The Good Way Series

This series of 13 articles presents in more detail the major differences between the SDA Church and the SDA Reform Movement. It is also available in printed form. Click on the subject of your choice.

 

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."

The Angel of Revelation 18 and the Message of 1888

STUDY 1

 

"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Rev. 18:1.

For the finishing of His work on earth, God gave us three messages (Rev. 14) by which we are to be prepared to stand in the great day of the Lord. They are the present truth for today. The way we treat these messages determines our position before God and decides our destiny either for salvation or perdition. "The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received." EW 258, 259. Revelation 14 is evidently a life or death question in which the great deceiver takes special interest. As a matter of fact, he is doing his best to weaken our grasp of the present truth. "Satan is constantly seeking to cast a shadow about these messages, so that the people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place." 6T 18. And, unfortunately, he has had much success among the professed people of God.

 

I-WHY THE ANGEL OF REVELATION 18 MUST COME

"Satan has devised a state of things whereby the proclamation of the third angel's message shall be bound about. We must beware of his plans and methods. There must be no toning down of the truth, no muffling of the message for this time. The third angel's message must be strengthened and confirmed. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation reveals the importance of presenting the truth in no measured terms but with boldness and power.... There has been too much beating about the bush in the proclamation of the third angel's message. The message has not been given as clearly and distinctly as it should have been." Ev 230.

"The third angel's message is to be given with power. The power of the proclamation of the first and second messages is to be intensified in the third. In the Revelation John says of the heavenly messenger who unites with the third angel: 'I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice.' Rev. 18:1, 2. We are in danger of giving the third angel's message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So m. any other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless." 6T 60.

"As foretold in the eighteenth of Revelation, the third angel's message is to be proclaimed with great power by those who give the final warning against the beast and his image: [Rev. 18:1-6 quoted]. This is the message given by God to be sounded forth in the loud cry of the third angel.... It is a solemn and terrible truth that many who have been zealous in proclaiming the third angel's message are now becoming listless and indifferent! The line of demarcation between worldlings and many professed Christians is almost indistinguishable. Many who once were earnest Adventists are conforming to the world to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 118, 119.

According to E. G. White, the angel of Revelation 18 would bring the needed reinforcement:

"I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message." EW 277.

"Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God.... They will proclaim the word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." TM 411.

 

II-MINNEAPOLIS, THE TURNING POINT

1888 marked a critical period for the SDA Church. In this same year and in the following years the church was called upon to choose between vital issues and thus decide her destiny.

1. The Beginning of the Light (1888)

The servant of the Lord wrote:

"I know that a work must be done for the people, or many will not be prepared to receive the light of the angel sent down from heaven to lighten the whole earth with his glory." TM 468, 469.

"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." 1SM 363.

"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God." TM 91, 92.

2. Only a Few Can See the Light

"We are living in the last days, and the generation that is to witness the final destruction has not been left without warning of the hastening judgments of God. Says the apostle, [Rev. 18:1-5 quoted]. The whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of this message, and hearts and minds will be prepared by its reception, for the coming of the King of kings. But this gracious message will be as generally rejected by the professed Christian world, as was the message of the Messiah by the Jewish nation. Only a few will receive the testimony of truth, for every influence that Satan can bring to bear against the reception of the truth of God will be employed.... The question of most vital importance for this time is, 'Who is on the Lord's side? Who will unite with the angel [of Revelation 18] in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?' Those who cherish the light that they have, will receive more. Increasing light will shine about the souls who yield to the softening, subduing grace of Christ; and those who love the light, will be saved from the delusions of Satan." RH Nov. 5, 1889.

"For nearly two years we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not.... They do not let the Saviour in." RH March 11, 1890.

"O how few know the day of their visitation! . . . How few there are who are truly humble, devoted, God-fearing servants....

'Today there are few who are heartily serving God. The most of those who compose our congregations are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins.... They are less and less sensible of the preciousness and value of truth, because they neglect the practice of those things which are pleasing in the sight of God. The stirring testimonies of reproof and warning do not arouse them. The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips-justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ-do not bring forth from them a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love, though his voice invites them to buy of him 'gold tried in the fire,' and 'white raiment that they may be clothed,' and 'eye-salve that they may see,' they steel their hearts against him, and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal; but fold their hands in complacency, make a profession, but deny the power of true godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them with abhorrence. To praise the world and God at the same time, is in no way acceptable to God. Awake, awake, before it is everlastingly too late." RH April 4, 1893.

3. There Is a Time Limit

The counsel of the Faithful and True Witness to Laodicea (Rev. 3:18-20) was offered to remedy the situation while there was still hope. Sister White wrote:

"The message given us by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church, and woe be unto anyone who professes to believe the truth, and yet does not reflect to others the God-given rays." MS 24, 1892.

"There is yet a chance to remedy their state [those who are lukewarm], and the Laodicean message is full of encouragement; for the backslidden church may yet buy the gold of faith and love, may yet have the white robe of the righteousness of Christ, that the shame of their nakedness need not appear." RH Aug. 28, 1894.

"Brethren, your own lamps will surely flicker and grow dim until they go out in darkness unless you make decided efforts to reform. 'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.' The opportunity now presented may be short. If this season of grace and repentance passes unimproved, the warning is given: 'I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.' . . . But His Spirit will not always strive. His patience will wait but little longer" 5T 612 (1889).

"It is not God that puts the blinder before the eyes of men or makes their hearts hard; it is the light which God sends to His people, to correct their errors, to lead them in safe paths, but which they refuse to accept-it is this that blinds their minds and hardens their hearts. They choose to turn from the light, to stubbornly walk in sparks of their own kindling, and the Lord positively declares that they shall lie down in sorrow. When one ray of light which the Lord sends is not acknowledged, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned, and so the darkness will constantly increase until it is night to the soul. Christ said, 'How great is that darkness!'. . .

"May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of His messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warnings and admonitions, the same result will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel.... God is not in a hurry to carry out His plans; for He is from everlasting to everlasting. He gives light and opens His truth more fully to those whom He would have to receive it, that they in their turn may take up the words of warning and encouragement, and give them to others. If men of repute and intelligence refuse to do this, the Lord will choose other instruments, honoring those who are looked upon as inferior." RH Oct. 21, 1890.

"The Lord has seen our backslidings, and He has a controversy with His people.... The displeasure of the Lord is against His people. In their present condition it is impossible for them to represent the character of Christ.... They have refused to receive the message; they have refused to come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.... The time will come when it must be said of the impenitent, 'Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.' Will the church see where she has fallen? . . . When the members of the church humble themselves before God by zealous, not half-hearted, lifeless action, the Lord will receive them. But He declares, 'I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' How long shall this warning be resisted?-The church is like the unproductive tree . . . on which the divine search discovers nothing but leaves. Solemn thought for our churches! solemn, indeed, for every individual! Marvelous is the patience and forbearance of God; but 'except thou repent,' it will be exhausted; the churches, our institutions, will go from weakness to weakness, from cold formality to deadness, while they are saying, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.'" RH (EXTRA), Dec. 23, 1890.

"'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' What effect have these words had upon the church? Have the professed people of God understood the import of the words, 'I will come unto thee quickly [when you are at ease, careless, filled with spiritual negligence], and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' When warnings come no more to the people of God, when tender admonitions from the Spirit of God are silent, when the candle of heavenly illumination shines no longer upon their pathway, they will be left to kindle their own fire, and to walk in the sparks of their own kindling." RH April 4, 1893. (The words in brackets appear in the original.)

From the foregoing quotations we see that the presentation of Christ and His righteousness led the church to the place where she was given:

 

(1) a short time to decide her destiny,
(2) the opportunity to decide between:

(a) a genuine revival and reformation or
(b) removal of her candlestick.

 

If the church accepted the special help sent to her, it would not be too late for her to avert the impending denominational disaster. But if she failed to improve the opportunity given her for revival and reformation, the removal of her candlestick would be marked by the cessation of God's warnings and admonitions.

 

III-THE CHURCH DECIDES HER DESTINY

It is not generally known among Adventists that "the message of the other angel" was rejected.

1. The Message Rejected

Sister White wrote:
"Now our meeting is drawing to a close and not one confession has been made, there has not been a single break so as to let the Spirit of God in. Now I was saying, What was the use of our assembling here together and for our ministering brethren to come in if they are here only to shut out the Spirit of God from the people? . . . If the ministers will not receive the light, I want to give the people a chance; perhaps they may receive it." MS 9, 1888.

"If you wait for light to come in a way that will please every one, you will wait in vain. If you wait for louder calls or better opportunities, the light will be withdrawn, and you will be left in darkness. Grasp every ray of light that God sends. Men who neglect to heed the calls of the Spirit and word of God, because obedience involves a cross, will lose their souls." RH Dec. 18, 1888.

"I have tried to present the message to you as I have understood it, but how long will those at the head of the work keep themselves aloof from the message of God?" RH March 18, 1890.

"If they have not recognized the Spirit of the Lord in the messages I have borne they will recognize it less now, for I have not strength to contend with the spirit, and resistance, doubts and unbelief which have barricaded their souls, that they could not see when good cometh. I have far greater liberty in speaking to unbelievers. They are interested. They feel impressed by the Spirit of God, and say it seems those words are spoken under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

"O, it is the hardest place in the world, to speak where great light has come to men in responsible positions. They have been enlightened, but have chosen darkness rather than light...." Letter 32w, 1890.

"The same spirit that actuated the rejectors of Christ, rankles in their hearts, and had they lived in the days of Christ, they would have acted toward Him in a manner similar to that of the godless and unbelieving Jews." Testimonies to R & H Office, pp. 16, 17.

"I can never forget the experience which we had in Minneapolis, or the things which were then revealed to me in regard to the spirit that controlled men, the words spoken, the actions done in obedience to the powers of evil.... They were moved at the meeting by another spirit." Letter 24s, 1892.

"An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones.... The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world." 1SM 234, 235.

"If Satan can impress the mind and stir up the passions of those who claim to believe the truth, and thus lead them to unite with the forces of evil, he is well pleased. If once he can get them to commit themselves to the wrong side, he has laid his plans to lead them on a long journey....

"I wish to plead with our brethren who shall assemble at the General Conference to heed the message given to the Laodiceans. What a condition of blindness is theirs; this subject [the message of 1888] has been brought to your notice again and again; but your dissatisfaction with your spiritual condition has not been deep and painful enough to work a reform. 'Thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' The guilt of self-deception is upon our churches." Letter to O.A. Olsen, Sept. 1, 1892, O.19, d'92.

"I saw that Jones and Waggoner had their counterpart in Joshua and Caleb. As the children of Israel stoned the spies with literal stones, you have stoned these brethren with stones of sarcasm and ridicule. I saw that you willfully rejected what you knew to be truth, just because it was too humiliating to your dignity. I saw some of you in your tents mimicking and making all manner of fun of these two brethren. I also saw that if you had accepted their message, we would have been in the kingdom two years from that date, but now we have to go back into the wilderness and there stay forty years." GCB May 9, 1892 (Melbourne, Australia).

"Our own people opposed the work of God by refusing the light of truth on the righteousness of Christ by faith. This they should have received and reechoed with heart and voice and pen. But when light has come to those at the center of the work, they have not known how to treat it." TM 401, 402 (1897).

"We should be the last people on earth to indulge in the slightest degree the spirit of persecution against those who are bearing the message of God to the world. This is the most terrible feature of unchristlikeness that has manifested itself among us since the Minneapolis meeting. Some time it will be seen in its true bearing, with all the burden of woe that has resulted from it." GCB 1893, p. 184.

"The sin committed in what took place at Minneapolis remains on the record books of heaven.... And when these persons are tried, and brought over the ground again, the same spirit will be revealed. When the Lord has sufficiently tried them, if they do not yield to Him, He will withdraw His Holy Spirit." Letter to O. A. Olsen, Sept. 1, 1892, O. 19, d'92.

2. The Messenger Rejected

The rejection of the message implies the rejection of the messenger-the angel of Revelation 18.

The angel of Revelation 18 symbolizes a movement. The servant of the Lord refers to "the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory" (GC 604). In this movement, both divine and human agents take an active part. In Revelation 18 it is actually the Holy Spirit that lightens the earth with His glory (ChS 253). He is also to seal the sighing and crying ones (3T 267) with the seal of the living God.

Literal angels certainly participate in the sealing of the 144,000 (Heb. 1:13, 14; PK 591). And consecrated human beings have their share, too, in the closing work.

"The angels are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming to the world a message of warning, and having a direct bearing upon the people living in the last days of this earth's history. No one hears the voice of these angels, for they are a symbol to represent the people of God who are working in harmony with the universe of heaven. Men and women, enlightened by the Spirit of God and sanctified through the truth, proclaim the three messages in their order." 2SM 387.

So, if "the message of the other angel" (1888) was rejected, this means that the men who brought the message were rejected, the angels who attended these men were rejected, and also the Holy Spirit that used these men was rejected. Sister White wrote:

"Now, just now, is our day of mercy and salvation. The Lord God, who dwelleth in the holy place, sees every soul that shows contempt for the manifestations of His Holy Spirit. God has revealed himself again and again in a most marked manner in Battle Creek. He has given a large measure of His Holy Spirit to the believers there. It has come unexpectedly at times.... Some felt annoyed at this outpouring, and their own natural dispositions were manifested. They said, 'This is only excitement; it is not the Holy Spirit, not showers of the latter rain from heaven."' Sp T, Series A, No. 6, p. 19 (1896).

"The heavenly messenger has been repulsed by the determined will. 'Thus far shalt thou go with my students, but no farther. We need no enthusiasm in our school, no excitement. We are much better satisfied to work with the students ourselves.' It is thus that despite has been done to God's gracious messenger, the Holy Spirit.

"Are not the teachers in our schools in danger of blasphemy, of charging the Holy Spirit of God with being a deceiving power, and leading into fanaticism? . . . A succession of showers from the living waters has come to you at Battle Creek . . . but you did not recognize it as such. Instead of drinking copiously of the streams of salvation, so freely offered through the influence of the Holy Spirit, you turned to common sewers, and tried to satisfy your soul-thirst with the polluted waters of human science. The result has been parched hearts in the schools and in the church.... But I hope the teachers have not yet passed the line where they are given over to hardness of heart and blindness of mind." Sp T, Series A, No. 7, pp. 31, 32 (1897).

The faithful few, who at that time accepted the message, were powerless to reform the church. Nevertheless, 1888 marked the beginning of the prophesied movement of revival and reformation, which was more fully revealed in another crisis, when open apostasy brought a major separation.

 

IV-UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCES

It is a pity that the Adventist people, with few exceptions, are not properly enlightened about the turning point brought by "the message of Righteousness by Faith" in 1888. Official church publications have given very scanty and inadequate information on the subject. Those who have read the Spirit of Prophecy statements quoted before, must surely be disappointed when they find inaccurate declarations made by the leadership today. For example: in the book The Story of Our Church, pp. 246, 247, we read:

"The rank and file of the people attending the conference accepted the message joyously, but not some of the leaders....

"After the 1888 conference, unity gradually came; leaders who had opposed the movement toward a deeper, more personal faith, accepted reproof from Mrs. White and confessed their unhappy condition of mind after the conference....

"Though the Minneapolis Conference seemed depressing and alarming, it turned out to be a great victory for the church.... A new experience came to the leaders, and the church made rapid progress in all branches of the work at home and abroad, as there was a realization of the proper emphasis which must be given to righteousness by faith."

This rosy picture which the leaders are now trying to present contradicts the true picture shown by the servant of the Lord in the writings quoted before and in those transcribed hereinafter. Sister White says:

"The religion of Jesus is endangered. It is being mingled with worldliness. Worldly policy is taking the place of the true piety and wisdom that comes from above, and God will remove His prospering hand from the conference. Shall the ark of the covenant be removed from this people? Shall idols be smuggled in? Shall false principles and false precepts be brought into the sanctuary? Shall antichrist be respected? Shall the true doctrines and principles given us by God, which have made us what we are, be ignored? . . . This is directly where the enemy, through blinded, unconsecrated men, is leading us." MS 29, 1890.

"Formality, worldly wisdom, worldly caution, worldly policy, will appear to many to be the very power of God, but when accepted, it stands as an obstacle to prevent God's light in warnings, reproof, and counsel from coming to the world....

"Satan will insinuate himself by little wedges, that widen as they make a place for themselves. The specious devices of Satan will be brought into the special work of God at this time." MS 16, 1890.

"The Lord will not leave His church without reproofs and warnings. Sins have become fashionable; but they are nonetheless aggravating in the sight of God. They are glossed over, palliated, and excused; the right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who are bringing in false theories and false sentiments, confusing the mind of the people of God, deadening their sensibilities as to what constitutes right principles. Conscience has thus become insensible to the counsels and the reproofs which have been given. The light given, calling to repentance, has been extinguished in the clouds of unbelief and opposition brought in by human plans and human inventions." News Letter, Methods No. 1 (1897).

"A new order of things has come into the ministry. There is a desire to pattern after other churches, and simplicity and humility are almost unknown. The young ministers seek to be original, and to introduce new ideas and new plans for labor. Some open revival meetings, and by this means call large numbers into the church. But when the excitement is over, where are the converted ones? Repentance and confession of sin are not seen. The sinner is entreated to believe in Christ and accept Him without regard to his past life of sin and rebellion. The heart is not broken. There is no contrition of soul. The supposed converted ones have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus." Undated MS, 111.

1. Unfaithful Leaders Denounced

"The men who close their eyes to the divine light are ignorant, deplorably ignorant, both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The Holy Spirit's working is not agreeable to them, and they attribute its manifestations to fanaticism....

"Those who entertain and speak this belief do not know what they are talking about. They are cherishing a love of darkness; and just as long as these Christless souls are retained in positions of responsibility the cause of God is imperiled. They are in danger of fastening themselves so firmly with the dark leader of all rebellion that they will never see light; and the longer they are retained the more hopeless is their chance of receiving Christ or of having a knowledge of the true God. How uncertain they make everything that is spiritual and progressive in the truth! Under the influence of their leader they become more and more determined to work against Christ." TM 284, 285 (1896).

2. The Banner of Christ Destroyed

"On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work; but those who resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same. Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted; but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit's working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God, and they have lost much. They declared in their heart and soul and words that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was fanaticism and delusion. They stood like a rock; the waves of mercy were flowing upon and around them, but were beaten back by their hard and wicked hearts, which resisted the Holy Spirit's working. Had this been received, it would have made them wise unto salvation-holier men, prepared to do the work of God with sanctified ability. But all the universe of heaven witnessed the disgraceful treatment of Jesus Christ, represented by the Holy Spirit. Had Christ been before them, they would have treated Him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ.... Those who opened the door of their hearts to temptation at Minneapolis, and carried the same spirit home with them, will realize, if not now, in the near future, that they resisted the Holy Spirit of God, and did despite to the Spirit of grace. Will they repent? .... The Spirit of the Lord has been upon His messengers whom He has sent with light, precious light; but there were so many who had turned their faces away from the Sun of Righteousness that they saw not its bright beams. The Lord says of them, 'They have turned their back unto me, and not their face.' . . . Who will now understand these things that I write? . . . The Lord is coming; but those who venture to resist the light that God gave in rich measure at Minneapolis, who have not humbled their hearts before God, will follow on in the path of resistance, saying, 'Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?' The banner all will bear who voice the message of the third angel, is being covered with another color that virtually kills it." Sp T, Series A, No. 6, pp. 19-26 (1896).

3.The Work Receives a New Mold

"Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God, have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. They are indulging the very same spirit as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and as did the Jews in the days of Christ....

"Jesus said, 'Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.' This prophecy was literally fulfilled by the Jews in their treatment of Christ and of the messengers whom God sent to them. Will men in these last days follow the example of those whom Christ condemned?

"These terrible predictions they have not as yet carried out to the full; but if God spares their lives, and they nourish the same spirit that marked their course of action both before and after the Minneapolis meeting, they will fill up to the full the deeds of those whom Christ condemned when He was upon the earth....

"They began this satanic work at Minneapolis.... Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude." TM 78-80 (1895).

"Already has the power of darkness placed its mold and superscription upon the work.... The Holy Spirit is wanting in our work." TM 277, 278 (1896).

4. Further Developments

"The same work that has been done in the past, will be carried forward under the guise of the General Conference Association. The sacred character of this association is fast disappearing. What will then be respected as pure, holy, and undefiled? Will there be any voice that God's people can regard as a voice they can respect? There certainly is nothing now that bears the divine credentials....

"To a large degree the General Conference Association has lost its sacred character, because some connected with it have not changed their sentiments in any particular since the Conference held at Minneapolis. Some in responsible positions go on 'frowardly' in the way of their own hearts....

"Who can now feel sure that they are safe in respecting the voice of the General Conference Association? If the people in our churches understood the management of the men who walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling, would they respect their decisions? I answer, No, not for a moment. I have been shown that the people at large do not know that the heart of the work is being diseased and corrupted at Battle Creek. Many of the people are in a lethargic, listless, apathetic condition, and assent to plans which they do not understand. Where is the voice, from whence will it come, to whom the people may listen, knowing that it comes from the True Shepherd?" Sp T, The Work at Battle Creek, (May 31, 1896).

"At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles. In the working of plans, the same principles are manifest that have controlled matters at Battle Creek for quite a length of time." TM 359 (1895).

"The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst." News Letter, Education No. 6 11898).

"The heavenly Teacher inquired: What stronger delusion can beguile the mind than the pretense that you are building on the right foundation and that God accepts your works, when in reality you are working out many things according to worldly policy and are sinning against Jehovah? . . .

"Who can truthfully say, 'Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world'? I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: 'Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? 'How is the faithful city become an harlot!' My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking.

"Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself." 8T 249, 250 (1903).

"Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse." 7T 62 (l902).

The development of this condition (especially 8T 250) is one of the strongest evidences that the message of 1888 (Rev. 18:1) was rejected by the leadership and the church. In connection with this negative experience, the following warning becomes very meaningful:

"Where the message of divine truth is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in darkness." GC 378.

5. Special Efforts Made in Behalf of the Leaders

a) Appeal of 1901 (ignored)

"At the General Conference, held in Battle Creek in 1901, the Lord gave His people evidence that He was calling for reformation.... If stubborn hearts had then broken in penitence before God, there would have been seen one of the greatest manifestations of the power of God that has ever been seen. But God was not honored. The testimonies of His Spirit were not heeded. Men did not separate from the practices that were in decided opposition to the principles of truth and righteousness, which should ever be maintained in the Lord's work." 8T 97, 98 (1903).

b) Appeal of 1903 (ignored)

"When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave Himself to defend the lives of men and women. In this destruction God was appealing to His people to return to Him. And in the destruction of the Review and Herald Office, and the saving of life, He makes a second appeal to them." 8T 102 (1903).

"After I received word in regard to the excellent meeting of confession and unity that had been held in Battle Creek, I was writing in my diary, and was about to record the thankfulness I felt because a change had come, when my hand was arrested and there came to me the words: 'Write it not. No change for the better has taken place "' 8T 231 (l903).

c) Appeal of 1909 (ignored)

"During the General Conference of 1909 a work should have been done in the hearts of those in attendance that was not done. . . . But, though opportunities were given for confession of sin, for heartfelt repentance, and for a decided reformation, thorough work was not done." 2SM 400, 401 (1909).

The sad experience of 1888 was repeated during the following General Conference sessions also. The renewed appeals made to the leadership were rejected again and again. No genuine revival and reformation was witnessed among them. And the church suffered the unavoidable consequences.

 

V-HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

"The rejection of light leaves men in darkness, so that they know not at what they stumble. The invitation which the Jews refused, was sent to the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. The terrible denunciation was pronounced that none of those who had refused the invitation should taste of the marriage supper. They had listened to the suggestions of Satan, and had made excuses, and under his leadership they would be left in the darkness of unbelief. They entrenched themselves as did Pharaoh in stubborn resistance against the Lord Jesus and His disciples; they chose Barabbas instead of Christ.

"The precious message has come to us in these last days. Warnings and entreaties have sounded. The invitation has been given, 'Come; for all things are now ready.' While it is called today, harden not your hearts. Shall men and women whom God has blessed with great light, permit themselves to be led astray by the flattering lies of the enemy of their souls? . . . Shall we not arouse, and shake off the dangerous lethargy of the world, which is lulling us to sleep in the cradle of carnal security? . . . God's Spirit will not always strive with man.... Will you imitate the Jews, who refused the invitation?" RH Nov. 5, 1895.

"By rejecting the light that was shining upon them, by refusing to examine the evidence to see whether the messages were from heaven, the Pharisees sinned against the Holy Ghost....

"The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God a service....

"In this our day the sin of the Pharisees is being repeated. Many are turning from light, refusing to listen to the warning of God's Spirit. But by closing the heart to divine impressions, we put away the forgiveness which our Redeemer is so graciously offering to us. By rejecting mercy and truth, we prepare for a course of resistance which, if followed, will continue till we have no power to do otherwise. A point is reached where the most pointed appeals are without effect. The desire to submit to God and to do His will is no longer felt. The spiritual senses become dulled. Darkness is the result, and how great is that darkness!

"The Holy Spirit strives with every man. It is the voice of God speaking to the soul. But let that voice be resisted, and we, like the Pharisees, shall stifle conviction and resist evidence, however plain. God will give us up, and we shall be left to our own inclinations." RH July 27, 1897.

"Satan is working that the history of the Jewish nation may be repeated in the experience of those who claim to believe present truth." 2SM 111 (1896).

"The Jewish people were destroyed because they rejected the message of salvation sent down from heaven. Shall those in this generation to whom God has given great light and wonderful opportunities follow in the trend of those who rejected light to their ruin?" 6T 146 (1900).

 

VI-TWO PHASES

In the evidences produced so far, two points have been emphasized: (1) the coming of the angel of Revelation 18 (called the fourth angel) with a specific message of revival and reformation in 1888 and (2) the way this vital message was treated on that occasion and during the subsequent years. We will now consider the two phases of the work of this angel.

1. First Phase-Preparation

The Spirit of Prophecy establishes beyond the possibility of doubt the fact that the angel of Revelation 18 began his work with the presentation of the message of Christ's righteousness in 1888.

In 1888, the fourth angel (Rev. 18) represented the messengers who: (1) brought the diagnosis made by the Great Physician (Isa. 58:1; Rev. 3:14-17) and (2) offered the only remedy prescribed for the badly needed treatment (Rev. 3:18). He came with a message of revival and reformation to prepare a people for the receiving of the latter rain. Sister White wrote:

"In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious message of the righteousness of Christ. We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess-gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ's righteousness, eyesalve of spiritual discernment." COR 45.

"God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will 'cry aloud and spare not,' who will lift up their 'voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time, the Lord our righteousness." COR 47, 48.

"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." 1SM 363.

"The question of most vital importance for this time is, 'Who is on the Lord's side? Who will unite with the angel [of Rev. 18] in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?'" RH Nov. 5, 1889.

"Mystic Babylon has not been sparing in the blood of the saints and shall we [not] be wide awake to catch the beams of light which have been shining from the light of the angel who is to brighten the earth with his glory." 3SM 426.

"All who are laborers together with God . . . will not be turned from the present message, which is already lightening the earth with its glory." 2SM 114.

"If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory." ST Aug. 1, 1892.

"The prophet declares, 'And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.' Brightness, glory, and power are to be connected with the third angel's message, and conviction will follow wherever it is preached in demonstration of the Spirit. How will any of our brethren know when this light shall come to the people of God? As yet, we certainly have not seen the light that answers to this description. God has light for His people, and all who will accept it will see the sinfulness of remaining in a lukewarm condition; they will heed the counsel of the True Witness when He says, 'Be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.' The Church is represented as standing in a self-satisfied, pleased, proud, independent position, ignorant of her destitution and wretchedness....

"The gold that Jesus would have us buy of Him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give. The eyesalve is the true spiritual discernment that is so wanting among us, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.

"To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you." RH April 1, 1890 [emphasis supplied].

According to these statements, the angel of Revelation 18:1 must first do an internal work of revival and reformation among church members before he can give the loud cry under the power of the latter rain (Rev. 18:2-4).

The servant of the Lord says that the work of this other angel began in 1888 (1SM 363), when the first rays of his light appeared, strengthening the "third angel's message in verity." From its small beginning, this light is to grow until it reaches a climax:

"The message loses none of its force in the angel's onward flight, for John sees it increasing in strength and power until the whole earth is lightened with its glory. The course of God's commandment-keeping people is onward, ever onward. The message of truth that we bear must go to nations, tongues, and people. Soon it will go with a loud voice, and the earth will be lightened with its glory." 5T 383.

"The angel [of Rev. 18:1] who unites in the proclamation of the third angel's message, is to lighten the whole earth with his glory." GC 611.

The idea that the prophesied reformation must begin with the miraculous healing of the sick and other signs and wonders, under the latter rain, is a false interpretation of 9T 126, which refers to the climax, not the beginning, of the reformatory movement. We are warned:

"Many who refuse the message which the Lord sends them are seeking to find pegs on which to hang doubts, to find some excuse for rejecting the light of heaven. In the face of clear evidence they say, as did the Jews, 'Show us a miracle, and we will believe. If these messengers have the truth, why do they not heal the sick?'. . .

"Could their eyes be opened, they would see evil angels exulting around them and triumphing in their power to deceive them. The day is just before us when Satan will answer the demand of these doubters and present numerous miracles to confirm the faith of all those who are seeking this kind of evidence. How terrible will be the situation of those who close their eyes to the light of truth and ask for miracles to establish them in deception!" Ev 594.

"There must be a reformation throughout our ranks; the people must reach a higher standard before we can expect the power of God to be manifested in a marked manner for the healing of the sick." MM 16.

"The great reformatory movement must begin in presenting to fathers and mothers and children the principles of the law of God." 6T 119 (1900).

The evidences presented before make it clear that the first purpose of the coming of the angel of Revelation 18 is to give power to the third angel's message, which grew weak in the hands of those first entrusted with it (Ev 230; 6T 60; 8T 118, 119; EW 277; TM 411). Only as the third message is strengthened by the other angel can it swell to a loud cry according to several Spirit of Prophecy statements.

There can be no mistake in what God has revealed through Sister White. Yet some try to give the impression that they know better than the Spirit of Prophecy. They explain Revelation 18:1 saying that the other angel has not come as yet, but when he comes, they assert, he will lighten the whole earth directly with the fullness of his glory. These brethren are evidently advocating, contrary to a Thus Saith the Lord, that the message will grow even without the only help that the Lord has provided to make its growth possible. And this mistaken belief creates yet another inconsistency: If the message could steadily increase in strength and power, so that it would come to a climax by itself, completely unaided by the fourth angel, then it stands to reason that the coming of the fourth angel at the end would serve no purpose. Sometimes we wonder why, for the sake of consistency, these professed believers do not explain Revelation 14:9 in exactly the same way. They have never told us why the "loud voice," with which the third angel comes, was not heard in 1844. As can be seen, error is inconsistent with its own conclusions.

2. Second Phase-Latter Rain

In 1888, when the angel of Revelation 18 came, he represented those who actually accepted his message. From the beginning to the end of his mission, he identifies himself only with the true Adventists. In the prophesied shaking, therefore, we find him, not with the apostatized majority, but with the faithful minority. Prophecy says:

"As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side.... They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren." GC 608.

"But [at this time] God still has a people in Babylon; and . . . these faithful ones must be called out.... Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, . . . [bearing] the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth." GC 604.

"In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord's servants [the 'former brethren' identified with the 'movement' of Revelation 18] will be tried. They have faithfully given the warning, looking to God and to His word alone." GC 608.

To sound the loud cry, as can be seen, becomes the responsibility of a small, faithful"remnant" which is clearly distinguished from the unreformed mother "church" (5T 211, 213, 524). Of these faithful few, who have been called to "bear the ark of God," it is written that "the truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands." This small "company" of "former brethren," journeying along the narrowing road (2T 594, 595), must first show the professed people of God their transgressions "and the house of Jacob their sins" (TM 411). The giving of the final warning, the loud cry, is the last part of their work. The Spirit of Prophecy describes this event as follows:

"The messengers of Heaven are to be seen running to and fro, seeking in every possible way to warn the people of the coming judgments, and presenting the glad tidings of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The standard of righteousness is to be exalted. The Spirit of God is moving upon men's hearts, and those who respond to its influence will become lights in the world. Everywhere they are seen going forth to communicate to others the light they have received as they did after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And as they let their light shine, they receive more and more of the Spirit's power. The earth is lighted with the glory of God.

"But, O, sad picture! . . . He will take His Holy Spirit from the church, and give it to others who will appreciate it.

"There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light, than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness, and devoting their time and energies in celebrating forms and ceremonies. Thoughts of the inner work, the necessary purity of heart, are not entertained. The absence of harmony with God becomes apparent. The light grows dim, goes out; the candlestick has been removed." RH July 16, 1895.

"At the time of the loud cry of the third angel those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy, who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan, will be in peril, because it will be difficult for them to discern the light from heaven, and they will be inclined to accept falsehood. Their erroneous experience will color their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given will be no evidence to those who have blinded their eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. After rejecting light, they will originate theories which they will call 'light,' but which the Lord calls, 'Sparks of their own kindling, by which they will direct their steps." RH Dec. 13, 1892.

"The cause of Christ will be betrayed. Those who have had the light of truth, and have enjoyed its blessings, but who have turned away from it, will fight down the Spirit of God. Inspired with a spirit from beneath, they will tear down that which they once built up, and show to all reasonable, God-fearing souls that they cannot be trusted. They may lay claim to truth and righteousness, but their spirit and works will testify that they are betrayers of their Lord. The attributes of Satan they call the movings of the Holy Spirit." RH May 24, 1898.

"There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work. 'Why,' they say, 'should not we know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?' Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties of the messages of God, but persistently said, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.' "RH Dec. 23, 1890.

 

VII-THE OTHER ANGEL AND THE SHAKING

The statement in GC 608, which points to a separation in the SDA Church, does not refer to only one event or only one occasion. It shows a series of successive events taking place over a long period of time. Three phases are evident in this prophecy: (1) Before the testing storm comes, a large class of Adventist believers (see proportion in ChS 41) turn away from the truth and place themselves under the banner of Satan. This does not mean that they leave the organization. On the contrary, they form the great majority, and the controlling power, within the church to the very end. (Read 5T 209-212.) (2) While the great test is coming nearer and nearer, this apostatized majority develop their denominational character, step by step, as they unite more and more with the world, partaking more fully of its spirit. This is taking place now, in our days. (3) Then, when the great test, the Sunday decree, is finally brought, this majority, as an organized church, yields to the powers that be. That is when they become the most bitter enemies of the company of "former brethren," who have been entrusted with doing the work of the angel of Revelation 18 (compare GC 604, 608).

This faithful remnant company unites with the third angel like the third angel united with the second angel in 1844. And how did the third angel join the second angel? When the third angel came in 1844, the truth which he brought was rejected by the First Day Adventists (including William Miller and other leaders of the Advent Movement) who had so far been represented by the first and second angels. As this group of Millerite believers refused the light of the third angel, they ceased to be represented by the first and second angels. From that time on the representation of the first and second angels has continued in the hands of those Adventists who have heartily accepted the message of the third angel. It was through these faithful believers, who turned away from their former associates and became the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, that the third angel joined the first and second angels. While there was a separation in the body of Advent believers, there was an association among the three angels, who were now working, hand in hand, in and through the newly formed group of Seventh-day Adventists.

There is a parallel between the joining in of the third angel and the coming of the fourth angel (Rev. 18). History is being repeated. The unreformed SDA mother church, who will receive, not the latter rain but the wrath of God (5T 211), ceases to be represented by the first, second, and third angels when the presence of God is withdrawn from them as a church (5T 210). Evidently, a church that eventually becomes a "cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (TM 265) can no longer be represented by the three angels of God. These represent the faithful remnant company of former brethren (GC 608). It is in this company that the fourth angel must now add power and glory to the third angel's message, until they, as "the movement symbolized by the angel" of Revelation 18, are prepared to give the loud cry.

As SDA reformers, we hope that if we remain faithful, we will take part in this victorious experience, which is a challenge to all true Adventists. It is our conviction that the SDA Reform Movement with its stand for present truth fits into the prophetic picture pertaining to the faithful remnant company. (For details see Study No. 2, The Church and the Remnant.) Evidences show that, in the providence of God, this Movement was called into existence to carry on an important work in the light of Revelation 3:18-20 and Revelation 18:1.

During the days of Christ's earthly ministry there was much discussion among the Jews as to the identification of the prophesied Elijah, who was to come. Even the disciples were confused by the Pharisees, who maintained that Jesus could not be the Messiah, because according to Malachi 4, "Elias must first come." What a startling revelation it must have been to them to learn "that Elias is come already, and they knew him not" (Matt. 17:12). This explanation was readily accepted by those who recognized John the Baptist as God's messenger. Jesus said: "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." Matt. 11:14. We would leave the same proposition with the reader of this booklet concerning that "other angel." All agree that he is to come, but not all will recognize that he "is come already, and they knew him not."

The problem with the Laodicean believers is that, because of their spiritual blindness (Rev. 3:17), they fail to discern the difference between right and wrong, truth and error. "Woe unto them that call evil~good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isa. 5:20. Only the eyesalve offered in the Laodicean message can give us the needed spiritual discernment to see light in God's light.

At this stage some of our readers may say, "All this is new to us. We have never been taught these things." As a matter of fact, not too many Adventists know the truth about the angel of Revelation 18 and the message of 1888. Therefore, multitudes will not be in a position to see the light.

'When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel [of Rev. 18:1] who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world." TM 300.

The Church and the Remnant

STUDY 2

 

The blessed hope of the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ "to meet His bride the church and bring her to His home" is the dearest keynote in the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12. At His coming the Lord will acknowledge His true followers-"a glorious church," "holy and without blemish," "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" (Eph. 5:27). And there is no doubt that, with us or without us, the Lord will find such a church on earth when He comes. "Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel." COL 419. In the interest of our salvation, we certainly want to be part of this church.

Many statements in the Bible and in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy focus our attention on this faithful remnant, for which there is a definite place in the prophetic picture for these last days. Therefore, any doctrinal discussion is significant in the light of prophecy only if it serves to identify the remnant church that lives just before Christ's second coming.

If prophecy leads us to the conclusion that the SDA Church is the final remnant that will receive the latter rain, finish the work, and go right into the kingdom, then the present disagreements (between the SDA Church and the SDA Reform Movement) should not be a real hindrance, because in this case the understanding is that these problems will either be settled before the coming of Christ or are not so important that God cannot overlook them. And, as a necessary corollary of such a reasoning, there is no room for the existence of the SDA Reform Movement as a separate corporation, and, for this reason, there is not much point in discussing questions on doctrine and principles. If, how ever, prophecy makes it evident that at the end the SDA Church is not the "small remnant," the "church triumphant," then a discussion of discrepancies concerning principles and doctrines is really significant, because it may show us why the Adventist Church has failed and how a faithful remnant will succeed.

In this field, it is essential that we beware of the way of thinking of our Catholic friends, lest we repeat their mistake. Catholics read Matthew 16:18-where Christ said, "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"-and proclaim the infallibility of the Romish Church. They will not consider conditions (Matt. 7:16-27; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; John 8:31, 32; 2 John 9; 2 Chron. 15:2, 2nd part; Isa. 8:20; etc.), nor will they regard pertinent prophecies (2 Thess. 2:3, 4; Rev. 2:13, 20, 21; 17:1-5; 18:4, 5). In an alarming example of misappropriation, in which they take for themselves certain scriptures which do not belong to them (Matt. 16:18; 18:17; 28:20), they claim to be "the church"-infallible to the very end. Couldn't we as Adventists be involved in a similar misconception? Evidently, the sin of presumption, against which John the Baptist warned the Jews (Matt. 3:9), was not limited to that generation. (Read COL 304, 306.)

 

I-SDA BELIEF CONCERNING "THE CHURCH"

So far as we have been able to verify, the SDA leadership teaches that the Adventist Church will go through to the end as a victorious church. Statements to this effect can be found in The Review and Herald. Examples:

"When people attempt to show that the Laodicean church is in such a hopeless condition that they never can or will be aroused, I have great consolation and gratitude in remembering that this is the very church that will be translated into the kingdom of God." RH Nov. 30, 1939.

"To leave this church, to be spewed out of it because of personal rejection of the Testimony of the True Witness, is to be lost. . . . He [the Lord] would have us . . . remain with Him in the Laodicean church." RH Jan. 19, 1956.

"In view of the soon coming of Jesus there must come a final remnant, and Seventh-day Adventists believe they are that final remnant people, not because of any innate superiority but because of the grace of God in their lives in the final period of this world's history. Sinners will be sifted out of the church, and the church will remain." RH Jan. 18, 1973.

We can understand the convictions of our Adventist brethren, but we are at a loss for a confirmation of this viewpoint in the Bible and/or in the writings of E. G. White. While we agree that the SDA's are the remnant that came out of the Protestant churches, we do not read in the Word of God that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, generally known as such, is the final remnant that will be prepared for the coming of Jesus. What we find is that the Adventist Church (which we will call the "mother church") will remain as an organized church, but not as a victorious church, and that a small remnant from the mother church will eventually be prepared for the coming of Christ.

The word "church," as it is used in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, carries different meanings, as shown by the context. Here are a few examples:

When the days of Christ are brought into focus, we must distinguish between the Jewish church and the early Christian church:

a) Jewish church: "Jesus saw His church, like the barren fig tree, covered with pretentious leaves, yet destitute of precious fruit." GC 316.

b) Christian church: "Christ founded His church upon the living Rock." DA 413.

During the Dark Ages:

a) Roman church: "The bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church." GC 54.

b) Persecuted remnant church: "Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church." AA 11.

In these last days:

a) All fallen churches of Christendom: "The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and in this work, papists and Protestants unite." GC 607.

b) Seventh-day Adventist people: "He [Satan] is now preparing for his last campaign against the church." GC 510.

c) Unreformed SDA majority: "Through this means [unity with the world] the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."' TM 265. "Those who receive the pure mark of truth . . . are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done' in the church." 3T 267. "Will the church see where she has fallen?" RH, Extra, Dec. 23, 1890.

d) Reformed SDA minority: "The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall." 2SM 380. "Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict." PK 725. "Then will the church of Christ appear 'fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners."' 5T 82.

A great deal of unnecessary confusion can be avoided if these distinctions are borne in mind.

 

II-THE MOTHER CHURCH AND THE REMNANT

According to Ezekiel, chapter 9, which refers to the church in these last days (TM 445), there is no salvation for the whole house of Israel, but only for the sighing and crying ones. The church remains (like the previous churches have also remained) as an organized body, but not as God's faithful remnant.

1. The Mother Church is not the Remnant

"The true people of God . . . will . . . feel most deeply the wrongs of God's professed people.... Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done' in the church." 3T 266, 267.

In this statement, which applies to the very end, it is not the church that is sighing and crying for what some of its members are doing (if this were the case, the church would put them out); it is rather a few sighing and crying ones that are taking exception to what the church is doing when the "general destruction" is about to come. And what will happen to the church? In another testimony commenting on Ezekiel 9, the servant of the Lord says:

"Here we see that the church-the Lord's sanctuary-was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God." 5T 211.

As can be seen from this description, the Adventist Church remains. not as a victorious church which has gone through a process of thorough reformation, but rather as a denomination that has failed like other churches had failed before her.

The evidence that the unfaithful majority remains as an organized church is confirmed by prophetic statements refer ring to the close of probation:

"Those who walk in the light will see signs of the approaching peril.... The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying.... But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.... But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.... Those who have a zeal for God's honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.... They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity.... They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.

"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left with out the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: 'Go ye after him through the city, and smite....'

"Here we see that the church-the Lord's sanctuary-was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust....

"The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed....

"No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle when left to their own deceitful hearts. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ringleaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God's mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath he deals with them without mercy....

"'And at that time shall Michael stand up.' . . . The seal of the living God is upon His people. This small remnant . . . make God their defense." 5T 209-213.

This is how the prophetic pen depicts the mother church on the one hand and a small remnant on the other hand, at the end of probation. There is no suggestion here that the apostatized majority will be shaken out and that the mother church will be come a purified body, prepared to receive the latter rain and the seal of God. Only a "small remnant," as we just read, will receive the seal of God, while the mother church, as an organized body, will receive the wrath of God. Let us reread this quotation, and keep it in mind; it is the background of all future church-related events. A parallel prophetic statement reads as follows:

"When the accumulated figures in heaven's record books shall mark the sum of transgression complete, wrath will come, un mixed with mercy.... But in the hour of the church's greatest danger most fervent prayer will be offered in her behalf by the faithful remnant." 5T 524.

In this last prophetic testimony, as well as in the other two considered before (3T 327; 5T 209-213), at the very end the church is not the remnant and the remnant is not the church. There is a clear distinction between the two. This distinction is made very clear, also, in the following declarations:

"Many who have had great light have not appreciated and improved it as it was their privilege to do. They have not practiced the truth. And because of this the Lord will bring in those who have lived up to all the light they have had. And those who have been privileged with opportunities to understand the truth and who have not obeyed its principles will be swayed by Satan's temptations for self-advancement. They will deny the principles of truth in practice and bring reproach upon the cause of God.

"Christ declares that He will spue these out of His mouth, and leave them to follow their own course of actions to distinguish themselves. This course of action does indeed make them prominent as men that are unfaithful householders.

"The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognize them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord, but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts." 3SM 421, 422.

"The great Head who moves in the midst of his candlesticks will never be without a church.... If we refuse to let our light shine for the Master, if we do not do the works of God, others will do that very work which we might have done and could have done, but refused to do. When we cease to fulfill our mission, when the candlestick refuses to reflect light, and the great truths committed to us individually in trust for the world, are not given to them, then the candlestick will be removed. 'I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.' Another will be placed in his stead and will shine." RH June 7, 1887.

"But O sad picture! Those who do not submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit soon lose the blessings received. . . And Christ says unto them, 'Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.' He will take his Holy Spirit from the church, and give it to others who will appreciate it." RH July 16, 1895.

As we put these parallel prophecies together, we understand that the "others," to whom the Holy Spirit is to be given (the con text refers to the latter rain), are the "faithful remnant" or "small remnant" mentioned in 5T 524, 213.

2. The Mother Church in the Past, Present and Future

If in 1893 the prophetess declared that "not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history," and that, while professing to serve God, "they are more earnestly serving mammon" (ChS 41}, we understand that in this case the great majority characterizes the denominational situation. Here is a pertinent example from the days of Moses: "So many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national. 'Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor.' " PP 454. So, today, what is said of the unfaithful majority can be said of the church. Examples:

"If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations." 4T 513.

"The church has turned back from following Christ her Lea der and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." 5T 217.

"The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst." MS 156, 1898.

"It is a solemn and terrible truth that many who have been zealous in proclaiming the third angel's message are now becoming listless and indifferent! The line of demarcation between worldlings and many professed Christians is almost indistinguishable. Many who once were earnest Adventists are conforming to the world-to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 118, 119.

"'How is the faithful city become an harlot?' My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed!" 8T 250.

Certain ailments in the human body can be medicated and detained; they become stationary neither improving nor getting worse. Other conditions are progressive-they grow worse and worse until they have completed their cycle. Such is the course of apostasy. It is a progressive condition. Sister White says:

"On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse." 7T 62.

"Through union with the world the church will become corrupt,-'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."' RH Feb. 26, 1895. (Read TM 265.)

It is with reference to the great majority-which is "the church" in "union with the world"-that the Spirit of Prophecy declares:

"The truth for this time is precious, but those whose hearts have not been broken by falling on the rock Christ Jesus, will not see and understand what is truth. They will accept that which pleases their ideas, and will begin to manufacture another foundation than that which is laid. They will flatter their own vanity and esteem, thinking that they are capable of removing the pillars of our faith, and replacing them with pillars they have devised. This will continue to be as long as time shall last." MS 28, 1890.

"After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, 'Lo, here is Christ; lo, He is there. This is the truth, I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.' Then there will be a re moving of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith." 7BC 985.

"Every conceivable effort will be made to throw doubt upon the positions that we have occupied for over half a century [now for over one century]." 3SM 408.

"The cause of Christ will be betrayed. Those who have had the light of truth, and have enjoyed its blessings, but who have turned away from it, will fight down the Spirit of God. Inspired with a spirit from beneath, they will tear down that which they once built up, and show to all reasonable, God-fearing souls that they cannot be trusted. They may lay claim to truth and righteous ness, but their spirit and works will testify that they are betrayers of their Lord." RH May 24, 1898.

A comparison between these last five statements and those produced before throws more light on the prophetic screen where the church in its final days is projected. Now it is clearer to us how, at the close of probation, the Spirit of God "is trampled underfoot," how the truth is "made of none effect," and how "deception of almost every kind" is found in the church, where those in positions of responsibility have "betrayed their trust," so that "the servants of Satan triumph." (5T 210, 211.) What we just read in these last few prophetic statements (RH Feb. 26, 1895; MS 28, 1890; 7BC 985; 3SM 408; RH May 24, 18981 is the result of a long, unchecked process of deterioration, in the presence of which the faithful few have been sighing and crying for good reasons (3T 267).

3. The "Remnant Church"

As "there have ever been two classes among those who profess to be followers of Christ" (GC 43), there are also two classes now among those who profess the threefold message of Revelation 14. Prophecy shows important distinctions between the two groups:

"A company was presented before me under the name of Seventh-day Adventists who were advising that the banner or sign which makes us a distinctive people should not be held out so strikingly.... In describing the remnant people of God, John says, [Rev. 14:12 quoted]." 2SM 385.

In a parallel prophetic statement, E. G. White describes the two groups as follows:

"I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body." EW 258.

As can be seen, the "company" in EW 258, is not the "company" in 2SM 385. They occupy two different, even antithetic positions. They are clearly opposed to each other where principles are in question. Here is another reference to the two companies:

"Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and ex hort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God.... They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." TM 411. (Discussion on this specific point will be resumed later.)

It should be borne in mind that the "company" of "Seventh day Adventists" who were seen, in Sister White's vision, to be advising that the standard "should not be held out so strikingly" (2SM 385), and working to "unsettle the established faith of the body" (EW 258), are not just a few misfits in the church; they are rather the great majority who hold control to the very end, ac cording to the statements analyzed before (3T 267; 5T 209-213, 524, RH July 16, 1895) . They are, in other words, "the church" (the mother church).

In the light of the evidences considered so far, the unprepared mother "church" and the small "remnant" are two coexistent Adventist groups at the very end. Therefore, if we proclaim the mother church to be the only-existent SDA body, and the final remnant, at the end of probation, we make two mistakes against the clear word of prophecy, for she is neither one thing nor the other.

 

III-THE PROPHESIED SHAKING

The theological use of the word "sifting" was derived from the custom of sifting the grain. See examples in Isaiah 30:28; Amos 9:9; Luke 22:31. After the wheat had been threshed, it still had to be sifted for the removal of the chaff (which was blown away by the wind as the contents of the sieve were tossed up repeatedly) and the tiny stones (which would fall through the bottom of the string netting).

Some contend that, in the prophesied sifting, the sieve represents the church, and that those who remain in the church are corn, while those who leave the church are chaff. Such a conclusion is unwarranted in the light of the example below.

With reference to the sifting and the work of reformation that were to take place among the Jews in the days of Christ and the apostles, God spoke prophetically through Amos:

"I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.... In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old." Amos 9:9, 11.

Paul the apostle used this prophecy of Amos {compare with Acts 15:16) to show the prophetic basis for the work of reformation that was being carried into effect by those who had accepted the gospel message and broken away from the Jewish church. Prophecy said that all grain would remain in the sieve and that only the chaff would drop out. History, which goes hand in hand with prophecy, indicates that the Jewish leader ship and people stayed in the church, while the disciples of Christ left the church. Let us bear this in mind: It was the apostatized majority, the chaff, that remained with the organization; the faithful remnant formed a separate congregation. And there is no contradiction between prophecy and history. The sieve-which retains the corn and rejects the chaff-is not the church organization, but the truth. This was the sieve in which the disciples remained as corn and from which the Jews were shaken out as chaff. The same principle applies today.

At this stage of our discussion we should get a clear answer to the question, When, how and under what circumstances will the two Adventist companies be separated from each other? The oft-repeated explanation that all unfaithful ones will be shaken out of the mother church, who will then be purified and stand as the only-existent faithful remnant, is devoid of authority in the word of prophecy. No such thing can be found in the prophecies (which were considered before and must still be fresh in the mind of the render} concerning the mother church at the close of probation. It is very clear that the unreformed mother church and the faithful remnant cannot stay together forever. There must be a separation before the seal of God is applied on the living saints:

"The angel with the writer's ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners." 4BC 1161. (Read 5T 505.)

This means that the sighing and crying ones must be separated, not only from all the abominations that they can see, but also from the mother church where these abominations are practiced or tolerated (previous statements: 3T 267; 5T 209-213; RH Feb. 26, 1895; etc.) to the very end. Remember: They must be "separated from sin and sinners" as an essential condition for the receiving of the seal of God.

"The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous." TM 234.

Due to the unfaithfulness of those who stand as "guardians of the spiritual interests of the people" (5T 211), the Lord promised to take care of the faithful remnant through a shaking:

"God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor." 5T 80.

Before we proceed, let us take into consideration a noteworthy parallel. In the days of Christ and the apostles, the prophecy of Matthew 3:12 (He "whose fan is in his hand . . . will thoroughly purge his floor'') announced a forthcoming shaking, which actually came in three phases: (1) There was a separation in the Jewish church when Christ and the apostles turned away from the officially recognized religious leaders and organized the apostolic church (Matt. 15:14). (2)Then there was a separation in the apostolic church when many professed disciples left the Lord and turned back to the Jewish church (John 6:66). (3) And, finally, there was another separation in the Jewish church, under the outpouring of the former rain, when many Jews left the Jewish church and joined the apostolic church (Acts 2:41; 4:4). All this was meant by the prophecy about the shaking (Matt. 3:12). As history repeats itself, we find a parallel around 1844 in the experience of the early Adventists. And, as we study the prophesied shaking to take place among the Advent people, we find the same parallel again.

The shaking predicted by the Lord through prophet Amos "I will sift the house of Israel" (Amos 9:9)- and through John the Baptist-"Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor" (Matt. 3:12)-was fulfilled in the days of Christ and the apostles, as mentioned above. The Jews (leaders and people) who remained with the organization dropped out of the sieve. "We are repeating the history of that people." 5T 160.

1. Separation in the Mother Church

"Those who love Jesus and the souls for whom He has died will follow after the things which make for peace. But they must take care lest in their efforts to prevent discord, they surrender truth; lest in warding off division, they sacrifice principle. True brotherhood can never be maintained by compromising principle.... That peace and harmony which are secured by mutual concessions to avoid all differences of opinion are not worthy of the name." RH Jan. 16, 1900.

"Our work is soon to close, and we are now to place ourselves in working order in God's way. We are not to link ourselves up with those who are not wise to discern what is the will of God. We are to come out from among them, and be separate." Sp T, Series B, No. 3, 3rd edition, p. 44.

"In these last days, there are arising strange fallacies and man-made theories which God declares shall be broken in pieces. [Isa. 8:11-16 quoted.]

"In this representation of the prophets, we see that Satan is at work, not only with worldlings, who have not the fear and love of God before them, but also with those who profess faith in Christ. Here are plainly represented two distinct parties, formed from a company that was once united. The members of one of these parties are in resistance to the will of God. They have taken themselves from the side of the loyal and true, and are now resisting the warnings of the Spirit of God. To the obedient the Lord will be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Every professed believer in Christ will be tempted by Satan. 'And many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared (mark that word), and be taken.' Notwithstanding all their knowledge of the Word of God, all their light, and their position as expositors of Bible truth, many shall 'stumble, and fall, and be broken and be snared, and be taken. The ruin of this class is certain. Then the charge is given, 'Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.' [Isa. 8:17-20 quoted ]

"This warning is given for the days in which we are now living. Read carefully the third chapter of second Timothy. This chapter refers to many (spoken of by Isaiah) who have departed from the faith." RH July 18, 1907.

"The time will come when it must be said of the impenitent, 'Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.' Will the church see where she has fallen?" RH Dec. 23, 1890.

"O that all might repent and do their first works. When the churches do this, they will love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. Ephraim will not envy Judah, and Judah will not vex Ephraim. Divisions will then be healed, the harsh sounds of strife will no more be heard in the borders of Israel." 1SM 385.

It is clear from this last statement that this phase of the shaking takes place before the sealing of the living saints, before the closing of the work, and before it is too late for a change (repentance and conversion). This shaking, therefore, happens before the Sunday decree/final test. And it is also clear that this shaking does not shake the unconverted ones out of the church; it rather divides the church into two distinct parties.

In this statement (1SM 385) the use of the conjunction "when" is clearly a condition. Very often, Sister White uses "when" and "if" interchangeably. This is not a prediction of what is necessarily going to happen. It does not say that both houses of Israel will finally be reconciled with each other. It only shows what would happen if the Adventist Church actually decided to change her course (5T 217). It is like the declaration of Paul showing what would happen to the Jewish people if they actually decided to accept Christ (Rom. 11:17-29). But mark the condition in verse 23-"if."

The Spirit of Prophecy points out several causes for the shaking, which will be considered hereunder.

 

a) Rejection of God's messages.

Messages based on Isaiah 58:1 and Revelation 3:18, 19 would come to the Advent people. The angel (or ministry) of Laodicea is the addressee of the Laodicean message; therefore, someone else must be the bearer of this message. E. G. White says:

"The Lord will raise up men to bear the message of truth to the world and to His people. If those in responsible positions do not move onward in the opening providences of God, bearing an appropriate message for this time, the words of warning will be given to others who will be faithful to their trust. Even youthful Christians will be chosen to 'cry aloud and spare not."' Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, p. 46.

"The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah should be studied carefully and prayerfully. Here God's messengers are given a direct, forcible message: 'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' It is to church-members that this message is to be given, to those who suppose that they are righteous, who take delight in approaching to God.... The people described in this chapter realize that they have not the favor of God; but instead of seeking His favor in His own way, they enter into a controversy with Him. Why, they ask, since we observe many ceremonies, does the Lord not give us special recognition? . . . The fasts ob served by these worshipers are a mere pretense, a mockery of humility. They retain all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of its in fluence. They manifest no repentance, no faith that works by love.... The Lord sends them a message of positive reproof, showing plainly why they are not visited by His grace.... Will they accept this reproof, and pray for true repentance? Will they put away their sins and ask for pardon? Will they bring the atmosphere of heaven into their families, and into their association with their fellow men? . . . A message of eternal importance is to be borne to those nigh and to those afar off. Let God's messengers form no confederacy with those who, after hearing the message, refuse to search the Scriptures to see whether or not these things are so. God's servants are to deal with evil as He has directed." RH June 25, 1901.

"Of those who are constantly working to undermine faith in the message God is sending to His people, I am instructed to say, 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate.' Come into the light, brethren, and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Those who in faith accept the leadings of the Spirit of God will see where their dangers lie, and will make decided moves in the right direction." RH July 23, 1908.

"There is to be a shaking among God's people.... It will be the result of refusing the truth presented." 2SM 13.

"I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans." EW 270.

The Laodicean message-which "is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel" (lT 186)-divides the Advent people into two separate companies.

If the message had been properly heeded during the early days of the church, it would have shaken out the unfaithful believers. But now that these have taken over in such a great pro portion that "not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church are prepared" (ChS 41), the message is powerless to remove the unconverted majority from the mother church, as we read in 5T 209-213 (quoted before). So, the only other alternative now is to follow the advice of the Spirit of Prophecy and "come out from among them." This means that, before the seal of God can be received, the faithful few must leave the mother church with "all the abominations" for which she is accountable (3T 267). This is how, in our understanding, the prophesied shaking (which is a lengthy process) has been going on for years.

In connection with the prophesied shaking, the time element is very important. A shaking caused by the rejection of the counsel of the True Witness (Rev. 3:18, 19), which is to bring a genuine preparation (lT 186, 187), could not come under the lat ter rain, or under the final test (caused by the Sunday-decree), because then "it will be too late for the soul's need to be sup plied" (COL 412). The message to Laodicea (Rev. 3:18, 19), which produces a shaking and a reformation, must do its work before the latter rain is poured out. (Read EW 71; 3T 270.)

 

b) Wavering in connection with the law of God.

In the light of the law of God (lT 361}, participation in the military service, especially in time of war, has a lot to do with the prophesied separation. Therefore, this is one of those points that should be discussed within the overall prophetic setting, which includes the shaking and its causes. In the absence of the prophetic scenery, it is a rather difficult task to examine a controverted topic that affects the law of God. Just imagine, by way of comparison, how difficult it would be to study the function of an essential part isolated from a machine which is not available for inspection.

As a church we stand or fall according as we prove to be faithful or unfaithful toward the law of God. E. G. White writes: "Thus we acknowledge God and recognize His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world, and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God's arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ." TM 16, 17.

The law of God is an instrument which unites the true believers on the one hand and separates true believers from professed believers on the other hand. Therefore: "As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks." 6T 400. The servant of the Lord says:

"The law of God, which is perfect holiness, is the only true standard of character." SD 51. "His law is truth." ML 100.

In a time of crisis, when our faithfulness to the law of God is tested, this is what happens:

"Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed

and happy assimilation.... The pure and the base metal are now so mingled that only the discerning eye of the infinite God can with certainty distinguish between them. But the moral magnet of holiness and truth will attract together the pure metal, while it will repel the base and counterfeit." 5T 101.

"Soon God's people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal. Instead of being strengthened and confirmed by opposition, threats, and abuse, they will cowardly take the side of the opposers.... Now is the time for God's people to show themselves true to principle. When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in 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." 5T 136.

"When the law of God is made void, the church will be sifted by fiery trials, and a larger proportion than we now anticipate will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." Ev 361.

These prophetic declarations seem to indicate a process of trials which are to extend over a long period of time culminating in the final test. The church must experience persecution and separation repeatedly as she faces increasing tests in connection with the law of God. The Sunday-decree/final test will be the "last act in the drama" (7T 141). The previous acts, all along the development of the drama, distinguish two classes of Adventists who will be diametrically opposed to each other when the final test is brought under the mark of the beast. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"The authorities will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will assume the right that is God's alone. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. Even now they are making a beginning; this work they will continue to carry forward till they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will interpose in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people." DA 630.

"I was pointed to the providence of God among His people and was shown that every trial made by the refining, purifying process upon professed Christians proves some to be dross. The fine gold does not always appear. In every religious crisis some fall under temptation. The shaking of God blows away multitudes like dry leaves.... When tribulation or persecution arises be cause of the word, many are offended." 4T 89.

"On every occasion when persecution takes place, those who witness it make decisions either for Christ or against Him.... Many stumble and fall, apostatizing from the faith they once advocated." DA 630.

"The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of the truth will come on the side of God's commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ's sake in standing in defense of the truth." 3SM 397 [emphasis supplied].

This is what happens under the preliminary acts, while the final act of the drama is approaching little by little. Here is the experience of the two classes of Adventists in successive stages, until the last act is reached:

"As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and par taking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren." GC 608.

While the unfaithful members represent a minority in the church, they are shaken out of the organization. But let a crisis come when the disloyal brethren have become the vast majority, as we read in ChS 41 (quoted before}, and they will yield to the demands of the world, acting contrary to the law of God, and still remain in the church, and hold control, as though nothing extraordinary had happened. They cannot even see where they have gone wrong. The testimony of history (GC 45, 51, 64, 376; DA 232), along with logical thinking, does not say that denominational apostasy leads the greater number of backslidden leaders and members to dissolve the church or just walk out and leave the organization for the small remnant of true followers of Christ. On the contrary, it is the faithful few that are forced to leave the church if they "sigh and cry" too loud.

