Old Paths

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

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. Psalm 25:14

Vol. 19, No.9  Straight and Narrow  September 2010

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall
distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb,
and as the showers upon the grass.”

Two Tracks, Different Destinations

Shepherds love their sheep and desire to protect them from dangerous animals, parasites, rough terrain that might cause injury, or anything that would not be for the best welfare of the sheep.

In the Bible the term pastor is employed to represent one who has spiritual care over God’s flock. The same word that is translated shepherd is also translated pastor. In some languages, such as Spanish, there is only one word for the two concepts. In the book of Jeremiah, God condemned the shepherds who failed at their responsibilities: “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:1). God says he would visit upon them the evil of their doings.

The Apostle Paul felt a burden to protect the flocks that he had raised up. In the 20th chapter of Acts we find the record of his gathering the elders from Ephesus at Miletus to share counsel with them.

Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. … For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:18-21, 27)

Paul knew that he would never see these people again and by inspiration he declared:

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:29, 30)

Paul knew that there would be those from among the people who would arise and teach heresy, but Paul commended the elders to the word of God’s grace which could build up the believers and prevent them from falling.

Jesus said that he was the “good shepherd” (John 10:11) who gave his life for the sheep. The New Testament declares that pastors or shepherds are one of the special gifts of the spirit for the perfecting of the church (Ephesians 4:11). This is part of God’s plan for gospel order among his people. To deny pastors is to deny Bible truth, but, beloved, what we need are good pastors who will lead after God’s order.

This summer, while at the General Conference in Atlanta, Georgia it was clear that the GC was trying to protect its flock from what it considered doctrinal heresy. While we might not agree with their methods, we certainly agree that the Bible requires shepherds to sound an alarm when there is danger to the flock. Ezekiel was told:

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. (Ezekiel 33:6, 7)

Shepherds are to feed the flock (2 Timothy 4:1, 2; Ezekiel 33:7, 17-21). In fact, the word that is translated shepherd and pastors in the Old Testament is translated “feed” more times than any other word. Yet sometimes the shepherds need to feed their flock food that is unpleasant to receive, so instead of taking the word that is needful to them, they seek false shepherds who will preach smooth things unto them.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3, 4)

Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (Isaiah 30:10)

But God will have men like the Apostle Paul who cannot be bought with any price. Paul declared after his conversion, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1Corinthians 9:16). Paul understood “that [he] must give account” (Hebrews 13:17) for the souls for whom he worked.

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. ( Ezekiel 33:8)

So beloved as I prepare to now share a warning with you, I do so with great fear, not simply for my soul if I should fail to warn you, but also for your own soul that you do not become entangled with a last-day deception of Satan.

Satan was once called Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), which means light bearer. The LXX renders the Hebrew helel as hesphoros, morning star, literally bringer of the dawn, the common Greek designation for Venus when it appeared in the morning sky. You see, beloved, Satan was created beautiful and full of light. He was “perfect” when created (Ezekiel 28:15). “God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like himself” (The Review and Herald, September 24, 1901). Yet today we often see pictures of Satan with horns, bat wings, and perhaps a pitchfork. “He is well pleased to be painted as a ludicrous or loathsome object, misshapen, half animal and half human” (The Great Controversy, p. 516), for such representations discourage people from believing in him and for those who do believe in him, it turns their minds away from his real appearance so that they are more likely to be deceived.

Paul has warned the church about Satan and those under his spell. They do not come “as a hideous monster, with cloven feet and bat’s wings” (The Desire of Ages, p. 129), but as angels of light!

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Corinthians 11:13-15)

Some deny the existence of Satan, and there are others who acknowledge his existence yet deny that he uses superhuman power. However, Satan is very alive and very involved in working miracles.

Spiritualism is about to take the world captive. There are many who think that Spiritualism is upheld through trickery and imposture; but this is far from the truth. Superhuman power is working in a variety of ways, and few have any idea as to what will be the manifestations of Spiritualism in the future. (The Signs of the Times, May 28, 1894)

Spiritualism works! Spiritualism is communication with the devil and while he is successful with the doctrine of the immortal soul, there are other ways that Satan communicates with professed Seventh-day Adventists. One hundred sixteen years ago, Ellen White wrote that “few have any idea as to what will be the manifestations of spiritualism in the future.” This is telling us that we can expect to see new, or at least modifications, to old plans in the last days. While there are still mediums and fortune tellers around, these will not usually deceive the remnant, so Satan looks for new ways to work especially in the last days. One of the ways that we can expect to see him work is through miracles! Revelation notes:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:13, 14)

This is not some hocus-pocus but real miracles that Satan delivers in a pleasant package.

The teachers of spiritualism come in a pleasing, bewitching manner to deceive you, and if you listen to their fables you are beguiled by the enemy of righteousness and will surely lose your reward. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 297)

Beloved, this is serious, for those snared by Satan’s fables will at last be lost.

Those who give themselves up to the sorcery of Satan, may boast of great benefit received, but does this prove their course to be wise or safe? What if life should be prolonged? What if temporal gain should be secured? Will it pay in the end to have disregarded the will of God? All such apparent gain will prove at last an irrecoverable loss. We cannot with impunity break down a single barrier which God has erected to guard his people from Satan’s power. (The Review and Herald, January 15, 1914)

Angels of God will preserve his people while they walk in the path of duty; but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately venture upon Satan’s ground. (Ibid., June 27, 1882)

Beloved, our only safety is to cut all ties to spiritualism as the believers did in Ephesus.

And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. (Acts 19:18-20)

These believers practiced spiritualism and the only way they could be totally free from the control of Satan was to get rid of everything that he could use to keep hold of them.

These treatises on divination contained rules and forms of communication with evil spirits. They were the regulations of the worship of Satan–directions for soliciting his help and obtaining information from him. By retaining these books the disciples would have exposed themselves to temptation; by selling them they would have placed temptation in the way of others. They had renounced the kingdom of darkness, and to destroy its power they did not hesitate at any sacrifice. Thus truth triumphed over men’s prejudices and their love of money. (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 288, 289)

It is not safe to leave even one tie to spiritualism. There was a man involved with spiritualism through the use of crystals and he realized that there was a problem and decided to get rid of all his crystals except one, but that one crystal was Satan’s chain to bind this brother and keep him connected to the devil. He found deliverance only after he gave up that last tie to Satan.

As we saw earlier, Spiritualism can come in very pleasing forms that seem like rays of light from heaven itself. The reality is that truth may be very close to error! Writing about Dr. John Harvey’s book The Living Temple, Ellen White noted:

We need not the mysticism that is in this book. Those who entertain these sophistries will soon find themselves in a position where the enemy can talk with them, and lead them away from God. It is represented to me that the writer of this book is on a false track. He has lost sight of the distinguishing truths for this time. He knows not whither his steps are tending. The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error. (Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 202)

The false teachings in The Living Temple would lead to spiritualism and yet it might seem so close to the truth that it would be almost impossible to tell the truth from the error!

The Bible speaks of miracles worked in the last days, and the Spirit of Prophecy also specifically mentions the channel through which these miracles will be worked.

The heathen oracles have their counterpart in the spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants, and fortunetellers of today. The mystic voices that spoke at Ekron and Endor are still by their lying words misleading the children of men. The prince of darkness has but appeared under a new guise. The mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and seances, the obscurities and wonders, of the sorcerers of our time. Their disclosures are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from God’s word or from His Spirit. While they speak with scorn of the magicians of old, the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.

His agents still claim to cure disease. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, or the so-called “sympathetic remedies.” In truth, they are but channels for Satan’s electric currents. By this means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 193)

The concept of sympathetic remedies is that of acting on part of a thing or on a symbol of it one thereby acts magically on the whole or the thing symbolized. Notice how close the following sounds to sympathetic remedies:

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11, 12)

Satan can use things that are very close to the truth, and the closer to the truth he is the more deceptive his temptations become.

Now one of the most important things Satan uses in his deceptions is electricity. He uses electric currents to cast spells upon people. Remember that the track of truth is close to the track of error. In Mark 5 there is recorded a story that we need to examine:

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? (Mark 5:25-30)

Commenting upon these verses the Pen of Inspiration states:

Christ was on His way to the home of Jairus, the Jewish rabbi who had entreated Him to come and heal his daughter.

They advanced but slowly; for the crowd pressed Christ on every side. In making His way through the multitude, the Saviour came near to where the afflicted woman was standing. Again and again she had tried in vain to get near Him. Now her opportunity had come. She could see no way of speaking to Him. She would not seek to hinder His slow advance. But she had heard that healing came from a touch of His garments; and, fearful of losing her one chance for relief, she pressed forward, saying to herself, “If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.”

Christ knew every thought of her mind, and He was making His way to where she stood. He realized her great need, and He was helping her to exercise faith.

As He was passing, she reached forward and succeeded in barely touching the border of His garment. That moment she knew that she was healed. In that one touch was concentrated the faith of her life, and instantly her pain and feebleness disappeared. Instantly she felt the thrill as of an electric current passing through every fiber of her being. There came over her a sensation of perfect health. “She felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.” Verse 29. (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 59, 60)

Did you notice that? Inspiration mentions an electric current. Perhaps you know that the nerve cells of the brain work on electric currents. While the brain is not the mind, the mind can function only through the nerve cells in the brain. Remember that the track of truth is close to the track of error.

The sensitive nerves of the brain have lost their healthy tone by morbid excitation to gratify an unnatural desire for sensual indulgence. The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate to man and affect his inmost life. Whatever disturbs the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system lessens the strength of the vital powers, and the result is a deadening of the sensibilities of the mind. In consideration of these facts, how important that ministers and people who profess godliness should stand forth clear and untainted from this soul-debasing vice! (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 347)

Both God and Satan communicate with man through electric currents. No wonder that the track of truth is close to the track of error. In fact, Ellen White speaks more than you might realize about electric currents. Please notice the following examples:

These signs shall follow them that believe on Christ as a risen Saviour, who proclaimed, over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” But if the workers neglect to link themselves in divine connection with God, the electric current of reviving, life-giving spiritual energy can not flow in full, rich streams to the people. The church needs to be awakened. When Christ was on this earth, trying to reclaim souls, to restore the moral image of God in man by warnings, entreaties, appeals, by a perfect example of obedience to his Father’s will, he could not do many mighty works in some of the places he visited, because of their unbelief. This is why we do not now see more of the deep moving of the Spirit of God upon human minds, more of his power manifested in healing the sick. Unbelief is the barrier between us and God. (The Review and Herald, July 19, 1898)

In a letter to Edson and Emma White, written September 10, 1903, Ellen White wrote:

Our electric battery, which has been out of repair, is now in working order; and what relief it brings in sickness! Just as the prunes were ready to pick, Brother James was seized with an attack of what he calls lumbago. He had severe pains in his back, and could neither stand straight, nor bend down far enough to unlace his shoes. Sara gave him electricity, Sister James helping where she could. But Sister James was afraid of the battery, and would not touch the sponges. At first Brother James could hardly endure the application of the electricity, but Sara persevered, and wonderful relief came to him. He now thinks that electricity is a marvelous remedy. After the first application, he was able to walk straighter than he had been able to for days, and he continued to improve. Sara has given him electricity three times a day, and he has been able to keep at his work. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 118)

Here Sister White is describing something like what we would call a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device, such as used by some chiropractors, but she also wrote of other treatments:

I am now suffering some with my lungs on account of cold. I took an electric bath last night and slept at the institute. (Ibid., vol. 19, p. 367, written July 11, 1874, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to “Dear Husband.”)

