AN INTERPRETIVE HISTORY
OF THE DOCTRINE
OF THE INCARNATION
AS TAUGHT BY
THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH

by
WILLIAM H. GROTHEER

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page Title
1 I - The Purpose
3 II - From 1844-1888
13 III - Ellen G. White on the Incarnation 1888-1915
22 IV - The Doctrine of the Incarnation as Taught by Jones and Waggoner
38

V - Other Sources 1888-1915

49 VI - The Holy Flesh Movement
56 VII - From 1915 - 1952
68 VIII - Decades of Conflict and Appostasy 1952 - 1972
96 IX - Conclusion
98 Appendix A - A letter to William L. H. Baker
100 Appendix B - A Sinless Life
102 Appendix C - Christ Took Adam's Fallen Nature
103 Appendix D - Exerpts from Unpublished Manuscripts by Froom

 

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ADVENTIST LAYMEN'S FOUNDATION OF CANADA (ALF)

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"Watchman, What of the Night?" (WWN)
.
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All the Specials and Commentaries are in the last file of the year. There are 4 files for each year: jm=Jan-Mar; aj=Apr-Jun; js-=Jul-Sep; od=Oct-Dec

WWN is a thought paper that was published monthly continuously from Jan, 1968 to the end of Dec. 2006 . by the Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Mississippi, Inc.(ALF), with William H. Grotheer as the Editor of Research & Publication.

The Nov. 1977 issue discusses "What is the "Watchman, What of the Night?"

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

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Manuscripts

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

Bible Study Guides
- William H. Grotheer

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

Excerpts - Legal Documents
- EEOC vs PPPA - Adventist Laymen's Foundation

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

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

In the Form of a Slave
- William H. Grotheer

Jerusalem In Bible Prophecy
- William H. Grotheer

Key Doctrinal Comparisons - Statements of Belief 1872-1980
- William H. Grotheer

Pope Paul VI Given Gold Medallion by Adventist Church Leader
- William H. Grotheer

Sacred Trust BETRAYED!, The - William H. Grotheer

Seal of God
 - William H. Grotheer

Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956
 - William H. Grotheer

SIGN of the END of TIME, The - William H. Grotheer

STEPS to ROME
- William H. Grotheer

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

Remembering
Elder William H. Grotheer

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BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Song of Solomon - Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary

OTHER BOOKS, MANUSCRIPTS & ARTICLES:

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

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

Bible As History - Werner Keller

Canons of the Bible, The - Raymond A. Cutts

Daniel and the Revelation - Uriah Smith

Facts of Faith - Christian Edwardson

Individuality in Religion - Alonzo T. Jones

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

Letters to the Churches - M. L. Andreasen

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

Sabbath, The - M. L. Andreasen

Sanctuary Service, The
- M. L. Andreasen

So Much In Common - WCC/SDA

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

Under Which Banner? - Jon A. Vannoy

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Due to his failing health, Elder Grotheer requested that ALF of Canada continue publishing thoughts through its website www.AdventistAlet.com which now has developed into frequent Blog Thought articles plus all of the Foundation's historical published works written and audio.

As of 2010, with the official closing of the ALF of USA , The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada with its website www.Adventist Alert.com is the only officially operating ALF branch established by Elder Grotheer worldwide.

We are thankful for the historical legacy that is now available through

The Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada, 1526 Haultain Street,
Victoria, BC V8R 2K4 Canada

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Any portion of the thought paper may be reproduced without further permission by adding the credit line - "Reprinted from WWN, Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Canada."

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AN INTERPRETIVE HISTORY
OF THE DOCTRINE
OF THE INCARNATION
AS TAUGHT BY
THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH

by
WILLIAM H. GROTHEER

October 1972


 

p i -- PREFACE -- As a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I had always taught and sincerely believed that Christ assumed the fallen nature of man when He condescended to become the Son of man. However since 1957, 1 have given intensive study to the subject of the Incarnation. In 1964 as a result of obtaining a copy of a term paper prepared for the Department of Church History at Andrews University, my interest was stimulated to begin a research in depth on the history of this doctrine in our Church. This manuscript is the result. It is not claimed to be exhaustive, especially in the final chapter that surveys the period from 1952 to the present. The material presented, however, is representative, authoritative, and documented for each period of our history.

The chapter on the Holy Flesh Movement is a brief summary of the research which was begun when serving as a minister in the Indiana Conference from 1955 to 1962. Continued investigation was made with the help of a Senior student while I was head of the Bible Department at Madison College from 1962-64. This material was organized into a paper to meet the requirements for the course - Research in Theology - at Andrews University when doing graduate work in 1964-65. Further study has been made since then, which has been incorporated into the chapter in this book.

In pursuing this study and writing, I have had the constant encouragement and help of my wife, Dorothea. We have searched together to eliminate errors of typing and spelling. We have sought to see that each quotation is correctly documented, and accurately transcribed in context. We design that this publication be letter perfect, as far as our human eyes and hands can make it.' There

p ii -- is still the possibility of errors that we missed. We would be grateful to our readers if they find mistakes to call them to our attention for correction in any future editions.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the fulfillment of the precious promise which states:         When you arise in the morning, do you feel your helplessness, and your need of strength from God? and do you humbly, heartily make known your wants to your Heavenly Father? If so, angels mark your prayers, and if these prayers have not gone forth out of feigned lips, when you are in danger of unconsciously doing wrong, and exerting an influence which will lead others to do wrong, your guardian angel will be by your side, prompting you to a better course, choosing your words for you, and influencing your actions.  1  In the early morning hours when much of the writing of this manuscript was done, I was many times conscious of the presence of my unseen Guardian.

This research is being published because - "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us" - and since it is, we need to understand the historic position of the Church which emphasized the tremendous victory which Christ achieved in our nature, that we may overcome as He overcame.

l    Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 363-364

p iii -- -- TABLE OF CONTENTS - is placed on the Left Sidebar.   TOP

p 1 -- I -- THE PURPOSE -- The purpose of this research paper is to present an interpretive history of the doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The time span extends from the origins of the Church in the Great Second Advent Movement in the early decades of the 19th Century to the present. In presenting the teachings of the Church as to the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming man, no attempt is being made to detract from the dignity of His pre-existence as One with the Father from all eternity, nor in anywAy to disassociate Him from His oneness with the Father during His earthly sojourn. At Bethlehem, the Word who was in the beginning with God was made flesh. This same God who was manifest in the flesh was received up into glory, where at the Throne of the Eternal, He continues to minister as the Son of man.  2

The sources which document the teachings of the Church in regard to the doctrine of the incarnation are the writings of the messenger of the Lord, Ellen G. White, whose works are known as the Spirit of Prophecy; books and publications produced by the Church's publishing houses; and articles appearing in the journals of the Church. One important source apart from the Spirit of Prophecy is the Senior Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly dating from 1888-89. Inasmuch as the composition of the Sabbath School lessons represent the combined thinking of many leaders and scholars of the Church, and since these lessons receive universal acceptance and use in the Church, the teachings contained in them on any given subject would represent a true picture of the official position of the Church. The one exception to the above guidelines is the introduction of the teaching on the incarnation which dominated the thinking of the leaders of the

p 2 -- Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana from 1898 to 1901. While this Movement did receive the official endorcement of the local conference committee and administration, its work and teachings did not represent the official viewpoint of the Church as a whole at that time. However, it is being introduced into this research on the doctrine of the incarnation because the teachings of the leaders of the Holy Flesh Movement in regard to the nature of the humanity of Christ have received official sanction in recent years.

In the use made of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, the same principles are invoked as would be used in the study of the Scriptures on any given subject. It is assumed that the inspired testimonies are not contradictory. The letter which appears to be at variance with the general tenor of the testimonies given through the years in the published sources prior to the death of Ellen G. White is discussed in an Appendix  .3  Even as Adventist scholars do not begin with the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to establish the doctrine of the non-immortality of the wicked, neither is it valid to introduce the doctrine of the incarnation as taught in the Spirit of Prophecy with a single isolated letter to an individual, counseling moderation of statement, when there is no record of what that individual said or wrote for comparison or judgment.

This writer does not claim a convictionless objectivity in presenting this historical research. For this reason the title reads - An Interpretive History ...

l     John 1:14
2    1 Timothy 3:16; 2:5; Hebrews 9:24
3    See Appendix A TOP

p 3 -- I I -- FROM 1844 - 1888 -- The Seventh-day Adventist Church developed in America out of the Second Advent Movement led by William Miller, a Baptist lay-preacher. The doctrinal emphasis during the early decades of the Church's development and growth reflected similar tenets which marked the Millerite Movement plus those distinctive concepts of faith which set the Seventh-day Adventist Church apart as the instrument used by God to herald the Third Angel's Message. 

In 1822, William Miller prepared a "brief statement of faith" which was composed of twenty articles, one of which was left incomplete. His biographer, Sylvester Bliss, comments that "the last article was left thus incomplete, and the series of articles was not extended, as it was evidently designed to have been, so as to give an expression of his faith on subjects not included in the foregoing."  2    Among the subjects not included in the twenty articles of faith was the doctrine of the incarnation. This is not to say that Miller overlooked major concepts of theology. He did not. He stated his belief in regard to the Godhead, the substitutionary death of Christ for man, the operation of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, the Resurrection, and the free will of man.  3

Articles Seven, Eight, and Nine of Miller's statement of faith are most interesting in the light of the Great Disappointment which engulfed the Movement. In these he declared his belief in Jesus Christ as "an offering to God" and the "sacrifice for sin which justice demanded." Then in Article Nine, he wrote - "I believe the atonement to be made by the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of His blood in the holy of holies, and upon the mercy-seat and people." Yet with this clear perception between the sacrifice, and the

p 4 -- ministration of that sacrifice, Miller failed to comprehend the cleansing as it related to Christ's ministry in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly tabernacle. He did not see the two apartments and the antitypical services which they prefigured. To him verily "the door" was shut, and only He who had the "key of David" would open it at the proper time.  4

While here in America the Advent Movement was very pronounced, and more definitely organized than in other sections of the world, nevertheless, during the first decades of the 19th Century, "devout men in different lands were simultaneously quickened to search the Scriptures on the subject of the second advent of Christ."  5    In England, one of the men who proclaimed the Second Advent, Edward Irving, did give thought and study to the subject of the incarnation. He taught that "Christ took human nature as it was in Adam, not before the Fall, but after the Fall,"   6  stating "that Christ took our fallen nature, is most manifest, because there was no other in existence to take."  7  He believed that the "soul" of Christ "did mourn and grieve and pray to God continually, that it might be delivered from the mortality, corruption, and temptation which it felt in its fleshly tabernacle."  8

Edward Irving sought to relate the incarnation of Christ to the experience necessary for man to have victory over sin. He conceived of Christ's victory in the flesh as the atonement - the sacrifice at Calvary being merely the offering to God of that humanity which He cleansed through a lifetime struggle with sin. Thus the salvation of man depended upon his participation through faith in the same victory that Christ achieved. He did not understand the ministry of Christ as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. To him the "door" was. shut as it was to Miller; and thus he could not properly relate the truth of the incarnation to the final atonement.

p 5 -- Irving made another mistake in his thinking in regard to the human nature of our Lord. He failed to differentiate between the cultivated sins of man, and the inherited tendencies which are common to all men. He lumped the whole and described human nature as "corrupt to the core and black as hell, and this," he said, "is the human nature the Son of God took upon Himself and was clothed with."  9    While Irving never believed that Christ sinned; but because of this position, he was so charged, and deposed from the ministry by the Presbytery of Scotland. Thus the truth was covered with the rubbish of over statement. The doctrine of the incarnation was to remain muted in the preaching and teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist Church until 1888.

After the passing of the time in 1844, certain brethren who had been involved in the Millerite Movement met together to study the word of God, and to find answers to the questions that were perplexing them. Ellen G. White would meet with them, and when these brethren came to an impasse in their study, the Spirit of God would take her off in vision and give a clear explanation of the Scriptures they had been studying, "with instruction as to how [they] were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped [them] to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood."  10    What all was involved in the study of Christ, and His mission is not spelled out.

Evidence indicates that little study was given to the subject of the Incarnation for the emphasis in the articles written, tracts printed, and books published during the period from 1844 to 1888 was on the Sabbath question, the state of man in death, and the sanctuary services. However, in a publication by J. H. Waggoner in 1884 on the atonement is found this comment regarding the incarnation of Christ:

p 6 -- He left that throne of glory and of power and took upon Him the nature of fallen man. In Him were blended "the brightness of the Father's glory" and the weakness of "the seed of Abraham." In Himself He united the Lawgiver to the law-breaker - the Creator to the creature; for He was made "sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  11

Ten years prior to this statement in Waggoner's book, Elder James White, in an editorial appearing in the first issue of the Signs of the Times, wrote "a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity" believed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Second Article of the "concise statement of the more prominent features of our faith" declared:        That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, and Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that He took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that He dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only Mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where, with His blood, He makes atonement for our sins; ...  12

The major statements from 1844 - 1888 in regard to the human nature which Christ assumed at Bethlehem are to be found chiefly in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. These statements, however, are specific, and clearly enunciated.

The first statement from the inspired testimonies appeared in 1858. In describing the time when Jesus made the announcement of the plan of redemption to the unfallen angels, the servant of the Lord pictures Jesus as revealing the fact that   -   He would leave all his glory in heaven, appear on earth as a man, humble himself as a man, become acquainted by his own experience with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that he might know how to succor those who should be tempted;... 13  This was difficult for the angels to accept, and they offered themselves as substitutes; but Jesus informed them that the life of an angel could not pay debt for sin. He, however, assured them that they would have a part to play

p 7 -- in the plan for man's redemption. Note carefully the words - what Jesus Himself stated would take place:        Jesus also told them that they should have a part to act, to be with Him, and at different times strengthen Him. That He should take man's fallen nature, and His strength would not be even equal with theirs. 14  TOP

In the 1870's as Ellen G. White began to write more fully on the life and mission of Jesus Christ, comprehensive statements in regard to the incarnation appeared. Except for two articles on the subject of tithing, all the written material from her pen appearing in the Review for the year 1874, was on the subject of the plan of redemption and the temptations of Christ. In these articles the following specific statements are found which define the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming man:        The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam...

What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble Himself to fallen humanity! He would place His feet in Adam's steps. He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam.   15

The Son of God humbled Himself and took man's nature after the race had wandered four thousand years from Eden, and from their original state of purity and uprightness. Sin had been making its terrible marks upon the race for ages; and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy prevailed throughout the human family.

When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of sin. He stood in the strength of his perfection before God. All the organs and faculties of his being were equally developed, and harmoniously balanced.

Christ, in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam's place to bear the test he failed to endure. Here Christ overcame in the sinner's behalf, four thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home. Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing every successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom, and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden. Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to earth to help man. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed...

p 8 -- In what contrast is the second Adam as he entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.   16

The humanity of Christ reached to the very depths of human wretchedness, and identified itself with the weaknesses and necessities of fallen man, while his divine nature grasped the Eternal... Christ's work was to reconcile man to God through his human nature, and God to man through his divine nature. 17

Because man fallen could not overcome Satan with his human strength, Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered him. He also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength. In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that, with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is. He obtains for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they may overcome the temptations of Satan. 18

During the first part of the year 1875, the articles from the pen of Ellen G. White continued to present the temptations of Christ. She commented - "How few can understand the love of God for the fallen race in that He withheld not His divine Son from taking upon Him the humiliation of humanity."  19   She pointed to the fact that Satan put forth his strongest efforts to overcome Christ on the point of appetite at a time when He was enduring the keenest pangs of hunger. Then she wrote:        The victory gained was designed, not only to set an example to those who have fallen under the power of appetite, but to qualify the Redeemer for His special work of reaching to the very depths of human woe. By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.  19   TOP

p 9 -- In 1878, Sister White wrote a letter to a young man setting Christ before him as the "great Exemplar". She quoted Hebrews 2:17 that Christ was "made like unto His brethren." Then she commented:         He felt both joy and grief as they feel. His body was susceptible to weariness, as yours. His mind, like yours, could be harassed and perplexed. If you have hardships, so did He. Satan could tempt Him. His enemies could annoy Him...

Jesus was sinless and had no dread of the consequences of sin. With this exception His condition was as yours. You have not a difficulty that did not press with equal weight upon Him, not a sorrow that His heart has not experienced. His feelings could be hurt with neglect, with indifference of professed friends, as easily as yours. Is your pathway thorny? Christ's was so in a tenfold sense. Are you distressed? So was He. How well fitted was Christ to be an example!  20

About this same time, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, was published. In this volume, a specific contrast between man's nature, and Christ's humanity is made. Ellen G. White wrote:       Our Saviour identifies Himself with our needs and weaknesses, in that He became a suppliant, a nightly petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, to come forth invigorated and refreshed, braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege.   21

Commenting further on the prayer life of Jesus, she penned the following:        He prayed for His disciples and for Himself, thus identifying Himself with our needs, our weaknesses, and our failings, which are so common with humanity. He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are. Jesus endured agony which required help and support from His Father.  22

As one reads the last two quotations, it would appear that these statements are at variance with what had been written in other places prior to, and contemporary with these statements. There is no conflict, however, when one understands how the servant of the Lord in another place understood and

p 10 -- used the word - passion. The following paragraph illustrates its use, and how the phrase - "inclinations of the natural heart" - is associated together in thought in regard to the experiential knowledge of our Lord:        No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must first be gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act, before passion can dominate over reason, or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin.... Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation.  23

In our experience, we have purposed the sinful acts; our passions have dominated over reason; iniquity triumphed over conscience. We have become possesed with evil. But not so with Christ. He did not choose to sin. Although understanding the strength of human inclination, the desires of our fallen human nature never dominated His reason or triumphed over His conscience. He conquered the tendencies of the humanity He took upon Himself. In Him were no cultivated tendencies to evil for He never permitted human passions to dominate His thinking, and thus control His actions.

Another statement defining the nature of the humanity Christ assumed appeared in 1877. In this testimony a clear differentiation is made between "form" and "nature" as pertaining to fallen man, and what Christ accepted as a part of the plan devised by the Godhead for man's redemption. It reads:       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 succor those who should be tempted.  24

Ten years later 1887 - Sister White wrote an article for the Review regarding pride that was leading to strife for supremacy. She set before the reader Christ's sacrifice as an example to be emulated. In so doing she stated

p 11 -- certain facts that involved the nature of the humanity Christ assumed. Three points are clearly enunciated:
1) He was God, but the glories of the form of God He for a while relinquished.

2) He humbled Himself and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family He was mortal...