 

c) Unity with the world.

Unity between the church and the world, whereby the church is becoming "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (TM 265}, is one of the causes of the shaking. E. G. White writes:

There are those who have so linked themselves with the world that they have lost the knowledge of God, and are departing from the faith.... Those who have been trying to quench their thirst at broken cisterns, which can hold no water, will have a misleading message to proclaim. They will speak smooth things.... Many who have known the truth, but who have not nourished its principles in their hearts, will become leavened with evil. This evil they do not discern. In word and act they say, 'Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceptions.' We are now to call things by their right name. No longer are we to look upon unrighteousness as righteousness. Let every one be prepared to lift up the standard of truth. We are to have no fellowship with the worldly practises that have perverted the faith of some who have enjoyed great privileges and who should now be standing on vantage ground. We are to respond to God's call to take a decided stand for truth and righteousness. No longer are we to bind up with worldly elements." Sp T, Series B, No. 6, pp. 62-64.

"Our greatest trials will come because of that class who have once advocated the truth, but who turn from it to the world, and trample it under their feet in hate and derision.... We are to resist their spirit and influence with the same weapon our Master used when assailed by the prince of darkness-'It is writ ten."' RH Sept. 15, 1910.

Genuine conversion, which we need before the outpouring of the latter rain (Acts 3:19}, involves a breaking away from all worldly influences that have been introduced into the church. E. G. White writes:

"The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view....

"When trees without fruit are cut down as cumberers of the ground, when multitudes of false brethren are distinguished from the true, then the hidden ones will be revealed to view, and with hosannas range under the banner of Christ. Those who have been timid and self-distrustful will declare them selves openly for Christ and His truth.... When the overflowing scourge shall pass through the earth, when the fan is purging Jehovah's floor, God will be the help of His people.... The separation causes pain and bitterness to both parties. It is the variance which Christ declares that He came to bring. But the converted will feel a continual longing desire that their friends shall forsake all for Christ, knowing that, unless they do, there will be a final and eternal separation." 5T 80-83.

Here we have another evidence that the shaking is to begin while there is still time for a change. While the process of separation is going on, the unconverted ones still have a chance to be converted. This will not be possible under the latter rain (1T 619) or under the final test (COL 412), when it will be too late to start a work of revival and reformation.

 

d) Introduction of false teachings.

"Science, falsely so-called, is wearing away the foundation of Christian principle; and those who once were in the faith drift away from the Bible landmarks, and divorce themselves from God, while still claiming to be His children." Ev 362.

"Satan hopes to involve the remnant people of God in the general ruin that is coming upon the earth. As the coming of Christ draws nigh, he will be more determined and decisive in his efforts to overthrow them. Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks. Their doctrines will not bear the test of God's word, yet souls will be deceived." 5T 295.

"From that which the Lord has been pleased to show me, there will arise just such ones all along, and many more of them, claiming to have new light, which is a side issue, an entering wedge. The widening will increase until there is a breach made between those who accept these views and those who believe the third angel's message." 3SM 409.

"God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat." GW 299.

"When the shaking comes, by the introduction of false theories, these surface readers, anchored nowhere, are like shifting sand." TM 112.

"Instruction has been given, warning our people against uniting in the least degree with those who advocate false theories." Sp T, Series B, No. 17, p. 29.

"We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, 'Unify, unify.' But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth." 3SM 412.

 

e) Health Reform.

"Every duty that calls for reform involves repentance, faith, and obedience. It means the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. Thus every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel's message. Especially does the temperance reform demand our attention and support....

"If the work of temperance were carried forward by us as it was begun thirty years ago; if at our camp meetings we presented before the people the evils of intemperance in eating and drinking, and especially the evil of liquor drinking; if these things were presented in connection with the evidences of Christ's soon coming, there would be a shaking among the people." 6T 110, 111.

"If church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place." MS 78, l900.

f) Involvement in ecumenism.

In the prophetic background supplied at the beginning of our study, we saw that "through union with the world the church will become corrupt" [RH Feb. 26, 18951; that the members will be "acting after the manner of the world" (5T 210); that they will be found "uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit" {GC 608); that all the abominations done "in the church" (3T 2671 will cause some to sigh and cry until the close of probation. Of this multitude of Advent believers, the Spirit of Prophecy says:

"When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah." PK 660.

"The Word of God . . . is to be our defense when Satan works with such lying wonders that, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. It is then that those who have not stood firmly for the truth will unite with the unbelieving, who love and make a lie. When these wonders are performed, when the sick are healed and other marvels are wrought, they will be deceived." 3SM 407, 408.

"The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or with held must be given under the fiercest opposition from enemies of the faith. And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith and take their stand with its avowed enemies, toward whom their sympathies have long been tending. These apostates will then manifest the most bitter enmity, doing all in their power to oppress and malign their former brethren and to excite indignation against them." 5T 463.

"When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian church united to the world and the papacy." RH October 8, 1901.

2. Separation in the Remnant Church

We already know that the sifting predicted by John the Baptist was fulfilled in three stages: (1) separation in the Jewish church when the remnant church was organized; (2) then separation in the remnant church (among the disciples of Christ); (3) and then another separation in the Jewish church. With reference to the second phase (separation among the disciples), the Spirit of Prophecy says:

"By the public rebuke of their unbelief these disciples were still further alienated from Jesus. They were greatly displeased, and wishing to wound the Saviour and gratify the malice of the Pharisees, they turned their backs upon Him, and left Him with disdain. They had made their choice had taken the form with out the spirit, the husk without the kernel. Their decision was never afterward reversed; for they walked no more with Jesus." DA 392.

"'Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner.' Matt. 3:12. This was one of the times of purging. By the words of truth, the chaff was being separated from the wheat. Because they were too vain and self-righteous to receive reproof, too world-loving to accept a life of humility, many turned away from Jesus." DA 392.

History repeats itself. Today, the "small remnant" (5T 213) must also be sifted. Many prophecies in the writings of Sister White refer exclusively to the sifting of the "remnant church" (5T 472, 473).

While the mother church "has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt" (5T 217), a "small remnant" (5T 213), is walking on the heavenward road, which becomes more and more narrow as they "press on to the end." And there is a shaking in this little company all along the road. Sister White says:

"We then thought of those who had not accustomed them selves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change some were left be hind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships." 2T 595.

This company also comes into view in EW 270, 271, where the shaking divides the Advent people. And what is their experience after they are separated from those who are opposed to the straight testimony of the True Witness? Sister White says:

"My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken.... The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out and left by the way. The careless and indifferent, who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to perseveringly plead and agonize for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their places were immediately filled by others taking hold of the truth and coming into the ranks. Evil angels still pressed around them, but could-have no power over them." EW 271.

Evidently, this victorious company is not identical with "the church-the Lord's sanctuary-[that] was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God" (5T 211). The two carry very distinctive descriptions. While the unfaithful believers remain in the mother church to the very end, unconverted members cannot remain in the little militant company. This is brought to our notice repeatedly. Let us consider a few more prophetic statements:

"The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock." 4T 594.

"The Lord will work so that the disaffected ones will be separated from the true and loyal ones." 3SM 422.

"The church may appear as about to fall, it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out-the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths." 2SM 380.

The descriptions of the two churches are so distinctive that we would be guilty of an unnecessary and inexcusable contradiction if we tried to apply to the mother church certain prophecies which refer specifically to the remnant church. For example:

While "through union with the world" the mother church is becoming "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird" (RH Feb. 26, 1895; TM 265), so that she will be full of abominations when God's wrath is to be manifested in the outpouring of the plagues (3T 267; 5T 211), the remnant church "will appear 'fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners"'

(5T 82).

While the mother church will be the first target of God's wrath (5T 211), the remnant church will be protected from the wrath of God (PK 727, 728).

While the mother church is served by an unfaithful ministry to the very end (5T 211, 212), the remnant church will have a faithful ministry:

"Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged.... The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." 5T 80.

"The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain." 3SM 385.

3. Final Separation in the Mother Church

The prophesied sifting will be completed when the last faithful soul comes out of the mother church ("the Lord's sanctuary") before the stroke of the wrath of God is felt. If the call to the true followers of Christ in Babylon is-"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4)-then it stands to reason that refuge from the plagues cannot be found in the mother church, which will be the first target of the plagues (5T 211). If Christ has faithful followers in Babylon until shortly before the door of probation is closed (GC 390), He will certainly have them also in the mother church-sighing and crying for all the abominations that are done therein (3T 267). However, while we have no controversy with these faithful ones, but feel that we are one with them in spirit, we cannot, under the circumstances considered in this study, join the mother church with the excuse that "we also want to sigh and cry inside that church." For us, this would be as inexcusable as joining one of the fallen churches with the pretext that "we also want to be Christ's true followers in Babylon" (GC 390). Our peculiar convictions, our experience, and our position, would not even make us acceptable for fellowship in the mother church. We hope to be in close fellowship with the sighing and crying ones when they come out of the mother church. And this last separation is also prophesied. Sister White writes:

"The casting of the net is the preaching of the gospel. This gathers both good and evil into the church....

"Both the parable of the tares and that of the net plainly teach that there is no time when all the wicked will turn to God. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. The good and the bad fish are together drawn ashore for a final separation.

"Again, these parables teach that there is to be no probation after the judgment. When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed." COL 122, I 23.

This separation which is the final stage of the shaking pro cess takes place under the final test caused by the mark of the beast, immediately before the door of probation is closed.

"In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church." 5T 81.

'When the day comes when the law of God is made void, and the church is sifted by the fiery trials that are to try all that live upon the earth, a great proportion of those who are supposed to be genuine will give heed to seducing spirits, and will turn traitors and betray sacred trusts. They will prove our very worst persecutors." 6BC 1065.

Concerning the persecuted minority, the "small remnant" (5T 213), Sister White says, in continuation:

"Those who have lived on the flesh and blood of the Son of God His Holy Word will be strengthened, rooted, and grounded in the faith. They will see increased evidence why they should prize and obey the Word of God. With David, they will say, 'They have made void thy law. Therefore love I thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.' While others count them dross, they will arise to defend the faith." 6BC 1065.

Under the latter rain and the final test, there will be a great shaking. This was shown to Sister White in a vision. She says:

"I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth.... The light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant." EW 261.

In the early days of the third angel's message, the First-day Adventists were referred to as "nominal Adventists." But, with the lapse of time, great changes have occurred. And a title which was at one time applied to one group may now be applicable, with more propriety, to another group. Example: In the days of the apostles, the "synagogue of Satan" was the Jewish church (Rev. 3:9). During the proclamation of the threefold message, this title is used to designate the confederacy of Satan's churches (TM 16). And, after the close of probation, the same title applies also to the multitude of fallen Adventists (compare A Word to the Little Flock, p. 12 with EW 15). In the light of this example, we think that, in the end, the mother church under God's wrath (5T 211), which is distinct from the "small remnant" with the seal of God (5T 213), must fit under the title of "nominal Adventists," because the only other alternative for her in EW 261 would be to stand under the title of "fallen churches."

 

IV-RESUME

There can be no doubt that the truth revealed to Seventh-day Adventists, in the threefold message, is the truth for today. The many doctrines that make up this truth, "with Christ as the living center," are "as firm and immovable as the throne of God" ( 2SM 87).

"The faith and feelings of men may change; but the truth of God, never. The third angel's message is sounding; it is infallible." 4T 595.

This is the message we love, cherish and strongly defend.

There are, nevertheless, more and more sincere Adventists disagreeing with the policies of the SDA Church. Individuals and offshoots who have adopted new doctrinal ideas are not meant here, but the many thousands of believers, both inside and outside the denomination, who support the original doctrines as revealed through the pioneers and the Spirit of Prophecy, but cannot agree with the modern practices of the church. It is evident that the works of the church, condemned by the True Witness (Rev. 3:15), do not correspond to her profession. Elder C. J. Ritchie, an SDA Bible scholar, describes the whole problem in a few words: "Lukewarmness [is] displeasing to God. We will be rejected if we do not change.... Our condition [is] one of self-deception. We have the truth but are in a poor spiritual condition. We have great light but do not walk in it."-study Outlines, p. 7 (published by the author). This is why so many lose their confidence in the church. And, as the result of this difficult situation, two divergent tendencies divide the Adventist people into two distinct classes of believers with widely differing attitudes. Old-fashioned Adventists, who take a firm stand on principle, believe that, eventually, while the church remains unreformed, only a small remnant will be saved. And the Spirit of Prophecy clearly delineates the distinctions between "the church" and "the remnant."

In the earlier writings of Sister White it is clear from the context that the remnant spoken of are the faithful few from the Philadelphian period (sixth church) that accepted the third angel's message.

Then, later, the context makes it evident that the writer is referring to the same remnant as in Revelation 12:17.

With the progress of the seventh prophetic church period and the development of the Laodicean church, it is obvious from the context that in many instances the term "remnant" can refer to none other than a "little company" distinguished from the mother church. If the declarations concerning one are applied to the other, only confusion will result.

The Spirt of Prophecy (3T 267; 5T 209-213, 524) proves wrong the teaching that in the end "the faithful remnant" is "the church" itself, which, they say, will be purified by the removal of sin and sinners. There is no such thing. The apostatized majority do not leave the church; they remain, and, as a matter of fact, they themselves are "the church," which becomes more and more corrupt, until they-as an organized church-receive the stroke of God's wrath.

The Jews made a great mistake by failing to see the distinction between the prophecies referring to the first coming of the Messiah and those alluding to His second appearing. Some time ago a religious Jew told us that he cannot believe that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, because, he said, it is written that when the Messiah comes there will be no more wars (Zech. 9:10), and this condition has not been fulfilled until today. When we told him that his interpretation is true in connection with the second coming of the Messiah, he was surprised to see that, based on the prophecies of the Old Testament, we find a distinction between the first and the second advent of Christ.

As Satan was successful with the Jews, so he has had success with the Protestant denominations, leading them to confuse the moral law with the ceremonial law, and to say that there was only one law, which was nailed to the cross.

Should Adventists make a similar mistake by ignoring the clear distinction between "the church" and "the remnant church"? Of those who profess to believe the threefold message of Revelation 14, only a small number will be saved (lT 608; 2T 445). Together with "the great body of Christ's true followers" who are still to come out of Babylon (GC 390), the "living saints," at the coming of Christ, will be only "144,000 in number" (EW 15). Therefore: "Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand." 7BC 970.

Christ Knocking at the Door

STUDY 3

 

Both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy show that, by refusing the light of heaven, we as a people to whom the Lord has entrusted the threefold message (Revelation 14) have placed ourselves in an unfavorable position.

The Bible exhorts us:

"Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Revelation 3:17.

The Spirit of Prophecy warns us:

"The same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light from heaven in the last messages of warning." 5T 456.

To remedy this situation, the Lord has sent us the needed prescription. He says:

"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." Revelation 3:18-20.

This heavenly counsel, which is a message of reformation, has been urged upon us especially since 1888. The servant of the Lord explains:

"Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says: 'Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.' Revelation 3:20. But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them the rich blessings of His grace, but they refuse to accept them. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church!" 6T 262 (1900).

As the counsel of the true Witness is continually ignored by the leaders, He finally addresses a call, without distinction, to any that are willing to be used by the Holy Spirit in the work of revival and reformation. Sister White writes:

"Men of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit to lead out in a work of thorough reformation. I see a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His laborers to come into line. Every soul should now stand in a position of deeper, truer consecration to God than during the years that have passed.... I have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently passed before me in the night season. There seemed to be a great movement- a work of revival-going forward in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding to God's call." TM 514, 515 (1913).

As Sister White was shown in vision, this last call would be heeded by some. As a matter of fact, the light of the angel of Revelation 18 has been giving "power and force" to the third angel's message in the movement of revival and reformation operating in many places. History reveals the beginnings of this movement in 1914.

We are told that, "from age to age," there is a striking similarity" in the work of reformation (GC 343). To us the following parallel is important: The early Christians obeyed the call of God without first having to get permission from the Jewish church (see example: Acts 26:19). So we believe we now have a right, nay, we are duty-bound, to answer God's call to the best of our understanding, even without the consent or recognition of the denominational leaders.

In this study it is our purpose to elaborate on two points briefly discussed in Study No. 1, The Angel of Revelation 18 and the Message of 1888. These two points are as follows: (1) the consequences of refusing the light (1888), and (2) the present work of the angel of Revelation 18.

 

I-A TURNING POINT

The rejection of the message of reformation (Revelation 3:17-20) by the majority brings a turning point in the history of the church with the following consequences: meddling with the doctrinal foundation, growing conflict, divisions. Here are some fearful predictions:

1. Tampering With the Foundation

"The truth for this time is precious, but those whose hearts nave not been broken, by falling on the rock Christ Jesus, will not see and understand what is truth. They will accept that which pleases their ideas, and will begin to manufacture another foundation than that which is laid. They will flatter their own vanity and esteem, thinking that they are capable of removing the pillars of our faith, and replacing them with pillars they have devised." MS 28, 1890.

"Many have trusted and gloried in the wisdom of men far more than in Christ and the precious, sanctifying truth for this time. They need the heavenly anointing that they may comprehend what is light and truth. They thank God that they are confined to no narrow groove, but they do not see the breadth and far-reaching extent of the truth, and are not enlightened by the Spirit of God as to heavens' large liberality. They admire manmade inventions and discoveries, but they are walking in the sparks of their own kindling, diverging farther and farther from the genuine principles of Christian action, ordained to make men wise unto salvation.... At this time the church should not be diverted from the main object of vital interest, to things that will not bring health and courage, faith and power. They must see, and by their actions testify that the gospel is aggressive. But the light which is given to shine brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day, burns dimly. The church no longer sends out the clear, bright rays of light, amid the moral darkness that is enveloping the world as a funeral pall.... The Lord has presented before me that those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy and who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan will be in peril, because they cannot discern the light from heaven and will be inclined to accept a falsehood. This will affect the whole tenor of their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given are no evidence to them because they have blinded their own eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. Then they will originate something they call light, which the Lord calls sparks of their own kindling, by which they will direct their steps."-Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, No. 1, pp. 12-17 (1892).

"Every phase of fanaticism and erroneous theories, claiming to be the truth, will be brought in among the remnant people of God. These will fill minds with erroneous sentiments which have no part in the truth for this time....

"From the light given me of the Lord, men will arise speaking perverse things. Yea, already they have been working and speaking things which God has never revealed, bringing sacred truth upon a level with common things....

"Men have brought themselves in with their heterogeneous mass of heresies which they represent as oracles for the people. The people are charmed with some strange, new thing, and are not wise in experience to discern the character of ideas that men may frame up as something.... O, how this rebukes the low standard of piety in the churches."-Letter 136a, 1898.

"There are ministers and workers who will present an issue of nonsensical falsehoods as testing truths, even as the Jewish rabbis presented the maxims of men as the bread of heaven. These are given to the flock of God, as their portion of meat in due season, while the poor sheep are starving for the bread of life. Even now there seems to be a burning desire to get up something startling, and bring it in as new light. Thus men are weaving into the web as important truths a tissue of lies." RH Jan. 22, 1901. "The food that is being prepared for the flock of God will cause spiritual consumption, decline, and death." RH June 18, 1901.

"When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian church united to the world and the papacy. And as He stood upon Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hills, so He is weeping over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, 'Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of my law.' Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and knowledge, as He said to the Jews, 'If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes'?" RH Oct. 8, 1901.

"False theories will be mingled with every phase of experience, and advocated with satanic earnestness in order to captivate the mind of every soul who is not rooted and grounded in a full knowledge of the sacred principles of the Word. In the very midst of us will arise false teachers, giving heed to seducing spirits whose doctrines are of satanic origin. These teachers will draw away disciples after themselves. Creeping in unawares, they will use flattering words, and make skillful misrepresentations with seductive tact.... If they do not succeed, because their way becomes hedged by warnings from God, they will change somewhat the features of their work, and the representations they have made, and bring out their plans again under a false showing. They refuse to confess, repent, and believe. Confessions may be made, but no real reformation takes place, and erroneous theories bring ruin upon unsuspecting souls because these souls believe and rely upon the men advocating these theories." RH Jan. 7, 1904.

"A great work is to be done now in convicting souls.... There will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase.... Devote not precious time in trying to convince those who would change the truth of God into a lie.... Whoever is determined to depart from the faith can not be helped by you. All your reasoning will be as idle tales. Take the banner of truth and hold it aloft, higher and still higher.... Beware of the leaven of evil.... God now calls for all who choose to serve Him, to stand firmly on the platform of eternal truth." RH Aug. 9, 1906.

"We are living in a time when men who are not under the teaching of the Holy Spirit will bring in false theories. These men have been standing in high places, and they have ambitious projects to carry out. They seek to exalt themselves, and to revolutionize the whole showing of things." 7BC 954 (l905).

"From the light that God has given me, I know that one great danger of those who claim to be followers of Christ, is in being self-deceived. Satan is watching his chance. He will come to men in human form, and will speak to them most entrancing words. He will bring against them the same temptations that he brought against Christ. Unless their minds and hearts are filled with the pure, unselfish, sanctified love that Christ revealed, they will fall under Satan's power, and will do and say and write strange things, to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect." RH June 30, 1910.

"Instruction has been given, warning our people against uniting in the least degree with those who advocate false theories. He who allows his sympathies and interests to be enlisted in a work that is opposed to the teachings of the word of God, is on dangerous ground, where he is surrounded by the agencies of evil. Satan is working with great determination to introduce among God's peculiar people strange and forbidden things....

"So vast is the field, and so subtle and untiring are the efforts of the enemy of souls, that God's people need to be very watchful, and to labor earnestly and unceasingly to counterwork evil in the church and in the world. Satan and his agencies are laying out special lines of labor for men who can be controlled by his power. Deceptions of every degree and kind are arising, so that if it were possible, Satan would deceive the very elect. There will be lords many, and gods many. The message will be heard, Lo, here is Christ, and lo there! With the same subtle power with which he plotted for the rebellion of holy beings in heaven before the fall, Satan is working today to operate through human beings for the fulfillment of his purposes of evil.

"I ask our people to study the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has a yet broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light that God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days." Sp T, Series B, No. 17 p. 29, 30 (1911).

2. Growing Conflict

"The contest will wax more and more fierce on the part of Satan; for he is moved by a power from beneath. As the work of God's people moves forward with sanctified, resistless energy, planting the standard of Christ's righteousness in the church, moved by a power from the throne of God, the great controversy will wax stronger and stronger, and will become more and more determined. Mind will be arrayed against mind, plans against plans, principles of heavenly origin against principles of Satan. Truth in its varied phases will be in conflict with error in its ever-varying, increasing forms, and which, if possible, will deceive the very elect....

"There are men who teach the truth, but who are not perfecting their ways before God, who are trying to conceal their defections, and encourage an estrangement from God.... They see no necessity for reform.... This very refusal to heed the admonitions which the Lord sends gives Satan every advantage to make of them the bitterest enemies of those who have told them the truth. They become falsifiers of those who have borne to them the message from the Lord.... Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, 'Not this Man, but Barabbas.' Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, 'I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.' Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.... God will make the ears of the hearers tingle if they will not heed His voice or His message. He will denounce those who resist the word of God. Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God.... They will proclaim the word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. The conflict is to wax fiercer and fiercer. Satan will take the field and personate Christ.... Many who now claim to believe the truth, but who have no anchor, will be bound up with Satan's party.... These rejecters of light will remain barren deserts, where no refreshing, healing waters flow, and their ministrations as barren of moisture as were the hills of Gilboa, where there was neither dew nor rain." TM 407-413 (1898).

"Christ's lament over Jerusalem was for those also who today have had great light, and who have seen wonderful manifestations of His power and goodness, but who have not fulfilled God's purpose for them. Those who hear the voice of God and cooperate with Him, using their capabilities in His service, will receive His blessing. But those who forget His instruction, and follow their own way, are a dishonor to Him. A time will come when their wrong course of action, with its results and consequences, must be met. In our work today we shall meet with the same spirit that Christ met in His day.... We shall meet with those who have received light and evidence, but who in their perversity reject all that does not harmonize with their own plans, persisting in the determination to follow their own way. They refuse to receive truth themselves, and do all in their power to lead others to regard with indifference the word of the Lord." RH Dec. 2, 1902.

3. Divisions

History repeats itself in the work of reformation, as we mentioned before (GC 343). This is true also from the standpoint that apostasy causes separation. The servant of the Lord writes:

"My heart aches day after day and night after night for our churches. Many are progressing, but in the back track.... Unless they shall become Christians indeed, they will go from weakness to weakness, divisions will increase, and many souls will be led to perdition." 5T 93.

Details on the subject of the prophesied shakings in the SDA Church will be found in Study No. 2, The Church and the Remnant.

The Laodicean message, which is the counsel of the true Witness, divides the Church into two distinct companies. Only one of these companies, namely the one represented by the angel of Revelation 18, is referred to as carrying on the work of revival and reformation. In this work, the message of Revelation 3:18, which goes hand in hand with Isaiah 58:1-14 (See TM 296), prepares a people for the receiving of the latter rain.

 

II-PREPARATION FOR THE LATTER RAIN

The present mission of the fourth angel is to prepare a people, through the message of Revelation 3:14-20 and Isaiah 58, for the receiving of the latter rain. Sister White says:

"I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God's people at the present time.... This fearful message will do its work.... I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel." 1T 186.

"My brethren, you need to study more carefully the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter marks out the only course that we can follow with safety....

"The prophet receives this word from the Lord-a message startling in its clearness and force: 'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. Wonderful privileges and promises have been given to them, but they have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them.... Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness.... Worldly policy has come into their business and religious life. Their hearts are not purified through the truth. God looks on their outward ceremonies of humility as a solemn mockery. He regards all religious sham as an insult to Himself....

"Our work now is to rouse the people. Satan with all his angels has come down with great power, to work with every conceivable deception to counterwork the work of God. The Lord has a message for His people. This message will be borne, whether men will accept or reject it. As in the days of Christ, there will be the deep plottings of the powers of darkness, but the message must not be muffled with smooth words or fair speeches.... "The people here described realize that they have not the favor of God.... They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.... The Lord sends them a message of positive reproof, showing why they are not visited by His grace....

1. The Reformers-The Bearers of the Message

"We are to put into practice the precepts of the law, and thus have righteousness before us; the rereward will be God's glory.

The light of the righteousness of Christ will be our front guard, and the glory of the Lord will be our rereward....

"As Christians we are to have a righteousness that shall be developed and seen-a righteousness that represents the character of Jesus Christ when He was in our world....

"Here [Isaiah 58:8-14] are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel's message, those who avow themselves God's commandment-keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations." 4BC 1149-1151.

2. The Reform-"The Lord's Standard"

"The only true reform....

"God's plan with you is to begin at the very seat of all difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward.... God's plan is to set man to work in reformatory lines; then he will learn by experience how long he has pampered fleshly appetites, and ministered to his own temperament, bringing weakness upon himself.

"God's way is to work in power. He gives the grace if the sick man realizes that he needs it.... God proposes to purify and refine the defiled soul; then He will implant in the heart His own righteousness and peace and health, and man becomes complete in Him. Then the issues of life, proceeding from the heart, are represented as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.

"This is the kingdom of God within you. Day by day men are revealing whether the kingdom of God is within them. If Christ rules in their hearts, they are gaining strength of principle, power, ability to stand as faithful sentinels, true reformers; for there can be no reform unless there is a thorough cooperation with Jesus Christ. Through the grace of Christ, men are to use their God-given faculties to reform themselves; by this self-denying action, which the Lord of heaven looks upon with approval, they gain victories over their own hereditary and cultivated tendencies. Then like Daniel they make impressions upon other hearts that will never be effaced. The influence will be carried to all parts of the world.

"Men are taking sides, according to their choice. Those that are feeding on the word of God will show this by their practise; they are on the Lord's side, seeking by precept and example to reform the world. All that have refused to be taught of God, hold the traditions of men. They at last pass over on the side of the enemy, against God, and are written, 'antichrist.' The people of God, who understand our position in this world's history, are, with ears open and hearts softened and subdued, pressing together in unity-one with Jesus Christ. Those who will not practise the lessons of Christ, but keep themselves in hand to mold themselves, find in antichrist the center of their union. While the two parties stand in collision, the Lord will appear."-Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers, No. 9, pp. 54-56 (1897).

 

III-DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERISTICS

Down the ages, the leaders of the apostatized mother church have always tried to establish a lamentable confusion in the minds of the people concerning the reformatory movements that God has brought into existence. In every religious awakening Satan has used his agents to misrepresent the character and the motives of those directed by the Holy Spirit. And even today the archdeceiver is doing his best to arouse suspicions and insinuate wrong ideas in the minds of professed commandment keepers, leading them to regard those who are honest and upright as foul and deceptive. The Spirit of Prophecy warns against this trickery of Satan.

1. How Satan Succeeds in Causing Confusion

Here is how he works:

a) He associates unregenerated persons with the true reformation; then

b) He causes the enemies of the true reformation to reject the work of God because of these unregenerated persons as if the work actually belonged to them.

"In every revival he [Satan] is ready to bring in those who are unsanctified in heart and unbalanced in mind. When these have accepted some points of truth, and gained a place with believers, he works through them to introduce theories that will deceive the unwary. No man is proved to be a true Christian because he is found in company with the children of God, even in the house of worship and around the table of the Lord. Satan is frequently there upon the most solemn occasions in the form of those whom he can use as his agents.

"The prince of evil contests every inch of ground over which God's people advance in their journey toward the heavenly city. In all the history of the church no reformation has been carried forward without encountering serious obstacles. Thus it was in Paul's day. Wherever the apostle raised up a church, there were some who professed to receive the faith, but who brought in heresies, that, if received, would eventually crowd out the love of the truth. Luther also suffered great perplexity and distress from the course of fanatical persons who claimed that God had spoken directly through them, and who therefore set their own ideas and opinions above the testimony of the Scriptures. Many who were lacking in faith and experience, but who had considerable self-sufficiency, and who loved to hear and tell some new thing, were beguiled by the pretensions of the new teachers, and they joined the agents of Satan in their work of tearing down what God had moved Luther to build up. And the Wesleys, and others who blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered at every step the wiles of Satan in pushing overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into fanaticism of every grade....

"In the days of the Reformation its enemies charged all the evils of fanaticism upon the very ones who were laboring most earnestly against it. A similar course was pursued by the opposers of the Advent Movement. And not content with misrepresenting the errors of extremists and fanatics, they circulated unfavorable and exaggerating reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth....

"The fact that a few fanatics worked their ways into the ranks of Adventists is no more reason to decide that the movement was not of God than was the presence of fanatics and deceivers in the church in Paul's or Luther's day a sufficient excuse for condemning their work. Let the people of God arouse out of sleep and begin in earnest the work of repentance and reformation; let them search the Scriptures to learn the truth as it is in Jesus; let them make an entire consecration to God, and evidence will not be wanting that Satan is still active and vigilant. With all possible deception he will manifest his power, calling to his aid all the fallen angels of his realm." GC 396-398.

2. How to See the Distinction

People who are not willing to investigate the whole truth for themselves, but are inclined to blindly accept what others tell them, can be deceived in two ways: (1) by accepting the spurious for the genuine, and (2) by rejecting the genuine as spurious. But there is no need for anyone to be duped in this matter, since Christ has given His followers a rule to keep them from this deception: "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matt. 7:20. An unprejudiced, honest, open-eyed and thorough examination of the fruits in the light of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, will enable the sincere believers to see the distinction.

 

a) Characteristics of False Reformers

"As we near the close of earth's history, perils and dangers thicken around us. A mere profession of godliness will not avail. There must be a living connection with God, that we may have spiritual eyesight to discern the wickedness which is in a most artful and secret manner creeping into our midst through those who make a profession of our faith. The greatest sins are brought in through those who profess to be sanctified and claim that they cannot sin. Yet many of this class are sinning daily and are corrupt in heart and life. Such are self-sufficient and self-righteous, making their own standard of righteousness and utterly failing to meet the Bible standard. Notwithstanding their high claims, they are strangers to the covenant of promise....

"He who holds the truth in unrighteousness, who declares his belief in it, and yet wounds it every day by his inconsistent life, is surrendering himself to the service of Satan and leading souls to ruin. This class hold intercourse with fallen angels and are aided by them in gaining the control of minds.... There is always a bewitching power in heresies and in licentiousness. The mind is so deluded that it cannot reason intelligently, and an illusion is continually leading it from purity. The spiritual eyesight becomes blurred, and persons of hitherto untainted morals become confused under the delusive sophistry of those agents of Satan who profess to be messengers of light. It is this delusion which gives these agents power. Should they come out boldly and make their advances openly they would be repulsed without a moment's hesitation; but they work first to gain sympathy and secure confidence in themselves as holy, self-sacrificing men of God. As His special messengers they then begin their artful work of drawing away souls from the path of rectitude by attempting to make void the law of God....

"Men professing to have new light, claiming to be reformers, will have great influence over a certain class who are convinced of the heresies that exist in the present age and who are not satisfied with the spiritual condition of the churches. With true, honest hearts, these desire to see a change for the better, a coming up to a higher standard. If the faithful servants of Christ would present the truth, pure and unadulterated, to this class, they would accept it, and purify themselves by obeying it. But Satan, ever vigilant, sets upon the track of these inquiring souls. Someone making high profession as a reformer comes to them, as Satan came to Christ disguised as an angel of light, and draws them still further from the path of right." 5T 139-144.

And here are some further characteristics:

Instead of working along the lines where Christ is working, they advocate the tearing down of that which the Lord has been building up (TM 36);

In place of giving their cooperation towards preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord, they become accusers of the brethren (TM 37);

They act as destroyers, seeking to ruin those who do not harmonize with them (6T 151);

They show a bigoted (4T 569), condemnatory, rude and domineering spirit; they use selfish methods (6T 151); they want to be foremost; they reveal self-exaltation in their course (1T 122);

They take unwarrantable liberties and make use of dishonorable means in order to give character and influence to what they regard as truth (TM 33);

They do not have a high sense of honor and integrity (TM 42);

They pass by the fundamental truths and dwell upon nonessential points (GW 313);

They advocate theories that are new and startling (TM 54);

They are in opposition to organization (TM 53);

They act as if the unity which Christ prayed for were not necessary; they move according to their own independent opinion; they refuse to counsel with their brethren; they regard their individual judgment as supreme; they press on in their own way until they become unbalanced in mind (TM 55, 56; AA 164); they are self-appointed messengers (EW 97-100).

 

b) Characteristics of True Reformers

In addition to the characteristics mentioned before (4BC 1149-1151), here are some more marks of distinction:

"Every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel's message" (6T 110); true reform is needed in every line of God's work (6T 291);

It goes hand in hand with repentance (DA 555), confession of sin (5T 640), spirit of prayer (8T 251), self-denying missionary work (6T 401);

It must be outward as well as inward (CD 35);

It begins with soul cleansing (MH 180);

It must begin at home (CG 489), with parents (MH 131; 6T 119), and also with ministers (1T 469; TM 145);

It brings the truth into practical life (6T 401);

It is called forth by the Laodicean Message (1T 186, 187), which causes a shaking in the church (EW 270);

Its object is to secure highest development of body, mind, and soul (MH 146);

Its basis is the Holy Scripture (GC 595) and its foundation the law of God (7T 139);

It is a progressive work (2T 594-597);

It must come before the latter rain, as a condition for the receiving of the refreshing (EW 71);

It will be misrepresented by its enemies: "Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead in His work has excited suspicion; every act has been misrepresented by the jealous and faultfinding. Thus it was in the time of Luther, of the Wesleys and other reformers. Thus it is today." PP 404.

 

IV-REFORM WITHOUT CONTENTION?

One of the most current suppositions, nurtured even by honest SDA believers, is that complete absence of dissension must characterize the prophesied reformatory movement. Such opinion is found, for instance, in the book Preparation for the Final Crisis, p. 29. This idea is evidently a misinterpretation of 8T 251.

The Spirit of Prophecy says, on the contrary, that much strife and contest would be the fate of the remnant church, the company of "former brethren," the prophesied Reform Movement. As a matter of fact, the prophetic word speaks of two areas where there would be conflicts among those engaged in a work of reformation: (l) controversies which will cease, and (2) controversies which will continue. This second category of conflicts will hereunder be considered in the light of history, which repeats itself.

1. In the Days of the Apostles

In the early Christian church, some ambitious and self-confident leaders caused much trouble among the brethren.

"These men assumed to engage in the work on their own responsibility. They indulged in much murmuring and faultfinding, proposing new plans and seeking to pull down the work of the men whom God had ordained to teach the gospel message. From the first the church has had such obstacles to meet and ever will have till the close of time. " AA 196, 197 (emphasis supplied).

"To the end of time, men will arise to create confusion and rebellion among those who claim to be representatives of the true God. Those who prophesy lies will encourage men to look upon sin as a light thing. When the terrible results of their evil deeds are made manifest, they will seek, if possible, to make the one who has faithfully warned them, responsible for their difficulties." PK 442.

2. In the Days of the SDA Pioneers

Similar difficulties were experienced by the SDA Church in the early days of the message, when Sister White wrote:

"God's frown has been brought upon the church on account of individuals with corrupt hearts being in it. They have wanted to be foremost, when neither God nor their brethren placed them there. Selfishness and exaltation have marked their course. A place is now open for all such where they can go and find pasture with those of their kind. And we should praise God that in mercy He has rid the church of them." 1T 122.

"God is sifting His people. He will have a clean and holy church.... A corrupt people has arisen who could not live with the people of God.... We all have reason to thank God that a way has been opened to save the church; for the wrath of God must have come upon us if these corrupt pretenders had remained with us.... We have nothing to fear in this matter. As we near the judgment, all will manifest their true character, and it will be made plain to what company they belong. The sieve is moving. Let us not say: Stay Thy hand, O God. The church must be purged, and it will be." 1T 99, 100.

3. In Our Days

As we study the history of the people of God in the Christian dispensation, we find that these difficulties even occurred in the best days of the church. They appeared in the days of Paul, in the days of Luther, in the days of Wesley, in the days of the SDA pioneers, and the Spirit of Prophecy assures us that, also in our days, as we "begin in earnest the work of repentance and reformation," Satan will again bring in the same difficulties, "calling to his aid all the fallen angels of his realm." (GC 396-398, emphasis supplied.) This is not a new situation, and we have not created it. This is actually an old problem, which Lucifer started in heaven, and, as he continued his deceptive work on earth, men only take sides with Christ or with Satan. Those who have understood the Reform Message properly, and want to be true reformers, will never get confused on this issue. The remnant church must go through severe conflicts.

"Until Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, men will become perverse in spirit and turn from the truth to fables. The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock." 4T 594.

The Testimony of Jesus in the Remnant Church

STUDY 4

 

The Bible tells us that the last remnant of the church will be identified by two main characteristics-they keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus Christ:

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17.

The enemy knows that his end is near; that is why his wrath is increasing to the point of capping the climax of his wickedness in these last days. The warning reads: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:12. "The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of trouble." GC 623. The evils witnessed in the past bear no comparison with the terrors, the troubles, and the deceptions that are to involve the inhabitants of the earth in the near future. Satan will exercise his power more and more to produce natural calamities (earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, hail-storms, floods, droughts, etc.), famines, wars, pestilences, distress among the nations, etc. And he will be very active, also, in the religious world: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24. These manifestations are to become more and more frequent, powerful, and widespread. Those who are watching the events that are taking place in the world can see that Satan is working with increasing deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. In many cases, as he works miracles through his agents, in the sight of men, he claims that he is Christ Himself. "He [Satan] will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?" 6BC 1105, 1106. This will be the climax of all deceptions.

Mankind is being progressively ensnared in a fast-spreading delusion-Spiritualism. And, when the climax in the great drama of deception comes, when Satan himself personates Christ, the whole world will be prepared to fall prey to the masterpiece of Satan's trickeries. But a small remnant-those who keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus (which is the spirit of prophecy)-will not be misled. It was for the sake of safeguarding God's people against the great delusions of Satan in these last days that the testimony of Jesus was entrusted to them.

"The enemy is on our track. We must be wide-awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions." 8T 298.

But why should the wrath of the dragon be increased by this particular help which was given to the remnant? Simply because this help thwarts Satan's deceptions. Therefore: "There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded." 1SM 48.

 

I-ADDITIONAL HELP FOR THE LAST CONFLICT

Satan has had much success in perverting the truth through those who claim to be his representatives on earth. The greatest perversion of the truth is blamed on the religio-political combination represented by the beast of Revelation 13:1-8. This power set up the head of its organization, the antichrist, as the prophet of God. Instead of directing minds to the one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, as the source of all truth, this pseudo-prophet changed the law of God and lifted himself up as an object of adoration (2 Thess. 2:3, 4).

The last message of mercy calling those that dwell on the earth to break away from this system of falsehood and worship Him who has made heaven and earth (Revelation 14:6, 7), intensifies the conflict of the ages, because it is the closing of the age-lasting contention.

In the bitterness of this controversy, old disputes will be renewed, which were thought to have long ago been hushed, and new and subtle ones will spring to the front. "The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing." 5T 80. Many will be looking for saint or prophet to lead the way, and a spirit of discernment, which enables men to clearly see the difference between truth and error, will then be needed.

As every case must be brought to the scrutiny of the law and the prophets, it is important to read the Bible with the help of the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. Therefore, the message which was brought in the days of Jehoshaphat has a special application today: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2Chron. 20:20.

1. Restoration of the Prophetic Gift

At this juncture the reader may ask, Does the Bible make provision for the spirit of prophecy to be restored in the time of the end? We answer, Yes, it does. Here are the evidences:

(1) Paul advises us to "covet the best gifts" (l Cor. 12:31). He says, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Cor. 14:1. In his epistle he is addressing not only the early Christians but also this last generation. See evidence in 1 Corinthians 15:51-54. The apostle refers specifically to these last days when he writes, "That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 1:5-8. This is clear: We who are waiting for the second coming of the Lord should not lack any gift. In other words, all spiritual gifts, including the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy, are to be restored in our midst, that we may be confirmed and found blameless.

(2) Again, writing to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses this last generation of believers, who are preparing to meet the Lord at His second coming (l Thess. 4:16, 17). After giving an important sign of the imminence of the day of the Lord, he says, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." 1 Thessalonians 5:4. Then he gives us a series of counsels calculated to preserve us "blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Among other things he says, "Despise not prophesyings." 1 Thessalonians 5:20. This means that the gift of prophecy is to play an important role among the true followers of Christ in these last days.

(3) Through the prophet Joel the Lord promised to send His Spirit in a special manifestation shortly before the great day of the Lord. (Read Joel 2:28-31.) This promise is quoted in the New

Testament as follows: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:17. This prophecy was partially fulfilled in the days of the apostles; it is to receive complete fulfillment in the closing work of the gospel.

(4) The Bible says that the last remnant of the church of God on earth would "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ," which is "the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 12:17; 19:10).

Great care must be exercised in the work of God when someone claims to have the gift of prophecy, because two dangers surround this claim: (l) that of rejecting a true prophet, and (2) that of welcoming a false prophet. Whoever follows the rule given in the Bible, which shows how a prophet is to be tested, need not err in this matter.

2. The Bible, and the Bible Only

The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the foundation of our faith. We do not overlook the following instruction:

"God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority-not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain 'Thus saith the Lord' in its support." GC 595.

The maxim, "The Bible, and the Bible only," does not carry one and the same meaning with all Adventists. It has one specific meaning when used by those who accept the Spirit of Prophecy; but when repeated by those who reject the writings of E. G. White, it has a completely different meaning.

The right idea: When we say, "The Bible, and the Bible only," we understand that the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy are in perfect harmony with the Bible, that they make it easier for us to understand the Bible, and that they show our way back to the Bible.

"The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who desire to understand it. But, notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives them plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word they have neglected to follow." "The Testimonies are not to belittle the Word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all."-Life and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 124.

"I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the 'last days'; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth." 3SM 29.

The wrong idea: When the opponents of the Spirit of Prophecy say, "The Bible and the Bible only," they mean that the writings of E. G. White are in conflict with the Bible. But, as a matter of fact, they put her writings aside, not because there is a discrepancy as they say, but because they want to be free to interpret the Bible to suit their unholy inclinations. Through their carnal eyes they try to read their own ideas into the word of God. Thus, while professing to be followers of the Holy Writ, they are actually drifting away from it.

 

II-PROPHETS-TRUE AND FALSE

When the Lord called Moses to be a prophet, entrusting him with an important mission, He assured him that certain evidences would make the people of Israel believe him. By the power of God, Moses would work miracles. If the first miracle would not convince them that the Lord had sent him, then he would use a second miracle. And if in spite of the two miracles they would still refuse to listen to him, then he would perform a third miracle. (Read Ex. 4:1-9.) Something that would impress human eyes was needed; and, initially, it served its purpose.

Moses was a miracle worker. But it has never occurred to us that we should measure his prophetic claim by his power to convert his rod into a serpent, etc. We consider his life, his character, his ministry, his writings, and the benefits that the people of Israel received from his wise leadership over a period of forty years, and we believe that God was with him and spoke through him.

We adopt a similar method to validate the claims of Sister E. G. White. The singular events which took place in connection with her early visions-such as holding an 18-pound Bible at arm's length for about thirty minutes in the presence of onlookers who later testified to the fact-served an important purpose at the beginning of her ministry. Human beings need something to spark their faith initially. But then the real evidences followed. Her seventy years of self-denying labor for the Lord still carry unmistakable credentials.

Every honest searcher after truth will guard against two dangers-the danger of being deceived by false prophets and the danger of rejecting true teachers and their God-given messages and instructions. Failure to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit will keep souls out of the kingdom of heaven. Honest Christians, who actually want to be saved, should therefore consider the evidences of divine guidance and the manifestation of the gift of prophecy in the advent movement.

In the Bible we are instructed how to test those who profess to have been sent by the Lord. Jesus said: "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:16-20. A life of self-sacrificing dedication to the cause of God, reserved and unpretended demeanor, sober pronouncements in connection with a variety of situations, deep insight into human character and into men's intricate problems and innermost secrets, good judgment and timely warnings concerning many difficulties and dangers faced by the church, unflinching opposition to fanaticism, sound counsels on organization and administration, advanced light on true education and on healthful living-these cannot be the fruits of a disturbed or unbalanced mind often subject to hallucinations or epileptic fits.

1. Sufficient Evidences

The life, the work, and the teachings of Sister E. G. White are open for examination. Many sober-minded Christians have scrutinized her writings and have come to favorable conclusions. She said:

"Let the Testimonies be judged by their fruits. What is the spirit of their teaching? What has been the result of their influence? . . .

"God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.

"As the Lord has manifested Himself through the spirit of prophecy, 'past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward I knew them when I saw them. I have been aroused from my sleep with a vivid sense of subjects previously presented to my mind; and I have written, at midnight, letters that have gone across the continent and, arriving at a crisis, have saved great disaster to the cause of God. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work . . . from above or from beneath?' . . . Those who really desire to know the truth will find sufficient evidence for belief." 5T 671, 672.

2. Testimonies of Close Associates

Some of those who were associated with Sister White over a period of many years used their mature convictions to testify on behalf of her work, her visions, and her writings. Consider, for example, the testimony of a close associate, Elder Uriah Smith:

"Seventh-day Adventists do believe in the gifts of the Spirit. . . . They believe that they have in their midst . . . at least one of these gifts.... This is found in the visions of Mrs. E. G. White, as published in her works.

"Every test which can be brought to bear upon such manifestations, proves these genuine. The evidence which supports them, internal and external, is conclusive. They agree with the word of God, and with themselves. They are given, unless those best qualified to judge are invariably deceived, when the Spirit of God is especially present.... Calm, dignified, impressive, they commend themselves to every beholder as the very opposite of that which is false or fanatical....

"They are not the effect of disease.... Their fruit is such as to show that the source from which they spring is the opposite of evil.

"They tend to the purest morality. They discountenance every vice, and exhort to the practise of every virtue. They point out the perils through which we are to pass to the kingdom. They reveal the devices of Satan. They warn us against his snares. They have nipped in the bud scheme after scheme of fanaticism which the enemy has tried to foist into our midst. They have exposed hidden iniquity, brought to light concealed wrongs, and laid bare the evil motives of the false-hearted. They have warded off dangers from the cause of truth upon every hand. They have aroused and rearoused us to greater consecration to God, more zealous efforts for holiness of heart, and greater diligence in the cause and service of our Master.

"They lead us to Christ. Like the Bible, they set Him forth as the only hope and only Saviour of mankind. They portray before us in living characters His holy life and His godly example, and with irresistible appeals they urge us to follow in His steps.

"They lead us to the Bible. They set forth that book as the inspired and unaltered word of God. They exhort us to take that word as the man of our counsel, and the rule of our faith and practise. And with a compelling power, they entreat us to study long and diligently its pages, and become familiar with its teaching, for it is to judge us in the last day.

"They have brought comfort and consolation to many hearts. They have strengthened the weak, encouraged the feeble, raised up the despondent. They have brought order out of confusion, made crooked places straight, and thrown light on what was dark and obscure. And no person with an unprejudiced mind can read their stirring appeals for a pure and lofty morality, their exaltation of God and the Saviour, their denunciations of every evil, and their exhortations to every thing that is holy and of good report, without being compelled to say, 'These are not the words of him that hath a devil."' Uriah Smith, The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, pp. 3-8.

Messages which consistently exalt Christ as the divine Son of God and our only Saviour and magnify His ministration in our behalf; messages which vindicate the authority of the Bible and lead us into all biblical truth; messages which uphold the holy law of God and enjoin obedience to all its commandments-such messages cannot come through an agent of Satan.

3. Christ Exalted

The apostle Paul wrote: "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 1 Cor. 2:2. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27) was the central subject of his teachings. While true teachers work to bring souls to Christ, false teachers deny the Lord (2 Peter 2:1) and try to convert souls to themselves (Acts 20:30). Instead of rebuking sinners and calling sin by its right name, they seek to please people by flattering their carnal hearts. "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." 1 John 4:5.

Sister White always exalted Christ as our only hope. Here is an example of the tenor of her teachings:

"Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended into the heavens, Christ coming again, should so soften, gladden, and fill the mind of the minister that he will present these truths to the people in love and deep earnestness. The minister will then be lost sight of and Jesus will be made manifest. Lift up Jesus, you that teach the people, lift Him up in sermon, in song, in prayer. Let all your powers be directed to pointing souls, confused, bewildered, lost, to the 'Lamb of God."' GW 159, 160.

4. The Bible Vindicated

Christ said: "Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." Luke 11:28. And Paul wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim. 3:16. Then he added a warning about false teachers: "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.... They shall turn

away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.

In vain have some tried to find discrepancies between the Bible and the writings of Sister White. Seeming contradictions can be detected even within the Scriptures. But, so far, no one has ever been able to show us an example of real disagreement t between the Word of God and the Testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy.

Sister White never indicated that we should regard her writings as an addition to the Bible. Her consistent advice was as follows: "I am fully in harmony with you in your work when you present the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the foundation of our faith." 2SM 85.

"In the golden censer of truth, as presented in Christ's teachings, we have that which will convict and convert souls. Pro claim, in the simplicity of Christ, the truths that He came to this world to proclaim, and the power of your message will make it self felt. Do not advocate theories or tests that Christ has never mentioned, and that have no foundation in the Bible. We have grand, solemn truths for the people. 'It is written' is the test that must be brought home to every soul." GW 309.

5. The Law of God Upheld

When men ignore the will of God as it is revealed in His holy law, we are not to regard the miraculous manifestations which may be connected with their work as a proof that they have been sent by God. (Read Matthew 7:21-23.) False prophets do not render or teach obedience to all the commandments of the Decalogue. Therefore, we are told to test the genuineness of their claims by considering their attitude toward the law. (Read Isa. 8:20; 1 John 24.)

No one can deny that Sister White has firmly upheld, before the church and the world, the sacred requirements of God's moral law.

6. Predictions Fulfilled

In addition to the test mentioned before, the Lord said that those who claim to be prophets should be tested also on the accurate fulfillment of their predictions. (Read Deut. 18:21, 22; Isa. 41:22-24.)

In the writings of Sister White there are many undeniable examples of prophetic foresight. This is the theme of a book entitled Divine Predictions of Mrs. Ellen G. White Fulfilled, by F. C. Gilbert. And there are other publications, too, dealing with this subject. The fulfillment of her predictions belonging to events which are now behind us inspires us with confidence that her prophetic utterances concerning events that are still before us will likewise be fulfilled.

We share Elder S. N. Haskell's conclusion:

"After over sixty years' study of Mrs. White's writings with the Bible, we can truthfully say that we know not of one Bible test of a true prophet but has been most literally fulfilled in her writings and in her character."

 

III-RIGHT AND WRONG ATTITUDES

We are not ignorant of the objections that have been made against the writings of Sister White. The arguments(1) that her visions were the product of nervous disorders; (2) that she made false claims and predictions; (3) that her writings do not always agree with the Bible; (4) that in some cases she contradicted herself; (5) that she was influenced by those around her; (6) that she copied extensively from other authors without giving credit to them; (7) that she used literary assistants who doctored her writings as they saw fit; etc. such arguments have already been answered successfully in SDA publications.

From our standpoint, however, we must clarify a few points in connection with inspiration. I

1. The Question of Infallibility

Men called to be prophets are not restricted to thinking, speaking, and acting only under divine inspiration. Their human frailties often come to the front when they speak their own words. Abraham used deception (Gen. 12:11-13), Jacob uttered and maintained a wrong personal conclusion (Gen. 37:32-34), Moses dishonored the Lord by speaking hasty and wrong words (Num. 20:10-12), David gave murderous instructions to Joab (2 Sam.11:14, 15), Nathan encouraged David to go ahead with his plans to build the temple and then had to reverse his instructions (1 Chron. 17:1-12). All these men of God were prophets, but they did not always speak the words given them by the Lord.

The fact that Sister White was called to the prophetic office did not hinder her from maintaining and/or uttering some personal opinions. At the very beginning, for example, she had wrong ideas about the close of probation (lSM 741, the use of swine's flesh (lT 206, 207), Sabbathkeeping (1T 116), and possibly other points. But what happened? Under the influence of the Holy Spirit she gave up those ideas as she was guided, step by step, "into all truth" (John 16:13).

Sister White declared: "In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible." 1SM 37. "The Bible is the only infallible authority in religion." GC 238.

In 1906 a brother wanted to know if every word spoken or written by Sister White was directly inspired. This was her answer:

"In your letter, you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the Testimonies, and say, 'I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the ten commandments.' (Italics hers.)

"My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims." RH Aug. 30, 1906.

In 1909 a worker in Southern California began to doubt the inspiration of the Testimonies because Sister White had stated in a letter that the Paradise Valley Sanitarium had forty rooms, when in reality it had only thirty-eight. The fact was, as she explained, that she had obtained information about the sanitarium, not from the Lord, but from a brother. So she stated that information, "not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion." In the same writing she added this warning:

"There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God." 1SM 39.

In the preface to Spiritual Gifts, volume 2, Sister White wrote concerning the biographical information contained in that volume:

 

"In preparing the following pages, I have labored under great disadvantages, as I have had to depend in many instances, on memory, having kept no journal till within a few years. In several instances I have sent the manuscripts to friends who were present when the circumstances related occurred, for their examination before they were put in print. I have taken great care, and have spent much time, in endeavoring to state the simple facts as correctly as possible."

As can be seen, there is no claim that her words were unerringly dictated to her by the Holy Spirit.

2. The Concept of Inspiration

Although many members have been inclined to believe in a verbal inspiration of the Bible and the Testimonies, the SDA Church as a denomination has never held that view. On this point Sister White says:

"It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God." 7BC 945, 946.

"The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction." 1SM 22.

3. Unwarranted Flexibility

a) Arbitrary Selections

Many believers have questions about the unpublished manuscripts from which selections are gathered, put together, and published in the form of books under the name of B. G. White. If these manuscripts were published in full, exactly as they appear in their original form, this would make it easier to understand the original idea conveyed. Furthermore, when a writing is taken to pieces, and its segments are scattered and included in different chapters or books, some confusion may result. Isolated portions, read out of their context, can easily be misinterpreted.

b) Changes

The complaint has often been heard that those responsible for E. G. White's publications have taken upon their shoulders the responsibility of making unauthorized deletions, additions, and corrections in her writings. Evidences show that changes have been made, and concerned believers wonder how far these alterations were sanctioned by Sister White. We stand with those who are opposed to this tampering with the inspired writings. What faith would Christians have in the New Testament books if each succeeding generation had taken the liberty of changing them?

c) Forming the Adventist Doctrine

We believe, with all faithful Adventists, that we must and can prove all our doctrines from the Bible and the Bible alone. But we do not agree with the statement that E. G. White played absolutely no role in the Adventist interpretation of the Bible. We therefore object to the following declaration:

"No doctrinal truth or prophetic interpretation ever came to this people initially through the Spirit of Prophecy not in a single case."-Ministry, February 1957.

The Spirit of Prophecy had a definite part in helping the Advent believers find in the Bible the present truth for today. We read:

"Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, 'We can do nothing more,' the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.

"During the whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given."Sp T, Series B, No. 2, pp. 56, 57.

d) Not a Test of Fellowship

In the SDA Church belief in, or acceptance of, the writings of E. G. White is not a test of Christian fellowship. (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 96, 97.) This means that whether you do or do not believe in the Spirit of Prophecy, you can still be a church member in good and regular standing. We must take exception especially to the fact that even opponents of the Spirit of Prophecy can hold high offices in the church. Example: L. Conradi was the president of the European Division and vice-president of the General Conference (Movement of Destiny, p. 677) for years while being openly opposed to the Testimonies.

4. Important Warning

We are warned, not only about those who reject the Testimonies, but also about those who profess to accept them and actually misuse them. One of the warnings seems to refer to those who have access to the archives where the original writings of E. G. White are kept. The servant of the Lord says:

"Soon every possible effort will be made to discount and pervert the truth of the testimonies of God's Spirit. We must have in readiness the clear, straight messages that since 1846 have been coming to God's people.

"There will be those once united with us in the faith who will search for new, strange doctrines, for something odd and sensational to present to the people. They will bring in all conceivable fallacies, and will present them as coming from Mrs. White, that they may beguile souls....

"Those who have treated the light that the Lord has given as a common thing will not be benefited by the instruction presented.

"There are those who will misinterpret the message that God has given, in accordance with their spiritual blindness.

"Some will yield their faith, and will deny the truth of the messages, pointing to them as falsehoods.

"Some will hold them up to ridicule, working against the light that God has been giving for years, and some who are weak in the faith will thus be led astray. But others will be greatly helped by the messages." 1SM 41, 42.

 

IV-CONCLUSION

Through the rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy by a large proportion of Seventh-day Adventists, heresies are streaming into the church, because the floodgate is open. The fulfillment of the following predictions has already begun:

"Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly; for he knows what truth is.

"Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan." TM 409, 410.

"The enemy has made his masterly efforts to unsettle the faith of our own people in the Testimonies, and when these errors come in they claim to prove all the positions by the Bible, but they misinterpret the Scriptures. They make bold assertions, as did Elder Canright, and misapply the prophecies and the Scriptures to prove falsehood. And, after men have done their work in weakening the confidence of our churches in the Testimonies, they have torn away the barrier, that unbelief in the truth shall become widespread, and there is no voice to be lifted up to stay the force of error.

"This is just as Satan designed it should be, and those who have been preparing the way for the people to pay no heed to the warnings and reproofs of the Testimonies of the Spirit of God will see that a tide of errors of all kinds will spring into life. They will claim Scripture as their evidence, and deceptions of Satan in every form will prevail." 3SM 83.

"One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan's banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God's Spirit." 3SM 84.

"As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third message, but have not been sanctified through it, abandon their position, and take refuge under the banner of the powers of darkness. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren." 4SP 426.

Many are waiting, in vain, for all the deceivers, together with the backslidden majority, to be shaken out of the church, but prophecy does not say that they will leave the apostatized mother church. On the contrary, the prophetic picture shows that these evildoers, and the evils for which they are responsible, remain in the mother church to the very end. Read 3T 266, 267; ST 209-214, 524; etc. A large proportion will fall prey to the delusions that will come in these last days, but a small remnant-those that keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus Christ-will not be deceived.

Righteousness by Faith

STUDY 5

 

"Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven." GC 493. When he was "no longer free to stir up the rebellion in heaven, Satan's enmity against God found a new field in plotting the ruin of the human race." PP 52. The Bible clearly tells the story of the temptation and fall of our first parents: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12. As the result, the world was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death.

 

I-THE SIN PROBLEM AND ITS SOLUTION

This sin-darkened earth was not left without hope. In the courts of heaven it was decided that the Son of God should be sent to us, "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10), to "save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21), and to "destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Sin had originated in the self-seeking exaltation of Lucifer; the plan of salvation in the self-sacrificing love of God. So great was His love for us that He consented to sacrifice His best, to save at least some of us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. And His Son volunteered to make the great sacrifice and pay the price of our redemption. So He chose to step down from the throne of the universe, leaving the glory that He had with the Father, that He might bring help to this benighted and perishing world. Jesus, "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:6-8.

Notice that Jesus came in "the form of a servant," "in the likeness of men." Before His coming, provision had been made for His incarnation. He said, "a body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5). The glory of His divinity, which we could not have endured, had to be veiled in the flesh of humanity, that He might draw near to fallen men. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:14. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood].... Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." Hebrews 2:14, 17. For this reason the "Son of God" was also called the "Son of man."

"By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey." DA 24.

When humanity and divinity are associated in the same person, complete victory over sin and perfect reproduction cf Christ's character in man, is possible. This fundamental truth was expressed by Paul in these words: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:3, 4.

Through His divine power (Romans 1:16) God has provided "all things that pertain unto life and godliness," making it possible for us to become "partakers of the divine nature" and grow in faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and all other fruits of the Spirit, in which we must abound to make our "calling and election sure." "For so [not in any other way, but so] an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:3-11.

 

II-GETTING RIGHT WITH GOD

The Bible tells us that all men have an inherent deficiency, which is fatal to them: "There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:10, 23, 24. In other words: Through sin we have all lost an essential part of our being the glory of God, His moral image, His character, His righteousness-without which we are but hopeless sinners, doomed to eternal perdition. But thanks to a special provision of God, the fundamental need in our being can be supplied-God's righteousness can be restored in us-and we can have everlasting life. This is the essence of Paul's exposition.

From the very beginning, men have been trying to find their way back to God, and the question, "How then can men be justified with God?" (Job 25:4), has been repeated over and over since sin came into the world. But, sad to realize, by following their own ideas, men have generally missed the way.

When our first parents fell into transgression, and lost their white robe of innocence and righteousness, they tried to cover their nakedness with fig leaves sewn together. "This is what the transgressors of God's law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve's disobedience.... They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God." COL 311.

The controversy between Cain and Abel was not limited to those two brothers; it has continued all through religious history. "Abel was determined to worship God according to the directions God had given. This displeased Cain. He thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain." TM 77, 78. "To outward appearance their religion was the same up to a certain point; but beyond this the difference between the two was great.... Abel chose faith and obedience; Cain, unbelief and rebellion." PP 72. The majority have always followed, and are still following, the way of Cain. They say to themselves, "I'm a sinner, but I'm not worse than other sinners in this world. I know I'm doing things that I shouldn't do. But everybody else is doing wrong things. God will finally have to make a special concession; He will have to lower His standard before He can get any of us into heaven; otherwise none will be saved. He knows I'm doing my best after all." This is how so many people deceive themselves, and there can be no greater deception than self-deception.

 

III-RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR TODAY

"O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day." Daniel 9:7.

