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WWN 2004 Apr - Jun


2004 Apr XXXVII 4(04) -- Questions on Doctrine's Position on -- The Incarnation -- Editor's Preface -- The research done by Dr. Ralph Larson, Dr. J. R. Zurcher, and this editor, on the history of the doctrine of the Incarnation as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church from its beginning until the 1940s, has been recognized in the Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine as valid, not by name, but by the fact that Dr. George Knight admits that the Adventist Conferees lied to Barnhouse and Martin as to what the Church actually taught on the doctrine during this period of time. Of course, Knight uses more genteel language to describe the lying and cover-up.

In this issue of WWN we discuss the teachings of the 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine on the Incarnation:    1)    that Christ accepted the fallen human nature "vicariously" and    2)    that He was "exempt" from its liabilities. But the admission that these were new and different positions from the historic teaching does not solve the problem. Knight substitutes a concept set forth by an Anglican clergyman, noted as the "orthodox position," in the place of the deviations which the 1957 edition made, but which still continues to negate the original teaching itself. Actually, this Anglican's position was first stated in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe. .., published by the Ministerial Association in 1988. The White Estate is also involved.

In the new Annotated Edition we are faced with two problems:    1)    What the "Annotations" do say, and    2)    the sections of the 1957 edition for which this new edition does not give annotations but which are still open to serious questions, even as they were when the book was first published. Knight has simply done an incomplete job. There are still too many missing pieces, including the original answers given to the Evangelicals. Other questions are raised in "A Postscript," which require further explanation.

p 2 -- The Incarnation -- As Presented in Questions on Doctrine -- The authors of the 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine cited the prophecy of Isaiah 53:3-4, and Matthew's reference to it (8:17) as the basis for their first premise in regard to the Incarnation. After quoting Isaiah, that the Messiah would be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," and Matthew's interpretive comment  -  "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses," they wrote:      But let us observe further what is implied in this. Notice the words used to express the thought, both in Isaiah 53 and Matthew 8. He bore our griefs, our sorrows, our infirmities, our sicknesses. The original words are also translated pains, diseases, and weaknesses (p. 58).

After quoting references from the Writings, they continued:      It could hardly be construed, however, from the record of either Isaiah or Matthew, that Jesus was diseased or that he experienced the frailties to which our fallen human nature is heir. But He did bear all this. Could it not be that he bore this vicariously also, just as He bore the sins of the whole world?

These weaknesses, frailties, infirmities, failings are things which we, with our sinful, fallen natures, have to bear. To us they are natural, inherent, but when He bore them, He took them not as something innately His, but He bore them as our substitute. He bore them in His perfect, sinless nature. Again we remark, Christ bore all this vicariously, just as vicariously He bore the iniquities of us all (pp. 59-60; emphasis theirs).

Their second premise is bluntly stated:      Although born in the flesh, He was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam. He was "without sin," not only in His outward conduct, but (sic) in His very nature (p. 383; emphasis mine).

The two premises together are saying that although Christ took the fallen flesh of man  - "born in the flesh" -  He was "exempt" from that which made the flesh, "fallen" -  its defilement.

I italicized, "exempt" because it has theological connotations. It was used by James Cardinal Gibbons in his explanation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Interpreting the Dogma's clause  -  "preserved free from every stain of original sin"  -  he wrote:      Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint (Faith of Our Fathers, p. 171, 88 th edition; emphasis mine).

If Christ was "exempt" then there was a divine intervention. If not, then Christ's humanity received from Mary would be no different than the humanity of every other child of Adam. Roman Catholicism seeks to avoid this problem by making Mary "exempt." To escape another problem which would arise if Mary conceived a second time, but by Joseph, they deny that any other children were born to Mary.

There is one difference between Jesus Christ and others born into humanity. He had a pre-existent identity and individuality. He took "upon Himself" our fallen nature. Our identity and individuality is the result of the union of our father and mother thus bequeathing to us a fallen nature. We are born fallen; Christ was not. How a Divine pre-existent Being could begin as a fetus in the womb of Mary remains a mystery to both men and angels.

[Other questions also surface, which we will discuss in following issues of WWN. One of the Adventist conferees and "scribe" of the 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine, L. E. Froom, wrote an unpublished manuscript on ""The Virgin Birth," which seeks to address some of these questions. This, too, we hope to review in future issues of WWN]

The Beginnings of the Conference -- Barnhouse relates that on "a second visit, Martin was presented with scores of pages of detailed theological answers to his questions" (Eternity, September 1956, p. 6). Unruh reveals that the answers were written by Froorn (The Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1977, p. 38). What followed? Barnhouse reveals:

p 3 -- As Mr. Martin read their answers he came, for example, upon a statement that they repudiated absolutely the thought that seventh-day Sabbath keeping was a basis for salvation and a denial of any teaching that the keeping of the first day of the day of the week is as yet considered to be the receiving of the antichristian "mark of the beast." He pointed out to them that in their book store adjoining the building in which these meetings were taking place a certain volume published by them and written by one of their ministers categorically stated the contrary to what they were now asserting. The leaders sent for the book, discovered that Mr. Martin was correct, and immediately brought this to the attention of the General Conference officers, that this situation might be remedied and such publications be corrected. This same procedure was repeated regarding the nature of Christ while in our flesh which the majority of the denomination has always held to be sinless, holy, and perfect despite the fact that certain of their writers have occasionally gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church at large (Eternity op.cit.; emphasis supplied).

This was the beginning of the lying because "the majority of the denomination" had over the years believed that Christ took the fallen nature of man in entering humanity.* This lying was compounded. When Questions on Doctrine was published a series of Appendices (A-C) made up solely of quotations from the Writings were included. Appendix B was on "Christ's Nature During the Incarnation." Section III of this appendix was titled - "Took Sinless Human Nature." In the new Annotated Edition, Knight comments:      Heading number  III  has been seen as problematic because it implies that Ellen G. White believed that Christ "took sinless human nature" when in fact she claimed the opposite. For example, in 1896 she wrote that Christ "took upon Him our sinful nature" (Review & Herald, Dec. 15, 1896, p. 789). Again in 1900 she penned that "He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin" (Youth's Instructor, Dec.20, 1900) Those quotations, as might be expected, were left out of the compilations in Questions on Doctrine on pages 650 to 652. Thus Questions on Doctrine not only supplied a misleading heading, but also neglected to present evidence that would have contradicted that heading (p. 516).

This was a double falsification of fact, both verbally to the Evangelical conferees and now written into the Appendix. Knight prefers to define it as "less than straight forward and transparent," rather than calling it by its right name, lying (p. 517). As if this were not enough, the Adventist conferees "explained to Mr. Martin that they had among their number certain members of their 'lunatic fringe' even as there are similar wild-eyed irresponsibles in every field of fundamental Christianity" (Barnhouse, op. cit.). These lunatics, the Evangelicals were told, as noted above, "have occasionally gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church at large."

This, however, was not the end of the controversy within Adventism. Knight's annotation continues:      The controversy regarding Questions on Doctrine's Appendix B was reignited in 1970 when it was republished in full in volume 7-A of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. Then in 1971 L. E. Froom, one of the principle (sic) authors of Questions on Doctrine, published Movement of Destiny, in which he once again implied that Ellen White taught that Christ took "sinless" human nature through his use of "Took Sinless Nature of Adam Before the Fall" as a subheading in his summary of her thought on the topic (see p. 497) [p. 524].

[Not only did Froorn in Movement of Destiny seek to sustain what Questions on Doctrine had stated in regard to the nature Christ assumed in the incarnation but also in the same book he sought to continue the falsification of the historical record concerning the Church's teaching on the incarnation by referring to the historic position as an "erroneous minority position" (p. 428).]