An electric bath involved being bathed in light, usually within a boxed device, from light produced by electricity. We also read about Ellen White receiving electric shocks similar to being shocked by a defibrillator. Her grandson Arthur White gives the history and quotes from his grandmother:

The day of James White’s death came close to being just that for Ellen, also. When on Friday evening Dr. Kellogg advised her that James White was failing fast, she had gotten up from her sickbed. Though seeming to be recovering, she was still very ill. She stayed with James through the night and all the next day till his death. Then she almost collapsed. Dr. Kellogg sensed her danger, although she did not. That night he appointed two attendants, and he himself slept close by with clothes on, so that he might be instantly at her side if needed. He charged the two women helpers, Mary Chinnock and Emma Webber: “Watch the pulse and call me at any change.” Not sensing her peril and always thoughtful of others, Ellen White told the two women that they could sleep. But they did not. She wrote of the experience a little later:

“At twelve o’clock at night my pulse stopped. . . . He [Dr. Kellogg] was at my bedside in one minute. I was unable to speak but knew what was going on. I expected to pass away quietly as my husband had done, but the doctor worked unremittingly with the two helpers until three o’clock in the morning.”

The strongest electricity was employed; one stood with a cake of ice and another with a hot sponge and passed first hot, then cold, over the spine for three hours until my pulse, though very weak, and fluttery, was improved. For four nights these faithful hands battled with death and were rewarded by seeing a determined improvement.”—Letter 9, 1881. (The Lonely Years, pp. 179, 180)

So we see that God can use electricity to help in healing and Satan also uses electricity in counterfeit healing.

There are many who shrink with horror from the thought of consulting spirit mediums, but who are attracted by more pleasing forms of spiritism. Others are led astray by the teachings of Christian Science, and by the mysticism of Theosophy [a system of belief based on mystical insight into the nature of God and the soul] and other Oriental religions.

The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to heal. They attribute this power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called “sympathetic remedies,” or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few, even in this Christian age, who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified physicians. (Prophets and Kings, pp. 210, 211)

Remember what we read earlier about miracles in the last days? The Book of Revelation emphasizes that it is the forces of evil that specialize in outward miracles in the last days. Notice these verses:

And he doeth great wonders (Greek:semeion — miracles), so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles (semeion) which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. (Revelation 13:13, 14)

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles (semeion). (Revelation 16:13,14)

Interestingly, God’s word declares miracles to be the great deception that characterizes the evil, three-fold confederacy of the last days.

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles (semeion) before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)

Now let us go back to the issue of electricity being a tool of Satan, knowing that in the last days we can expect to see miracles. What I want to share now is a testimony of a sister whom we will call Doris.

A Personal Testimony

I had come to a camp meeting with my son on a Thursday night, and I witnessed the laying on of hands to heal a person. I had been excited about this meeting because I had watched videos about this new teaching and felt something was going to happen. My daughter was telling me, “Don’t get your hopes up,” and it was kind of discouraging me, but we went there [Thursday] and came back on Friday night and heard the sermon. We spoke a little bit and went to our cabin. The next morning we started with the different programs for the day. At lunch break there were a few of at a table including the leading minister of this new teaching, my daughter, myself, and a few others. We decided to go to my cabin for lunch, and this minister was discussing these things with us. I don’t remember if I asked him or if he asked me, but it came up for me to have hands laid upon me. At this time I did not know that my daughter had spoken to him earlier that morning and requested him to ask me. I told him that I did not want to do it in front of everybody, but he said that that is like wanting to be baptized but not in front of people. I explained that the reason that I didn’t want to do it in front of people was because I knew there were people present who did not agree with what was happening, and I did not want these other influences in the room. This minister then said that at the beginning of the session where they would be laying on hands, he would ask for anyone who disagreed with it or did not want to participate in it to please leave.

In the meantime, I talked with him privately about a problem I had overcoming, and he said that he would call me to come forward at the beginning of the program and they would lay hands on me for healing and for the Holy Spirit and that afterwards he and some of his fellows would pray over me to help me to overcome.

Then we went back to meetings that afternoon, and in between time I sat down with some friends who were talking to another minister who was involved in this laying on of hands. He was explaining to them that sometimes they would lay hands on people and they would feel something like electricity go through them or they would jerk. I was thinking that it was kind of strange, that maybe I should back out, but I had already said that I would do it. I was getting nervous about it.

The time came that evening, and the leading minister called me up. I went up, sat on a chair, and they laid their hands on me. I started praying silently that if it wasn’t from the Lord for him to protect me and not to let anything wrong happen to me. I don’t even recall feeling them touch me. I was just consumed with my inside prayer and neither do I remember what they said but when they stopped praying and took their hands off of me, as I was getting ready to get up out of the chair, I felt like I wasn’t getting up on my own accord. I felt like something was lifting me up. In fact, I felt like my legs and my feet were in the air and I had to try to get them underneath me so I could stand up. It was strange, like I was very light. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought maybe it was the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t know. I opened my eyes and looked at everybody, and everybody was sitting there looking at me with big wide eyes and big smiles, and I wondered, “Did they see this happen to me?” I didn’t know. I walked to my seat and kept wondering, “What was this? What was this?” I sat down and was thinking about myself and what had just happened to me. Other people started going up. I heard people screaming and crying. One woman was crying but she was screaming in her cries, really loud. It was strange. It didn’t sound anything like the Holy Spirit.

My daughter went up, and she was crying, but at the time I was so consumed with what happened to me that I didn’t even think to pray for her protection.

Other people went up, and they wanted to give their testimonies, but the minister who spoke of the electric currents was getting anxious and was telling people that they didn’t have time for testimonies and that we needed to hurry up. It wasn’t a nice, calm spirit, but rather he was irritated. This minister and the leading minister were rocking back and forth from one foot to the other. They were shoving their fists from one hand into the other just like slugging themselves in the hands, and I started seeing a darkness come over their faces. I tried to make sense of it in my mind, thinking, “Well, it’s late. They are getting tired, and they have dark eyes anyway.” I was just making excuses in my mind, and the more I saw, the more it frightened me. I was thinking about everything they said, and a fear started coming over me. Like I said before, I was supposed to wait until after this for them to pray for me to overcome, but I didn’t want to be there anymore. Since we had to drive home anyway, we just left. As soon as I got off the campground I had a deep fear come over me, and I started praying silently. I started to talk to my daughter about it, but she was just all excited. She thought she had received the Holy Spirit. I felt something was horribly wrong. I had a dread and emptiness and I knew that I had done something wrong and was on the wrong track. I had this horrible dread, which I have had for weeks. But I am claiming the promises of 1 John 1:9; 4:4 and others for protection.

As soon as I came home, my daughter went to bed and my son was already in bed. I went in their rooms and I prayed over them and prayed over my house.

About a week or so after the meetings, my son, daughter, and I all broke out with sores. We feared that probation had closed and we had received the first of the seven last plagues and that we were lost forever.

My daughter did not keep her excitement long and began watching secular TV again, listening to the wrong music again and her prayer life was dropping off. But thankfully she is beginning to regain her experience.

Thankfully, God preserved this little family, but there are scars from the experience that are slow to heal.

Of unusual interest is the fact that the leader of this false holy spirit revival received this so-called gift of healing and imparting of the holy spirit by the laying on of hands from a trinitarian Seventh-day Adventist minister. This trinitarian minister worships the Holy Spirit and teaches others to worship the Holy Spirit. His ministry centers around the gift of the Spirit and receiving the Holy Spirit, and he has claimed that none who have come to him for healing have failed to receive it. Brethren, “God is not the author of confusion” (1Corinthians 14:33), and this is not the way he is working today.

This same leader who was supposed to receive the Holy Spirit from a trinitarian minister is now charging the people of God with impotence because he has not seen miracles of healing and the gift of the Spirit among them. But, beloved, there are still many miracles happening daily, but they are not all miracles that are seen outwardly. God has not forgotten his people. Let us remember two vital points. First of all, “the greatest miracle that can be wrought is the conversion of the human heart” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 49). Though the greatest of miracles, conversion does not produce great outward commotion. Secondly, due to Satan working extensively through so-called miracles of healing in the last days, God has counseled his people that most healing will come through the use of natural remedies.

The way in which Christ worked was to preach the word, and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way; for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God's servants today could not work by means of miracles, because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought.

For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing combined with the teaching of the word. Sanitariums are to be established, and with these institutions are to be connected workers who will carry forward genuine medical missionary work. Thus a guarding influence is thrown around those who come to the sanitariums for treatment. (Medical Ministry, p. 14)

Of course, we must trust God for healing and inspiration tells us that we should trust in “the power of the living God.” The Apostle James tells us that we may ask of God for healing:

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:13-15)

Yet the Bible also says, that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26). While we believe that God wishes for us to “prosper and be in health” (3 John 2), we do not always know what is best for our individual cases and so when we come to him we should always come seeking his will.

In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: “Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.” (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 229, 230)

Furthermore, the Bible says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). If someone is knowingly practicing health destroying habits can we expect God to answer their prayers? Absolutely not!

… there are many who make themselves sick by intemperate eating or by indulging in other wrong habits. When they get sick, shall we pray for them to be raised up, that they may carry on the very same work again? There must be a reformation throughout our ranks; the people must reach a higher standard before we can expect the power of God to be manifested in a marked manner for the healing of the sick. (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1745)

Inspiration states that when people refuse to come into line with health reform we are not to pray for them in their illness. God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). He will not heal someone of a disease caused by intemperance just so a person can go back to a life of intemperance.

Yet what is the teaching of this so-called new light? While at the same camp meeting mentioned in the testimony above a very sick man requested prayer for healing. There could be little doubt that this dear brother was truly sick with many issues. He was not known to the leader who had been called to pray for him. There was no examination of his past for sin or his present lifestyle to see if he was bringing disease upon himself. The leader boldly said that they were not going to pray and ask for God’s will because they already knew it was God’s will to heal this person. Prayer was made for the brother and afterward he was asked if he felt anything. The man said that he felt the Holy Spirit. Yet later that week there was no sign of improvement in his health and he was still getting coffee and breakfast from McDonald’s.

Beloved, Satan is seeking to gain entrance among God’s people through a false revival of the working of a false holy spirit. This revival does not agree with the Bible or the Testimonies.

We must know the foe we are fighting against, but more importantly, we must know the one who is our great strength. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1John 4:4). Jesus is to be our strength not “false Christs and false prophets” (Mark13:22). Jesus said:

Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)

Beloved, let us not be deceived. One of the ministers of this so-called new light has taught that righteousness by faith brings us so in touch with Jesus that he could openly say, “I am Christ”! I must sadly say that this is blasphemy, and Jesus says to “go ye not therefore after them.” Now most people do not actually claim to be Christ, but many claim to have the message of Christ and we are to “try the spirits” (1John 4:1).