1. What Is Righteousness?

There are some stock answers we are in the habit of giving. One of them is that righteousness is right doing. This is certainly true and we can show an inspired statement to that effect. We must not, however, pass by all the other statements. Sometimes we become experts at taking sentences out of context and ignoring the rest. If righteousness is nothing more than right doing, then all you would have to do to become righteous would be to concentrate on doing all the right things. There is a hidden trap here, however. Someone else maintains that righteousness is conformity to the will of God. That again is true and we can find an inspired statement for it also. But if you're not careful you can be led to think that all you have to do is to conform to the law of God. The danger is that this conformity can be merely external. And we can become like the Pharisees of old. "Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness." Luke 11:39.

We can go through other definitions and still find nothing but frustration until we come face to face with the only live definition: Righteousness equals the gospel of Jesus. Romans 1:17. "Therein is the righteousness of God revealed" in the gospel of Jesus. The only kind of righteousness that this world has ever known in a real live person was in the Lord Jesus Christ. The best single definition for righteousness is Jesus. When we read, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness," what the verse is saying to us is: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after Jesus." An important breakthrough in our study of salvation by faith is that you don't get righteousness by seeking righteousness. Righteousness comes only by seeking Jesus. Jesus said in John 15:5, "Without me ye can do nothing." There are people out there in the world who are apparently doing great things without God, but they need to be reminded of who it is that keeps their hearts beating in their chests. What we need to understand from this text is that we are helpless to produce righteousness in ourselves, because righteousness is found only in Jesus. There is a vast difference, however, between being helpless and being worthless. Without Him we are certainly worth something. Jesus on the cross proved that every human being is worth the entire universe, yet when it comes to righteousness we are totally bankrupt. "There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"Isa. 64:61.

"Sinful man can find hope and righteousness only in God: and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God and maintains a vital connection with Him." TM 367.

2. Righteousness Through Relationship

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings." Philippians 3:10.

There is an important and vital truth that all should understand, and that is, that the certainty and assurance of eternal life is not based upon our performance, but upon our being in relationship with Christ. That's why the question, "Do you know Him?" is an important question. It is so important in fact that Jesus equated "knowing Him" with "eternal life." "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3. Romans chapter 5, talks about the gift of righteousness, which is nothing less than Jesus Himself.

If we accept His gift today but don't stay with Him, can we claim we still have this gift? Let us repeat again the statement: "[N]o human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God and maintains a vital connection with Him." TM 367. There is a text which should help us understand this truth, l John 5:12: "He that hath the Son hath life." What does it mean to "have the Son"? We say that we have a friend. I have a wife, you have a wife, or husband. What does that mean? It simply means that you have a relationship with that person. When the text says, "He that hath the Son," it means having a relationship with Him. We are made righteous so long as we are in Him. Righteousness is never independent of Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as righteousness apart from Jesus.

 

IV-RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH IN ADVENTISM

We have already brought the attention of our readers to that epochal General Conference Session of 1888, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The history and content of the 1888 message is of keen interest to spiritually-minded SDA's around the world. They hear conflicting reports as to how the message was received by the leading brethren at that time as well as to the content of the message itself. We read the thoughtful account of A.G. Daniells in his book Christ Our Righteousness, where he made it clear that the "message has never been received, nor proclaimed, nor given free course as it should have been in order to convey to the church the measureless blessings that were wrapped within it" (COR 47). In the preface to the book Testimonies to Ministers, 1923 edition, we read: "The General Conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888, marked a crisis in the work of the great threefold message. From the wrong side of the crisis the spirit of prophecy brought us." If we had nothing else in print, this first edition would make it clear that something terrible happened at Minneapolis. There are pages regarding "the spirit that ran riot at Minneapolis"; a "satanic work began there" (TM 76, 80). "The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgiveness only through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advocates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed, and rejected." TM 468.

In the year 1889 the Lord's messenger Ellen White made this statement: "The doctrine of justification by faith has been lost sight of by many who have professed to believe the third angel's message." RH Aug. 13, 1889. "There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject [justification by faith] that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare." RH Sept. 3, 1889. While early SDA's accepted the basic evangelic view of the gospel, we cannot help but notice a conspicuous absence of a message of salvation. It would seem that evangelism had become largely a process of convincing others of doctrinal truths, the assumption being that if one could be led to believe what the church was teaching in terms of doctrinal truth, he would be compelled to embrace the message. This assumption had validity to those people who were already persuaded of the basic claims of Christianity. The approach no doubt bore fruit. Those who were already evangelical Christians in their experience regarded the acceptance of the Advent doctrines as a forward step in their Christian life. Those who were backslidden from their Christian upbringing and principles, upon being revived by the clear presentation of the great Bible truths were often brought to a conviction and rededicated their hearts to the Lord simultaneously with their acceptance of the truth. As the years went by, however, a new generation came to the stage of action who were well versed in the theory of the message, but many of them had never experienced a true conversion. Truth had been accepted into "the outer court" as it were, but had never entered into the "inner sanctuary of the soul." If the ministers lacked this experience, how could they possibly feed the flock of God with the spiritual food they needed? "Many sermons preached upon the claims of the law have been without Christ, and this lack has made the truth inefficient in converting souls." COR 118. "Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and on kindred truths." COR 119.

Without the Spirit and power of God, it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth. "The plan of salvation is not presented in its simplicity for the reason that few ministers know what simple faith is. An intellectual knowledge of the truth is not enough; we must know its power upon our own hearts and lives." 5T 159. It is by contemplating Christ, by exercising faith in Him, by experiencing for ourselves His saving grace, that we are qualified to present Him to the world. If we have learned of Him, Jesus will be our theme; His love, burning upon the altar of our hearts, will reach the hearts of the people.

It is only by gaining an insight into the real spiritual condition of the church in the early Eighties, that we can understand the import of the 1888 message and why it brought such mixed reactions.

In a letter of warning and instruction in 1881 we note the following: "I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and prosperity are in all her borders.

"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power....

"And what has caused this alarming condition? Many have accepted the theory of truth who have had no true conversion. I know whereof I speak. There are few who feel real sorrow for sin, who have deep, pungent convictions of the depravity of the unregenerate nature. The heart of stone is not exchanged for a heart of flesh. Few are willing to fall upon the Rock and be broken." 5T 217, 218.

From the very first presentation at Minneapolis and during the following decade, the Spirit of Prophecy placed the seal of approval upon this message. We were told in the most plain and positive language that the Lord was leading and impelling men to proclaim the definite message of Righteousness by Faith. Of that General Conference Session and of the men specially called to give this message, it is declared:

"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people.... This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many have lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.... This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." TM 91, 92.

 

V-FOCUS ON THE 1888 MESSAGE

What was the content of this message that had such power to move hearts? Christ.

Let Waggoner explain what he taught both before 1888 and in the years that followed concerning the nature of Christ "in the likeness of sinful flesh."

"[T]here were two questions handed me, and I might read them now. One of them is this: Was that holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that ours does?' . . .

"Now I do not know anything about this matter, except what I read in the Bible; but that which I read in the Bible is so clear and plain that it gives me everlasting hope. I have had my time of discouragement and despondency and unbelief, but I thank God that it is past. That thing which for years of my life made me discouraged, after I had as earnestly and conscientiously as any one ever did, tried to serve the Lord-that which made me give up in my soul and say, 'It is no use; I cannot do it,' was the knowledge, to some extent, of the weakness of mine own self, and the thought that those who in my estimation were doing right, and those holy men of old of whom we read in the Bible, were differently constituted from me so that they could do right. I found by many sad experiences that I could not do anything but evil.... I ask you: If Jesus Christ, who is set forth by the Father as the Saviour, who came here to show me the way of salvation, in whom alone there is hope-if His life here on earth was a sham, then where is the hope? 'But' you say 'this question presupposes the very opposite of the fact that His life was a sham, because it presupposes that He was perfectly holy, so holy that He never had even any evil to contend with.'

"That's what I am referring to. I read, He 'was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' I read of His praying all night. I read of His praying in such agony that the drops of sweat like blood fell from His face; but if that were all make-believe, if it were all simply show, if He went through that and there was nothing to it after all, if He were not really tempted, but was merely going through the motions of prayer, of what use is it all to me? I am left worse off than I was before.

"But O, if there is One-and I do not use this 'if' with any thought of doubt; I will say-since there is One who went through all that I ever can be called upon to go through, who resisted more than I in my own single person can ever be called upon to resist, who had temptations stronger than ever has come to me personally, who was constituted in every respect as I am, only in even worse circumstances than I have been, who met all the power that the devil could exercise through human flesh, and yet who knew no sin-then I can rejoice with exceeding great joy.... And that which He did some nineteen hundred years ago is that which He is still able to do, which He does to all who believe in Him." GCB (1901) 403, 404.

By emphasizing this important Bible truth, Waggoner holds out to us the wonderful possibility of us gaining the victory over all sin. What Christ accomplished by overcoming in His flesh on earth He can accomplish in the flesh of all who believe in Him truly.

"[W]e have mourned the fact that we inherited evil tendencies, sinful natures, we have almost despaired, because we could not break with these inherited evils, nor resist these tendencies to sin.... Jesus Christ was 'born of the seed of David according to the flesh.' . . . Jesus was not ashamed to call sinful men His brethren.... Thus we see that no matter what our inheritance may have been by nature, the Spirit of God has such power over the flesh that it can utterly reverse all this and make us partakers of the divine nature." GCB (1901) 408.

The evidence that the Spirit of Prophecy supported this idea of the 1888 messengers is overwhelming, particularly in the years that followed the Minneapolis Conference. Examples:

"Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action, and knowing that he can do it, resists by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed." YI July 20, 1899.

"In this conflict the humanity of Christ was taxed as none of us will ever know.... These were real temptations, no pretense. . . . The Son of God in His humanity wrestled with the very same fierce, apparently overwhelming temptations that assail men-temptations to indulgence of appetite, to presumptuous venturing where God has not led them, and to the worship of the god of this world, to sacrifice an eternity of bliss for the fascinating pleasures of this life." 1SM 94, 95. "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God." l SM 244. "By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. As the Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as the Son of God, He gives us power to obey." DA 24. "The union of the divine with the human is one of the most mysterious, as well as the most precious truths of the plan of redemption.... While it is impossible for finite minds to totally grasp this great truth or to fathom its significance. we may learn from it lessons of vital importance to us in our struggle against temptation. Christ came to the world to bring divine power to humanity to make man a partaker of the divine nature." GCB (1895) 333.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding we should note that neither Waggoner nor Jones ever said that Christ "had" a sinful nature. They said Christ "took" our sinful nature, a nature that had within it all the capability of being tempted from within or without, and like our nature bearing all the results of our heredity. Note how Sr. E.G. White expresses the same thought: "He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon Him our sinful nature." RH Dec. 15, 1896.

 

VI-VARIANT VIEWS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH

How did the 1888 message differ from the historic Protestant doctrine of justification by faith?

In reality it is built upon the solid foundation of the Reformers' message of justification by faith and was in full harmony with it. However, it went far beyond the 16th century concepts.

The Reformers came out of the midnight darkness of Romanism, and could only bear so much light, otherwise it would blind them. We might wonder why they did not see the light on the Sabbath truth. One of the most serious errors the Reformers inherited from Romanism was the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul. Augustine was one of the "fathers" of the 16th century Reformation, yet his views of the plan of salvation were distorted by this and other errors. Luther personally rejected the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul, but his followers accepted it and believed in it.

Calvin was one of the noble men God raised up to continue the work that Luther had started. He was instrumental in promulgating truths that were of special importance in his time, and yet his doctrines were not free from error. Such teachings as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, and predestination, make it impossible to have a clear view of God's character of love. No understanding of the gospel could be complete if such false doctrines affect it.

The 1888 message re-confirmed what the Reformers recovered that is, the finished work of our redemption in Christ's doing and dying. It went beyond the emphasis of Luther and the other 16th century Reformers, in that it taught not only a legal redemption from sin's guilt and punishment, but also redemption from the power and dominion of sin. Further, the 16th century Reformers did not understand the Three Angels' Messages, therefore they could not preach "the third angel's message in verity," as the 1888.message was declared to be. This clearer understanding of the gospel is God's means of arousing the world and accomplishing in His people a work parallel to what Christ is accomplishing as High Priest in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. These two great truths-righteousness by faith and the sanctuary doctrine-come together in the 1888 message.

Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church have an official position in regard to righteousness by faith?

Geoffrey Paxton, an Anglican clergyman from Australia, was a keen student of Reformation theology. He had heard the claim that SDA's were ardent believers in the righteousness by faith concepts of the 16th century Reformers. In a writing entitled The Reformation and Adventism he tells us what his research disclosed:

"Since the Adventist Church has come through as a fairly tight organizational structure, I was shocked when I began to examine the Adventist mentality to find that there is by no means any unanimity in the Adventist Church today on the meaning of the essence of Christianity.... Instead I found three distinct movements, or mentalities, in the Adventist Church. I will describe them by these three general designations: (1) the Liberal mentality; (2) the Traditionalist mentality; and (3) the Reformationist mentality. I only wish the evangelical world were as stirred up and as divided at the moment on the issue of righteousness by faith as is the Adventist Church." He said he found one generally accepted belief at Andrews University and an entirely different concept at the Review and Herald.

This of course is one man's opinion and we present it here for what it is worth. We should also like to designate three variant views of the gospel being taught within Adventism.

1. The Traditional View

When we say "traditional" we are referring to the general understanding of most Seventh-day Adventists. The "traditional" view of the gospel is in theory mostly sound.

1. Justification is the forgiveness of all past sins, made possible through the death of Christ. When a person by repentance and confession "accepts Christ," he experiences a new birth and is brought into a right relationship with God. This is referred to as justification. It is the work of a moment and is often referred to "as our title to heaven."

2. Sanctification is necessary, however, in order for us to qualify for heaven. It is referred to as "positive righteousness." Thus sanctification or holiness of living (obedience to the law) is essential. This obedience to the law proves that we really love Jesus or are therefore prepared for heaven.

3. During the process of sanctification, which is the work of a lifetime, believers will inevitably commit sins. These must be forgiven through daily repentance and confession.

But since 1 and 2 are continual day by day experiences throughout our lifetime, the believer can never be assured of eternal salvation until judgment day.

2. Reformation Gospel View

For the past decade or more some highly respected Adventist theologians in top circles have been promoting a variant view of the Gospel known as the Reformation Gospel. It is part of what is referred to as the New Theology. The chief proponent of this view was for twenty years the head of the department of religion at the Australian Missionary College. While some of the older experienced brethren warned the administration that false concepts were being taught, little notice was taken. The result was that over the years, hundreds of ministerial students imbibed these ideas and did not hesitate to promote them wherever they went. The seriousness of the situation was not recognized until it brought an actual confrontation with the Australian Division and the General Conference on the subject of righteousness by faith. Without going into details about the efforts made to bring Dr. Desmond Ford back into line, and about his final dismissal from the work, it is well known that the New Theology has widely permeated the denomination, not only in Australia, but in the United States and other countries of the world.

Those who profess this view claim that righteousness by faith only refers to justification. Sanctification, while important, has no part with the doctrine of righteousness by faith. Briefly, this is how they explain their understanding of the gospel as it relates to justification and sanctification:

1. Righteousness by faith and justification by faith are one and the same thing. It is a legal declaration of God in which He proclaims the believing sinner perfectly righteous on the basis of the doing and dying of Christ. This differs from the "traditional" view in that, according to the New Theology, justification is more than the forgiveness of past sins-it is God declaring the sinner perfectly righteous in Christ, including full forgiveness of all sins both past and future. Through this justification the believer is fully qualified for heaven now and in the judgment.

2. They insist that justification is solely a legal (or forensic) declaration. Under no circumstances will they admit that the new birth or any other subjective experience in the believer has any part of the righteousness by faith.

3. Sanctification does not belong to the doctrine of righteousness by faith, but is only the outcome. The justified person will give evidence of his justified state by living a holy and godly life. Sanctification is never by faith alone, but involves the believer's own efforts and works and since his nature is still sinful he can never expect to be completely free from sin until glorification. The believer can easily be led to conclude that since sanctification does not contribute to one's salvation, he should not be unduly concerned about the besetting sins in his life, as his hope is in Christ's righteousness already guaranteed to him in heaven.

3. Evaluating the "Reformation Gospel" Concept

1. Many SDA's in recent years have felt an unsatisfied longing in their hearts for a deeper understanding of the gospel. While they are fully loyal to the unique doctrinal truths that identify Seventh-day Adventism, they are conscious that something is missing and they are determined to find it. While strictly warned against attending meetings conducted by non-Adventists, they have in one way or another listened to gospel preaching by men who were truly lifting up Christ in all His fullness and beauty. Whether on the radio or in a church service, what they heard touched a responsive chord in their soul-an element of the gospel they had never heard in their own churches. Not having learned of the 1888 message, they are drawn closer to other non-Adventist Christians who appear to be rejoicing in the gospel, and finally they are led to doubt the doctrinal truth itself. Thus many have aligned themselves with churches which they once believed were part of Babylon.

2. The "Reformation Gospel" view is an attempt to supply the lack in the current "traditional" Adventist teaching and to correct its deficiencies. It is a reaction to its legalistic trend. It is true that "traditional Adventism" has missed the glorious truth of justification as recovered by the Reformers of the 16th century, and resorted to a subtle form of legalism. It is wrong, however, to imply that the gospel taught by Luther and the other Reformers was the third angel's message "in verity."

3. While there is some truth to be commended in the Reformation Gospel, it fails to appreciate and welcome the 1888 message. It has no use for the unique Seventh-day Adventist truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary and the final atonement as understood in the 1888 message. As the result, it would try to take us back to the confusion of many of the popular evangelical churches.

4. Failing to understand New Testament faith, it devalues justification by faith by emphasizing man's self-centered concern to escape hell, or get to heaven. As justification is purported to be entirely a legal declaration of God outside of us and does not include in any way the experience of the believers, either in the new birth or in the work of sanctification, the one who claims to accept Christ believes he is saved now and for eternity. This is what is basic in the popular evangelical teaching of "eternal security," "Once saved, always saved."

5. As the proponents of the Reformation Gospel reject the concept that "sinless living" is possible this side of Christ's coming, there is a tendency to excuse disobedience of God's law, and careless disregard of some of those vital principles which are an intrinsic part of the three angels' messages. Where this "gospel" has been taught over the past decade, there is found in its wake cynicism, doubt, apathy, and lowered standards that constitute an Adventist antinomianism.

 

VII-JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE 1888 MESSENGERS

If the message of justification by faith was indeed the "third angel's message in verity," it must have something unique and special about it to offer, apart from the popular evangelistic ideas. As much as the message was needed by the church in 1888 and perhaps very much more today, it was not given just for church members but to be proclaimed to all the world. "The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel." 6T 19.

What did the 1888 messengers teach, essentially, in regard to justification by faith?

Both Jones and Waggoner recognized that there are two phases in justification: (a) a forensic or legal act accomplished for all men, entirely outside of us; (b) an effective transformation of heart in those who believe. Part b, which is strongly opposed by the "Reformation Gospel" proponents, was wholeheartedly supported by Sr. White. Take note how the messengers explained this important New Testament truth:

"The word of God is self-fulfilling.... Thus the word of God spoken by Jesus Christ is able to cause that to exist which has no existence before the word is spoken....

"In man's life there is no righteousness.... But God has set forth Christ to declare righteousness unto and upon men. Christ has spoken the word only, and in the darkened void of man's life there is righteousness to everyone who will receive it.... The word of God received by faith . . . produces righteousness in the man and in the life where there never was any before, precisely as, in the original creation.... Therefore, being justified [made righteous] by faith [by expecting, and depending upon, the word of God only], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." RH Jan. 17, 1899.

"Men must not only become just by faith-by dependence upon the word of God-but being just, we must live by faith. The just man lives in precisely the same way, and by precisely the same thing, that he becomes just." RH March 7, 1899.

"Here is the word of God, the word of righteousness, the word of life, to you 'now"at this time.' Will you be made righteous by it now? Will you live by it now? This is justification by faith. This is righteousness by faith. It is the simplest thing in the world." RH Nov. 10, 1896.

Jones and Waggoner both clearly taught that justification by faith makes a believer righteous in the sense that it makes him an obedient doer of the law. A lifetime of obedience on the part of the repentant sinner could never atone for his sins and could never give him an iota of merit. What faith in Christ does is to deliver him from his disobedience to the law, and set him in the path of obedience. This is really how the new covenant promise becomes a reality in the life of the believer: "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Jones and Waggoner repeatedly and emphatically said that justification by faith is "making righteous" and not only "declaring" righteous. We read again from Waggoner on this point:

"Justification has to do with the law. The term means making just. Now in Romans 2:13 we are told who the just ones are: 'For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.' The just man, therefore, is the one who does the law. To be just means to be righteous. Therefore since the just man is the one who does the law, it follows that to justify a man, that is, to make him just, is to make him a doer of the law.

"Being justified by faith, then, is simply being made a doer of the law by faith.... It will be seen, therefore, that there can be no higher state than that of justification. It does everything that God can do for a man short of making him immortal, which is done only at the resurrection.... Faith and submission to God must be exercised continually, in order to retain the righteousness-in order to remain a doer of the law.

"This enables one to see clearly the force of these words, 'Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.' Romans 3:31. That is, instead of breaking the law, and making it of no effect in our lives, we establish it in our hearts by faith. This is so because faith brings Christ into the heart, and the law of God is in the heart of Christ. And thus 'as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' This one who obeys is the Lord Jesus Christ, and His obedience is done in the heart of everyone who believes. And as it is by His obedience alone that men are made doers of the law, so to Him shall be the glory forever and ever." ST May 1, 1893.

That Ellen White fully supported this understanding of justification by faith should be evident in the light of such statements as the following:

"It [the 1888 message] presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.... Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines.... It presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole." TM 91-94.

"[W]hile God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.... In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect." 1SM 366.

"There is a danger of regarding justification by faith as placing merit on faith.... What is faith? It is an assent of the understanding of God's words which binds the heart in willing consecration and service to God, who gave the understanding, who moved the heart, who first drew the mind to view Christ on the cross of Calvary....

"The law of the human heart and the divine action makes the receiver a laborer together with God. It brings man where he can, united with divinity, work the works of God.... Divine power and the human agency combined will be a complete success, for Christ's righteousness accomplishes everything." MS 36, 1890.

 

VIII-SANCTIFICATION

You have noticed that the truth of "justification" was given so much emphasis in the 1888 message and it covers so much more than most of us have been taught. As it is generally understood, justification is what gets us right with God. All our past sins are washed away, and we are accepted as a child of God with an assurance of "an heritance incorruptible." We have as it were in our hands a passport for heaven. This is entirely because of Christ's doing and dying on our behalf. "Nothing in my hand I bring, Only to Thy cross I cling." This is all ours, not because of any goodness of our own, or anything we could do, but all because of the sacrifice of Calvary. It is ours by faith.

In order to understand the 1888 message it is most important to rightly define faith. Treasure this priceless definition of Sr. White:

"You may say that you believe in Jesus, when you have an appreciation of the cost of salvation. You may make this claim, when you feel that Jesus died for you on the cruel cross of Calvary; when you have an intelligent, understanding faith that His death makes it possible for you to cease from sin, and to perfect a righteous character through the grace of God, bestowed upon you as the purchase of Christ's blood." RH July 24, 1888.

Sanctification we understood was something entirely distinct from justification. While justification was the work of a moment, sanctification was the work of a lifetime and it had to do with making us fit for heaven. We had never thought of sanctification being by faith alone. It was the work of the Holy Spirit in us combined with our best efforts. This we thought was where faith and works were combined in the work of our salvation.

As we have come to better understand what righteousness by faith really is, we learn that we are not sanctified by faith and works, but rather by a faith that works. Commentators and theologians have so often led us astray, as they have seen justification out of focus. So it is also with sanctification. You may ask, Where does one draw the hairline distinction between justification and sanctification? The two may be distinct but they are never separate. Sanctification is God's work. Anyone who is justified by New Testament faith is automatically in the process of sanctification. There is no such thing as having to change gears from salvation by faith to salvation by works. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him . . . stablished in the faith." Colossians 2:6, 7. The "faith" here is not a creed or a set of doctrines but, as we have before put it, it is a heart appreciation of Christ's cross. This of course is all by faith.

"Being justified by faith . . . we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." Romans 5:1, 2. The work of sanctification is summed up in Paul's comprehensive statement: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV.

We ask, where then does human effort come in? While it is true that the Lord does the sanctifying as long as we do the believing, we do have a part and a very important one. It is a continuing sense of the constraint of the love of Christ that motivates us to live, not for ourselves but for Him who died for us and rose again. This is what it means to be sanctified by faith. (Acts 26:18.) While the Holy Spirit does the sanctifying, it still depends on us whether we let him or not. The "carnal mind" will constantly resist the work of the Holy Spirit. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Colossians 3:15, 16, NIV. How wonderful it is to be assured that in our helplessness and weakness we are not left to our fate. The power of choice is ours and what the Lord does, always depends on our choosing to let Him do it. How true are these inspired words of wisdom:

"What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure." SC 47.

"Paul holds up the standard of perfection and shows how it may be reached. 'Work out your own salvation,' he says, 'for it is God which worketh in you.'

"The work of gaining salvation is one of copartnership, a joint operation. There is to be cooperation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God." AA 482.

"[T]hough Christ is everything, we are to inspire every man to unwearied diligence. We are to strive, wrestle, agonize, watch, pray, lest we shall be overcome by the wily foe. For the power and grace with which we can do this comes from God, and all the while we are to trust in Him, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. Never leave the impression on the mind that there is little or nothing to do on the part of man; but rather teach man to cooperate with God, that he may be successful in overcoming." 1SM 381.

"No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must first be gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act before passion can dominate over reason or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin." 5T 177.

The apostle Paul beautifully expresses the "good news" of sanctification by faith in his letter to Titus:

"For the grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2: 14, NIV.

 

IX-CONCLUSION

These biblical truths were clear to our Adventist pioneers and to Sister White:

Defective characters will find no place in heaven (Matthew 13:41; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Revelation 21:27). Only righteous men and women lin white robes) will be admitted into the kingdom (Matthew 5:19, 20; 13:43; 25:46; l Peter 4:18; Revelation 22:14).

Therefore, Christ came to save sinners, not in their sins, but from their sins (Matthew 1:21; Tit. 3:14). In Christ we have both justification and sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).

1. Justification

Justification is "remission of sins that are past." Pardon is freely granted to repentant sinners by grace through faith (Romans 3:23-25) .

Justification is not only a forensic declaration; it involves a subjective experience, in which the old man dies: "[O]ur old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed [Greek, justified] from sin." Romans 6:6, 7. "[N]o man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins." 1SM 366. The filthy garments of our self-righteousness must be removed before we can be clothed with change of raiment. Only then can we stand before God "clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ" (4BC 1178). And "having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just." 1SM 394. This is justification.

It is evident, therefore, that the sinner cannot be justified before he shows repentance; and genuine repentance involves obedience to God's requirements. Let these statements be borne in mind:

"There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law." 1SM 213.

"His [Christ's] righteousness is imputed only to the obedient." 6BC 1072.

"The sinner, through repentance of his sins, faith in Christ, and obedience to the perfect law of God, has the righteousness of Christ imputed to him." 3T 371.

Obedience, like faith, has no merits. It does not give us any credit. It is, nevertheless, a requirement (a condition) for our salvation (Romans 3:20, 21, 28, 31; Hebrews 5:9; Luke 10:25-28; Matthew 7:21). As far as merits are concerned, we can be saved only through the merits of the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Peter 1:18, 19).

2. Sanctification

When a person is justified, that is when sanctification begins (7BC 908). "[J]ustification [is] through the blood of Christ, and sanctification through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit." TM 97. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 16:13; 17:17.

"The sanctification of the soul by the working of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christ's nature in humanity." COL 384.

In the plan of salvation, "we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (this is justification), and, "being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (this is sanctification) . Romans 5:10. In the example of Paul we can see how a person can be saved by the life of Christ. Paul wrote:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.

3. Perfection of Character

In the process of sanctification there is a goal to be reached. Christ said:

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48.

"As God is perfect in His sphere, so man may be perfect in his sphere." 8T 64.

Perfection of character-as far as perfection is possible in our human sphere-is required of those who will enter into the kingdom. Read Ephesians 4:11-13; 5:27; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Peter 3:14.

This condition must be reached under the investigative judgment (Matthew 22:11-14), before the latter rain is poured out (Acts 3:19). When the door of probation is shut, immediately before the wedding, it will remain shut forever for those who are not prepared (Matthew 25:10-12; Luke 13:23-27).

"[W]hen he [the Lord] will return from the wedding" (Luke 12:36), He will not extend a second chance to the class of people represented by the evil servant (Luke 12:46). Therefore, we are to reach a condition of blamelessness now, while the door is open, that we may be "preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

"When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." COL 69.

As complete victory is to be obtained before the work of atonement is finished, we certainly need to know the way by which to obtain it.

"Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ.... Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father's commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble." GC 623.

Preparation for the coming of Christ involves learning to know Him so intimately that deception will be impossible. This was an essential of the 1888 message.

"[W]hen Jesus comes, it is to take His people unto Himself. It is to present to Himself His glorious church, 'not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,' but that is 'holy and without blemish.' It is to see Himself perfectly reflected in all His saints And before He comes, thus, His people must be in that condition. Before He comes we must have been brought to that state of perfection in the complete image of Jesus. Ephesians 4:7, 8, 11-13 And this state of perfection, this developing in each believer the complete image of Jesus this is the finishing of the mystery of God, which is Christ in you the hope of glory. This consummation is accomplished in the cleansing of the sanctuary....

"And the blotting out of sins is exactly this thing of the cleansing of the sanctuary; it is the finishing of all transgression in our lives; it is the making an end of all sins in our character; it is the bringing in of the very righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ....

"Therefore now as never before, we are to repent and be converted, that our sins may be blotted out, that an utter end shall be made of them forever." Alonzo T. Jones, The Consecrated Way, pp. 123-125.

"God calls every man to repentance, yet man cannot even repent unless the Holy Spirit works upon his heart. But the Lord wants no man to wait until he thinks that he has repented before he takes steps toward Jesus. The Saviour is continually drawing men to repentance; they need only to submit to be drawn, and their hearts will be melted in penitence.

"Man is allotted a part in this great struggle for everlasting life; he must respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. It will require a struggle to break through the powers of darkness, and the Spirit works in him to accomplish this. But man is no passive being, to be saved in indolence. He is called upon to strain every muscle and exercise every faculty in the struggle for immortality; yet it is God that supplies the efficiency." 8T 64, 65.

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Romans 5:19.

"Think of what Christ's obedience means to us! It means that in His strength we too may obey.... Christ came to this world to show us what God can do and what we can do in cooperation with God." 6BC 1074.

The Church and the World

STUDY 6

 

In the word of God we are warned, repeatedly, about the danger of uniting with the world. This is apostasy from the truth.

A clear distinction must be made between individual apostasies and denominational apostasy, which may be followed by a denominational rejection and a denominational disaster.

Balaam induced the Israelites to attend a heathen festival at the Jordan. Not all ventured upon forbidden ground. In exceptional cases, some were not entangled in the snare of Satan. Yet the nation or the church fell in apostasy.

"The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national." PP 454.

As a matter of fact, the Bible says that "Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor" (Num. 25:3, emphasis supplied).

In the days of the apostles, the Jews failed to realize their position before God (Rom. 11:15). They never knew they were rejected.

"God had forsaken the Jews as a nation.... Individuals among the Jews will be converted; but as a nation they are forever forsaken of God." 1SG 107.

In our days, God does not recognize Catholicism or Protestantism as His church. From a denominational standpoint, they became Babylon. Yet "the great body of Christ's true followers are still to be found in their communion." GC 390. These faithful believers are not the rule; they are only exceptions. They will not save the church from being destroyed (Rev. 18:4).

When we come to the SDA Church, we must distinguish between (l) the great majority, i.e., "the church" proper, and (2) a faithful few sighing and crying ones, who will be saved as individuals, but will be unable to avert the prophesied denominational disaster, because it is written that the great majority will be destroyed as an organized church (5T 210, 211), after the separation of the small minority has been completed. Sister White refers to one of her visions:

"Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. Satan works side by side with professed Christians.... But the Lord is dishonored and His cause reproached by His people's being in bondage to the world. They are in friendship with the world, the enemies of God. Their only hope of salvation is to separate from the world and zealously maintain their separate, holy, and peculiar character. Oh! why will not God's people comply with the conditions laid down in His word? . . . I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved-not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God's own appointed way." 2T 441-445.

It cannot be maintained that the denomination as a church will be saved and that just a few individuals will be lost, when the Spirit of Prophecy says exactly the opposite.

In spite of all the warnings contained in the word of God, the church has continued on her chosen track retreating toward Egypt (5T 217). The oft-repeated question, "What evidence can they produce that they have reversed their course?" is still unanswered.

 

I-THE SACRED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

We as SDA's have been inclined to think that there is no real danger for us as a people because we have the truth.

"It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie." 4T 595.

Who will make us believe false doctrine, such as Sunday-keeping, the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ, etc.? No one. Yet, if our knowledge of the truth does not keep us from uniting with the world, we are not better than those churches who were before us.

Every successive church believes that it is the last church and refuses to admit the possibility of being succeeded to by a remnant. The Jews never recognized the Christians. The Catholics never recognized the Protestants. The Protestants never recognized the Adventists. If there is a faithful remnant in the Laodicean period, we may rest assured that the Adventists will not recognize them (GC 608). The church, in each successive period, proclaims its own infallibility. What will happen, however, if we follow in the track of our ecclesiastical predecessors and unite with the world like they did? This we will see in this publication.

One thing is certain: We can have full confidence in the message because "it is infallible" (4T 595) but we cannot blindly trust in denominational names or organizations, because men will disappoint us.

"We are not saved as a sect; no denominational name has any virtue to bring us into favor with God." RH Feb. 10, 1891.

1. Conditions Under Which God Recognizes a People as His People

"Those who have been purified and made white through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, He will own as His." 1T 133.

"Christ's followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust. I saw that but few among us answer to this description. Their love to God is in word, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works, testify of them that they are not children of the light but of darkness." 2T 441.

"We are co-workers with Christ, or co-workers with the enemy. We either gather with Christ or scatter abroad. We are decided, wholehearted Christians, or none at all." 1T 126.

"God has a people upon this earth. Who are they? They are those who will purify their souls by obeying the truth as it is in Jesus." GCB, April 20, 1901, p. 423.

2. Conditions Under Which God Does not Recognize a People

"Those who will be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to the immortal inheritance, will be peculiar. Yes, so peculiar that God places a mark upon them as His, wholly His. Think ye that God will receive, honor, and acknowledge a people so mixed up with the world that they differ from them only in name?" 1T 287.

"Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? and will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His." 1T 133.

"We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's people unless we are such entirely." 5T 83.

3. A Solemn Covenant

"In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His and His alone." GC 381.

"The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow." GC 381.

 

II-COMPARISON BETWEEN DIFFERENT CHURCH PERIODS

1. Israel's Fall

"It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot." GC 382.

"The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan." DA 36.

2. The Apostasy of the Nominal Christian Churches

"Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation." GC 382.

"What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen." GC 384.

"Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome's example of iniquitous connection with 'the kings of the earth'-the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term 'Babylon'-confusion may be appropriately applied to these bodies." GC 383.

"The existing confusion of conflicting creeds and sects is fitly represented by the term 'Babylon,' which prophecy (Rev. 14:8; 18:2) applies to the world-loving churches of the last days." PP 124.

Union with the world is so offensive to God that this sin is mentioned as the main characteristic of Babylon. Despite Sunday-keeping and other heresies, the Protestant denominations stood in the favor of God for a long time.

"But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel-the desire of imitating the practices of courting the friendship of the ungodly." GC 383.

The other features of these churches are mentioned only in the second place. We read: "Besides a sinful union with the world, the churches that separated from Rome present other of her characteristics." GC 383 [emphasis supplied].

3. The Spiritual Situation of the SDA Church

"Satan has come in with specious temptations, and has led the professed followers of Christ away from their Leader, classing them with the foolish virgins." TM 130.

"Take heed, brethren and sisters. Who is your leader-Christ, or the angel that fell from heaven?" 8T 299

"Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 119.

"The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, 'a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."' TM 265.

This prediction (TM 265) is confirmed by undeniable facts which can be witnessed today. Evidently, the repeated warnings of God through the Spirit of Prophecy have not been taken to heart. The Adventist people were warned:

"[A]s the human heart throws its living current of blood into all parts of the body, so does the management at this place, the headquarters of our church, affect the whole body of believers. . . . If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence." 4T 210.

"If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations." 4T 513.

 

III-ADVENTISTS AND POLITICS

The most outstanding example of unity with the world can be seen in the compromise of the church with the State in totalitarian countries, such as Germany during the time of Hitler, Russia, China, etc.

For statements concerning the combatant stand taken by Adventists, especially in time of war, we refer the reader to our Study #11, Conscientious Objection or Combatancy.

To give you a general idea of the unfortunate departure from fundamental principles and the concessions to the powers of darkness, which have marked the church since World War I, we quote a few references hereunder:

Germany

"The period of National Socialist rule was a difficult one for German Seventh-day Adventists, and one about which they were and are still reluctant to speak....

"With the introduction of the compulsory military training and labor service in 1935, Adventists faced the problem of adjusting themselves to government service.... [I]t was difficult or virtually impossible to observe the seventh-day Sabbath in the labor service or in the army....

"With each succeeding year of the National Socialist regime, government restrictions against religion became more severe. Seventh-day Adventists realized that the authorities were watching them more closely to see that government orders [which were often in conflict with Bible principles] were obeyed; the church realized that it must follow these orders to save itself from closure....

"The prewar Nazi years were filled with trial and difficulty for Adventist children and parents. Since the Adventist church did not operate elementary and secondary schools, attendance at public schools six days a week was obligatory. It was usually impossible for Adventist parents to obtain permission to have their children excused from attendance on Sabbath."-Spectrum, Vol. 8, No. 3.

Russia

"The G.C. 1985 session at New Orleans witnessed the fact that religious interests are courting the civil power by forming unhealthy alliances with the State....

"The registration of a church with the Department of Cults allows the State to control the worship services as well as collect the offerings. Such an illicit relationship of a God-rejecting government with a God-professing church makes a poor marriage from the start.

"The price paid reaches beyond the high cost of the State handling the money. The real loss comes from compromising 'religious truth.' The cost of being unequally yoked is the sacrifice of conscience....

"Churches joined to the State are required to compromise any religious practice that conflicts with the pursuit of the materialistic value system espoused by the . . . government. In the case of Seventh-day Adventists, parents are required to send their children to school on Sabbath.... Sabbath observance is lightly regarded by the State-recognized church. It is common to see an SDA minister lead a young person away from the church on Sabbath to a government school to do school work. The ministers tell them: It is not a sin to go to school on Sabbath....

"The Sabbath problem has existed since 1924, when the State gave recognition to the churches in Russia. It was then that the General Conference supported a compromise with [the atheistic State]. This encouraged the majority in the church to give lip-service to the commandments, but become 'doers' of [antibiblical] rules made by atheists.

'Young men are required to 'bear arms' in compulsory military service [also on Sabbath]. Others are often required to do routine work on Sabbath in accordance with the situation and circumstance. The compromise of conscience destroys the faith and the will of the members in the power of God to challenge the State....

"The General Conference, as the administrative arm of the church, is compounding the 'problem' by supporting the [State]-controlled local leadership in breaking the law of God to obtain favor of the State. The [atheists] love the G.C.'s support, because it helps cover up their brutality against SDA's who are faithful and remain 'underground.' Many suffer in prisons where they are not 'visited,' but denied and denounced by their own brethren....

"The commandments of God were designed to protect both divine and human rights, but the church is being used by [the atheistic State] to destroy any religious element that does not sacrifice the commandments of God to the gods of atheism. Souls are misled in the Lord's name.

"The General Conference gives recognition to the [atheistic State]-directed church organization as the 'Seventh-day Adventist Church.' Those upholding the commandments are denounced as dissidents. Thus, the Word is made of none effect by a 'State-run' church [which is] given support by the General Conference."-Transcribed from writings issued by individual Adventists.

China

"Near the end of October 1951, a special three-day meeting was convened at division headquarters for the purpose of appointing new division officers.... Delegates appointed a new division committee....

"The delegates passed several resolutions: to pledge allegiance to the government and the . . . Party, to support the volunteers fighting with the North Koreans, to adopt and promulgate the Three-Self Movement program, . . . At the banquet celebrating the close of the meeting, alcohol, cigarettes and unclean foods were freely served. The new division chairman freely indulged in these things and soon had a goodly number of his colleagues at the division headquarters following his example. The practice also spread to other places.

"Those attending the meeting condemned strict Sabbath observance and the church's dietary restrictions as the poisonous teachings of the American missionaries, not in harmony with the Bible. This action received the strong support of representatives of the Three-Self Movement Committee. The writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White and Adventist hymnbooks at the publishing house and division headquarters were destroyed. Several of our leading ministers gave up their copies of Mrs. White's books with their allegedly imperialistic and poisonous teachings....

"Through 1957, the China Division continued to operate with division and union headquarters at their traditional locations. But the unions lost most of their former usefulness. Instead of carrying out division policy, as they once had done, they began taking their orders from the government."-Spectrum, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Feb. 1976).

Other Countries

a) SDA's in East Germany

"At the conference (GC delegation session held in Atlantic City, USA, June 11-20, 1970), there were 1700 delegates from 190 countries. Among them there were also representatives of the Church from the socialist countries, such as Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia. As all the delegates were solemnly marching in with their national flags, of course the flag of our republic was also carried along, for Seventh-day Adventists do not stand apart from political realities. They do not discriminate against any State. This was revealed again and again in the course of the conference."-Neue Zeit (daily paper published in East Germany), July 18, 1970.

b) SDA's and Project Whitecoat

"It is profoundly unnatural to use medicine to kill for men to assist the primordial enemies of human life that every instinct moves us to abhor and combat. Yet we have in America a thriving biological warfare establishment, developing and preparing for use virulent agents more deadly than were ever contrived by nature itself. This lethal machinery is not directed and operated by some band of hellish necromancers-some inhuman magicians of death. It is run as part of the ordinary business of society, involving in its operations not only huge military bases and the highest political institutions, but also several universities and even a pacifist church.... Project Whitecoat [is] conducted by the Army with the assistance of the Adventist Church."-Ramparts, December 1969.

c) SDA's and the Poll

In an election in New Zealand in 1975, a news article appeared in the Auckland Star of November 28, headed "Adventists Saturday Vote." Here is the short article:

"Seventh-day Adventists who have not already cast their votes for the General Election may do so on Saturday, but it will be a matter of individual conscience.

"The church does not encourage members to perform secular tasks on Saturday, but it would not disallow its members to vote on Saturday, said Pastor D. I. Jenkins, spokesman for the Church."

Many more examples of forbidden flirtations here and serious involvements there could be added. In view of these facts, it is clear to us that the denomination is united with the world. Her religion, which was a reality in the past, has degenerated into a hollow formalism a profession of faith plus some appearance of Christianity and a partial obedience to the word of God whenever possible and convenient.

Involvement in politics and subservience to totalitarian States, with a consequent reversal of values and loyalties, places the church in a position where God cannot use her any more. This warning from the Spirit of Prophecy settles the question:

"Consider, my brethren and sisters, that the Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church . . . and He intends that no authority should be known in it, no laws be acknowledged by it, but His own.... His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world, and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God's arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ." TM 16, 17

As we are often asked why we do not vote, we explain our position by quoting from the writings of E. G. White hereunder:

"The Lord desires all who bear the message for these last days to understand that there is a great difference between professors of religion who are not doers of the word, and the children of God, who are sanctified through the truth, who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord speaks of those who claim to believe the truth for this time, yet see nothing inconsistent in their taking part in politics, mingling with the contending elements of these last days, as the circumcised who mingle with the uncircumcised, and He declares that He will destroy both classes together without distinction. They are doing a work that God has not set them to do. They dishonor God by their party spirit and contention, and He will condemn both alike.

"The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work." FE 482.

 

IV-ADVENTISTS AND SABBATH OBSERVANCE

"And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezek. 20:20.

"The observance of the Sabbath, the seventh day, by God's people, is the sign to the world that they are linked to the God of heaven as His loyal subjects, who trust in His everlasting veracity and His power as the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and it is the sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people." ST Nov. 22, 1899.

"The enemy knows that if the church can be controlled by political enactments, if she can be led to unite with the world, she virtually acknowledges him as her head. Then the authority of man-made commandments will work to oppose the rule of the government of heaven. Under the leadership of Satan men will dispense with the righteous, holy enactments of God concerning the Sabbath, the observance of which is to be a sign between God and His people forever." ST Nov. 22, 1899.

Our great danger as individuals and as a people is that of substituting an appealing profession for true obedience. Therefore, the warning of Christ in Matthew 23:3 should make us think seriously. The Spirit of Prophecy says to us, 'Your profession is not of any value without the practical doing of the Word." 7BC 935.

"Ten thousand times ten thousand may profess to obey the law and the gospel, and yet be living in transgression." 5T 536. Could this be our case as far as the fourth commandment of the law of God is concerned? To be sure, unity with the world makes the sign of distinction undistinguishable.

It is well known to us that, in the plan of God, only complete obedience finds acceptance before Him.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Jas. 2:10.

"The law of God will be satisfied with nothing short of perfection, of perfect and entire obedience to all its claims. To come halfway to its requirements, and not render perfect and thorough obedience, will avail nothing." 1T 416.

It would be to our advantage to learn a lesson from the experience of King Saul. In his presumption, he professed to be an obedient servant, saying: "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." 1 Sam. 15:13. In fact, he had done almost everything according to the word of God. And what did the Lord say about the king's incomplete obedience? "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1 Sam. 5:23.

"Yet with the sin of Saul and its result before us, how many are pursuing a similar course. While they refuse to believe and obey some requirement of the Lord, they persevere in offering up to God their formal services of religion. There is no response of the Spirit of God to such service. No matter how zealous men may be in their observance of religious ceremonies, the Lord cannot accept them if they persist in willful violation of one of His commands." PP 634.

1. The Sabbath Test

"After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, the light of the Sabbath was seen, and the people of God were tested, as the children of Israel were tested anciently, to see if they would keep God's law." EW 254.

"The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time." 7BC 920.

And the keeping of the Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, will be the great test of loyalty to God in the final conflict (GC 605).

Many of those who profess to believe the threefold message of Revelation 14 cannot see that, in the eyes of God, incomplete observance of the Sabbath is tantamount to complete rejection of the Sabbath commandment.

"A partial observance of the Sabbath law is not accepted by the Lord and has a worse effect upon the minds of sinners than if you made no profession of being a Sabbathkeeper.... It is the grossest presumption for mortal man to venture upon a compromise with the Almighty in order to secure his own petty, temporal interests. It is as ruthless a violation of the law to occasionally use the Sabbath for secular business as to entirely reject it; for it is making the Lord's commandments a matter of convenience." 4T 248, 249.

If, in spite of our high profession, we are only partial Sabbathkeepers, ignoring the claims of the fourth commandment once in a while, in the books of heaven our attitude is recorded as rejection of God's commandment. We are classed with those who have given up the Sabbath altogether. A few examples given hereunder will show how this is actually taking place among the professed people of God.

Through the connections existing between our church members and the Adventist brethren, through our contacts with members and officers of the SDA Church, and through our own observations, we know for sure, and many Adventists will agree with us, that a great reformation is needed in the field of Sabbath observance. We do not think that the following procedures are in harmony with the requirements of the fourth commandment:

(l) To leave the people without sufficient instruction as to proper Sabbathkeeping, so that many think nothing of coming home late from work on Friday night, or playing games, reading worldly magazines, buying, cooking, traveling long distances for personal interests, and even doing secular work, on the Sabbath.

(2) To sell publications on the Sabbath (in local churches) or to sell meals on the Sabbath 1in the institutions).

(3) To overlook the requirements of the fourth commandment in denominational institutions.

(4) To attend public schools and take exams on the Sabbath (which is a very serious problem in socialist countries):

"Our brethren cannot expect the approval of God while they place their children where it is impossible for them to obey the fourth commandment." 2TT 182.

(5) To have on the church rolls multitudes of members who are not Sabbathkeepers at all, as is the case in very poor countries, where people have a hard time finding work to make a living, or in countries under political restrictions, where people were or are required to work in the factories also on the Sabbath.

(6) To do regular military service, especially in time of war. The Spirit of Prophecy says, "In the army they cannot obey the truth and at the same time obey the requirements of their officers." 1T 361. This is "opposed to every principle of their faith." This has been a serious problem since World War I.

Not all Adventists endorse these transgressions. There are those who are sighing and crying for these things (3T 267). These have our support.

"God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them." 3T 269.

"For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves." DA 441.

2. Found Wanting?

"In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the sentence: 'Found wanting.'" 8T 247.

The Spirit of Prophecy makes it clear that the acceptance or rejection of the church depends on her complying or failing to comply with certain conditions-8T 247; AA 600, 601; 8T 250; TM 16, 17; etc.-which are, unfortunately, omitted or overlooked by the leadership when they say that the church is going right through into the kingdom. Such statements are misleading.

It is a fearful thought that, while only a small remnant will be approved, the great majority will be found wanting. Sister White narrates one of her visions concerning the Adventist people after the close of probation:

"Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, 'Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.' I asked who this company were. The angel said, 'These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.' I heard them cry with a loud voice, 'We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.' And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet-trodden the Sabbath underfoot-and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting." EW 37 [emphasis supplied].

Here is a clear picture of the two distinct companies of SDA believers: (l) "the saints," namely the "l44,000" and (2) the "company" who will be found "howling in agony."

After the close of probation these Adventists continue as a church, as can bee seen from these facts: (l) They still form a "company." (2) They still speak in the name of this company, using the first person plural ("We . . . "). (3) They have not given up their nominal faith, nor have they severed themselves from their denominational work. They say: 'We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy." (4) Contrary to the open sinner in the world, they see nothing wrong in their stand, and they cannot see why they should be rejected, until their eyes "fall upon their garments and see the writing."

Having known the truth, they have "fouled the residue with their feet," and "trodden the Sabbath underfoot." As "a partial observance of the Sabbath law is not accepted by the Lord," and as "it is as ruthless a violation of the law to occasionally use the Sabbath for secular business as to entirely reject it" (4T 248, 249), they are considered by the Lord as having "given it up." In view of the fact that "they had drunk of the deep waters,"since they had received "great light"

(8T 249)-they are even more guilty before the law of God than Sundaykeepers.

Unfortunately "modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps [of ancient Israel], and the displeasure of the Lord is as surely resting upon them" (5T 94)

History teaches that apostasy does not dissolve a church, and that when the majority are in apostasy, they do not leave the church, but hold control. (Consider the Jewish Church, the Catholic Church, and the Protestant Churches.) This can also be seen today in the period of Laodicea.

 

V-CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Unity with the world can also be seen in the hesitancy to disfellowship open sinners.

The parable of the wheat and tares is often used as an excuse to keep open sinners on the church rolls. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy (Matt. 18:15-18; 7T 260-264) teach that those who persist in transgression should be disfellowshiped.

"The health and purity of the church must be preserved, that she may stand before God unsullied, clad in the robes of Christ's righteousness." 7T 263.

One of the most heinous sins in these last days, which demands prompt and decided action on the part of the church, is the transgression of the seventh commandment. "If they [those who claim to be keeping all of God's commandments] commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of [those] . . . who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them." 2T 451. "Cleanse the camp of this moral corruption, ... Fornication is in our ranks.... There is much we will never know; but that which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a determined effort to eradicate the evil." TM 427, 428. In no case is this sin to be overlooked by the church. The instruction concerning those who have violated the seventh commandment is very clear:

"They [the young people] see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the house of God and be held in embrace or fellowship of the church. They have thought it not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, . . . Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church and not have fellowship or the privileges of the house of God." MS 3, 1854.

 

VI-WORLDLY FASHIONS

Since the sinful union with the world is the most abominable characteristic of the churches that constitute Babylon (read GC 382, 383), and since the adopting of worldly fashions is an important step in this direction, we should close the door against this evil. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventist, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted. But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church." TM 128.

"I saw that decided efforts should be made to show those who are unchristian in life their wrongs, and if they do not reform, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that He can delight in." 1T 117, 118.

"As soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness." 1T 137.

"It is these things that separate God from His people, that shut the ark away from them." 1T 136.

"Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God." 4T 647.

"If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God." 3T 63.

What the church members should understand is that, by following the fashions of the world, they transgress the law of God (4T 632) and, in their self-deception, place themselves on the broad road that leads to perdition. They automatically come under this prophetic description:

"I saw many traveling in this broad road who had the words written upon them: 'Dead to the world. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye also ready.' . . . They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of the number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say: 'There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike."' 1T 128.

 

VII-OTHER EXAMPLES

The issues brought up so far show how easy it is to form adulterous bonds of unity with the world. But this is not all. There are other areas, too, where a compromise with the world is condemned. Examples:

(1) Joining trade unions: 2SM 142.

(2) Yoking up with the world in the educational work (following worldly plans and practices contrary to specific instructions): 5T 25-28,61,587; 6T 130,134,142-144; 8T 305; 9T 170; etc.

(3) Yoking up with the world in the medical work: CD 162; MM 27,288; Te 88; 6T 225; 5T 443; 2SM 286-291; CH 249; 8T 215; etc.

When the spiritual situation of the church was much better than it is today, when Adventists as a people were still far from reaching the present state of involvement with the world, Sister

White wrote:

"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." 5T 217.

"The professed people of God have compromised with the

power of darkness." 5T 222.

"On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform, they are growing worse and worse." 7T 62.

Read TM 130; 8T 299,119; TM 265; 4T 513, quoted before.

What would the servant of the Lord say today?

Health Reform and Christian Temperance

STUDY 7

 

"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." 1 Cor. 9:25.

Many professed Christians do not know that it is a religious duty to preserve and promote physical health. They seem to say, "Don't worry about your body; just try to save your soul." So they never ask what is good and what is bad for one's health. Smoking, drinking, pork-eating, etc., is all right with them. We would never go along with such health-destroying habits. Not only do we reject the things just mentioned, but also the use of every other article that is evidently harmful, such as flesh foods in general (even clean animals), coffee, tea, coca-cola and other soft drinks, vinegar, drugs, etc.

However big a list we might make, it would never be complete, because more and more health-damaging products are invented every day.

Someone may challenge us, "I will give you $1,000.00 if you show me where the Bible forbids drinking coffee." A convinced health reformer would probably reply, "And I will give you $2,000.00 if you show me where it is written, Thou shalt not smoke."

The Bible does not offer a direct answer to every and any health question, but it plainly teaches general health principles, which permit or even demand specific applications in harmony with our scientific knowledge, our experience, our common sense, and our good will. For example:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:16, 17.

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and l pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 5:23.

As can be seen, health reform is part of our preparation for the second coming of Christ.

 

I-MEDICINE AND RELIGION

Whatever tends to injure health and cause premature death is a form of slow suicide, and must, therefore, be considered a violation of the sixth commandment, which says, "Thou shalt not kill." Ex. 20:13.

1. Health Principles for Ancient Israel

"The distinction between articles of food as clean and unclean was not a merely ceremonial and arbitrary regulation, but was based upon sanitary principles. To the observance of this distinction may be traced, in a great degree, the marvelous vitality which for thousands of years has distinguished the Jewish people. The principles of temperance must be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. The use of stimulating and indigestible food is often equally injurious to health, and in many cases sows the seeds of drunkenness. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body." PP 562.

2. Health Rules for Modern Israel

Facts show that certain habits are wholesome while others are unwholesome. Our observation, in line with our experience, confirms these facts. Science informs us all about these facts. And the Spirit of Prophecy draws our attention to these facts.

a) Things conducive to health:

-faith in God; obedience to God's laws; assurance of God's approval
-clear conscience
-cheerfulness
-correct habits in general
-obedience to physical laws governing the body
-proper diet
-physical exercise
-rest
-fresh air (living in rural areas)
-sunshine

b) Things detrimental to health:

-guilty conscience
-stress (anxiety, mental depression, unhappy married life, etc.)
-wrong eating habits (eating too much, eating at improper times, unwholesome food, not drinking enough pure water, etc.)
-close confinement
-polluted air (lack of ventilation) -lack of sunshine (sleeping in sunless room) lack of physical exercise
-lack of rest
-lack of cleanliness
-improper clothing
-intoxication (smoking, drinking, drug medication, etc.)

c) Some rules for eating and drinking:

-"In grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are to be found all the food elements that we need." CD 310.
-Articles of diet that should not be touched: flesh foods (CD 373-416), animal fats, coffee, tea (CD 393), beer, wine, and alcoholic drinks in general (CD 420, 421). Rich desserts (rich cakes, pies, puddings, etc.) should be left alone. "Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients." CD 331-335.
-"Cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments . . . do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect." CD 236.
-Mustard, pepper, pickles, vinegar and similar things irritate the stomach (CD 345). Baking soda causes inflammation of the stomach and is poisonous to the system (CD 316).
-The excessive use of salt is harmful (CD 311, 340). And so is the excessive use of sugar. (CD 327).
-Forbear from the consumption of fried foods and the excessive use of fat and oil (CD 354).
-Milk and sugar, eaten together in large quantities, are even more injurious than meat (CD 330).
-"It is not well to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal." MH 299.
-"Food should not be eaten very hot or very cold. If food is cold, the vital force of the stomach is drawn upon in order to warm it before digestion can take place." CD 106.
-Overeating debilitates the stomach and the other organs of digestion, bringing on as a result a feeling of oppression, indigestion (dyspepsia), colic, headache. It benumbs the sensitive nerves of the brain and exercises a depressing influence upon the intellect (CD 101-103). By indulging in overeating and failing to take sufficient physical exercise, many are digging their graves with their teeth. "Such a course endangers the strongest constitution." CD 141.
-Those who are bothered with a sense of "goneness" and a desire for frequent eating, should restrict their appetite. The sense of faintness, the all-gone feeling, "is generally the result of meat eating, and eating frequently, and too much" (CD 175).
-A two-meal-a-day program is recommended for better health (CD 173, 178). If a third meal is deemed necessary, it should be light, and eaten several hours before going to bed (CD 174).
-Eat a substantial breakfast, because in the morning your stomach is better prepared "to take care of more food than at the second or third meal of the day" (CD 173).
-Drinking at mealtime retards the digestive process. "Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of the salivary glands; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice water or ice lemonade, drunk with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again. Hot drinks are debilitating; and besides, those who indulge in their use become slaves to the habit. Food should not be washed down; no drink is needed with meals." CD 420.
-Digestion is hindered by violent exercise or deep study immediately after eating. But a short walk after a meal is beneficial (CD 103, 104).
-Regularity in eating is essential. "The stomach calls for food at the time it is accustomed to receive it." If dinner is eaten one or two hours before or after the usual time, the stomach is not prepared to take care of it properly (CD 179).
-The stomach needs rest. After a regular meal, at least five hours should elapse before the next meal is eaten (CD 173, 179). Nothing should be eaten between meals. (CD 229, 235, 236).
-"A fruit diet for a few days has often brought great relief to brain workers. Many times a short period of entire abstinence from food, followed by simple, moderate eating, has led to recovery through nature's own recuperative effort. An abstemious diet for a month or two would convince many sufferers that the path of self-denial is the path to health." CD 189.

 

II - A VITAL MESSAGE

We may not always see why, but certain things which might not even seem important to us have a direct connection with the law of God. This is true about health reform. E. G. White says:

"The law of Ten Commandments has been lightly regarded by man, but the Lord would not come to punish the transgressors of that law without first sending them a message of warning. The third angel proclaims that message. Had men ever been obedient to the law of Ten Commandments, carrying out in their lives the principles of those precepts, the curse of disease now flooding they world would not be.

"Men and women cannot violate natural law by indulging depraved appetite and lustful passions, and not violate the law of God. Therefore He has permitted the light of health reform to shine upon us." 3T 161.

The prophesied "reformatory movement" is to restore "the principles of the law of God" in the home (6T 119). This restoration is possible if it includes everything that goes with it-also the principle of health reform. Therefore, while we are not true health reformers, we do not meet the description about the remnant people of God (Rev. 14:12), because, as we just read, to ignore the rules of health reform is to transgress the law of God. This viewpoint is confirmed in the following appeal: 'Will our people see and feel the sin of indulging perverted appetite? Will they discard tea, coffee, flesh meats, and all stimulating food, and devote the means expended for these hurtful indulgences to spreading the truth?" 3T 569.

We are either commandment keepers and health reformers, or health deformers and commandment breakers.

The importance of the health reform message can be seen if considered from the following standpoints:

1. Our Body, "the Temple of God"

In the plan of salvation, the human being is to become a "temple" "for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:22). For the accomplishment of this aim, the whole being"spirit and soul and body"-must "be preserved blameless" (1 Thess. 5:23). This is the only way in which we can reach "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).

"God's purpose for His children is that they shall grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. In order to do this, they must use aright every power of mind, soul, and body." 9T 153.

"Between the mind and the body there is a mysterious and wonderful relation. They react upon each other." 3T 485.

"That which corrupts the body tends to corrupt the soul." MH 280.

"We must be daily controlled by the Spirit of God or we are controlled by Satan." 5T 102.

2. Health Reform,the Right Hand of the Third Angel's Message

In the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy health reform is called "the right hand" of the third angel's message.

"A body without hands is useless.... Therefore the body which treats indifferently the right hand, refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing." NL Methods 13, p. 1.

3. Health Reform and Salvation

We should not misinterpret Christ's declaration that a crippled man, whose right hand has been cut off, can enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:30). He referred to our unsanctified will (our idols) which must be surrendered. He did not mean that we can be saved even if we disregard the principles of health reform.

"In the preparation of a people for the Lord's second coming a great work is to be accomplished through the promulgation of health principles." 6T 224.

"The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world." CH 446.

"He [God] designs that the great subject of health reform shall be agitated and the public mind deeply stirred to investigate; for it is impossible for men and women, with all their sinful, health-destroying, brain-enervating habits, to discern sacred truth, through which they are to be sanctified, refined, elevated, and made fit for the society of heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory." 3T 162.

The message of health reform must gain much more ground in our midst, accomplishing its purpose before we can stand in the presence of God as a perfect people, prepared for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"The remnant people of God must be a converted people. The presentation of this message is to result in the conversion and sanctification of souls. We are to feel the power of the Spirit of God in this movement. This is a wonderful, definite message; it means everything to the receiver, and it is to be proclaimed with a loud cry. We must have a true, abiding faith that this message will go forth with increasing importance till the close of time." 9T 154.

"As we near the close of time we must rise higher and still higher upon the question of health reform and Christian temperance, presenting it in a more positive and decided manner. We must strive continually to educate the people, not only by our words, but by our practice. Precept and practice combined have a telling influence." 6T 112.

4. Consequence of Neglecting the Light on Health Reform

"God gave the light on health reform, and those who reject it, rejected God." Sp T, Series B, No. 6, p. 31 (Read 7T 136).

"To disregard light is to reject it." 5T 680.

"If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God." 3T 63.

5. Health Reform, a Line of Demarcation

"Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. These are His peculiar people, zealous of good works." 6T 372.

 

III-UNCERTAIN SOUNDS

The most concise and at the same time comprehensive definition of health reform or Christian temperance that we have found in the writings of E. G. White, reads:

"True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful." PP 562.

In 1909 Sister White wrote: "We are not to make the use of flesh food a test of fellowship." 9T 159. "The time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet." 9T 163. However, we should not read this statement to mean: "Such a time will never come." The servant of the Lord says: "Let the diet reform be progressive." 7T 135. The first steps in this direction should have been taken by the ministers. Many things are beyond the control of the organization, but certain measures lie within the reach and responsibility of the leadership, and this is where God holds us accountable.

