Old Paths Masthead

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. 27, No.2 Straight and Narrow February 2018


Dog and Cat Friends.jpg

But love ye your enemies, and do good . . . (Luke 6:35)

In this issue:

Bryan and Darrow

2018 WV Camp Meeting

Youth's Corner

Divine Secrets for Life

Asia Mission Trip

 

Bryan and Darrow

The poet, Vachel Lindsay, was sixteen years old when William Jennings Bryan arrived in Chicago, Illinois, like “a tribe of wonders” and as “Nebraska’s shout of joy” to attend the National Democratic Convention in 1896, wearing “a coat like a deacon” and “a black Stetson hat” (Vachel Lindsay, “Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan”). And he was a wonder. His voice moved the delegates like no other had. His “Cross of Gold” speech was the greatest speech of the convention and one of the most powerful political speeches in American history. Bryan had a way with words, and he began his speech by calmly saying:

I would be presumptuous, indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were a mere measuring of abilities; but this is not a contest between persons. The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty—the cause of humanity.

And then the speech gained momentum and ended with the cheers of the delegates and with him being hoisted in the air and carried around the convention floor. And twenty-nine years later, Bryan was in Dayton, Tennessee, facing Clarence Darrow.

Fundamentalist Tennessee and the Scopes trial

It was July 20, 1925, the next to last day of the trial of John Thomas Scopes, and court proceedings had moved outside. The temperature was stifling in the upstairs courtroom, but the reason for moving outdoors was not the heat but the fact that the courtroom had been packed so tightly during the preceding days of the trial that the ceiling of the floor beneath the courtroom was cracking and dropping plaster, and the fire marshal was fearful of a cave-in. He ordered everyone out. People, especially reporters, rushed for a spot close to the bench in order to hear the proceedings. Reporters wrapped their arms around their typewriters and ran down the stairs, and then as each page was typed, it was dashed off to the telegraph office. Thus, page by page, the news of the Scopes trial was broadcast to the waiting nation. It was front page news for the New York Times each day of the trial.

No one could remember a defense attorney ever calling the prosecuting attorney of the same case to the witness stand, so when Darrow called Bryan to testify, the judge’s eyes “googled,” and Bryan’s “palm leaf fan froze in his hand” (L. Sprague de Camp, The Great Monkey Trial, p. 381). The judge granted the request only when Mr. Bryan agreed, and for nearly two hours Darrow interrogated Bryan about his knowledge of the Bible and of science and history. Bryan’s voice could have been heard by everyone in the courtyard, for he had a spectacular voice, but he had one great weakness. In dealing with scientific facts and with logic, he was often at a loss. He was affable and always seemed to have noble motives, and he was a noted politician, a fine lawyer, and an excellent orator. He had an unusual talent in the use of words and with passion created images in the minds of people in a way that the common person could understand; in fact, he was known as the great commoner, but logic and science? It seemed beyond him. But let’s back up.

In March 1925, the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate passed the Butler Act, and the governor of Tennessee, Austin Peay, then signed it into law. This act prohibited the teaching of evolution in any university or school financed by the state of Tennessee.

Darrow (left) and Bryan at the trial

“It shall be unlawful for any teacher . . . to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” (Butler Act, as quoted by de Camp, p. 2)

That same month, one of the miners at the Cumberland Coal and Iron Company in Dayton, Tennessee, accidentally drove his car, filled with family and friends, into the path of a train. His six-year-old son was killed, as well as three other people. Their combined funeral was held up in the hills of rural Dayton, and the mother of the boy was beside herself with grief.

As their fundamentalist preacher arrived, the boy’s mother was moaning:

“Oh, if I only knew he was with Jesus! If I only knew that!” (Ibid., p. 6)

Sternly, the preacher said: “I’ll not lie to you even to bring you peace. The ways of the Lord are His. You know and everybody here knows that this boy had never been baptized. He had never confessed Christ. There can be no doubt but that at this moment, he is in the flames of Hell” (Ibid.).

When someone reproached the preacher over his harsh words, he replied:

“I’m not a-going to lie for her or you or anybody. It is my duty to preach the word of God.” (Ibid.)

