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. 13, No. 4 Straight and Narrow April 2004
Report on the
Work in Romania
By Vlad Ardeias
The Lord has given us many experiences here in Romania, and it is my joy to share them with you all, hoping that they will help encourage you in your own battles.
Soon after returning from Spain, I had to return to Germany for a week, and there the Lord gave me some wonderful experiences with my cousins and my aunt who are living there. My cousin is studying arts in Augsburg and while he believes in God and is a sincere soul, he has not given his life to Jesus yet. His life was one of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and listening to rock music. He felt so alone. He told me that he would like so much to get rid of all those drugs, but because he feels so alone, he said that he just couldn’t.
First I went to him with Brother Erwin Zoor from Germany, and after that I went there by myself, and we spent some days together. It was a blessed experience for both of us; he said that if he would have some friends like us to meet with at least twice a week, it would be different. He took me to visit an honest hearted friend of his that is not a believer. I didn’t think that I would have the opportunity to tell him about the love of God, but thankfully our Lord prepared his heart and he was the one that opened the discussion about God, churches, and religion. I have to admit that he was a very enlightened person, because he has a very clear and real understanding about the institutionalized churches. Because of this, he was very much against me at the beginning because he thought that I would defend such institutions. But when he saw that I agreed with his point of view on institutionalized churches, he was puzzled. And then I started to explain to him the truth about the church as it is taught in the Bible. Later I showed him the impossibility of God not existing. This person is a very good scientific chemist, and I spoke to him more from the scientific point of view. My cousin was so happy that I was able to tell his friend about God’s love!
We spoke a lot about the fact that the love of this Person (God) is so great, that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us! Since he did not believe the Bible, I told him: “No man can make such a sacrifice! So, a man could not invent this idea. We have the word ‘tree’ for example! If there is a word, there has to be the reality expressed by it! If there is a God, and I have enough reasons to believe that there is, then the God of the Bible is the true one; try to show me a better one, at least from the reasoning point of view!” He was amazed! Really! I saw on his face that he had never heard anything like that before. My cousin was about to cry.
I also spent two days with my aunt, who is a Christian, but I will not share all the details because it would be too much to read. Anyway, we spoke a lot about the love of God. She is not an Adventist, but she is a Protestant believer. We hadn’t seen each other for years, and I saw that she expected me to talk a lot about the law of God and of course about the Sabbath. But when she discovered that I believe that the central point of the Bible is God’s love manifested in giving His only begotten Son to die for us, she was amazed and attracted to hear what I had to say. I told her about the pagan trinity doctrine, and I left her some books to read. She listened very carefully, and finally, when I finished explaining the truth about God and His Son as it is in the Bible, she said: “This is exactly what I believe!” It was a great joy to discover that!
After all those wonderful experiences, I returned to my dear wife, Andi, and we spent two wonderful days at home. After that we left to travel in the country, to different places where we knew that there are people interested in hearing the message. We used to travel thousands of kilometers by hitchhiking and train until our Lord gave us a wonderful present: a four-wheel drive vehicle that we needed so much because we are living in a mountain area where a two-wheel drive vehicle cannot reach. Due to this blessing we can now travel more and I can take many books with me and give them to interested persons.We visited many places and everywhere we went, the brothers were open to listen to the truth about God.
Close to the end of the year, the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (SDARM) published a little booklet that was to be read during the week of prayer. This booklet contained several articles, and the topic for the year 2003 was entitled, The Holy Ghost. In a way I expected them to choose this topic, because all over the world there are a lot of discussions on this topic in the SDARM. The first article was a compilation of Ellens White statements taken mostly from the book, Evangelism. I again expected them to do this, and to present lies about what Ellen White believed. One evening, I was in a local SDARM meeting, and a Bible worker was reading the second article. I was listening, when I heard the following statement: “In His infinite mercy and love, Christ comforts His disciples, offering them the assurance that they will not be left alone, although He is not going to be personally with them.” (Eduardo Lainez C. Honduras, December 6, 2003.) That was too much for me! Such an offense brought against God’s love was impossible for me to tolerate, and at the end of the reading I spoke against this heresy. But I knew that this was not all that would be published on this subject. In the official magazine of the church an article was published entitled “The Holy Ghost.”
We know and believe that God has allowed us to still belong to the SDARM because He has a work to do through us for some of the members who are honest, but deceived by the leaders. Thats why I knew God wanted me to publish openly the truth about this heresy. And thats how I came to the idea about the booklet, Who Is The Holy Spirit?, a compilation from Bible verses and Ellen White statements.
