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ABOUT "Watchman, What of the Night?"

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ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)

Publisher of the
"Watchman, What of the Night?" (WWN)... More Info
William H. Grotheer, Editor of Research & Publication for the ALF

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SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
"Another Comforter", study on the Holy Spirit
1976 a Letter and a Reply: - SDA General Conference warning against WWN.
Further Background Information on Zaire -General Conference pays Government to keep church there.
From a WWN letter to a reader: RE: Lakes of Fire - 2 lakes of fire.
Trademark of the name Seventh-day Adventist [Perez Court Case] - US District Court Case - GC of SDA vs.R. Perez, and others [Franchize of name "SDA" not to be used outside of denominational bounds.]

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Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, An
- William H. Grotheer

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End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation

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Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer

Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer

In the Form of a Slave
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Jerusalem In Bible Prophecy
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Key Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
- William H. Grotheer

Pope Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
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Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer

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Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
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SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer

STEPS to ROME
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Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
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Remembering
Elder William H. Grotheer

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BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary

Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear

OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:

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

Bible As History - Werner Keller

Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts

Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith

Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson

Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones

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

Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen

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

Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

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

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy

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

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

Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming back.

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WWN 1977 Apr - Jun

 

1977 Apr -- SANCTIFICATION -- TAILOR MADE -- Part 1 -- While Justification has been defined as our title to heaven; Sanctification has been explained as our fitness for heaven. One is imputed; the other imparted. It is thus stated: The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. (1)

The second - our fitness for heaven, or imparted righteousness - is the main emphasis of this thought paper. To understand the objective of sanctification, we must ask ourselves some questions:

1) To what is righteousness imparted - the flesh?
2) If it fits us for heaven, what do we take to heaven?
3) What is our real "self", and how is it expressed?

There are certain texts in the Bible which perhaps we have never perceived as pertaining to sanctification which need to be noted. Paul emphatically declared that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." (2)  Jesus indicated - "The flesh profiteth nothing." (3)

If righteousness were imparted to the flesh, what would one then have? Holy Flesh!

Noting the second question - what do I take to Heaven? We are plainly told: A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life. (4)

If we ever enter the kingdom of God, we must enter with perfect characters, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. (5)

This character is referred to in the Spirit of Prophecy as "the spirit" that is returned to God at death, to be preserved until the resurrection. (6)  In this understanding, we find our true "self" defined, and also understand that a second major factor

p 2 -- of sanctification is the preservation of our individuality. What takes place concerning the dead at the resurrection, also involves the living who are translated. Paul associates both in the context that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

He writes with emphasis: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (7)

All do not go through death - we shall not all sleep - to experience the physical transformation accompanying our entrance to Heaven at the Second Advent; but all are changed. The one, who saw corruption in the grave, puts on incorruption, and the living one who is translated sheds the mortal form for the immortal habitation of the character formed in this life.

Consider the Great Example - even Jesus Christ. In becoming a member of the human race, He took "flesh and blood." (8)  "A divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh." (9)  And what that "temple of flesh" was like we are not left in doubt. "He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. (9) But in this earthly life, Jesus demonstrated two things in regard to character. "In His human nature, He maintained the purity of His divine character." (10)  That which was His from all eternity remained undefiled, and in the humanity which He took, He developed a perfect human character. "Christ coming to earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character." (11)  But the flesh and blood, He took in becoming a man, He did not take to heaven with Him after the resurrection. "In Joseph's tomb He wrapped Himself in the garment of immortality," (12)  and ascended to heaven, bearing a sanctified, holy humanity." (13)  Not until our Saviour returns will we be changed - exchanging "our vile body" for one "like unto His glorious body." (14)

If therefore, to the flesh or body righteousness is not imparted, what part does it play, if any, in the work of sanctification? Paul tells us:      I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   (15)

This is one of the most misapplied Scriptures in the whole Bible. "Holy" has a ceremonial connotation which denotes dedication, as well as a moral significance when applied to character and acts of life. The text is definitely alluding to the sacrifices of the earthly sanctuary, and Paul is admonishing us to present our bodies in

p 3 -- the same way, but as a living sacrifice. While the animal was to be without blemish, in no way could it be construed to mean that animals so used in services of the sanctuary had a moral value. The "without blemish" could typify only "character" not the flesh or body of the antitype. Phillips, Moffatt, and the N. E. B. use either the word, dedicated, or consecrated, in place of "holy" in the translation of this text, while the Amplified adds to these, devoted.

The flesh which embraces the lower, corrupt nature cannot of itself act contrary to the will of God. (16)  But if it is not placed in continual sacrifice - daily crucified - it is impossible for the mind to exercise its proper function, and thus a character to be formed according to the will of God. "The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the up building of character. ...The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power will surely work our ruin. The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. ... The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives." (17)  In fact the whole objective of Christ from Bethlehem to Calvary was that "He might restore to man the original mind which he lost in Eden through Satan's alluring temptation." (18)

If I, therefore, set the means to obtain the objective as an end in themselves, I am structuring a false plan of redemption - creating a salvation by works program - in the area of sanctification. While the following are absolute truths:      A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lusts, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible. (19)

The diet has much to do with the disposition to enter into temptation and commit sin. (20)

The Spirit of God cannot come to our help, and assist us in perfecting Christian characters, while we are indulging our appetites to the injury of health, and while the pride of life controls. (21)

- yet if I make Health Reform an end in itself in an attempt to create a "holy" body so that this body will be translated, and seek to accrue merit by my vaunted devotion to the reform, I am only embedding myself more deeply into the Laodicean state so that even the Spirit of God will not be able to reach me. It is even possible that in my celebrated righteousness so that I can testify that I am not as other men are, I will commit the unpardonable sin. In my devotion to reforms, I may fall short of the weightier matters of the law. A devotee to reform is not synonymous with a sanctified person.