While the Bible is God’s word and to be taken first and foremost in our doctrine and experience, I am not comfortable with teachings that say the Spirit of Prophecy cannot be made to line up with the Bible on certain subjects. The devil is angry and knows he has a short time. He is concentrating his attacks even now against the people of God. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thessalonians 5:21). Remember to hold onto only that which is “good.” Allen Stump

Prayer Requests

As we discuss seriously critical issues this month concerning a false revival, we need to pray for God’s protection from the spirit of Satan under the guise of the Holy Spirit. We also need to pray that God’s people may be readied so that they might receive the Holy Spirit of God.

Let us also remember the many attendees of the General Conference who received literature and those of an honest heart that are in the corporate church who need to understand the real three angels’ messages.

The Lord heard our prayers in behalf of Renee Ford. She came through her transplant very well and her red and white blood cells are increasing regularly. The doctor considers her transplant to be 98 percent effective. She has been doing so well that they are giving her three-day passes to leave the hospital. Thanks so much for your prayers.

Pastor Stump will be holding meetings in Paris and other parts of western and eastern Europe next month. Please pray that God will use him in a mighty way and protect him from harm.

We also need to continue to remember our Brother Aland Ashton in our prayers for his recovery. ?

Open Windows

On April 19, 2005, on the main balcony of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, who until moments before had been Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger, delivered his apostolic blessing to the city of Rome and to the world in general as the new Bishop of Rome. A new leader was on the scene, and since his election, he has stressed to his body of believers the need for a return to fundamental Christian values, the importance of both the Catholic Church and a correct understanding of the redemptive love of God, and the importance of prayer. In addition, he has stressed the importance of church tradition and has revived a number of traditions since his accession.

On June 25, 2010, Ted N. C. Wilson was elected president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who just moments before had been a general vice president of the same body of believers. In his first Sabbath sermon, July 2, he stressed the need to return to fundamental Seventh-day Adventist values (such as accepting the Spirit of Prophecy as one of the greatest gifts to the Seventh-day Adventist Church), the importance of the Adventist Church and that it must go forward, lifting up Christ and proclaiming God’s grace and the three angels’ messages, and the importance of prayer. In fact, at the close of his sermon, President Wilson invited the 70,000 plus people in the Georgia Dome to form small prayer bands throughout the auditorium and pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit. Since his election, he has also revived at least one church “tradition,” that of sharing The Great Controversy with our neighbors, by overseeing the mailing of this book to every household in the same zip code neighborhood as that in which the General Conference headquarters resides.

Two important leaders, each charged with shepherding a large flock of believers and steering a mammoth organizational structure and both using the same methods for realigning the believing body — a return to traditional religious values, a fostering of the importance of the church and its understanding of God’s grace/love, and an emphasis on the importance of prayer.

Several millennia ago, a group of leaders designed a statute in a secret meeting and then presented it to the king for approval. The organizers knew that once signed, the statute could never be revoked, and the king foolishly offered his seal of approval, thus prohibiting anyone from asking anything of any man or of God for thirty days save the king. Daniel, however, was not affected by this new law. He continued his daily routine of prayer before his opened window. And so it is today. Much behind-the-scene activity continues, little of which we are aware, but as Christians we need to be as open in our dealings as Daniel was to the world, balancing being harmless as doves with the wisdom of serpents.

We have a new invisible military, for example, building up forces in cyberspace. “Because the units are unseen, parliaments and publics [in over a score of nations] have not noticed the movement of these forces,” says Richard A. Clarke in Cyber War on page 257. Cyberspace contends with logic bombs, trapdoors, and unique strategies unavailable to yesterday’s generation of military leaders. It involves gateways, malware, and botnets, and, unknowingly, it has pulled many benign users of the Internet silently into its army. What is significant is that the use of these techniques is noiseless and sightless. No buildup of armies is seen, navies aren’t deployed, and troops aren’t obviously moved. Everything is done behind the tight security of passwords, eye scans, and armed guards, but it is warfare nonetheless. Ellen White also portrays Satan as a master of this type of invisible warfare:

The great master of evil conceals himself, working behind the scenes. He lays his plans with wonderful ingenuity, so arranging matters that men will not have time to think of the things of eternity. As his instruments do the work assigned them, he directs and controls. He gives all who will serve him plenty to do. He can keep mind and hand employed. He fills those under his guidance with ambitious hopes for worldly greatness.

Thus Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and he is succeeding in a way surprising even to himself. Men are straining every nerve to gain earthly treasure, but when eternal riches are offered them, they turn carelessly away. Very easily the enemy persuades them to renounce their supreme good. Satan hides Christ and heaven from their view, because they choose to have it so. Led by him, they worship the world and the things of the world. Too late they will find that they must stand before God without a fit preparation, to hear the words, “Depart from me,” and to be forever banished from the divine presence.

In his work Satan pretends to be very religious. He finds this the most effective way of carrying on the work he began in heaven. Under his guidance the Christian world has made void the law of God by tearing down the seventh-day Sabbath, and exalting in its stead a common working day. As men depart further and further from God, Satan is permitted to have power over the children of disobedience. He hurls destruction among men. There is calamity by land and sea. Property and life are destroyed by fire and flood. Satan resolves to charge this upon those who refuse to bow to the idol which he has set up. His agents point to Seventh-day Adventists as the cause of the trouble. “These people stand out in defiance of law,” they say. “They desecrate Sunday. Were they compelled to obey the law for Sunday observance, there would be a cessation of these terrible judgments.”

The civil power is called to the aid of the Church in persecuting those who keep holy the seventh day. The Church and the world are united in trampling upon God’s commandments, and those who obey these commandments they threaten with death. John declares, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The decree goes forth that no man shall be allowed to buy or sell save he that has the mark or the number of the Beast. (The Review & Herald, July 16, 1901; all emphasis supplied unless otherwise noted)

Strategic planning is the normal procedure for all money-making endeavors, and often this type of planning is secretive in order to stay ahead of the competition. This behind-the-scene, secret activity also occurs in many church activities. Evangelistic outreaches, for example, are planned months or years in advance, which is fine as long as no deliberate deception is involved in the planning and/or in the presentation of information. Satan does not work behind the scenes just to deceive the secular world alone; his methods are used in and against the church, as well, and probably some type of insider planning is occurring right now somewhere in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As recently as June 24, 2010, for example, the church openly admitted to the delegates during their orientation at the General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, that strict security had been observed in the materials sent to them prior to the convening of the session, and that tight security would continue to be in force during the session. No materials were allowed to be passed out in any hallway or in any room other than where the delegates were seated, and in order to be seated, passes were needed to advance beyond the many security guards always present. The delegates were told that in this way they would know for a surety that if any material was offered to them other than what was given to them in the business sessions it was not material sanctioned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church!

Addressing the tight security on materials sent to the delegates before the session, I ask you, why is it necessary to so carefully guard the business of the church so that the church at large has no idea what is to be voted on by the only true business session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists until after the fact? Preventing the agenda items from being known by the church body as a whole before the General Conference business sessions may not be listed as one of the specific strategies of Satan by Ellen White in the 1884 edition of The Great Controversy in the chapter entitled “The Snares of Satan,” but invisible, behind-the-scenes consultative activity is definitely his underlying method of working:

As the people of God approach the perils of the last days, Satan holds earnest consultation with his angels as to the most successful plan of overthrowing their faith. He sees that the popular churches are already lulled to sleep by his deceptive power. By pleasing sophistry and lying wonders he can continue to hold them under his control. Therefore he directs his angels to lay their snares especially for those who are looking for the second advent of Christ, and endeavoring to keep all the commandments of God.

Says the great deceiver: “We must watch those who are calling the attention of the people to the Sabbath of Jehovah; they will lead many to see the claims of the law of God; and the same light which reveals the true Sabbath, reveals also the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and shows that the last work for man’s salvation is now going forward. Hold the minds of the people in darkness till that work is ended, and we shall secure the world and the church also.

we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth, but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination, will cause their fall.” (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp.337, 339)

You should read the rest of Satan’s strategies listed in this chapter, but we must move on to the General Conference Session itself. Many people have written about the items discussed and voted on in the business sessions, and the Adventist Review has reported on each business session and their actions as well, so we plan to cover just a few items from the various sessions. Before we do, however, let us first consider an overview of the session.

Each business day started and ended with a spiritual emphasis sermon and/or a devotional, and sometimes there was a spiritual presentation at midday. Speakers included Mark Finley, Tara Vin Cross, Randy Roberts, Dennis Meier, Chris Oberg, John Ferguson, Steve Riley, Abraham Jules, Hyveth Williams, Dwight Nelson, Derek Morris, and Angel Rodriquez. Topics were assigned to each speaker with an emphasis on the theme of grace, topics such as “The God of Grace,” “Grace at Calvary,” “Grace and Forgiveness,” “Grace, Law, and Obedience,” “Grace and Reconciliation,” “Grace in the Sanctuary,” “Grace in the Manger,” and “Grace and Redemption.” In the varying styles of deliverance, we saw drama, emotion (including vigorous jumping up and down on the platform), and showmanship, but we also saw reservedness and quiet dignity, but in all little meat was presented for the body of believers to dwell upon. With such wonderful topics as these and others, we longed to hear clear explanations concerning the nature of Christ, the nature of sin, the final atonement, etc., but we were sadly disappointed. We were told, as might have been expected, that the atonement was completed at the cross, that sin is doing without God, that God condescended to become a man, that God takes up residence in the person of Jesus Christ, that the Almighty God became flesh, and that we need comprehension before compliance with God’s commands and understanding before obedience. At one of the Yes, Creation! seminars, we were exposed to the confusing comparison of “when the godhead said to the godhead” aligned with “the Father and the Son,” in a brief parenthetical comment on screen to explain, I assume, that the godhead is the Father and the godhead is also the Son. All of these comments should not surprise us, but it does cause us to reflect about how leading, intelligent men and women can be so illogical and unscriptural.

Past General Conference president, Jan Paulson, also addressed the delegates and told them that the word of God is the basis for everything we hold and that our doctrines stay with us and are a part of our spiritual personality. He also said, in connection with these thoughts, that our church is a dynamic community where many things change and that we must have the dexterity to move with the changes. We agree that the word of God must be the basis for all truth, including our doctrines which, as laid out by God in our early days, must continue down to the present day to be pillars for every believer worldwide, but it is obvious that the current Seventh-day Adventist Church has been very dexterous and has smoothly moved with the worldwide flow to the point that we have repudiated vital truths, including those concerning God himself and the ministry of Jesus in the sanctuary above. Standards of Christian behavior have also adjusted to fit more comfortably with current lifestyles worldwide.

In addition, Michael Ryan, a general vice president of the General Conference, stated from the platform that if it were possible for the early Adventist pioneers to be on the platform with him and look out over the auditorium as he was doing, they would weep and shout to the world that this church was not accomplished under man’s power but in the power of the Holy Spirit! Well, we agree the early pioneers would, if they could, look out and weep.