We knew that at the end of the year, the church is going to have a youth meeting in the mountain city of Brasov, a city where Brothers Allen Stump and David Clayton preached a summer ago in the local SDARM church. Five or six hundred were expected to gather for the meetings. God provided enough money to reprint all the books that we have translated in Romanian language (The Foundation of Our Faith, by Allen Stump re-titled, The Omega Crisis in Adventism, What did the Pioneers Believe?, and The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity, by Lynnford Beachy, This is the Church, and The Place of the Bible in Education, by A.T. Jones, as well as Jones’ 1893 GC Sermons.”My wife, Andi, and fellow worker Sanyi and his wife, Abi, traveled along with me to Brasov with hundreds of books, thanks to our car! Friends, the experience that we had there was a happy one because many had the opportunity to hear the truth, but on the other hand it was also sad because of the position the leaders took concerning our work.
They not only spoke from the pulpit against the books, but they tried to force us not to offer them to the people. At first they tried to physically block the door to prevent us from entering the building. However, when they saw that all the other people were watching the scene, they left and then returned after ten minutes. Then they confiscated all the boxes containing the books! I told the brother that this was robbery and that he has no right to do this. Thankfully he quit. The Lord was at our right hand all the time and we were happy to know that we are really on His side. Many came to our table to accuse us and to denounce us as heretics, but many more came for books. As most of you already know, Romania is a very poor country, and if somebody spends money on books, you can be sure that he is really interested. A salary for a month of work is $75 US, and we sold a total of $520 worth of books! Praised be the Lord! At that meeting we met brothers from Serbia, Hungary, and Italy and we shared with them the message. They took books from us and gave us their e-mail addresses.
On the other hand, the SDARM leaders are really upset with us and right now they are using all methods to discredit the work. But most of the people are getting interested when they see all the leaders fighting with all their powers against this message; it causes them to wonder, “What are they sharing that has the leaders so upset?”
The Lord gave us another wonderful experience! My father-in-law received the truth about God, and every Sabbath he is visiting old brothers that are living in far away villages. This is how he met a brother that was excommunicated from the SDA Church 20 years ago because of his point of view concerning the church and the organization. He and his family lived alone for 20 years, still being faithful to the Lord. Two months ago, my father-in-law gave him the book, This is the Church,” by A.T. Jones, and he was so happy to discover such a book! He is Hungarian, and as one who has the Spirit of Jesus, he immediately desired that the book to be translated into Hungarian! We visited him, and spent a wonderful Sabbath together. He took us to a small SDA church where I had the opportunity to share the message. I gave him one copy of every book that we have, and he was so happy to find more people who believe like him! He confessed to us that sometimes he thought he was alone, and sometimes he thought he was crazy believing like that! But he just couldn’t be unfaithful to the Bible’s truth! I told him that my fellow worker Sanyi knows the Hungarian language, he himself being a Hungarian, and that he is willing to translate, but that he needed a computer. Immediately Brother Joseph said he would provide the money for a computer if Sanyi agreed to start the translation work! Of course he agreed. Sanyi confessed to me that since he saw me translating those books into the Romanian language, he wished so much to do the same work for the Hungarian brothers. He doesn’t know the English language very good, but he is translating from the Romanian version that we printed. Finally I gave him an old laptop computer that belonged to Brother David Clayton because he preferred to travel with me sometimes, but we bought him a 17-inch monitor because he has problems with his eyesight. We are now gathering money for the Hungarian books that will soon be printed. Sanyi is currently working as a full time Bible worker. This is a huge boost to the work here!
While I write we are having a snowy winter in Romania, but we are still traveling. The phone is still ringing and brothers are asking for visits! In the last four months we could hardly spend a week at home! That’s why we ask you to pray for us, for the work in Romania, for the sincere hearts that are struggling with the enemy, and for the people with so many serious misconceptions!
Send greetings to all the brothers and sisters! Tell to all that we love them and we wish to meet soon in the heavenly kingdom! (Revelation 3:20)
(Brother Vlad Ardeias writes from his home in Romania. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor)
Lord willing, by the time this issue is published, Brothers David Clayton and Allen Stump will be in Australia sharing the Good News about Gods great love in giving His only begotten Son for mankind. It has been over two years since they last visited Australia and many new contacts have arisen since then.We humbly request your prayers for the spread of the gospel.
I also want to continue to request prayer for a special unspoken request that I have dubbed, Project P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) God knows the details about this and I ask that you would be in prayer for Project P.U.S.H. Thank you very much. Editor
Report on the Work in Germany
By Erwin Zoor
“Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” (2 John 3)
I have received the report, the pictures, and the warm greetings from Brother Vlad in Romania. It was a blessing to read all their experiences and the news and I wanted to share some of our experiences from Germany. Our situation here is similar; there is a lot of work to do here!
Recently many people were disfellowshiped from the SDA Church in Germany. Gradually many little groups are forming. A big flood of anti-Trinitarian writings is sweeping over the German SDA churches. Not only from those we have known, but there are other brethren who, under the encouragement of Brother Thomas Friedrich and myself, are writing studies on the truth about God. Brother Thomas has recorded a large amount of audiotapes about different Biblical topics but mostly sermons on the truth about God. Brother Bruno Fischer has written several simple studies in which he focuses on the lies of the Trinity doctrine and clarifies the fundamental points about the Godhead. These studies have already helped thousands of Adventists and if somebody wants further studies beyond this, we send them books and tracts written by Lynnford, Allen, David, and the others, which I have translated into German.
