Let Me Think–Healthfully

Posted in Health and Healing on July 27th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — 2 Comments

The topic of healthful and modest dress is a very touchy one, to say the least.  It is relatively easy to change the way I eat, for I want to be well!  It is relatively easy to change where I live, for I want my privacy.  But when it comes to dress, it is harder.  And it is harder, I think, for at least two main reasons.  One, dressing differently makes me stand out from everyone else–I can’t “blend in” any more.  Two, we are told that dress is an index to the mind and the heart, so it is evident by the way one dresses what is in the heart.   While we here at Closure for Jesus do not believe in making our “gospel” the issue of dress, we do believe that it is a vital topic that must be addressed by each individual who wants to follow the Lord fully.  God wants us to be healthy, and dressing correctly can either hinder or hasten the accomplishment of this goal.  There are principles in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy to guide us, and I don’t know about you, but I want to hasten the Lord’s work not only in my heart, but in this world.  God bless you as you join us for this study, part two in the “Let Me Think” series.

Let Me Think–Absolutely!

Posted in Bible Topics on July 20th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — 2 Comments

In our study yesterday here with the Bismarck Bible Study Group, we discussed the importance of thinking in harmony with “it is written”. But we also emphasized the importance of LIVING in harmony with “it is written”, for Jesus will not say, “Well thought, thou good and faithful servant…”, but “Well DONE…” I want to hear those words, don’t you? Amen! We pray this presentation will bless you to that end.

Questions on Doctrine, 7&8

Posted in Bible Topics on July 18th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

The Scandal Of A Book PARTS 7 and 8 of 8
The Colossal Question — Why?

Before me, as I write, is a book.
In appearance it is a most impressive volume.

It consists of 597 pages of quality paper in a handsome two-colour binding, with gold lettering. For my copy I paid a goodly sum. It is apparent that the book’s publishers made a very heavy financial investment, which required strong financial backing from somewhere. I am moved to wonder where the money came from.

But the title is what stretches my mind. The book is a reprint of the scandalous Questions on Doctrine, which we have examined in a series of articles earlier this year. (See previous articles posted on this site.)

No, it is not a revision. It is a reprint. All of the original edition is there wrapped around by comments and notes by the present publishers. It is therefore called an Annotated Edition. The notes range from a few lines to a few pages.

Could it be possible that they were unaware of the enormous injury that had been done to the church by the first publication in 1957?

No, that is not possible. The following lines, taken from various pages of the book, make it abundantly clear that the publishers of the new Annotated Edition were fully aware of the enormous injuries that had been done to the church by the first edition. On the Viewpoints page before the preface they wrote:

“The publication of Questions on Doctrine did more than any other single event in Adventist history to create what appears to be permanently warring factions within the denomination.”

The Preface adds: “It is a volume that has stood at the very center of Adventist dialogue since the 1950’s, setting the stage for ongoing theological tension.”
The Introduction tells us that: “Questions on Doctrine easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-day Adventist history.
. . . Its release brought prolonged alienation and separation to the Adventist factions that grew up around it.”

On page 516 we read: “The result has been that Questions on Doctrine has been vilified by many Adventists and has probably done more to create theological division in the Adventist church than any other document in its more than 150 year history.”

And on page 522:
“The result would spell disaster in the Adventist ranks in the years to come. Official Adventism may have gained recognition as being Christian from the evangelical world, but in the process a breach has been opened which has not healed in the last fifty years and may never heal.”

So the enormous injuries that had been done to the church by the first edition of Questions on Doctrine were very well known to the publishers of the new edition, which confronts us again with our colossal question, Why? What could have been the purpose of the publishers in printing this new edition?

And our puzzlement increases as we move on to our next question. Could it be possible that the publishers of the new edition were unaware of the grievous violations of procedural integrity in the first edition?

No, that is not a possibility. At various places in the book there are expressions that reveal very clearly that the publishers knew about the violations of procedural integrity. Rather than put forth a series of long quotations I will just present some of the words or phrases with their page numbers. Observe:

Page xv “less than transparent” xxx “push the facts a bit too far”
xxx “present their data in a way that creates a false impression” xxxiv “misleading title”
41 “masks the fact”
45 “in a historic sense, false” 324 “not accurate”
516 “a misleading heading” 517 “less than straightforward” 520 “data was manipulated”
521 “had not told the truth”
522 “elements of betrayal in the manipulation of data and in untruths” 524 “misleading heading”

So there can be no doubt that the publishers of this new edition were fully aware of the violations of procedural and intellectual integrity, the sheer dishonesty, in the first edition. If you question that reality, just read the list again. It makes me shudder. And the question that confronts us now is agonizing. Why? What is going on here? What are we looking at?

The Grim Facts

Three facts, three grim realities that are established beyond question, are before us:

The publishers of the new Annotated Edition were fully aware of the enormous injury that had been done to the church by the first edition.
The publishers of the new Annotated Edition were fully aware of the sheer dishonesty, the violations of integrity, in the first edition.
With full knowledge of these things, they nevertheless made a conscious decision to republish the book, at great expense.
Why? Why? WHY??? What is the purpose of this? What are they trying to do?

If they had removed all the evils from the book, and then printed a revision of it, we could to some extent understand that, though questioning its hope of success. But they did not revise it, they reprinted it as it was, untruths, manipulations of evidence, and all. Why?

The editor of this Annotated Edition states his hope that “a forthright treatment of the explosive issues opened up by Questions on Doctrine and the answers this edition provides will be enlightening to both the larger community of readers and to Adventists.” Annotated Edition, xi

Despite the wonderful hopes expressed by the editor, it appears we have but two choices as to why the book has been reprinted: Either. . .

The Scandal Of A Book PART 8 of 8
The Colossal Question; — Why?

Last month (Part 7), we noted a number of instances in the new Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine in which the publishers indicated that they were fully aware of the enormous injury that had been done to the church by the dishonesty and distortions in the first edition.
With full knowledge of these things, they nevertheless made a conscious decision to republish the book, at great expense. Why?

It appears that we have but two choices as to why the book has been reprinted: Either the present publishers were innocent persons, with no ulterior motives, who exercised incredibly poor judgment or—Or somebody, somewhere, who hated the Seventh-­?day Adventist Church and had access to lots of money, looked at the situation and said, “The first edition of Questions on Doctrine brought enormous injury to the Seventh-­day Adventist Church. A second edition might well injure the church beyond the possibility of recovery. Let’s do it!”

We have to view this problem in its context. Our church is not loved by the world, nor yet by the churches of the world. We are surrounded by groups who would take pleasure in our church’s collapse and downfall. And there are certain groups which make use of infiltration to accomplish their purpose within other organizations. We have been appalled by the sheer dishonesty practiced by the writers of the first edition of Questions on Doctrine. But it gets worse.

The Lunatic Fringe

Donald Grey Barnhouse, editor of Eternity magazine and the leader in the conversations with the Adventist group, published a report of those meetings in his edition of September 1956. (1) He wrote that the Adventists had stated firmly that the real Seventh-­?day Adventists had always believed, like Barnhouse and Martin and their evangelical colleagues, that Christ came to earth in the unfallen nature of Adam. The only exceptions, they were told, were Adventism’s “lunatic fringe” and “wild-­?eyed irresponsibles.”

Here infamy reached a height seldom seen in this world. Permit me to introduce you to some of Adventism’s “lunatic fringe” and “wild-­?eyed irresponsibles.” We begin with General Conference presidents White, Daniels, Spicer, Watson, McElhany and Branson. The list includes six of the seven Review editors who served during the years 1852—1952, and five of the six Signs editors.

The list includes a galaxy of General Conference vice presidents, division presidents, and departmental chairmen; union conference presidents and local conference presidents, along with a few college presidents and teachers. You will find them all listed in my book The Word Was Made Flesh, (2) pages 34 and onward, along with their contributions. (possibly only obtainable second-­?hand now from a SDA used book source such as Leaves of Autumn Books.)

All of them had published, at least once, their belief that Christ had come to earth in the human nature of fallen man.

And Ellen White had published the same thing four hundred times, which would clearly establish her as by far the worst of Adventism’s “lunatic fringe” and “wild-­ eyed irresponsibles.”

The grand total of all such statements, by Ellen White and the church leaders shown above, is twelve hundred.
Certainly there had to be something terribly; terribly, wrong with the minds of men who would tell the world that these persons were Adventism’s “lunatic fringe” and describe them as “wild-­?eyed irresponsibles.”

So How Could It Happen?

