Old Paths

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.  Jeremiah 6:16

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear  Him;  and  He  will  show  them  His covenant. Psalm 25:14


Vol. 7, No. 11         Straight and Narrow       November 1998


The Fate of the Wicked

By Elder Willis Smith

David wrote: “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” (Psalms 37:10)

The Bible tells us that the wicked shall prosper in their wickedness. They will gain much wealth, through their evil and wicked dealings, from those with whom they do business. But we are not to fret because they are seemingly receiving blessings because those are the only blessings they will ever receive. The scripture above tells us that we are not to fret nor be envious of them. The reason is simple: They are receiving an earthly reward, but we are looking forward to the heavenly reward.

All around us we can see the wicked prosper; drug dealers, thieves, murderers for hire, rapists, racists, etc., prospering in what they do instead of (in our eyesight) being punished. Instead of spending time behind bars with their rights taken from them for their evil deeds, they are allowed to write books and earn money while living behind bars. They are glamorized on TV and radio and idolized by many foolish women who think of these men as some kind of heroes. Many women love to be associated with these kinds of men. How very twisted these minds are. May the Lord help us all from these perversions!

We must remember that all of this is only a part of their eternal reward. We should not fret. One day God shall give this earth to the righteous, and there will be no wicked people and no wickedness at all in God’s domain. “For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalms 37:2) It is after the wicked are cut down (burned up) that God shall give us the earth made new. “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17) The wicked must perish before God can give us this earth.

It would do us well to remember the golden rule that says, Do unto others as you would like for them to do unto you. (See Matthew 7:12.) It seems so unfair for the wicked to be allowed to prosper and do so well while the righteous suffer and can hardly stand. And this makes many of us very angry, but our anger should not turn to wrath. The golden rule applies also to our dealings with the wicked. The Bible speaks of righteous anger, but it is not proper for that anger to cause us to sin. The Bible says, “Be ye angry, and sin not.” (Ephesians. 4:26) “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” (Psalms 37:8) So let us pray that God gives us the will and the power to keep from sinning against the wicked as they have sinned against us. Let us hold fast to the golden rule that we profess to believe in as we follow Christ.

Webster defines “perish” as follows: “To pass away completely.” In this, Mr. Webster is absolutely correct. The Bible says that “evildoers shall be cut off. ... For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” (Psalm 37:9, 10) The Bible makes it very clear that the wicked are going to vanish from existence. They will never be again. They shall be as though they never were. You and I will never remember that they ever existed. They are going to vanish like smoke. The Bible says, “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psalm 37:20)

Beloved, the Lord has to do a mighty work on the wicked before He gives this world to us for an inheritance. He must perform His “strange act” and destroy them completely. (See Isaiah 28:21.) The Bible says that He is calling all to repentance because He wants none to be lost. (See 2 Peter 3:9.) But most will not repent. So, He has to perform this “strange act” of destruction.

This whole world was once destroyed by a watery flood. Only eight people were saved from destruction. (Genesis 6:18) These alone were worthy of inheriting the “new earth.” But before they could possess the new earth, God had to destroy all that was in that present world. (Genesis 6:17) He destroyed man, beast, and vegetation.

The flood waters cleansed the earth of all sinners who were living in sin, or being disobedient to the express will of God. Those on the ark were the inheritors of the new earth, or symbolically speaking, of heaven. Remember that the earth is the first heaven. “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” (Genesis 1:20) So you see, Noah and his family inherited a new and cleansed earth; which was a replica, or a representation of what our mighty God will do for the righteous in the last day. Just as He cleansed the earth for them, so will He cleanse it for those who shall gain the abundant life, even eternal life. This time God will cleanse it with fire. You see, fire is a purifier. Webster defines “fire” as: “To cause to explode: To subject to intense heat.” “Purify” is defined as: “To cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off impurities: To remove sin or guilt from: To become free of impurities or excess matter through a cleansing process: A ridding of persons regarded as treacherous or disloyal. To make pure: Free from anything alien, extraneous, improper, corrupting, or damaging.” (See 2 Peter 3:10; Proverbs 30:8; Psalm 119:22, 29; Proverbs 4:27.) God must make the earth free from all sin; not just sinners.