3) He brouqht into His human nature all the life-givinq energies that human beings will need and must receive.
Then was pictured the abuse, insult, and reproach which Jesus suffered as a man; and finally His humiliating death as a condemned criminal. In view of this, a question is asked - "Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend?"   25

Thus during the years from 1844 to 1888 - those years which have been termed the formative years of our doctrine - clear, specific statements were given through the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity. Christ in becoming man, took the place of "fallen Adam" after the race had wandered four thousand years in sin. He accepted "the sins and infirmities" of humanity "as they existed when He came to earth to help man." By "experiencing in Himself" human infi mities, He came to know "how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart." He accepted not only the "form" but also the "nature" of fallen man, reaching "to the very depths of human wretchedness" "that He might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him." In His struggle with sin, He did not permit evil passion to possess Him; He was its master, its conqueror. His "nature" not the human He accepted in union with Himself, but that which was His - His very Self from all eternity - "recoiled from evil." He took "mortality upon Him" so that He could yield His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

p 12 -- The victory gained qualified Him to be not only an Example, but a Redeemer from sin. Without controversy, great is the mystery of the sublime condescension.

l      Revelation 14:9-12
2     Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller, p. 80
3      Ibid., pp. 77-80
4     Revelation 3:7
5     Francis D. Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 9
6      A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 744
7     Edward Irving, Works, 5:15. (Quoted by Strong, op. cit., p. 745)
8     Ibid.
9    Edward Irving, quoted by Strong, op. cit., p. 746
10  Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 57
11  J. H. Waggoner, The Atonement in the Light of Nature and Revelation, p. 161
12  James White, Editorial, Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874
13  Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. I, p. 24
14  Ibid., p. 25
15  Ellen G. White, "Redemption - No. 1", Review and Herald, Feb. 24, 1874
16   Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ", Review and Herald, July 28, 1874
17   Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ", Review and Herald, August 4, 1874
18   Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ", Review and Herald, August 18, 1874
19   Ellen G. White, "The Temptation of Christ", Review and Herald, March 18, 1875
20   Ellen G. White, Letter 17, 1878, Quoted Our High Calling, pp. 57, 59
21   Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, pp. 201-202
22    Ibid., pp. 508-509
23   Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 177
24  Ellen G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 39
25  
Ellen G. White, "Christ Man's Example", Review and Herald, July 5, 1887   TOP

p 13 -- I I I -- ELLEN G. WHITE ON THE INCARNATION - 1888 - 1915 -- The presentations of Dr. E. J. Waggoner and Elder A. T. Jones on the subject of Righteousness by Faith during the last decade of the 19th Century, included of necessity, a discussion of the nature of the humanity which the Son of God assumed. Their concepts on the subject of the incarnation produced opposition. Some of those who were opposed wrote to Sister White. These did not simply write to the prophetess to obtain the light she had been given in regard to the humanity of the Son of man, but to assert their doubts as the basis for questioning. To these questioners, she replied in a morning talk given at Battle Creek, Michigan on January 29, 1890. She revealed that "letters have been coming to me, 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 reasoning she declared:        If He did not have man's nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a 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. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature. 1

In this brief answer, there is summarized the position as found in the Spirit of Prophecy, both prior to 1888, and until, Ellen G. White's death in 1915. While it is true that during this period - 1888 to 1915 - many more statements on the subject of the incarnation came from the pen of Sister White, than prior to 1888, there are no contradictions, or altering of her position from the first statement in 1858.

There are two approaches which could be used in presenting the material

p 14 -- on the incarnation in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy during the period of time covered by this chapter.  1) We could simply list by year what was penned, or  2) We could bring together in an interpretive form, the statements regardless of the year sequence. Since this is "an interpretive" history of the doctrine as taught in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the latter procedure will be followed.

To Ellen G. White, the incarnation was "a mystery that will not be fully, completely understood in all its greatness until the translation of the redeemed shall take place. Then the power and greatness and efficacy of the gift of God to man will be understood."  2   However, she cautioned that "the enemy is determined that this gift shall be so mystified that it will become as nothingness." 3

The magnitude and the depth of the condescension revealed by the incarnation of Jesus Christ, leaves the student "breathless." In 1896, Sister White wrote:          In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem's manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fulness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one.  4

It is in this union "that we find the hope of our fallen race."  5 "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God."   6  Therefore, we need to "fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven the incarnation of the Son of God."  7   "We should come to this study with the

p 15 -- humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ [will be] a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth."   6

Where is one to begin in the study of the incarnation? The inspired counsel indicated:        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 itsel f explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible.   As "one with the Father", "the Lord Jesus Christ... existed from eternity a distinct person."   This distinct Person became the" Man Christ Jesus.

While Ellen G. White definitely states that "we cannot explain how divinity was clothed with humanity",   9  her writings during this period unfold various fundamental aspects of what took place when Christ became man. In 1899, she wrote:       Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity
laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem.  10  
In creation, Christ had given "to humanity an existence outside of Himself;" but "in redemption, He takes humanity unto Himself. He makes it a part of His own being."  11  We might then ask - "Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person - the man Christ Jesus."   12    Or we might ask the question another way - Was the divine nature degraded by accepting the human nature formed in the womb of Mary? The answer is again - No! "In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place, but humanity by being united to divinity withstood the fiercest test of temptation in the wilderness."   What then is meant when

p 16 -- the expression - Christ "united humanity with divinity" - is used in the Spirit of Prophecy? Note the following two quotations:          He [Christ] united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple.  13   TOP

In His person, humanity inhabited by divinity was represented to the world.  14

The nature of the humanity of the Son of God - "a distinct person" in His own right from eternity - is also clearly and unmistakably set forth by the servant of the Lord. While Christ was declared to be the second Adam, He did not accept the nature of Adam in his innocency, but Adam's fallen nature. 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.  15

Neither is there any doubt left as to the condition of the humanity which Christ accepted in connection with Himself. On this point it was written:        Think of Christ's humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin.  13

Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings in behalf of the fallen race.  16

Lest she be misunderstood, what she meant by the term, "human nature", or when she stated that Christ became "flesh", Ellen G. White emphasized that it was "in the likeness of sinful flesh.". In an article for the Youth's Instructor, she penned these words - "Let children bear in mind that the child Jesus had taken upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh,   *   and was tempted of Satan as all children are tempted."   17    In another source

*  -- This should dispel forever the deception that Christ bore our fallen nature only at the time of the wilderness temptation, and that "vicariously".

p 17 -- the servant of the Lord declared - "He [Christ] was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh."  18    Some might quibble over this point and hold that because Sister White used the expression, "likeness of sinful flesh" - which is a Biblical phrase - she meant that the nature that Jesus assumed was not really the sinful fallen nature, but only something which physically resembled it. However, in two published sources it is plainly stated that "He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature",  19  and "He took upon Him our sinful nature."  20

While being specific as to the nature that Christ assumed, the servant of the Lord was just as pointed as to the results of such a union. She declared - "In His human nature, He maintained the purity of His divine character."   21    In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin."  22  "No taint of sin was found on Him."  23

The article in the Signs of the Times from which the last sentence was quoted bore the title - "Sin Condemned in the Flesh." In this article the various Bible texts, which refer to Christ's sinlessness are quoted, such as, "that holy thing"; "He did no sin"; "knew no sin"; "in Him was no sin"; and that Christ was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Then this sentence is written - "This testimony concerning Christ plainly shows that He condemned sin in the flesh."  23

One positive point Ellen G. White made in reply to the questions that came to her as a result of the preaching on the subject of Righteousness by Faith was that if Christ "was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been."  She also recognized that -        Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation comes and is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action, and knowing that he can do it, resists by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power.  10

p 18 -- Then she declared - "This is the ordeal through which Christ passed." To pass through this experience presented a two-fold risk to the Godhead.  1)   A risk to the Son of God personally; and  2)  A risk to the unity of the eternal throne unless certain precautions were taken. From the beginning God had exercised great care lest sin become immortalized. Our first parents were driven from the garden so they could not partake of the tree of life following their disobedience.  24  Now if Christ came into humanity with the immortal aspect of the Godhead - the glory He had with the Father before the world was   25   - and failed, which had to be a possibility or His temptations would have been meaningless, then there would have been two Beings in eternal antagonism. The incarnation, of necessity, had to synthesize these two risks.

The Spirit of Prophecy indicated that Christ did accept in Himself this synthesis. He came as "a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is man."  10  Christ also shielded the Eternal Throne. "He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal;..."  26 Thus if He sinned, "divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam."   22    But while Christ yielded up the divine prerogatives, His place in the Godhead was held in sacred trust, and could not be lost, "while He stood faithful and true to His loyalty."  27

From 1891 to 1900, Ellen G. White was in Australia. It was there in 1895 that she wrote a letter to an Australian evangelist, William L. H. Baker, which has been used extensively to mitigate the force of all that she wrote during this period on the nature which Christ assumed in becoming a man. This letter is discussed in the Appendix.  28  At this very time, she was writing the book, The Desire of Ages. Nowhere in this book can be found statements which would sustain the interpretation being given to the letter to Elder Baker.    TOP

p 19 -- Throughout the book The Desire of Ages the description of the humanity which Christ assumed, and the victory that He obtained in the flesh reflect the same concepts the author penned in previous publications, and in the articles appearing in the church papers during this same period. Of Christ, it is stated, He "accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity." In context, she wrote:       It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race was weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.  29    A pre-publication draft of this paragraph is very expressive. It reads:         Christ was to take humanity upon Him, not as it was when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden, but as weakened and defiled by four thousand years of sin. He was to come as the Son of man, like every child of Adam, accepting the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were, what was the inheritance bequeathed to Jesus in His human nature, Scripture reveals in the history of those who were the earthly ancestors of our Saviour. with such a heredity, Jesus came as one of us, to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.  30  In another chapter of the book, Ellen G. White wrote that "as one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For He took upon,Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences."  31

The expressions - "as one of us", and "our nature" are clearly defined in the book. In one place it is written - "Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity", which for four thousand years "had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth."  32    "Our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities."  32  Christ knew that it was impossible

p 20 -- for man to deny the clamor of his fallen nature, and that through this channel, Satan would seek to take advantage of hereditary weakness to ensnare him, so "by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome."  33    "By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us the power to obey."  31

A statement appeared in the Youth's Instructor during 1897, which could serve as a summary of what the inspired testimonies declared in regard to the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads:        To human eyes, Christ was only a man, yet He was a perfect man. In His humanity, He was the impersonation of the divine character. God embodied His own attributes in His Son, - His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His purity, His truthfulness, His spirituality, and His benevolence. In Him, though human, all perfection of character, all divine excellence, dwelt.   34

l     Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 408
2    Ellen G. White, Letter 280, 1904 (5BC:1113)
3    Ibid.
4     Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896
5     Ibid.
6     Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, October 13, 1898
7
    Ellen G. White, MS 76, 1903 (7BC:904)
8     Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, April 5, 1906
9     Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, October 1, 1889
10   Ellen G. White, MS 29, 1899
11   Ellen G. White, "The Word Made Flesh" Andreasen Collection # 2
12   See Footnote #2
13   Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, December 20, 1900 (4BC:1147)
14   Ellen G. White, "The Kingdom of Christ" June 13, 1896
15   Ellen G. White, MS 141, 1901
16   Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 17, 1900
17   Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, August 23, 1894
18   Ellen G. White, W-106-1896
19   Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 181
20   Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, December 15, 1896
21   Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, June 2, 1898
22   Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898

p 21 --
23
   Ibid., January 16, 1896
24   Genesis 3:22-23
25   John 17:5
26   Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, September 4, 1900 (5BC:1127)
27   Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899 (5BC:1129)
28   See Appendix A
29   Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49
30   From photostat copy in writer's file; taken from Andreasen's Collection No. 2
31   Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 24
32   Ibid., p. 117
33   Ibid., pp. 122-123
34  "Ellen G. White, Youth's Instructor, September 16, 1897 
TOP

p 22-- I V-- THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION AS TAUGHT BY JONES AND WAGGONER -- During the period of time covered in this chapter - 1888 to 1905 - the subject of the incarnation was preached mote extensively, and discussed more fully than at any time in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with the exception of the last decade. To understand the why of this emphasis during this period of time, it is necessary to note the messages of righteousness by faith which came to the Church at the 1888 General Conference Session and the decade following that Session.

At the General Conference Session in Minneapolis (1888), the Lord sent "a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones."   l  These men enlarged and emphasized this message during the years that followed. Not only did the message present "justification through faith in the Surety," but "it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God." Christ through the Holy Spirit, came near to His Church with the objective of "imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent." This is "the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure."  2

It needs to be understood also that Christ as High Priest in the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary was desirous of completing His work for man according to covenant promise. He had upon the Cross provided a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of mankind; but as our High Priest, He was to complete His work,, "and fulfil His pledge to 'make a man more precious than fine gold; even

p 23 -- a man than the golden wedge of Ophir."'  3  This work of Christ is referred to in the Spirit of Prophecy as "a special atonement for Israel", or "a final atonement."  4

The question of what was involved in making a man more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir, and how it was to be accomplished became the primary emphasis in the presentation of the message of Righteousness by Faith. The truth that the incarnation had a definite relationship to the atonement, as projected by Edward Irving  5  - though misunderstood and misapplied by him - now came into its own; and it was seen to be an essential and vital part of the message concerning the special work that Jesus desired to accomplish in and for man.*

During this period, the special messengers whom the Lord sent to the church so presented the doctrine of the incarnation. In 1890, the Pacific Press released a book by Dr. E. J. Waggoner ,    which Froom avers to be an edited presentation of the messages given by him at the 1888 General Conference Session.  7  After setting forth Christ's divinity, Waggoner turns to the "wonderful story of His humiliation."   He quotes and comments on John 1:14 and Philippians 2:5-8. Then he writes: - "Other scriptures that we will quote bring closer to us the fact of the humanity of Christ, and what it means for us."  9  These other texts were Romans 8:3-4, Hebrews 2:16-18, and II Corinthians 5:21. Commenting on Romans 8:3-4, he wrote:       

* - The doctrine of the incarnation cannot be separated from the teaching of the perfection of character which God intends His people to manifest in the final display of His glory in the earth. In His incarnate life, Christ finished the work the Father gave Him to do - "power over all flesh" - thus glorifying Him on the earth. John 17:2-4. This is to be repeated; for the final victors of earth are to overcome, "even as [Jesus] also overcame." Rev. 3:21.

p 24 -- A little thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself the likeness of man, in order that He might redeem man, it must have been sinful man that He was made like, for it was sinful man that He came to redeem... Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."  10

In commenting on II Corinthians 5:21, Waggoner stated:       This is much stronger than the statement that He was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh." He was made to be sin. Here is the same mystery as that the Son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner, but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He was made to be sin in order that we might be made righteousness.   11

How does the incarnation relate to us being made righteousness? Observe the further observations of Waggoner:        He [Christ] is "touched with the feeling of our infirmity. That is, having suffered all that sinful flesh is heir to, He knows all about it, and so closely does He identify Himself with His children that whatever presses upon them makes a like impression upon Him, and He knows how much Divine power is necessary to resist it; and if we but sincerely desire to deny "ungodliness and worldly lusts", He is able and anxious to give us strength "exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think." All the power which Christ had dwelling in Him by nature, we may have dwelling in us by grace, for He freely bestows it unon us.  12

Then he adds:        What wonderful possibilities there are for the Christian! To what heights of holiness he may attain! No matter how much Satan may war against him, assaulting him where the flesh is weakest, he may abide under the shadow of the Almighty, and be filled with the fullness of God's strength.  13  Thus Dr. Waggoner inseparably linked the truth of the incarnation - that Christ took upon Himself the fallen, sinful nature of man - and the objective of the atonement - "that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith", "that [we] might be filled with all the fulness of God." - the "heights of holiness" to which we may attain.

p 25 -- At the 1891 General Conference Session, Elder Waggoner gave a series of studies on the book of Romans. In these studies the same emphasis appears as in his book - Christ and His Righteousness.

During the Eighth Study, Waggoner noted the attribute of a priest as one who had compassion, and observed that the compassion of Christ was revealed by the fact that "it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Then he asked - "What is done by the compassion,of Christ?... What benefit is the compassion of Christ to us?" To these questions, he answered:        He [Christ] knows the strength we need. He knows what we need, when we need it, and how we need it. So the work of Christ as priest, is for one thing, - to deliver us from sin. His next question was - "What is the power of Christ's priesthood?" To this question, the answer was given:        He is made priest "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." That is the power by which Christ delivers you and me from sin this day, and this hour, and every moment that we believe in Him.

Dr. Waggoner considered the power of the "endless life" as coming from two sources:  1)   It was a divine power, and  2)  the earthly life of Christ in the flesh was a life free from sin; therefore, "death could not hold Him." To the objection that this was good theory in the case of Christ, but we are in the flesh and sin, he replied - "That is true; but in the flesh there may be the divine life that was in Christ when He was in the flesh."   14

In the Tenth Study, Waggoner returned to the concept of the power of an "endless life" as it pertains to the individual. He asked - "Now how do we get hold of Christ? How do we get the benefit of that righteous life of His? Here was the answer:

p 26 -- It is in the act of death. At what point is it that we touch ...Christ, and make the connection? At what point in the ministry of Christ is it that He touches us, and effects the union? - It is at the lowest possible point where man can be touched, and that is death. In all points He is made like His brethren, so He takes the very lowest of these - the point of death, - and there it is, when we are actually dead, that we step into Christ.   TOP

But since Christ arose, we too, rise to newness of life. "That new life, - that newness of life which we have, is the life of Christ, and it is a SINLESS LIFE." In this same study, Waggoner declared this to be the very heart, life, and power of the message of righteousness by faith. He said:         In all of our Christian experience we have left little loopholes along here and there for sin. We have never dared to come to that place where we would believe that the Christian life should be a sinless life. we have not dared to believe it or preach it. But in that case we cannot preach the law of God fully. Why not? Because we do not understand the power of justification by faith. Then without justification by faith it is impossible to preach the law of God to the fullest extent. 15 *

In the Twelfth study, all the teaching of righteousness by faith was linked with the incarnation. In discussing the "old man", and our marriage to this "body of sin" as Paul presented it in Romans 7, Waggoner observed that we were one with it. Just so, when we are crucified with Christ, and rise to a new relationship, we are married to Christ, and thus one with Him. On this point, he commented:        What a precious thought it is, that we are one flesh with Christ! In this we see the mystery of the incarnation appearing again. If we can believe that Christ was in the flesh, God incarnate in Christ, we can believe this, - Christ dwelling in us, and working through us, - through our flesh, just the same as when He took flesh upon Himself and controlled it. 16

* Herein is the difference between justification by faith as presented in the Protestant Reformation, and the doctrine as brought to the Church in 1888. While the basic foundation was the same - the just shall live by faith - it was in the 1888 message that the full application of what it meant was made - the power to keep from sinning. In other words, a people were to be prepared of whom it could be said, - "Here are they that keep the commandments of God."

p 27 -- In 1892, Elder E. J. Waggoner accepted a call to become editor of the Present Truth published in England. He did not again speak before a General Conference Session until 1897. At that Session he presented nineteen studies primarily on the first section of the book of Hebrews. In these studies, he maintained the same position on the nature of Christ's humanity that he had held six years previously.

In discussing Hebrews 2:9 which states that Jesus "was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,"  17  Waggoner commented - "He was made a little lower than the angels; He was man. So that when we consider Him now, we consider Him as man, and from this point though we have Jesus before us all the time, but always as man. Never forget that."  18  To emphasize how closely Jesus has identified Himself with man, Waggoner noted that Jesus did not abandon man when he sinned, but accepted the curse in Himself, even the curse man received because of sin. He asked the question - "Where is that point where the curse falls upon Christ?" In answer to his own question, he said - "Sinful flesh. Not only sinful flesh, but that which stands as the symbol of the curse that falls upon Christ - the cross."  19  To Waggoner, the crucifixion did not begin at Calvary, for he declared - "Christ taking fallen, sinful humanity upon Him, is Christ crucified."  20

In contrasting the difference between the two Adams, Elder Waggoner emphasized what he understood the Scripture to mean which said - "The Word was made flesh." He said, "The Word was made perfect flesh in Adam, but in Christ was the Word made fallen flesh. Christ goes down to the bottom, and there is the Word flesh, sinful flesh."   21

In 1901, Elder E. J. Waggoner gave a sermon at the General Conference Session which focused on the subject of the humanity of Christ, but because

p 28 -- of its timing and connection with the doctrinal issues which came before the Session, his observations will be given in the chapter on the Holy Flesh Movement.

From 1892 and onward the burden for the presentation of the Message of 1888, and the truth in regard to the incarnation at the General Conference Sessions rested upon Elder A. T. Jones. At both the 1893 and 1895 Sessions, Jones used the same theme - "The Third Angel's Message".

In the Tenth Study of the 1893 series, Jones discussed the "white raiment" with which the saints are to be clothed. Of this garment, he declared:         Brethren, that garment was woven in a human body. The human body the flesh of Christ - was the loom, was it not? That garment was woven in Jesus; in the same flesh that you and I have, for He took part of the same flesh and blood that we have. That flesh that is yours and mine, that Christ bore in this world - that was the loom in which God wove that garment for you and me to wear in the flesh, and He wants us to wear it now, as well as when the flesh is made immortal in the end!