Health Reform - and this includes dress reform, Educational Reform, or any other Reform is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. This body - flesh and blood - does not inherit the kingdom of God. (22)  It is but the tabernacle in which I dwell. (23)  I but use it to serve in the development of the character which God requires for the

p 4 -- Heavenly Life. Let me illustrate. I know that Health Reform involves strict vegetarianism. But certain combinations, good in themselves, and certain vegetables alone distress me, as well as certain fruits, with the result that I can become very irritable. As noted above - "The diet has much to do with the disposition ... to commit sin." (2O)  Can I, therefore, even though practicing basic Health Reform, develop under such circumstances, a Christ-like character? The answer is - NO! This brings us to a very important aspect of sanctification. Sanctification is tailor made by the Holy Spirit to fit the individuality of each person. This we shall discuss in the next thought paper.

(1) Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People, p. 35
(2) 1 Corinthians 15:50
(3) John 6:63
(4) Ellen G. White Ibid, pp. 100-101
(5) Ibid, p. 105
(6) Ellen G. White, Ms., 76, 1900 (6BC:1093)
(7) 1 Corinthians 15:50-52
(8) Hebrews 2:14
(9) Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, Dec. 20, 1900 (4BC:1147)
(10) Ibid., June 2, 1898
(11) Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 762
(12) Ellen G. White, "The Only True Mediator", Nov. 28, 1897 (M. L. Andreasen Collection #2)
(13) Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 13
(14) Philippians 3:21
(15) Romans 12:1-2
(16) Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 127
(17) Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 130
(18) Ellen G. White, Letter 121, 1897 (7BC:926)
(19) Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 44 (#52)
(20) Ibid, p. 52 (#69)
(21) Ibid, p. 57 (#79)
(22) Some may question the emphasis in this paper on I Cor. 15:50 - "that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." One can recall that Jesus declared after His resurrection when the disciples thought they had seen a spirit - "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have." Luke 24:39. A very careful reading of Ms. 76, 1900 (6BC:l093) will clarify the apparent contradiction, and also help us to better understand that the "flesh and blood" Jesus took in becoming a man was not the same "flesh and bones" of which He spoke in Luke 24:39.
(23) We need not believe in the immortality of the soul to accept what Paul says in II Cor. 5:1-4. This earthly tabernacle passes away. It returns again to dust, but a glorious body awaits us on the resurrection morning - "a house which is from heaven" - one of an heavenly origin. It will be then that the character formed in this life will find its eternal abode in a body "bearing the same individuality of features" but made of "much finer material" than the dust of the earth, for it is raised a spiritual body. See 6BC:1093 as cited above.

A CURIOUS REPORT -- Now widely circulated -so it appears - is what is claimed to be an Objective Digest Report which purports to answer the question - "What Is Happening in Australia?" An introductory letter signed by a Jack D. Walker of Goodlettsville, Tenn., introduces the author of the report -Ray Martin -as "a fellow Adventist believer." He seeks to convey that Mr. Martin has prepared this report "soberly and deliberately." However, every reader needs to note that it comes from the Brinsmead press, and is thus slanted in favor of the heretics of Avondale College in Australia. Robert D. Brinsmead, himself, has clearly written in a "Thought Paper" which he did not wish to be circulated among church members that he was in wholehearted agreement with Dr. Ford, who is (or was) head of the Bible Department at Avondale College. (1)

Since it is claimed that this report was "deliberately prepared" [There are two meanings to the word -"deliberate"], we must ask why it did not adhere to the title given, and maintain an "objective" posture rather than being a propaganda sheet tarnished with deception. As one reads this report, there can be no doubt as to the author's negative response to the editorials appearing under the pen of the former associate editor of the Review, Dr. Herbert Douglass. These editorials upheld the historic position of the Church in regard to the incarnation, and presented the fact that God will have a people living in the last generation who will demonstrate His power to give victory over sin. These two points are anathema to Ford and Brinsmead.

p 5 -- Then this "objective" report quotes from a letter written by Dr. Douglass, and the supposed reaction which followed the disclosure that the letter had been written. The Report's analysis reads:      On March 11, 1975, Dr. Herbert Douglass wrote a letter on a Review letterhead to a lay church member in Australia (whom he had never met), saying, "I can imagine that the picture looks somewhat bleak 'down-under' when the prevailing winds seem to blow from a new and strange Ford-Brinsmead mateship ... Please keep me up-to-date regarding publications and whatever that reveal the outreach of the above mateship ..." Some Australian leaders were shocked to learn that a man in the Review office was prepared to go over their heads to oppose Ford and foment trouble Down-Under. The Division President protested strongly to the GC President, and Douglass was reprimanded for his letter. (2)

After reading this and other comments regarding Dr. Douglass, I decided to write to him, expecting that a heralded "objective" report would at least be basically honest. His response was positive and forthright. He stated:      No, Elder Pierson never "reprimanded" me for a letter I had written to a lay church member in Australia. Nor am I weaseling around any other word that means the same thing …

But no, again, Elder Pierson did not nor did any delegated officers "reprimand" me or even speak to me about this letter. The facts are that what I had said was well-known by others as well as myself and the observation has been completely validated by developing events. Both Bob Brinsmead and Des Ford have made no secret about their compatibilities. (3)

Thus by a clarification of Point #16 in a supposedly objective report, a shadow is cast on the veracity of the whole.