Let us go to the inspired writings for the answer to our question. The apostle Paul wrote of certain people in 2 Thessalonians 2: 10—11 who “received not the love of the truth, that they might not be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

Notice that here is described a mental problem that begins with not loving the truth and ends in an inability to recognize what is truth. Ellen White commented on this condition:
“By rejection of evidence, they lost their spiritual eyesight, and could not discern between good and evil, between truth and error, light and darkness.” Review and Herald, April 18, 1893. (All emphasis supplied)

“The mind that cherishes sentiments that tend to destroy the foundation of the faith that has made us what we are becomes confused, and cannot discern between truth and error.” Bible Training School, March 1, 1915

“He who deliberately stifles his convictions of duty because it interferes with his inclinations will finally lose the power to distinguish between truth and error.” The Great Controversy, 378

Is she not here describing a manner of madness, a form of insanity? She does not allege that such persons will be totally out of touch with reality, but only in regard to truth and error. They simply cannot tell the difference. And that is a desperate condition.

Persons who are afflicted with this manner of madness will unblushingly declare that Ellen White taught that Christ came to the earth in the human nature of the unfallen Adam, in spite of the fact that she had written and published four hundred statements to the contrary.

Persons who are afflicted with this particular manner of madness will soberly affirm that Adventism’s first line of leadership, from General Conference presidents down through the ranks, are part of Adventism’s “lunatic fringe” of “wild-­?eyed irresponsibles.”
How could Adventism’s first line of leadership, including six General Conference presidents, be described as our lunatic fringe? What kind of a mentality would expect to get away with such a conspicuous atrocity in the mishandling of evidence? Either of two kinds of mentalities. As mentioned above, there is a group of people in our world who have for centuries been practicing deception on a grand scale. Volumes have been written about the deceptions that they have engineered with great expertise. They are called Jesuits. One of their most successful methods is infiltration. They work with great patience to get their people into the inner organizations of all churches, including ours. I was taught that in a church history class years ago. For them the inflicting of enormous damage on our church through the publication of Questions on Doctrine would probably be regarded as a simple routine procedure.

That is one possibility. The only other possibility that I can see would be the one described by Ellen White when she wrote a warning that there is a mental disorder that begins with having no love for the truth and ends with an inability to discern truth and error.

Neither is a happy conclusion. And either of them that we accept leaves us to struggle with the agonizing question, What about the people who have now republished Questions on Doctrine?

We cannot escape from reality that they were fully aware of the enormous injury that had been done to our church by the first edition of Questions on Doctrine, and they were fully aware of the dishonest manipulation of evidence in that volume. They acknowledged both. But then they go right on and repeat the offense by publishing a new edition of the same scandalous book.

Must we prepare our minds to recognize that this new Annotated Edition was published for the deliberate intention of bringing the Seventh-­?day Adventist Church to utter ruin? And that the acknowledgements of the dishonesty practiced in the first edition are only for the purpose of throwing us off out guard?

The only reasonable answer to these questions is Yes. We cannot afford to do otherwise.
We are moving into the final, closing events of the greatest conflict of the ages. How can we hope to escape the enormous deceptions?

Let us remember that these events may astonish us, but they do not astonish God. He knew all about then in advance, and supplied is with all the information that we need. Here is a promise that is exquisite in its simplicity and fully adequate in its clarity:

“Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these last days.” Selected Messages, book 3, 83—84.
May I suggest that we all memorize this promise, live by it, and repeat it often. We are going to need it.

May God bless you.

Series concluded.

Notes:
“Are Seventh-­?day Adventists Christians? A New Look at Seventh-­?day Adventism,” Eternity Evangelical Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 6—7.
Cherrystone Press, Cherry Valley, CA, 1986 (May not exist any more, since the death of Elder R. Larson.)

For a more detailed reading of this subject there is a book that tells the whole story as known and written by one who had a personal experience of it all at the time it was in progress. The book is entitled Our Evangelical Earthquake and is available from Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN 37301 USA. (In Great Britain it is available from Sister Shirley Farago of the Gospatrick Road Church in North London.)

(see also:http://www.dennispriebe.com/new/node/28)

Questions on Doctrine, 6

Posted in Bible Topics on July 18th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

The Scandal Of A Book PART 6 of 8 (Dr Ralph Larson)
The Capstone

Earlier this year we noted that the vigorous endeavors of the authors of the book
Questions on Doctrine have produced a mountain of misinformation. At the very top of this mountain of misinformation there is a capstone. It is the changing of another foundational doctrine of our church, in regard to “original sin.” Because it is so dramatically illustrative of the methods that were used by the writers of Questions on Doctrine, I have chosen to deal with it separately.

The doctrine of “original sin” as held by the Roman Catholic Church and by some Protestant churches teaches that all descendants of Adam are guilty for his sin. Thus if a baby dies shortly after being born, it is subject to the second death, which is the lake of fire. (Revelation 21: 8) So writes Norman Gulley in the Adventist Review, January 25, 1990:

“If a baby dies a few hours or days after birth, it is still subject to the second death even though it has never broken any commandment.”(1) (Bear in mind that for most of those who believe this doctrine, the condemnation death, the lake of fire, never stops burning its victims.)

The Seventh-­?day Adventist church has never held such a hideous doctrine, in whole or in part. Nevertheless, it appears that the writers of Questions on Doctrine labored to bring it into our church with a grim intensity that is mind-­? boggling.

When they had completed their writing, they submitted their manuscript to the Review and Herald Publishing Association for printing. Fortunately, the editors there recognized some of the departures from the integrity of our faith and deleted them. And even more fortunately, the original manuscript was preserved in the Review files. Copies of it are even now available in the White Estate repositories around the world. At the top of the paper it is called the “Prepublication manuscript of Seventh-­day Adventists answer questions on doctrine.”(2) I am indebted to Larry Kirkpatrick, Pastor of the Seventh-­?day Adventist Church in Mentone, California, for drawing this to my attention.

This manuscript provides us with a marvelous key to understanding what the writers of Questions on Doctrine may have been trying to do. It helps us understand the mysterious cloak of secrecy that was carefully maintained during the time of writing and conferring with non-­?SDA theologians. It explains the harsh severity in their dealing with our highly respected theologian, M. L. Andreasen, who caught on to what they were doing and challenged them. This caused him to lose his ministerial credentials and his sustentation (pension)(3). It tells us why the mountain of misrepresentation was necessary. If the church had been told clearly what these men were doing, there would have been an explosion and the whole evil project would have gone up in smoke.

(I once sat in a classroom at Andrews University and listened to Roy Allen Anderson explain to the class that Andreasen’s problem was simply that he was an old man whose feelings were hurt because he had not been permitted to take part in the conferences with non-­?SDA theologians. If I had known then what I know now, I might have risen to my feet and challenged him from the floor. But I didn’t know. The deceptions had done their work, on me as well as on others.)

I have examined the pre-­?publication manuscript of Questions on Doctrine in the White Estate repository in the LLUMC library, and this is what I have found in regard to the false doctrine of original sin. (Emphasis is mine).

“Adam’s sin involved the whole human race. ‘By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,’ Declares the apostle Paul. (Romans 5: 12). The expression ‘death by sin’ shows clearly that he is referring, not to actual individual sins, but rather to original sin—the sinful nature which we have all inherited from Adam. Even innocent little children die, for ‘in Adam all die.’
(1 Corinthians 15: 21). By that original sin ‘death passed upon all men’ (Romans 5:12). Luther (Commentary on Romans, page 81), states the position well when he says:
“ ‘Original sin is by Adam’s transgression. This sin we bear as his children, and we are guilty on account of it, for with his nature Adam also transfers his sin to all. As he himself became sinful and evil through that sin, so he begets only sinners and evil-­?doers, namely, such as are inclined to all evil and raises that which is good.’ “

Question: What happens when Jesus is born into the family of Adam? Is he guilty for Adams sin, like all other descendants of Adam?

Both Catholic and Protestant theologians have been required to struggle with this problem, and have offered to different solutions. The Catholics proposed to solve the problem by inventing a doctrine of Immaculate Conception. This is not to be confused with the doctrine of the virgin birth, as is done by some Protestants. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was by a special miracle protected from receiving the guilt of original sin from her own mother, so she had none to transfer to Jesus. Just how Mary’s mother was protected is not clear.

Protestants, not to be outdone, invented a rather different doctrine of Immaculate Conception. According to this doctrine, Christ was somehow exempted from the laws of heredity, so that he did not inherit the human nature of His mother Mary, but did inherit the human nature of Adam before his fall.

The problem they share is that Scripture knows nothing at all of either of these special miracles, nor did Ellen White. She was, however, well aware of the use that was made of the false doctrine. Witness her words at the 1888 conference in Minneapolis:

“Now, what we want to present is how you may advance in the divine life. We hear many excuses: I cannot live up to this or that. What do you mean by this or that? Do you mean that it was an imperfect sacrifice that was made for the fallen race upon Calvary, that there is not sufficient grace and power granted us that we may work away from our own natural defects and tendencies, that it was not a whole Saviour that was given us? or do you mean to cast reproach upon God? Well, you say, it was Adams sin. You say, I am not guilty of that, and I am not responsible for his guilt and fall. Here all these natural tendencies are in me, and I am not to blame if I act out these natural tendencies. Who is to blame? Is God? Why did God let Satan have this power over human nature? These are accusations against the God of heaven, and he will give you an opportunity if you want it, of finally bringing your accusations against Him. Then He will bring His accusations against you when you are brought into His court of judgement.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 122.

