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. 17, No.10 Straight and Narrow October 2008
The Nature of Sin
I want to begin this study with an acknowledgment that we have been greatly behind in our work and writing. Our series on systematic theology has had to take a back seat to more pressing issues even this month, as we had to prepare materials that would help expose the errors in the current Sabbath school lessons developed and published by the General Conference. It is also fair to acknowledge that in our prior study of sin we did not made the theme clear enough for some of our readers to understand. Therefore, we will be writing more on this foundational doctrine starting with this issue of Old Paths, for we do believe that it is a vital topic to comprehend. (We are sorry that space allows us only a small amount of room this month.)
The importance of the doctrine of sin has been noted by virtually every theologian trained in systematic theology. Regardless of a ministers background, his view of sin will to a great degree shape the rest of his theology, whether he realizes it or not. Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Adventists, and others all agree on this point. In 1945 Richard Taylor correctly noted in his book A Right Conception of Sin:
Sin as one doctrine of the Christian system is the common denominator of the other doctrines. The question of sin is so basically related to the nature of God and the plan of redemption. It is the one doctrine by which all others can be reduced to their simplest significance. Furthermore it forms the surest and most logical measuring stick by which the accuracy of those doctrines can be detected.
The doctrines relating to sin form the center around which we build our entire theological system. If our conception of sin is faulty, our whole superstructure will be one error built upon another each one more absurd than the last, yet each one necessary if it is to fit in consistently with the whole erroneous scheme. If we are to end right we must begin right.
Many, perhaps most, of the errors which have protruded themselves into Christian theology can be finally traced to a faulty conception of sin. Because someones notions of sin were a bit off color, his entire trend of reasoning was misdirected. A theologians ideas of sin may have only slight error, seemingly innocent, but that is sufficient to cause a distinct deviation in the line of his thinking, and as his system develops, he is carried farther and farther on the wings of human fancy from the truth. To reason from a false premise is to start an endless chain of false conclusions.
Therefore we say that one who does not have correct views of sin is not apt to have correct views of any other fundamental question. This will especially be manifest in regard to his theory of the atonement and Gods method of redeeming man.
And to insist on correct views of sin is to make it impossible to stray very far from essential truth (Richard Taylor, A Right Conception of Sin, pp. 9-11).
Most Protestants are in one of two major theological divisions on the nature of sin (Calvinism or Arminianism). The branching of divisions from these two are as numerous as there are understandings of sin.
On the common side of theology, all agree that God is holy (Psalm 99:9). According to Isaiah 59:2, sin separates us from God and this is due to his holiness. God is prevented because of sin from being able to have the relationship with man that he greatly desires. Humanity has no ability to bring about a reconciliation or repair to the relationship, so God must be the one who takes the reins and brings about reconciliation. Gods great love motivates him to offer grace as a means to restore man to his place close to God. Grace through Christ is Gods solution to the problem of sin. Most Christians accept and agree with these points.
Since all Christians claim to be basically founded on the need and work of grace, why are there so many divisions and why are not all Christians together in their beliefs and worship? The answer simply and primarily is because of our definition or understanding of sin.
In the plan of redemption, there are two parties and one great problem. There are God and man and the problem of sin. These are the fundamentals, and if our understanding of God is wrong we are in trouble, but our understanding of man, and even of God, will be affected by our understanding of sin! This is not a light matter.
Ellen White, writing in the book Steps to Christ, asks two very pointed questions:
And as Christ draws them to look upon His cross, to behold Him whom their sins have pierced, the commandment comes home to the conscience. The wickedness of their life, the deep-seated sin of the soul, is revealed to them. They begin to comprehend something of the righteousness of Christ, and exclaim, What is sin, that it should require such a sacrifice for the redemption of its victim? Was all this love, all this suffering, all this humiliation, demanded, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life (Steps to Christ, p. 27)?
Thankfully, both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have the answer, and understanding this issue is vital. Pilate asked Jesus, What is truth (John 18:38)? Sadly, Pilate did not wait for Jesus to give an answer. Perhaps someone asked Jesus, What is sin? If this happened, we unfortunately have no record of what Jesus said, but if we will remember that the Bible is inspired by the Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11), then all the words we read are just as if they were spoken to us by Jesus Christ. Thankfully, the Bible is not silent on this issue, and as we will begin to search its pages, we will find treasures of truth. To be continued
We praise God for his continued blessings in our work, but we ask that you continue to uplift us in prayer as we endeavor to be co-laborers together with God, and that you remember his work around the world. We thank you for your prayers during Pastor Allens recent trip, but we ask that you continue to remember the people he met with as they face new challenges every day. We also ask for your prayers for Brother Lynnford Beachy, as he and his family are traveling and holding meetings in various parts of the United States, and Brother Glen and Sister Ann Ford would especially like to thank you for your recent prayers for their family.
Quiz on Genesis 25-28
1. How many children did Keturah bare of Abraham?
2. How many total sons did Abraham have?
3. How old was Abraham when he died?
4. Where was Abraham buried and which sons attended to his burial?
5. How old was Isaac when he married Rebekah and how old was he when his two sons were born?
6. What did God tell Rebekah about the two children she was to bear?
7. What was in the pottage that Jacob cooked when Esau sold his birthright to him?
8. What kind of description does Paul in the book of Hebrews give to Esau?
9. In what city did Isaac say that Rebekah was his sister, similar to what Abraham had done?
10. What group of people did this city mentioned above belong to?
11. How many wells are mentioned by name in Genesis 26? What are their names and the meaning of those names?
12. What did Abimelech, Ahuzzath, and Phichol recognize and acknowledge about Isaac?
13. What was the reaction of Isaac and Rebekah to the first marriage of Esau and why?
14. What did Isaac request Esau prepare for him before the birthright blessing was to be bestowed?
15. What physical infirmity of Isaac allowed Jacob to trick him into believing that he was Esau?
16. How many direct lies did Jacob tell his father in securing the blessing? List them please.
17. What was the physical reaction of Isaac when he learned that he had not given Esau the blessing?
18. Genesis 27:34 speaks of Esaus bitter tears. What does Paul say in commenting upon these? What was the real reason Esau was sorry?
19. Soon after this Esau planned to kill Jacob after his father died, for he said, The days of mourning for my father are at hand. In fact, Isaac lived how many more years after this happened? (Hint: You must search further into Genesis into the life of Joseph for the key to give the answer.) Based upon this key, how old was Jacob when he left home?
