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 1992 Jan-Mar
Jan -- XXV -- 1(92) -- A SYMPOSIUM REPORT -- Editor's
-- The following
report was written by Pastor Richard Sutton of the independent congregation
of Seventh-day Adventists meeting in Nora Springs, Iowa. In this report,
he explains why the symposium was called, who was invited to come and
take part, also noting their reaction to the invitation. This report
should cause every sincere and concerned Seventh-day Adventist to pause
and consider where he is placing his emphasis in these last final days
of human history.
For some time, we had been receiving literature, audio and video tapes from the following:
addition, some of us have listened and spoken in person to quite a few
of the brethren associated with these ministries. In fact, we had sponsored,
or helped to sponsor some of the meetings we had attended.
had become increasingly clear that our congregation was not the only
group of Seventh-day Adventists deeply concerned by the deepening apostasy
within the corporate denominational Church. We had associated with brethren
from other parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin at these meetings
who represented themselves to be likewise saddened and perplexed over
the crisis among our people.
lt also became apparent to us that not all of these ministries were speaking with the same voice. The trumpet was being given an uncertain sound. All recognized problems; all recognized that something was amiss; but there was confusion as to what should be done about it. Therefore, we at Nora Springs were strongly convinced that the issues of "the status of
2 -- God's people at this time" were not being presented in
their true light. So trying to be a part of the solution, rather than
just an addition to the problem, we invited the ten ministries (or their
representatives) to our church in Nora Springs to discuss the following
Ross replied by telephone before October 21 representing himself and
John Osborne. Terry informed me that he didn't go anywhere unless money
was sent to cover his expenses stating that anyone who wanted to hear
his message would willingly pay for the privilege.
at a meeting in Le Center, Minnesota, members of our congregation had
the opportunity to personally invite Bob Trefz on October 12. He also
declined stating he had a "thought paper" to get ready and
place in the mails. There was NO REPLY from the others before
October 21, we took it upon ourselves to contact the remaining ministries
who had not replied. John Grosboll's secretary, answering the Steps
to Life telephone, stated that John had a wedding to perform and would
be unable to attend. An individual contacted at Concerned Publications
informed us that Bill Stringfellow was in Florida.
Colin Standish finally responded by letter stating he was booked up
until September, 1992, and would be unable to attend. However, at a
mini-campmeeting held this past Fall in our area which we were asked
to help arrange, Hal Mayer from Hartland was present. He at that time
responded to an invitation for a meeting in Wisconsin with only three
weeks notice. We did not specifically request Dr. Colin Standish's presence,
only that Hartland be represented.
Marcussen's telephone wasn't answered and in his November newsletter,
he wrote he would be at a "Campmeeting," November 7-9. (We
have not heard from him yet, even though he had been a guest speaker
at our church a few weeks prior to our sending out the invitation!)
Sparks of Hope International left a message on my telephone answering
machine indicating that he would not be able to come. Approximately
one week later, a letter was received stating - "I left a message
on your answering machine that Hope International would not be represented
at your upcoming seminar. Our Executive committee felt that your expectation
of all getting together to formulate a 'common voice' is unrealistic.
We believe that the Holy Spirit will lead isolated voices to speak with
one voice without human vote being taken or legislation."
November 4, we sent a second letter to professedly concerned Seventh-day
Adventists in the area informing them that the "Symposium"
was still on. It was held as scheduled, and a video was made of the
presentations and the discussions.
the absolute importance of the topics on the agenda for discussion and
the times in which we are living, as a congregation, we were not only
disappointed; and we cannot but question the sincerity of the independent
ministries and the professedly concerned area Adventists who failed
Holy Spirit was in charge of this meeting and the topics were well covered
by Elder Grotheer representing the Adventist Laymen's Foundation, and
Elder Tevis speaking for the Nora Springs Church. We appreciate the
fact that Elder Grotheer sees the importance of these issues and we
thank him for his participation.
Apparently "some have eyes to see, and see not; and ears to hear, but understand not." Richard Sutton
An Ancient Hebrew Prayer
From the conscience
that shrinks from new truth,
3 -- OBSERVATIONS -- Before
any comments on the responses of those who were invited to take part
in the Symposium that was held in the independent Nora Springs Seventh-day
Adventist Church, careful consideration needs to be given to the gravity
of the topics selected by the Church for discussion. This dare not be
ignored, nor should it have been ignored by those invited to take part.
Rather, it should have been the prime factor in the decision of each
one invited whether to attend, or not to attend.
APOSTASY -- That there is apostasy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not questioned by a single individual or organization which was invited. The videos produced, the mini-campmeetings conducted, the articles written all say the same thing on this point. But the question that needs to be studied in regard to the apostasy in the Church is - Is the Church in apostasy, or is it merely that apostasy has taken place in the Church? One may say that this is a fine line, but it is this very line that Dr. Roger W. Coon drew in his pamphlet on Tithe which was distributed as an insert in the Adventist Review (Nov. 7, 1991). To the question, "Should I pay tithe to a church if I believe it is in apostasy?" Coon wrote: There is a fine line - but significant distinction - between "a church in apostasy" and "apostasy in the church." (p. 3)
well knows that one does not pay tithe to a "church in apostasy."
But if the condition of the Church is only that it has apostasy in it,
then one does continue to support the Church, and does so from inside
in cooperation with its leadership! Thus every "independent ministry"
must decide which is the true situation. If the Church is in apostasy,
and one is removed from the Church because of his conduct, or attacks
on the Church, then he doesn't make arrangements for, nor accepts invitations
to place, his name on a "safe" membership list in some church
far removed from his operations. This is duplicity in its most despicable
number one topic on the Symposium agenda struck at the very heart of
the existence of each and every one of the "independent" ministries,
and is the number one reason why each one invited should have cleared
their schedules to be present. "Ducking out" by some excuse
is contemptible when the eternity of concerned Adventists is involved.
Men whom assume leadership but who are unable to perceive the gravity
of the very first topic are "blind guides" who continue to
put out the eye-sight of God's professed people.
This is present truth! lt is based in the sanctuary truth committed
to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If one still believes that the
atonement was not completed on the cross as the leading independent
ministries profess to believe, and that Christ is now ministering as
High Priest in the most holy place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, then in
these final days of human history, what should be the center of our
focus? Should it not be to understand the meaning of the type where
the High Priest came to the Court with the mingled blood of the bullock
and the Lord's goat to expiate "the uncleaness of the children
of Israel"? (Lev. 16:19) Does not the type dictate that the attitude
of God's professed people should be that of "soul affliction"
at this present time, and if not, they will be "cut off" as
if they themselves were apostates? (Lev. 23:29). Have we forgotten the
counsel which states - "the class who do not feel grieved over
their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins
of others, will be left without the seal of God." (5T:211)
The continual recitation of apostasy by which to keep a steady flow
of tithes and offerings into the coffers to support an "ego"
trip is not "mourning" over the sins of others; it is merely
using the cry of apostasy to cover their "own spiritual declension."
we actually believe, no matter how it may titillate our ears, that a
recitation of "New Age" roots, or a tirade on the Celebration
type of service, or a review of the hypnotic methods being introduced
to control people - and any number of sins of the "brethren"
will bring a people to the place where there will be "soul affliction"?