Many of us Seventh-­?day Adventists have given up hope that we can fully live up to God’s requirements. Could it be that the seeds of doubt were planted in our mind through a belief in “original sin” “and its kindred doctrines?

So the evidence before us is unmistakably clear. Had Questions on Doctrine been published as written, it would have introduced two major changes in Seventh-­? day Adventist theology, one regarding the nature of Christ, and the other regarding the doctrine of original sin. This was in spite of a denominational policy that such changes may be made only by a General Conference in session.

Such a change could not be accomplished unless the authors did their work in secrecy, using methods that can only be described as scandalous.

The Most Divisive Book

As I bring this paper to a close, I pause to reflect upon the first sentence in the “Introduction” To the newly republished (and annotated) edition of Questions on Doctrine.
Questions on Doctrine easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-­day Adventist history.” (4)

Then why, in the name of reason, is it being republished? Can folly be greater than this? Are its proponents hoping to finish the job of bringing to ruin the Seventh-­?day Adventist church?

If so, I have news for them. They will not succeed. A higher power has given us this description:
“In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world’s insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Emanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-­?keeping people of God.” Reflecting Christ, 226.

“But there are men who will receive the truth, and these will take the places made vacant by those who become offended and leave the truth. . . . The Lord will work so that the disaffected ones will be separated from the true and loyal ones. .
. . The ranks will not be diminished. Those who are firm and true will close up the vacancies that are made by those who become offended and apostatize. . . . “Selected Messages, book 3, 422(emphasis supplied).

So let us not be confused or dismayed by the smoke and dust of the conflict.

“To stand in the defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason. . . .” Sons and Daughters of God, 201.

Article by the late Ralph Larson, retired pastor and theologian, who last served as dean of the Seventh-­day Adventist Theological Seminary. Far East.

Notes:
“In Every Way But One: The Crucial Difference Between Us and Jesus,” 13
“Replies to a group of enquires concerning S.D.A. theology,” seventh-­day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, pre-­?publication manuscript.
The US government required the church to reinstate his pension and his credentials were restored posthumously.
Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs, Mich., 2003

Questions on Doctrine, 5

Posted in Bible Topics on July 17th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

The Scandal Of A Book PART 5 of 8
A Summary

Let’s add it up. What actually happened in the 1950’s?

In the 1950’s a tiny group of men, five in number, decided to make a major change in a major doctrine of the Seventh-­?day Adventist Church.

Who appointed them to this task? Nobody. They appointed themselves.

What doctrine of our church did they decide to change?
Our doctrine of Christ—our Christology, a most foundational doctrine.

Were they denying the divinity of Christ, like some other churches were doing?
No. They were denying that Christ came to earth in the fallen nature of man.

How did they believe that Christ came to this earth?
They believed that Christ came to earth in the unfallen nature of Adam.

Where did they get this idea?
From some of the daughters of Babylon, Calvinist—Protestant churches.

Had this idea ever been taught in Seventh-­day Adventist churches?
Only once, by an apostate group in Indiana, called the “Holy Flesh” movement. They believed that Christ came to earth in the unfallen nature of Adam, and therefore had holy flesh. They believed that we can also gain holy flesh by going through certain spiritual exercises.

How did our church relate to this idea?
It was firmly and forcefully rejected by our church leaders and by Ellen White, who came all the way back from Australia to deal with it.

Had our church ever published our belief about the human nature of Christ?
Yes, in more than four hundred statements by Ellen White, and more that eight hundred statements by other church leaders before the 1950’s.

How did the tiny group who decided to make the change manage to do it?
By two methods. First, they did their work in absolute secrecy. The church members at large knew nothing at all about what was going on until it was too late. Until recently the church leaders had not revealed their names.(1) We had to get them from other sources.

Second, and this is the part that hurts the most, They employed deliberate misrepresentation and falsification. The existing evidence makes this conclusion inescapable. We will here present only a recapitulation in outline form. Bear in mind that these men were doing their work at our world headquarters in Washington D.C., where all of the relevant historical records were readily available.
Very found in the grand old book, Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915 edition, a forceful statement, nearly a full page long, that Christ had come to the earth in the fallen human nature of man.(2) They announced that they could not understand how it had “slipped into the book,” and they deleted it in the year 1946.(3)

They invited Elder F. D. Nichol to join the group, but when he protested against what they were doing, they had him removed.

They were opposed in what they were doing by a highly respected Adventist theologian, Elder M. L. Andreasen, so they turned on him with ruthless fury and caused him to lose his ministerial credentials and his sustentation.

In September 1956, when they were fully prepared, they launched a barrage of misinformation in Ministry magazine. The barrage began with some carefully selected fragments of Ellen White quotations that were arranged to make it appear that Ellen White had taught that Christ came to this earth in the unfallen nature of Adam, although not one of them said that, and she had published the opposite four hundred times.

They put these mangled quotations under the following title: “Took Sinless Nature of Adam Before Fall”(4)

They published in the same issue of Ministry a lengthy editorial entitled Human, Not Carnal (See end of this article). The misinformation in the editorial includes this line: “. . . He took upon Him sinless human nature.”(5)

This is a direct and bold contradiction to the four hundred statements to the contrary by Ellen White and the eight hundred statements to the contrary by other church leaders. For example, in Medical Ministry’, 181, Inspiration states, “He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature.”

Again Ellen White’s four hundred statements seem to be ignored when the editor refers to those who make “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. .
. . “(6)

The Ministry editors published in April 1957 another barrage of misinformation consisting of two articles and an editorial. One article urges upon us the senseless proposition that Christ took our fallen human natures vicariously, in the same way that He took the penalty for our sins.(7) The truth is, we do not have to pay the penalty for our sins because He paid that penalty for us, vicariously. But we still have to deal with the reality of our fallen natures, because He has not taken our fallen human natures from us by any means whatsoever.

Each of the April 1957 articles strongly support the tiny group’s false statement about the human nature of Christ, and the editorial hails the false statement and its acceptance by the Calvinist theologians as a new “milestone” in Adventism.(8)

This was indeed a new milestone in Adventism. Never before in the history of our church had such fakery and fraud occurred. But it is not a milestone toward the Kingdom of God. It is a milestone in the opposite direction. May the Lord have mercy on us.

What might Satan accomplish by inspiring this deception?
If Ellen White wrote four hundred times that Christ came to the earth in the fallen human nature of man, and if it can be proven that the opposite is true, then she is beyond question a false prophet. In that case we should hold her writings in contempt, and let them have no authority or influence in the church.

This is what is happening right now, in many of our churches and educational institutions around the world. And it is largely because of a book called “Questions on Doctrine.”

Somebody, somewhere, had strong reasons to want to put our church out of existence and silence its voice. Bear in mind that our church is virtually the only church on earth that is still preaching and proclaiming the truths set forth in the great prophecies of the Bible about the Antichrist.

As these concerned enemies studied carefully the history and development of our church, they could not fail to recognize that the influence of Ellen White had been paramount in the entire picture. If that influence were destroyed, then the Seventh-­?day Adventist Church could be expected to go the way so many other Protestant churches have gone.
So, with great cunning, and with great skill, a long-­?range plan was devised for the purpose of destroying the influence of Ellen White.

That is what it is all about, the inspiration of Ellen White.

The changing of our doctrine of Christ and the publishing of the book, Questions on Doctrine, were only a means to that end. And it worked, folks. Just look around you and see for yourself. It worked.

It cannot be said that this is the first time that evil had raised its ugly head in the Seventh-­?day Adventist church. But what is very different in this case is the strangely indifferent attitude of our church administrators about it.

In the fall of the year 1936 I registered as a freshman in the school of theology at Walla Walla College in the state of Washington. As the first quarter of the school year progressed, it became apparent that three newly appointed professors in the theology department were undermining the students’ confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy—the writings of Ellen White.

The college board conducted a thorough investigation, then advised the three professors, one of whom was the dean, that at the end of the first quarter their services would be terminated. The college president, who had recommended these three professors for employment was told that his services would be terminated at the end of the school year.

Contrast that with the strange attitude of indifference being manifested by our church administrators right now. How should we understand this?
May our Lord deliver us.
NOTES:
See George Knight, ed., Questions on Doctrine, Annotated Edition, xiv.
Revised edition. Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, DC., Copyrighted 1914, Published 1916.
Roy Allan Anderson, “Editorial: Human, Not Carnal,” Ministry, Review and Herald, September 1956, 14.
Counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy: Christ’s Nature During the Incarnation,” Ibid., 19.
Roy Allan Anderson, Ibid., 13 6. Ibid., 12.
Roy Allan Anderson, “God With Us,” Ministry; April 1957, 325.
Louise C. Kleuser, “Adventism’s New Milestone,” 31-­?32.

(The “Ministry, September 1956” article by the late R.A. Anderson)
As mentioned in the foregoing article by Elder R. Larson.