What was the loom? Christ in His human flesh. What was it that was made there? [Voice: The garment of righteousness.] And it is for all of us. The righteousness of Christ - the life that He lived - for you and for me, that we are considering tonight, that is the garment... It was God in Christ. Christ is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be woven and transformed into us through these sufferings and temptations and trials which we meet. And God is the weaver, but not without us. It is the co-operation of the divine and the human - the mystery of God in you and me - the same mystery that was in the gospel, and that is the third angel's message  22

In the above statement, Elder Jones clearly indicated that the doctrine of the incarnation which teaches that Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of man is inseparably linked with the message of righteousness by faith, and this combined message is the third angel's message. Furthermore, this whole concept was linked with the perfection that must be man's in the final hour of human history. In the Eighteenth Study, Jones discussed the demands of the law of

p 29 -- God. He stated that the Law demanded "perfect love, manifested 'out of a pure hftrt, a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."' Man can only respond, "I have not got it: I have done my best." But the Law replies:         That is not what I want; I don't want your best; I want perfection. It is not your doing I want anyhow, it is God's I want: it is not your righteousness I am after: I want God's righteousness from you: it is not your doing I want: I want God's doing in your life. What can man say to this? Nothing, absolutely nothing! What is the answer? Here is the answer that Jones gave:           But there comes a still small voice saying, "Here is perfect life; here is the life of God: here is a pure heart; here is a good conscience; here is unfeigned faith." Where does that voice come from? [Congregation: "Christ"] Ah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came and stood where I stand, in the flesh in which I live.; He lived there; the perfect love of God was manifested there; the perfect purity of heart manifested there; a good conscience manifested there; and the unfeigned faith of the mind that was in Jesus Christ, is there.         And Jones added - "The law wants to see that thing in me."   23

In the 1895 series of studies given at the General Conference Session, A. T. Jones enunciated the doctrine of the incarnation and the nature of Christ's humanity more clearly and more completely than had been done before in any single presentation.

Jones began the study of the humanity of Christ by noting the common source from which the humanity we possess was derived. "One man is the source and head of all human nature. And the geneology of Christ, as one of us, runs to Adam.. All coming from one man according to the flesh, are all of one. Thus"on the human side, Christ's nature is precisely our nature."  24  In commenting on John 1:14 - "And the Word was made flesh" - Jones asked the question - "Now what kind of flesh is it?" In answering this question, he asked another, and amplified the answer as follows:

p 30 -- What kind of flesh alone is it that this world knows? - Just such flesh as you and I have. This world does not know any other flesh of man, and has not known any other since the necessity of Christ's coming was created. Therefore, as this world knows only such flesh
as we have, as it is now, it is certainly true that when "the Word was made flesh", He was made just such flesh as ours is. It cannot be otherwise.  25  
In this argument, Jones was but echoing Edward Irving, who had declared, "That Christ took our fallen nature, is most manifest, because there was no other in existence to take."  26*

Turning to Hebrews 2:9, A. T. Jones noted that Christ was not made "lower than the angels" as man was when he was created - "That was sinless flesh" but Christ was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death where "man is since he sinned and became subject to death."  27

The next point in his structure of truth on the incarnation was based on Hebrews 4:14 - Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are." Concerning this Jones said:         He [Christ] could not have been tempted in all points like as I am, if He were not in all points like as I am to start with...

Christ was in the place, and He had the nature, of the whole human race - And in Him meet all the weaknesses of mankind, so that every man on the earth who can be twqpted at all, finds in Jesus Christ power against that temptation. For every soul there is in Jesus Christ victory against all temptation, and relief from the power of it. That is the truth.  28

*  As one reads closely the six studies devoted to a discussion of the humanity of the Son of God in the incarnation which A. T. Jones gave at the 1895 General Conference Session, one is impressed with the emphasis which parallels the basic position of Edward Irving of England. One cannot help but wonder if E. J. Waggoner after arriving in England obtained Irving's Works, and sent them to his friend and co-laborer? However, Jones studiously avoided the basic error of Irving in attributing to Christ's human nature the cultivated sins of man. There can be no doubt that A. T. Jones considered this presentation of the incarnation an advanced step to any previous study on the subject. He said "We are here studying the same subject that we have been studying these three or four years; but God is leading us further along in the study of it, and I am glad." General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 330 TOP

p 31 -- In the study the following evening, Jones returned to the point of inheritance which man received from Adam. He stated that "there is not a single drawing toward sin, there is not a single tendency to sin, in you and me that was not in Adam when he stepped out of the girden." "All the tendencies to sin that are in the human race came from Adam." "Jesus Christ felt all these emptations; He was tempted upon all these points in the flesh which He derived from David, from Abraham, and from Adam." He reminded his hearers - "And there is such a thing as heredity." What did this mean in Jones' thinking as it applied to the incarnation? He stated:          Now that law of heredity reached from Adam to the flesh of Jesus Christ as certainly as it reaches from Adam to the flesh of any of the rest of us;l for He was one of us. In Him there were things that reached Him from Adam; in Him there were things that reached Him from David, from Manasseh, from the genealogy away back from the beginning until His birth. Thus in the flesh of Jesus Christ, - not in Himself, but in His flesh, - our flesh which He took in the human nature, - there were just the same tendencies to sin that are in you and me.  29   But as each temptation sought to draw upon Him through the tendencies of the flesh, Jesus Christ "by His trust in God" received the power to say, No, "and thus being in the likeness of sinful flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh."

In making these assertions, A. T. Jones was very careful to clarify two points:  1) "There is a difference between a tendency to sin, and the open appearing of that sin in the actions." And  2) "Those sins which we have committed, - we ourselves felt the guilt of them, and were conscious of condemnation because of them. These were all imputed to Him; they were all laid upon Him."   30  Thus Jones carefully differentiated between.the inherited tendencies to sin which are common to man's nature, which Christ took, and the cultivated habits

p 32 -- of evil which each man developes in his own life through yielding to sin. The former Christ accepted in coming under the great law of heredity; the latter He bore vicariously when He became the sin offering at Calvary. Because of this, Jones was able to declare:         0, He is a complete Saviour. He is a Saviour from sins committed, and the Conqueror of the tendencies to commit sins. In Him we have the victory.   31

What does this victory mean to us? Is it imputed, or imparted? Is it just something we look at and adore, or is it something we, too, can experience? Jones discussed this point in his next study. He stated:       As weak as we, sinful as we, simply ourselves, - He went through this world, and never sinned. * He was sinful as we, weak as we, helpless as we, helpless as the man is who is without God; yet by His trust in God, God so visited Him, so abode in Him, so strengthened Him, that, instead of sin ever being manifested, the righteousness of God was always manifested.

But who was He? He was ourselves. Then God has demonstrated once in the world, and to the universe, that He will so come to me and you; and so live with us, as we are in the world today; and will cause His grace and His power to so abide with us; that, in spite of all our sinfulness, in spite of all our weaknesses, the righteousness and the holy influence of God will be manifested to men, instead of ourselves and our sinfulness.   32

* - Admittedly, Jones used "strong language" when he used the expression - "sinful as we" - in identifying Christ with man. This is another echo of Irving's teaching. But in reality, what difference in basic thought from Jones is this statement:- "With the terrible weight of the sins of the world upon Him, Christ withstood the test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display which leads to presumption." (Desire of Ages, p. 117) The question is how are the Biblical expressions of Christ's identity with man to be verbalized. Paul wrote that God "hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." Also he penned that Christ was "made a curse for us" and "abolished in His flesh the enmity." Peter stated that Christ bore "our sins in His own body to the tree." Jones was speaking of Christ in the context of the Psalms. Psalm 69:5 was quoted - "0 God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee." Jones commented - "We read here His confession of sin. This was He as ourselves, and in our place, confessing our sins." Thus, "sinful as we", is not to be understood that Christ was a sinner, but that He had put Himself in the sinner's place.

p 33 -- To A. T. Jones, it would be no mystery for God to be manifest in sinless flesh. "But the wonder is that God can do that through and in sinful flesh. That is the mystery of God, - God manifest in sinful flesh." Then he stated:          In Jesus Christ as He was in sinful flesh, God has demonstrated before the universe that He can so take possession of sinful flesh as to manifest His own presence, His power, and His glory, instead of sin manifesting itself. And all that the Son asks of any man, in order to accomplish this in him, is that the man will let the Lord have him as the Lord Jesus did...

Then God will so take us, and so use us, that our sinful selves shall not appear to influance or affect anybody; but God will manifest His righteous self, His glory, before men, in spite of all ourselves and our sinfulness. That is the truth. And that is the mystery of God, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," - God manifest in sinful flesh.   33

The "false idea that [Christ] is so holy that it would be entirely unbecoming in Him to come near to us, and be possessed of such a nature as we have, - sinful, depraved, fallen human nature" had its source in "the incarnation of that enmity that is against God, and that separates between man and God, the papacy." To accomplish this, "Mary must be born immaculate, perfect, sinless" and "then Christ must be so born of her as to take His human nature in absolute sinlessness from her." But Jones declared for himself [and for all of us] - "I need some one to help me who knows something about sinful nature; for that is the nature that I have; and such the Lord did take. He became one of us." Then Jones challenged those present at the meeting that in the light of a revival of papal power, and the formation of the image to the beast - "having the form of godliness without the reality, without the power" is not the truth of the incarnation needed today as never before so that there can be proclaimed "the real merits of Jesus Christ . . . ANd His holiness?"  34   TOP

By the time that Jones reached his Sixteenth Study, some of the delegates were either openly challenging his presentation of the incarnation by calling

p 34 -- attention to the statements in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, or else were beginning to study carefully what had been presented and sought an answer to what appeared to be a contradiction between Jones' presentation and the Spirit of Prophecy. At the close of the study, Jones made the following comment:          Some have found, and all may find, in the Testimonies, the statement that Christ has not "like passions" as we have. The statement is there; everyone may find it there, of course.

Now there will be no difficulty in any of these studies from beginning to end, if you will stick precisely to what is said, and not go beyond what is said, nor put into it what is not said; whether it be Church or State, separation from the world, or this of Christ in our flesh.  35

Even though the concept that the Son of God assumed man's fallen nature had been presented with clarity during the previous four years by the messengers of the Lord.   36    many were still reluctant to express themselves in regard to this1basic truth. At the beginning of his presentations on the incarnation during these 1895 studies, Jones asked the assembled delegates - "Well, then, in His human nature, when He was upon the earth, was He in any wise different from what you are in your human nature tonight?" A stenographer noted the reaction: "[A few in the congregation responded, 'NO']". To this Jones replied - for to him this concept was basic to the true teaching of righteousness by faith:         I wish we had heard everybody in the house say, "No," with a loud voice. You are too timid altogether. The Word of God says that, and we are to say, That is so; because there is salvation in just that one thing. No, it is not enough to say it that way: the salvation of God for human beings lies in just that one thing. We are not to be timid about it at all. There our salvation lies, and until we get there we are not sure of our salvation. That is where it is. "In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." What for? - 0, "that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Then don't you see that our salvation lies just there? Do you not see that it is right there where Christ comes to us? He came to us just where we are

p 35 -- tempted, and was made like us just where we ire tempted; and there is the point where we meet Him - the living Saviour against the power of temptation.  37

In the Seventeenth Study, Jones devoted the time answering the questions some had raised because of the statements found in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2. He began his study with these words:         Now as to Christ's not having "like passions" with us: in the Scriptures all the way through He is like us, and with us according to the flesh. He is the seed of David according to the flesh. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Don't go too far. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh; not in the likeness of sinful mind. Do not drag His mind into it. His flesh was our flesh; but the mind was "the mind of Christ Jesus."  38   In this clear differentiation, Jones was only doing what he had done previously, separated between the inherited tendencies to sin common to man, and the habits of sin which men have cultivated by yielding to temptation. On this point, he elucidated as follows:         Our minds have consented to sin. We have felt the enticements of the flesh, and our minds have yielded, our minds consented, and did the wills and desires of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. The flesh leads, and our minds have followed, and with the flesh the law of sin is served...

Now the flesh of Jesus Christ was our flesh, and in it was all that is in our flesh, - all the tendencies to sin that are in our flesh were in His flesh, drawing upon Him to get Him to consent to sin. Suppose He had consented to sin with His mind; what then? Then His mind would have been corrupted, and then He would have become of like passions with us...

But until that drawing of our flesh is cherished, there is no sin...

Therefore Jesus Christ came in just such a flesh as ours; but with a mind that held its integrity against every temptation, against every inducement to sin, - a mind that never consented to sin, - no, never in the least conceivable shadow of a thought.  39

During this study, Jones quoted from two sources in the Spirit of Prophecy. One was an article in the Review and Herald, July 5, 1887, which he quoted extensively, and the other was a pre-publication copy of the Desire of Ages, which

p 36 -- he referred to as "the new Life of Christ, advance copy." After quoting from this advance copy at length, Jones concluded his study with these remarks:         You see, we are on firm ground all the way, so that when it is said that He [Christ] took our flesh; but still was not a partaker of our passions, it is all straight, it is all correct; because His divine mind never consented to sin. And that mind is brought to us by the Holy Spirit that is freely given unto us.

"We know that the Son of God has come, and hath given us a mind;" and "we have the mind of Christ." "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."  40

In 1905, the Pacific Press published, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, by A. T. Jones. This book based on Hebrews, contained the same basic concepts in regard to the human nature of our Lord, which he so clearly presented in the 1895 studies at the General Conference Session. As indicated by the title, and summarized in the book, the humanity of the Son of God, and the perfection of character to be attained by the Christian cannot be separated. Here is that summary:         Perfection, perfection of character, is the Christian goal - perfection attained in human flesh in this world. Christ attained it in human flesh in this world, and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him, every believer can attain it. He, having attained it, has become our great High Priest, by His priestly ministry in the true sanctuary to enable us to attain it.

Perfection is the Christian's goal; and the High Priesthood and ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary is the only way by which any soul can attain this true goal in this world. "Thy way, 0 God, is in the sanctuary." Ps. 77:13.  41   TOP

Jones in his studies and presentations during a lifetime of ministry for the Church rescued the truth of the incarnation of the Son of God presented by Irving during the great Second Advent Movement in England. He freed it from misstatement and overstatement, and placed it in its rightful place in connection with the "final atonement."

p 37 --
1     Ellen G. White, Special Testimony to the Battle Creek Church, p. 35
2      Ibid., pp. 35-36
3     Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 790
4     Ellen G. White, Early Writings, pp. 251, 253
5     See Chapter II.
6     E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness (Pacific Press Publishing  Company,.Oakland, Calif.) October 15, 1890, 96 pp.
7     L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 189  
8     Waggoner, loc. cit., p. 24
9     Ibid., p. 26 Emphasis supplied
10   Ibid., pp. 26-27 Emphasis his.
11   Ibid , pp. 27-28 Emphasis his
12   Ibid., p. 30
13   Ibid., pp. 30-31
14  Waggoner, "Letter to the Romans - No. 8", General Conference Bulletin, 1891, pp. 130-131
15   Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 10, pp. 156, 159.
16  Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 12, p. 185
17   Hebrews 2:9
18   Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 4", General Conference
Bulletin
, 1897, p. 45
19   Ibid.
20   Waggoner, loc. cit.,No. 6, p. 71
21   Waggoner, loc. cit., No. 5, p. 57
22   A. T. Jones,"The Third Angel's Message" - No. 10, General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 207
23   Jones, loc.cit., No. 18, p. 412. Emphasis his.
24   Jones, "The Third Angel's Message" - No. 13, General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 231
25   Ibid, p. 232.
26   See Chapter II, Footnote #7.
27   Jones, loc.cit., pp. 232-233
28   Ibid, pp. 233-234 Emphasis his.
29   Jones, loc.cit., No. 14, p. 266 Emphasis supplied.
30    Ibid, p. 267 Emphasis supplied.
31    Ibid
32    1bid., No. 15, p. 302.
33    Ibid., p. 303.
34    Ibid., No. 16, p. 311.
35    Ibid, p. 312.
36    See Footnote, p. 30.
37    Jones, loc. cit., No. 13, p. 233.
38    Ibid., No. 17, p. 327.
39    Ibid., p. 328.
40    Ibid, p. 333.
41    Jones, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, p. 84 Emphasis his.   
TOP

p 38 -- V -- OTHER SOURCES - 1888-1915 -- The first Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly was published by the Pacific Press in 1889. This issue was preceded by three lesson pamphlets in 1888 and 1889, each of which contained lessons for six months.  1   Along with the Spirit of Prophecy, these Lesson Quarterlies for the Senior Division represent an authoritative source as to what is believed and taught by the Church at any given period. During the period from 1888 through 1915, where the subject of the incarnation of Christ was either the lesson topic, or was discussed as a section of the lesson, the concepts presented harmonized with what had been taught by the Church prior to 1888. Also during this time, the statements concerning the nature of the humanity assumed by the Son of God in becoming the Son of man, became increasingly more positive and definitive.

In a lesson for the 2nd Quarter of 1896 which discussed the object of the incarnation, these notes were found:         Christ was not only born a man, but He was born under the law, both to be judged by the law, and to be dealt with according to the law in His own person; and as man's representative, to satisfy the law for all of man's transgressions of it...

In order to meet man where he was after the fall, Christ emptied Himself of all His glory and power, becoming just as dependent on the Father for life and daily strength as sinful man is dependent upon Him.  2

A lesson during the 4th Quarter of the same year contained this observation:        Christ in His humanity lived a life of dependence upon the Father. This He did, not of necessity, but of choice, that He might be a perfect example to us. He did not exchange His divinity for humanity, but, clothing His divinity with humanity, He emptied Himself, and did not avail Himself of His divine attributes in His contest with evil... He won for us in our human nature a life of victory over evil, and made it possible for us to live the life

p 39 -- which He lived... Christ in His humanity, subject to all the conditions and limitations of humanity, obeyed perfectly that law which He in His divinity had proclaimed with His own voice from Sinai, and thus won for us a life of obedience, which, as our High Priest, He
ministers to all who yield themselves to Him.  3

In 1902, a lesson was studied which associated the incarnation of Christ with the tabernacle constructed at Mount Sinai. After reviewing the gospel promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the author of the lesson stated that the chief provision of these promises was the commitment "of the Son of God in the flesh as the power of the promise to restore all things." Through these promises "the same lesson was being taught which was afterward given in a more detailed form in the tabernacle and its services. The truth thus revealed was the incarnation of the Son of God and His mediatorship in the flesh... The tabernacle and its services, afterward embodied in a more permanent form in the temple, constituted a parable, a concrete revelation of the gospel. This 'tent of meeting', this 'tabernacle of witness', was constantly testifying to God's purpose that humanity should be His temple, through the gift of His Son in the flesh, who would become 'the appointed meeting-place between God and humanity.'"   4

The Sabbath School classes in 1909 studied a lesson based on John 1:1-18. The note which commented on verse 14 - "The Word became flesh" - stated:          Divinity tabernacled in the flesh of humanity. Not the flesh of sinless man, but such flesh as the children of earth possess. That was the glory of it. The divine Seed could manifest the glory of God in sinful flesh, even to absolute and perfect victory over any tendency of the flesh.  5

Six weeks later a note in the Quarterly contained this comment:       Jesus was God acting in sinful flesh on behalf of the sinner. He made Himself one with humanity. He took upon Himself the woes, the needs, and sins, of humanity, so that He felt the consciousness and keenness of it as no other soul ever felt it.  6   TOP

Among the topics for the First Quarter of 1913 was a study on the relationship

p 40 -- between the incarnation and the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The first note read:         It is very important that we should have a clear understanding of the relation of the incarnation of Christ to His mediatorial work. He was made priest "after the power of an endless life," in order that He might minister grace, mercy, and power to the weak and erring. This is accomplished by making such a close union with those needing help, that divinity and humanity are brought into personal relation, and the very Spirit and life of God dwell in the flesh of the believer. In order to establish this relation between God and sinful flesh, it was necessary for the Son of God to take sinful flesh; and thus was bridged the gulf which separated sinful man from God.  7

Note No. 3 concluded the lesson study for the Sabbath. It stated:         By assuming sinful flesh, and voluntarily making Himself dependent upon His Father to keep Him from sin while He was in the world, Jesus not only set the example for all Christians, but also made it possible for Him to minister to sinful flesh the gift of His own Spirit and the power for obedience to the will of God.  8   In this lesson not only were the positive aspects of the incarnation in relationship to the mediatorial work of Christ presented, but the false mediatorial system of the Roman Catholic church was discussed. The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception was declared to be a denial of Christ's true incarnation. It was observed that "this denial of the perfect union of Christ with sinful flesh opens the way for a series of subsidiary mediators whose duty it is to bring the sinner into saving touch with Christ."  7

The lessons for the Second Quarter of 1913 continued the general theme of the Sanctuary and Christ's mediation. It was pointed out that God through the sanctuary service sought to teach the vital truth that He indeed would dwell with man. One lesson.noted the Babylonian teaching was that the God of the heavens would not dwell with flesh.  9   The 18th question asked - "What is the teaching of modern Babylon concerning this same fundamental doctrine?"

p 41 -- The answer read:        By the dogma of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary,
Rome teaches that the mother of Jesus was preserved from the stain of original sin, and that she had sinless flesh. Consequently she was separated from the rest of humanity. As a re-
sult of this separation of Jesus from sinful flesh, the Roman priesthood has been instituted in order that there may be some one to mediate between Christ and the sinner.  10  
The student was referred to Note #5 which quoted a Catholic source as saying that a belief which considered Christ as assuming sinful flesh was "revolting".