Knowing that this fire is a destroyer, we can better understand why God has named this destructive fire as He did. And by knowing the name of the fire, we can better understand its purpose. The name of this lake of fire and brimstone is “the second death.” (Revelation 20:14, 6; 21:8; 2:11) Did you get that friend? It is called the “second death” which means that its purpose is to kill or to destroy. It is not designed to punish for an eternity.  The wicked will be totally burned up, “and it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (Malachi 4:1, 3)

How can any professed Christian believe that the wicked are going to burn throughout all ages, suffering for the wrongs done in a few short years? God said that he would leave “neither root nor branch.” If there is nothing left, how can they burn forever? When God says that “they shall perish,” (Psalm 37:20) that’s exactly what He means. God says that, “Old things are passed away, behold I make all things new,” and that the old things will not be remembered, and that “the wicked’s place shall be as though it never was.” With these clear Scriptural statements, it is clear to see that the wicked will not burn forever, but will perish without a trace of their existence in the earth or anywhere in the creation of God.

One of the most horrible lies that Satan has caused mankind to believe is the lie that man will not surely die, but will burn throughout eternity.

What could possibly be gained by burning them forever? Would that be a tactic of God to keep the righteous in line? If that was the case, God could have wiped out Lucifer the moment he sinned. But God did not want the rest of the angels and beings of other worlds to worship Him out of fear. Neither does God want those who will be saved to worship Him out of fear. God wants willing worshippers who love Him for who He is and for what He has done for them. Are you in love with God, my friend? Do not be afraid of Him, but fear Him (reverence), for only the wicked shall pass away.    qqq

(Elder Willis Smith works with “God’s Word - God’s Way,” an outreach of “The Three Angels’ Prison Ministry,” a small group of self-supporting Christians who believe in the true message that God gave to His “Remnant Church” just as He gave it in the Bible. Willis is the author of an excellent booklet entitled, Who is this Michael? and he also publishes a monthly study paper called, God’s Word, God’s Way. You may contact Elder Smith by writing him at: P. O. Box 94054, Cleveland, Ohio  44101; or you may call at (216) 271-9045.)


Editorial: “So Much in Common”

In 1973 the World Council of Churches published a book entitled, So Much In Common. This book contained “Documents of interest in the conversations between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” (So Much In Common, p. 1) After reading the book, one is impressed with the fact that there is indeed very much in common between contemporary Adventism and the WCC. Today the independent ministries claim that while they are similar to the corporate mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church, there are important differences. However, the independent ministries, with their “home churches,” have much more in common with the corporate church than they would care to admit.

The rapid growth of the independent “home church” movement developing apart from denominational Adventism has become impossible to ignore. Some questions plaguing many sincere souls who are in the process of, or have already opted for, the Adventist home church alternative are:

What is the major doctrinal difference between the fundamental beliefs of our early Adventist pioneers and that of the modern Adventist Church?

Are these doctrinal differences significant or important enough to justify my complete separation (voluntarily or involuntarily) from the Seventh-day Adventist denomination?”

The first question is apparently an easy one, usually answered in a very simplistic and generalized way: “The big difference between what I believe and what the conference churches believe is that they believe and teach the ‘new theology’ and I don’t.” By implication, this “new theology” (or false doctrine) that modern Adventism is now teaching is in direct contrast to and a change from the “old theology” (or true doctrine) the Adventist church used to teach.

If you ask the historic Adventist home church advocates if they are starting another denomination, most will instantly reply that their movement “is not a new organization of any kind, rather it is the people who are determined to maintain all the old historic beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists-the people who are part of the original organization not only in name but in doctrine and spirit.” (Issues: No New Organization, Part Three, John Grosboll, p. 28)

So, what are the “old historic beliefs” which constitute an historic Adventist? Landmarks, the official publication of Steps to Life, one of the largest independent ministries, made this proclamation:

“What are these fundamental doctrines? They were summarized by James White in a Signs of the Times article in 1874. In this article, he outlined the beliefs of Historic Seventh-day Adventists.” (Landmarks, “Who is an Historic Seventh-day Adventist”) The above quotation is affirming all the teachings of the James White statement to be Biblically correct. If this is true, the “new theology” would consist of either true doctrines being deleted from the 1874 statement, or false doctrines being added to this statement, or both.

