Old Paths

Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

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


Vol. 14, No. 8 Straight and Narrow August 2005


The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  …  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:1, 4, 4)

As David would shepherd his sheep at night, he would have often had wonderful opportunities to study the Father’s handiwork in the creation of the stars, planets and our moon. No doubt his heart was filled with praise as he beheld the wonderful creative ability of God. Paul writes that, “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” (Romans 1:20) God, in His wisdom, has given us many wonderful things to behold in the heavens. Some of these can only be viewed at certain times of the year.

I pray that this issue has reached your home before August 12th this year. If you have a calendar you should mark it for the early morning of the 12th because that is when the annual Perseid meteor shower will be brightest!

“The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is nowhere near Earth, the comet’s wide tail does intersect Earth’s orbit. We glide through it every year in July and August. Tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth’s atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a tiny smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light—a meteor—when it disintegrates. The shower is most intense when Earth is in the dustiest part of the tail.

“Perseid meteors fly out of the constellation Perseus, hence their name. The best time to watch is during the hours before sunrise when Perseus is high in the sky: … Between 2 a.m. and dawn on August 12th, if you get away from city lights, you could see hundreds of meteors. Scouts, [and pathfinders] this is a good time to go camping!” (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/22jul_perseids2005.htm?friend)

The Perseid meteor shower will be visible in the eastern part of the sky and an added bonus is that the planet Mars is heading towards a close encounter with the earth on October 30 and is already shining brightly red in the sky. Mars should be visible near the constellation Aries.

God used the Leonid meteor shower of November 13, 1833 to awaken people that the judgment was about to begin. On comparison, an observer will see about 50 meteors each hour during the Perseid meteor shower, but during the Leonid’s shower of 1833, 60,000 per hour were observed! “For several hours over the United States there was a continual blaze of thousands and thousands of meteors at a time. One estimate was that over 240,000 meteors fell during that period, so many meteors in the sky at a time that many people were woken from their beds and stared at the sky in panic, believing the sky to be on fire. Many feared that it was the end of the world and dreaded what they would see at daybreak.” (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/leonids_1833_011114.html)

God challenged Job by asking him, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” (Job 38:31) Brethren, the heavens were designed to have a sweet influence upon us and they will as we acknowledge that our God is the Creator of it all and that the heavens do indeed declare His glory and show His handiwork. --Allen Stump


Prayer Requests

In our June issue of Old Paths we asked for prayer for Vlad Ardeias’ mother, Gabriela. After returning back to Romania from the United States, we received this note from Vlad:

As you already know, my mother had cancer and she went to the surgery while we were in the United States. We didn’t know about that, and we found out only when we came back home. It was so painful to know that my mother passed through such a terrible experience. Because I didn’t know about it, I couldn’t pray and fast especially for her. As she told me on the telephone, I started to cry. It was hard, but then I found out the miracle that God performed with her!

First, let me tell you that everything with the surgery went perfect and she is now doing very well. A very well known professor performed the surgery, and he did wonderfully, of course blessed by the Heavenly Healer. Then, my mother told me that during the time that she spent in the hospital, so many people helped her everyday, even persons that she didn’t know before offered their help and she was so amazed because of that! She kept saying: “God was with me!” Then I said: “Yes, I know!” But she said: “No! No! You don’t know! He really was with me! I KNOW THAT! I FELT THAT! I SAW THAT!”

My mother had been the type of person who used to say: “I will smoke even to death!” I always tried to tell her about God, but she was so insensitive. That’s why my only prayer for her for years, was:” Lord, do whatever You have to do, but please save my mother’s soul, don’t let her perish without being saved!” My beloved, God is not only good; He is also delightful, exceptional, and matchless, like a parent who loves to give gifts to His children: that’s our God and Father!

When I was reunited with my a mother few days ago, she cried and told me her personal experience with God. She almost used the words: “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” My beloved, for the first time in my life I heard my mother praying; she was praying and crying like a baby, saying: “I thank You Lord, because I know that You have been with me, I know that You are with me, and You love me so much!” There is no greater miracle performed today in the universe than changing a sinner’s heart!

I thank you, Allen, for printing in the newsletter the prayer request for my mother, and I thank all of you for praying for her! She is now trembling at the thought that she might soon die (although the doctors said that she is doing pretty good), and she begs me every time to keep praying for her, to be able to understand the Bible and to fully trust in the Lord! “Remember … God depends on those who know the way ...” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 568) So please my beloved, remember her in your intercessions to our Heavenly Father! Thank you!

Also please continue to pray for the brethren who received literature at the General Conference Session that God will use the literature to touch the hearts of those who received materials. Editor


West Virginia “International”
Camp Meeting Report 

The West Virginia “International” Camp Meeting was held June 21 – 25 this year at Smyrna. We have entitled it “International” because of the wealth of visitors and speakers from outside of the United States that were able to attend. We were delighted to host brethren from Australia, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Poland, and Romania, as well as from several states within America. Each guest brought a special blessing to the meetings.

Our theme this year was “Sharing our Experience.” The Apostle Paul writes that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10) The meetings were recorded and are currently available on video formats. (Please see the accompanying chart for a list of the speakers and their message titles. We hope to have audio cassettes ready soon.)

The schedule was quite full this year. In fact, the one concern and constructive criticism I heard this year about the camp meeting most frequently was that the schedule was too full. This was a difficult balancing act, as there was a desire that both Lynnford Beachy and I each present a series of studies and that many other speakers be included, especially those from overseas. We had to use the normally large block of free time in the afternoon for two meetings and then we finished the last morning meeting late and began the evening service early to be able to make everything fit into place.

The attendance was definitely up from the last few years, but not as large as our second camp meeting when approximately three hundred people attended. What was encouraging was the experience that the brethren seemed to have. Many expressed to me that they thought it was the best camp meeting we had ever had. I know that for me it was the best. Although I was very busy speaking at the evening meetings, helping Dr. Burks with the youth meetings, and just getting around to try to make sure everything ran smoothly, I was extremely spiritually blessed of the Lord.

The weather during some of our past camp meetings has been challenging due to excessive rain. This year we had one light shower that did not even last one hour total! Although the sun was hot and the air humid, I think that most preferred this to a wet tent. I am still reminded of a past year when Brother Ken Corklin was in his tent holding an umbrella in an attempt to stay dry! The one drawback to the lack of rain coincided with the Sabbath. We had hoped to fill the baptismal pool for two brethren who requested baptism.  However, we did not have enough water in our holding tank and the constant demands on water for showers, toilets, and drinking water could not be filled by our stream and still have enough left for the baptismal pool. However, some of us were able to travel Sunday morning to Pineville about seven miles away for a sweet service in the Guyandotte River.

With such a diversity of speakers one might think that the presentations would carry a lot of different flavors. However, most of the meetings were attended by a solemn influence and the spiritual themes were excellent. Everyone really was blessed by the testimonies from the first-time brethren from overseas. Also the testimonies that were shared Sabbath afternoon brought a rich blessing to many. In fact, I am sure that we must make room for more testimonies at our next camp meeting. Although the schedule was heavy, by Saturday night there was still a large group that wished to hear the testimony of Abraham Hershberger, a former Old-Order Amish believer. Abraham had not been able to share his sweet testimony before, so after the last scheduled meeting, Abraham gave his testimony in the packed chapel sanctuary to those who would not leave without one more blessing.

The personal highlight of the meetings for me was a series given by Smyrna member, Onycha Holt entitled, “The Humble Heart is Mine.” Sister Holt is a professional social worker and serious Bible student. Her presentations dwelt upon family life issues. Her four messages were divided into talks about the role of the Christian man (husband and father), the Christian woman (wife and mother), the Christian youth, and finally, putting it all together as a family. These presentations will be on the normal audio and video tape formats and we are going to produce, in the near future, a special DVD based on her presentations. Her first study has been printed in this issue and the other three are planned to follow in succession.

Another highlight for many campers was the “Truth About God Discussions” with questions and answers. The topics included “The Father and Son,” “The Holy Spirit,” and “The Death of Christ.” The topic, “The Death of Christ” received a lot of attention because it dealt with the issue of whether Jesus suffered the second death or not.

Special meetings were held for the young people that were both well attended and appreciated. On more than one occasion, the regular meetings were graced by special music from the different youth groups.