I have just published the German version of Pastor Bobs Confession, which I have sent to a few ministers and workers. We receive a lot of e-mails from brethren who mostly ask us about those well-known, controversial quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White. My mother is busy as a bee translating Bible-based materials into Hungarian, and has already translated over 20 tracts and booklets, which have all been printed and stored. However, due to our work here we have not yet been able to go down to Hungary to Brother Zsolt who is very much in need of the materials. Please pray that the Lord will open a way to be able to do so soon.
Here I want to say a special word of thanks to all of the brethren of Smyrna and all the others who have collected and donated money for the work here in Germany. We have been not only able to buy a new and modern Risograph and other technical equipment, but my wife Claudia and I have also found a bigger apartment where we hope to move to within a couple of months. There I will have an extra room for the computer, the duplicating printer, a storage place for the unused paper, and room for printed materials. We have done our best with this little apartment where we currently live, but as the work grows, the space is getting smaller and smaller due to the stored printed materials. There is hardly a corner where there is no paper or printed material!
We are currently in great need of gospel literature translated into Russian. Recently two Russian sisters offered their help as well as a brother in America. I am contacting them to find out what they can do. Please pray for materials in Russian. There are a lot of Russian brethren here, and also whole Russian SDA churches, so there is really a great need.
There is a special experience that I want to share with you. Dr. ____ was invited to speak at a two-week evangelism session in Nürnberg, Germany from January 30 to February 14 of this year. I went to attend his first presentation, which was entitled: The Originator and Author of the Revelation. I felt he would be talking about the Trinity, and of course he was. He began with a comparison of Genesis and Revelation, which was quite interesting, but then he began to do a verse-by-verse interpretation of the first chapter of revelation. His speech was accompanied by a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and he operated the projector with a little remote. He showed every verse that he quoted on the screen. and I believe that this was done for only one reason: You didnt have to use your Bible! Sadly, other than myself, almost nobody even attempted to use his or her Bible. That’s why it is interesting to note that his first screen only had the first four verses of Revelation chapter 1. So he read those verses and made some comments on each. Verse four actually says: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.” After reading this, Brother ____ asked: “Who is this?,” and when nobody answered him he said: “Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible!” Now the next verse (which you couldn’t see on the screen yet) says: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness.” “Aha,” I thought to myself, “that’s why the screen only showed up to verse 4! He had to take verses 4 and 5 from their context.” Before he went on to the next picture which showed verses 5-8, he made some big words about how dangerous it will be for the people living during the events he was going to present in Revelation. “How ironic,” I thought. This gave some time until the minds of the people were no longer aware of what was said in verse 4 before he switched the screen. Then he went through verse 5 without emphasis as fast as he could. He read down to verse 8 and emphasized it very much. And then he said: “Jesus Christ is the Lord, God Almighty!” So he needed verse 4 to be cut off from verse 5 to be able to refer it to Christ and then connect it with verse 8 and present Christ as the God of the Bible, the Almighty!
That was too much for me to listen to! I felt the Spirit of our Lord urge me to cry out. I raised my arm and said: “Brother ____, that is unbiblical!” It was like a bomb exploding. Almost 300 people were watching his interpretation in the meeting hall, four to five video cameras were recording the presentation; everywhere was high-tech equipment like microphones, lighting; and this “ignorant heretic” interrupted the sacred moment of interpretation by the great professor! The wife of a church leader who sat beside me, jumped up, grabbed my arm, pulled me with all her might down into my seat, and yelled into my face, partly forced to whisper, “Can’t you see that the cameras are recording?” I said to her that the cameras wouldn’t stop me from warning my brethren about this falsehood! But, she kept yelling at me to wait until the end of the presentation. I did not wish to be the cause of complete chaos, and thinking that they would throw me out if I was not quiet, taking away any chance I might have to warn them, I agreed to her requests and waited for the presentation to end. However, the opportunity did not arise to be able to talk to Brother _____ that evening, therefore I decided to go to the presentation the next day.
The next day I took Claudia with me and we drove over to Nürnberg. We waited outside the hall until the end of Brother _____s speech. Then we went to him and I kindly asked him to talk with me. He obviously knew who I was and said: You came to talk about the divinity of Christ, right? After I told him I was, he added: I have no time for you. I told him that it wasnt just a small issue but a life or death matter and asked him to go into a quiet room where we could talk. He declined and asked me to tell him at that minute what my problem was. So I sat down and read Revelation 1:4,5, 8 explaining the problem and showed him that it was the Father sitting on the throne. He laughed and told me that if he wanted, he could show me from the Greek that not only the Father, but that all three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are sitting on the throne. He then said, but its getting boring to talk to you! After hearing this I told him that if he were a Christian he wouldnt treat a brother like he did. As the people started to gather around us I showed from the Bible the danger of the Trinity doctrine and that its teaching is the spirit of antichrist. He couldnt even open his mouth. Every time I asked him questions he replied with a counter question such as: What does the Greek word arch mean? I answered him with Micah 5:2.