However, we must ask some questions in an area where a direct quote is used. Dr. Desmond Ford unequivocally stated in a meeting in Sydney, Australia that Elder Pierson confessed to him at the Palmdale meeting where certain basic truths were compromised for the sake of a precarious unity:       "Des, I am not a theologian. I am saying what I have been taught. I have been in the Sabbath-school classes as a student. That's all." (4)

Since Elder Pierson is not as open, direct, and forthright as Dr. Douglass, and will not answer letters which have been written to him on other occasions, there is no way that this writer can ascertain whether he said this or not. And unless Dr. Ford is an absolute liar, this confession remains on record as to how tragic the situation is in Takoma Park.

The Apostle Paul scored the Jewish converts because at a time when they should have been teachers, they had "become such as have need of milk and not strong meat." He then concluded -"For everyone that useth milk hath no experience in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." (5)  And my Bible and your Bible declares -"Woe to thee, 0 land, when thy king is a child." (6)  The church has been in a state of crisis since 1950, but tragic indeed, when we come to the crisis of crises over such basic doctrines as the incarnation and righteousness by faith, he who stands as the self claimed "first minister" of the church is a theological babe, and professes not to

p 6 -- have studied the truth for himself, but has merely parroted what others have told him. Either Elder Pierson needs to state without reservations or weaseling that he did not say what Dr. Ford said he said, or if he did, he needs to resign.

The so-called Objective Digest Report closes with an undocumented quote from a "Protestant clergyman" which stated - "There are other troubling evidences that a new SDAdventism aborning." If this be so, then the full responsibility must rest on the leadership of the church, who have betrayed the trust placed in them by the laity and have compromised the basic truths of Adventism.

(1) Robert D. Brinsmead, "The Current Righteousness by Faith Dialogue", p. 1
(2) Ray Martin, Objective Digest Report, p.4, #16
(3) Dr. Herbert Douglass, Letter to WWN, dated February 6, 1977
(4) Martin, op. cit., p. 6, #25
(5) Hebrews 5:12-13 margin
(6) Ecclesiastes 10:16. (1977 Apr) --- END ---
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1977 May -- SANCTIFICATION --TAILOR MADE -- Part 2 -- In the beginning, God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (1) In thus creating man, He endowed him with a power akin to that of Himself -an individuality, power to think and to act. (2) The object of redemption being the restoration of that image, God will preserve inviolate the same power He bestowed in the beginning. This fact is revealed in the promises to the ones who overcome and are victorious in the struggle with sin. The Spirit assures us that to "him that overcometh ... I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." (3)

Herein - in the matter of individuality - is the basic difference between justification and sanctification. Justification is provided for all men because all have sinned. While we in our human judgment determine degrees of sin, and thus grade the sinners; in the eyes of God, all have sinned and come short of His glory. But sanctification fits our specific need - tailor made, if you please. Since "through the work of the Holy Spirit, ... the believer becomes fitted for the courts of heaven," (4)  this Divine Spirit works with us according to our specific need. For example, for my mind to be clear to perceive the perfect and acceptable will of God, the Holy Spirit does not need to lead me in the crucifixion of the habits of smoking, drinking, nor the indulgence of tea, coffee, coca cola, or other such types of beverages, because I have no craving for such, and never have had, even though my father was for a time a merchant in many of these items. However, there are other weaknesses that I have which war against the soul, thus effecting my character development. It is this emphasis that the Holy Spirit brings home to my consciousness for crucifixion.

There are other areas which we call reforms, the knowledge of which God has graciously provided that we may follow to assist us in the goal of overcoming. But again, the individuality must be respected. The specific application of these reforms are not eternal verities, and must be so recognized. There are no two leaves alike, nor two snow flakes alike; neither will two individuals interpret all reforms alike. And it is not left with us to play the Holy Spirit to interpret to our brother or sister in the faith the reforms just as we choose to practice them. Let the Holy Spirit do its assigned work in fitting each believer for the courts of heaven, for it will be the Spirit who will give the stone with the new name that only each believer and over comer can know.

Let us consider a specific reform - dress reform. First it is basically a health reform. It was given for the health of the body. The organs of the body were not to be pressured by the mode of dress. Adequate clothing was to be worn to keep the extremities of the body warm. Now everyone who will do a little thinking knows

p 2 -- that the manner of dress will vary as to where one is living on the surface of the earth. One cannot prescribe the dress of the Eskimo for the person living in the tropics! Then if we should consider dress reform as distinct from health reform, the one basic element is modesty. Thus certain attire worn by modern woman is automatically ruled out, such as the miniskirt. But I have seen those who "profess" godliness manifesting a behavior as indiscrete as any of their sisters in miniskirts. One's character is more than merely the length of the skirt. To appear outwardly religious does not spell sanctification but pharisaism.

What then is the true basis for sanctification? Jesus prayed-"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (5)  This high priestly prayer of Jesus was answered when He the Spirit of truth came forth to guide into all truth. That we might know what is involved in truth, the book of John which speaks so much of this element quotes Jesus as declaring that the devil "abode not in the truth." (6)  To be fitted for heaven we must come to abide in the truth which the enemy rejected. This brings us to what we could call "the eternal verities," for truth is of divine origin. We read: Truth is sacred, divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. In it there is fullness of joy. When it is cherished in the heart the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. This is the love of God in the soul. Thus pure, unadulterated truth occupies the citadel of the being ...