Sister Ann Ford held a semi-impromptu Sabbath School workshop at her home that was greatly appreciated also. Many thanks to Ann for helping with this valuable project.

I wish I could give thanks to all who came and especially those who helped with getting Smyrna ready for the camp meeting as well as helping with the many duties during the camp meeting and afterward. God was so good to continue to provide the regular army of workers this year to help with cooking, cleaning, video recording, etc. and even added some new workers to those we had grown accustomed to having around! I started to make a list of all the people who helped with the camp meeting. However it was getting very long and I was afraid that I might miss someone. Therefore, since each person served with a willing heart not asking for personal recognition, I will just say a big, “Thank you to all who helped!”

The hardest part about preparing this article was choosing the pictures. There were so many taken! With the advent of cheaper digital cameras, we now have the ability to take many high quality pictures with little expense. There were many who wanted to trade pictures with others so I ended up with more than 4 DVDs of picture data on my computer containing thousands of images! To even begin to edit through them all was not possible so I am sure that we missed some really good ones. I am sorry that due to space we could only publish a relative few pictures.

While it may seem early, I would encourage each of you to  be getting ready and planning some time off now for your next year’s camp meeting. We shall try to have a tentative time as soon as possible so you can be making plans!

2005 Camp Meeting Photos

Click here for some camp meeting pictures

2005 Camp Meeting Video Tapes

Please use title and tape number when requesting tapes. Suggested donation per video tape is $7.00. We hope to have audio cassettes available next month.

Vlad Ardeias:
Sharing My Experience CM 2005-1
Why We Should Share Our Experience CM 2005-2

Bob Habenicht:
The Everlasting Gospel CM 2005-3

Onycha Holt:
The Humble Heart is Mine (Part 1) CM 2005-4
The Humble Heart is Mine (Part 2) CM 2005-5
The Humble Heart is Mine (Part 3) CM 2005-6
The Humble Heart is Mine (Part 4) CM 2005-7

Lynnford Beachy:
Sharing Our Experience CM 2005-8
Creeping Compromise CM 2005-9

Dennis Robertson:
Preach the Word CM 2005-10

David Clayton:
The Age of the Earth CM 2005-11
The Lawful Use of the Law CM 2005-12
Deception Unmasked CM 2005-13
The Valley of Jehoshaphat CM 2005-14

Panel Discussion:
The Father and Son CM 2005-15
The Holy Spirit CM 2005-16
The Death of Christ CM 2005-17

Maurice Anyango:
The Life Experience CM 2005-18
We Need the Oil Now CM 2005-19

Paul Agyeman:
My Personal Testimony  CM 2005-20
The Power of Prayer CM 2005-21

Erwin Zoor:
Personal Testimony CM 2005-22

Randy and Dee Herman:
One Way God Approves  CM 2005-23
His Way CM 2005-24
S.O.A.R. CM 2005-25
Completing the Rainbow CM 2005-26

Allen Stump:
God’s Magnificent Offer CM 2005-27
Believable Promises CM 2005-28
The Answers to Our Doubts CM 2005-29
Sharing God’s Love CM 2005-30

Various:
Testimonies on Sabbath Afternoon CM 2005- 31


Colorado Camp Meeting Announcement

by Rebecca Clifford

The Colorado camp meeting will be held August 31 to September 4. The theme is: “Prepare to meet thy God.” Amos 4:12 We hope that you will be able to attend this year’s Colorado camp meeting, and that it will be a blessing to you! This is a camp meeting. You will need to bring a tent or make other arrangements. There will be a few places to park RVs, but, they will need to be self contained. We will have outdoor showers and porta potties. Don’t forget items such as Bibles, tents, bedding, flashlights, meal accompaniments, toiletries, hiking shoes, and insect repellent. The weather will probably be warm in the days and cooler in the night, with a slight possibility of rain.

For those who wish, there are motels in the area. Since the camp meeting will be around hunting season it would be a good idea to make reservations early. Some of the motels in the area are: Crawford Country Store & Motel, about 5 minutes away, 970- 921-5040; Hotchkiss Inn, 15 minutes, 970-872-2200 or 1-800-817-1418 (Reservations only); North Fork Motel, 15 minutes, 970-872-2137 or 1-866-829-8889; Rocky Mountain Inn, 25 minutes, 970-527-3070; Redwood Arms Motel, 25 minutes, 970-527-4148.

The meetings start Wednesday evening the 31st of August at 7:00 pm and Thursday the 1st of September at 6:00 am, the revival meetings start Thursday at 7:00 pm, so be prepared to have a revival worked in your heart. The speakers are: Howard Williams, Lynnford Beachy, Ken Corklin, David Sims, Richard Stratton and Thomas Akens.

For the young and old alike there will be family freeze tag most of the camp meeting days, as well as a walk around the Black Canyon Rim. We will need to know who will be going on the Black Canyon walk, Friday, so please decide if you want to attend. We are also to have a picnic and field trip to the Marble Quarry the 5th.

Extra information: There is a city market located 15 minutes away, health food store-20 minutes, health food co-op-30 minutes, and a Wal-Mart Super Center 30 minutes away. For more information call us at: 970-921-3862, or write us by email at:girl4god13@tds.net. We hope to see you here!

Directions Coming from Hotchkiss to Crawford: Take Hwy 92 to Crawford, go approximately nine miles. You will pass a church on the right (Crawford Friends Church). Keep going East on Highway 92. The 4th drive past the church you will see a Wood Timber entryway. Turn in the entryway. The address is 39146.

Coming from Gunnison: Turn right at the Blue Mesa Dam (Highway 92). You will come to the town of Crawford in about an hour. Go through the town of Crawford staying on Highway 92. Approximately two miles outside of Crawford on the left you will see a wood timber post entryway. Turn into the entryway.


Visiting the 2005 General Conference

By Allen Stump

Before I discuss  our visit to the 58th General Conference Session, let me share a few notes about the two prior sessions.

Background 

The 56th General Conference Session in Holland ten years ago was notable for its discussion on women’s ordination. But to those who have been at the forefront of sharing the truth about God since then, it is notable for the distribution of the magazine, Holland 95. This magazine was given to about 4,000 delegates and visitors, and as these representatives returned to their homes, the message about the Father and the Son went around the world. Holland 95 invited readers to consider the original platform of truth, especially the non-trinitarian position concerning God that the pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism were inspired to find in the Bible. This platform of truth was heartily endorsed by Ellen White. In 1886 she wrote, “God has blessed his people who have moved forward, following his opening providence. He has brought out a people from every class upon the great platform of truth.” (Review & Herald, August 3, 1886) Almost twenty years later she could write, “Nothing is so precious to me as to know that Christ is my Saviour. I appreciate the truth, every jot of it, just as it has been given to me by the Holy Spirit for the last fifty years. I desire everyone to know that I stand on the same platform of truth that we have maintained for more than half a century. That is the testimony I desire to bear on the day that I am seventy-eight years of age.” (Ms 142, 1905, pp. 1, 2. Manuscript Releases, vol, 4, p. 44 – emphasis supplied)

The 57th General Conference Session in Toronto, Canada,  in  2000 was also visited with a limited amount of brethren passing out literature. Approximately 8,000 copies of Who’s Telling the Truth about God and 1,000 copies of What did the Pioneers Believe? were distributed.

The 58th General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists took place in St. Louis, Missouri, from June 29 through July 9. During most of that time a group of about twenty-five believers in the original platform of truth, including the truth about God, passed out over 25,000 booklets, thousands of tracts, and almost 2,500 DVDs to the delegates and visitors to the conference.

God Provided For Our Needs 

With an army of workers and many cases of literature we were posed with a couple of problems. How would we transport all the people and literature, and where would we stay?  The transportation problem was solved in an unusual manner. Earlier this spring we had over forty requests for invitations to the West Virginia camp meeting from brethren who were with Pastor Paul Agyeman in Ghana. All of these brethren wanted to go the General Conference Session as well. To even transport all these brethren with their luggage from the airport to Smyrna seemed overwhelming. Brother Lynnford Beachy suggested that we try to find a used school bus. After investigating the matter, we found that we could buy a used school bus cheaper than we could arrange other transportation. Sadly, only Pastor Agyeman was granted a visa by the United States embassy in Ghana. However, the bus proved to be a blessing to use in transportation to and around St. Louis. Although mechanically sound when purchased, the bus was in very serious need of being cleaned. However, God sent us four young angels in the persons of Zachary, Janine, and Jennifer Corklin from Pennsylvania, and Jessica Walkom from Australia to help. Zachary actually spent two days just cleaning gum off the bus floor! After a good cleaning, after some tastefully-done professional signs were installed to advertise the message, and after the engine was serviced, we were ready to go.

