola notes. (The End of Historicism, p. 144) It must be kept in mind that Adventist sanctuary teaching is a combination of historicism and typology. This Arasola also notes. (ibid., p. 161-168)
In regard to the dates which mark the beginning and terminus of the 1260 day prophecy, historical documentation can be found in Facts of Faith, pp. 52-60. As for the prophetic time elements in Revelation 9, the use of which by Miller and Litch gave impetus to the Movement, these need to be carefully restudied. No one should be a blind devotee to the past, but neither should one worship so-called scholarship per se.
In the mail which brought the threat from Desmond Ford, was a letter from Dr. Arasola commenting on the analysis of his dissertation in the same WNN (pp. 4-5). This letter read:
This incident illustrates a point. Dr. Ford is ready to tell you what Paul says in the book of Hebrews, even though Paul specifically states otherwise. Now he is seeking to tell those who read his paper just what Dr. Arasola's research states when a careful reading thereof indicates otherwise. No doubt by improper abridging of paragraphs one can manipulate the dissertation to say what it does not say. Dr Arasola did not name Ford, but one wonders if he is alluding to Ford's assumptions as a part of the "extreme conclusions" being drawn from his research. It is sad to what lengths Ford will go to sustain error.
NEWS NOTE -- The Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order held by the World Council of Churches (WCC), August 4-13 in the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, called Christians to seek "fuller koinonia." The opening worship service was held in the local Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. James, where a dramatic visual feature was the swinging of the botafumeiro, an exceptionally large censer suspended by ropes from the ceiling. The service included the traditional singing of a hymn to St. James as the botafumeiro swung. While worship services were conducted throughout the conference sponsored by Protestant Churches, the final service was in a local Franciscan church.
This convocation marked the first time that Roman Catholics were official delegates to a World Faith and Order Conference. This fact was highlighted by the appearance of Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy of the Vatican Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The conference anticipates an ecumenical assembly during what is called the "jubilee year" of 1998, which is the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the WCC. A report issued by the conference proposes that such a jubilee assembly be convened jointly by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. - Source documentation: EPS 60/2 ? Please check!
This is the final issue of Commentary. The purpose which the Commentary served will be met in special issues of WWN. For information write: P. 0. Box 69, Ozone, Ark.
p 9 -- SHADOWS OF COMING EVENTS -- After writing the "News Note" on the previous page based on a release in the Ecumenical Press Service, we received the October issue of One World, the monthly magazine of the WCC. In it was a six-page article detailing the same world conference on Faith and Order. The growing presence of the Roman Catholic representation was highlighted as evidence of "ecumenical movement since the last Faith and Order World Conference" in Montreal thirty years ago. In 1963 only five Roman Catholics attended as "observers;" in 1993 thirty-two Catholics registered and made up the fourth-largest confessional group after the Orthodox, Reformed and Lutheran. Another evidence was cited, the preaching of a Methodist woman pastor in the pulpit of a Catholic Church in Spain.
Three documents were noted as marking the achievments of the last three decades: 1) The Lima Text on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry; 2) Confessing the One Faith, an attempt to make Nicene Creed the basis for doctrinal unity; and 3) The study, Church and World, designed to be an understanding of "the essential link between the vocation of the church and the destiny of the world in the perspective of the kingdom." The bottom line objective is to achieve visible unity which thus far has escaped them. This fifth World Conference was perceived as a pilgrimage toward that unity.
The date 1998 loomed large in the thinking of the planners for the sixth world conference, since this date will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the WCC. No decisions or recommendations were made at Santiago de Compostela as to where this conference should be held; however, Faith and Order vice-moderator, Jean Tillard, did suggest in his address on the last day of the conference that consideration be given to "a gathering of all the major leaders in the churches - perhaps at Jerusalem - simply to sing the [Nicene] creed together. That would be a wonderful expression of the degree of unity already present and of its origin."
The General Secretary of the WCC, Konrad Raiser, proposed 1998 as "an ecumenical jubilee year" - like the jubilee years in the Old Testament. Specifically he said, "doctrinal anathemas of the past could be lifted and churches could be expressly converted from separation to the koinonia that is God's gift and calling to them." "Koinonia" was defined as "a gracious fellowship in Christ expressing the richness of the gift received by creation and humankind from God."
HANDS ACROSS THE GULF -- Jerry Falwell, pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church and head of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, at a rally in a Prince George's County, Maryland church, last July, "exhorted his evangelical Protestant listeners to put aside theological differences and become ' co-belligerents' with Roman Catholics, Mormons, conservative Jews and Muslims." (Church & State, October, 1993, p. 15)
Here we have the synthesis of a modern version of Protestants (Religious Right) reaching out to the same element in Romanism and seeking an accord with Spiritism (Mormonism). To this picture is now added the ingredients of the Middle East - the conservative Jew and Islam, forces represented in Daniel 11:40-45.
In the same issue of Church and State (p. 19), the founder of Operation Rescue, Randall Terry, is quoted as stating unequivocally the objectives of the religious right. He declared at a rally in Ohio: "Our goal must be simple: We must have a Christian nation built on God's law, on the Ten Commandments. No apologies." The overtones of the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-3 can be heard.
It must be remembered that John Paul II's apostolic letter, Redemptionis Anno, closed with a paragraph using Isaiah 2:3. The thrust of the letter was "The City of Jerusalem, the Sacred Patrimony of all Believers and the Desired Meeting Place for the Peoples of the Middle East." Citing Jerusalem as "a symbol of coming together, of union, and of universal peace for the human family," he declared in that final paragraph: "This peace proclaimed by Jesus Christ in the name of the Father who is in heaven thus makes Jerusalem the living sign of the great ideal of unity, of brotherhood and of agreement among peoples according to the illuminating words of the book of Isaiah: ' Many peoples shall come and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.'" --- (1993 -- Commentary -- Vol VII -- Part 2 -- WHAT CAN WE BELIEVE ABOUT THE INCARNATION?) ---