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. 9, No. 9 Straight and Narrow September 2000
The Berean Attitude
(The following article is not only a study, but also a very humble confession. The writer’s honesty should challenge each of us to examine our own lives and see if they reflect “The Berean Attitude.” Editor)
In the spirit of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) I have begun to search the Scriptures to see for myself if what I have been taught squares with the Word. It is not that I have failed to study my Bible through the years, but as a teacher and pastor I had felt that the press of activities justified my use of shortcuts. We have, after all, many scholars far more able than I among us who have taken the time to study things out and put their findings on paper to bless the rest of us. (It is good to read widely, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. … and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:17, 14) I assumed our Godly leaders would not publish these studies for us if they were not Biblical.
In the eighties, it gradually dawned on me that one must be selective of the authors read to avoid being confused. This became true for me when we were told in church publications that Adventism was large enough to permit belief in more than one view regarding the human nature of Christ. How could that possibly be true? If the Scriptures were not clear on the subject, it should be abandoned. We needed to let the Bible settle the matter. Further, the assertion that more than one view was acceptable seemed to be a ploy to take heat off those who were promoting the viewpoint that Jesus had taken the pre-fall human nature of Adam rather than the post-fall nature inherited by all of Adam’s offspring. Permit me to backtrack to the early sixties.
Completion of the ministerial course (Emmanuel Missionary College ‘55) had not prepared me for such an issue. In the Michigan Conference I was given as many cases of Questions On Doctrines as I could use. I got enough (a VW “Beetle” full) so each of my members who would take one could have their own copy. Also, I was pleased to be able to present a hard cover book to each of my many “ingathering” business donors.
There were only two hints that all were not pleased with the new book, and these did not assume any significance to me for many years. One was mentioned in a workers’ meeting. It was told that a well-known scholar, then retired and in decline, was miffed because he had not been consulted during the preparation of Questions on Doctrine that he was sending letters to the churches making a big issue of a minor matter on which he disagreed with the authors. There was no discussion of the issue. We were advised to ignore the matter since it was so trite that people of good sense would not want to be bothered with it.
The other hint that all was not well with Questions on Doctrine came from one of my elders. While visiting during a fellowship meal one Sabbath, he casually asked me some questions about the nature of Christ that were beyond my knowledge and experience in the Word. He quickly sensed my discomfort, perceived that I was blissfully ignorant on the matter, and let it drop. Such is the ill-advised consideration some have for their ministers. Nearly forty years passed before I was able to again visit this dear octogenarian brother. He did not remember the above incident, but he remembered well being on the mailing list of “Letters to the Churches,” and the blessings they brought to him. How I wish I had been on that mailing list. That I did not understand the issues was my fault. I do have ears and one is all that is required for hearing what the Spirit of Christ says to the churches. (Revelation 2:7, 11, etc.) I just was not listening or studying the Word for myself. I was caught up in the efficient use of short cuts and let the press of duties rob me of understanding all that heaven was anxious for me to know.
However, the smoke screen that was being raised by Adventist officialdom in the eighties over the issue of Jesus’ pre-fall human nature finally opened my eyes to a problem that, to my shame, I had not seen. How could we say that Hebrews 2:14, “for as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;” meant that Jesus had taken an unfallen human nature? Nor could I accept that it did not make any difference which way I believed. It was equally hard to accept that I had been sleeping on this problem for thirty years, but worse was to come.
About this time we received a complimentary subscription to Our Firm Foundation. We found there a group of authors who were consistent in their usage of the Bible. We also appreciated Adventists Affirm with its group of authors trying to prevent the drift of our Church/Ship from its moors. We now had the advantage that our church elder had enjoyed thirty years earlier. We were on mailing lists that gave us a view of what was going on behind the smoke screens. When the “Issues Supplement” appeared in the Review we were much better prepared than we had been when Questions on Doctrine appeared. We bought the big Issues book, studied it carefully, and were appalled, not only by what it attempted to do, but by the methods used to defeat those who were trying to call the church’s leadership to accountability. The time spent studying Issues was not wasted though, since it served as a textbook for a course in DECEPTIVE JOURNALISM ILLUSTRATED, that would be most useful.