Answers to Quiz on Genesis 21-24
1. Abraham and Sarah were 100 and 90 years old respectively when Isaac was born.
2. After Isaac was born, Sarah asked Abraham to cast out Hagar, sending her away.
3. Paul speaks of this experience, mentioned in question two, in Galatians chapter 4.
4. After she was cast out, Hagar was ready to collapse from heat and thirst. She then went about a bowshot away from Ishmael because she did not wish to see him die.
5. After Ishmael left the camp of Abraham, he dwelt in the land of Paran.
6. The name Beersheba means the well of the oath.
7. Abraham dwelt in Beersheba when God called to him to go to Mt. Moriah (the area where Jerusalem would be), a distance of about 45 miles (72 km).
8. When asked about the lamb, Abraham said, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.
9. Abraham believed that he would have to go through with the sacrifice, for Paul notes in Hebrews 11:19 that Abraham believed God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.
10. If God had not intervened, Abraham would have cut Isaacs throat just as the lambs were killed.
11. Abraham asked his servants to wait for him and Isaac so that they could not witness the death of Isaac, which was typical of the darkness that veiled Jesus upon the cross.
12. Jeovah-jireh mean Jehovah provides.
13. Sarah was at Hebron when she died at age 127 (the only woman in the Bible whose age is given at death). Hebron was about 25 miles (40 km) from Beersheba where Abraham had been.
14. Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah from Ephron for 400 shekels of silver so he could bury Sarah.
15. Abraham required Eliezer to promise not to take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanites.
16. Eliezer asked God to show him the woman that should be the wife of Isaac based on service and character (if, when Eliezer asked for water, the woman would also offer to water his camels).
17. It is stated of Rebekah that she was a virgin and had not known any man.
18. Before Eliezer would eat, he insisted upon stating his mission of finding a wife for Isaac.
19. Rebekahs brother and mother requested that Rebekah might stay for ten days before leaving.
20. Eliezer did not agree with the family request to stay for ten days.
21. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarahs tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her (Genesis 24:67).
Bonus: Much confusion has resulted over a misunderstanding of James words, in seeming contrast to Paul. Paul speaks of our justification with God due to sin. James speaks of our justification before men and the proof that we really have faith.
True Remedies Part 4 Rest
(The following study is an edited version of a discussion on health between Dr. Glenn Waite and the congregation during the 2008 camp meeting. Editor)
I hope everyone who is a Sabbath-keeper knows about rest, but there are some Seventh-day Adventists, Seventh-day Baptists, and those of the Jewish faith who do not know what true rest is and who do not know what true recreation is. Playing music that excites your genitals is not the right kind of music to induce proper rest. There is a certain music that will hypnotize you and will also excite your genitals, resulting in unhealthy forms of recreation and unhealthy forms of rest. Rock and roll music is of Satans design, and in the beginning the plan was to play this music, then go to the drive-in theater and rock and roll in the back of the car. It is definitely Satans design to get people to break the Ten Commandments, and Christians should avoid it. Christian rock music still has the same rhythm and puts the same sort of emotions in the individual. Only the lyrics are changed. The music gives you a message, and it results in your behavior being changed.
A lot of people do not practice sleep hygiene appropriately. The bedroom is for sleeping and intimate relations with your marriage partner and that is about all. You should not be eating in your bedroom. You should not have a television, a radio, or other entertainment system in your bedroom because these all interfere with sleep. It is also important to have shades that make the room dark so you can be reprogrammed to go to sleep at the right time. You should also be consistent in when you go to sleep and when you wake up. This should occur at the same time each day. You should avoid consuming heavy meals late at night. Four to five hours before bedtime should be your last meal, and it should consist of easily-digested food such as fresh fruits.
Further Questions about Diet
A question was asked from the audience about the use of pepper, and Dr. Waite responded: Black pepper causes a lot of irritation to different organs, especially the intestine and the stomach, and it is not healthful. There are some reports that cayenne has help individuals as far as increasing the elasticity of the endothelial linings in the arteries, but there are also other people who cannot tolerate it and have problems with cayenne-type pepper.
People then asked many questions about different types of oil to be used in their diets, and this is Dr. Waites response: Canola oil comes from rapeseed and a lot of people promote it, but I try to avoid it myself. Some people say that it is monounsaturated and it is better for you, but I try to get my oil in the natural sources. If you want to be safe, stick with cold-pressed olive oil. There is a difference between hot-extracted oil and cold-extracted oil. Any time you heat an oil, the bonds will be changed to form trans fatty acids which act exactly like saturated fat in your body and can cause you increased heart disease, among other diseases. Some people say it also increases your chance of cancer. When you are in the store and read in the label that the oil or the margarine has no trans fatty acids, you buy it thinking it is good for you, but when you take it home and put it in the frying pan and heat the oil up, you destroy it. You have changed the oil into trans fatty acids in your own home by heating it! You can change the bonds in olive oil the same way. This happens in baking too. Anything you do to heat the oil can change those bonds, giving you trans fatty acids which act as saturated fat in the body.
It is best to avoid heating oil and then consuming it, but if you are going to heat oil, it is preferable for it to be olive oil. Anytime you heat an oil it can change the bonds and that can be unhealthy for the body. There are a lot of studies in the Middle East, however, that show that those who consume only olive oil in their diets during their lifetimes have a decreased risk of heart disease compared to people who have consumed other types of oil.
Grape seed oil is good because it has a lot of antioxidants in it. I do not know about the heating of grape seed oil. It would seem reasonable that heat would change the bonds in it too, but grape seed oil in its natural state is good for the body because of the antioxidants it contains.
Coconut oil is a short-chained saturated fat that is actually metabolized differently in the body if you do not eat too much of it because the oil is composed of short-chained fatty acids. The studies say that because it is short-chained, it acts more like a monounsaturated rather than a saturated fat, even though it is saturated.
People also ask me about peanut oil. Natural peanut oil is twenty to twenty-two carbons long and it can actually, even though it is unsaturated, act like it is a saturated fat. If you get hydrogenated peanut oil, however, then you are already consuming a saturated fat.
Lessons from Job
by Onycha Holt
In Ezekiel 14:14, we read that God spoke to Ezekiel and said: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. God chose three menNoah, Daniel, and Jobas examples of righteousness. What is there about these men that God could choose them as examples for us?
Before we begin to look at these men, however, let us notice a few things about the prophet Ezekiel. He was a priest that was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. He settled by the river Chebar. He was married and his wife went with him to Babylon, but she died nine years after their captivity began. In the fifth year of his captivity, he was called to the prophetic office, and he served as a prophet and a priest for twenty-two years. So, Ezekiel was taken into captivity, as was King Jehoiachin, and he became the prophet to the captive Israelites.