Knight continues:      In apparent response, in February 1972 the General Conference's Biblical Research Institute published a 12 page insert in Ministry magazine that sought to put the record straight. The insert consisted of a "more helpful" (p. 2) version of Appendix B on Christ's nature during the incarnation. The new version eliminated the italics, reorganized the text of the appendix, and deleted some of the quotations. But most importantly, it supplied several new subtitles to make them more accurate and less controversial. Thus "Took Sinless Human Nature" was replaced as a subhead by "In Taking Human Nature Christ Did Not Participate in Its Sin or Propensity to Evil" (p. 5).

Questions on Doctrine (1957) was prepared under the direction of the Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It should be noted that the next major book providing an overview of Adventist doctrines published by the Association, Seventh-day Adventists Believe... (1988), did not follow the lead of Questions on Doctrine on the nature of Christ, but utilized Melvill's model (pp. 47-48) [p. 524].

p 4 -- This leaves us with unanswered questions; however, there is one major question. If, as Knight writes, Questions on Doctrine "has probably done more to create theological division in the Adventist church than any other document in its more that 150-year history" (p. 516); and that it "easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-day Adventist history" (p. xiii), why republish it, and republish it as a part of the Adventist Classic * * Library series? In the previous issue of WWN, we did cite an answer given on the Adventist News Network, and previewed some of the factors we have documented in the above paragraphs. The question still remains: Is the ANN explanation the real answer?

*   The following books give documentation as to the position held by the Church from its beginning till the 1940s:

The Word Was Made Flesh - Dr. Ralph Larson. This book documents one hundred years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology, 1852-1952.

Christ Manifest in the Flesh - Dr. J. R. Zurcher. This book traces one hundred and fifty years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology, 1844-1994.

* *   How can one possibly define Questions on Doctrine as "classic"?      (To Be Continued)

Personal Involvement -- During the last half of the 1950s and into the beginning of the 1960s I was an evangelist as well as a pastor in the Indiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. During the first part of this period of time, Elder Arthur Kiesz, an excellent administrator who himself had been a pastor and evangelist, was president of the conference. He was followed by T. E. Unruh, who chaired the SDA-Evangelical Conferences (The Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 2, p. 37).

I had begun to notice in the Ministry magazine articles setting forth concepts which had a strange and different doctrinal emphasis than what I had been taught while at Union College, or during the Bible Studies, which my mother and I had received from a retired credentialed Bible Worker, in becoming Seventh-day Adventists. (At Union I had taken Bible under Dr. I. F. Blue and Elder J. W. Roland, conservative Christian men of God, as well as working as a Reader in the department.) I became concerned and wrote to Elder H. L. Rudy, a vice president of the General Conference, who had been president of the Canadian Union when I served as pastor of the Toronto First Church. He responded and told me that a book would soon be released which would answer my questions. As soon as Questions on Doctrine was available I procured a copy. I found in the book concepts which differed from the Adventism that I had accepted, was taught, and had been preaching. I opposed the book and began speaking out against it.

Soon after receiving the book, I vacationed in Canada, and visited in Oshawa with Monte Myers, Sr., who had served as first elder and chairman of the Board of the First Church in Toronto when I was pastor. Also visiting with him that day was another minister, N. S. Mizher. I shared with them my convictions in regard to the book. They chided me and said that the only one who agreed with me was "old" Elder Andreasen. On arriving back home, I sought to obtain further information concerning Andreasen's position.

[ In this period of time other things were taking place. In discussing the doctrine of the incarnation as taught in Questions on Doctrine with Jesse Dunn of Rockford, Indiana, I was told that the Holy Flesh men had taught a similar concept. This sparked my research into the teachings of that movement. Brother Dunn helped me, as he had been "State Agent" in the conference at that time, and knew personally the ministers involved. Also, there was being circulated to the Bible teachers of the Colleges and Academies a "Supporting Brief," which A. L. Hudson was submitting to the 1958 General Conference Session in regard to the book. I was given the copy which the Indiana Academy Bible teacher had received. In it was reference to the manuscript, 1888 ReExamined, which I had heard about when a pastor in Toronto, but had been unable to

p 5 --obtain a copy. I wrote to Hudson, obtained his copy on loan, and began a deeper study than I had previously done into the 1888 Message and aftermath.]

While Elder Kiesz was president, I recall two worker's meetings, one at which Elder M. L. Andreasen was the key presenter, and the other at which Elder D. E. Rebok, president of the Theological Seminary, then at Washingtion D.C., and Miss Louise C. Kleuser, of the General Conference Ministerial Department, were the guest speakers. During the meeting, Ms. Kleuser told of the SDA-Evangelical Conference meetings. She spoke of one of the Evangelical conferees smoking a pipe during the sessions, but referred to him as a "very godly man."

At the first camp meeting after Unruh became president, Elder R. Allan Anderson was the principal speaker. He spoke at all of the afternoon worker's meetings. His presentation concerned the development of Adventist doctrine. He maintained that the period between 1844 and 1888 were formative years, but as a result of 1888, in the decade of the 1890s, the teachings of the Church were confirmed. To the laity he preached "the new theology" of the book, Questions on Doctrine. After each meeting, various laymen came up and challenged him. This disturbed him, and he talked to Unruh about it. Unruh concluded that I was behind this reaction to Anderson's presentations. At the conclusion of the next evening meeting, he called for all the workers to assemble on the platform and announced a meeting to follow in a short period of time in the chapel of the old Academy. I knew "the hour had come." I went to our cabin, prayed, and gathered my brief case of study material and proceeded to the chapel.

Unruh said, as he opened the meeting, that there would be free discussion. He wanted all questions that concerned what was being presented at the camp meeting to be brought up; Elder Anderson was there and would be able to answer them. Elder Clifford Bee asked the first question of a general nature, and was cut short by Unruh. I well knew for what he was driving, and so asked the second question. I called attention to the premise Anderson was using in his presentations at the daily worker's meetings - that the years prior to 1888 were formative years. I asked how this could be reconciled with the statements in Special Testimonies, Series B, which stated that the foundation had been firm for the past 50 years. I stated that 50 years prior to 1903 was not 1888 (Series B, #2: pp. 51, 54, 58; #7: p. 37). Two other ministers joined me in pressing the point. The statement found in A Word to the "Little Flock" regarding Crosier's article (p. 12) was introduced, and discussion ensured about how much is to be included in the use of "Etc" in the phrase, "cleansing of the Sanctuary, Etc." Finally, Elder Anderson asked how I explained, Hebrews 9:11 12: - "Christ ... entered in ... having obtained eternal redemption for us." This verse took me by surprise, and I admitted that I had not given it study as to the emphasis he was inferring, that the atonement was completed on the cross. It was past 1 a.m., and at that point Unruh called the meeting to a close. Anderson protested that he was ready to go the rest of the night, if need be, to discuss the incarnation and other related topics. It was evident that what was desired was a discussion on the incarnation, for which I was not ready, and the point chosen caught Anderson and Unruh by surprise.

A year or so later, I met Anderson in the book store at Loma Linda, and he told me that Hebrews 9:11-12 were the verses that the Evangelical conferees threw at them, which caused them to capitulate. But that night in Indiana, if the minister sitting behind me had passed the Bible he was using (RSV) to me, I could have given an answer. It reads: "Christ ... entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption." This translation can be sustained by Greek syntax. He kept quiet during the discussion, but showed it to me afterwards. (He later became a Union Conference president.)

