1975 Jan-MarVIII 1(75) - VIII 3(75)
1975 Apr-Jun VIII 4(75) - VIII 6(75)
1975 Jul-Sep VIII 7(75) - VIII 9(75)
1975 Oct-Dec VIII 10(75) - VIII 12(75)
1976 Jan-Mar IX 1(76) - IX 3(76)
1976 Apr-Jun IX 4(76) - IX 6(76)
1976 Jul-Sep IX 7(76) - IX 9(76)
1976 Oct-Dec IX 10(76) - IX 12(76)
1977 Jan-MarX 1(77) - X 3(77)
1977 Apr-Jun X 4(77) - X 6(77)
1977 Jul-Sep X 7(77) - X 9(77)
1977 Oct-DecX 10(77) - X 12(77)
1978 Jan-Mar XI 1(78) - XI 3(78)
1978 Apr-Jun XI 4(78) - XI 6(78)
1978 Jul-Sep XI 7(78) - XI 9(78)
1978 Oct-Dec XI 10(78) - XI 12(78)
1979 Jan-Mar XI 1(79) - XI 3(79)
1979 Apr-Jun XI 4(79) - XI 6(79)
1979 Jul-Sep XI 7(79) - XI 9(79)
1979 Oct-DecXI 10(79) - XI 12(79)
Feb Knight Descends On Jones. 1of 4.
Mar Knight Descends On Jones. 2 of 4.
1988 Apr-Jun 3 & 4 of 4.
last of WWN published
ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)
SHORT STUDIES - William H. Grotheer -
End Time Line Re-Surveyed Parts 1 & 2 - Adventist Layman's Foundation
- Legal Documents
Holy Flesh Movement 1899-1901, The - William H. Grotheer
Hour and the End is Striking at You, The - William H. Grotheer
the Form of a Slave
In Bible Prophecy
Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer
Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer
of the Gentiles Fulfilled, The - A Study in Depth of Luke 21:24
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary
Ten Commandments - as Compared in the New International Version & the King James Version & the Hebrew Interlinear
OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:
Various Studies --
Bible As History - Werner Keller
Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts
Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith
Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson
Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones
"Is the Bible Inspired or Expired?" - J. J. Williamson
Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen
Place of the Bible In Education, The - Alonzo T. Jones
Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen
So Much In Common - WCC/SDA
Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy
The MISSION of this site -- is to put the articles from the WWN in a searchable Essay form. It is not our purpose to copy WWN in whole.
Any portion of the thought paper may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from WWN, Victoria, BC Canada."
Thank you for visiting. We look forward to you coming back.
WWN 2001 Jan - Mar
2001 Jan -- XXXIV -- 1(01) -- The Search for Identity -- Editor's Preface -- The Second Millennium and the Twentieth Century are now past history, and with this year we begin the Third Millennium and the Twenty-first Century. For us at the Adventist Laymen's Foundation, we begin our 34th year of continuous publication of "Watchman,. What of the Night?" If someone were to make a check of what we wrote in the first issues beginning with January 1968, through the first decade and compare it with what we have written in some of the issues of the past decade, there is no question but that different perspectives and some altering of concepts could be documented. We hope that this but reflects the fact that "the truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." It is not that the truth is new, for truth is as eternal as its Author; but our perception of that truth becomes clearer as we let the Spirit of truth guide us. Our problem will ever be, that we misjudge truth, and thinking that we are walking in its increasing light. We are walking instead in the darkness of error.
This very factor is what we see involved in the book, A Search for
Identity. The author, Dr. George R. Knight, believes that the doctrinal
changes in Adventism over the past fifty years are the result of a progressive
understanding of truth. This may be so in some areas of doctrinal understandings;
but in other perceptions, it represents apostasy from the truth. How is
the issue to be settled? There is only one standard. Jesus prayed, "Thy
word is truth" (John 17:17). Interrelated with this
p 2 -- The Search for Identity -- Part 1 -- Last year the Review & Herald Publishing Association released the second book in the Adventist Heritage Series by Dr. George R. Knight, Professor of Church History at the Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University. The objective of this book, A Search for Identity, is to trace "The Development of Seventh-day Adventists Beliefs."
Those who designed the cover with its pictorial selections are to be
highly commended. Dominating the front, is a picture of A. T. Jones which
reflects the sincerity of his character. This is interesting in the light
of the book which Dr. Knight wrote on Jones and which for some reason
is not listed in the Heritage series, nor among his other publications.
The missing book is, From 1888 to Apostasy, in which Knight sought
to denigrate Jones. At the time of its release to coincide with the 100th
Anniversary of the 1888 General Conference Session, we critiqued the book
in a series of articles captioned, "Knight Descends on Jones."
At that time he had an agenda, and twisted
The first paragraph of Chapter 1 reads: Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to agree to the denominations "27 Fundamental Beliefs." (p.17)
Is this statement, true? Yes. It would be completely accurate if it had
read - "None
of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism ..." The "27 Fundamentals"
refer to the Statement of Beliefs voted at the General Conference Session
in Dallas, Texas, in 1980. This mind catching assumption is saying several
It is this third possibility that Dr. Knight wishes to establish. His first chapter's caption is "The Dynamic Nature of 'Present Truth."' With this concept he is on solid ground. "The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). "The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light." (Review & Herald, March 25, 1890) But there is another possibility in an assumed advancement of the perception of truth. It may not be an advancement in truth, but rather a deviation into error, and thus apostasy from the truth. This possibility needs to be kept in mind as one reads this book. Thus the data presented by Dr. Knight could be, in certain areas, not the development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs, but rather the record of the apostasy from the truth. This has been the hallmark of the last four decades. Thus the "search for identity" can be a double-edged sword cutting both ways.
After writing his startling assumption, Knight gives three specific illustrations contrasting where early Adventist ministers stood in contrast to the concepts stated in the "27 Fundamentals." All three statements from the "Fundamentals," - 2, 4, and 5 - concern the Trinity or Members of the Godhead. Let us first note the contrast between the stated position ol the Church from 1872 through 1914, and the Belief as adopted in 1980.
The first and second statements of belief in 1872 read: There
is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent,
omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom,
There is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom he created all things, and by whom they do consist.
The 1980 statement reads: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation.
There can be no question but the first statement reflected a "Heavenly
Trio" concept, but did not
express the Nicene Creed as does the 1980 statement. It is this Nicene
Creed formulation that the pioneers, cited by Knight, perceived as unscriptual,"
p 3 -- and "a fruit of the great apostasy." (p.17) This distinction, involving the two concepts, needs to be kept in mind.
Two facts of significance are involved:
Let us consider the first fact. Uriah Smith, long time editor of the Review & Herald, official organ of the Church, believed that Jesus was a created being. In his first edition of Thoughts on Revelation (1867), he called the pre-existent Christ, "the first created being." Yet in the 1872 Statement of Beliefs, which Knight says Smith wrote (p.23), he did not interject his belief. Other sources indicate that more than Smith were involved in the 1872 Statement (The Living Witness, p. 1). The fact remains that this first statement was "a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them" (Preface to Statement). This data speaks clear and plain that there was no denial of the "Heavenly Trio" concept, but neither was there an acceptance of the Nicene Trinity doctrine, which was perceived as "a fruit of the great apostasy."
The second, an assumption, suggesting that the Dallas Statement represents a progression in the revelation of truth cannot be sustained in fact. The Nicene Trinitarian doctrine was adopted as a necessary presupposition for other changes in the beliefs of the Church. In the recently released Volume 12 of the Commentary Reference Series - Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology - is to be found this assertion: The doctrine of the trinitarian being of God is the necessary presupposition for the proper understanding of the Incarnation and of the cross. (p.127)
What this is saying is quite simple. Change the doctrinal concept of God, and you then can change the doctrine of the Incarnation and the meaning of the cross. This is what was done at Dallas in 1980.
The author of the article on the "Doctrine of God" admits: In
the OT the triniarian nature of God is not expressly revealed in the specificity
and depth that are present in the NT record.