Jeremiah was a contemporary of Ezekiel. Jeremiah was also a prophet and a priest, but he remained in the homeland with the Israelites who were not taken into captivity. It is very touching that even though God allowed (and even designed for) his people to go into captivity, rightly based upon the apostasy of the leaders and the fact that the people followed them, he sent a priest and a prophet along to help his people during their captivity, and he left a priest and prophet in the homeland for the remainder of the people. At the same time that Ezekiel was in Babylon and Jeremiah was doing his work for God in the homeland, Daniel was in the courts of the kings of Babylon as an ambassador for God!
Let us now look at Noah. Moses wrote about Noah in Genesis 6, and how did he describe him? These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (v. 9). Noah was just and perfect, and he walked with God. He also believed God, but not only did he believe him he also did according to all that God commanded him (v. 22). So Noah walked with God, he was just and perfect, and he also obeyed all that God commanded him. This is the character of Noah. Of the ancient patriarchs, he was the tenth descendent from Adam and was of the lineage of Seth. Noah became the progenitor, through his sons, of the whole human race after the flood. He was 480 years old when God instructed him to build the ark and he lived three and a half centuries after the flood, dying at the age of 950. Noah found grace with God, and God called him righteous: Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation (Genesis 7:1).
Moses tells us the most about Noah, but Paul also mentions him in Hebrews 11: By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (v. 7). Paul tells us that Noah became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith because he prepared the ark as God directed. He obeyedthis is what allowed him to be an heir of righteousness by faith. Peter also tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). As we can see, the Bible tells us quite a bit about Noah, starting with Moses in Genesis and including Paul and Peter.
Another person mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14 is Daniel. Where in the Bible do we gain our knowledge about Daniel? There is only one placethe book of Daniel! Daniel is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible except Jesus mention of the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matthew 24:15) and our text in Ezekiel. Daniel was of the tribe of Judah and was a member of the royal family (Education, p. 54). As a young man, he was taken captive to Babylon where he served three kingsNebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius. Everything we know about Daniel is taken from the record he wrote under inspiration. So let us look in his book and see why Daniel is one of the three men God chose as an example for us.
We can see from the very beginning of the book why Daniel is someone God honored and loved. The first chapter concerns the diet that was given to Daniel while in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 8 tells us that Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank. In other words, Daniel determined in his heart that he was going to honor God with his diet, and I think we can rightly assume that throughout the rest of his life Daniel maintained the same determination to follow God and do his will. In Daniel 6:5 we read that Daniels enemies realized the only way to discredit Daniel in the eyes of the king was by attacking Gods law. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God, and today we find that the law of God continues to be under attack both inside and outside the church.
In Daniel 5 more vital information is given about Daniel, but not by Daniel himself. It was the queen of Belshazzars court that said to the king: There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel (vs. 11, 12).
In chapter 4, King Nebuchadnazzar acknowledged that in Daniel was the spirit of the holy gods (v. 8) and that no secret troubleth (v. 9) him.
In chapter 6 we read that Daniels habit was to pray by his open window three times a day, regardless of the kings law against doing so. This tells us that Daniel honored the God in heaven above every earthly being and above any earthly desire he might have had.
Who was Daniel praying for when he said: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes (Daniel 9:3)? He was praying for his people, and not only did he pray for them, but he fasted for them also. Daniel is certainly a worthy example for us today.
While Noah and Daniel are worthy of much more study, we will spend our remaining time focusing on Job. Where in the Bible do we gain our information about Job? It is the same as with Daniel. We know everything about Daniel from the book that he wrote, and we know everything about Job from the book of Job. James mentions the patience of Job in James 5:11, but this is the only other reference in the Bible to Job except the opening text in Ezekiel. Do you remember who wrote the book of Job? Ellen White tells us that Moses wrote the book of Job: The long years amid desert solitudes were not lost. Not only was Moses gaining a preparation for the great work before him, but during this time, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the book of Genesis and also the book of Job, which would be read with the deepest interest by the people of God until the close of time (The Signs of the Times, February 19, 1880). Job is the first book of the Bible to have been written and one of the most precious books in the Bible.
When we think about Job, we often think about trials, about faithfulness unto death, about how Jobs troubles came on him very quickly, and about how the book portrays in embryonic form the way the basic issues of the great controversy between Christ and Satan are played out on this earth. The book of Job is an account of the deep physical, mental, and spiritual suffering that Job went through, and the experience of Job has given men and women for thousands of years an example of courage and hope in their trials and sufferings. Even more importantly, in the book of Job we see a glorious and eloquent picture of our heavenly Father, a portrait that is unsurpassed by any other Bible author and is surpassed only by the life of Christ himself. The last few chapters of Job describe the grandeur of the heavens and of nature, and they reveal the God of the universe as no other book of the Bible does. In the written words of this book, Moses paints a rich and deep portrait of the wondrous God we love and serve.
In this article, however, we want to look at the man Job. What does the book of Job tell us about him? Moses tells us about his trials and about the accusations of Satan, but what was Job like before his troubles happened? The Lord says in Job 1:8 that there was no one like Job in all the earth and he said this about him before any major calamity had befallen him. We need to understand what made Job the kind of man he was, for we are living at a time when we have the privilege of being part of a group of people that will be like no other group of people on all the earththe 144,000! So, what does the Bible tell us about Job?
The very first verse in the book of Job gives us this description of him: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. Then verse 5 tells us that he offered burnt offerings for his children just in case they had sinned and had in their hearts cursed God: And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. He did this not once or twice, but he did this continually. So far, we have learned that Job was perfect, upright, feared God, eschewed evil, and continually offered sacrifices for his children. Verse 3 also tells us concerning his possessions that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east.
The more we look in the book of Job for the kind of man he was, the more we find! For example, Job says of himself: I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him (Job 29:12). Job helped the poor, the fatherless, and those that had no one to help them. The latter part of Job 29:13 says that Job caused the widows heart to sing for joy. Verse 15 says he was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. Verse 16 says he was a father to the poor: and the cause which he knew not he searched out. He searched out whatever was going on around him that he did not understand. This might mean that he did not wait for the oppressed person to come to him for help but that he went searching for him. This is the kind of man Job was. Not only that, but Job says of himself in verse 17: And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. In other words, Job went to battle against the wicked and rescued the victims from their grasp. Later in this chapter we read: Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain (vs. 21-23). In other words, people sought him out for his counsel. Job says: Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor (Job 30:25)? Job 31:1 says Job made a covenant with his eyes and verse 32 says: The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
Many of the verses of chapter 31 start off with the word if. For example, If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit (v. 5), and the reason Job speaks this way of himself implies that he would deserve what had befallen him if he was guilty of doing such things. When we read all these ifs we can really read that Job was saying he was not that kind of person. Chapter 31 is full of these ifs. We read:
If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mothers womb;) If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone (vs. 13-22).