Of course we did not accept the Issues premise that the human nature of Christ was a “moot theological issue.” However, a question raised on page 39 of Issues was most perplexing:
“Are the modern defenders of so-called historic Adventism really prepared to return to a non-Trinitarian position?” (Emphasis supplied.) I wondered, “Just what does that involve?” I underlined it and noted the passage on a blank page at the back of the book; but I did no more to resolve the question. I had failed the Berean test again.
Those who have studied Adventist church history know that the narrowly averted doctrinal detour into pantheism, championed by Dr. Kellogg, was referred to as the Alpha of apostasy by Ellen White, the end time prophet. It was revealed to her that a far more deceptive error, which she referred to as the Omega of apostasy, was soon to follow the Alpha (circa 1904) especially after her death (1915). It was to have been of a most startling nature, so deceptive that she trembled for God’s people. A new order of books would be written. Nothing would be allowed to stand in its way. Our religion would be changed. (See Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 204, 205.) But what was the Omega? To my knowledge no one had really come right out and said what it was. Should we not know by now? Could the Evangelical teaching that Jesus had taken an unfallen human nature be it? Some of us had thought perhaps it might be, but in some ways it did not seem to fit what we knew about the Omega. For example, it did not soon follow either the Alpha or the prophet’s death.
Thanks to “The good old Review,” the dormant question regarding the Issues challenge to “historic Adventism” to return to a non-Trinitarian position (p. 39) suddenly took front burner status for me. The lead article of the April 22, 1999 issue employed identical cover and article title page spreads asking, “Heresy or Hopeful Sign?” with the subtle subtitle “How early Adventists struggled with the truth about the Trinity.” There was much about this article that reminded me of the journalistic style of the Issues book. It was obvious that not only was someone questioning our belief regarding the Trinity, but that unsettling waves were being made, and that this article was intended both to pre-empt the field and for damage control. Had I been sleeping at my post all this time? Yet none of my trusted authors had sounded an alarm. What were we missing?
At the first reading I did not know enough about the subject to fault many of the points made, but the necessity of careful study was urged by the following statements:
1. “It is not surprising that some teachings assumed by most Christians were rather late in receiving attention from this small but rapidly growing Christian denomination.” (Ibid., p 9)
I had understood that the group classified as “most Christians” was called “Babylon” in the Bible, so why should it be used as our standard?
2. “Ellen White’s testimonies, by calling attention to Scriptures whose significance had been overlooked, created a paradigm shift that couldn’t be reversed.” (Ibid., p 11)
None of the overlooked Scriptures were cited, even though she had pointed to “the Bible and the Bible only as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.” (Great Controversy, p. 595)
3. “The Fundamental Beliefs can and will be refined as further insights clarify old truths or as new situations necessitate new explanations to the world of what the Bible teaches and what Seventh-day Adventists believe.” (“Heresy,” op cit. p. 13)
Is situational necessity to be used as justification for doctrinal change, and who decides what those changes are to be and when they are to be implemented?
4a. “Whatever may have been Ellen White’s original beliefs, she never expressed anti-Trinitarian views in her writings, and she eventually led Adventists to reconsider and accept a Biblical concept of the Trinity, as we shall see later.” (Ibid., p. 10)
4b. “She never wrote an article directly confronting wrong views about the Godhead. But she published in The Desire of Ages, and elsewhere, statements that couldn’t be explained away and that were destined eventually to change the view of the church.” (Ibid., p. 12)
I noticed that the statement, “She never wrote an article directly confronting wrong views about the Godhead,” overlooked the whole Kellogg controversy and that was the “Alpha” of apostasy. What else had been overlooked? Here we were dealing with a subject that also involved the worshiping of God, the Immutable Law of God, and the Three Angels’ Messages, at least, and probably the rest of the pillars of our faith, if thoroughly understood. This was not a case of “fine tuning” a doctrine; this was an “Omega Class” turnaround of the entire Church that had begun soon after the Alpha and the death of the prophet, but unlike it, had become firmly entrenched. If this were the Omega, it is not surprising that God’s end time prophet “trembled for God’s people,” not only because of the damage done through lost time and souls, but because it would be so hard to admit that we had been wrong for so long. Even one third of the angels, living as they did in the very presence of God, had refused to do that. But, maybe this was not the “Omega.” Maybe I was wrong in my assessment of the “Heresy” article. One thing was sure, though, I felt I had been late and unsure, and just plain wrong, long enough. Since the “Heresy” article gave the Spirit of Prophecy the credit for pressuring the church into acceptance of the Trinitarian position, that seemed to be the logical place to begin my Berean quest.