Prior to drawing this conclusion, the author devotes two sections of his article on the "Doctrine of God," to the Biblical data which sets forth the duality of God in the Old Testament. (See pp.122-123) None of the Scriptures cited hints at a trinitarian concept. He imposes this as a presupposition necessary for the understanding of the Incarnation and the cross.
If indeed as Knight would have us believe that the present Trinitarian
stance in Adventism is the result of following "the dynamic nature
of present truth," the assumptions admitted in the Handbook of
Seventh-day Adventist Theology do not sustain his conclusion. The
question then is, how does an individual, or a organized body, keep pace
with the dynamic nature of truth? The answer should be plain. What does
the Biblical revelation teach? This means a review of all
Inasmuch as this concept of "The Dynamic Nature of 'Present Truth"' will form the basis of other doctrinal citations made by Knight, we shall pause to discuss the priority of the determinative evidence on the Doctrine of God. We have referenced it in previous issues of WWN, but will detail it in the article that follows.
The Gospel of John -- The Gospel of John is unique. It is the last of the gospels penned, and one of the last books of the New Testament canon written. Written near the close of the first century, it contains verbatim data from at least six decades prior to its writing. Consider just one section, chapters 14 through 17. None of the Synopic Gospels even refer to these words of Jesus, not even His prayer. Yet they are recorded as the exact words of Jesus. The means of recording and preserving the
p 4 -- spoken word today were not known in the first century. No human mind, while remembering the occasion of the words spoken, could recall decades later a verbatim recollection of the words said.
This brings us to a consideration of "inspiration." Two concepts
dominate theological thinking, verbal inspiration and "thought"
inspiration. Adventists have advocated the later. However, there are examples
in the Scriptures, where the writer wrote down exactly what was said to
him. For example, Daniel records the exact words of Gabriel sent to help
him understand the vision he had seen of the ram and he-goat. (See Dan.
8:16-26; 9:24-27) The experience of John on the isle
Neither can the gospel of John be so packaged. While John inserts thought
inspired observations following the recording of certain events, the recording
of the events themselves transcends the scope of "thought" inspiration.
See the two incidents recorded in John 3, followed by John's comments.
We suggest that the "angel" sent to John to signify the revelation
The prologue of the Gospel of John (1:1-18) is basically a statement about God as revealed in the Word for the redemption of man. The first two verses reveal the relationship between the Two involved in the Counsel of Peace (Zech. 6:13). It sets the place of the incarnate as He was, in the pre-incarnate state with God. He was God - kai qeoV hn 'o logoV. He had ever been with God - outoV hn en arch proV ton qeoV . But He changed; He came to be flesh - kai 'o logoV sarx egeneto. This change and its affect on the Godhead is revealed in the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Very interestingly, this understanding is connected with "life eternal." Jesus prayed: This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (17:3)
One of the characteristics of God is His immutability. (James 1:17). The Logos had changed; He came to be flesh. This left the Theos as the only true God, but it did not alter the place of the Logos in the Godhead. Knowing Him is as essential to "life eternal" as to know the Theos. The "counsel of peace" had not changed. One phase was about to be completed. Jesus could pray: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world (kosmoV) was. (17:4-5)
God did answer that prayer. The resurrected Lord was "highly exalted" (Phil. 2:9), and "in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9, NKJV), the glory He had with Him as the pre-incarnate Logos.
It is in this setting that the Holy Spirit is placed in the gospel of John. On the last day of the feast of tabernacles at which Jesus was in attendance, He declared - "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38). John makes comment on this declaration of Jesus. He interjects: (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) [ver. 39]
This interjection of John demands careful consideration. Although the word, "given" (dedomenon) was added by copyists into the text and followed by some of the church fathers in their quotes of the verse, it must be kept in mind that this addition was governed by the Nicene Creed, and is not found in the earliest manuscripts. The Greek text is simply - oupw gar hn pneuma, 'oti IhsouV oudepw edoxasqh - "for not yet was [the] Spirit, because Jesus not yet was glorified."
The close relationship of the Spirit to Jesus' glorification as well as to Jesus Himself, is further amplified in the verbatim upper room comments of Jesus. He promised:
I will pray the Father and
He shall give unto you another Comforter (allon
he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth ... I will not
leave you orphans: I
The force of the Greek, alloV , indicates clearly a distinct Being, yet Jesus states - "I will come unto you." It is at this point that the Divine curtain is drawn, and the only other Scriptural revelation which amplifies this mysterious relationship is in the sybolism of the book of Revelation. There (5:6), Jesus is revealed in
p 5 -- His resurrected state as "a Lamb as it had been slain" possessing "seven horns and seven eyes" which are declared to symbolize the fullness of the Spirit of God "sent forth into all the earth." There are other texts that could be cited which raise perplexing questions; but here we must rest the matter.
In the New Testament, there are three verses which indicate a "trinity"
of Beings: a command, a salutation, and a benediction:
These three verses adequately sustain the designation of "Heavenly Trio" for the Godhead; and while one may suggest the Trinity of the Nicene Creed, no other Biblical support can be found to sustain such a conclusion.
One thing is certain, we cannot jump from the 1872 Statement
of Beliefs which harmonizes in its first two Statements with the Scriptures
just noted, to the 1980 Statement which embraces the Nicene Creed, caIling
it as Knight has done, an example of the dynamic nature of "Present
Truth." Rather it is
the insidious working of apostasy come to fruition.
thing it is certain is soon the be realized, - the great postasy, which
is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to
do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout."
Confession of a Nomad -- Part 3 -- Since writing #2 of "Confessions of a Nomad" in the December issue of WWN, two things have happened:
1) The Ministerial Association has released in full the letter written to Eugene Lincoln, editor emeritus, of The Sabbath Sentinel, dated August 31, 2000, as well as a second letter dated September 18, 2000, copies of which the Association will send to anyone upon request. [The Association dating of the first letter is August 30 rather than 31 as on the original letter]
2) In response to a call, Mrs. Carolyn Self, a co-author of the book, left a message on a telephone answering service. The questions to which she responded asked "Why did you have your books, Confessions of A Nomad, etc., published by the Pacific Press Publishing Association, a Seventh-day Adventist company? What is your relationship to them?" In her response, she stated: We have no connections with the Seventh-day Adventists except that [my husband] has done some speaking for their national and state groups, and they asked us to re-publish the books, ... since they were out of publication, and we own the copyrights to them. And they're the only ones that wanted to copy them, wanted to print them, so that's the reason.
Several things surface: a) The request to publish
the book, Confessions of a Nomad, as well as the Self's other publications,
came from the Ministerial Association. b) They were
"the only ones that wanted to copy them, wanted to print them."
c) The Selfs apparently still believe they own the copyrights,
while the books printed by the Pacific Press indicate that the Ministerial
Association owns the copyrights. If there is a dual copyright, then it
follows that there is a contractual relationship between the two parties.
This has not been detailed, only hinted, in the letter from
Now to the two letters written to Brother Eugene LincoIn by Elder James
A. Cress, being released as "two statements" by the General
Conference Ministerial Association: a) Elder Cress
asked that Brother Lincoln request that the one supplying him with photocopies
of selected pages from the book, Confessions of a Nomad, make direct
contact with him. b) This we did. I wrote two letters
to Elder Cress, dated September 10, and October 29, 2000, with a brief
note between on October 3. The brief note was returned in November with
a hand-written comment from Cress which
p 6 -- read, "Attached are two statements that we are sharing with those who made inquiry re: this book." c) There has been no response to the two letters even though Cress asked that the one supplying Lincoln with the photocopied pages from the book write direct to him. Cress is dodging the real issue and this leaves us with but one alternative, that is, to give a brief review of the salient points in our two letters to Cress.