All was quiet for another year. Another confrontation would come at the next camp meeting. Elder A. V. Olson was the special guest speaker. He, too, had the workers' meetings during the camp session. Brinsmeadism had become an issue by that time. During these sessions I kept quiet, knowing full well that if I said anything,

p 6 -- right or wrong, it would be used against me. Olson even denied what was plainly stated in Education (p.36), that the sanctuary was a symbol of God's desire for the human soul.

After the camp meeting, every minister is assigned to a work detail to quickly close down the camp, so as to return home that day. Unruh came and called me off my detail, an almost unheard of thing, stating that Elder Olson wished to talk with me. We went to the room in the basement of the girl's dormitory, which he used as an office during the session.

The first question was, What do you believe about the Incarnation? I asked them how they defined, "infinite." They hedged and neither wished to give me a definition. I told them that I was not trying to trap them but just wanted a simple answer. Then I quoted to them from Christ's Object Lessons:       It is fellowship with Christ, personal contact with a living Saviour that enables the mind and heart and soul to triumph over the lower nature. Tell the wanderer of an almighty hand that will hold them up, of an infinite humanity in Christ that pities them (p. 388).

This I told them was what I believed about the incarnation. A discussion followed on how much of the nature of humanity Jesus took upon Himself. Finally a question was raised between them as to whether Christ could take a common cold. Their discussion became so intense that for the moment it seemed I was out of the picture. I sat there and laughed, because it reminded me of what history had recorded of the Middle Ages when they argued over how many spirits could dance on the point of a needle.

This infuriated Unruh, and he said to Olson, "I want to tell you about this man. He has a peculiar personality. The laity believe what he tells them, but they won't believe me." Olson looked at his watch, and said he had to go so as not to miss his plane out of Indianapolis. We had prayer, and when we arose, Olson said to me, "I did not ask to have this talk with you," and walked out. Unruh argued with me all the way back to my work detail.

I was pastoring the Muncie Church at the time. The first elder of the Church was a member of the Conference Committee. He kept telling me that at each session of the committee my name was being brought up for discussion as what to do with me. At the year's end, the Muncie Church selected their Nominating Committee by ballot, and the five names to receive the most votes constituted the committee. Certain individuals with whom Unruh  -  unknown to me -  had been in contact did not make the committee. I was called into the office and told to dissolve the elected committee and appoint a new one, which included these two individuals. I told him that if he wanted this done he could do it himself. This, of course, constituted insubordination, and I was relieved of my responsibilities.

The first elder of the Muncie church gave me a job in his business, and had the church elect me as a local elder at a called business meeting. Finally, a pastor was appointed, and I introduced him to the church because Unruh wouldn't come and do it.

Without Unruh's knowledge, a call came to teach at Madison College as head of the Bible and History Department. This I accepted. The liaison minister between the General Conference and Madison College told me that all the time Madison remained in operation, Unruh kept up a barrage of correspondence to various levels of administration to have me fired. He was not successful. When Madison College closed, I received two calls, one to the Minnesota Conference, and the other to the local Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. I declined both, and asked to go to Andrews University to complete work on a graduate degree. This I did, with a promise to be connected with the Faculty of Religion of Southern Missionary College for their Madison campus nursing program. When, after the graduate work was completed at Andrews, the nursing program envisioned did not materialize, I took a leave of absence as a minister in good and regular standing and continued so till the Adventist Laymen's Foundation was chartered. But that is a story in itself.

A Postscript -- At the time (circa 1904) of the "Alpha" apostasy, Ellen White wrote that if it had

p 7 -- succeeded certain things would have taken place:      "The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be counted as error... Books of a new order would be written. ... Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of this new movement" (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 54, 55). But it did not succeed; however, she also wrote,       "The omega will follow, and will be received..." (ibid. p. 50).

All of these items mentioned as to what would have been the fruitage of the "alpha" had it been successful, occurred in and following the publication of the book, Questions on Doctrine. Now it is being republished!

There is another factor that needs careful consideration. In the March issue of WWN, the question was raised  -  "Why republish the book?" (p. 2, Col. 2). The answer as given in ANN was noted. The reaction to the 1980 Statement of Beliefs by Martin and the reply of the General Conference was documented. In this Annotated Edition, Knight gives evidence that the Adventist conferees lied to Martin and manipulated the Writings to justify the lie. Under ordinary circumstances this would turn the Evangelicals off  (Evangelical reaction is not yet available to this editor) , but it also appears that Knight believes that the current position of the Church on the Incarnation covers any negative reaction, so that Adventism will not be returned to the "sect" category from which Barnhouse and Martin supposedly delivered it.

There is, however, another problem. The Adventist conferees, sensing two seeming different positions on the Incarnation in the Writings, omitted the statements in their compilations which appeared to be contrary to the lies they were seeking to support. Knight cites a new approach to the doctrine of the Incarnation, which was the result of a "discovery" made by the White Estate that Ellen White had adopted the teachings of an Anglican clergyman, Henry Melvill, in regard to the Incarnation. Knight, in his annotations, writes at length on this "discovery" under the caption, "The key to understanding Ellen White's seemingly contradictory statements" (pp. 522-524). This is not the first time he has done so. See Website: WWN, XXI (1988), #8 Et 9. The Melvill position will need to be considered, as well as Ellen G. White's relationship to it. Since Melvill calls his position, "the orthodox position," will its adoption cover the lying manipulation of the Adventist conferees back in 1955-1956? Only time will tell; however, not only will the Evangelicals have a decision to make, but the individual Adventist will also have to ask himself a question or two:    1)   Is Melvill's position Biblical? And    2)    Did Ellen G. White select his position on the incarnation?       ( To Be Continued )

The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error (Special Test. Series B, #2, p. 52).

--- (2004 Apr) --- End --- TOP

2004 May XXXVII 5(04) -- Status, Authority, and Relationship of Three Books -- Editor's Preface -- The three books which we discuss in this issue as to their status, relationship and authority are:    1)    The 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine;    2)    The 2003 Annotated Edition of the same book; and    3)    Seventh-day Adventists Believe.... The 1957 edition prefaces its answers with the 1931 Statement of Beliefs made official in 1946. Seventh-day Adventists Believe... is a discussion, statement by statement, of the 1980 Statement of Fundamental Beliefs voted by the Church in general session at Dallas, Texas.

Because the connecting link centers in the doctrine of the Incarnation, we discuss first what the Bible says, then note various statements found in the Writings. Inasmuch as a letter written in 1895 is the "centerpiece" of those who hold to the assumption that Christ took upon Himself an immaculate human nature in becoming man, we note biographical data as well as the letter written to W. L. H. Baker and his wife.

What is most unusual in regard to the letter is that we give the caution advised, as if Baker had actually violated this caution in what he said or wrote without producing a single article which he may have written to verify that assumption. It is inconceivable that a man who was an evangelist and then a church administrator in Australia for seventeen years, who in 1917 was appointed Bible teacher at Avondale College, did not write some article for publication which related to the doctrine in all those years. After returning to the States in 1922 he continued in college Bible teaching. Yet no evidence has been produced as to what he taught or wrote, nor is there any record that his teachings were called into question as a Bible teacher. A caution is not a condemnation of erroneous teaching!

In the Annotated Edition, the self styled "orthodox doctrine" of Henry Melvill is promoted. This we will consider in next issue.

p 2 -- The Status, Authority and Relationship of Three
Books --
With the publication of the annotated edition of Questions on Doctrine, it, with the 1957 edition of the same book, are now interrelated with a third book, Seventh-day Adventist Believe.... This third book, while printed by the Review & Herald Publishing Association, was published by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference. What is the official status of these books, and how are they related? Dr. George R. Knight cites three doctrinal areas which he terms "problematic" areas of concern in his preface to the Annotated edition. These are the doctrines of the Trinity, the atonement, and the human nature of Christ. It is this last doctrine which serves as the link connecting all three books.