Another big task was the question of where to stay.  Most of the motels downtown were either already booked because of the conference, or their cost was too high to consider. Enter Virgil and Mary Tow into the picture. Virgil and Mary are a sweet couple who have bought a chapel in Cedar Hill near St. Louis to try to get a work started in their area. The building is moderately large and has a full basement with a kitchen and fellowship area. This building was graciously opened to us during the conference. Many big thanks to Virgil and Mary for not only opening up their facility, but also for their help with meals and general encouragement.

Our group started from Smyrna on Thursday, June 30. Along with the bus, a van full of supplies and personal equipment and two more cars made the trip from West Virginia to St. Louis. We arrived very late Thursday evening, but Virgil and Mary were waiting patiently for us.

Friday morning we got organized and went downtown to pass out literature. Some of the book titles we passed out were, What did the Pioneers   Believe? in both English and Spanish, God’s Love on Trial, The Spirit of Antichrist, Who’s Telling the Truth About God?, The Return of the Fourth Angel, Pastor Bob’s Confession, and The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity in both English and Spanish. We also passed out some copies of The Foundation of Our Faith, and several tracts. One special item we took was 2500  DVDs containing a study by Pastor David Clayton on “The Omega of Deadly Heresies.” This disc not only included a video presentation on the omega, it also contains audio presentations from all the current titles in the Good News About God series as well as whole websites containing thousands of electronic pages of truth-filled information. (For further information, see page 19 for details.)

Challenges from the Police and the “Authorities” 

As soon as the bus pulled up to the Edward Jones Dome, host of the General Conference, we got off the bus and began to pass out literature. Soon after we began sharing literature, while working on the sidewalks beside the dome, we were confronted by Dome security and then city police. We were told in no uncertain terms to leave. These people told us that they had been advised by the renters of the Dome that we were not welcome and that we had to leave or be arrested. We appealed that we were on the public sidewalks which to our knowledge were public property. After more than one confrontation, we were advised that we would have to prove we had a right to be there. I suggested to an officer that I could go to city hall and get a street plot map of the area that would show the right of ways and public areas. They said we were welcome to do that, but we were warned that their interpretation of that map might differ from ours.

Brother Beachy and I went to city hall and got a street plot map that clearly showed a large right-of-way that extended from the center of the street in question to over 12 feet (4 meters) into the sidewalk areas. With this map and information the police stopped bothering us for a while.

However, a little later I got a call on my two-way radio that I was needed near the main entrance due to police again threatening our people with arrest. I quickly proceeded to the place of conflict and was asked by the police if I was in charge of those passing out the literature. I stated that while nobody was in charge, if anyone was responsible for what was going on, I accepted the responsibility. I was asked by the officer to go inside the dome to meet with the administration and security officials. This I readily agreed to do.

After being taken to security I was questioned by those in charge of the administration of the dome, the dome security, and the city police.  I showed them the plot map. They were not impressed, neither was their demeanor very congenial. One of the dome administration officials was very upset with me. I was demanded to agree not to pass out our literature on the sidewalk beside the dome. I agreed that I understood their position, but I also stated that I could not promise that it was my position. This seemed to upset them more. The dome officials then went away to talk among themselves.

Interestingly, while they were absent, a policewoman asked me what law school I had attended. Based on the logic and persuasiveness of my appeal, she was sure I was a lawyer. When I told her I had not been to law school she was very surprised for she had studied law for two years. Without mentioning the name of Jesus, I did tell her that my Elder Brother [Jesus] was an advocate. She quickly responded, “I knew someone close in your family had to be a lawyer!”

After the officials came back they stated to me that it was the counsel of their attorney that they could control the entire sidewalk and that if we continued we would be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I asked if they would still object if it was permissible with the Adventists for us to pass out our literature. They agreed that they would not object but that they knew we were not welcome. I asked if I could talk with the officials from the Adventists. At first I was told that I could not. I asked if they would at least ask. Finally they agreed to ask the General Conference officials for me.

After a short wait, two General Conference officials were brought to where I was. After being introduced, I tried to explain what we were doing. I was cut off and told that we were not welcome and we had to quit. I started to tell the General Conference officials that “as a former Seventh-day Adventist minister…” but I was cut off by one of the General Conference officials and was very strongly told that we were to get off their property! I tried to explain that I never expected such treatment from Adventists, that historically we were people who believed in religious liberty and non-involvment with the government, that we were a people who had an earnest zeal for sharing our faith, and that we believed in evangelism. I recounted to them that in 1999, when Pope John Paul II visited St. Louis, some of us had been there passing out literature. While we were in St. Louis, including the time we were directly around the dome, not once did the police or dome security bother us, nor the many others who were there passing out literature. Not once did the police say to us, “The Catholics inside don’t like what you are doing and have asked us to stop you and arrest you.” The contrast was startling. The General Conference officials gave me their ultimatum: we were welcome to visit the session, but if we passed out any literature in the dome or on sidewalks by the dome, we would be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They again asked if I would comply. I replied that I understood their position and as far as possible we would comply as long as we were doing God’s will. Neither the dome officials nor the General Conference officials seemed pleased or happy. I was then escorted out of the building by the police.

God Continues to Bless Even with More Encounters with the Police 

After prayer and discussing the matter with some others, we decided that we could still access most of the dome’s entrance points from across the streets on what all acknowledged to be public property. Therefore, we tried not to provoke the brethren to further wrath while at the same time doing the work that we believed God had sent us to do. While willing to go to jail if necessary, it was not deemed expedient nor necessary in order to do the work the Lord had sent us to do.

As we worked and prayed, God continued to bless us to distribute a large amount of literature that day. On our way back to Cedar Hill on the bus that night, I felt the deepest closeness to God I had ever experienced. Heaven and God  were so real and so close. I shall always cherish that experience.

We knew the two Sabbaths would be the most attended days of the conference. Therefore, we arose early Sabbath morning to be on the streets to pass out literature to the delegates as they entered the dome for Sabbath School and worship. Shortly after we arrived I got another call from our two-way radios. “Allen come to the bus, the police are here again.” I quickly went to the street the bus was parked on to find a new challenge. Someone who had received a piece of literature called the police stating that they were offended by it. The police told us that we could not pass out any more literature to anyone, anywhere! We stated that we were not on dome property or even on the right-of-way they claimed. I told the officer that we had checked with the street department of the city who controlled such matters and we were informed that they did not require us to have a permit and that we could pass out whatever we wanted as long as we were not selling the material, obstructing the sidewalk, or impeding the people. I stated that we knew we were within the law. They continued to say that we would be arrested. We asked to speak to a supervisor.

While we were waiting for the supervisor to arrive, I asked Lynnford Beachy if he was ready to go to jail. He assured me he would be a good cell mate. While not ever wishing to cause trouble or to bring persecution upon ourselves, we felt the issue was on verge of becoming a crisis. To comply would cause us to totally shut down, denying our Lord and allowing our Constitutional rights to be trampled. If this was the time for civil disobedience, so be it. However, we also prayed while we waited. When the sergeant came, we found a different attitude. I explained to the sergeant what we were doing and that we were proceeding in a law-abiding manner. I explained that I was sorry that someone was offended but noted that if we gave out enough blank pieces of paper, someone would be offended. Further, there was no proof that the person making the complaint had received literature from us or even anyone else as there were several other groups passing out literature and no proof was offered in the phone complaint. After further dialogue with some other policemen, the sergeant told us that as long as we were not selling material, obstructing the sidewalk, or impeding people, they would leave us alone and stay out of our business!

Although Sabbath was a long day, combined with what we had passed out Friday, we had already distributed about forty percent of the literature we had brought.