With the first letter to Elder Cress, we enclosed a copy of the article
which appeared in the November issue of WWN giving him opportunity
to "comment on the same," if he wished to do so. We directed
him to the propositions set forth by Brother Lincoln and asked, "Why
avoid a direct answer to these?" (The four possibilities are given
in the December WWN, p. 6, col.1) It would have been so simple
to have checked #4, but he didn't! One can "mouth" words, and
the heart be planning something else. We reminded Cress of the command
of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount - "Let your communication be,
Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil"
(Matt. 5:37). He "wrote much, much more than the simple answer required."
We then proceeded to review "the much more" that he did write:
2) Then you add - "the Ministerial Association did not edit this book in any way." Again my copy on the copyright page reads - "Several short portions have been edited to conserve space." But the offensive portions were not touched. Why not? A transfer of copyright usually involves some contract commitments, even an agreement to reprint entails obligations. I know because we now print on an exclusive basis what the WCC formerly published, So Much In Common. Why not come clean with the involvements of your copyright purchase?
3) You indicate
that you - the Ministerial Association - "provided a service"
for Dr Self's seminar participants because "he has provided great
service for pastors of all denominations, including Adventists, in his
various seminars." Further on, in your letter
4) I am aware of Ellen White's comment on Pilgrim''s Progress, and I believe also a book on Church History. Do you believe that her endorsement of these books really gives you justification to endorse this book by Dr. Self?
5) One final question: Do you believe that the 2nd Angel's Message is valid today?
In the second letter, I again reminded Elder Cress that he was the one who requested the communication from me, but has not replied. Then I wrote: Further, Brother Lincoln placed before you certain specific propositions for you to check. This request you have not responded to although you suggested your letter of August31, 2000 provided the answer. The number who have read your letter cannot concur. In my letter, I asked you a final all inclusive question - "Do you believe the 2nd Angel's Message is valid today?" - and you have not answered.
Further in Mrs Self's statement, she said, "They (Ministerial Association) asked to republish the books." In other words you solicited the right to publish this material which seeks to negate the Sabbath. Your explanation is that you are doing this because of your PREACH project to "reach clergy of other faiths." Please tell me how a negation of the Sabbath can reach a non-Adventist clergyman with the truth about the Sabbath? Do you demonstrate how to prepare meat dishes at a vegetarian cooking class?
While it is true that verbally you affirm the perpetuity of the Biblical seventh day Sabbath, your actions in not editing the two chapters of Confessions of Nomad, which plainly promote Sunday as the day of worship speak louder than words.
The revelation of this book - Confessions of a Nomad - as copyrighted by the Ministerial Association of the General Conference and printed by the Pacific Press for the PREACH project of the Association raises serious questions as to whether the project has an evangelistic outreach as its objective, or whether at the bottom of the project is the "public relations" (PR) motive. And when the General Conference Secretary of the Association cannot affirm his belief in the 2nd Angel's Message, something is seriously wrong.
The bottom line is simply, what should be the Adventist minister's relationship with the clergy of other faiths? Adventists believe that they are giving the "Elijah Message" for the final hour of human history, or do they no longer so believe? It is difficult to perceive Elijah as ever joining the ministerial alliance of Baal. This present trauma did not happen over night, but has been a growing tumor during the last five decades of the previous century. It can now be diagnosed as malignant.
communion hath light with darkness? ... Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord ... and I will receive you."
p 7 -- The Primacy of the Gospel Committee Report -- In 1994, the Administrative Committee of the General Conference appointed a committee to give in depth study to "the biblical doctrine of righteousness by faith. The particular focus of the committee was to give attention to the special understanding of this doctrine that has been advanced over the past 50 years by Robert J. Wieland and Donald K. Short, joined now by additional persons of the 1888 Message Study Committee." Beginning with an initial meeting on May 24, 1995, the committee met 8 times, and concluded their assessment with a final meeting, February 8, 2000. A summary report has now been issued.
The final report was divided into four parts: 1) Areas of Ageement; 2) Areas of Disagreement; 3) Observations; and 4) An Appeal.
While there were 12 areas of Agreement and 12 areas of Disagreement, the latter was more pronounced. While certain areas of the Disagreements need careful consideration and review, the Observation made brings both Wieland and Short to their moment of truth. It reads: The charges raised by the 1888 Study Committee against the leadership of the Church are very serious. If the Church is proclaiming a false gospel, it has no right to exist. A partial understanding of the gospel, as they claim the Church to have, is not a true understanding of the gospel. If they are the only ones who have a clear and complete understanding of the gospel, then everyone else is proclaiming a false gospel. They are implicitly accusing the Church, or at least, the leaders of the Church, of apostasy. We have found such accusations to be groundless as evidenced in the official statements of belief.
Therefore, we firmly believe that the 1888 Study Committee should discontinue its claims that the true message of righteousness by faith was rejected by the leaders of the Church, that they never genuinely accepted it, and that they have intentionally kept it away from the Church and the world.
This was followed by an appeal which carried a directive: It states: We
do not question the sincerity of the leaders of the 1888 Study Committee,
but we do question the wisdom of the current course of action. If the
committee chooses to continue its work outside the organized Church, we
appeal to it to adopt the pattern of what is described as a supportive
ministry. Such groups seek places to work where, in harmony with and under
A summary of this Observation and Appeal to the 1888 Message Study Committee can be briefly, but pointedly, stated - "Shape up or ship out." One member of the Primacy of the Gospel Committee was Dr. George R. Knight, and we sense in the Areas of Disagreement, echoes of his thinking. Inasmuch as we are devoting several issues of WWN to his latest book, A Search for Identity, we will also note certain positions taken in the Disagreements which reflect his thinking.
following tracts will be available for 10 cents each, plus postage, You
place your order and include the cost of the tracts ordered, and we will
invoice you for the actual postage.
2001 Feb -- XXXIV -- 2(01) -- A Search for Identity -- Part 2 -- Editor's Preface -- This issue begins with a second article critiquing the book by Dr. George Knight, A Search for Identity. This concludes our observations on the first chapter, "The Dynamic Nature of 'Present Truth.'"--- Inasmuch as Knight's second illustration seeking to support this dynamic, also centered in the doctrine of God as formulated in the Statement of Beliefs voted at Dallas in 1980, we, too, have focused on this doctrine from the perspective of his illustration. We are aware of the controversy involving certain dissident voices on the doctrine of God, but we also know that the Nicene Creed which is the center of the controversy, is the foundation upon which, by their own admission, the Roman Church has built its doctrinal structure. This fact dare not be overlooked in any analysis of the doctrine of God. However, an anti -Trinitarian posture does not spell truth either. One can believe in a "Heavenly Trio" and not believe in Trinitarianism as formulated in the Nicene Creed.
In the January issue of WWN, we passed by certain concepts outside the Gospel of John. In this issue we have sought to clarify at what point the curtain on the mystery of God is drawn, and stop there. A clarification arising from Special Issue #2 last year in regard to the Perez case is also amplified.
The concluding article on the publication of the book, Confessions
of a Nomad, forms a part of this issue. While it is evident that all
the facts have not surfaced as to why the Ministerial Association copyrighted
this book by the Selfs, it is also certain that no amount of prodding
will cause the Secretary of the Association to give a full disclosure
of its publication. So we leave it as it now is - a partial revelation.
p 2 -- A Search for Identity --Part 2 --The second point which Dr. George R. Knight cited as a doctrine over which the founders of Adventism could not join the Church today is an aspect of the Trinitarian belief stated in the 27 Fundamentals which places Jesus as both eternal and truly God" (p. 17).
Before discussing this point, a question needs to be answered. Why is the doctrine of God of such vital important reasons, and importance? there are two important reasons, and these dare not be overlooked: 1) The doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the Nicene Creed is the basis upon which the whole structure of Papal theology is based. We have noted this fact in previous issues of WWN, but will reiterate it again. Observe: The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church. Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 11
The significance of this factor cannot be overemphasized. You cannot set a square building on a circular foundation. To accommodate, the superstructure must be altered so as to fit the foundation. To accept the Nicene Creed meant the alteration of the superstructure of Adventism as was done in the 27 Fundamental Statement of Beliefs at Dallas, Texas in 1980.