After I asked him several questions I pointed out that he did not respond to any of my questions and arguments. Then I asked him to show me only one verse in the Bible, which teaches a trinity! He thought a while and then he said: Okay! You want a verse that teaches the trinity? Here is one: 1 John 5:7. I said: What? The so-called Comma Johanneum? He seemed not to understand me. I asked if he accepted this verse as part of the inspired scriptures and he said, Yes, of course I do! You dont? No, I answered. Then he said: So you dont accept the Bible, I cannot study with you! I thought, Certainly this professor should have learned about this. Okay fine, I said, lets suppose this verse belongs in the Biblelets see what it really teaches! Then I read it, including verse 8. Then I said, Brother, if you are consistent with your Bible, you have to use the same principle in the 8th verse that you use in the 7th verse. That would mean that we have not only a trinity in heaven but also on earth, which is a trinity of water, blood and spirit! (1John 5:8) Some people around us seemed to understand the point. He didnt answer, just beckoned to me. Then I started to talk to the crowd and showed them that the same Catholic Church, which changed the Sabbath into the pagan Sunday also brought in the pagan Trinity doctrine. I showed them that the Adventist pioneers all unanimously rejected the Trinity doctrine (including Sister White) and that after the death of Sister White the Trinity doctrine started to come into the Adventist Church. The Professor didnt object! After a few more words I gave him David Claytons booklet Who is Telling the Truth About God? which he accepted and stowed into his case. I then stood up, thanked him for his time, took my wife and walked out.
On our way out a few people came to me and asked me questions and I invited them into an empty room in the building for a further study. There I met a strange Pentecostal man who claimed to have received an important revelation from God. This revelation was that God did not have a son! I had a short talk with him and we departed.
The next day (Sunday) Brother Miroslaw Morawiec visited us. I quickly reprinted a thousand copies of the tract “Is Jesus God’s Son?” because our supply was depleted. That evening, Claudia, Miroslaw, and I drove to Nürnberg to pass out the tracts. However, the ministers of the Adventist Church recognized me at the door and told me that I was to stay away from the meeting! On the street we again met the Pentecostal man who wanted to share his thoughts with me. So we stood on the sidewalk and had a talk there. What this Pentecostal man said was shocking to all three of us. He said that the Pentecostal church disfellowshiped him because he didn’t believe in the Trinity. He took out of his bag the Book of Mormon and wanted me to read a passage from this book. I said I didn’t believe that it was inspired at all and asked him if he did. He said, “Of course, so is the Koran the book of the Muslims.” I gave him time to talk and eventually I understood that he believed: 1. God has no Son. 2. Jesus Christ is God himself, playing the role of both. 3. Christ played a role when on earth lying to us that he has a Father. 4. God was crucified, but didn’t die. 5. Satan is equal in everything to God. 6. Eventually everybody will be saved, even Satan.
After he shared his thoughts on God with me, he wanted to demonstrate how he could speak in tongues, but I forbade him after he started. We really felt the presence of the fallen angels, but were not afraid because we knew that our Lord Jesus Christ was with us. Then I started to tell him the truth and every time when I came to the point where I talked about God giving His Son to die for us, he yelled: “God has no Son!” But some things that we said seemed to impress him.
When Brother _____’s presentation was over Brother Miroslaw went to the gateway where the cars drove out from the property and Claudia and I stood on the sidewalk, which was directly in front of the main door where the mass came out. We started to pass out the booklets and the people were very glad to receive them. But soon one of the ministers, with a shocked red face, came right over to me and started telling me that I was not an Adventist, that I didn’t have the right to pass out literature and, begged me to stop. I told him that I had to obey God and not man and showed him that I was standing on the sidewalk in a public area and not on their property. Then about five other ministers came out and they were very aggressive. They started to shout at us and wanted to push me from the sidewalk. I told them that they don’t have the right to do that because I was not standing on their property, but they didn’t listen. In the mean time, more and more people left the church building and when they heard the ministers declare that we were spreading heresy they boldly came to see what we were passing out. They went to our boxes and took the books for themselves! This greatly cheered our hearts. The ministers saw that they couldn’t argue with me and they went over to Claudia and started to shout at her. In all that chaos Claudia seemed to stand above such things and with a courageous heart defended the truth! Then one of them took one of our big boxes that contained several books and tracts and took it into the building. As I tucked the remaining box under my left arm I noticed that we still had enough materials to pass out for everyone so I let him go. One of the ministers remained outside while the others went back. He asked me to give him one of each so that they could check them out. Of course I was glad to give him the chance to read the material. A non-Adventist came out the door and I offered her literature. She thanked me and took the materials. Immediately the minister jumped over to her and told her that this material didn’t belong to their evangelism meeting. She was a bit surprised. Then he told her to drop it because it contained heresy. She said: “No I won’t! I can decide for myself what is good and what is bad!” I encouraged her by saying, “That’s right! Prove all things! Hold fast that which is good!” She agreed and thanked me. We could hardly believe what we were experiencing! God overwhelmingly blessed. Over 150 souls took literature from us.