The main cause of separation and the conflict between the conference church and the independent ministries is explained as follows:

“The doctrines of our church are being changed, and this is the real issue. This is the reason for the existence of the ‘certain private organizations’ that are being attacked; and it is the reason that these private organizations are receiving such widespread support from church members who view the changes with alarm, wondering why church leaders seem to be doing little or nothing to interfere with the changes.” (Issues: The Real Issue the Side Issues and the Pseudo Issues, Ralph Larson, p. 10)

When you ask for the specific doctrines defined under the label of “new theology,” the most common replies are: 1) Christ took the unfallen nature of Adam 2) You can’t overcome all sin until Jesus comes; 3) Disbelief in the investigative judgment as it relates to the sanctuary, and 4) Unbelief or rejection of the writings of Ellen G. White. (Ibid., p. 13)

While these doctrines are accepted by many leaders and church members, it is interesting to note that the official church creed (statement of beliefs) does not teach any of the above! In fact, a study of the statement of beliefs reveals:

1) No mention is made concerning the nature of Christ in the incarnation. 2) No mention is made concerning the impossibility of overcoming all sin. 3) While the emphasis of the atonement is changed, the doctrine of the investigative judgment is not denied. 4) Ellen G. White’s ministry is not only affirmed, but her writings are described as “a continuing and authoritative source of truth.” (Fundamental Belief #17)

While it is true that the “new theology” does involve the above named subjects, yet the existence of these doctrinal compromises is simply the consequences, or natural results, of the greatest and most blatant doctrinal change, cover-up and conspiracy in the history of Seventh-day Adventism: the doctrinal change from being an ardently anti-Trinitarian, to an avowedly pro-Trinitarian, church! The fact and reality that this change did occur can be proven by simply comparing the 1872/1874 [anti-Trinitarian] statement of beliefs with the 1980 [pro-Trinitarian] 27 fundamental beliefs as follows:

1872 STATEMENT

“That there is one God, a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:7.

“That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, and Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom God created all things and by whom they do consist; ...” (A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-Day Adventists)

1980 STATEMENT

“There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation.” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, p. 16, Fundamental Belief #2)

Ironic as it may seem, the doctrinal change (from anti-Trinitarianism to pro-Trinitarianism, and the subsequent cover-up) has been so successful that even most Seventh-day Adventist independent ministries do not know when, why, or how this doctrinal change occurred. While independent ministries emphatically assert that modern Adventism is in serious doctrinal apostasy, conference leaders categorically insist that denominational Adventism has not changed any of its fundamental teachings except one: the doctrine of the Trinity!

Concerning the omega of apostasy, Ellen G. White wrote: “Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 197) An article in the Adventist Review, by Editor William G. Johnsson, not only affirms the doctrinal change on the nature of God, but echoes Sister White’s terminology when she stated that the omega of apostasy would be of a “most startling” nature. Johnsson wrote:

“Some Adventists today think that our beliefs have remained unchanged over the years, or they seek to turn back the clock to some point when we had everything just right. But all attempts to recover such ‘historic Adventism’ fail in view of the facts of our heritage.

“Adventist beliefs have changed over the years under the impact of ‘present truth.’ Most startling is the teaching regarding Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord...the Trinitarian understanding of God, now part of our fundamental beliefs, was not generally held by the early Adventists. Even today a few do not subscribe to it.” (William G. Johnsson, Adventist Review, Janurary 6, 1994 p. 10 - emphasis supplied.)

The following quotation from the book Issues also clearly admits of this great doctrinal change as well.

“After the 1952 Bible Conference, for example, Nichol wrote in the Review of the ‘impressive fact that we have not changed our theology.’ To be sure, the qualifiers that Nichol adds to that statement tend to temper its intensity. He seems to be speaking of Adventism’s major doctrines. But even then it would seem that the shift to a Trinitarian theology is a significant ‘change’ in Adventist thinking...In addition to the missing preamble, the 1931 statement differs most dramatically from the 1872 statement in that it is fully Trinitarian...The 1980 statement is like the 1931 statement in that it is fully Trinitarian...” (Issues, p. 46- emphasis supplied.)

Ironically enough, while independent ministries are urging denominational leaders to doctrinally repent, believe, and teach all the truths contained in the 1872/1874 statement of beliefs [i.e. nature of Christ, etc.], conference leaders are challenging the willingness of independent ministries to do the same [i.e. accept and teach all the anti-Trinitarian implications of the 1872/1874 statement]. Quoting again from the book Issues, we read:

“The nonbinding, noncreedal status of the statement [1872 statement of beliefs] is of special interest. Even more significant, however, is the fact that the statement is distinctly non-Trinitarian. Jesus is described as Creator and Redeemer but is nowhere identified as God or as eternal. He simply is ‘the Son of the Eternal Father.’

