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. 18, No.2/3 Straight and Narrow February/March 2009
Faithful Sowing or Grim Reaping
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:7-10).
God is a God of law and order. His universe operates in order. This order is not run in a stern manner that rules capriciously or by fiat but out of the virtue of love.
Think of the physical realm in which we exist. I have been able to visit the Grand Canyon in the western United States. It is a magnificent thing to behold. It is has some very steep places where you can be looking from the edge of the canyon and if you take one step further you will plummet hundreds to thousands of feet before finding ground again. If you step off the edge of the cliff you are going to fall because of the law of gravity. It does not matter who is stepping off the edge of the cliff, all will fall at the same rate because of the law of gravity. Of course, we can be thankful for gravity, for it is what keeps us all from floating away!
Part of Newtons first law of motion states that an object in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. This is why people are often injured in automobile accidents. If the car is traveling 50 mph then so is the person and each object inside. If the car is suddenly stopped in a collision, then the driver continues to move and will hit the dash or steering column at 50 mph unless a safety device of some kind slows that impact or restrains the person. It does not matter who is driving the car, the same law of motion will be in effect for whomever is driving. Of course this same law allows cars to be more efficient when driving down hill or coasting, and there are a multitude of positive applications as well.
Dogs have puppies and not kittens due to the laws of genetics that God has instituted.
There are eight laws of health and we may keep these laws to our good or break these laws to our detriment. Smoking tobacco products will decrease ones ability to breathe, make one more likely to have cancer, emphysema, or many other problems. Obeying the laws of health will promote better welfare.
But there are also spiritual laws that God has ordained and we either obey these laws to blessings or disobey them to our own hurt. We have been told that:
For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways (Job 34:11).
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile (Romans 2:6-10).
God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 376).
God has ordained laws of sowing and reaping and understanding these laws should help to encourage us to be careful of what we sow and how we sow. Failure to understand these laws is a major reason why so many men have sown the wind, and shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).
The Type of Seed
Lets now begin to examine some of the laws of sowing and reaping. The first law I would like to discuss involves the type of seed that we sow because the type of seed we sow determines the type of harvest that we shall reap. Writing to the churches in Galatia Paul noted:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Galatians 6:7, 8).
If we sow physical or non-spiritual seed then we shall reap largely non-spiritual harvests. This may not seem so terrible to us if we presently enjoy physical “playthings” and have few spiritual needs but, when we suffer trials, illness or old age, we require spiritual “things” to satisfy us. If we have sowed non-spiritual seed we will sadly discover that we are found wanting. It is not possible to reap spiritual things that we have not sown. As we will note in more detail later, this sowing of good seed, we dare not delay. Today is the day we should be sowing spiritual seed that will reap a spiritual harvest which will help us when we suffer trials, illness, or old age.
The Quantity of Seed
The quantity of seed sown is also important. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6).”
This spiritual law explains to us why we, who sow so much more physical seed, end up with grossly disproportionate physical/spiritual harvests to our eternal regret. We are like farmers who sow too much of the wrong crops. Do you put time into your spiritual experience? Do you take the time to study and pray and spend time with God and in his Word. A person does not learn to know God and the Bible well by accident! They have been sowing. While all fields of Bible study are fruitful we have been told:
It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross (Desire of Ages, p. 83).
The Best Time to Sow
We cannot choose to sow at any time that we desire and expect to reap the best results. We have been told that, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (Ecclesiastics 3:1, 2).” In the physical world, the best time to sow is usually in the Spring. This would spiritually correspond to our youth time. The servant of the Lord has noted:
Youth is the time to acquire knowledge for daily practice through life; a right character may then be easily formed. It is the time to establish good habits, to gain and to hold the power of self-control. Youth is the sowing time, and the seed sown determines the harvest, both for this life and the life to come (Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, pp. 45, 46).
But if we have missed sowing in our youth, let us sow as soon as we have seed. Sowing at the wrong time generally brings forth a poor harvest and the most bountiful sowing at the proper time is likely to produce the most liberal harvest.
The Quality of the Seed
Equally important as sowing the right kind of seed in the right amount and at the right time is sowing the right quality of seed. God will not be mocked. God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). Hosea speaks of Israel and says that they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). What serious words we should consider! What we sow is so important for the type of harvest may not be what we wish. Do we want discord or strife among the brothers? It will come when bad seed is sown. Speaking of the naughty person, the Psalmist says: Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy (Proverbs 6:14, 15). Then speaking of the things that the Lord hates Solomon says, he that soweth discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19). A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends (Proverbs 16:28).”
However, instead of sowing bad seed, if we sow good seed, then good things will happen, God has promised: “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward (Proverbs 11:18).” Hosea 10:12 tells us that if we sow righteousness we shall reap mercy.
In the physical world there is always a time period between sowing and reaping and we must “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).” Generally, the better the type of harvest, the longer this tarrying time. Applying this general principle, we would expect the waiting time for spiritual harvests to be longer than for physical harvests –– oftentimes the final and full harvest will not be until Jesus comes.
We are granted a period of probation upon this earth and it is a sobering thought to think that what we do with the talents entrusted now affect our eternal life. The character formed now, in a short span of time, will have effects that result not only for our salvation, but our quality of eternal life as well. Ellen White, writing about marriage noted:
Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world, and in the world to come (Review and Herald, September 25, 1888).
It is from the marriage hour that many men and women date their success or failure in this life, and their hopes of the future life (Ibid., February 2, 1886).
Here we see a principle in these statements that is solemn to think upon. The things we do here have eternal results.
[Jesus] taught all to look upon themselves as endowed with precious talents, which if rightly employed would secure for them eternal riches. He weeded all vanity from life, and by His own example taught that every moment of time is fraught with eternal results; that it is to be cherished as a treasure, and to be employed for holy purposes (Desire of Ages, p. 91).
Exceptions to the Rules
Sometimes there are elements working behind the scenes that we do not always see on the surface. Think of the case of Job. God called Job “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil (Job 1:1).” God himself declared this to be so (v. 8). The character of Job is detailed especially in chapter 29, where Job states:
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth (Job 29:11-17).
In this oldest of Bible books, Job was suffering greatly due the affliction put upon him by Satan. Eliphaz, one of Job’s “friends” who did not understand what was happening said: “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same (Job 4:7, 8).” This seems to agree with what the Apostle Paul taught. But Job was not wicked and neither was Abel the first man to die. Jesus called Abel “righteous (Matthew 23:35)” and John declared that Abel’s works were “righteous (1 John 3:12).”
There is an important principle to remember and that is, God works on both a temporal and an eternal level. The Sowing and Reaping rules always work on the eternal level. You might ask, “What about death bed confessions, can there be one?” The answer is a clear “yes”, according to the teachings of the gospel and the example of the thief on the cross. It is not long years of service that earn salvation but it is rather a free gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:4-9).
But we must remember that what we do now, though temporal in nature, it will prepare us for the potential of what we shall be able to receive from God as eternity unfolds.
On the temporal level the rules are adjusted because God is merciful and does not deal with us severely as our sins deserve; for he wants us saved. He says, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:8-10).” However, there is a terrible risk in God doing this, for if we fail to accept his mercy we create a larger debt of sin to be accountable for in the judgment.
God also adjusts the principles of sowing and reaping allowing his saints to suffer for his cause so that their character may be developed and his name glorified. Joseph was allowed to be a slave and prisoner so that a nation might be saved. Jesus was allowed to suffer and die so a world might be saved and a universe made secure. The 144,000 will learn to trust God and he will be able to trust them even with the honor of his name.
As with most things in this imperfect earth, the laws of sowing and reaping are not perfectly implemented here. God allows many exceptions to test whether we would believe God’s promise that at the end of all things “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).”