This failure to perceive the final atonement as the present truth
for this time, and substituting for it a continuous recitation of the
apostasy in the Church has produced a pharisaical Laodiceanism unmatched
by the Church itself in its Laodicean state. The ones who are looking
at the continuous flow of videos and attending "campmeetings"
where the apostasy in the Church is the main menu are developing a smug
complacency thanking God that they are not like their former brethren
who are now attending a celebration type of service and being manipulated
by mind controlling techniques. These concerned souls are for the most
part unmindful that the same
is a place for the revelation of facts concerning the apostasy in the
Church which has led to a Church in apostasy. But such a revelation
must be dealt with from an historic perspective, instead of using the
end results in a "leaf plucking" exhibit for an "ego"
trip. Well did Paul write - "When for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again the first principles of the oracles
of God." (Heb. 5:12)
Another factor concerning the final atonement must be considered. Dr.Desmond Ford introduced a theology which completely sets aside the basic sanctuary truths which were committed to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Because of the compromises with the Evangelicals in 1955-56, the Church has succumbed to the inroads of Ford's theology. Why was this devastating heresy permitted to plague God's people? This question has been given little consideration. The Messenger of the Lord warned the Church that "God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat." (5T:707) What brought about a condition that God permitted such a drastic introduction of heresy as is represented in Ford's teachings? This we are also told: Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word ... But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God's word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion (ibid., pp. 706-707)
there ever was a time to discuss the final atonement, it is now, but
it will take some deep searching of the Bible with prayer. Biblical
answers will need to be provided to offset Ford's theology. Neither
Spear nor Standish can stand up to Ford. They do not have Bible answers,
and so respond only with cliches. They represent, a fossilized theology,
as a firm foundation instead of heeding the counsel of God's Messenger
to advance "the knowledge of truth." We need to keep in mind
"Upon every individual who has the light of present truth devolves
the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than
it has hitherto been done." (Ms. 27, 1897) But
neither Spear nor Standish have done this, and they excuse themselves
from attending a Symposium to even discuss what studies should be initiated
to advance such a vital subject as the final atonement. God's concerned
people have fallen upon hard times with blind guides seeking to lead
-- Here is
another key subject that dare not be ignored. While the questions raised
do not impugn upon the fact that the gift of the Spirit of prophecy
was manifest in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White as far as the
various "independent" ministries are concerned, it does become
a question for these "ministries" as to where they place this
gift in relationship to the Bible. There is the extreme position taken
by Spear and Standish which states - "The acceptance of the prophetic
gift in the ministry of Sister White is essential not only to the preparation
of God's people for the eternal kingdom, but also to the acceptance
of the Scriptures as inspired." (Our Firm Foundation, April,
1989, p. 15) This definitely needs to be discussed in an open symposium
for such a position is not only directly contradictory to what Ellen
G. White wrote about "the perfecting of the man of God," but
also breathes the very essence of Roman Catholic teaching in regard
to the inspiration of the Bible, except it is stated in Adventist nomenclature.
the 1884 Great Controversy (p. 413) is found a prophetic statement
of God's intent and purpose for the final hours of human history. She
wrote that while the world does not want "Bible truth," -
p 5 -- of all reforms.
accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain '
Thus saith the Lord' in its support." (ibid.)
we acknowledge the presence of the prophetic gift in the ministry of
Ellen G. White does not abrogate the primacy of the Scriptures. In fact,
at another time when the Church was in crisis - 1901 - and Ellen White
was being quoted to sustain this, and to sustain that, she herself spoke
very plainly to the ministers on this very point. She said in no uncertain
terms: Lay Sister
White right to one side: lay her to one side. Don't you never quote
my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. When
you take the Bible and make that your food, and your meat, and your
drink, and make that the element of your character, when you can do
that you will know better how to receive some counsel from God. But
here is the Word, the precious Word, exalted before you today. And don't
you give a rap any more that "Sister White said" - "Sister
White said this," and "Sister White said that," and "Sister
White said the other thing." But say, "Thus saith the Lord
God of Israel," and then do just what the Lord God of Israel does,
and what He says. (p. 167)
don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister
White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are.
Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. lt is full of meat, full of fatness.
Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you
know now. You will have fresh matter; you won't be going over and over
the same ground, and you will see a world saved. (p. 174, Verbatim
report of remarks by Mrs. E. G. White, at a meeting held in Battle Creek
College Library, April 1, at the General Conference of 1901; Spalding
and Magan's Collection)
is good counsel now, and needs to be practiced by those voices in the
"independent" ministries" who are seeking to be leaders
of God's concerned people. But this is not what is being done by more
than 95% of those "voices." And the reason is simple - most
of the "voices" do not know their Bibles, and cannot defend
the positions they are advocating from the Bible. The Church at Nora
Springs, Iowa, is to be commended for having placed this topic on the
agenda for discussion at the Symposium. The tragedy is that those invited
did not clear their schedules so as to be present when such a crucial
topic was to be considered. This tragedy is compounded when concerned
Adventists let such ministries get away with less than a Bible-centered
proclamation. If every concerned Adventist would say, give us the Bible,
or no support, most of the "voices" would be silenced.
advocating a return to the Bible, and from it, a plain "Thus saith
the Lord," I am not suggesting the digging up of old "evangelistic
sermons" which were given back in the "golden years"
of Adventist evangelism and presenting them as "present truth."
(Some are doing so in what Bible they are preaching; I have a whole
notebook full of such out-lines) Those old sermons did contain "timeless
truths" and such truth needs to be kept before God's people in
review. But where is the deep Bible study which marked the pioneers
of this message, and must mark the search for understanding of Christ's
final work in the Heavenly Sanctuary? A mere compilation of "quotes"
from the Writings with a few personal connecting sentences between does
not meet the criterion of the counsel of the Lord's Messenger to get
fresh food from the Bible for His people.
END TIME PROPHECY
-- Not too
much needs to be said in regard to this prophecy of Jesus found in Luke
21. The Messenger of the Lord told us that Jesus in Luke 21 connected
events which were to occur in the history of Jerusalem with the "scenes
that were to take place in the history of this world just prior to the
coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great
glory." (CtoW&E, pp. 23-24) The one event in the history
of Jerusalem that Christ foretold which is not recorded in the other
two synoptic gospels is in regard to "the times of the Gentiles,"
or nations - corporate bodies. The details of this prophecy with documentation
is to be found in the published manuscript - The Hour and the End.
needs to be realized is that when the Messianic prophecy concerning
the coming "Prophet" was given to Moses, God also said that
He would put words into the mouth of that Prophet, and that whosoever
would "not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in my name,
I will require it of him." (Deut 18:18-19) We can no more today
disregard this prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:24, than the early Christians
could ignore the prophecy concerning the Roman armies to surround the
city as they did in A.D. 66. But everyone of those invited to the symposium,
and who did not come, are doing
so. This should tell God's concerned people something!
A COMMON VOICE -- This was not an unreasonable expectation to be placed on the agenda of the Symposium for discussion. There was no suggestion of coersion, or legislation in the letter of invitation sent to each of the invited "independent ministries." Is God divided? Does He speak out of both sides of His mouth? Does the Spirit of truth teach one thing to one man, and a different thing to another? Absolutely not! The multitude of "voices" on the periphery of Adventism today, each with his own personal message, indicates not the Spirit of the Lord, but rather the spirits of devils. Christ's High Priestly prayer was for unity of witness, not a divisive and deceptive witness. To seek to contribute to this prayer of Jesus Christ was the objective of the concerned Adventists at Nora Springs, Iowa. Now look at the list of those invited and note carefully who did not respond and their excuses. You have some answers if you have eyes to see and ears to hear.