Those "that sigh and that cry" are greatly disappointed when they see that even leaders are setting the wrong example. In this connection Dr. O. S. Parrett, former medical secretary of the General Conference, wrote (August 13, 1953) to Elder W. H. Branson (then General Conference president), to the editors of the Review and Herald, and to the leading brethren:

"In the following pages I shall review the history of our college and the factors which have brought us to our present crisis, since a good history is the most important factor in a diagnosis, thus pointing the way to a cure.

"Enclosed is a very important message, 'Backsliding in Health Reform,' which was sent to our leader in Washington in 1908.

"This man to whom 'Backsliding in Health Reform' was given, was called of God as a leader to our people. He had great organizing ability and largely was responsible for our present worldwide structure. A man of strong character and great force of leadership, he was called to deal with the Battle Creek disaffection at the turn of the century. Those who were in error were straight on our health principles but off on our doctrines. Unfortunately, in dealing with this trying situation this man largely threw overboard our health reform, and this lack of interest in and even opposition to our health message is today reflected throughout our ranks and, I believe, is at the bottom of the crisis which involves not only our medical school, but our world-wide work as well. In its last analysis it has to do with faith in the messages sent to us through Mrs. E. G. White.

"Elder Haskell once told me that while the world would be tested on the Sabbath question, the test would come to our people on the Spirit of Prophecy. This attitude toward the hundreds of pages written on health reform has led to the situation where a great majority of our ministers today eat meat and many drink their coffee.

"Recently a leading man from the General Conference told a friend at dinner that since 78% of our ministers eat meat, it is no longer a matter of discussion with our men at the top. Whether this man's figures were too high or low, few will deny that this attitude of our leaders is having its effect upon the rank and file of our people and upon the teachings and practices of our entire medical work as well as our institutions, to which we might hope to look for help in this important field.

"Another leading worker was sent from headquarters in Washington to a western camp meeting where he preached Righteousness by Faith. He refused the lunch offered him by the matron of the sanitarium where he was staying, preferring to take his meals out. His wife explained that he must have meat in order to endure such wearing labor. He died later of cancer. Evidently this man did not know that Yale University some years ago conducted an experiment in one of our former sanitariums to determine the effects of meat eating on endurance. Fifteen track athletes, all meat eaters from Yale, competed with thirty-two untrained flesh abstainers. The vegetarians showed an endurance more than double that of the meat eaters. Repeating the experiment on other occasions always showed the same results. It was superior mental endurance shown by the same group that led Dr. Fisher to make the physical test. (See How to Live, by Fisher and Emerson, 1938, p. 184)....

"A leading official of one of our large union conferences recently told me that he was tired of being the butt of jokes of meat eaters. At a recent meeting in the middle west a group of leading ministers went to dinner. This man chose a vegetable plate, as did his closest neighbor, while all the others chose meat. During the meal, however, these two men had to take a ribbing from the meat eaters, simply because they had faith in the Spirit of Prophecy and showed their faith by their obedience....

"My brethren, we will never know this side of eternity the losses to our denomination in personnel as well as tremendous financial burdens added because of our failure to believe the Lord in regard to health reform."

1. Should Meat-Eating Ministers Be Employed?

"Shall we not bear a decided testimony against the indulgence of perverted appetite? Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the flesh-pots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God's storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the life-giving current flowing through their veins? Will they disregard the light and warnings that God has given them?" 9T 159, 160.

2. Prescribing a Stricter Diet

"Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design-that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet." CH 450.

"Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people to walk no more with them." CD 382.

"No meat will be used by His people." CD 82.

If we leave it up to the individual to decide whether he wants to be a meat-eater or a vegetarian, there will never be a separation on this ground; those who are "only half converted" on this question will not have to leave the faithful remnant; and the condition predicted in these last three statements will never be fulfilled.

3. First Things First

Before meat-eating can be discarded altogether, certain tests of fellowship should be imposed:

a) Unclean animals

We think that Adventists who raise pigs or eat pork should not be retained as members. We deplore the fact that "the eating of unclean meats has never been made a condition of continued membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church" (RH June 24, 1954), and we cannot see why the church "does not disfellowship a member for falling back into the practice of eating such meats" (RH March 6, 1958). We have serious objections to such a position.

b) Harmful practices

SDA's know that it is their duty to discard such harmful practices as smoking, drinking, using tea and coffee, etc. Our church members, however, who have frequent contacts with the Adventist brethren, know that the church is not strict in these lines. It is disheartening to hear complaints from good Adventists to the effect that those who continue to indulge in these habits are not always put under discipline. Even denominational magazines admit that not all members abstain from these things. Here are two examples:

In the Ministry magazine of August, 1980, an Adventist doctor writes:

 

"It is time for us as Seventh-day Adventists to recognize that we too have a problem among us with alcohol. In too many Adventist homes alcohol is being served, not only at parties, but as a refreshment at the dinner table! Wet bars can be seen in some Adventist homes. Nor should we think that only professional people are involved in the problem.

"Some of our own young people are growing up in this tolerant atmosphere regarding alcohol. They are using alcohol and other drugs and thus getting into the same problems as other students in spite of the church's influence."

The Adventist Review put out a Special Temperance Issue in 1982, making the following admission:

"Perhaps some readers will be shocked to learn that we consider the problem of social drinking in the Adventist Church to be large enough to confront specifically and openly. We are sorry to shock anyone, but the simple truth is that Adventists do not live in a vacuum. They are surrounded by evil. They are confronted daily with TV advertisements that picture liquor as part of 'the good life.' Not surprisingly, some have been influenced by this propaganda. A college president reported recently: 'Some [students] tell us that on occasion their parents use alcoholic beverages in the home.' A pastor reported: 'I can testify that there is a need among our own people. Youth at our academies are into drugs and liquor, and too often parents indulge in alcoholic drinks in the privacy of their homes or socially.' Some order wine regularly when they eat in restaurants."

The use of alcoholic drinks (which include beer) "is a violation of God's law" (Te 103). "Tea and coffee drinking is a sin." CD 425. Smoking is a "sinful indulgence" (Te 61).

We believe that not only those who use these forbidden articles, but also those who deal in these things, should be put under church discipline.

4. Stock Market (Shopping Center)

In our opinion, it is wrong to invest church money in the stock market. One stock transaction, which directly affects the principle of health reform, was published in a Riverside, California, newspaper, The Press (April 12, 1966):

"Loma Linda University has acquired 80 per cent of the stock of the Riverside Shopping Center, Inc., which operates the Riverside Plaza, . . ."

 

It is known that the sale of liquor and other forbidden articles continued in that shopping center after the Loma Linda Foundation had stepped into that business, owning a controlling interest. We have strong objections against such a policy.

5. Drug Medication

Through denominational publications the members of the church have been advised to use drugs. We believe this is not in harmony with the light that has been given us.

"But drugging should be forever abandoned; for while it does not cure any malady, it enfeebles the system, making it more susceptible to disease." CD 83.

"Drug medication, as it is generally practiced, is a curse. Educate away from drugs. Use them less and less, and depend more upon hygienic agencies; then nature will respond to God's physicians-pure air, pure water, proper exercise, a clear conscience." Te 85.

"There are many ways of practicing the healing art, but there is only one way that Heaven approves. God's remedies are the simple agencies of nature that will not tax or debilitate the system through their powerful properties. Pure air and water, cleanliness, a proper diet, purity of life, and a firm trust in God are remedies for the want of which thousands are dying." 5T 443.

 

IV-TRUE MEDICAL MISSIONARY WORK

1. A Work of Restoration

"There is a work to be done by our churches that few have any idea of. 'I was an hungered,' Christ says, 'and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.' We shall have to give of our means to support laborers in the harvest field, and we shall rejoice in the sheaves gathered in. But while this is right, there is a work, as yet untouched, that must be done. The mission of Christ was to heal the sick, encourage the hopeless, bind up the brokenhearted. This work of restoration is to be carried on among the needy, suffering ones of humanity. God calls not only for your benevolence, but your cheerful countenance, your hopeful words, the grasp of your hand. Relieve some of God's afflicted ones. Some are sick, and hope has departed. Bring back the sunlight to them. There are souls who have lost their courage; speak to them, pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. There is a soul sickness no balm can reach, no medicine heal. Pray for these, and bring them to Jesus Christ. And in all your work, Christ will be present to make impressions upon human hearts. This is the kind of medical missionary work to be done."-A Call to Medical Evangelism, pp. 22, 23.

"Christ declared that He came to recover men's lives. This work is to be done by Christ's followers, and it is to be done by the most simple means. Families are to be taught how to care for the sick. The hope of the gospel is to be revived in the hearts of men and women. We must seek to draw them to the Great Healer. In the work of healing, let the physicians work intelligently, not with drugs, but by following rational methods. Then let them by the prayer of faith draw upon the power of God to stay the progress of disease. This will inspire in the suffering ones belief in Christ and the power of prayer, and it will give them confidence in our simple methods of treating disease. Such work will be a means of directing minds to the truth, and will be of great efficiency in the work of the gospel ministry." MM 29.

"Let every means be devised to bring about the saving of souls in our medical institutions. This is our work. If the spiritual work is left undone, there is no necessity of calling upon our people to build these institutions." MM 191.

2. Objectives of SDA Sanitariums

"Christ is the one to be revealed in all the institutions connected with the closing work, but none of them can do it so fully as the health institution where the sick and suffering come for relief and deliverance from both physical and spiritual ailment. Many of these need, like the paralytic of old, the forgiveness of sin the first thing, and they need to learn how to 'go, and sin no more.'

"If a sanitarium connected with this closing message fails to lift up Christ and the principles of the gospel as developed in the third angel's message, it fails in its most important feature, and contradicts the very object of its existence." MM 28.

"For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing combined with the teaching of the word. Sanitariums are to be established, and with these institutions are to be connected workers who will carry forward genuine medical missionary work. Thus a guarding influence is thrown around those who come to the sanitariums for treatment.

"This is the provision the Lord has made whereby gospel medical missionary work is to be done for many souls. These institutions are to be established out of the cities, and in them educational work is to be intelligently carried forward." MM 14.

"These institutions are the Lord's agencies for the revival of a pure, elevated morality. We do not establish them as a speculative business, but to help men and women to follow right habits of living." CH 249.

"As to drugs, being used in our institutions, it is contrary to the light which the Lord has been pleased to give. The drugging business has done more harm to our world and killed more than it has helped or cured. The light was first given to me why institutions should be established, that is, sanitariums were to reform the medical practices of physicians." MM 27.

"It is the Lord's purpose that His method of healing without drugs shall be brought into prominence in every large city through our medical institutions." MM 325.

At least some of the leaders are worried that the denominational institutions have failed to conform to the purpose for which they were established. Dr. O. S. Parrett writes (August 13, 1953):

"Turning to the medical school, what do we find? A leading faculty member of Loma Linda told me that recently one officer of the graduating class had come to Loma Linda and bitterly protested the banquet given his class by the Alumni in Los Angeles....

"His class was given a dinner at a University club in Los Angeles to initiate them into the Alumni association. They were served chicken and coffee and entertained with shady jokes by a Hollywood character....

"It seems that the only ones who go through the school and who so much as know that there be any health reform are those from homes where the principles are actually taught and practiced....

"A few of our graduates have remained loyal to our health principles, and we owe them much. Except for this small minority, doubtless the Lord would have let our school close before now. However, we must admit that a large percentage of those who go through have little or no interest in these matters.

"At the Lynwood camp meeting one month ago a former president told me that he took his sister, who was very ill, to one of our western institutions. He hoped thereby to secure a special diet and hydrotherapy treatments which might cure her. Instead she received little of either but was given strong drugs. Finally in desperation he appealed to the head of the institution who was a surgeon of repute and who, I am sure, believes in our health principles. This doctor said, 'Elder, I will see what I can do to help you. I am a surgeon and not a medical man, but perhaps I can select someone from our school who can prescribe for her.' After looking over the list of about thirty doctors who practiced in the district, he finally exclaimed, 'I am sorry but there is no one here I can recommend who would be of any help to you. What I really would advise you to do, since you are a graduate nurse yourself, is to take your sister home and order for her the diet and treatments you know she should have.' This minister followed his advice, and in time she made a good recovery.

"Some time ago on the same campground I met a minister who had taught Bible to our children in one of our academies. This man was a fine Christian and had taught and had a good influence over the young people in his Bible class. He said to me, 'Dr. Parrett, my wife has been very, very sick. I took her to one of our C.M.E. graduates, hoping to get proper diet and treatment. He tells me she just has to have meat or she can never get well.' I replied, 'Elder------ , I have been practicing medicine for many years, much of the time in our larger institutions, as well as private practice. As medical secretary [of the General Conference] I have checked missionaries returning from every foreign land. I have never yet met any condition or disease in which I have felt that meat was necessary or in which, on the other hand, I have not felt that to use it would greatly prejudice the patients' recovery.' I added, 'lf I were you, I would have no confidence in this doctor or his treatments and would find a doctor who believes in the Spirit of Prophecy, which teaches that meat is injurious to health and poisons the blood stream, . . . Afterward, I thought, where could this man go to find such a doctor. I have met and worked around many Loma Linda men who, outside of our sanitariums, mostly practice, eat, and live much like men from Yale, Harvard, or Cornell."

3. Many Small Sanitariums

"It is that thirsting souls may be led to the living water that we plead for sanitariums, not expensive, mammoth sanitariums, but homelike institutions, in pleasant places.

"Never, never build mammoth institutions. Let these institutions be small, and let there be more of them, that the work of winning souls to Christ may be accomplished. It may often be necessary to start sanitarium work in the city, but never build a sanitarium in a city. Rent a building, and keep looking for a suitable place out of the city. The sick are to be reached, not by massive buildings, but by the establishment of many small sanitariums, which are to be as light shining in a dark place." MM 323.

4. A Serious Warning

"Our sanitariums are to be conducted in such a way that God will be honored and glorified. They are not to become a snare. But unless the human instrumentalities are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the enemy will use them to carry out his devisings for the hindrance of God's cause and for the destruction of their own souls." MM 174.

 

V-A REFORMATION NEEDED

"Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ's first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things." 3T 62.

"Every duty that calls for reform involves repentance, faith, and obedience. It means the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. Thus every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel's message. Especially does the temperance reform demand our attention and support....

"If the work of temperance were carried forward by us as it was begun thirty years ago; if at our camp meetings we presented before the people the evils of intemperance in eating and drinking, and especially the evil of liquor drinking; if these things were presented in connection with the evidences of Christ's soon coming, there would be a shaking among the people." 6T 110, 111.

"If church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place." MS 78, 1900.

Is Marriage a Contract for Life?

STUDY 8

 

Like all other gifts of God entrusted to man for the benefit of the human race, the marriage institution was perverted by sin. Divorce and remarriage, as well as other anomalies, were wide ly established and commonly accepted practices among the nations before the days of Moses. The patriarchs, being men of God, were nevertheless subject to the influence of their environment. Their familiarity with popular customs blinded their eyes, and they were not always able to see sin in the light that God sees it. Abraham and Jacob were polygamists, not because they wanted to defy God and rebel against His law, but because their minds had been affected by the moral conditions that surrounded them, and they could see nothing wrong in certain social customs, like polygamy.

When the children of Israel left Egypt, they brought an Egyptian mentality with them. Divorce and polygamy were permitted among them. Although these practices were completely alien to God's original arrangement, Moses sanctioned them in his civil code, which at least in this respect, was influenced by popular custom. God did not stop Moses from granting such a law, because the Jewish people, still under the influence of regional custom, were not prepared to make great strides to ward the perfect will of Him who rules the universe.

But as the purpose of the gospel is "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10), and as "every divine institution is to be restored" (PK 678), Christ could not be expected to approve those imperfections in the legislation of Moses. The original ideal of the marriage institution must be reinstated-its original purity and beauty must be retrieved-through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the days of Christ there were among the Jews two schools of thought and practice. One was led by Shammai, who granted divorce on the ground of adultery alone, while the other was under the direction of Hillel, who condoned divorce on any pretext which the husband might have. The Pharisees were often involved in the controversy between these two schools, and now they decided to tempt Jesus by drawing Him into the conflict.

"Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" they asked.

The Lord answered:

"Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, . . . For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh, . . . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

The Pharisees objected:

"Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?"

"Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives," Jesus explained, "but from the beginning it was not so." (Read Matt. 19:3-8.)

Jesus made it clear that the bill of divorcement mentioned in the legislation of Moses (Deut. 24:1-5) was not a command, as the Pharisees tried to interpret it, but only a consent based, not on the perfect will of God, but on the hardness of their hearts, which were influenced by social customs. Jesus appealed to Genesis 2:24 against Deuteronomy 24:1-5, showing that, in the plan of salvation, the perfect will of God must triumph over the hardness of man's heart and over any and every consent thereby obtained.

The Christian religion-by putting the marriage institution into operation according to the original plan of God-has done more toward decency, justice, peace, happiness, and civilization than any other power in the world.

"The institution of marriage keeps the moral world in being, and secures it from an untimely dissolution. Without it, natural affection and amiableness would not exist, domestic education would become extinct, industry and economy be unknown, and man would be left to the precarious existence of the savage. But for this institution, learning and refinement would expire, government sink into the gulf of anarchy; and religion, hunted from earth, would hasten back to her native heavens."-T. Dwight.

"How Readest Thou?"

With reference to divorce and remarriage, if we want to have a clear picture before our eyes, we must put together everything that has been written on the subject and consider time, place, and special circumstances. When Jesus confronted the lawyer's question, He did not only say, "What is written?" but also, "How readest thou?" (Luke 10:26). It is dangerous to read the Bible with preconceived ideas, because we may, as a consequence, read our erroneous conclusions into a "Thus saith the Lord," making the Holy Scriptures say what they do not say. Consider this example: It is written that Abraham, who was a polygamist (Gen. 25:6), is our father in the faith (Rom. 4:12; Gal. 3:7). And there are those who read these verses with carnal eyes, proclaiming that polygamy is all right. We may also be tempted to read some Bible verses (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) and some of E.G. White's letters in a similar way. Strange enough, some people seem to be under the impression that Sister White's personal advice, her personal opinion, should be adopted as a doctrinal rule for the church as far as divorce and remarriage is concerned.

To stay on the safe side in this matter, let us take a single hearted look into a few scriptures in an endeavor to obtain answers to some basic questions.

Back to Genesis

If a man divorces his wife for no good reason and marries another woman, it is evident that he, thereby, commits adultery. What is not clear to some people is whether his ex-wife, the in nocent party, is now free to remarry. Should the exception clause found in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, together with Sister White's personal advice concerning a second marriage, be taken as final evidence for a doctrine and a rule in behalf of divorce and remarriage? Some are ready to say, Yes. We, however, differ and, hereunder, we set forth the reasons why we think otherwise.

When Jesus was confronted with the question of divorce and remarriage, He did not introduce an innovation. He simply drew the attention of his hearers to the days of old to the marriage institution as it was originally given by God and as it was protected by God's law and made it clear to them that the concession of Moses was not in harmony with the ideal of God. Considered in its pristine sense, when everything that God had made was very good (Gen. 1:31), the marriage institution was to be considered indissoluble. Read Matt. 19:3-12 and Luke 16:17, 18. Jesus said:

"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. [Therefore:] Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."

Here we have the case of an innocent woman that is divorced from a man who put her away, not with a view to remaining unmarried and chaste, but for the purpose of becoming legally attached to another woman. And, according to the verse, he has already taken this step. Back to our first question: His ex-wife, the innocent party, who has received a bill of divorcement from her adulterous husband is she free now to remarry? No! Jesus said, in Luke 16:18, that if she follows the example of her exhusband, she becomes guilty of the same sin into which he has become involved. Result: two cases of adultery involving four people. On this basic question there is perfect harmony between the gospels (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:12; Luke 16:18) and the writings of Paul (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11, 39): a divorced lady has no right to remarry so long as her husband lives. And we think that the same rule must hold good for a divorced man also.

Harmony Between Christ and Paul

As Paul was well acquainted with the truth as taught by Christ (1 Cor. 11:23, first part), there is perfect harmony between them in the way they handled the marriage institution. (1) Jesus taught that a wife should not leave her husband and a husband should not leave his wife (Mark 10:2-12). Paul taught: "Let not the wife depart from her husband . . . and let not the husband put away his wife." 1 Cor. 7:10, 11. (2) If the exception clause actually belongs to the original, Jesus referred to the problem of fornication as it would often appear in the Jewish society (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). The suspicion of Joseph concerning his betrothed wife is a good example to this effect (Matt. 1:18-20). Paul dealt with the problem of fornication as it commonly occurred in the Greek society. He taught that connubial unions based on fornication must be dissolved (1 Cor. 6:15-18; 7:2). (3) Jesus taught that an in nocent wife put away by her adulterous husband is not permitted to become the wife of another man (Matt. 19:9; Luke 16:18). Paul taught that a wife, though put away by her husband, is still "bound by the law as long as her husband liveth" (1 Cor. 7:10-15, 39; Rom. 7:1-3).

In 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, 39, Paul speaks of Christian wives separated from their unbelieving husbands. Adultery in this case is not mentioned, but its existence is self-evident, because, as a rule, heathen men would certainly become involved with other women after putting away their Christian wives. No amount of naivety would make us believe that they would re main chaste. Nevertheless, the rule set down for the separated wife is irrelevant to the moral (or immoral?) conduct of the husband. So long as the husband lives, a Christian wife who is separated from her husband has only two possibilities-either remain single or become reconciled to him.

In the days of the apostles, those holding certain offices in the church, as well as widows entitled to the ministration of the relief fund, had to meet certain conditions, one of which was blamelessness. Thus only"husbands of one wife" could serve as pastors (bishops) and deacons, and only a widow who "had been the wife of one man" would qualify to be put on the list of those for whom the church had to provide (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; 5:9). For this reason, the Samaritan woman (John 4:l6-18), who had been the wife of more than one husband, and had therefore "broken God's commandments" (Story of Jesus, p. 55), would not meet the requirements. This fact is additional evidence that divorce and remarriage is not in conformity with the perfect will of God.

Legislation of Moses: Divorce and Remarriage Permitted

In the civil legislation given to Israel, a man was permitted to give his wife a bill of divorcement, send her away, and marry another woman. He could even take more than one. Polygamy was tolerated in Israel. And the divorced woman could legally become the wife of another man. Read Deut. 24:1-5.

The question here is: Why did Moses insert in his legislation for the Jewish people a provision which was contrary to the original plan of God and in conflict with the law of God (compare Deuteronomy 24:1, 2 with Matthew 19:3-12 and Luke 16:17, 18)? He did it, Jesus said, because of the hardness of their hearts. With their Egyptian mentality they were not prepared to adopt and appreciate the marriage institution in its original form and beauty and in harmony with the real intent of God's law. Therefore, Moses was permitted to grant them a concession which God actually and explicitly hated (Mal. 2:15, 16).

Another concession which was granted to Israel very much against the will of God, is found in Numbers 11:4-34 and Psalms 78:25-31; 106:14, 15. They wanted to return to the use of flesh as in Egypt, and the Lord let them have their way.

And here is another example: In its true sense, the law of God demands love (Rom. 13:l0)-love toward God and toward our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40), regardless of whether the neigh bor is a friend or an enemy (Matt. 5:43-45). But the children of Israel were not prepared to understand the law of God in this light. Therefore, they were given a special concession which was later removed by Christ. The Lord said to His hearers:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.... Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matt. 5:38, 39, 43, 44.

Again we see that, because of the hardness of their hearts, the Jews obtained concessions which did not reflect the perfect will of God. "Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good" (Ezek. 20:25), the Lord said.

If, instead of being lenient, God had strictly imposed His perfect will upon the Jews, forcing them to abide by certain standards which they were not prepared to accept, can we imagine what would have happened? Rebellion after rebellion. And then? Would God have been forced to destroy them utter ly? Only God knows. What is really important for us is that the above facts answer a basic question: While the hearts of God's professed people are in Egypt (Acts 7:39), may they get Egypt oriented concessions? Yes, they may. This has happened also in the days of modern Israel.

Parallel Between Moses and Sister White

The Adventist people have followed in the footsteps of ancient Israel (5T 94). "The same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light from heaven in the last messages of warning." ST 456. "The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." 5T 217. Therefore, not the perfect will of God (Rom. 12:1, 2), but worldly-minded concessions have prevailed among them even with the consent of Sister White. What she did was similar to what Moses had done before her. Here are a few examples:

Adventists have never considered meat-eating a serious issue. Sister White was tolerant in this matter, although she made it clear that the (true) people of God will discard this practice completely (CH 450; CD 82, 382). Hop plantations (for beer), tobacco fields, and the raising of swine were permitted among the Adventists, while the prophetess recommended that these things should not be made a test of fellowship (2SM 338). Even the eating of pork, she said, was not to be made a test. In the early days of the message, she was not sure if God actually wanted His people to abstain from swine's flesh (lT 206, 207) . If there was tolerance for these worldly practices, it is not hard for us to understand why divorce and remarriage was also tolerated. God never gives a people more light than they can bear.

Not only that. When there are questions concerning which God has not sent a special revelation, the prophet may utter his personal opinion. In so doing, he generally goes along with the beliefs and practices of the church, which are not always cor rect. This we can see in the history of ancient Israel. If a person is called to be God's chosen servant, that does not mean that all his thoughts, and words, and actions are necessarily inspired by God. Evidences show that men of God were not prevented from expressing their human ideas. Thus, Abraham believed that Ishmael should be the heir of God's promise (Gen. 17:15-18); Jacob said, "Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces" (Gen. 37:33); Joshua thought there was war in the camp (Ex. 32:17); Samuel thought Eliab was the Lord's anointed (l Sam. 16:6, 7); Elijah took it for granted that he was the only one on the side of the Lord in Israel (1 Kings 19:14, 18); Nathan the prophet encouraged David to build the temple contrary to the will of God (1 Chron. 17:1-4); John the Baptist had wrong ideas concerning the prophesied opening of prison doors (DA 214, 215); and the twelve had some wrong ideas, too (Luke 9:54, 55; Matt. 16:22, 23; Acts 1:6; John 21:23; etc.). The prevalence of human ideas can be seen also in the history of the Advent people, not only in the areas mentioned above, but also in some other areas. There was a time, for example, when Sister White already a prophetess, thought that in 1844 the door of mercy had actually been closed to the world forever ( lSM 64) and that Sabbathkeeping was not important (lT 76).

The Sacred and the Common

There is no doubt in our minds that Sister White's testimonies are from God, but sometimes, in her letters, she wrote certain things, "not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion." It would be good for us to pay attention to her warning. She said:

"The information given concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium was given, not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion.... In my words, when speaking upon these common subjects, there is nothing to lead minds to believe that I receive my knowledge in a vision from the Lord and am stating it as such.... [F]or one to mix the sacred with the common is a great mistake. In a tendency to do this we may see the working of the enemy to destroy souls.... [T]here are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. 1SM 38, 39.

According to this statement, when a prophet writes on common subjects, he may use his personal conclusions without depending on a special revelation from the Lord. And according to examples given before, the prophet may also speak his own mind on subjects which are not so common. When Sister White wrote on the subject of divorce, she could only give her personal advice. In 1868 she, together with her husband, sent the following statement to the Advent Review:

"In cases of the violation of the seventh commandment, where the guilty party does not manifest true repentance, if the injured party can obtain a divorce without making their own cases and that of their children, if they have them, worse by so doing, they should be free....

"Why will not those who are overtaken in crime [adultery] manifest repentance proportionate to the enormity of their crime, and fly to Christ for mercy, and heal, as far as possible, the wounds they have made?

"But, if they will not do as they should, and if the innocent have forfeited the legal right to a divorce, by living with the guilty after his guilt is known, we do not see that sin rests upon the innocent in remaining, and her moral right in departing seems questionable, if her health and life be not greatly endangered in so remaining." RH March 24, 1868.

Consider the warning: "Her moral right in departing seems questionable." To our omniscient God nothing seems questionable. He is always sure. However, when a prophet does not have a special revelation from God, certain issues may seem questionable to him.

Sister White was consulted about a second marriage which had already been consummated. There was a special circum stance: The man had a physical defect which made him sterile. According to the Ellen G. White Estate, he was a "mutilated individual." Sister White wrote: "As you have asked my advice I will freely give it to you." And she wrote: "It may be that this marriage is in the order of God" (2SM 340, 339). If she was not sure, what else could she say but "may be"?

As more and more letters were coming to Sister White, asking her advice in connection with marriage problems, she final ly refused to answer such letters. And she revealed to the church the reason for her refusal to handle such cases: "I do not think," she wrote, "that any such letters as that ought to be placed before me. I do not think it is my work to deal with any such things, unless the case has been plainly opened before me. There should be brethren in the church who have wisdom, who can speak decidedly regarding this case. I cannot understand such things." MS 2, 1913.

As Sister White stated that, without a special revelation from God, she could not understand these problems, and was lately hesitant to give her advice on these things, and as there is evidence that she did not want the church to use her writings "as a law or rule in dealing with these questions of marriage, remarriage, and adultery," we think it safer, in this particular matter, to use only the Bible.

In a letter to a worker (Jan. 6, 1931), W.C. White brought this evidence to light when he mentioned certain "documents" or writings of Sister White. He wrote:

"After reading the documents I today send you, you will say, 'Well, he has not given me anything authoritative from Sister White that directly answers the question.' But I think you will see from what I am sending you that it was Sister White's intention that there should not go forth from her pen anything that could be used as a law or a rule in dealing with these questions of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and adultery."-Unscriptural Divorces and Social Relationships, pp. 47, 48.

If these writings of Sister White had been included along with her personal letters in AH 344 and 2SM 339, 340, not so many believers would be tempted to make a wrong use of those letters.

It is obvious that, if those letters were not included in the nine volumes of Testimonies for the Church, they should not be used as a rule or law in the church.

The Spirit of Prophecy warns us that the Bible and the Bible alone is to be the foundation of our faith (GC 173; 238; 595; FE 451; COL 39, 40; 2SM 85). When people cannot substantiate their ideas with a clear and unquestionable "Thus saith the Lord" quoted from the Bible, and therefore seek forbidden support in Sister White's personal letters, as is the case of those who advocate divorce and remarriage, it is evident to us that they are heading in the wrong direction. She warns us:

"Lay Sister White right to one side. Lay her to one side. Don't you ever quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible." UT 167.

There is another letter by W.C. White (Oct. 6, 1911) which shows that there was progressive strictness in Sister White's attitude toward the question of divorce and remarriage. He says:

"Mother has received during the last twenty years many letters making inquiry regarding the matters about which you write, and she has many times written in reply that she had no advice to give different from that of the apostle Paul. Recently she has refused to deal with letters of this character, and tells us not to bring them to her attention." -Unscriptural Divorces and Social Relationships, p. 47.

So, while Sister White does not allow us to use her personal letters as a rule or law in this matter, she comes to a point where she has no other advice but that of the apostle Paul (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:11, 39).

Together with Sister White we abide by the instructions of the apostle Paul. No one will forfeit eternal life by following his advice, but there is danger in going contrary to his counsel. Why should we change a safe road for a hazardous path, if we are honestly interested in salvation and if we believe that the door of probation is soon to close?

Who Alone is Infallible?

It is known that, from its every inception, the SDA Church has endorsed the practice of divorce and remarriage for the innocent party and that Sister White has never been opposed to this practice. And there is more: In some cases divorce and remarriage for reasons other than adultery was also tolerated, even with the written consent of Sister White. This is clearly stated in the publication entitled Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the Writings of Ellen G. White, issued by The Ellen G. White Estate, Jan. 20, 1983, as well as in the Spectrum, vol. 7, no. 2. So, if the concessions used in the days of Sister White are actually valid today for those who are preparing for translation, and if the advocates of divorce want to be consistent with themselves, then they must extend their tolerance beyond the limits that they are actually willing to concede. In other words, if they endorse everything that the church did as far as concessions are concerned, then they are not far from sanctioning divorce and remarriage also for reasons other than unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. We think that in this case the following warnings from the servant of the Lord are very appropriate:

"In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning." 1SM 37.

"We cannot hold that a position once taken, an idea once advocated, is not, under any circumstances, to be relinquished. There is but One who is infallible-He who is the way, the truth, and the life." TM 105.

"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." 1SM 37.

"[T]he Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them....

"Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus, because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth." TM 70.

"Light, brethren, more light we need. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in the holy mountain. Gather the host of the Lord, with sanctified hearts, to hear what the Lord will say unto His people; for He has increased light for all who will hear." TM 410.

An important area in which the Lord is willing to bless His people with more light is the area of the original institutions of God. In her last days Sister White wrote:

"In the time of the end, every divine institution is to be restored." PK 678.

The institutions which God's people have inherited from Eden are: the Sabbath, health reform, and marriage. At the end of her ministry, Sister White appealed for a reformation in the lives of God's people in connection with these original principles, and, today, her appeal is still in force. Now that the second coming of Christ is at the door, this is our last chance to meet God's perfect and complete ideal for His people.

Read about the law and the Sabbath in Isaiah 8:13-16, 20 61:1-4; 58:12-14; about health reform in Isaiah 22:12-14, 22-24; and about marriage in Malachi 2:13-17.

Two Difficult Texts

The professed Christian churches are sharply divided on the interpretation and application of Matthew 5:32; 19:9.

When we turn to Matthew 5:32, we understand that the main purpose of this passage is to show how a man is to act so that he will not cause his wife to commit adultery. Mark the words pointing out the conditions under which he will or will not become responsible for her sin:

"But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." Matt. 5:32.

In this passage, the woman plays a passive role. She has no choice. She is simply put away, and this may happen under two different circumstances:

a) When she is innocent

An innocent woman, if forced to separate from her husband, commits adultery by getting married to another man. In this case her first husband shares the responsibility of her sin because it is he that "causeth her to commit adultery" by putting her away.

b) When she is guilty of fornication

If the wife is guilty, it is all right for her husband to put her away and become free from his obligations toward her, and by so doing he is not responsible for her sins, whether past or future.

This scripture, as can be seen, is primarily concerned with the husband's responsibility toward his wife. It shows under what circumstances he may become guilty in connection with her transgressions. There is no word, however, concerning his right to remarry. The second purpose of this passage is to teach that a divorced woman has no right to become the wife of another man. The reasons why or the circumstance under which she got a divorce do not seem to influence the prohibition. The law is unconditional: 'Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." Matthew 5:32 does not teach that remarriage is permissible.

Even some advocates of divorce and remarriage avow that the above idea is all that is contained in Matthew 5:32. A professor of Systematic Theology admits:

"Jesus says nothing here with respect to the question of the remarriage of the man who puts away his wife for the cause of fornication.... And this is the only case in which, according to Christ's ambiguous assertion, a man may dismiss his wife without being involved in the sin which Jesus proceeds to characterize as making his wife to be an adulteress.... All that is stated is that if the husband puts [her] away for this reason [fornication] he is not involved in the sin specified [her later adultery]."-John Murray, Divorce, pp. 20, 21.

The other text reads:

"Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." Matt. 19:9.

The meaning of "fornication" as distinguished from "adultery" will be explained a little later. In the first place, we just want to draw the attention of the reader to a question which is often raised: Does this clause ("except it be for fornication") apply only to the putting away of the guilty wife or does it necessarily extend to the remarriage of the innocent husband? From a purely grammatical standpoint, it can be said that by the exception clause the innocent husband is allowed to repudiate his guilty wife, but it cannot be dogmatized that, by the same clause, he is automatically permitted to remarry. The grammatical construction of the verse makes this second right questionable. To clarify this point, an example may be helpful. The verse in Matthew 5:32 may be paraphrased as follows:

"Whosoever is angry with his brother, except there is a cause, and says to him, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

To make the point still clearer let us analyze the following sentence:

"Whosoever is angry with his brother, except there is a cause, and kills him, shall be kept out of heaven because of murder."

What does the exception clause allow you to do? If you think you have a cause, you may become angry with your brother. Read Eph. 4:36. But don't pull the exceptive clause too far. So, while the exception in Matthew 19:9 permits the first step (separation), it does not necessarily apply to the second step (remarriage). Separation without remarriage is clearly taught in the last part of the same verse, where we read that the innocent lady, divorced from her adulterous husband, has no right to become the wife of another man. Separation without remarriage is also taught in Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11, and is implied in Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; 5:9.

For Matthew 19:9, it should be borne in mind that important codices support a variant form which reads "maketh her to commit adultery" instead of "committeth adultery," putting Matthew 19:9 in perfect alignment with Matthew 5:32. (See comments on Matthew 5:32.)

In our analysis of these two verses (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) we must bear in mind, however, that fornication and adultery are not one and the same thing.

Porneia and Moikeia

For transgression of the seventh commandment under two different circumstances the New Testament uses two different words-fornication (porneia) and adultery (moikeia). Both sins are mentioned side by side, which indicates that they are not used synonymously. See examples: Matt. 15:19; Mark 7:21; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:19; Heb. 13:4.

In a strictly technical sense, fornication is not adultery. The following definitions and quotations may help us understand the distinction:

Fornication: "Illicit sexual intercourse on the part of an unmarried person."-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. "Sexual intercourse between unmarried persons or between a married and an unmarried person."-The Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English.

"As fornication signifies no more than the unlawful connection of unmarried persons, it cannot be used here (Matt. 5:32) with propriety, when speaking of those who are married." Clarke's Commentary.

"In its more restricted sense fornication denotes voluntary sexual communion between an unmarried person and one of the opposite sex. In this sense the fornicators (pornoi) are distinguished from the adulterers (moichoi) as in 1 Corinthians 6:9." Baker's Dictionary of Theology.

Adultery: "Generally speaking, [adultery is] voluntary sexual intercourse between two people, one or both of whom is married to someone else. Ordinarily, the crime of the married person is adultery, of the other, fornication."The National Encyclopedia.

"Adultery. Sexual intercourse of a married person with other than the marriage partner.... Adultery is technically distinguished from fornication, which is intercourse between unmarried persons."-Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia.

Because the distinction between fornication and adultery, and between a betrothed wife and a wedded wife is often over looked, Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 are regarded as allowing divorce and remarriage in cases where the prior marriage was broken by reason of adultery.

In the Jewish society it was the duty and prerogative of the father to secure wives for his sons. When the marriage agreement was made with the family of the intended bride, the damsel was brought into the presence of her suitor, and both simply acquiesced to the arrangements made. This was called espousing or betrothing.

"There was generally an interval of ten or twelve months, and sometimes considerably more, between the time of making the marriage contract, or the day of espousals, and the marriage itself.... During all this interval, however, while the bride continued still in her father's house, she was considered and spoken of as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed; so that the bridegroom could not destroy their engagement, if he became unwilling to marry her, without giving her a bill of a divorcement, in the same manner as if she had been fully wedded; and so, on the other hand, if she proved unfaithful to her espoused husband [during the betrothal period], she was punished [in the same way] as an adulteress."-John W. Nevin, A Summary of Biblical Antiquities, pp. 123, 124.

The first problem that a man had to face when contemplating marriage was, as the Bible shows, the possible unfaithfulness of his betrothed wife during the engagement period. This contingency was covered by the legislation of Moses as follows:

"If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, . . . I and say, I took this woman and when I came to her, I found her not a maid, . . . and . . . if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her a city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.... If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you." Deut. 22:13, 14, 20, 21, 23, 24.

Note in these verses that man and woman were regarded as husband and wife during the time of betrothal, before their, cohabitation in actual marriage. And the unfaithfulness of the damsel during this period was called whoredom (i.e., porneia in the Septuagint). The suspicion of Joseph about Mary is an example of what was understood as porneia (fornication) on the part of a betrothed wife. We read:

"When as his [Jesus'] mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not will ing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matt. 1:18-20.

While Joseph and Mary were husband and wife only in the sense that they were betrothed to each other, and, therefore, prior to their coming together in actual marriage, we read that Jesus was born. Trying to capitalize on this circumstance and to destroy His reputation, the Jews said to Jesus: "We be not born of fornication." John 8:41. It is evident, therefore, that they used the term "fornication" for sexual crime committed by a betroth ed wife before the actual marriage had taken place. It was in this sense that they used their base insinuation. Sister White comments on this incident:

"In mockery they [the Jews] answered, 'We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.' These words, in allusion to the circumstances of His birth, were intended as a thrust against Christ in the presence of those who were beginning to believe on Him." DA 467.

Whether the unfaithfulness (or fornication) of a betrothed wife was found out before or right after the actual marriage, the innocent husband was free to reject her, according to a provision contained in the legislation of Moses. And, pursuant to the exceptive clause (which is a clear reference to this provision), the innocent husband still has the same right, but it is questionable whether in the days of Jesus and the apostles a husband could cause his wife to be stoned according to the law. Anyhow, under the New Dispensation, the words of Jesus vindicating the perfect will of God as revealed in His original plan in Eden must have given rise to serious questions. For example: If a man is not permitted to put away his wife, what if he finds out that his betrothed wife has committed fornication? That would, as we mentioned before, be the first problem a man would have to face when getting married a problem foreseen in the legislation of Moses, which was brought up in the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees.

Once the above circumstances are admitted in connection with Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, it should not be difficult to understand that the purpose of the exception clause (whether originally spoken by Jesus or later interpolated by a copyist) was to show that a man is free to reject his betrothed wife for the crime of premarital unfaithfulness.

By the way, we must at this juncture touch a rather delicate point. Women who have conscience problems concerning their past conduct often seek advice. And our ministers should be prepared to handle such problems and answer questions with one accord. We think that, before final marriage arrangements are made, a woman who was morally involved should confess her past mistakes to the man whom she is going to marry. Using the biblical terminology, we would say: In case of fornication, a betrothed wife should confess the fact to her betrothed husband before the marriage takes place. It is true, on the one hand, that through such a confession, he may lose interest in her. But, on the other hand, it is also true that concealment may bring serious consequences. Her previous sin and present deception may be found out. In some countries, if the newlywed husband appears before the Justice of the Peace with the complaint that he was deceived because his bride was not a virgin, he has the legal right to demand that the marriage be declared null and void. And his request is granted. But what if she keeps quiet and the fact is never found out by her husband? Then she is not a truly repentant Magdalene, and later on, her troubled conscience may start tormenting her for having practiced deception. Men and women who have gone through the experience of genuine repentance and conversion, will make confessions to each other before they are bound together by the marriage vow.

As explained before, fornication committed by a betrothed wife (before the marriage) is one thing, and adultery committed by a wedded wife (after the marriage has been consummated) is another thing. But there is yet another circumstance under which the exception clause (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) may have an application if a man and a woman are living together in fornication. Paul referred to such a condition when he wrote:

"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.... Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.... [T]o avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1 Cor. 6:15-18; 7:2.

In a situation where this sin is present, Matthew 19:9 could be understood as follows: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife [unless he is not lawfully married but is living in fornication] and shall marry another, committeth adultery." With reference to the exception clause (Matt. 5:32; 19:9), why should we ignore situations in which the term "fornication" fits unquestionably and imagine a situation in which its use is very questionable (a situation which would require confusing fornication with adultery)?

When the disciples understood the restrictions which involve the marriage institution, they expressed their conclusion: "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." Adding to their conclusion, Jesus said: "And there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (Matt. 19:10, 12). For those who cannot restore their broken marriage, celibacy seems to be the safest position.

Celibacy was also recommended by E.G. White and her husband, not as a general rule, but as an individual attitude in some cases in which a person may have doubts, fearing that marriage with its bitter anguish could endanger his entrance into the kingdom. They wrote:

"If Paul could remain single, and recommend the same to others, that he and they might be wholly the Lord's, why not those who would be wholly his, . . . remain as he was? And more, if he chose to remain so, and could recommend it to others, eighteen centuries since, would not to remain as he was, be a commendable course for those who are waiting for the coming of the Son of man, unless evidences were unquestionable that they were bettering their condition, and making Heaven more sure by so doing? When so much is at stake, why not be on the sure side every time?" RH March 24, 1868.

"All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.... He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." Matt. 19:11, 12.

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

The correct interpretation of certain texts depends on an understanding of regional and contemporary conditions on, which these texts stand. This is true especially with verses referring to the marriage institution. In the Jewish society, the initiative in seeking a divorce would always come from the husband. An investigator of the subject under discussion says: "Among the Jews the wife and the husband were not on an equality; the husband might commit whoredom with an unmarried woman without being an adulterer; the wife was an adulteress when she fell into similar transgression."-Theodore D. Woolsey, Divorce and Divorce Legislation, p. 68. From this standpoint, Jewish custom could be compared to a one-way street. In fact, the Old Testament, especially the legislation of Moses, is full of evidences that what a man could do to his wife, a woman could not do to her husband. On this particular, Jesus did not contradict the traditions of the Jewish nation. Therefore, if you are looking in the teachings of Jesus for a reference to the supposed right of a woman to divorce her husband, you are looking for a reference that does not exist. Neither Matthew, nor Mark, nor Luke suggest that a woman was able to divorce her husband. And in case of divorce (when a man divorced his wife), or, in case of separation, Paul (Rom. 7:1-3; l Cor. 7:10, 11, 39) agrees with Matthew (5:32; 19:9), Mark (10:2-12), and Luke (16:18) that a woman is not free to remarry. This is just one more fact that is often overlooked by the advocates of divorce who draw their conclusions from Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

It is true that a man, as mentioned before, had more rights than a woman, but Matthew 19:9, which is often invoked in this connection, does not say explicitly that a man is free to remarry because of adultery on the part of his wedded wife. Those who bear in mind the plausible explanations given in previous pages will not try to extort questionable concessions from the exception clause.

Conscience Severely Tested

After these considerations we should be prepared to answer another question. Shortly before the days of Christ's ministry, there is, hypothetically, a group of faithful Jews whose hearts are in Canaan, not in Egypt. As they are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they have a clear perception of. what the Lord meant when He said: "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44). And, although they have never seen Christ, they have a correct understanding of the original institutions of God. They see marriage in the light of God's plan in the beginning of the world and can only say what Christ would have said (Matt. 19:3-12; Luke 16:17, 18). The question now is: Should they, against their conscience, put the concession of Moses (Deut. 24:1, 2) above the original plan of God (Gen. 2:24)? What argument should they use when people confront them with the legislation of Moses?

History repeats itself. Let us turn our attention to the early days of the Advent Movement. There are some faithful believers who understand that God wants them to keep the Sabbath and abstain from pork-eating. This actually happened. Sister White is not yet convinced on these points (lT 76, 206, 207) and she makes her opinion known. So these people know what the Bible says and

what the prophetess thinks. Now, what should these sincere believers do in this particular case?

As the reader can see, under certain circumstances, the con science of some people may be severely tested when they have important doctrinal issues before them and when they see that the concessions or conclusions of the prophet on these issues are not in harmony with the perfect will of God. Dear reader, place yourself hypothetically among these conscientious believers, read James 4:17, pray earnestly to God, and decide for yourself what you would do. Would you consciously and conscientiously use a concession that does not meet the perfect will of God? The decision is entirely yours.

A similar decision, under similar circumstances, is required of us in connection with the divorce and remarriage issue.

The SDA Reform Movement came into existence primarily as a sincere effort to restore the broken law of God, when the SDA Church allowed and in many cases even encouraged her members to take a combatant position seven days a week, including the Sabbath, during World War I. The matter of divorce and remarriage, which also affects the law of God, was not discussed at that time. Nevertheless, it is our duty before God to give attention to this point, because an important principle is involved. On this question we do not share the stand taken by the Adventist Church.

Take for example the case of a man who has fallen in sin without continuing in it. He repents and, with tears in his eyes, confesses his fault and asks his wife to forgive him. If she refuses to do so, and takes her husband's wrongdoing as a pretext to leave him and join another man, we think that the legitimacy of her purpose must be seriously questioned. Her motives seem to be altogether licentious, and her sin should be regarded as greater than his. In such case we believe that repentance, reconciliation, and restoration is still the best way, especially if the couple have children.

To us it has always been clear that, while divorce was in harmony with a lower spiritual condition, where the tolerance of God was manifested, it does not agree with the highest spiritual condition, where the perfect will of God is to prevail (Eph. 2:1-6; Rom. 12:1, 2). Nevertheless, from the beginning of our existence as a movement, we have understood that it is bet ter to err on the side of mercy than on the side of severity (Ed 294), but, keeping in mind the law of God (Luke 16:17, 18) we can not use too much leniency in connection with marriage problems. In the early days of the Reform Movement (1931) it was decided that those who are divorced and remarried when they come to the knowledge of the truth and apply for membership in our church, may be received in the condition in which the truth finds them, provided they are legally married. If they are repentant, God is willing to forgive the mistakes they made in times of ignorance (Acts 17:30). And, as far as we are concerned, it is not our mission to dissolve or destroy families to the detriment of innocent children who need the combined love and care on the part of father and mother. But when people become members of the Reform Movement, they assume before God and the church a serious commitment to the effect that they will henceforth uphold the principles that we stand for. After that, if they still want to change their mind (Eccl. 5:4, 5), doing what they have solemnly pledged themselves not to do, they forfeit their membership rights in our organization. Can you, dear reader, imagine what would happen if we decided to compromise our position in this area? The floodgates of evil would be opened, and we would possibly have to face an uncontrollable situation.

 

THE CHIEF BONE OF CONTENTION

The main purpose of this writing is to focus on the question of divorce and remarriage for the guilty party, because this is a conscious, voluntary and glaring violation of the law of God, where no excuse at all can be used. On this point we do have a controversy with the SDA Church. God says to all who are reformers: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isa. 58:1.

According to the SDA Church Manual, both husband and wife, both the innocent and the guilty party, are allowed to remarry, with the distinction that the innocent party is granted priority in taking this step. This is the new rule:

"A guilty spouse, who is divorced, has not the moral right to marry another while the innocent spouse still lives and remains unmarried and chaste. Should he or she do so, he or she, if a member, shall be disfellowshiped. The person whom he or she marries, if a member, shall also be disfellowshiped....

"A guilty spouse who has violated his or her marriage vow and has been divorced and disfellowshiped and who has remarried, or a person who has been divorced on other than the grounds set forth in section 1 and has remarried, and who has been disfellowshiped from the church, shall be considered as standing under the disapproval of the church and thus ineligible for membership except as hereinafter provided.

"The marriage contract is not only more sacred but also in finitely more complex than ordinary contracts in its possible involvements; for example, in the factor of the children who may be born. Hence, in a case where any endeavor by a genuinely repentant offender to bring his marital status into line with the divine ideal presents apparently insuperable problems, his or her plea for readmittance shall, before final action is taken, be brought by the church through the pastor or district leader to the conference committee for counsel and recommendation as to any possible steps that the repentant one, or ones, may take to secure such readmittance.

"Readmittance to membership of those who have been disfellowshiped for reasons given in the foregoing sections, shall be on the basis of rebaptism.

"When a person who has been involved in divorce proceedings is finally readmitted to church membership, . . . every care should be exercised to safeguard the unity and harmony of the church by not giving such a person responsibility as a leader; especially in an office which requires the rite of ordination, unless by very careful counsel."-SDA Church Manual, chapter 15, pp. 268-270 (1981 edition).

The Manual says (1) that the guilty party is allowed to remarry after the innocent party has taken this step, and that, in case disfellowshipment is necessary, (2) the guilty party can be refellowshiped with the second spouse. Practice, deeply regretted by many honest SDA's, shows that in many cases even the priority right established by the conjunction "while . . . " is only a theoretical delusion. In this respect we have heard many com plaints from earnest Adventists. The problem is exemplified hereunder:

"Some years ago a professional man had a succession of flirtations with various of his secretaries. He finally divorced his wife (a very fine and outstanding woman), who was not un- faithful to him, and married the current girl concerned. He and his new wife attended the same church that his first wife and three children attended. Of course he and the new wife were disfellowshiped. They continued to attend church. Some years later he and the new wife and baby moved elsewhere. He succeeded in convincing the church leaders there that they should be taken back into church fellowship, which was done by baptism.

"Another professional man became infatuated with a musician. He lived with her for several months, finally returned to his wife and four children. Then he left again, and divorced his wife, who had worked hard for years to help care for them and their children while he was climbing the ladder to success. His wife had not been unfaithful to him. He married the other girl, and had a baby. He was disfellowshiped from the church. The second wife had not been a church member. Some years later, after large financial gifts to the denomination, he is now a local elder in one of our churches.

"The wife of one of our ministers was visiting a church one Sabbath, where she and her husband had once labored. She was horrified to see a man and wife baptized into the church whom she knew to be guilty parties in previous divorces. She wept through the service.

"Several ministers told a couple that they were living in sin, and could not be taken back into the church. One was a guilty party, and the other the innocent party to previous divorces. Then other ministers came along and told them that they were not living in sin, that they could and should be rebaptized and taken back into the church, which was done. This has brought confusion and division in the church, with the loss of souls.

"This problem of divorce and remarriage is an increasingly serious problem to this denomination, because of differences of opinion."-Marguerite S. Williams, M.D. and Roy O. Williams, D.D.S., Unscriptural Divorces and Social Relationships, pp. 1, 2 (fourth edition, 1956).

The seriousness of this situation was admitted in one of the most outstanding SDA publications:

"Divorce and remarriage is the most perplexing and bewildering problem facing the church today."-Ministry, Sept. 1954, p. 17.

This is one of our greatest concerns as we consider the moral and spiritual condition of the SDA Church today.

The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"'These are perilous times for the church of God, and the greatest danger now is that of self-deception. Individuals professing to believe the truth are blind to their own danger and wrongs. They reach the standard of piety which has been set up by their friends and themselves, they are fellowshiped by their brethren, and are satisfied, while they entirely fail to reach the gospel standard set up by our divine Lord. If they regard iniquity in their hearts, the Lord will not hear them. But with many it is not only regarded in the heart, but openly carried out in the life; yet in many cases the wrongdoers receive no rebuke."' 1T 214.

"Many, like the king of Israel, follow their own carnal de sires, and enter into unsanctified marriages. Many who started out in life with as fair and promising a morning, in their limited sphere, as Solomon had in his exalted station, through one false and irrevocable step in the marriage relation, lose their souls, and draw others down to ruin with them." 2BC 1031.

"There are many unhappy marriages because of so much haste. Two unite their interest at the marriage altar, by most solemn vows before God, without previously weighing the mat ter, and devoting time to sober reflection and earnest prayer. Many move from impulse. They have no thorough acquaintance with the dispositions of each other. They do not realize that the happiness of their whole life is at stake. If they move wrong in this matter, and their marriage life proves unhappy, it cannot be taken back. If they find they are not calculated to make each other happy, they must endure it the best they can." 3SG 120.

 

COMPARISON BETWEEN SPIRITUAL AND LITERAL MARRIAGE

The marriage relation that unites husband and wife is com pared to the relation which exists between Christ and His church. Read Eph. 5:32: 23-32; GC 381.

The most important aspect of the parallel between the symbolic and the literal marriage, as Paul brings it out, is the wife's subjection to her husband and the husband's love for his wife.

"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Eph. 5:23-25.

But there may be some negative aspects, too. What hap pens, for example, when those who profess to be God's church prove unfaithful? He rejects them and chooses others.

"Because they failed of fulfilling God's purposes, the I children of Israel were set aside, and God's call was extended to other peoples. If these too prove unfaithful, will they not in like manner be rejected?" COL 304.

"For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee." Rom. 11:21.

Does this fact suggest that if apostasy brings a change in the relation between God and His professed people, then there must also be a similar change in the relation between husband and wife in case of adultery? Some say yes. As circumstances may prompt God to reject His professed church and choose another, it has been suggested that under similar circumstances a husband may also divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is claimed that there must be a perfect parallel.

We understand that a comparison between the two cases (Christ and the church/husband and wife) establishes only a limited parallel.

While a man's wife is just one person, Christ's church is a family (Eph. 2:19; 6T 168; DA 835; 4T 110). When there is apostasy in the church, at least some of its members remain loyal to the truth. God has never been left without a true remnant (Rom.11:5). So, through a succession of faithful remnants, God has had one faithful church on earth from the beginning until now. In this sense God has never cast away or withdrawn His presence from His true church (Rom. 11:1, 2; Matt. 28:20), and the gates of hell have never prevailed against her (Matt. 16:18).

"From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people." AA 11.

In case of open apostasy, the unfaithful majority is referred to as an adulterous mother, while the faithful remnant is ad dressed as a virgin daughter (Hos. 2:2). When the mother is rejected, none other than the daughter takes her place in the symbolic relationship between God and His people. In the spiritual relationship, even two daughters may be considered (Ezek. 23:1 18). As can be seen, a parallel here is impossible between the spiritual and the literal marriage.

But there is another aspect where a parallel is possible: God does not reject His people immediately in case of apostasy. He still pleads with them to give up their sin. He rejects them only if they refuse to repent. Read Isa. 1:4, 15-27; 2 Chron. 36:14-16. So, in the literal marriage relationship, neither the Bible nor the Spirit of Prophecy encourages divorce where there has been genuine repentance. Read AH 346. In the spiritual relationship, where God has already divorced His people because of inveterate apostasy, He still appeals to the adulterous mother church to return to Him, and He promises to forgive her and take her back on condition of repentance and conversion (Jer. 3:1, 7-14, 20-22; Rom. 11:15, 23).

These circumstances show that the advocates of divorce and remarriage are making at least two mistakes: (1) where a parallel is possible they refuse to draw a parallel, because they are not ready to grant the guilty part a chance to repent and become reconciled to the injured marriage partner and because they overlook the harm that would be done to the children (AH 346); (2) and where a parallel is clearly impossible, because it would suggest incest (Ezek. 23:1-18), there they want to draw parallel.

We are sorry, but we cannot agree with them on these points. Our duty is to help sinners, as far as possible, find repentance, forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation.

 

ADDENDUM

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

By T. W. Woolsey

The doctrine of the ancient church on divorce was tolerably well established long before marriage came to be regarded as a sacrament in the more modern sense of that term. At the same time the sacramental character attached to marriage strengthened the view which Scripture authorized of its fixed and indissoluble nature. Even death was held by some, although never by the prevalent opinion, to be no dissolution of the bond. The original source of the doctrine was of course the declarations in the gospel, which were honestly and laboriously interpreted with a pretty uniform result long before the doctrine of the sacraments was developed. This doctrine did not first teach the unlawfulness of dissolving the marriage tie, but took that view from the Scriptures and from the firm prevalent opinion already spread through the church. Afterward, however, the sacramental nature of marriage without doubt acted back to give more of rigor to marriage and to impede its dissolution. With this and before this the Christian spirit of forgiveness had an important influence on opinion in regard to divorce. The high sin of either party against the union might be repented of and God could forgive it. Why should not the parties be reconciled also? But for this it was necessary that they should remain unmarried. When forgiveness and restoration ad integrum became canonically lawful, there was naturally less need of relaxation in favor of a final separation with liberty of remarriage. These three then, Christ's law in the Gospel and as explained by Paul, the sacramental quality of marriage, the Christian duty of forgiveness, gave the shape of the doctrine of divorce in the ancient church. If the marriage had not been a Christian one, that is, had had no sacramental character, a complete divorce might take effect in the following cases, and in these only. In the first place an infidel converted to Christianity was to put away all his wives but the first. As however in this instance there was no true marriage according to Christian doctrine with any but the first wife, there was no real divorce in ceasing to have any relation to the others, who were merely concubines. Secondly, a converted infidel, who had put away his wife and married another, was required to take back again the first, even if she should have contracted a second marriage. Here again there was no true divorce, for the I divorce and remarriage of both the parties was regarded as unlawful. Thirdly, if an infidel became a convert to Christianity, and his or her married partner was unwilling to keep up the marriage relation on any terms, or at least not without blaspheming God or leading the other into mortal sin, the Christian might be separated from the infidel so as to contract a new marriage. This decision of the church was based on an interpretation of 1Corinthians 7:15.... And here only have we an instance of true divorce. All other cases, such as marriage to a Jew of a person already a Christian, marriage of a Catholic to a heretic, or schismatic, either render the marriage void ab initio- which is not divorce in the proper sense-or merely justified a separation a mensa et toro, if even that were allowable.

A very early and important passage on divorce is contained in the Shepherd of Hermas (ii Mandat. 4, par. 1). We will give it in English.

"And I said to him, Master, let me ask thee a few things. Say on, says he, and I said, If any one had a wife faithful in the Lord, and found her in adultery, does the man sin if he lives with her? And he said to me, As long as he is ignorant, the man is without crime, if lives with her. But if the man had known that his wife had offended, and the woman had not repented, and if she re mains in her [sexual sin], and the man lives with her, he will be guilty of her sin and partaker of her adultery. And I said to him, What then if the woman shall persist in her vice? And he said, Let the man put her away, and stay by himself (i.e., remain un married). But if he put away his wife and take another, he too commits adultery himself. And I said to him, What if a woman, when put away, shall repent and wish to return to her husband, shall she not be taken back by her husband? And he said to me, Verily, if her husband do not take her back, he sins, and allows himself to commit a great sin; he ought to take back the sinning woman who has repented; but ought not to do this often. For there is one repentance for the servants of God. On account of repentance therefore the man ought not to marry again. This conduct is incumbent on both man and woman. Nor is there adultery only, said he, if one pollutes his own flesh, but he also who makes an idol commits adultery. Hence, if one persists in such things also and repents not, withdraw from him and live not with him. Otherwise thou too art partaker of his sin. For this was the command given to you to remain unmarried, whether man or woman, for in things of this sort there can be repentance." [This is from the first century.]

In this passage it is distinctly asserted that a man who puts away an adulterous wife, and marries another woman, commits adultery; and another reason is given for his remaining unmarried -namely that he may be in a condition to receive her back on her repentance. But such indulgence cannot extend beyond the first transgression. Here the foundation on which the first assertion is built is, no doubt, the words of our Lord, as explained by the Apostle in 1Corinthians 7-"Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband"-and Hermas conceived that the reconciliation there referred to was to follow a separation on ac count of the adultery of the husband. He reasons fairly, as others have done then and since, that if this be a command for the wife, it is such also for the husband. Thus his injunctions are all scriptural, according to his understanding of Scripture. He . . . represents an opinion that must have been extensively held, and at length became the ruling one, and all this long before the doctrine of the sacramental character of marriage obtained currency.

In the next three centuries many other witnesses appear on the same side.

Clement, of Alexandria, says (Strom. ii., 23, par. 144) that Scripture "regards marrying again to be adultery, if the other divorced partner is living"; and again, a little after (par. 145), "not only is he who puts away a woman the cause to her of this (adultery), but he who receives her also, as giving her opportunity to sin. For if he did not receive her, she would go back to her husband," where reconciliation is thought of as possible and desira ble, whatever the woman had done to occasion the divorce.

Origen seems to be of the same mind, where he says that some rulers of the church have permitted a woman to marry, while her husband is alive, contrary to what is written in 1Corinthians 7:39, and Romans 7:3....

In the fourth century, near the end, Augustin did more than any other man to establish the same opinion. He advocates it in several places. His treatise, de conjugiis adulterinis, . . . was writ ten especially to show that 1 Corinthians 7:11, "let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband," can be understood only of a wife who has withdrawn from her husband on ac count of his unfaithfulness....

In this work Augustin comes on ground where Hermas a stood. Thus he says to his friend, "what seems hard to you, that one of the married pair should be reconciled to the other after adultery, will not be hard if faith is there. For why do we still regard as adulterers those whom we believe to have been washed by baptism or healed by repentance?"

Jerome, a contemporary of Augustin, is also decided in his I opinion on the same side, as may be seen in his commentary on Matthew 19:4. A letter of his to a friend, Oceanus, is deserving of mention, as giving us the case of a divorce and remarriage of a Christian lady of high condition. Fabiola had a worthless, licentious husband. She had a right, says Jerome, to repudiate him, although not to marry again....