On six evenings of this 59th Session of the General Conference the thirteen worldwide divisions of the church presented glowing reports of their work around the world, and these individual reports culminated in the Parade of Nations Saturday evening before sunset. This parade can only be described as an abominable trampling down of the Sabbath. Groups of people were loudly clapping, cheering, and screaming, as representatives from their countries appeared on stage, carrying their national flags and wearing representative national dress. As each division was beginning its part of the parade, a video prepared by that division was shown on the large screens around the Dome. These were all choreographed to rock music or, as in the case of the South Pacific Division, The Hallelujah Chorus which was played with a very heavy beat. The atmosphere was one of a party and not an assembly suitable for the Sabbath. At the end of the presentation of the nations, a closing song was sung by people dressed in white with white wings as angels, a sight which must have made the holy angels weep.

We should next comment briefly upon the exhibit hall at the General Conference Session. Hundreds of booths promoted many projects and companies. Smyrna Gospel Ministries applied for a booth as soon as applications were accepted by the General Conference, but we were denied the opportunity to obtain one, with no explanation given. Bakers’ Flags & Emblems, however, which supplies flags, tourist goods, and T-shirts was granted a booth, as were IT Solutions (evidently a hardware and software development group), Canon Business Solutions, Office Depot, Reliv International, Sankofa Books, Stevens Van Lines, X20 Filtration, Simple Updates.com, and Stewart Church Signs. These all appear to be commercial, profit-making enterprises which offer no spiritual truth as an integral part of their business life, but we, who wished only to present the spiritual truths of the Bible and of our forefathers, were denied access. Incredible! It should also be mentioned that this exhibit hall was open both Sabbaths of the conference from 2 to 7 p.m., also incredible.

Information posted at the Adventist Review website, http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3510, states that it was decided at the Annual Council in October 2008 to appoint a small study group to determine if it would be beneficial to write a new Church Manual. A proposed, re-edited version of the Church Manual was the final result of this committee work, and all the additions, edits, deletions, etc., were presented to the delegates of the 59th General Conference business session for approval. It is also noted that a “full copy of the proposed, re-edited, version of the Church Manual was released to the Session delegates in mid May to allow them ample time to review the proposal before the discussion” was to take place. Since the Church Manual affects every member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, would it not have been more appropriate for the proposed, re-edited version to have been made available to all church members prior to discussion at the General Conference Session so that they could have expressed any concerns or agreements on these issues with their representative delegates prior to the vote? Nevertheless, this was not done, and the delegates on the floor had much to decide concerning the proposed new Church Manual without input from the grassroots.

We would like to commend Elders Mendosa and Trecartin, Chair and Secretary respectively of the Church Manual Standing Committee, on the manner in which they fielded questions and explained items to the delegates concerning the proposed changes. They were patient and kind, and were willing to take items back to the committee for further clarification. We are also happy to report that most of the time each chair was pleasant, forthright, and intelligent in the way they fielded difficulties and in how they tried to move the action along.

One of the first major points of discussion concerned the acceptance of the proposed wording for ordaining deaconesses — “Deaconesses may be ordained in divisions where the process has been approved by its executive committee.” Delegates from some countries were concerned that allowing the ordination of deaconesses would have negative consequences in their home fields. The rational given for the change was explained as a need for equality in the manual. We were told in the session that the Greek word translated deacon is the same Greek word that is also translated deaconess; therefore, if we ordain one, we need to allow for the ordination of the other. To begin with, the English word deaconess is not found in the King James or in the New King James version, but it is found in the Revised Standard Version for Romans 16:1: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae”. The Greek word translated in Romans 16 as deaconess is diakonon (the feminine form of diakonos), and this is the only New Testament usage of the feminine form of the word. More importantly, there is no biblical example of ordination for any diakonon (females). Ellen White does refer to the “seven deacons” of Acts 6 (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 90), but they are not called deacons in the Bible. These persons in Acts 6 were males set apart for their special ministry of service and gospel work by the laying on of hands and by prayer. This was not done simply because they were servants in a normal sense. The Bible says all Christians are called to serve or minister (1 Peter 4:10,11; same Greek root word), but we are all, obviously, not ordained.

Paul’s list of qualifications for deacons in 1Timothy 3 is also for males, as revealed not only by the Greek language and grammar but also by the logic of the text itself (they must be husbands of one wife, for example.).

The need to change the Church Manual on this issue in order to provide equality for both deacons and deaconesses seems to be weak reasoning because the Bible gives no example (even though the same Greek root word can be used for both males and females) of the feminine form of the word diakonos being used in connection with the laying on of hands or in connection with the counsel given to Timothy. So does the Church Manual really need to be changed? A quotation from Ellen White which was shared at the session by Elder Armando Miranda gives some insight: “Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some cases they will need to counsel with the church officers or the minister; but if they are devoted women, maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in the church. This is another means of strengthening and building up the church” (Review and Herald, July 9, 1895). This is good counsel. Women are a power for good as long as they maintain a vital connection with God, and we are in harmony with Ellen White’s counsel for the laying on of hands on women who are consecrated to God in the service of the sick, the young, and the poor, but since it is not a practice that can be sustained by Scripture, we are not in harmony with its inclusion in the Church Manual. We also think the Church Manual Committee has gone against the very words they asked the delegates to vote into placement in the introduction of the new Church Manual (and they did) which state: “The standards and practices of the Church are based upon the principles of the Holy Scriptures. These principles, underscored by the Spirit of Prophecy, are set forth in the Church Manual.” (Where is the scriptural principle of ordaining women?) After further discussion, however, the delegates voted to allow for the ordination of deaconesses to be included in the Church Manual. See http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3510.

Another issue that received much discussion and that called for the legal advice of Karnik Doukmetzian, lead counsel for the Office of General Counsel of the General Conference were two proposed additions to the Church Manual concerning ascending liability. The first proposal said: “No Church organization or institution assumes responsibility for the liabilities, debts, acts, or omissions of any other Church organization simply because of its Church affiliation,” and the second proposal stated: “When organizations review decisions of other organizations, they do not assume responsibility for the liabilities of any other organization.” After many comments and questions (including the sharing of thoughts that it did not seem appropriate for higher levels in the church organization to be supported by and to receive funds from lower levels and for those higher levels to even arrange for and/or approve of loans to lower levels in the general church structure to disengage itself from any responsibility for the activities of the lower levels), it was voted to refer the first proposal back to Church Manual Committee for clarification. The second proposal, however, was approved for inclusion in the Church Manual.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church includes a large corporation, with many levels of activity. Committees are a way of life, and decisions are not made quickly, but running throughout every level of activity is money. It is the fuel for the worldly engine, and at the World Session a financial report was presented by Elder Robert Lemon, Treasurer of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. We do not know if his report has been made available to the church body as a whole, but a bundle of reports and notes for the years 2005-2009 was provided to the delegates in their notebook of information. This bundle is the auditor’s report of the basic financial statements of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for those years. Also included in this 36-page packet of information were the combined schedules of financial position and activities for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists for the years 2009, 2008, and 2007. In addition to this document, a colorful 39-page Treasurer’s Report for the year 2010, which includes many graphs, was given to the delegates. Elder Lemon stated in his report to the delegates that the church is doing well financially. Total assets at the end of 2009 were $292,984,142, and total liabilities for the same period were $94,518,455, so we see the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a multimillion dollar organization in the black. Even though the reports are lengthy and convoluted, they are still surface reports. No where, for example, are we told in which companies the General Conference is investing tithe funds on the stock market. Even if the General Conference Session audit report is not the place to list such information, it and all other financial information should be freely and easily accessible to all.

We realize that Jesus counsels us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and we acknowledge this includes a judicial use of information and its presentation to others not of the Advent faith; however, in the work of the church on all its levels we advocate for complete openness and the clarity of crystal and for the opportunity for each member to decide for himself what he wishes to read and discuss without the control or sanction of leadership. May I remind you it was the church leadership that insisted (because of their huge financial investment in procuring the Dome) to the Georgia State Police that Smyrna Gospel Ministries representatives be limited to a very small number and be relegated to a spot as far away from Dome activity as was legally possible.

We have been told that the system Pope Benedict XVI and his body of cardinals head has always been engaged in a tremendous warfare against God’s people, that the powers of earth will unite under the head of the papacy, and that the ensuing war will culminate in the final persecution of God’s people (Revelation 17:14; 13:16; Great Controversy, page 604). Because Satan is the head of this evil organization, we know there is a massive build up of his strategic forces behind the scenes and an escalation of invisible religious warfare of every kind, aided and abetted by secret meetings, weapons of mass spiritual destruction, and the hissing and sputtering of natural forces. A fury hitherto unknown will soon be unleashed on an unsuspecting world, for Satan knows he also has just a short time in which to work. Neither the Papacy nor Satan works before open windows but in the shadows of the dark councils of the blackest of nights.

President Ted Wilson, on the other hand, has the golden opportunity to be as Daniel and open wide the windows of the stuffy General Conference headquarters for all of the church so that the Spirit of God can come in on a sweet, clean breeze and clean house, but we fear he will not have it so in spite of his Sabbath sermon on July 2 (more on that next month). The cost is too great, and the rudderless ship without chart or compass is too cumbersome to turn around. Onycha Holt

It’s Everywhere!

Polar bears in the Arctic, dolphins off the coast of Florida, and 98 percent of Americans, including pregnant women and some newborns, all have it, and once they have it, it stays with them, accumulating over a lifetime.

We are talking about PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and its chemical relatives, PFCs (perfluorinated compounds), just one class of the many toxic chemicals we are faced with every day. Even if companies stopped producing PFOA tomorrow, the millions of pounds of it already on earth would remain in the environment and in our bodies forever, according to Richard Wiles, executive director of the independent United States nonprofit consumer group Environmental Working Group, and he says “forever means infinity.” We are glad to report that one company, 3M, has stopped producing and selling a PFC substance they formerly produced in large quantities because, as Mr. Wiles states, 3M “realized they were contaminating the entire population.” So in 2000 they announced the discontinuation of their product, PFS (perfluorooctane sulphonate), but another major chemical company (DuPont), who originally bought PFS from 3M, continues to produce the PFC it needs (this time PFOA) for the production of the worldwide substance for which they hold all related patents, a substance which has changed the life of almost every one living today. That substance is Teflon, a brand name and registered trademark of E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company, based in Wilmington, Delaware.

This month our article on health will focus on the effect some of these chemicals has on our bodies and our environment.

PFOA is needed to produce Teflon, but it is considered by many scientists to be toxic and to cause birth defects, developmental problems, hormone disruption, and high cholesterol. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed PFOA as a “likely carcinogen,” and PFOA is found in every corner of the globe. It is durable, resistant to other chemicals, fireproof, nothing sticks to it, and nothing gets rid of it — not sunlight and not our stomach acids. Every molecule that has ever been created is still around and will be for the foreseeable future.