The note concluded - "Thus by shutting Christ away from the same flesh and blood which we have.. . modern Babylon really denies the vital truth of Christianity, although pretending to teach it. Such is 'the mystery of iniquity.'"    11

During the last Quarter of 1913, the book of Romans was the subject of the Sabbath School lessons. In the first lesson, Note #5 commented upon the phrase that Christ was "of the seed of David according to the flesh." It read:        Christ was, therefore, of the royal line through His mother. But He was more than this; He was the same flesh as the seed.of David, in and through which for generations had flowed the blood of sinful humanity, - Solomon, and Rehoboam, and Ahaz, and Manasseh, and Amon, and Jeconiah, and others. The Son of God took this same flesh in order that He might meet temptation for us, and overcome with divine power every trial we must meet. Christ is our Brother in the flesh, our Saviour from sin.  12

The study of the book of Romans reached into the first Quarter of 1914. In the lesson which included Romans 8:3-4, this note is found:        What the law in sinful man could not do, God did by sending His own Son. That Son took the flesh of sinful man, and overcame where man failed, overthrew sin in the flesh; and so He can come into the flesh of those who will open their hearts to receive Him, with that same power, and conquer sin there.  13

During this period, an editorial appeared in the Review and Herald

p 42 -- entitled, "'Like Unto His Brethren."'  14    The editorial stressed the humanity of our Lord. Beginning with Genesis 3:15, a series of texts were introduced to show Christ's identity with humanity. Both the prophecies of the Old Testament, and the confirmation of His life in the New Testament were quoted in support of this position. Then this observation followed:         And it is further declared that the flesh which Jesus took and in which He was tempted, was the same as the flesh of the other members of the human family, sinful flesh.

The results of this life were also spelled out for the reader:         Jesus is a perfect Saviour because, having lived in our sinful flesh without sin, [as] the son of man, He has formed such a union between divinity and humanity that He is able to live the same life in us.

The editorial portrayed the risks that confronted Christ in His acceptance of fallen human nature. Even as a child, He would be subject to Satan's temptations, but inspite of the risks involved the Godhead, "accepted the conditions which sin had imposed upon the-human family." The Desire of Ages was quoted in support of this position:         Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's perils in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.  15   The editor believed that in the childhood experience of Jesus, the reader could find his greatest encouragement. The following parallel was drawn:         

It was through being born of the Holy Spirit that Jesus entered upon His new stage of existence as the Son of man... Jesus was born again by the Holy spirit. So it must be with every child of God... The failure to see the perfect parallel between the two experiences may arise from the fact that Jesus was a perfect Being of an infinitely higher order before He was born of the Spirit as the Son of man, while we are already in the flesh as sinful beings before we are born of the Spirit. In the process of conversion we become as little children by being born again, and then

p 43 -- our experience is parallel with the experience of Jesus, who was born of the Spirit. There is the same condition of weakness in both cases, and the same dependence upon the keeping power of the Father. 14   TOP

Reaction was quick in coming from the field. Within a month another editorial appeared answering questions raised by the readers. One asked about the risk which Christ accepted in the light of the foreknowledge of God. To this question, the editor replied:            Our correspondent practically raises the old question of free will and foreordination. His position is that God knew before He sent His Son into the world that He would not fail, and therefore there was no risk of failure. In the same way Christ must have known the outcome of His mission to this earth,... 11

In coming to these conclusions our correspondent looks at the question from the standpoint of the divinity of Christ, and does not give due weight to the considerations which arise from the humanity of Christ. God sent His Son into the world as a man, subject to the conditions and experiences of humanity. As a man Jesus sustained the same relation to the foreknowledge of God as is sustained by every man. The foreknowledge of God did not limit His freedom as a man. His freedom as a man did not interfere with the foreknowledge of God. As a man endowed with the freedom of will, the second Adam, there was the same possibility of failure as there was with the first Adam in his sinless state. otherwise there would be neither force nor comfort in the statement that He was "in all points tempted like as we are." otherwise the agony and the bloody sweat, and the cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" would have been merely the acting of a part, and Christ's experience on this earth would have been the same sort of an example of trust in God as is that of the villain in the play who knows that the revolver is loaded with blank cartridges, and that he will be all right again as soon as the curtain falls. As a man Christ knew, through faith in God's word, that His Father was able to keep Him from falling, just as any man may know it who will believe God. In the fulness of this faith Christ committed Himself to His Father's keeping power, and was not disappointed. The same privilege is offered to every Man.16

A second editorial appeared in December because of continued reaction from the field.   17  The editor began by stating - "A reader of the Review has written to the editor at some length concerning the statement made in a recent editorial to the effect that the flesh which Jesus took was sinful flesh." The or inal

p 44 -- editorial had supported this assertion by using Romans 8:3. The reader wrote:        I notice that this Scripture does not say that God sent His own Son 'in sinful flesh', but 'in the likeness of sinful flesh.' To me this seems a very different statement. How could one in sinful flesh be perfect, be holy, be unblemished (free from stain)?" In replying to this question, the editor indicated there were two ways to answer it. One was to introduce "positive proof in support of our view." The other would be to reason from consequences which "would follow from the position taken by our correspondent." The editor decided to use both options.

As "positive" proof Hebrews 2:14-17 was introduced with these conclusions:           The natural and legitimate conclusion from this declaration would be that the flesh and blood of Jesus were the same as the children had...

The mission of Jesus was not to rescue fallen angels, but to save fallen man. He therefore identified Himself with man, and not with angels, and He became "in all things" like unto those whom He professed to help. The flesh of man is sinful. In order to be "in all things" like unto man, it was necessary that Jesus should take sinful flesh. The next text used was the text used in the original editorial - Romans 8:3. The editor compared the wording with Philippians 2:7 where Christ came in the likeness of men, and then asked - "Do we not rightly conclude that Jesus was really a man when we read that He was made "in the likeness of men"? - Most certainly. The only way in which He could be "in the likeness of men" was to become a man. Is it not equally clear that the only way in which God could send His Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh" would be for that Son to have sinful flesh?

Turning to the consequences of rejecting the fact that Christ accepted the fallen nature of man when He assumed humanity, the editor wrote:        

p 45 -- If the Son of God did not dwell in sinful flesh when He was born into the world, then the ladder has not been let down from heaven to earth, and the gulf between a holy God and fallen humanity has not been bridged. It would then be necessary that some further means should be provided in order to complete the connection between the Son of God and sinful flesh. And this is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has done... First come the priests on earth, which are known to have sinful flesh, then come those who did dwell in sinful flesh, but are now canonized by the church as saints in heaven; next the angels; and lastly the mother of Jesus. Thus the door to heaven is not Jesus, but the church, and such a price is charged for opening the door as it is believed the sinner or his friends can pay. These,are the consequences which naturally follow the doctrine that Jesus did not take sinful flesh, and we avoid these consequences by denying the doctrine, and holding to the plain teaching of the Scriptures.

In answering the second part of the reader's question - "How could one in sinful flesh be perfect, be holy?" - the editor well stated:           This question touches the very heart of our Christianity. The teaching of Jesus is, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And through the apostle Peter comes the instruction, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." No one will deny that we have sinful flesh, and we therefore ask how it will be possible to meet the requirements of the Scripture if it is not possible for one to be perfect or holy in sinful flesh. The very hope of our attaining perfection and holiness is based upon the wonderful truth that the perfection and holiness of divinity were revealed in sinful flesh in the person of Jesus. We are not able to explain how this could be, but our salvation is found in believing the fact... It is the crowning glory of our religion that even flesh of sin may become a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.   TOP

During this period - 1888-1915 - publications from two different publishing houses of the Church taught the same fundamental doctrine in regard to the incarnation of Christ. Uriah Smith, while serving as an associate editor of the Review and Herald, released a book entitled - Looking Unto Jesus. In this book the following comments are found noting the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed as the Son of man:         ... He humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant,

p 46 -- by consenting to take the fashion of puny, mortal, sinful man. In the likeness of sinful flesh, He reached down to the very depths of man's fallen condition, and became obedient unto death, even the ignominious death of the cross.  18

He came in the likeness of sinful flesh to demonstrate before all parties in the controversy that it was possible for men in the flesh to keep the law. He demonstrated this by keeping it Himself. On our plane of existence, and in our nature, He rendered such obedience to every principle and precept, that the eye of Omniscience itself could detect no flaw therein. His whole life was but a transcript of that law, in its spiritual nature, and in its holy, just, and good demands. He thus condemned sin in the flesh, by living Himself in the flesh and doing no sin; showing that it was possible for man thus to live.  19

In 1911, the Pacific Press published a book, - Questions and Answers compiled by the editor, Milton C. Wilcox, from the Question Corner Department of the Signs of the Times. A question was asked concerning the text in Hebrews 2: 14-17. In answering this question, the editor noted the steps in Christ's sacrifice to "break the power of sin, unify God's broken creation, and save man." Commenting on the step, "in the likeness of men", he wrote:          In this step the eternal Logos "became flesh", the same as we; for He was "born of woman, born under the law", under its condemnation, as a human, having the flesh with all the human tendencies; a partaker of the "flesh and blood" of humanity; "in all things" "made like unto His brethren," "suffered being tempted." And He met all the temptations even as you and I must meet them, by faith in the will and Word of God. There is not a tendency in the flesh of humanity but what dwelt in His. And He overcame them all.   20

In 1915, a revised Bible Readings for the Home Circle, was published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association. This work became the standard evangelistic publication of the Church for more than three decades. From this book many Seventh-day Adventists received their first knowledge of present truth. The chapter - "A Sinless Life" - is so completely representative of the teaching of the Church till about 1950 in regard to Christ's humanity, and the

p 47 -- reproduction of that life in every believer that it is reproduced in full in Appendix B for comparison and study. The question and answer from the chapter which concisely summarized the position of the Church on the nature of the humanity which the Son of God assumed, not only for this period, but from 1844 to 1950, reads as follows:  21       
6. How fully did Christ share our common humanity?
"Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Verse 17.
Note. - In His humanity Christ partook of'our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not "made like unto His brethren," was not "in all points tempted like as we are," did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. on His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits, - a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way every one who is "born of the Spirit" may gain like victories over sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is to overcome as Christ overcame. Rev. 3:21. without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7.


1      Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, art. "Sabbath School Publications", p. 1127
2      Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Senior Division, Second Quarter, 1896 p.11
3       Ibid., Fourth Quarter, 1896, pp. 11-12
4       Ibid., Second Quarter, 1902, pp. 20-21
5       Ibid., Second Quarter, 1909, p. 8
6       Ibid., p. 20
7       Ibid., First Quarter, 1913, p. 14
8       Ibid., p. 15
9      Daniel 2:11
10    Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Senior Division, Second Quarter, 1913, p. 25
11    Ibid., p. 26

p 48 --
12    Ibid., Fourth Quarter, p. 6
13    Ibid., First Quarter, 1914, p. 16
14    Editorial, Review and Herald, November 9, 1905
15    Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 49
16    Editorial, "Christ and His Brethren", Review and Herald, December 7, 1905
17    Editorial, "'In.... Sinful Flesh'", Review and Herald, December 21, 1905
18    Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p. 23
19    Ibid., p. 30
20    Milton C. Wilcox, Questions and Answers, pp. 19-20
21    Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915 edition, p. 115  
TOP

p 49 -- VI -- THE HOLY FLESH MOVEMENT -- In evaluating the Holy Flesh Movement which involved the Indiana Conference during the years from 1898 to 1901, too often the emotional extravaganza which accompanied the movement is considered to be the movement itself. This is not true, and until the exterior facade is penetrated a proper evaluation of the lessons which this deviate movement in the history of the Church should teach us cannot be made. This movement was based in and involved basic doctrinal concepts. In retrospect, the servant of the Lord in 1907 wrote these words:         During the General Conference of 1901, instruction was given me in regard to the experience of some of our brethren in Indiana, and regarding the doctrines they had been teaching in the churches. I was shown that through this experience and the doctrines taught, the enemy has been working to lead souls astray. 1

The two major doctrines which formed the basis of this movement were the teachings in regard to the incarnation of Christ, and the perfection of the believer. The simple fact is, and might as well be admitted in any study, these two concepts cannot be separated. One's understanding of the nature which Christ accepted in becoming the Son of man conditions his belief relative to perfection. Because the special testimony given by Sister White to the brethren assembled in Session in 1901 in regard to the Movement in Indiana  2    dealt with only one of these doctrines - perfection in the flesh - the tendency is to equate the Holy Flesh Movement of Indiana with only this one teaching. However, primary source material available by which to evaluate this movement contains as much discussion in regard to the subject of the incarnation as to the doctrine of perfection in the flesh. What did the leading brethren in Indiana teach as to the nature of Christ's humanity?

p 50 -- The peak of the Holy Flesh Movement was reached during the camp meetings of 1900. The meeting at Muncie, Indiana was attended by Elder S. N. Haskell and his wife, Hetty. Their experience at Muncie caused them to write to Sister White upon their return to Battle Creek. In his letter dated, September 25, 1900, Elder Haskell wrote:         When we stated that we believed that Christ was born in fallen humanity, they would represent us as believing that Christ sinned, notwithstanding the fact that we would state our position so clearly that it would seem as though no one could misunderstand us.

Their point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They believe that Christ took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this was the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will have "translation faith", and never die.  3

This doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the advocates of the "Holy Flesh" revival in Indiana is a forked road. They took one fork. If Christ did take the nature of Adam before the Fall, then men in accepting Him, and becoming conformed to His image would receive the same nature He had. It was to be left to another generation of Adventist theologians to travel the other fork, that because Christ did take upon Himself a sinless humanity, it is impossible for the believer to overcome as Christ overcame. One doesn't have to have the externals - the emotional extravaganza  4  - of the Holy Flesh Movement to teach and believe the doctrines which the leaders of that movement taught.

While the whole Conference Committee, and most of the ministry followed the leaders of the movement - S. S. Davis, the conference revivalist, and R. S. Donnell, the conference president - one minister voiced his opposition, and gave form to his protest. He printed a tract on the "Mission Press, La Fayette",

p 51 -- Indiana. The conclusion of this sixteen page tract reads:           Now, since we have been studying the humanity of Christ, let none think that we would detract from or forget His Divinity. Although Jesus "the sinbearer endured the wrath of divine justice, and for our sakes became SIN ITSELF," [Desire of Ages. p. 907] yet, through His implicit faith in His Father, He was fortified so that His divine nature overwhelmingly triumphed over His sinful nature and hereditary tendencies. Thus from the cradle to Calvary, His days of trial and probation, He lived a pure, holy, and sinless life. Thus He met the demands of a broken law, and became "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

Now just as God in Christ, 4,000 years this side of Creation, lived a perfect, spotless life in sinful flesh, so through faith in Him, He will cleanse us from all our unrighteousness, impart to us His own righteousness, take up His abode in our hearts, and live the same kind of a life in our sinful flesh six thousand years this side of Creation. Then we can truly say, "as He is [in character] so are we in this world." I John 4:17.

Yours in "the blessed hope,"
S. G. HUNTINGTON  5

"The question between the men in Indiana was not the matter of whether the gospel could preserve men from sin, or whether the power of the Holy Spirit was ample to keep human beings from sinning. The question was the humanity of Christ and its application to the life of the Christian."

The demise of the Holy Flesh Movement came at the General Conference Session in 1901. The re-organization controversy at the Conference tends to over-shadow the doctrinal conflict projected by the advocates of the "Holy Flesh" doctrines. Fifteen days after the Session opened, Elder E. J. Waggoner was asked to give the evening message at 7 p. m. He chose as his text, Hebrews 10:4-10. Then he introduced a question that had been given to him, which read as follows:           "Was that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that ours does?"   6

In Waggoner's answer there was left little doubt as to what he was talking

p 52 -- about. He mentioned the concept of sinless flesh, and declared it to be "the deification of the devil."   7    He stated very specifically as to when the change would come in the flesh, and what the results would be. His words were:          The flesh will be opposed to the Spirit of God so long as we have it, but when the time comes that mortality is swallowed up of life, then the conflict will cease. Then we shall no longer have to fight against the flesh, but that sinless life which we lay hold of by faith and which was manifest in our sinful bodies, will then by simple faith be continued throughout all eternity in a sinless body.   8   TOP

What then is the purpose of this earthly struggle? Waggoner continued:         When God has given this witness to the world of His power to save to the uttermost, to save sinful beings, and to live a perfect life in sinful flesh, then He will remove the disabilities and give us better circumstances in which to live. But first of all this wonder must be worked out in sinful man, not simply in the person of Jesus Christ, but in Jesus Christ reproduced and multiplied in the thousands of His followers. So that not simply in the few sporadic cases, but in the whole body of the church, the perfect life of Christ will be manifested to the world, and that will be the last crowning work which will either save or condom men; and greater testimony than that there is not, and cannot be, because there is none greater than God. When God is manifest among men, not simply as God apart from man, but as God in man, suffering all that man suffered, subject to everything that man is subject to, what greater power can be manifested in the universe than that?   9

During the sermon, Dr Waggoner challenged those listening to settle it, each for himself, whether or not he was truly "out of the church of Rome." He then commented:          There are a great many that have got the marks yet, but I am persuaded of this, that every soul who is here to-night desires to know the way of truth and righteousness, [Congregation:Amen!] and that there is no one here who is unconsciously clinging to the dogmas of the papacy, who does not desire to be freed from them.

Do you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus was not like ours (because we know ours is sinful) necessarily involves

p 53 -- the idea of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary? Mind you, in Him was no sin, but the mystery of God manifest in the flesh, the marvel of the ages, the wonder of the angels, that thing which even now they desire to understand, and which they can form no just idea of, only as they are taught it by the church, is the perfect manifestation of the life of God in its spotless purity in the midst of sinful flesh. [Congregation: Amen!] O, that is a marvel, is it not?   10

The next day, April 17, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg spoke at the morning meeting on the subject of the medical missionary work. There were at least three hundred brethren present.   11  At the close of the meeting, Sister White arose and presented her testimony concerning the Movement in Indiana.  2   The next day, the two leaders of the movement, Donnell and Davis, made confession to the delegates. On the 19th three other members of the Indiana Conference committee added their testimonies. The Holy Flesh Movement as such was over; but the doctrinal teachings of this movement regarding the nature of Christ's humanity - that He took the nature of Adam before the Fall - was to appear again in the church.