6 -- LET'S
TALK lT OVER -- The
ground covered in this issue leaves only one topic to talk over, and
that is - Excuses. But why were there excuses? No one who really believes
in fundamental Adventism can deny that the subjects chosen for dlscussion
by the Church in Nora Springs, Iowa, were of the utmost importance and
fraught with eternal consequences. In fact, they were so important,
that each one invited to take part in the Symposium should have either
cleared his schedule, or sent a knowledgeable representative to sit
in for hirn. If one's position on anyone of the topics listed on the
agenda could not bear the scrutiny of one's peers, then what justification
does one have to present himself as a spokesman for truth? Genuine truth
can bear investigation, and loses nothing in open discussion. The refusal
to come or to be represented at this Symposium speaks in words loud
and clear. Those refusing to come either do not have a clear perception
of the subjects on the agenda, and thus do not wish to have their ignorance
exposed; or they know their position is flawed, and are not willing
to have those flaws revealed. In either case, they are playing the role
of a hypocrite - professing to be trustworthy guides to concerned Seventh-day
Adventists when they are not.
is possible that in one or two cases of those invited that they did
have commitments which prevented them from accepting the invitation;
but they could have acknowledged the gravity of the topics on the agenda
and expressed their desire to the leadership of the Nora Springs Church
to take part in such a discussion and requested that another time be
set up for such a dlscussion. But for the most part, the responses were
just plain cop-outs.
should have been no question about the brethren who arranged the Symposium.
They are solidly grounded in the truth, and above all courteous Christians.
I was their Sabbath guest speaker one time previous to the calling of
the Symposium, as had been some of the others invited. lt is true they
ask questions both in open discussion and in private conversation. Some
of the questions become very penetrating at times. But if I cannot give
a forthright answer from the Word of God, then I should stay away if
I do not wish to be exposed - and evidently that is what most of those
of us have deadlines to meet. Each month, I have to ready the issues
of WWN. I know it is work when there is limited help, although
good help. With this issue we begin our 25th year of continuous publication.
We set as our deadline for mailing each issue the 15th of the preceding
month. November 9, the date for the Symposium came right at the time
the schedule intensifies. I had just returned the week before from a
series of appointments in the East, and the correspondence had accumulated.
But what justifiable explanation could I give the readers of WWN
for absenting myself in view of the importance of the agenda topics?
non-response most difficult to understand is the failure to reply in
any way on the part of Jan Marcussen. He had been a guest speaker at
Nora Springs a little over a month previous to the November date. He
even made a video of some of the leaders of the Church answering his
questions. He expressed great interest in their program as an alternative
to the apostasy in the regular Church. If one's "hobby horse"
leaves one destitute of the most elementary of Christian virtues - common
courtesy - what genuine value is there in one's promotion of that "hobby
horse"? Such a voice is only "as sounding brass or a tinkling
most questionable response came from Vemon Sparks of Hope International
speaking for the "Executive committee." Some years back a
friend gave me a card which we have placed above our Library door. lt
reads - "God so loved the world that He didn't send a committee."
It is true that there is "safety" in "the multitude of
counsellors." (Prov. 11:14) But God also asks the question - "Who
is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job
38:2) This "Executive committee" concluded that to aim at
a "common voice" was "unrealistic." Do not the Scriptures
picture the Spirit and the bride speaking with one voice? (Rev. 22:17)
Did Jesus pray in vain His prayer in John 17?
real capsheaf of the committee action read - "We believe that the
Holy Spirit will lead isolated voices to speak with one voice."
Now Hope International promotes the belief in the primacy of the Writings
rather than the primacy of the Scriptures. (See section on Spirit of
Prophecy in "Observations," p. 4, col. 2) Accepting their
premise momentarily, then we ask why are they taking a position contrary
to the revelation given in the Writings? Hope International emphasizes
the apostasy in the regular Church, and plays on it to justify their
existence and the monetary soliciting. The Writings do confirm that
"there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to pull
down the pillars of our faith." (R&H, Dec. 3, 1892)
In other words, apostasy was foretold, and it has come to pass. But
at the time of this apostasy, the same prophetic testimony reads - "Every
conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be
confused by many voices crying,..."This is the truth, I
have a message from God, He has sent me with great light.'" In
the hour of apostasy, who will be leading the many "isolated voices"
to speak? The Holy Spirit, or the "power of evil"? Dare I
attribute by "Executive committee" vote the working of the
power of evil to the working of the Holy Spirit? And those who do so,
are they safe guides? Then a final question: Is Hope International so
insecure in their Biblical teaching, and their understanding of the
Writings that they dared not send a representative to the Symposium?
Isn't it time for God's concerned people to take note as to how shakey
the so-called "firm foundation" really is? One's hope dare
not be based on anything other than Jesus Christ, the way, the truth,
and the life.
though the congregation at Nora Springs was disappointed in the response
they received, they have performed a service for God beyond human estimate
in opening before the eyes of those concerned people of God who wish
to see, the sham of the profession of some of the "voices"
on the periphery of Adventism today.
what is the likely outcome? There appears to be three possibilities:
the second American civil war, triggered by ethnic and regional uprisings;
the arrival of a populist dictator (under the banner of liberty); an
emergency return to the benevolent form of national socialism created
by Franklin Roosevelt in the first New Deal. At the obvious risk of
being wrong three times (and I hope I shall be), these seem to me to
be the real possibilities if the social dangers, deprivations and frustrations
cannot be placated by the present political system and become too much
for most Americans to bear. Quoted in World Press Review,
Dec. 1991, p. 41.
--- (1992 Jan ) --- End ---
1992 Feb -- XXV -- 2(92) -- THE PERTH DECLARATION - AN APPEAL or - A DECLARATION OF WAR? -- "The Perth Declaration, drafted and voted by the General Conference's Annual Council in Perth, Australia, in early October [of last year] has become one of the most significant appeals by church leaders in recent years." So read a report on the North American Division's year-end meeting for 1991. (Adventist Review [AR], Dec. 5, 1991, p. 6) One dare not overlook the force of this declaration coming as it did by action of the Annual Council in session. The actions of the Annual Council between sessions of General Conference carry the same authority as the actions of the General Conference itself. (ibid., July 7, 1985, p. 8 )
While the Declaration was phrased in such language as "We reaffirm," "We believe," and "We appeal," it is understood to be a declaration of war on the right and on the left. Elder Folkenberg told the NAD committee that in face of the steadily strengthening attacks on the church, "we don't have the option of silence anymore. We've lost that one. And both extremes, left and right need our attention." (AR, Dec. 5, 1991, p. 6) However the Perth Declaration focused the primary attack on the right, noting this group as presenting themselves "as defenders of the authentic Adventist faith, the correctors of others, often elevating to importance issues not agreed upon by the body as vital."
lt is the paragraph of reaffirmation which raises the most questions, and becomes a new concise summary of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. In discussing the "Separationist movements," both on the right and on the left, the Editor-in-chief of the Adventist Review uses the phrase - "our core beliefs" in his response to the Perth Decelaration. (AR, Dec. 5, 1991, p. 4) The Declaration itself states that "we reaffirm confidence ... in the fundamental truths that bind us together as a people. Among these are ..." A careful analysis of these selected "fundamental truths," these "core beliefs," needs to be made.
2 -- The reaffirmation reads:
do we differ from Evagelicals in these "core beliefs" as stated
in the Perth Declaration?
is in no wise to be construed that these "core beliefs" are
not for the most part, statements of truth. BUT where is the "unique
message" which in the next paragraph of the Perth Statement declares
that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was to bear to the world?
if as an afterthought, the reaffirmation paragraph declares last - "We
affirm as well our confidence in His leading through the Spirit of Prophecy."