I began my search with the first chapter of Patriarchs and Prophets, which is entitled, “Why Was Sin Permitted.” The following are a few of the amazing statements in that one chapter that directly contradicted the “never expressed anti-Trinitarian views” assertion quoted above from the “Heresy” article. (All emphasis is added.)
“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate–a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’ John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father--one in nature, in character, in purpose–the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 33, 34)
“There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven.” (Ibid., p.35)
“ … though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet the homage due alone to the Creator. … And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” (Ibid.)
“The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence he might set forth the true position of his son, … The Son of God shared the Father’s throne, and the glory of the eternal, selfexistent One encircled both. … Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will.” (Ibid., p. 36)
Please read the whole chapter in order to appreciate how much more powerful these passages are when read in their context. It is as plain as can be that the Father and the Son are the Godhead. Lucifer, a created being, was third in command. To be included in the Godhead was a fantasy that he indulged until it corrupted him. It also corrupted all the angels who helped him try to fulfill that fantasy. Worship was what he really wanted, and he would promise anything to get it. Should we not remember that, “The Father and the Son alone are to be exalted.” (The Youth’s Instructor, July 7, 1898) Our reply to Satan’s request for worship should be, “Get thee hence, Satan: For it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ ”
My dear brothers and sisters, there is no way that these straightforward statements could be classified as anything but anti-Trinitarian. Obviously, the “Heresy” author was being less than forthright when he stated that Mrs. White, “never expressed anti-Trinitarian views in her writings,” (“Heresy” p.10) and for her to have made “a seven-word comment that would turn the tide of anti-Trinitarian theology among Adventists” (Ibid., p. 11), would require great intellectual agility to be believable. Examination of that “seven word comment” must wait until the next article, but right here let us see if we can agree on a Berean procedure or attitude toward the Scriptures equal to such a task. Following is my understanding of what that should be:
THE BIBLE, RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD, DOES NOT CONTRADICT ITSELF; IT CANNOT, FOR IT IS THE WORD OF GOD. The Spirit of Prophecy is bound by the same logic, which demands that any apparent contradiction is the result of some misunderstanding. This impasse is not to leave us in doubt, but is to challenge us to look for more specific passages, or, that failing, the weight of evidence to resolve it. We need to be acutely conscious of the possibility that either pride of opinion or preconceived ideas can cause us to put a “slant” or “spin” on a passage that would result in our missing its true meaning and/or possibly bending it to our own purposes. To serve God thus, as it was, in an imagined advisory capacity, is the much used highway that leads to ruin.
Have you ever wondered, fellow Christian, why the churches are weak, sickly, and ready to die? Listen:
“The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ Christ has all power in heaven and in earth, and he can strengthen the wavering, and set right the erring. He can inspire with confidence, with hope in God; and confidence in God always results in creating confidence in one another.” (R& H, August 26, 1890)
Are you wondering if the source of the spirit we receive is all that important? Below is a group of worshipers who paid attention to what affected their salvation and they are contrasted with those whose doctrine was not correct. The difference is a life or death matter.
“Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, ‘My Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.
“I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, ‘Father, give us Thy Spirit.’ Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children.” (Early Writings, p.55, 56 - emphasis supplied.)
What does one do when it begins to dawn on him that he may be wrong about a point of faith that he holds in common with everyone he knows and has confidence in? This newborn Berean can tell you that he trembles, that’s what, while he digs deeper, half hoping that he has been right all along, and wishing that one of his champions would understand the problem and write something about it to give him some confidence. Apparently someone was doing some writing, or the “Heresy” article would not have been written. God has his thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal, and I was anxious to meet some of them. (I will tell you how God brought that about in the next article where we will examine together the Scriptural “Comforter” and its Spirit of Prophecy support.) However, those in whom I had had such great confidence were beginning to come down on what I was now sure was the wrong side. What kind of friend was I, being so timid about shouting the good news I was discovering?