Some Observations 

The diversity of people we encountered was interesting. This was supposed to be a meeting of Adventist Christians from every part of the world. While we saw a variety of clothing styles and encountered languages we could sometimes only guess at, we were disappointed by the worldliness of the deportment of several delegates and visitors. On more than one occasion we thought that the people who passed by us had to be people of the world due to the revealing dress and the profusion of jewelry they wore. Sadly, we realized that most of them were professed Seventh-day Adventists. A few of our young sisters were in shock to see what was worn, or really, what was not worn into the meetings including the dress on Sabbath. It challenged me to ask myself, Are we who claim to know so much about God doing any better? Are we setting and teaching a standard, not just higher than the world, but a standard that matches the Word of God and one that brings honor and glory to God. Mini skirts, gold necklaces, and painted faces and nails are not designed to bring glory to God, but to people. However, my surprise did not stop with these outward adornings. On several occasions I went into the dome to attend the meetings. Sometimes the people were asked to stand for prayer, but not once did I see anyone kneel for prayer or request anyone to kneel. Even when the dedication prayer for General Conference President Jan Paulsen was given, Elder Paulsen and his wife were asked to stand on the platform. The scene was not one of solemn prayer with elders from over the world with hands laid on their brother kneeling in deep prayer, but rather a scene of a casual request. Instead of hearing “amen” from the congregation as the response for special music or spoken appeals, clapping was the normal response and was encouraged from the pulpit.

On Sunday the number of the people decreased greatly as most of those attending Sabbath had been visitors from the central part of the United States. Our work went slowly Sunday and when we returned that evening we were concerned that the rest of the week might be very slow. Some were concerned that maybe we had done all we could and should go back home. We were also concerned about “wearing out our welcome” with the delegates. In other words, we still wanted to be able to witness and share literature, but we did not want to antagonize the people. Also, as one of the ministers, I was concerned that if the witnessing was slow and difficult, it might become discouraging to the people who had sacrificed time and effort to come to St. Louis.

Strategy Adjusted 

On Monday morning the ministers present met, and, after a season of prayer decided to suggest that those who needed rest should take Monday off as a time of rest and recuperation. Many of our people had been going strong for several long days in preparation for the conference, travel to the conference and then in the passing out of literature and they needed rest. Monday was the 4th of July and those who wanted to witness could go to the Gateway Arch  and pass out tracts where an Independence Day celebration was going on. We also suggested that on Tuesday, those who wished could set up tables with literature on them and have signs advertising the literature as interesting and free. This laid-back approach would allow the most interested to still receive literature and not wear out those manning the different tables. Those who still wished to be more active in their witness could. We decided to follow this plan on Tuesday through Friday and then on the coming Sabbath we would all go back to a more active approach.

Tuesday through Thursday were the three slowest days we experienced as far as literature distribution. However, we were blessed with some excellent contacts and discussions/studies with several delegates and visitors. We even took along a guitar that Brother Holt had brought and David Clayton and Howard Williams sang some songs to help draw some folks by the tables.

“Pamphleting” 

While we were not the only people passing out literature, it appears that we made the most notable impact among those distributing literature.

“It appears the greatest pamphleting activity at this General Conference is by groups who oppose the doctrine of the trinity. A demure young woman offered me a little tract titled ‘The Devil’s Greatest Lie.’ [Actually Satan’s Deadliest Lie] When I asked her what the devil’s greatest lie was, she shyly answered, ‘the trinity.’ I tried to maintain a poker face, but she must have seen my wonderment. ‘That’s what we believe,’ she added, still very shyly. I’ve been handed several pamphlets from the same publisher all devoted to warning us against the grave dangers of this ‘deadly doctrine.’” (Adventist Today web site, www.atoday.com – Report 7 on the 2005 General Conference Session)

As usual at such gatherings, members from the Shepherd’s Rod movement were passing out their literature, as well as a few other small groups and individuals. Some were there to promote agendas that I had never heard of before. One small group was even passing out a tract that warned men not to shave their faces or in any manner trim their beards or they would be lost in the judgment. I even met “The Elijah.”

One thing that we were often asked was, “Is the literature printed by the General Conference? If our literature had an imprimatur on it from the General Conference many more would have accepted it. How sad that this Catholic philosophy has become so ingrained into the S. D. A. mind set.

God Opened Several Good Opportunities 

During the Conference, we had a chance to meet and talk with several prominent people within Adventism. I will not list their names here but there were several names that most of our readers would recognize. Some were surprisingly rude. One well-known author was very curt to one of our young sisters; however, some were quite nice. I had some encouraging talks with different officials and a short, but pleasant conversation with a former General Conference president. The delegates’ and visitors’ reactions to our presence were varied. Yes, many good contacts were made. However, we were often treated with contempt and accused of being members of the Shepherd’s Rod movement even though we clearly were not. We were often lied to and even cursed. One General Conference official stopped to talk to me and ask me how we were being treated. I replied, “Some of the people have been nice, … .” He realized that I had more to offer and asked, “But really, how have you been treated?” I sadly told him that we had often been treated very rudely. He responded, “I know it, and I have told these people that we cannot go to heaven like this.” He related that he had a daughter who had once protested at the General Conference over an issue and that she was not treated properly and he well knew how the people could react. Again, I asked myself, Are we any better? Have we in our movement any smore spirit of love and toleration than the mainline church? Do I have a greater love? Do you?

Support Staff 

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “An army travels on its stomach.” All armies need a support staff and especially good cooks. Our little army of workers was greatly blessed to have some super helpers, some of whom also served in the infantry! First, Sister Ann Ford was a wonderful blessing bringing the big game-plan together on how our little army would be fed. Her wise planning, counsel, and hard work enabled us to continue physically during the long hours that the time in St. Louis demanded. Although Ann was only able to be with us for the first four days, she left behind able helpers in Esther McDaniel, Onycha Holt, Glenys Walkon, and Mary Tow who carried on the work of making breakfast and planning and packing great lunches to eat downtown.

Brother Howard Williams was our bus driver and with the help of Slawek Platek from Poland, Brother Neville Morris from Jamaica, and my future son-in-law, Leland Brummitt, the bus was kept running and was well maintained. Our only major issue with the bus was a flat tire and even here we were greatly blessed. On Thursday night as we were getting off the bus back at the church someone heard a hissing sound. It appeared that we had just picked up a nail in a rear tire just moments before. This was much better than catching a nail in downtown St. Louis!

Getting the various tracts and booklets around to the many people stationed on several different street corners was a challenge, especially on Sabbaths. As the boxes of literature were depleted and we would need more, Brother Slawek, who became endearingly known as “Polish Man,” would use a small hand truck (known as the “yellow donkey”) and deliver the boxes of literature to their needed areas.

Sister Andi Ardeias of Romania, along with our crew of young ladies made the signs for our tables we used during the middle of the week. It seemed like when there was a need, God would supply it.

The Final Push 

On Friday evening the pace picked up a lot as people were coming in for the Sabbath. The second Sabbath is usually a big event due to the “Parade of Nations” at the end of the day. After prayer, we decided that the best plan would be to be on the streets very early Sabbath morning and with the blessing of God, we would try to pass out all the remaining books we had before noon. We figured that by this time most of the people who would be at the session would have had a chance to go in. If successful, we could then go back to the chapel in Cedar Hill and join the local congregation for Sabbath services. (They normally meet in the afternoon.)

Sabbath morning we were on the streets as planned. All week the Shepherd’s Rod people had been used of Satan as a thorn in our flesh. Many people confused us with them and even though we clearly were passing out different literature, some people still got us confused. Also, as many people did not want to take material from the Shepherd’s Rod people, they would then not take literature from us. If people from our group had a good position on a street corner, the Shepherd’s Rod would often come and stand right beside us or very near us in the hopes that we might move. This caused confusion and at times we would move on to another place to avoid being associated with their teachings. While we tried to treat these people with respect and while we acknowledge that God loves these people, we do not have sympathy with their teachings. On Sabbath morning we especially prayed that we might be delivered from this harassment.

Thank the Lord that on Sabbath morning He allowed us to pass out all of the English books, all the remaining DVDs, and many of our Spanish books. Thankfully, there was not one Shepherd’s Rod on the streets in the morning. Just as we were leaving we saw them come and begin to set up their materials.