Let us carefully examine our lives to see if we are over-sowing “seeds of materialism” which will result in an over-harvest of material things? We must be careful what we sow in our physical bodies. Are we sowing seeds of ill health with cigarettes, alcohol, overeating, lack of exercise? Are we sowing “seeds of neglect” with our parents so that we will eventually reap “harvests of neglect” from our children? Are we sowing “seeds of rudeness” to our parents only to reap the same from our children or others?
The story is told of an aged father living with his son and family. The man, due to his old age, had a bad shake, causing him to spill his food a lot and to drop bowls, breaking them. The son became so upset that he made his father sit at a table away from the rest of the family to confine his mess to himself. Furthermore, he gave him a wooden bowl so when he dropped the bowl it would not break. Shortly after this the son saw his father carving a piece of wood and asked him what he was doing. The man replied, “I am making a bowl so that when you get old we will have one ready for you.” This shocked the father and he made sure that his father was sitting at the table with the rest of the family at the next meal with a bowl like the others.
Are you sowing adequate spiritual seeds to see you through your times of trials, illnesses and old age? Are you looking forward to a great harvest in eternity? Are you sowing in spring time?
Are you reading the Bible, to reap the harvests of Gods promises and guidance found in it? Are you faithfully putting to the test the promise in the Bible, so that you will be unshaken in times of trials? Are you sowing seeds of prayer to gather a bountiful harvest of answers in due time? Are you giving to the needy and reaping Gods bounty? Do you realize that at the end of the world, all things are received according to the laws of sowing and reaping the notable exception is our eternal salvation which is Gods free gift! Psalm 126:5, 6 says, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Allen Stump
Quiz on Genesis 41-44
1. Genesis 41:8 records that Pharaoh was troubled after his dreams. Where else in the Bible do we find a monarch troubled after a dream?
2. What did the seven fat cows and full ears represent?
3. Why were there two dreams that were so similar in nature?
4. What did Joseph instruct Pharaoh to do after he interpreted the dreams?
5. What were the names of the sons of Joseph’s and the meaning of those names?
6. When Joseph’s brothers first came to buy grain in Egypt, what did Joseph accuse them off?
7. Why was Simeon put into prisons instead of one of the others?
8. When the sons of Jacob first found their money, what did they think had happened?
9. When the brothers returned home after the first trip to Egypt, what was God’s reaction to this event?
10. At first Jacob did not desire Benjamin to leave. Why?
Answers to quiz on Genesis 37-40
1. Joseph told his father of the evil of Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
2. Joseph’s brother hated him for the preferred treatment that he received at his father’s hand.
3. Joseph’s brothers understand the meaning of the two dreams he related to them.
4. Joseph’s brothers watching sheep at Dothan when he found them.
5. The brother’s first plan against Joseph was to cast him into a pit and say a beast devoured him.
6. Reuben tried to plan an escape for Joseph.
7. Genesis 37:24, 25 teaches that the brothers were camped at a water source and were very hardened to be able to eat and drink and not even give Joseph any water.
8. Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver.
9. The Lord slew Er, Judah’s firstborn son because he was wicked.
10. Judah promised to Tamar seed by Shelah.
11. Tamar put off her widows garments, covered herself with a vail and wrapped herself and sat in an open place to make Judah believe her to be a harlot.
12. At first, Judah condemned Tamar to be burnt when he found out she had played the harlot.
13. Pharez was born second?
14. Four times in Genesis 39:2, 3, 21, 23 we read that the Lord was with Joseph.
15. The only thing that Potiphar withhold from Joseph was Mrs. Potiphar.
16 Potiphar did not have Joseph killed because he knew he was innocent.
17. The butler and the baker were two of Pharaoh’s servants cast into the jail.
Teleconference Seminar on Marriage, Courtship, and Families
(David Sims asked us to make the following announcement prepared by Rhonda Brown ... Editor)
We would like anyone who might be interested to join us for a series entitled “Jesus and You and Me.” The focus of these classes will be on having a Godly courtship, marriage and family. We will primarily be using the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy as our text. We feel the need in our own families, and hope that as we study together we can be drawn closer to God’s ideal for our homes.
This series will be presented Sabbath evenings starting March 7th at 8:00 pm EST as a teleconference presentation. To join the conference you will dial 218 936-7999 and the access code is 755896. For information and handouts for the class, please visit our website at 7thdayhomechurchfellowships.com, or call Todd or Rhonda Brown at 706 675-6500.
President Obama and
Being Ready for the Future
January 20, 2009 was a historical day in the history of the United States and the world. Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States and the first black man to enter into the highest office of a nation that once enslaved the Negro.
But will President Obama really bring the change necessary to alter the downward economical, political, and social spiral of America? In a time when millions are losing their jobs it certainly is a time for leadership. By its very definition, a leader is one who leads. When Theodore Roosevelt led the charge up Kettle Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War he did not say “forward,” but “follow me!” Despite all the rhetoric, that kind of leadership, a leadership that is willingly in touch with the common people on their level, appears to be missing in Obama.
In this difficult time of economic strife, we believe it would have been a wise show of leadership to have forgone an inaugural ball and parade, not simply to save money, though millions of dollars were spent, but to send a real message to the people out of work and the people who have fallen on hard times that business as usual in Washington D. C. was truly over. Such a move would not have been without precedence.
President Woodrow Wilson called for the cancellation of his ball because he felt the event was too expensive and unnecessary. In 1921, President Warren G. Harding did away with both his inaugural ball and parade for similar reasons. President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to work through the night instead of attending his first inaugural ball in 1933 and he cancelled the next three celebrations because of the Depression and World War II (http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/sunday_life/History_of_America_s_inaugural_balls_78771.shtml).
The President and the First Lady attended ten different inaugural balls. Tickets for one were priced at $5,000. Quite a hike, even adjusting for inflation from the $4 tickets needed to attend the first “official” inaugural ball for the 1809 swearing-in of President James Madison.
The first day after taking the oath, President Obama announced what he called a new era of openness, where transparency would rule the day in his administration. Specifically, he noted that:
The executive order on ethics I will sign shortly represents a clean break from business as usual. As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any other administration in history. If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years. When you leave government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I am president (Remarks by the president in welcoming senior staff and cabinet secretaries to the White House, January 21, 2009).
However, within two days President Obama was asking for a waiver, an exception to his own rule when he wanted to name William Lynn, a former lobbyist for the big defense contractor Raytheon to be––yes, that is right– deputy defense secretary! So is there really change here? Is it any wonder that the American people are so cynical?
But as Christians, the affairs of the nations are not our concern except as they affect the work and people of God. The Apostle Paul stated:
For our conversation [Greek: politeuma (polivteuma) citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
If our politics/citizenship are in heaven and we are ambassadors of the king who said his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), then the affairs of the world are not our interest except as they affect the affairs of Christ’s kingdom and the subjects of his kingdom.
We note these matters because some believe that the new President will bring sweeping changes to our land and indeed he just may do that. Do not look for justice and harmony though, but rather for strife and even war. As we near the final events foretold by John in the Revelation, we know that the last movements will be rapid and will cause the whole world to be in a state of chaos. Just before going to press, the government of Iceland collapsed due to the failing economy and some believe that England and others are close behind. If the United States were to collapse also, the whole world would quickly be in the worst confusion and trauma that it has ever seen. Is that possible? Could it happen quickly? Only two weeks before the economic meltdown in September of last years many were praising the economy as strong and robust. Yet in a matter of a few days, the country was reeling as millions of Americans had lost all their savings and some their homes as well as jobs!