But does this reaffirmation adopted by the Annual Council show that
"confidence"? Hardly! Ellen G. White has carefully defined
the historic fundamentals. During the 1888 debate wherein some declared
the "precious gems of truth" coming through the Lord's chosen
"messengers" to be a removal of "the old landmarks,"
she declared that those who were making the charges knew not what those
landmarks were. She then defined them as: 1)
"The temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven,
and the ark containing the law of God." 2)
"The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment." 3)
"The non-immortality of the wicked." She indicated that the
events of 1844 opened to the Advent believer's "astonished eyes
the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having a decided
relation to God's people on earth," and the all-encompassing Three
Angels' Messages. (Manuscript, 13, 1889)
where in the paragraph of reaffirmation in the selected "core beliefs"
is the sanctuary truth set forth - the cleansing of the sanctuary and
the final atonement? Where is the Sabbath reaffirmed, even though this
is no longer unique to Seventh-day Adventists. Where is the guard against
the inroads of Spiritism - "the non-immortality of the wicked"
- reaffirmed? The bottom line is simply that this is not a reaffirmation
to the truth committed to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the beginning,
but rather a reaffirmation to the compromises made with the Evangelicals
in 1955-56. The Annual Council in the Perth Declaration did not affirm
what was denied in 1955-56, but affirms only those teachings as
examples of Adventist "fundamentals" which harmonize with
the Evangelical teachings. So whether the leadership want to admit it
or not, the Perth Declaration still locks the Church in apostasy.
3 -- PRESENT
Peter who wrote - "Be established in the present truth." (II
Peter 1:12) For the Apostolic Church, the fulness of time had come,
and Jesus had been sent forth, made of a woman. (Gal. 4:4) He had been
delivered for our offenses and had been raised for our justification.
(Rom. 4:25) The proclamation of this glorious provision was "the
present truth" of the Early Church. It is still truth. Jesus ever
lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25)
truth is eternal because its source is the Eternal One, there comes,
however, to every period of time a truth particularly apropos for that
time. For that generation it is "the present truth." Around
that truth clusters the significance of all other truth adapted to the
need of God's people. For example, consider the parable of the Ten Virgins.
We are not living in the time, when they - as a unit - "went
forth to meet the bridegroom," but rather in the hour when the
slumbering virgins awakened to the midnight call - "Behold the
bridegroom, be ye going out to a meeting of him." (Matt. 25:6,
Greek) Five responded; five went to buy oil." There was a separation;
it was decision time for the Ten Virgins.
then is "the present truth" for this hour? Once that can be
determined, then the issues which are presently dividing the Adventist
Community can be clarified. The roots of the Adventist people are in
the 1844 Movement. "The passing of the time in 1844 was a period
of great events, opening to [the] astonished eyes [of the believers]
the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having
a decided relation to God's people opon the earth." (Ms.
13, 1889) From this revelation of truth, there was developed "a
doctrine never known in theological history until the second half of
the nineteenth century and which is a doctrine held exclusively by the
Seventh-day Adventists." (Barnhouse, Eternity, Sept., 1956)
This doctrine is known as "the investigative judgment," or
is presently referred to as "the pre-Advent judgment." These
names obscure the real doctrine. The real truth of pure historic Adventist
theology involves the cleansing of the sanctuary and the "decided"
relationship of that cleansing to God's people on earth. The final atonement
is "the present truth" for this hour.
In the 1955-1956 SDA-Evangelical Conferences, the leadership of the Church denied the final atonement. Ford's brutal attack in 1979 zeroed in on this concept. In the Perth Decelaration, the Church in session did not reaffirm that which was denied in 1955-1956. On the periphery of Adventism are those "voices" who while seeking to affirm the historical teaching of the sanctuary truth, are merely mouthing cliches of a fossilized theology. It is time to reaffirm our faith in that teaching which is so uniquely Seventh-day Adventist, but do so in the framework of a restudy of the Bible as to what the type is really telling us. The earthly priests of the Divinely ordered type "served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5)
a casual mental review of the typical service on the Day of Atonement
tells us that the ministry of that day was not confined wholly and
solely to the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, but involved a special
ministry for "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" at
the Altar in the court. (Lev. 16:19) To this fact, we have not given
due consideration. Further, we have not considered the meaning and significance
of the fact that in this cleansing, the blood of the bullock and
the blood of the Lord's goat were mingled. (16:18)
We have been so engrossed - those who will even study the sanctuary truth - with the meanings to be derived from a study of the furniture and compartments of the sanctuary that we have failed to perceive the magnitude and significance of the contrast between the earthly and the heavenly. How do you compare a ten cubit cubical with the Heavenly Holy of Holies wherein are assembled, when the judgment is set, the unnumbered hosts of angels? (Daniel 7:10) And why are they there at the commencement of the judgment? To defend their record keeping? Did they not abide in the truth when it was decision time among the angels? (See John 8:44)
Consider another question. When the books are opened, will the Heavenly Court have to call into review the decision of Jesus on the Cross in regard to the thief who confessed Him, Lord? Or will the words of Jesus concerning those who hear and believe, apply? (John 5:24) Do these questions, to which we have given little thought, if considered, nullify the unique sanctuary truth committed in sacred trust to this people? Absolutely not! But it will require study which is more than surface thinking and the cliches of a fossilized theology. The same openness with which our founding fathers approached the teachings of William Miller, confirming some, discarding others, will need to characterize our research.
The Word must be permitted to speak. The
4 -- result will be "the present truth" for this hour.
We must understand what the final atonement in its last aspects
means in regard to the removal of the uncleanness of the children of
Israel. This means a careful review of both Leviticus chapters four
and sixteen. To stimulate study of the salient points involved, we now
list some key factors of the services in which the priests "served
unto the example and shadow of heavenly things."
in the daily services in which the confession of sin was made involved
only sins of ignorance - "if a soul shall sin through ignorance
against any of the commandments of the Lord." (4:2) Paul used this
fact in setting forth Jesus Christ to the assembled synagogue at Antioch
in Pisidia. He declared: Be
it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man
is preached unto you forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe
are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified
by the law of Moses. (Acts. 13:38-39)
"it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should
take away sins," nor could those "sacrifices...make the comers
thereunto perfect" (Heb. 10:4, 1), it should be obvious that the
thrust of those services was to reveal the nature and objective of the
Heavenly. What do we learn therefore?
1) Even though done in ignorance, there was a record made that needed to be cleared. When convicted of the sin, a formula for confession and atonement was available. Thus from the very start of the study of the sin offerings, it should be obvious that the blood of the sin offering did not transfer sin to the sanctuary, but rather was a confirmation of the sin, and the acceptance of the means provided for forgiveness.
2) There were four categories of "sinners." a) The sin of "the anointed priest" so as to bring, "guilt upon the people" (4:3 NKJV); b) A sin committed by "the whole congregation" (4:13); c) The sin of a ruler (4:22). This included the priests as individuals. (See Numbers 3:32; the Hebrew word for "chief" is translated "ruler" in Lev. 4:22); d) The "common people" (4:27). The first two categories involved corporate guilt, while the last two were individual.