It hurts to admit that one is a coward. It hurts to see the strong hands of one’s friends faltering, about to drop the torch of truth they have held aloft so long. It hurts to see that God’s champions have ignored a challenge like that thrown down to “historic Adventists” in the Issues book; a challenge that had presented a wonderful opportunity to do what we must do now under very much more difficult circumstances. It hurts to see “Creeping Compromise” breaking into a gallop. Most of all, it hurts to admit that we have been wrong, negligent, blind, or even “sheeple.” Is it not far better to study like the Bereans, and, like their teacher Paul, admit it if we find we have been wrong about the Godhead? Let us proclaim with every ounce of strength remaining in us that Jesus is the author and FINISHER of our faith.
“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.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 136)
“Under God we are determined that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever, we shall be called upon to make our exit we will die freemen.”
Sowing and Reaping
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
The choice we make in this life will be our choice through all eternity. We shall receive either eternal life or eternal death. There is no middle ground, no second probation. God calls upon us to overcome as Christ overcame, that we may sit down with the Saviour in his throne. He has provided us with abundant opportunities and privileges, making it possible for us to overcome. But in order to do this, there must be in our lives no petting of self. All selfishness must be cut out by the roots.
When a man accepts Christ, he promises to represent him in this world. To him the words are spoken, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Those engaged in the work of character-building should educate themselves to acknowledge the workmanship of God. Have faith that you can use every entrusted capability to God’s glory. He has not given us talents to hide away in a napkin. We are to impart as we receive. Thus we are sowing seed which will bring forth a harvest of joy.
When God gives many talents to one person, it is not that he shall exalt himself, as if he had not received these talents from God. He who depends on his own merits, placing great confidence in his knowledge and judgment, is not accepted by God. Only the faith that works by love and purifies the soul is acceptable to him. No amount of profession can take the place of honesty and fidelity.
Fraud in any line is a grievous sin in God’s sight; for the goods we are handling belong to him; and if we would be pure and clean in his sight, we must use them to the glory of his name. The religion that carries in its hand the scant measure and the deceitful balance is an abomination in the sight of God. He who cherishes such a religion will be brought to confusion; for God is a jealous God.
God’s law is the standard of character. To it we are required to conform, and by it we shall be judged in the last great day. In that day men will be dealt with according to the light they have received. The number of talents intrusted will determine the returns expected. The sinner’s guilt will be measured by the opportunities and privileges which he failed to improve. He will not be punished merely for his own rejection of the offer of salvation. He will be called to account for the influence he has exerted in encouraging others in sin. He was given ability to use for the Lord. He was given opportunity to co-operate with the Redeemer. Had he been true and faithful, he would not only have won eternal life for himself, but would have drawn others to the kingdom.
Those who reject Christ place themselves on the side of the great apostate. Those who do not accept the offer of salvation show open contempt for the Saviour, and their conduct makes others more bold and defiant. The punishment of the sinner will be measured by the extent to which he has influenced others in impenitence. He refused to wear the yoke of restraint and obedience, to surrender all to God, and thus he placed himself on the side of the enemy of Christ. His refusal to wear the yoke of Christ himself, kept others from seeing their wrong. (Mrs. E. G. White. – Youth’s Instructor, May 9, 1901)
An Open Letter to George Knight
(The following is a slightly edited letter that was sent to Elder George Knight in response to a talk he gave at the recent General Conference session Editor)
Dear Elder Knight,
I was amused by your recent talk at G.C. as reprinted in the Review in which you imagined different ways that the devil could impede the work of the church. It was a very clever way of promoting a liberal agenda. However, your devil has things reversed; the majority of church members are of a conservative bent, and it is the liberal element that is causing dissension and division. In doing so they are playing the devil’s game very well. Ergo, I present to you ten ways that a liberal devil can best interfere with the proclamation of the gospel.
1. If I were the devil, I would denigrate the musical taste of teenagers with voodoo type gospel rock music so that traditional church music and great hymns are considered boring. I would have youth leaders promote this type of music for the worship service with the excuse that it is the only way to “hold the youth in the church.”