DuPont and nonstick cookware manufacturers are quick to belie consumer concerns about PFOA contamination from nonstick coatings on cookware, stating that the cookware goes through a curing process before it is sold to the public which burns off any remaining PFOA that might continue to be present in the coating, and some consumer agencies agree with them.

Consumer Reports, for example, stated in 2007: “Lab studies suggest that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in making nonstick coating, can cause cancer and birth defects in animals, and might pose a risk in humans. PFOA stays in the body for years and in the environment indefinitely. Working with a lab that specializes in PFOA, we bought nonstick pans from seven makers and repeatedly heated and washed some pans to simulate one, three, and six months of use. We then heated new and aged pans to 400° F, a cooking temperature well below the makers’ recommended maximum of 500° F, and measured PFOA in the air above the pans.

We found very little PFOA in the tested air samples. The highest level was about 100 times lower than levels that animal studies suggest are of concern for ongoing exposure to PFOA. With the aged pans, emissions were barely measurable.

Experts we consulted from government, industry, and environmental groups agree that the amounts of PFOA emitted by nonstick cookware probably don’t contribute much to your total PFOA exposure (the manufacture, use, and disposal of an array of products, including waterproof fabrics and electronic parts, can release PFOA into the environment). And research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests it’s very unlikely that significant amounts of PFOA migrate from pans into food. Still, it’s sensible to take a few precautions with nonstick cookware. Use ventilation when cooking, don’t put empty pans over very high heat, and toss pans that have started to flake. Flaking can cause uneven heating that might accelerate emissions” (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/kitchen/cookware-bakeware-cutlery/nonstick-pans-6-07/overview/0607_pans_ov_1.htm).

Chemistry World reported in 2005 the results of a test which showed “conclusively that no PFOA was extracted from commercially-obtained cookware under any of the conditions examined” (http://www.rsc.org/ chemistryworld/Issues/2005/September/Cooking.asp). (In all fairness, it should be noted that this test was conducted by DuPont scientists.)

As noted in Consumer Reports, the manufacture and use of nonstick coating on cookware is not the only source of possible PFOA contamination. It also gets into our environment as a breakdown product of the PFCs sprayed onto upholstery and rugs to make them stain resistant, for example. Food is another source. We eat from boxes and cartons containing chemical precursors that break down into PFOAs, such as ice cream cartons, pizza box liners, and microwave popcorn bags. Then there are personal care products that need to be slippery, like dental floss and cosmetics. If a source of PFOA is near a supply of drinking water, it can also contaminate it, as happened in Washington, West Virginia (near Parkersburg), the home of a major DuPont manufacturing site. But PFOAs are not the only contaminate to be concerned about when using Teflon-type nonstick cookware, self-cleaning ovens, and nonstick stove drip pans.

Teflon is a nonstick, stain-resistant, and durable material used in a variety of products but most commonly is associated with cookware. As noted, it is used for more than just cookware, though. It is used in many personal care products, such as lens coatings for eyeglasses and nail hardeners for nail polish, in clothing as a stain protector, and in carpets and other textiles to offer stain-resistance. Teflon is used in a number of automotive and industrial applications, including wiper blades and marine coatings, and in the semi-conductor and biotech manufacturing processes.

Bruce Lourie, in Slow Death by Rubber Duck, calls Teflon the world’s slipperiest substance, and so it is. When first discovered in 1938 by Dr. Roy Plunkett and his lab assistant, Jack Rebok, it seemed almost indestructible. His first experiments revealed that it melted at a temperature approaching red heat and it burned without residue and would etch glass in the process. It was insoluble in water, Freon, ether, acetone, and a host of other solvents. It was not degraded by prolonged exposure to sunlight, would not rot or swell in a moist environment, and was impervious to mold and fungus. It was first used to line equipment in the Manhattan Project during World War II, but by the early 1950s factory workers started to develop polymer fume fever and research birds and rats began to die when exposed to heated Teflon.

According to DuPont, “toxic particles start to form about 464 degrees F, and at 680 degrees F Teflon-coated pots and pans release numerous toxic gases, including known human carcinogens. There are now an increasing number of non-stick products (including broiling pans and oven interiors) that are used in such a way that they guarantee that higher than ‘normal’ cooking conditions will be reached. This is because broiling is a much higher-temperature method of cooking and when an oven interior is heated, the surface temperature of the oven becomes much hotter than a pan with food in it. The EWG [Environmental Working Group] report notes that non-stick stovetop drip pans (the trays that fit under the elements on electric stoves) can reach temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees F. At temperatures this high the non-stick coatings break down further and the noxious gases that are released include perfluoroisobutylene (PFIB), a relative of the World War II nerve gas phosgene” (Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things, pp. 86, 87). These gasses can be fatal to birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

A proper understanding of PFOAs and non-stick coatings is important to our health because on one hand we have big business and other agencies telling us that it is safe to use non-stick coatings in our kitchens and bathrooms, and on the other hand we have reports that the heating of non-stick substances to the temperatures encountered in the kitchen releases particulates and gasses that could very well be carcinogenic and have other adverse health problems. We also have the problem of body and environmental contamination as a result of the production of Teflon-type polymers and these contaminates are thought to never go away. So, what should we, as Christians, do to protect our health and our environment?

Smith and Lourie recommend:

1. Getting rid of that old non-stick frying pan, especially if it is scratched.

2. Avoiding greasy food and avoiding too much fast food — the pizza or microwavable popcorn packaging may be coated with PFCs. It is the PFC coating that keeps the wrappers from getting too soaked with grease or from falling apart in your hands while you are eating.

3. Reading the labels and avoiding consumer products with PFCs. PFCs such as Teflon can be found in an increasing number of consumer products, from cosmetics to windshield wiper fluid, so read the labels and avoid such products whenever you can.(Ibid., p. 268)

Also, wisegeek.com recommends using baked enamel or porcelain finished cookware for its non-stick properties instead of cooking on Teflon-like non-stick surfaces. You can also use stainless steel and cast iron cookware, and if the kitchen stove has non-stick drip pans and/or a self-cleaning oven, maintain adequate ventilation when cooking and to clean the oven choose a time when the kitchen is unoccupied and when plenty of ventilation can be used, such as the hood ventilator and ope n windows.

Another chemical substance prevalent in today’s world is tricolsan. Maybe you have seen it in the antibacterial soap in your bathroom, but it is also in toothpaste, underwear, towels, garden hoses, mattresses, sponges, shower curtains, phones, flooring, cutting boards, fabric, children’s toys, and more. It is in 1,200 brands of registered cosmetics (no data on the unregistered ones), shampoos, towelettes, the plastic handles of pizza cutters, chopsticks, steering wheels, hot tubs, etc. You can even “get a total triclosan bedroom, complete with pillows and pillow cases and slippers” (Ibid., p. 160)! Triclosan seems to be everywhere, and there is increasing evidence it is bioaccumulative and is persistent in nature. It is added to this diverse array of consumer products because of its antibacterial ability, but many of the formulations of triclosan contain either too little triclosan to be effective or contain it in a ratio that is not ideal for maintaining its germ-killing ability. This over-triclosanization is thought to be contributing to bacterial resistance or the rise of superbugs, and the American Medical Association has recommended against the use of antibacterial products in the home because of this antimicrobial resistance. Triclosan also builds up in animal and human fat tissues, has been detected in umbilical cord blood, in breast milk, in the urine of 75 percent of one test group, and is one of the most frequently detected compounds in American streams. What to do about it?

Smith and Lourie suggest:

1. Avoid products labeled as “antibacterial” that contain triclosan, and be wary of brand names such as Microban, Biofresh, Irgasan DP300, Lexol 300, Ser-Zac, or Cloxifermolum. Triclosan is sometimes labeled by its chemical name 5-chloro-2-(2.4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol.

2. Wash your hands the “old-fashioned” way with a good 30-second lather of soap and water.

3. Check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the Skin Deep Cosmetic database, and the Compact for Safe Cosmetics to find out what’s in your cosmetic products.

4. Check the Lesstoxicguide.ca and read labels to avoid hazardous household cleaners.

5. Reach for baking soda, borax or other natural household cleaners to clean the bathroom or kitchen.

6. Avoid products containing nanosilver and be wary of other nanoparticles, such nanozinc (which is found in many sunscreens). (Ibid. pp. 268, 269) Onycha Holt

Announcements: Due to limited space this month, “Christ Triumphant” part 2 will be published next month, as well as our Bible quiz on Job.  We want to apologize for the August issue being delivered to most homes late (as perhaps this issue also). We actually had the papers in the mail a little early, but, due to postal restructuring, the mailing times significantly increased this last month. We are praying for and seeking a solution. Thank you for your patience.

New Leadership

In the ancient halls of history moved a giant of a man, but he was fought at every step of the way, and he knew his time was limited. What could he accomplish in such a short space of time? On every hand were injustices to right, the defenseless to defend, and evil to force in retreat. He marched on, however, undeterred and unvanquished, and he shaped the world for all future generations.

It was impossible for him to change the system in just the three and one half years allotted to him. He had to establish, instead, a new system, a new way of doing and thinking. He was a King and his kingdom was being formed, not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit and not in the marble halls of the great leaders of his time but in the hidden recesses of earthen vessels, in the hallowed fallow ground where truth can be sown and nurtured.

Several decades ago in the laboratory halls of DuPont, a scientist and his assistant found a new substance lining a piece of equipment they were using in an experiment, and its discovery has changed literally everyone in our world. Following its patent, it has been used in nearly everything from the linings of pizza boxes to cosmetics and bullets, and it is virtually indestructible, but since that time this substance (or the production of it) has been linked to cancer, liver damage, reproductive problems, and birth defects. Only over time has its accumulative nature in the human body been brought to light, but as this knowledge was gained by DuPont, it was not shared with the workers exposed in the factory or with the community who drank the water contaminated by it. These manufacturing leaders walked the broad halls of history, yes, but they were halls of infamy.

Today a new leader walks the halls of future history, a leader claiming to be intent on reform and who also is limited by a few short years. What can one man do against what could be viewed as an overwhelming tide of evil? He is in charge of thirteen world divisions, all of which bring positive reports back to his desk of the far-reaching work done in their respective domains, done even under the most difficult of circumstances. Finances are flourishing in spite of economic uncertainty. His corporate base boasts one of the largest systems of schools and hospitals in the world, and it is also involved in many endeavors in various fields of service. All this growth, however, has created a major organization that is far more reaching in complexity and in geography than that of the great man who walked the dusty roads of history two thousand years ago. This corporation cannot be turned from its course easily, for it is too huge and cumbersome and includes more than sixteen million people. Daily two thousand nine hundred more people are added under its umbrella, but this leader has made a plea to his sixteen million to help him turn this great corporate ship toward a harbor of safety.

What is that harbor? Let us begin by looking at the history of this corporation. First of all, there is a General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and a General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. The first entity is commonly understood to be the top level of a hierarchy built upon the thirteen world divisions, the one hundred twelve union conferences and missions, and the five hundred seventy-two local conferences and missions (statistics as of 12-31-08) of the world church. There is also the unincorporated association, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in the state of Maryland. The corporation is what owns the trademarks of the church, (trademarks such as General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Adventist, etc.), and the Constitution and Bylaws of the General Conference states that the corporation “is a legal entity formed to serve the General Conference in carrying out its purposes.” This corporation is registered in the District of Columbia. Prior to this, the Adventist Church registered as a corporation in the state of Michigan, for the headquarters of the church were then in Battle Creek. Since the corporation was formed to serve the General Conference, it is the unincorporated association, that top echelon of leadership and power in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, that we wish to focus on next.