SOTERIOLOGY is a theological term that covers the many aspects of the great doctrine of salvation. But it is often easier to express a word than explain its meaning. That is certainly true when we come to the study of redeeming grace. To reduce the great doctrine of God and the incarnation to human language is impossible, for when we have done our best it all sounds so meagre in comparison with the immensity of God’s revelation in Christ.

“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.”—ELLEN G. WHITE in The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896.

The all-absorbing theme of the apostle Paul was “the mystery of godliness.” He sought to explain it in many ways; but he once summed it up in a series of expressions: “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:16). Some claim this was a stanza from one of the apostolic hymns. It might well have been, but whatever the origin of this poem it certainly expresses the salient features of the gospel of salvation. When God became flesh; that was the greatest mystery of the ages. How Deity could clothe Himself with humanity, and at the same time retain His deity—that will challenge the thinking of men and angels throughout eternity. The deepest theologians during nineteen centuries have tried to explain this truth, but it is beyond human comprehension and expression.

This issue of THE MINISTRY carries in the Counsel section as full a coverage of this subject as can be found in the writings of Ellen G. White (turn to pages 17-24). The gathering together and classifying of these quotations represent the combined efforts of your editors, certain General Conference officers, and the Ellen G. White Publications staff. As far as we have been able to discover, this compilation fully rep- resents the thinking of the messenger of the Lord on this question. A few other statements have been found, but these are either repetitions or mere verbal variations, and add no new thought. This editorial is written to urge all our readers to take time to carefully and prayerfully study these illuminating paragraphs. Throughout our denominational history we have not always had as clear an under- standing of this subject as would have been helpful. In fact, this particular point in Adventist theology has drawn severe censure from many outstanding Biblical scholars both inside and outside our ranks. Through the years statements have been made in sermons, and occasionally some have appeared in print, that, taken at their face value, have disparaged the person and work of Christ Jesus our Lord. We have been charged with making Him altogether human.
Such opinions have been moulded in the main by two or three expressions in The Desire of Ages. And coming from such a source, these have naturally been regarded as final authority. However, these are but a fraction of the published statements by the same writer, all of which, taken together, throw much light on this theme. Unfortunately this larger group of statements has been overlooked. One reason is that most of these key statements have been published in articles in our leading periodicals, appearing frequently from 1888 onward, and files of these periodicals have not been readily accessible to our workers in general.

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 His incarnation, par- took of our corrupt, carnal nature, and therefore was no different from any other human being. In fact, a few have declared that such would have to be the case in order for Him to be “in all points tempted like as we are”; that He would have to share our corrupt, sinful nature in order to understand our needs and sympathize with lost mankind. On the surface such reasoning sounds somewhat plausible; but when we begin to think it through more carefully, when we sink the shaft of truth deeper into the mine of God’s revelation, a new and glorious vista opens to our view.
The Scriptures state clearly that through Adam’s transgression death passed upon all men, for “by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” and “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” The only sinless One who ever lived on earth was our Lord Jesus Christ—”holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” He was born holy and He lived on a plane separate from sinners. He was sinless not only in His outward conduct but also in His very nature.
Had this not been the case, He could never have redeemed us. If He had been born with a carnal nature, with all its propensities to evil, as is the case with every natural son and daughter of Adam, then He Himself would have needed a Saviour, and under no circumstances could He have been our Redeemer. His nature must of necessity be holy in order to atone for ours, which is unholy. His mother, Mary, highly favoured of the Lord, recognized her need of salvation, for in the Magnificat she sang of “God my Saviour.” While she recognized her need of a Saviour, she also realized that Jesus, her Son in the flesh, was the Lamb of God, who had come to take away the sin of the world. Yet she could not comprehend this mystery any more than can we. In fact, it was doubtless more difficult for her to grasp this truth than for those who have lived since the events of the crucifixion and resurrection. As the Son of God, Jesus stood in contrast with all other members of the human family, for He was God manifest in the flesh.

Among the many important paragraphs already referred to, it is emphasized that our Lord partook of our limited human nature, but not our corrupt, carnal nature with all its propensities to sin and lust. In Him was no sin, either inherited or cultivated, as is common to all the natural descendants of Adam. We grant that this is a mystery. But the Lord through His messenger has warned us to exercise extreme care how we present this subject lest we give the impression that Christ was altogether human and simply one like ourselves. Note carefully these timely cautions: 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, with- out a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God.—Ellen G. White letter 8, 1895, quoted in The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1128, 1129. In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined with divinity. . . These words do not refer to any human being, except to the Son of the infinite God. Never, in any way, leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in any way yielded to corruption. . . . But let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such an one as ourselves; for it cannot be. pp. 1128, 1129.
Other quotations from this letter appear in the Counsel section, pages 17-24, as well as in volume 5 of the Commentary.

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 counter-balanced and clearly explained by many other statements that reveal the thought of the writer. Christ did indeed partake of our nature, our human nature with all its physical limitations, but not of our carnal nature with all 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. These conditions were in marked contrast with those of Adam in his Edenic environment. He knew nothing of infirmities or degeneracy in his physical or mental being, for he came fresh from the hand of his Creator. But when the Creator Himself became man in order to take Adam’s place He faced hazards the like of which Adam in Eden could never have imagined. Our Saviour met the arch-foe time and again when physical limitations had weakened Him. He was hungry and emaciated when He met the tempter in the wilderness. But while He suffered physical hunger, His was not a corrupt, carnal nature. When He took upon Him sinless human nature, He did not cease to be God, for He was God manifest in the flesh. True, we cannot understand it, but we can accept it by faith.

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. But when that book was revised in 1946 this expression was eliminated, since it was recognized as being out of harmony with our true position.
The very purity of His holy nature made His suffering the more intense. The prophet’s expression of grief and suffering was surely that of our Lord when he said: “Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow” (Lam. 1:12).

“The suffering of Christ was in correspondence with His spotless purity; His depth of agony, proportionate to the dignity and grandeur of His character. Never can we comprehend the intense anguish of the spotless Lamb of God, until we realize how deep is the pit from which we have been rescued, how grievous is the sin of which mankind is guilty, and by faith grasp the full and entire pardon.”— ELLEN G. WHITE in The Review and Herald, Sept. 21, 1886. “Proportionate to the perfection of His holiness was the strength of the temptation.”—Ellen
G. White, Notebook leaflets, vol. 1, No. 39, p. 1.

When God became man He partook of the same moral nature that Adam possessed before the Fall. Adam was created holy, and so was Christ, for He became the second Adam.

“Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began.—The Youth’s Instructor, June 2, 1898. (Italics supplied.)
He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory.—The Youth’s Instructor, April 25, 1901.
“He [Christ] 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.”— Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 509.
(Italics supplied.)
While the Scripture says that our Lord was “tempted in all points like as we are,” it obviously cannot mean that He was tempted in the identical manner or in the actual duplication of our environment today. For example, Jesus was never tempted to steal an automobile or to plant a bomb in an airplane. In fact, it has been suggested that He could not really understand or fully sympathise with certain ones because, four instance, He had never been a woman, nor had he known the feelings of old age. But in point of principle Jesus met every temptation common to mankind. The Scripture classifies the temptations of the world under three headings: “the lust of the flesh, and the last of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

“In the wilderness of temptation Christ met the great leading temptations that would assail men. There he encountered, single-handed, the wily, subtle foe, and overcame him. The first great temptation was upon appetite; the second, presumption; the third, love of the world.”— Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 151

In setting forth the wonders of the incarnation we dare not overlook this fact, that Christ Jesus became man that He might in human flesh conquer the devil and reveal to the whole universe the power of a God-filled life. This was the secret of His victory over sin, and it can be ours by His grace. He dispenses to us the fullness of His Spirit that we like Him might be victorious. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” exclaims the apostle (Phil. 4: 13)

The experience that was our Lord’s can, through the power of his indwelling presence, be ours by faith, for his promise is, “I will come to you.” and “shall be in you.”

“Verily, verily, I say unto you.” said Jesus, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my father” (John 14: 12)

“The Saviour was deeply anxious for his disciples to understand for what purpose his divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers that men may not have through faith in him. His perfect humanity is that which all his followers may possess if they will be in subjection to God as he was.—The Desire of Ages (1940), p. 664.

How wonderful that infinite love can so lay hold of weak human beings that through them can flow the power of the Almighty. But we must never for a moment think that because these “greater works” can be accomplished through us it follows that Christ Himself must perforce have been only man just as we are. No! A thousand times No! For even while in the flesh, He was still the Eternal One, omnipotent and omniscient—“very God, being of the same nature and essence as the Eternal Father,” as is so well stated in our Fundamental Beliefs.