If the Nicene Creed is the correct formulation about God, then Papal theology is planted squarely upon a platform of truth. As truth cannot beget error, it would follow that the "other teachings" of Romanism are likewise positions of truth. Further, the converse of the dictum that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3) would follow. Be in agreement with the Nicene Creed, and you walk together. This is exactly the approach being pursued by the Faith and Order Commission of WCC in its drive toward visible church unity. The Moderator of the Apostolic Faith Steering Group is none other than a Roman priest, Jean-Marie Tillard. [See Confessing the One Faith, An Ecumenical Explication of the Apostolic Faith as it is confessed in the Nicene-Constantinopilitan Creed (381)].
2) As we noted in the previous issue of WWN, the Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology stated plainly: The doctrine of the trinitarian being of God is the necessary pre- suposition for the proper understanding of the Incarnation and the cross. (p. 127; emphasis supplied)
It would follow, therefore, that the founders of Adventism, not having the correct understanding of the doctrine of God, did not have a correct position on the Incarnation nor the Cross. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that it be determined whether the change in the doctrinal position of the Church on the doctrine of God as expressed in the 27 Fundamentals is truly an illustration of the "dynamlic nature of 'present truth'" as Knight seeks to affirm,or retrogression into apostasy. Further, it must also be determined whether the current revival of anti Trinitarianism, as expressed by early Adventist preachers, writers, and editors is indeed truth, or does the concept of the "dynamic nature of 'present truth'" need to be accepted and applied correctly at this point. This second citation by Knight from the 27 Fundamentals - that Jesus in His pre-existence was "both eternal and truly God " - is a good point from which to discuss this question.
Pre-Existent Word -- The actual Statement on "God the
Son" (#4) reads "that God the eternal Son became incarnate in
Jesus Christ." Nowhere in the Bible do I find the expression, "the
eternal Son." I do find, however, that the expression, "Word
of life," is applied to Him who "was from the beginning"
(I John 1:1). In explaining this significance, John declares that this
"life" was the "the Eternal Life, who was (hn
- ever was) with the Father" (v. 2). This accords with the preface
to the Gospel. The Word was not only God, but He "was (hn)
in the beginning with God" (John 1:2). These verses exclude the "eternal
Son" concept; but they do sustain the concept of a self-existent
and an ever-existent One - the I AM (John 8:58) - with God from the beginning.
The ministers and editors of early Adventism revealed in their thinking the "dynamic nature of truth" when discussing the doctrine of God. For example, Uriah Smith, long time editor of the Review & Herald wrote in his first edition of Thoughts on Revelation, that the pre-existent Christ was "the first created being" (1867, p.59). By 1898, he wrote in his book, Looking Unto Jesus that such a position was "degrading" to Christ (p.12); and while "God alone is without beginning," that "at the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, - a period so remote that to finite minds it is
p 3 -- essentially eternity, appeared the Word" (p. 10).
In this instance it is interesting to observe, that Smith's choice of
designation, was not "the eternal Son," as was done in the 27
Statements of Belief, but rather the designation in the Gospel of John
- "the Word." Currently, those today in the Community of Adventism
advocating a new anti-Trinitarianism wish to emphasize the "Son"
aspect and by its use negate the eternity of the Word. This is a fatal
Actually, the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed in the full text reads: I
believe ... in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten
of the Father before all worlds [God of God], Light of Light, very God
of very God, begotten, not made, being of one Substance [essence] with
the Father. (Creeds of Christendom, Vol.II, p.58)
Specifically denying that Christ was a created being - "begotten,
not made" - the Creed nevertheless suggests a beginning for Christ
- "begotten" - while maintaining that He was "very God
of very God."
In the WCC Faith and Order Commission study document noted on page 2
above, the phrase "begotten of the Father before all worlds"
is altered to read, "eternally begotten of the Father" (p.44,
par. 92). In the "explication" (detailed explanation) of this
concept, the document reads that "since the Father is eternal, the
beginning of the Son did not. occur at some particular time, but is itself
eternal" (p.50, par. 115). Thus to arrive at the same concept in
1980 and use the non-Biblical expression, "the eternal Son,"
in the Fundamental Statement of Beliefs is not evidence of "the dynamic
nature" of truth.
It could be claimed, however, that since the Statement of Beliefs was
formulated in 1980, a decade prior to the Faith and Order Commission's
release of a document to achieve visible church unity by the adoption
of the Nicene Creed, the Adventist Church, by the adoption of that Creed
in its formulation of the doctrine of God, was merely walking in the light
of advancing truth. But it must be remembered that the Church has had
a sitting theologian on the Faith and Order Commission since 1967. Further,
the objective of achieving visible church unity was mandated in the revised
Constitution of the WCC in 1972 (So Much in Common, pp.40, 41).
To achieve this objective, the Council "charged" the Faith and
Order Commission to keep ever before them "their accepted obligation."
This was stated in their By-Laws which reads - "To proclaim the oneness
of the Church of Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible
unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship
and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe"
(Faith and Order Paper #111, p. viii, 1982).
It is not without significance that the Faith and Order Commission could
state in 1988 that the Creed is "already officially recognized by
many churches" when it launched its study, "Towards the Common
Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today," and chose the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Creed of A.D. 381 as a summary of that apostolic faith. (One World,
1988, p. 15) The Adventist Church was one of those "many churches"
having come into line in 1980, after an Adventist theologian was placed
on the Commission in 1967.
A critical challenge does, however, face us. The pioneer ministers and writers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were definitely anti-Trinitarian. Of this there is no question. However, from 1867 to 1898, Uriah Smith was able to progress in his understanding of the doctrine of God without adopting the Nicene Creed. Why cannot there be a continual progression of truth on this subject without adopting the basis of Roman Catholic theology? Our understanding of the truth about the pre-existent Word does not need to stop with the advancement made by the close of the nineteenth century on the part of either E. J. Wagonner or Uriah Smith. Neither do we need to promote a position once held that does not conform to the Word of God as is being done by the neo-anti-Trinitarians in the Community of Adventism. The Holy Spirit is still the Spirit of truth to guide into all truth, and the path of the just is still a "shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18).
While there will be aspects of God that we will not know until we "shall
see His face" (Rev. 22:4), we can move forward to the "curtain"
drawn over the mystery of His Being, and the "how" of the mysterious
revelation made in Christ Jesus as we await that coming day. We need not
retrogress into the dim light of past comprehensions by those who at that
time realized that the Nicene Creed was not the answer. We need to accept
that insight and seek to comprehend as far as mortals can, the truth as
it is in Jesus, thus building our doctrinal understanding upon Him who
is the way, the truth and the life. This then would be a living experience
in the dynamic nature of "Present Truth."
p 4 -- The
Fall Back Defence -- While writing this issue, I received
a letter from an ardent devotee of the neo-anti-Trinitarianism espoused
today in the Community of Adventism. He cited an historical recall on
the part of Ellen G. White "'that ALL the principle points of our
faith were made clear to their minds, in harmony with the Word of God
during the early Bible Conferences 1844-1848." (The emphasis is his,
and he circled the word, "ALL".) The assumption drawn was that
this one sentence negated the principle of the dynamic nature of present
truth. To make such an assumption requires taking this sentence out of
context, and results in making Ellen G. White contradict what she wrote
a decade or more earlier. Let us note some of the facts of history connected
with this sentence:
1) These conferences did not begin until 1848, and were sometimes
called "1848 Conferences," but were primarily known as "Sabbath
Conferences," continuing into 1850. While "principle points"
of faith were discussed and studied, those points did not include the
doctrine of God. (See, SDA Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, pp. 507-508)
One has only to check the "Lectures on Principle Doctrines"
given at Biblical Institutes in 1877, to verify what was so considered.
The "principle points" of faith were summarized in the "landmarks"
statement written as a result of the contention during the 1888 General
Conference Session. (Ms. 13, 1889; CtoW&E, pp.30-31)
Indeed as it was stated at that time, it is still true today: "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" (Series B. #2, p.52).