With glad hearts we returned to Cedar Hill and joined in the worship service with the brethren there. After Sabbath we began our return to Smyrna, arriving early Sunday afternoon. Thankfully our travel back was safe and without mechanical problems. God’s care over us was focused on my mind when a few days later, Brother Leon Holt lost third gear in his van he had driven to St. Louis. God kept it going just long enough for it to get there and back!

Was God Pleased? 

This is a brief sketch of the events that occurred in St. Louis involving our witnessing. Did we accomplish our goals? If our goal was mainly to pass out literature, we did that. Unquestionably we had never passed out so much literature before at an Adventist gathering. If our goal was to have some good contacts, we did that. If our goal was to provide God a witness, perhaps we did that. Only He can decide that.

But I had a far greater goal. I had a goal that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on His people in latter rain proportions. I prayed that we might experience something great as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost. While it is evident that at times we were greatly blessed by the Spirit of God in our work, it is clearer that we did not receive a great outpouring of the latter rain. Like Pentecost, there were people from all over the world present at the General Conference. What a wonderful opportunity for the message to go far and wide. Why did it not happen? God has told us that His work will not be finished by our own strength: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) Perhaps we depended too much on our own power and did not humble ourselves enough that God could work in us.

What about the timing of the matter? As long ago as 1892 Ellen White wrote, “The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer.” (Review and Herald, November 22, 1892) As late as 1908 she wrote, “We have now come to the last days of the work of the third angel’s message, when Satan will work with increasing power because he knows that his time is short. At the same time there will come to us through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, diversities of operations in the outpouring of the Spirit. This is the time of the latter rain.” (Letter 230, 1908, Selected Messages, book 3, p. 83–emphasis supplied) I wonder at these and similar statements. Something has happened to cut off the latter rain for it will not take over 100 years to finish the work! God was anxious to bring the work to a close in 1892 or 1908, and I know that He is even more desirous to bring it to a close today. I know that there must be a restoration of the truth about God, but if the early rain brought the spread of the truth that Jesus was the Son of God in the time of the apostles, why can not the latter rain help carry the message that Jesus is the Son of God today?

Perhaps sin in our hearts, perhaps sin in my heart is preventing the Holy Spirit from coming to us as a people. Maybe we are too full of the world and self to receive the Holy Spirit. John says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

The servant of the Lord has written:

“Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed.

“There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. …

“… Everyone must now search the Bible for himself upon his knees before God, with the humble, teachable heart of a child, if he would know what the Lord requires of him. However high any minister may have stood in the favor of God, if he neglects to follow out the light given him of God, if he refuses to be taught as a little child, he will go into darkness and satanic delusions and will lead others in the same path.”

“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of  Pentecost.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 213, 214)

To receive the latter rain we will have to be of one accord like the disciples were at Pentecost. We are going to have to have the same or greater love and devotion for one another as the disciples had.

Perhaps we really just don’t want it bad enough for God to be able to pour it out upon us. Perhaps the message to the angel of the church of Laodicea applies well to me at this time. Perhaps it applies to you. I am very encouraged by some of the experiences we had in St. Louis. I am very thankful that we passed out so much literature and worked with a good spirit of cooperation. I know that, as a Christian,  I am not supposed to be discouraged. But I am sad and challenged that we didn’t receive more of the Spirit of God. Sad that we were not prepared to receive the latter rain for there was no lack of preparation on the Lord’s part. I am challenged to bring my life, and help bring the lives of God’s people, to the place where we can receive the fullness of the latter rain. May God grant us a true hungering and thirsting for righteousness and for Him. He has promised that if we truly hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

2005 General Conference Photos

Click here for pictures from the 2005 General Conference 

 


The Humble Heart is Mine (Part 1)

By Onycha Holt

(The following is the first study in a four part series that was presented at the West Virginia camp meeting this year by Sister Onycha Holt. I believe that the material is extremely vital to us and I highly recommend that each reader carefully consider its content.   Editor)

One thing that has eluded scientists for several years is how to harness the power of gamma rays. Gamma rays are the most powerful rays in the electromagnetic spectrum and possibly the most powerful rays in our universe. Gamma ray bursts can release more energy in ten seconds than scientist say our sun will emit in its entire lifetime. The problem is, these gamma ray bursts seem to be haphazard, popping off like cosmic flashbulbs from unexpected directions in deep space overhead, flickering on for a fraction of a second or minutes, and then fading away after briefly dominating the gamma ray sky. Scientists would love to capture this energy. This article is the first part of a four-part study, which looks at something that has seemed almost as elusive to us as Christians as the power of gamma rays has been to science, though seemingly just as powerful.

There have been many conference camp meetings over the years, and occasionally at these camp meetings family life sessions have been conducted, during which topics such as money management, anger management, stress management, effective communication, quality time as a family, family council meetings, balancing career and home life, parenting and discipline issues, and maybe even alcohol and drug abuse, have been discussed; however, these areas are not what we are examining in these studies. Nearly any counselor, whether Christian or not, can discuss such concerns with you and give you good, practical advice. You can even read books on these topics for yourselves, if need be. That which is lacking in these self-help books and in the heretofore known counselors, is what we will be focusing our attention on in this series.

God has a Purpose for You

Our opening prayer is found in Ephesians 1:17-19. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”

God has a purpose for your life and He has a purpose for my life. Now, we may have forgotten that purpose or maybe we haven’t understood our God-designed purpose. We may have lost sight of it or perhaps we haven’t even known there was a purpose, but God does have a purpose for each one of us—men, women and children. We can read about this in 2 Timothy 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we were created for good works. Revelation 4:11 states we were created for God’s pleasure, and Isaiah 43:7 explains we were created for God’s glory. As we think about these different reasons for which God has created us, let us start by turning back to the beginning and read about the creation of man in Genesis 1.

Genesis 1:26 and 27 are familiar texts to us, I am sure. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” Who was to have dominion over the earth? Both male and female, not just the man. God said, “Let them have dominion over the fish, fowl, cattle,” etc., but things changed when sin entered., “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: … Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” (Genesis 3:14, 16) Then verses 17 to 19 of chapter 3 explain the curse that was placed on the earth because of sin.

Rulership

Our main focus in this first study of this series will be on the men in our lives. We will discuss ladies and children in the second and third studies and the fourth part will bring them all together. Genesis 3:16 says, “… and he [Adam] shall rule over thee [Eve].” This concept of “rulership” can be a source of difficulty for women if they are not living in a holy and sanctified family. Considering this Biblical principle of the husband ruling over the wife, let us turn to 1 Corinthians 11:3. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” So, Christ has a head, doesn’t He? Now, my dear brothers, if you would like to know how to be the best head in your home that you can possibly be or the best head that you can possibly be in your church family, you need to consider the example of Christ and how He related to His Head. When you gain an understanding about this and incorporate it in your own lives, your homes will be the great blessing and the great joy to live in that God intends for them to be, so let’s look at how Christ related to His Head, His Father. We read about this in John 8:29, which says, “And he that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” So how did Jesus relate to His Father? He always did those things that pleased Him. So, dear brothers, remember the principle that if you want to be like Christ in your homes, you will always do those things that please Christ and then this lovely principle will filter down to the people in your homes, helping everyone to become more like Christ. John 4:34 is another text that explains how Jesus related to His Father. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Now, most likely we already know this about Jesus. He was here to do His Father’s will. He did all things to please Him, but what we may not realize is that this is also the example we have for how men should relate to their head, Christ, and in so doing they then become the Christ-like head of their homes. Do all things to please Jesus. Do His will. That means you will treat the people in your homes as Jesus treats them. By beholding how Jesus walked among men on this earth and how he treated them, you will learn how He wants you to be in your homes.

Let’s review for a moment how Jesus treated others. We find one example in Isaiah: “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. … To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Isaiah 42: 2, 3, 7) Men of such caliber will bless us as women. They will bless our homes. They will bless our church. They will bless our community and they will be a means of bringing to reality the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is an awesome responsibility. I am reminded of the Irukandji jellyfish. He is about the size of a thumbnail and is nearly transparent, but he is covered from the top of his head to the tip of his four tentacles with millions of microscopic spring-loaded harpoons filled with venom that causes intense pain, vomiting, panic, and often death. Dear brothers, don’t let any word or action of yours, no matter how small, be this deadly. Follow Christ’s example cited here in Isaiah and your family will never fear to draw near to you.