One brother came to us and stretched out his hands to receive some books. I asked him if he was an Adventist because we had special materials for Adventist as well as non-Adventist. He said that he was a 5th generation Adventist and that he currently had a big problem in his spiritual life not knowing what to believe, so he came to us for material. We praised God and told him that he came to the right place. We gave him one of all of our tracts and booklets.
I also saw a sister, who appeared to be Romanian, coming out of the building and I ran to her to give her some booklets. She saw me coming from afar and smiled and stood still as if she was waiting for me. I asked her if she would like something to read, and she just took the books out of my hand, kept smiling and looking at the books and then asked: “Did you bring these books with you?” I was a bit puzzled and didn’t know what she was referring to. Then, while she kept her eyes all the time on the books she went on to say: “You are from Romania, right?” Now I was really puzzled. I told her she was correct and asked her how she knew. She didn’t answer but kept looking at the books and then she lifted her head and asked me: “How old are you?” I told her that I was 25 years old and she smiled even more and said: “You are so young!” As she left, twice she said: “Thank you, thank you so much!” As I pondered this experience in my heart, I felt impressed that this sister was so much in contact with heaven, that the angels could prepare her and perhaps told her: “Be prepared today! A young man from Romania will come to you and will bring you books that are a great light. Take them!” I am so thankful to our Lord. He is gathering His children from all over the world.
After all the people had left, I went into the building to take my box back. At first the ministers didn’t want to give it back. I asked them how they could, as Christians, answer for stealing before God. When they saw that they had stolen from me, one of them, in his anger, shouted at me: “You are impudent!” I said, “My heart is crying for you.” Stomping his feet to the floor he shouted, “Then cry as long as you want!” After this I was able to leave with my books. We thanked our heavenly Father for the experiences and the wonderful souls we meet. I was reminded of the verse, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Corinthians 13:8)
We love you all and wish to meet you soon in the heavenly kingdom in front of the throne of our loving Father and our dear Lord Jesus Christ.
(Brother Erwin Zoor writes from his home in the village of Pappenhein You may contact him by writing to him at: Charlotte Nestler St 7, 91788 Pappenhein, Germany. His email address is: email@example.com.)
Florida Camp Meeting Report
The annual Florida Camp Meeting was held February 18-22 at the River Forest campground near Deland, Florida. The central theme of the camp meeting was “Christ in the Sanctuary.”
One of the highlights of the meetings was Brother Jim Pendley’s evening meetings. It was obvious that Brother Pendley had spent a lot of time in research and study in preparation for his presentations. One of the most interesting studies was on the subject of the scapegoat from Leviticus 16. Using many texts of Scripture Brother Pendley clearly showed that the scapegoat represented Satan.
Each evening there was a health lecture on natural healing and ways to maintain better health. Brother Bill Fry from Ark Ministries shared some archeological studies as well.
Shortly before the camp meeting, Brother Bill James, one of the brethren from the Orlando group organizing the camp meeting, became very sick and was hospitalized. Tests revealed that his appendix had ruptured and emergency surgery had to be performed. However, we were thankful that God allowed Brother Bill to have a speedy recovery and he was able to be at the last part of the camp meeting.
The weather was the nicest I remember for this February meeting and the usual supply of mosquitoes was missing making the stay very comfortable for most.
Brother David Fahnestock recorded each meeting and they are available in audio and video formats. For a complete listing of the messages or for ordering tapes, you may contact Brother Fahnestock at: 917 Alton Ave., Orlando, FL 32804. His phone number is: 407-629-0968. You may also contact David via email at: KD4KO@earthlink.net. Editor
Report from Zimbabwe
By Vusa Ncube
I wish to share with you my experience at Gomoza. This is my home place where I used to be an elder before I was excommunicated from the main-line church. I happened to be privileged again to have a presentation there. This took place because the local pastor there had asked if the members had a valid reason why I was not participating in church activities and they, having none, were instructed to let me participate. During the granted opportunity, we managed to cover two subjects, namely, “The New and the Old Covenant,” and that of the relationship between the Father and the Son. The two subjects aroused much interest to many members except the local elders who felt the message was dangerous. They went to the extent of intimidating those who showed interest in the message, stating that they were at risk of being excommunicated from the church. I was glad to discover that there were young men who could not be intimidated and took literature to others, one of whom intended to take it to Botswana where he works. This same young man had told me earlier, that the subject of the Trinity had already caused some divisions in one village in Botswana, but people there had no proof texts to substantiate their stance. I, therefore, invite your prayers for these brethren in Gomoza, and this young man who wants to take the message as far as Botswana.