This was the fundamentalist thinking of Tennessee at the time, and fundamentalists comprised the majority of the state’s residents. They liked the Butler Act, but the Butler Act had not been tested in court. The American Civil Liberties Union advocated for its test, for they believed the law infringed on academic freedom. If the courts threw out the law as unconstitutional, it would be a victory not only for academic freedom but also for freedom of speech. So, on April 6, 1925, John Thomas Scopes, twenty-four years old and the new science teacher at Dayton High School, was arrested. He had agreed to be the defendant in the test case.

The 1920s were years of decided change in the United States. Chevrolet was beginning to outsell Ford, fashion was radically changing, organized crime and gang wars were intensifying, and the so-called missing links between modern man and his proclaimed ape-like forebears were thought to have been found. Insignificant laws inundated the legislatures, based on the whims of lawmaker and legislature alike. Carrying an ice cream cone in one’s pocket (in Lexington, Kentucky), catching fish from horseback (in the District of Columbia), wearing roller skates in a public bathroom (in Portland, Oregon), and sneezing on a train (in West Virginia) were among the things outlawed, and, as we noted in “The Great Last Days,”[1] bills were being introduced into Congress, restricting Sunday activities, but it is Bryan’s fundamentalist approach to evolution that we want to consider this month.

Evolution emerges in Tennessee

Evolution is “bunk, junk, and poppycock!” cried the evangelist Billy Sunday, while making simian leaps about his platform. (Ibid., p. 34)

. . . “that hell-born, Bible-destroying, deity-of-Christ denying, German rationalism known as evolution” . . . (Ibid., p. 33, quoting John Franklin Norris, pastor of First Baptist Church Fort Worth)

“The day is not distant,” roared evangelist Mordecai F. Ham of Louisville, Kentucky, “when you will be in the grip of the Red Terror and your children will be taught free love by the damnable theory of evolution.” (Ibid., p 34)

Fundamentalism of the early twentieth century “urged stricter enforcement of Prohibition, or condemned smoking, dancing, and card playing. Some demanded blue laws to compel strict Sabbath [i.e., Sunday] observance, denounced the use of tea or coffee, or decried the short skirt....However, the ape in the family tree remained their prime quarry. The crusaders and their followers came from all over the country and from all economic groups and levels” (Ibid.).

William Jennings Bryan

The most renowned, the most picturesque, and, in many ways, the most attractive of the fundamentalist leaders was William Jennings Bryan: lawyer, politician, orator, reformer, Sunday-school teacher, lecturer, journalist, editor, anti-liquor crusader, real-estate promoter, lobbyist, thrice-defeated candidate for President, one-time Secretary of State [under Woodrow Wilson], and prominent Presbyterian layman. (Ibid., p. 35)

And Bryan was the prominent member of the team that prosecuted Scopes.

In personality he was forceful, energetic, and opinionated, but also genial, kindly, generous, likable, and charming. A complete extrovert, he seems to have had no private or inner life; all was on the surface for the world to see. Although an intellectual absolutist—a black-and-white thinker—he showed a praiseworthy tolerance towards those who disagreed with him.

Bryan’s greatest asset was his voice: a clear, ringing, metallic baritone. In the days before electrical amplifiers, lesser orators had to pant and strain to hurl their words to distant hearers. Bryan simply opened that vast catfish mouth, like a portable cave of the winds. Without visible effort or shouting, he sent his mellow tones winging to the uttermost corners of the crowd. His words could clearly be heard blocks away, above the noise of traffic. . . .

Bryan was the greatest American orator of his time, or perhaps of any time. His speeches were highly “hearable,” in the sense that a piece of good writing is called “readable.” He spoke in neat sentences and tidy paragraphs, with elegant figures of speech and striking phrases. He used a language his hearers could understand. His tone, albeit serious, was lighted by gleams of folksy humor. His diction was marvelously precise without any effect of pedantry. His dialect—ordinary Midland General American—showed none of the phonetic slovenliness that has marked the speech of many other General American speakers like Willkie and Eisenhower.