When the truth as it is in Jesus molds our characters it will be seen to be truth indeed ... It will elevate our aspirations, enabling us to reach the perfect standard of holiness. (7)

When we consider that truth and truth alone is the basis of our sanctification, we can begin to understand why the emphasis on reforms as the basis of sanctification has failed in achieving the objective of the Latter Rain. We have misplaced our priorities of concern. Those groups who have been so caught up in reforms have had little to say if anything about the apostasy and deviation from truth that has marked the history of the church since 1950. Their eyes have been blinded to the fulfilling of prophecy so that they could not properly relate to what was actually taking place in the sanctuary above, even though with their emphasis on reforms, they seek to stress the message of the sanctuary. Many of these units which emphasize reforms as the evidence of sanctification are marked by a devotion to a single man. Man worship is always the hall mark of a salvation by works program. When an individual is able to achieve a certain appearance of righteousness, and thus becomes satisfied with his attainments, he becomes very worshipful of the one who has led him or her to such a "victorious experience." Let us face the fact that man of himself can attain to reforms. There are vegetarians in this world who practice what we call heathen religions. And let us not forget that there are adherents to Eastern cults which have a style of dress more akin to the Biblical mode of dress than most of the dress reform devotees.

When pure, unadulterated truth "is cherished in the heart, the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity." In all honesty one must conclude that those units within the church which profess such devotion to a single man, and emphasize reforms as the evidence of sanctification, while they may manifest many good works, and sacrificial devotion to projects, are not manifesting righteousness by faith, but a salvation by works program no different than all human religions.

p 3 -- Lest one think that this is too critical a judgment of many sincere people, I ask you to pause, and consider, how many of these folk have been in the vanguard of lifting up their voices to warn God's people during the last two decades about the apostasy in the midst of Israel. They were nowhere to be found except to seek to denigrate those who were carrying this burden. We must realize that - The position that it is of no consequence what men believe, is one of Satan's most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. (8)

0 how soothing to hear -"Don't say anything about 'mother'" - all unmindful that those who are to be sealed will have the name of their new "mother" which is above written in their foreheads. (9) This false theory continues -"Just practice your reforms, and the social gospel programs which you can achieve and do in your own power. Do not utter a word of criticism except against those who are seeking to expose the apostasy in the church. Thus you will achieve perfection." This is "another gospel." It is a gospel of works which if a man doeth he shall find his livelihood by that mode of existence.

We must lift up our voices like a trumpet and show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. Apostasy must be pointed out and truth proclaimed so that God's people may become free of human devotion to serve only the living God. When that devotion is realized in the lives of each professed follower of the Lord Jesus, sanctification will be realized, for sanctification "means habitual communion with God." (10) This Lucifer broke when he abode not in the truth, and this is what he severed between man and his God, when he lured him away in the Garden of Eden. This devotion of man to man is still his chief stock in trade, but "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (11)

(1) Genesis 1:26
(2) Ellen G. White, Education, p. 17
(3) Revelation 2:17
(4) Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 395
(5) John 17:17
(6) John 8:44
(7) Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 140
(8) Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 520
(9) Revelation 3:12, Galatians 4:26; Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 15
(10) Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, March 15, 1906 (7BC:908)
(11) John 8:32

WHY THIS EMPHASIS? -- As you have read the study -"Sanctification -Tailor Made" -in the last two thought papers, you have perhaps wondered why this approach and emphasis. Since coming to Arkansas to live, I have had contact with more dissident groups than any place I have ever lived before in either the United States or Canada. Most of these groups have

p 4 -- based their divergence from the corporate body in Takoma Park on the matter of reforms. With some it is dress reform; with others it is certain combinations of foods which they perceive to be a part of health reform; and with still others it has to do with what they define as drugs in medications. In the teachings of these points in various combinations, each group considers its understanding as the very basic element in sanctification. By some - not all - these distinctions are paraded to show that they are not as other members are. But, not only do they parade this type of personal holiness, but they believe that they must play the part of the Holy Spirit and convict others to do just exactly as they feel compelled to do. And if others do not respond to such human conviction, they are cast off as hell-bound, and in some instances verbally castigated. This is termed Christianity.

Then I am aware as I travel on itineraries, and meet with various groups in different places - these for the most part are "regular" Adventists concerned with the apostasy and ecclesiastical high-handedness of the corporate body - I sense a need that some - again not all - of these folk need to understand more fully the reforms so that with clearer minds they might understand the will of God. How is one to relate to this dilemma? If one places the reforms in their proper perspective as I have tried to do in these last two thought papers, he is considered a "liberal" and accused of being anti-reform, although seeking to walk in the light shining upon his pathway. But to emphasize that reforms and the practice of the same is sanctification produces a salvation by works program.

Basically, this whole question hinges on what a man understands his relationship to God to be. If he perceives all as his brothers and sisters who have accepted the Truth as it is in Jesus, and in this human fellowship, all constitute a "kingdom of priests" with equal access to the Father through the great High Priest, then all are equally "servants" of the Most High God. If this be true, and I accept this premise as fundamental truth, then what Paul says in Romans 14 should serve as a guide line in this whole question. He wrote:       Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

Here again is this very simple, but fundamental concept of salvation -"God is able." It is God who has provided so great salvation -I have not! All that I can do is to point men and women to the Cross of Calvary, and say -"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." When men and women behold this great eternal Sacrifice, they will have little time regulating the lives of their fellow brothers, and sisters who are bowed with them at the foot of the Cross. They will have all that they can do to see to it that they are presenting themselves as a living sacrifice, which is their reasonable service as servants of God.