Our workers around the world will, we are confident, carefully and prayerfully study the Counsel section in this issue. But let us do it with the same open mind that we recognize is so important in the study of the fundamental themes of the Bible. Such great writers as Paul and Isaiah can be and are continually being misunderstood on certain subjects, such as the nature of man. We dare not take an isolated expression and build a doctrine upon it. Instead we gather together all the statements made by that writer and others, and we are careful to read all expressions within the context, before arriving at a conclusion. One thing is certain, and that is that the Spirit of God never contradicts Himself. Any apparent contradiction must necessarily be due to our lack of understanding of the texts and contexts concerned. When the apostle speaks about
departing and being with Christ, we have to understand what he says in the light of all the other statements made by him and the other Bible writers concerning the nature of man. Such is the only safe procedure.

So when we come to a theme as tremendous and far reaching as our Lord’s and deity, and the mystery of the incarnation, let us not be too hasty in coming to conclusions.
We are all well aware of these statements from The Desire of Ages:
“It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God van if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken.”–
–Page 25.

“To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-­?begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. . . . God has adopted human nature in the person of his Son and has carried the same into the highest heaven.-­?-­?” Ibid.

It was human nature, not fallen, corrupt, carnal nature that He carried into heaven, and the only reminders of His tragic humiliation and suffering are the scars that sin produced at the time of His great atonement, the receipts of the price he paid for us. Whatever nature our Lord had, he carried with him to “the highest heaven.”

The dividing line between his innate sinlessness and his ability to be tempted is so fine that it is impossible for anyone to be too dogmatic on this point. One thing we do know—our Lord was sinless.

“This is a great mystery, 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. But the enemy is determined that this gift shall be so mystified that it will become as nothingness.”— Ellen G White letter 280, 1904, quoted in The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1113

The mystery of the incarnation was beyond human comprehension at the time when God, as a man, walked among men. But greater still becomes that mystery when by faith we see him seated as God-­?man upon His Fathers throne and yet ministering on behalf of fallen man the virtues of his sacrifice.

“He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” (Hebrews 7:26; 2:11) is not ashamed to call us brethren. In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of infinite love.”—The Desire of Ages (1940). pp. 25, 26.

Entering upon this vast field of study so overwhelming in its proportions and matchless in its majesty, let us walk softly and humbly before our God as we repeat the words of one of old: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

R.A.A. (Roy Allan Anderson)

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Questions on Doctrine, 4

Posted in Bible Topics on July 16th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

Questions_on_Doctrine
The Scandal Of A Book
PART 4 of 8
The Incredible Realities (2)
While we are still reeling from the shock of this revelation of wrong doing,(1) our attention is directed to the Ministry magazine of April, 1957.(2) in this issue we find an editorial announcing a “new milestone” in the history of our church. “Evangelistic brethren in Christ” (Calvinist) had accepted our position regarding the human nature of Christ, and had agreed to no longer classify us as a “cult.”

In the same issue there were two articles on the nature of Christ. Both gave great emphasis to the mysterious character of Christ’s Incarnation. Both strongly affirmed the divinity of Christ. Both strongly confirmed the humanity of Christ.
But the clear voice of Adventism in regard to Christ having taken the fallen nature of man is no longer heard in either, and one firmly states that:

“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.”(3)

So the new milestone in the history of Adventism turns out to be A direct repudiation of the clear testimony of the church for a hundred years, 1852 until 1952, that Christ had come to earth in the fallen nature of man.
This had been testified to by four hundred published statements by Ellen White, and eight hundred published statements to by other prominent church leaders.

These leaders constituted Adventism’s first line of leadership they included General Conference presidents White, Daniels, Spicer, Watson, McElhaney, and Branson. They included six of the seven Review editors who served during those years, and five of the six Signs editors. They included a galaxy of the general conference presidents, division presidents, union presidents, conference presidents, college presidents, college Bible teachers, and pioneer missionaries. According to Donald Barnhouse, our four self-appointed representatives referred to the above persons contemptuously as a “poorly informed minority” of our church membership, our “lunatic fringe.”(4)

What in the world was happening here? A gigantic fraud was happening! This gigantic fraud would compare favorably with some of the great frauds of Roman Catholic history, such as the Donation of Constantine. This fraud would be used as the projectile to place the book Questions on Doctrine into orbit. This “Guided missile,” with its 140,000 copies, would scatter the seeds of deception completely around the world. Those seeds have germinated, grown, and are bearing their evil fruit in the chaotic confusion in her world-­?wide church today.
How could it happen? As we have seen, A small group of firmly determined men at our world headquarters were engaging in a dialogue with some Calvinist theologians. Although their names had not been officially announced until recently,(5) we now know that the group included Dr Leroy Edwin Froom, elder Roy Allen Anderson, Elder W E Read, and Elder TE Unruh. Some reports include Dr Edward Heppenstall as well. The Calvinist theologians were Dr Walter Martin and Dr Donald Grey Barnhouse.

These theologians, we were told, had accepted as true the monstrous misrepresentation that our church, apart from a “poorly informed minority,” our “lunatic fringe,” had always believed and taught the same doctrines about the human nature of Christ that the Calvinists believed.

The “evidence” presented to Martin consisted of the misrepresentations and falsifications discussed in the previous parts of this series, which were a methodological monstrosity and a historical fraud.

The “Group” at our world headquarters had a very difficult assignment They had to produce a double deception, for two different audiences. They had to prove to the Calvinists that we had changed our doctrines, and at the same time prove to the Adventists that we had not changed our doctrines. This took some “doing.” How do you convince anyone that Ellen White, who had written four hundred times that Christ had come to earth in the fallen human nature of man, had actually intended to say exactly the opposite? No one. Absolutely no one. No one except a person, that is, who was a party to the conspiracy and was only role playing in pretending to be a critic. I am referring to Dr Walter Martin.

This is my explanation for the weird arrangements, the self-­?contradictions, and the outright falsifications and misrepresentations of fact that are in the announcements about the book, Questions on Doctrine. And it also helps us understand the strange mantle of secrecy that enshrouded the entire project. For 45 years the names of the authors of the book had not been officially revealed.

Before we go any farther, we need to look again at what Ellen White wrote on page 57 of her book, Education:

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” (Emphasis supplied.)
Friends, we must unflinchingly force ourselves to face the facts.

Fact number one: There is no way, absolutely no way, that a trained scholar with a Doctor’s degree, like Dr Leroy Edwin Froom, could put forth such a mass of mangled, misrepresented and misstated materials as this without knowing what he was doing. No Ph.D is that dumb. This “presentation” could not have been an accident. It had to be a deliberate and intentional deception.
Fact number two: there is no way, absolutely no way, that a trained scholar with a Doctor’s degree, like Dr Walter Martin, could accept such a mass of mangled, misrepresented, and misstated materials as this without knowing what he was doing. No PhD is that dumb. This “acceptance” could not have been an accident. It had to be a deliberate and intentional deception.

I see one possible conclusion. I am convinced that when the great scroll is finally unrolled, and “earth and sky stand presently at God’s great judgment seat,”(6) it will be seen by all that Dr Leroy Edwin Froom and Dr Walter Martin, while pretending to be opponents, were in fact working in collusion with one another, with one on one side of the bargaining table and one on the other side. Under the guidance and supervision of the great master mind of Satan, they succeeded in deceiving and doing enormous damage to the Seventh-­?day Adventist church.

As stated previously, I found all of this information in the Ellen White Repository in our seminary library in the Philippines. It is still there, ready for use by any person who wants to verify the shocking facts. And of course the same materials are in the archives of the White Estate in Washington, D.C.

I put all of the results of my research into a 365-page manuscript for a book, and offered it to our two publishing houses: the Review and the Pacific Press. BOTH REJECTED IT (Emphasis supplied).

So I put a mortgage on my house and published twenty thousand copies myself.(7) Thousands were sent to high-ranking church officers and thousands more went to loyal church members who shared my concern about conditions in the church that had been produced by the book, Questions on Doctrine.

By rare good fortune, or by the providence of God, a copy came into the hands of a highly qualified Seventh-day Adventist scholar named Jean Zurcher, of Switzerland. His scholarly credentials are impeccable, as are his impressive achievements in the scholarly world. He read my book carefully, and decided that it was a good beginning, but that the subject needed more enlargement and development. He therefore addressed himself to the task of completing what I had started. The result is a new 308-page book, Touched With Our Feelings, published in 1999 by (are you ready for this?) the Review and Herald Publishing Association.(8) To call this progress would be an understatement.(9) In my research work in the Philippines I was limited to certain materials. These were primarily Ellen White’s published books and magazine articles. I did not have access to all of the books and articles that were in the archives at the denominational headquarters in Washington, D.C. These were all available to Dr. Zurcher, and he made good use of them. Thus he was able to add a great deal to the evidence that I had published, and to verify my findings.

Zurcher also examined the statements that were written in our European journals and found no disagreement in them. In fact he found no sign of any disagreement among Seventh-day Adventists anywhere, regarding the human nature of Christ, before the 1950’s. He uses the words “remarkable unanimity”(10) to describe the testimony of our people on this subject until the 1950’s
Another item of interest that he points out is the fact that some of the most highly respected Protestant theologians of our time have taken the same position that our people took regarding the human nature of Christ. Among these theologians he lists Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann, Oscar Cullmann, and J.A.T. Robinson. Are these persons also to be seen as a part of a “lunatic fringe”?