2. If I were the devil, I would divide the church over the question of the ordination of women to the ministry. I would cause pseudo-intellectual theologians to encourage modern Eves in their quest for equal rights in the ministry. I would cause wimpish church administrators to acquiesce to these demands in direct opposition to the official action of the world church.
3. If I were the devil, I would introduce divisive forms of worship such as celebration and Pentecostalism into the church. I would subsidize young avant-garde pastors to attend celebration-type seminars conducted by non-Adventist lecturers. This has been a very effective method of splitting up churches.
4. If I were the devil, I would introduce ecumenism into the church leadership so that they can become buddy-buddy with other church leaders and thereby improve the church image in the religious world. This can result in the blurring of the distinction between the Remnant Church and Babylon.
5. If I were the devil, I would espouse the historical-critical method of Bible interpretation and thereby alter the time honored Adventist dependence on a “thus saith the Lord” as the basis of faith and practice.
6. If I were the devil, I would enamor the youth with the amateurish dramatization of trivial Bible topics instead of engaging in serious Bible study.
7. If I were the devil, I would gauge the success of evangelistic campaigns by number of baptisms, and measure the success of the evangelistic thrust of the world church by numbers of converts. This emphasis on numbers would encourage the admittance of many new members into the church without proper instruction in the doctrines and beliefs of the church. This can result in widespread apostasy and/or backsliding.
8. If I were the devil, I would introduce into the church manual non-biblical grounds for divorce and remarriage and thus dull the social conscience of the church and weaken the symbolism of Christ as head of the church.
9. If I were the devil, I would redefine sin as a broken relationship. Thus people would not feel the need for repentance and reform. People would not consider the Law as a guide, and their assurance of salvation would be based on a warm, fuzzy feeling of love for Jesus.
10. If I were the devil, I would introduce into the worship service elements of the concert hall such as applause and other theatrical conduct so as to destroy the solemn dignity and reverence appropriate to the worship of the Almighty.
In conclusion I would quote from your talk: “If I were God I would encourage the Seventh-day Adventist Church to start thinking, planning, and acting in a manner that will defeat the devil’s game plan.”
(Name withheld by request)
Setting the Record Straight
by Allen Stump
Bill Stringfellow’s Death
As we noted in the June, 2000 issue of Old Paths, Elder Bill Stringfellow died April 19 of this year. Another obituary notice was recently published by Vance Farrell in his August 1, 2000 issue of “Checkpoints.” Farrell begins by stating, “Bill Stringfellow died in late May 2000.” The notice goes on to state that Bill had been an Adventist minister and had also carried on an independent work. He then wrote, and I quote, “In a special home video, he declared that there is no Holy Spirit and anyone who believes in the existence of the Holy Spirit will receive the mark of the beast and burn in hellfire! What a horrible attitude. After that, he contracted cancer. His miserable view of things destroyed him.”
Let’s set the record straight, accurate, and true. The above-quoted statements published in “Checkpoints” about Bill Stringfellow are not true! Please note the following statements of fact:
Friends, we need to be very careful what we read. Just because something is in print does not make it true.
On Friday, August 25, I called Vance Farrell to discuss these matters. He also admitted that he had only second-hand information on the date of Bill’s death, and based his statement on when Bill got cancer on his knowledge of how cancer usually works. To his credit, he said he would print a correction on these matters. However, concerning his views on Bill’s theology, he said that he would not publish anything different. When asked for some kind of quotation or documentation for his accusation, Farrell said that what he had written was his “impression” of what he had seen in Bill’s “The Red Flag Is Waving” video.
For those who are more interested in facts than personal “impression,” we wanted to set the record straight.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, 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.” (Revelation 14:13)
We believe that the video, “The Reg Flag Is Waving” and its successor, “Porridge” should still speak. Sister Dee Stringfellow has graciously donated to Smyrna Gospel Ministries in West Virginia, and Philadelphia Press in Arizona, the original master tapes for these, as well as super VHS players to copy them from. We have also been granted permission to reprint an updated version of Bill’s missionary book, The Ultimate Rip-off, formerly titled All In The Name Of The Lord. While it will be a few months before it is ready, the video tapes will be ready by the time you read this. Please call or write Smyrna or Philadelphia Press (HC 68 Box 743, Kirkland, AZ 86332, phone: 520-442-9278) for details.