The 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine (QonD) taught  (which can be summarized briefly)  that Christ took the nature of Adam before the Fall. The Adventist conferees claimed that this had been the position of the Church from its beginnings, except for a few in the "lunatic fringe" who taught that Christ took the nature of man after the Fall. Knight, in his annotated edition, states that on this point the Adventist conferees purposefully misrepresented the facts to Barnhouse and Martin, in other words, lied. He admits that the Church's position had been that Christ took the fallen nature of Adam in assuming humanity. He, however, advocates a third position, which is termed "the orthodox doctrine" as set forth in the book published by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference. This statement of the doctrine could be summarized as Christ taking a little bit of both, so that He took neither the fallen nor unfallen nature of man.

What status was given to the 1957 edition of QonD? "The Editorial Committee" in the "Introduction" made clear that "no statement of Seventh-day Adventists belief can be considered official unless it is adopted by the General Conference in quadrennial session, when accredited delegates from the whole world field are present;" but because "the answers" in the 1957 edition are only "an expansion [?] of the doctrinal positions contained" in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs (made official in 1946), this 1957 edition "can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventhday Adventist Church" (p. 9).

Who composed this "Editorial Committee"? A. V. Olson, a General Conference vice president and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate, chaired the Committee. Other members included W. E. Read, M. Thurber, W. G. C. Murdoch, Richard Hammill, L. E. Froom and R. Allan Anderson. This committee was appointed by the officers of the General Conference. The Review & Herald Publishing Association was invited to "manufacture the book 'as compiled by a committee appointed by the General Conference,' accepting the manuscript in its completed form" (Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 2, p.44). Prior to this, another committee of 14 members chaired by R. R. Figuhr, president of the General Conference, prepared a document of the questions and answers for submission to 250 chosen Adventist leaders. The feedback was analyzed and evaluated by the 14-member committee and placed in the hands of the Editorial Committee for publication. Not only did the conferees lie to the Evangelicals, but the officers of the Church became party to it in the publication of the book. There was indeed apostasy in high places. The question remains   -   at what point in the publication process were the questions and answers, from which Martin quoted in his second article in Eternity, given to him? If we are now admitting to falsification as Knight is doing in the annotated edition, why not have the whole picture for a complete evaluation?

The book, Seventh-day Adventist Believe..., begins with a similar statement of status as did QonD. It reads:      The present volume, Seventh-day Adventists Believe.... is based on these short summaries [1980 Statements of Belief]. They appear at the beginning of each chapter. In this book we present for our members, friends, and other interested person, in an expanded, readable, and practical manner, these doctrinal convictions and their significance for Adventist Christians in today's society. While this

p 3 -- volume is not an officially voted statement  -  only a General Conference in world session could provide that -  it may be viewed as representative of "the truth ... in Jesus" (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim (p. iv).

The Annotated Edition is published by the Andrews University Press and edited by George R. Knight. It is given status by being one of the first two books to be published as a part of the Adventist Classic Library envisioned by the editor and by Ronald Knott of the Press. It is an exact republication of the 1957 edition with added notes. The editor perceives the original edition as having "stood at the very center of Adventist theological dialogue since the 1950s, setting the stage for ongoing theological tension" (p. xi). It is theological discussion taken out of the hands of administrators and placed at the heart of the Church's theological teaching:  Andrews University.

Relationship -- As noted above, the link which connects these books is the doctrine of the Incarnation. We need to recapitulate certain facts. To obtain the favor of the Evangelicals, the Adventist conferees lied to Barnhouse and Martin in regard to the teaching of the Church on this doctrine during eight decades of its existence. This lie was administratively confirmed in the publication of the book, QonD. This Knight has noted in the Annotated Edition which he has edited. He also confronts another problem  -  the seeming contradiction in the Writings of Ellen G. White on this doctrine. To continue to be emancipated from the cult standing with the Evangelicals, and to explain what appears to be a contradiction in the Writings, Knight opts for what is termed "the orthodox doctrine" as was adopted by the writer of the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe... (pp. 47, 57; footnote #13). In doing so, he cites research by Tim Poirier of the White Estate (Annotated Edition, p. 522, sec. 8). To work through this maze we must first start at "the only infallible rule of faith and practice," the "Holy Scriptures" (1872 Statement of Beliefs, # III; emphasis supplied).

The Incarnation in the Bible -- In citing Biblical references we shall note certain texts, ask key questions, and leave with you the final deductions.

Romans 8:3 - "condemned sin in the flesh" (katekrinen thn amartian en th sarki).

This reads literally  -  "condemned the sin in the flesh."  How could it be said that He condemned "the sin" in the flesh if He took the pre-Fall nature of Adam? Only the fallen nature of Adam had "the sin" in the flesh.

Philippians 2:7  -  "But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant" (all eauto nekenwsen morfhn doulou labwn).

This reads literally  -  "But Himself He emptied, a form of a slave taking." A synonym of the word "form" (morfh) is used in verse 8, (schmati) and can be translated either "fashion" or "figure." Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament gives the fine distinction between the two words (p. 418). Morphe applies to that which is "intrinsic and essential," while schema represents the "outward and accidental." In other words, it was essential for the Messiah to take upon Himself the slave form of man. Paul in Hebrews uses stronger language  -  "it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren" (2:17).

The question is simply:   Was the "image of God" in which Adam was created a slave form; or did Adam by transgression become a "slave"? The great mystery of godliness is that He who was the "express image" of Deity (Heb. 1:3) took the deformed image of man that as the Messiah the Son of God and the Son of man  -  many sons might be returned to glory (Heb. 2:10).

Romans 1:1, 3-4  -  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, ... concerning His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

This is a stronger statement than used in Hebrews 2:16  -  "took on Him the seed of Abraham." Who would ever think of writing an essay on the impeccability of David? The life of

p 4 -- David stands as the very epitome of the fallen nature of man. Yet this risk assumed by Christ is declared to be a part of "the gospel of God." As Paul expands this concept, he writes  -  "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3).   Lest we seek to blunt the word "likeness," we need to keep in mind that Paul uses the same word in Philippians 2:7, "in the likeness ('omoiwmati) of men becoming." Did Christ become a real man or was He only a phantom? If a real man, "the likeness of men becoming," then He took upon Himself our flesh, "the likeness of sinful flesh."

Galatians 4:4-5  -  When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under (the) law, to redeem them that were under (the) law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

In both verses the article "the" has been supplied by the translators and is not in the Greek text. We have been born under law, and that law of heredity dictated that we received the fallen nature of "father" Adam. Christ likewise was born of a woman and came under the same law, unless Mary was immaculate, or there was Divine intervention that kept Him immune from that law in His prenatal development.

Then questions arise:   How could he keep from sinning? Was He born mature? What about the years from birth to His "Bar Mitzvah"? It is impossible for us, conceived in sin, being wholly sinful, to perceive of One, a Divine Being, becoming a fetus in the womb of Mary, taking upon Himself our fallen nature, and yet not sinning. But the Scriptures are just as clear that He did not sin as that He took our fallen nature upon Himself:

I Peter 2:22  -  He "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth."

Hebrews 4: 16  -  He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Christ could challenge His adversaries  -  "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" (John 8:46); and come to the close of His earthly pilgrimage and testify that "the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me" (John 14:30, emphasis supplied). Truly as Paul wrote to Timothy after a lifetime of service and contemplation "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16; emphasis supplied)  -  and the only flesh known was the "sinful flesh" of Adam.