We read in 1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” And, then in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” With this kind of attitude, it is very hard, in fact impossible, for husbands to abuse their leadership in the home, because they will love their wives as Christ loved the church.

In the type of work I do, I hear a lot about troubled homes, I see a lot of troubled family members, and I am aware of a lot of abuse using power and control in the home and, most disturbingly, upon innocent children. These things should not be and they won’t be if Christ is the head of your home and if Christ is ruling each heart in that home. We must acknowledge, though, that Genesis 3 tells us it is now God’s plan, since sin entered our world, for the husband to rule his wife. The “rulership” of the husband is really not separate from the wife’s desire or her longing unto him, but for now we will focus on his aspect of the relationship.

In Leviticus 25:39-43, a different Hebrew word (radah) is used for “rule” than is used in Genesis 3 (mashal). It has a similar meaning, but it gives the connotation of subjugation whereas in Genesis 3 the understanding is simply rulership. However, both can be translated into English utilizing the concept of dominion. “And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. [And here is the key], Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour but shalt fear thy God.” To do something with rigour means to fracture, to break apart, or to be severe. God is saying you shall not rule over your brother with this kind of attitude, not with rigour but with the fear of God.

Let’s look at another text. This is part of the story of Gideon and here we find the same Hebrew word, mashal, as in Genesis 3. “Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.” (Judges 8:22 , 23) I realize it is men that are asking Gideon to rule over them, but I think we can apply the same principle to our homes. The Lord shall rule over us as women through godly husbands and fathers, and spiritually through godly men in our lives in our church, but it is to be the Lord that is ruling us.

Nehemiah 5:15 says, “But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule [shalat, similar in meaning to radah and mashal] over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.” These people took advantage of other people and ruled over them, but Nehemiah said he would not do that because of the fear of God.

We will look at one last place. 2 Samuel 23:3: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth (mashal) over men must be just, ruling (mashal) in the fear of God.” This is an important principle of rulership. It must be just and in the fear of God.

There are many men in the Bible who are spoken of as walking with God. Enoch, of course, is one, in Genesis 5:22. Noah is another, in Genesis 6:9. 1 Kings 9:4 tells us that David walked before the Lord. Hezekiah said he walked before the Lord, and Josiah walked in the way of the Lord.

God Hears Our Cry

Abraham also walked and talked with the Lord. In Genesis 17:1 we read that when Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be perfect.” God appeared unto Abram here, and then in Genesis 18:1, 2 we read: “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground,” and we know the rest of the story. A meal was made for them. These men were on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah. What especially touches me is found in verse 17: “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” The Lord did not have to reveal anything to Abraham, did He? But He choose to do so. Would that each one of us had such a relationship with God that He would choose not to hide anything from us, but chose rather to come to us and speak of His mysteries and plans!

The Lord goes on to say, “Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:18, 19) And so the Lord talks to Abraham. He comes to him for this very purpose. My sisters, wouldn’t it be a treasure if our husbands had face-to-face communion with God? Wouldn’t we gladly sit at their feet as Mary did with Jesus and learn of their experience with God? Wouldn’t we gladly care for them as Elisha did for Elijah, for such an experience as theirs would be a holy and sacred one. To have face-to-face communion with God, what more can one ask for? We pray, we listen, we hear, but the Lord came to Abraham and said, “Should I hide something from him?” Oh, that God could say that to you and to me. He came to Abraham to tell him what He was going to do. “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” (verse 20, 21) Now please listen, did God need to do this in order to know what was going on? He knew what Sodom and Gomorrah were doing, didn’t He? He was doing this for us. “I will go and see if the cry is true of what I hear,” and on His way, He stopped and talked to Abraham, and Abraham pleaded for the lives of the righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, it is important to ask ourselves, “Is there a cry going up from my home just like a cry went up from Sodom and Gomorrah?” I believe cries are going up from many homes. You may not even be aware of it. It may happen in the shower. It may happen long after you are asleep. It may happen while you are gone, but I plead with you to realize that if cries are going up, God is taking notice and there is no reason to think that He won’t come down and investigate, somehow, some way. So, please be careful of what goes on in your home.

Recently I read about a little 12-year-old girl in Ethiopia who was kidnapped by a group of men and lions came out of the bush to protect her after she had been beaten and raped repeatedly. The Ethiopian naturalist who was interviewed said most likely the lions heard this girl whimpering just like their baby cubs whimper and so they came out to protect her. They chased the men away and stayed by the young girl until her family found her. She had to receive hospital care because of her wounds. When the family came, the lions disappeared back into the bush. Terrible things are happening in many of this world’s homes, but it should not be that a cry is going up to heaven from our homes. God hears these cries and He will investigate.

Gospel Order–Godly Submission

We are told that the Lord spoke to Abraham face-to-face because He knew that Abraham would command his household after him. So, what does it mean that Abraham commanded his household after him? It could mean that Abraham had the attitude that his word was law and that people did things his way or else, but the word command here means, “to enjoin, to constitute” a household. It is important to remember that one principle of Babylon is the control of man over man, instead of God controlling man. Now just think for a minute. Does God force you to serve Him? Does He force you to do anything? He entreats you. He implores you. He gives you guidance and counsel from His Word and from godly people, but in the end, the choice is yours. I know this is different when you are raising children for you must teach them to obey, it is true, but when we deal with adults, we must respect their right to choose, because God does. He stands at the door and knocks. He doesn’t force Himself in.

God’s principle is that we are to build on the foundation of Christ. There is a gospel order to our homes, yes. It started after sin in the Garden of Eden and it has been expanded upon in the New Testament, and this standard requires women to submit to men and men to submit to Christ, but it only works if the love of our heavenly Father and of His only-begotten Son rules in our hearts. My brothers and sisters; if Christ does not rule your hearts, you will be running around trying to put out fires in your homes continually.

I am reminded of a young man I taught in school one year, in either first or second grade. During recess, we had a big field in which to play. Around this field on two adjacent sides forming an “L” was a section of woods, and in the corner of the woods, the children made a little area for a camp. They found a blue feather on the ground and decided to call their camp Blue Feather Ranch. At recess we would play at Blue Feather Ranch. This young man loved horses and he decided that two of the students would be horses in one area of the field, and two other children were to gather hay for the horses from another area of the field. A couple of the others were to collect berries and other food from the edge of the woods to cook for their supper, and the rest were to do something else. So, there he was, telling them all how to do everything. “Horses, you stay right here. This is your corral.” Then he turned his back and told the two to find hay for the horses, but as soon as his back was turned, the “horses” bolted. So, he had to chase the horses down, calling to everyone, “Help! We’ve got to get the horses back into the corral.” When they were finally back, he told them to stay. Then he told the berry-gatherers to get busy because everyone was hungry, and they said, “Okay, we’ll do that.” But, as soon as his back was turned, they started chatting among themselves and either forgot or weren’t interested in what he wanted them to do. He spent most of the recess just running around making sure everyone was doing what he wanted them to do. I felt so sorry for him because he tried so hard to command Blue Feather Ranch after him, but it didn’t work, and after a few such recesses, they all decided to play something else.

Submission by Love

This makes me think of our homes. If you are trying to control by your own strong will how things are done here and there in the home, as soon as your back is turned, it is liable to fall apart, and it will fall apart unless the people in your home are bonded to you in love. In love, it will work. It can work without love for a longer or shorter period of time, but it won’t be lasting and it won’t work nearly as well. We can see this in how we relate to Jesus and to our heavenly Father. If we serve them only out of duty to the rules or out of fear, or because this is what the law demands and we have to do what is right, we won’t be happy for very long. There is a component of obedience, yes, and of doing what is right even when we don’t feel like doing it, but it works best and it works well if we obey because of our deep love for our Heavenly Father and for His Son.