NOTES:
See the previous article in this series.
Louise C. Kleuser, “Adventism’s New Milestone,” Ministry, April 1957, pages 31-32
Roy Allan Anderson, “God With Us,” Ministry, April 1957, page 34.
See Donald Barnhouse, “Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?” Eternity,
September 1956.
See George Knight, ed., Questions on Doctrine: Annotated edition. xiv.
Rudyard Kipling, “The Ballad of East and West.”
The Word Was Made Flesh: One Hundred Years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology 1852—1952, Cherrystone Press, 1986
(These may still be available secondhand from certain Adventist book outlets and on the internet at Amazon and maybe other sources. Perhaps from Leaves of Autumn.)
(9) ?
(10) Page 146

Questions on Doctrine, 3

Posted in Bible Topics on July 15th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

 

Blinding Venom!

Blinding Venom!

When I arrived in the Philippines I found the evangelistic teaching and preaching to be all that I had hoped for and more. Twice I saw more than five hundred people respond to the invitation to become members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In four years the total was well over two thousand. That was the good news.

But there was also some bad news. When I had left the Campus Hill Church in Loma Linda, I had thought I would be walking away from the tensions and controversies that were so troublesome there. But I found that they had gone before me to the Philippines. The infamous book, Questions On Doctrine, was doing its baleful work in the Far East as well as in the States. Church members were appealing to the ministers at the seminary for help, and they were appealing to me. But there was some light at the end of the tunnel. The officers of the White Estate in Washington, D.C., had decided to set up “repositories”of Ellen White’s writings in different parts of the world. By using micro-film they were able to make these repositories nearly complete,containing most of her magazine articles as well as her books, and all of the magazines and journals that our church had published through the years.

One of those repositories was right there in the seminary library, and my wife had a key to the library.

So it seemed that my work had been cut out for me. In that repository lay all of the information that would be needed to settle once and for all time the two questions that were the cause of all of our controversies: 1) Did Christ come to earth in the human nature of fallen man, or in the human nature of the unfallen Adam? 2) Is it true that Christians can not and need not stop sinning? What had our church believed about these things?

But somebody had to do the careful research that was needed to get that information together. I started letting myself into the seminary library at four o’clock every morning, and had three hours of research done before breakfast. It was hard work, but the results were thrilling. Our pioneers, including Ellen White, had given far more attention to these questions than I had supposed.

In regard to the human nature of Christ, they had written and published, during the years 1852-1952, twelve hundred statements that His human nature was fallen like ours, and not like that of the unfallen Adam. Four hundred of these statements were by Ellen White. Of course they were also careful to write that in that fallen human nature He had never sinned.

I was astonished and thrilled. I had not expected to find such a wealth of information as this. As for the second question, whether it is true, as the Calvinists among us were saying, that Christians can not and need not stop sinning, the evidence against it was like an avalanche. Statements that Christians can, by the power of God, stop sinning, numbered in the thousands during the same period.

How, then, had the present confusion and disagreement come about? The evidence was all there, in the church journals. It had come about through the preparation and publication of the book, Questions On Doctrine, the book that had been produced by incredibly unscrupulous means.

The first unscrupulous act that we can positively identify occurred in the year 1946. (We have taken note of the falsehoods of Desmond Ford, but that was much later.) In the year 1915 our church had published a book called Bible Readings for the Home Circle. It had been very well received and large numbers had been sold. On its pages 173-174, this statement about the human nature of Christ was printed: “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.’ Hebrews 2:17. 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’ (Hebrews 4:15), 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. Revelation 3:21. Without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7.” 1 (Emphasis in the original.)

But in the Ministry magazine of September, 1956, these words appeared in an editorial:

“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. But when that book was revised in 1946 this expression was eliminated, since it was recognized as being out of harmony with our true position.” 2

Look again at the Bible Readings statement (previously quoted) then decide, Should we laugh or should we cry? Although the words “slipped into the book” may make us feel like laughing, when we consider the enormity of the deception which was inaugurated by this deletion from Bible Readings-the deception which came to its full fruit in Questions On Doctrine-we feel more like crying.

Note that it is not an “expression.” It is a reasoned statement that is nearly a page long. And it is most emphatically not “out of harmony with our true position.” Ellen White died in 1915. All of her four hundred statements that Christ had come in the fallen nature (sinful flesh) of man had been published long before 1946. And most of the eight hundred statements of the same truth that had been written by leaders of our church had been published before 1946. And all of this evidence was right there at our Washington headquarters, where the Ministry magazine was being published.

And there was more. The carefully selected fragments of lines from Ellen White’s writings which had been compiled for Appendix B of Questions on Doctrine, were first published in this issue of Ministry on pages 17 to 25 with some slightly different headings. The editorial recommended this section “as full a coverage of this subject as can be found in the writings of Ellen G. White. . . . As far as we have been able to discover, this compilation fully represents the thinking of the messenger of the Lord on this question. A few other statements have been found, but these are either repetitions or mere verbal variations, and add no new thought.” 3 (All emphasis supplied.)

One of the headings in this compilation stated:

“Took Sinless Nature of Adam Before Fall” 4

Some of these fragments were taken from the very articles in which she had written that Christ had come in the fallen nature of man, and that because of this we can and must partake of His divine nature and cease from sin.

In the editorial of this same issue of Ministry we read:

“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 His incarnation, partook of our corrupt, carnal nature, and therefore was no different from any other human being.” 5 (Emphasis mine.)

We have two problems with this. First, the number of Ellen White’s statements in The Desire Of Ages is not “two or three.” It is six. See pages 25, 6 49, 7 112, 8 117, 9 174-175, 10 and 311-312. 11 There are no “counterbalancing” statements.

Later on the writer suggests, “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 other statements that reveal the thought of the writer. Christ did indeed partake of our nature, our human nature with all its physical limitations, but not of our carnal nature with all its lustful corruptions.” 12 (Emphasis his.)

Second, we are looking here at a bold and brazen use of the “Straw Man” device of deception. No Seventh-day Adventist has ever applied the words “corrupt, carnal” or “lustful” to the nature of Jesus. This falsity is a straw man of the writers own creating, which he then argues against as if it were our view. This is the standard, traditional use of the “Straw man” technique of deception.

The editorial writer goes on to caution his readers: “We dare not take an isolated expression and build a doctrine upon it. Instead, we gather together all the statements made by the writer and others, and we are careful to read all the expressions within the context, before arriving at a conclusion. One thing is certain, and that is that the Spirit of God never contradicts Himself. Any apparent contradiction must necessarily be due to our lack of understanding of the texts and contexts concerned. 13 Who is building a doctrine on isolated expressions here?

The same writer in a later issue of Ministry, proposed that Christ took our fallen natures vicariously, in the same way that He took the punishment for our sins.

A few moment’s reflection should reveal to anyone that there are some things that one can do for another, vicariously, and there are some things that one cannot do for another, vicariously. I can pay a traffic fine for you, vicariously, but I cannot drink a glass of water for you, vicariously. After I have drunk the glass of water for you, vicariously, you will be just as thirsty as you were before. And the all important point to remember is that when something has been properly done for you, vicariously, you do not have to do it. If I pay a traffic fine for you, you do not have to pay it.

It is true that Christ has taken the punishment for our sins, vicariously. This means that we do not have to take that punishment. But what of the statement that He has taken our fallen human natures, vicariously? Then we do not have to take that fallen human nature. We can rejoice in our freedom from it.

But do you find this to be true? Or do you find, like the rest of us have found, that that your fallen human nature is still with you? To ask the question is to answer it, for the answer is self-evident.

To be continued

Notes:

1 Bible Readings for the Home Circle, Revised Edition, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., Copyrighted 1914, Published 1916.

2 Roy Allan Anderson, “Editorial: Human, Not Carnal,” Ministry, Review and Herald, September, 1956, 14.

3 Ibid., 12.

4 “Counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy: Christ’s Nature During the Incarnation,” Ibid., 19.

5 Anderson, Ibid., 12.

6 “It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. . . . He [God] gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. . . . God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven.”

7 “Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been 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.”

8 “. . . notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature . . .”

9 “When Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. . . . It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. . . . 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.”

10 “As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ was to be their Redeemer. Romans 8:3.”

11 “Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw. . . . If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3), He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our ‘Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ Matthew 5:48.”

12 Anderson, Ibid., 13

13 Ibid., 15.

14 Roy Allan Anderson, “God With Us,” Ministry, April, 1957, 35.

Questions on Doctrine, 2

Posted in Bible Topics on July 12th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

Questions_on_Doctrine

Part two of an 8 part series by the late Dr. Ralph Larson entitled, The Scandal of a Book.