Remnant Herald Report
The newsletter, Remnant Herald, (issue No. 56) published in Australia, reported that during the General Conference session in Toronto people from Hartland were harassed by police as they were giving out literature. I do not doubt this to be true. However, it was stated in the same paper that “Throughout the G.C. Session, purveyors of Biblical error—including the Shepherd’s Rod and those promoting the view that the Holy Spirit is not a third Being of the Godhead—were left free to distribute their false beliefs in the very location where the Hartland team had been. Those accepting this view of the Holy Spirit should ponder this matter; surely there is cause for thought.” The reference to those who did not believe in the Holy Spirit being a third Being of the Godhead referred to Lynnford Beachy and those passing out literature with him. Last month’s issue of Old Paths documented quite well that our people were also harassed and threatened with arrest as well. The writer of the Remnant Herald report seems to imply that not being hassled is a sign of favor, or at least, non-disapproval of the General Conference, and that harassment is a sign of disapproval. While the General Conference’s reaction to each of the groups present is food for thought, the reception or rejection of a message, even by an apostate church, is not evidence of itself as to the truthfulness or error of the message.
We recently printed some bumper stickers to advertise the Present Truth website.
If you would like to have one or more of these to help alert others to this informative website designed for non-Adventists then write or call us. When writing, we are requesting that you include a one dollar donation for the first sticker and an additional 50 cents for each additional sticker to help cover the printing and mailing costs.
If you have Internet access, and have never been to the Present Truth website, we encourage you to “Check it Out!” (http://www.present.truth.net)
West Virginia Camp Meeting Report
The following are two reports, the first by Allen Stump and the second by Lynnford Beachy.
“The best camp meeting ever” was the description given by many of the people who attended the recent camp meeting at Smyrna. I, too, felt the same way. “The Christ-centered messages given dovetailed beautifully together,” was another comment. Someone said that it was so refreshing to come to a camp meeting where bashing the S.D.A. Church or others was left off and Christ was the theme. Another said that they would “never miss another camp meeting again!”
Although no exact count was taken, between one hundred twenty and one hundred fifty people attended the camp meeting. This was the largest gathering we had ever had at Smyrna. We want to thank all those who took the time and made the effort to come, and especially for the traveling mercies they all received.
The camp meeting got started off with a bang! Literally. During the first meeting Tuesday evening, while Brother Lynnford Beachy was speaking, we had a severe lightening storm with several intense lightening strikes nearby. One strike in particular was very close, very loud , and literally shook the building. Yet the spoken message thundered even louder! Brother Beachy spoke of God’s desire and ability to free us from all sin. It was a real blessing for all.
After the meeting, as people were fellowshipping, someone came running into the church announcing that Brother and Sister Ford’s house, about 300 yards from the chapel, was on fire! As smoke was coming out of the house the the fire department was promptly called and we all quickly ran to see what could be done. After making sure that nobody was trapped in the house, Brother Howard Williams and I searched for the source of the smoke, yet no visible fire could be found. Going outside I saw heavy smoke coming from the outside cellar door. Then, from the cracks in the door, we could make out flames. Opening the door would give the fire the oxygen it need to burn even faster, so we prayed to know if we should wait for the fire department or take matters into our hands. Deciding to wait was very hard, and by this time most of the camp attendees were at the Ford’s house praying that the Lord would stay the flames and that the house could be saved.
Thankfully, the fire department arrived just in time to extinguish the fire just as it was getting ready to spread to the livingroom floor and carpets. Literally a few more minutes and the house would have been lost. The contents of the cellar were destroyed. A portion of the livingroom floor was damaged and some of the water and electric lines were also damaged. The carpet was smoke damaged, but the fire department quickly set up a large fan to try pull smoke from the house. So while having a smoke smell,the house was not nearly as badly damaged as first expected.
Not having any fire insurance, things seemed dismal for Glen and Ann. But the saints rallied around them and an offering was taken to help them replace and repair the damages. Even the next day much of the water line and electric wiring was fixed by brothers David Shaffer and Steve Sutton, who pitched in like troopers to help, even though they had to miss several meetings.