At the General Conference Session in 1901, the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church integrated the counsel for administrative reform by removing the office of the president of the General Conference and instituting, instead, a committee of twenty-five men to oversee the administration of the General Conference on the highest levels. As far back as 1897, Ellen White had stated “It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference” (Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, p. 29), and concerning the adoption of reform in 1901, she said that God and his angels had been at work at the General Conference Session to keep back the powers of darkness so that the work would be unhindered:

Who do you suppose has been among us since this Conference began? Who has kept away the objectionable features that generally appear in such a meeting? Who has walked up and down the aisles of this Tabernacle? — The God of heaven and his angels. And they did not come here to tear you in pieces, but to give you right and peaceable minds. They have been among us to work the works of God, to keep back the powers of darkness, that the work God designed should be done should not be hindered. The angels of God have been working among us.

If any people have reason to praise God, we have. Angels of God have been at work here. The Lord knew our needs, and sent us food which has given spiritual strength and light, showing us how we should work. We have been trying to organize the work on right lines. The Lord has sent his angels to minister unto us who are heirs of salvation, telling us how to carry the work forward. (General Conference Bulletin, April 25, 1901)  Onycha Holt

 To be continued)

Retiring General Conference Vice President Proclaims Heresy

“I believe I have heard heresy preached here . . . ” I said to a woman helping to host the Andrews University booth in the exhibition center at the 59th General Conference Session. She seemed in mortal shock trying to comprehend what I had just told her. Surely there has been a mistake: a retiring General Conference Vice President and one of the most famous preachers of the church teaching heresy? What heresy could possibly have been taught? Was the Sabbath denied? Was it declared that the dead speak to us? Was eternal hell proclaimed? None of these things had been said. In fact, in the entire congregation there was not a whisper of dissent or a cry of outrage. Why?

Before we continue I want share a story of something that happened a few years ago. My daughter Heidi was teaching a Sabbath School lesson to a young girl who had very little Bible training. This girl stated that she could understand something about God and that Jesus was his Son, but she could not understand what people had tried to tell her about the trinity and she wanted to know if my daughter could clarify this teaching. Heidi explained that the reason the trinity was hard to understand and a mystery was that it was not true, but rather a false invention of misguided men.

Preachers declare that the gospel should be simple enough for a child to understand. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:17). Ellen White adds:

His [Christ’s] words were simple and direct, and no one need look in the dictionary to ascertain his meaning. A child could comprehend his teaching. (Signs of the Times, July 8, 1889)

Sometimes in their zeal, preachers use words that are hard to understand and bring more confusion rather than clarification to the people. There are three words that come to my mind which exemplify this concept. Those three words are hypostasis, homoousion, and homoiousion. Perhaps you have never heard of these words before. You will notice the last two words differ in only one letter, the “i” or iota, in the Greek. Perhaps you have heard people say things like, “there is not one iota difference between the two” when comparing things very similar. The saying goes back almost 1700 years to the Council of Nicea that debated the nature of Jesus Christ with some using the term homoousion to help define their view while the others used the word homoiousion to help describe their view. Notice that the only difference is one “i.” in the middle of the word. Now while these words are, and have been, at the centers of some of the theological debates within Christianity, we do not have to define them today, but we will look at some vital concepts in such a manner that a child can understand them.

The concept of the trinity has been explained in different ways, using illustrations that come short of explaining anything properly. Based upon what I heard at the General Conference, I doubt that many Seventh-day Adventist really know or understand the teaching of the trinity and what it really means. The orthodox teaching of the trinity states that God is one Supreme Being but manifested in three persons called God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three “persons” are said to be co-equal, co-eternal, all powerful, and omniscient. If it were possible to remove one of these persons from this unity, the other “persons” would cease to be God.

This teaching should not be confused with a teaching called tritheism which states that there are three persons who are also three separate beings, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In this model each is fully God by himself without the need of the other. Tritheism is considered polytheism by the trinitarian and condemned as heresy. Tritheism might be illustrated by three non-interconnecting circles. This view of God has been, and is still, held by many Seventh-day Adventists thinking that it represents the trinity.

Trinitarianism should also not be confused with modalism or a teaching sometimes called, Jesus only. This doctrine teaches God has manifested himself in three different personalities but not simultaneously. This God would be the person of the Father in the Old Testament, Jesus during the incarnation, and now the Holy Spirit but never any two or three at the same time.

The Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, also known as volume 12 of the Adventist Bible Commentary Series, was authorized by the 1988 Annual Council of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when it met in Nairobi, Kenya. The Biblical Research Institute was to be “responsible for its preparation and overall content” (Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, p. x). This volume represents the theology of Adventism, the BRI and Andrews University. The section on the doctrine of God was written by Fernando L. Canale, Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Andrews University. Thus the section on God especially represents the thinking of Andrews University. Notice some of the statements from The Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology on the doctrine of God:

The oneness of God plays a decisive, systematic role in determining the referent for the biblical revelations about God. In other words, since the God of the Bible is one and not many, all the various revelations about Him presented throughout the Bible refer to the same, one divine reality and not to a plurality of divine beings. (Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, p. 121, all emphasis is supplied unless otherwise noted)

Though other interpretations have been suggested, when these references to God’s actions in the plural are understood as “plural of fullness,” it is possible to see that “a distinction in the divine Being [singular] with regard to a plurality of persons is here [Isaiah 6:8] represented as a germinal idea” (Hasel 65). (Ibid., p. 122)

In the being [singular] of God is an essential coprimordiality of three coequal, coeternal, nonoriginated persons. Moreover, Adventism conceives the idea of persons in its biblical sense, as referring to three individual centers of intelligence and action (Dederen 15). (Ibid., p. 150)

The danger of tritheism involved in this position becomes real when the oneness of God is reduced to a mere unity conceived in analogy to a human society or a fellowship of action. Beyond such a unity of action, however, it is necessary to envision God as the one single reality which, in the very acts by which He reveals Himself directly in history . . . (Ibid.)

These statements plainly declare that the official Adventist understanding of God is not Tritheism: three persons in three beings, but one being or substance manifested in three persons or “three individual centers of intelligence and action.”

When the book Questions on Doctrine was written, the authors were careful to state the doctrine of the trinity in such a way that its classical or orthodox view (one being, three persons) was presented. Interestingly at the 50th anniversary conference of the publishing of Questions on Doctrine, Dr. Colin Standish made a statement while on a question and answer panel promoting tritheism speaking of “mighty Gods.” To this statement, no questions were asked and no eyebrows were noticeably raised. However, I later asked evangelical researcher Kenneth Samples, the former protégée of Walter Martin, who was attending the conference what he thought of Standish’s statement. He expressed great disbelief that such a statement could be made.

Now let us go back to the question of heresy that we started with at the beginning of this article. During the General Conference, the church’s official television channel, Hope, did some live broadcasting segments in the exhibition hall at certain times of the day. A nice studio-type platform was arranged and presentations were made and interviews conducted. One day while I was visiting the exhibition hall, Mark Finley was beginning a question and answer session taking live questions from the audience. The first question asked what Bible texts could be used to show that the wearing of jewelry was wrong. To this Finley stated that he could give a long list of texts but to keep the answer short he stated that the principle to remember was that God was more interested in a clean heart than an outward appearance. It was interesting that he did not provide even a single text and did not answer the question. The next question was about the identity of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14. Finley stated that the one thing we knew about the 144,000 was that it could not be a literal number, and he said this despite Ellen White’s statement in which she declares, “The living saints, 144,000 in number”(Early Writings, p. 15).

Deciding that I should ask a question that might provoke thought, I raised my hand from the very back of the crowd not expecting to be recognized, but to my surprise Elder Finley called upon me. I asked if the trinity should be understood to be three persons in one being or three persons in three beings? Interesting, Finley, after quoting Matthew 28:19 and a few other texts plainly declared that God was three beings!

I immediately went to the Andrews University booth in the exhibition center and asked the woman mentioned earlier if I could speak to one of their theologians, for I was sure I had heard heresy! To her astonished question of where and by whom I told her that his picture was on their booth wall and pointed to Finley’s picture. This quickly produced one of the professors. I explained that I knew what was written in the Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology and asked if it or what I had just heard represented the truth on the trinity. The man seemed somewhat uncomfortable to have to say that a very popular General Conference Vice President was wrong and so he simply told me to believe the Handbook. “The Handbook is right,” he said.

What is the truth? Is God a trinity or a triune being, as some trinitarians claim, or are there really three “mighty gods” that act in such unity that they are to be considered as one? Instead of letting church creeds and councils decide for us, let us go to the word of God and see if the orthodox definition of the trinity is compatible with the Bible.

The trinity is defined in the Seventh-day Adventists’ statement of fundamentals as “one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons” (Fundamental Beliefs, statement #2). Now let us take this statement and see if it can be used in the Bible in the place of God. Paul writes:

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1Corinthians 8:6)

Here Paul says that the one God is the Father, not the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If the doctrine of the trinity was true, than we should be able to substitute the definition into the verse and it would make sense and read thus: “But to us there is but one [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit], the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” This of course does not make sense. Neither would John 17:3 make sense:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

Jesus speaks of two individuals whom we must know to have eternal life. Speaking to the Father (John 17:1), not himself and certainly not the Holy Spirit, Jesus says that it is life eternal to know this “only true God, and Jesus Christ.” God cannot be defined in these verses nor in other verses of the Bible to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These verses simply become nonsense.

The Bible teaches that in the beginning, God created all things by his Son, Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3. When God made man he said, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). So since God made all things by this Son Jesus Christ it is very clear that God said this to his Son. The testimony of Jesus fully agrees with this:

And now God said to His Son, “Let us make man in our image.” (The Story of Redemption, pp. 20, 21)

God here is clearly the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you have heard that the early Seventh-day Adventists were not trinitarian. They unanimously rejected the doctrine of the trinity. We are to be people of the atonement and the trinity makes no provision for Jesus to truly die for our sins. Since in the trinity he is just like God the Father and the Father cannot die, Jesus could not truly die either. Like his “role” as a son during the incarnation, his death in his role of salvation is not a reality.

This teaching destroys the love of God which is the great principle that motivates and stirs man into service for God. (See 1John 4:8-10, 19.) In the doctrine of the trinity, Jesus is not the son of God by “the inner structure of divine reality, but rather to the sphere of the accomplishment of the plan of salvation” (Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, p. 126). In other words, he is not the Son of God because he was begotten, but rather he is a Son in function or role playing for “the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.” This totally destroys the great love of God in giving his son for our sins. Trinitarianism, tritheism, and modalism all make no provision for Jesus to be the literal “only begotten Son” of God (John 3:16), thus taking the supreme love of God away from the sinner. In all of these models of God, either God or the person of Jesus plays the role of a son but is not to be considered a literal son. Yet, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. The most famous Bible text in the world records Jesus declaring himself to be the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16). When he was on trial for his life he would not deny that he was the Son of the living God (Matthew 26:62-64; Mark 14:61, 62). When asked by Jesus who the disciples thought that he was, Peter declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus affirmed this when he said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

The very first thing Paul preached was that Jesus “is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). Even the devils acknowledged that Jesus is the “Son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7).