What Way is the Eternal Word the Son? -- John chose the Greek
(monogenhV ) to describe the eternal
Word made flesh when he wrote "the only begotten of the Father"
(John 1:14). Arius, in affirming that Christ was "begotten of God
before all ages," used the Greek word,
gegennemenon (from gennaw),
the correct word for "begotten." (See SDA Bible Commentary,
Vol. 5, p. 902) The Old Latin version before the Vulgate translated monogenes
correctly as "only" in the sense of unique.
The Word was the only One from (para not
ek) the Father "full of grace and truth." Paul could
write at the beginning of the Hebrew treatise, "God ... hath in these
last days spoken unto us by a Son" (no article in the Greek text)
and defined that Sonship by quoting from Psalms 2:7 - "I will declare
the decree: the
Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee"
The Book of Hebrews enlarges further on the fact of a Son, and makes
it clear that this decree was concerning an existent Being. First, the
divine objective of the Sonship motif is stated. There are to be many
"sons" brought "unto glory." A "Son" as
"the captain of their salvation" accomplished it (2:10). Those
that would "receive Him" - the Word made flesh - would likewise
be privileged to be "sons of God" (John 1:12). Secondly, in
accomplishing that salvation, the Captain would become High Priest after
the Order of Melchizedec. In Hebrews, the decree of Psalms 2:7, and the
oath of Psalms 110:4 are placed side by side - both said to an existent
Being, as He was, the Word; and as He became, Jesus (Heb. 5:5-6; 7:21-22).
To restrict Psalms 2:7, denying the force of the expression, "the decree;" or to seek to explain it away ignores the fact that "the begotten" aspect is applied
p 5 -- by Paul to the resurrected Lord as well as to the incarnation (Acts 13:33). The designation of "Son of God" is equally a Messianic title as is "The Son of man." The "Captain" of our salvation is the God-man, "who was manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16, NKJV, margin) - the Eternal Logos.
Summary -- To cite two questionable concepts of the Doctrine
of God - the Trinity, and "the Eternal Sonship" - as illustrations
of the dynamic nature of "present truth," and to conclude that
the present position of the Church, by writing these concepts into the
27 Fundamentals of Belief, is reflecting that dynamic at work, is deceptive,
and cannot be sustained Biblically. It stands rather as evidence of the
apostasy which has engulfed the church and the failure to give proper
study to the concepts. However apostate as these concepts may be, it does
not justify a rejection of the dynamic, or a continuation in an anti-Trinitarian
position equally as questionable. Proverbs 4:18 must prevail.
Confessions of a Nomad - Part
4 -- In a letter dated August 31, 2000, Cress, the Secretary
of the Ministerial Department of the General Conference wrote to Eugene
Lincoln, Editor Emeritus, of The Sabbath Sentinel, "I am also
requesting that you request the individual who quoted selectively from
the book (Confessions of a Nomad) to contact the Ministerial Association
rather that spread erroneous suppositons." This I did immediately
upon receipt of a copy of the letter Cress wrote to Lincoln. That was
September 10, and not until November 22, did Cress reply. He claimed that
an extended overseas itinerary prevented him from responding sooner.
However, in the letter he placed the same restriction as in previous
letters to Brother Lincoln: no quotes unless the whole letter is printed.
We are left with but one choice. We will print our answer dated November
28, 2000, and let the reader deduct what Cress wrote in his letter. To
his claim to be very plain spoken, we responded: There
is no trouble vhen one is plain spoken; it is when one is not plain acting
that the trouble begins. One can claim to be preaching the Three Angels'
Messages, including the Second, and his actions indicate that he does
not know what they are all about. Christ endeavored to reach members of
the Sanhedrin with truth, but He did not invite them to conduct seminars
for His disciples, nor recommend their writings.
The facts are that one does
not have to obtain a copyright to merely do a book reprint. We have exclusive
rights from the WCC to reprint So Much in Common, and have not
felt any need to copyright the book. We merely stated that it was reprinted
by the permission of the WWC. You have indicated that you provide a service
to Dr. Self in reprinting his books. A one time reprint is hardly a continuing
service, unless printed in volume, or his need is minimal. ...
It is indeed a sad hour when,
for whatever reason human logic dictates, a publication copyrighted by
an arm of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists advocates Sunday
as the day of worship, be it a devotional book or otherwise. You are to
be commended for withdrawing it from circulation by your association.
I hope it so remains. The fact, however, also remains that you did publish
it, and have expressed no regrets for doing so, but have tried to justify
Apart from a summary in WWN,
I will leave the matter for a Higher Court to render the final verdict.
In a further note from Brother Lincoln since the above letter was written, he indicated that Cress had called him by telephone concerning their exchange of letters and had admitted "that he probably would have handled it differently had he thought about the controversy it would cause." This is very revealing - no regrets expressed about the teachings in the book - but simply the consequences because it was discovered and revealed. If a judgment had been made based on truth, there would have been no publishing of the book, and thus no adverse consequences to fear. It was purely a policy decision. See 5T, p.96, par. 3. (concluded)
The Perez Issue Revisited -- The
Special Issue #2 of WWN for 2000, evoked comment from the
field. The overall comment indicated that I did not set forth the factors
involved in the Perez case with the clarity that such a discussion demanded.
To a friend on the West Coast who wrote I detailed a reply. The reply
I sent to this brother is herewith produced, so that there should be no
misunderstandings on the part of any.
It is true as suggested, by
your reservation on methods of witness that we must work in our own armor.
God respects individuality. However, in this instance, there are three
factors covered by counsel.
To take #1 of these three and
ignore the other two is not consistent. I personally talked to Perez about
#2, and he shrugged his shoulders, declined an answer, and handed me a
copy of the advertizement in English and Spanish. (Now our current file
Problem #1 - If I refuse to
take the name, Seventh-day Adventist, off my church sign when the Church
officially makes request, and they take me to court, but when the Court
so demands, I yield and do so, what is this saying? Is this the example
found in the book of Daniel?
Is the name that important
today? It does stand for two cardinal teachings. But what does it represent
today? A church in apostasy. Go to the book of Acts. Was not the name
"Israel" chosen by God? It stood for something. Did the early
Church adopt this name and fight with the [Jewish] hierarchy over it?
No, they called themselves, "Followers of the Way." They let
God designate them as the new Israel of God.
Today God knows who are genuine
Seventh-day Adventists. Let Him write them down in His clerk's record
book (Heb. 12:23) - the Book of the Lamb. Let us be simply followers of
that Lamb - the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6).
If further questions need answering, please write, and I will seek to
clarify my position on the other two issues covered by counsel.
A Further Clarification of Another
Point -- In the January issue of WWN, we commented
as we closed the discussion of the Godhead in the Gospel of John - "There
are other texts that could be cited which raise perplexing questions:
but here we must rest the matter" (p. 5, col. 1). In contemplating
the deductions drawn on John 7:39, I doubt that the thoughtful readers
will be satisfied with leaving the concept of the Holy Spirit as indicated,
rest at that point. In the gospel of Matthew (1:20), and in the Gospel
of Luke (1:35), the Holy Spirit is stated as being involved in the birth
of Jesus. John himself records the coming of the Spirit "like a dove"
at the time of Jesus' baptism (1:33). How do we relate these verses in
the light of John's comment in 7:39?
Paul adds this factor in his explanation of the condescension of Christ.
He writes that He who was in "the form of God" emptied Himself
(eauton ekenwsen -
emphatic, "himself He emptied") and took the "slave form
of man." If this is placed together with the revelations in the gospels
of Matthew and Luke, the conclusion is inescapable that the pre-existent
Word was the Holy Spirit. A careful comparison between concepts in the
Old Testament with parallel concepts in the New substantiates this conclusion.