Even though the two leaders - Donnell and Davis - confessed their error and professed to accept the Testimony given, neither abandoned his belief in the incarnation as he had taught it during the Holy Flesh revival.

Relieved of their ministerial responsibilities following the General Conference Session, S. S. Davis retired to his home in Elnora, Indiana, and R. S. Donnell went there to live for a few years. In 1905, Elder Donnell was called to serve the church in Raleigh, Tennessee, near Memphis. He continued his contact with S. S. Davis by correspondence. On one occasion, he sent to him a ten page manuscript which he had written on the nature of Christ and man. In this manuscript, Donnell stated:

p 54 -- For one I must say, upon the authority of the Bible, that Christ never sinned, and if He never sinned, that man don't live, and never has lived that can prove that He was in sinful flesh. The only way by which one can prove it, is to point out the sins, or even one sin that He committed. He took a body which showed by its deteriorated condition, that the effects of sin was shown by it, but His life proved that there was no sin in it. It was a body which the Father had prepared for Him. Heb. 10:5. Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature, but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature. It was a body redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His divinity; thus by His life, on earth, He showed what humanity will do when filled with the divine mind. Then every member of the human race, who will renounce Satan, and his works, and will permit Christ to clothe Himself with his humanity, in that act, becomes a member of the family of heaven. That is just what it will be, if we will let the divine mind come into us. It will be divinity clothed with humanity, and that is just what Christ was. And thus clothed He did no sin. Is that putting it too strong? Well that is just the way that God wants it to be put.   12  TOP

In 1903, Elder I. J. Hankins, who succeeded Donnell to the presidency of the Indiana Conference, wrote to S. S. Davis in Elnora, Indiana, asking him certain questions about his beliefs. Of the eight questions asked, four of them involved the doctrine of the incarnation. To these questions, Davis replied:

QUESTION NUMBER FOUR -- Please state in a few words your views on the nature of Christ? Answer. - Luke 1:35 "that holy thing".

QUESTION NUMBER FIVE -- Did Christ's flesh have in it any weakness or natural tendency to sin as the result of the fall? Answer. - Testimony No. 2 the last three words on page 201, and continued on page 202 says, "was a brother in infirmities, but not in possessing like passions." That is all on that point I care to say.

QUESTION NUMBER SIX -- Was Mary the mother of Jesus like all other women, sinful?

p 55 -- Answer. - I could not say how full of sin she was but I suppose that she had her share, perhaps not as bad as some, and maybe more than some as there are degrees in heredity and depravity, and there is no evidence that she had an immaculate conception.

QUESTION NUMBER SEVEN -- Is every child born into the world naturally inclined to evil, even before it is old enough to discern between good and evil? Answer. - Yes, unless preserved from the law of heredity in conception by the power of the Holy Ghost. See Ps. 51:5 Shapen in sin, also Eph. 2:3 "by nature children of wrath."   13

Of all the men involved in the "Holy Flesh" Movement, only S; S. Davis never returned to the ministry of the church. In 1920, the Davis family moved to Nebraska, where on September 26, 1926, S. S. Davis was re-ordained as a minister in the General Baptist church.

1     Ellen G. White, Ms. 39, 1907
2       Ellen G. White, "The Late Movement in Indiana", General Conference Bulletin, 1901, pp. 419-422
3       S. N. Haskell, Letter to Ellen G. White dated at Battle Creek, Michigan, September 25, 1900.
4       See Selected Messages, bk. ii, pp. 35-37
5       S. G. Huntington, "'The Son of Man"', p. 16
6       E. J. Waggoner, "Sermon", General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 403
7       1bid., p. 405
8       1bid., pp. 405-406
9       1bid., p. 406
10    1bid., p. 404
11     General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 306
12     R. S. Donnell, "The Nature of Christ and Man". An unpublished manuscript in the files of the writer.
13     S. S. Davis, Letter to I. J. Hankins dated at Elnora, Indiana, March 15, 1903.

p 56 -- FROM 1915 - 1952 -- Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, died in 1915. In the intervening years from that date till 1952, the belief of the Church concerning the doctrine of the incarnation can be best described in the language of the book of Joshua - "And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that He had done for Israel."   l

The Sabbath School lessons for the Senior Division continued the same clear testimony in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity that had been evidenced during the preceding decades. A lesson in 1921 on the purpose of the incarnation quoted with approval a comment from a source documented only as "The I Ams of Christ." The writer had stated:          Christ assumed, not the original unfallen, but our fallen humanity. In this second experiment, He stood not precisely where Adam before Him had, but, as has already been said, with immense odds against Him - evil, with all the prestige of victory and its consequent enthronement in the very constitution of our nature, armed with more terrific power against the possible realization of this divine idea of man - perfect holiness. All this considered, the disadvantages of the situation, the tremendous risks involved, and the fierceness of the opposition encountered, we come to some adequate sense both of the reality and greatness of that vast moral achievement; human nature tempted, tried, miscarried in Adam, lifted up in Christ to the sphere of actualized sinlessness.  2

In another lesson the same year on the Priesthood of Christ, a note commenting on the first two chapters of the book of Hebrews stated:         He who is introduced in the first chapter as Son, God, and Lord, whose deity and eternity are emphasized, meets us in the second chapter as the Son of man, with all the limitations of our common humanity. He is known now by His earthly, personal name, and as one who can taste of death (Heb. 2:9), and can be made "perfect through sufferings" (verse 10). He partook of the same flesh and blood which we have (verse 14), becoming just as truly man (verse 17) as He is truly God.  3

p 57 -- A further lesson in 1921 emphasized the same concept. A note taught "when the Son of God was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4) and partook of our sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), the eternal life was manifest in a human body (I John 1:2)."  4

In 1923, a Sabbath School lesson on "The Godly Life" was studied by the Senior Division. The first note of the lesson declared:        Christ took upon Himself the infirmities and sins of the flesh..;. but to every sin He died, every lust He crucified, every selfish deire He denied Himself - all for our sakes.  5

The first Quarter's lessons in 1928 were on the book of Ephesians. A note in comment upon Ephesians 2:15 read:           Carnal, natural man cannot abolish his enmity against God. It is a part of his nature. It is intertwined in every fiber of his being. But Jesus took upon Himself our nature of flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14), "in all things... to be made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17), "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom 1: 3); He met and "abolished in His flesh the enmity," "the carnal mind" (Rom. 8:7), "the mind of the flesh" (Rom. 8:7 ARV). He conquered sin in the flesh for us forever.   6

The positive emphasis which marked the Sabbath School lessons from 1889 in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity was muted in a lesson for the Senior Division in 1941. An introductory note stated:        Through sin man finds himself without hope and without God in the world. "The wages of sin is death" - death confronts every son and daughter of Eve. into this hopeless picture the Son of God presents Himself. Because of His infinite love, He took upon Himself the form of a man and the frailties of a long ancestral line. Having accepted human nature, He endured the sentence of sin in His body on the cross. He suffered the death that is ours because of sin, that we might live the life that He merited because of righteousness. This is the only avenue by which man might escape the penalty of sin and enter into life - the more abundant life here, and everlasting life in the eternal kingdom.  7   TOP

Three books, one printed by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, and the other two by the Southern Publishing Association, presented from two different approaches the same basic truth on the incarnation of Christ which

p 58 -- marked the Sabbath School lessons during the first part of the period under review.

In 1924, Elder Meade MacGuire's book - The Life of Victory - was published. In the chapter on "The Awful Nature of Sin", after describing various manifestations of the sin problem, he stated "still another aspect of sin is set forth strikingly in Romans", where Paul indicated that in the body there is a law "warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." What is the answer to,this aspect of the sin problem? Elder MacGuire answered:         There is only one means of deliverance from this inherent law of sin. That is Christ. He took humanity upon Him. He conquered sin while in a body which had come under the hereditary law of sin. He now proposes to live that same sinless life in my members. His presence completely counteracts the power of the law of sin. 8

In another chapter - "Delievered by Death" - this comment is found:        When Jesus bore the cross, He acknowledged the death sentence upon the sin nature. He took our nature, the Adam nature, the Saul life, and agreeing with the Father that this nature was fit only to die, He went voluntarily to the cross, and bore that fallen nature to its inevitable and necessary death...

By this great sacrifice Christ made provision for the death of the Adam nature in you and me, if we are willing to bring this degenerate nature of ours to His cross and nail it there.  9

Approaching the subject of the humanity of Christ from another angle, Elder Christian Edwardson in 1942 discussed the text in 2 John 7 which states that the antichrist would deny that "Christ is come in the flesh." He observed there were objections in applying this identification of the antichrist to the Papacy because it is argued that the Catholic church does not deny the incarnation of Christ. To this argument, Edwardson replied:         This argument, however, is based on a misunderstanding, caused by

p 59 -- overlooking one word in the text. Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come in flesh, but was to deny that He had "come in the flesh," in "the same" kind of flesh, as the human race He came to save... on this vital difference hinges the real "truth of the gospel." Did Christ come all the way down to make contact with the fallen race, or only part way, so that we must have saints, popes, and priests intercede for us with Christ who is removed too far from fallen humanity and its needs to make direct contact with the individual sinner? Right here lies the great divide that parts Protestantism from Roman Catholicism...

Through sin man has separated himself from God, and his fallen nature is opposed to the divine will... only through Christ, our Mediator, can man be rescued from sin, and again brought into connection with the source of purity and power.

But in order to become such a connecting link Christ had to partake both of the divinity of God and of the humanity of man, so that He with His divine arm could encircle God, and with His human arm embrace man, thus connecting both in His own person. In this union of the human with the divine lies the "mystery" of the gospel, the secret of power to lift man from his degradation. "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." I Timothy 3:16. The "mystery", or secret of power to live a godly life in human flesh, was manifest in the life of Jesus Christ while on earth.

But mark! It was fallen man that was to be rescued from sin. And to make contact with him Christ had to condescend to take our nature upon Himself (not some higher kind of flesh). "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same... wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17. This text is so worded that it cannot be misunderstood. Christ "took part of the same" flesh and blood as ours; He came in "the" flesh. To deny this is the mark of AntiChrist.  10

Another book which presented Catholic doctrine in contrast to the plain teachings of Scripture published by the Southern Publishing Association was written by Mary E. Walsh, whose forebearers "for many generations... were confirmed believers in the doctrines of the papacy." She herself was "a faithful communicant of that religious body for 20 years."  11    In the chapter - "The Immaculate Conception" - Miss Walsh wrote - "All that Mary gave to Christ was His human body. It is a law of nature that one cannot give what one does not possess, and Mary, being human in every aspect of the word, could not impart to

p 60 -- her Son the nature of divinity."  12   Prior to this statement she noted that Mary was a sinner in common with all mankind. Then showing both the divine and human characteristics of Jesus in His earthly ministry, and quoting such texts as Romans 8:3, and Hebrews 2:14, 17-18, the author wrote:         In the genealogy of Christ as given in Matthew we find Jesus called the Son of David and also the Son of Abraham. One has to study only the characters of Abraham and David to learn that they were very human and had a tendency to sin. Thus we see what kind of human nature Christ inherited from His progenitors.   13

During this period a feature article appeared in the Signs of the Times,   14   which contained two sentences which enemies of the Church lifted out of context, and used to attack the teaching of the Church in regard to the human nature of our Lord. In his book on Adventism, Walter Martin cited this article as one of the chief sources of the critics. He wrote:         Since almost all critics of seventh-day Adventism contend that Seventh-day Adventists believe Christ possessed a sinful human nature during the incarnation, a word should be said to clarify this point. These charges are often based on an article in the Signs of the Times, March 1927, and a statement in Bible Readings for the Home Circle, .  15 *   Martin then proceeded to quote from an evangelical source the statement found in the Signs of the Times.   TOP

The ignorance and lack of scholarship evidenced by the evangelical writer would indicate that it could be ignored with impunity were it not for the part it played in the dialogue between representatives of the Church and Barnhouse and Martin. Resulting from these conferences, L. A. Wilcox, the author of the article in the Signs, thirty years after it was written, wrote an apology

* -- This statement is taken from a section of Martin's book entitled, "Author's Note." It concluded a review of positions presented in the book, Questions on Doctrine, termed "The Heart of Adventist Theology." The teachings of the book (Q on D) in regard to the incarnation will be discussed in the next chapter.

p 61 -- retracting his statements. From this letter, Martin also quoted.

In analyzing Wilcox's article, there are two questions that need to be answered. How was he quoted? What had he written in context?

The evangelical writer is quoted by Martin as follows:          "In March 1927 he [Wilcox] wrote, 'In His (Christ's) veins was the incubus of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and destroy. Temptation attacked Him where by heredity He was weakest, attacked Him in unexpected times and ways. In spite of bad blood and an inherited meanness, He conquered.' "   15   What did Wilcox write in context? The paragraphs involved are presented in full with the evangelical's quotes from the Signs' article underscored:            And I am glad for that [Christ's genealogy]. For it helps me to understand how He can be "touched with the feeling" of all my infirmities. He cam where I was. He stood in my place. In His veins was the incubus [weight] of a tainted heredity like a caged lion ever seeking to break forth and destroy. For four thousand years the race had been deteriorating in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of humanity at its worst. only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.

"if we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured." - "Desire of Ages"

It is good to know that. He, the Son of God, became the Son of man, that I, a son of man, might become a son of God. He became as I am that I might become as He is. He partook of my human nature that I might partake of His divine nature. In every temptation that assails, it is strength to know that just such a temptation in all its overwhelming force attacked Him, - attacked Him where, by heredity, He was weakest, - attacked Him in unexpected times and ways; and that, with equal tendencies toward evil, in spite of bad blood and inherited meanness, by the same power to which I have access, He conquered. He won for me. He offers me His victory for my own - a free gift. And so in all these things I am more than conqueror through Him that loved me.  14

The article written by Wilcox was the answer to a single question - "Is

p 62 -- there hope of overcoming our inherited tendencies toward evil?" In answering this question, Wilcox used the genealogy of Christ. He asked the reader to "look for a moment at this pedigree" - Jacob, Judah, Rahab, Ruth, David, and others. Then he wrote - "Yes Jesus came from a line of sinners." The paragraphs quoted above follow. Basically what difference is there between the thoughts expressed by Wilcox, and the thought in the Sabbath School lesson note which stated - "He [Christ] was the same flesh as the seed of David, in and through which for generations had flowed the blood of sinful humanity, - Solomon, and Rehoboam, and Ahaz, and Manasseh, and Amon, and Jeconiah, and others."   16   Or what does the statement in The Desire of Ages mean when it reads - "Like every child of Adam, He [Christ] accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life." Or what does it mean when the servant of the Lord stated that "Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity;" and "Our Saviour took humanity, with all of its liabilities." 17 The question is simply - Did the humanity which Jesus took ever seek expression, or was it anesthetized in the Person of Jesus Christ?

Some might quibble over Wilcox's temnology and figures of speech. The word - "incubus" - is from the Latin, incubo, lie upon.   18   Did Christ accept the weight of our heredity? If not, why then did He in "the days of His flesh" find it necessary to offer "up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears" to His Father to keep Him from sinning?  19

And the word - "meanness" which Wilcox used in connection with heredity is defined as "low in grade, quality, or condition."  18  Isaiah pictured Christ as "a root out of a dry ground:

p 63 -- He hath no form or comliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."  20    Was Isaiah's prophecy fulfilled or not?

The figure of speech used by Wilcox was also very interesting. The inherited tendencies were pictured as a caged lion seeking to break forth and destroy. This is closely parallel to the statement of the Lord to Cain - "If thou doest not well, sin as a wild beast is crouching at the door to overcome you."  21   Cain did not overcome "the beast"; Christ did!

At mid Century a warning came to the Church from two missionaries home on furlough from Africa. Disturbed by what they had seen and heard within the Church, Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short approached the General Conference leadership with their concern. Unable to comprehend what these brethren were trying to say, the officers of the Church asked that they write out their concern. This they did in the form of a manuscript - 1888 Re-Examined. While this manuscript is primarily a re-evaluation of the events which took place at the 1888 General Conference Session, and the reaction which followed, it also contains a warning that if the message of Righteousness by Faith as given by the Lord through Waggoner and Jones is not understood as it ought to be, the door is opened for the Church to accept a false Christ, through the acceptance of false doctrines in regard to Christ. The missionaries stated their position very clearly in these words:         Inasmuch as this phase [a confusion of a false Christ with the true] of the great controversy between Christ and Satan is the final death grapple between the enemy and the Body of Christ on earth, it is obvious that Satan will not content himself with mutilating the extremities of that body. He will concern himself with its very heart, its vitals. He will endeavor to secure our allegiance and service through a misconception of the third angel's message in verity. Since that verity is the message of Christ's righteousness, it follows that Satan's final effort to deceive and allure us would be an attempt to infatuate

p 64 -- us with Babylon's understanding of the "doctrine" or "tenet" of "justification and righteousness by faith". If he can first lead Babylon into the worship of a false Christ; and then can lead us to mistake their doctrine of "faith in Christ" for the third angel's message in verity, he will have us, to all intents and purposes, confused with a false Christ, in spite of our verbal protestations.  22  

The objective of Satan is to conquer Israel - spiritual Israel, the Church. On this point the two brethren wrote:        So clever will be the misrepresentations which will precede the impersonations, that the elect art warned repeatedly. In fact, the deceptions Satan will foist upon the world have as their ultimate purpose the deception of Israel herself. Why should he labor to deceive his own children? They are already in his grasp. He is after other game than that which he has already "bagged", and that game is the Seventh-day Adventist church. Dare we suppose complacently that Satan has given up his struggle to overcome the remnant church?   Does he not realize that here and now with Israel is the final battle.   23   If the knowledge of the true Christ is lost, it is only one step until the Church will embrace a false Christ. And this would come through false doctrines. The servant of the Lord noted that "in His work on this earth, Christ saw how, by a disregard of the injunctions of God in regard to righteousness and true doctrines, evil would be made almost indistinguishable from good."  24   TOP

One of the areas in which the false Christ would manifest his teachings according to these men from the mission field would be in the area of the incarnation as it related to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  25  This prophecy of warning was soon to be fulfilled, as the Church entered the last half of the Twentieth Century. Already the first indication of things to come had"transpired.

According to Froom, "in 1949, Prof. D. E. Rebok, then president of our Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, when it was still in Washington D.C., was requested by the Review and Herald to revise Bible Readings for the Home

p 65 -- Circle."26 Coming to the study on "A Sinless Life", Rebok judged certain notes to be erroneous, and proceeded to make corrections. The note under the question - "How fully did Christ share our common humanity?" - was altered to read:          Jesus Christ is both Son of God and Son of man. As a member of the human family "it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren" - "in the likeness of sinful flesh." Just how far that "likeness" goes is a mystery of the incarnation which men have never been able to solve. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ was tempted just as other men are tempted - "in all points... like as we are." Such temptation must necessarily include the possibility of sinning; but Christ was without sin. There is no Bible support for the teaching that the mother of Christ, by an immaculate conception, was cut off from the sinful inheritance of the race, and therefore her divine Son was incapable of sinning. Concerning this false doctrine Dean F. W. Farrar has well said: [Farrar then quoted]  27

A comparison with the original note as found in the 1915 edition is most interesting as to what was omitted.   28   But in re-writing this note, Rebok put himself in a very difficult position. He stated that Mary was not "cut off from the sinful inheritance of the race." However, he leaves unexplained how then Christ was cut off from such an inheritance if the note as found in the 1915 edition which reads - "On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits - a sinful nature" - was wrong.

The most interesting omission and alteration which Rebok made is to be found in the note under the question - "Where did God, in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over temptation and sin?" The two notes are placed side by side for comparison:        

1915 Edition Rebok's Revision
God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment seat, but by coming and living in the flesh,    [omission]    and

p 66 --

yet without sinning. in Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh. yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in the   [alteration]   flesh.