The theme of the West Virginia camp meeting is sharing our experience and as I have considered what to share, I have felt the need to take care because I want to respect the sanctity of the people I know, whether clients, friends, or family. Therefore, I have searched for things that God has done for me that just involve God and me, and I want to share a lesson I learned several years ago. A banker kept calling our house. We had a mortgage on the home and he required insurance on our home until the loan was paid. He would call, and I would say, “Oh, yes, we are working on that and we’ll get back to you.” We were working on it, just very slowly. He called again, and the same story was repeated. And he called again. Finally, one day he showed up at our house and I was the only one at home. I was much younger in my Christian experience then, and I told him, “Oh, it has been taken care of and it is in the mail,” but, it wasn’t in the mail and it hadn’t been taken care of. And he said, “Okay, that’s fine,” and he left, and I’m sure you know what happened next. My conscience started to bother me. I had lied. I should not have lied and God was saying to me, “You need to tell him that. You need to tell him you are sorry and that you lied.” I said, “I can’t do that. I can’t. Besides that, it is going to be taken care of and that’s all he really wanted. He just wanted to make sure it was taken care of, and anyway, he expects people to lie, Father.” Now, it is true in my work that people do lie to me all the time because the truth hurts and so they lie to avoid the hurt. “Bankers expect people to lie to them, Father, but what matters is that the deed will be taken care of. I will make sure it is taken care of.” Of course, that is not what really mattered. For a few days God kept reminding me, “You need to call him,” and I kept replying, “I can’t call him. I can’t do it and it has already been taken care of so it is okay.” One night we were driving home from prayer meeting. It was dark, and again, “You need to take care of that,” and “I can’t do it. It’s too embarrassing. I can’t do it.” Then God spoke to me, and this is what He said, and this is how He said it, “Do you love Me?” “Of course I love You,” and after a pause, “I understand now. I’ll do it first thing in the morning.” And I did. What I couldn’t do even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I could do without hesitation because I loved my heavenly Father.

And each one of us can do the same thing. Being submissive in the home is not hard, it is not a chore, if God rules in that home, and even if God doesn’t rule in the home, if He rules in your heart, you can do it, though this presents another problem. One person can be wonderful. One person can talk to God like Abraham did. One person can do all this and more, but if the other members of the family don’t have a same or similar relationship, the burdens can be heavy in that home. If both the husband and wife are committed to our heavenly Father and to Jesus Christ, then their home is a heaven on earth. There is no better place to live. Satan has perverted the Biblical standard of relationships between husbands and wives. God says in Genesis 3, and I am getting ahead of myself I know, that a woman’s desire will be unto her husband. This is true. It is a fact, and husbands not being godly and wives not being godly doesn’t do away with the fact that the desire and a longing of a wife is unto her husband and that the husband is to have rulership over his wife. It just becomes a very unwholesome and ungodly relationship involving aspects of power and control and forced submission instead of love and Godly submission.

May the men in our congregations be like Abraham and have a relationship with God as he did. Is it too much to ask for a face-to-face relationship? I don’t think so. This would be one of the best things on earth for all of us. If the men in our homes and in our church could speak to God in such a way, we would all be blessed. Abraham pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, and as Abraham did, so the men in our homes need to plead that God will be merciful to those in their homes, in their communities, in their churches, and in their extended families.

We are in a Great Battle

There is one other experience I want to share with you, to help you, as men, understand the great battle we are faced with. I know you are aware of the great controversy between God and Satan. I know you have read about it. I know God speaks to your heart about it, but I want to share an experience with you that might help you to understand it better.

A long time ago when I was much younger and my first child was just a few months old, I lived with my first husband in a home in Maine that had no plumbing, very poor heating, no running water, and no electricity except for one outlet in one room. When we moved into this home, it was very dilapidated. The previous owners stored all their trash upstairs. The whole upstairs was completely filled with trash and garbage. There were ancient corncobs, for example, that I joked must have been considered a treasure for someone to have kept so long. All we could do was back a pick-up truck to an upstairs window and shovel it out. Downstairs, wallpaper was falling from the ceiling and from the walls and it was all fly-speckled. In some places all you could see were the old lathe boards because this is what the wallpaper had been glued to and the wallpaper was gone. It was a pretty ugly place to live and it was very cold. The first winter all I could do was stay in a sleeping bag through the day, and of course there is not very much you can do in a sleeping bag except read.

So I read, but my fingers became frozen just holding the book. I spent the first winter that way, and my daughter was born the next spring. Now the second winter was approaching and nothing had changed. There still was no plumbing, no running water, no electricity except for that one outlet, and no good source of heat. As a young mother with a little baby it was very hard. The one place that I could go outside of the home where there was beauty and peace was across the field, down the hill, and around a corner to a stretch of woods, and through the woods there was a bubbling brook, with swift-running water that went over rocks as it curved through the trees. It was a nice place to be. I would carry my little baby and sit by the brook and enjoy the sights and the sounds of nature, hear the breeze ripple through the trees and feel it as it landed on my cheeks and pass through my hair.

But the second winter was approaching and on this particular day I was inside with my forehead and fist on the wall, thinking, “I can’t do this anymore.” And I have to tell you, right away I heard a bubbling brook speak and it said, “A knife would slip so easily between your ribs to your heart,” and the voice of this brook was so beautiful. Now, I know you might think I’m a tad touched, but I am not, and I can tell you this because of my years in the field of mental health. Hallucinations all have a root in reality. You might see a severed hand or you might hear voices telling you this or that, but they all are based in the reality of the world we live in. Never, ever could anyone hear a bubbling brook speak. It is impossible. One wouldn’t know how to play such a sound in his mind, but the brook did speak to me, and it is the second most beautiful sound I have ever heard, and because of the beauty, I thought, “That’s true, it would slip very easily.” Now, remember what words were spoken—“A knife would slip so easily between your ribs to your heart.” I was so enraptured by the sound of a brook speaking that the import of what was being said did not register in my mind. However, immediately I heard on the other side of my head, “But, you can’t leave your baby.” This voice was spoken in a normal tone. There was no deceit involved and it broke the spell. I knew I couldn’t leave my baby in her playpen all day with no one to care for her. I can tell you, I can tell you for sure, that Satan or another fallen angel is the one whose voice I heard as a bubbling brook and he made the wicked words sound so beautiful that at first I couldn’t grasp the terrible meaning of what he said.

This is what we are up against, brothers and sisters. We are up against a devious foe that is after you and he is after your homes. He is after your children and he will get you and them in any way he can. Beauty, control and power, or rape or beatings, it doesn’t matter. I have clients who tell me such sad stories, grown men crying in my office relating how they were treated as children. We can’t understand the depravity of the mind when Satan is in control and he will use meanness or he will use a beauty that we have never thought of to destroy us. I have great sympathy for my suicidal clients for I know who is behind it all and I know how he can speak to the mind. This is what we are up against and I plead with you, my brothers and sisters, to make God first and foremost in your life because He is worthy. He is truly worthy.

A Call for Men to be Men

In closing, let us look at Proverbs 28:12. “When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.” The margin says in place of “hidden, a man is sought for.” I realize there is another way to understand this term, “sought for”, but I believe we are living in a wicked age and men are being sought for, holy, God-controlled men. “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. ” (Ellen G. White, Education, page 57.) It doesn’t matter what your homes have been like in the past--yesterday, two weeks ago, or even a year ago. Today is a new day and God says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee.” (Jeremiah 33:3a) Brethren, call unto Him to give you the strength and the power to be the men in your homes, in your communities, and in your churches that He wants you to be and God will answer you and He will then, “…shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3b) When you do this, you will be in the presence of greater power than gamma rays have ever produced and this power will not elusively slip through your fingers. It will change you and it will change your families.

Onycha HoltMy sisters, as women we may be just as mentally intelligent as our husbands are. We may have equal or greater talents than our husbands have, but God does something special for the men in our lives, I truly believe, that He does not do for you and me.  It is because of the gospel order that He has instituted. The Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman. This is the order that we are now living under and He gives something special to the godly men in our lives because their need to be a Christ-like head of their homes is so great. So men, I entreat you, and I personally need you, to call unto Him with a humble heart so that He can show you great and mighty things that you know not. As women, we need this and we depend on you to develop this grand relationship with God, so that in turn you can share with us the great and mighty things you have learned at His feet.