Job infers that if he despised the cause of his maid or man servants, for example, then there might be justice in what was happening to him, but Job continued to maintain his integrity and his innocence. Job was considerate of the people around him, and he was not content to eat his food knowing that the fatherless had not eaten. He searched out where the trouble was and provided help. Job even referred to how he treated his land: If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain, then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley (Job 31:38, 40).
In spite of his behavior, Job was still accused by his friends and he himself was confused. Job said he was full of confusion (Job 10:15). He did not understand what was happening to him nor what was going on behind the scenes. Even though his grief and his calamity were heavier than the sand of the sea (Job 6:3), and even though he longed for death, Job held on to his integrity and said that his heart did not reproach him. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live (Job 27:6).
In spite of the depth of his suffering, we hear Job utter over the span of millennia some of the most beautiful words ever spoken: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15), For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:25), and the words he spoke after he learned of losing all of his possessions and all of his sons and daughters, Naked came I out of my mothers womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21). This is the kind of man Job was, a man who also said after he had learned of the first round of calamities that came upon his possessions: What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (Job 2:10)? These words reveal a character that God knew to be perfect and upright and one that feared him and eschewed evil. Oh that we might have such a character today!
The book of Job speaks to us in many ways. It speaks of patient endurance through suffering. It portrays the state of the dead. It pictures the lowness of Jobs faulty friends. It reveals the profound beauty and greatness of our heavenly Father. It addresses a cause for suffering, and it extols wisdom. All of this is found in one book of the Bible! It is truly a great book, and we can benefit from all of its truths.
Suffering is worldwide, and not one of us is exempt from it. Jacqui is 28 years old. She came to the United States from Venezuela for a short vacation when she was 23. At home in Venezuela, she was a college student. Three weeks after arriving in the United States, the car in which she was riding was hit by another vehicle driven by an intoxicated seventeen-year-old young man. Two people were killed in Jacquis car and before the emergency response team could extract Jacqui from the vehicle it burst into flames. Forty-five seconds later the flames were extinguished but not before Jacqui had received third degree burns on sixty percent of her body. She was not expected to live, but she did. She has had over fifty surgeries since that time. She has no ears, no nose, and no hair because her scalp was burned away. One eyelid is gone and the other is badly damaged. Her eyesight is very poor. She has nerve damage and is in much pain. She has only stubs for fingers because her fingers were badly burned and had to be amputated. You can read about Jacqui online (www.statesman.com/specialreports/content/specialreports/jacqui/index.html). She has been on TV, has been written about in newspapers, and is a poster person against drunk driving. She has suffered immensely, but she still laughs, she still enjoys music, and she has begun attending classes again. She enjoys being with her friends and she is this way because of the kind of person she is inside. This is her character, and it shines through the disfigurement of her face.
God has promised to abide with us and to never leave us. Job did not understand what the real issues were while he was suffering, but we have the experience of Job recorded to help us when we are suffering. God has promised that no temptation will take us for which he will not provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Along with Job, let us each be able to say, For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God (Job 19:25, 26). May this be the hope of each one of us, regardless of what may befall.
Job was wise; he searched out matters; and he remembered the poor, the fatherless, and the widow. He caused the widow to be joyful. He did not hold his servants in disdain. If you look for the character of Job, you will soon notice that Job wished he had never been born and that he thought his grief was more than he could bear, but beyond all of this you will see a man that God called perfect and upright, a man that feared God and eschewed evil and that there was none like him in all the earth.
We may be blessed to have freedom from major suffering now, but it is during this time that our characters are being developed, and when the suffering and crises do come it will simply be revealed whether we have been building upon wood, hay, and stubble or upon the solid rock of Christ, just as Jobs character was revealed during his experience of trial and tribulation.
Because of the book of Job, the 144,000, who will be suffering greatly during the time of trouble, can better understand what is going on behind the unseen curtain. They will know that God has a purpose in allowing the issues of the great controversy to be played out in their lives and around them so that his character can be fully vindicated, and they will know that the final events need to take place as God has ordained to assure that sin will not arise a second time. We have the great opportunity to be part of a people that will not be like any other group of people on the earth, so let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand (The Review and Herald, March 9, 1905) and to bring honor and glory to God.
1 package vacuum-packed tofu
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil, preferably not extra virgin
Blend ingredients together in a blender. You may need to add a little water to blend it well. To make sour cream use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Sachis Favorite Uncheese Cake
Crust: 1 cup rolled oats, ¾ cup flour, ½ cup finely ground cashews or almonds, 1 teaspoon coriander, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon fruit juice or water. Mix ingredients and press into a greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Filling #1: ½ cup millet, 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt or 8 tablespoons quick-cooking grits, 2 and 2/3 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until there is no water left, then whiz in blender with Filling #2 and pour onto baked crust. Top with fruit topping.
Filling #2: 1/3 cup ground cashews, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
John F. Kennedy on Church and State
(The following is an address given to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
on September 12, 1960 at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. It has been
voted as one of the top ten greatest American speeches ever given. Its
ideas and thoughts are timely, as the United States is within a few weeks
of choosing a new president. Editor)
Reverend Meza, Reverend Reck, I am grateful for your generous invitation to state my views.
While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that I believe that we have far more critical issues in the 1960 campaignthe spread of Communist influence until it now festers only ninety miles from the coast of Florida, the humiliating treatment of our President and Vice-President by those who no longer respect our power, the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctors bills, the families forced to give up their farms, an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space. These are the real issues which should decide this campaign, and they are not religious issues, for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barrier.
But because I am a Catholic and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured, perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So, it is apparently necessary for me to state once again, not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me, but what kind of America I believe in.
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be Catholic, how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all. For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginias harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jeffersons statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you, until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.
Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equals; where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews at both the lay and the pastoral levels will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past and promote, instead, the American ideal of brotherhood.
That is the kind of America in which I believe, and it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe, a great office that must be neither humbled by making it the instrument of any religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation nor imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.