Rebok in making these changes was logical. If Christ did not condemn sin in "sinful flesh", then God cannot make the demonstration in us of "a sinles life in sinful flesh." The brethren of Indiana at the turn of the Century believed that it was necessary to have "holy" flesh before the demonstration could be made. There is just one step from a Christ in sinless human nature conquering sin, to the concept of holy flesh. Otherwise, the only other alternative is the denial of the possibility that the life of Christ can be reproduced in humanity this side of the Second Advent. This is the alternative accepted by some Adventist theologians, and certain "nondenominational" advocates of a professed "return to the objective Pauline and Reformation message of justification by faith."  29

l      Joshua 24:31
2     "The I Ams of Christ", pp. 248, 249 Quoted Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Senior Division, First Quarter, 1921, p. 16
3      Ibid., Second Quarter, pp. 13-14
4      Ibid., Third Quarter, p. 10
5      Ibid., Second Quarter, 1923, p. 22
6      Ibid., First Quarter, 1928, p. 15
7      Ibid., Fourth Quarter, 1941, p. 6
8      Meade MacGuire, The Life of Victory, pp. 17-18
9      Ibid., p. 43
10    Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, pp. 204-205 Emphasis his.
11    Mary E. Walsh, The Wine of Roman Babylon, p. 3
12    Ibid., p. 132
13    Ibid., p. 134
14   Llewellyn A. Wilcox, "'The Begats"', Signs of the Times, March 22, 1927, p
. 5
15   Walter R. Martin, The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism, p. 86

p 67 --
16    See page 41, Footnote #12
17    Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 48, 117
18    Funk & Wagnalls, New College Standard Dictionary, 1950 edition
19    Hebrews 5:7
20    1saiah 53:2
21    See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 240 and Genesis
4:7, Farrar Fenton translation.
22    R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short, 1888 Re-Examined as printed in A Warning
and Its Reception
, p. 165
23    Ibid. p. 167
24    Ellen G. White, Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 7
25    See A Warning and Its Reception, p. 186
26    LeRoy E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 428
27    Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1958 edition, p. 143-144
28    See page 47, Footnote #21
29    See Edward Heppenstall, "Is Perfection Possible?", Signs of the Times, December, 1963, and Robert D. Brinsmead, A Review of the Awakening Message, Part I, p. 5. 
TOP

p 68 -- VIII -- DECADES OF CONFLICT AND APOSTASY 1952-1972 -- To even suggest that it would be possible for me to write with a detached objectivity the history of the doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the Church during this period of time - 1952-1972 - would be to create a credibility gap in the mind of the reader. This period of time covers the latter two thirds of my ministry to and for the Church. I have been personally involved in the conflict over the nature of the humanity assumed by the Son of God when He became the Son of man. Both in preaching, and through writing, I have defended what I believed to be the historic position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in this area of doctrinal teaching. The book itself is evidence of the study in depth that I have made to determine this historic position.

Most of those who have been principals in the conflict and apostasy which have marked these two decades are still living. The most notable exception is the late Elder M. L. Andreasen, prince of Adventist theologians. Naturally then we shall be discussing the actions and writings of living people. Names of these writers and leaders who are known to most every member of the Church will become a part of this research record. There are those, who, when living personalities are involved, hope and even pray that the research writer will use extreme caution and reserve in interpreting their writings and actions. The gravity of the conflict forbids such an approach. This is no minor issue. It is a matter of life and death. The destiny of the Church is at stake.  

The words spoken in the night season to the servant of the Lord regarding those who accepted the sentiments found in The Living Temple by Kellogg, apply

p 69 -- with equal force to those who would accept the sentiments regarding the nature of Christ's humanity as found in certain approved publications issued by the Church during this period. How one should relate himself in evaluating this situation was also spelled out by the Voice in the same night season. Here are the words of counsel:          The sentiments in "Living Temple" regarding the personality of God have been received even by men who have had long experience in the truth. When such men consent to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we are no longer to regard the subject as a matter to be treated with greatest delicacy. That those whom we thought sound in the faith should have failed to discern the specious, deadly influence of this science of evil, should alarm us as nothing else has alarmed us.  1    The research of this chapter will be presented in harmony with the counsel of the Voice in the night. It will not be written with "delicacy", but as an alarm sounding in the "holy mountain" of the Lord.

It was in 1957 that I first awakened to what was taking place in the theological circles of the Church. Disturbed by what I was reading in The Ministry, I wrote a letter to one of the officers of the General Conference. It said in part:        

In the recent Ministry there are three articles that I have spent much time on, one I have re-read parts of it at least three times. These articles are entitled:- "Adventism's New Milestone", "God With Us," and "The Incarnation and the Son of Man." I also observed that there were at least three verses of Scripture missing in dealing with the subject of the nature of Christ. These three verses I checked, as far as I am able with my library, in the original Greek. Here is what I found on these verses on the words indicated:           Romans 8:3 - "In the likeness of sinful flesh"

likeness - omoioma - "Frequently (a resemblance) such as amounts well-nigh to 'equality or identity."' Example cited was Romans 8:3. Thayer's Lexicon, p. 445

flesh - sarx - "when used either expressly or tacitly opposite to the spirit, has an ethical sense and denotes mere human nature,

p 70 -- the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin, and opposed to God; accordingly it includes whatever in the soul is weak, low, debased, tending to ungodliness and vice." Then the position of Luther and Melanchthon is quoted. p. 571, Thayer's Lexicon.

Hebrews 2:17 - "In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren."

Hebrews 2:18 - "In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted."

In reference to this last verse "suffered being tempted", just yesterday we were reading for our girls from the book, Messages to Young People, and found this sentence on page 67 - "He (Jesus) knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation..."

Now I am well aware of the fact that Jesus did not sin, that at no time, and in no wise did He yield to sin. But what did He receive from His mother Mary, for He was the seed of David according to human descent? In the Ministry (April) p. 34 stress is laid on the fact that Jesus was the "'seed of the woman', not of man." Now if, and this is what is disturbing, Jesus did not inherit through Mary on His human side all that we inherit by human nature, then what kind of nature did Mary have, and how far is this from the Immaculate Conception doctrine of Catholicism?  2    TOP

To this letter, I received a reply stating:          I merely want to acknowledge the receipt of your letter now and let you know that we are giving study to it, and it may be that either one of the other brethren or I will be writing you again regarding the questions you raise. Perhaps you know that we have a group of men here in the General Conference office who are giving much of their time to the study of just such questions as you raise. We do appreciate the fact that our ministers in the field feel free to write us about these things.   3   No further word was ever received. But in a few months the book - Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine - was published.

Prior to this exchange of correspondence which marked my own awakening much had already transpired that set the stage for the years of turmoil and conflict which has stamped the history of the Church in these last two decades.  

In 1952, F. D. Nichol, editor of the Review and Herald, brought out a revised

p 71 -- edition of his book - Answers to Objections. Objection #94 stated - "Seventh-day Adventists teach that, like all mankind, Christ was born with a 'sinful nature."' In answering this objection, Nichol quoted in context the objector's use of The Desire of Ages, p. 24, which states - "As one of us, He [Jesus] was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences." Then Nichol quoted from page 49 of the same book in regard to the possibility of Jesus failing. He, however, failed to quote the paragraph just prior where it is stated that Christ accepted the working of the great law of heredity. After continued discussion on the risk accepted by Christ, the editor concluded:         Adventists believe that Christ, the "last Adam", possessed, on His human side, a nature like that of the "first man Adam," a nature free from any defiling taint of sin, but capable of responding to sin, and that that nature was handicapped by the debiliating effects of four thousand years of sin's inroads on man's body and nervous system and enviornment. 4

At the close of the section, the Review editor placed a note of counsel which read:           A word of counsel to some of our Adventist writers and speakers may be in order here. The incarnation is a very great mystery. We shall never fully understand how a Being could at once be both "Son of God" and "son of man," thus possessing both a human and a divine nature. Likewise, the presence of sin in the universe is a very great mystery. We shall probably never understand fully the nature of sin, and hence probably never understand fully the meaning of the term, "sinful flesh," which we and others use without attempting to define it. When we speak of the taint of sin, the germs of sin, we should remember that we are using metaphorical language. Critics, especially those who see the Scriptures through Calvinistic eyes, read into the term, "sinful flesh" something that Adventist theology does not require. Thus if we use the term, "sinful flesh" in regard to Christ's human nature, as some of our writers have done, we lay ourselves open to misunderstanding. True, we mean by that term simply that Christ "took on him the seed of Abraham," and was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh," but critics are not willing to believe this.  5

p 72 -- This book by Nichol carried a foreword by Elder W. H. Branson, then the president of the General Conference. This was the first of several books released during this period where the weight of the highest office of the Church was placed behind the publication. It can be pointed out that nowhere is it indicated that Elder Branson was the president of the General Conference; however, in writing the foreword, he used the official, "we", and stated - "With hearty approval, therefore, we commend this book to every gospel worker." By context, the force of the "we" indicated that Branson was speaking for the Church.

One year later - 1953 - Branson's book - Drama of the Ages - was published. What he wrote on the incarnation fails to tally with Nichol's statement, nor does Branson heed Nichol's note of counsel. Branson wrote:         It was of man's flesh and blood that Jesus partook. He became a member of the human race. He became just like men...

[Hebrews 2:14-18 ARV quoted]

This, then, was real humanity. It was not the nature of angels that He assumed, but that of Abraham. He was "in all things made like unto His brethren." He became one of them. He was subject to temptation; He knew the pangs of suffering, and was not a stranger to man's common woes...

[Hebrews 4:15 ARV quoted]

In order for Christ to understand the weakness of human nature, He had to experience it. In order for Him to be sympathetic with men in their trials, He also had to be tried. He must suffer hunger,. weariness, disappointment, sorrow, and persecution. He must tread the same paths, live under the same circumstances, and die the same death. Therefore, He became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. His incarnation was in actual humanity.  7  A few pages later in discussing the doctrine of the immaculate conception, he reasoned:            The Catholic doctrine of the "immaculate conception" is that Mary,

p 73 -- the mother of our Lord, was preserved from original sin. If this be true, then Jesus did not partake of man's sinful nature. This belief cuts off the lower rungs of the ladder, and leaves man without a Saviour who can be touched with the feeling of men's infirmities, and who can sympathize with them in their temptations and sufferings. By this teaching Jesus is made out to be altogether and wholly divine. Thus the ladder does not reach to earth where men are.  8

From this incident in our Church history, questions arise in the minds of researcher and reader alike. Why did the president of the General Conference place the endorsement of the Church upon a book that taught differently than he himself believed? Or did he not read the manuscript carefully enough to note this difference, and trusted to the man's position in the Church as editor of its official journal to state the teaching of the Church correctly and in its historical context?

A chain of events began in 1955 which involved the doctrine of the incarnation, the outcome of which has not yet been clarified. In the January, 1955 issue of Our Hope, the editor, Dr. E. Schuyler English, who was also chairman of the Revision Committee for the Scofield Reference Bible, stated in an editorial note that the Seventh-day Adventist Church "disparages the Person and work of Christ." He referred to our teaching that Christ in His humanity "partook of our sinful, fallen nature." English's position was Christ's "conception in His incarnation was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that He did not partake of the fallen sinful nature of other men."

Dr. Leroy E. Froom entered into correspondence with the editor of Our Hope, and "assured him" that his position on the incarnation was "precisely what we likewise believe," and "that the old Colcord minority-view note in Bible Readings - contending for an inherent sinful, fallen nature for Christ - had years before

p 74 -- been expunged because of its error."Closely following the experience with Dr. English came the fateful conferences between some of our brethren in Washington and Barnhouse and Martin. The incident that precipitated these conferences is chronicled by Froom. T. E. Unruh, then president of the East Pennsylvania Conference of the Church, listened to a series of radio broadcasts by Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse on the book of, Romans. Unruh wrote to Barnhouse "commending him on the Biblical soundness and spiritual helpfulness of his presentations over the airwaves on Righteousness by Faith."  10    Here was fulfilled the warning which had been given to the Church five years previously by the missionary brethren from Africa "that Satan's final effort to deceive and allure us would be an attempt to infatuate us with Babylon's understanding of the 'doctrine' or 'tenet' of 'justification and righteousness by faith."'   11 *    TOP

In the eighteen conferences that took place between our brethren and Barnhouse and Martin, our teaching on the incarnation was one of the areas discussed. How these men viewed the reaction of our brethren was stated in one of their publications. When the subject of Christ's incarnation was introduced, our brethren

* -- It is altogether possible that Elder T. E. Unruh did not know about the manuscript which had been written by Elders R. J. Wieland and D. K. Short. The Defense Literature Committee of the General Conference, chairmaned by W. E. Read, had declared against this manuscript in 1951. Therefore, in 1955 the manuscript was restricted in its circulation. However, Elder Read was involved in the Barnhouse-Martin conferences. He should have seen the relationship. Thus the Church must share its responsibility in the results which followed a rejection of a clear warning. On the other hand, Unruh is open to censure. He should have known the antinomian sentiments of the Evangelicals, and the counsel of Isaiah 8:20 - "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." It is impossible for antinomians to present righteousness by faith in its true perspective. How then can one commend such presentations, and think of them as the genuine message! How dark becomes our light when we call darkness light!

p 75 -- assured these men that "the majority of the denomination has always held [the humanity assumed by Christ] to be sinless, holy, perfect despite the fact that certain of their writers have
occasionally gotten into print with contrary views completely repugnant to the Church at large." Our men explained further 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."  12    The impression was left that it was these irresponsible lunatics in the Church who had written that Christ accepted the fallen nature of man when He became the Son of man.

While these conferences were in progress, and understandings were being reached for simultaneous publications by the Evangelicals and the Church, the ministry of the Church were being propagandized through The Ministry to accept the changes in doctrine which the brethren had already declared to Barnhouse and Martin to be our fundamental position. This included the nature of the humanity which Christ accepted in the incarnation.

In the September, 1956 issue of The Ministry, eight pages were devoted to quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy on "Christ's Nature During the Incarnation." One section was captioned - "Took. Sinless Nature of Adam Before the Fall." An editorial in the same issue called attention to this compilation, and asked the ministry of the Church "to carefully and prayerfully study these illuminating paragraphs." The editor, and head of the Ministerial Department of the General Conference, R. Allan Anderson, rationalized further on the inspired sources and stated:         In only three or four places in all these inspired counsels have we found such expressions as "fallen nature" and "sinful nature". But these are strongly counterbalanced and clearly explained by many

p 76 -- other statements that reveal the thought of the writer [Ellen G. White]. Christ did indeed partake of our nature, our human nature with all of its physical limitations, but not of our carnal nature with its lustful corruptions. When He entered the human family it was after the race had been greatly weakened by degeneracy. For thousands of years mankind had been physically deteriorating. Compared with Adam and his immediate posterity, humanity, when God appeared in human flesh, was stunted in stature, longevity, and vitality.  13

Included in this editorial was a comment on the statement in Bible Readings for the Home Circle. Anderson wrote:            Many years ago a statement appeared in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1915 edition) which declared that Christ came "in sinful flesh." Just how this expression slipped into the book is difficult to know. It has been quoted many times by critics, and all around the world, as being typical of Adventist Christology.  14 *

It becomes increasingly clear that the men who espoused the "new" doctrine of the Incarnation read into the expression - "fallen, sinful nature" not only the tendencies to sin, but also the "corruptions" resultant from sinning. Thus they failed to do what the servant of the Lord, our earlier brethren, and the writers of the Sabbath School lessons of past decades did, that is, differentiate between inherited tendencies and cultivated habits of sin. By confusing the issue, they have been able to make the historic teaching of the Church look like error, and thus rob of its power, the original doctrine of truth in regard to the incarnation of Christ. In fact the clear statements in The Desire of Ages are mitigated by the same devious device. Anderson stated:

* -- If the head of the ministry of the Church did not know the background of our teaching over the years on the subject of the incarnation, then he was not qualified to serve in such a capacity; and if he really did know, and thus sought to hide the facts, his guilt of misrepresentation should have been sufficient grounds for his removal from office as head of the Ministerial Department of the Church. The question as to what should be done in regard to the men who were involved in this illicit fraternization with the Evangelicals has yet to be resolved by the Church.

p 77 -- A hasty reading of the two or three statements from The Desire of Ages without the repeated counterbalancing statements found in so many other places has led some to conclude our official position to be that Christ, during the incarnation, partook of our corrupt, carnal nature, and therefore was no different from any other human being. 15   A summary statement from the Spirit of Prophecy drew the contrast distinctly. It read - "Jesus was sinless and had no dread of the consequences of sin. With this exception His condition was as [ours]. 16

How were the "three or four places" in the "inspired counsels" that used the terms, "fallen nature" and "sinful nature" in referring to the humanity which the Son of God assumed in the incarnation to be explained? In an early issue of The Ministry for 1957, Elder W. E. Read wrote an article on "The Incarnation and the Son of Man." In this article he stated what has become the key word of the "new" theology. He wrote:         Christ was tempted in all points as we are, - This is a wonderful, comforting thought. But let us ever remember that although it is true, it is also true that He was "without sin" (Heb. 4:15). His being tempted, however, did not contaminate the Son of God. He bore our weaknesses, our temptations, vicariously, in the same way He bore our iniquities. 17

In the same issue of The Ministry, another editorial appeared from the pen of R. Allan Anderson. In this editorial, he commented:          When the incarnate God broke into human history and became one with the race, it is our understanding that He possessed the sinlessness of the nature with which Adam was created in Eden. The environment in which Jesus lived, however, was tragically different from that which Adam knew before the Fall.  18

Thus by 1957, the doctrine in regard to the nature of the humanity that Christ assumed in the incarnation as taught by the Holy Flesh Movement, was again being taught by leaders in high places of the Church. A brief review of the salient points of the Holy Flesh teaching on this subject will permit the reader

p 78 -- to make a comparison with the documented statements in the foregoing pages. There were three aspects to the doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the Holy Flesh advocates:   19       

1) Haskell reported to Sister White that "their point of theology" was: "Christ took Adam's nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy."

2) Donnell, one of the leaders of the Movement, wrote - "Christ's body represented a body redeemed from its fallen spiritual nature, but not from its fallen, or deteriorated physical nature. It was a body redeemed from sin, and with that body Christ clothed His divinity."

3) Davis, the founder of the Movement, indicated that every child born into the world receives the tendencies toward sin, "unless preserved from the law of heredity in conception by the power of the Holy Ghost."

The climax to the conferences between the brethren in Washington and Barnhouse and Martin was the publication of the book - Questions on Doctrine. The book carried an introduction by an unnamed editorial committee which stated:           The writers, counselors, and editors who produced the answers to these questions have labored conscientiously to state accurately the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventists. But because of the very nature of the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization it is impossible to consider this book a denominationally official statement of doctrine, as the term "official" is understood in many church circles. No statement of Seventh-day Adventist 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. The statement of Fundamental Beliefs... is our only official statement. The answers in this volume are an expansion of doctrinal positions contained in that official statement of Fundamental Beliefs. Hence this volume can be viewed as truly representative of the faith and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  20    TOP

On the subject of the incarnation, the book followed closely the presentations

p 79 -- which had appeared in The Ministry. The writers of the book clearly declared "although born in the flesh, He [Christ] 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 in His very nature."   21   The main thrust of the view presented on the incarnation, however, was pegged to the word - "vicariously". After quoting from Isaiah 53:4 and Matthew 8:17, this comment is made:           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.