On the 25th of January 2003, we had a unique Sabbath in Matemanyoka. After we had explained the simplicity of the gospel and the love of God, the whole gathering was filled with love for God so that they demanded baptism. The gathering was composed of Adventists and non-Adventists but they all demanded baptism alike. When I asked the baptized Adventists why they wanted rebaptism, the answer was rather fascinating. I was told that, “It’s because we were baptized in the name of a non-existing God of the Trinity and we want to be baptized in the name of the living God.” This year I wished to spend the holiday there with the brethren, reviving each other. We managed to organize two sections of studies in which we invited members from the regular church. In these two sections I talked about “God’s Administration.” Indeed, we had a nice time and the Spirit of God was amongst us in an immeasurable capacity. I can’t forget the question from one lady who said, “If what you are saying is, as it sounds, true, then how safe are we if we continue in this man-led administration?” I could not answer the question because of trying to avoid making a decision for her. I hope the Lord will lead his people, as they wish to know His way of administration.
An Argument Infidels Cannot Resist
A well-ordered Christian household is an argument that the infidel cannot resist. He finds no place for his cavils. And the children of such a household are prepared to meet the sophistries of infidelity. They have accepted the Bible as the basis of their faith, and they have a firm foundation that cannot be swept away by the in-coming tide of skepticism.
Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world.” He has committed talents to our keeping. What are we doing with his intrusted gifts? Are we letting our light shine by using them for his glory and the benefit of our fellow-men, or are we using them to advance our own selfish interests? Many are using them selfishly. They do not seem to realize that we are all Judgment-bound, and must soon give an account for the use we have made of our God-given opportunities to do good. But what excuse will they give in that great day for not using in the cause of God their skill, their education, their tact, and their perseverance and zeal?
We need divine help if we would keep our lights burning. But Jesus died to provide that aid. He extends the invitation: “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Cling to the arm of Infinite Power; then you will find him precious to your soul, and all Heaven will be at your command. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light,” we shall have the companionship of holy angels. To “Joshua” it was said, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge,” “I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” And who are “these stand by”? They are the angels of God. Joshua must have a living, confiding trust in God every day; and then angels would walk with him, and the power of God would rest upon him in all his labors.
Then, Christian friends, fathers and mothers, let your light grow dimno, never! Let your heart grow faint, or your hands wearyno, never! And by and by the portals of the celestial city will be opened to you; and you may present yourselves and your children before the throne, saying, Here am I, and the children whom thou hath given me. And what a reward for faithfulness that will be, to see your children crowned with immortal life in the beautiful city of God! (Ellen G. WhiteSigns of the Times, January 14, 1886)
Recently we received a portion of a copy of a letter that was written by a member of the S.D.A. Biblical Research Institute to a person who received a copy of David Claytons book, Return of the Fourth Angel. Some portions of the letter are very interesting in light of the statements printed after it from Christs Object Lessons. All emphasis had been added.
Portion of a Letter Written by George Reid: Member of the S.D.A. Biblical Research Institute
With literature such as this an early question has to be, Who is David Clayton? The answer is that he is an individual who has a strong concern with one issue and is producing private literature to promote his understanding. Of course in a free country this is acceptable, but we need to keep in mind that his material is not something that has been carefully reviewed by qualified people in the church. [Comment: We are glad that John the Baptist didn’t feel this way.]
Clayton’s primary burden is to correct the church on its understanding of the Godhead. In fact at one point he claims Adventists believe in three gods. This certainly is extremist language and does not represent us properly.
In one final observation, let me say I have little confidence in private persons who have a burden to promote ideas on their own instead of sharing them with carefully trained theologians. [Comment: We are glad that Elijah did not submit his plan to Ahab or the prophets of Baal first.] It is not that an individual may not have a good idea, but for him to race out to promote it without advice from his skillful brethren only introduces confusion into the Church. I would not encourage this kind of work.
Portion of Chapter by Ellen White from Christ’s Object Lessons
The truth that is hid from the worldly wise and prudent is revealed to the child-like and humble. It calls for self-sacrifice. It has battles to fight and victories to win. At the outset its advocates are few. By the great men of the world and by a world-conforming church, they are opposed and despised. See John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, standing alone to rebuke the pride and formalism of the Jewish nation. See the first bearers of the gospel into Europe. How obscure, how hopeless, seemed the mission of Paul and Silas, the two tentmakers, as they with their companions took ship at Troas for Philippi. See “Paul the aged,” in chains, preaching Christ in the stronghold of the Caesars. See the little communities of slaves and peasants in conflict with the heathenism of imperial Rome. See Martin Luther withstanding that mighty church which is the masterpiece of the world’s wisdom. See him holding fast God’s word against emperor and pope, declaring, “Here I take my stand; I can not do otherwise. God be my help.” See John Wesley preaching Christ and His righteousness in the midst of formalism, sensualism, and infidelity. See one burdened with the woes of the heathen world, pleading for the privilege of carrying to them Christ’s message of love. Hear the response of ecclesiasticism: “Sit down, young man. When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help or mine.”