——–

When I publicly defended the purity of our historic Seventh-day Adventist
faith in Loma Linda, I was promptly accused of being divisive, combative, controversial, troublesome, etc. A tiny group of elders set up a meeting to discuss my case, and asked the Conference president to be present. I had to remind them that I was responsible to
the Conference Committee, not to them, and that I would not submit to any “Kangaroo Court” proceedings, but that I would gladly submit to a trial before the Conference Committee.

An elder visited me in my office, and told me that I was not preaching the true gospel. This rather surprised me. In thirty years of preaching and teaching my gospel had always been regarded as true. Why was it not true in Loma Linda? The elder advised me to read the sermons of my predecessor, Elder William Lehman. There I would find the true gospel, he said. I complied, but was still puzzled. When I reported this to the elder, he said, “You need to read the writings of Dr. Edward Heppenstall.” I readily agreed to do this. I had studied under Dr. Heppenstall in college, and had greatly appreciated his classes. I did not know then that he had been a member of the group that had produced Questions On Doctrine. I was soon able to secure three books. Two of them were entirely written by Dr. Heppenstall and the third had a section written by him. The first, Salvation Unlimited,(1) was published in 1974, three years before my
arrival in Campus Hill church. The second, Perfection,(2) was published in 1975. The third, The Man Who Is God,(3) was published in 1977, the year in which these events were occurring.

But I did not find in them the help that I needed. Some passages in them fervently promoted the Calvinistic doctrine that Christians can not and need not stop sinning. Other passages as fervently denied it. From the many examples of self- contradiction that could be cited, I submit two: “Sinless perfection is God’s ideal for His children. . . . This will be realized with the return of Christ, not before.” Perfection, 63. (All emphasis supplied by the author.) “The Bible rejects every possibility of our reaching sinless perfection in this life.” Perfection, 73.

“The Christian should have no difficulty in rendering honor to the law by his obedience to it.” Salvation Unlimited, 226.

So the three books-one published in 1974 (Salvation Unlimited), another in 1975 (Perfection), and the third (The Man Who Is God) in 1977-were in total disagreement. It would be impossible for me to agree with all of them. I had to make a choice. I chose to agree with the book that was most loyal to our faith (Salvation Unlimited) and to disagree with the ones that seemed to be supporting the Calvinist doctrine of salvation in sin (Perfection and The Man Who Is God).

When Dr. Heppenstall learned that I was disagreeing with him, he was most displeased. He called and demanded that I provide a time for him to come to the Campus Hill church to defend his views. If I did not comply with his wishes, he said, he would take the matter to my Conference president, and I would be in very serious trouble.
I arranged for him to speak at a prayer meeting. I also spoke, and explained some of the reasons for my disagreement with him. Then I had reason to remember something that Walt Blehm had told me while he was urging me to come to Campus Hill. He had said:

“Ralph, the Campus Hill pulpit is one of the three most sensitive pulpits in our church. What you preach there on Sabbath morning will be discussed at our Washington headquarters on Sunday morning.”

That didn’t mean very much to me at the time, but it proved to be true in regard to that prayer meeting. The news did not stop in Washington. It went on around the world.
And that was only the beginning. I soon had to point out to Desmond Ford that he had grossly misrepresented a statement of Ellen White and had actually reversed
the obvious meaning of her words. He demanded evidence, which I readily supplied. Some were deeply offended by this.

I had to deal with a staff problem. One of my associate pastors was fervently following both Ford and Robert Brinsmead, and promoting their teachings. This was leading to much confusion and very severe tensions in the church.

I was summoned to Washington to be part of a committee that would examine Dr. Ford’s teaching that Christians can not and need not stop sinning. The Administration would publish our findings in the Review. A very clear majority of the large committee (120 persons) supported the conclusion of a sub-committee, that Dr. Ford’s opinions were not correct.

But the Administration decided to not publish this in the Review. This was a disappointment. If that large committee, chosen from all over the world, had been permitted to announce their findings in the Review, that would have made a significant and meaningful difference. But the report simply said that the question whether Christians can not and need not stop sinning was being left open for further study.

But a few weeks later Dr. Ford “came out of the closet” and launched his now well-known, open attack on our Sanctuary doctrine. He had told one of my associate pastors that ninety-five per cent of all of our church’s ministers were with him. He apparently thought that this was his time to boldly challenge the church and take control of a large part of it.

I was one of those who were requested to analyze Dr. Ford’s attack on the Sanctuary doctrine and send my findings to the General Conference. There was a General Conference Session coming up soon, and after that a special committee would meet at Glacier View to consider the Ford problem.

I did not respond to this request promptly. I was growing weary of the conflict, and thought that I had stopped enough “bullets” for a while. I would let someone else do it this time. But then my conscience started bothering me, and I finally undertook the assignment.

The results were appalling. I counted 25 separate arguments in Dr. Ford’s attack on the Sanctuary. Of these, I judged 23 to be totally fictitious, fake, and false. The other two were partial untruths.

I wrote all of this into a paper called a “Reply.” But then I had a problem. There was not time enough to get my “Reply” to the General Conference, and there copied and mailed out to the people who would need it at Glacier View.

What should I do? I had my secretaries make copies, and I loaded them into my suitcase and took a plane for the General Conference Session in Dallas, Texas. I would deliver them myself.

I had a list of the persons who would be on the Glacier View committee to consider the Ford problem. They were of course attending the General Conference Session. I spent most of a day locating their motel rooms and having the clerks put a copy of my “Reply” into their mail boxes. When this was done, I was ready to go home. Business meetings, board meetings, and committee meetings have always been a drag on my spirit.

But I was rooming with two minister friends, and they strongly objected. They insisted that it was my duty to stay there. I finally agreed to stay one more day to see if there was anything more for me to do.

In the morning I filled my brief case with copies of my “Reply” and went to the auditorium. It was a round building, with halls that encircled it. As I entered one hall a
delegate from some far away country came up to me. “Are you Ralph Larson?” He asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Did you write a reply to Desmond Ford?”
“Yes.”
“Is there any way that I can get a copy? I need it badly.”
“Yes,” I said. “I have a copy for you right here.”

Then I walked a short distance and it happened again. And again. And again. So my “Reply” went home with delegates from many countries.

Then Attorney Lew Walton from Bakersfield, California approached me. “Ralph,” he said, “If you will give me your permission, I will mail a copy of this paper to every Seventh-day Adventist minister in North America.”

Of course I gave him my permission, but then a high-ranking church official who was standing by said, “Wouldn’t it be better to get the approval of the President before doing that mailing?”

I innocently accepted his suggestion and gave him a copy for the President.
I should have known better. It was a tragic blunder. But I was not schooled in politics. I would learn my bitter lesson when the report came back from the President’s office:

“It’s a wonderful paper, but don’t mail it out.”

So just as the members of the world church were not permitted to receive in the Review a clear statement of what had happened at the Washington meeting, so the ministers in North America were not permitted to receive a clear exposure of the falsehoods of Desmond Ford. That’s politics.

So for me it was back to Loma Linda and more of the same. But I was growing weary of it all, and I began planning for early retirement. By accepting a reduction in my sustentation (pension) I could retire at age sixty-one and forget the endless controversies and the hassles. I began thinking in that direction.

But then something wonderful happened. I received a question from the General Conference. Would I consider going to the Philippines to teach evangelism
in The Far Eastern Theological Seminary?

Would I consider it? I leaped at it! I would teach evangelistic procedures to the ministers who came there for graduate study, then take groups of them into cities of the Far East to conduct evangelistic meetings. That would be pure joy.

And I could walk away from the “combat zone” in Loma Linda and forget about the tensions and the controversies that were plaguing the church in America. Hallelujah!

There was a grim surprise waiting for me in the Philippines, but I was blissfully unaware of it. I went on my way rejoicing. ±

References:
1 Salvation Unlimited: Perspectives in Righteousness by Faith, Review and Herald, Washington, DC.
2 Perfection: the Impossible Possibility, by Herbert E. Douglass, Edward Heppenstall, Hans K. LaRondelle, C. Mervyn Maxwell, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN. [The authors of this book presented four perspectives on the subject of "perfec- tion"-two that indicate that Christian per- fection is impossible, and two that indicate that perfection is a possibility.]
3 The Man Who Is God: A Study of the Person and Nature of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, Review and Herald, Washington, DC.

Questions on Doctrine, part 1

Posted in Bible Topics on July 10th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

Questions_on_Doctrine

As we survey the landscape of the church these days, the prospects are not encouraging to those who remember the pillars of our faith.  What is happening?  Why is it happening?  What to do?  These questions and more are addressed in a series I am sharing with you in this update and the next few following.  I pray that this first hand experience of what went on in our church in the 1950′s with the writing of the book “Questions on Doctrine” and beyond will be enlightening and instructive to all who read this.  And may we run the way of His commandments!