From this time onward the rule became more and more established, that remarriage after separation was unlawful in the Christian Church, that only separations a mensa et toro were possible. The proofs of this are abundant, but they are needless, as the fact of a prevailing, and at length a universal opinion in the direction named is unquestioned....

While in the Western Church marriage became rigidly in; dissoluble, and civil law was shaped in conformity with ecclesiastical judgments, in the East the case was otherwise. Some of the Fathers looked with indulgence on the remarriage of the in nocent party, and, on the other hand, the law of the Greek Church permitted separation only when the wife and not when the husband had been unfaithful. But the civil law did not conform itself to the law of the Church and of the New Testament, as under stood by the Church, but in some respects to the laws of Rome under the emperors. For a time even the principle of divorce by consent of the parties, which Justinian had abandoned, was again introduced. Remarriage was allowed somewhat freely, and to this legislation the practice in the Church was accommodated....

A word or two ought to be added in regard to the attitude which the [Western] Church took toward the parties who had been separated from one another on account of crime. The marriage being dissolved only by death, the intention of the Church was to excite repentance in the guilty partner, and after a probation to permit their reunion. The penance was a long one. In the time of Pope Stephen V (Cent. 9) the husband could decide whether he would receive back a guilty wife after she had undergone seven years of penance or be separated from her altogether. To become thus reconciled was taught to be the duty of a Christian, according to the words of Christ, "neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more." During their separation the pair were to have no intercourse as man and wife with one another; and for the violation of this rule a severe penance was inflicted on the innocent party. When the marriage was terminated by death and the adulterous partner was the survivor, Canon law was not so strict as Roman law. The adulteress for instance could now marry her paramour unless she had plotted against the life of her husband, or had promised marriage to the partner of her guilt during the life of her husband....

We may sum up what has been said of the separation of married partners during the early and medieval periods of the Christian Church in the following simple statements:

1. The prevailing and at length the unanimous opinion in the Church was that no crime of either of the consorts, being baptized persons or Christians, justified the other in marrying again during the life of the offending party.

2. When an infidel deserted his or her Christian consort, the latter was allowed to proceed to a second marriage.

3. The development of the theory of the sacrament, as far as divorce was concerned, accepted conclusions already drawn from Scripture.

4. As no crime entirely released the married pair from their relation to one another, and as forgiveness and reconciliation, being Christian duties could now be exercised, consorts separated on account of adultery could come together again. For a time rigid penance kept the offender from the innocent party, and penance also was inflicted on the innocent party who strove to renew intercourse before the Church was satisfied.

5. In many cases where marriage was prohibited by canonical law, a sentence of nullity left them free to unite themselves to other persons. [Transcribed from the book Divorce and Divorce Legislation, pp. 104-125, by Theodore D. Woolsey.]

The Sealing Message

STUDY 9

 

"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Rev. 7:1-4.

We have heard people say, and the impression has even been given in denominational publications, that the sealing message is not important, because Sister White wrote:

"It is not His [God's] will that they [God's people] shall get in to controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as, Who is to compose the hundred and forty-four thousand? This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question." 1SM 174.

This statement, if correctly understood, does not say that we do not have to pay much attention to the sealing message itself, but that we should not speculate about certain details which God has not revealed. For example: Who can identify beforehand the individuals that will be saved? Only God can. But this does not mean that we should ignore the plan of salvation. Although we do not know the day of Christ's return (Matt. 25:13), for instance, the doctrine of the second coming of Christ is still a vital point of our faith. The same is very true as far as the sealing message is concerned.

The sealing work-which belongs to the third angel of Revelation 14-is one of the main pillars in the Threefold Message. Its correct understanding has much to do with the stability of the whole doctrinal system of SDA's. It is, in fact, the very essence of the third angel's message. It is so important that the Lord's servant wrote the following warning:

"We have but a little space of time left to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice, for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus.... We must work while the day lasts, for when the dark night of trouble and anguish comes, it will be too late to work for God. Jesus is still in His holy temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will now pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then he that is holy and righteous will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy, will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father's throne. Therefore, what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. The Lord has shown me that precious souls are starving, and dying for want of the present, sealing truth, the meat in due season; and that the swift messengers should speed on their way, and feed the flock with the present truth.... Those only who have the seal of the living God, will be sheltered from the storm of wrath that will soon fall on the heads of those who have rejected the truth."—Present Truth, Sept. 1849 (RH vol. 1, p. 11), [emphasis supplied].

"I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, 'Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention." EW 118 [emphasis supplied].

When we read statements like these from the Spirit of Prophecy, we wonder how some professed believers among the Adventists can say that the sealing message, under which 144,000 are to be sealed with the seal of the living God, is not important for our salvation. The early Adventists understood that this message was to lead every soul to decide his case either for life or for death.

 

I-THE ORIGINAL SDA DOCTRINE

Originally it was the official belief of the SDA Church that the sealing of the 144,000 commenced in 1844 and will go on until the close of probation.

Just a few statements, quoted hereunder, are sufficient to confirm the original belief:

1. J. Bates:

"Now all advent believers that have, and do, participate in the advent messages as given in Rev. 14:6-13, will love and keep this covenant with God, and especially His Holy Sabbath, in this covenant; this is a part of the 144,000 now to be sealed.

"The other part are those who do not yet so well understand the advent doctrine; but are endeavoring to serve God with their whole hearts, and are willing, and will receive this covenant and Sabbath as soon as they hear it explained. These will constitute the 144,000 now to be sealed with 'a seal of the living God,' which sealing will bear them through this time of trouble."—A Seal of the Living God, pp. 61, 62.

2. S. N. Haskell:

"After the disappointment of 1844, the people of God saw . . . the binding claim of the fourth commandment as well as the nine other commands of the decalogue. The Sabbath reform commenced at that time; by 1848 it [the Sabbath reform] began to be recognized as the fulfillment of Revelation 7:1-4."—Bible Hand book, p. 88.

3. U. Smith:

"Those who die after having become identified with the third angel's message, are evidently numbered as a part of the '44,000; for this message is the same as the sealing message of Revelation 7, and by that message only 144,000 were sealed. But there are many who have had their entire religious experiences under this message, but have fallen in death. They die in the Lord, and hence are counted as sealed; for they will be saved. But the message results in the sealing of only 144,000; therefore these must be included in that number. Being raised in the special resurrection (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 1:7) which occurs when the voice of God is uttered from the temple, at the beginning of the seventh and last plague (Rev. 16:17; Joel 3:16; Heb. 12:26), they pass through the period of that plague, and hence may be said to come 'out of great tribulation' (Rev. 7:14), and having been raised from the grave only to mortal life, they take their stand with believers who have not died, and with them receive immortality at the last trump (1Cor. 15:52), being then, with the others, changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Thus, though they have passed through the grave, it can be said of them at last, that they are 'redeemed from among men' (Rev. 14:4), that is, from among the living; for the coming of Christ finds them among the living, waiting for the change to immortality, like those who have not died, and as if they themselves had never died."—Daniel and the Revelation, p. 634, footnote, 1905 edition.

4. J. White:

"Those who die under the third angel's message are a part of the 144,000; there are not 144,000 in addition to these, but these help make up that number. They are raised to mortal life shortly before Christ comes, and . . . are changed to immortality when Christ appears." RH Sept. 23, 1880.

5. J. N. Loughborough:

"If there is still a doubt of the resurrected Sabbath keepers' being numbered with the 144,000, consider the following from Sister White's words in 1909. At the General Conference in 1909, Elder Irwin had a stenographer accompany him in a call upon Sister White. He wished to ask her some questions, and have an exact copy of the words of the questions, and the replies. Among other questions was this one: 'Will those who have died in the message be among the 144,000?' In reply, Sister White said: 'Oh, yes, those who have died in the faith will be among the 144,000. I am clear on that matter.' These were the exact words of question and answer, as Brother Irwin permitted me to copy from his stenographer's report."—Questions on the Sealing Message, p. 17.

6. R. H. Johnson:

"Among those who shouted victory over the beast and over his image were those who had come forth from their graves in the special resurrection, and were seen on the sea of glass. They were 'the living saints, 144,000 in number."' RH July 27, 1905.

7. L. R. Conradi:

"In the same way, some will be resurrected from among the sleeping righteous who will complete the number of Israel according to Revelation 7."—Los Videntes y el Porvenir, p. 271.

8. W. C. White about E. G. White:

"Now to the question: Did Sister White teach that those who died in the message since 1844 and of whom it is said, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth,' that they shall be members of the 144,000?

"I can assure you, my brother, that this was the belief and the teaching of Ellen G. White. Many times I have heard her make statements to this effect, and I am in possession of a letter to Brother Hastings who is mentioned on page 237 of Life Sketches in which she says plainly that his wife who had recently died would be a member of the 144,000.

"In a letter recently received from a brother in Reno, Nevada, reference is made to a statement in Elder Loughborough's book found on page 29 in which it is reported that Sister White said: 'Those who died in the faith will be among the 144,000. I am clear on that matter.'

"And I testify, my brother, that that is in perfect harmony with her writings, her sayings and her teachings throughout the years of her ministry." Letter of W. C. White, dated April 18, 1929.

9. Sabbath School Lesson of August 1, 1908:

"From this we may recognize that, at the coming of the Lord, all of the 144,000, as living saints, will be composed of those who have never seen death and those who have died during the preaching of the last message but have resurrected before the appearing of the Lord."—Retranslated from the German Sabbath School Quarterly.

10. SDA Encyclopedia:

"The Sabbath was identified with the sealing message of Rev elation 7, and as a result the Sabbath came to be seen as God's seal. 'The position of our people then,' said Loughborough, 'was that the sealing work at that time was going on, and that some of the 144,000 were then being sealed.' During the next few years, Ellen G. White repeatedly spoke of the sealing work currently in progress (EW 36-38, 44, etc.).

"Corollary to the belief that those who accepted the third angel's message and the Sabbath were being sealed, was the belief that any who died would not in that way forfeit membership in the 144,000 but would come forth in a special resurrection to join their brethren who remained alive to the coming of the Lord."—SDA Encyclopedia, pp. 915, 916.

"Ellen G. White identified the seal of God with the Sabbath in November, 1848 (Joseph Bates, A Seal of the Living God, pp. 24-26), and Bates wrote his book on the subject in 1849. Also in 1849 Mrs. White wrote that the sealing work was then going forward (Present Truth, 1:21, August 1849)."—SDA Encyclopedia, p. 1163.

 

II - NEW LIGHT?

The statements just quoted under the previous subtitle show that it was a well-established belief among the early Adventists that the sealing of the 144,000 began in 1844. But this doctrine is not upheld any longer. We are told that we must leave the door open for changes when new light comes. "We cannot hold that a position once taken, an idea once advocated, is not, under any circumstances, to be relinquished. There is but One who is infallible - He who is the way, the truth, and the life." TM 105. And we should not ignore that in the writings of E. G. White there are some declarations which seem to subvert the original SDA position about the sealing of the 144,000. Many have taken these passages as a basis for the new belief that the sealing of the 144,000 did not begin in 1844, but that they will all be sealed under the latter rain, because they must all meet the following conditions:

(a) They obtain the victory "over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name." (Rev 15:2; AA 590, 591; GC 648).

(b) They witness the final judgements of God through the period of the seven last plagues. "They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great heat, and they themselves have endured suffering, hunger, and thirst." GC 649.

(c) "They have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob's trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments." GC 649.

(d) They are "translated from the earth, from among the living." GC 649. This is why they are represented by Elijah. "Elijah, who had been translated to heaven without seeing death, represented those who will be living upon the earth at Christ's second coming." DA 422.

These statements are taken as strong evidences in behalf of the new belief - that all the 144,000 are the very last generation of saints, who will be sealed under the latter rain, who will never see death, and "are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:15).

There is no doubt that the new interpretation, based especially on GC 648, 649, would stand on its own legs if there were no counter-evidences in the writings of E. G. White. Adventists have from the beginning followed an important expository rule: If the proposed exegesis of one verse is in harmony with all other verses which refer to that subject, then the explanation should be acceptable. If the exposition harmonizes, or seems to harmonize, with one verse, but conflicts with other verses relating to the same topic, then it is not acceptable. This is the problem with the new belief grounded on GC 648, 649. It does not harmonize with other Spirit of Prophecy statements, which clearly support the original SDA doctrine, that the sealing of the 144,000 actually began in 1844.

 

III - DOES E. G. WHITE CONTRADICT HERSELF?

The sealing of the 144,000 under the threefold message, according to Revelation 7:1-4 and 14:1-12, is described as a work which was going on in the days of Sister White. When she mentions the sealing work, she refers to a specific seal which only the 144,000 can receive, which the third angel places only on conscientious Sabbathkeepers identified with his message, which some of the saints had received already in the early days of the message, and which is a covering (or protection) against the seven last plagues. This is why every Adventist who wants to understand the truth of the sealing message should analyze both sides of the question and decide for himself, on the weight of evidence, whether he will abide by the old doctrine or accept the new interpretation. In case he endorses the new interpretation, what will he do with the counter-evidence? Will he ignore the Spirit of Prophecy statements which collide with the modern explanation of GC 648, 649? Or will he say that Sister White was mistaken when whe spoke of the sealing of the 144,000, according to Revelation 7:1-4, as having begun in 1844, and that later on she corrected her previous declarations when she received more light on the subject? If, however, he holds on to the former Adventist stand, that the work described in Revelation 7:1-4 was started by the third angel in 1844, then he needs, for GC 648, 649, an acceptable explanation which will harmonize with the old doctrinal position.

We, as SDA Reformers, uphold the original doctrine, and, therefore, explain GC 648, 649, in unison with the old belief. We do not think that Sister White contradicted herself.

1. Under the proclamation of the threefold message, "every one" of God's children, who is identified with the message and qualifies for a place in the kingdom, receives a specific seal according to Revelation 7:1-4, which is placed only on 144,000 saints. This becomes evident from the statements transcribed hereunder.

(a) The third angel's mission is the sealing work of Revelation 7:1-4 in the antitypical day of atonement.

"The mighty angel is seen ascending from the east (or sunrising). This mightiest of angels has in his hand the seal of the living God, or of Him who alone can give life, who can inscribe upon the forehead the mark of or inscription, to whom shall be granted immortality, eternal life. It is the voice of this highest angel that had authority to command the four angels to keep in check the four winds until this work was performed, and until he should give the summons to let them loose.... Only those who, in their attitude before God, are filling the position of those who are repenting and confessing their sins in the great antitypical day of atonement, will be recognized and marked as worthy of God's protection." TM 444, 445.

Let us bear in mind: The work that is attributed to the third angel is the special sealing of a specific group, the 144,000, according to Revelation 7:1-4. The third angel does this work in the antitypical day of atonement, which began in 1844 (GC 433).

E. G. White testifies:

"I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, 'Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention.' " EW 118.

"Who are voicing the message of the third angel, calling upon the world to make ready for the great day of God? The message we bear has the seal of the living God." CT 459.

(b) In the early days of the message, the third angel was already doing his work, according to Revelation 7:1-4.

"I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, 'The third angel is binding, or sealing, them in bundles for the heavenly garner.' This little company looked careworn, as if they had passed through severe trials and conflicts." EW 88, 89 (published in 1854).

We do not know how many had already been sealed by 1854, but we do know that the third angel, whose mission is depicted in Revelation 7:1-4, was actively sealing some of the 144,000 at that time.

In vision, November 1848, the servant of the Lord spoke the following words with reference to the sealing work of Revelation 7:1-4:

"He [God] was well pleased when His law began to come up in strength. That truth [the Sabbath truth] arises, and is on the increase, stronger and stronger. It's the seal! It's coming up! It arises, coming from the rising of the sun, like the sun, first cold, grows warmer, and sends its rays. When that truth arose, there was little light in it, but it has been increasing. Oh, the power of these rays!

"The angels are holding the winds. It is God that restrains the powers. The angels have not let go, for the saints are not all sealed. The time of trouble has commenced. It has begun. The reason why the four winds are not let go, is because the saints are not all sealed. It [the trouble] is on the increase more and more; that trouble will never end until the earth is rid of the wicked. Why, they [the winds] are just ready to blow. There is a check put on because the saints are not all sealed. Yes, publish the things thou hast seen and heard, and the blessing of God will attend." — A Seal of the Living God, pp 24-26.

The declaration that the saints were "not all sealed," way back in 1848, implies that some were already sealed. This fact was confirmed in another vision which was given to the servant of the Lord on January 5, 1849. She wrote:

"He [my accompanying angel] showed me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth, and that the four angels had power form God to hold the four wind, and that they were about to let the four winds go, and while they had started on their mission to let them go, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not all sealed; then He raised His hands to the Father and plead with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads." —Present Truth, August 1849.

Again, the same fact was repeated—that the saints "were not all sealed"—which implies that some were.

The seal of the living God was described as a covering, as a mark of protection, for the coming time of trouble - a shelter which the Lord was already drawing over His people in 1849, as the sealing time had already begun. Describing a vision received on March 24, 1849, Sister White wrote:

"Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.... I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God's people, just now in this sealing time.... Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God's people, and they [the careless] left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter." EW 43, 44.

"Those only who have the seal of the living God, will be sheltered from the storm of wrath."—Present Truth, September 1849.

"The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over." EW 58.

The early Adventists expected Christ to come very soon. And He could have come in the days of the pioneers (GC 458). In this case, the faithful believers who received the seal of God would have been the last generation of Christians - those that stayed alive and remained unto the coming of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15). The number of God's subjects would have been completed in a short time. And Christ would have come. It was in this context that E. G. White wrote about the sealing work of Revelation 7:1-4 as a present evert. But there was a delay, because the Advent people were not prepared to receive the Lord. So, what will happen to those who received the seal of God as an initial and partial fulfillment of Revelation 7:1-4? Will they forfeit the position that was already assigned to them - the right to be among the 144,000 - only because others, who should have followed their example, failed to obtain the needed preparation? Not at all. They come under a special provision. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth." Revelation 14:13. They will be brought back to life in the special resurrection (GC 637), before the coming of Christ, and, together with the other saints, sealed under the latter rain, they will make up the company of 144,000. This is what the statements quoted hereunder will prove.

(c) The saints who died in the faith of the third angel's message will come up in the partial resurrection, to be among the 144,000.

In 1848 or 1849, Sister White was given a vision of other worlds. She wrote:

"I begged my attending angel to let me remain in that place. I could not bear the thought of coming back to this dark world again. Then the angel said, 'You must go back, and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000, shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds and viewing the handiwork of God.'" EW 40.

The hope of Sister White, based on the assurance given her by the angel of God, was conditional. She would be with (or among) the 144,000 if she remained faithful. Since she received the promise of the Lord (1848 or 1849), there has been a delay, and she was not sure whether she would live until the coming of the Lord. But this would not change the promise, which was still hers, on condition of faithfulness. She wrote in 1907:

"I may live until the coming of the Lord; but if I should not, I trust it may be said of me: 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.'" 1SM 55, 56.

Due to this other promise of the Lord - "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth" (Rev. 14:13) - Sister White was sure that, if she remained faithful to the end, she would not forfeit her membership in the company of 144,000 saints. This promise belongs to all those who are sealed by the third angel (Rev. 7:1-4; 14:1-13). The numbered group referred to in Revelation 7:1-4 is the same group that is mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5, and again in Revelation 14:12, 13, where those among this group who happen to die before the coming of the Lord, are declared "blessed," because they still retain the seal, the "Father's name written in their foreheads," and still belong to the same group. This is why E. G. White testified about a faithful sister who had been laid to rest and about others who had reached an advanced age:

"I saw that she [a certain sister who had died in the Lord] was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000." 2SM 263.

"There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.'" 7BC 982.

"As he [John] looked with intense interest he beheld the company of God's commandment-keeping people. They had upon their foreheads the seal of the living God, and he said:[Revelation 14:12, 13 quoted]." 6T 15.

The Bible texts (Revelation 7:1-14(???); 14:1-13), as explained by the Spirit of Prophecy, according to the quotations used herein, establish a chain of links as follows: The third angel, with the seal of the living God (TM 444; EW 118, 89), seals 144,000 servants of God (Rev. 7:1-4; 14:1), whose characteristics are given in the context describing the work of this angel (Rev. 14:3-5, 12). The description of his work includes a special promise to those who should be saved through his message but should die before the coming of the Lord (Rev. 14:13). These scriptures do not mention - nor does E. G. White in her comments on these scriptures mention - any other group of sealed saints besides the 144,000. Therefore, let us share the blessed hope of the servant of the Lord and her contemporaries, who are resting in the grave, awaiting the special resurrection, to integrate the number of living saints at the coming of Christ.

"Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-for thousand." 7BC 970.

"As the result of the threefold message it is announced, 'Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.'" GC 453, 454.

"When the third angel's message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth.... All who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received 'the seal of the living God.' Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above.... The number of His subjects is made up." GC 613, 614.

Those who have died in the faith of the third angel's message will come up at the voice of God, before the coming of Christ, to hear the covenant of peace, which will be declared only to 144,000, when God shall announce the day and hour of Christ's coming.

"Graves are opened, and 'many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth... awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.' Dan. 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angel's message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God's covenant of peace with those who have kept His law." GC 637.

"The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus' coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people." GC 640.

"Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus's coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake." EW 15.

When the voice of God is heard, declaring the covenant of peace to the living saints, 144,000 in number, where will those be who have been resurrected to hear the covenant of peace? If they are not among the living saints, 144,000 in number, where else could they be? The only other class of people on earth at that time, according to the prophetic description (EW 15), are the wicked.

2. There will be only 144,000 saints at the coming of Christ.

The fact that, at the coming of Christ, there will be only 144,000 living saints, is confirmed by other statements besides EW 15.

(a) At the voice of God, when "all the saints: are delivered, shortly before the coming of Jesus, only 144,000 rejoice with shouts of triumph.

"A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob's trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed." EW 36, 37.

(b) At the coming of Christ, the 144,000 will recognize their friends who were separated from them at the beginning of the Advent Movement.

The early pioneers, who were identified with the third angel's message, and who are among the 144,000, will recognize Brethren Fitch and Stockman, and others, immediately, when they wee them.

"The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, 'Alleluia!' as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death.... Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city.... We all went under the tree and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when Brethren Fitch and Stocman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom [in the days of William Miller], and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping.... Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple.... And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, 'Only the 144,000 enter this place,' and we shouted 'Alleluia'.... The wonderful things I there saw I cannot describe.... I saw there tables of stone in which the names of the 144,000 were engraved in letters of gold. After we beheld the glory of the temple, we went out.... Soon we heard [Jesus's] lovely voice again, saying, 'Come My people, you have come out of great tribulation, and done My will; suffered for Me; come in to supper, for I will gird Myself, and serve you.' We shouted, 'Alleluia! Glory!' and entered into the city." EW 16-19.

Here E. G. White mentions two groups of saints - (a) the 144,000 and (b) their friends who had been laid in the grave before the coming of the third angel's message. She even gives the names of two of them. To which of these two groups does Sister White belong? The reader can get the answer from the description. She entered the temple where no one besides the 144,000 was permitted to enter. That means she is with (or among) the 144,000, as we read in EW 40 and 7BC 970, quoted before.

Let us beware how we read this last text (EW 16-19). The very danger that exists in a merely literal and grammatical reading of GC 648, 649, also exists in EW 16-19, if such reading is used. It is just as easy to argue, on the basis of GC 648, 649, that all the 144,000 will remain alive through the time of Jacob's trouble, under the seven last plagues, as it is to contend, on the ground of EW 16-19, that all the 144,000 will recognize their friends who died in the time of William Miller.

 

IV - MORE ON THE NEW INTERPRETATION

One of the first difficulties that arises before the new interpretation based on GC 648, 649, is that the 144,000 scattered universally, are supposed to obtain tickets, passports, and visas, to be able to go from place to place, to see the destruction caused here and there by the plagues, which are not worldwide. (Compare Matthew 24:31; GC 628). The new theory supposes that also the saints who are "held in bondage for their faith," within "prison walls" (GC 627, 637), until the beginning of the seventh plague, must go from place to place, during the time of trouble, in order to witness local plagues, no matter how far theseimprisoned saints are from the affected areas. This should be enough to convince the reader that the new doctrine is inconsistent with facts.

The original SDA teaching offers no difficulty because there are examples - and the statement that the 144,000 will witness "the sun having power to scorch men with great heat" (GC 649) is an additional example - that one whole group may be considered as having experienced that which not all of that group, of only some of that group, have actually gone through. Since we are only one body composed of many members, that which is experienced by one is regarded as being experienced by all (1 Cor. 12:12, 26). Space and time do not alter the principle. Those who have already died and those who have not yet been born can be regarded as partakers in the actions of a people taken as a body. Here are examples: A long time before his birth, Levi was considered a tithe payer. As a matter of fact, Melchisedec received tithes form Levi through Abraham (Heb. 7:9, 10). Zecharias, son of Barachias, who lived centuries before Christ, was slain by the scribes and Pharisees who persecuted Christ (Matt. 23:35; Zech. 1:1). Belonging to the same body, possessing the same spirit, and seeking to do the same work, they were declared as having done the very things that had actually been done by others before them.

In the same way, under the third plague the wicked are blamed for shedding the blood of saints and prophets who lived many centuries before (Rev. 16:6). This sentence will be pronounced upon the enemies of God because of the death decree that they have issued against the saints.

"By condemning the people of God to death, they [the wicked] have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood [the blood of the saints and prophets who lived centuries ago] as if it had been shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel." GC 628.

Another example:

The Bible mentions heroes (Gideon, Barak, Samson, etc.), "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, sopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Heb. 11:33, 34). If we take this scripture very literally and grammatically, as many brethren take GC 648, 649, and as they could just as easily take EW 16-19, then we should come to the conclusion that each one of those heroes fulfilled each one of those specifications. But it was not the intention of the writer of the book of Hebrews to convey such an idea.

In the light of the principle announced in 1 Corinthians 12:26 - "whether one member suffer, all the members suffer" - it is as easy to explain Hebrews 11:33, 34, as to explain GC 648, 649. There is more:

If we do not accept this principle, how could we explain the verse which says that, after His resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ was seen "of the twelve" (1 Cor. 15:5)? If this text is taken literally, grammatically, mathematically, the way that some brethren take GC 648, 649, and if other scriptures are ignored (those that show the end of Judas before the crucifixion of Jesus), the way some believers ignore the statements which show that the sealing work of Revelation 7:1-1 began in 1844, then we wonder how 1 Corinthians 15:5 should be interpreted.

Those that insist on supporting the new interpretation may argue: If Sister White, and that other sister, and many others, will be "with" of "among" the 144,000 (EW 40; 2SM 263; 7BC 982; 7BC 970), this means that they will not included in that number, but that they will be added to the 144,000. We cannot agree with conclusion for two main reasons: Both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy furnish examples where the prepositions "with" and "among" do not necessarily mean "addition to" a certain group. In John 20:24, Thomas with the twelve does not make thirteen. In DA 716, "Judas... among the twelve" does not make thirteen. And, in EW 255, "the fourth commandment among the ten holy precepts" does not make eleven. Other examples could be adduced to show that "with" and "among" are commonly used to indicate "inclusion in" a numbered company. The other reason why we cannot agree with the idea that those faithful believers must be "added to" the 144,000, is that, in a vision, Sister White entered a place where only 144,000 were permitted to enter (EW 19). Besides, John the Revelator saw on mount Zion a specific number of saints - 144,000 - without any addition. Therefore, those dear believers who died in the hope of being "with" or "among" the 144,000 must be included in this number.

The fact that the 144,000 will be translated "from among the living" has also been used as an argument against the original doctrine. We think that there is no difficulty with this expression, because those who come up in the partial resurrection (GC 637) are counted among the living, not among the dead. See example in Luke 24:5.

Another statement that has often been used in support of the new interpretation is this: "Jesus would be honored by translating, without seeing death, the faithful waiting ones who had so long expected Him." EW 283. This passage refers to the time when "the saints left the cities and villages," under the decree, and "were pursued by the wicked, who sought to slay them" (EW 284). Not the whole company of 144,000 is meant here only those who are alive at that time and who will be joined by others at the partial resurrection when the number of 144,000 will be completed (???) (Cf GC 637; GC 640; EW 15). Besides, the "death" that the saints will be delivered form, in this description (EW 283, 284), is the death demanded or permitted by the decree, which the wicked will try to inflict on the people of God. Of course, if they have already received the seal of protection, they are not subject to death during the time of Jacob's trouble.

In conclusion, we abide by the original SDA teaching about the sealing work of Revelation 7:1-4, which, in our thinking, is in perfect harmony with the Bible and the writings of E. G. White.

"In the issue of the great contest two parties are developed: those who 'worship the beast and his image,' and receive his mark, and those who receive 'the seal of the living God,' who have the 'Father's name written in their foreheads.'" 7BC 980.

At the coming of Jesus, besides "the living saints, 144,000 in number" (EW 15), there will be "a great multitude" who will be taken to heaven (Rev. 7:9; GC 665). This is "the risen throng" - "the sleeping saints" who will be called forth from their tombs by the voice of the Son of God at His coming. Then "the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory" (GC 644).

"The living righteous are changed 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.' At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air." GC 645.

"And so shall be ever be with the Lord." 1 Thess. 4:17.

Seventh-day Adventism and Ecumenism

STUDY 10

 

Seventh-day Adventists have been entrusted with the holy mission of giving to the world the first, second, and third angel's messages of Revelation 14. They were called upon to proclaim the coming of the hour of God's judgment, the fall of the nominal Christian churches (that became Babylon), and a warning against the beast, the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast.

We cannot overlook the fact that within the ranks of these nominal Christian churches are to be found many faithful souls who are eventually to be called out. They are designated by God as "My people." Although they have not been blessed with the knowledge of present truth, they are living up to all the light that has come to them. We should do all in our power to reach these precious souls still bound by the chains of tradition and superstition. The very same problem, however, which existed in the days of Israel exists today. "The leaders of this people cause them to err." When there is an apostasy, a departure from God and the truth, those who have proved themselves to be false shepherds carry undoubtedly the greatest guilt. It would be the greatest of follies to think that, by joining these leaders in their plans and programs, we would be better able to reach the people with the truth.

Since the Christian world has compromised with the powers of darkness, Adventists are not to enter into any kind of courtship with other denominations. Commenting on Isaiah 8:12, the Spirit of Prophecy says:

"Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ. Let them not join the confederacy of infidelity, popery, and Protestantism." 4BC 1141.

It should be borne in mind that the faithful remnant is described as not being defiled with women (Rev. 14:4). This means that here is no ecumenical relationship or approach between them and the fallen denominations. Adventists should stay away from churches and meetings where the truth is denied; "for it is wrong to thus encourage them while they teach error that is deadly poison to the soul and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The influence of such gatherings is not good. If God has delivered us from such darkness and error, we should stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has set us free and rejoice in the truth. God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error without being obliged to go; for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us." EW 124, 125. If we do not listen to the warnings that have been given us concerning this trap of Satan, we are in danger of putting darkness for light and light for darkness.

The fallen churches are under direct control of Satan; therefore, God tells His people to come out from among them (Rev. 18:4). What excuse can we present in the day of judgment, if we act contrary to this command?

"Today, as in the days of Elijah, the line of demarcation between God's commandment-keeping people and the worshipers of false gods is clearly drawn.... And the message for today is: 'Babylon the great if fallen, is fallen.... Come out of her, My people."' PK 188, 189.

In spite of the fact that Adventists have been warned not to get involved in the confederacy of Satan, because "the members of Satan's church have been constantly working to cast off the divine law, and confuse the distinction between good and evil" (TM 16), there has been a great deal of forbidden association and collaboration. It is not our purpose to make accusations, but when we see a real danger we must lift up our voice like a trumpet, and show the professed people of God their transgressions and sins (Isa. 58:1). The Spirit of Prophecy explains this scripture as follows:

"Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. Wonderful privileges and promises have been given to them, but they have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them. 'Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness." 4BC 1149.

It is written that the sins of Babylon must be laid open. "The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power, all will be unmasked." GC 606. As a consequence of this work, Babylon will be "aroused and enraged" and will finally take measures against us (EW 272). Therefore, if we understand our mission, we will not be seeking friendship, harmony, and cooperation with the fallen churches.

One of the greatest evils to be unmasked is the purpose of Satan in uniting the churches. "Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism." GC 588. Therefore, the professed people of God should understand that, by cherishing the spirit of ecumenism, they are playing into the hands of the enemy. Even if we did not have the Spirit of Prophecy writings, the warnings contained in the Bible should be sufficient to keep us clear of the embrace of the tentacles of this dangerous octopus, called ecumenical movement.

"The principles set forth in Deuteronomy [chapter 28:64-67] for the instruction of Israel are to be followed by God's people to the end of time. True prosperity is dependent on the conti nuance of our covenant relationship with God. Never can we afford to compromise principle by entering into alliance with those who do not fear Him.... Those who ... come with smooth words and fair speeches, apparently seeking for friendly alliance with God's children, have greater power to deceive. Against such every soul should be on the alert, lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare take him unaware." PK 570, 571.

"The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies. Let us have nothing to do with these organizations." 4BC 1142.

"Satan has a large confederacy, his church." TM 16. To associate with his family of popular churches is to play into the hands of the enemy. "Satan is constantly seeking to strength his power over the people of God by inducing them to enter into alliance with his subjects.... But the Lord has in His word plainly instructed His people not to unite themselves with those who have not His love abiding in them." PP 563.

 

I-EXAMPLES OF FORBIDDEN ASSOCIATION

The following examples of association, collaboration, and close friendship will not be endorsed by genuine Adventists who understand the message.

The warm relations and close connections of Adventists with Babylon did not develop overnight.

Quotations from older publications have been included here as evidence that the SDA Church started courting the fallen denominations several decades ago and that she is getting closer and closer to them.

1. Congregational Church, Adventist Pastor (Enterprise, USA)

From an SDA church paper:

"Pulling up in front of the Congregational church as worshipers are still arriving for Sunday morning services, (Pastor Barnes guns the engine, pulls a sharp U-turn in the icy intersection, parks his car and enters the foyer.... He then announces that the Enterprise Seventh-day Adventist and Congregational churches will be holding joint Easter weekend services. 'On Friday night, we will be meeting here for a joint communion service. On Saturday morning you are invited to attend the services of the Adventist church. And on Sunday morning, we will be inviting the Adventists to attend the Easter services here'... Congregational Pastor Emrys P. Thomas . . . told them that Barnes was a personal friend of long standing and that even though he was an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister, he made a good substitute Congregational pastor."-Gleaner [official organ of the North Pacific Union Conference], April 21, 1975.

2. Interdenominational Easter Services in SDA Church (USA)

From The Review and Herald:

"I think that you are justified in granting permission for the use of your church building for an Easter service to be held by other religious bodies." RH May 22, 1958.

3. Community Thanksgiving Service (Vicksburg, USA)

"The Community Thanksgiving Service will be held Thurs day morning at 10 o'clock at the Bowmar Avenue Baptist Church. Dr. John G. McCall, pastor of the First Baptist Church will be the guest speaker.... Father Michael Glynn, pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church will lead the responsive reading, the Rev. C. Anthony Russo, pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will offer the Thanksgiving prayer, and the Rev. Harold Jordon, pastor of the Bowmar Avenue Baptist Church will direct music." Vicksburg's Evening Post, November 26, 1975.

4. Community Service (Cicero, USA)

From an SDA church paper:

"Those gathering together to praise the Lord in song were from the following churches: Raymond Blackford, Bethel Lutheran; Dr. William Early, Cicero Methodist; Rev. Stephen Bard, Cicero Wesleyan; Father Duane Craycraft, Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Rev. Don Paden, Cicero Christian; and Pastor Randal Murphy, Cicero SDA Church." RH March 9, 1967.

5. Art Festival in Wayland (USA)

"Plan to attend the Art Festival at St. Joseph's School on January 5 and 6 with public viewing to take place on Sunday, Jan. 6 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. This is sponsored by the Wayland Council of Churches which includes Sacred Heart of Perkinsville, St. Joseph's, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Seventh Day Adventist.... The Festival will close with an Ecumenical Service in the Church on Sunday afternoon...."The Valley News, January 2, 1974.

6. Eight-day Festival (Funchal, Madeira, Portugal)

"Representatives of several Christian denominations attended the 'Oitavario' [festival of eight days] of Prayers in Behalf of Christian Unity, which will close today [January 25, 1976] with an Ecumenical Service to be held at 11 a.m. in the English Church (Anglican Church) on Quebra Costas Street. (The photo shows) from left: Rev. Harper, chaplain of the English Church at Funchal; Rev. Pedro Barbosa, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church; Right Reverend Satterthwaite, Bishop of Fulham and Gibraltar; Father Rafael Andrade, representative of the Funchal Diocese; and Rev. Paulo Falcao, pastor of the Adventist Church."—Jornal da Madeira [Portuguese newspaper], January 25, 1976.

7. Religious Liberty Association of Colombia

From The Review and Herald:

"On October 29, 1966, a further step was taken toward religious freedom in Colombia, with the foundation of the Religious Liberty Association of Colombia.... A Seventh-day Adventist, Raimundo Pardo Suarez, was chosen as president. The vice president is the Reverend Noel Olaya, a Catholic priest and a relative of several of Colombia's past presidents. H. Niemann, pastor of the central church of Bogota, was elected secretary, and Fernando Tapias, an Adventist businessman, treasurer. Dr. Carlos Didacio Alvarez, a Catholic lawyer and staunch defender of religious liberty, was appointed auditor. The rest of the directorate was chosen from among leaders of various religious persuasions." RH March 9, 1967.

8. Ecumenical Meetings (Spain)

"An important 'pre-theological' ecumenical meeting took place under the sponsorship of John XXIII Center, of the Pontifical University of Salamanca, May 24-25 [1966]. Besides the professors of this University, there were Catholic specialists; Adventist, Baptist, and Episcopalian ministers' as well as pastors of the Evangelical Church, in attendance. The participants decided to continue having dialogues of this kind on an annual basis."—LActualite Oecumenique [France], June 15, 1966.

9. SDA Jubilee in Hungary

From an SDA church paper:

"To celebrate her 75-year jubilee, our church in Hungary conducted several religious services September 5 thru 8 [1973].... The meeting held on Thursday was attended also by representatives of the Government and representatives of other churches and denominations."—Adventecho [German SDA paper], December 15, 1973.

10. Ministers Fraternal (Bunbury, Australia)

"Seven Bunbury church ministers . . . said that Bunbury had the symptoms of a morally sick community. They were concerned that the town could become like Sweden, where, they claim, complete sexual freedom was allowed. The seven ministers are members of the Bunbury Ministers Fraternal. They are from the Roman Catholic Church, Methodist Church, Church of Christ, Congregational-Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church and Apostolic Brethren Church." —The West [Australian newspaper], December 2, 1966 [emphasis sup plied].

11. Ringwood Inter-Church Council (Ringwood, Australia)

"Ringwood's Inter-Church Council comprises representatives of the Church of Christ, Church of England, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Seventh-day Adventist and the Ringwood East Baptist churches."—Eastern Post Gazette [Australian newspaper], November 11, 1965.

12. Churches Merging in China

From an SDA church paper:

"Merger of Churches in China. Of late more and more news have been coming in about churches joining one another and merging together. What a unification on a local basis looks like, can be seen from the guiding principles adopted for the merger between the Church of Christ and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chinchow, Liaoning Province, which we quote word by word from 'China Bulletin' published by the Far East Office of the Foreign Missions Department of the National Council of Churches in USA: 1. The denominational names heretofore adopted by both churches are abolished, and from now on the church will be called 'Christian State Church of Chinchow.' 2. The organization, the buildings, the properties, and the personnel become one. Surplus property will be used for the socialistic upbuilding. 3. The Adventist tithe-paying custom is revoked; let everyone give as much as he likes. 4. Previously adopted patriotic resolutions will be adapted to the new conditions after the unification. Provisions will be made for a reformation in the way of thinking of the individual church members. In compliance with the appeal of the Government for steel production, the church will install and run her own factory, owned by the people." —Der Adventbote [German SDA paper], December 15, 1959.

13. Adventist Delegate at Seventh-day Baptist General Conference

From an SDA church paper:

"As a delegate of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, I attended the annual session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Baptists, which was opened August 12, in Milton, Wisconsin, USA."—Adventecho [German SDA paper], October 15, 1973.

14. New Look at the Heads of Leading Churches

a) Head of the Church of England

SDA's express their belief concerning the leader of the Anglican Church. They write:

"Particularly comforting is the discovery that one of God's latter-day champions is none other than Archbishop Ramsey himself, one hundredth occupant of the See of Canterbury."—The Signs of the Times[SDA paper in USA], January 1968.

b) Head of the Eastern Orthodox Christians

Roland R. Hegstad, an SDA leader writes:

"A visit with Ecumenical Patriarch ATHENAGORAS.... I disengaged myself from his gray-black whiskers and asked him jocularly, 'Did you give me the same kiss of peace you gave Pope Paul on the Mount of Olives?' His large expressive brown eyes twinkled. 'Yes,' he replied, 'the very same kiss. But with you it was not necessary, for with you I have not been at war!"—Liberty [SDA paper in USA], March-April 1967.

 

II-CLOSER TO ROME

Many Advent believers are surprised at the changed attitude of the SDA Church toward Roman Catholicism. The examples below will speak for themselves.

1. New Look at the Papacy

An SDA church paper says:

"When we as Protestant Christians consider the term of office of Pius XII, we cannot refrain from showing due respect to the pious and reverence-imposing personality of the deceased Pope. . . . John XXIII, whose motto is 'Obedientia et Pax' (obedience and peace), is piloting the Catholic Church thru a difficult time. I am convinced that the prayers of the Protestant world in behalf of a good Pope, make sense. May his decisions stand before One Who is greater than he is!"—Jugendleitstern [German SDA paper], January 1959.

2. Adventist Choir in Catholic Church (Indonesia)

From an SDA church paper:

"The Catholic Saint Ignatius Church in Magelang (Indonesia) was crammed with 1700 people who came to hear the 'Way Singers' of our Far Eastern Academy (Singapore)."—Adventecho [German SDA paper], October 1, 1973.

3. Inter-faith Concert (India)

"For the first time in India, Protestant and Catholic choirs organized a joint concert in New Delhi to raise funds for the Indian Red Cross. The Catholic Sacred Heart cathedral choir sang with choirs of Anglican, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist and other churches and the Delhi Choir Society."—Universe [England], January 4, 1963.

4. Maranatha Flights International (Kodiak Island, Alaska)

From an SDA church paper:

"Not all those cooperating in the project are Seventh-day Adventists. Father Sean O'Donoghue, rector of the Kodiak Catholic church, offered the facilities of the St. Mary's Parish School for use by Maranatha.... The fellowship is genuine. Father O'Donoghue delivers one of the early morning worship talks and prays for the success of the Adventist center. He and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart eat with the workers and seem intently interested in a religion that would motivate people to perform as Maranatha is doing. Father O'Donoghue is invited to participate in the opening services lof the new SDA Church)."—GIeaner [official organ of the North Pacific Union Conference], August 18, 1975.

5. Denominational Barriers Removed (Asian Aid Organization)

From an SDA church paper:

'What we like about this going concern is that it has cut across denominational boundaries. At the recent election of officers at the annual general meeting, a new committee was elected. It consists of two Catholics, one Presbyterian, one Anglican, one Pentecostal, and four Australian-Chinese Adventists (the four who saw the need and went into action)."—Australasian Record [Australian SDA paper], September 3, 1973.

6. Adventist Choir at Catholic Mass (Brazil)

" 'For those who died in the Santa Luzia accident there is hope of resurrection.' With these words of introduction, Dom Joao de Rezende Costa, archbishop of Belo Horizonte, opened the ecumenical worship in honor of the 18 victims of the accident.... Mass was celebrated by the archbishop.... At the end, a choir of the Seventh-day Adventist Church sang a few religious hymns and popular songs."—Diario da Tarde[Brazilian newspaper], September 1, 1976.

7. Joint Ceremony in a Catholic Church (Spain)

"Friday, May 13 (1967), at 8:00 p.m., the crypt of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompeii was crammed. An act of meditation and prayer, organized by the Ecumenical Center of Barcelona, was taking place. The ceremony was jointly conducted by the Archbishop of Barcelona, Dr. Marcelo Gonzalez; Rev. Enrique Capo, pastor of the Spanish Evangelical Church; Mr. Antonio Comavella, of the Adventist Church; and Bro. Roberto Giscard, monk of the Protestant community of Taize."—La Vanguardia Espanola [Spanish newspaper], May 18, 1967.

8. Christian Family Project (Philippines)

"The nominations committee yesterday [July 25, 1971] announced acceptance of the nomination of the family of a Seventh-day Adventist minister (Pastor C. Banaag) in search for the Christian Family of 1971.... Minister Banaag has visited many countries in Asia and the United States. His last trip was in 1968 when, as a member of the International Church-State Commission composed of 34 religious liberty secretaries of various countries, he visited the countries of Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia and was given a one-half hour audience by the Pope Paul VI at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Pastor Banaag also attended the ecumenical encounter with the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature on Taft Avenue last year when the pontiff came to Manila for a visit. This year's search is under the joint sponsorship of the Christian Family Movement and the Philippines Herald, by appointment of the papal nuncio, with the cooperation of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines."—The Philippines Herald, July 26, 1971.

9. SDA's and the Vatican

From The Review and Herald:

"During the visit of the Church-State Study Commission to Italy, the members joined in a general papal audience in St. Peter's. Afterwards three members of the commission spoke briefly with the Pope Pierre Lanares, religious liberty secretary of the Southern European Division; Roland R. Hegstad, editor, Liberty; and Leif Kr. Tobiassen of Andrews University. The pope . . . (presented) . . . a souvenir medal to Dr. Tobiassen." RH May 30, 1968.

10. Papal Decoration for an Adventist

From an SDA church paper:

"Samuele Bacchiocchi, who studied at Andrews University and was Bible teacher at the Adventist Junior College in Ethiopia, recently received a gold medal from Pope Paul VI for taking the degree of licentiate in church history with distinction (summa cum laude), at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome."—Adventecho [German SDA paper], June 15, 1973.

11. Universal Fatima News

In the hands of the SDA Church the threefold message has become so tame and voiceless (6T 60) that all fear on the part of the fallen churches seems to be gone, so much so that now even the Catholics advertise Adventist books. A Catholic paper, for example, announces the coming of an Adventist colporteur: "J. W. Proctor, The Great Lakes representative of the Bible Story, spends his time in visiting and building good will among all churches. He will be in greater Chicago after January 1st, visiting parochial and public schools, in the interest of promoting good literature in the home."—Universal Fatima News [Catholic paper in USA], December 1966.

12. Catholic Leaders Now Invited to Speak in SDA Meetings

From an SDA church paper:

"The Jackson Church Men's Club held a dinner meeting recently at a local restaurant. Following the dinner they listened to an address given by Sister Mary Marita, principal of Jackson St. Joseph School and teacher of the fifth grade. Sister Mary Marita was invited by William Moors to speak to the Men's Club."-Lake Union Herald [SDA paper in USA].

"Sister Bernice, a Roman Catholic nun who is a graduate student in mathematics at Andrews University, recently spoke to the ministerial club at Andrews."—Lake Union Herald [SDA paper in USA], January 2, 1969.

From The Journal:

"On Tuesday afternoon more than 400 persons attended the dedication of the new $80,000 library of the Washington Missionary College. Included in the group were leading educators and librarians from nearby schools and colleges.... Praising the project, Dr. Roy J. Deferrari, general secretary of the Catholic University of America, as principal speaker, said the 'library is worthy of pride and admiration.'"—The Journal [USA], October 9, 1942.

Further down, the article says that "among the guests on the speakers' platform were the Rev. James R. Kortendick, reference librarian, Catholic University; Professor Hurley, library science division, Catholic University, Victor Schafer. oresarations department, Catholic University."

From a magazine in Argentina:

"For the first time in Argentina, a dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church appeared in a church of another religious confession to speak to the congregation. The final prayer, offered in common, sealed symbolically the Papal aim to cement the union of the Christian churches, that is, the separated brethren. This was an historic event, and even an astonishing one, since the Catholic dignitary who came to the chapel was a bishop.

"The event took place in the chapel of the Christian Adventist Church, whose leaders invited the diocesan bishop of Goya (Corrientes), Monsignor Alberto Devoto. He was a member of the Preparations Committee for Vatican Council II, correspondent for the Press at the 4th session of the council, a member of the Liturgic Reforms Committee that introduced different changes in Catholic worship, and he belongs to the line of dignitaries renovating the Argentine Ecclesiastical hierarchy.

"The news of Monsignor Devoto's visit to the Adventist Church had created great interest and expectation. Pastor Victor Schulz, local leader of the Adventist Church, received the high dignitary of the Catholic Church on his arrival. After a welcome had been given him, Monsignor Devoto entered the church accompanied by the Adventist leaders. The distinguished visitor was then introduced to the assembly by Pastor Schulz. He expressed the pleasure of the Christian Adventist Church 'for having on its rostrum such a learned priest of the Catholic Church,' and he said he was looking forward with great interest to 'the subject of his address,' considering the fact that he (Mon signor Devoto) had attended all the meetings of the Council, thus being thoroughly informed concerning the atmosphere of the eminent congress, and familiar with the historic transcendencies of the thoughts of its promoters, John XXIII and Paul VI."—Asi [Argentine magazine], October 1966.

From a newspaper in Brazil:

"Adventists dedicate a chapel (in Maringa, Parana, Brazil). The presence of diocesan bishop Jayme Luiz Coelho and other priests and pastors transformed the dedication of the central chapel of the Seventh-day Adventist Church into an authentic example of ecumenism.... During the dedication services, pastor Jose Ira ja da Costa e Silva, who handed the chapel over to the congrega tion; the diocesan bishop; and mayor Adriano Valente had the floor."—Folha de Londrina [Brazilian newspaper], May 14, 1972.

13. Pulpit Exchange (Morganton, USA)

From an SDA church paper:

"Robert Hunter, pastor of the Morganton, North Carolina (SDA), district, and a member of the local ministerial association, joined in PULPIT EXCHANGE DAY, exchanging pulpits with (Father) Thomas Burke of St. Charles Roman Catholic Church. The theme of the city-wide program was 'Blest Be the Tie."' Southern Tidings [official organ of the Southern Union], April 1975.

14. Official Visit to the Pope

"Seeking the Objectives of Complete Unity

"After the general audience of Wednesday, the 18th inst., the Holy Father received the participants of the Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families. The group was accompanied by Bishop John Howe, General Secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Mr. B. B. Beach, General Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventists. This was the first time that representatives of the Seventh-day Adventists met the Pope.

"To commemorate this significant moment, they offered an artistic gold medal to the Holy Father.

"The Holy Father directed the following discourse to them:

"Dear brethren in Christ:

"We rejoice to be able to receive such an important group today, and we welcome you to Peter's See.

"In you we greet the representatives of a considerable portion of the Christian people, and through you we send our wishes of grace and peace in the Lord to your Confessional Families.

"We are happy to express, in your presence, our common faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only Mediator with the Father, the Saviour of the world. Yes, brethren, together with the Apostle Peter, we proclaim that 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby ~ve must be saved.' Acts 4:12.

"On her part, the Catholic Church is solemnly engaged, through Vatican Council II, in an ecumenism based on increased fidelity to Christ the Lord and on heart conversion (see Unitatis Redintegraho, 6-7). At the same time, she is conscious that 'nothing is more alien to ecumenism than that false irenicism that would harm the Catholic doctrine and obscure its genuine and precise meaning (Ibid., p. 11).

"Reinforced by the power of the word of God, let us therefore pursue, despite all difficulties, the objective of full unity in Christ and in the Church.

"And, with humbleness and love, let us direct our thoughts and our hopes to our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be given to Him, as well at to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever."L'Osservatore Romano [Catholic paper, Portuguese edition], May 29, 1977.

"Adventist for the First Time With the Pope

"On Wednesday, May 18, Pope Paul VI received in special audience the representatives of the Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families. In the group there were, among others, Bishop John Howe, First Secretary of the Anglican Advisory Council, and Mr. B. B. Beach, First Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is the first time that a representative of this religious body has come to meet the Pope. On that occasion, to commemorate their visit, they presented the Pope with a gold medal....

"The Conference of Secretaries of World Confessional Families was organized twenty years ago, and its founder was the First Secretary of the Anglican Advisory Council, Bishop John Howe. The present Secretary of the Conference and at the same time the First Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mr. Beach, made a statement at the Vatican Radio emphasizing the importance of this first meeting of Adventists with the Pope. Word for word, this is what he said: 'It was a great honor for me, as the Secretary of the Conference, to be present here in Rome, in audience with the Holy Father. On this occasion I presented to the Pope a book about the world-wide work of the Adventist church."' —Glas Koncila [Catholic paper in Yugoslavia], June 5, 1977.

As Seventh-day Adventists are coming closer and closer not only to the Protestant denominations, but also to the Roman Catholic Church, the following prophecy is becoming more and more significant:

"When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian Church united to the world and the papacy." RH October 8, 1901.

 

III-DANGEROUS COMPROMISE

Well known Protestant leaders had talks with top Adventist leaders and finally declared: "We are delighted to do justice to a much maligned group of sincere believers, and in our minds and hearts . . . acknowledge them as redeemed brethren and members of the Body of Christ."—Time Magazine [USA], December 31, 1956.

The SDA leadership, in turn, declared: "We are one with our fellow Christian denominational groups in the great fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints."—Questions on Doctrine [SDA book], p. 32.

According to different publications, SDA leaders have committed themselves to refrain from any thrusts against the Catholic Church and to withdraw from public sale any writings offensive to Catholics. The Spirit of Prophecy declarations, that this pseudo-religious system should be abhorred and shunned (GC 572), and that her sins should be laid open (GC 606), have apparently been forgotten.

A Catholic paper in Australia informs:

"Public protest against Seventh Day Adventist publications offensive to Catholics blew up in 1940 when a book, This Mighty Hour, published by the Signs Publishing Company, another subsidiary of the Adventists, caricatured the Pope as 'Antichrist' and as the 'Beast' of the Book of Revelation.

"Following upon readers' letters, action was taken by the Catholic Women's Social Guild which made a spirited public pro test. Many people, including proprietors of hotels and guest houses, refused to purchase products of the Sanitarium Health Food Company, another Adventist subsidiary.

"The result was that officials of the Sanitarium Health Food Company called at The Advocate office and expressed regret for the publication of the offensive matter. The secretary for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania of the Sanitarium Health Food Company said in a statement to The Advocate that the book in which the offensive statements appeared 'was originally published in Europe and was republished by the Signs Publishing Company here without their careful customary scrutiny of its contents.' The passages complained of, it was said, 'do not represent the views of the Signs Publishing Company's management and certainly not of the Sanitarium Health Food Company.'

"It was said, further, that the book had not been in circulation for some considerable time, was not then being circulated and was not likely to be reproduced by the Signs Publishing Company. 'They greatly regret their part in having republished it and doubt less will attempt by some suitable means to rectify some things so far as lies in their power.'

"Though other Adventists also called at The Advocate office and repudiated the secretary's statement, we accepted the assurance of the secretary, as an official.

"Since later publications had not come to our notice and it seemed that the above offensive type of publication was disappearing in the better climate that has been developing in the intervening years, The Advocate accepted recently in good faith the Sanitarium Health Food Company's advertisement.

"Following protests from some of our readers we contacted the Seventh Day Adventist headquarters at Yarra St. Hawthorn, I and spoke to Pastor L. Jones. He assured us that the book, This Mighty Hour, had been withdrawn early in the forties and was not now in circulation. He said that the author had, in fact, 2 recently visited Australia and was asked about the book. ! According to Pastor Jones, the author said that were he to write such a book today he would write it differently. Pastor Jones added that a new climate now happily existed between the religious denominations and that so far as he knew nothing of this kind of literature, which might be deemed offensive, was now being circulated by the Adventists." —The Advocate [Catholic paper in Australia], February 13, 1964.

A Catholic paper in Germany says:

"Outsiders should not interfere in family quarrels. Let Seventh-day Adventists settle their own disputes among themselves. We do not want to get involved in the strife as to whether this or that direction is a true representation of Adventism.... In 1914 two percent of the members were disfellowshipped from the German Seventh-day Adventist Church, because they declared that participation in war service, and that on the Sabbath (Saturday), cannot be reconciled with the Adventist doctrine. The disfellowshiped believers have considered themselves as the true keepers and defenders of Adventism.... In the spring of 1936, this 'Reform Movement' was dissolved and forbidden all over the country, as 'under the cloak of religious activities they were pursuing aims which were opposed to the world views of National Socialism.' Penalties were applied in the form of imprisonment and confinement in concentration camps.... The Adventist 'Reform Movement' in Germany is now reproaching the originally incorporated and recognized Seventh-day Adventist Church for the fact that they are seeking 'better relations to the powers of darkness,' that they consider the Sabbath commandment as suspended in time of war, that they adhered to the Nazi State, that they do not ob serve the meat-eating prohibition, that they permit remarriage of divorced parties, and that they extend the number of those saved beyond 144,000.... There is something else, however, which is important to us. The original SDA Church assures us emphatically that they will 'abstain from any instigation against Catholicism.' "—Paulinus[Catholic paper in Germany], March 8, 1953.

 

IV-THE SDA CHURCH AND THE NATIONAL COUNCILS OP CHURCHES

It is unfortunate that, in spite of the warnings contained in the Bible 12 Cor. 6:15-18; Rev. 14:4; 18:41 and in the Spirit of Prophecy, the Adventist Church is taking part in National Councils of Churches. The following examples will show what is going on:

1. Zambia

A pamphlet issued by the Christian Council of Zambia, Africa, shows a membership of 22 churches, and the SDA Church is listed as one of them. What is CCZ? [pamphlet published by the Christian Council of Zambia].

2. Zaire

From The Review and Herald:

"When Adventist world leaders were convinced that the church could carry on its work without any change in its teachings or means of support, they yielded to government demands to align with the Protestant organization.... Thus, with mixed feelings on both sides, on March 24, 1972, Seventh-day Adventists became the forty-second communicant in the Church of Christ in Zaire." RH Feb. 27, 1975.

3. China

The Dutch press informs about the Christian Churches in China:

"The Seventh-day Adventists were one of the first denominations to become reformed and to join the Communist Church. Other denominations followed before long, but not all. These were the Evangelical Church and the Chinese Orthodox Church, the former under the leadership of Rev. Wang, and the latter under the leadership of Rev. Watchman Nee."—Haagse Courant [Dutch newspaper], January 27, 1962.

Other publications add more information:

"The Adventists were declared to have gone through 'a new birth' as an organization. They were rewarded by being officially classified as a 'Reformed Church,' the first in Communist China." —The Story of Maly Liu [book], by Edward Hunter, p. 222.

"Eleven seminaries in East China were merged into the Nan king Theological Seminary, becoming the Ginling United Theo logical Seminary, like separate faculties in a university. The whole range of Protestant faith was indiscriminately brought together, including Seventh Day Adventist and the Apostolic." The Black Book on Red China, by Edward Hunter, p. 66.

4. U.S.A.

A letter from the National Council of Churches says:

"The Seventh-day Adventist is an associate of the National Council of Churches.... The Seventh-day Adventists have been affiliated with a unit of the Council since its formation in 1950."—Letter From National Council of Churches [USA], March 21, 1960.

5. Poland and Czechoslovakia

The report on the committee meeting of the Ecumenical g Council of Christian Churches in Poland, held in Warsaw, February 23, 1967, says that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the first to hand in its declaration of accession, joining the Ecumenical Council.

Hereunder we quote from several Polish papers:

"Adventists are working in close cooperation with the Ecumenical Council."—Tribuna Ludu [Polish newspaper], December 15, 1967.

"The churches of Czechoslovakia held an ecumenical gathering January 18-19 [1967], in Bratislava, for the purpose of dis cussing their participation in the Fourth Peace Conference of All Christians, which will take place in Prague, in October. The fol lowing churches sent their delegates to this gathering: Orthodox Church, Unitarian Church, Methodist Church, Church of Evangelical Brethren, Church of the Brethren, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Czechoslovakian Church, Reformed Christian Slovakian Church, Lutheran Church in Slovakia, Silesian Church of Evangelical Lutherans."—Rodzina [Polish newspaper].

"Polish Ecumenical Council in Session . . .

"A Delegation of twelve representatives has gone from Poland to the Fourth Peace Conference of All Christians to be held in Prague. This Delegation comprises leaders of churches that are united in the Polish Ecumenical Council, such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the United Catholic 'Pax,' and the United Christian Fellowship."—Rodzina[Polish newspaper].

"Pastor Dombrowski and Pastor Lyko were honored with the badge which was granted at the celebration of the 'One-thousand year-Christianization.' Furthermore, they were on the Board of Directors at the Peace Conference of All Christians."—BiwleWnach Infortnacynich[Polish magazine], May 16, 1967.

The two ministers mentioned in this report are prominent SDA leaders in Poland.

6. Hungary

A Hungarian Baptist church paper reports that the Adventist Church in Hungary belongs to the Council of Free Churches. Another issue of the same paper tells of an official visit by a delegation from the Hungarian Council to the Soviet Union. According to the report, this delegation included Mr. Szakacs Jozsef, then president of the Adventist Church and at the same time vice president of the Council of Free Churches, in Hungary. The re port includes the following:

"The Power of Common Faith

"Summarized report on the visit of the Hungarian Church delegation to the Soviet Union.

"The leaders of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in the Soviet Union invited an official visit from the Hungarian Baptist Church as well as from the Council of Free Churches, for July 13-28. The representatives were: Mr. Laczkovski Janos, president of the national Baptist Church and vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance; Mr. Szakacs Jozsef, president of the Adventist Denomination and vice-president of the Council of Free Churches; and Nagy Jozsef, Baptist theologian and dean, secretary of the Hungarian Council of Churches....

"In every service we expressed the hearty greetings of the Hungarian Baptist Church and of the brethren of the churches which belong to the Council of Free Churches. The congregations and the church leaders received the greetings with sincere love.

"Our delegation had the opportunity of having a sincere talk with Baptist and Adventist brethren, and we told them how we work together and respect each other's principles of faith....

"Church leader Mr. Szakacs Jozsef expressed his appreciation to the leaders of the Baptist Church especially for the brotherly love which he enjoyed during his visit as vice-president of the Council of Free Churches and president of the Hungarian Adventist Church, and also for the timely help of the brethren, which made it possible for him to meet the representatives and members of the Adventist Church. All members of the delegation took part in the services in the Adventist congregations.

"We finished our visit with many rich blessings and with the hope that we may mutually be enriched through the common faith and testimony."-Bekehirnok [Hungarian Baptist paper].

"Evangelist Billy Graham has accepted an invitation to hold a crusade in Hungary. Graham's acceptance was announced jointly by the evangelist and Sandor Palotoy, chairman of the Council of ' Free Churches in Hungary. Palotoy extended the invitation to Graham while in the United States for a General Council meeting of the Baptist World Alliance. Himself a Seventh-day Adventist, Palotoy represents the eight evangelical churches in Hungary."—Southern Tidings [official organ of the Southern Union], September 1977.

"Mr. Graham's visit . . . was sponsored by the Council of Free

Churches, an alliance of Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and other denominations."—Religious News Service [USA], October 14, 1977.

From a report filed early in 1984 by one who was associated with the SDA Church in Hungary for twenty years, and published in the bulletin, "Watchman, What of the Night?" vol. XVII, No. 9, we quote these portions:

"In 1957 the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hungary became a member of an organization called The Council of Free Churches (Hungarian abbreviation: SZET), which unites all smaller, that is, almost all small Protestant denominations in Hungary....