Observe two such parallels:
This Biblical comparison still leaves intact, the prologue of the Gospel
of John that "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with
God." But it does leave mysterious - "The Word came to be flesh"
(1:14, Gr.). Here the curtain is drawn, and here we must let it remain
closed. One thing is revealed. The same ever-existent, pre-existent divine
identity tabernacled in flesh, yet He was the embodiment of grace and
truth, our hope and our salvation; the God-man, yet the great I AM.
"The Gay Priest Problem" -- This was the title of an essay appearing in The Catholic World Report (Nov. 2000, pp. 52-58), written by Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, Marine and Navy chaplain serving at the time of writing at Pearl Harbor. He wrote: When more of your priests die by sodomy than by martyrdom, you know you've got a problem; when the man
p 7 -- you bring in for the fix comes down with AIDS, you know that you've got a crisis; and when the Pope first gets the facts thanks to 60 Minutes, you know you're corrupt. (p. 57).
He cites a book, The Changing
Face of the Priesthood, by Fr. Donald B. Cozzens, who asked "if
the priesthood is on its way to becoming a 'gay profession"'? Shaughnessy
also noted a report in the Kansas City Star which stated that "the
death rate of priests from AIDS is at least four times that of the general
"From almost all sides
in the Catholic Church is now heard the complaint 'Why doesn't
somebody do something '?" Then the author gives an illustration as
to why nothing has or is being done. A rumor was circulated in Africa
that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was "about to issue a letter prohibiting
the acceptance of gay seminarians." To this, South Africa's Bishop
Reginald Cawcutt sent a message to his fellow gay clergy that if such
a letter is issued, "MY intention would be simply to ask the question
what he intends doing with those priests, bishops (possibly 'like me')
and cardinals ... who are gay." Then Cawcutt concluded - "Be
assured dear reverend gentlemen, I shall let you know the day any such
outrageous letter reaches the desks of the ordinaries of the world"
Turning to why the action necessary to solve the gay problem in America
will not be taken, the author stated, It "is that the episcopacy
in the United States is corrupt, and the same is true of the majority
of religious orders." But then he gives a very interesting twist
to what "being corrupt" means. "It is important to stress,"
he wrote, "that this is a sociological claim, not a moral one."
He defined "as corrupt, in a sociological sense, any institution
that has lost the capacity to mend itself on its own initiative and by
its own resources, an institution that is unable to uncover and expel
its own miscreants" (pp. 56-57). He is trying to separate the Roman
Church from what is going on in the Church. He seeks to exclude the Pope
from what is taking place in the Episcopate under the Pope. In the Bible,
God doesn't so judge. He places as one, the "mystery of inquity"
that "they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had
pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thess. 2:7-12).
How does the chaplain perceive the Church? "The Catholic Church,
being Christ's bride without spot or wrinkle, is indefectible. She is
holy because Christ is holy; she is perfect because Christ is perfect.
She cannot teach error" (p. 57). But the question was raised, how
can Catholics show respect and obedience to their bishops if they believe
the episcopacy is corrupt? To this the chaplain replied - "The answer
is that a Catholic does not respect his bishop or attend to his teaching
on the ground that the bishop is holy, but because the bishop, to the
extent that he teaches in union with St. Peter, is supernaturally protected
against teaching error - and this holds true whether or not the bishop
is a villain and whether or not his compatriots are institutionally corrupt"
While the extreme positions as voiced by this Roman chaplain are not taken by various dissidents in the Adventist church, basically what difference is there in general perception between the concept that "the Church is going through" and the Catholic position that the Roman Church is "indefectible"? The same distinction is made in Adventist thinking between the Church, and the apostasy in the Church.
-- XXXIV - 3(01)
-- A Search for Identity -- Part
3 -- Editor's Preface -- This issue of WWN continues
the critical analysis of Dr. Knight's book, A Search for Identity.
However, not only will we note some questionable conclusions drawn by
Dr. Knight, but a1so some salient points that should be of vital concern
to every segment of Adventism today, especially to those proclaiming themselves
"historic" Adventists. Our pioneer ministers were men of the
Knight holds, and rightly so, that Adventism was not born in a vacuum.
We were inheritors from the Millerite Movement, as well as other religious
traditions. There was one factor in the transition from the pre-October
22, 1844 theological perceptions to the post-October 22, 1844 perceptions
that have not been given due consideration. The Millerites, believing
that Jesus would return to earth on October 22, 1844, logically concluded
that all last-day prophecies would be fulfilled before that date. They
applied to their time some major prophecies which today are being applied,
in current Adventist thinking, to events since that date. However, no
correction has been made due to the error resulting from the faultiness
of their logical conclusion. Here is where Knight could have demonstrated
his original premise of the "dynamic nature of present truth,"
but he didn't! We might ask, Would such an adjustment be too painful?
Possibly so, as it would raise questions and present problems w'hich certain
sections of the Adventist community are not yet ready to encounter. But
if not now, when?
The final article and editorial, "Let's Talk It Over" cover personal items involving our Sabbath worship on campus, and experiences of the editor in his own confrontation with the dynamic nature of present truth and the resultant pilgrimage.
Seventh-day Adventism had a beginning. From what religious background
did the men and women who founded the Movement come? Knight observes that
James White and Joseph Bates, two of its founders, had been members of
the Christian Connection, as well as Joshua V. Himes, the second most
influential leader of the Millerite Movement. This Connection was decidedly
anti-Trinitarian. Then Knight states that "Ellen White brought the
Wesleyan/Methodist emphasis on sanctification and perfection into Adventism"
(p.33). To justify this conclusion, he cites a reference from the book,
Christ's Object Lessons, first published in 1900, some fifty years
after its beginnings. While it is true that Ellen White and her family
had been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they were disfellowshiped
from that church when Ellen was only 16 because of their adherence to
the teachings of William Miller. It is highly doubtful that at 16, Ellen
White was learned in the theological tenets of Methodism so as to infectuate
those teachings on the early Adventist pioneers. She herself stated that
during the time that "the principal points" of the faith were
being studied by the early pioneers, her "mind was locked, as it
were," so that she "could not comprehend the meaning of the
scriptures" being studied (Series B, #2, p. 57). This was
not bringing a "Wesleyan/Methodist emphasis ... into Adventism"!
However, this does turn on the caution lights that one must ever be alert
to what Knight is writing and the agenda he is seeking to substantiate.
Inasmuch as the Seventh-day Adventist Church arose out of the Disappointment
experienced by the Millerite Movement, it is reasonable and logical to
note these roots in any search for identity. This Knight does in chapter
three - "The Millerite Theological Foundation." A point often
overlooked in such a relationship is the viewpoint from which those involved
in the Millerite Movement looked at prophecies relating to the Second
Advent. Believing that Christ was going to return to earth "about
the year 1843," and then finally settling for the date, October 22,
1844, the Millerites perceived that all prophecies of the end times would
be fulfilled prior to that date. This was a logical assumption. Thus the
prophecy of Revelation 14, for example, was connected with the messages
they were themselves giving, as well as the fulfilment of the prophetic
parable Jesus gave of the Ten Virgins. This, Knight sets forth in his
book (pp.45-49). It is over this perception and the application of it
that the dynamic nature of present truth could have been applied, but
was not, and has not been.
We need to take a careful look into the problem of prophetic application
created by the original logical assumption. It is a part of a search for
identity and involves the development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs.
Let us consider the first angel's message of Revelation 14. Documenting
how Miller and his followers understood this message, Knight rightly concludes: Thus
the Millerites saw the "hour of his judgment" as an advent rather
than a pre-Advent judgment. As a result, they began to equate the "loud
voice" of the first angel with the midnight cry and the message of
the cleansing of the sanctuary. All three pointed to the same event -
the second advent of Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven (p.47).