In July of last year, we had heard that something was soon to happen that would affect the United States and disrupt the lives of Americans as never before. Perhaps this was prophetic. From the same source, we have heard that something may happen in February 2009 that will be much more severe than the market crash of September. We had also heard that the Papacy was trying to bring events to a point in early November just before the election, so that things would happen in American such as have never happened before to change Americas way of life forever. While the economy has continued into troublous times we might not yet be able to pinpoint such an event around this time unless it was the economic stimulus plan that has sent our country closer to the precipice of bankruptcy. (This is being followed by Obama’s own plan that in which he is asking for another 820 billion dollars. That is almost three thousand dollars for every person in the country!) Perhaps something has happened that is below the radar of the news media or perhaps nothing is going to happen or has happened yet. Again, time will tell if this month brings revolutionary change as some have predicted. Perhaps it may come quietly and softly only to quickly accelerate to great speed.
But I wish to ask an important question? If you were to know for a certainty that great change is imminent, what would you do differently than you currently plan to do? Should we not now currently live to follow the counsel of Jesus to be ye also ready (Matthew 24:44). Jesus did not say get ready or wait to get ready, but be ready. If we have not moved into the country by now, we may never have the chance. If the cities close up, getting to the country may be difficult or impossible. However, God can watch over his own and provide for their needs no matter where they are. But more important than having a country home and a garden is the spiritual readiness that is needed by each person. What if we have not been making the spiritual preparation necessary? In the parable of the ten virgins, the foolish virgins did not make the necessary preparation ahead of time and they were cast out. We have been warned:
If any neglect to obtain the necessary preparation, they will be swept away by errors that have the appearance of truth (Gospel Workers, p. 228, 1892 edition).
Oh, what love, what wondrous love has been manifested for us by the Beloved of the Father! Oh, do not, any of you, neglect the preparation necessary and finally be weighed in the balances and found wanting (Manuscript Releases, vol 21, p. 366)!
Perhaps this is not much comfort to you if you feel you have preparations yet to make. We are not trying to discourage you. God is merciful and will help you yet, if you set your heart toward him.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him(Psalm 103:8-11).
But we must also realize that we do not have time to procrastinate any longer. Are we where we should be as a people, do we feel grieved over the lack of spirituality that there is among God’s people? Over 130 years ago, Ellen White wrote the following solemn words which, applied in the context of today’s times, should cause us to shudder.
Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of Gods sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 267).”
The probation of all humanity is soon to close. Will President Obama be the president who plays the deciding role in the United States? For the last three decades since I have been an Adventist, just before each election, I have heard that marshal law would be proclaimed by the current sitting president or that the new president would proclaim marshal law soon after taking office. Those prognostications have all failed. However, we do know that things must happen very soon and we believe that the time is ripe, the worlds cup is almost full. We must be ready and I urge you to not delay in leaving the Sodoms and Gomorrahs of today. God, in his mercy, may allow you a little more time but it cannot be much longer. Take time to know God and his Word. Make it a part of your life and then live by it. Jesus emphasized the importance of this when he said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3).” Remember the foolish virgins who did not make the spiritual preparation?
The foolish virgins do not represent those who are hypocritical. They had a regard for truth, they advocated the truth, they were intending to go forth to meet the bridegroom. They are attached to those who believe the truth, and go with them, having lamps, which represent a knowledge of the truth. When there was a revival in the church, their feelings were stirred; but they failed to have oil in their vessels, because they did not bring the principles of godliness into their daily life and character. They did not fall upon the rock Christ Jesus, and permit their old nature to be broken up (Review and Herald, September 17, 1895).
May we trust in Jesus and him crucified and trust in his unfailing love and mercy. May self die and Christ rule. May we each have the oil in our lamps that is necessary to enter into the wedding with Christ.
Evolution, a Long-Lived,
but Dying Species
By Allen Stump
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwins book The Origin of Species. It is also the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, who, interestingly, shared his birthday with Abraham Lincoln.
Both the National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines’ cover stories for their February 2009 issues are on Darwin and his theory of evolution. Interestingly, both magazines stories on Darwin carry the same title, “What Darwin Didn’t Know.” Both magazines seek to present so-called new discoveries about evolution that Darwin did not know.
It is true that science has much more data today than 150 years ago. Sadly, however, the interpretation of that data is not much better today than in Darwin’s day. For example, Darwin did not even begin to understand the complexity of a single cell. His theory that non-organic matter could, through the right physical changes, become organic are statically so impossible that it should make all who believe in evolution think twice.
Did you know that it takes hundreds of proteins and amino acids to have a living cell? The odds of this many proteins and amino acids all being in place and somehow activated has been calculated to be an astronomical number so high that it is beyond reason to believe.
Have you ever heard of the bombardier beetle?
This amazing insect has two sacs, one of which contains hydrogen peroxide, and the other contains hydroquinone. The beetle also has a third compartment into which these two substances are injecting when the beetle feels threatened. A third liquid, an enzyme, is then injected into this chamber and acts as a catalyst to cause this noxious fluid to heat up to near boiling and to shoot it out of an outlet duct with amazing accuracy at the offending animal. The hot chemical soup is shot through a sphincter controlled firing mechanism that is in itself quite amazing.
Not only is this a beautiful example of irreducible complexity, but it makes evolutionary theory seem even wackier than ever. Evolutionary theorist and intellectual lightweight Richard Dawkins has tried to say that this was simply nature making use of materials that it had around. Not only does this preposterous argument require that nature must have had forethought and design, but it fails to explain why these substances would be lying around in the beetle in the first place if they were not intended to be used as parts of a defense mechanism. Even in the ridiculously unlikely event that the beetle would evolve two chambers to contain otherwise useless liquids, it is even more absurd to propose that a third chamber for the catalyst, and a fourth chamber for the three to combine, would come into existence along with a highly sophisticated system of sphincters for a shooting mechanism all at the same time (http://drdino.com/articles.php?spec=92).
Evolution cannot explain such a creature as the bombardier beetle. Nor can evolution explain how a giraffe could evolve with a heart strong enough to produce the pressure needed to pump blood to the top of its head and its brain not explode from pressure when the giraffe bends down to drink water.
Evolution has no answer to Robert Gentrys work with polonium halos which give evidence for an instant creation of the earth. Gentry has shown that granite could never have been in a molten condition as evolution teaches because polonium pleochroic halos survive only in solid rock and the half-life of polonium is too short to survive a long cooling time such as evolution demands. Gentrys results declare that the earth was created instantaneously, just as the Bible teaches. Gentry has documented his evidence in his book Creations Tiny Mystery. There are many other paradoxes that evolution cannot explain, and they have been documented on may creation science websites.
National Geographic states:
What Darwin provided in The Origin of Species was a power theory for how evolution could occur through purely natural forces, liberating scientists to explore the glorious complexity of life, rather than merely accept it as an impenetrable mystery. Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution, the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote 36 years ago (National Geographic, February 2009).
The truth is that biology only really makes sense when one studies it with the facts and not simply interpretations of so-called facts, but the real issue at stake is not science, it is religion! Smithsonian magazine’s article on Darwin noted:
How right he was that man is the modified descendant of some pre-existing formand that an awful lot of people would prefer to believe otherwise. They shared Disraelis discomfort at being descended from apes and complained that evolution pushed a divine creator to the side (Smithsonian, February, 2009, p. 48)
The issue comes down to pushing “a divine creator to the side.” Now, as Christians, we should know who would be interested in doing this–Satan himself. Roger Morneau, a Seventh-day Adventist Christian who studied much on the science of prayer, testified that a spiritualist informed him that Satan himself inspired Darwin, his theories, and writings. The task was too important to entrust to any of his followers.
What is to be gained by Satan inspiring evolution? Simply everything! At its heart, evolution does away with God and the authority of God’s Word. The concept that long periods of evolution and creation existed cannot be supported by the Bible. Some Christians try to accept such a view, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses do, but the Bible plainly states that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is (Exodus 20:11).” Some try to say that there is a God who created all things over a vast period of time and that the “days” of creation represent long periods of time, but this theory destroys the validity of God’s word. If I cannot trust the part of the Bible that teaches creation being instantaneous, maybe I cannot believe the part that says that Jesus forgives me of my sins when I pray. Perhaps there are long periods of purgatory that have to be experienced!