3) For the corporate guilt, the High Priest mediated the sacrifice. (4:3-4, 16) For the individual confession, the common priest rninistered. (4:25, 30, 34)
4) Only in the ministration of corporate guilt and confession was the blood taken into the sanctuary. There it was sprinkled seven times "before the vail" separating the holy from the most holy place. lt was "recorded" on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Incense. The balance of the blood was poured at "the bottom of the altar of burnt offering" in the court. (4:16-18)
5) The blood of the sacrifice for the individual, be he a ruler or an individual of the congregation, was "recorded" on the horns of the Altar in the court, and the balance of the blood poured at the bottom of the Altar. (4:25, 30) At no time was it ever carried into the sanctuary. The law of the sin offering required that the common priest eat of the sin offering in the court. (6:25-26)
6) The result of the mediation in three of the categories - one corporate, and the two individual - was that "the priest shall make an atonement for them [or hirn], and it shall be forgiven them [or him]." (4:20, 26, 31, 35) Only in the case where the sin of the high Priest brought guilt upon the people is this statement omitted.
details pertaining to the sin offerings of the daily services do permit
some immediate observations:
2) The daily service resulted in an atonement. This sets forth the fact that an atonement was made at the Cross. Christ ministered as a common priest while on earth extending forgiveness to all who sought it, and then gave His life for the remission of sins. (Luke 5:24; 23:42-43; Rom. 4:25)
3) As the common priest ate of the offering, offered "for sin" (Lev. 6:26), so Christ partook of our "flesh and blood" being made to be "sin for us" (Heb. 2:14; II Cor. 5:21). He "offered Himself" for us, "Himself the priest, Himself the victim" (Heb. 9:14) Then He was called to be High Priest forever after the Order of Melchisedec. (Heb. 5:9-10)
turn now to the details of the work of the high priest as he served
unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.
p 5 -- LEVITICUS 16 -- In studying this chapter, there are certain linguistic details that must be kept in mind. What we refer to in our Adventist nomenclature as "the most holy place" is noted in this chapter as simply, "the holy" with the word "place" supplied by the translators (Lev. 16:2). The part of the sanctuary which we term, "the holy place" is noted as "the tabernacle." (16:16,17) The court is referred to as "the altar that is before the Lord." (16:18)
it needs to be kept in mind that the services described in this chapter
took place on the 10th day of the 7th month. In Leviticus 23, this day
is designated as "the day of atonements" - plural in the Hebrew
(23:27, 28). Whether the plural is used because of the various cleansings
described as taking place on this day, or whether it is an example of
the Hebrew usage of the majestic plural to note the contrast between
an atonement involved with the daily services resulting in forgiveness
and the atonement of this day which resulted in a cleansing, needs careful
study. Our spiritual forefathers evidently perceived the latter understanding,
as they designated in the 1914 Yearbook Statement of Beliefs,
the services of this day as "the atonement."
the high priest on this day, as he with the common priests in the daily
services, "served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,"
the details given in this chapter require thoughtful analysis:
2) On this day, Aaron entered three times into the most holy place: once with incense, once with the blood of the bullock, and finally with the blood of the Lord's goat. (16:12-15)
3) The offering of the bullock is noted as "the sin offering for himself, and for his house." (16:6,11) It needs to be kept in mind that the texts do not say, "for his sons" who served as "common priests" and who ate of the sin offerings of the individuals, thus identifying with their sins. Further, no hands were laid on the bullock in confession. Aaron ministered that day as a type of Christ our High Priest. The "house" concept is made a part of Paul's introduction of Christ as the High Priest of our profession. (See Heb. 3:1-6)
4) There was a movement on that day in the ministry of the high priest. The cleansing was done in three steps, or stages, first the most holy, then the holy, and finally in the court at the altar there.
5) The first cleansing was deemed necessary "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins." (16:16) Yet in the cleansing of the altar in the court, where the registry of their confessions had been made, only the uncleanness is noted as the final act before the scapegoat is brought into the ceremony. (16:19-21) The record of sins is first considered as the books are opened. That which lies at the root of our sins - our uncleanness - is the last to be cleansed.
In this final cleansing, the blood of the bullock and the blood of the
Lord's goat are mingled. (16:18)
the typical services of the Day of Atonement, the last act of cleansing
centered in the Court at the Altar of Burnt Offering, or Brazen Altar.
The focus of Ezekiel 9 is likewise at the Brazen Altar. (9:2) The One
commanded to do the sealing was "clothed with linen" even
as the high priest was clothed on the Day of Atonement.
In Ezekiel 10, the work of "the man clothed in linen" is enlarged. He is commanded to take
6 -- "coals of fire" from between the cherubim and scatter
them over Jerusalem. (10:2, 6-7) Some interpret these "coals
of fire" as symbols of judgment. However, "the man clothed
with linen" was never commanded to destroy, but only to seal. (9:4-6)
The cleansing by coals of fire find a parallel in Isaiah's experience
who having received "a live coal...from off the altar" was
told, "Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine inquity is taken
away, and thy sin purged." (Isa. 6:6-7) John the Baptist defined
one of the objectives of Christ's mission to be a baptism "with
fire." (Luke 3:16)
7 -- The enlarged scope and significance
that is given by the typical service of the Day of Atonement, when the
movement of the high priest on that day is considered, helps one better
to comprehend the part of the prophecy of Daniel 7 which relates to
the time when "the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
the sequence of Chapter 7, Daniel is brought in vision to the time of
the "little horn" which was to reign for "a time, and
times, and a dividing of time." (7:8, 25) This brings us to A.D.
1798. Then Daniel beholds "till" the Ancient of days sat in
judgment. This judgment - "the cleansing of the sanctuary"
- would begin in 1844. (8:14)
have failed to consider the import of the events to take place after
1844 as revealed to Daniel. He wrote - "I beheld then because
of the great words which the horn spake." (7:11) We have placed
"the great words" as being fulfilled during the 1260 years
of the medieval supremacy of the Papacy. But a careful reading of the
text (7:25 KJV) indicates that the word, "great" is supplied,
and the "great words" from Heaven's viewpoint follow the date,
1844. lt is after this revelation - and other details which are given
concerning the end of the "beast" which nurtures "the
little horn" - that Daniel sees the Son of man coming to the Ancient
of Days to receive "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." (7:13-14)
All of these factors have not been duly considered in our study of the
final atonement. (In an upcoming issue of WWN, we will give consideration
14:6-12 -- The steps, stages, or agenda
in the mediation of the cleansing on the Day of Atonement were three-fold:
- First in the Most Holy, that which pertained to God
and the record of the sins of the people; next, in the
tabernacle where was registered corporate confession; and finally,
in the Court at the Altar which carried the record of the confession
of the individual. It is interesting to note that the Three Angels in
their messages follow the same three steps. First, there
is the message, "the hour of [God'sJ judgment is come,"
then, "Babylon," a corporate body, is fallen, and
finally, "If any man" - individual. To this parallel,
study needs to be given.
CONCLUSION -- How tragic, in these
final hours of human history, the Church to which was committed the
sanctuary truth in sacred trust, did not reaffirm its commitment to
that truth at Perth. Equally as tragic, are those "voices"
which profess to be committed to the sanctuary truth but are merely
uttering their time-worn cliches and shibboleths instead of getting
down to the meat of the Word of God and feeding the people as "faithful
and wise" servants ought to be doing. (Matt. 24:45) Well did the
Lord say through Ezekiel - "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that
do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"
LET'S TALK IT OVER -- In the typical service on the Day of Atonement, there was one condition which we too often overlook. It reads: There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy." (Lev. 16:17)
expressed it very concisely when he wrote to Timothy that there is but
"one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. (I.2:5)
The high priest alone in the type effected the cleansing of the sanctuary,
and the people of Israel. He offered "the bullock" for himself,
but he did so as a type of Christ "who gave himself for our sins,
that He might deliver us from the present evil world." (Gal. 1:4)
He offered the blood of the Lord's goat - that goat which was taken
from the congregation of Israel (Lev. 16:5), symbolizing Him who would
be raised "from among their brethren" (Deut. 18:18), and became
the Lord's sacrifice." (Gen. 22:8) Not a single individual in the
camp of Israel could make a contribution to their cleansing on that
were only two requirements made of the people assembled before the court
of the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement: - 1)
No work of any kind, and 2) Soul affliction.