The great leaders of religious thought in this generation sound the praises and build the monuments of those who planted the seed of truth centuries ago. Do not many turn from this work to trample down the growth springing from the same seed today? The old cry is repeated, We know that God spake unto Moses; as for this fellow [Christ in the messenger He sends], we know not from whence he is. (John 9:29) As in earlier ages, the special truths for this time are found, not with the ecclesiastical authorities, but with men and women who are not too learned or too wise to believe the word of God.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are (1 Cor. 1:26-28); that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Cor. 2:5) (Christs Object Lessons, p. 78, 79)
2004 West Virginia Camp Meeting Notice
As announced last month, Smyrna Gospel Ministries would like to invite all who are interested in preparing for the return of the Lord to attend camp meeting June 15-19, at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel in West Virginia. We pray that this will be the best camp meeting the movement has ever had, so plan now to attend.
We will be feasting upon God’s Word, special music, testimonies, and great fellowship. Brother David Clayton of Restoration Ministries, Jamaica, will be our featured evening speaker. Some of the other speakers include, Dennis Robertson, Lynnford Beachy, Ken Corklin, and Malcolm McCrillis. The theme of the camp meeting is, “A Pure and Holy Heart.”
While we acknowledge that meetings are the main focus of camp meeting, we realize that it is, at times, difficult to find the time for personal time with God, and time with one another, when a camp meeting schedule is very full. To help provide time for personal time with the Father and the Son, as well as time for fellowship with each other, we have scheduled meetings in the following manner:
The first meeting will be Tuesday evening, June 15. Each day will begin with an early morning, before breakfast, devotional. After breakfast there will be a morning service with a health presentation and message from God’s Word, and a midmorning service with a message from God’s Word. Except for Sabbath, only youth meetings (ages 4–young adult) will be scheduled in the afternoon. Each day will end with an evening service, which will consist of a health presentation and a message from God’s Word. We hope to have special music for all services. If you wish to contribute, please contact the camp meeting’s music coordinator, Malcolm McCrillis, (423) 772-3161.
This is a camp meeting. You need to bring a tent or make other arrangements. We do not have cabins or rooms available. Smyrna will have a few tents and camping supplies for those who do not have, and cannot afford to purchase them. The supply is limited, so if you need to use a tent, camp stove, etc., please request early. We hope to have four showers with hot and cold water available. Don’t forget items such as tents, bedding, flashlights, food, toiletries, insect repellent, and modest casual and Sabbath clothes.
While there is room for RV’s, we do not have hook-ups. RV’s will need to be self-contained. For those who wish, there are motels in the area. The nearest motels are; The Pocahontas Motel (304) 436-2250; Woody’s Motel, (304) 732-6540; The Cow Shed, (304) 732-7000; and Twin Falls State Park Resort, (304) 294-4000.
All campers will need to be responsible for their own food. Meals will not be served. For those who use ice chests, ice is available one mile away. We are planning on having a vegan haystack Sabbath afternoon fellowship meal for those interested.
For further information contact us by using the contact information on page twelve of this newsletter.
Whitewater Rafting Trip Planned
Last year a few of those who attended the WV camp meeting got together the day after camp ended and went on an impromptu whitewater rafting trip on the New River in the scenic New River Gorge in West Virginia. Several have asked if we were going to do something similar this year. So that all who might be interested can plan ahead, we are making preparation for a return to the New River Gorge for a rafting trip on Sunday, June 20th.
Our outfitter will be North American River Runners (NARR), one of the oldest outfitters in West Virginia. NARR has the safest record on the river and they go out of their way to ensure a great time for all. The minimum age for this trip is 14. Anyone with a serious heart problem or other serious illness should not go. The planned trip will go through class 2-4 rapids. There will be an experienced, professionally trained guide on each raft.
This is not a trip for the passive. Whitewater rafting requires each participant to paddle and be directly involved with the experience. If you don’t like getting wet, don’t consider this. However, if you like water and enjoy a beautiful view, this experience is awesome! NARR is located in Hico, WV, about an hour and ten minutes from Smyrna. The experience will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end late in the afternoon. A vegetarian meal will be provided. For further information contact Allen Stump at (304) 732-9204. Editor
More Thoughts on
“The Passion of the Christ”
A Letter from a Reader in West Virginia
I believe God is abhorred, repulsed, and righteously angered by this movie.
Females give birth in a painful and bloody manner, but following the birth, the focus and joy is on the new life. I believe a focus on Christ’s physical suffering is misplaced and should rather be on the new birth that is accomplished by it. From all accounts, this is a terribly violent film and in this I believe Satan is glorified, not God.