But Jesus did not come on October 22, 1844. How then were these Biblical
prophetic events, grouped together as one by the Millerites, to be understood
now? Knight does not attempt an answer, except for one aspect from the
parable of Matthew 25, but leaves them merely a part of the "Millerite
theological foundation," with the conclusion: "Disorientation"
and "disarray" are two words that help us capture the mood and
structure of Millerite Adventism after October 22, 1844. Whereas once
the movement knew exactly where it was going and had fair ideas of how
to reach its goal, now it was in a state of uncertainty. The scattering
time had arrived. Millerism in the period after October 22, 1844 found
Adventists in a search for identity, a task they had never thought
they would have to undertake, and one for which in many ways, they were
p 3 -- All aspects of the prophetic parable of the Ten Virgins, as well as an analysis of the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14 need to be carefully reviewed. There is a relevancy for today when accurately applied and textually defined..
Parable of the Ten Virgins -- The parable, as Jesus told it
within the setting of His eschatological discourse recorded in Matthew
24 and 25, begins with a movement on the part of ten virgins. They "went
forth to meet the bridegroom" (25:1). This is stated in the aorist
(past) tense in the Greek text - exhlqon
- indicating an act which was to precede the main action of the parable
Jesus was about to relate. They were together in a common objective. But
the bridegroom tarried, and while he tarried, "they all slumbered
and slept" (v. 5). Then the tense of the text changes. Suddenly at
midnight a voice from outside of the sleeping virgins is heard declaring,
"Behold the bridegroom, be going out (exercesqe
- present imperative) unto a meeting of him" (v. 6, lit.).
All ten arose and "trimmed" their lamps, but five virgins discovered
that their lamps were "going out" (v. 8 margin). The events
of the parable follow in quick succession closing with the admonition,
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein
the Son of man cometh" (v. 13).
It should be obvious to the most casual reader, that there are two "coming
outs," one when the Ten Virgins were first gathered together, a past
event prior to the time when the main action of the parable is to transpire.
The second coming out results from a cry at midnight by a voice outside
of the ten virgins. Further, this second "coming out" produces
a division and separation among the previously united ten. It might even
be suggested that the parable indicates that the foolish return to the
vendors from whom all had received their oil originally. But it is clear
beyond question that those who do not respond to the cry at midnight on
them the door is shut, and to them it is said, "I know you not"
How is this parable to be understood now? This should be a part of our
search for identity. Interestingly, an application of this parable, as
well as the Second Angel's Message as understood prior to October 22,
1844, was made at the time of the 1888 crisis. Of that meeting, Ellen
White wrote in retrospect in 1889: I
was confirmed in all that I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation
must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness
and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light
and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come
out of the denominational churches, but now they act a part similar to
that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity
for another coming out. (Ms. Release #1216, pp.5-6)
Observe carefully the context in which the expression, "another coming out" - is used. She noted that the very attitude which was being manifested by those opposed to the 1888 Message, as it was being given by Jones and Waggoner, had been manifest in the pre-1844 Millerite Movement to the message given then. It produced a coming out from the denominational churches, and Ellen White hoped there would not be a necessity for a second coming out, this time from the Adventist Church.
Not only does the prophetic parable of the Ten Virgins indicate a second
coming out, but the Millerites, believing that Revelation 14:8 and 18:1-5
needed to be proclaimed before the Advent of Christ, called for a coming
out. Charles Fitch preached in July, 1843 what became one of the most
famous Millerite sermons, "Come Out of Her, My People." Knight
reports this historical data and Fitch's position: Fitch
[proclaimed] that "to come out of Babylon is to be converted to the
true scriptural doctrine of the personal coming and kingdom of Christ."
He saw no way one could avoid the Advent truth and be a Christian. Thus
he appealed, "if you are a Christian, come out of Babylon! If
you intend to be found a Christian when Christ appears, come out of
Babylon, and come out NOW! ... Dare to believe the Bible." (p.49).
Specifically relating to the parable of the Ten Virgins is a comment
found in a report of the first campmeeting held in Tasmania. Ellen White
noted, when she spoke at the first Sabbath afternoon meeting from Luke
21, that her "mind was carried into the future, when the signal will
be given, 'Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him"'
(R&H, Feb.11, 1896) This clearly indicates that she perceived
the fulfilment of the parable of Jesus relative to the "is"
time of that prophecy to be yet future in 1896. The tragedy is that this
application of the parable of the Ten Virgins was not incorporated into
the revision of The Great Controversy in 1911. Rather, the understanding
p 4 -- impending over the matter. (See Letter dated, April
Three Angel's Messages -- The
textual analysis of Revelation 14:6-12 reveals the same tense differences
between the first two and the third Angel's message as was noted in the
parable of the Ten Virgins.
Often it is necessary to translate the Greek aorist (past) tense by the
English perfect - "is come - as is done in verse 7. The same is true
also of the Second Angel's message (ver. 8) - "Babylon is fallen,
is fallen" (epesen, epesen
-aorist [past] tense). This angel was to follow the first, thus pressing
its fulfilment further down in time, and revealing that the "fall"
involved two things - 1) the rejection of the true
meaning of the "sanctuary," in contrast to the Millerite perception;
and 2) the seventh day Sabbath. If this is understood
in its full significance, it casts light on the terrible betrayal of the
sanctuary truth at the SDA-Evangelical conferences of 1955-56, and has
Further, the timing of the message is revealed in th worship of "the
image." The image is made of the beast "which had a wound by
a sword, and did live" (13:14). In other words, not the slain beast
(13:3 margin), but a resurrected beast. While we look to the event in
1929 in the signing of the concordant between Mussolini and the Papacy
as a "healing of th wound," it was in reality only the beginning,
and ha reached an astonishing climax in the present pontificate. The fact
remains that much study needs to be done in this area of prophecy. The
principle enunciated by Knight in his book, "the dynamic nature of
'present truth"' needs to be applied to such a study.
in Adventism -- As Knight continues his historical review of
the utter confusion in the wake of the October 22 disappointment,"
he asks the question, "What is Adventist in Adventism?" Certain
facts and factors which he sets forth need to be carefully studied
by every Adventist whether he professes to be a regular, an "historic,"
or a "progressive" Adventist. In others words, the whole community
of Adventism needs to take note. Knight makes three important observations
1) Divisions resulted from the disappointment based on the single question - Did anything happen on October 22? Those who held that nothing occurred, were termed "open door" Adventists, while those still convinced that the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 had meaning were called "closed door" Adventists. These designations were borrowed from the parable of the Ten Virgins, that when the Bridegroom came, those ready went in and the "the door was shut." These concepts governed each's sense of mission. Was there still a warning message for a doomed world, or had probation closed?
The "open door" Adventists were able to unify at a meeting
in Albany, New York, in April 1845, chaired by William Miller and J. V.
Himes as secretary. This meeting and its aftermath provoked a response
from Joseph Bates five years later. In the first issue of The Second
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, published at Paris, Maine, in 1850,
he designated that group, the Laodicean Church and called - "In the
name of Jesus, I exhort you again to flee from the Laodiceans, as from
Sodom and Gomorrah. Their teachings are false and delusive; and lead to
utter destruction. Death!
Death!! eternal DEATH!!! is on their track. Remember Lot's wife"
p 5 -- The "closed door" group soon became two groups
- one known as the "spiritualizers" believed that Christ did
come on October 22, but not visibly, but only to the hearts of the believers.
According to Knight, "fanaticism and charismatic excesses plagued
the ranks of the spiritulaizers" (p.57).
2) From the smallest of the three divisions resulting
from the confusion following the disappointment emerged the founders of
Sabbatarian Adventism. United by the Sabbath truth, they believed that
the prophetic interpretation of the historical data was correct in determining
October 22, 1844 as the date of the fulfilment of Daniel 8:14. But what
actually took place on that date was the question. Knight writes: Only
after they had arrived at a new insight on the cleansing of the sanctuary
could they rid themselves of their faulty concept of the shut door. But
... that recognition came only gradually. It would be nearly a decade
before they worked through the issue. (ibid.)
It is interesting that while apparently still united on the Sabbath,
the various groups within the Adventist Community are still divided on
the question of "the cleansing of the sanctuary" to the extent
that it has become once more disruptive. Here enters the validity of Knight's
premise, in the search for identity, as noted in his first chapter - "the
dynamic nature of 'present truth."' It is not that one jettisons
the original position, but that one clarifies and purges it from false
assumptions. His #3 observation on "What is Adventist in Adventism"
is vital to this search and discovery.