A failure to observe either meant to "be cut off from among his
people" by the Lord Himself. (Lev. 23:29-30)
the matter of "no work." All the other annual feast days prohibited
only "servile work." (Lev. 23:8, 25, 35-36) This one annual
day - the Day of Atonements - carried the same prohibition as was placed
on the Sabbath - "in it thou shalt not do any work." (Ex.
20:10) And interestingly, when Paul
asks the "holy brethren" to consider the High Priest
of their profession (Heb. 3:1), he introduced the Sabbath and gave its
true meaning and significance. He wrote: There
remaineth therefore a rest [keeping of a sabbath - margin] to the people
of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from
his own works, as God did from His. (Heb. 4:9-10)
The word, "rest," in verse 10 is the same root word as is used in Matt. 11:28-30. It is the soul rest provided by Jesus. To enter into that rest is to cease from dependence on our own righteousnesses. We cannot provide forgiveness for ourselves, neither can we effect the atonement from our uncleanness. To attempt it, is
7 -- to face being cut-off from the spiritual commonwealth of Israel.
We cannot seem to realize that instead of a program of faith plus works,
it is having a faith that works. We overcome the enemy "by the
blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [our] testimony," and we
are willing to lay our lives on the line. (Rev.12:11) Why can I not
accept the single condition which Jesus placed on doing a work acceptable
to God - "believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John 6:29); and
then believe that that One can truly mediate the atonement for my uncleanness?
To even think that I can divest myself of the forces of my fallen nature
through rules and regulations is Laodiceanism compounded.
there is the matter of "soul affliction." It, too, if not
done will be cause for being cut-off. Hand wringing over the Church
in apostasy is not soul affliction. Decrying the symptoms does not cure
the disease. It may be that I may have the same disease, and in my Laodicean
folly not sense it. We need to ask ourselves - all of us - the question:
"Am I so involved in exposing the apostasy in the Church
that I am gullible to the deceptions being mixed with truth by the "many
voices" sounding in the community of Adventism today? Whether the
deceptions come from within the Church, or from the "voices"
sounding on the periphery, all deception is basically the foundation
of apostasy. To think that I can separate truth from error without the
Spirit of discernment which comes from God alone, is to deceive myself.
With the winds of doctrine blowing at gale force through the Adventist
Community, one needs to be before God in soul affliction as he never
was before. "So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true,
that It will be impossible to distinguish between them except
by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement is
to be tested." (GC, p. 593)
May God have mercy on our self-confidence, and our misdirected devotion. May we be driven to our knees because we have been warned that the diabolical working of the enemy transforms his agents into "ministers of righteousness." (II Cor. 11:15) May we through soul affliction be "so firmly established upon His word" that we will not yield to the evidence of our perverted senses. May we in the crisis that now engulfs us "cling to the Bible, and the Bible only." (GC, p. 625) --- (1992 Feb) --- End --- TOP
Mar -- XXV -- 3(92) -- THE "TITHE"
INSERT BY COON -- In
the November 7, 1991, issue of the Adventist Review, there was
inserted a pamphlet - Tithe - written by Dr. Roger W. Coon of
the Ellen G. White Estate. The sub-title was "Ellen G. White's
counsel and practice." In the first issue of WWN for 1992,
we noted this pamphlet, and commented briefly on one of the key points
of Coon's argument. However, a more thorough analysis of his position
on this point needs to be presented.
The pamphlet not
only involved the question of tithe, but the doctrine of the incarnation
was introduced as an illustration of how some have measured apostasy.
Is such a judgment based on this doctrine, justifiable? Then the major
premise taken in regard to the Church and apostasy - though a fine line
- should provoke careful study.
That a tithe of our
increase should be paid to the Lord is beyond question. The Scripture
is too plain on this point to be rejected. Only the grasping, selfish
heart of man withholds from God that which is His due. But the question
arises, where does one place his tithe? Most of the "many voices"
on the periphery of Adventism are openly soliciting the tithe. One such
voice even brags about the "deep pockets" he gets his hand into.
The facts are that these "voices" have been so successful that
the Church's income has been materially reduced. They have declared war.
The travail within the Church has now degenerated into the pot calling
the kettle black.
To keep this warfare
in proper balance, it must be kept in mind that inspired counsel given
through the Lord's messenger indicated that these "many voices"
would come at the time they arose, but that they would be deceptive voices
used by the enemy to confuse minds. (R&H, Dec. 13, 1892) The
messages coming through these "voices" are a mixture of truth
and error garbed for the most part in the cloak of the writings of Ellen
This whole issue
has arisen because it is perceived that the Church is in a Laodicean,
backsliding condition. There are "voices" sincerely declaring
that this situation is due to the fact that the Church has and is still
rejecting the 1888 Message of Righteousness by Faith. From the "many
voices," other charges are being leveled at the Church's leadership.
However, another question must be first addressed and answered before
any final decision can be made in regard to the tithe.
Dr. Coon addresses
this question in Part 1 of his pamphlet. He asks, "Should I pay my
tithe to a church if I believe it is in apostasy?" (p. 3) The answer
to this question is obviously, "No." When Luther and the other
Reformers concluded that the Roman Catholic Church was in apostasy, Protestantism
was born. When the Apostles of Christ spear-headed by Paul, perceived
that the Jewish Church was in apostasy, the Christian Community, as a
distinct body, came into existence. lt ceased to be a sect of Judaism.
But in answer to his question, Coon
draws a fine line, but a very significant line, and so notes it. He wrote:
is a fine line - but a significant distinction - between "a church
in apostasy" and "apostasy in the church."
This distinction must be addressed in the present crisis in Adventism. There can be no "gray" areas over this question. Either the Church is "in apostasy" or there is only "apostasy in" the Church. One must determine on which side of the word, "apostasy," he places the word, "in." This brings every "independent ministry" to its "moment of truth." For example, every issue of the 1888 Message Newsletter carries this commitment -
p 2 -- "
We are committed to the support of our beloved Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Specifically, all tithe is to be paid to the organized church. We support
financially the local church, the Sabbath school, and other denominational
This is stating categorically
that this "voice" perceives the continued rejection of the 1888
Message to be merely "apostasy in" the Church. Yet these men
arrange for independent meetings, even conducting services at the same
time on the same campus as the regular services of the Church. They profess
allegiance to the hierarchy. If one has any doubt, all one needs to do
is read the letters written by both Wieland and Short to the General Conference
as found in A Warning and its Reception. How are they now going
to relate to the call set forth in the Perth Declaration, and be consistent
with what they wrote previously in regard to the authority of the General
on the periphery of Adventism - Hope International and Hartland Institute
- make as their main bill of fare at their "mini-campmeetings,"
the apostasy in the Church. These meetings are conducted apart from and
without the approval of the leadership of the Church. They have literally
set up an organization in opposition to the Church, yet seek to remain
under the umbrella of the Church. The fact remains, you are either in
it, or you are not. Either the Church is "in" apostasy, or there
is only apostasy "in" the church. This is decision time for
every Seventh-day Adventist. This is not the time for deception and hypocrisy.
The confusion being created by the "many voices" on the periphery
of Adventism is totally without justification. Their bottom line, as the
Church is charging, is the dollar sign. Here the battle line is being
drawn. The pamphlet by Coon is but the first salvo. Articles are appearing
in each of the official organs of the Union Conferences which pointedly
attack the "independent ministries."
How does Dr.
Coon answer the question he raised, and what illustration does
he use? Let us follow his argument with comments on what he wrote. He
person acquainted with the Seventh-day Adventist Church would deny that
throughout our history some apostasy has existed in our ranks - and does
This is a true statement.
So also was the experience in the history of the Jewish Church/ Nation.