While the Bible uses the expression “God the Father” thirteen times as a title for God (John 6:27; Galatians 1:1, 3; etc.) and Ellen White uses the expression over 100 times, there is no verse nor place in Ellen White’s writings where we find the expression, “God the Son.” Inspiration speaks of “the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25; Matthew 14:33; John 10:36; etc.) but never God the Son.

The same is true concerning the Holy Spirit. The expression “God the Holy Spirit” is never used in inspiration! However, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, his inner person and presence throughout the universe. (See Psalm 139:7; 1Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 10:20; Galatians 4:6; 2Corinthians 3:17.) The Bible speaks much of the Holy Spirit but never as a separate being, distinct from the Father or Son.

History testifies that the doctrine we today call the trinity did not exist until after three centuries from the time of Jesus. At the Catholic councils of Nicea (A D 325) and Constantinople (AD381), the framework for the trinity became orthodox within the papacy. But remember that to be orthodox simply means that the majority believe and accept the teaching and as Jesus said, the majority is always wrong when it comes to spiritual matters (Matthew 7:13, 14).

Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Beloved, we have been told:

We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history. (Life Sketches, p. 196)

During the crisis over Dr. Kellogg’s book, The Living Temple, Ellen White boldly declared that we should hold on to the faith that we “have held sacred for the past fifty years” (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, p. 61, 1905). Going back fifty years from 1905 we have 1855, eight years before the church was legally organized. There were no trinitarians or tritheists among those early believers. Furthermore Ellen White stated concerning the omega of deadly heresies:

The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. (Ibid., no.2, pp. 54, 55, 1904)

The fundamental principles of the first 50 years, as enumerated in the 1872 Declaration of the Fundamental Principles declared:

I. 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.

II. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father.

There is nothing here about a trinity despite Canale’s claim that this statement “affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity” (Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, p. 150). The North American Division however, in its book Issues declared the statement to be “distinctly non-Trinitarian” (Issues, p. 39)

If you further question the importance of knowing God and Jesus properly, remember that Jesus 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). Eternal life depends upon knowing God and Christ. Ellen White says:

A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.

This is the knowledge needed by all who are working for the uplifting of their fellow men. Transformation of character, purity of life, efficiency in service, adherence to correct principles, all depend upon a right knowledge of God. This knowledge is the essential preparation both for this life and for the life to come. (The Ministry of Healing, p. 409)

Furthermore, a denial of the sonship of Christ is also a denial of the fatherhood of God and this denial is the very spirit of antichrist that the Bible so straightly warns against:

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1John 2:22)

Beloved, Mark Finley, and even the BRI and Andrews University, may be confused about God, but you do not need to be confused. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, along with our Adventist pioneers, teach the truth about God and his Son. Even though the pioneers of Adventism, including John Andrews for whom Andrews University was named, would not be allowed to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church today due to their belief on God (Ministry magazine, October 1993, p. 10). Beloved, you can have your name written in heaven as one who knows your God and does great things for God. “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). Allen Stump

Youth’s Corner – Lessons From God’s Handiwork

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

The word of God and the things of nature around us are God’s lesson book. God encourages us to contemplate his works in the natural world. He desires that we shall turn our minds from the study of the artificial to the natural. We shall understand this better as we lift up our eyes to the hills of God, and contemplate the works which his own hands have created. His hand has molded the hills, and balanced them in their position, that they shall not be moved except at his command. The wind, the sun, the rain, the snow, and the ice are all ministers to do his will

By the Christian, God’s love and benevolence can be seen in every gift from his hands. The beauties of nature are a theme for contemplation. In studying the natural loveliness surrounding us, the mind is carried up through nature to the Author of all that is lovely. All the works of God are speaking to our senses, magnifying his power, exalting his wisdom. Every created thing has in it charms which interest the child of God, and mold his taste to regard these precious evidences of God’s love above the work of human skill.

In words of glowing fervor, the prophet magnifies God in his created works: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works.”

Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, who seem to think happiness and a cheerful countenance a sin, have not the genuine attributes of religion. Those who look upon nature’s beautiful scenery as they would upon a dead picture; who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful flowers; who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the language spoken to them by the natural world; who see no beauty in valleys clothed in living green, and grand mountain heights clothed with verdure; who close their senses to the joyful voice that speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear, – these are not in Christ. They are not walking in the light, but are gathering to themselves darkness and gloom, when they might just as well have the brightness and the blessing of the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in his beams.

God does not design that we shall take no pleasure in the things of his creation. He desires that we shall enjoy them. He has spread out before our senses the beauties of nature, and he watches with a Father’s joy the delight of his children in the beautiful things around them.

While on earth, the Redeemer of the world sought to make his lessons of instruction plain and simple, that all might comprehend them; and can we be surprised that he should choose the open air as his sanctuary, that he should desire to be surrounded by the works of his creation? True, he taught in the synagogues, but the largest part of his work was done, the greatest number of his lessons were given, in the open air. He had special reasons for resorting to the groves and the seaside. He could there have a commanding view of the landscape, and make use of objects and scenes with which those in humble life were familiar. The things which his own hand had made he took as his lesson book. He saw in them more than finite minds could comprehend. The birds, caroling forth their songs without a care, the flowers of the valley glowing in their beauty, the lily that reposed in its purity on the bosom of the lake, the lofty trees, the cultivated land, the waving grain, the barren soil, the tree that bore no fruit, the everlasting hills, the bubbling stream, the setting sun, tinting and gilding the heavens, – all these he employed to impress his hearers with divine truth. He connected the work of God’s finger in the heavens and upon the earth with the word of life. From these he drew his lessons of spiritual instruction. He would pluck the lilies, the flowers of the valley, and place them in the hands of the little children, as instructors to proclaim the truth of his word.

The root of the tree has a double office to fill. It is to hold fast by its tendrils to the earth, while it takes to itself the nourishment desired. Thus it is with the Christian. When his union with Christ, the parent stock, is complete, when he feeds upon him, currents of spiritual strength are given to him. Can the leaves of such a branch wither? – Never! As long as the soul reaches toward Christ, there is little danger that he will wilt, and droop, and decay. The temptations that may come in like a tempest will not uproot him. The true Christian draws his motives of action from his deep love for his Redeemer. His affection for his Master is true and holy. And it is the cheerful, lovable Christian of whom Christ says, “Ye are my witnesses.” Such a man is Christ’s representative; for he reflects Christ in his daily life. It is when he recedes from the light, that he cannot diffuse its bright beams to others.

The Spirit of God is constantly impressing the mind to seek for those things which alone will give peace and rest, – the higher, holier joys of heaven. Our Saviour is constantly at work, through influences seen and unseen, to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of this life to the priceless treasure which may be theirs in the immortal future. The beauties of nature have a tongue that speaks to us without ceasing. The open heart can be impressed with the love and glory of God, as seen in the works of his hand. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. There is a lesson in the sunbeam, and in the various objects of nature that God has presented to our view. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens,--all invite our attention and meditation, and bid us become acquainted with him who made them all. (Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, March 24, 1898 )

Report on Yes, Creation!

Though creation is not directly listed by Ellen White as a “pillar of our faith,” the three angels’ messages are, and in the heart of the first angel’s message is the truth of creation and the Sabbath. This is fundamental and an important and vital truth upon which we cannot compromise.

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7)

Though this is a question of the unrighteous Zophar to Job, inspiration sets its seal upon the validity of its truthfulness. (See The Great Controversy, page 343.) The finite creature can never fully understand or grasp the infinite God. While some things have been revealed to the children of men, there are many mysteries that man cannot fully understand. The creation of life and the origin of the earth are topics of interest to the finite mind of man. We are told of our creation as a fact in the book of Genesis. Genesis declares that this process took six literal days (Genesis 1). The Psalmist declares, concerning the Genesis creation:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:6, 9)

Bible chronology, as well as the Spirit of Prophecy, further tells us that this creation took place about six thousand years ago. Yet today there seems to be a great deal of so-called scientific evidence that this earth is billions of years old and that ancient forms of life have existed for millions of years. The theory of evolution, that the earth and life evolved over long periods of time, is accepted as the standard by almost all people with the Bible account regarded as either false and fictional or at best something allegorical. Even many professed Christians claim to believe in a combination of evolution and creation called theistic evolution. Theistic evolution teaches that there is a God but that he used the process of evolution to shape the earth and bring about life upon it. Are there spiritual implications to believing in evolution or theistic evolution? There surely are, and they are not good, as we shall see as we further investigate this subject.

Having been a strict creationist all my spiritual life, I was greatly interested in a series of presentations that were to be given at the 2010 General Conference by the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) entitled Yes, Creation! Tim Standish, PhD, of the GRI organized and moderated the series of presentations. Dr. Standish’s energy and enthusiasm for the subject of a literal, recent, six-day creation was contagious. There were several presenters who discussed various aspects of science and the reasons that science is not a closed book on the issue of creation. We have been told that:

True science and Bible religion are in perfect harmony. (Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, p. 336)

Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. (Education, p. 128)

Rightly understood, both the revelations of science and the experiences of life are in harmony with the testimony of Scripture to the constant working of God in nature. (Ibid., p. 130)

Yet today most of that which professes to be science does not claim to agree with the divine book, the Bible. A principle we must factor into our study is that “spiritual things are spiritually discerned” (The Desire of Ages, p. 55; see also 1Corinthians 2:13).

Thus we see that if a scientist desires to study the earth and life, it will be impossible for him to come to a totally correct position if he is not able to see matters from a spiritual perspective. In fact, science, as it is normally understood, cannot explain the work of creation. “The work of creation cannot be explained by science” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 414). Ellen White even boldly stated, “I have been shown that, without Bible history, geology can prove nothing” (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 88).

Ervin Taylor, PhD, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and executive publisher of Adventist Today wrote in his blog for May 20, 2010, that the GRI’s view of a recent, literal, six-day creation is “a scientifically bankrupt and theologically untenable view of earth history” (http://www.atoday.com/content/adventist-gri-scientists-need-our-understanding). This is not only an attack upon true science, but upon the Bible as well. Now I do not have any PhD in science or in any discipline of study, but I know from the word of God that a recent, literal, six-day creation is theologically sound despite what so-called science might teach.

As Dr. Standish is fond of saying, “Believing the Bible does not mean that we have all the answers, but the answers that we do have are very good.” Creationists do not claim to have answers for all the claims of pseudo-science. We do not expect to see all of the questions answered this side of the Lord’s coming, but there is a great deal of evidence that this earth is young (six thousand years) and that life is that same age. It is not, however, because of the scientific evidence that great scholars like Dr. Ariel Roth presents that I believe in creation. It is because of the word of God. The Bible declares it to be so. God spoke and it happened. As a Christian, God has given to me within his word evidence that it is inspired, truthful, and trustful.