I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendments guarantees of religious liberty nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so, and neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test, even by indirection, for if they disagree with that safeguard they should be openly working to repeal it.
I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all and obligated to none; who can attend any ceremony, service, or dinner his office may appropriately require of him to fulfill; and whose fulfillment of his Presidential office is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual, or obligation.
This is the kind of America I believe in, and this is the kind of America I fought for in the South Pacific and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we might have a divided loyalty, that we did not believe in liberty, or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened, I quote, the freedoms for which our forefathers died. And, in fact, this is the kind of America for which our forefathers did die when they fled here to escape religious test oaths that denied office to members of less favored churches; when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom; and when they fought at the shrine I visited today, the Alamo, for side by side with Bowie and Crockett died Fuentes, and McCafferty, and Bailey, and Badillo, and Carey, but no one knows whether they were Catholics or not, for there was no religious test there.
I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition; to judge me on the basis of fourteen years in the Congress, on my declared stands against an Ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools which I attended myself; and, instead of doing this, do not judge me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and rarely relevant to any situation here and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948 which strongly endorsed Church-State separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic. I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts. Why should you?
But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the State being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or prosecute the free exercise of any other religion. And that goes for any persecution, at any time, by anyone, in any country. And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny their Presidency to Protestants and those which deny it to Catholics, and rather than cite the misdeeds of those who differ I would also cite the record of the Catholic Church in such nations as France and Ireland and the independence of such statesmen as De Gaulle and Adenauer.
But let me stress again that these are my views, for contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Partys candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates, and no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come, and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible, when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise. But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.
If I should lose on the real issues, I shall return to my seat in the Senate, satisfied that Id tried my best and was fairly judged.
But if this election is decided on the basis that forty million Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people.
But if, on the other hand, I should win this election, then I shall devote every effort of mind and spirit to fulfilling the oath of the Presidency, practically identical, I might add, with the oath I have taken for fourteen years in the Congress. For without reservation, I can solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, so help me God.
Ellen G. White and
The Truth About God, Part 3
By Allen Stump and Onycha Holt
(Earlier this year we published the DVD Ellen G. White and the Truth About God. The following is an edited transcript of Part 3 of the introduction to this presentation. Editor)
Three Living Persons: While all of Ellen Whites earliest statements appear to be non-trinitarian, some of her later statements appear to some to teach trinitarianism. I firmly believe that a careful and unbiased study of Ellen Whites writings will not present two different views of God. Due to certain prejudices that have been developed over many years on this issue, however, it is hard for some people to be objective, and as a result they have come to erroneous conclusions. One such conclusion proclaims that Ellen White was at first non-trinitarian or at least did not fully teach the trinity, but, as her understanding grew, she later strongly taught the doctrine of the trinity.
The Weight of Evidence: Sister White has counseled us to accept the weight of evidence concerning doctrine. Even though a few of her statements appear to some to be trinitarian, the weight of evidence clearly falls on the non-trinitarian side. We believe that upon further study statements that appear to be trinitarian will be found to be in agreement with the rest of her writings. While not exhaustive, we will present a representation of the statements of Ellen White that are most often used by Trinitarians to support the trinity doctrine. We will examine these statements and provide explanations that show that these statements do not support the trinity doctrine and that, in fact, some do just the opposite!
Person and Personality: One of the most famous statements of Ellen White used to prove a trinity is found in Special Testimonies, Series B and later published in Evangelism on page 615:
There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 63).
The original handwritten copy by Ellen White reveals important clues to what she was trying to say. At first she used the term three living persons but then in her handwriting we find that she struck out the last s from persons and made the word personalities. Her testimony was published, however, using the expression persons. The background to this statement is of vital importance, so let us look at the background for this statement and see if we can understand its context.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, had adopted a system of theology and philosophy called pantheisma teaching that God is in all things. These ideas were published in 1903 by Kellogg in a book entitled The Living Temple. As we shall see, Kellogg drifted toward pantheistic ideas because he accepted the trinity doctrine. Carefully notice the following statements which are taken from the same testimony from which the famous heavenly trio statement is taken:
I have not been able to sleep during the past night. Letters have come to me with statements made by men who claimed to have asked Dr. Kellogg if he believes the Testimonies that Sister White bears. He declares that he does, but he does not (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 60). (All emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted.)
Kellogg claimed to believe the testimonies and that they expressed what he was then teaching about the Holy Spirit. Writing to former General Conference President, G. I. Butler, he noted:
The ideas I hold in reference to the presence of God everywhere and in everything, as a manifest agency in all the workings of Nature, I did not originate (J. H. Kellogg to G. I. Butler, December 30, 1903).
Earlier that year, writing to W. W. Prescott, Kellogg quoted from The Desire of Ages page 161; Testimonies for the Church, volume 1, page 205; Special Testimonies on Education, page 33; and Christian Temperance, pages 52 and 161 to sustain the point that his writings merely reflected the work of Sister White. Although he claimed to believe the testimonies and even used them to prove his points, Ellen White boldly declared that Dr. Kellogg did not believe them. Just as Kellogg declared that he believed the testimonies and that they supported his position, there are many today who claim to believe and use Ellen Whites writings to support a position which she did not believe. Going back to the original testimony in Series B, Number 7, we read:
I am so sorry that sensible men do not discern the trail of the serpent. I call it thus; for thus the Lord pronounces it. Wherein are those who are designated as departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, departing from the faith which they have held sacred for the past fifty years? I leave that for the ones to answer who sustain those who develop such acuteness in their plans for spoiling and hindering the work of God (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 61).
In this testimony, Ellen White declares that some of the brethren were departing from the faith which they have [had] held sacred for the past fifty years. In 1872 the first published statement of Fundamental Principles was issued. It clearly reflected the beliefs of the first fifty years of the Advent movement. This statement declared in part:
That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7.
That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, . . . (1872 Statement of Fundamental Principles).
Adventist Trinitarians who know our history acknowledge that there has been a paradigm shift in the churchs theology about the Godheada great change from the first fifty years of our history. The book Issues, authorized by the North American Division Officers and Union Presidents, called the 1872 Statement of Fundamental Principles distinctly non-Trinitarian (p. 39). In the very testimony in question, Ellen White says that Kelloggs teachings were a departing of the faith, not a work of progress. She declared that such would spoil and hinder the work of God! She also noted:
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye already have hold fast till I come (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 61).