Because we cannot comprehend the mysteries of the Incarnation, we should not deny the greatness of the victory that the Logos achieved in becoming flesh (John 1:14). Heaven doesn't! John heard "a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the .kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ" (Rev. 12:10). The male *  Child had conquered the dragon! 0 2:5).

The Incarnation in the Writings -- The doctrine of the Incarnation as stated in the Writings was, in the opinion of George R. Knight, "the most serious" problem faced by the Adventist conferees in their dialogue with the Evangelicals. He wrote:      In fact, the problem of Christ's human nature was the most serious one faced by the authors of Questions on Doctrine, given the presuppositions of Barnhouse and Martin and Adventism's generally accepted position on the topic in the early 1950s. Unfortunately, the Adventists of the day didn't see too many options in facing the theological challenge posed by the evangelicals regarding the human nature of Christ. It appeared to them that the only way to argue the question was to say that Christ was just like Adam before the Fall or to say that He was just like Adam after the Fall. The first option implied that the incarnate Christ was unlike other humans and thus couldn't be their example in the fullest meaning of the word, while the second option suggested that Christ had a sinful nature in every sense of the word and was thus, as the evangelical conferees saw it, a sinner.

The mid-century Adventists saw no other answer to the predicament - no third option on the human nature of Christ. As a result, the authors of Questions on Doctrine apparently were tempted to avoid some of Ellen White's strong statements in their compilation and to provide the misleading [prevaricated] heading on page 650. The result was peace with the evangelicals but trouble within the Adventist camp (Annotated Edition, p. 518).

In these two paragraphs, Knight has set forth the problems which this annotated edition is suppose to solve regarding the doctrine of the Incarnation:    1)     the "strong statements" of Ellen White that Christ took the fallen nature of Adam;

p 5 -- and    2)    the supposed equally as strong contrary statements, and    3)     a proposed "third option." First let us note the "strong statements."

In 1877, Ellen White wrote:      It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man, that He might be made perfect through suffering, and Himself endure the strength of Satan's fierce temptations, that He might understand how to succour those who should be tempted (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 11, p. 39).

This concept that Christ took "upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man," in other words, the nature of Adam after the Fall, was the standard belief in Adventism until the 1940s. As the decade closed, Bible Readings for the Home Circle was revised, and the position on the Incarnation was modified (See Reading  -  "A Sinless Life," pp. 120-122).

In the December 20, 1900 issue of The Youth's Instructor, Ellen White would write:      Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, 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. (4BC: 1147).

Then in 1901, she wrote:      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).

To these statements, others might be added. Beyond question, the E. G. White position was that Christ in His humanity "took upon Himself" the fallen and defiled nature of Adam. All of these statements are in harmony with the Scriptures set forth in the previous section. The key is "took upon Himself." There is a distinct difference between "Himself" and what He "took upon Himself." This, Ellen White emphasized:      "In His human nature ['degraded and defiled by sin'] He maintained the purity of His divine character" (The Youth's Instructor, June 2, 1898). When this is understood, the other statements which appear as contrary to this position can be better interpreted.

The centerpiece of the "contrary" statements by Ellen White is a letter written to Wm. L. H. Baker. It is cited in 5BC:1128, pp. 1128-1129 as Letter 8, 1895. A careful reading indicates that Ellen White distinguished between Christ and what "He took upon Himself." Observe:      Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He was the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall and did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.

Avoid every question in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be misunderstood. Truth lies close to the track of presumption. In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined with divinity.

A simple recognition that Jesus Christ was "the Word made flesh," and in so becoming combined "humanity. . . with divinity," would go a long way in understanding "the gospel of God" as defined by Paul in Romans 1:1, 3-4. In the above letter to W. H. L. Baker, Ellen White after defining the nature of man declared plainly, Christ "took upon Himself human nature" and was tempted, clearly separating the "human nature" taken, from the Divine Self taking that nature.

Following the emphasis given by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner to the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation, as they presented the message of righteousness by faith, questions came to Ellen White "affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations." To this she replied:

p 6 -- If He did not have man's nature, He could not be our example. If He was not partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man's behalf (SM, bk. 1, p. 408).

In another manuscript (W-106-1896), Ellen White wrote that "it was not make believe humanity that Christ took upon Himself. He took human nature and lived human nature. ... He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh." In an article appearing in the Signs (December 9, 1897) she clearly distinguished between the divine and the human, writing:    "The human nature of Christ was like unto ours, and suffering was more keenly felt by Him; for His spiritual nature was free from every taint of sin."    He did no sin.

*    There are three words in the Greek language that can be translated, "man" or designate a man:    1)   AnqrwpoV -  man in the generic sense. (Jesus designated Himself as "the Son of man");    2)  Anhr  -  a male person of full age and stature, as opposed to a child or female; a husband (Also used in Scripture to designate angels - Luke 24:4); and    3)    Arsen      -  a male, of the male sex. It is this third word that is used in Revelation 12. See discussion in the manuscript   -    In the Form of a Slave, pp. 54-55. (To be continued)

The W. L. H. Baker Letter -- (Letter 8, 1895) -- This letter is reproduced in full as Ms. Release #1002 in Volume 13 (1993) of the Releases, with an explanation by K. H. Wood as to why the full release. It had previously been released in part as Ms. Release #414 in 1975. In both releases, a preface written by A. L. White is included. From this preface, and the obituary appearing in the Review & Herald, March 30, 1933, we note some biographical data.

Ellen White wrote this letter to both Elder and Mrs. Baker. She closes the letter with this sentence:    "My dear Bro. and Sr. Baker, whom I love in the Lord, the Lord will guide you if you will only trust in Him."   Two years after the letter was written, Elder Baker became president ofthe NSW Conference with W. C. White as his vice-president. He served as president of several other Australian conferences and was appointed Bible Teacher at Avondale in 1914. When they returned to America in 1922, Elder Baker continued in college Bible teaching.

In 1882, Baker began work at the Pacific Press, and three years later married. During this time, Ellen White, at Healdsburg, was finishing the writing of Volume 4 of the Spirit of Prophecy, which required contact with the Pacific Press where Baker was employed. In 1887, Brother and Sister Baker were called to Australia to unite with the publishing work there. In 1891, Ellen White arrived in Australia and began her work in Melbourne where the publishing work was located. Again the paths of the Bakers and Ellen White would meet.

In 1897, Ellen White would refer to him as "a discreet, profitable worker in the field," and in 1900 she counselled a younger worker before her return to America to seek his advice defining him as a man being "true as steel to principle." But in 1895, he was discouraged and looked upon his work "as almost a failure." He had transferred from the publishing work to field evangelism and was laboring in Tasmania. Ellen White begins her letter:      In the night season I was conversing with you. I had a message for you and was presenting that message. You were cast down and feeling discouraged. I said to you, The Lord has bidden me to speak to Bro. and Sr. Baker. You are considering your work as almost a failure, but if one soul holds fast to truth, and endures unto the end, your work cannot be pronounced a failure. If one mother has been turned from her disloyalty to obedience, you may rejoice. The mother who follows on to know the Lord will teach her children to follow in her footsteps. The promise is to the fathers, mothers, and their children. These dear children received from Adam an inheritance of disobedience, of guilt and death. The Lord has given to the world Jesus Christ, and His work was to restore to the world the moral image of God in man, and to reshape the character.

She follows this by counsel as to his preaching and appeals to the listeners, even suggesting "improvement in [his] delivery." While a "positive" speaker, it was suggested he mingle with this positiveness, "persuasive entreaties." There follows other good counsel which can be found in the book, Evangelism. After the

p 7 -- homiletical advice is the admonition to be "careful, exceedingly careful how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ," and "to avoid every question in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be misunderstood." It is inconceivable that Baker did not write articles for the Australian publication, Bible Echoes. If before the letter was sent in 1895, we could know just what he was saying and teaching, which caused the counsel for him to "be careful;" but if after, we could know how he understood the counsel given. Keep in mind that he served as an administrator and college Bible teacher after 1895. Also note that while Ellen White urged caution, she did not condemn what he was saying.