But there came a time, when that Church stepped over the unseen line,
and the apostasy in the Jewish Church became instead, the Jewish Church
is apostasy? Most religious dictionaries define it as a departure from
pure doctrine and practice. But who defines that doctrine or practice?
Again forthright and accurate. Here Coon introduces the crucial question, who defines it? In the case of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, since 1946, doctrine is defined by the General Conference in session. It is thus suppose to represent the highest authority of God on earth. For the individual member of the Church, his doctrine is now defined in the 27 Fundamental Statements of Belief as voted by the 1980 General Conference in session at Dallas, Texas. But again we ask the question, "What (not who) defines doctrine and practice? The answer is that the Bible, the Word of God is the basic norm. We have been counseled that -- " God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrine, and the basis of all reforms." (Great Controversy, p. 595)
The question has now become very simple. Is the Seventh-day Adventist Church still that people? If not, then the church is in apostasy, not merely apostasy in the Church.
Coon, himself, has chosen the area of doctrine by which the
determination is to be made. He declared:
Some critics today contend that "the church is
in apostasy" because it does not advocate their particular view of
the human nature of Christ, with its resulting brand of theology."
Coon chose with the approval of the White Estate plus the endorsement of the Church's leadership by its insertion in the Adventist Review to make this the key issue to determine whether the church is "in apostasy" or whether there is only "apostasy in the church." This simplification of the issue is to be commended. Now note carefully what he wrote - again a correct analysis of the current concepts in the church: There are at least three views on the nature of Christ current in Adventist circles: (1) that at the incarnation Christ took the nature of Adam before Adam's fall; (2) that He took the nature of Adam after the fall; and (3) that He took a nature that in
p 3 -- certain
respects was like Adam's before the fall, but in other respects was like
Adam's after the fall."
Then Coon makes two
questionable claims: (1)
that "both Scripture and Mrs. White's writings" contain "certain
ambiguities" on the human nature of Jesus, and (2)
"the church has never officially endorsed any of these three
views, and concludes that "since the church has never defined this
particular theological question, how can it be said that anyone in the
church (much less the church itself) is in apostasy due to the positions
taken on the human nature of Christ?" (pp. 3-4)
The whole question
resolves itself around two facts which can be determined: (1)
Has the Church ever taken an official stand on the question of the Incarnation?
(2) Are the Scriptures and the Writings ambiguous
on this point?
lt is true now as
Coon wrote - "Doctrinal positions can be established only by the
world church in General Conference session." But this has only been
since 1946 when such action giving the General Conference that prerogative
was taken. What doctrinal position on the incarnation had the Church taken
prior to 1946, and how is its authority to be determined? Also what position
did the Church take in 1946?
In 1872, there was
published on the "Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing
Association, Battle Creek, Mich.," a tract captioned - "A
Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the
Seventh-day Adventist." This first statement of beliefs declared
that the Church held that the "Lord Jesus Christ...took on Him the
nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race."
The first issue of the Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874, as an editorial reproduced this same statement of beliefs. (See The Living Witness, p. 2) The November 24, 1874, issue of the Review & Herald printed these same statements in a series of articles on "The Seventh-day Adventists." It is true that no official authority was claimed for these statements because the preamble to the statements read - "we wish to have it distinctly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible." However, it is equally true, the same preamble declared that the statements were "what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them." How much more "official" can a position be? There were not three positions in the beginning!
At the twenty-first session of the General Conference in 1882, the first Yearbook was authorized. An announcement of its issuance stated that it contained, "the statistics of our denomination, the proceedings of our General Conference, T. and M. Society, and other associations, our General and State Conference constitutions..." (SDA Encyclopedia, rev. ed., p. 1336) Such data made the Yearbook an authoritative voice of the Church's position in matters that pertained to the whole body. In 1889, the Yearbook contained a section devoted to "Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists." The statement was prefaced with this paragraph: Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold certain well-defined points of faith, for which they feel prepared to give a reason "to every man that asketh" them. The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principle features of their religious faith, upon which there is, so far as is known, entire unanimity throughout the body. (p. 147, emphasis supplied)
point of faith" on the Incarnation read the same as the first statement
made in the 1872 Tract. There was no change of position, neither was room
left for three different positions. The last time this statement appeared
in a Yearbook was in 1914. To that date, one year prior to the
death of Ellen G. White, the position of the church on the Incarnation
In the 1931 Yearbook,
a new statement of beliefs appeared. In 1930, the General Conference Minutes
for December 29, record an action that the chair, Elder C. H. Watson,
then president, appoint a committee to prepare a new statement of beliefs
for the Yearbook. This new statement read in regard to the Incarnation
- "While retaining His divine nature, He [Christ] took upon Himself
the nature of the human family." This 1931 Statement was endorsed
by the 1946 General Conference, and continued to be the official statement
of beliefs until 1980.
In 1980, a new statement of beliefs was voted at Dallas, Texas, which so modified the position on the Incarnation that three different views may be taken, and one's orthodoxy not be questioned. But how did Coon define, apostasy? - "As a departure from pure doctrine." There has been a departure in regard to the Church's original teaching on the Incarnation. By the very doctrine which Coon chose to illustrate his
p 4 -- point,
the conclusion is inescapable, the Church is in apostasy.
Are the Scriptures and
the Writings ambiguous on the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation?
Dr. Coon indicated, "a large number of Adventist ministers, Bible teachers, and church members, of equal learning and commitment, today take" the position of the Anglican Melvill. (See SDA Believe..., p. 47, Footnote, p. 57) "Why," Coon asked. Here is his answer - "Because of certain acknowledged ambiguities in both Scripture and Mrs. White's writings on the human nature of Jesus." (p. 3) In both categories, this is simply not true.
Consider first the
Scriptures: The Bible presents Jesus Christ in two aspects: as having
a pre-existence, and as having received a human body formed in the womb
of the virgin Mary.
As to the pre-existence
of Jesus, there can be no question. He, the Word who became flesh, "Was
in the beginning with God." (John 1:2) He proclaimed Himself to be
the "I AM" - the Self-existent One, the Ever-existent One, the
Eternal. (John 8:58)
Identity, "existing in the form of God...emptied Himself" of
that form, and took in its place "the slave-form of man." (Phil.
2:6-7, RV, Gr.) As the children of man "are partakers of flesh and
blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." "In
all things it behoved Hirm to be made like unto His brethren." (Heb.
2:14, 17) Paul declares emphatically that "the gospel of God"
involves the revelation of "His Son Jesus Christ our Lord...made
of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:1, 3) The slave-form
that the pre-Existent Identity took at Bethlehem possessed all the depravity
and potential to sin that every child of Adam receives at birth. In Him,
in His pre-Existent Identity, there was no sin, nor propensity to sin,
for from eternity He had "loved righteouness and hated iniquity."
(Heb. 1:9) That did not change when "He emptied Himself" and
took the slave-form of man with all of its inclinations to sin. The question
was simply, could He live in the slave-form of man, and maintain the integrity
of His divine character? He did! And upon the completion of that demonstration,
"a loud voice" was heard saying "in heaven, Now is come
salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of
His Christ." (Rev. 12:10) There is no ambiguity here.
The Writings are just as clear. In 1900, Ellen G. White wrote: Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering humanity, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. (YI, Dec. 20, 1900; 4BC:1147)
year, 1901, is found this clear statement. It reads: In
Christ were united the divine and the human - the Creator and the creature.
The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of
Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus - the Son of God, and the Son of
man. (Ms. 141, 1901; 7BC:926)
In other statements,
she wrote that Jesus "knows how strong are the inclinations of the
natural heart." (5T:177) Why? Because "by experiencing
in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, and of human sufferings
and infirmities, He would know how to succor" those who are tempted.