But the fourth commandment says more than simply that God is our Creator. It also tells us to rest and keep God’s Sabbath as a memorial of his creation. The Sabbath is the one commandment that speaks to man of his creator. His seal is in the Sabbath Commandment. A king’s seal usually contains three elements: his name, his title, and his territory. In the fourth commandment we have the name of God–the LORD (Jehovah or Yahwah), his title – Creator, and his territory – the heavens and earth, and because redemption is a creation process Satan will do all in his power to stop the plan of salvation. He will take man’s mind off of God and allow him to dwell on anything that will keep man in his camp and away from God.
The Sabbath was to be a safeguard to man to keep him ever mindful of his Creator and his obligation to obey and serve him. Without God there cannot be any true standard for morality and here we find the reason for Satan’s desire to rid God from the mind of man. If there is no God, there is no morality, and people who are born with sinful natures with a bent to sin will do nothing but live in sin without God or a Saviour!
The Sabbath, as a memorial of Gods creative power, points to Him as the maker of the heavens and the earth. Hence it is a constant witness to His existence and a reminder of His greatness, His wisdom, and His love. Had the Sabbath always been sacredly observed, there could never have been an atheist or an idolater (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 336).
Without God there cannot be any standard for morality, and it is said that nature teaches us what morality is. According to standard evolution, however, we are a part of nature, and this being the case, how can we judge which ideas of right and wrong are correct? One mans ideals might be another mans vices in such a system, but, thankfully, we have the unerring standard of God and his word to guide us. The Sabbath is one of Gods instruments to safeguard us against the attacks of Satan. How preciously we should appreciate this wonderful gift of heaven. One hundred fifty years have passed since the publishing of The Origin of Species. Though the world today is surer of this book’s correctness, real science still and will always demonstrate that God is the Father, the origin of all things.
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Despite its popularity, common evolution is a dying species whose days are numbered. Its foolishness will one day be seen by all, and those who have rejected the God of creation will be sorry but it will be too late.
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).
The Very Good Meatballs
1 package tofu
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chicken seasoning
1 tablespoon dry soy sauce
3/4 cup pecan meal
1 cellophane stack of whole wheat saltines, crushed
Whiz tofu, quartered onion, and seasonings in blender until smooth. Pour into a bowl and add pecan meal and cracker crumbs. Form into small balls and bake at 350 degrees F on greased cookie sheet until browned (about 30 minutes). Cool and refrigerate 24-48 hours. Then cover with sauce and warm in oven.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch into ¼ cup (or more) water.
Place 1/2 cup apricot preserves in a sauce pan and stir into the jam the above cornstarch mixture. Heat and stir until cornstarch becomes clear. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more preserves, 8 ounces spaghetti sauce, 2 tablespoons sweetener and heat. Pour over meatballs and heat in oven until warm.
Thoughts on the Current Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide
By Allen Stump and Onycha Holt
From time to time, as the need has arisen, we have written commentaries on the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides published by the General Conference. Since the March issue of Old Paths will be published jointly with the April issue, anything that we wish to share on the rest of this quarter’s lessons must be done in this issue.
The current lesson guide, as a whole, is benign compared to more recent guides that have been published. There are a few things, however, that we wish to note quickly on some specific items in the remainder of the lessons. We are thankful that most of the lessons are not controversial, and, in fact, some present aspects of truth well and balanced, and for this we are thankful. For the portions of the lessons, however, that are confusing, we offer the following thoughts.
Comments on Lesson 6: On Sundays lesson, Joel 2:28 is quoted: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. While the visions of Ellen White are mentioned, it is not noted that her visions were given when she was young and as she got older, as the prophecy in Joel declares, she began to have communications from God via dreams. In Wednesdays lesson, Jesus is called the God-man, and 1 John 4:1, 2 are referenced: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. The humanity of Jesus, however, is not really discussed in the lesson. The issue of Jesus having a pre-fall or post-fall nature is avoided by discussing the teachings of Jesus. We wish to remind our readers of the following statement:
The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; he gave proof of his humility in becoming a man. Yet he was God in the flesh (The Youths Instructor, October 13, 1898).
Ellen White wrote hundreds of statements concerning the humanity of Jesus during her lifetime, and she was very consistent in what she wrote.
It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man, that he might be made perfect through suffering, and endure himself the strength of Satans temptations, that he might the better know how to succor those who should be tempted (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, pp. 115, 116).
Comments on Lesson 7: Tuesday’s lesson discussed the need to reprove sin and God calling prophets to this work. Ellen White, too, was called to reprove individuals for sin many times, and in this the lesson is correct. The importance of this will be noted in comments for Lesson 12.
Comments on Lesson 8: This lesson on the authority of the prophets is a tight one to walk. We, as a people, seem to want to have our cake and eat it too concerning Ellen White. Some wish to have the prophetess and yet not have to acknowledge that she has authority or that her writings are to carry weight with Gods people today. We acknowledge that doctrine is to be taught from the Bible, but what happens if our view of what the Bible teaches differs from what the Spirit of Prophecy says? For example suppose we come to a text that may seem to have two possible meanings, A and B. We in our wisdom think view A is correct, but the Spirit of Prophecy plainly declares that B is correct. What do we do then? Can we humble ourselves and accept that God speaks to us and his understanding is better? For example, the recent death of Dr. Samuel Bacchiocchi reminds me of a teaching in his book From Sabbath to Sunday. In his discussion on Revelation 1:10, he says that the Lords day is the eschatological day of the Lord understood as the day of Christs judgment and parousia (p. 123).” Now, he has a lot of so-called theology for his reasons to state this, but Ellen White plainly states:
It was on the Sabbath that the Lord of glory appeared to the exiled apostle. The Sabbath was as sacredly observed by John on Patmos as when he was preaching to the people in the towns and cities of Judea. He claimed as his own the precious promises that had been given regarding that day. I was in the Spirit on the Lords day (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 581).”
You can decide which understanding you wish to accept, but for me it is much more sound to accept what the prophet says than a book with the imprimatur of The Pontifical Gregorian University Press of Rome upon it.
You see, the concept of biblical authority is vastly different than the world’s view of authority. The world views authority as something that can be forced or taken by might and power. Biblical authority is something that is voluntarily given to those who are in authority by the one who is under authority. God does not force his creatures to obey him and neither will he force his people to be under the authority of the prophets that he sends. If we fail to come under their teachings and counsels, however, we are in rebellion against God and will finally reap the sad results of that rebellion.
Ultimately, all authority belongs to God. He is the head (1 Corinthians 11:3). He has delegated authority to Jesus, who has given to his church authority, but that authority is only within the confines of God’s will.
On Wednesdays lesson, some of the history of the 1901 General Conference is given. One significant omission should be noted. Due to counsel from Ellen White, the constitution of the General Conference was rewritten, making no mention of a president of the General conference. Just before this was done, Ellen White, speaking in the Battle Creek College library, stated: Now the Lord wants his Spirit to come in. He wants the Holy Ghost king (Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 166). Sadly, however, this action was reversed in 1903 after but a short trial. The minutes of the 1903 General Conference reveal an interesting discussion on the new constitution, with Jones, Waggoner, and others defending the 1901 constitution and begging for it to be given further time. It is in the light of these events that we find the haunting testimony found in Testimonies for the Church, volume 8, pages 247-251 entitled “Shall We Be Found Wanting?”
Friday’s lesson fails to note that the statement prepared by the ad hoc committee of the General Conference was produced in a large part due to the pressure that Walter Rea had placed on the denomination by his attacks against Ellen White.
Comments on Lesson 9: This lesson deals frankly with some of the faults and failures of prophets, including Ellen White, and that prophets do not receive perfection at their calling. This is in line with Ellen White’s own statements.