The doctrine of creation has been under attack within Adventism, and this has been evidenced in many of our schools and especially at La Sierra University, where evolution is being taught. As Ervin Taylor pointed out, “Surveys have shown, the majority of Adventist scientists reject the traditional Adventist take on Young Life Creationism” (http://www.atoday.com/tragedy-and-travesty-%E2%80%9Ccelebration%E2%80%9D-adventist-creationism). Some Adventists have tried to compromise between creation and evolution with a position that the earth is very old, yet they maintain the Bible position that life is very young. Some have adopted a position of theistic evolution.

The Yes, Creation! lecture series was billed as promoting a recent, literal, six-day creation. All the presenters agreed that life on this earth is only about six thousand years old. There were at least two presentations that directly attacked the concept of theistic evolution and others that spoke against it, but there was no clear consensus concerning the age of the earth. Interestingly, at the Yes, Creation! lecture series a litmus test seemed to soon appear, as after each presentation questions from the attendees were entertained. The one question that surfaced at almost every meeting, unless a position had been clearly stated in the lecture, was if the speaker believed in an old or young earth.

Several did not state a position or held to an old earth position; however, there were some who braved the winds of liberalism and took an open and positive stand for a young earth model. The newly elected president of the General Conference, Ted Wilson, chairman of the GRI, spoke plainly in the belief of a young earth. Dr. Ariel Roth gave a convincing seven-point presentation as evidence of the young age of the earth and its life, and others, including Clifford Goldstein, gave indications that they believed the earth to be young also. Some of the points that Dr. Roth made include:

Erosion is so fast that the continents should not have endured the long geologic ages. Each year there are 24,000 million metric tons of erosion put into the streams and then into the oceans. In 10,000,000 years the continents should have been eroded. Even correcting for agriculture, the continents should have been eroded 100 times over in the proposed geological time.

The oceans should be full of sediments. According to the proposed geological time that evolution proposes, the oceans would be full of sediments with 30,000 meters covering the ocean floors instead of about 300 meters as deepest parts have (about 1% of what the model says).

Carbon 14 that is short lived, should not be in old rocks. Today carbon 14 has a half life of 5,730 years but that rate being constant through all ages is an assumption. There is some carbon 14 in rocks that should have been gone a long time ago. It would be like walking into a cave and seeing a candle burning and being told it has been burning for 5,000 years.

While one does not have to abandon science to believe the Bible, science does not have all the answers. For every enigma that the creationist gives to the evolutionist, the evolutionist can give, by some sources, ten to twenty enigmas back to the creationist. And so the evolutionist gives an argument that some of us have heard in other circles saying, “You should depend upon the weight of evidence!”

Our Worldview: Our worldview is very important to how we perceive “facts.” This determines my prejudices, biases and viewpoints from which I will begin work. Some models include:

Middle Ages (Catholic): The Bible and … the pope, reason, tradition, science, the natural world. Man becomes the deciding factor instead of the Bible. This method builds upon the sand and the Rock. This is the basis for theistic evolution. At least two of the fundamentals have been affected by this kind of thinking: Creation and the Resurrection. There was a call for an affirmation on creation at the 2010 General Conference, partly because our statement voted at the 1980 General Conference is weak:

God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

While this statement quotes the fourth commandment concerning six days, it does not mention or emphasis that they are literal days. It says nothing about a literal creation as opposed to evolution, and it says nothing about a recent (within six thousand years) creation. The reason it does not is because at least two of the people who were in charge of framing this fundamental, Richard Hammill and Lawrence Geraty, were, at least at that time, theistic evolutionists.

Our statement on the resurrection of Jesus does not say anything about the bodily resurrection of Jesus because of the influence of theistic evolutionists.

Protestant Worldview: The Bible Alone. We look at everything through the lens of the Bible to see truth. (Different lenses give different views.) This view accepts the Bible as the basis for understanding everything that it ever speaks about. This is building upon the Rock alone.

Modernism Worldview: Science Alone! The lens of science sees man only as a physical being, apart from God, and thus builds only upon the sand. The Bible is understood by the contemporary world which, being contemporary, is always changing and thus builds always upon the sand.

Post Modernism: No Absolute Truth. To see God, you must see man. What we as Christians fail to understand is that faith, not science, is our evidence. Notice Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not based even in good science but rather in the word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So let’s go back to the Bible account and see if it makes sense.

Is it recent? If one accepts the accounts of biblical chronology, the earth is about six thousand years old. It is simply a matter of doing the math. Ellen White also notes:

And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 93)

Ellen White also links the fall of Lucifer with the time of the creation of this world and declared in 1844 this time period to be almost six thousand years.

The great controversy between Christ and Satan, that has been carried on for almost six thousand years, is soon to close. (Signs of the Times, May 8, 1884)

Literal Six-day Creation: As we read Genesis 1:1-27, there is nothing in the language that would indicate that it is symbolic or anything but literal. God speaks and things happen. This is the account that David also gives (Psalm 33:6, 9). Within the language, there is evidence that we are speaking of a literal creation. To begin with, this is the first written communication of God to man concerning his history. How would you expect someone to address you that you do not know? Would that person address you in symbols and parables or straightforwardly? If God is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and he used long vast periods to create or evolve man, why did he not state it plainly as such?

But to Adventists, there is a waymark that should stand as an immutable bulwark against the false concept that the earth is billions of years old. That fortress is the fourth commandment which declares that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). The six-day literal creation account is not simply that of the life on the earth but of the earth itself, as well! Ellen White accepted the plain statements of the Bible and noted:

The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 112)

Even if we take the most broad and liberal reading of the Genesis text, there are two points that are worth noting:

1. Everything is precise and calculated in the manner in which it was done. There is no hint of randomness anywhere in the text.

2. All living plants and creatures are stated to be “after his” or “after their kind” and this holds true even to the time of the flood (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25, 6:20).

Evolution is based upon two main points: randomness and a common ancestor. The creation account denies evolution on its most basic levels. It is not random but well ordered, and it denies a common ancestor.

If we attempt to accept theistic evolution we now have to deal with the issue of trust. Can we, should we, trust God? If God did not tell us the straight truth on creation, how can we know he is telling us the straight truth on salvation, his second coming, heaven, and the new earth? This affects everything. If God used billions of years to create the earth, maybe he will use billions of years to recreate the earth. In 2Peter 3:2-13, Peter, under inspiration, declared he believed in a literal creation and that it is the scoffers that deny it.

Can we trust Jesus? Jesus accepted the account of creation literally. When once answering a question of the Pharisees, he said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). Jesus acknowledged the creation and its memorial as a fact. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

Furthermore, Jesus associated the death of Abel with the time near the beginning of the world. Notice his rebuke to the leaders of his day:

Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation [Greek: conception] of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. (Luke 11:49-51)

Associated with a literal six-day creation is the world-wide flood. Jesus also accepted a literal world-wide flood. Notice the exact language:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

Jesus did not say that a few from a local area were taken away but “all” were taken away!

The Apostle Paul also understood a literal creation when he spoke of Adam as a figure of him that was to come (Romans 5:14).

The issues of salvation and sin are also critical to this discussion. If God took millions of years to make man, does he need millions of years to make clean heart? How do we understand Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” if we do not believe in creation?

Evolution teaches that man evolved from lower forms to ape-like creatures and part of this process involved brutal cycles of killing, but 1Corinthians 15:26 says, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Yet, how can death be an enemy when it was one of God’s chosen means for creating humans? Theistic evolution would have you believe that God expended thousands, perhaps millions of generals of ape-like and substandard Homo sapiens before he developed one in his image. This has Jesus coming to save man from the very means he used to create him. There is no form of theistic evolution that is compatible with the Bible.

Another issue is how we relate this to sin and morality. When one of these so-called lower forms evolved into God’s image, did God at that time place a soul or spirit into this creature? What made the first Adam morally accountable and not his mother, if he is really the offspring of some animal? Theistic evolution has God using death and violence to create man and then man falls in violence from which he must be redeemed. How could that be logical and true? Was original sin simply that man did not evolve fast enough? What would this kind of philosophy say about God?

You might not think it matters what kind of God you serve, but it matters greatly! Does it matter what you think of your parents or your spouse? Do we believe in the God of creation or the God of evolution? Do we believe in a God who bodily resurrected Jesus Christ or one who raised a spirit influence?

As Ed Zinke astutely asked at the Yes, Creation! seminar, “What point does it become idolatry when we tinker with God and have a new god?” He continues:

For every class of humanity on earth he [God] has an umbrella large enough, but some are asking the church for an umbrella large enough to cover all of the gods. Adventist will cease to exist if it rejects the God who reveals himself to us in the Bible and Jesus Christ. If it rejects his activity in history as revealed in the Bible and Jesus Christ, if it accepts the ethic of the era of enlightenment and post modernism, but rejects the literal intent of the authority of [the] author of scripture, if it reinterprets biblical doctrine to fit the designer gods of the contemporary age, it will be the end of Adventist as a biblical world view.

Beloved, with a new god comes a new religion, and the old God and the old Adventism have to go. There is room enough under the umbrella for about every false god but no room for the old God of truth. The trinity and all the so-called enlightenment of science of our day have canceled out the true knowledge of God to many, but we can, and must, hold the line of truth about God and boldly, without shame or reservation, proclaim it to the world.

May our hearts be settled upon the truth of the God of creation, a doctrine grounded in the Scripture and not in the so-called science of men. We must decide if we will believe the Bible and inspiration first and foremost or the teachings of men? Likewise, we must decide if we believe in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, or in the traditions of men. After all, it is plainly admitted that “while no single scriptural passage states formally the doctrine of the Trinity, it is assumed as a fact by Bible writers and mentioned several times. Only by faith can we accept the existence of the Trinity” (Adventist Review, vol. 158, no. 31, p. 4).

So we must believe by faith something “assumed” when we accept the trinity. The same counsel concerning creation surely applies in principle to false speculative views of God:

It may be innocent to speculate beyond what God’s word has revealed, if our theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those who leave the word of God, and seek to account for His created works upon scientific principles, are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 113)

But, as in the doctrine of creation, it is safe to accept a plain “thus saith the LORD” concerning the truth about him and his only begotten Son. Allen Stump

Update on Abraham Hershberger’s Family

In the June 2010 issue of Old Paths we published a special article informing you of the destruction of Abraham Hershberger’s home and most of his family’s temporal goods.

Due to the blessing of God through his people, over $30,000 was donated and so the matching funds were all achieved and even more has been sent to help!

The Hershbergers are still living on the same property in a tent, but they have looked at a piece of property they hope to buy. They plan to continue camping until they can get property and build a house which they hope to be able to accomplish before winter sets in.

Please keep this dear family in prayer, and if you would still like to help, there are still more needs. Thank you so much for your help.?

Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.

Editor: Allen Stump - E-mail: editor@smyrna.org.
Associate Editor: Onycha Holt - E-mail Onycha@smyrna.org

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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013