This misplaced focus also eclipses the faith of Jesus in spite of his feelings of being forsaken by His Father; a faith that you and I need. It eclipses His great love for us.
I believe it can and will be used by people to walk the way of the cross, i.e. nuns, monks, etc., who believe that physical suffering will bring them closer to Christ. I am reminded of Sister’s Charlotte’s (a former nun) testimony and of Martin Luther, as well as that of Jesuits Loyola and Alberto.
Also, I believe it can and possibly will be used by unholy people, who think they are holy, against the true holy people when they are in their control at the end of time. I don’t know how, but I just have this feeling that the film will have a major influence of what Christianity is supposed to be, and that violence can be part of it.
I received an audio tape from David Clayton about a week ago discussing external controls of behavior versus an internal relationship with God—referring to Israel when they had a king and prior to the king. He mentioned the holiness people have a measure of faith, i.e. speaking in tongues is a means of judging one’s faith. Physical suffering is another way to measure one’s faith by unholy people, i.e. works, and I think this film will greatly deepen this belief, if even only subconsciously.
Elder Robert Wieland
We need not employ Mel Gibsons new movie about the cross in order to proclaim the third angels message in verity, which is Christ and Him crucified. The movie has not made the foolishness of preaching passé, but Mark Brown of the American Tract Society says, It is the greatest evangelism tool to come along in yearsmaybe 2000 years. (Pastors and evangelists: Gibsons movie wont run you out of business.) Trial showings are reported to have caused audiences to cry bucket of tears as people are led to an infatuation with the human character portrayed in the movie as Jesus, and then mourn as he is tortured in the crucifixion pain. But those tears are human emotion, easily aroused; the audience can go out of the theater as world-loving as they entered. The movie does not (cannot!) portray Jesus as dying the second death for the sins of the world. That truth is still left to be proclaimed by flesh-and-blood people. (Robert J. Wieland 1888 Glad Tidings, February 2004, p. 2)
Some have limited views of the atonement. They think that Christ suffered only a small portion of the penalty of the law of God; they suppose that, while the wrath of God was felt by His dear Son, he had, through all His painful sufferings, the evidence of His Father’s love and acceptance; that the portals of the tomb before Him were illuminated with bright hope, and that He had the abiding evidence of His future glory. Here is a great mistake. Christ’s keenest anguish was a sense of His Father’s displeasure. His mental agony because of this was of such intensity that man can have but faint conception of it.
With many the story of the condescension, humiliation, and sacrifice of our divine Lord awakens no deeper interest, and stirs the soul and affects the life no more, than does the history of the death of the martyrs of Jesus. Many have suffered death by slow tortures; others have suffered death by crucifixion. In what does the death of God’s dear Son differ from these? It is true He died upon the cross a most cruel death; yet others, for His dear sake, have suffered equally, so far as bodily torture is concerned. Why, then, was the suffering of Christ more dreadful than that of other persons who have yielded their lives for His sake? If the sufferings of Christ consisted in physical pain alone, then His death was no more painful than that of some of the martyrs.
But bodily pain was but a small part of the agony of God’s dear Son. The sins of the world were upon Him, also the sense of His Father’s wrath as He suffered the penalty of the law transgressed. It was these that crushed His divine soul. It was the hiding of His Father’s face—a sense that His own dear Father had forsaken Him—which brought despair. The separation that sin makes between God and man was fully realized and keenly felt by the innocent, suffering Man of Calvary. He was oppressed by the powers of darkness. He had not one ray of light to brighten the future. And He was struggling with the power of Satan, who was declaring that he had Christ in his power, that he was superior in strength to the Son of God, that the Father had disowned His Son, and that He was no longer in the favor of God any more than himself. If He was indeed still in favor with God, why need He die? God could save Him from death.
Christ yielded not in the least degree to the torturing foe, even in His bitterest anguish. Legions of evil angels were all about the Son of God, yet the holy angels were bidden not to break their ranks and engage in conflict with the taunting, reviling foe. Heavenly angels were not permitted to minister unto the anguished spirit of the Son of God. It was in this terrible hour of darkness, the face of His Father hidden, legions of evil angels enshrouding Him, the sins of the world upon Him, that the words were wrenched from His lips: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
The death of the martyrs can bear no comparison with the agony endured by the Son of God. We should take broader and deeper views of the life, sufferings, and death of Gods dear Son. When the atonement is viewed correctly, the salvation of souls will be felt to be of infinite value. In comparison with the enterprise of everlasting life, every other sinks into insignificance. But how have the counsels of this loving Saviour been despised! The heart has been devoted to the world, and selfish interests have closed the door against the Son of God. Hollow hypocrisy and pride, selfishness and gain, envy, malice, and passion, have so filled the hearts of many that Christ can have no room. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 213-215)
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013