The Scandal Of A Book,  PART 1, THE DIAGNOSIS, by the late Dr. Ralph Larson

When we look out at the Seventh-day Adventist Church today, what do we see? We see confusion bordering on chaos. We see theological debate and controversy. We see brazen and bold rebellion against the Spirit of Prophecy. We see more and more criticism and challenging of the Scriptures. We see some persons even trying to bring the idiocies of evolution into our faith. We see collapsing church standards, and rapidly increasing worldliness. Our schools are no longer “Cities of Refuge” for the young. What ever happened to our church? The answer to this question is so simple that you will find it hard to believe. These momentous and tragic changes were caused by a book. Yes, you read it correctly, a book. The book that was produced and published under the name Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. It is now more commonly referred to as Questions on Doctrine, or just by the initials, QOD. Church to buy its devastating, worldwide, impact on our church, it would have to be seen as One of the Devil’s greatest masterpieces of all time. It shattered our previous theological unity. It created widespread contempt for the Spirit of Prophecy. He created the necessity of dividing the years of our church’s history into Pre-–QOD and Post–QOD. These are two very different historical periods. Those of us who have lived in both periods can testify that the differences were and still are enormous. Questions on Doctrine was published in the year 1957. I had joined the church in 1936, so I lived in the Pre–QOD era for 21 years. I entered the ministry in 1945, so I ministered in the in the Pre–Q OD era for 12 years. In my evangelistic work during those Pre–QOD I used to I assure the new members whom I brought into the church that they could go anywhere in the world, find a Seventh-day Adventist church, open the door and step inside and say, I am home. This was thrilling to them. In that Pre-QOD era, when two Seventh-day Adventists from different parts of the world met, there was an instant bonding. They knew and great deal about each other, even though they had never met. They had similar religious convictions, similar worldviews, and similar hopes, dreams, and plans. They even wore similar clothes and ate similar foods. And they knew some of the same world leaders of the church. It was wonderful, it was precious. It was Pre-QOD, before Questions on Doctrine. But now it is gone. As you well know, when two Seventh-day Adventists from different parts of the world, or even from the same country, meet, in our time, they have to carefully and cautiously explore each others thinking before there can be any real fellowship like we used to have. For we are now in the Post-Questions on Doctrine years of controversy, from 1957 until the present 2004. Where did this tragic book, Questions on Doctrine, come from? It was prepared by our own Ministerial Association and printed in our own Review and Herald publishing house. So it was a self-inflicted wound. This makes it harder to understand, but it is the awful truth. The grisly events developed like this: In the early 1950’s Dr, Donald Grey Barnhouse, editor of Eternity, a magazine for Evangelical (Calvinist) ministers preached a radio sermon. A Seventh-day Adventist minister, J. T. Unruh, heard the sermon and wrote Barnhouse a letter of appreciation. Reminded of the Seventh-day Adventists by the letter, Barnhouse suggested to his co-worker, Dr. Walter Martin, who was studying cults in America, that he investigate our beliefs. This led eventually to a series of conferences that resulted in the publication of Questions on Doctrine. Just who the Seventh day Adventists were who participated in these conferences was not officially stated until recently,1 but various unofficial reports had already made it quite clear. They were Dr Leroy Edwin Froom, a professor in our theological seminary, Elder Roy Alan Anderson, secretary of our Ministerial Association, Elder W.E.Read, a general secretary of the General Conference, and Elder T.E.Unruh, president of the Pennsylvania conference. Some reports indicated that Dr Edward Heppenstall, a teacher in our seminary, was also involved. The Calvinist theologians were at Dr Donald Grey Barnhouse and Dr Walter Martin. Barnhouse and Martin had proposed to the Adventist representatives that if they would repudiate our teaching that Christ came to the earth in the human nature of fallen man, and make some other changes, they would stop telling the world that we were a “cult,” and accept us into their “fellowship.” Incredibly, our men agreed to do this, and the results are now before us in the present confusion and controversy in Adventism. The methods used by the small Adventist group to accomplish this purpose are utterly shocking, and defy all explanation. They appear to have been done by men bereft of their reason. As you will see, they were simply scandalous. Through no choice of my own, I have had the misfortune of being at a storm center of the controversy. So I was there. This is how it happened with me. This is the story of my own personal journey through the wilderness created by the scandalous book, Questions on Doctrine. I graduated from last Sierra College in 1945 and after a year in Nevada, went to Hawaii, where I ministered for 12 ½ years. I pastored in Kapaa, Hilo, and Honolulu, then spent 2 ½ years as Hawaii’s first full-time evangelist. I was then transferred to Northern California where I spent seven years in evangelism. I loved evangelism, but I had to recognise that an evangelist must of necessity preach the same truths over and over and he must spend much time visiting homes to answer Bible questions. This leaves him very little time for advanced study. I therefore started working some study time into my program, and in a few years, I had earned two Master degrees, and a Doctorate. Then I accepted a call to pastor the Glendale Church in Arizona, and conduct an evangelistic experiment that I was interested in. Then one afternoon I received a telephone call from my conference president, Elder Frank Sherrill. He said that the administrators of the South-eastern California Conference wanted to talk to me about coming to their conference to be senior pastor of the campus Hill Church in Loma Linda. I responded (reacted) immediately. “There is no need for them to talk to me,” I said. “You can tell them that I am not interested.” He agreed to do it, and I thought that would settle the matter. But that night, to my surprise, I received a telephone call from the South-eastern Californian Pres, Elder Walt Blehm. He spent some time telling me all of the nice things about the campus Hill church. I was trying hard to be respectful and courteous, and yet to be firm in my position that I did not want to make the change, and leave my project in Arizona. Then he mentioned the name of the union conference president, Elder Cree Sandefur. That startled me. I said, “Walt, is Sandefur with you on this?” He said, “Yes he certainly is.” I sighed deeply. That put a completely new face on the matter. I said, “Walt, will you let me talk to Sandefur?” If I call him early tomorrow morning, and then get back to you, would that be all right?” He said, “Yes, that will be fine.” At 8 o’clock the next morning, I walked into my church office, and the telephone was ringing. It was Sandefur. He had not waited for me to call him. He was calling me. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew that the game was over. I could not say “No” to Sandefur. This was not only because he was the Union president. It was also because I owed him an enormous personal debt of gratitude. When he had been president in Hawaii, he had let me leave the pastorate of the Honolulu Central Church and go into full-time evangelistic work. That was the beginning of 15 years of evangelism, which I will always think of as the best years of my life. Even today I would say, “Give me a summer evening, and a big tent pitched on a vacant lot, with a crowd of people softly singing the sweet songs of Zion, and I will tell you, “This is as good as it gets in this world. Nothing can surpass this” ” Sandefur didn’t press me. That was not his style. He just said that he would appreciate it if I would come over to Southeastern to take a look at the situation and discuss it with Walt Blehm. I agreed, and made the trip, and then the later move. I felt that I had no choice. I tell you this so that you will know how it happened that I got involved in the controversy that was raging throughout our church. Strangely, it had not come to my attention before I moved to Campus Hill. But when I got there it started hitting me from all sides. I felt like I was in a “combat zone.” Two different theologies were being taught in the Sabbath school classes in Campus Hill Church. One was our true theology, being presented in the lesson quarterlies and our church literature. The other, I learned, was being called “New Theology,” and was being strongly promoted by a teacher at Pacific union college, whose name was Desmond Ford. Church members were becoming increasingly concerned and confused. So I was forced by the circumstances to investigate the “new theology,” and was appalled by what I found. It was nothing but centuries-old corrupted Calvinism. Our pioneers had known it and rejected it in their time, and in my evangelistic work I had encountered it many times. It was all written up in standard textbooks of Calvinist theology. Let me explain that the two major points of Calvinist theology that are very different from our beliefs are (1) that Christ came to this earth in the human nature of the unfallen Adam, and therefore was altogether different from us, enjoyed great advantages over us, and should be seen only as our substitute and not as our example. The other (2) was a natural result of the first. If Christ had such great advantages over us, it would be unreasonable and unfair for God to expect us to live as he lived. So God does not expect or require us to stop sinning. He saves us in our sins, not from our sins. It is a doctrine of salvation in sin, that Christians cannot and need not stop sinning. It was a shock to me to hear these Calvinist falsehoods being presented as truths in a Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath school, to the great confusion of the people. I felt that it was my duty to defend the sacred truth, so I did. Then the fireworks really started.

References: 1. See their General Conference announcement entitled “World church Questions on Doctrine book annotated, republished,” (http://www.adventist.org/news/data/2003/10/1069166562/index.html.en).

 

 

 

Natural Remedies from the Kitchen!

Posted in Health and Healing on June 25th, 2014 by Danna Gesellchen — Be the first to comment!

God has been so good to us to put remedial properties in common foods and herbs found in most kitchens. These two videos are actually one presentation, and the final one from our Natural Remedies seminar held here in Bismarck earlier this month. In this video you will learn how to treat glaucoma, bring down intracranial pressure, treat migraines, and a whole lot more with things you probably already have in your cabinets or fridge. Join us!