What if in my spiritual growth I see the need for reforms which my brother does not yet see? Should I seek to enforce these upon him, or should I practice them, and speak forth in testimony what such reforms have done for me, giving my reason for so doing based either on the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy? Paul answers -"Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God." And. lest one Should feel that he is not obligated to honor reforms, Paul adds -"Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that which he alloweth." (Romans 14:22) What we need to realize is that - "The

p 5 -- kingdom of God is not meat [food] and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men." (Romans 14:17-18)

ANOTHER ISSUE -- Since we have been discussing in this Thought Paper, reforms in relationship to sanctification, it might be well to note another "standard" that has been commented on in the latest issue of Spectrum. (Vol. 8, #2, pp. 59-61) Dr. C. G. Tuland suggests:       "Let's Stop Arguing Over the Wedding Ring." In this article, he tells of an experience he had with a "fellow minister" in discussing certain texts - I Peter 3:3-4, and I Timothy 2:9-10 - as to whether they applied to the wedding ring. He challenged the minister's use of these texts as Biblical support for prohibiting the wearing of the wedding ring. The challenge is absolutely correct. These texts cannot be used to support the nonuse of wedding rings.

The doctor, as he seeks to set forth Biblical support for the use of wedding rings, compares the use of the wedding ring to the signet ring used by rulers in antiquity, and to a similar type of ring mentioned by Christ in the parable of the Prodigal Son. In this he is on just as weak a foundation as he thought his "fellow minister" to be. Unless, Dr. Tuland has not given all the data that he knows concerning the wedding ring, his position would indicate that he had not done sufficient research before he went into print.

The wedding ring is not to be opposed simply because some one may consider it jewelry, but because it comes to us as a part of the most licentious rites of paganism. One needs only to go to the Library of Congress, and spend a few hours with rare books on phallic symbolism, in what was called the "Delta" room at the time of my inquiry, to not only read about the use of the wedding ring in antiquity, but also to see pictures from the art of those times depicting its meaning and use. Some of the pictures from antiquity rival modern pornography.

Cardinal Newman wrote in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine:- We are told in various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own. ...The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; Holy water; …sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, … are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the [Catholic] Church. (p. 373)

Even non-Adventists in countries where the wearing of the wedding ring is supposed to be a mandatory custom, know of its origin. Eileen Morris, Bride's Counselor at Eaton's Wedding Bureau, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1949 stated:

p 6 -- The wedding ring is an optional part of the marriage ceremony. If a bride doesn't wish to wear one, it isn't required. The ceremony is valid should she choose to delete "With this ring I thee wed." Actually the giving and receiving of a wedding ring is a pagan custom, simply added to church ceremony. (Chatelaine, April, 1949, "Weddings Can Be Different", col. 4)

In setting forth certain concepts in regard to the eating of food sacrificed to idols by the Gentiles, Paul stated a principle that is applicable to all that comes from the devilish rites and practices of paganism. He wrote:

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils. (I Cor. 10:20-21)

If therefore, a person knowing the pagan background of the wedding ring, can still "conscientiously" wear the same, and partake of "the Lord's table", God will judge. But to salve over the conscience by telling our people that the wearing of the wedding ring is no different than the signet ring of antiquity is just as intellectually dishonest as the misuse of certain Scripture references. For this God will also judge.

p 7 -- A MOST WELCOME DEBUT -- Recently there has come from the press what is planned to be a series of pamphlets entitled -1888 Review. The "Introduction" in the first issue clearly sets forth the objective of this new publication. After noting that "God gave to His servants (Waggoner and Jones) a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus", the editor suggests that this testimony, because it was given "for the purpose of remedying the deplorable condition of looking to man, trusting in man, and being educated to expect help from man," was the basic reason why the 1888 message was rejected, and its bearers despised. See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 93. The "Introduction" concludes -"This is a mystery which must be uncovered … for the 1888 message included more than has been presented as Justification by Faith, and Righteousness by Faith."

Those who are presently going about the country preaching on 1888 in our churches, and at minister's meetings would do well to study the implications of this very first issue of 1888 Review. Instead of feeding our people a "half a loaf" of bread - and some of it adulterated as in the case of Venden - it would be well to give our famishing laity meat in due season by supplying a "full course meal" for a change.

The first article in the first issue of 1888 Review is a sermon that Eider A. T. Jones presented at the 1901 General Conference Session. On this message we shall comment in another Thought Paper when discussing some other present issues. The other article is a sermon by Elder D. L. Bauer entitled, "Break Every Yoke." He summarizes the issue concisely when he stated -"The conflict was joined in the Adventist church in 1888 between God's free men and the servants of men. And it has been going on ever since." Then he adds -"What more can I say? It is with heavy heart that I appeal to you to 'BREAK EVERY YOKE.' (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 480) This is God's word to you."