Interestingly, Ellen White mentioned Thyatira. This church has been historically interpreted with Catholicism whose trinity doctrine is the central pillar of their faith, supporting all their other teachings. It was to this church, which rejected the Sonship of Jesus, that our Lord addressed himself as the Son of God (Revelation 2:18). Notice the following statement that helps broaden the picture:
The Father is all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fulness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be the express image of His person. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Here is shown the personality of the Father. The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, pp. 62, 63).
Let us look further at this testimony, as it was edited by Ellen White in her own handwritten manuscript that has been widely distributed and publicized by the White Estate:
There are the living three person
s alities of the heavenly trio in which
every soul repenting of their sins believing receiving Christ by a living
faith to them who are baptized (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p.
There are two key points that we must remember throughout this testimony. Firstly, Kellogg had lost faith in the testimonies. Secondly, a contrast is made between his spiritualistic beliefs and the truth about the personality and nature of God. Kellogg claimed to believe the testimonies, and he even used them to try to prove that Ellen White taught the Holy Spirit was a third being separate and apart from the Father and Son. However, she did not accept this new teaching and warned the people against accepting this so-called new light. She urged the church to stay with the truth they had been teaching for at least the prior fifty years. That truth was simply that the Father is God and Jesus is his Son and the Spirit is the Spirit of God. Ellen White wrote that in his new theology Kellogg was departing from the faith of fifty years and accepting doctrines of devils.
As the Advent movement was growing, Ellen White had to confront fanaticism on the truth about God, as she relates in volume 8 of Testimonies for the Church:
After the passing of the time in 1844, we had fanaticism of every kind to meet. Testimonies of reproof were given me to bear to some holding spiritualistic theories.
There were those who were active in disseminating false ideas in regard to God. Light was given me that these men were making the truth of no effect by their false teachings. I was instructed that they were misleading souls by presenting speculative theories regarding God.
This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal God pervading all nature, and similar errors (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 292, 293).
When there was apostasy, Ellen White did not hesitate to speak up. She was quick to speak out and warn Gods people of false teachings from men such as Dr. J.H. Kellogg, D. H. Canright, A. F. Ballenger, and others; however, she never rebuked her husband Elder James White nor J. N. Andrews, Captain Joseph Bates, Uriah Smith, and any of the other leading brethren who were teaching the non-trinitarian understanding of God.
Ellen Whites testimony in Series B describes the personality of God and his literal relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. This testimony also describes the Comforter to be, in fact, the Spirit. Then she says that the working of God through his angels on the day of Pentecost is represented in the descent of the Holy Spirit (Ibid., p. 63).
On October 28, 1903, Dr. Kellogg wrote to G. I. Butler stating:
As far as I can fathom, the difficulty which is found in The Living Temple, the whole thing may be simmered down to this question: Is the Holy Ghost a person? You say No. I had supposed the Bible said this for the reason that the personal pronoun he is used in speaking of the Holy Ghost. Sister White uses the pronoun he and has said in so many words that the Holy Ghost is the third person of the Godhead. How the Holy Ghost can be the third person and not be a person at all is difficult for me to see (Letter of Dr. Kellogg to G. I. Butler, October 28, 1903).
The next day, October 29, 1903, the current General Conference President, A. G. Daniells, wrote the following in a letter to Willie White concerning the pantheistic theories of Kellogg:
He [Dr. Kellogg] then stated that his former views regarding the Trinity had stood in his way of making a clear and absolutely correct statement; but that within a short time he had come to believe in the Trinity, and could now see pretty clearly where all the difficulty was, and believed that he could clear the matter up satisfactorily. He told me that he now believed in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and his view was that it was God the Holy Ghost, and not God the Father, that filled all space, and every living thing. He said that if he had believed this before writing the book, he could have expressed his views without giving the wrong impression the book now gives (Letter of A. G. Daniells to Willie White, October 29, 1903).
Earlier in the letter, Daniells had noted concerning Kellogg:
He said that some days before coming to the council, he had been thinking the matter over, and began to see that he had made a slight mistake in expressing his views. He felt sure that he believed just what the Testimonies teach, and what Dr. Waggoner and Elder Jones have taught for years; but he had come to believe that none of them had expressed the matter in correct form (Ibid.).
Kellogg thought he taught what Ellen White, Jones, and Waggoner had taught just using different expressions. A. G. Daniells wrote to Kellogg, Now you can readily see that all this cannot be corrected by simply a change of terms (Letter of A. G. Daniells to J. H. Kellogg, October 28, 1903). Furthermore, Daniells noted to Willie White that before his mother, Ellen White, had come out against the book Kellogg had given fair warning that this battle would be fought out to the bitter end, and that the old traditional theories would be rolled under (Letter of A. G. Daniells to Willie White, October 29, 1903). During the outset of the controversy, Kellogg acknowledged that he had a new model of thought that went beyond just the expression of his words. Daniells was not deceived by Kelloggs attempt to change the manner of expressing his thoughts. He wrote: I felt fully satisfied that he had not changed his views in any essential particular (Ibid.).
What a lesson for us! Theories concerning the Godhead, as well as other truths, are sometimes presented to the people as living water, but these theories are from seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, out of broken cisterns. Many times these theories are introduced as new light. When resistance comes, however, the voices proclaim the theories to be old truth in new settings that even Ellen White, Jones, and Waggoner presented. We must each be Bereans (Acts 17:11) and study for ourselves the Word of Truth.
The statement from Series B about the three living persons in the heavenly trio is one of the chief proof texts used to prove the trinity doctrine; however, a study of Sister Whites writings reveals that she did not use the terms being and person interchangeably as some do today. She stated that Christ was the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34). This passage denotes only two beings. If the Holy Spirit is a being in the same sense as Christ is, then why has the Holy Spirit not been able to enter into all the counsels and purposes of God?
In Special Testimonies, Series B, Sister White uses the term personality in a way that could not be interchanged with person. Concerning God and Christ, she wrote:
The Son is all the fulness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be the express image of His person. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Here is shown the personality of the Father (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 63).
Our thinking is further expanded with the following statement:
Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent (Manuscript 5a, 1895; Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, pp. 23, 24).
Some believe that Ellen White has taught that the Holy Spirit is a separate being other than and apart from the Father and his Son. If this were true, however, it would make no sense to say, as Ellen White does, that the Holy Spirit was divested of the personality of humanity. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the word divest means to strip, to dispossess, to free of; to rid. If the Holy Spirit is a being as the Father and Son are, it is certain that he never was a human. It would, therefore, be impossible for him to strip or rid himself of humanity.