(R&H, March 18, 1873) Clearly she wrote - Christ "took
upon His sinless nature our sinful nature." (Medical Ministry,
p. 181). Again no ambiguity.
Our problem arises
when we do not understand the very basics of the Incarnation. Jesus Christ
was pre-existent, and that pre-Existent Spirit took upon Himself, our
fallen nature with all of its liabilities after four thousand years of
sin. Modern Adventist theology would rather have us believe that He was
preserved immaculate from the fallen nature of Adam, taking only what
the Anglican Melvill called, "innocent infirmities." Why do
we continue to sip the "wine" of fallen Babylon until we are
so drunk that we can no longer distinguish between truth and error?
-- lt was Dr. Coon who chose to make
his point that the Church was not "in" apostasy on the doctrine
of the Incarnation. It was he who chose to use the standard definition
for apostasy - "as departure from pure doctrine," - The facts
are that the Church has departed from pure doctrine in regards to the
doctrine of the Incarnation (as well as other teachings). It follows,
therefore, by Coon's own fine line of "significant distinction"
that the Church is in apostasy.
5 -- A
WARNING - YES! ITS RECEPTION? AN OPEN
QUESTION! -- DO
WE REALLY BELIEVE? -- Editor's
numbers in [ ], correspond to the same numbers, also in [ ] , placed in
the facsimile reproduction of the paragraphs from the Review &
Herald, December 13, 1892 in column 2. This has been done to facilitate
comparison of comment with the paragraphs.
While those who hold
to "present truth" recognize and accept the primacy of the Scriptures,
they also are aware of the value and place which the gifts of the Spirit
hold for the people of God in these final times of earth's history. Especially
do they appreciate the counsel which God has sent to His professed people
through the Writings of Ellen G. White. While they know that the Writings
were not given to establish doctrine, they also know that the Writings
contain warnings so that they can be aware of the dangers, deceptions,
and snares set to entrap God's people in the final conflict.
In paging through
Volume 7a of the Commentary series, checking various underscored
references on what Ellen G. White had written concerning the Incarnation
to see if they were ambiguous, I chanced upon a quotation from
Ms. 43, 1907, which I had underlined in part sometime back when
first reading through the volume. lt struck me as very apropos to the
present crisis concerning the integrity of the "independent ministries."
It reads: As
we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that
only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish
truth from error. . . Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will
discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness.
(Ms. 43, 1907: 7BC:907)
Here is a warning
and a promise. There will be fearful mingling of truth and error, but
those guided by the Word of God will "with certainty" discern
There is another warning sounded in the Writings, to which reference has been made repeatedly in past issues of WWN. It is found in the R & H, December 13, 1892. We reproduced its facsimile on page 5 for your study in relationship to the comments we shall make concerning these paragraphs.
R & H, December 13, 1892
p 6 -- First
let us consider the context. This article, from which these paragraphs
are taken, was the concluding part of a message entitled, "Let the
Trumpet Give a Certain Sound." The first article closed with an emphasis
on the Three Angels' Messages in connection with the Loud Cry of Revelation
18. In fact, the first article closed wlth Rev. 18:4-5 being quoted. (R&H,
Dec. 6, 1892) It is in this context - the context of the giving of the
Three Angels' Messages - that we must understand the second paragraph
of this second article - "After the truth has been proclaimed as
a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set
in operation..." 
We have believed
that when the truth of the gospel of the klngdom has been given as a witness
to all nations, the end would come. (Matt. 24:14) We have perceived
this "end" to be a point in time, rather than a period of
This reference puts that "end" as a "period of time" rather than "a point of time." lt further states, that "after" the truth has been proclaimed as a witness,"then" will come apostasy "there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith." 
Here most of the
"independent ministries" are caught on the horns of a dilemma.
Without exception, they are crying out against what they perceive as apostasy
in the Church. Yet according to this prophetic insight in the Writings,
it does not come until "after" the truth has been given
as a witness to all "nations." But these same "independent
ministries" envision a time when the Church has been turned around,
cleansed of its apostasy, and they controlling the reins of power give
the Three Angel's Messages to the "nations."
They cannot have it both ways. Either there is apostasy as described in this testimony, and thus truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations; or else the truth has not been so proclaimed, and the apostasy is yet future. If the latter is so, there is no reason for their existence, and all that they are proclaiming as apostasy, is in reality, the working of the Holy Spirit within the Church. They are, therefore, fighting against God. If, however, the apostasy is true, then these "ministries" must recognize - if they believe the Writings - that the witness of the truth to the "nations" as corporate bodies is finished. This should tell them something. [Note, it does not say, "individuals, but "nations" - corporate bodies. It needs to be kept in mind that "corporate" cleansing was the second phase of the services on the typical day of Atonement]
One may want to hedge
on the terminology of "landmarks" and "pillars of our faith,"
holding that these specifics have been defined, and all have not been
denied. As true as this may be, the whole setting of the enumeration of
the "landmarks" and "pillars" finds its basis in "the
cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation
to God's people upon the earth." (Ms. 13, 1889) This has been
denied in the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and was not reaffirmed in the
How then do we get
to the bottom line of this prophetic counsel so that we can apply its
warning? Jesus plainly stated when the probationary time of the "nations"
would end. In Luke 21:24, He declared that when Jerusalem would no longer
be under the control of the Gentiles, the times of the "nations"
would be "fulfilled." [In the Greek, the same word is used for
both, "Gentiles" and "nations."] This prophecy was
fulfilled in two events, the taking of the city in 1967, and its annexation
in 1980. And it was in 1980 that the Church in General session voted the
confirmation of the compromises made at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences.
But more than this
is involved in the warning-counsel from the Writings. Ellen White wrote
that "after the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations,"
not only will "every conceivable power of evil be set in motion;"
but also "minds will be confused by many voices crying,...'This is
the truth, I have the message from God, he has sent me with great light.'"
 Jesus has not only given us a sign by which we can know
when the times of the "nations" are fulfilled, but also has
given us a warning so that we can distinguish between the true and the
false. Check when these "many voices" of the "independent
ministries" began, and you will find that 99% began after
1980!  The warning is that though they proclaim
to be the very "message from God," they will only confuse minds
because there is a mingling of truth with falsehood.
If we cannot read the warnings given by God through His messenger, what good is the Spirit of Prophecy to us? Let us not be deceived by
p 7 -- those
who front the Writings as a facade to cover their ministry and false teachings.
This is not all there is to this warning given in 1892. It says that at the time of the "loud cry of the third angel" those who have in any measure been blinded by the enemy, and have not "fully recovered", will be in peril because they will have difficulty in discerning light from heaven.  Again we need to face some key facts in our history. Prior to this present agitation over the apostasy in the Church, the teachings of Brinsmead made great headway among various groups within the Church. In his first decade of teaching before he flipped into complete apostasy from the truth, he taught a key aspect of the Holy Flesh doctrine. He had many ardent supporters including the late Dr. George Rue, Dr. Lloyd Rosenvold, Vance Ferrell and others. None of these men, to my knowledge, ever rejected the original teachings of Brinsmead. Many still believe it.
This warning clearly states that those who do not "recover" from this or any other snare of Satan will reject genuine light, and will "originate theories which they call 'light,' but which the Lord calls, 'Sparks of their own kindling,' by which they will direct their steps."  These theories may be well clothed in quotations from the Writings, or manipulation of the Scriptures. However, to the people of God has been given "a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto [we] do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in [our] hearts." (II Peter 1:19) If we are a people of prophecy, let us walk in the light of prophecy, and be children of the day, and not of the night. (1 Thess. 5:5)