"In 1965 the Council of Free Churches joined the Ecumenical Church Council with all its member churches, most of which had already been in the ecumeny, therefore also the Adventists, even if only indirectly. As a rule, the current president of the Council of Free Churches is also the vice-president of the Ecumen ical Church Council. After the sudden death of S. Palotoy, Jozsef Szakacs succeeded him, and he was at that time the presi dent of the Hungarian Adventist Union Conference.

"Membership in the Council of Free Churches means that all denominations make a financial contribution to it; share one theological seminary and thus receive the same training at the seminary; strictly obey the rules and regulations of the Council of Free Churches (concerning elections!), proclamation of the Gospel, financial matters, mission, etc., even if clear Biblical instructions are sacrificed or violated.

"The true Adventists saw where all this was leading on the one hand, a looser, much freer life style, mixed marriages (because permitted), divorces, worldliness; and on the other hand, the gradual prohibition, discouragement or cunning paralyzation of all possible projects for children and youth, the use of literature and other means of evangelization....

"The situation got so bad that faithful ministers, young and old, wept together, fasted and spent many nights in prayer. They became convinced it was time to stop this degeneration. In 1965, their determination was followed by action. They raised their voices in protest. The result: 6 pastors were dismissed and 300 church members were excommunicated....

"Although the leaders of the General Conference of Seventh day Adventists had clearly been informed of these conditions, . . . they granted recognition to that godless, wicked leadership on January 26, 1984. WHAT COULD BE THE REASON BEHIND IT?"

A leading daily in Budapest informs what was done in the SDA Church in Hungary, in January 1984:

"N. C. Wilson, the president of the world organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, along with other high-ranking church officials, stayed in our country at the invitation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hungary between January 18 and 30. They discussed church related matters and visited local congregations.

"N. C. Wilson and Denes Zarka, the president of the church in Hungary and their respective retinues visited Imre Miklos, the undersecretary of State and president of the office for Church Affairs. At this meeting N. C. Wilson informed Mr. Miklos of the steps they were going to take concerning the matter of the splinter group within the Hungarian Church. N. C. Wilson stated that, as in other countries, the Seventh-day Adventist world organization recognizes only one church organization, the one elected at the electoral conference, and which also the State has recognized.

"N. C. Wilson has expressed his appreciation for the useful and beneficial attitude of the Hungarian State toward the church, as well as for the high degree of religious liberty he had experienced in Hungary."-Nepszabadsag [Hungarian newspaper], January 31, 1984.

And what happened to those honest Adventists who were "sighing and crying" for the apostasy that they could see in the church? They were disfellowshipped. The report from which we quoted before says:

"For eight years now, 1400 Hungarian Adventists have been vehemently struggling to survive, that is, to be able to remain within the church from which they have recently been excommunicated at one stroke."

7. SDA's and the World Council of Churches

The New York Times informs:

"The World Council of Churches today admitted nine Roman Catholic theologians to membership in its principal theological body, the Commission on Faith and Order.... Also admitted to full membership were six representatives of other nonmember churches, including the Seventh Day Adventist Church...." - New York Times [USA], July 12, 1968.

An SDA church paper says:

"Since 1965 there have been yearly dialogues between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventists.... Since 1968, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is acknowledged by other international churches as a 'World Confessional Family.' The Adventist participation in the yearly conference of the 'world confessional families' has brought good results.... Conscientious cooperation is necessary, as long as there is no compromise regarding firmly established beliefs and religious aims."-Adventecho [German SDA paper], February 15, 1973.

The examples quoted in this writing should enable the reader to catch a glimpse of the snare in which the church is get ting entangled. Not everything that is happening in this field is published, and not all that is made known in this connection ever comes to our notice. But the limited number of instances mentioned reveal the existence of a dangerous situation. Many sighing and crying Adventists who can see the apostasy wonder what will be the final end of this forbidden courtship. Under these circumstances the following warning of the Spirit of Prophecy becomes very significant:

"Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world." 8T 119.

"When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah." PK 660.

A SERIOUS DANGER IN THE SDA CHURCH

A few years ago, many SDA's were shocked when they heard that their brethren not only laymen, but also medical men and leading ministers-were getting involved with the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, a Pentecostal group who is working to unite all Protestant bodies in the fellowship of Spiritualism. In the "Full Gospel Men's Voice" of September 1962, these Pentecostal believers gave the following report about their tenth annual convention held in Seattle, Washington, July, 1962:

"The Holy Spirit came down upon the people.... Scores received the precious baptism with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues.... There were representatives of many faiths assembled for a common purpose: Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Dutch Reformed laymen, Methodists, Lutherans, Nazarenes, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists - and hosts of others- all meeting at the feet of Jesus."

Some SDA's Are Worried

This sad and startling fact caused some agitation and led scrupulous Adventists to raise their voice against this involvement. We quote from "Newsletter" of February 1, 1963:

"It would be far more pleasant to dismiss the whole thing by saying, as some have vainly hoped, that our leading brethren (who attended that Pentecostal convention) did nothing more than present the third angel's message to the convention in Seattle, and that VOICE has not accurately or fairly presented the case. But after examining all the evidence available, interviewing the FGBMFI representatives, listening to the actual tape recordings of the proceedings at the convention, and examining certain cor respondence over this issue, it is very apparent that VOICE has given as fair and as accurate a picture as could be expected. .: .

"Elder R. A. Anderson began his talk as follows: 'You know Christianity is a religion of joy. (Audience: "Amen!") It's not a religion of restrictions! The only thing we need to know is the power of the Spirit in our lives and He will lead us into all truth.... The religion of Jesus is a religion that sets the soul on fire with the joy of Jesus. (Audience: "Amen!") Jesus opened the prison house of sin and brought His people out, and as I look out into your faces today I'm seeing a group of people who by the grace of God have been brought out of the strongholds of sin. Let us thank the Lord for that, it's a reality! (Audience: "Amen!" Waves of applauses and cries of "Praise God!").... I am happy for one thing as I see it today, and that is the wonderful witness of you business men.... We need to set our churches on fire! . . . It's been a great joy to be with you! . . . I trust that this convention will set the people of God on fire! (Audience: "Amen.") When a church is on fire with the Spirit of God the world will take notice. May the Lord richly bless you and make this a great convention for the extension of His kingdom in the hearts of men.'

"We wish we could say that the foregoing was only a sudden and unpremeditated lapse on the part of Elder Anderson, but the clear evidence indicates that this is not the case.... In 1950, Elders Wieland and Short sent an urgent warning to the General Conference. showing and warning the brethren that there was grave danger in our ranks of worshiping the false Christ . . .. declaring the end of this infatuation with the false Christ would be the reception of Spiritualism. You yourselves know that their message was totally rejected. Six years after this message came, some of our leading men, among whom was R. A. Anderson, were conferring with some of the Evangelical leaders. It was then that they seriously compromised themselves on the great doctrines of the Atonement and the Incarnation of Jesus.... The same year, Elder Anderson wrote to Elder R. A. Grieve, then President of the North New Zealand Conference, telling him of his wonderful fellowship with the Evangelical ministers, how they were men of God, etc., admitting that our past teaching on the nature of Christ had been incorrect, and then concluding these startling admissions with this astounding statement: 'We have come to the time in our history and the history of the Evangelical Church in general, that we are moving into the experience of the Pentecostal outpouring of power.' (April 23, 1956.)

"So, at least ever since 1956, Elder Anderson has believed that the other churches (whom Mrs. White pronounces 'Babylon,' and declares that Satan has taken possession of them as a body), are in line for the Pentecostal baptism of power together with the Adventists. Oh, terrible deception! . . .

"Elder George Vandeman was at the Fellowship Convention for a number of days, and from his own testimony in different parts of North America, he bears witness to the wonderful fellow ship and workings of God at this modern seance in Seattle. We reproduce here a letter to that effect. We personally checked this evidence, by interviewing a number of people who attended a public meeting in Vernon, B.C., and find that they all heard Elder Vandeman testify to the wonderful blessing he received from the Seattle Convention. (A few days later came testimony from eastern Canada that he was testifying to the same thing over there.)

"'Dear friends:

"'Almost from the outset of Elder Vandeman's very first meeting ... there was a strange spirit....

"'In every meeting, with the exception of the last one, I believe, Elder Vandeman spoke, sometimes repeatedly, of a meeting in Seattle.... He spoke of the earnestness of these wealthy men and the marvelous fellowship there as he and Elder Richards, together with Billy Graham and Oral Roberts and others spoke to and prayed with these men. It seemed that he had gained a great deal of strength and inspiration from his fellowship there. He just couldn't get over speaking about it....

"'In his second meeting Elder Vandeman made a call for all to stand who wished to reconsecrate their lives to God. The ap peal was strong and I would not find fault with it, although in the meetings generally there was a strange spirit, and there were the references to the marvelous meetings and fellowship with the wealthy business men. This was the Sabbath morning service. Everyone, or practically everyone in that large auditorium stood for consecration. Then, just before prayer, as we were standing, he said: "Now we're going to pray for spiritual healing, and then tonight we'll pray for healing of the body." . . . He cited a few instances of marvelous physical healings that had taken place at such meetings....

"'In the last meeting of the series . . . Elder Vandeman seemed more like himself than he had at any of the previous meetings. The hypnotic influence was not in evidence, at least not to the extent that it had been.... Alice M. Rogers, Winfield, B.C., Canada.' ...

"Elder Richards from the Voice of Prophecy was also in attendance.... Elder Richards spoke on the coming of Christ, and only said such things as would suit the hearers who were pre paring to welcome the false Christ. His remarks sounded very much like the setting up of the glorious temporal millennium on this earth such as E. G. White said in The Great Controversy, p. 589 and it is certain that is what his hearers gathered from the talk.

"Besides these three leading brethren, quite a number of other Adventist ministers were in attendance. To the credit of some, they saw what was going on at the convention, did not like what they saw, and left with grave apprehensions as to the effect on the other Adventist laymen in the audience, including some of our medical men. With our brethren taking such a prominent part in this grand spiritualistic carnival, they no doubt thought it was a good place to be, especially when such a renowned leader as R. A. Anderson placed his blessing upon the whole thing."

Some are Deceived

Gaining ground rapidly, the neo-Pentecostal movement, also known as charismatic movement, has already penetrated"all denominations the Protestant churches first, and then also the Catholic Church," and is now spreading like wildfire, so that no church, not even the SDA Church, is free from the influence of this movement, informs Jean Zurcher.

We have been told by some Adventists that what they have witnessed in certain SDA circles is Pentecostalism. In an effort to obtain additional information, some time ago the writer of this article put a pertinent question to a well-informed brother who had been in the SDA ministry for a long time. His answer was: "Just one example: In the Adventist church at . . ., the pastor asked an Adventist lady who had been a Pentecostal believer some time ago: 'When you were fellowshiped into the Adventist church, did you stop receiving the charismatic gift? She said: 'Oh, no! I have never stopped speaking in tongues.' And there was a chorus of 'Amens."'

In his book Rattling the Gates, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Roland R. Hegstad tells about an Adventist brother who said to him: "I've been speaking in tongues now for almost six years. Got the gift at a Pentecostal meeting in Indianapolis. I'm still an Adventist, however, and I believe the time has come to bring the gift to the Seventh-day Adventist Church." Surely that brother is not the only one showing a pro Pentecostalist tendency in the SDA Church.

A "Spirit-filled SDA" dentist tells his experience as follows:

"I attended a small church in Redlands. There were several speakers, but one especially spoke with such power that I said, 'Lord, the power with which he speaks is what I want in my own life.' . . . Then a lady spoke to me. She said, 'I was praying today and the Lord told me someone was coming to my church tonight looking for the Holy Spirit, but I don't know who it is.' I said simply, 'I'm looking for the Holy Spirit.' She suggested that we kneel and pray. They told me to lift my hands and praise the Lord, which I did. All of a sudden there came a deep peace within my heart and I knew the Lord had done something for me. I could hear the people around me say, 'He's being filled right now.' . . . Suddenly I began to sing in a language I had never learned! Since that time I have not only sung but also prayed in that language . . . The people in my Sabbath school class noticed a difference in me. That following Saturday I put down my notes and the Lord spoke through me in such a way that many in the class began to weep. Afterward they told me, 'That was the most wonderful lesson we ever had.' . . . I told my wife about it, we all knelt together and prayed, and my wife received the baptism in the Holy Spirit right in our home.... I am now able to go to Full Gospel meetings, and there as well as in our prayer groups, pray with all kinds of people-Catholics, Nazarenes, Church of Christ, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Methodists and others-with such a spirit of love and fellowship as I never before knew.... I also discussed my experience fully with one of our leaders, the former head of the ministerial department of our church, and he said, 'God has been leading you every step of the way.' In my office I keep a goodly stock of VOICE magazines, and almost every patient who leaves the office receives one.... One evening I was asked to give my testimony.... My brother, who is a practicing dentist in River side, was there. After hearing my testimony the Spirit of the Lord moved in his heart.... A few weeks later, at an inter-faith renewal program, he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.... It was a new suit that led me to personally meet my Lord as the Great Physician. Always I have had the right sleeve of my coats shortened one inch because my right arm was that much shorter. When the suit came, they had forgotten to alter that sleeve. My wife suggested I take the coat to the tailor and have the sleeve shortened. I decided to go to God and ask Him to lengthen my arm. That night in the Evangel Temple in Redlands, as Pastor Lawrence and others prayed for me, I felt a strange sensation in my right shoulder and down that arm and it grew out a whole inch right in front of our eyes! When I went home, my suit fitted perfectly. But I faced a new problem, for now all my other right sleeves are too short!" VOICE (Full Gospel Businessmen's church paper), January, 1973.

Further examples may not be needed, since SDA leaders admit that the pro-Pentecostalist tendency among SDA's is growing rapidly. An SDA church paper says: "There is a movement today that threatens the eternal life of many people. Seventh-day Adventists-both ministers and lay members-should beware. It is growing at an alarming rate. It is spreading like an uncontrolled fire in a wheat field.... It is known by several names.... Some people call it the charismatic renewal or the charismatic movement. Others know it as neo-Pentecostalism.... Although many Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals and others, including some Seventh-day Adventists, have participated in the experience, it is not a church. These people remain in their own churches, yet they often fellowship together, frequently in private homes, where they sing and pray in tongues, prophesy, and read the Bible in an atmosphere of great emotional fervor."—Australasian Record, January 28, 1974.

In the first of a series of articles on the charismatic movement, published in O Ministerio [The Ministry], (March-April, 1975, Brazilian edition), Jean Zurcher, secretary of the Euro-African Division (1975), says: "What are we to think of this movement? In our churches, the youngsters, the adults, and even the pastors are asking themselves: Why should the Adventist Movement miss these charismatic experiences? After all, wouldn't this really be the Holy Spirit? Didn't the apostle Paul write to the Corinthians: 'I would have you all speaking in tongues' (1 Corinthians 14:5) Did not he thank God for speaking more languages than all others (Verse 18)? And what should we say about the gift of healing?-As can be seen, this subject deserves a deep study."

There is, chiefly in the United States, a strong propensity in the SDA Church towards assimilation to the other Evangelical churches, in which the charismatic phenomenon is breaking out all over. This trend can be seen especially among the SDA youth. Elder Nelson, from the General Conference Youth Department, deplored this fact saying (1974):

"Satan is now preparing the minds of Adventists.... I hear today, as I go from coast to coast, a cry among the youth: Don't talk about the law. All we want is Jesus. We just want to hear about His love. Bless your hearts, I love to talk about Jesus, and His love, but this kind of a feeling, this kind of a movement, is preparing Adventist youth for a great disappointment. What is happening? . . . There are thousands of youth today within the church, yea, tens of thousands, that know nothing of the 2300-day prophecy. They couldn't explain Daniel 7 if they had to. When you talk about the three angels' message, they think it's something that is outmoded. It is something to forget about. It has nothing to do today.... And then they make the statement, 'Our church is no different than any other church.' I know what I talk about. They are preparing to be fooled. Consider the rapture theory for a moment, that's now capturing the world . . . (Elder Nelson ex plains it) . . . A bunch of nonsense. How could Seventh-day Adventists believe this kind of junk? But it's being heard from Adventist pulpits, it's being presented by Adventist youth witnessing groups, it's for sale in Adventist book stores, and I saw it prominently displayed right down here just yesterday.... Our young people are singing songs, 'We are one in the spirit . . .' In what spirit? That s a Pentecostal holiness tongue-movement song, in which they shout and sing, 'We are one in the spirit.' Who jumps, and shouts, and hollers? What's happening today? Some thing is creeping in among us, silently and steadily, preparing us to be fooled. We are being attacked within and without the church. Thousands are readily accepting the Evangelical teachings of Babylon today...." (From a tape.)

The charismatic influence of the neo-Pentecostal movement is evidently becoming a serious problem in the SDA Church. Adventist publications admit it. An article published in The Review and Herald (May 24, 19731 says: "The neo Pentecostal movement will prove to be a far more subtle danger to the Seventh-day Adventist Church than theological liberalism or evolutionary humanism." In January 1973, SDA leaders held a meeting to study the neo-Pentecostalist problem, and the German SDA paper Adventecho No. 13, of July 1, 1973, made the following comment:

"Twenty-three leaders of the Church-ministers, professors and authors-met at Camp Cumby-Gay, Georgia, USA, from January 4 through 9, to study the different aspects of, and the position of the Church toward, the 'charismatic movement.' . . .

"For some time Seventh-day Adventists had been observers of this phenomenon in other churches, with the feeling that they themselves had nothing to do with it. Although it shouldn't be said that this is now an acute problem of the church, the occasion demanded a reconsideration of the matter. This short cut to a victorious life is making a strong impression upon the young people, and also upon some of the students in our colleges....

"When things come into the church causing disunity and division in her midst, and these things and their representatives are simply condemned, then the matter is only slighted off. The church, which is attentive and vigilant, must be prepared, all the time, for a serious rendering of account. Her own shortcomings may have caused that which she is now fighting against.

"The fact that three participants had been invited from out side the United States . . . shows that the whole problem has worldwide significance."

Very significant is also the fact that the article from which we just quoted these short portions was published under the title: "Are SDA's going to speak in unknown tongues?"

Half a century ago it would have been considered anathema to offer the Adventist pulpit to a Pentecostal minister. But now no more. Well-known faith healer Oral Roberts was invited to speak to the Adventists in the university church (Loma Linda, California), at 11 a.m., March 8, 1983. We quote from a newspaper:

"When Roberts took the floor in front of about 1,800 listeners, he received but polite applause.

"However, he left to warm, sustained hand-clapping. Not all skepticism had been laid to rest, but the LLU graduates seemed willing to accept Roberts' good works on their own merits....

"The doubts about Roberts' credibility as a speaker at an Adventist conference stem from his origins as a Pentecostal faith healer....

"'I was in the desert not 70 miles from here when He [Jesus] came to me and began to speak to me. I was devastated but I saw what must be done,' he said....

"Conservative Adventists continue to view Roberts with alarm. Nine protesters passed out handbills in front of the church prior to the lecture. The fliers connected Roberts to 'the false prophet . . . deceptive theories . . . spiritualism . . . and the enemy.' Few attending the lecture took time to talk with the pro testers...."—The Sun [published in San Bernardino, California], March 9, 1983.

To be more correct, the news editor should have said that what conservative Adventists are viewing with alarm is the mis taken idea that even a Pentecostal faith healer may be invited to occupy an Adventist pulpit. Pentecostalism is creeping in among the Advent people, and not too many seem to be alarmed at the existing danger.

The danger is increased by the false teaching that the latter rain is falling and that the church is actually experiencing a revival. We quote from SDA publications:

"And today He is adding His power according to plan. He is giving, we believe, the 'latter rain' experience. According to His promise, He is pouring out His Spirit 'upon all flesh' (Joel 2:28). There can be no mistaking this. We may not discern it or experience it, but thousands are." RH Jan. 28, 1965.

"The latter rain for which we have been praying and that has been experienced in such meetings of our leaders and evangelists as the recent one at Camp Berkshire, New York, fell in a marked way on our regular student literature evangelists at Waunita Hot Springs, June 30-July 3."—Central Union Reaper [SDA paper in USA], Sept. 17, 1968.

"The latter rain is falling. The Holy Spirit is being richly poured out all about us.... Why not read all about it in the Re view and Herald." (Circular letter by R. G. Campbel to subscribers of Review and Herald, 1968.)

"There are evidences around over the world of early showers of the latter rain." (Letter to the field, by W. J. Hackett, president of North Pacific Union Conference, October 1968.)

Together with concerned Adventists we must say, in conclusion, that "it is vitally important for our church members to scrupulously differentiate between the true Holy Spirit and Satan's counterfeit," and to raise our voice "in warning against the insidious danger creeping into the SDA Church."

In the Snare of Spiritualism

According to one of their leaders, the neo-Pentecostal movement "is spearheading the greatest religious revival the world has ever known." (Clifford Ford, VOICE magazine, September, 1962.) The "spirit" gave them a prophecy-this was reported by one of their spokesmen-that every denomination would join them in a mighty religious revival that would sweep in the pre millennial reign on earth. The mushrooming growth of this movement, today, is a hint that the prophecy may come true. And no wonder, for Satan is making his final preparations to deceive the world with the masterpiece of all deceptions-Spiritualism. Now mark the fearful result: "Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion." GC 562. The servant of the Lord still adds: "I saw the rapidity with which this delusion was spreading. A train of cars was shown me, going with the speed of lightning.... It seemed that the whole world was on board. Then he showed me the conductor.... He said, 'It is Satan. . . . He has taken the world captive . . . and they are all going with lightning speed to perdition.' I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in the opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united by the truth." EW 263.

These last two statements from the Spirit of Prophecy (GC 562 and EW 263) make it plain that the whole world will be caught in the snare of the Spiritualism, with only one exception-a small remnant of faithful believers in the truth. This small remnant will then be clearly distinguished from the church. Sister White writes: "In the hour of the church's greatest danger most fervent prayer will be offered in her behalf by the faithful remnant." 5T 524. "At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying... especially . . . in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world." 5T 209, 210. It is a fearful thought that, according to prophetic evidences, not even the SDA Church will escape. This is one of the reasons why some honest souls are sighing and crying "for all the abominations that be done in the church" (3T 267).

The servant of the Lord warns:

"Many things intended to deceive us will come, bearing some of the marks of truth. Just as soon as these shall be set forth as the great power of God, Satan is all ready to weave in that which he has prepared to lead souls from the truth for this time."3SM 404.

"The Word of God . . . is to be our defense when Satan works with such lying wonders that, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. It is then that those who have not stood firmly for the truth will unite with the unbelieving, who love and make a lie. When these wonders are performed, when the sick are healed and other marvels are wrought, they will be deceived." 3SM 407, 408.

"The cause of Christ will be betrayed. Those who have had the light of truth, and have enjoyed its blessings, but who have turned away from it, will fight down the Spirit of God. Inspired with a spirit from beneath, they will tear down that which they once built up, and show to all reasonable, God-fearing souls that they cannot be trusted. They may lay claim to truth and righteousness, but their spirit and works will testify that they are betrayers of their Lord. The attributes of Satan they call the movings of the Holy Spirit." RH May 24, 1898.

"Go to God for yourselves; pray for divine enlightenment, that you may know that you do know what is truth, that when the wonderful miracle-working power shall be displayed, and the enemy shall come as an angel of light, you may distinguish between the genuine work of God and the imitative work [of] the powers of darkness." 3SM 389.

Conscientious Objection or Combatancy?

STUDY 11

INTRODUCTION

In this time of political turmoil and uncertainty, young people may at any time be forced to decide what the Lord would have them do when faced with a call to military service. Adventists have been trained from youth to look to the church for counsel and advice in Christian living, but in reference to military service the Seventh-day Adventists are not giving the trumpet a certain sound. They advise that if young people are called for military service, they should seek noncombatant service if possible, but it is up to the individual conscience to decide. The claim is often repeated that the Adventist church has always been noncombatant or taken the noncombatant position. This claim should be examined carefully because there is much evidence that challenges and refutes it. This very issue has brought divisions in the Seventh-day Adventist ranks.

During the latter part of the Civil War in the United States of America, Adventists had to face the draft for military service. There was no unanimity among the leading men until the Lord gave His servant a vision (recorded in 1T 358-368) and then, as a result, the Adventist leaders and General Conference decided that nonparticipation in acts of warfare and bloodshed was the only correct stand for God's people.

This ruling did not become an issue again until the beginning of World War I, in 1914. Then not only the young men but the church in many countries had to take a decided stand. The majority, when faced with this question in sixteen different countries, decided that under the circumstances they should act like other nominal Christian churches and accept all military duties and even on the Sabbath. A small minority could not accept these conference directives, believing the true stand was nonparticipation, so that they could honor God in keeping all the commandments, including the fourth and sixth, which cannot be done when in military service. The majority, to preserve unity, caused the minority of faithful members to be disfellowshiped.

World War II brought the test again before the church and the General Conference had to take a position. They claimed that Adventists had always been noncombatants and still repeat this claim. In this booklet evidence is produced to enable the reader to see if the majority is correct in their claim or if the smaller group stood in harmony with the law of God. All are invited to carefully and prayerfully examine the history and evidence presented, so that they may know and do the will of God. Jesus has promised that His representative, the Holy Spirit, will guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and that the truth will make us free (John 8:32)

 

I-CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION

God created man a free moral agent, endowed with power to understand the will of his Creator, to think for himself, and to act according to his enlightened conscience. But that condition did not last long. Man yielded to sin, and thereby lost his freedom and also his individuality, and became a slave of Satan. Finally he found himself under the boot of slave masters, in an oppressive and wicked society established and controlled by the prince of evil.

In the ancient world, society knew nothing about the sovereignty of individual moral conscience-the voice of God within the human soul enabling man to see for himself what is right and what is wrong. The individual conscience was totally absorbed by the civic conscience. The religious beliefs and ethical standards of the individual were those of the city and/or kingdom to which he belonged. And the word of the king was the highest law. For an individual to enter into conflict with the State because of his personal conscientious convictions-that was something entirely unthinkable.

"The people were supposed to exist for the benefit of the ruling classes. Influence, wealth, education, were so many means of gaining control of the masses for the use of the leaders. The higher classes were to think, decide, enjoy, and rule; the lower were to obey and serve. Religion, like all things else, was a matter of authority. The people were expected to believe and practice as their superiors directed. The right of man as man, to think and act for himself, was wholly unrecognized." DA 550.

The massacre in Bethlehem and its neighborhood-when King Herod sent his soldiers to kill all the boys in that area, to make sure that the newborn king of the Jews would be eliminated-was nothing unusual in those days. That ghastly example shows how despotic rulers looked upon the common people and how quickly soldiers executed the commands of those in authority without questioning whether it was right or wrong to obey and without using their personal moral conscience.

To counteract that masterpiece of Satan that form of mental and spiritual slavery-and to liberate, dignify, and develop the human individuality, and restore man to his original condition, God revealed to His people the eternal principles of truth and righteousness as embodied in the religion given to them.

If the soldiers in the service of King Herod had been converted to God, having their minds enlightened by those principles of truth and righteousness, their conscience would have told them that they must refuse to carry out criminal orders, such as the one just received from the monarch, because the law of God says, "Thou shalt not kill." They would have understood that a "Thus saith the Lord" is above a "Thus saith the king," and that, as morally responsible beings who will stand before the judgment seat of God, they must suffer the consequences of their criminal actions if their obedience to human rulers is contrary to the obedience required by the Almighty.

The relationship between the individual and God on the one hand, and the individual and the State on the other hand, was perfectly understood by the three young Hebrews in the court of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. In obedience to a royal decree all civil servants were gathered together on the plain of Dura for the dedication of a symbolic representation of Babylon. The whole company was commanded to bow before the golden image as a token of supreme and undivided loyalty to the Babylonian power However, those three Hebrews, who had an enlightened moral conscience, refused to obey the king's mandate, because it was in conflict with the first and second commandments of the law of Jehovah.

The three Jews, representatives of the living God, were immediately denounced to the king, who flew into a rage and ordered them to be brought before him. "Is it true," he asked, "do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?" He said he was willing to give them another chance, but at the same time, pointing to the fire, he reminded them that the fiery furnace was awaiting them in case they should persist in their disobedience to his command. And then, bidding defiance to the Almighty, he added: "And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hand?"

The three conscientious objectors did not surrender to intimidation. Calmly facing the death sentence, they said: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so [if this is thy decision], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Dan. 3:16-18. Please, read the rest of the story in Daniel, chapter 3.

Israel was a theocratic nation, established and governed by the immediate direction of God. Many times the Israelites were divinely instructed to use the sword to punish wicked cities or nations by the help of the Lord. In such cases the wars of Israel were the wars of Jehovah. The Hebrew soldiers, then, were actually obeying the highest authority in heaven and on earth God. However, when the Christian dispensation was ushered in, a fundamental change took place. God ceased to recognize a poli tical nation as His theocratic nation. When Christ said to the Jews, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21:43), He meant that "holy nation," that "chosen generation," that "peculiar people" (l Peter 2:9), know as the church, which is composed of all nationalities. In this spiritual nation "there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek" (Rom. 10:12), "for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).

Under the new dispensation, Christ's words, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17), define the relationship that the individual soul is to maintain with God and with the State. In this sentence Jesus made no evasive reply. "He declared that since they [the Jews] were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed, so long as this did not conflict with a higher duty," as specified by the law of God. The true servants of God are law-abiding citizens. "But while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God." DA 602.

The early Christians understood that Christ's words-"My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), and My followers "are not of the world" (John 17:14)-restricted their earthly citizenship and that they were not to be involved in politics. By saying, "The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:56); "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26:52); "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt. 22:39); "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44),-Jesus taught that a Christian cannot take part in acts of bloodshed. A careful study of the law of God and its connection with the battlefield, shows that those who go to war violate not only the fourth and sixth commandments, but all ten. In this field both the moral conscience of the individual and the rectitude (or just dealing) of the State are put to the test before God.

The test for the individual:

"Worldly policy and public opinion comprise the principle of action that governs them and leads them to practice the form of rightdoing. But God's people cannot be governed by these motives. The words and commands of God, written in the soul, are spirit and life, and there is power in them to bring into subjection and enforce obedience. The ten precepts of Jehovah are the foundation of all righteous and good laws. Those who love God's commandments will conform to every good law of the land. But if the requirements of the rulers are such as conflict with the laws of God, the only question to be settled is: Shall we obey God, or man?" 1T 361, 362.

By the Jewish authorities the apostles had been strictly for bidden to teach in the name of Christ in Jerusalem, and they had already spent some time in prison for obeying God rather than men, when they were found doing the same things again. They could not renounce their loyalty to God. This is what worldly men, governed by worldly principles, cannot always understand. True Christians, who have the privilege of possessing an enlightened religious conscience, have no doubt that their duty before God takes precedence over man-made regulations or prohibitions. So, when the apostles were again interrogated before the Jewish Council, they said: "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. Let this be a lesson to all true Seventh-day Adventists.

'We are not to inquire, What is the practice of men? or, What is the custom of the world? We are not to ask, How shall I act in order to have the approval of men? or, What will the world tolerate? The question of intense interest to every soul is, What hath God said? We are to read His Word and obey it, not swerving one jot or tittle from its requirements, but acting irrespective of human traditions and jurisdiction." 6BC 1056.

The test for the State:

"To protect liberty of conscience is the duty of the state, and this is the limit of its authority in matters of religion." GC 201.

Where there is no conflict between the word of God and the laws of the land, or where professed Christians are prepared to sell their conscience, betray their most sacred trusts in connection with the kingdom of God, and compromise with the powers of this world by obeying man rather than God, there is no persecution. In this case the principle of religious liberty or freedom of conscience does not come into question, for the simple reason that, from his standpoint, the individual has no religious controversy with the State, and the State has no controversy with the individual. Only when this controversy arises does the State have a chance to prove, for the first time, whether or not it is prepared to grant freedom of religious con science to those who find themselves involved in such an issue.

Wherever and whenever we see our right of religious freedom -which is the most important of all human rights-threatened, we must do something about it, "interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience" (5T 452). Any move toward the suppression or restriction of this in alienable human right is an act of concession to the spirit of that oppressive religio-political power (Rev. 13:1-10) "which for so many ages has steadily warred against liberty of conscience" (5T 711, 712). We should all know what changes are coming:

"The authorities will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will assume the right that is God's alone. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. Even now they are making a beginning; this work they will continue to carry forward till they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will interpose in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people." DA 630.

The experience in connection with the fiery furnace (Daniel, chapter 3) shows that the Lord "takes His stand with the op pressed, and rebukes all earthly powers that rebel against the authority of Heaven" (PK 511, 512). Any country that does not understand its duty before God (GC 201) will be found enlarging its prisons and blemishing the pages of its history with the blood of its martyrs.

"To the loyal heart [to every one who has decided to remain true to God] the commands of sinful, finite men will sink into insignificance beside the word of the eternal God. Truth will be obeyed though the result be imprisonment or exile or death." PK 512, 513.

 

II-THE EARLY CHRISTIANS AND THE BEARING OF ARMS

Everybody knows that the Christians were cruelly persecuted by order of the Roman government during the first few centuries, but it is not generally known why they suffered persecution. Historians who have examined the writings of the Fathers of the Church tell us why. Among other reasons, they point out the fact that, for conscience' sake, the early followers of Christ considered taking part in warfare and in military service to be incompatible with the requirements of the holy law of God. They were conscientious objectors. Modern authors inform:

"The Christians for a long time would not go to war."-Roland H. Bainton, The Church of Our Fathers, p. 22.

"During the early times of Christianity [the conflict between the civil power and the church] assumed the form of persecution on the part of the State and of collective conscientious objection on the part of the Christians both to the bearing of arms and to the worship of the emperor."-Jean-Pierre Cattelain, A Objecao de Consciencia, p. 12.

This information, as far as we know, is based on the writings of Hippolytus, Lactantius, Tertullian, Origen, etc.

Hippolytus 1160-235 A.D.), who died a martyr under Maximin's persecution, wrote:

"If a catechumen or a faithful one wants to become a soldier, let him be disfellowshiped, because he wanted to despise God." Quoted by Jean Lasserre, Les Chretiens et la Violence, p. 230.

Lactantius (c. 260-340 A.D.), an apologist, wrote:

"When God forbids killing, He does not only prohibit hold ups, which even the public laws will not permit, but also warns us against doing certain things which are lawful in the eyes of men. Thus, a faithful believer should have no permission to serve as a soldier, because his military service would be counted as unrighteousness."-Quoted by Jean-Pierre Cattelain, A Objecao de Consciencia, pp. 13, 14.

Kenneth Scott Latourette writes:

"One of the issues on which the early Christians were at variance with the Graeco-Roman world was participation in war. For the first three centuries no Christian writing which has survived to our time condoned Christian participation in war.... Hippolytus, prominent in Rome, in putting down in writing what he believed to be the apostolic tradition and so the authentic Christian teaching, maintained that when a soldier applied for admission to the Christian fellowship he must refuse to kill men even if he were commanded by his superiors to do so and must also not take an oath, and that military commanders must resign if they were to continue as catechumens. A catechumen or baptized person, so Hippolytus said, who sought to enlist as a soldier must be cut off from the Church. Tertullian argued against Christians being members of the Roman armies on the ground that this brought one under a master other than Christ, that it entailed taking the sword, and that, even when the army was used for police purposes in peace time, it made necessary the infliction of punishment, when all revenge was forbidden to the Christian....

"So clear was the opposition of the early Christians to bearing arms that Celsus, in his famous attack on them, declared that if all were to do as did the Christians the Empire would fall victim to the wildest and most lawless barbarians. In replying, Origen did not deny that Christians were pacifists. Indeed, he said that Christians do not fight under the Emperor 'although he require it.' Instead he argued that if all were to become Christians, the barbarians would also be Christians, and that even now, when Christians were in the minority, their love, labor, and prayers were doing more than Roman arms to preserve the realm." Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity, vol. 1, pp. 242, 243.

Conscientious objection to the bearing of arms was one of the strongest principles maintained by the early Christians, as can be seen from the fact that, amid the apostasy which was flooding the church, this principle stood for a remarkably long time, namely, until the days of Constantine I (the Great). Constantine was attracted by Christianity since his early years. Although he professed to be a Christian, he was actually a pagan in his actions, but he proved to be an able politician in so far as he succeeded in obtaining the support of both pagans and Christians.

"After Emperor Constantine adhered to the Church, the change in the position of the majority of Christians came only little by little. This leads to the conclusion that the critical attitude taken by the Christians-an attitude of non-cooperation was a manifestation of hostility, not so much toward the governors and the Emperor, but rather toward the acts of violence committed by the governors, in opposition to Christian ethics.

"As a matter of fact, when the Synod of Arles (summoned by the Emperor before his baptism), in 314 A. D., was forced by Constantine to declare its position on the question of military service, the Synod confined itself to issuing the following rule, which, at first view, came as a surprise: De his qui arma projiciunt in pace, placuit abstinere eos a communione: 'Regarding those who bear arms in time of peace: they should be suspended from the communion service.' The phrase 'in time of peace' evidently implies the idea that, although a Christian was permitted to do military service as long as he was not required to shed blood, ac cording to the tradition in force at that time, his taking part among the combatants, in time of war, was still proscribed. Thus the Synod of Arles confirmed a distinction which already existed before 314 A. D.-that, when there was no other possibility, a Christian could do military service (militare), but he was forbidden to take part in war (bellare).... One century later, a partnership was formed between the church and the State, when, by a decree of Emperor Theodosius II, 416 A. D., access to the army was limited to the Christians.

"Nevertheless, conscientious objection [among minorities] persisted after 314 and even after 416 [A. D.]. Suffice it to mention the attitude of a famous man, Saint Martin, who declared (c. 350 A. D.), 'I am a soldier of Christ,' and from then on refused to bear arms." -Jean-Pierre Cattelain, A Objecao de Consciencia, pp. 14, 15.

With reference to the apostasy in connection with the principle under discussion, we read in an Adventist book:

"When Constantine outwardly accepted Christianity, he did so as a converted pagan general. Later he persuaded Christians to fight in his army. From then on professed Christians were less and less conscientious; and the more worldly the church grew, the more willing to join the government in war did she become...." Francis McLellan Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, p. 48.

When the church compromised with the State, and decreed that her members were permitted to bear arms, she committed spiritual adultery, taking an advanced step in apostasy. Once a church has gone that far on her downward path, history shows that there is no more return.

 

III-THE ORIGINAL POSITION OF THE SDA CHURCH

Our stand before God is determined by our obedience or dis obedience to the law of God. If we obey, we are God's people; if we do not obey, we are not God's people. We should never over look the conditions which the Lord has specified.

We are God's people if the law of God is written in our hearts:

The Lord said: "If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will . . . walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Lev. 26:3, 12. "Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God." Jer. 11:4. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples in deed." John 8:31. Read Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10.

We are not God's people if our life and character are not in harmony with the law of God:

It is written: "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you." Isa. 59:2. "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23. Iniquity is sin (Ps. 32:5), and sin is the transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4). (The Greek word anomia is translated as "iniquitt' in Matthew 7:23 and as "transgression of the law" in 1 John 3:4.)

The fundamental distinction between the church of God and the synagogue of Satan is found in the conflicting attitude taken toward the law of Jehovah (TM 16). There is "a great gulf fixed" between those who obey and those who do not obey the law of God.

"From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God. It was to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator, and though he was cast out of heaven he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God's law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether this be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same." GC 582.

1. God Has Called a Special People

"God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time." 5T 455.

"God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." TM 29.

"At this time the church is to put on her beautiful garments 'Christ our righteousness.' There are clear, decided distinctions to be restored and exemplified to the world in holding aloft the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal, those who have revolted from the law of God. Thus we acknowledge God and recognize His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world, and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God's arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ." TM 16, 17.

2. Covenant With God

In 1861, at the Conference at Battle Creek, Michigan, when the first Adventist Church was organized, they entered into the following covenant:

"We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." The Great Advent Movement, p. 105.

3. Stand Adopted in 1864

Before the end of the Civil War, when the SDA's were facing the problem of military service and of partaking in war, they re solved that they could not transgress the commandments under any circumstances. Therefore they sent the following declaration to the authorities:

"We, the undersigned, Executive Comittee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, respectfully beg leave to present for your consideration the following statements:

"The denomination of Christians calling themselves Seventh day Adventists, taking the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, are unanimous in their views that its teachings are contrary to the spirit and practice of war; hence, they have ever been conscientiously opposed to bearing arms. If there is any portion of the Bible which we, as a people, can point to more than another as our creed, it is the law of ten commandments, which we regard as the supreme law, and each precept of which we take in its most obvious and literal import. The fourth of these commandments requires cessation from labor on the seventh day of the week, the sixth prohibits the taking of life, neither of which, in our view, could be observed while doing military duty. Our practice has uniformly been consistent with these principles. Hence, our people have not felt free to enlist into the service. In none of our denominational publications have we advocated or encouraged the practice of bearing arms, and, when drafted, rather than violate our principles, we have been content to pay, and assist each other in paying, the $300 commutation money."-Seventh day Adventists in Time of War, p. 58.

In The Review and Herald of March 7, 1865, the position of the SDA Church was set forth as follows:

 

"Why Seventh-day Adventists Cannot Engage in War

"1. They could not keep the Lord's holy Sabbath. 'The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shall not do any work.' Ex. 20:10. Fighting, as military men tell us, is the hardest kind of work; and the seventh day of all days would be the least regarded in the camp and field.

"2. The sixth command of God's moral law reads, 'Thou shalt not kill.' To kill is to take life. The soldier by profession is a practical violator of this precept. But if we would enter into life we must keep the commandments.' Matt. 19:17.

"3. 'God has called us to peace'; and 'the weapons of our war fare are not carnal.' 1 Cor. 7:15; 2 Cor. 10:4. The gospel permits us to use no weapons but 'the sword of the Spirit.'

"4. Our kingdom is not of this world. Said Christ to Pilate, 'If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight.' John 18:36. This is most indisputable evidence that Christians have nothing to do with carnal instruments of war.

"5. We are commanded to love even our enemies. 'But I say unto you,' says the Saviour, 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.' Matt. 5:44. Do we fulfill this command when we blow out their brains with revolvers, or sever their bodies with sabres? 'If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his.' Rom. 8:9.

"6. Our work is the same as our Master's, who once said, 'The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.' Luke 9:56. If God's Spirit sends us to save men, does not some other spirit send us to destroy them? Let us know what manner of spirit we are of.

"7. The New Testament command is, 'Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.' Matt. 5:39. That is, we had better turn the other cheek than to smite them back again. Could this scripture be obeyed on the battle field?

"8. Christ said to Peter, as he struck the high priest's servant, 'Put up again thy sword.' Matt. 26:52. If the Saviour commanded the apostle to 'put up' the sword, certainly his followers have no right to take it. Then let those who are of the world fight, but as for us let us pray."

The Report of the Third Annual Session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, published in The Review and Herald of May 23, 1865, contains the following resolution:

"Resolved that we recognize civil government as ordained of God, that order, justice, and quiet may be maintained in the land; and that the people of God may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty. In accordance with this fact we acknowledge the justice of rendering tribute, custom, honor, and reverence to the civil power, as enjoined in the New Testament. While we thus cheerfully render to Caesar the things which the Scriptures show to be his, we are compelled to decline all participation in acts of war and bloodshed as being inconsistent with the duties enjoined upon us by our divine Master toward our enemies and toward all mankind."

As can be seen, nonparticipation was the original stand of the early Adventists, and they acted in harmony with their faith. One of the pioneers reports:

"Another most impressive meeting as regards the war of the rebellion, was held in a grove near father's farm in Newton, Michigan. It was the last year of the war and General Grant had been appointed commander in chief of the Northern armies, and word had come that there was to be another draft. Seventy-five thousand men were needed, and it looked as though our men must go this time. Now, as never before, their principles of peace were at stake.

"Brother and Sister White called a special meeting in the grove at Newton for prayer to God that He would turn the tide. It was well attended by people from Battle Creek and the little churches around. Anxiety was on every face; a solemnity that cannot be told was present. We knelt before God on the wood land sod, and prayers by Brother and Sister White and their associates went up to God to spare His people. He answered the faith of His servants; and although it took almost another year to finish the war, yet God protected His people." NL, Miscellaneous 1,pp.2,3.

4. Endorsed by the Spirit of Prophecy

The original stand of the church was in agreement with the I will of God. The servant of the Lord wrote:

"I was shown that God's people, who are His peculiar treasure, cannot engage in this perplexing war, for it is opposed to every principle of their faith. In the army they cannot obey the truth and at the same time obey the requirements of their officers. There would be a continual violation of conscience. Worldly men are governed by worldly principles. They can appreciate no other. Worldly policy and public opinion comprise the principle of action that governs them and leads them to practice the form of rightdoing. But God's people cannot be governed by these motives." 1T 361.

It is impossible to participate in war and remain loyal to God I and obedient to His law, because war is Satan's most efficient machine invented for the purpose of making void all the commandments of God's holy law. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"The powers from beneath are stirred with deep intensity. War and bloodshed are the result. The moral atmosphere is poisoned with cruel, horrible doings." 8T 249.

"Satanic agencies have made the earth a stage for horrors, which no language can describe. War and bloodshed are carried on by nations claiming to be Christian. A disregard for the law of God has brought its sure result." 7BC 974.

If these statements are true, as we are convinced they are, then those who go to war do not identify themselves with the little "company in the narrow pathway," but with the multitude in the abyss, where war songs are heard. Read 2T 594, 595.

By getting involved in this problem the professed people of God are playing into the hands of Satan and missing the necessary preparation for the soon coming of Christ.

"Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one an other, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God." GC 589.

 

IV-GREAT CHANGES IN THE CHURCH

In view of the crisis that was coming with World War I, the Lord sent the following impressive warnings to the church:

"The tempest is coming, and we must get ready for its fury by having repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions." MYP 89 (890).

"Fearful tests and trials await the people of God. The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other." 9T 17 (1904).

"Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations-troubles that will not cease until Jesus comes.... The judgments of God are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to in crease until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war." RH Nov. 24, 1904.

"There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property, and even of life itself, to de fend the law of God, which is made void by the laws of men. In this situation worldly policy will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: 'Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. . . . The powers that be are ordained of God."' 5T 712 (l889).

"What position will the church take? Will those who in the past have had respect for the law of God, be drawn into the current of evil? Will the almost universal transgression and contempt of the law of God, darken the spiritual atmosphere of the souls of all alike? Will the disrespect of the law of God sweep away the protecting barriers? Because wickedness and lawlessness prevail, is the law of God to be less highly esteemed? Because it is made void by the great majority of those living on the earth, shall the few loyal ones become like all the disloyal, and act as the wicked act?" 3BC 1153 (l906).

"With pity and compassion, with tender yearning, the Lord is looking upon His tempted and tried people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who know God's holy commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel to demonstrate the spirit that moves them to action. It is God's purpose that everyone shall be tested and proved, to see whether he will be loyal or disloyal to the laws which govern the kingdom of heaven.... We may have to plead most earnestly before legislative councils for the right to exercise independent judgment, to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience. Thus in His providence God has designed that the claims of His holy law shall be brought before men in the highest authority.... Many are holding the truth only with the tips of their fingers. They have had great light and many privileges. Like Capernaum they have been exalted to heaven in this respect. In the time of test and trial that is approaching, they will become apostates unless they put away their pride and self-confidence, unless they have an entire transformation of character." 3SM 414, 415.

"Many who have had great light have not appreciated and improved it as it was their privilege to do. They have not practiced the truth.... And those who have been privileged with opportunities to understand the truth and who have not obeyed its principles will be swayed by Satan's temptations for self advancement. They will deny the principles of truth in practice and bring reproach upon the cause of God.

"Christ declares that He will spue these out of His mouth, and leave them to follow their own course of actions to distinguish themselves. This course of action does indeed make them prominent as men that are unfaithful householders.

"The Lord will give His message to those who have walked in accordance with the light they have had, and will recognize them as true and faithful, according to the measurement of God. These men will take the place of those who, having light and knowledge, have walked not in the way of the Lord, but in the imagination of their own unsanctified hearts." MS 97, 1898.

In 1913, when the crisis was at the door, the Lord directed His last call to the church through the living prophetess:

"Men of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit to lead out in a work of thorough reformation. I see a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His laborers to come into line." TM 514.

If World War I would bring a crisis, then it would also bring a shaking because it is written:

"[E]very trial made by the refining, purifying process upon professed Christians proves some to be dross. The fine gold does not always appear. In every religious crisis some fall under temptation. The shaking of God blows away multitudes like dry leaves." 4T 89.

 

V-THE TEST

At the beginning of World War I, leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe issued documents encouraging its members who were eligible for the army to serve as combatants. Hereunder are a few examples:

1. Circular Letter of the Secretary of the European Division

"Hamburg, August 2nd, 1914

"To Our Dear Brethren and Sisters:

 

"Greetings with Psalm 23. In this difficult and serious time into which Europe has fallen, we desire to request the following of you:

"1. We as followers of Christ, through the power of God, should in these days be true, obedient, and subject to the services of our country. ll Peter 2:13-14, 17.1

"2. We should do our military duties cheerfuly whilst we are in service or being called to serve, so that the officers in charge will find in us valiant and true soldiers, who are ready to die for their homes, for our army and our Fatherland. Our destiny is in God's hand. Should we lose our life whilst in conflict, let us re member that our 'life is hid with Christ in God' (Col. 3:3).

"3. Those who are left at home should prove to their neighbors that they are noble-minded and filled with the love of Christ, ready to help in every way possible to relieve the suffering and the sick, the wounded, the poor, the widows and the orphans. We dare not lose our courage, but be patient in affliction, doing as Moses, whose song we expect to sing some day. Trust in Him 'as seeing Him who is invisible' (Heb. 11:27). Let us not forget to earnestly search the Word of God (John 5:39). Attend our meetings regularly, and above all things, when you come before the throne of grace, do not forget to pray for our Government and our army (1 Tim. 2:2).

"4. We must always remember our mission as messengers of Christ and, according to our strength, serve to save souls.

"Committing you all to the grace of God, I am, with heartfelt salutation,

Your Brother in the Lord,

(Sgd.) G. Dail"

 

This circular letter, signed by Elder G. Dail, secretary of the

European Division, was also published in Romania (August 4, 1914).

2. Declaration of the East German Union to the Ministry of War

"Charlottenburg, August 4th, 1914

"Most Honorable Lord General and Minister of War:

"Since our standpoint concerning our duties towards the Government has been considered as fanatical, and so also our position toward military duties in general, particularly our refusal to serve on Saturday (Sabbath) in times of peace, I take the liberty, Your Excellency, to present to you hereunder the stand of the German Seventh-day Adventists, especially now in the present war situation. While we stand on the fundamentals of the Holy Scriptures, we seek to fulfill the precepts of Christianity, keeping the rest day (Saturday) that God established in the beginning, by endeavouring to put aside all work on that day. Still, in times of stress, we have bound ourselves together in the defense 4 of the Fatherland, and under these circumstances we will also bear arms on Saturday (Sabbath). On this point we take our stand on the Scriptures as found in 1 Peter 2:13-17: 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be to the king, as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers.... Fear God, honour the king.'

"We have passed this resolution on to our members, and have asked them to organize prayer meetings and entreat God to give the victory to the German arms. Just in case some among the drafted Adventists may refuse to serve on the Sabbath, or object to the bearing of arms, we will be grateful, your Excellency, if the commanding officer is informed of our stand or resolution.

"In this connection, allow me, Your Excellency, to inform you that in Friedensau, Magdeburg, our sanitarium and our missionary school, plus 250 pitched tents, with a physician in charge and a number of trained nurses who will be able to care for about 1,400 wounded soldiers, will be placed at your disposal.

"With the desire that God may make the righteous cause victorious, I have the honour, Your Excellency, to remain (Sgd.) H. F. Schubert President, East German Union"

3. Declaration of Three Adventist Leaders

"Dresden, March 5th, 1915

"To the General Command of the 7th Army Corps in Dresden:

"With reference to Order No. 856, of February 22nd, 1915, which prohibited the holding of Adventist meetings in Dresden (Saxony), please allow the undersigned to give the following explanation:

"For several years the undersigned have clearly set forth be fore military officials, both verbally and in writing, that military service on the Sabbath (Saturday) in times of peace was a question for the individual conscience to decide.

"At the outbreak of the war, however, the leadership of the Adventist Church in Germany, of their own accord, advised all their members under military obligation, all over the country, that, in view of the present emergency situation of the Fatherland, they should fulfill their duties as citizens according to the Scriptures, also on Saturday (Sabbath), as other combatants do on Sunday.

"As evidence [of the above] please find enclosed herewith copy of the declaration addressed to the Most Honorable Minister of War, of Prussia, dated August 4th, 1914.

"This position, taken already years ago, is confirmed by the devoted signatories:

"For the European Division, headquarters at Hamburg,

(Sgd.) L. R. Conradi, President

"For the East German Union, headquarters at Berlin, Charlottenburg,

[Sgd.) HFSchubert, Presiden,

"For the Saxon Conference, headquarters at Chemnitz,

(Sgd.) P. Drinhaus, President"

4. Booklet Der Christ und der Krieg (The Christian and War)

"In all that we have said, we have shown that the Bible teaches, first: that taking part in war is not a transgression of the I sixth commandment; second: that doing military service on the Sabbath is not a transgression of the fourth commandment. He who believes otherwise, let him show one declaration of the I Scriptures or the Testimonies. If he is not able to do so, then let ] him be careful not to bring accusations and statements which he cannot prove."-Der Christ und der Krieg, p. 18 [Germany].

5. Declaration of the Romanian Union

"All is before God, and it pleases Him to see men enjoy the liberties and rights given them by the law, the most important among which is freedom of worship.... In the campaign of 1812, a | French Colonel sent a petition to Napoleon, asking him for three 1 days' leave. Napoleon replied: 'The Colonel should address his petition to the Russian Czar. If the Czar grants it, I will grant it, too.'. . .

"We have had cases in which brethren in Germany asked: 'What must we do in war?' The answer was: 'Remain faithful to God, but do what everybody else is doing.' And what happened? Where the soldiers could get permission to rest on Sunday and keep it holy, our soldiers went to their officers with the request: 'We ask you to give us Saturday off.' . . . But where nobody could think of holidays, it would only have been a queer attitude for our brethren to ask for permission to keep the Sabbath." Curierul Misionar [SDA paper in Romania], No. 3, pp. 35-37, 1916.

6. Declaration of Four European Unions

"The things that are taking place in our midst reveal to us the necessity of expressing once more our position towards military service and participation in war....

"The Almighty God has used war as an instrument of punishment at all times. See Jeremiah 25:14-31. When the Lord out lined the rules on the matter of war He gave also the correct explanation of the sixth commandment.

"We should understand even today that this commandment does not apply to war, but forbids murder, manslaughter, etc., among citizens, caused by personal hatred. This we can also see from an experience which occurred in the life of David, mentioned in 1 Kings 2:5.

"John the Baptist did not condemn military service, but ad vised that the duty should be fulfilled faithfully. Luke 3:14. Nor can we here apply the words: 'For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,' because this prohibits the defending of religious things with the sword.

"We confess that we cannot understand the Word of God in a different way. It is clear that the authorities are ordained by God that, with the help of arms, they may keep order and truth, and maintain peace in the country; otherwise the believers would not have peace. If we entrust this burden to those only who do not believe the Word of God we turn away from God's order. If we accept the blessings of common order, should we excuse our selves from sharing the burden? This is not Christian behavior. He who wants to enjoy the privileges must be ready to fulfill the duties also. This is what Christ said when he declared: 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things which are God's.'

"It is self-understood that, despite this declaration made by us, we allow every one complete liberty of conscience, and we respect the conviction and position of all others, but we decidedly condemn the provocative behavior of certain agitators who force their attitude upon others, thus putting in danger not only the interests of the country but also of the cause of God.-(Sgd.) The Committees of the East and West German Unions, the Central European Union, and the Danubian Union, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Hamburg, Nov. 15, 1917."Utolso Uzenet [SDA publication in Hungary].

A great number of Adventists in Europe followed the advice of their leaders in the crisis of World War I. Only a few heeded the warnings previously given by the Lord through the Spirit of Prophecy. And these few, whose only offense was that they wanted to keep the law of God as they had been taught from the beginning, were betrayed and persecuted by their own brethren in the leadership.

During that crisis in which the faithful ones were persecuted, the following prophecy began to have its fulfillment among the two classes of Adventists, especially in Europe:

"Whenever persecution takes place, the spectators make decisions either for or against Christ. Because of persecution, many will be offended. The principles of the truth cut directly across their practice, and they will stumble and fall, apostatizing from the faith they once advocated. Many who have professed to love the truth will then show that they have no vital union with the True Vine. They will be cut away, as branches that bear no fruit, and will be bound up with unbelievers, scoffers, and mockers.

"Those who apostatize in time of trial will bear false witness and betray their brethren, to secure their own safety. They will tell where their brethren are concealed, putting the wolves on their track. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the cruel, unnatural course pursued by friends and relatives." RH Dec. 20, 1898.

 

VI-A WAVERING GENERAL CONFERENCE RESPONSE

From the beginning of the war, the leading brethren in America were informed about the crisis that had involved the Adventist Church in Europe. Francis M. Wilcox wrote:

"Particularly should the church of God today remember our European brethren who are now suffering adversity. Some have been forced into active military service; their lives are constantly menaced, and they are exposed to hardship and danger. Families have been broken up. Those left at home are anxious with fear for those who have gone to the front. The officers of some of our conferences and churches have been compelled to forsake their charges and join the national colors." RH Aug. 27, 1914.

Another evidence that the leadership of the church in U.S. was aware of what was going on in Europe is found in W. C. White's circular letter of May 26, 1915:

"Sister White then asked: 'Has war broken out in Europe?' He answered, 'Yes.' She then inquired, 'Has the war affected our brethren?' He answered, 'Yes, many are forced to join the army, many are killed, and others are in dangerous places, and in many countries there is great suffering and tribulation. Many of our brethren in America and Europe think that those who were forced to join the army did wrong, because they obeyed the military. They think it better to refuse to bear arms, even if the result of refusal meant death.' Sister White replied: 'I do not think they ought to do that. I think they ought to stand to their duty as long as time lasts.' "

In harmony with what God had revealed to Sister White be fore (lT 361), we understand that she rebuked them for obeying men rather than God when she said: 'I do not think they ought to do that." Her appeal to the brethren that they should "stand to their duty" certainly refers to their duty before God, as she had written before:

"All will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law. Those who will be true to God and to duty will be menaced, denounced, and proscribed." 5T 473.

L. R. Conradi, the president of the European Division, kept the General Conference leaders informed of the situation in Europe from the very beginning of the war. He wrote:

"While the daily newspapers are read with the greatest interest because of the news which each day brings from this terrible war which affects the whole world, God's people have a still deeper interest in the question of how this war may affect the cause of God itself....

"In the Central European Union, . . . [a leading brother] re ports that in his conference about 60 of his members have been enrolled in the army.

"In the Danube Union . . . several of the directors of the mission fields and a number of the workers have been called to military service, . . .

"At Friedensau a second teacher and several of the students had to enter service, . . .

"We surely appreciate the many prayers which ascend to God in our behalf in all parts of the wide harvest field, and we know that God is answering them from the very fact that in spite of this terrible war, His cause advances triumphantly." RH Dec. 17, 1914.

More evidences would be superfluous. The General Conference brethren were informed, and they should have sent to Europe unequivocal instructions and warnings in harmony with the original stand of the church, but, instead, they only gave an uncertain trumpet sound (1 Cor. 14:8). Here are a few statements to this effect. Francis M. Wilcox wrote:

"As to just what our European brethren should do under these trying circumstances only they alone in prayer to God can decide." RH Aug. 27, 1914.

After the war was over, Elder A. G. Daniells, the General Conference president at that time, explained:

"As soon as the war began in Europe, we in America began to study this question with much care.... We found, however, that as we began to study this question with great care some among us became greatly confused.... Our position was that everyone personally would have to decide what to do in harmony with his own conviction.... Then ... we had certain brethren who were filled with a spirit of love for their country. They were willing to go to the front and to fight. Some of them came over to England and France and they went right out into the trenches, and I don't know all they did while they were there, but after they had finished they came back home when the armistice came.... We regretted that war had come, and we were against war. We must, however, permit every citizen to follow his own conscience and decide for himself what his position with reference to the government should be. We have not disfellowshiped a single one, of these members because of their different stand on this subject...."-Report of the Meeting With the Opposition Movement (July 21-23, 1920), pp. 37-39 (English translation from the archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists).

The president of the European Division, L. R. Conradi, made a trip to U.S.A. and explained the whole situation to the leading brethren there, in 1916. He said:

"[W]hen I met with our brethren in America in 1916 and told them of these things in a careful report which I gave them, the brethren after they had heard the whole story told us that under these difficult circumstances and conditions we must ask the Lord for light and do the best we could." Quoted from the above mentioned Report (English translation), p. 20.

The Adventist leaders in Germany reported that they were acting in harmony with instructions received from the General Conference leaders in the U.S.A. They wrote:

"The delegates of the Hessen Conference accept the Bible standpoint expressed by the leaders of our work with reference to the military service that it is purely a civil matter and that the civil authorities whom the Lord has ordained for this work have a right to demand military service according to 1 Peter 2:13, 14 and Romans 13:4, 5. This position of the conference in Hessen is in harmony with the General Conference resolution adopted in November, 1915, when certain leading brethren who are present here raised the question concerning military service, and were told that the General Conference left that question to our believers in the different countries of earth with the understanding that our believers had the fullest freedom to choose what stand they would take to such civil ordinances, and how they will adapt themselves to the circumstances."-Zions-Waechter [SDA church paper in Germany], No. 5, 1916.

This publication was one of the documents examined during the meeting in Friedensau, July 21-23, 1920, according to the above-mentioned Report, p. 11.

In the presence of these evidences, the efforts made to minimize the responsibility of the highest leadership of the church in the combatant stand taken during World War I, certainly fall to the ground.

 

VII-BEHIND THE SCENES

Anyone who does not dig deep enough into the facts, but contents himself with the shallow information supplied by official Adventist sources, may be led to think: "Well, three men in Europe made a mistake by issuing certain documents which did not represent the historic position of the church." The impression given is that, in spite of the mistakes made by a few European leaders, who "confessed in writing that they had been wrong," the General Conference did not support these leaders in their error. The following quotations will confirm our statement:

In the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopaedia (Commentary Reference Series, vol. 10), p. 1183, we read:

"The military question came to the front when the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia exploded into World War I in early August, 1914....

"On the German mobilization, in August, 1914, the SDA's of that country were faced with the necessity of making an immediate decision concerning their duty to God and country when called into the armed forces.... After counseling with the few SDA leaders locally available at the time, the president of the East German Union Conference informed the German War Ministry in writing, dated August 4, 1914, that conscripted SDA's would bear arms as combatants and would render service on the Sabbath in defense of their country....

"As a result of unfavorable statements against the German Government made by some of the fanatics, SDA churches in the state of Saxony were closed by the public authority. Only when three SDA leaders at Hamburg in a letter to the government in Berlin on March 4, 1915, reasserted their stand on combatancy, was the ban against SDA churches in Saxony lifted....

"Admittedly, the three SDA leaders in Germany took a stand concerning the duty of SDA's in military service that was contrary to the historic stand officially maintained by the denomination ever since the American Civil War (1861-1865)."