The thing about the camp meeting that impressed me the most was that I had never before personally felt, nor had I seen in others, the desire to put principles into action like at this meeting. Almost everyone that I have talked with since the camp meeting is experiencing a changed life and a closer walk with the Lord!
Each speaker was blessed to be able to provide just want was needed by so many. With David Clayton’s enthusiasm, Gary Richmond’s insightfulness, Willis Smith’s personal testimony and poetry, Ben Vela’s illustrations and preaching, we were richly blessed at the main meetings. The other speakers also clearly and plainly spoke to our hearts.
The testimony meeting Saturday night brought to a close a very sweet experience. To hear the personal testimonies of the various brothers and sisters and how God had blessed was very uplifting. One very special testimony was given by Sister Dee Stringfellow. It was such a blessing to have Dee at the camp meeting. We sure do love her lots, and lots, and lots, and lots!
If you came to camp meeting, I don’t need to write any more, for you know of the blessing that I am trying to express in words. If you didn’t come, any further description of mine would fall short. For those who wish to study further, and for those who missed the opportunity to attend the meetings, we are making the messages available on on audio and/or on video tapes. (See page 11 for further information.)
If the Lord grants us the chance to have a camp meeting next year, I pray that you will not miss it or any other camp meeting you can attend.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1)
The West Virginia camp meeting was a tremendous blessing for my family and me. And from the reports we have heard from some of those who were able to attend it was a tremendous blessing for them as well. This camp meeting was the largest one we have ever held with over 100 people attending, many of whom I had never met before. I was very thankful for the opportunity to fellowship with our brethren from around the country. For all of us here at Smyrna Gospel Ministries, we would like to thank those of you who came. It would not have been the same without you.
For me, the best thing about this camp meeting was the messages the Lord was pleased to share with us through the speakers. The messages were focused on practical things we can do in our own lives to strengthen our relationship with God. One thing that was impressed upon me was the absolute necessity of our faith being increased. (See 2 Corinthians 10:15.) Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29) God’s work is to get you to believe—to have more faith.
Our faith is increased by the increase of the Word of God in our lives. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The more of the Word of God we put in our minds, the more our faith will be increased. The opposite is also true. The more worldly garbage we put in our minds, the more our faith will be diminished. So it is vital to our relationship with God, and our faith, to increase the amount of the Word of God in our lives. As we spend time with God, we will be equipped and able to “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:12)
I learned many essential, yet basic, principles at camp meeting that changed my life. The lessons I learned helped me to get my priorities straight and maintain the vital connection with God by spending more time with Him in prayer and the study of His Word. These are some of the things I have learned from camp meeting that have been extremely helpful to me and have resulted, already, in a change in my life for the better. I thank the Lord for this camp meeting. For those of you who were not able to come, I am very sorry that you were not able to get these blessings first hand. Please bear in mind that the videos take us much longer to reproduce so the supply of them is limited, whereas the cassette tapes can be reproduced very quickly.
I suggest that you order some of the cassette tapes from this camp meeting, which will aid you in your spiritual walk with God. I pray that you will do all in your power to attend the next camp meeting wherever it may be held.
Click on the thumbnails below for a larger view in a new window.
More camp meeting pictures.
Taped Messages from the West Virginia Camp Meeting
The requested donation for each video tape is $7.00 and $2.00 for each audio cassette. We already have several requests for the video tapes and the duplication process is very slow. Please allow several weeks for the video tapes after you have made your request. Please send your request to: Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128B, Welch, WV 24801-9606. (All tapes are available in either audio or video format unless otherwise noted.)
Be Ye Not Deceived
The Golden Rule For All Men
How Readest Thou
Philadelphia’s Open Door
Some History and Definitions
Life’s True Goal
Prophecy, Salvation & The 21st Century (part 1)
Prophecy, Salvation & The 21st Century (part 2)
Demons Versus The Impregnable
The Enoch Factor * (Video only)
Measuring Up In Christ
Bringing The Flesh Under Subjection
The Plowman Shall Overtake The Reaper
The Bed Is Too Short and The Sheet Too Narrow (Audio Only)
A Vital Connection (Audio only … Editor’s Favorite)
A Committee of 300
Getting Back To The Foundations
Prospering In Health (Audio only)
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 -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013