As a speaker, Bryan radiated good-humored sincerity. Few who heard him could help liking him, even when he failed to sweep them away by his spate of words. He always made things simple. . . .[But] On a cold page of type, without the magic of Bryan’s voice to give them wings, his arguments seem puerile or downright idiotic. Almost every paragraph contains a major logical blunder. In any question of scientific fact, he was wholly at sea; but he never realized this . . . Although exposed to higher education, widely traveled, and fairly well read, Bryan could not cope with material facts or logical relationships. (Ibid, pp. 36, 37)

The failure, at times, to recognize one’s own weaknesses in thinking is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. This inability is cognitively based and is not due to a neurological disorder, such as might result from a traumatic brain injury. The Dunning-Kruger effect can be present when one thinks he or she has the upper hand in intelligence or knowledge but actually does not, or when one thinks the person to whom he or she is speaking is the one who lacks intelligence, when it is not so. We understand there are times when we do know more than the other person, but in a Dunning-Kruger scenario, the person who thinks he is in the know is not in the know and cannot understand that he is the one who lacks intelligence or competence in a field in which the person thinks he or she has skill. As Dunning and Kruger would say, one’s incompetence prevents one from perceiving he or she is incompetent. For the most part during the trial, Mr. Bryan was sharp and able to maneuver through the legal proceedings, but when it came to thinking logically about science, history, and even the Bible, de Camp describes him as being unable to do so, and this led to his terrible downfall before Mr. Darrow. It was a sorry mess, and we will consider it now, for it can help us to be better prepared for the time when we may be on the stand for our faith.

The fateful interview

Darrow began in easy, normal tones: “You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven’t you, Mr. Bryan?”[2]

Bryan, smiling, answered evenly and politely: “Yes, sir, I have tried to.” (p. 383)

If Bryan had any premonitions of doom, he hid them. To the watching reporters he seemed cheerful, self-confident, even jaunty. (p. 382)

Darrow asked for more details about his study of the Bible and asked if he had studied the interpretation of the Bible, to which Bryan answered:

“I have studied the Bible for about fifty years, or some time more than that. But, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was but a boy.” (p. 383)

Then Darrow moved from asking him about what he had done to what he believed:

“Do you claim that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?” (p. 383)

You and I know that many things in the Bible are symbolic and that we need wisdom to know whether the interpretation should be literal or symbolic. Bryan agreed that some things in the Bible are obviously symbolic, but he did not perceive where Darrow was leading. One of his main goals was to reveal Bryan’s interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.

“I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there. Some of the Bible is given illustratively; for instance: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.’ I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God’s people.” (pp. 383, 384)

Darrow pressed the point:

“But when you read that . . . the whale swallowed Jonah . . . how do you literally interpret that?”

Bryan smoothed out his black bow tie. “When I read that a big fish swallowed Jonah—it does not say whale.”

“Doesn’t it? Are you sure?”

“That is my recollection of it,” said Bryan. “A big fish, and I believe it. And I believe in a God who can make a whale and can make a man and can make both do what he pleases.”

“Mr. Bryan, doesn’t the New Testament say whale?”

“I am not sure . . . I [cannot] remember in my own mind what I read about it.” (p. 384)

Point to Ponder #1: We have to be sure. Was it a whale or a big fish? Remember, Darrow specified the New Testament. (See Matthew 12:40 and Jonah 1:17.)

Mr. Darrow goes on:

“Now, you say, the big fish swallowed Jonah, and he there remained—how long—three days, and then he spewed him upon the land. You believe that the big fish was made to swallow Jonah?”

“I am not prepared to say that; the Bible merely says it was done.”

“You don’t know whether it was the ordinary run of fish, or made for that purpose?”

“The Bible doesn’t say,[3] so I am not prepared to say.”

“But do you believe he made them—that he made such a fish and that it was big enough to swallow Jonah?” (p. 384)

Darrow continued to question Bryan, point by point, on Jonah’s experience and whether or not Bryan believed it. Then he turned to Joshua.

“Do you believe Joshua made the sun stand still?”

“I believe what the Bible says. I suppose you mean that the earth stood still?” (p. 385)

Again, we have to know what the Bible says. Was it the earth or the sun that stood still? (See Joshua 10: 12, 13.)

“The Bible,” persisted Darrow, “says Joshua commanded the sun to stand still for the purpose of lengthening the day, doesn’t it? And you believe it?”

“I do.”

“Do you believe at that time the entire sun went around the earth?”

“No, I believe that the earth goes around the sun.”

Darrow fingered a Bible. “Do you believe that the men who wrote it thought that the day could be lengthened or that the sun could be stopped?”

“I don’t know what they thought.”

“You don’t know?” (p. 385)

Now Darrow begins to question Bryan on the concept of inspiration.

Point to Ponder #2: We need to know how inspiration works, if we intend to defend our belief in the Bible.