During the meeting in Friedensau, Germany, 1920, A. G. Daniells, then General Conference president, tried to explain away the gravity of the situation as follows:

"We regret and we do not accept certain statements that were written and sent out here. When, however, we consider the circumstances and the motive behind these writings, we have come to the conclusion that our brethren here were just as faithful in their relation to the work as we were. And why, if that be so, should the one judge the other.... We must say that everyone has the right to his own conviction and to follow his own conscience with reference to the war.... We are ready to admit that we have made mistakes, but we are not ready for a single minute to agree to the idea that we as a church have departed from the right way, and that another movement has come to take our place. We claim that we are yet on the right road and the original road of the Advent Movement."-Report of the Meeting With the Opposition Movement (July 21-23, 1920), pp. 43, 55, 56.

Elder L. H. Christian, referring to the European crisis, gave the following evasive and misleading explanation:

"Our responsible men in Europe did their utmost to hold things together, and it is a joy to remember how well they succeeded. This Advent movement owes a debt of gratitude to the loyalty and earnest zeal of our brethren in the countries at war as well as to the balanced judgment and sound counsel of our leaders in neutral lands. What might not have happened to the Advent cause in Europe during the war if these men had not stood true? . . .

"This last visit [of Elder W. A. Spicer, in 1916] was very helpful in explaining to the General Conference the loyalty of our brethren in Central Europe to the Advent message." RH June 8 1930.

In his Aftermath of Fanaticism, a vitriolic tirade against the Reform Movement, in which the truth is often grossly distorted, Elder Christian says:

"It is true that such statements were sent to the government. We have always deplored this, and we have never tried to hide the fact that this was done. We do, however, object to the false statement that this was an 'apostasy of the European Division,' since that is not in harmony with the facts, . . . There never was a European Division action taken authorizing those statements."

Elder Christian is confusing the issue and evading the point. What we emphasize is that neither the Committee of the European Division nor the General Conference of SDA's has ever remedied the situation. The apostasy has simply been left without correction. Therefore, the highest leadership must carry the responsibility.

"If the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His [God's] frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins." 3T 265.

The issuing of documents by European leaders who committed the membership to the war machine was only the tip of the iceberg-the beginning of the trouble. After the poisonous seeds of Satan were sown (in the form of declarations in behalf of combatancy), the fruits appeared immediately in a copious harvest which changed the character of the church. Ever since that unfortunate experience, combatancy in the Adventist Church has been tolerated by the leadership and practiced by a large pro portion of the membership.

It has been stated, repeatedly, that the European leaders confessed their mistake. We have never denied that. But we believe that genuine confession is followed by certain evidences. "Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation." SC 39. Those who are sorry for their wrongs will not repeat them. The rule for them is, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11) .

 

VIII-PUBLIC DECLARATIONS

The controversy in the Adventist Church, which resulted in a split, could not escape observation by outsiders. It found its way to the press, and was even commented on by Protestants and Catholics.

1. Dresden Paper, Germany (April 12, 1918)

"At the beginning of the war our church split up into two parties. Whilst 98% of our members, by studying the Bible, adopted the point of view that it was a conscientious duty to de fend the Fatherland with weapons, and that also on the Sabbath, and while this standpoint, taken by the leadership as a whole, was immediately brought to the knowledge of the Ministry of War, 2% were opposed to this decision and, finally, had to be disfellowshipped because of their unchristian conduct. These unstable elements set themselves up as preachers and, without much success, have tried to make converts to their foolish ideas. They call themselves, falsely, preachers and Adventists. But they are not; they are deceivers. If these elements receive their merited lot, we will regard that as a favor done to us. Our leadership has, up to this day, used the surplus church money in war loans, in the firm hope that, with God's help, Germany will come off victorious in this terrible struggle. Everywhere our members are giving their help in the fulfillment of their duty to provide the necessary means for the Fatherland. The Adventist men are practically all in the field or in the army service, faithfully fulfilling their duties, and, as a recognition by the Fatherland, they expect just and equitable treatment."-Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, April 12. 1918.

2. Stuttgart Paper, Germany (September 26, 1918)

"At the beginning of the war there were some members, as there are some also in other places, who did not want to take part in war service, either for lack of unanimity or because of fanaticism. They started to spread around their ideas in the congregation orally and in writing, trying to induce others to do the same J thing. They were warned by the church, but because of their obstinacy they had to be put out, for they became a threat to internal and external peace."-Stuttgarter Neues Tageblatt, September 26, 1918. .

3. Article by Lutheran Minister

"Divisions among Adventists

"In strong opposition to the official Adventist Church, the International Missionary Society of the SDA Reform Movement was formed in 1915 with headquarters in Wuerzburg. The cause [of this separation] was a booklet entitled Der Christ und der Krieg [The Christian and War] published by the official leader ship of the Adventists during the war. This booklet was to be given only to church members and was to be concealed from the public. It explained that strict observance of the Sabbath commandment was not required during the war, and, therefore, that it was all right to fight on the Sabbath; and it also brought out that the commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill,' was not in force during the war. When one thinks how unconditional Sabbathkeeping is required at other times,-declarations by Mrs. White, who is reverenced as a 'prophetess,' and by German Adventist leader Conradi prove this sufficiently, one should be surprised at the suspension of such an important commandment. This can be explained by the fact that ruthless proceedings on the part of the State were feared. As can be seen, however, this publication caused a split. The Wuerzburg line is now using against the official Adventists the same expressions which are often used against the church (Babylon . . .). On top of that, other points also do act a part. The Wuerzburg Adventists also take a strict stand on health reform; they condemn meat eating, vaccination, and similar things. In their publication, Revival and Reformation, under the title "A Terrible Apostasy" they present more detailed accusations against the old form of Adventism. To us this controversy is instructive in so far as it shows that even Adventists have failed to stand on a legalistic and literal conception of the Bible. A strong weapon against the church has thus been snatched from their hands." -Pastor D. Steinlein, Allgemeine Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirchenzeitung, No. 37, 1925 [Ansbach, Germany].

Remark: Some of the details in this article are inaccurate. Examples: The Reform Movement was formed in 1914, not in 1915. Its headquarters were established in Wuerzburg, in 1915. The Reform Movement came into existence before the mentioned booklet (Der Christ und der Krieg) was written. Not the booklet, but the problem discussed in the booklet, caused a separation at the beginning of the great crisis. When the "German Union" of the SDA reformers was first incorporated, in 1919, "Reform Movement" was not part of the name officially adopted at that time.

4. Article in Catholic Paper

"In 1914 two percent of the members were disfellowshiped from the German Seventh-day Adventist Church, because they declared that participation in war service, and that on the Sabbath (Saturday), cannot be reconciled with the Adventist doctrine."Paulinus, March 9, 1953.

Outsiders have written about this problem among the Adventist people, not only in Germany, but also in other countries Therefore, it is not possible to pretend that everything went its normal way during World War I. The great crisis, the shaking (separation), and the new position adopted by the church (see Study 13), cannot be ignored, hushed up, or explained away. The problem is still there. And the effort to vilify the origin of the SDA Reform Movement, by associating it with some extremists and fanatics, does not do justice to the truth. Fair and unbiased references to the Reform Movement have been rare in the official publications of the Adventist Church.

Only after L. R. Conradi had left the Adventist Church was a more balanced and acceptable explanation given, in a denominational publication, as follows:

"In truth the 'reform movement' mentioned by Mr. Meier sprang into being in Germany during the World War, while Mr. Conradi was the leader of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in the whole of Europe. The movement as it is today and has been since it came into existence, is the practical protest of a large number of Seventh-day Adventists, not against the teachings of the denomination, but against the high-handed actions of this very man Conradi and of a few others who were associated with him in his leadership of the church in Europe.... The departure of these people was not from 'a lot of gross errors and a dominating hierarchy,' but from Conradi's leadership which had committed them, without their voice or consent being given to his action, to the cannon and the bayonet of the battlefield. From the hour that he so basely betrayed them, they have had absolutely no faith in him either as a man, a minister, or a leader in the church of God."-Brown Exposes Ballenger [Southern Publishing Assn.], p. 30

 

IX-BETWEEN WORLD WAR I AND WORLD WAR II

The serious condition which found its way into the Adventist Church during the first world war, when combatancy was permitted or even encouraged, was regrettably left without correction. But what really complicated matters was the new denominational stand officially adopted during, and confirmed after the war-that church members are free to serve their country according to their own convictions, both in time of peace and time of war. (Read Study 13.) And, as a matter of fact, Adventists acted in harmony with this new stand, in different places, after World War I. Examples:

1. In the Soviet Union

During their fifth general assembly in Russia, the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church declared:

"The Soviet Government is actually endeavoring to ensure our full freedom of conscience, permitting us to fulfill our duty toward the State according to our conscientious convictions before God and before the Soviet Government. The doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventists grants their members freedom of conscience in this question, and does not give them any instruction as to how they should act, inasmuch as each individual must be responsible for himself in regard to the military question, in accordance with his own conscience. The Seventh-day Adventist Conference, moreover, does not forbid its members to render military service if their conscience permits them to do so." -Report of the Fifth General Assembly of Seventh-day Adventists, Moscow, August 16-23, 1924.

The following declaration was made during the sixth general assembly of Adventists in Russia:

"1. Based on the teachings of the Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments: 1 Sam. 8:10-12; 10:25; Luke 20:25; Rom. 13:1-6 and Titus 3:1), which show that the authorities are ordained of God to protect the faithful and punish the wicked, and having in view the declaration of the Fifth General Assembly of Seventh-day Adventists, where our relationship to the Soviet Government was clearly outlined in 1924, this Sixth Assembly of Seventh-day Adventists, 1928, declares and decides that SDA's are required to render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and to God that which belongs to God. This means that they are to serve the State in the army and render all forms of service, according to the established rule for all citizens.

"This assembly regards as false teachers all those who teach contrary to this decision and who try to induce the people not to perform their duties toward the State. Those doing so act contrary to the Holy Scriptures and separate themselves from the united church of God, placing themselves outside the Seventh-day Adventist organization.

"2. We draw the attention of our members to the fact that the peril of our church does not come from other denominations or beliefs, but from an organization which has departed from us as mentioned in Acts 20:30 and 1 John 2:19. Therefore, we recommend to all our members: Separate yourselves from the false Reformers who wrongly call themselves Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. They are led astray by wrong ideas of godliness and cause division among the fold of Christ.

"The apostle Paul advised the believers to beware of such ( Rom. 16:17; Gal. 5:7-9).

"We must take this stand against such a corrupt teaching, that they may know they are not our brethren, but branches that were cut off from God's olive tree. Let us break all relationship and brotherhood with them so that they may feel ashamed (2 Thess. 3:14) and find repentance." -Report of the Sixth General Assembly of Seventh-day Adventists, Moscow, May 12-19, 1928.

2. In Romania

The following declaration was submitted by the Adventist Church to the Ministry of Public Worship and Education in 1923:

"It is true that at the mobilization in 1914, and also during the war, 1916-1918, all Seventh-day Adventists, numbering many| hundreds, reported themselves. Their officers have in many instances praised them, testifying to their faithful service rendered during the time of the war....

"If there are any who refuse to take the oath or decline to bear arms and do military service, then these either belong to another sect or do not belong to any, but interpret the Bible according to their own understanding."-Memorial Acts, p. 18.

In 1924, the Romanian Union issued a publication authored by its president, P. P. Paulini, stating:

"Doing military service and taking part in war does not involve a covenant with the world, nor is it equivalent to taking sides with Babylon. Participation in war is a mere civil duty. As far as the war service is concerned, our young men will perform' their duties also on the Sabbath."-Prophecy, p. 41.

3. In Yugoslavia

In 1925 the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Yugoslavia published a book setting forth their beliefs and practices, in which they explained their stand as follows:

"In Regard to Military Duties

"1 Sam. 10:25; 8:11, 12; Rom. 13 quoted.

"According to the Bible standard, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,' Adventist Christians fulfill all their duties, including their military duties.

"They conscientiously serve the army with arms in time of peace as well as in time of war. In the world war a great number of Adventist Christians proved so prominent in the battlefield that their breasts are decorated with the highest war and military medals.

"Let photos and army records of some of the Adventist soldiers on pages 112, 114, 116, and 117 serve as proof of the above statement."-Adventisam [Adventism], pp. 53, 54.

As a matter of fact, on pages 112-114 of the same book, for example, they show how a man (in this case a church elder) can be a good Adventist and a valiant warrior at the same time. Here is the story:

"In the Service of the King and the Fatherland

"As great-grandson of Vujice Vulicevica, who is the godfather of the brave Duke Karadzardza, who in turn is the great-grandfather of our beloved King Alexander, I entered the army on January 1st, 1914, with the 7th Infantry Regiment. After six months I was transferred to 9th Military Academy Regiment in which I remained until the war with Austria. Then our Regiment was dissolved and I was transferred to the machine-gun department of the 18th regiment where I tasted all that was good and bad in Albania, Crete, France, and at the Thessalonian front, while fighting for the freedom of the Fatherland.

"The Advent hope gave me much more love towards the Fatherland and the Serbian nation and made me a fearless warrior. My commander, Jovan Leko, who then was a first captain, and who is now a lieutenant-colonel of the Kings Guard and professor at the Military Academy in Belgrade, liked me especially because of this.

"One time ammunitions had to be supplied and someone had to go to bring them. No one was willing to go and expose himself to certain death. Then, finally, my commander sent me, knowing that I feared nothing but God, and that I was quite faithful to my oath of loyalty towards the king and the Fatherland.

"The assignment was completed with great success and, as a reward, I received the colonets commendation, was promoted to the rank of corporal, and also received a silver medal for bravery.

"Between January 7th and 10th, in the year 1917, his excellency, the heir to the throne, Alexander, visited our regiment at Elvish and asked to meet the best and most courageous soldier in I our regiment. My commander then called me and introduced me to his excellency, who then awarded me a gold medal. These awards still decorate my chest, and I carry them with pride and respect.

"Later I received two more awards, one for loyalty to the Fatherland in 1915 and another for the 1915-1918 period.

"Then I was transferred from the 18th to the 7th regiment, from which I was discharged." (Sgd.) Zivadin Branko Vulicevica, Azanja, August 30, 1925.

It is not our purpose here to cast contempt on this man, since s he was acting in accordance with the position maintained by the church. In the light of the third angel's message, however, we s have no option but to say that such procedure is evidently a direct transgression of the law of God. When an individual member takes a wrong stand, we say, "That man is wrong." But when the church takes an indefensible course and boasts about it by using ' confirmatory examples from among her own members, then it, becomes evident that the church is off the right track. r

As the result of the new stand taken by the church in connection with military service, open violation of the law of God, especially of the fourth commandment, came to be looked upon as of little consequence in the denominational ranks, particularly in certain areas. Hereunder is a good example:

 

"Difficulties in Europe

"It is hard to believe, but there [in Europe] the lack of liberty is a real problem. Not even in one country of our Division are the children allowed to attend the Sabbath school. All of them are 5 enrolled in public schools, except those whose parents can pay tuition for their children in private schools. In some of the countries private schools are not permitted.

"In one country, Yugoslavia, children have to produce baptismal certificates in order to attend school. Therefore, all Adventist children are baptized by a Catholic priest so they can obtain a baptismal certificate.

"In practically all countries military service is compulsory by law. All young men have to be under arms for one and a half to three years. They cannot even dream of keeping the Sabbath. Military service takes the young people in their most impressive age and places them under the most unfavorable conditions, without any religious help. Some of our brethren show a true character by obeying God. In some countries all army units have to listen to Catholic preaching and attend mass. These conditions seem to be real obstacles to the development of a Christian character."-La Revista Adventista [SDA paper published in Argentina], November 1937, last page.

4. In Germany

From an article published in an Adventist church paper in Germany we quote:

"There have always been Christians who have tried to extend their love for their enemies beyond the obligations that we have toward ourselves and toward others. They have gone so far as to think that any fight for truth, rights, and property is sin; that it is not permitted to present a case before the judge in court; and that any defensive combat is a crime. This concept is wrong. Should all men maintain this idea, then, of course, lost paradise would soon be restored to mankind. Yet this condition will never be reached so long as Satan and sin rule the world. Where there are differences of opinion and knowledge in connection with a certain subject, or where the rage of animal passions controls brutal men, there is also contention. .; . Therefore, the authorities are necessary for the protection of rights and property against evil encroachments. Where, however, among nations ruled by different laws, a legal decision cannot be brought about, each side tries to enforce its rights by force. For, where rights are not respected any more, one cannot be sure of one's life.

"For this reason, the soldier goes to the battlefield, faces the enemy, and fights with him for the freedom, the rights, and the property of the Fatherland. Thereby he fulfills a holy duty. For the sake of future safety, he tries to render the enemy harmless through the destruction of his forces. But even in the middle of the battle the soldier can show Christian love: toward the disarmed [adversary] he uses kindness, toward the conquered [foe] he uses mercy, toward the prisoners he uses compassion. In this way he does for the good of his enemies all things that he would desire for himself if he were in their unfortunate position."-Der Adventbote [SDA paper published in Germany], October 15, 1927.

In a booklet prepared by Hilda Jost, head of the Welfare Work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany, and published by the Adventist publishing house in Hamburg, Germany, 1935, faithfulness in the fulfillment of military duties was urged upon the members. This was the instruction:

"He who despises true Christianity is also hostile to the welfare work, being therefore an enemy of the State. All those who spread unbelief under any form hurt the precious possessions of the nation. Taking Christianity away from our people is cutting the root of the tree of our national life. It is the realization of Christianity that gives our people their peculiar national character. On the other hand the State has a right to count on the spiritual, physical and material powers of its citizens. The State must not wait to see if, in the hour of danger and need, some will volunteer to take up arms. The State must watch all the time so that the nation will be fully armed to repulse every s enemy beyond its borders and subdue every rebel against the laws in the country. Whoever refuses to render this service to the Fatherland acts dishonorably and severs his connection with the nation as a whole.

"The State must watch and protect the honor of the nation. Therefore, the State is vested with God-given authority, which is the focal point of its righteous constitution. In this way liberty and order are guaranteed, and from this arrangement every individual receives the greatest blessing." Unser Dienst am Volk [Our Service to the People], p. 12.

5. In South America

At the beginning of the Chaco War (1932-1935) between 3 Bolivia and Paraguay, the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bolivia reported that the Adventist people in Bolivia were going through a great test. He wrote:

"At this time hundreds of our members, including teachers, evangelists, and lay members, are found in the battle line. All those to whom I could speak before their departure I advised to take their own Bibles in their pockets and also New Testaments for missionary work in the trenches. We are waiting for interesting I reports to see how God protects His faithful ones in this war, so that we may be able to convey the news to the brethren. During the four weeks I was absent from Bolivia on holiday at Melendo, Peru, I heard that many other teachers and evangelists had to leave our churches and church schools to take up military duties at the front. We are sorry that it so happened, still we have confidence in the Lord and we know that He is able to use our brethren for the preaching of the truth, even in such places where they now are. When our sons reach military age they must march to the battle line, but their aged parents remain behind with their younger brothers, consecrating their lives to God."-Revista Adventista [SDA paper published in Bolivia], December 5, 1932.

In these examples, we have not only a wrong practice unfortunately sanctioned by the church, but, what is worse, we also have a new doctrinal stand which cannot be harmonized with the requirements of the law of God. According to this new stand, a church member can serve as a combatant, performing his military duties at the front, and still be an Adventist. As far as we can see, the statement that God regards the Adventist combatants as "His faithful ones in war" is a self-contradiction containing a very misleading doctrinal idea.

In an effort to answer our objections, some have said that "Reformers are dealing with ancient history." Maybe they do not realize what their argument actually implies. Are they virtually suggesting that an apostasy which, instead of being removed, is allowed to become deep-rooted, must finally be overlooked, or regarded as an innocent condition, because it has become "hoary with age"? Those who are inclined to reason this way have never been able to tell us why they do not, by the same token, dismiss much older apostasies, such as the Sabbath-Sunday change. Was that only a local and temporary controversy raised by Joseph Bates? We would not use the documentary evidences showing what the church did during the first world war, if the problem had actually been corrected. If a genuine repentance had taken place, as it was claimed, then the apostasy would have been eradicated. But we see it taking deeper roots, growing, and bearing fruit, after World War I. Therefore, we cannot remain silent. We must show the beginning, the development, and the final consequences of this new doctrinal position.

 

X-DURING WORLD WAR II

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he ordered a full-scale rearmament and proceeded to carry out his schemes of conquest. The Nazi doctrine demanded that Germany become once more a great military power. This made it evident that World War II was not far off.

After World War I, it was said that the church would not repeat the mistake made in 1914-1918. Yet evidences showed, to our great disappointment, that they were still pursuing the same course. Finally another world war broke out and our Adventist brethren were given a new opportunity to prove themselves, standing either for or against the law of God. If they were actually sorry for what they had done during and after the first world war, they had an excellent chance, now, to redeem their past failure. The declarations quoted hereunder, from their own writings, will show how they acted.

1. In Germany

"We are now in the midst of a storm of world-shaking events....

"We should never expect that the principles of the kingdom of God will ever become a reality in the kingdoms of the world. They have their own legislations, also according to the will of God. Otherwise the Scriptures would not speak of the State as being ordained by God. Therefore, we submit, both willingly and cheerfully, to any service required of us. To those who shall lose their lives by so doing the words may be applied: 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' John 15:13). Let us remember our combatants, and especially our brethren who are risking their lives for their country and for those who are left behind. We will also pray for the Fuehrer and his coworkers." -Der Adventbote [SDA paper published in Germany], October 1, 1939.

"While our brothers, fathers and sons beyond the borders were engaged in the fiercest battle, hurrying from victory to victory, for the greatness and future of the Fatherland, we felt the intervention of God in the world, in the events witnessed these last few weeks. In still adoration, we thank God, Who, in His wise providence, gave the Fuehrer to our people.

"In the meantime, we cannot, nay, we do not want to, stand still. This we proved in the past, and now we are proving it again, because it is a holy decision to put the will of God into action The pride which we as fellow Germans take in the great victories of our soldiers, is for us a new incentive to imitate them at the home front and to use our strength most conscientiously for the victory."Was tun die Adventisten in der Wohlfahrtsphlege? [SDA Welfare Report for 1939, Germany].

"We will never forget the moment in which the enforcement of the armistice with France was announced to us....

'We picked up courage, we set to work, and- as we stood before the need-we fought like never before. And God has turned the balance of destiny to our favor.... Germany believes in making human sacrifices to the very limits of our capabilities, and also believes in a God Who is blessing our human battle. This sentiment was expressed in joyful yet humble words, and it was implanted in our hearts as it was sung in holy melodies and as it was rung from the belfries. And it will remain to the very last stage of the battle, which will bring us the victory over the last opponent and then we will have peace.

"How glorious is the hour of victory! We, who were once ignominiously deceived concerning victory and righteous peace, have now tasted it with quiet and deep rejoicing, yet without any arrogance.... This is not just a hypocritically pious phraseology; it is a declaration made with a sense of responsibility before God....

"Fighting and sacrificing will still be necessary. What for? Well, this is clear enough. To think about the victory means to think about mighty tasks. A people that could not be intimidated by any armed enemies or threats, will not shrink back from the last efforts on the way to the goal, nor from the future tasks, no matter how great they are. We have been put in this world to fight and to work...." -Der Adventbote [SDA paper published in Germany], July 15, 1940.

"We, soldiers of the front, have left our homes and our trades, and are here to defend the country on these far advanced posts." -Der Adventbote (SDA paper published in Germany), June 1, 1941.

"Today we are living in great and stirring times, in which our destiny lies before the weightiest decisions and tasks. We are in the midst of a frightful and total war. This battle is of course being fought directly and mainly by our soldiers abroad, at the front, but as this is an all-out struggle, the whole nation takes part in it. All fellow Germans are fighters to the same degree, and all must therefore act and fight as soldiers in the fullest sense of the word. They must be brave, cautious, self-sacrificing, and show a sense of duty, as if the outcome depended on each one individually. In this way, the victory is equally implanted in the heart of each one of us. At whichever post we may be, we must prove, every day and every hour, that we are valiant warriors, worthy of our heroic brethren in the battlefield. Only one thought should rule us today: How can I help secure the victory? Toward this goal we should direct all our commissions and omissions, all our speaking and our silence, all our desires and demands. This most extensive war requires of all fellow Germans the utmost and greatest efforts throughout a time of expectation, endurance, sacrifice and fighting."–Gegenwarts-FEagen [SDA paper published in Germany], November 7, 1941.

2. In Romania

"Only those who have had the experience can understand, what it means to keep up the work of our institutions and of our organized state conferences, and to keep them running, when many of our men have been drafted.

"In Romania, for instance, the president of the Union, the presidents of the state conferences, the secretary-treasurers, the departmental men, the ministers, the canvassers, the leaders and employees of the institutions, as well as the church officers, had to leave their posts now and again to answer the call of the country. Many of them have been in the army all the time since the beginning of the war. Only God knows how long they will continue there.... In some state conferences the whole body of canvassers, including the leaders, have been drafted.... If our ministers could have remained in their positions, instead of being in the army, the numbers [of those baptized] would be much larger."-La Revista Adventista [SDA paper published in Argentina], March 1941.

3. In the Soviet Union

"I am glad, Brother Branson, to report that our work in the Lord's vineyard was crowned with success in these last years, and we are quite happy about it. The war that hit us in our beloved country complicated the situation of our work. Many brethren have gone to the front to defend the Fatherland.... At the same time we are helping with all our might to hasten the day of final victory over the enemy.... Your brother in Christ, (sgd.) G.A. Grigorieff." Botschafter [SDA paper, in German, published by Pacific Press Publishing Association], January 1, 1943.

4. In Australia

"lf Australia were invaded, they [the SDA's] would fight to the last man in defense of their country and beliefs, Mr. E. B. Rudge, Australian president of the Movement, told 'Smith's' " -Smith's Weekly (Australia), January 25, 1941.

5. In the Philippines

"I have had the privilege to work for God in the Philippine Islands for several years before the last world war, as principal of the Philippine Union College.

"When World War II involved the Philippines, the young men were called to defend their country.... Would their souls be strengthened for the trial that every one must face? Would they be prepared to go and face the enemy and die?

"Thousands of Philippino young men marched to Bataan and to death. I saw them waving their hands when they departed full of courage, not even thinking that most of them would never come back. Very soon they found themselves in the midst of the forests and mountains of Bataan, engaged in that terrible battle, caught between life and death. For over three months, day and night one could hear and see the battle from the college. There, the few teachers and students that were left would meet, pray, wait, watch, think and cherish the hope that their children and friends would be faithful, loyal, and would still live."-Revista Adventista [SDA paper published in Brazil], March 1947.

6. In China

"A true Christian soldier....

"As soon as his duties permitted it, he [Colonel Djang] looked for the Adventist church. Week after week he associated with the brethren to worship God....

"Soon after the foreign armies invaded China, companies of the Chinese army hurried to resist the invaders. Colonel Djang was sent with his men to the terrible battle around Shanghai. As an Adventist officer it was not easy for him to fulfill his daily duties, at the 'front' as well as in the trenches, and yet live according to the Christian principles. Nevertheless, Colonel Djang decided to be faithful and do his best to transmit the present truth to his subordinates. Not long after this there was a considerable number of soldiers taking part in the morning worship, and there was a larger group, still, attending the Sabbath school which was held weekly.

"In an impressive way the Lord heard the prayer of His servant. He got permission to withdraw with his men far away from the firing line every Friday to a place where they could rest and keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath school there was different from any other in the whole world, being conducted under peril and varying circumstances....

"For two years they held Sabbath school meetings without lesson pamphlets, but he instructed the members in the biblical truths as best he could. He took with him a copy of 'Biblical Doctrines to help him in the preparation of his studies and his biblical sermons....

"Colonel Diang's wife, who was able to accompany him recently to the front, is now the superintendent of the 'Sabbath School of the Front.' A Bible class is also being conducted for the soldiers. Let us pray for this Christian soldier, who is faithful to the banner of Prince Immanuel, fighting both for the earthly and the heavenly Fatherland." O Missionario Trimestral [quarterly compilation prepared by the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists], Portuguese edition (published in Brazil), October-December 1940.

As can be seen, again the new doctrinal position maintains that an Adventist, while being faithful to the banner of Christ, may go to the front as a combatant.

7. In the United States

"The Adventist Youth and the Second World War.

"To me that was one of the most beautiful and touching programs of the congress. At the sound of trumpets 100 war veterans, in uniform, marched up to the platform. Then the American flag was brought to the platform, escorted by honor-guards and accompanied by the National Anthem, which was sung by the big congregation attending the congress. Items on the agenda and quotations were read in which famous high ranking military officers, such as McArthur, were telling of the heroism, bravery and dedication of the Adventist youth in the theater of war-men who had exposed their lives to save other lives in the medical service. It was impossible to curb one's tears when a young Adventist, crippled in the war, was brought onto the platform in a wheelchair pushed by a nurse. But the strongest emotion was very deeply felt when a white, very white, cross was placed in the center of the platform, beside the flag of the country. A young girl dressed in black placed a bunch of flowers at the foot of the cross, symbolizing the pain of the Adventist mothers, wives and brides for their beloved ones who had fallen in the war, serving their country as Christians. The trumpet sounds were softened. Thrilling! Indescribable! There is no doubt that the Adventist youth is the best in the world, the best in peace and war."-Revista Adventista [SDA paper published in Brazil], February 1948.

It has been said that "The Reformers came to the incorrect conclusion that the General Conference had approved the apostasy of the European leaders" (1914-1918), and that they should have contacted the General Conference "to verify whether their conclusions were correct," but they "chose not to do so." Those who make such statements are still missing the point. We believe in repentance, confession, and correction. Repentance and confession are genuine only if followed by the forsaking of sins (AA 324) in a work of thorough reformation (4T 189). If the same sins are continually repeated, and tolerated by the General Conference, then it is evident that there was no genuine repentance and that the so-called "confession" made was nothing but a farce. We don't have to ask the General Conference for information, because, with our own eyes, we can see what is going on in reality.

 

XI-AFTER WORLD WAR II

After the second world war the new doctrinal position became generally accepted in the Adventist Church-that an Adventist can serve his country, both in time of peace and in time of war, according to his personal conviction, and still be an Adventist. Today hardly any church member will protest against this stand. The following quotations, mostly from denominational publications, will supply a clear picture of the present situation:

"It is known that the members of our church serve in the army and partake in the defense of the Fatherland like all other citizens of Yugoslavia. Our believers fulfill all their military duties and are ready to serve in the defense of the country by all means, because the Holy Scriptures do not prohibit them from doing so."Declaration made by Rados Dedic, SDA leader in Yugoslavia, Nedelne Inforrnativne Novine [weekly newspaper published in Yugoslavia], May 4, 1952,

"In the different Divisions of the American Armed Forces, whether in Germany, Japan, or Korea, whether in barracks, trenches, or vessels of the Navy, we meet Adventist soldiers."Der Adventbote [SDA paper published in Germany], August 15, 1952.

"What literature can our boys in Korea, Japan, or Germany use to do missionary work? The International Service Commission has prepared a series of missionary pamphlets for this purpose, and has already sent many thousands to the armed forces through military chaplains and our own servicemen." RH Aug. 28, 1952.

"The number of Adventist servicemen grows daily. The number on duty in Vietnam grows daily. The Government has opened to the church additional assignments of chaplains to take care of the growing number of Adventist servicemen." RH Dec. 23, 1965.

"Nation after nation today is calling on its manpower to meet the situation it is faced with in a restless world. Most of these manpower needs are for military service. Virtually every nation is building up its military forces for defense. Volunteers to fill the ranks are urgently sought, and when these are not sufficient a draft or conscription process is resorted to.

"Seventh-day Adventist youth by the thousands are being called into the military forces of their countries through these conscriptive processes. As loyal citizens they respond willingly, though sometimes apprehensively, when called upon to discharge their military obligations. They recognize that the responsibilities of citizenship should fall equally on all who benefit from civil government." RH Dec. 15, 1966.

"Adventist youth today are serving their country in the military forces under many different flags and varied circumstances. RH Dec. 29, 1966.

"Though draft calls have been greatly reduced and troop assignments overseas have been cut back, we still have a large number of men serving in uniform. Among these are many young Adventists whom the church must not forget."-Pacific Union Recorder, May 22, 1972.

"There have been three trends in the United States Armed Forces over the past several months that could have some significance for Seventh-day Adventists. First, the number of those drafted is low-approaching the zero draft scheduled for the middle of the year. Second, there is a sharp increase in the number of those with Seventh-day Adventist background entering the Armed Forces voluntarily. Third, there have been more church members with difficult Sabbath problems in their military duty than there have been for many years."-Pacific Union Recorder, January 29, 1973.

"A few years ago, when the Vietnam war was in progress, very few wanted to go into military service. Since the war ended, however, there has been a change in the thinking of many, even to the extent that a number of Seventh-day Adventist young men and women are enlisting in the Armed Forces."-Pacific Union Recorder, June 23, 1975.

"In the mountains of Burma, Karen rebels take their fight for freedom as seriously as their religion. For hundreds of orphans who join the guerillas, it's a case of onward Christian soldiers.

"At 16 they can volunteer for the revolutionary army to fight the Burmese Buddhists, but even children as young as 12 swap their toys for automatic rifles and army fatigues.

"Led by a devout Seventh Day Adventist, General Bo Mya, the Karens continue a 34-year struggle for an autonomous state in Burma, which has been largely ignored or forgotten among the world's flashpoints.

"And children who march on prayers and hymn are paying with their lives in what has developed into a religious war.

"Bo Mya is a puritanical Christian who attends daily prayer meetings -that's how the Karens have sustained their optimism through years of bloodshed."-People [Australian newspaper published in Melbourne], January 30, 1984.

More quotations are not needed. What we have read is sufficient to prove that participation in the Armed Forces, both in time of peace and of war, is now endorsed by the leaders, even in official publications, in harmony with the new teachings of the church.

 

XII-PRESENT STAND OF THE SDA CHURCH

A comparison between the original stand and the present stand of the SDA Church toward the question under discussion shows an important change, as sufficiently proven. And this change is a serious matter because it affects the law of God. After the SDA Church was organized, it was understood that nonparticipation was the only position consistent with the law of God. Today, however, according to the teachings of the church, you may participate if your convictions tell you to do so. It is a matter of personal choice. Examples:

1. The Council of the European Division announced the following resolution made at Gland, Switzerland, January 2, 1923:

"We grant to each of our church members absolute liberty to serve his country at all times and in all places, in accord with the dictates of his personal conscientious convictions."-The Review and Herald, March 6, 1924 (Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, pp. 346, 347)

2. Instructions to this effect have been issued as follows:

"Seventh-day Adventists, classified by their Government as noncombatants, are willing to put their all into the war effort as they advance side by side with their fellow soldiers, to meet the enemy and if necessary die for country and for God.... And the teachings of the Master have convinced them that it is not only a duty but a privilege to serve in the defense of their country. It is the rendering unto God of their all that compels them to be patriotic and loyal to their country." YI March 20, 1951.

"Though our Adventist ideal for our youth in war is that of noncombatancy, we do not take a dogmatic position on this. Accordingly, we do not disfellowship the youth who does not enter the armed services as a noncombatant. Far from it. We follow him into the armed services with our prayers. We recognize that as regards this and some other questions in the realm of Christian duty and interpretation of the Scriptures, there will probably never be full agreement. Some matters must be left to the individual conscience." RH Feb. 28, 1963.

"Individual conscience is held supreme at all times and it is therefore possible for an Adventist young man to be either a combatant or a conscientious objector and still be an Adventist." Bulletin issued by West Australian Conference, Sept. 25, 1967.

"Seventh-day Adventists of the United States are registered with our Government as noncombatants.... The church does not attempt to dictate to its members individually, but each person must stand upon his own conscientious convictions.... The last paragraph [of the document] leaves the final decision to the conscientious convictions of the individual involved whether he takes the 1-A, 1-A-O, or the 1-O classification. However, the teachings of the church are still the 1-A-O classification. Harry Garlick, Area Representative, National Service Organization.- "Pacific Union Recorder, November 16, 1970.

Remark: 1-A stands for Active Service

1-A-O stands for Noncombatant

1-O stands for Total Objectors (Nonparticipants)

"Genuine Christianity manifests itself in good citizenship and loyalty to civil government. The breaking out of war among men in no way alters the Christian's supreme allegiance and responsibility to God or modifies his obligation to practice his beliefs and put God first.

"This partnership with God through Jesus Christ who came into the world not to destroy men's lives but to save them cause Seventh-day Adventists to advocate a noncombatant position....

"The above statement is not a rigid position binding church members but gives guidance, leaving the individual member free to assess the situation for himself.

"1. For members in the United States, the counsel of the church is that the above action is best reflected at present by the l-A-O classification (military service as a noncombatant)....

"2. A member in the United States making his personal decision on how to fulfill his obligated term of service to the country shall first consider the historic teaching of the church on noncombatancy which could lead him to choose the l-A-O classification. If because of personal convictions he chooses to seek other than a l-A-O classification, his pastor, teacher, or other church worker should aid him in satisfying the legal requirements for securing the classification of his choice....

"a) For those choosing the 1-0 classification (civilian alternative service in lieu of military service), pastoral guidance and counsel should be provided....

"b) For those who conscientiously choose the 1-A classification (military service as a combatant), pastoral guidance and counsel should be provided in ministering to their needs since the Church refrains from passing judgment on them."-1972 ANNUAL COUNCIL (NAD), "The Relationship of Seventh-day Adventists to Civil Government and War."

"Would a Seventh-day Adventist lose his membership if he became a regular soldier? No. While the church position is that of noncombatancy, the individual must make his own decision in this matter, and the church respects the conscience of those who choose to bear arms." ST [Australian], Jan. 3, 1972.

"Particularly in the leaflet Military Service and You, you will notice that the matter of noncombatancy is not a test of church fellowship, consequently as you have indicated it does not appear in the Church Manual or on your baptismal certificate. This is a point in which the church feels each individual member should make his own choice. The church will offer pastoral support and assistance to all members whether they choose the position of pacifism (complete abstinence from violence), noncombatancy (refusing to train or use weapons) or combat service."-Letter by C. D. Martin, Associate Director of the Seventh-day Adventist National Service Organization, dated June 24, 1975.

When all the facts mentioned in this booklet are taken into consideration, it cannot be maintained that, from the Civil War (1861-1865) until today, there has been no change in the stand of the SDA Church toward military service and participation in war, in the light of the law of God. There has evidently been a change. The church recommends noncombatant participation (or conscientious cooperation), but makes it clear that the final decision is up to the individual. Since it was officially declared that every individual member is free to choose how he wants to serve his country, both in time of peace and in time of war, the direct involvement which has characterized the Adventist Church in different places, after World War I, must be considered as an unavoidable consequence. Unions and members have acted according to the new stand of the church.

 

XIII-CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION vs. CONSCIENTIOUS COOPERATION

According to official publications, SDA's declared themselves noncombatants toward the end of the Civil War (1864-1865), and during World War (1914-1918), and again during World War II (1939-1945). "We have been noncombatants throughout our history," they say, trying to give the impression that they have not changed their position in connection with this principle. Evidences, however, show the very opposite.

At the End of the Civil War

In 1864 and 1865 the Adventists declared their position as follows (F. M. Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, pp. 58, 62, 24):

"The denomination of Christians calling themselves Seventh-day Adventists, taking the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, are unanimous in their views that its teachings are contrary to the spirit and practice of war; hence, they have ever been conscientiously opposed to bearing arms." (August 3, 1864).

"I understand the proper course for our brethren in case of draft.... [T]hey are conscientiously opposed to bearing arms.... [W]e are a noncombatant people...." (August 24, 1864.)

"We are compelled to decline all participation in acts of war and bloodshed...." (May 23, 1865.)

In those days, common usage of terms ordinarily understood "noncombatancy," "nonparticipation," and "conscientious objection" as interchangeable.

From "conscientious convictions founded upon the ten commandments" SDA's were "opposed to engaging in war", so they availed themselves of "the exemption clause in the enrollment law, which applies to those who are opposed to war from religious and conscientious convictions."-F. M. Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in time of War, p. 64.

"Up to July, 1864, the exemption was available to all, but after that date only conscientious objectors could claim it. The church leaders at once sought and obtained a ruling from the provost marshal in Washington, D.C., instructing all deputy marshals that Seventh-day Adventist men should be considered noncombatants." The Story of Our Church, p. 496.

The enactment signed by the Provost Marshal General in Washington, D.C., September 26, 1864, reads:

"That members of religious denominations, who shall by oath or affirmation declare that they are conscientiously opposed to the bearing of arms, and who are prohibited from doing so by the rules and articles of faith and practice of said religious denominations, shall, when drafted into the military service, be considered noncombatants, and shall be assigned by the Secretary of War to duty in the hospital, or to the care of freedmen, or shall pay the sum of three hundred dollars to such person as the Secretary of War shall designate to receive it, to be applied to the benefit of the sick and wounded soldiers." F. M. Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, p. 61.

This is how Seventh-day Adventists, when drafted, obtained their exemption in those days.

Those Adventists who, instead of availing themselves of the existing exemption clause, decided to enlist into the service of war, were disfellowshipped. We quote from The Review and Herald:

"As voluntary enlistment into the service of war is contrary to the principle of faith and practice of Seventh-day Adventists as contained in the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, they cannot retain those within their communion who so enlist." RH March 7, 1865.

In Recent Wars

When the Adventists in the United States were directly affected by World War I, they renewed their declaration of noncombatancy but adopted some fundamental changes.

"At the meeting of the executive committee of the North American Division Conference, held in Huntsville, Alabama, April 18, 1917, the action of the General Conference of 1865 in making declaration of noncombatancy, was adopted as expressing the principles of the Seventh-day Adventists of the North I American Division Conference. This declaration was filed with the War Department at Washington, April 26, 1917, and published in the Review and Herald, June 14, 1917."-F. M. Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, p. 84.

In the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), noncombatants were conscientious objectors, and, as such, they did not go to war. From what was considered in previous pages, we already know that SDA's, declaring themselves to be "noncombatants," declined "all participation" in acts of war and bloodshed. But, since World War I (1914-1918), the concept of noncombatancy has assumed a new meaning.

The Review and Herald of June 14, 1917, informed that Congress had passed a law exempting certain classes from draft, but made it clear, by stating the exemption clause, that "no person so exempted shall be exempted from service in any capacity that the President shall declare to be noncombatant" (Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, p. ll0). A document issued by the War Service Commission of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, entitled "Regulations and Instructions for Noncombatants," made known that "noncombatant service," as defined by the President of the U.S.A., includes the following: "Service in the Medical Corps wherever performed. This includes service in the sanitary detachments attached to combatant units at the front; ... Any service in the Quartermaster Corps.... Any engineer service.... Also, in rear of zone of operations, service as follows: Railroad building, operation, and repair; road building and repair; construction of rearline fortifications, auxiliary defenses, etc.; construction of docks, wharves, storehouses, and of such cantonments as may be built by the Corps of Engineers; topographical work; camouflage; map reproduction; supply depot service; repair service; hydraulic service; and forestry service."-Ibid., p. 126.

Since a distinction was created between conscientious objection and conscientious cooperation, SDA's in the United States promptly announced their choice:

"It has been accepted as an evidence that Seventh-day Adventists, instead of emphasizing their conscientious objections, have desired to make a real contribution to their country by emphasizing their conscientious cooperation." RH June 8, 1941.

"As never before, the young men of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States of America, under the operation of the Selective Service Act of 1948, will have an opportunity to demonstrate whether they are truly 'conscientious cooperators,' as they have claimed, or in reality 'conscientious objectors,' which they have repudiated.

"Their predecessors in military service twelve thousand of them in World War II demonstrated the reality of the claim most gloriously." YI Aug. 24, 1948.

The difference is obvious: Before, SDA's declared themselves noncombatants and declined "all participation in acts of war" (SDA's in Time of War, p. 24). When drafted, they claimed the exemption, and, instead of going to the front, they were assigned "to duty in the hospital, or to the care of freedmen," or ordered to "pay the sum of three hundred dollars" (Ibid, p. 61). Now SDA's declare themselves noncombatants, or conscientious cooperators, and explain that they are prepared to go to the front and perform those military duties which correspond to their status. They say:

"Christian noncombatancy leads those who hold it to request their government, when it calls them, to place them into those branches of service either civil or military in which they will be able to render the service they desire to give." RH October 10, 1940.

The Australasian Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists issued the following declaration in 1941:

"In harmony with the conscientious convictions of the majority of its members, our denominational attitude toward war is noncombatant.... The term noncombatant [is to] be understood as distinct from nonparticipant.... Agreement or disagreement with the denominational position of noncombatancy is not to be a test of church fellowship."-Rights and Relationship.

Conscientious cooperators, when serving at the front, may not be directly involved in killing, but they are working in collaboration with Satan's war machinery, which is opposed to every principle of God's law (1T 361). This warning should, therefore, be taken into serious consideration:

"We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence." DA 152.

So far we have considered only one point of difference in the change under discussion. A second point of difference, as we, have seen before, is that noncombatancy (in its new connotation) is only "recommended by the church" (RH April 28, 1983). In reality, every Adventist is free to choose how he wants to serve his country. You can be a noncombatant, or a conscientious objector, or a combatant, and you are still a member. Under this I freedom of choice, there is no uniformity in the Adventist stand toward military service and the war question. In the United States, Australia, and Great Britain, we take it for granted that the majority of Adventists choose to serve as conscientious cooperators. But in other countries, where the government gives them no freedom of choice, they, i.e., the majority, serve as combatants, using the freedom of choice given them by the church. This fact was made plain in the previous chapters of this writing.

In the presence of all these evidences, it is not possible to maintain that the church has never changed its position in this controverted matter.

 

XIV-TWO OBJECTIONS ANSWERED

1. People of God engaged in wars in the past

The objection is often brought up that in the past the people of God waged many wars with the approval of God. And this is true. What the objectors seem to ignore is that circumstances have changed with the inauguration of the Christian era. Ancient Israel was a theocratic nation. As a racial and political unit, they were declared to be "the nation whose God is the Lord," the nation "whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Ps. 33:12), and they were to engage in wars solely as an act of obedience to God, for the purpose of executing His judgments upon very wicked nations. (Read PP 629.) Modern Israel, the church of God in our days, however, is composed of elements of all races and nations. Today God does not recognize any racial and/or political unit as His theocratic nation. When two nations, today, are at war against each other, and the church has members in both conflicting armies, and both sides are praying for the victory, this procedure is not in harmony with the plan of God, and He does not hear their prayers.

In our days it is actually Satan who incites the nations to war against one another. "Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God." GC 589.

In the New Testament era we as Christians are not supposed to kill but to save. "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Luke 9:56. He said: "My kingdom is not of this world." John 18:36.

To hinder abuse (inquisition, persecution) when man-made laws conflict with the law of Jehovah, the Lord divided the responsibilities between the State and the Church, with two separate ministries and two sources of income. He said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17. This means that legislative and judicial powers on the one hand and spiritual powers on the other hand should carefully avoid mutual interference.

2. Seeming contradictions clarified

To justify the procedure that the church has been following since 1914, some bring up a letter which reads:

"We have just said farewell to three of our responsible men in the office who were summoned by the government to serve for three weeks of drill. It was a very important stage of our work in the publishing house, but the government calls do not accommodate themselves to our convenience. They demand that young men whom they have accepted as soldiers shall not neglect the exercise and drill essential for soldier service. We were glad to see that these men with their regimentals had tokens of honor for faithfulness in their work. They were trustworthy young men.

"These did not go from choice, but because the law of their nation required this. We gave them a word of encouragement to be found true soldiers of the cross of Christ. Our prayers will follow these young men, that the angels of God may go with them and guard them from every temptation." 2SM 335.

The information contained in this letter should be considered in the light of three important facts:

1. The letter does not specify the kind of work that was assigned to those three men, but in the Swiss Army those drafted were free to choose the medical department. We quote from The Review and Herald:

"In Switzerland Sabbathkeepers have the choice of joining the sanitary corps, in which a person is exempt from bearing arms; but the duties to be performed on the Sabbath are not such as are proper for God's holy day." RH Nov. 3, 1885.

2. In this letter there is no word sanctioning active participation in war, or combatant service, or any kind of commandmentbreaking. The three young men who had been summoned for a drill were encouraged "to be found true soldiers of the cross of Christ" and admonished to resist "every temptation." The farewell that was given them with this specific advice was not a suggestion for them to turn away from, but to remain faithful to, the law of God. Therefore, we see no contradiction between 1T 361 and 2SM 335. The Spirit of Prophecy is always consistent.

3. This letter is dated September 2, 1883 (not 1886). On September 2, 1883, Sister White was not in Switzerland; she was attending a camp meeting in Vermont, U.S.A. If this is actually her letter, written from Basel, Switzerland, on September 2, 1886 (as it appears in 2SM 335), then she misdated it by mistake. And this is what most probably happened. But the assumption that Sister White just wrote out the dictated translation of a report received from Switzerland in 1883 seems to have some plausibility, too. Some day we may receive more information about this manuscript.

XV-RESUME

For three main reasons we do not agree with the new stand adopted by the Adventist Church since World War I:

1. During the Civil War, when Adventists declared their position to be "noncombatancy," they meant "nonparticipation"period. Their conscientious convictions compelled them "to decline all participation in acts of war and bloodshed." Today, when the SDA Church says, 'We are noncombatants," they mean: "The church recommends noncombatancy," but "we grant to each of our members absolute liberty to serve his country at all times and in all places, in accord with the dictates of his personal conscientious convictions." The church "leaves the final decision to the conscientious conviction of the individual." If anyone chooses to be "a combatant or a conscientious objector," he can "still be an Adventist." The difference between the old stand and the new stand is obvious.

2. The new stand is tantamount to an official licence to violate the law of God. The Spirit of Prophecy made it clear why the people of God cannot participate-"for it is opposed to every principle of their faith. In the army they cannot obey the truth and at the same time obey the requirements of their officers." 1T 361. Therefore, by taking a negative attitude toward the law of God on this question, the church has changed her relationship with God and His kingdom (GC 582; TM 16, 17).

3. The new stand permits open violators of the law of God to remain on church rolls. It is not our purpose to judge the many thousands of SDA young men who have taken up arms at the call of their country. Most of them followed in good faith the advice received from their leading brethren. The responsibility and guilt lies with the church leaders who "cause My people to err." By granting her members freedom to break God's commandments, the church as a body becomes guilty before God.

"He [God] shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God as a body, will be held responsible for those sins." 3T 265.

In our opinion, the lapse of time is no argument against the seriousness of this new situation, because, when an error or an evil is not corrected, the older it grows the more consolidated it becomes. "Errors may be hoary with age; but age does not make error truth, nor truth error." 6T 142. Some have made the suggestion that there is no reason why we should get involved in a question which arose between a portion of the European membership and the leadership of the church over sixty years ago. This is almost like saying that we have nothing to do with a controversy that was started by Joseph Bates and a few other pioneers in connection with the Sabbath-Sunday question over one hundred years ago. We are not trying to draw a parallel. Nor do we want to multiply examples. We just wish to emphasize that we as Adventists have actually been contending against old apostasies, which have not been buried by the passing of centuries.

The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement is not a new form of Adventism with new doctrinal ideas; it is rather an honest effort to continue in the old paths and walk in them, and a determination to remain on the original platform (EW 258, 259) and build on it. Our main object is to uplift the violated law of God.

We do not profess to be a "reformed" church, as though our work were finished and as if we were satisfied with our attainments. We believe we are on the reformatory journey depicted by Sister White in "An Impressive Dream" (2T 594-597), where she saw a company traveling along a road which became more and more narrow. At every step we feel our want: "We need now to begin over again. Reforms must be entered into with heart and soul and will." 6T 142. "Reform, continual reform, must be kept before the people." CH 445.

The reformation-which does not owe its existence to us as a people, because we have never invented it-is a plan or program of God, clearly set forth in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy and revealed to those who honestly want to put it into practice. We are no more responsible for the appearing of the prophesied reformation than the astronomers are responsible for the appearance of a comet in the heavens.

Our name, "Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement," challenges us to live up to all the truth contained in the third angel's message, and draws a distinct line of demarcation between those who are lowering the standards and those who exalt the truth before the world, whatever the cost may be.

The Lord has established His reformation program, and we can all have a part in it if we want to. If, however, we are not willing to come into line with this plan, we will be passed by and allowed to select our own way, which will not lead to salvation. And the Lord will call others.

Reorganization in Laodicea

STUDY 12

 

"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Rom. 11:22.

A sick person does not always realize his condition. When told to see a doctor or take a treatment, he may not appreciate the advice. He will not use any medicine before he is convinced that he actually needs a cure; and it frequently happens that, when he reaches this conviction, it is too late.

In the spiritual field, a similar difficulty involves not only many individuals but the denomination itself. A series of statements from the Spirit of Prophecy, diagnosing the condition of the church, show that unless we are willing to take the remedy offered, we must take the consequences. (5T 75-79, 217; 8T 118, 250; 1T 609; AA 600, 601; 4T 166, 167, 286, 619; PK 416, 417; COL 306; 2SM 78.) Sister White says: "I have been shown that painful and contagious disease is upon you, which will produce spiritual death unless it is arrested." 5T 70.

Therefore, when the subject of reform is raised, let us not ignore or shrug off our great need. Sometimes the suggestion to introduce realistic reform in the church is greeted with surprise, apathy or even downright derision. All too many, lulled in the cradle of carnal security and the oft repeated counsel to stay with the church, feel that if a reform is to come it will be within the church, and they will be duly informed by the leaders in whom they place implicit confidence. This feeling is a self-deception.

Our Lord in His mercy sent revelation after revelation through His servant so that His people might see their true spiritual standing as heaven sees it.

 

I-LUKEWARMNESS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS

1. Our Great Danger

When someone is narcotized, he does not realize that he is beginning to sleep. So, "a knowledge of the state of the backslider from God seems to be hidden from him" (TM 451). And this is what makes it all the more dangerous. Everybody knows how risky it is to drive while under the influence of a narcotic. The same peril exists in the spiritual field. The Inspired Word says:

"The deadly lethargy of the world is paralyzing your senses. Sin no longer appears repulsive because you are blinded by Satan." 5T 233.

"Thou 'knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' With what fidelity do these words portray the present condition of the church." 5T 101.

If we are blinded by the spell of apostasy we are like a drug-addict under the effect of a stupefacient. We do not realize where we are going or what we are doing. And we may change masters without noticing it. Sister White writes:

"For years there has been creeping into the church an element that is educating many professed believers to resist the teachings of the Holy Spirit. In their efforts to make of no effect the Word of God, many array their strength on the side of the deceiver." RH Jan. 11, 1912.

2. Reformation

Imbued with the opinion that each denomination should stand on the merits of her own program, try to convert the world with her own means and methods, and see to her own problems, without considering the virtues and defects of other churches, some have suggested that we mind our own business and leave the SDA Church alone, because we would not benefit from her errors anyhow. This attitude makes denominations individually competent, with self-sufficient reasons for their existence, provided they do a good work. It almost likens them to competitive companies launching similar or even identical products on the market. This was of thinking is congenial to the modern Protestant world. In the light of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, however, there is no room for such a concept. "There is but one church in the world who are at the present time standing on the breach, and making up the hedge, building up the old waste places." TM 50. And no one is allowed to ignore this only one church and her ministry (AA 164, 165). As no man has a right to put away his wife unless he knows that she has betrayed him (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 6:15), so God does not repudiate the church and we should not leave her unless she has become a harlot (8T 250). But what if this has actually happened, and if there has been no repentance?

Under normal conditions, the rules of the established church are to be respected, but denominational deviation from the truth demands a work to be done "in a manner very much out of the common order of things (TM 300)." The faithful few must then do what they believe is right, according to the word of God, without requiring the consent of the church. They must denounce the backslidings of the denomination and start a reformation. They have no other choice compatible with the will of God. A reformatory movement is always the result of open apostasy in the mother-church. This cause and effect relationship must then be declared in unmistakable terms. And, as a rule, reformers have to "go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10:6.) Otherwise, the Adventist preaching of the Threefold Message to the Protestant churches, since 1844, would be a mistake.

These divergent attitudes and moves create a real conflict between the leaders of the official church and the reform-minded Adventists. And this conflict was foreseen and foretold by Sister White. She said, repeatedly, that the "movement symbolized by the angel" of Revelation 18, which is the company of "former brethren" entrusted with giving the loud cry (GC 604, 608), would be opposed by the leaders of the denomination. The attitude of these leaders, to the very end of time, is clearly and vividly depicted in 5T 210-212. "They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." 5T 80, 81.

3. Within the Church or Out of It?

When an old house needs renovation, repair works must begin on that same rundown house, not on a new house. So, in the spiritual realm, when there is apostasy, a reformatory effort is to be started immediately within the church, not outside the church. And this was done repeatedly in the history of Christianity. As a reformer, "Jesus began the work of reformation by coming into close sympathy with humanity" (DA 150), within the Jewish church. Peter Waldo (who is said to have organized the Waldensian church), John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley, William Miller, and many other reformers began their work of reformation right in the church, following the example of Christ. But what happened?

Time and again the reformers were opposed and persecuted, the message of reformation was spurned and rejected, and the apostatized mother church was left in darkness. "Where the message of divine truth is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in darkness." GC 378.

As the time of visitation (Luke 19:44)- the special opportunity to seek the Lord through a work of genuine revival and reformation-was ignored by the majority of leaders and people, the church surrendered to the powers of darkness, and the faithful few remnant children of God were finally obliged to withdraw from the unreformed denomination. This has happened repeatedly in the history of the Christian church.

One of the leaders through whom the Lord sent a reform message to the SDA Church in 1888 (TM 91), writes about the great reformation at the end of the Middle Ages:

"The men whose preaching made the reformation could have said all that they ever said, and more, in denunciation of the iniquity in the church, and the enormities of the popes; and yet could have remained in good standing in that church all their days, if they had still held that church to be the only and true church, and have held themselves in conformity with her accordingly.

"All men saw the iniquities practiced. They actually felt them on every side. Nobles, kings, emperors, priests, bishops, cardinals, and councils, called for reformation. Even popes confessed the sore need of it....

"The church was 'the ark of God,' the 'ship of salvation.' The pilot, the captain, and the crew might all be pirates, and use every motion of the ship only for piratical purposes, and load her to the sinking point with piratical plunder, and keep her ever headed straight toward perdition, yet 'the grand old ship' herself was all right and would come safely to the heavenly port. Therefore, 'cling to the ark,"stand by the old ship,' and you will be safe, and will land at last on the heavenly shore.

"Such, in essence, is the conception held, and that for ages has been inculcated....

"So long as this delusion was systematically inculcated, blindly received, and fondly hugged, of course reformation was impossible.

"But as soon as there arose men with the courage of conviction and the confidence of truth, and spoke out plainly and flatly that the Roman system is not the church at all in any feature, or in any sense, then the reformation had begun.

"That is how the reformation came. And without that, the reformation never could have come."-The Reformation and the Roman Church, A. T. Jones, pp. 2-5.

Sister White confirms these facts:

"As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ's withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience." DA 232.

"The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement." GC 343.

These statements of the Spirit of Prophecy have a full weight when all the facts are known also the fact that the reformations in the past involved a separation for the reasons clearly explained by A.T. Jones and E.G. White. This is one of the important parallels that should always be borne in mind.

Some associate the idea of "apostasy" restrictively with the idea of "leaving the church." But history tells us that people apostatize and still remain in the organization, where they pass from the ranks of Christ over to the ranks of Satan. Jews, Catholics and Protestants never stepped out of their churches when they apostatized. As a matter of fact, leaving the church can be so far from apostatizing that it may actually be a remedy against apostasy. The reformers whose names embellish the pages of sacred history in the Christian era left their mother-churches but did not apostatize.

 

II-EXAMPLES OF REFORMATIONS AND REORGANIZATIONS IN THE CHRISTIAN ERA

1. Reform and Reorganization in the Separation From the Jewish Church

"The leaders in the Jewish nation had signally failed of fulfilling God's purpose for His chosen people. Those whom the Lord had made the depositaries of truth had proved unfaithful to their trust, and God chose others to do His work." AA 78, 79.

2. Reform and Reorganization in the Early Christian Church (Smyrna-Pergamos Periods)

"After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God.... If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war." GC 45.

3. Reform and Reorganization During the Thyatira Period

There were some who refused to follow the apostatized majority. "They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place." GC 64.

4. Reform and Reorganization in the 16th Century, When Protestants Separated From the Roman Church

The Protestant reformers withdrew from the Roman church. "Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the 'faith which was once delivered unto the saints."' GC 51.

5. Reform and Reorganization in the Separation of the Advent Believers in the Time of William Miller (Second Angel's Message)

"In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from the churches." GC 376. Read also EW 237, 238, 249.

6. Reform and Reorganization in the Advent Movement When the Sabbath Was Adopted (Third Angel's Message)

"The company who had been united and loving in 1844 were losing their love, opposing one another, and falling into a cold, backslidden state." EW 257.

"The majority of Adventists rejected the truths concerning the sanctuary and the law of God, and many also renounced their faith in the advent movement, and adopted unsound and conflicting views of the prophecies which applied to that work." GC 456.

"It was represented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the most holy place and beheld the ark and the mercy seat, and were captivated with their glory.... They see the fourth commandment among the ten holy precepts.... They joined in the work of the third angel, and raised their voices to proclaim the solemn warning. But few at first received it; yet the faithful continued with energy to proclaim the message." EW 255, 256.

7. Reform and Reorganization in the Time of the SDA Church (Second Angel's Message Repeated by Fourth Angel)

The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work." RH March 22, 1887.

"Unless there is a decided reformation among the people of God, He will turn His face from them." 8T 146.

"The great reformatory movement must begin in presenting to fathers and mothers and children the principles of the law of God." 6T 119.

"There is a great work of reform to be carried forward, not in one or two lines, but in every line." 6T 291.

"A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit." ChS 42.

"He [God] will take his Holy Spirit from the church and give it to others." RH July 16,1895.

 

III-THIS LAST REFORMATION

Before we can proceed, a few vital questions must be considered in the light of what has been presented so far:

How did the SDA Church respond to the reform message in 1888 and subsequent years?

They rejected it. And, as the result, her spiritual decline was accelerated. Read 8T 119,250.

When the Lord calls for a reformation, does He wait indefinitely or does He give the church a time limit in which to reform? What warning was sent to the Adventist Church?

"Brethren, your own lamps will surely flicker and grow dim until they go out in darkness unless you make decided efforts to reform.... The opportunity now presented may be short. If this season of grace and repentance passes unimproved, the warning is given: 'I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.' . . . His [God's] patience will wait but little longer." 5T 612 (1889).

Those who, after the unfortunate experience of 1888 and subsequent years, still expect "a reformation within the SDA Church," would not be able to find a consistent refutation for the Catholic argument: "We reject Protestantism as a spurious reformation, because we believe the true reformation is to take place inside the Catholic Church." If we forget that there is a time limit for "a reformation within the church," and think a reformation is still coming within the Adventist denomination, from whom the Holy Spirit has long since been withdrawn, then our hope is not more realistic than the hope of our Catholic friends.

Prophecy says that the Adventist people will be divided into two distinct parties and that only one of these a small remnant will be reformed and prepared for the latter rain, while the other party the denomination as an organized body will remain unreformed and will finally be destroyed by the wrath of God. (3T 267; 5T 210-213,524; GC 608; etc.)

For these reasons we believe it is too late now to advocate a reform within the SDA Church.

The reformatory journey along an ascending and narrowing road was shown to Sister White in a prophetic dream. She writes: "I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey." 2T 594. Mark this: Not the whole body of SDA believers, but only a certain "portion" of this "large body" starts out on this journey. This statement (cited above) is one of those which divide Adventists into two very distinct classes. Of these two companies, we will now follow the one that starts out on the reformatory journey:

"A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey: [1] We had heavily loaded wagons.... As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper . . . [and] we concluded that we could no longer travel with the loaded wagons. [2] We then loosed them from the horses, took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback. As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. . . . [3] We then cut the luggage from the horses, and it fell over the precipice.... [4] As the path grew more narrow, we decided that we could no longer go with safety on horseback, and we left the horses and went on foot, in single file.... [5] The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes, so we slipped them from our feet.... [6] Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.