Comments on Lesson 10: This lesson deals with the messages of the prophets and specifically mentions righteousness by faith, the sanctuary, the Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the second coming of Jesus. These are important topics and very little can be offered in just one page. Mondays lesson on the sanctuary offers little on the cleansing of the sanctuary and nothing on the final atonement. We suggest reading Ellen G. Whites book The Great Controversy.
Comments on Lesson 11: This lesson makes a reasonable attempt to understand proper methods of interpreting the prophetic writings. The terms exegesis and homiletics are introduced in this lesson. While the section is brief, we suggest that these fields are important and helpful to the serious student. The concept of time and place is introduced in Tuesdays lesson. Concerning her writings, Ellen White noted: Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 57).
Comments on Lesson 12: This lesson is on the blessings of the prophetic gift. When one realizes all that this gift means to Gods people, it would be hard not to have a healthy appreciation of this gift. The lesson reviews how the ministry of Ellen G. White helped to guide Gods people in the early years in ministry and missionary work, in the health and publishing work and also in the areas of theology. This last area deserves a few comments. No doubt, one of the reasons that during the lifetime of Ellen White the church was so unified on doctrine was her prophetic gift. Since her death, however, there have emerged several different types of Adventism. In Thursdays lesson we read the following comment:
All through biblical history, God has used the prophetic gift to protect His people from theological errors. It was no different with the ministry of Ellen White. In the early days of our church she had to combat fanaticism of various kinds. Some people claimed to be perfect, others stated that no more work should be done, and some kept on setting times for Christs return. During the Kellogg crisis at the turn of the century, her counsel saved the church from pantheism. At the same time, almost single-handedly she led the church from a semi-Arian (a belief that Jesus was not God) to a Trinitarian position. When A. F. Ballenger tried to change the sanctuary teaching, she took a strong stand against it. Ellen White also had a strong role in keeping the church of her day from falling deep into legalism; along with A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, she was a great proponent of salvation by faith in Christ alone, without the deeds of the law.
Ellen White spoke directly against the teachings of Kellogg and the teachings of Ballenger. She was quick to discern their errors and warn the people. She did not simply speak the truth and say nothing about their errors. When her husband and all the other church leaders, however, were in so-called great error on the truth about God, are we to believe that she did not speak negatively for fear of causing division and that instead she began to write out the truth in The Desire of Ages and other publications? This is not factual. As noted in Lesson 7, Ellen White was quick to pick up on error and sin and would not hold her peace for anyone. To think that God would send correction on the time to keep the Sabbath and instruction on health reform and yet allow his people to be in gross darkness about the Lord of the Sabbath or the Creator that fearfully and wonderfully made us is neither logical nor reasonable.
The truth is that the church did not officially change to Trinitarianism until 1931, sixteen years after the death of Ellen White. In 1919, four years after Ellen White died, the church held its first Bible conference since 1888. The minutes of that conference clearly reveal that the older men who knew Ellen White did not believe that she was on a mission to change the churchs position on the nature and identity of God.
For a fuller discussion on this issue, please see the book The Foundation of our Faith, available from this ministry.
Comments on Lesson 13: No special comments for this lesson except that we would encourage all to know by experience and study that this prophetic gift can be trusted.
Counsels on Exercise
(This article concludes the Health Series begun in July 2008 with the camp meeting talks by Dr. Glen Waite. All emphasis is supplied.)
Those who do not use their limbs every day will realize a weakness when they do attempt to exercise. The veins and muscles are not in a condition to perform their work and keep all the living machinery in healthful action, each organ in the system doing its part. The limbs will strengthen with use. Moderate exercise every day will impart strength to the muscles, which without exercise become flabby and enfeebled. By active exercise in the open air every day, the liver, kidneys, and lungs also will be strengthened to perform their work. Bring to your aid the power of the will, which will resist cold and will give energy to the nervous system. In a short time you will so realize the benefit of exercise and pure air that you would not live without these blessings (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 533; all emphasis supplied).
Not only will the organs of the body be strengthened by exercise, but the mind also will acquire strength and knowledge through the action of those organs. . . .Each faculty of the mind and each muscle has its distinctive office, and all require to be exercised in order to become properly developed and retain healthful vigor. Each organ and muscle has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. Natures fine and wonderful works need to be kept in active motion in order to accomplish the object for which they were designed. Each faculty has a bearing upon the others, and all need to be exercised in order to be properly developed. If one muscle of the body is exercised more than another, the one used will become much the larger, and will destroy the harmony and beauty of the development of the system. A variety of exercise will call into use all the muscles of the body (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 77).
Walking, in all cases where it is possible, is the best remedy for diseased bodies, because in this exercise all the organs of the body are brought into use. Many who depend upon the movement cure could accomplish more for themselves by muscular exercise than the movements can do for them. In some cases want of exercise causes the bowels and muscles to become enfeebled and shrunken, and these organs that have enfeebled for want of use will be strengthened by exercise. There is no exercise that can take the place of walking. By it the circulation of the blood is greatly improved (Ibid., p. 78).
Morning exercise, in walking in the free, invigorating air of heaven, or cultivating flowers, small fruits, and vegetables, is necessary to a healthful circulation of the blood. It is the surest safeguard against colds, coughs, congestions of the brain and lungs, inflammation of the liver, the kidneys, and the lungs, and a hundred other diseases (Healthful Living, p. 130).
God designed that the living machinery should be in daily activity; for in this activity or motion is its preserving power (Ibid., p. 131).
much more benefit is derived from work performed in the open air than from indoor exercise. The farmer and the mechanic each have physical exercise; yet the farmer is much the healthier of the two, for nothing short of the invigorating air and sunshine will fully meet the wants of the system. The farmer finds in his labor all the movements that were ever practiced in the gymnasium. And his movement room is the open fields; the canopy of heaven is its roof, and the solid earth its floor. A farmer who is temperate in all his habits usually enjoys good health. His work is pleasant; and his vigorous exercise causes full, deep, and strong inspirations and exhalations, which expand the lungs and purify the blood, sending the warm current of life bounding through arteries and veins (The Signs of the Times, August 26, 1886).
In conclusion to this series on health, we add these further words from Ellen White:
If men would place themselves in right relation to God by heeding the counsel of his word, they would escape innumerable dangers, and experience a peace and content that would render life a joy rather than a burden. If they would resist the allurements of forbidden pleasure, and the temptations to excess in eating, dressing, and speaking, they might in many cases greatly prolong their life here, as well as secure eternal life hereafter.
The assurance of Gods approval will promote physical health. It fortifies the soul against doubt, perplexity, and excessive grief, that so often sap the vital forces
When they have done all in their power to place themselves in right relation to life and health, then they may come in penitence and faith to the all- tender, compassionate, loving Saviour, and ask of him physical, mental, and moral strength to act their part in blessing their fellow-men. But the Lord will not hear and answer the prayers of those who are knowingly doing evil by unhealthful practices of any kind. God, in his wisdom, has established natural laws for the proper control of our dress, our appetites, and our passions, and he requires of us obedience in every particular. It is by disregard of these laws that so many render their lives burdensome (The Review & Herald, October 16, 1883).
The Church of Christ and its Authority
Recently I received the following letter, the reply to which might be of help to many others; therefore, I have printed the letter with my reply.
I have been attending the local ______ Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1996 and I have studied and understand the prophecies and doctrines as the church teaches. I have for many years now found the doctrine of the trinity unbelievable and I am blessed to have your ministry explain this doctrine as I believe the Word of God and the Spirit of prophecy tells it.
I was once baptized in a Sunday church in _______ and although I have learned the Sabbath truth and I believe God did raise up the Seventh-day Adventist Church as the Restorer of the breach, I am unable to be rebaptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church because of my beliefs in her backslidden ways.