It is in this sense that all should understand the writings of Ellen G. White when she refers occasionally to sinful, fallen, and deteriorated human nature.  22

When the book reached the ministers and laity of the Church, reaction was swift and pointed from those who knew what the Church had taught in regard to the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed. Elder M. L. Andreasen met the issue "head-on". Through mimeographed and printed Letters to the Churches, he presented to all who were willing to read the compromises resultant from the illicit fraternization with the Evangelicals by our brethren at the headquarters of the Church. On the subject of the incarnation, Andreasen wrote:          If Christ had been exempt from passions, He would have been unable to understand or help mankind. It, therefore, behoved Him "in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful

p 80 -- and faithful high priest... for in that He himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:17,18. A Saviour who has never been tempted, never has had to battle with passions, who has never "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him who was able to save Him from death," who "though He were a son" never learned obedience by the things He suffered, but was "exempt" from the very things that a true Saviour must experience: such a saviour is what this new theology offers us. It is not the kind of Saviour I need, nor the world. One who has never struggled with passions can have no understanding of their power, nor has he ever had the joy of overcoming them. If God extended special favors and exemptions to Christ, in that very act He disqualified Him for His work. There can be no heresy more harmful than that here discussed. It takes away the saviour I have known and substitutes for Him a weak personality, not considered by God capable of resisting and conquering the passions which He asks men to overcome.

It is,of course, patent to all, that no one can claim to believe the Testimonies and also believe in the new theology that Christ was exempt from human passions. It is one thing or the other. The denomination is now called upon to decide. To accept the teaching of Questions on Doctrine necessitates giving up faith in the Gift God has given this people."   23   Elder Andreasen was correct in drawing the line distinctly that acceptance of the "new" view of the incarnation meant rejection of the testimonies of the Spirit. The servant of the Lord had plainly written - "Though He [Christ] had all the strength of passion of humanity, never did He yield to temptation to do one single act which was not pure and elevating and ennobling."  24   TOP

During the controversy resultant from the publication of the book Questions on Doctrine - a group of representative church members in the Loma Linda, California area formed a Committee for the Revision of the book. They presented a Memorial to the General Conference Committee which charged that the book glossed "over certain vital fundamentals and compromise[d] other tenets of our faith."   25   Then the committee illustrated what they meant by this charge:              To illustrate: In Hebrews 2:14-17 and Desire of Ages, pp. 48, 49,

p 81 -- and 112, it is stated in clearest language that Christ our Saviour was "subject to the great law of heredity" and took upon Him our "fallen" and "sinful" nature. See also Medical Ministry, p. 181; Q. 0. D., pp. 656, 657.

In direct contradiction to these inspired words the book declares that Christ "took sinless human nature", and that "He was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." See Q. 0. D., pp. 650, 383. This constitutes a most unfortunate surrender to the so-called "Evangelicals", and robs the Christian of a perfect divine-human Saviour.   25  The Memorial also expressed the Committee's deep conviction in these words:          It is evident that certain statements and teachings of the book will never be accepted by a considerable number of our people. In fact, it is our conviction that not since the time of J. H. Kellogg's pantheistic controversy of more than a half century ago, has anything arisen to cause such disquietude, dessention, and dis-unity among our people as the publication of this book.   26 *

While attending Andrews University (1964-1965) to complete work for a Master's degree, I obtained a copy of a term paper written in 1962 for the Faculty of the Department of Church History. This paper was a brief study of the teachings of the Church on the nature of Christ's humanity, and has served as a guide for the research in depth which I have done in this manuscript. The term paper was motivated because of the charge "that the church has changed her historic position on the doctrine of Christ's human nature."   27    The study was "limited to the question of whether Christ took the nature of Adam as originally created, perfect by God, or whether He had the 'sinful' flesh with its inherent

* -- The Memorial was signed by the following: A. D. Armstrong, Frank L. Cameron, Edna E. Cameron, R. F. Cottrell, Florence Keller M. D., Scott Donaldson, Claude E. Eldridge, Pearl Ferguson, N. M. Horsman, Orville W. Lewis, Sharon Y. Lewis, Daniel A. Mitchell, Harold N. Mozar M. D., 0. S. Parrott M. D., B. R. Spear, Claude Steen M. D., Willa S. Steen, W. T. Weaver, Walter L. Webb, Harry G. Willis, and Thomas I. Zerkle M. D. This group could hardly be considered a part of the "lunatic fringe" of the Church.

p82 -- weaknesses which every child normally inherits from his parents."   28   The student's conclusions are most interesting. He wrote:          Regarding the specific question of Christ's humanity, this study has revealed that:

(1) from its earliest days the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taught that when God partook of humanity He took, not the perfect, sinless nature of man before the Fall, but the fallen, sinful, offending, weakened, degenerate nature of man as it existed when He came to earth to help man...

(2) that during the fifteen year period between 1940 and 1955 the words "sinful" and "fallen" with reference to Christ's human nature were largely or completely eliminated from denominational published materials.

(3) that since 1952, phrases such as "sinless human nature," "nature of Adam before the fall," and "human nature undefiled," have taken the place of the former termnology...

The findings of this study warrant the conclusion that Seventh-day Adventist teachings regarding the human nature of Christ have changed and that these changes involve concepts and not merely semantics.  29

These new concepts on the nature of Christ's humanity which He assumed were echoed in the Review and Herald, which carried in its masthead the statement - "The Official Organ of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." In an issue of 1965, Donald G. Reynolds, then Minister of the White Memorial Church in Los Angeles, California wrote:         Christ became the second Adam. He took Adam's nature, but never took Adam's sin. Jesus was not like you and me when He was here upon earth, for He was never a sinner. He came to this earth as Adam before Adam fell. We know that Adam need not have fallen into sin; the second Adam withstood all the attempts of Satan's invasion upon His life. When the Son of God became the Son of man in the Incarnation, He linked Himself to us for eternity. He took the effects of heredity without the effects of sin.   30

Coming to the present decade, careful consideration must be given to the monumental work - Movement of Destiny - written by Dr. Leroy E. Froom. The

p 83 -- weight of two of the highest offices of the Church are employed in placing the "imprimatur" of the Church upon the book. Elder Robert H. Pierson wrote the Foreword, not only as an individual, but also as "President, General Conferince of Seventh-day Adventists."  31   Elder Neal C. Wilson, who chairmaned a large guiding committee which reviewed the book before it was released to the Church, wrote the Preface in his capacity of "Vice President, General Conference for the North American Division."  32  This book is as "official" as any publication could be except one approved by the General Conference in Session. Froom himself maintained that "some sixty of our most competent denominational scholars of a dozen specialties" approved what he wrote in the book.   33

A recent book review of Movement of Destiny cautioned readers as to the pitfalls they might meet in the study of this work. The Reviewer   stated that Froom "stands as the foremost current apologist" of the Church. In writing this book, Froom had been given the task of "countering all 'charges' against Adventism's founding fathers and succeeding leaders." This puts a considerable limitation upon his work. "Consequently,the reader must always be on the alert when studying Froom, asking himself whether he has given a full account, or whether important aspects have been neglected, or misrepresented." "Movement of Destiny seems to be the work of the General Conference 'defense committee to put all things straight', with Froom serving as an untiring preacher and organizer of the material."  34

While Froom covers many doctrines in their historical development in the

* -- Ingemar Linden, author of this Book Review, is a docent at Uppsala University in Rimbo, Sweden. He is a member of the Church Historians Association of Sweden, and a reviewer of theological disertations in the field of eschatology and apocalypticism for church historians in Scandinavia.

p 84 -- Church, this manuscript is primarily concerned with the teaching of the Church in regard to the nature of the humanity which our Lord assumed in His incarnation. On this subject, Froom revealed his position in writing of the contacts which preceded the publication of the book - Questions on Doctrine. He placed himself and the Church in full accord with the editor of Our Hope who had written that Christ's "conception in His incarnation was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that He did not partake of the fallen sinful nature of other men."

In a section which discussed the note in Bible Readings on the nature of Christ's humanity, Froom declared it to be an "erroneous minority position."  35    The phrase that Froom objected to most strenuously indicated that Christ "partook of our sinful, fallen nature." How then did this "minority" concept get into such a book as Bible Readings? In 1956, Anderson did not know.   14    Froom, being a part of the same study group with Anderson did not know then, either. But now fifteen years later an answer is found or manufactured. It was written supposedly by one, W. A. Colcord. No proof is given; a mere statement is made - "Apparently it was first written in by W. A. Colcord, in 1914."   35   To discredit the statement in Bible Readings, Froom resorted to what amounts to a "smear" tactic. In a footnote, he alleged - "In 1914, about the time his [Colcord's] note on Christ's nature appeared in Bible Readings, he regrettably lost faith in the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church."  35    Not having an admissible answer in 1956, a "goat" was found by 1971!

In rewriting the doctrinal history of the Church's teachings, Froom found himself faced with some difficulties, when presenting the teaching of the Church in regard to the nature of Christ's humanity. He recognized the General Conference of 1888 as towering above all other conferences before or since.  36    He

p 85 -- also recongized that one of the chief spokesmen at the conference was Dr. E. J. Waggoner. He alleged that what Waggoner said at the conference was taken down in shorthand, and later published as the book - Christ and His Righteousness.  37   But - and here was the problem - Dr Waggoner in his book taught the concept of Christ's humanity which Froom designated as an "erroneous minority position." How was he to get around this impasse? He rewrote what Waggoner had written, and put in Waggoner's "mouth" the key word - "vicariously". That the reader may see the misrepresentation perpetrated by Froom, the two presentations are placed side by side for evaluation:  *

* -- Small italics [sample] will be used to indicate emphasis by either writer, Waggoner or Froom. Underscoring will mark words, phrases, and clauses in Waggoner's book quoted by Froom. Important statements in Waggoner's presentation, vital to the question, which Froom ignores will be placed in regular bold italics [sample].   TOP

Waggoner   38

GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH

"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14.

No words could more plainly show that Christ was both God and man. Originally only Divine, He took upon Himself human
nature
, and passed among men as only a common mortal, except at those times when His Divinity flashed through, as on the occasion of the cleansing of the temple, or when His burning words of simple truth forced even His enemies to confess that "never man spake like this man."

Froom  39

12. BECAME FLESH TO BEAR OUR SINS AND REDEEM. - The next logical step is set forth in section 5 ("God Manifest in the Flesh"). Waggoner quotes John 1:14 as affirming that in the Incarnation "Christ was both God and man. Originally only Divine, He took upon Himself human nature." (P. 24) He lived on earth as a "mortal" man - capable of dying -

 

 

 

 

The humiliation which Christ voluntraily took upon Himself is best expressed by Paul to the Philippians: [Phil 2:5-8 margin, quoted]

having taken the form of a servant, yet all the while
The above rendering makes this text much more plain than it is in the common version. The idea is that, although Christ was in the form of God, being "the brightness of His  

p 86 --
glory, and the express image of His Person" (Heb. 1:3),
having all the attributes of God, being the Ruler of the universe, and the One whom all heaven delighted to honor, He did not think that any of these things were to be desired, so long as men were lost and without strength. He could not enjoy His glory while man was outcast, without hope. So He emptied Himself, divested Himself of all His riches and His glory, and took upon Himself the nature of man, in order that He might redeem him. And so we may reconcile Christ's unity with the Father and the statement, "My Father is greater than I."


"having all the attributes of God, being the Ruler of the universe, and the one whom all heaven delighted to honor."

Divesting Himself of these powers, He "took upon Himself the nature of man, in order that He might redeem him." (P. 25) To accomplish this He became obedient "even to the death of the cross."

It is impossible for us to understand how Christ could, as God, humble Himself to the death of the cross, and it is worse than useless for us to speculate about it. All we can do is to accept the facts as they are presented in the Bible. If the reader finds it difficult to harmonize some of the statements in the Bible concerning the nature of Christ, let him remember that it would be impossible to express it in terms that would enable finite minds to grasp it fully. Just as the grafting of the Gentiles into the stock of Israel is contrary to nature, so much of the Divine economy is a paradox to human understanding.

 

 

 

 

The transcendence of it all is an unfathomable truth, beyond the "human understanding" of "finite minds." (P. 26)

Other scriptures that we will quote bring closer to us the fact of the humanity of Christ, and what it means for us. We have already read that "the word was made flesh", and now we will read what Paul says concerning the nature of that flesh: [Rom. 8:3, 4 quoted]

 

As to His humanity, Christ came in the "likeness of sinful flesh." (Rom. 8:3, 4)

A little thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself the likeness of man, in order that He might redeem man, it must have been sinful
man that He was made like, for it was sinful man that He came to redeem.
Death could have no power over a sinless man, as Adam was in Eden; and it could not have had any
power over Christ, if the Lord had not laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of a sinful man,

 

 

 

 

God "laid on Him the iniquity of us all." He "took" all the

p 87 --
that is, that flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He "was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." David had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself, "Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Ps. 51:5.


"weaknesses" of man, and "suffered all the infirmities" of
man. (Pp. 26, 27)

 

 

 

 

The following statement in the book of Hebrews is very clear on this point: - [Heb 2:16-17 quoted]

If He was made in all things like unto.His brethren, then He must have suffered all the infirmities, and been subject to all the temptations, of His brethren. Two more texts that put this matter very forcibly will be sufficient evidence on this point. We first quote 2 Cor. 5:21: - [quoted]

This is much stronger than the statement that He was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh". He was made to be sin. Here is the same mystery as that the Son of God should
die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner, but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He was made to be sin in order that we might be made righteousness.

 

 

More than that, He was actually "made" - vicariously - to "be sin for us", that we "might be madethe righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:21) On this Waggoner comments:       "Here is the same mystery as that the Son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner,but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He [sic] was made
to be sin in order that we [sic]
might be made righteousness." (Pp. 27 ,28)

Such was the exchange - our sins for His righteousness.

   TOP

This type of misrepresentation - for it is simply prevarication - in a work that is supposed to give an accurate presentation of our denominational history as a Movement of destiny leaves one stunned. It stands as a mute testimony to what extent apostates will go to cover their tracks. A credibility gap is created. Why the leadership of the Church would place their full weight of authority behind such a work has yet to be explained.

Another "exhibit" from this period of conflict and apostasy will evidence

p 88 -- how deeply this alien doctrine on the human nature of our Lord has penetrated the Church, and how the very sentiments of Roman Catholicism are being echoed. The Southern Publishing Association published in 1971 a book by Edwin W. Reiner, M. D. In the Foreword, Dr. Reiner stated that "Elder Harry W. Lowe, of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Dr. W. G. C. Murdoch, dean of the Theological Department of Andrews University, critically read each chapter before its final approval."   40   In the chapter entitled, "Christ the Sinless Sinbearer", the following concepts were presented:            Christ, as He lived on earth, was a singular combination of man and God. To become human, He clothed His divinity with humanity, yet He never ceased to also be God. It is, of course, unthinkable that Deity could dwell in a body combined with sinful human nature. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God, and although He shared man's physical degeneration, He did not possess man's spiritual alienation from and rebellion against God. Neither did He sin by thought, deed, or action. He accepted only the human physical condition as it existed after four thousand years, becoming tired, hungry, and weak like any other human being.  41

Here we find that the Church in 1971 in a published volume critically read by the dean of the Theological Seminary declared that the concept that Christ took upon Himself the fallen nature of man in the incarnation to be "unthinkable". In a Sabbath School Lesson for 1913, a Catholic source was quoted,which stated:            Disbelief in the immaculate conception of the blessed virgin Mary would imply belief in the following revolting consequences; namely, that He who is holiness itself, and has an infinite horror of sin, took human nature from a corrupt human source.   42   The Catholic Church considers the doctrine that Christ accepted the fallen nature of man in the incarnation as "revolting", because Christ is "holiness itself". An Adventist publication in 1971 considers the same doctrine as "unthinkable", because "sin cannot dwell in the presence of God." How apropos are Elder E. J. Waggoner's words.- "We need to settle, every one of us, whether we

p 89 -- are out of the church of Rome or not. There are a great many that have got the marks yet."   43

On another page in the same chapter, the doctor wrote:         Christ was the second Adam; He began His work where the first Adam began. The first Adam did not begin his life under the dominion of Satan, nor did the second Adam. He came to earth as a human being and as a representative of man, to show in the controversy with Satan that man,as he came forth from the hand of the Creator, in union with the Father and Son, could obey every divine requirement.   44  *

The changes that have been made in the doctrine of the incarnation as taught by the Church from 1844 to 1950 are declared to be based on the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy itself. A supplement in the October, 1970, Ministry carried a study by Elder Erwin R. Gane of the Department of Religion at Union College. In this presentation, he asserted:            According to E. G. White, Christ did not inherit at birth the fallen nature inherited by Adam's posterity. She makes it abundantly clear that in terms of heritage Christ was distinct from the posterity of Adam. .   45

Then in commenting upon the statements in the inspired writings which do state that Christ accepted the "fallen" nature of man, Gane made this comment:                   The E. G. White statements usually quoted to prove that Christ inherited our fallen natures are often those found in her description

* -- The latter part of this paragraph is a paraphrase of a statement found in an article in the Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898. It is reproduced in full in Selected Messages, bk i, pp. 252-256. A key explanatory sentence is made near the close of the article - "In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin." By demonstrating in fallen human flesh that the Law of God could be kept in every particular, Christ did show that man as he had been created could have overcome Satan. See Selected Messages, bk. i, p. 279. The statement made by the doctor that the second Adam did not begin life on earth under the dominion of Satan is difficult to reconcile with The Desire of Ages, p. 49 "Into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come,... subject to the weakness of humanity." See also Christ's own words in Matthew 12:28-29.

p 90 -- of the wilderness of temptation experience. And in her account of this event she especially emphasizes that the reason for the intensity of the struggle was that the sin, guilt, passion, depravity, infirmity of the entire race was laid upon, imputed to, vicariously borne by Christ at this time...

There is no suggestion that Christ's struggle was the result of His having inherited our fallen natures. The point rather is that our guilt, woe, "indulged appetite", and "unholy passion" were laid upon Him, so that in some mysterious sense He felt as the sinner feels.   46

During this period, not all of the voices contending for the hittoric faith of the Church in regard to the truth of the incarnation were drowned in the flood of water pouring forth from the dragon's mouth.  47    In 1960, the Pacific Press published a book by a layman from Iowa on the subject. After quoting - "He [Christ] did in reality possess human nature" - Albert H. Olesen wrote:          Throughout Christ's life upon this earth, and when He went into the grave, this was the only human nature that He had. This nature was tempted to retaliate when tormented, to anger when insulted, to covet distinction when adored. Jesus was tempted, not merely vicariously, but actually through His own human nature. He fought against this nature until the last hours on the cross, even as we are tempted throughout life.   48   Again:          In our study we come to this conclusion: While it was possible for Christ to bear vicariously the penalty of sin for mankind, yet it appears to have been impossible for Him to have lived the human life vicariously. Because this sinless human living was the center and the heart of redemption, it of necessity was exact and total reality; no substitution could here suffice.   49

This layman also made very clear what he understood the term "human nature" to mean. On this point he stated - "Our nature is the inheritance we receive at birth, the legacy of inclinations and trends that enfold us without our conscious volition. This legacy includes the physical structure and certain tendencies that we receive from former generations, the possession of which is not our responsibility."   50    TOP

p 91 --  In a recent private publication, this same author stated very clearly the historic position of the Church. He wrote:           Christ proposed to take in reality man's fallen nature, and to overcome the devil in that very nature, and it was in the order of God that this should be done. This was the divine plan that was to "open the way" for Redemption.... In other words, it was the foundation upon which Salavation was to be built. For it was not the desert or the garden or the cross alone that saved us, but the whole lifetime struggle of Christ against tempting fallen flesh in His own person of humanity! It was a titanic daily accomplishment for all those human years that saved man and refuted the challenge of Satan before the universe. For it was in the "form and nature of FALLEN MAN" that Christ saved us, NOT in the form and nature of sinless Adam. This is the very foundation of Redemption, that Christ overcame Satan in our fallen nature of flesh and blood, and there is no other salvation for man.  51

The last two Reviews for 1971, and the first issue of 1972 carried a series of editorials on the nature of the humanity which Christ assumed in the incarnation. These editorials echoed the historic position of the Church. As far as this writer has been able to verify, these articles are the first such presentation in any Church publication in over a decade. It must be understood, however, that the Review dated, August 31, 1967, was the last to carry in the masthead the status of the Review as the official organ of the Church. After that date it has simply been - "The General Church Paper of the Seventh-day Adventists." Thus editorials appearing in the paper "in no way bind the church body to action, nor do they reflect any particular official position that a committee has designated."  52

In the first editorial, the associate editor, Dr. H. E. Douglass wrote:          The song above all songs that will be sung forever is that Jesus did not take flesh but became flesh, taking "our sinful nature, that He might know how to succor those that are tempted." - Medical Ministry p. 181. He took "upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition" yet in no way, "not in the least" did He "participate in its sin." (The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments on

p 92 -- John 1:14, p. 1131) Indeed, though beset by fallen, sinful nature, our Lord remained sinless.  53

The second editorial told of Satan's attempt to vitiate the victory won by Jesus in our fallen nature. It read:             One of the mysteries of iniquity is the successful outcropping of Satan's malice in traditional Christian thought. For example, in order to vitiate the victory of Jesus, many attempts have arisen to explain that Jesus did not defeat Satan in man's sinful, fallen, degenerate, hereditary nature but in some sphere with only a physical appearance like other men. This error is the foundation of the Romn Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception whereby to ensure the perfect, sinless nature of Jesus He is said to have been born of a perfect, sinless mother. But the same subtle and perverse doctrine lies under other explanations such as "Jesus took the sinless nature of the first Adam," or He "vicariously bore man's weaknesses."  54

It has been forever true when the Church proclaimed the truth of the greatness of Christ's victory in fallen human flesh, that the purity of the perfection required of the last generation shone forth in undimmed brilliance. The third editorial projected just such concepts. Douglass stated:           The Adventists who make up the last generation will have developed a clear understanding of the meaning of faith. Faith is man's response to the call of the Lord, the willingness to do whatever his Lord has said so that his Lord may be glorified in the life of quality. Only when an Adventist realizes that God is waiting for a quality people will he become serious about the standard of maturity (or perfection) that he must reach under the enabling power of God.