"We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privation and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end." 2T 594, 595.

This is not the experience of the denomination (read 5T 217), but only of a remnant group of reformers. These advance step by step, coming up higher and higher in their preparation. When they begin to "take off their shoes" and "strip off their stockings," symbolically, then they actually commence a "thorough reformation."

"When this [phase of] reformation begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer, and will banish from the church the spirit of discord and strife. Those who have not been living in Christian fellowship will draw close to one another. One member working in right lines will lead other members to unite with him in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There will be no confusion, because all will be in harmony with the mind of the Spirit. The barriers separating believer from believer will be broken down, and God's servants will speak the same things." 8T 251.

The gradually intensified hardships experienced all along the road lead them to solve their internal difficulties as a final preparatory step for the receiving of the latter rain. Sister White still writes:

"As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks.... But, on the other hand, when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd's voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front. In view of the common peril, strife for supremacy will cease; there will be no disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest. No one of the true believers will say: 'I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas.' The testimony of one and all will be: 'I cleave unto Christ; I rejoice in Him as my personal Saviour.'

"Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: 'That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.' John 17:21. The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord." 6T 400, 401 [emphasis supplied].

The prediction that strife for supremacy will "cease" among the "true sheep" proves wrong the idea that "Strife will never exist among true reformers."

 

IV-WRONG IDEAS CORRECTED

Concerning the prophesied reformation among the SDA people, there have been many wrong ideas. Following are some examples:

1. The Proper Time

Some believe that the reformation will come in the time of Jacob's trouble, but we read that the case of all such is hopeless (GC 620); others put the needful preparation off until the final test, under the Sunday decree, when it will be too late (COL 412); others believe there will be a chance for repentance and conversion under the latter rain, when the loud cry shall be given, but we know that there will be no time then for this work. The false teaching that the latter rain will give us power to reform, was foreseen by the servant of the Lord (EW 71).

The reformation comes before the outpouring of the latter rain. E.G. White writes:

"It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us." 5T 214.

"I was shown that if God's people make no efforts on their part, but wait for the refreshing to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors; if they depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting. The refreshing or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 1T 619.

2. Those Who Leave and Those Who Remain

It has been widely taught in SDA circles that all apostatized members will be shaken out of the SDA organization under the Sunday decree/final test, that the denomination will then be reformed, and that the faithful few who remain in the church (finally a triumphant church) will receive the latter rain for the finishing of the work. This is one of those pleasing fables without scriptural support.

The Spirit of Prophecy teaches that the shaking process in the SDA Church is marked by two acute phases: It begins under the counsel to Laodicea (EW 270), when the "former brethren" become separated from the "large class" of Adventists, and it climaxes under the Sunday decree/final test (5T 81), when the few sighing and crying ones leave the "large class" church and join the company of "former brethren."

3. Two Distinct Phases

Some people read about the "great reformatory movement" in 9T 126, and make the arbitrary and erroneous statement that the prophesied reformation will be started with the healing of the sick and other miracles. They overlook the two distinct phases (first: preparation; second: latter rain with miracles, etc.) clearly specified in other prophecies parallel to 9T 126. (Read EW 270, 271.) We are not told to expect miracles in the first phase.

'There must be a reformation throughout our ranks; the people must reach a higher standard before we can expect the power of God to be manifested in a marked manner for the healing of the sick." MM 16.

In 9T 126, we read about the time when the reform movement will reach its climax.

4. An Organized Body vs. Stray Individuals

In many parts of the world, God has a people organized in church capacity, who are engaged in a work of reformation. For this reason there is no room in the plan of God for any individual to start a work on his own, ignoring the existence of the prophesied Reform Movement. Sister White tells us how to distinguish between true reformers and false reformers:

"If he will work in fidelity and in harmony with God's plan he will hear the sweet words, 'Well done,' from the lips of the Master. But if he rejects the labors of God's servants, if he chooses his own way and leans to his own understanding, he will surely make shipwreck of faith. God has not passed His people by and chosen one solitary man here and another there as the only ones worthy to be entrusted with His Truth. He does not give one man new light contrary to the established faith of the body. In every reform men have arisen making this claim." 5T 291.

5. A Work in Due Season vs. Untimely Beginnings

If an Adventist arises today, after the apostasy has existed for so many years, and forms an independent group, claiming to be starting a work of reformation now, we should know that such an untimely work is not in accordance with the plan of God, being out of due season. When there is a positive state of apostasy in the church, the Lord does not wait for a long period of time, permitting the apostasy to get deep-rooted, before taking corrective steps through the work of reform-minded people. In His plan, "iniquity must be met promptly and decidedly" (3T 260), while there is still hope.

6. Complete Work vs. Partial Work

Many have started out denouncing some of the points of apostasy but ignoring others. Sometimes those points that they overlook are more important than those that they attack. In reality they are only doing a partial work. What confidence could we have in the work of a staff of engineers if they do an incomplete job on, say, a hazardous bridge?

7. Fanaticism

Whenever a true work of reformation begins, Satan is always ready to set something going to hinder it. One of his favorite methods is to introduce some form of fanaticism which attempts to ally itself with the work of God. With their characteristic spirit, fanatics will force their way to gain attention, deceiving many. Their pretentions and excesses will unfortunately be laid at the door of the very ones who are struggling to oppose them. Fanatics, of course, have never recognized themselves as such and, to make matters worse, fanaticism has often been blamed on a genuine work of reformation. We, therefore, need to know what are the identifying marks of fanaticism.

Fanatics can be identified by their attitudes. They generally have an accusing spirit (2SM 66), a false zeal (5T 305), a pretended piety (2SM 27), a highly developed self-righteousness (2T 555), an overbearing and dictatorial character (2SM 27), boisterous manners (2T 555), bold and insolent attitudes (2T 555), confused senses (2SM 36), unbalanced minds (2SM 64). Their religion is spiced with eccentricities and oddities (2T 553), they misuse the Scriptures and the Testimonies (2SM 44-46, 65), they do not have a true sense of the exalted character of God's work (2T 553), they pass by the great truths of God's word to dwell on minor matters (GW 313). A genuine work, however, should not be branded as fanaticism.

"When the Lord works through human instrumentalities, when men are moved with power from on high, Satan leads his agents to cry, 'Fanaticism!' and to warn people not to go to extremes. Let all be careful how they raise this cry; for though there is counterfeit coin, this does not lower the value of that which is genuine. Because there are spurious revivals and spurious conversions, it does not follow that all revivals are to he held in suspicion." GW 170.

8. Popularity vs. Unpopularity

Some expect to see great demonstrations in the work of reformation (PK 168, 169), others want to see numbers, and still others will not accept anything that is not approved by the leaders of the church (TM 107). Thus, history repeats itself.

"By the rulers of this world Christ's claim to be a king was ridiculed.... There were only a few Galilean peasants to represent the new kingdom. Their poverty, the fewness of their numbers, were urged over and over again as a reason why men should not connect themselves with these simple-minded fishermen who followed Jesus." COL 77, 78.

The "opponents of Jesus were men whom the people had been taught from infancy to reverence, to whose authority they had been accustomed implicitly to bow. 'How is it,' they asked, 'that our rulers and learned scribes do not believe on Jesus? Would not these pious men receive Him if He were the Christ?' It was the influence of such teachers that led the Jewish nation to reject their Redeemer. The spirit which actuated those priests and rulers is still manifested by many who make a high profession of piety. They refuse to examine the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the special truths for this time. They point to their own numbers, wealth, and popularity, and look with contempt upon the advocates of truth as few, poor, and unpopular, having a faith that separates them from the world." GC 595, 596.

The "former brethren," who, to all appearances, have no means to carry on the work, are like their spiritual forefathers few, poor, and unpopular.

"The work which they [the 'former brethren'] have undertaken seems far beyond their ability to accomplish. They are threatened with destruction. The enthusiasm which animated them is gone; yet they cannot turn back. Then, feeling their utter helplessness, they flee to the Mighty One for strength." GC 609.

9. Human Imagination vs. Divine Prophecy

Some say that the SDA denomination (the "mother church") will be reformed. But this hope is contrary to prophecy, which clearly depicts the church as unreformed to the very end. The Spirit of Prophecy says:

"The command is: 'Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.' . . . But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.... They [the faithful few sighing and crying ones] mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.... Here we see that the church-the Lord's sanctuary-was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust.... The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed." 5T 210, 211.

As we can see, the organization remains apostatized until it is hit by the wrath of God. There is no such thing as the church experiencing a genuine revival and reformation. Only a small remnant goes through this victorious experience (read 3T 267; 5T 213, 472, 524).

10. Contentions

Strife among those who actually are servants of God will cease, but conflicts between the servants of God on the one hand and the servants of Satan on the other hand will continue.

Those who want to be recognized as the true people of God must engage in a work of reformation, because, by definition, "they are reformers" (7T 62); but they cannot carry on a reformation without contention, because Satan is always ready to oppose them through his agents. And he always has them in the church. A "strifeless reform," which some people would like to see, is as impossible as a "waterless ocean," or a "treeless forest," or a "windless tempest." It is a self-contradiction.

Mark the references to the workers of evil that reformers will have to meet in the church:

"Satan, I saw, will arouse when they [the people of God] in earnest commence the work of reformation in themselves." 2T 484.

"Fallen man and fallen angels, by likeness of purpose and principle, will join in a desperate and determined companionship to resist truth and righteousness.... With what zeal will the workers of iniquity pursue their Satanic purpose! They will put light for darkness, and darkness for light, until they will sincerely believe they are servants of God, and doing him service by persecuting his children. It has been so in the conflicts of the past; and in the closing work of God the same spirit will be manifested....

"In these last days, when iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold, God will have a people to glorify his name, and stand as reprovers of unrighteousness....

"We must put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand. There will be a constant conflict from the time of our determination to serve the God of heaven, until we are delivered out of this present evil world. There is no release from this war. The work of God for this time cannot be accomplished without arousing opposition, reproach, and calumny. Satan is at enmity with the truth, and he will instigate against its advocates every manner of warfare. His efforts to overthrow the word of God will not be wholly confined to the ranks of its avowed enemies, but among those who claim to believe and practice it, 'some shall depart from the faith.' The impression given by those who have turned away from the doctrines of the Bible, is that the work committed to men for this day will come to a speedy end, and thus they make it manifest that they have esteemed themselves as the very pillars of the truth.... He [God] reads the hearts of his children, and knows those, also, that believe not.... If we consent to lay down our arms, to lower the bloodstained banner, to become the captives and servants of Satan, we may be released from the conflict and the suffering. But this peace will be gained only at the loss of Christ and heaven. We cannot accept peace on such conditions. Let it be war, war, to the end of earth's history, rather than peace through apostasy and sin.

"The work of apostasy begins in some secret rebellion of the heart against the requirements of God's law.... Men who have long been advancing in the path of truth, will be tested with trial and temptation. Those who listen to the suggestions of Satan, and swerve from their integrity, begin the downward path, and some masterful temptation hastens them on in the way of apostasy, till their descent is marked and rapid." RH May 8, 1888.

'There is a strife between the forces of good and evil, between the loyal and the disloyal angels. Christ and Satan are not at an agreement, and they never will be. In every age the true church of God has engaged in decided warfare against satanic agencies. Until the controversy is ended, the struggle will go on, between wicked angels and wicked men on the one side, and holy angels and true believers on the other.... The wrongdoing of evil workers must be met.... When there are men in the church who love riches more than righteousness, and who stand ready to take advantage of their fellow men by unjust dealings, shall we make no protest? And when men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled?" Sp T, Series B, No. 2, pp. 5-9.

"Satan holds under his control not a few who pass as friends of the truth, and through them he works against its advancement. He employs them to sow tares among the people of God. Thus when danger was not suspected, great evils have existed among us. But while Satan was working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, stanch advocates of truth have stemmed the tide of opposition and held the word uncorrupted amid a deluge of heresies. Although the church has at times been weakened through manifold discouragements and the rebellious element they have had to meet, still the truth has shone brighter with every conflict. The energies of God's people have not been exhausted. The power of His grace has quickened, revived, and ennobled the steadfast and the true.

"Again and again was ancient Israel afflicted with rebellious murmurers. These were not always persons of feeble influence. In many cases, men of renown, rulers in Israel, turned against the providential leading of God and fiercely set to work to tear down that which they had once zealously built up. We have seen something of this repeated many times in our experience. It is unsafe for any church to lean upon some favorite minister, to trust in an arm of flesh. God's arm alone is able to uphold all who lean upon it.

"Until Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, men will become perverse in spirit and turn from the truth to fables. The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock." 4T 594.

Read also AA 196, 197; 1T 99, 100, 122; TM 407-414.

11. Separation or No Separation?

If the ripe tares and their unholy fruits are not removed, they rapidly multiply and soon become the majority in the church, and take control. And this is the condition of the SDA Church to the end of time. (5T 210-212.)

When the church becomes a field of full-grown tares, when the Spirit of God "is trampled underfoot," when "the truth is made of none effect," when "deceptions of almost every kind are in the church," when at least some of the abominations that are practiced can be "discerned by finite eyes," when principles are sacrificed by men in sacred office, when "the servants of Satan triumph" in the church, when evidence shows that the presence of God has "departed" from the church (5T 210, 211), then we have before us a denominational condition characterized by the mature fruits of apostasy, and the parable of the wheat and tares can no longer be applied to require the faithful to remain in this church.

The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy reveal the general rules given by God to regulate our relationship with sin and sinners:

a) Two cannot walk together unless they are in harmony with each other (Amos 3:3).

b) When blindness falls upon the leadership of the church, and no cure is seen (Rev. 3:17; 8T 248), then the warning finally applies: "Leave them alone; they are blind guides." (Matt. 15:14 RSV.)

c) The class of professed believers referred to in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 are the foolish virgins in the church (COL 411), and the Bible says, "From such turn away."

d) Even our silent presence would be considered as giving sanction to the existing apostasy: 'We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence." DA 152.

e) Those who dare to "turn aside the counsel of God" and "lessen the confidence of God's people in the testimonies, are rebelling against God" (5T 66), and "we are not to unite with the rebellious" (ALA 555).

f) Those who want to reform cannot remain indefinitely united with those who are becoming more and more apostatized. The Spirit of Prophecy says: "I am deeply solicitous that our people should preserve the living testimony among them, and that the church should be kept pure from the unbelieving element." 5T 229. "If they do not reform, they should be separated from the precious and holy, that God may have a clean and pure people that He can delight in. Dishonor Him not by linking or uniting the clean with the unclean."lT 117, 118. These instructions were not carried out, and the apostatized elements rapidly became the majority and took control of the church. E. G. White writes: "The church is corrupt because of her members who defile their bodies and pollute their souls." 5T 79. And what is the consequence? "It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure." 6BC 1102. "To yoke up with those who are unconsecrated, and yet be loyal to the truth, is simply impossible. We cannot unite with those who are serving themselves, who are working on worldly plans, and not lose our connection with the heavenly Counselor." 5BC 1086. "The same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light." 5T 456. So what? "Even if they have to walk as did Enoch with God alone his children must separate from those who do not obey Him." 2BC 1037. "Pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. ... The servants of Satan triumph.... The truth is made of none effect." 5T 210,211. Therefore: "Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ." 4BC 1141. Corruption (5T 79), working on worldly plans (8T 249), disobedience (5T 456), making the truth of none effect (5T 21l)-the technical term for all this is "apostasy." Apostasy is like a cancer-it is a growing process (7BC 62), in which a climactic point is finally reached where separation is a must (GC 45).

g) Note the conditions under which the leading men can be trustworthy: "If the men whom the Lord has chosen to stand in positions of responsibility will heed the testimonies that God has given and is giving, if they will keep close to His word, if they will separate from those who are binding up with worldly influences, they will be safe men for the times upon which we have entered." Sp T, Series B, vol. 2, p. 41.

h) The true people of God must be separated from sin and sinners before they can receive the latter rain, which will not be poured out upon a mixed multitude: "God's displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions." 3T 270.

i) The seal of the living God will be for those only who are separated from sin and sinners: "The angel with the writer's ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel." 4BC 1161.

j) The call for unity is at the same time a call for separation: "Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on wrong practices.... I urge our brethren to unify upon a true, scriptural basis." 1SM 175. "If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war." GC 45.

12. Reorganization or No Reorganization?

False reformations are reorganizations from truth to error (EW 45). A true reformation is a reorganization from error to truth.

a) God forbids a reorganization from truth to error.

"The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established." Sp T, Series B, No. 7, pp. 39, 40.

"The truth for this time is precious, but those whose hearts have not been broken by falling on the rock Christ Jesus, will not see and understand what is truth. They will accept that which pleases their ideas, and will begin to manufacture another foundation than that which is laid. They will flatter their own vanity and esteem, thinking that they are capable of removing the pillars of our faith, and replacing them with pillars they have devised." NL, The Church 4, p. 2.

"Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new organization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth." NL, The Church 1, p. 3.

b) God demands a reorganization from error to truth.

"There must be an entirely new organization. There should be a renovation without delay."-Special Message to General Conference, April 1, 1901.

"A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices." 1SM 128.

 

V-OUR STAND

The prophesied reformatory movement (6T 119; 9T 126) among the Advent people was brought into existence during World War I.

We, Seventh Day Adventist reformers, share the feelings, sorrows and purposes of all Adventists who are earnestly striving to come closer to God in their preparation for what is soon to befall this world. We are one in spirit with those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church" (3T 267), and together with these faithful few we are earnestly preparing to receive the seal of the living God. At the same time we are praying that the Lord may arouse the Advent people to a sense of need and real danger in these ominous days. We feel duty-bound to appeal that they consider the realities which must be remembered by all desiring to be saved.

The Spirit of Prophecy explains how and why this appeal must come to the Adventist people today:

"Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.' Rev. 3:20. But many refuse to receive Him. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts; but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for fear that He will require something of them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them the rich blessings of His grace, but they refuse to accept them. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church!" 6T 262.

1. We Hold These Truths

The following is a brief summary of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement. Our motto is: To the Law and to the Testimony.

1. We believe in the existence of God, the Creator of all. Ex. 20:2, 3; Isa. 45:5, 6, 18.

2. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, the sin-pardoning Redeemer, and that there is no salvation in any other. John 3:16; Acts 4:12.

3. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the representative of the Father and the Son on earth. These three-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-are one, and in their names every repentant and converted sinner should be baptized. John 14:16-18, 26; Matt. 28:19.

4. We believe that the Bible the Old and New Testament is the inspired Word of God. John 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:16.

5. We believe in the unchangeable moral law of God, expressed in the Ten Commandments, which demands implicit obedience under any circumstances, in every place, and at all times. Matt. 5:17-20; Luke 16:17; James 2:10.

6. We believe that, according to the fourth commandment, the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath-day ordained by God for rest. Luke 23:56; Acts 16:13; Mark 2:27, 28.

7. We believe that the New Testament church is released from the obligation of keeping the ceremonial law; and that repentance, conversion, faith, and obedience to the moral law go hand in hand with salvation by grace. Col. 2:14, 17; Acts 4:19; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 2:13, 23; 3:31.

8. We believe that the authorities are ordained by God to protect the citizens and to punish evildoers. It is our conscience-duty to support, and pray for, the government, and also to obey the laws of the land which are not in conflict with the law of Ten Commandments. Rom. 13:1-5; Acts 5:29.

9. We stay away from ecumenical councils, labor unions, and secret societies, and from any other associations that do not show strict adherence to the law of God, and we conscientiously object to, and do not participate in, politics, plots, revolutions, bloodshed, war, and the taking of human life. We believe that no one on earth has been given power to dictate upon the conscience of others, and that the word of God is above every human legislation. Therefore, we expect from the state religious freedom and liberty of conscience. Z Cor. 6:14-17; Rev. 18:4; Matt. 22:21.

10. We maintain toward the government the same attitude which the pioneers of the Advent Movement took in 1864/5.

11. We believe that the symbolic ceremonies baptism, washing of the feet, and the Lord's supper are still in force for all true Christians today. Mark 16:16; John 13:7-17; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17.

12. We believe in the Spirit of Prophecy given to the last church. Rev. 12:17;19:10.

13. We believe that obedience to the principles of health and dress reform is instrumental in our preparation for the coming of the Lord. 1 Cor. 9:27; 10:31.

14. We believe that the paying of tithes and offerings is for the support of the ministry and missionary enterprises. Mal. 3:8-11; Heb. 7:8.

15. We believe that the church of God on earth is Christ's embassy. Eph. 4:4, 11, 12; 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Tim. 3:15.

16. We believe in the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary and in the proclamation of the Three Angels' Message, which is the present truth resulting in the sealing of 144,000. Heb. 8:1-5; Rev. 11:19; 14:6-12.

17. We believe that the angel of Revelation 18:1-4 represents a movement of revival and reformation among the advent people and the rest of the world.

18. We believe that the second coming of Christ is the glorious hope of the church, the goal of the plan of redemption. Isa. 25:9; John 14:1-3.

19. We believe in the natural mortality of the soul; in immortality for the just only through Christ; in the resurrection of the righteous at the second coming of Christ; and in the resurrection of the wicked at the end of the millennium, when Satan and his followers will be destroyed, and the earth will be purified by fire and made new. Ezek. 18:4, 20; Rom. 2:6, 7; 2 Tim. 1:10; John 5:25, 28, 29; Rev. 20:5-9.

20. We believe that the earth purified and renewed by the power of God will be the everlasting home of the saints. 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1-7.

2. We Contend for Principles

The military question became a dividing issue among the Adventists in Europe during the troublous years of World War I. The combatant stand officially taken in several European countries was regarded, by a minority, as inconsistent with the traditional position of the denomination and as contrary to every principle of truth (lT 361). Under the test, the minority understood that conscientious objection was the only attitude compatible with the law of God, and not a few who had the courage of their convictions suffered severe treatment at the hands of the authorities.

The crisis which came upon the church soon resulted in a division. When Conradi, then president of the European Division, committed the church to combatancy, a minority protested, and the most outspoken ones were disfellowshiped. A denominational paper published in Australia says Conradi's decision "probably made him the record holder for shifting the greatest number of souls out of Seventh-day Adventism." To be more explicit, we would say that this disfellowshipment separated them from the organization but not from the message which was entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers (Rev. 14). It was actually in defense of the message that the minority stood up. This is how the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement came into existence.

In 1920 four General Conference representatives tried to solve the problem, but failed. They could not be successful while justifying the position of Conradi and the other leaders in Europe and condemning the position of the disfellowshiped minority. Elder Daniells, then General Conference president, declared the European leaders to be "faithful and upright in the work" and reproved the protesters as "completely wrong." (See "Minutes of the Conference with the Movement of Opposition," Friedensau, Germany, July 21-23, 1920, published by the SDA's.) Rather than correct and offend, and possibly lose a few questionable leaders, they preferred to lose several thousand conscientious members.

Ever since the lamentable separation of 1914-1918, additional changes, unfortunately not for the better, have widened the rift. We as traditional (sometimes called "old fashioned") Seventh-day Adventists are not happy to see the steady trend away from original Adventism. Therefore:

1. We cannot sanction the new stand taken by the SDA Church concerning the duty of its members in military service, as published in 1923: "We grant to each of our church members absolute liberty to serve his country at all times and in all places, in accord with the dictates of his personal conscientious convictions."-Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, pp. 346, 347. As far as we can see, this is in direct conflict with the original position of the church (1T 361; and SDA's in Time of War, p.58) and with the requirements of the holy law of God.

2. We stand for strict Sabbathkeeping and believe continual Sabbathbreaking is cause for disfellowshipment. Open violation of the fourth commandment has become a serious problem, not only in connection with military service, but also with reference to making a living (finding a job with Sabbath off) in poor countries and meeting governmental requirements (e.g., sending children to public schools also on the Sabbath) in some of the socialist countries. In our opinion, this is one of the points on which the church should take a definite stand, making it clear that those who do not stand the test will not be prepared to receive the seal of God.

3. We are convinced that divorce and remarriage is a violation of the law of God (Luke 16:18) and should not be permitted for church members.

4. We think those who are involved in transgression of the seventh commandment (especially those guilty of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah) should be disfellowshiped.

5. We are surprised that the SDA Church has not taken a definite stand against abortion, which should not be permitted in SDA hospitals or among SDA doctors. Even lay members who resort or consent to abortionist practices should be seriously dealt with.

6. We believe the people of God should be separated from the world (2 Cor. 6:17, 18; 1T 127, 128; 2T 441) in the setup and administration of church-run institutions and should have nothing to do with politics, nationalism, labor unions, worldly fashions (lT 132, 133, 137), etc.

7. We hold the Testimonies of E. G. White to be inspired and with us this is a test of fellowship. We think that those who, like Conradi, disbelieve the Spirit of Prophecy, should not be permitted to hold offices in the church.

8. We take a firm stand in behalf of progressive health reform as pointed out in the writings of E. G. White. This is also a test of fellowship in our midst.

9. We cannot endorse any involvement in ecumenism or any kind of association with modern Babylon (Rev. 14:4; 18:4). To avoid further dissension and division over this issue (e.g., split among SDA's in Hungary), it seems to us that the leaders of the SDA Church should sound a serious warning immediately: "Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion not join with those who are making of none effect the truth as it is in Christ. Let them not join the confederacy of infidelity, popery, and Protestantism." 4BC 1141.

10. We do not sympathize with the modern theories and interpretations which have found their way into the church that Christ, at birth, took the sinless nature of Adam; that the perfecting of the saints, with justification and sanctification, will continue after the close of probation; that the sealing work of the 144,000 did not begin in the early days of the third angel's message; that Christ at His second coming will walk among the people on earth (see Maxwell's book The Man the World Needs Most); etc. We cannot go along with these modernistic ideas, and think that some of them are very dangerous in the light of what we read in the Bible, in the Spirit of Prophecy, and in the writings of the Advent pioneers.

 

VI-THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS

"As never before, we should pray not only that laborers may be sent forth into the great harvest field, but that we may have a clear conception of truth, so that when the messengers of truth shall come, we may accept the message and respect the messenger." 6T 420.

"Refusing to hear because you are prejudiced against the message or the messenger will not make your case excusable before God. To condemn that which you have not heard and do not understand will not exalt your wisdom in the eyes of those who are candid in their investigations of truth. And to speak with contempt of those whom God has sent with a message of truth, is folly and madness." CSW 32.

With the above in mind, we appeal to you, dear brethren, to consider prayerfully the following:

1. That through Sister White, the special messenger of God to the Adventist people, the Lord sent an ultimatum to the church, giving them a limited time in which to choose between a genuine revival and reformation or removal of the candlestick. (5T 612.)

2. That the Lord through the same means gave specific signs by which the removal of the candlestick would become evident if the revival and reformation did not take place,(RH April 4, 1893; MS 78, 1900.)

3. That in 1888 the Lord sent a message to revive and reform the church, in order to avert the impending disaster, and that this message was rejected by the majority of the leaders and the people. (TM 80, 401, 402)

4. That, in spite of this rejection, a movement began with the object of preparing a people for the latter rain, the finishing of the work, and the coming of the Lord Jesus. (lSM 363; GC 604.)

5. That you should personally look into the history of the SDA Reform Movement from their side also, and make a thorough investigation of its origin, its prophetic basis, and the doctrinal reasons for its existence.

6. That the Seventh-day Adventists as a denomination have departed from their original understanding of the threefold message. That changes and innovations have been introduced over the years.

7. That the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement upholds the original faith and practice of the Adventist Church to the law and to the testimony-and that this Movement has believers in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

8. That E. G. White, the messenger of the Lord, was shown that, instead of final victory, the professed Adventist Church will suffer ultimate shipwreck of faith. (3T 267; 5T 2l0-2l2 )

9. That the only people that will have protection against the wrath of God is a "small remnant," "the remnant church," which is distinct and separate from "the church." (5T 213; PK 727, 728.)

10. That the door opened to the Adventist people in 1888, with a special message of light and truth, will not be closed: "Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time." TM 107.

It is our sincere prayer that you, dear reader, may be willing to receive the light of God for your own salvation and for the salvation of such other souls as you may influence.

Not all Adventists are indifferent toward the existing situation. "At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest," there is a "little company who are standing in the light" and whose prayers arise especially "in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world," and because "deception of almost every kind are in the church," while "the truth [is] made of none effect" (5T 209-211). If you, dear reader, are one of those who are worried about this precarious situation of the church, and if you wish to have a better knowledge of the reasons for the existence of the Reform Movement, please feel free to contact us for more evidences. Many of "those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done' in the church" (3T 267) do want to know about Reform. We are, therefore, convinced that it is about time for us to speak up and let the people know the whole truth. This pamphlet is only one step in this direction.

By drawing the attention of our brethren in the SDA Church to these things, we are neither accusing nor criticizing the denomination. We are only trying to fulfill a sacred duty enjoined upon us by the word of God, where the present situation among SDA's has been predicted:

"Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him.... They have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them. 'Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. ' [Isa. 58:1.] Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness.... The Lord has a message for His people. This message will be borne, whether men will accept or reject it. . " 4BC 1149.

There is no doubt that God has His champions in the SDA Church. They are those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church" (3T 267). With these faithful few we have no controversy. We are one with these believers and wish to be in close contact with them.

SDA Reform Movement Origin and Early Experiences

STUDY 13

 

As the great reformation carried on by Luther in the 16th century had actually had its beginning two centuries earlier (GC 78), so the prophesied Reform Movement among SDA's, in existence today, had its embryonic beginning in 1888, when the Lord sent the message of Christ's Righteousness to the General Conference delegation assembled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

The Message of 1888

"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God." TM 91, 92.

Unfortunately, the top leaders rejected this message and thereby offended the Spirit of God:

"The power of the Holy Spirit has been largely manifested at Battle Creek, the great heart of the work, to be communicated to those in the highways and hedges, that the mass of human beings under Satan's sway of sin and death might be reformed and renovated by the Spirit's power. But when light has come to those at the center of the work, they have not known how to treat it." TM 402.

"Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God, have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. They are indulging the very same spirit as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and as did the Jews in the days of Christ.... They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could." TM 78-80.

Following the example of the leadership, "our own people opposed the work of God by refusing the light of truth on the righteousness of Christ by faith" (TM 401).

The unavoidable consequence of the rejection of God's message became apparent before long in the moral and spiritual decadence of the church. In 1903 the Spirit of Prophecy declared:

"Why is there so dim a perception of the true spiritual condition of the church?. . . Who can truthfully say: 'Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the world'? I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: 'Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? "How is the faithful city become an harlot!" My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking.' " 8T 248-250.

Soon after, A.T. Jones was taken in the delusions of Dr. J.H. Kellogg, and was finally separated from the church. In 1909 a special effort was made to restore him. Several meetings were held with him. He seemed to be moved and prepared for a reconciliation. When Elder Daniells, the General Conference president, extended his hand to him, pleading, "Come, Brother Jones, come," he stood up, slowly reached out his hand too, but suddenly pulled it back and said, "No, never," and sat down again.

E.J. Waggoner had a negative experience too, when domestic problems led him to resort to divorce and remarriage. He nevertheless advocated the fundamental SDA beliefs to the day of his death.

This was not the first or last time that instruments of the Lord apostatized after having faithfully given the message. The Spirit of Prophecy, however, warns us that this unfortunate backsliding should not be used as an argument against the light of Heaven that through them came to the people of God. Messengers may draw back, but this won't turn into a lie the truth that they have preached. Sister White writes:

"It is quite possible that Elder Jones or Waggoner may be overthrown by the temptations of the enemy; but if they should be, this would not prove that they had had no message from God, or that the work that they had done was all a mistake. But should this happen, how many would take this position and enter into a fatal delusion because they are not under the control of the Spirit of God.... I know that this is the very position many would take if either of these men were to fall, and I pray that these men upon whom God has laid the burden of a solemn work, may be able to give the trumpet a certain sound, and honor God at every step, and that their path at every step may grow brighter and brighter until the close of time." Letter 24s, 1892.

The message brought by these two brethren set up an important landmark in the history of the SDA church. "It marked the beginning of a great reform." The Story of Our Church, p. 246. Sister White says:

"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." 1 SM 363.

The Last Call Given Through the Living Prophet

In 1913 the Lord used His servant to renew the call for revival and reformation, and Sister White was shown, in a vision, that this last call would be heeded by some. She wrote:

"Men of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit to lead out in a work of thorough reformation. I see a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His laborers to come into line....

"I have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently passed before me in the night season. There seemed to be a great movement-a work of revival-going forward in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding to God's call." TM 514, 515.

The Great Crisis (1914-1918)

The Lord has always given the first opportunity to the leaders, but sad to say they missed the chance and ignored God's call. And when a great crisis came to the church in 1914, it found them unprepared. The leading brethren in Europe were the first to betray their sacred trust committing the members to combatancy.

Not only in Germany, but also in other European countries, the SDA leadership issued declarations (which we are not quoting here for lack of space) instructing the church members to take a combatant part in the war. These writings brought much confusion in the churches. Thousands of SDA's in Europe were thrown into great trial and perplexity, as, to avoid persecution and possible death, they saw no other way than to give up Sabbathkeeping, bear arms, and do as other patriots were doing. The majority acted in accordance with the decisions of their leaders. (Read 10 BC 1183.)

It was only a small minority who had the faith and courage to reject the position of the leading brethren who had decided that it was the duty of each one to obey the requirements of the government even to the point of bearing arms and violating the Sabbath. Those who stood for truth and righteousness at this time were faithful members of the church and had no idea of the role they were playing in the work of the prophesied reformation. The attitude they took, however, was out of harmony with the decision of the leaders, who, in their blind zeal to maintain the favor of the church with the government, expelled those who had the moral courage to oppose their decision. The persecution and tribulation which followed as the result of this attitude is part of denominational history.

A newspaper correspondent gave his unbiased opinion of the situation as follows:

"Since the beginning of the war there has been a division among the Adventist people. During the duration of the war, the majority wanted to see the fundamental teachings set aside, by force if necessary. The others asked that the sanctification of Saturday (Sabbath) be allowed them, even in these times of stress. The opposing faction finally brought about the disfellowshipment from the Organization of the followers of the original principles of faith."Koelnische Zeitung (Evening Edition) September 21, 1915.

In a circular letter entitled "The European Situation," Elder C.H. Watson gave the following explanation:

"There was in Germany and those other countries concerned a minority of our believers who refused to follow the leadership of Conradi and others into combatant participation in the war.

"These were subjected to much suffering at the hands of their Governments because of their stand.

"In Germany, those who took their stand against Conradi's wicked action in thus committing them to war were treated with great harshness by Conradi and his associates. The resistance of the minority to military service threatened to compromise the whole body of Adventists in the eyes of the German Government; and to avoid this, Conradi had the minority disfellowshiped from the Church.

"Thus the noncombatant minority was forced out of the church in that country, and this separation continued throughout the war years.

'When this state of affairs became known to the General Conference leaders, it created deep concern in their hearts, and led to their sending W.A. Spicer to Germany at a time when the German submarine peril was extremely grave. Brother Spicer took his life in his hands in order to get first hand information on that situation.

"The result of that visit was that the General Conference became possessed of first hand information regarding:

a) "The wrong done to these minority believers.

b) "The division and strife which had resulted among our German members.

c) "The development of bitterness in both groups, and especially in those wronged by Conradi.

d) "The extreme views to which these groups were driving each other in their difference."

While Conradi was a leader of the SDA Church, he was whitewashed and defended even by the General Conference representatives: now that he left the SDA's some leaders began to admit what they should have admitted at the beginning of the trouble (1914-1920).

Elder Watson's admission, however, is a very rare exception. SDA publications on this great crisis generally miss the point by ignoring the fundamental aspects of the whole problem. One of these aspects is that the faithful minority were disfellowshiped -a fact which is usually concealed.

A Catholic paper in Germany writes:

"Outsiders should not interfere in family quarrels. Let Seventh-day Adventists settle their own disputes among themselves. We do not want to get involved in the strife as to whether this or that direction is a true representation of Adventism.... In 1914 two percent of the members were disfellowshiped from the German Seventh-day Adventist Church, because they declared that participation in war service, and that on the Sabbath (Saturday), cannot be reconciled with the Adventist doctrine."-Paulinus, March 9, 1953.

Under those prohibitive circumstances the faithful minority began to "exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth" (EW 270) in words and actions. It is these people that were actually lifting up the downtrodden law of God in those days. Many of them suffered not only imprisonment, but also torture and death. Prom Brother Otto Welp, our believers in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, received the following information in 1933: When the fiery test came upon the church, during World War I, about 2,500 SDA reformers, in Germany, stood up to defend the truth. From among the men eligible for the army, one out of every ten was executed. Then, as the others did not yield, every fifth was put to death, and finally every second one. Those that survived were kept in prison until the end of the war. In many cases, while the men were in prison, the women were preaching the present truth-"obedience to all the commandments of God" -the same message that came in 1888 (TM 91, 92).

When the reform movement began in Romania, many believers placed their confidence in Christ and His righteousness, and, as the result, young and old were subjected to four, five, six, nine and even fifteen years' imprisonment for the sake of truth, while SDA leaders used all means to inform the authorities against the faithful ones, to distort their motives, and to attack their characters.

Similar hardships also came upon faithful Adventist believers in other European countries.

Their greatest concern in those days was their preparation for the latter rain.

Fanaticism

History shows and the Word of God confirms that fanatics and disorderly elements have always been associated with the work of reformation.

"In all the history of the church, no reformation has been carried forward without encountering serious obstacles. Thus it was in Paul's day. Wherever the apostle raised up a church, there were some who professed to receive the faith, but who brought in heresies, that, if received, would eventually crowd out the love of the truth. Luther also suffered great perplexity and distress from the course of fanatical persons.... And the Wesleys, and others who blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered at every step the wiles of Satan in pushing overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into fanaticism of every grade....

"In the days of the Reformation its enemies charged all the evils of fanaticism upon the very ones who were laboring most earnestly against it. A similar course was pursued by the opposers of the advent movement. And not content with misrepresenting and exaggerating the errors of extremists and fanatics, they circulated unfavorable reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth....

"The fact that a few fanatics worked their way into the ranks of Adventists is no more reason to decide that the movement was not of God than was the presence of fanatics and deceivers in the church in Paul's or Luther's day a sufficient excuse for condemning their work." GC 396-398.

To give the reader an idea of the different forms of fanaticism associated with Seventh-day Adventists in the early days of the movement, we quote from an Adventist book:

"Difficulties within the Movement

"Between 1844 and the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church nearly twenty years later, but especially in the first few years after the disappointment, the Adventist believers were at times embarrassed by extremes and fanatical movements. A part of Ellen White's work was to witness against these movements.

"Writing of her early experiences, Mrs. White tells of a trip taken with her husband through the New England States in 1850. Many former believers had become bitter from the disappointment. Some were still looking for truth. 'But we had a still worse element to meet,' she writes, 'in a class who claimed that they were sanctified, and they could not sin, that they were sealed and holy, and that all their impressions and notions were the mind of God....

"They claimed to heal the sick and to work miracles. They had a satanic, bewitching power; yet they were overbearing, dictatorial, and cruelly oppressive. The Lord used us as instruments to rebuke these fanatics, and to open the eyes of His faithful people to the true character of their work."-Ellen G. White, in Review, November 20, 1883.

"Another group claimed to be sanctified so that they could not sin. Yet they were immoral in their actions, following their own lust and committing presumptuous sin. They even advocated 'spiritual' free love.

"Fanaticism showed up in some other strange forms. Some got the idea that religion consisted in great excitement and noise. Their behavior irritated unbelievers and aroused hatred against themselves and the doctrines they taught. When they were opposed or mistreated because of their annoying ways, they rejoiced because of the 'persecution.'

"Mrs. White had to rebuke some people who professed great humility and tried to demonstrate it by creeping on the floor like children. They would creep around their houses, on the street, over bridges, and in the church itself.

"Another group believed it was a sin to work, although they seemed to think it quite consistent for their wives and others to do the necessary work for them. Animal magnetism, or mesmerism, the forerunner of hypnotism, was practiced by some. The supposed gift of tongues, accompanied by shouting and confusion, appeared in a few places. From time to time some small group would announce a new time for Christ to appear."The Story of Our Church, pp. 238, 239.

If the previous statement from The Great Controversy is correctly understood, this kind of difficulties should also be expected in connection with this last reformation-the present day SDA Reform Movement. There must be a parallel.

Sad to realize, history repeats itself also in the distorted picture presented about the relationship of some fanatics with the Reform Movement. In the past, as we just read, the enemies of the reformation made it their business to establish confusion between wild fanatics and true reformers, bunching them together as birds of the same nest. Today the enemies of Reform are doing exactly the same thing. If this attitude was fair, someone could read the text just quoted from The Story of Our Church and affirm that those fanatics were actually the pioneers of the SDA Church. Worse than that, to get a still more distorted picture, SDA leaders associate with Reform certain elements who have never belonged to Reform, such as Margaret Rowen and J. Wieck.

J. Wieck, a member of the SDA Church, was jailed on refusing to be vaccinated. January 21, 1915, he had some visions, in which, he declared, God had shown him that the end of probation would come in the spring of that year. He wanted to see his visions published by the church. As the SDA leaders refused, he got them published on his own and forwarded a copy to each minister and to each church all over Germany. He never belonged to Reform, but Adventist writers and leaders still connect this name with the Reform Movement.

The "Minutes of the Conference with the Movement of Opposition (held in Friedensau, July 21-23, 1920)," published by the three German Unions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, contain sufficient evidence that fanaticism was not the origin of the SDA Reform Movement any more than it had been (as quoted from The Story of Our Church pp. 238, 239) the starting point of the SDA Church, although the devil did his best to associate fanaticism with the work of God also in 1844 and in the following years.

Nevertheless, in a libel entitled The Aftermath of Fanaticism or A Counterfeit Reformation, published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Elder L.H. Christian makes this gross overstatement: "This fanaticism in Germany as well as in the other countries in Europe, is the true origin of the counterfeit reformation movement." This simplistic conclusion is an offense to an honest and intelligent mind who can weigh the evidences for himself.

In more recent years the SDA leadership published a more decent, but not entirely correct, report about the rise of the Reform Movement. In the SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 10, p. 1183, they say: "Though the original issue was over visions and time setting, the bone of contention through the years has been the stand taken by the SDA Church concerning the duty of its members in military service." There is at least half a truth in this statement. While it is not true that "visions and time setting" brought the Reform Movement into existence, it is true that the stand taken by the SDA Church concerning the duty of its members in military service and in war, in the light of God's law, has always been, from the very beginning, the main bone of contention. The holy law of God has always been the real issue.

A much more correct declaration about the origin of the Reform Movement is found in this other SDA publication:

"The departure of these people was not from a 'lot of gross errors and a dominating hierarchy,' but from Conradi's leadership which had committed them, without their voice or consent being given to his action, to the cannon and the bayonet of the battlefield."-Brown Exposes Ballenger (Southern Publishing Assn.), pp. 29, 30.

The Friedensau Conference (1920)

A conference was held at the SDA missionary college in Friedensau, Germany, from July 21 thru 23, 1920, for the purpose of settling the dispute existing between the two parties, if at all possible. There were present 51 members of different Union Conference Committees (the three German Unions, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary); plus 16 members of the disfellowshiped minority (who were called by the SDA leaders "the movement of opposition"); plus four General Conference men: A.G. Daniells (president), L.H. Christian, F.M. Wilcox, and M.E. Kern.

The reformers had four questions to which they desired an answer:

First question: "What stand does the General Conference take toward the resolution adopted by the German leadership, since 1914, in regard to the fourth and sixth commandments? On this point we refer to the following written declarations ... (five documents presented)...."

Second question: "What evidence can be presented to us that we have not followed the biblical way toward the brethren, as we are accused in the last issue of Zions-Waechter [SDA paper in Germany], Numbers 13 & 14, July 1920? We will present the evidence later on."

Third question: (a) "What is the stand of the General Conference, the American brethren, concerning the Testimonies of Sister White? Are they or are they not inspired by God? (b) Should we or should we not continue presenting health reform (as brought forth in the Testimonies) as the right arm of the message?"

Fourth question: "Is our message, according to Revelation 14:6-12, a national or an international message? We have several numbers of Zions-Waechter here, which do not show that we are an international people. Example: Zions-Waechter number 5, March 3, 1920, from the leadership of the school."

The reasons for, and the purpose of, these questions should be understood, so the answers may be properly evaluated.

First Question

The first question was asked with a view to finding out how far the evident involvement of the General Conference in the combatant position taken in Europe was admitted by the top leaders, and whether they were willing to make the necessary correction.

Many SDA leaders now realize that this is a very delicate point; and many try to deny some very serious facts which we must disclose to the Adventist believers. It should therefore be known to all that:

a) by having condoned combatancy, not only among SDA's in Europe, but also in America, and by not having corrected the situation soon after World War I, the General Conference made matters worse; and,

b) by now refusing to acknowledge any General Conference involvement in the World War I defection, top leaders are actually increasing their complicity.

We cannot hide before the Adventist people the fact that, during the Friedensau conference (1920), the European leaders were whitewashed, and even Conradi and Dail, respectively president and secretary of the European Division (who had signed documents in behalf of SDA combatancy), were justified as if they had committed no blunder in connection with the law of God and the war question. And those few who had stood up in defense of the commandments of God were condemned for the very reason that they believed in strict obedience to the precepts of Jehovah also in time of war, according to the original SDA stand. And the consent given by the General Conference men was once more confirmed.

Following is the gist of Elder Daniells' answer to the first question:

"As soon as the war broke out in Europe, we in America studied this matter carefully.... And we took this position: Let everyone act according to his conscience in this question.... Then we had some brethren who had the spirit of love for their country, and went to the battle line, and fought. They came to England and France, and went to the trenches, and I don't know what they did while they were there, but they served and came back when the armistice was signed.... We regret the war, and we are against it. But we must permit every citizen to act toward the authorities according to the dictates of his own conscience. Not one of these persons was disfellowshiped from our church. Not one of them was treated as if he was not a Christian.... As long as we do not have precise limits and definite rules regarding our position towards the authorities, it must be left with each one to act according to his own conscience. The brethren in America took the same moderate and tolerant position as our brethren in Europe.... I would like to say that, when the declaration of Bro. Dail reached us in America, it did not seem right, and we regretted it. We received letters from brethren who condemned it severely and asked us to arise and condemn it too. We told them to be quiet and cautious.... Therefore, brethren, neither Bro. Spicer nor I have ever used the pen to publish a condemnation against these declarations.... In spite of our views about this declaration, we did not send one word in answer to it.... So I believe I have made clear the feeling and position that has existed in America regarding the events which took place in Europe. After all this we are convinced that our brethren here, too, take the noncombatant position. We have talked with brethren who were in the war, and I can tell you that I have not found in any brother in Europe a greater military spirit than in America. And I can say, too, that in their spirit and in their procedure, our brethren in Europe have been as faithful as our brethren in America. I will say it all over again in other words: We are sorry for some of the declarations that have been issued. But when we consider the spirit and the purpose that led them to do that, we find that these brethren stand as faithful and upright in the work as we ourselves.... And I must say that everyone has had the right to set up his own conviction and form his own conscience with reference to the war question.... We believe that you brethren (referring to the representatives of the disfellowshiped minority) are completely wrong in the position you represent. We do believe in the fourth commandment as we have ever believed in it. But we cannot agree with your interpretation in connection with it. What would you have said about Moses a few days after he had received the law on Mount Sinai, if he had told you to go and kill the king of Bashan, and all the men, women and children? Would you have accused him of murder? But God commanded him to violate the sixth commandment. You see that there are many things to be found in the interpretation of the commandments, and we must have freedom to read and understand them, without being bound to the interpretation of any small corporation."

This quotation from the "Minutes of the Conference with the Movement of Opposition (held in Friedensau, July 21-23, 1920)," published by the SDA Church in Germany, shows the original and real issue which brought the Reform Movement into existence: It was the law of God. Different from other SDA leaders, who libel us in too many unprofitable words, with too many irrelevant remarks and even nonsensical conclusions, and generally get lost by missing the point altogether (as in the case of Elder Christian in his Aftermath of Fanaticism), Elder Daniells, the General Conference president in 1920, brings to view, in a few words, the actual big bone to contention, which caused the division at the be ginning of the crisis in Europe. We will summarize his answer:

a) From the very beginning the General Conference men were informed of what was going on in Europe, and read at least some of the compromising declarations of the European leaders, but they decided to keep quiet, leaving it up to the Europeans themselves to decide what they should do under those circumstances. Elder F.M. Wilcox had already explained this acquiescent attitude in an article published in The Review and Herald:

"Particularly should the church of God today remember our European brethren who are now suffering adversity. Some have been forced into active military service; their lives are constantly menaced, and they are exposed to hardship and danger. Families have been broken up; those left at home are anxious with fear for those who have gone to the front. The officers of some of our Conferences and churches have been compelled to forsake their charges and join the national colors. It should be our earnest prayer that God will save His cause of truth during this trying period, and that He will safeguard the lives of His children. As to just what our European brethren should do under these trying circumstances only they alone in prayer to God can decide." RH Aug. 27, 1914.

b) The General Conference men then took the position that everyone should act according to his own conscience as far as the law of God in connection with war service. And this is exactly what the European Adventists did. The great majority, in Germany and other countries, according to their conscience, took a combatant stand. The leadership in Germany declared in one of the newspapers:

"At the beginning of the war our organization was split into two parties. As ninety-eight percent of our membership, by searching the Bible, came to the conviction that they are duty-bound, by conscience, to defend the country with weapons, also on Saturdays, this position unanimously endorsed by the leadership, was immediately announced to the War Ministry. Two percent, however, did not submit to this resolution, and therefore had to be disfellowshiped because of their unchristian conduct." -Dresdener Neuste Nachrichten, April 12, 1918.

c) That the General Conference men even sent word to the European leaders, expressly authorizing them to continue in their combatant position, this cannot be denied in the face of the evidence existing in our files, from which we quote:

"We, the Conference of the Romanian Seventh-day Adventists, inform that the biblical standpoint concerning military service and the call to bear arms, is that this is a duty imposed by the State, to whom God has rightly given authority, according to 1 Peter 2:13, 14 and Romans 13:4, 5. The same stand was also taken by the General Conference Committee, in their meeting of November 1915, and it applies to the different countries of the world.... We have had cases in which brethren in Germany asked, 'What should we do in war?' The answer given was: 'Remain faithful to God, but do what everybody else [literally 'what the whole world'] is doing.' . . . Where nobody could ask for permission to keep holidays, it would only have been a queer attitude for our brethren to request liberty to keep the Sabbath...."-Curierul Misionar (SDA paper in Romania), Number 3, 1916.

Another declaration, from Zions-Waechter (SDA paper in Germany), April 3, 1916, attesting General Conference responsibility for the combatant position taken in Europe, (which was not denied when shown to the General Conference men in Friedensau, 1920), is presented in Conscientious Objection or Combatancy (Study 11).

As a matter of fact, Elder Daniells himself declared that "the same moderate and tolerant position" was taken both in Europe and America.

d) Elder Daniells, the General Conference president, made it plain that, while in theory SDA's declare themselves noncombatants, they may in practice follow their own conscience which means that they actually have their own choice and are free to act either as faithful Christians or as patriotic warriors-when facing the war question. Abundant evidence in our possession, some of which is quoted in Study 11, shows that, in practice, the combatant stand has to a large extent been practiced and condoned by the SDA Church, these many years, with the consent of the General Conference. The warning that "we should never give sanction to sin by our words, and our deeds, or our silence, or our presence" (DA 152), is apparently overlooked.

e) The small disfellowshiped minority were condemned by Elder Daniells as being "completely wrong" in their interpretation that taking part in war service is irreconcilable with the law of God. This condemnation was pronounced in the presence of many SDA leaders in Europe and some General Conference leaders too. It is true that we still hold the same belief and by the grace of God intend to hold it to the very end for which we have often been stigmatized as fanatics.

The evidences which we have just produced pinpoint the main cause of the division and show that the law of God is in question. And since the two parties hold different views on such a vital issue, they must go their separate ways, as Elder Daniells himself declared (see answer to second question).

Second Question

In answer to the second question, Elder Daniells explained: "There is a way to bring a question before the brethren and to be heard. Let us begin with the (local) church. Some of the members may have some discrepancy with one of the officers or superintendents. It may be something in the leadership of the church of which they cannot approve. What should they do in such a case? Should they straightaway set up another church and be separate? I say, No. Let them bring the question before the Conference Committee.... Suppose this is done, and those members are not satisfied with the decision. Then let them present it to the Union. But suppose they are not satisfied with the Union Conference decision. Then they can appeal to the General Conference Committee. Suppose the (local) church refuses to accept the decision of the General Conference and she has a right to do that-then those in question must go. They must withdraw in a Christian manner and leave us alone."

The case with the dissatisfied minority, however, was that they had no intention to leave the church; they were put out. In 1915, W. Richter, one of their representatives, prepared a "Protest" asking for an interview with the leaders. This document was read by E. Doerschler, the spokesman for the disfellowshiped minority, during the conference in Friedensau, in 1920. He said, "Through this writing we requested a meeting with the brethren, but our petition was refused." (From the "Minutes. . ."). Now they came before the General Conference men with the question, "Where have we failed to follow the Bible way?" This was a courteous and diplomatic way of asking which of the two parties had actually failed to follow the Bible rule.

At the end of the meeting in Friedensau, the representatives of the faithful minority still believed in the possibility of correction and reconciliation, in spite of the unsuccessful replies, especially to the first question, received from the General Conference president. And this is what transpired:

"E. Doerschler: I ask if the answer given by Bro. Daniells, yesterday, was made in the name of the whole committee of the General Conference.

"Elder A.G. Daniells: I think, Brethren, that we should give this matter much consideration. I will not say that this problem could not be disputed in a larger meeting. I shall not cut the meeting short by giving a decision now. As far as our conviction and judgment guide us, and as far as it depends on us, we think our judgment is definite.

"E. Doerschler: Could not there be a higher authority?

"Elder A.G. Daniells: There is not any higher authority: it may be only a larger number of brethren. In our meeting in autumn we are going to have a larger number of brethren meeting together, but this body of members of the General Conference will be there.

"E. Doerschler: We are sorry that we did not ask this question last night. I think we should wait for our decision until the time when more brethren can judge this question.

"Elder A.G. Daniells: What! You want to place this question before a larger body in Washington?"

Third Question

In answer to the third question, first part, Elder Daniells said: "I am glad I can tell you that the General Conference has never changed its position toward the Testimonies in the last fifty years. . . . Our position toward the Testimonies is the same as it was before...." Elder Kern added: "And her [Sister White's] books are sold today more than before."

The question put by the representatives of the disfellowshiped minority was actually motivated by the fact that many church members, and even leaders, in Europe, did not believe in the divine inspiration of the writings of Sister White. Conradi, the president of the European Division, and vice-president of the General Conference, was one of them, and his unbelief was well known. We quote from Froom's book Movement of Destiny, p. 677 (published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association):

"Conradi . . . sought increasingly to undermine, and at last bitterly to fight, the Spirit of Prophecy.... Wherever he lived and labored and traveled he subtly scattered unsettling seeds of doubt as to the validity of the Spirit of Prophecy."

This was obviously the reason why almost nothing from Sister White's writing was translated into the European languages.

With his misleading influence, which was evident, Conradi was nevertheless kept in high offices for years, while Elder Daniells, in the presence of many other leaders, tried to give the impression that the SDA leadership was still taking a sound stand for the Testimonies, and that the question of the reform-minded brethren was unnecessary and meaningless.

In those days many SDA reformers made great sacrifice, selling their properties, to provide means for the translating and publishing of the Testimonies. Later on the reformers were sued for this, by the SDA Church, in Romania, Yugoslavia, and Hungary.

Replying to the second part of the third question, Elder Daniells said: "Brethren, our attitude to health reform remains the same today as it has always been. And perhaps we are paying more attention to this line of reform today than we did before. We have a Medical Mission and a secretary, Bro. Hansen. He is out organizing this work better than before, in all the churches."

It was evident at that time, however, and it is much more evident today, that "many have backslidden from their former loyalty to health reform principles" (9T 153). And it is a fact that "many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God!" (9T). Rejection of the light given by God has been the cause of this question: "Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the fleshpots of Egypt?" (9T 159, 160). While the Spirit of Prophecy says, "Educate away from drugs" (MM 259), the leadership is doing exactly the opposite-educating the people to use drugs. On top of that, SDA sanitariums are not following the blueprint given by the Spirit of Prophecy. The principle of health reform, the right arm of the message, is evidently maimed. The importance of this subject is very clear in the light of the following Testimony:

"Those who are truly on the Lord's side will be self-denying and self-sacrificing. They will eat and drink to the glory of God, refusing to corrupt soul and body by intemperance. Then the condition of the church will testify that her light has not been removed. But if church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place." MS 78, 1900.

Fourth Question

In answer to the fourth question, Elder A.G. Daniells said: "Brethren there is really no doubt about it (that our message is an international message) for this church. If we believe anything, we believe that this is a worldwide message, for all tongues and nations.... We maintain that in the work we are still on the original path."

If this is true, then the spirit of nationalism should never have been cherished by the SDA Church in any place, and, therefore the attitude taken by the leadership in Germany was wrong. This is what they reported:

"Our leaders have, up to this date, permitted our surplus church money to be used in war loans, in the fullest hope that, with the help of God, Germany would come out victorious at the end of this struggle."-Dresdener Neueste Nachrichten, April 12, 1918.

And the national spirit has never been eradicated from the SDA people, as can be proven. During World War II, while (1) the German Adventists wrote, "Germany must subsist.... The faith in the Fatherland is growing.... Let us march!" (Nov. 9, 1941); (2) the Russian Adventists said, "With all our strength we are helping to hasten the day of final victory over the enemy" (Jan. 1, 1943); (3) the American Adventists encouraged the members in USA: "For victory buy U.S. war bonds and stamps" (Jan. 1, 1943); (4) and the Australian Adventists declared that "If Australia were invaded they would fight to the last man in defense of their country" (Jan. 25, 1941). As far as we can see, this attitude cannot represent an international Christian brotherhood (Gal. 3:28).

In conclusion we must say that, in our conviction, the effort to minimize their responsibility for what happened in Europe (1914-1918), and also for what is happening in many other places today, does not clear the General Conference and the church as a whole. We can no longer regard it as a local problem, not only because the highest leadership left these evils uncorrected (especially the one in the first question), but also because, in this case, the whole body of believers becomes guilty of complicity. We cannot turn away from this rule:

"He [God] shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation." 3T 265.

The General Conference Session in San Francisco (1922)

As the direct result of circumstances mentioned before, thousands of believers found themselves outside the ranks of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The efforts on the part of the minority for reconciliation and unification upon the fundamental principles of the Advent faith were not treated with goodwill, and many false reports were put into circulation to create prejudice in the minds of the members against the faithful minority.

Before any steps were taken for a definite organization, we all felt it our duty to follow the Bible rule and present our case before the General Conference Delegation. Hence in 1922 we sent our delegates to the General Conference held in San Francisco during that year. The president, Bro. Daniells, refused to allow our representatives to present their case before the assembly and therefore we had no other alternative than to organize separately, in a definite way, to carry on the gospel work, lifting up the standard and pouring forth the straight truth.

All believers should know that the Reform Movement did not come from without the Seventh-day Adventist Church but was born within, in a time of adversity. The leading brethren who were guilty of treachery to the truth of God would not humble themselves and confess their sin; they were determined to continue their blind warfare against us, predicting our ultimate destruction. Besides misrepresenting our faith before the members of the church, the leaders have accused us before the governments of various countries as being enemies of the State and of the nation. This has in many cases resulted in our work being prohibited by law and our workers and members suffering imprisonment and great persecution.

After refusing to recognize the true work of revival and reformation which had begun in the church, and in order to offset the influence the Reform Movement was having upon many members in the church, the SDA leadership made an attempt to introduce a revival and reformation within the ranks of the denomination. We quote from a recommendation made before the assembled delegates of the 1922 General Conference:

"One of the recommendations I feel pressed to make is so important, so vital, that I shall venture to call it an appeal. It is this:

"That during the next quadrennial period a supreme effort be made to bring about a great spiritual revival and spiritual reformation in all our churches throughout the world.... If every one of these responsible leaders in God's cause will first of all gain this spiritual experience and work in God's appointed way for others, a wonderful reformation will be brought about in our ranks. And, brethren, just that reformation must take place or we are doomed with the rest of mankind. We cannot survive without it." GCB (1922), p. 16.

When we learned of this resolution we knew that a true revival and reformation could not come unless there was a recognition and a putting away of the apostasy; but we hoped that some good would come as a result. Time proved, however, that this was only a passing sentimental revival which was soon forgotten. Similar efforts have been made in succeeding years to give the appearance that at last the long awaited reformation had come within the church. We would be overjoyed if this should be a reality, but we cannot pass over the facts as they exist, that there is a general apostasy which has never been confessed. No true revival and reformation is possible without first experiencing genuine repentance. The work of reforming the church is not left to the decision of any council or committee, but it is the prerogative of God to choose His own instrumentalities. If we reject the messengers whom God sends, we virtually reject Him.

From 1925 Until Today

In a session of delegates representing four Union Conferences, held at Gotha, Germany, July 14-20, 1925, the SDA Reform Movement was first organized, officially, as a General Conference, when the "Principles of Faith and Church Order" were drawn up and the name "Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement" was adopted.

The Reform Movement was registered in Isernhagen, Germany, January 11, 1929, and the corporation was dissolved by the G.S.P. (secret police) under the Hitler regime, May 11, 1936, when a new series of persecution was launched against us.

Shortly after World War II, at a delegation session held at The Hague, Holland, September 5-17, 1948, it was decided that the General Conference be transferred to, and incorporated in, the United States of America. The incorporation took place in the State of California, April 13, 1949.

When we look back upon our past experience, we find once more that "the work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement" (GC 343). This is true not only from a positive angle, but from a negative angle as well. Unfortunately, some in our midst have not always shown the right kind of zeal. "A furious zeal does no good to anyone. God did not select the Reformers because they were overbearing, passionate men. He accepted them as they were, notwithstanding these traits of character; but He would have placed tenfold greater responsibilities upon them had they been of humble mind, having their spirits under control of reason. While ministers of Christ must denounce sin and ungodliness, impurity and falsehood, while they are sometimes called to rebuke iniquity among the high as well as the low, showing them that the indignation of God will fall upon the transgressors of His law, yet they should not be overbearing or tyrannical; they should manifest kindness and love, a spirit to save rather than to destroy." 4T 486. The remarks of the Spirit of Prophecy about some of the men that led out in previous Reformations could also be applied to some of our pioneers and leaders. It is very true that history repeats itself. But here, again, our confidence and courage have grown as we have seen the providential leading of God, by whose help we have been able to purge our ranks of all personality cult, of all dynastic rule, and of all individual lordship over the people. And together with the Lord's servant we must say: "Although the church has at times been weakened through manifold discouragements and the rebellious element they have had to meet, still the truth has shone brighter with every conflict. The energies of God's people have not been exhausted. The power of His grace has quickened, revived, and ennobled the steadfast and the true." 4T 594.

The Reform Movement has members in many parts of Europe, especially in those countries under restrictions; in different countries of Africa; in the Australasian countries; in several places in Asia; and in nearly every country of America (North, Central and South).

There is no doubt in our mind that the hand of God has been with the Reform Movement from the very beginning.