I have a strong desire to participate in the church activities however since I am not a baptized member of the church, I am not allowed to hold an office within the church organization. The pastor of the church has discussed this with me and he is aware that I do not believe the trinity doctrine, and he continues to pray to the Holy Spirit while preaching from the pulpit.
This creates a dilemma for me because I do not accept the trinity doctrine, and in order for me to be baptized into the Adventist Church, I must accept the trinity as truth. What can I do, as I sincerely wish to participate in the church activities, yet unless I am a baptized member of the church I cannot do so?
Your thoughts on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, a believer in Jesus as my Savior,
Thank you for writing and sharing your issues with me. Your situation is not unique today nor has it been since the days of Christ. One cannot safely violate their conscience and I commend you for standing for truth.
The early Seventh-day Adventists did not believe in the doctrine of the trinity and it has been stated by church leadership today that the early believers would not be allowed to join the church today with those beliefs. In fact, George Knight, former professor of church history at Andrews University, could accurately write:
Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denominations Fundamental Beliefs.
More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity. For Joseph Bates the Trinity was an unscriptural doctrine, for James White it was that old Trinitarian absurdity, and for M. E. Cornell it was a fruit of the great apostasy, along with such false doctrines as Sundaykeeping and the immortality of the soul (Ministry, October 1993, p. 10).
This situation creates a paradox. If you believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church was raised up by God, why did he raise the movement up in what is today considered to be gross error by the main-line church? God allowed the pioneers of Adventism to be corrected on the time to keep the Sabbath, proper dietary laws, and gave them the truth about the mortality of humanity, but on the central doctrine of all, the most basic doctrine of Christianity, he allowed them to be in great error for over 50 years before correction was begun. In fact, it has been clearly documented that the Seventh-day Adventist Church did not officially accept the trinity doctrine until fifteen years after the death of Ellen G. White.
Now you may be wondering what this really has to do with answering your question. There should be no doubt that Christ invested his church with a certain amount of authority and gospel order does make provision for order in the churches. The question that is most important now and must be answered is: What is the true church today? If it is the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church, then we must further consider the issue of how much authority it has and how it is to be administered. In the book The Great Controversy we read:
Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 3 (The Great Controversy, p. 51).
The issue that determines the genuineness of Christs Church is not a name or even a heritage, the Roman Catholic Church has plenty of that. But rather the issue is one of truth! The true church does not lay down the banner of Christ and depart from the faith once delivered to the saints. The Apostle Paul called the church the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Ellen White noted:
God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christs church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church (Upward Look, p. 315).
So if we claim to have authority to delegate gospel order, it had better be based upon authority that Christ has given his church. But if that so-called church does not carry the banner of truth, it cannot be Christs Church nor carry his authority.
You already believe the truth about God, but the issue we are really dealing with is the truth about the church itself. You see Christs Church has truth and will not be preaching the trinity doctrine for it is the central pillar of the faith of the harlot!
On June 2, 1947, A. W. Spalding wrote a twopage letter to H. Camden Lacey. The letter began:
Will you extend your helping hand to me once more? I am in Washington making the last revision of my manuscript for the first volume of An Episodic History of Seventh-day Adventists. Two or three large questions confront me.
One of these is the history of the trinitarian and antitrinitarian doctrines among us. I understand that some of our leading men in the beginning were opposed to the doctrine of the trinity, at least as expressed by certain trinitarians (Letter of A. W. Spalding to H. Camden Lacey, June 2, 1947).
After making certain observations in relation to the subject, Spalding continued:
Now I should be grateful for any light you have to throw upon the subject. D. E. Robinson says that you are the first one he knows of to teach the straight doctrine of the trinity, in Australia. Perhaps you were Jashobeam the Hackmonite, but I am supposing there were also other Twenty-nine of the Mighties. There is to me a twilight zone in this history which I wish to have lighted. Did all the fathers sin? And if so, did they repent? How prove the unity of the faith in our succession if our pioneers were Arians and we are Athanasians (Ibid.)?
Lacey replied in a threepage letter dated June 5, 1947. The reply read in part:
I will attempt now to answer some of the queries you propound in your recent letter of the 2nd.
Most assuredly our people were antitrinitarians, when we (the Lacey family) accepted the Truth in 1888. At least, that is how it appeared to us at that time.
Now your questions: Did all the fathers sin? Well, sin is perhaps too strong a word. But they certainly all held inadequate views on both the Eternity of the Son (and therefore His essential Deity) and the personality of the Holy Ghost. (And why do we not more generally speak of Him in that way, as does our authorized translation, and the Early Writings of Sr. White, until she came under the influence of her husband and other of the pioneers?)
And if so, did they repent? Not so as you could notice it, I fear. The attitude of some of those pioneers to the preaching of Righteousness by Faith in 1888, illustrates pretty well their reactions to any new light that might come to them: Nevertheless they were wonderfully used of God in laying the foundations of our message.
How prove the unity of the faith in our succession if our pioneers were Arians and we are Athanasians? Well now, the answer is obvious to you, as well as to the rest of us; so: let us leave it there (Letter of Camden H. Lacey to A. W. Spalding, June 5, 1947)!
Laceys last statement should be given careful thought. The basis for succession of the faith is unity in the truth. Few on either side of the issue (Trinitarian or non-Trinitarian) question the importance of a proper understanding of the doctrine of God. Lacey is saying very plainly that as a Trinitarian he cannot claim unity of the faith with the pioneers. Yet, truth is the basis for succession of the faith. The implications should be as clear to us as they were clear to Lacey. If there is not succession of the faith between the pioneers of the movement and today, then we must admit that either we or the pioneers were in error. If the pioneers were in error on this vital subject, then how can we claim that God raised up this movement? No wonder Lacey said, . . . let us leave it there!
Ellen White saw the beginnings of apostasy in her day. She wrote, within the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, p. 50). Just a few pages later she wrote:
The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.
Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth? (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 2, pp. 54, 55).
All the elements of this prophecy except the very last line have been fulfilled. A new organization has been established. As former General Conference President Neal C. Wilson acknowledged, when one changes the doctrines they change the very organization and religion of the church. Today we have a system of intellectual philosophy where the ministers are to have masters or doctorate degrees. But notice in the prophecy that God is removed. He was pushed out! With the doctrine of the trinity, there is no longer room for the God of heaven.
Some would argue that Ellen White said that we should obey the voice of the General Conference as the voice of God. Well, what did she say? Remembering the rule that inspiration gives in considering time and place* we note the following statements:
It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God (Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, p. 216, written1898).
That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be--that is past (General Conference Bulletin, April 3, 1901, p. 25).
At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict Gods work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 260, 261, read at the 1909 General Conference).
Here we find two different views which must be understood in light of time and place. It is not proper to quote one view or the other to support a position today without understanding the context. The 1909 statement is the last pronouncement we have on the matter from Ellen White. This brings us to a dilemma. She said that a properly assembled General Conference should have authority. When the trinity doctrine was first officially voted by the General Conference in 1980 at Dallas, Texas, the conference had been properly called and assembled. If that voice had authority and was the voice of God then all who have promoted the non-trinitarian message should bow down asking for forgiveness and acknowledge that they have been wrong. But, if it can be shown by the Bible and the Testimonies that the pioneers were correct in their view of God, then we must come to the view that the General Conference is not the voice of God today and does not have authority to say who can be baptized or hold church office.
Lest I be misunderstood, I am stating that according to the qualifications of the Bible and the Testimonies, the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church is not the remnant church but rather an off shoot! God still has a true church and a remnant people, but they have not accepted the central pillar of Babylon, but rather have held to the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).