The faith that made Jesus the sinless man among men is that characteristic which distinguishes the living saints in the last generation...

The last generation of those who "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" will dissolve forever all lingering doubts as to whether man's will joined to God's power can throw back all temptations to self-serving and sin.  55

The 1972, February issue of The Ministry carried a valuable supplement prepared by the Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference.   56    It was a revision of the one appearing in Questions on Doctrine as Appendix B.

p 93 -- The new compilation of quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy on the incarnation of Christ removed the heading which introduced Section III of the previous set. In other words, the concept that Christ "took sinless human nature" is muted. Upon receiving this supplement, I addressed a letter to the committee which read in part:           It was with interest that I noted in detail the most recent insert in The Ministry. Certain corrections which appear as different from the compilation in the book, Questions on Doctrine, have been long overdue. I refer to the heading - "III. Took Sinless Human Nature" - which appears on page 650 of the book. But is very difficult to understand just what objective is to be served by the present compilation which is in itself incomplete. It is very difficult for me to believe that you men which compose the committee are unaware of those statements which have been omitted, and which unless included cannot give the true picture which the title of your insertion conveys - "The Nature of Christ During the Incarnation". In fact such an omission leaves you brethren open to some very serious questioning.

In order that you night see that indeed there is another section to this subject of the incarnation, I am enclosing a copy of a proposed section to be included somewhere in your brochure either after V - "Christ Was the Second Adam", or after VI - "Christ Took Real Human Nature". Now it is true you have in section VII used several quotations wherein is found the expression, "fallen nature", but by your association of these statements with others in the same section, you are still conveying the impression that this expression means - "effects of sin" in a physical sense alone. But you have omitted the statements which give the full picture - a nature "defiled by sin", the "offending nature of man."   57    A copy of the quotations as sent to the Research Committee appears as Appendix C in this manuscript.

In the letter sent to the Committee I also asked about a quotation which is printed in several places quoted two different ways. A reply to my letter was written by Dr. Gordon M. Hyde, Secretary of the Committee. He kindly sent me a copy of the article from the Youth's Instructor wherein the quotation in question was printed, but completely ignored the section of my letter which is quoted above.

p 94 -- As one surveys these last two decades, and the present hour of decision to which the Church has arrived in regard to the doctrine of the humanity our Lord assumed in becoming the Son of man, a message of an ancient prophet of Israel pictures this hour - "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark." Would to God the next verse could soon be fulfilled in regard to our teaching on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in heaven or earth - "It shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light."   58   If this research will in any way hasten the "light" at "evening time", it will have accomplished its mission.    

l       Ellen G.White, Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, p. 37
2      William H. Grotheer, Letter to H. L, Rudy dated at Jeffersonville, Indiana, April 8, 1957.
3       H. L. Rudy, Letter to William H. Grotheer dated at Takoma Park, Washington D. C., April 12, 1957
4      F. D. Nichol, Answers to Objections, p. 393
5     Ibid., p. 397
6     Ibid., .# p. 24
7    W. H, Branson, Drama of the Ages, pp. 84-85
8     Ibid., p. 88-89
9      L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, pp. 469-470
10    Ibid., p. 477
11     See Chapter VII, Footnote #22
12     Donald Grey Barnhouse, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?", Eternity, September, 1956 (Reprint)
13     R. Allan Anderson, "Human, Not Carnal", The Ministry, September, 1956, p. 13.
14    Ibid., p. 14
15    Ibid., p. 12
16   Ellen G. White, Our High Calling, p. 59
17    W. E. Read, "The Incarnation of the son of Man", The Ministry, April, 1957, p. 26
18    R. Allan Anderson, "'God With Us'", The Ministry, April, 1957, p. 34
19    See Chapter VI - "The Holy Flesh Movement".
20    Questions on Doctrine, pp. 8-9
21   Ibid., p. 383
22   Ibid., pp. 59-60

p 95 --
23
    M. L. Andreasen, Letters to the Churches, Series A, No. 1, p. 7
24    Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 155
25    "A Memorial to the General Conference Committee of Seventh-day Adventists", Committee for the Revision of Questions on Doctrine, P. 0. Box 567, Loma Linda California.
26    Ibid., p. 3
27    Robert Lee Hancock, *The Humanity of Christ", Term Paper, Department of Church History, Andrews University, July 1962, p. 1.
28   Ibid., p-2
29   Ibid., pp. 26-27
30    Donald G. Reynolds, "Adam and Evil", Review and Herald, July 1, 1965
31    Froom, Op. cit , p. 13
32    Ibid., p. 16
33   'L. E. Frocm, Letter to William H. Grotheer dated at Washington D. C.,
April 17, 1971.
34    Ingemar Linden, "Apologetics as History", Book Review, Sprectrum, Autumn, 1971, pp. 89-91
35    L. E. Froom, Movement of Destiny, p. 428
36   Ibid., p. 187
37   Ibid., p. 189
38    E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 24-28
39    Froom, Op. cit., p, 197
40    Edwin W. Reiner, M. D., The Atonement, p.8
41    Ibid.,
p. 132
42    Catholic Belief, p. 217, Quoted in Senior Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, May 17 1913, p. 26
43   See Chapter VI, Footnote #10
44    Reiner, Op. Cit , p. 136
45    Erwin R. Gane, "Christ and Human Perfection", Supplement, The Ministry, October 1970, p. 7
46    Ibid., p. 14
47   Revelation 12:15
48   AIbert H. Olesen, The Golden Chain, p. 30
49   Ibid., p. 33
50    Ibid., p. 15
51    Albert H. Olesen, Think Straight About the Incarnation, p. 15
52    H. E. Douglass, Letter to William H. Grotheer dated at Takoma Park, Washington D. C., December 29, 1971
53    H. E. Douglass, "'The Humanity of the Son of God Is Everything to Us'", Review and Herald, December 23, 1971, p. 13
54    H. E. Douglass, "Jesus Showed Us the Possible", Review and Herald, December 30, 1971, p, 16 55    H. E. Douglass, "The Demonstration that Settles Everything", Review and Herald, January 6, 1972, p. 14
56    "The Nature of Christ During the Incarnation", Supplement, The Ministry, February, 1972
57     William H. Grotheer, Letter to Biblical Research Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists dated at Florence, Mississippi, Feb. 3, 1972
58    Zechariah 14:6-7   
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p 96 -- IX -- CONCLUSION -- If the Seventh-day Adventist Church truly believes that the writings of Ellen G. White constitute the message of God to the Remnant, then the historic position of the Church in regard to the nature of the humanity Christ assumed in becoming the Son of man is crystal clear. From the very earliest beginnings of the Church, the servant of the Lord taught:    "The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam."  1  "It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man", that by "experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan's temptations", "He might understand how to succor those who are tempted."   2

The findings of this research indicate that during the last two decades, theologians and apologists of the Church have altered this historic position and now teach that Christ in accepting a human form from Mary was preserved from the working of the law of heredity through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Further it is now projected that the humanity Christ took, except for physical degeneracy was the same as the sinless nature of Adam before the Fall. On some of the published writings of these theological leaders of the Church, the highest elected officers of the Church have placed their "imprimatur", making the doctrines taught in these publications the "official" position of the Church. Thus the theologians and leaders united together in leading the Church into a state of apostasy in regard to the doctrine of the incarnation.

Closely linked with the teaching of the nature of the humanity of Christ, in fact inseparable from it, is the concept of perfection. Only as the doctrine of the incarnation is clarified and set in the light of Christ's final atonement

p 97 -- for man, can the perfection expected of this last generation be understood by the Church of God.

The apostasy of the Church in regard to the doctrine of the incarnation is a reflection upon the work that Christ accomplished for man as a man in His humiliation. That which has taken place in the last two decades of the Church's history in this one area alone needs to be acknowledged by the leadership of the Church for what it is, and publicly repented of. The leaders in this apostasy need to be brought to trial, not secretly, but openly, that the God of heaven might be vindicated and the truth of the condescension of Christ be cleared of the error which has tarnished the great victory that our Lord attained in fallen human flesh.

1    See page 7
2   See pages 8 & 10     TOP

p 98 -- -- APPENDIX A -- A LETTER TO WILLIAM L. H. BAKER -- The Ministry for September, 1956 featured a compilation of statements from the pen of Ellen G. White on "Christ's Nature During the Incarnation," which were later included in,Questions on Doctrine. R. Allan Anderson in an editorial in the same issue urged careful and prayerful study of these quotations, Then he cautioned - "We dare not take an isolated expression and build a doctrine upon it," (p. 15) If this counsel were ever apropos, it most certainly is when considering a letter which Sister White wrote to Evangelist William L. H. Baker of Australia. There is no record of what this man was teaching, or what he may have written in regard to the nature of Christ during the incarnation, and are, therefore, left without a means of comparison. Thus we must analyze the statements of caution written to Elder Baker in the light bf what the servant of the Lord wrote on other occasions.

The statements from this single letter (Letter 8, 1895) are being used by the exponents of the "new" view to clothe their position with the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy. This letter is reproduced in the Bible Commentary (5BC:1128-1129). The sections of the letter used to give credence to the idea that Christ took upon Himself sinless human nature in the incarnation follow:         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 is 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 he 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...

p 99 -- 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...

Let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves; for this cannot be.

To relate this single letter to the rest of the counsel and instruction found in the Spirit of Prophecy, we must first understand how Sister White used the word, "propensity". Two years prior to this letter, she wrote in the Review and Herald:         Self-indulgence, self-pleasing, pride, and extravagance must be renounced. We cannot be Christians and gratify these propensities. (May 16, 1893) The inherent (innate, intrincic) propensities of man are a very part of his "self" or ego. They are "evil", because man's very self is evil. This was not the situation with Christ, for His self or ego was ever pure, and sinless.

The key to the whole problem is found in the caution - "Let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ such a one as ourselves; for this cannot be." Christ was unique in comparison with all of the rest of the sons of men. But this uniqueness was in regard to His pre-existence, which none of the rest of the children of men have ever had. Our "self" is the result of the union of an earthly father and mother. But with Christ, there was a "Divine Self", which had existed from eternity in the "form of God". This "Divine Ego", at Bethlehem, changed foms, from the "form of God" to the form of a "servant". This "Ego" took upon Himself, our human nature as received from Mary. In that human nature was found all that is in our human nature. But the acceptance of our human nature did not corrupt in the least the Divine Ego. "In His human nature, He maintained the purity of His divine character." (Youth's Instructor, June 2, 1898) Sin never rested upon Him, for "not even

p100 -- by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation." (Great Controversy, p. 623) Christ "emptied Himself" seeking to do only the will of the Father. There was not in Him an evil propensity - no self-indulgence, no self-pleasing, no pride, nor love of display. In so doing, He gave an example of what man is to do with his "self" that the character of God may become "personality" in him. (See Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 200)

In the same year that the letter was written to William L. H. Baker, the servant of the Lord wrote the following:          Leaving the royal courts of heaven Christ came to our world to represent the character of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty. The image of Satan was upon men, and Christ came that He might bring to them moral power and efficiency. He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear. "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." He could not come in the form of an angel; for unless He met man as man, and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not be a perfect example for us. He came in humanity, in order that the humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse because of his poverty, or ignorance, and say, Because of these things, I cannot obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity, and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man. (Ms. 21, 1895) [7BC:925]   TOP

p 100 -- APPENDIX B -- A SINLESS LIFE -- Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915 edition, pp. 115-116. All emphasis as in the original.

1. What testimony is borne concerning Christ's life on earth?
    "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." I Peter 2:22

2. What is true of all other members of the human family?
    "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23

3. With what question did Christ challenge His enemies?
    
"Which of you convinceth Me of sin?" John 8:46

p 101 --
4.
To what extent was Christ tempted?
    "[He] was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. 4:15

5. In His humanity, of what nature did Christ partake?
    "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself  likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil." Heb. 2:14 

6. How fully did Christ share our common humanity?
   
"Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest In things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Verse 17.

Note - In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not "made like unto His brethren," was not "in all points tempted like as we are," did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore, the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved. The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother. inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits, - a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit. And all this was done to place mankind on vantage-ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way everyone who is "born of the Spirit" may gain victories over sin in his own sinful flesh. Thus each one is to overcome as Christ overcame. Rev. 3:21 without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7

7. Where did God, in Christ, condemn sin, and gain the victory for us over temptation and sin?
   
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3

Note - God, in Christ, condemned sin, not by pronouncing against it merely as a judge sitting on the judgment-seat, but by coming and living in the flesh, in sinful flesh, and yet without sinning. In Christ, He demonstrated that it is possible, by His grace and power, to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live a sinless life in sinful flesh.

8. By whose power did Christ live the perfect life?
   
"I can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the wxrks." John 14:10

Note - In His humanity Christ was dependent upon divine power to do the works of God as is any man to do the same thing. He employed no means to live a holy life that are not available to every human being. Through Him, every one may have God

p102 -- dwelling in him and working in him "to will and to do of His good pleasure." I John 4:15; Phil. 2:13.

9. What unselfish purpose did Jesus ever have before Him?
"For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me," John 6:38

-- APPENDIX C -- CHRIST TOOK ADAM'S FALLEN NATURE -- 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. Manuscript 141, 1901 (7BC:926)

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. Youth's Instructor, Dec. 20, 1900 (4BC:1147)

Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension He would be enabled to pour out His blessings in behalf of the fallen race. Thus He has made it possible for us to partake of His nature. Review and Herald, July 17, 1900

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 succor those who should be tempted. Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 39

Jesus is the perfect pattern, and it is the duty and privilege of every child

p103 -- and youth to copy the pattern. Let children bear in mind that the child Jesus had taken upon Himself human nature, and was in the likeness of sinful flesh, and was tempted of Satan as all children are tempted. He was able to resist the temptation of Satan through dependence upon the divine power of His heavenly Father, as He was subject to His will, and obedient to all His commands. He kept His Father's statutes, precepts, and laws. He was continually seeking counsel of God, and was obedient to His will. Youth's Instructor, August 23, 1894

In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will,bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, the Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. The Desire of Ages, pp. 122-123

Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim His very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation. Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 177     TOP

-- APPENDIX D -- EXCERPTS FROM UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS BY FROOM -- In order that the reader might have some idea why Dr. Leroy E. Froom so readily accommodated himself to the Evangelical concepts on the incarnation as expressed by Dr. English (see page 73), excerpts are presented from three unpublished manuscripts which Froom has written and circulated. The manuscripts are entitled - "The Tremendous Truth of the Virgin Birth - 1, - 2, - 3". The references will be marked according to the number of the manuscript. All emphasis indicated will be Froom's.

It should be said at the outset that it is foolhardy for quibblers to contend that Christ had to have two human parents in order to assume human nature - for the simple reason that Adam, as the first man, had no parents. He came

p104 -- into being by direct creation. Creative power was similarily involved in the Virgin birth.  1

Jesus Christ is the one exception to the universal rule of sin and sinfulness. How did He escape the taint of sinful heredity? There is but one answer: His human nature came into being by a direct and miraculous intervention, the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.  1

The Holy Spirit generated within the humanity of Mary the body of flesh by means of which the Son of God tabernacled among men.   1

Jesus human nature originated miraculously in the humanity of His virgin mother by the creative power of the Holy Spirit.   1

Jesus Christ is differentiated from all other men by His unparalleled conception and birth. To be truly the "Son of man" He could become Humanity's son only by a human birth. Had Christ been independently and directly created, like Adam, He would have been apart from humanity. That is obvious. So He was born.   2

It is contended by some, being herself sinful, [IMary] would inevitably convey the taint of her corruption to Jesus - for sinful tendencies could as verily be conveyed by one parent as definitely as from two. But the crux of the matter is not compassed simply by saying that Jesus was born of a virgin mother. There is another and more vital factor - He was "conceived" by the Holy Ghost. A divine, creative miracle brought to pass this new union of Godhead with Humanity, begun in the womb of Mary, which secured freedom from the slightest taint of sin. The human element was not determinative in that origin.  2

The "first Adam", back in Eden, came into being by direct creation of God. Consequently he started with a sin-free existence, as sinlessness was assured for the first Adam from the very fact that God would not create a sinful being. In contrast, the "Last Adam" entered into human existence by a birth. Yet in this He was protected from inherited sin by divine generation. The Generator of this matchless Person was likewise a member of the Godhead. Jesus' generation was consequently from a Sinless Source - the Holy Spirit. At this point it is to be particularly noted it was the Spirit's work to generate the humanity of Christ. 3

We press the point: It is a mistaken notion to think that Christ received His Deity from a Divine Parent and His humanity from a human parent. No branch of the Christian Church, ... has regarded the Holy Spirit,as the "Father" of Jesus.... Christ was Himself Eternal Deity - the Eternal Word and Son. That which He had always been was now, through the Incarnation, joined in everlasting identification with His new humanity. God, who created all things, caused Mary, the virgin, to conceive and thus bear a Son. But this creative act was to the specific end that the humanity of Christ might be secured.... Mary had been expressly told (Luke 1:31) that the Generator would be the Holy Spirit, and the resultant Christ Child would be "holy", and legitimately and properly be called the "Son of God." He who had the power to create the first Adam could, of course, create or generate the humanity of the Last Adam. In this the Holy Spirit was the Generator or Creator, not the progentitor. And the unfallen

p105 -- estate, guaranteed to the first Adam through direct creation of a Holy God was, in the case of the Last Adam, generated and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.  3

The "body" of Jesus was "prepared" (Heb. 10:5) by the Third Person of the Godhead, Who brought to pass the "mystery" of God "manifest in the flesh" (I Tim. 3:16). The Son, sent of the Father and voluntarily coming into His new nature, was declared "conceived in her" (Mary) of "the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 1:20). But the human nature of our Lord was to be "separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:36). And the Third Person of the Godhead is, of course, Holiness personified. He hallowed the flesh into which our Lord entered. So Christ was without a taint of sin on earth - the first and only One since the Fall in Eden. 3

This theology is but one "generation" removed from the Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It should be evident to the reader what options are open to him. Either Froom's theology, or the theology of the Spirit of Prophecy as summarized in Appendix C. One theology is inspired by the Holy Spirit who knew what took place in Mary, and the other is that which was created in the mind of a man.

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