CONFUSION COMPOUNDED! -- Dr. Herbert Douglass has indicated that the Sabbath School Lessons for the Second Quarter, 1977, "were planned in 1971 by the S. S. Dept. as part of a synoptic approach to church instruction. (11) These Lessons have become an anathema to those who had espoused the teaching on the Incarnation to be found in Questions on Doctrine and Movement of Destiny. This group "tried several times to stop its [The Quarterly's] publication as well as Jesus, the Benchmark of Humanity. [They] demanded hearings and got them. But each time the brethren found nothing contrary to Adventist thought in them. (11)

This factual information is most interesting. Note the date - 1971. From this time till publication, various committees ruled that the lessons were in harmony with the historic thought of Adventism. But -in 1976 -the Leadership of the Church represented by the President of the General Conference, the Editor and an Associate Editor of the Review, the Chairman and Secretary of the General Conference Biblical Research Committee fixed their signatures to the Palmdale Accord which stated that

p 8 -- whether one believed that Christ took on Himself the sinless nature of Adam prior to the Fall, or whether Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of the seed of Abraham, it was unimportant, for "the central concept is to recognize Jesus as the Saviour of all mankind." (Review, May 27, 1976, p. 5) Further, "On May 30, 1973, the officers of the General Conference appointed a small but representative committee to give in-depth study to various aspects of the message of righteousness by faith. … Involved in this study were some General Conference administrators who are genuine Bible students in their own right. Also on the committee were members of the Seminary faculty at Andrews University, other Leaders in various phases of our work in the General Conference, two editors, members of the Biblical Research Committee and of the E. G. White Estate here in the General Conference office, theologians, historians, research men, and some very capable laymen." (The Ministry, August, 1976, p. 5)

In the published report of this Committee, the same conclusion - almost word for word as the Palmdale Accord - is drawn in the matter of the Incarnation. It reads: "Whichever of these views the Christian may hold concerning the details of Christ's humanity, we believe that the central concept is to recognize Jesus as the Saviour of mankind." (Ibid, p. 6)

Then, if this is not enough confusion, one has only to recall that the President of the General Conference placed his imprimatur on the book, Movement of Destiny, in writing that this book "is a must for every worker, every theological student, and every church officer -in fact, for every church member who loves this message and longs to see it triumph in the near, very near, future." (p. 13). This book taught that Christ "took the sinless nature of Adam before the Fall." (p. 497) Now in a letter published in The Adventist News Service, M. G. Townend, Sabbath School Director of the Australian Division quotes the President of the General Conference as follows: -

"I have personally gone through the Lessons within the last few days, and I have received a blessing from the thoughts presented." These Lessons teach that Christ took upon Himself the nature of the seed of Abraham, in other words, the fallen nature of man. (Senior Quarterly, "Jesus the Model Man", p. 19) Put all of this together, if you can. This is confusion compounded! (May 1977)---END--- TOP

1977 June -- THE DIVINE PROVISION -- Part 1 -- Consider the following texts of Scripture:       Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (l)

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. ... So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (2)

The whole duty of man is summed up in the Law of God, and by it he is to be judged. Further, if a man keeps the laws, statutes, and judgments of God, he shall find life therein. To this divine way of life -keeping the commandments -God signed His name. After declaring - "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them" - He stated - "I am the Lord." (3) This is the same principle which had been enunciated in Eden. Do and thou shalt live; disobey, and thou shalt die (4) We are told:       The conditions of eternal life, under grace, are just what they were in Eden, - perfect righteousness, harmony with God, perfect conformity to the principles of His law. The standard of character presented In the Old Testament is the same that is presented in the New Testament. (5)

In the light of these statements from Scripture, and the summation given in the Gift of Prophecy, would you say with Paul: I consent unto the law that it is good. ... I delight in the law of God after the inward man. (6)

BUT in the same Book, I also read the following:      Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (7)

0 Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (8)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (9)

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind,

P 2 -- have taken us away. (l0)

In the light of these verses, would we also confess with Paul - I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 0 wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (11)

Now let us do some very fundamental reasoning and honest thinking -as free as possible from the deceitfulness of our own hearts. By coming to Jesus in confession, my past is covered. God declares the righteousness of Jesus "for the remission of sins that are past." (l2) Do I have anymore strength today to direct my steps than I had yesterday, before I came to Jesus confessing those yesterdays? In other words, can I walk alone, now that I have been justified? Suppose the day I come to Jesus in confession, I stop eating meat, drinking coffee, using dairy products; then that day I stop sinning because I did these things. Ridiculous, you say - and you are right!

Dare I call the mere adoption of reforms the objective of sanctification? Such a concept leads to a spiritual pride equaled only by the most rigid devotees of the pharisaical way of life in the times of Jesus. We read: The proud hearts strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven [justification] and our fitness for heaven [sanctification] are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. (l3)

What then is heaven waiting to bestow, since man cannot of himself obtain righteousness, whether it be justification or sanctification? Read carefully and thoughtfully: Because man fallen cannot overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood Satan, and conquered him. He also knew that it was impossible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that, with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is. He obtains for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they may overcome the temptations of Satan. (l4)

From this reference, let us note certain salient points:    1)    Man fallen - out of Eden - cannot resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength.

p 3 -- 2)    Jesus Christ took man's nature, and with divine power combined with the human brought hope to to man where he was. He obtains a specific strength - "that strength" -by which they, in His name, may overcome temptation.

Since man out of Eden cannot in his own strength overcome Satan, but yet since man to obtain eternal life must meet the same conditions operative in Eden -"perfect righteousness ... perfect conformity to the principles of [God's] law" - how is he to be saved? "Neither is their salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," save in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. (l5) This is the Gospel in its fullness - not just justification, but both justification and sanctification. Christ coming from the courts of heaven brought divine power, and in returning to heaven has obtained for us that additional power we must have that we might "in His name ... overcome the temptations of Satan."