“ ... Are the modern defenders of so-called historic Adventism really prepared to return to a non-Trinitarian position?” (Issues, p. 39 - emphasis supplied.)

What is the point behind the question? Modern denominational leaders recognize that most independent ministries are definitely not willing to return to the anti-Trinitarian position of the pioneers because of the resulting cultic stigma and financial loss that such a change would incur. Therefore, the question is an attempt to coerce independent ministries to recognize that the pioneers’ statement of beliefs contained “serious errors” and cannot therefore be considered as any type of standard or measurement of truth today.


“It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.” (Signs of the Times, Feb. 2, 1894)


Denominational leaders boldly state that according to the definition of “historic Adventism” (1872/1874 statement of beliefs) neither, they, nor independent ministry leaders, are in doctrinal unity with the pioneers. Denominational leaders also state that the early Adventist pioneers would not be able to subscribe to the current beliefs, join, or even work with, either the General Conference or most independent ministries today. Notice this bold admission by George Knight in Ministry magazine:

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs.

“More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. For Joseph Bates the Trinity was an unscriptural doctrine, for James White it was that ‘old Trinitarian absurdity,’ and for M.E. Cornell it was a fruit of the great apostasy, along with such false doctrines as Sunday keeping and the immortality of the soul.

“In like manner, most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would have trouble with fundamental belief number 4, which holds that Jesus is both eternal and truly God. For J.N. Andrews ‘the Son of God...had God for His Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days.’ And E. J. Waggoner, of Minneapolis 1888 fame, penned in 1890 that ‘there was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God...but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.’

“Neither could most of the leading Adventists have agreed with fundamental belief number 5, which implies the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Uriah Smith, for example, not only was anti-Trinitarian and semi-Arian, like so many of his colleagues, but also like them pictured the Holy Spirit as ‘that divine mysterious emanation through which They [the Father and the Son] carry forward their great and infinite work.’ On another occasion, Smith pictured the Holy Spirit as a ‘divine influence’ and not a ‘person like the Father and the Son.’” (George R. Knight, Ministry, October, 1993, p. 10)

Not only is George Knight brazen enough to admit that: “Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs,” but he is candid and honest enough to label the Trinity doctrine as the “new theology” for Adventism. Notice his following confession:

“Theological change generally brings pain to those involved, but various individuals respond to it in different ways. Some, such as Andreasen, were able eventually to accommodate to the ‘new theology.’

“Others, however, found accommodation impossible. One such was J. S. Washburn, a retired minister who in 1939 published a pamphlet in which he noted that the doctrine of the Trinity was ‘a cruel heathen monstrosity,’ ‘an impossible, absurd invention,’ ‘a blasphemous burlesque,’ and ‘a bungling, absurd, irreverent caricature.’ Beyond that, it was a ‘Roman doctrine’ that was ‘seeking to intrude its evil presence into the teachings of the third angel’s message.’ Washburn also claimed that W.W. Prescott could not be a Seventh-day Adventist because he believed in the Trinity.

“One conference president was so impressed with the Washburn pamphlet that he ordered 32 copies to distribute to his ministers. Meanwhile, the Arian views set forth in Uriah Smith’s Daniel and the Revelation were not removed until the mid-1940s.” (Ibid., p. 11)

INDEPENDENT MINISTRIES SAY:

 

1. We claim to be “historic Adventists” as a differentiation between “apostate” or “new theology” Adventists.

 

   

2. Historic Adventists are defined as those who believe and live the truths summarized by James White in a Signs of the Times article in 1874.

       

 

 


 

3. The main “issue” of conflict between the church hierarchy and independent ministries is: “The doctrines of our church are being changed, and this is the real issue.”

       

 


 

 

4. If modern church leaders would repent of doctrinal apostasy and change back to believing and teaching the doctrines of “historic Adventism” [i.e. 1874 article by James White] there would be no major doctrinal disagreement.

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5. Because church leaders refuse to doctrinally repent back to “historic Adventism,” independent Adventist ministries must work separately from modern denominational Adventism until they do.