“I think they wrote the fact without expressing their own thoughts.” (p. 385)

Mr. Darrow continues:

“Have you an opinion as to whether . . . Joshua thought the sun went around the earth or not?”

“I believe that he was inspired,” Bryan evaded, mopping his forehead.

“Can you answer my question?” . . .

“I believe that the Bible is inspired—an inspired author—whether one who wrote as he was directed to write understood the things he was writing about, I don’t know.”

“Whoever inspired it—do you think whoever inspired it believed that the sun went around the earth?”

“I believe it was inspired by the Almighty, and he may have used language that could be understood at the time.” (p. 387)

Darrow then asked:

“So . . . it might have been subject to construction, might it not?”

“It might have been used in language that could be understood then.”

“That means it is subject to construction?”

“That is your construction.” . . .

Darrow persisted: “Is it your opinion that passage was subject to construction?”

“Well,” said Bryan, “I think anybody can put his own construction upon it, but I do not mean that necessarily that is a correct construction.”

“Don’t you believe that, in order to lengthen the day, it would have been construed that the earth stood still?…If the day was lengthened by stopping either the earth or the sun, it must have been the earth?”

“Well,” said Bryan cautiously, “I should say so.”

“Yes?”

“But it was language that was understood at that time; and we now know that the sun stood still as it was with the earth.”

Darrow said, “We know also the sun does not stand still?” (pp. 387, 388)

And then he moved to the flood:

“You believe the story of the Flood to be a literal interpretation?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When was that Flood?”

“I wouldn’t attempt to fix the date.”

“About 4004 B.C.?”

Point to Ponder #3: Do you understand the chronology of the Bible and know approximately when the flood was?

“That has been the estimate of a man that is accepted today. I would not say it is accurate.” (Bryan and Darrow had both confused Bishop Usher’s date for the Flood with his date for the Creation.)

“But what do you think that the Bible itself says? Don’t you know how it was arrived at?”

“I never made a calculation.” . . .

“From the generations of man?”

“I would not want to say that.”

“What do you think?” . . .

“How long ago was the Flood, Mr. Bryan?” (pp. 390, 392)

After several interrupted discussions, it was finally agreed that the date of the flood was 2,348 BC, as Usher had calculated, but during these discussions, Darrow argued that historical evidence proved that the civilizations of China and Egypt, at least, predated the flood and, therefore, the flood could not have been universal and could not have destroyed all the people and animals. The same type of argument, a local versus a universal flood, continues today.

Point to Ponder #4: Was the flood universal? If you believe the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, it was. There is no question about it. Please remember that only those who squarely put their faith in the Bible will endure the last final test.

“Don’t you know there are any number of civilizations that are traced back to more than five thousand years?” asked Darrow, implying that the Bible cannot be true. (p. 393)

“You believe that every civilization of the earth and every living thing, except possibly the fishes, that came out of the Ark, were wiped out by the Flood? . . . And then, whatever human beings, including all the tribes that inhabited the world and have inhabited the world, and who run their pedigree straight back, and all the animals have come on to the earth since the Flood?”

“Yes.”

“Within 4,200 years? Do you know a scientific man on the face of the earth that believes any such thing?”…

“Don’t you know that the ancient civilizations of China are six or seven thousand years old, at the very least? . . . Have you any idea how old the Egyptian civilization is?” (pp. 394, 396)

And so Mr. Darrow ridiculed Bryan’s belief in the Bible. He asked questions about the ages of other religions, about the tower of Babel and the development of the languages, and about the length of the creation day. He also asked him if there was any scientist in the world that he thought “much of,” and Bryan answered:

“I will give you George M. Price,[4] for instance.” Price was the Seventh-day Adventist who wrote The New Geology. (p. 402)

Darrow responded:

“You mention Price because he is the only human being in the world, so far as you know, that signs his name as a geologist that believes like you do?” (p. 402)

When the prosecution objected to this statement, Darrow explained: “He has quoted a man that every scientist in this country knows is a mountebank and a pretender and not a geologist at all” (p. 402).

And for “two hours, the celebrated attorney kept his foe on edge with a cascade of short queries about the trustworthiness of Scripture” (Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, p. 292). Then Darrow came to the most important question of all—“Do you think the earth was made in six days” (de Camp, p. 403)?

“Not six days of twenty-four hours.”

“Doesn’t it say so?”

“No, sir.”