It should also be noted that Ellen White mentions only the Father and the Son as being involved in creation:
After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, Let us make man in our image (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 24, 25).
The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter (John 16:7) and our heavenly Father is acknowledged as the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He gives this comfort through his Son . . . who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4 NKJ). A person may sympathize but he cannot empathize with another unless he has had a similar experience. A comforter can give comfort because he has suffered the same trials and struggles as the one he seeks to comfort. This is why Paul stated that it was imperative for Christ to accept the fallen nature of man so that he could properly comfort him. This concept makes the following Spirit of Prophecy statements shine with increased clarity:
The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Christ has all power in heaven and in earth, and he can strengthen the wavering, and set right the erring. He can inspire with confidence, with hope in God; and confidence in God always results in creating confidence in one another (The Review and Herald, August 26, 1890).
What saith our Saviour? I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. When trials overshadow the soul, remember the words of Christ, remember that He is an unseen presence in the person of the Holy Spirit, and He will be the peace and comfort given you, manifesting to you that He is with you, the Sun of Righteousness, chasing away your darkness. If a man love me, Christ said, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. Be of good cheer; light will come, and your soul will rejoice greatly in the Lord (Letter 124, 1897; Daughters of God, p. 185).
In a letter dated January 24, 1935, Elder H. W. Carr wrote to Willie C. White requesting that Willie give his understanding of his mothers position in reference to the personality of the Holy Spirit. Elder White responded, in part:
This I cannot do because I never clearly understood her teachings on the matter. There always was in my mind some perplexity regarding the meaning of her utterances which to my superficial manner of thinking seemed to be somewhat confusing. . . .
My perplexities were lessened a little when I learned from the dictionary that one of the meanings of personality, was characteristics. It is stated in such a way that I concluded that there might be personality without bodily form which is possessed by the Father and the Son (Letter of W. C. White to H. W. Carr, April 30, 1935).
The Published Ellen G. White Writings, ver. 3.0 (CD-ROM) show nine different statements published in eighteen different places for the word personalities. Three of these statements refer to the Godhead. All three of these statements include only God and Christ. They are:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us. These words present God and Christ as two distinct personalities (Notebook Leaflets, p. 124).
On Sabbath, April 27, many of our brethren and sisters from neighboring churches gathered in the parlors with the sanitarium family, and I spoke to them there. I read the first chapter of Hebrews as the basis of my discourse. This chapter clearly indicates the individual personalities of the Father and the Son (The Review and Herald, August 1, 1907).
In this Scripture [John 1:1-4, 14-16; 3:34-36] God and Christ are spoken of as two distinct personalities, each acting in their own individuality (Manuscript Release, no. 760, p. 18).
In addition to these statements, Sister White referred to the Holy Spirit as it, something she never did in reference to God or Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, in Christs name. He personifies Christ, yet is a distinct personality. We may have the Holy Spirit if we ask for it and make it [a] habit to turn to and trust in God rather than in any finite human agent who may make mistakes (Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, p. 324).
Since her death, there have been statements of Ellen White that have been altered through editing. This editing has produced a different meaning than that which was originally written by the prophet. The following is from a letter written to Elder S. N. Haskell, dated May 30, 1896. This reference from the 1888 Materials has been directly altered by removing the term it for the Spirit and replacing it with Him and He.
The statement as originally written reads:
The Spirit is freely given us of God if we will appreciate and accept it And what is it? The representative of Jesus Christ. It is to be our constant helper. It is through the Spirit that Christ fulfills the promise, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (The bell is sounding for morning worship, I must stop here). (The 1888 Materials, p. 1538).
Now let us look at the edited version:
The Spirit is freely given us of God if we will appreciate and accept Him. And what is He?the representative of Jesus Christ. He is to be our constant helper. It is through the Spirit that Christ fulfills the promise, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47). (The bell is sounding for morning worship. I must stop here.) (Letter 38, 1896, pp. 1-4; Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, p. 35; Letter to S. N. Haskell, May 30, 1896).
The original letter to Haskell has at least fourteen references to the Spirit as it. Here are some more:
The church members need to know from experience what the Holy Spirit will do for them. It will bless the receiver, and make him a blessing We are to pray for the impartation of the Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls Let us pray that when it shall be graciously bestowed, our cold hearts may be revived, and we may have discernment to understand that it is from God, and receive it with joy. Some have treated the Spirit as an unwelcome guest, refusing to receive the rich gift, refusing to acknowledge it, turning from it, and condemning it as fanaticism. When the Holy Spirit works the human agent, it does not ask us in what way it shall operate. Often it moves in unexpected ways (Ibid., p. 1540).
No excuse or valid reason can be given for altering the work of Sister White in such a manner. If we are going to publish a paraphrase, then we should state it to be such. There is no precedent in the Scriptures for such a direct change.
Another example of the changing of pronouns can be found in comparing the following statement first published in The Signs of the Times, September 27, 1899, and then republished in Ye Shall Receive Power in 1995. First the original statement from The Signs of the Times:
The Lord would have every one of His children rich in faith, and this faith is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind. It dwells with each soul who will receive it, speaking to the impenitent in words of warning, and pointing them to Jesus, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. It causes light to shine into the minds of those who are seeking to co-operate with God, giving them efficiency and wisdom to do His work (The Signs of the Times, September 27, 1899).
Now as it was republished in Ye Shall Receive Power:
The Lord would have every one of His children rich in faith, and this faith is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind. He dwells with each soul who will receive Him, speaking to the impenitent in words of warning, and pointing them to Jesus, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He causes light to shine into the minds of those who are seeking to cooperate with God, giving them efficiency and wisdom to do His work (Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 59).
Three holiest Beings: There is one statement of Ellen White in connection to the terms persons and beings that we should consider. It is the only time that we have a record of Sister White supposedly using the term three Beings. We find it in Sermons and Talks, volume 1, page 367:
You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of the three holiest Beings in heaven, who are able to keep you from falling.
The White Estate tells us that this statement comes from an edited stenographers report of a sermon preached by Ellen White at the Congregational Church of Oakland, California, on Sabbath afternoon, October 20, 1906. It is reprinted in Manuscript Releases, volume 7, page 267.
There are some important points we wish to make for consideration. Firstly, this statement must be considered in the light of the weight of evidence. As we have seen earlier, Ellen White consistently spoke of only two divine beings. Secondly, this is from a stenographers report that was edited seventy-seven years after she first delivered the address without Ellen White having had a chance to edit or correct words or phrases that might not have exactly represented her thoughts. Thirdly, anyone who has ever done public speaking knows that it is easy to misspeak a word or phrase that could have been said more clearly in another way. Fourthly, Ellen White wrote:
And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 696).