What was the divine power He brought? What has He obtained for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam? What is the Divine Provision? These questions we shall discuss as we continue the study in the next thought paper.

(1) Ecclesiastes l2:l3
(2) James 2:l0, l2
(3) Leviticus l8:5
(4) Genesis 2:16-17
(5) Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing , p. 116
(6) Romans 7:16b, 22
(7) Jeremiah 13:23
(8) Jeremiah 10:23
(9) Jeremiah 17:9
(10) Isaiah 64:6
(11) Romans 7:23-24
(12) Romans 3: 25
(13) Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 300
(14) Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 279
(15) Acts 4:l2

"The Theology of Imitation -Is Salvation by Imitation or by Grace?" -- A brief paper carrying this title and subtitle is being circulated under the initials -"R. D. B." It is an undisguised attack on the present Sabbath School lessons, although the lessons are not mentioned in particular. This paper should have been more accurately entitled - "The Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil" - with a subtitle: "In Written Form for Your Consumption." There are many of the devotees of the "Ford-Brinsmead mateship" who will think they perceive in this paper much "to be desired to make one wise" (Gen. 3:6), and they will eat, and urge that others eat also of this same tree. The result will be another in the long line of successive falls that have taken place since the first Fall. (See Review & Herald , March 4, l875.)

In this paper, "R. D. B." quotes with approval a definition of "heresy" which reads, "the picking and choosing of a part, instead of comprehensively embracing the whole of truth." Then he charges that the advocates of the doctrine of the Incarnation who teach that the "humanity of Christ" embraced the same nature as is inherited by

p 4 -- all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam are heretics of "distortion". (pp. 18-19) BUT by his own use of the Spirit of Prophecy in seeking to show that Sister White did not teach this concept of the Incarnation, he became the arch-heretic by his own definition. A series of statements lifted from various parts of the Spirit of Prophecy are given, but no where in the entire paper do the following clear-cut statements appear:      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)

Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. (Youth's Instructor, Dec. 20, l900)

Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings in behalf of the fallen race. Thus He has made possible for us to partake of His nature. (Review and Herald, July 17, l900)

[A whole series of these statements appear as Appendix C in the manuscript - An Interpretative History of the Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. May be requested.

Let us consider the last statement in the light of R. D. B.'s own definition of heresy as a distortion. He affirms -"What is true of the nature is true of the Person." He uses the illustration that because Christ's human nature suffered hunger and thirst, it would be correct to say that "He was hungry and thirsty." Then he draws the analogy that if Christ's human nature was sinful, it would be correct to say that Christ was sinful. (p. 2l) But here is distorted logic, and only frail human reasoning, because R. D. B. chooses to be a heretic by his own definition and does not take into consideration all aspects of truth. Did Christ - perfect, eternally perfect - become sinful because He chose to unite the "offending nature of man" with Himself so that fallen man might be blessed? He was made to be sin for us, and in this fallen state of existence, He condemned sin in the flesh. (II Cor. 5:2l; Romans 8:3) Then to top off his heresy, R. D. B. concludes - "The principle is true of the saints too. As long as they have sinful natures, they are sinners." (Op. cit.) Evidently, he is willing to ignore, or perhaps he no longer believes what Sister White wrote concerning the living saints prior to their shedding of the "vile bodies." She heard "a voice, musical, and triumphant, ... saying: 'They come! they come! holy, harmless, and undefiled.'" (Great Controversy, p. 636) Perhaps, R. D. B., if he still believed the servant of the Lord, and would cease being a heretic, could understand that these living saints had accepted the blessings to be obtained through Christ's incarnation in taking upon Himself our sinful nature, and had in turn become "partakers of His nature."

As another example of the errors in this paper resulting from being a heretic - by his own definition - is to be found in his distorted "logic" which stated: "Because Jesus [in His incarnation] was still God in the highest sense, He did some things which we can never do - things which we could not imitate without blasphemy." (p. 9) (Some of the items listed support his "logic" and are true. This is why the paper

p 5 -- should be called - "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" - because other concepts disprove his logic, and reveal his heresy.) He evidently overlooked the plain words of Jesus Himself which read: Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John l4:l2)

And these words were said, while bearing our humanity! R. D. B. cites what he thinks to be an irrefutable example of what Jesus did that no mortal will ever do. He even used the Spirit of Prophecy for proof to continue to beguile his devotees who still believe in her gift. The Desire of Ages is quoted: When the voice of the mighty angel was heard at Christ's tomb, saying, Thy Father calls Thee, the Saviour came forth from the grave by the life that was in Himself. ...In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. (p. 785)

BUT he omitted - Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave, -not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal. (Desire of Ages, p. 388)

Now I recognize that to accept what is written in The Desire of the Ages on p. 388 is to spell the death-knell to R. D. B.'s distorted "gospel" which he is presently advocating. Thus from his viewpoint, it is best to not give the whole picture; but by so doing - by his own definition - he is a heretic!