There were startled gasps among the Fundamentalists …

Darrow and the other defense lawyers stared incredulously at Bryan. The crowd sat in stunned silence. . . . [Bryan] had admitted, in effect, that the Creation story of Genesis could not be taken literally. The whole purpose of the Butler Act had been to enshrine the literal reading of Genesis by forbidding the teaching of aught to the contrary. . . .

Pale and trembling, he rose, shaking his fist above his head. In a hoarse voice he shouted:

“The purpose [of this interrogation] is to cast ridicule on everybody who believes in the Bible, and I am perfectly willing that the world shall know that these gentlemen have no other purpose than ridiculing every person who believes in the Bible! . . . I am simply trying to protect the word of God against the greatest atheist or agnostic in the United States! (Prolonged applause.) I want the papers to know I am not afraid to get on the stand in front of him and let him do his worst. I want the world to know that agnosticism is trying to force agnosticism on our colleges and on our schools, and the people of Tennessee will not permit it to be done.”

This time the applause when on and on…(pp.403, 404)

After the applause subsided, the defense responded:

Mr. Bryan is produced as a witness because he is a student of the Bible, and he presumably understands what the Bible means. He is one of the foremost students in the United States, and we hope to show by Mr. Bryan, who is a student of the Bible, what the Bible really means in connection with evolution. Mr. Bryan has already stated that the world is not merely six thousand years old, and that is very helpful to us… (pp. 403, 404)

The people in the courtyard were swayed by Mr. Bryan’s passionate defense of the Bible, but Mr. Darrow began his slow, methodical questioning again. This time he focused on Eve being created from Adam’s rib, on Cain’s wife, on the length of a creation day (again), and on the serpent and the curse of sin; and by the end of these questions, coupled with Bryan’s loss of stamina, the audience began to move its support to Darrow.

“Mr. Bryan, do you believe that the first woman was Eve?”

“Yes.” Bryan’s voice was faint, his look downcast. His fire had gone.

“Do you believe she was literally made out of Adam’s rib?”

“I do.” The voice was lower yet.

“Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?”

“No, sir; I leave the agnostics to hunt for her.”

“You have never found out?” (p. 406)

Mr. Darrow then shifted the line of questioning to creation.

“Does the statement, ‘The morning and the evening were the first day,’ and ‘The morning and the evening were the second day,’ mean anything to you?”

“I do not think it necessarily means a twenty-four-hour day.”

“You do not?”

“No.”

“What do you consider it to be?”

Wearily, Bryan replied: “I have not attempted to explain it. If you will take the second chapter—let me have the book.” He took a Bible and opened it. “The fourth verse of the second chapter says: ‘These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,’ the word ‘day’ there in the very next chapter is used to describe a period. I do not see that there is any necessity for construing the words: ‘the evening and the morning,’ as meaning necessarily a twenty-four-hour day, ‘in the day when the Lord made the heaven and the earth.’” (pp. 406, 407)

And so the examination continued on the meaning of a day during creation and how there could be an evening and morning without the sun, which was not created until the fourth day.

Brothers and sisters, the Sabbath will be the point of contention in the last great test, not the length of a creation day, but if your faith can be undermined on any of the points that Darrow raised, then your faith in the unbroken binding nature of the Sabbath can also be undermined, and the people at your trial will not be cheering you with applause, as Bryan and Darrow experienced, but with calls for your death. As the hymn asks, how will you stand in that great day?

The examination by Mr. Darrow ended, and he “started for home followed by a friendly throng” (p. 410), and Mr. Bryan stood “alone except for a single admirer” (p. 410). Could that person have been Charles S. Longacre, the great Seventh-day Adventist proponent of religious liberty? We do not know, but Longacre was there. His biographer records:

Elder Longacre had known Bryan for a number of years, and since they were good friends, they sat next to each other during the [Scopes] trial. The last day of the hearings was unusually hot, and during the arguments both Bryan and Longacre pulled off their black alpaca coats in order to keep cool. The coats were identical in appearance, and somehow they got them mixed. When the session was over, Bryan put on Longacre’s coat and Longacre put on Bryan’s. (Nathaniel Krum, Charles S. Longacre: Champion of Religious Liberty, pp. 64, 65)