Of course, anything that gets into print is published; however, Ellen White was advising seekers of truth to read that which had passed through the proper channels which gave her the opportunity to verify that which was to be published to be in agreement with what the Lord had shown her. To be continued
Youths CornerA Story from Alaska
The story I would like to share with you takes place in Alaska in the group of islands along the coast of British Columbia. There are two particular groups of Alaskan natives that lived there one hundred twenty-five years ago, and there are still reservations on these islands for these Alaskans. You are probably familiar with the Eskimo Indians, but our story this month is about two different Indian groups who lived in this sweep of islands 600 miles north of Seattle, Washington, and 300 to 500 miles south of Juneau, the capitol of Alaskathe Chilkat Indians and the Metlakahtla Indians.
The Metlakahtla Indians lived in the southern area of these islands, and a missionary came to share Jesus with the Indians in the late 1800s. The natives learned about the love of God, and they changed their ways. They built different houses to live in that were more healthy and warm, and they cleaned up the streets of their little village, but they did not have a Bible in their language. So they had to remember what the missionary said when he talked to them about Jesus and about our heavenly Father, and what they remembered they shared with the other native Alaskan Indians up and down the northwest coast. The men of the Metlakahtla tribe were fishermen and trappers, and in their boats they went to other tribes to trade and barter their furs and fish. While they traded, they shared in their simple, figurative language how Jesus had changed their lives. Finally, some of these trappers made their way to the top of the islands in the north where the Chilkat Indians lived and they shared God with them too.
The Metlakahtla Indians eventually came back to their village on Annette Island, but when the chief of the Chilkat Indians heard what the Metlakahtla trappers and traders were saying about Jesus, he decided to come down to Annette Island for himself and see their missionary. He wanted to find out if what was said was true. So, he dressed up in his best clothes. He put his headdress on. He put his helmet on with the Chilkat crest. He put his leggings, his apron, and his special footwear on; and then he wrapped a finely woven blanket around him. He appeared very magnificently, and he brought other finely-dressed men with him. They sat tall in their canoes and paddled their way down to Annette Island. The Metlakahtla Indians could see them coming in the distance and ran to get the missionary, Pastor Duncan, who was hammering nails on a building. The men on Annette Island urged him to change out of his work clothes and put on his best suit, for the Chilkat chief was on his way. As Chilkat canoes slipped up onto the coast of Annette Island, the Metlakahtla Indians came out to greet them. The chief said, We have come to learn about Jesus from your missionary and to learn what he has been teaching you. We want to meet him. Pastor Duncan decided not to change his clothes because he had been trying to teach the Metlakahtla Indians to live humbly, to dress modestly, and to not put on a big display. So, he thought, I am not changing my clothes! In his work clothes, he went out to meet the Chilkat Indian Chief as he walked up the beach dressed in his very best finery, saying in a commanding voice, I want to meet the missionary! The Metlakahtla Indians said, He is right here, and they raised their arms toward Pastor Duncan. But the Indian Chief looked right over him and said, I do not see him because Pastor Duncan was not dressed in fine clothes and he was a rather short man anyway. The Chilkat Indians said, Where is he? We cannot see him. Pastor Duncan came up to them and said, I am the missionary. Would you like to come to my house?
They looked at him in astonishment and did not say much other than a short greeting, but they followed him to the pastors house where Pastor Duncan gave them the seats of honor as you would to any visitor. He started to speak to them. These visiting Indians from the Chilkat tribe from the north thought at first that someone was trying to fool them, that this could not be the missionary who had changed the lives of all the people in the village. They looked at him and nodded their heads and listened to him, but finally the Chief spoke up! There must be a mistake! We are looking for the great one who has changed the lives of these people, for the one who when he looks at a person looks right through him, for the one who is a giant with much magic! This is the one we want to meet! And Pastor Duncan said, You do not understand. What has changed the lives of these people is this book that I have. Written in this book is what has changed the people. So, Pastor Duncan brought the Bible out to the Chief and his counselors, and they said quietly, This is the book? Pastor Duncan said, Yes. Then they each took just one finger and touched the Bible in reverence while saying, Ahm; ahm, which meant in their language, This is good; this is good.
When the Chief spoke with Pastor Duncan, he said the Metlakahtla Indians were famous for going up and down the group of islands causing warfare but now it was like eagles down, and that meant in their language that everything was now peaceful and good. The Chilkat chief wanted to know more about this change so he could go back to his people and teach them. So the Chilkats stayed in the Metlakahtla village a few days, during which time Pastor Duncan took them around the village and showed them the changes that had been made, but all the time he pointed them to the God of heaven who had first changed the hearts of the people. Then the people changed how they lived and how they treated one another.
After a few days, the Chief of the Chilkat Indians went back to his village with new thoughts in his mind. This reminds me about when the Queen of Sheba came to King Solomon and wanted to know about his God, and it also reminds me of other visitors who have come to kings. King Solomon answered all of the Queen of Shebas hard questions, but when the Babylonian prince came to King Hezekiah, King Hezekiah showed him all of his own treasure and all of his own goods, and we are not aware of King Hezekiah directing the hearts and minds of the Babylonian visitors to the God of heaven who had caused the sundial to change position.
We want to remember that whomever we are talking with or whatever we are doing, we always want to point our friends and acquaintances to the God of heaven. He is the one who can change us into better people and not the things that we possess or how we live or how we dress. The Alaskan Indian Chief came to the village dressed in his most magnificent clothes, but this is not what is good and righteous about us. It is the God of heaven living in our hearts and minds that is good and righteous, and this is what changes us from fierce, evil warriors into the downy feathers of eagles! Onycha Holt
Commentary on the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for Fourth Quarter
The October December 2008 issue of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide is entitled Atonement and the Cross of Christ. After carefully studying through the lessons, we believe that there are many serious issues that need to be addressed; therefore, we will be publishing three booklets with extra study material to help those using the Study Guide in their quest for truth and to help them intelligently discuss the lessons from an informed perspective in their local Sabbath Schools. The first of such booklets accompanies this issue of Old Paths.
We have printed extra booklets for those who wish to share copies with their classmates or teachers. The suggested donation is $0.50 each, plus postage, but if you need copies and funds are an issue, let us know and we will share while supplies last.
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 -
Assistant Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013