There is one question in regard to the Incarnation that the testimony raises. After writing that "truth lies close to the track of presumption" ("an attitude or belief dictated by probability: assumption;" or "the ground, reason, or evidence lending probability to a belief"  -  Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary), Ellen White wrote:      In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined with divinity.   [Here again is the concept, "He took upon Himself our fallen nature."]   His birth was a miracle of God (Luke 1:31-35 is then quoted).

These words are not addressed to any human being, except to the Son of the Infinite God. Never, in any way, leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or inclination to corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in any way yielded to corruption. He was tempted in all points like as man is tempted, yet He is called that holy thing. It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery. That which is revealed, is for us and for our children, but let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such a one as ourselves: for it cannot be. The exact time when humanity blended with divinity, it is not necessary for us to know. We are to keep our feet on the rock, Christ Jesus, as God revealed in humanity.

I perceive that there is danger in approaching subjects which dwell on the humanity of the Son of the infinite God. He did humble Himself when He saw He was in fashion as a man, that He might understand the force of all temptations wherewith man is beset.

In this letter, Baker is not condemned for anything he had said, but cautioned to be careful, "exceedingly careful," in discussing the Incarnation so as to clearly distinguish between "the Son of the Infinite God" and the nature of the humanity He assumed. Another aspect is introduced  -  "the exact time when humanity blended with divinity."  This time factor, to my knowledge, has not been a part of the current controversy over the Incarnation.

In the over all picture of the Baker Letter, it must be kept in mind that in 1900, five years after writing the letter to Brother and Sister Baker, Ellen G. White would herself write:      Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. (4BC:1147). (To be continued) --- (2004 May) ---End --- TOP

Jun 2004 -- XXXVII - 6(04) -- The Orthodox Doctrine -- Editor's Preface -- In this issue of "Watchman, What of the Night?" we discuss the Evangelical position on the doctrine of the Incarnation as set forth by Henry Melvill, a popular Evangelical Anglican clergyman of the 19th Century. What he taught was first adopted in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe... published in 1988 by the Ministerial Department of the General Conference. There, Melvill's position was given as a summary statement as to what Seventh-day Adventists believe in regard to the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation. It is now being used by Dr. George R. Knight in his Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine to offset the lying involving the doctrine of the Incarnation done by the Adventist conferees to Barnhouse and Martin at the infamous conferences in 1955-1956.

The Adventist conferees perceived what to them were contradictory statements in the Writings of Ellen G. White on the doctrine. In the compilations from the Writings, placed as Appendices to the 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine, certain key references regarding the nature Christ took upon Himself in the Incarnation were omitted. Now this "orthodox doctrine" of Melvill is promoted by Knight as the position to explain "all " of the Ellen G. White statements on the subject. The documentation so as to make such an assertion, this time around, was actually prepared by the Ellen G. White Estate.

The position taken by Melvill required Divine intervention which he freely set forth, and which in turn provided an "exemption." These are the same basic factors involved in the Roman Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. By Divine intervention, Mary was preserved free from "the stain of original sin." By accepting the "orthodox doctrine," the Church has placed itself but one step removed from the Roman Dogma, and the White Estate helped forward that move toward Romanism.

p 2 -- "The Orthodox Position" -- This title, as well as being a borrowed title, has been used previously. It was the title of the lead article of the September 1988 issue of WWN. That issue and the August issue discussed the book which had just been released by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference - Seventh-day Adventists Believe... - "A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines." This book serving as a replacement of Questions on Doctrine, discussed the Statement of Beliefs as voted at Dallas, Texas in 1980. The 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine claimed to be "an expansion of (the) doctrinal positions" contained in the 1931 Statement of Beliefs (p. 9), and was placed immediately following the "Introduction." Martin, after the 1980 Statement had been adopted, was given assurances that the Church still stood behind the answers given to the questions asked by him in 1957 (See The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410). In discussing the doctrine of "God the Son" the author of Seventh-day Adventists Believe... and his advisors opted for what is called the "orthodox position;" however, it, too, is not the position taught by the Church from its beginnings until the late 1940s.

This same "orthodox position" is the position taken in the Annotated Edition as the solution to the problem created by the Adventist conferees' lying to the Evangelicals about the Church's teaching regarding the nature Christ assumed in the Incarnation. In the year 1988, when Seventh-day Adventists Believe... was published, the centennial year of the 1888 General Conference, there was one difference. A. T. Jones, who strongly emphasized that Christ "took upon Hirnself" the fallen humanity of Adam, had to be exhumed and "his remains" burned. The same "executioner" was chosen then as has been used now to try to destroy Andreasen. Dr. George R. Knight wrote his book, From 1888 to Apostasy, The Case of A. T. Jones, in 1987, to accomplish that objective.

We might ask the question as to why this "orthodox doctrine" has so much appeal as the solution to the problems raised over the doctrine of the Incarnation in contemporary Adventism.

We need to keep in mind that two problems are involved:    1)    The lying done by the Adventist conferees at the SDA-Evangelical Conferences, and    2)    The perceived contradiction in various statements made by Ellen G. White. The latter problem involves the Ellen G. White Estate, and their introduction of the "orthodox doctrine" into the picture.

Enter the White Estate -- In 1982, the White Estate released a document "assembled" by Ron Graybill, Warren H. Johns, and Tim Poirier, captioned, "Henry Melvill and Ellen G. White: A Study in Literary and Theological Relationships." Henry Melvill was one of England's most popular preachers in the mid-nineteenth century. Fifty-five of his sermons were published in one 561-page volume. A third edition of this volume was re-published in New York in 1844, a copy of which Ellen White bought in Oakland, California. These men of the White Estate and the Ministerial Department of the General Conference divided Melvill's sermons among themselves for reading, and found that of the 55 sermons, there was no borrowing from only 18, - one third of the total. Some six sermons of the 37, these men noted, "Mrs White used very extensively" (p. i).

Tim Poirier went a step further. He wrote an undated manuscript, "A Comparison of the Christology of Ellen White and Her Literary Sources," which was published in Ministry, December 1989, in an edited form. He cited two authors from whom Ellen White borrowed to express her Christological concepts - Octavius Winslow (The Glory of the Redeemer) and Henry Melvill's sermon, "The Humiliation of the Man Christ Jesus." Of this latter source, Poirier commented: "Ellen White drew extensively from this sermon ..., for her article entitled, ' Christ Man's Example,' in the Review & Herald of July 5, 1887." In this sermon, Melvill digresses "to consider the question of Christ's humanity." It is from this digression that the theology on the nature of Christ was drawn in Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... (pp. 47, 57), and which Dr. George Knight goes to great lengths to explain in his annotations to the republished Questions on Doctrine (pp. 522-524).

p 3 -- All of this data requires careful consideration. In a personal letter from a life member of the White Estate, he wrote, speaking of Ellen White's borrowing: "When she used the writings of another author it was because his phraseology seemed to clearly present what she wanted to say, though she avoided errors that did not harmonize with Scripture" (Letter dated January 12, 2004). This is a valid two-point assumption: that which is "borrowed," and that which is "avoided." Applied to the Melvill sermon on "The Humiliation of the Man Christ Jesus," Ellen White did not borrow a single concept from the digression. Even Poirier admits this. He writes:      In a digression in this sermon, Melvill considers the question of Christ's humanity. Although we have not found that Ellen White directly borrowed any material from this digression, a number of her statements that have become familiar seem to reflect the arguments that digression contains (Ministry, 1989, p. 7).