DENOMINATIONAL LEADERS SAY:

 

1. We resent the fact that many independent ministries claim to be “historic” Adventists as opposed to us denominational leaders being the doctrinally “apostate” Adventists. (See Issues, pp, 7-8)

 

2. Many use the title “historic Adventist” because they claim to believe and teach “all” the “fundamental principles” as outlined by James White [in the 1872 and 1874 statement of beliefs] and that denominational leaders do not. Yet, we [denominational leaders] can prove that independent ministries are not believing and teaching “all” these “fundamental principles” because James White and his statement is distinctly anti-Trinitarian. You independent ministries are not! (See Issues, p, 39)

 

3. We denominational church leaders do not deny that there have been changes in doctrine from what our early Adventist pioneers believed. Yet these changes have been necessary because our pioneers were in doctrinal error, [i.e. they were anti-Trinitarian].

Therefore, the 27 fundamental beliefs simply represent our advanced enlightenment and progression of truth today [i.e. pro-Trinitarian position], and not a regression to “all” the past (and erroneous) teachings of our pioneers.

 

4. You [independent ministries] claim that we [denominational church leaders] should repent of doctrinal apostasy and return to believing and teaching the doctrines of “historic Adventism” [i.e. the 1874 article by James White]. Yet, we [denominational church leaders] can prove that you [independent ministries] are in doctrinal apostasy [i.e. Trinitarianism] according to the same standard [of “historic Adventism”] you’re trying to impose upon us.

Both independent ministries and denominational Adventism are in doctrinal apostasy according to your own definition of “historic Adventism.” The early Adventist pioneers would not be able to join our S.D.A. denomination today because they couldn’t agree with the Trinitarian statements #2,#3,#5 of the 27 fundamental beliefs. Yet, neither would they be able to join with you [independent ministries] because of your agreement with us on these vital points! (See Ministry, October 1993)

 

5. So, since we both differ with the pioneers’ beliefs and teachings in a similar manner, don’t work separately, but together with us, by not imposing your brand of doctrine as the only legitimate “historic Adventism” available. (See Issues, pp, 51, 83.)

 

As we have seen, the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church and the independent ministries have the same foundational doctrine of God in common. An important lesson from the history of Protestantism could be drawn upon. When the Reformation began, the Protestants began to move away from Catholicism. However, because they did not give up the three main pillars of Rome, the Trinity, Sunday sacredness, and the belief of the immortal soul, they did not continue to reform. Slowly at first, and now with astounding speed, they have begun the trip back to Rome. Today, unity among the former Protestants and the Papacy is a forgone conclusion. Since the independent ministries failed to give up the one teaching that stands as the central pillar of Catholicism (the Trinity), they have failed to anchor themselves, and one by one they will ultimately “go home” to the mother church if they refuse to abandon her central doctrine! With the transpiring of recent events involving one of the main independent ministries from Florida, the handwriting is on the wall.

If the Adventist pioneers were in doctrinal error when they believed and taught the anti-Trinitarian position, then denominational leaders today are justified in their admitted change to the pro-Trinitarian position. They are also justified in their ecumenical overtures to Babylon since they are so close in doctrine. Yet, if the early Adventist pioneers were Biblically correct in their anti-Trinitarian position, this fact alone incriminates modern Adventism (both the corporate and major independent branches) to be in serious doctrinal apostasy—even the “omega” of such. You must decide for yourself through prayer and a careful consideration of the weight of evidence. Your final decision may determine your eternal destiny! The following counsel is well worth considering:

“The church that holds to the word of God is irreconcilably separated from Rome. Protestants were once thus apart from this great church of apostasy, but they have approached more nearly to her, and are still in the path of reconciliation to the Church of Rome. Rome never changes. Her principles have not altered in the least. She has not lessened the breach between herself and Protestants; they have done all the advancing. But what does this argue for the Protestantism of this day? It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.” (Signs of the Times, February 2, 1894)    qqq


God’s Power Displayed

“And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

The story of Jonathan has been an inspiration to many to see how the Lord is not dependent upon large numbers to do His work. In fact, many times, such as in the case of Gideon, God has chosen to use only a small number so that the glory cannot be ascribed to man, but will all be given to Him.