(Sister Onycha Holt is currently a social worker in Summersville, WV.  She loves to read God’s word and enjoys the study of physics. You may contact her by  writing to her in care of Smyrna Gospel Ministries. ............................ Editor)


Literature Production and
Heidelberg Press Project

by Allen Stump

As we were planning at Smyrna Gospel Ministries before the General Conference we realized that this might be the last General Conference Session before Jesus comes. Realizing not only the urgent times we are in living in, but also the chance to deliver literature to many different points around the world via the delegates and visitors, we determined to exhaust as much of our literature, that would be appropriate, as possible at the General Conference Session. While some of our titles were not applicable for the Session, the applicable titles we had in print were, with only a few exceptions, exhausted. It will take some time to reprint and have some of these materials, such as What did the Pioneers Believe?, God’s Love on Trial, and The Spirit of Antichrist. Please have patience if you request materials and we have to inform you that your request will be on backorder for a while.

To help with our long-term need of production we have decided, if the Lord will supply the funds, to obtain a Heidelberg Printmaster QM 46-2 printing press. Heidelberg is the finest quality printing press made in the world and the Printmaster QM 46-2 is a two-color offset press that is capable of doing high-quality work that looks truly professional. It is well capable of doing four-color process printing and print on all types of stock. Our current press, a Multilith 1250, is over thirty-five years old. We purchased this press used several years ago and while it has given us faithful service (most of the time), it is getting pretty tired and worn out. The company is currently out of business and getting certain replacement parts is hard to impossible. Using this press the last few years has been a challenge as our time working on the press and maintaining it is sometimes greater than our actual printing time! For lower quality work, the Multilith has been a blessing. However, we believe that it is time for us to step up the quality of the Lord’s work to be more representative of how His literature should look.

The cost of the new Heidelberg with equipment to produce plates will be around $90,000. I realize that this seems like an ambitious project to some, but does not the Scripture say that “the cattle upon a thousand hills” and all “the silver … and the gold” is the LORD of hosts?  (Psalm 50:10, Haggai 2:8)  If there was ever a time to invest in the publishing work I believe that this is the time. There will be a day soon when our riches will be corrupted, our garments will be moth-eaten. (James 5:2) We know that the constant appeals for funds that churches and ministries make weary the people. Some view appeals for funds as selfish. To avoid these issues, our practice at Smyrna has been to not solicit funds for our projects, to not take up offerings during our services, and to not send out self-addressed envelopes with our mailings as many ministries do. We have, at times, made appeals in behalf of others who were in need and this we shall do from time to time as the Father directs. However, often we have brethren request that we keep them informed of what we are doing and what the needs are. This announcement is simply designed to do that. If you wish to help with this project, please mark your contribution towards the “Press Project.” Blessings!


Youth’s Corner Salvation Through Christ

Dear Young Friends:—You live in a dark and wicked world, subject to sickness, pain and death. You may see many things that look beautiful; but how soon they fade away. You may have a dear friend that you love; but soon that one may be torn from you by sickness and death, and you will then feel lonesome.

You should have something substantial to fix your minds and affections upon, that can give real satisfaction and joy, and cheer your spirits in this dark world, and cause your sorrows to bring joy in the end.

There is a blight upon everything. The earth feels the curse that God pronounced upon it, because of the disobedience of our first parents. They broke the command of God in eating of the forbidden tree, after he had given them the privilege of eating of all the other trees in the garden. They listened to the tempter, ate of the forbidden tree, and were expelled from the beautiful garden of Eden.

The earth that was then so beautiful, was cursed, and the flaming sword was placed around the tree of life to guard it, lest man, in his sin, should approach that tree, and eat of its immortal fruit, and by so doing, live in sin for ever.

The tree of life was designed to perpetuate immortality. Adam and Eve could eat of that tree, and enjoy its rich immortal fruit, until they transgressed the command of God. Death was then pronounced upon them, and all that should ever live upon the earth. There was no way of escape for us; no provision that we might again have access to the tree of life, if we would repent. Whatever evils might befall us, there was then no other way than to bear them without hope of having right to the tree of life, to eat of its leaves and fruit, and be healed. We must ever suffer and groan beneath the curse.

But the Son of God, who was with the Father before the world was, took pity upon us in our lost condition, and offered to step in between us and the wrath of an offended God. Said Jesus, I will give my life for them. I will take the burden of the sins of the world upon me, and will make a way possible for these transgressors to find pardon and enjoy thy favor again, that they may repent and keep thy commandments, and again have access to the tree of life. God consented to give his only Son to die for lost man.

The lovely Jesus laid aside his glory, and came into this dark world, and took upon himself our nature, to be wounded for our transgressions, to be bruised for our iniquities. O, what love for us! He led a self-denying life, and had not where to lay his head. He was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, was despised and rejected and finally was crucified for us.

But you must not think that you have nothing to do, because Christ died for you. You must repent of all of your sins, and give your hearts to God, and then believe that the blood of Christ will cleanse you from all sin. Then if you keep all the commandments of God, the Sabbath with the rest, you may through the merits of Christ, be brought back to the tree of life. This will be when Jesus comes to raise the righteous dead, and change the living saints. Then you will have right to the tree of life, and eat of the leaves, and immortal fruit of the tree of life and live for ever in perfect happiness. Read Rev. 22:14. (Mrs. Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, August 1, 1856)


The Omega of Deadly Heresies DVD and Video Ready

By Allen Stump

The next installment in the “Good News About God” series was finished just before the General Conference Session. The message, “The Omega of Deadly Heresies” is a presentation by Brother David Clayton explaining the history of the alpha crises that Sister White warned against when Dr. J. H. Kellogg published the book, Living Temple, which contained pantheistic theories about God. According to Dr. Kellogg, the Trinitarian doctrine was the key element in bringing him to his conclusions. God revealed to Ellen White that an omega of heresies would come into the church in the last days. This presentation by Brother Clayton clearly unmasks this heresy and plainly reveals that the omega has been received into the mainline Seventh-day Adventist Church today

The suggested donation for a VHS tape is $7.00 per video tape and $5.00 for the DVD presentation. The DVD version has a full length study in both video and audio formats, and the other nine titles in the series in audio format. The DVD also contains thousands of pages of materials in electronic format via web sites that are included which can be opened in a computer browser such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Mozilla’s Firefox.

A complete listing of the messages in the series to date include:

The Love of God

The God of the Bible

The Father and the Son

The Holy Spirit

The Death of Christ

Spirit of Antichrist

Roots of the Trinity

*Return of the 4th Angel

*The Omega

Answers to Objections

* These messages are for Seventh-dayAdventists only. The rest are available in both an Adventist version which has quotations from Ellen White and a non-Adventist version which do not use the writings of Ellen White except in a minor, judicial way.


Supreme Court News

By Allen Stump

Space and time constraints do not allow us to elaborate much on relevant events surrounding the United States Supreme Court, but we would like to note a few items. As we noted in the May issue of Old Paths, the court was to rule on two cases concerning the public display of the Ten Commandments. As many expected, the court delivered a split decision on the two cases.

The first case, Van Orden v Perry, sought the removal of a granite monument of the Ten Commandments which is currently on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. The second case, McCreary v ACLU found the ACLU suing McCreary County, Kentucky over the public display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky county courthouses and in the public schools. The court ruled in favor of the display in the Texas case and against the display in the Kentucky case.

The swing vote in Van Orden v Perry was cast by Justice Breyer. He noted that because the monument in question had stood beside other historical monuments for forty years without raising a complaint, it had a stronger secular meaning. Justice Breyer was the only justice to change votes between the two cases. Moderate Justice, O’Connor voted against the displays in both cases, casting the swing vote in the Kentucky decision. This is of note because Justice O’Conner recently announced her retirement from the court. On the 19th of July, President Bush nominated Judge John Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court to replace O’Conner. While little is publicly known about Roberts’ views on key issues such as abortion, it is highly unlikely that Bush would have nominated him unless he thought that Roberts’ views closely matched the administration’s. If a strong conservative replaces O’Conner on the bench, the court will make a decided shift to the left, as O’Conner has often been the swing vote in so many cases that the Supreme Court has at times been called “a court of one.”

We do not feel it is our position as Christians to be politically active because the Bible teaches us that, “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20 NKJV) The Greek word translated “citizenship” is politeumapoliteuma. We derive our word “politics” from its root word. While we are not active in the realm of politics, Paul also wrote about our relationship to those in government: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2) So may we pray for those in our government. We do not claim that they are righteous people, but we know that they are people in need of the spirit of God.


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

Please also visit our Present Truth Website!