This is an admission and an assumption based on statements which to him merely "seem" to imply an acceptance. None, however, are cited. Since there was extensive borrowing from the sermon, the failure to find a single reference where anything from the digression was borrowed, would indicate that Melvill's conclusions in the digression were rejected by Ellen White! BUT these rejected conclusions were accepted by the author, and his counsellors, of Seventh-day Adventists Believe... as well as by Knight in his attempt to cover the lying of the Adventist conferees to Barnhouse and Martin.

Now the question remains: Why the borrowing of this so-called "orthodox doctrine" from Melvill? Keep in mind that Knight has admitted the lying done, as well as the manipulations of the Writings. This admission should turn the Evangelicals off; but no, he seeks to substitute another position that should clear everything up, so as to retain the status given by Barnhouse and Martin, that Seventh-day Adventism is not a cult. Why? Let us return to the Paper released by the White Estate in 1982. There it reads:      One does not have to delve very deeply into Melvill to understand why Mrs. White would find his views so congenial. He was an "Evangelical" Anglican, committed to defending Protestantism of the Anglican Church against the Oxford Tractarians who were pushing the church closer of Catholicism (op. cit., p. ii).

So we adopt this position of an "Evangelical" on the doctrine of the Incarnation; they cannot condemn one of their own! We cover the lying Adventist leaders of 1955-1956 and what they did with the "digression" of Melvill in an Annotated edition of Questions on Doctrine and then call it an Adventist "Classic."

Melvill's Digression -- We will quote in full the "digression" on "Christ's humanity" in Melvill's sermon "The Humiliation of the Man Christ Jesus." While it will be lengthy, it will serve as a source reference for those unable to obtain a copy of the sermon. [Comments we will make on various positions taken by Melvill will be bracketed and in a different font.] It reads:      We should pause for a moment, in our argument, and speak on the point of the Savior's humanity. We are told that Christ's humanity was in every respect the same as our own humanity; fallen, therefore as ours is fallen. But Christ, as not being one of the natural descendents of Adam, was not included in the covenant made with, and violated by, our common father. Hence his humanity was the solitary exception, the only humanity which became not fallen humanity, as a consequence of apostasy. If man be a fallen man, he must have fallen in Adam; in other words, he must be one of those who Adam federally represented. But Christ, as being emphatically the seed of the woman, was not thus federally represented; and therefore Christ fell not, as we fell in Adam. He had not been a party to the broken covenant, and thus could not be a sharer in the guilty consequences of the infraction.

But, nevertheless, while we argue that Christ was not what is termed a fallen man, we contend that since "made of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), he was as truly "man, of the substance of his mother," as any one amongst ourselves, the weakest and most sinful. He was "made of a woman," and not a new creation, like Adam in Paradise. When we say that Christ's humanity was unfallen, we are far enough from saying that his humanity was the same as that of Adam, before Adam transgressed. He took humanity with all those innocent infirmities, but without any of those sinful propensities, which the fall entailed. There are consequences on guilt which are perfectly guiltless. Sin introduced pain, but pain is itself not sin. And therefore Christ, as being "man, of the substance of his mother," derived from her a suffering humanity; but as "conceived by the Holy Ghost" (Apostles Creed), he did not derive a sinful. Fallen humanity denotes a humanity

p 4 -- which has descended from a state of moral purity to one of moral impurity. And so long as there has not been this descent, humanity may remain unfallen, and yet pass from physical strength to physical weakness. This is exactly what we hold on the humanity of the Son of God. We do not assert that Christ's humanity was the Adamic humanity; the humanity, that is, of Adam whilst still loyal to Jehovah. Had this humanity been reproduced, there must have been an act of creation; whereas beyond controversy, Christ was "made of a woman," and not created, like Adam, by an act of omnipotence. And allowing that Christ's humanity was not the Adamic, of course we allow that there were consequences of the fall of which it partook. We divide, therefore, these consequences into innocent infirmities, and sinful propensities. From both was Adam's humanity free before, and with both was it endowed after, transgression. Hence it is enough to have either, and the humanity is broadly distinguished from the Adamic. Now Christ took humanity with the innocent infirmities. He derived humanity from his mother. Bone of her bone, and flesh of her flesh, like her he could hunger, and thirst, and weep, and mourn, and writhe, and die.

[ The concept as expressed in this sentence - bone of bone and flesh of flesh - is the closest of anything to be found in the Writings which would reflect a concept found in the digression. In 1900, Ellen White wrote - "He (God) gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh" (Sons and Daughters of God, p. 11). The wording that she used reflects exactly the wording used by Octavius Winslow in his book, The Glory of the Redeemer, and which he in turn quoted from some unidentified source (See Ministry, December 1989, p. 8). This still leaves us with the question as to what kind of flesh Jesus could receive from Mary. Melvill evidently sensed this question, and immediately addresses this point.]

But whilst he took humanity with the innocent infirmities, he did not take it with the sinful propensities. Here Deity interposed. The Holy Ghost overshadowed the Virgin, and, allowing weaknesses to be derived from her, forbade wickedness; and so caused that there should be generated a sorrowing and a suffering humanity, but nevertheless an undefiled and a spotless; a humanity with tears, but not with stains; accessible to anguish, but not prone to offend; allied most closely with the produced misery, but infinitely removed from the producing cause.

[ Melvill's answer to the question is simply "Divine Intervention." The term he used to convey what was "forbade" was, "wickedness" which word conveys the results of sinning, but Jesus Christ "did no sin" (1 Peter2:22) ; yet He was sent "in the likeness of sinful flesh" so that He might condemn "sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:31). Roman Catholicism also teaches "Divine Intervention," in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, but that of Mary so she could not transmit to her Son, "sin in the flesh."]

So we hold - and we give it you as what we believe the orthodox doctrine (to be) - that Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that is the humanity of Adam before the fall; nor fallen humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen, because it never descended into immoral impurity. It was, therefore, most literally our humanity, but without sin. "Made of a woman," Christ derived all from his mother that we derive, except sinfulness. And this he derived not, because Deity, in the person of the Holy Ghost, interposed between the child and the pollution of the parent.

The italicized part of the above paragraph is made the summary statement for subsection "b," Christ "was the second Adam" of section #5 on "The extent of His identification with human nature," in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe... (p. 47), and footnoted as "the orthodox doctrine" (p. 57).

Knight's Conclusion -- Knight in his Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine declares that this position of Melvill "is the only one that can explain all of Ellen White's statements on the human nature of Christ" (p. 523; emphasis his). But his conclusion needs further consideration. After diagramming Melvill's position, Knight wrote:      In other words, Melvill held that the incarnate Christ was neither just like Adam before the Fall nor just like fallen humanity since the entrance of sin. That appears to be the position Ellen White held. In fact, Melvill's explanation fits quite nicely her statement that caused A. T. Jones so much trouble at the 1895 General Conference session: Christ "is a brother in our infirmities {Melvill's 'innocent infirmities'} but not in possessing like passions {Melvill's 'sinful propensities'}" (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 202). Melvill's model is the only one that can explain all of Ellen White's statements on the human nature of Christ (op. cit.).