Recently I was thrilled to receive a report from Brother Mick Goslin about a visit he made to a Promise Keepers rally in Columbia, South Carolina, October 2, 3.

Brother Mick had taken tracts to share with the Promise Keepers that encouraged them to continue to serve their God and their families and then challenged them to continue further with their experience receiving a knowledge of the three angels’ messages. The tract closed with an offer for a free copy of Great Controversy.

Working, seemingly alone, but with the cooperation of heaven, Brother Mick was able to distribute approximately 13,000 flyers in one evening and part of the next morning!

The reception from the men was excellent. Many promise keepers poked and nudged Mick for his attention to make sure that they were not missed. Some even requested bundles of tracts for  groups they were with. Mick said that “right from the beginning the Lord opened the way.  Friday evening I had passed out about ten flyers and was approached by a PK security official. He asked, ‘Have these been approved by PK?’ I replied, ‘No.’ Then he called for another official to either approve or disapprove the tract. The official came over and looked at the front of the tract and saw the title, ‘Jesus Wants a God-Fearing Church’ and approved it. Then the first official thanked me for my co-operation.”

Praise God for His almighty power and that He is able to save by many or by few. What makes the testimony so much more dynamic is that Brother Mick is only seventeen years old! This ruddy youth was used in a marked way by God and I wish to ask that you will personally remember Brother Mick in prayer that God will continue to use him.    Editor


Youth’s Corner

A Lucky Break?

“The Apostle of The North” was the title the humble, believing Christians had honorarily given the Protestant reformer, Bernard Gilpin, living in northern England during the early Reformation times. Despite all obstacles placed in his way he maintained explicit trust in God. His cheerful confidence in his Maker inspired everyone who knew or came in contact with him. His life was not only beautiful but amazing.

“Remember one verse in Romans, chapter eight and verse twenty-eight,” he told everyone who came to him with a problem or perplexity. “Believe it and claim it as your own personal guarantee from heaven,” he said hundreds and hundreds of times, “And it will help you through any crisis.”

Romans 8:28 states: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Whenever he had the opportunity he explained that his studies indicated that in the original Greek it read “God worketh all things with them for good.” He told many a struggling and weak Christian that it is not these “things” working, but God working the things! Gilpin proved this personally through some very strange happenings.

Towards the end of the reign of Queen Mary things were made very, very difficult for reform and reformers. Queen Mary used both the stake and the sword to stem the tide of reform in England.

One day, as Bernard Gilpin was deep into his study of the Bible, a knock at the door brought about the beginning of the bizarre proof that “God worketh all things with them for good.”

He was arrested on the charge of heresy, and taken into custody to be transported to London for the typical mock trial given all who were accused of treason. The detachment of soldiers appeared as if they were capturing a fierce armed robber.

The second day of horseback riding found the small group in a small village near sunset. The captain inquired about an inn and led the men and his prisoner towards it. As they dismounted, Gilpin fell. This excited the horse, and it bolted down the cobblestone street until apprehended by one of the soldiers who had already taken off his own saddle in preparation for the night’s rest.

When Gilpin tried to stand on his feet, a sharp pain raced up his leg. The torn pant’s leg and bloodied ankle made it evident that he had broken his ankle as well as severely lacerated his leg in several places. He had to be carried into the inn by three men.

The captain was furious. He knew that this meant a delay in their traveling. He sent all of the men ahead the next morning at dawn to report to his commander of the unfortunate accident. The captain seemed to vent his hostilities out against the Protestant reformer.

Finally, the captain said, “I guess you’re going to tell me what you told those poor, ignorant peasants who came to see you off to jail and death. You know, about how everything works out for the best and all that.”

“I am as sure as you’re standing there that even this broken leg will prove to be a blessing to me,” Gilpin said with true confidence.

The captain laughed as he looked at the man who was going to soon lose his life for preaching against the established religion of England.

“I suppose you believe,” the captain continued, “that everything worked out well for your friends Latimer and Ridley when her royal highness burned them at the stake.”

Before Gilpin could reply, the hostile soldier added, “And what about the Archbishop of Canterbury? You can’t tell me that he felt that when she ordered him to forfeit his life he was happy over it.”

Over two weeks were passed in the little inn as the captain kept up his unrelenting attack on Gilpin’s confidence that God was going to work out things for his best good. The captain did not do all the talking, and in listening to the quiet, patient man of the cloth it did have its effect.