We can pursue this point a bit further. In the section (pp. 13-14) attempting to prove that "Imitation Theology" denies the real strength of Christ's temptation, R. D. B. quotes the following from the pen of sister White:       It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as for men to rise above the level of their depraved natures, and be partakers of the divine nature. (7 Bible Commentary, 930)

While the statement is true, it does not prove his point, and says far more that R. D. B. would really like for it to say. While it was difficult for Christ to keep to the level of humanity, He did do it! And while it is also recognized as exceedingly difficult for us with our depraved natures to rise above such a level, it will be accomplished in us who believe and surrender, and to those who so do, they will become partakers of the divine nature. But according to R. D. B., this is a subjective gospel. Now we will let him explain what it means to become a partaker of the divine nature, and what it means that Christ became one flesh with us that we might become one spirit with Him, and that by this being accomplished "in us", we now have the beginning of the life eternal. (Desire of Ages, p. 388)

p 6 -- In seeking to disprove that a follower of Jesus can imitate the example set, R. D. B. takes partial sentences from two references completely out of context. (p. l4) The partial quotes is -"We cannot equal the pattern ..." (2T:549, 628) In context this is talking about the sacrifice Christ made in coming down to earth to be our Saviour. How can we equal such a sacrifice, when we never had a preexistence which involved us as part of the Godhead? To apply these references to the character revealed by Jesus when He came to show not "what a God can do, but what a man could do through faith in God's power to help in every emergency" (Our High Calling, p. 48) - is the worst type of heresy as defined by R. D. B. himself.

Not only is heresy interwoven throughout the paper with some truth, but also just plain bold-faced lies are stated. For example, to smear if possible the messengers whom God sent to this people in l888, R. D. B. says - "Waggoner and Jones ... together with Dr. Kellogg developed what E. G. White called "the alpha of deadly heresies [pantheism] around the turn of the century." (p. 23) Now why this lying attack on Jones and Waggoner? Because both Jones and Waggoner taught the doctrine of the Incarnation according to what he calls the "Theology of Imitation" which is to him anathema. But does such a false attack on these men destroy the truth they taught regarding the Incarnation? Absolutely not.

Waggoner taught:      The fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." David had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Ps. 5l:5. (Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 26-27 Emphasis his)

Jones taught:       In Jesus Christ as He was in sinful flesh, God has demonstrated before the universe that He can so take possession of sinful flesh as to manifest His own presence, His power, and His glory, instead of sin manifesting itself. And all that the Son asks of any man, in order to accomplish this in him, is that the man will let the Lord have him as the Lord Jesus did.

Then God will so take us, and so use us, that our sinful selves shall not appear to influence or affect anybody; but God will manifest His righteous self, His glory, before men, in spite of all ourselves and our sinfulness. That is the truth. And that is the mystery of God, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," - God manifest in sinful flesh. (General Conference Bulletin, l895, p. 303)

POSTSCRIPT -- Throughout this brief comment, I have used the initials - "R. D. B." - because this is the way it appears on the title page. It did not say Robert D. Brinsmead is the author, but merely that he initialed it. Who all the authors of this paper might have been is anybody's guess - Ford, Paxton, or some professor at Andrews University -who knows? But Brinsmead did initial it!

p 7 -- THE LUTHERAN CHURCH -MISSOURI SYNOD -- Several have written asking, what I thought was the intent of the series of editorials in the Review which focused on why a schism developed in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I have read carefully these six editorials by R. F. Cottrell, starting with the January l3, l977 issue, and concluding in the February 17th number. In this analysis - dry as the hills of Gilboa - Cottrell was careful to use certain terms in describing the contending groups. No group was "liberal" -they were only "moderates" seeking to keep the "conservatives" from taking their church to a place theologically where it would be termed a "sect." (Review & Herald, Feb. l7, l977, p. l0) There can be no question but this series of comments on the problems of the Missouri Synod were written because, whether we like it or not, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is facing the same crisis.

The real issue that the membership of the Missouri Synod faced is not written in the regular paragraphs of the editorials but in the fine print of the footnotes. Footnote #l of the last editorial (Ibid, p. 11) needs to be carefully read. It states: In a paper presented to a Synod theological convocation in the spring of 1975, Dr. Ralph A. Bohlman, now president of Concordia Seminary, said that "considerations of truth must take precedence over considerations of [brotherly] love, should these be in conflict."

How Cottrell views this issue of priorities can be seen in his summary which states that "a spirit of brotherhood [must be] paramount over every other consideration, and that [it] controls all discussion and action." (Ibid) Reduced to simple terms it means that our internal PR - personal relations - should predominate over "considerations of truth." In other words, unity within the human organization is more important than truth which is of divine origin. Here is a crisis of the greatest magnitude that each individual in the church will need to face for himself.

Through our evangelistic programs we have produced a situation within the Church very similar to what the early church faced when following a period of persecution an influx of membership occurred. It reads: -"When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism, they entered a path which led farther and farther from the truth." (Great Controversy, p. 45) Not only have we baptized numbers who have little real knowledge of basic Adventist Truth, but we have adopted Babylonian techniques to achieve this outward success. This has only compounded our problem. The tempo has not been altered, nor the techniques corrected.

Now faced with a crisis over the unity of the Church with the "liberals" calling for more representation in administration, and the "traditionalist" controlling the curia on the Sligo, and the Evangelical orientated faculty of theology dominating the Seminary, we are really in a worse situation than the Missouri Synod was prior to its schism. So what is the solution - "the ounce of prevention" which Cottrell recommends? Our internal PR must become paramount even if truth is sacrificed! How did the faithful in the early church react o this kind of philosophy? Note:       After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity

p 8 -- if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children's children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war.

Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that; after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their souls to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ. (Great Controversy, pp. 45-46). --- (1977 June) --- END ---

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