Some factual historical data needs to be considered. Testimony for the Church, "Number Seventeen" was published in February 1869 (EGW, Vol. 2, p. 275). In the first article of this Testimony, "The Sufferings of Christ" is to be found the statement quoted by Knight and is
now found in Vol. 2, pp. 201-202.In the

p 5 -- document assembled by Graybill, Johns, and Poirier for the White Estate dated 1982, it states that shortly after the Whites arrived in Texas in 1878, Ellen White made a request to their home in Oakland, California, for books and writing supplies, noting especially, the one on "Sermons" (p. i), which she had purchased there. They first arrived in California in 1872 (EGW, op. cit., p. 356), which was three years after the publication of Testimony #17. It is not until 1887 that she wrote the article for the Review and Herald in which she "drew extensively from" the sermon of Melvill, which contained the digression that Knight assumes explains her statement written prior to 1869. That is a twenty year gap. Further, Poirier admits that those who have researched the article written by Ellen G. White, and Melvill's sermon, "have not found that Ellen White directly borrowed any material from the digression" (Ministry, December 1989, p. 7). Yet, Knight proclaims that Melvill's digression explains Ellen G. White's position on the nature Christ assumed in humanity. She knew nothing about Melvill when she wrote Testimony #17. Why didn't Ellen White quote from the digression if it echoed her understanding of the nature that Christ assumed in the incarnation? She ignored it, meaning simply that she rejected it. How deceptive can one be in trying to cover a previous deception?

There is another factor that needs consideration. In a letter written at the time of the "alpha of deadly heresies" Ellen White stated:      The testimonies themselves [not Melvill] will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture (Letter 73, 1903; SM, bk. 1, p. 42).

Ellen G. White's Position -- What did Ellen White teach that reflects on the nature Christ took upon Himself in the Incarnation? First, consider her statements on His pre-existence as to why it is important that we begin from that point of reference. In 1906, she wrote:      There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in a light, unapproachable and incomprehensible.

After noting several Scriptural references (see below), she continued:      That God should thus be manifest in the flesh is indeed a mystery; and without the help of the Holy Spirit we cannot hope to comprehend this subject. The most humbling lesson that man has to learn is the nothingness of human wisdom, and the folly of trying, by his own unaided efforts, to find out God" (R&H, April 5,1906).

We might digress at this point to consider what "this truth infinitely mysterious in itself" explains in regard to the difference between "the Son of man" and the sons of men. A question was raised in regard to a sentence in the April issue of WWN. It read - "We are born fallen; Christ was not" (p. 3). Every human being "born of a woman" receives a distinctive non pre-existent identity, except Jesus Christ, who pre-existed as one with God "before the foundation of the world was laid." The Word who came to be flesh was the very embodiment of holiness, "full of grace and truth." He came unfallen into a fallen world to "tabernacle" with men who had come into the world fallen (John 1:14). How a God, who was from "everlasting to everlasting" could so divest Himself to become a fetus in the womb of Mary remains "unapproachable and incomprehensible." Not only is His divestiture incomprehensible, but what He "took upon Himself" - the fallen form of man (Phil. 2:7) - and in that form did no sin, is as equally amazing. This One of a kind God, a God-man, became the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He, the unfallen rescued the fallen in the very form of the fallen. Our problem arises when we fail to distinguish between the Word (Logos) as God, and what that Logos as a man had taken upon Himself in becoming flesh. In the whole redemptive experience, He could challenge, "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" (John 8:46).

Returning to the pre-existent Christ, we find that in the same article (April 5, 1906, first written in 1899), Ellen White wrote:      

p 6 -- But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. ... "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.

The world was made by Him, "and without him was not anything made that was made." If Christ made all things, He existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of angels was received by him as his right. This is no robbery of God.

[The next paragraph quotes Proverbs 8:22-27, followed by the paragraph noted above which begins with "There is light and glory in the truth ... etc. This paragraph, in turn, is followed by Psalm 90:2 and Matthew 4:16 with the comment - "Here the pre-existence of Christ and the purpose of his manifestation to our world are presented as living beams of light from the eternal throne;" Micah 5:1-2; and 1 Cor. 1:23-24.]

We would digress again momentarily to note that these definitive paragraphs from the pen of Ellen White were written seven years after E. J. Waggoner wrote that "Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father, but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to the finite comprehension it is practically without beginning" (Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 21-22). There is no way that one can reconcile Waggoner's position and Ellen White's. Her position was that Jesus Christ "existed from eternity, a distinct Person" not One who "proceeded forth and came from God." Yet, instead of walking in the advancing light of truth, the voices coming from Smyrna Gospel Ministries have concreted themselves into a past position which had begun with Christ as a created being.

Returning again to what Ellen White taught regarding the nature which Christ took upon Himself in the Incarnation, we can read in language which leaves no doubt as to where she stood. In the same article, printed first in The Signs of the Times, April 26, 1899, she wrote:      Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same." He was the son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent.

Left unexplained by Knight in his zeal to press Melvill's position is how the law of inheritance (Desire of Ages, p. 48) was abridged so as to escape the effects of being of "the seed of David." Melvill said, "'---Made of a woman,' Christ derived all from his mother that we derive except sinfulness. And this he derived not, because Deity, in the person of the Holy Ghost, interposed between the child and the pollution of the parent" (Sermon IV, p. 47). But this was in the "digression" from which Ellen White did not quote. One year after her definitive article in The Signs, in 1899, she would write in the Youth's Instructor, Dec. 20, 1900:      Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, 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. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us," because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam (4BC: 1147).

In Summary -- In the teachings on the doctrine of the Incarnation, there is a key component which pervades each which deny that Christ took upon Himself the nature of fallen man. It surfaces as "divine intervention," which encompasses the word used in Questions on Doctrine, "exempt" (p. 383). Every child of Adam "born of a woman" receives the fallen nature. There is no exception to this law of heredity, unless there is an exemption by divine intervention.

The Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is an attempt to exempt Christ from taking upon Himself the fallen nature of man. James Cardinal Gibbons explains the Dogma stating:      

p 7 -- Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint (The Faith of Our Fathers, 88 th Edition, p. 171).

The Dogma, while not stating exactly how, indicates a divine intervention by declaring it to be by "the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God" (ibid.).

In formulating what he calls the "orthodox doctrine," Melvill unhesitatingly declared the birth of Jesus to be a divine intervention which preserved Him free from the fallen nature of man. He stated:      Here Deity interposed. The Holy Ghost overshadowed the Virgin, and, allowing weakness to be derived from her, forbade wickedness. ...

"Made of a woman," Christ derived all from His mother that we derive, except sinfulness. And this He derived not, because Deity, in the person of the Holy Ghost, interposed between the child and the pollution of the parent.

The Roman Dogma used the expression, "stain of original sin;" Melvill used the words, ."wickedness" and "pollution," which give the state resultant from sinning. But the expression "fallen nature" simply covers the flesh with the potential to sin, which is the inheritance of everyone "made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal. 4:4).

This so-called "Orthodox Doctrine" was the final summation of the section on "The Second Adarn" in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe... (p. 47). It is the position which is promoted in the Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine by George Knight. But it is not the belief which was held by the Church from its beginning to the 1940s. It stands as evidence of the apostasy which enveloped the Church as a result of the 1955-1956 SDA-Evangelical Conferences.
This time around there is an interesting difference. When Questions on Doctrine was published, the Writings were manipulated to lend support to the lying of the Adventist conferees. This time, the White Estate produced the
"documentation" used by Knight to cover the lying first committed in 1955-1956.

There is yet to be discussed Knight's allegation that "since the 1890s there has been two quite distinct Adventist understandings on the human nature of Christ in Adventism" (Annotated Edition, p. 519). This assertion prefaced his discussion leading to the conclusion that Melvill's "orthodox doctrine" is "the only one that can explain all of Ellen White's statements on the human nature of Christ" (p. 523). It is true that a counter position to the one held by the Church from its organization in 1863 through the 1890s was introduced as the 19 th century closed. The Holy Flesh Movement interjected a different position, but this Knight did not address. (To Be Continued) --- (2004 Jun) ---End ---

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