Just prior to the day they had decided that Gilpin could make the trip on into London to face certain death, the local town crier came into the inn to announce to everyone that Queen Mary had died.

Queen Elizabeth now reigned. And since Elizabeth was a Protestant, her new reign brought an end to the persecutions.

The Protestant reformer was released on the spot. He returned to his faithful flock. The captain returned to duty in London. Even though their backgrounds and beliefs were as opposite as day and night, there was one thing they both knew to be true. That is, “God worketh all things with them for good.” Even to the breaking of an ankle.    ?

(This story was reprinted from the book, The Hand That Still Intervenes, - W. A. Spicer and Helen Spicer Menkel 1982 by Concerned Publications. Permission to reprint this article was graciously granted by the publishers.)


Some Features of our Times

By Uriah Smith

This is an age of brilliant pretensions, but sad realities.  Its professions and practices, its facts and theories, present a climax of contradictions.

There never was so much of the form of godliness, and never so little of the power.

Never were there so many professors of religion, and never so little of religion itself.

Never so many assurances of peace, and never so extensive and urgent preparations for war.

Never so many tokens of coming danger and calamity, and never such a feeling of security, expressed and implied, on the part of the people.

There never was a time when the doctrine of the immediate opening of the temporal millennium was more universally cherished and talked of, and never a time when every feature of society, social, moral, and political, rendered such an idea more preposterous.

There was a time when there was so much money in the world, and never a time when there was more wide-spread and distressing poverty.

There never was a time when there were so many remedies for every disease, real or imaginary, which profess to be sure cures, absolutely infallible, and never a time when there existed so much disease, sickness, suffering, and death.

There never was a time when there was so much boasting of progress and advancement on the part of the race, and never a time when they gave more palpable evidence of fast descending into every depth of iniquity and sin.

And what does all this show?  It shows that the pretensions on which men build themselves up are a sham, and their professions, hypocrisy.  They are willing to deceive others, and to be deceived themselves.  This is the time when the prophet tells us that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  We see this work going on before us, which proves that we have reached the time to which the  prophet's words apply.  There is nothing to which men will not put their hand for gain.  With worthless nostrums, which the venders know will not accomplish what they claim, the confidence of the afflicted is secured, and their means filched.  Falsity and hollow-heartedness exist on every hand. Truth is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter.  Nor will this state of things improve till He whose right it is, the Prince of the house of David, takes the throne.

We rejoice that this event is at the door.  Hasten, O King of kings, the glad day. (Without Excuse - 1893 )



Camp Meeting News

 

Florida Camp Meeting Notice

I would like to remind all of you that there will be a camp meeting in central Florida from November 12-15. Please make your arrangements now to attend. The camp meeting will be held in the River Forest group campground located in the southeast corner of the Ocala National Forest—about one hour north of Orlando. For more information contact Bill Hayes (904) 684-2214 or Lynnford Beachy (304) 732-9204. A $25 fee per family for the duration of your stay is appreciated. This fee is to help with the rental of the camp ground. There are plenty of spaces for tents and there is a large, indoor meeting room and kitchen.

Please plan to come for spiritual nourishment and edifying fellowship with God’s people. Last spring’s camp meeting held there was a real blessing to all who attended and the blessing promises to be richer this year.

 

Arizona Camp Meeting

As many of you know, we recently had a camp meeting in Wilhoit, Arizona. One of the highlights of the camp meeting was to have a guest speaker came all the way from Jamaica. Brother David Clayton shared some very encouraging and thought provoking studies, focused on God’s love and a deeper, more genuine, Christian experience. I must say that I was certainly blessed by all the meetings.

Doug Goslin and Lynnford Beachy also shared Bible studies with those who could attend. Randall Mercer shared an outstanding testimony of his life, which moved the hearts of many. It is a privilege to witness the wonderful power of our God.

There were several people who were new to the message of the love of God in giving up His only-begotten Son. Some of these brethren gladly received the truth and praised the Lord for allowing them to hear such a wonderful message. I am certainly grateful to the Lord for allowing me to be able to fellowship with God’s people at the Arizona camp meeting. I wish to personally thank each of you who came to the camp meeting, for it would not have been the same without you.

The following weekend the Promise Keepers held a convention in Tucson, Arizona. One of the men who accepted the truth at the camp meeting came to help us pass out fliers to those attending the meetings.