3) Knight writes: "The most
basic issue for any religious group is its source of authority" (p.58).
To substantiate what t'iis authority is in Adventism, Knight has written
and documented some data that needs to be carefully considered in the
light of the question which still divides the community of Adventism -
"the cleansing of the sanctuary." He writes: James
White put it early in 1847, "the Bible is a perfect and complete
revelation. It is our only rule of faith and practice" (A
Word to the Little Flock, p.13; italics supplied).
As we will see ..., the Sabbatarians
developed their distinctive beliefs on the basis of Bible study. That
fact was not always obvious to their distracters. Miles Grant, for example
argued in 1874 ill the World's Crisis (a leading first day Adventist
periodical) that "' it is claimed by the Seventh-day Adventists that
the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days, mentioned in
Daniel 8:13, 14, is in heaven, and that the cleansing began in
the autumn of A.D. 1844. If any one should ask why they thus believe,
the answer would be, the information came through one of Mrs. E.G. White's
visions"' (World's Crisis quoted in Review & Herald,
Dec.22, 1874, p.204).
Uriah Smith vigorously responded
to their accusation. "Hundreds of articles," he stated, "have
been written upon the subject [of the sanctuary]. But in not one of these
are the visions once referred to as any authority on this subject, or
the source from which any view we hold has been derived. Nor does any
preacher refer to them on this question. The appeal is invariably to
the Bible, where there is abundant evidence for the views we hold
on this subject" (R&H, Dec. 22,1874, p.204; italics
Smith, it should be pointed out, made a statement that any person willing to, go back into early Seventh-day Adventist literature' can verify or disprove. On the subject of the sanctuary Paul Gordon has done this in his The Sanctuary, 1844, and the Pioneers (1983). His findings verify Smith's claims. Whereas many later Adventists have tended to lean on Ellen White's authority to substantiate or at least help support their positions on various of their doctrines, the early Adventists were a people of the "Book." Current Seventh-day Adventists of all persuasions need to note that fact as they seek to discover the genuine Adventism of history. (pp.58-59)
The one sentence in the paragraph above, which needs to be read and reread
gives the answer to the basis of the doctrinal authority in early Adventism
- "the early Adventists were a people of the 'Book.'" How far
those who now profess to be "historic" Adventists have wandered
from "early Adventism" can be documented by publications coming
from Virginia, Washington state, and Kansas. The tragedy is the resulting
deception which is being practised on sincerely concerned Adventists.
This is compounded because many who are sincere in their concern over
what is taking place in Adventism, are as those who in Christ's day, "having
eyes to see, saw not; and ears to hear, heard not."
Knight continues: James
White touched the unique role of the Bible in doctrinal formation in 1847
after claiming that Scripture is "our only rule of faith and practice."
In the context of his wife's prophetic ministry he wrote that "true
visions are given to lead us to God, and His written word; but those that
are given for a new rule of faith and practice, separate from the Bible,
cannot be from God, and should be rejected" (A Word to the Little
Four years later he again made that point explicit. "Every Christian," he wrote, " is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. The Word should be in front, and the eye of the church should be placed upon it, as the
5 -- rule to walk by, and the foundation of wisdom, from which
to learn duty in 'all good works"' (R&H, April 21,
1851, p. 70; italics supplied).
This position taken by James White cannot be emphasized too strongly as one searches for the identity of the truth as it is in Jesus, the Living Word made flesh.
Yesterday, the young man in charge of the program, in beginning his "Thoughts
from the Word," asked that we read
II Samuel 7:12-14. There Nathan delivered God's message to
when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will
set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and
I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and
I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father,
and he shall be my son.
He pointed out that Solomon was by actual generation the son of David,
but by a special act of God, he became His son, and He became to him his
Father. This verse was followed by the application made of it in Hebrews
1:5 to Christ. Since Paul combined two verses in his application to Christ,
we turned to Psalm 2:7, and noted that it was by decree, Christ became
God's Son, even as Solomon became a son of God by a Divine decision.
I had noticed that on the desk, Travis Rohrich, the young man in charge,
had placed some papers which I had not seen before. After reading some
more verses, the content of the papers was revealed. Travis was born,
Travis Shane Pledge, but now he was Travis Shane Rohrich. How was this
done? One of the papers was an Order from the 4th Judicial District Court,
County of Mora, State of New Mexico, which read: IT
IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED That Travis Shane Pledge be, and
he hereby is, known as Travis Shane Rohrich from this date on.
As I sat there contemplating this young man's experience, and the prophetic
revelation of the Scriptures, I thought how apropos the comparison. He
who was the Eternal Word, both by decree and through the flesh became
a Son of God (Heb. 1:2) By Him God has spoken unto us. The command is,
"Hear ye Him" (Matt. 17:5). I, too, by hearing Him may become
a son of God (John 1:12). And in the final decree of the judgment, I will
be given a new name (Rev. 2:17). It will be so "ORDERED, ADJUDGED
Let's Talk It Over -- Those
who have read the preface to the Manuscript, The Hour and the End,
know of my mother's first contact with Adventism. But between the time
of the presentation at the Women's Missionary Auxiliary meeting by Bertha
Jorgensen, a retired credentialed Bible Worker of the Adventist Church,
and the decision to study the Bible with her in our home, some things
happened in the local Baptist Church of which my mother and I were members.
I had been baptized on an Easter Sunday night into the Baptist fellowship
when but nine years of age. The pastor was a deeply spiritual man, and
my mother was close friends with the pastor's wife. Then the pastor took
a call to a church in Ft. Scott, Kansas. His anccessor was a recent graduate
from a Northern Baptist Seminary. Things began to
change, in the teaching from the pulpit to the conduct of the midweek
The mid-week prayer meeting became a social occasion with a "box-supper"
arrangement. The women would prepare a special lunch that could fit into
an average sized box. The box itself would be covered by a decorative
wrapping paper. These boxes would be auctioned off to the men. They would
then eat with the woman whose box it was. As I recall at some point in
the evening social fellowship the new pastor would give a short homily.
With the continuing decline in spiritual emphasis, my mother decided that
she could better meet the spiritual needs of my younger sister and me
by teaching us at home. We withdrew from the Baptist Church.
p 7 -- It was at this point that a series of circumstances led
to Bible studies with Bertha Jorgensen. She gave us twenty-two studies
using the Bible and the Bible only. At each study I would join with mother
in reading the verses which sustained the doctrinal subject being studied.
During this time, we also read, The Marked Bible, a story still
worth reading today. We made a decision; we began attending the Seventh-day
Adventist home church in Boone, Iowa, meeting each Sabbath at the Jorgensen
residence. Elder Jorgensen, a retired minister, along with his wife, Bertha
Jorgensen, conducted the worship services. These services were in the
form of Bible studies with those in attendance taking part by reading
the Bible texts. The pulpit was the dining room table, and it was from
that table that I preached my first sermon before I was fourteen.
Then after high school, four years at Union College, and twenty-three
years of active ministry for the Church we chose to unite with, because
of the spiritual declension in the Baptist Church, we found it necessary
to make another decision. When conditions today in Adventism are now worse
than in the Baptist Church of 1932, some decisions must be made. We made
ours - my wife and I - when the first evidences of apostasy from the truth
were confirmed. The principle upon which a possible second "coming
out" was to be based is clearly defined in Ms. Release #1216.
(See page 3, col. 2) When the conditions become the same in the Adventist
Church as were existent in the churches from which they came out of to
become Seventh-day Adventists, then it becomes decision time for those
who wish to stand "stiffly for the truth." The state of current
conditions in the Church are too evident for anyone to miss today, unless
one has become completely blinded by Laodiceanism.
God has a church. It is not a great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). Where Christ is, even among the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. Letter 108, 1886