So, my brother, I would simply say that if you wish to serve God, he will see that you will be given a way and if it does not come through the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church do not fear. I was told over twenty years ago that if I continued in a different direction from the main line church I would be dismissed from the ministry and never preach again. However, God had different plans. Since then I have spoken to people in almost every state in the Union and to believers and non-believers in many countries. (As I write I am preparing to visit seven countries in South America!) So be of good cheer brother. God will see you through this. But if you are not accepted or even put out of the synagogue, the main-line church has really done you a favor for, according to Ezekiel 9, it is only those who sigh and cry for the abominations that are done in the church that will receive the seal of God and those who sigh and cry, according to chapter 11, will be put out.
I would say that if you have questions about the need for being baptized or rebaptized I would be glad to write to you concerning that but did not wish this letter to be any longer than it already has become except that I would like to close with the following thoughtful paragraphs from The Desire of Ages:
It is as true now as in apostolic days, that without the illumination of the divine Spirit, humanity cannot discern the glory of Christ. The truth and the work of God are unappreciated by a world-loving and compromising Christianity. Not in the ways of ease, of earthly honor or worldly conformity, are the followers of the Master found. They are far in advance, in the paths of toil, and humiliation, and reproach, in the front of the battle against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12, R. V. And now, as in Christs day, they are misunderstood and reproached and oppressed by the priests and Pharisees of their time.
The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 (The Desire of Ages, pp. 508, 509). ... Allen Stump
The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy
2. We also joy in ____ (Romans 5:11).
3. Count it all joy when ye ____ into divers temptations.
4. Rejoice with joy ____ (1 Peter 1:8).
7. The ____ of joy (Isaiah 61:3).
9. We . . . are ____ of your joy (2 Corinthians 1:24).
11. Great joy in that ____ (Acts 8:8).
12. Thy ____ was unto me the joy (Jeremiah 15:16).
13. Your joy ____ man taketh from you (John 16:22).
14. They yet ____ not for joy (Luke 24:41).
16. The ____ of God is . . . joy (Romans 14:17).
22. That my joy might ____ in you (John 15:11).
23. ____ for joy (Luke 6:23).
24. Kept the dedication of this ____ of God with
joy (Ezra 6:16).
26. ____ thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matthew 25:23).
27. My ____ shall sing for joy of heart (Isaiah 65:14).
29. Eat thy ____ with joy (Ecclesiastes 9:7).
30. With joy shall ye draw ____ (Isaiah 12:3).
31. Thou ____ for joy (Jeremiah 48:27).
33. Be ____ also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:13).
34. Let me have joy of ____ in the Lord
35. If I prefer not ____ above my chief joy
1. I . . . finish my ____ with joy (Acts 20:24).
2. For joy thereof ____ and selleth (Matthew 13:44).
3. This my joy therefore is ____ (John 3:29).
5. The ____ returned again with joy (Luke 10:17).
6. They that sow in ____ shall reap in joy
10. Unto God my ____ joy (Psalm 43:4).
15. I will turn their ____ into joy (Jeremiah 31:13).
17. The meek also shall ____ their joy (Isaiah 29:19).
18. ____ joy shall be unto them (Isaiah 61:7).
19. The joy of the ____ [is] but for a moment
20. To present you ____ . . . with exceeding joy
21. I withheld not my ____ from any joy (Ecclesiastes 2:10).
25. ____ is turned into joy (Job 41:22).
28. ____ unto me the joy of thy salvation (Psalm 51:12).
32. To the counsellors of ____ is joy (Proverbs 12:20).
Youths CornerCher Ami and the Lost Company
Our story is about Cher Ami, which is French for dear friend. This dear friend that I want to tell you about has been around for a long time. In fact, Genghis Khan had a Cher Ami and so did Paul Reuter, who started the Reuters News Service, and when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, Belgium, the first news that was received in England about his defeat came by a Cher Ami.
Our story is also about the Lost Company, and this story occurred during World War I. Many Cher Amis were used for communication during World War I, and they are little homing pigeons. There was a company that was caught behind enemy lines, and their fellow soldiers did not know where they were. They were lost! They could not communicate with the rest of the troops to tell them where they were so they could be rescued. There were 500 men in this company. They only way they could communicate with their home base was to let flutter up a homing pigeon with a message tied to his leg explaining where they were and to send help. The enemy, however, knew about homing pigeons, and men were trained to watch the sky for any of them flying up into the sky. They would shoot the pigeons down whenever they possibly could, and the first homing pigeon let loose was shot down. Then their own forces began shelling the area where the Lost Company was hiding behind an embankment, thinking they were shelling the enemy. And so, they sent up a second homing pigeon with the message to stop the bombing, but it was also shot down. They had one pigeon left, and that was Cher Ami. They threw Cher Ami into the air with the message, Were here, stop shelling us, and send help. Well, Cher Ami was fluttering around, trying to get back to his home with the rest of the forces, but he was being shot at, and, in fact, one of his legs was shot off and a bullet went through his chest. He was injured, but he kept flying and the dear friend made it home this time with his important message, and, of course, the shelling stopped and forces were sent to get the Lost Company home.
I have been to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC many times, but I did not know Cher Ami is there. He was awarded a medal of honor by France because the American forces were helping the French forces when Cher Ami made his heroic flight. When he died a year later he was preserved and placed in the Smithsonian. He is representative of the many homing pigeons that have been used over millennia in communication. In fact, the nation of India used homing pigeons until 2002 in one of their remote states for communication in emergencies until the Internet was better established.
Now, who made the homing pigeon? God did!, and they have a special, unique ability that other birds do not have. Homing pigeons allow themselves to be tamed and used by man. If we had another bird and kept it in captivity and then let it go, it would surely fly away to wherever it thought home or safety was, but it could not be tamed by man in the sense that man could go pick it up again, bring it back, and be used back and forth to fly between two places for communication as homing pigeons, or carrier pigeons, can be.
This story made me think of us. We are behind enemy lines, so to speak, now. There is a great controversy going on about us. We have fellow soldiers that are laid to rest in this great controversy, and we are still here behind enemy lines, but God has a way to rescue us. John 14 tells us that Jesus has gone back to heaven to make a home for us and he will come again to take us there. Whenever we are tempted to turn our eyes from Jesus and look at all that the world has to offer and at what other people are able to do but what we, as Christians, cannot do because Jesus calls us to a higher standard, lets remember that our home is not here. It is in heaven, and just like these carrier pigeons always return home, we can always turn our minds to home as we are waiting for Jesus to come rescue us from behind enemy lines. ... Onycha Holt
By Onycha Holt
Pastor Allen Stumps and Brother Elvis Albertos missionary trip to South America will begin in Venezuela. In Venezuela are found table-top mountains called tepuis. A tepui is an isolated mountain that is not part of a mountain chain but juts up from the rain forest with a plateau top that is completely isolated from the ground forest. Tepuis are like ecological islands with a climate at the top that is cool with frequent rainfall and at the base that is tropical, warm and humid. Beautiful orchids and bromeliads grow on tepui plateaus, and the worlds tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, flows down from the table-top of a tepui, falling so far that the water is vaporized into a mist by strong winds before it reaches the ground. Our brothers will not be visiting Angel Falls, however, but will spend several days in Venezuela visiting Gods people and sharing with them important truths from Gods word.
Following Venezuela, Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto will visit Pastor Bob and Sister Ardis Habenicht in Manaus, Brazil. Pastor Bob fell recently and is recuperating at the Instituto Revisam in Manaus. Two rivers pass through Manaus, the Black River and the Solimõtes, and they later blend into the great Amazon River, which is the largest river on Earth both in volume of water and in length. This blending is called The Meeting of the Rivers and is the confluence of the Black Rivers dark water with the Solimõtes Rivers muddy brown water, but for six kilometers both rivers run side-by-side without mixing. This is caused by the great difference between the water temperatures and current speeds of the two rivers. The Black River flows at approximately 2km/h at 28°C, while the Solimõtes River flows at 4 to 6 km/h at 22°C.