Those of you who were not able to come to the camp meeting certainly missed out on a wonderful experience. I pray that you will be able to make it to the next one.      L.B.

 

West Virginia Convocation

During the months of September and October, Brother David Clayton from Jamaica visited several groups in America. The Arizona camp meeting was one such event. Another that we can report on first-hand was the meetings held at the Smyrna Chapel the last weekend of September.

Brother David, along with his wife Jennifer and their daughter Annelie, greatly blessed those in attendance with both song and messages from God’s Word. David’s expressive preaching style was equally matched by the depth of the messages God gave through him.

Special music and several testimonies rounded out the weekend. Several visitors were in attendance and the fellowship was greatly appreciated by all.     A. S.


Christmas Tract

The Christmas season will soon be here. Most of the world will be spending money for gifts and decorations. Some will attempt to ignore it because of its pagan ties. We believe that this is a time of year when many hearts are open to receive the gospel who would never listen any other time. Last year we published a tract in the form of a Christmas card. We have found this to be the easiest tract to share that we have ever seen! While many people will not accept a tract, almost everyone will accept a Christmas card and a season greeting when offered with a sincere smile!

Last season we distributed many of these tracts in our local area. Sabbath afternoons and Sundays were ideal times to meet people as they were busy doing shopping at local stores. Most businesses liked the public relations appeal and nearly everyone would accept a card. They are excellent for those who still wish to send cards by postal mail as well.

The first two paragraphs of the tract are taken from a section of the Adventist Home entitled, “Christmas is Coming.” This is followed by a short Bible study on God’s love in giving His only begotten Son for our sins. The tract ends with an appeal to the reader to give their life to the Lord and an offer for a free copy of Steps to Christ (Shelter in the Storm version).

We have reproduced a copy of the cover and full text for those interested. (The cover has a green border and a red  title.) The cost of production and mailing is $7.50/100. Those interested should let us know as soon as possible so it will enable us to get your cards to you before the season starts.

Text of Card

“Christmas is coming,” is the note that is sounded throughout our world from east to west and from north to south. With youth, those of mature age, and even the aged, it is a period of general rejoicing, of great gladness. But what is Christmas, that it should demand so much attention?ccard.gif

The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes.

In His wisdom the Lord concealed the place where He buried Moses. God buried him, and God resurrected him and took him to heaven. This secrecy was to prevent idolatry. Moses, against whom the children of Israel rebelled while he was in active service, whom they provoked almost beyond human endurance, was almost worshiped as God after his separation from them by death. For the very same purpose He has concealed the precise day of Christ’s birth, that the day should not receive the honor that should be given to Christ as the Redeemer of the world--one to be received, to be trusted, to be relied on as He who could save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. The soul’s adoration should be given to Jesus as the Son of the infinite God.

“He [Christ] shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” (Luke 1:32)

Friend, God loves you so much “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus also loves you so much that He “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4)

God manifested His love for you by sending His only begotten Son into the world. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)

 

Abraham was a man who loved God with his whole heart. God allowed Abraham to demonstrate his love in a very dynamic way. “And he [God] said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2)

This was the most severe test that anyone could go through. After three long days, Abraham came to Moriah and was about to follow through with God’s command, when an angel stopped him. “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Genesis 22:12)

This was the greatest proof of Abraham’s love that could be manifested. It was an illustration of God’s love to mankind except Abraham was spared the death of his son, while God was not. Abraham’s obedience proved his love. It showed there was nothing he was not willing to give up for God. Abraham would have much rather given up all his silver, gold, his herds of cattle, and his many sheep, than to give up his only son Isaac.

God proved His love for you in the same way by yielding up that which was most dear to Him: His only begotten Son. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) This proved for eternity that there was nothing that God would not give up for you and me.

My friend, God loves you dearly and wishes above all things that you should be saved and enter into His kingdom. Please take this opportunity to give your life to God. Follow Him with your whole heart, and He will give you a crown of life.

Surely you will want to learn more about living victorious amid the storms of life. Please write to the address below to receive your free* copy of the life changing book entitled Shelter in the Storm.

*A two-dollar donation for postage and handling is appreciated, but not required to receive Shelter in the Storm.


Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Office phone: (304) 732-9204. Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.

Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail berean@smyrna.org

This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013