Next the brothers will travel to Ecuador, meeting with as many scattered groups over a wide range of geography as possible. In Ecuador is found a desert-like southern coast, as well as snowcapped peaks in the Andes Mountains and plains in the Amazon Basin. The worlds highest active volcano, Cotopaxi, is located in Ecuador, and Ecuador has a large series of cliffs that spill into Peru. Ecuador is about the size of the state of Colorado. Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto will spend time in Quito, the capital, which is located in a high mountain valley, and hopefully with some of the individual groups that are thirty to eighty miles apart. Travel in Ecuador is not as easy or as safe as it is in the United States, and it is more difficult to travel thirty miles. The road from Banos to Puyo, for example, has long been known for its narrowness, curves and sheer drops. There is only one lane in some places, and in one area, the road is actually cut into the side of a cliff so that the cliff roofs over it. The most important east-west road across the Andes is the road from Quito to Lago Agrio, which is unpaved for most of its length yet is heavily traveled by tractor-trailers, and the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil Pipeline serves as the guardrail for long stretches of this road. Let us join together in prayer the week of February 15 for the safety of our brothers and sisters as they gather together to learn more of Gods Word and for the messengers as they share this word with them.
Following Ecuador, Pastor Allen and Brother Elvis will travel to Lima, Peru, to spend most of a week with Brother Aland and Sister Karina Ashton. The capital of Peru, Lima, is situated on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, and 95% of the time it is covered in a blanket of fog. Almost a third of Peruvians live in and around Lima. Thousands of archaeological sites are all over the country, ranging from thousands of years old camp sites to the monumental stone walls of 16th century Inca Cuzco. In August 2007, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck ninety-five miles southeast of Lima, killing at least 430 people and leveling churches and homes. Peru is slightly smaller in area than that of the state of Alaska. The climate varies from tropical in the east to dry desert in the west and to temperate to frigid in the Andes. The worlds highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, borders Peru, and the ultimate source of the Amazon River, a peak called Nevado Mismi, is found in Peru. Will you join us in prayer for the safety of and for Gods blessing on Pastor Allen and Brother Elvis as they meet with Gods people in Chile February 20 through the 26th?
Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto next fly to Chiclayo, Peru, to meet with a group of believers and for the baptisms of some of the people. The region of nearby towns is a land that was highly coveted by ancient cultures and where the Mochica (Moche) culture rose to prominence between 0 and 600 AD. The tomb of the Lord of Sipan was discovered by archaeologists in 1987, and stunning tombs and contents were uncovered in this hidden site, but Brothers Allen and Elvis are going to speak words of truth and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Chiclayo, and we ask for your prayers for their safety and for strength of body and spirit.
Following Chiclayo, Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto travel to Santiago de Chile to meet with two different groups, one of which does not under the truth about God. Please pray that Gods Spirit will be poured out on our traveling brothers and on the people that gather to study and be strengthened by the word of God. Santiago lies in the center of a large bowl-shaped valley and is surrounded by the Andes Mountains on three sides, the highest mountain of which is 21.555 feet, and the Chilean Coastal Range which borders Santiago on the west.
Next our brothers travel to Medellin, Colombia, to spend two days with a family of believers. In Colombia there are two major geographical regions: The Andes with its large valleys and basins in the west, where the majority of the population is focused, and the broad lowlands in the east, which are sparsely populated. The capital, Bogota, is situated at 8,000 to 9,000 feet on the gently sloping surfaces of one of the high basins of the Andes Mountains. Medellin is at 5,000 feet altitude and has a pleasant, spring-like climate year round. It is the home of orchids, parks, and tropical birds. It has a history of being the headquarters of Pablo Escobar, a drug lord who is now deceased, and the city of Medellin is striving to shake off this notoriety. Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia, and the home of some of Gods precious people. Let us pray for the believers in this area as Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto minister to them.
Following Colombia, Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto fly to Montevideo, Uruguay, where they hope to meet with believers at Montevideo and Melo, Uruguay, a small place where there is a company of believers. Will you please pray that they will be blessed by Gods Spirit during this visit and for the safety of Brothers Allen and Elvis as they end their journey in South America?
From Uruguay, Pastor Stump and Brother Alberto fly back to Curacao, where Pastor Stump will meet with the believers at Brother Albertos home town, and then Pastor Stump will fly home on March 11.
Barquisimeto, Venezuela: February 6-9, 2009. Contact Nelson Villalobos, phone 0582512337009.
El Callado, Venezuela: February 10-12, 2009. Contact Jorge Escorcha, phone 239-500-0956.
Manaus, Brazil: February 13-15, 2009. Contact Ardis Habenicht at Instituto Revisam, (011) 55 92 3653 3390.
Quito, Ecuador: February 16-18, 2009. You can obtain information through Jorge Escorcha (239-500-0956), Dalton Cruz (94-584731), or William Moreno (89-864925).
Lima, Peru: February 19-23, 2009. Contact Aland Ashton, phone 011 511 358-5339.
Chiclayo, Peru: February 24-26, 2009. Contact Cesar Balarezo Cabanillas, phone 51-44-562022.
Santiago, Chile: February 27-March 1, 2009. Contact Victoria Carrasco, phone 475-5867 for some meetings. Other meetings will be with Marina Navarro. Her daughter Margaritas phone is 5626322308.
Medellin, Colombia: March 2-3, 2009. Contact Elvis or Julienne Alberto at (011) 599-986-40335 for more information.
Melo, Uruguay: March 5-8, 2009. These meetings are in the process of being finalized.
Westpunt, Curacao: March 10, 2009. Contact Elvis or Julienne Alberto, (011) 599-986-40335.
Glen David Ford
Our beloved brother, Glen David Ford, went to sleep in Jesus on January 14, 2009, at the age of 82, following an automobile accident that occurred on December 30, 2008. Brother Glen was affectionately known by many as Papa or Papa Glen. The Smyrna Chapel family is deeply grateful for Glens faithful service as head elder at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel. As a serious student of Scripture, his greatest joy was studying Gods Word and sharing his faith, and even on the morning of his death at Health South Rehab Center in Princeton, West Virginia, he was engaged in a Bible study with one of the rehabilitation workers. He also enjoyed being out in nature and was an avid gardener. Until recent years, he took to the woods at every opportunity in the fall to go ginsenging. Glen delighted in people, and he loved to visit others and to host gatherings in his and Anns home. Hospitality was truly one of his many gifts. He was a good storyteller, and his wit and humor endeared him to everyone who knew him.
Glen served as a medic on a hospital ship in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he pursued carpentry as his vocation until his retirement, and he was well known through the region for the quality of his craftsmanship in home building and in remodeling.
In addition to his parents, Glen was preceded in death by two sons, two grandsons, three brothers, and one sister. Survivors include his wife, Anna Hall Ford, three sons, two daughters, four sisters, thirteen grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.
Brother Glen was buried at the Smyrna Chapel Cemetery, where he awaits the call of Jesus. He is dearly missed by all his Smyrna family and all that knew him. His sister, Grace Cox, wrote the following poem in memory of Glen:
Memories of Glen
My memories of Glen go back many years
To my childhood days so long, long ago.
The intervening years brought a lot of joy
But, also, their share of sorrow and woe.
Glen always had a friend in Jesus his Lord,
A friend so faithful and true.
Always sustained by the power of Gods Word,
Glen showed to others what the Master could do.
His calm endurance of lifes hard blows
Witnessed his abiding, deep faith
In the Eternal One whose love ever flows
To encompass and draw the whole human race.
Glen would want you to know that God above
Is ever mindful of your trials and grief,
That this old world will soon pass away
Our sojourn here is ever so brief.
Glen now awaits the trumpet blast,
Calling Gods own from their sleep.
He went to his rest knowing full well
That God his soul would keep.
Glen will be looking for melooking for you
When he meets his Lord in the sky.
Lets not disappoint him! Lets be ready to go
When Jesus returns bye and bye. ?
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