Darrow was known for having stated that the Bible was “not a book of science. Never was and was never meant to be” (As quoted by Kazin, p. 287), and he built his defense of Scopes around the seeming inconsistencies of the Bible. He sought to undermine the Bible and, by so doing, to bring down the Butler Act. Strategies included introducing into the record written statements from biblical scholars and from well known scientists, and his crowning act was to obtain the testimony of the most celebrated American statesman and orator of the time, a man also considered to be the most important fundamentalist leader. Cross examination was methodical and dispassionate. It was well-planned and executed step-by-logical-step and led to the ultimate goal of Bryan discrediting the fundamentalist view of the Bible. Darrow’s logic and his thinking skills had to outshine Bryan’s oratory skills and had to overcome Bryan’s natural camaraderie with the people. Darrow’s aim was to break Bryan on the stand, and Bryan did appear foolish. Darrow seemed to have won the day and was accompanied at the end by well-wishers who supported his cause; whereas, Bryan seemed alone and dispirited. One reporter described it this way:

A memorable scene was enacted yesterday afternoon beneath the great maples that canopy the yard of the Rhea County courthouse. On a platform, where was convened the trial of John T. Scopes, Clarence Darrow placed William Jennings Bryan on the witness stand, and what followed was an event in the intellectual history of the world. It was magnificent and tragic, stirring and pathetic, and above all it was pervaded by the atmosphere of grandeur which befitted the death grapple between two great ideas.

Two old men, one eloquent, magnetic and passionate, the other cold, impassive and philosophical, met as the champions of these ideas and as remorselessly as the jaws of a rock crusher upon the crumbling mass of limestone, one of these old men caught and ground the other between his massive erudition and his ruthless logic. Let there be no doubt about that. Bryan was broken, if ever a man was broken. Darrow never spared him. It was masterly, but it was pitiful.

It was profoundly moving. To see this wonderful man, for after all, he was wonderful, this man whose silver voice and majestic mien had stirred millions, to see him humbled and humiliated before the vast crowd which had come to adore him, was sheer tragedy, nothing less. (Paul Y. Anderson in an article for St. Louis Labor, July 21, 1925; as quoted by de Camp, p. 413)

A touching report, but only one man’s report, for four days later, on July 25, 1925, Bryan was upbeat and amiable; and, according to The New York Times, he spoke to fifty thousand people at the Franklin County fairgrounds in Winchester, Tennessee, closing with these words on the theory of evolution:

I challenge you to find a single place in the whole process of evolution where you can say, “Here man became endowed with the hope and promise of immortality.” Their doctrine doesn’t find God…They can’t point you to heaven; they can’t point to a beginning, and they deny the greatest feature in the Christian religion, and that is that one can be born again.…The world’s hope rests on the belief that a man can be born again. And that is why we labor. We labor not as those who have no hope; we labor because we believe in the only hopeful gospel in the world. And evolution strikes at the very foundation of all revealed religion.…

I have no fear of the outcome, for I believe that the Bible is the word of God, and I believe that Christ is the only begotten Son of God. And I believe that the world needs the word of Christ today more than it ever has needed before.

My friends, look at the last war. How are you going to get rid of war? The scientists don’t help you. The scientists are the ones who mix the poisonous gases and make the liquid fire.

A man came into my office when I was Secretary of State and told me about a contract he had to make three million shells for the Allies. He said “I have to guarantee that they will burst into 112 pieces. If they don’t, I don’t get pay for them.” He went away, and I didn’t see him for several years. One day, in Florida, a man telephoned me and asked if he could bring out some friends. Among these friends was a man, who said, “Mr. Bryan, you may not remember me, but I came to the State Department when you were there. I had a contract for the Allies.” I said, “Was that shells?” “Yes.” “Did you have to guarantee that they would burst into 112 pieces?” “Yes.” And he said, “What a memory that man has!” I said, “It wasn’t my memory. That was the bloodiest thing I ever heard of, selling shells guaranteed to burst into 112 pieces, tearing through human flesh.”

Yes, science has shown us how to kill people, but science doesn’t teach us any brotherly love to keep us from killing people. You have got to have religion, and the Christian religion is the only religion and right now, when the world is suffering from an intelligence unconsecrated by love, there is no one to save except one reared in a carpenter shop. And when the world needs Christ, if I can help it, they shall not bring him down from his throne on high and make him just a man, and they will not drag man down and make him just a brute, thus making our Christ a descendant of a brute. They shall not take from him the glory of virgin birth; they shall not rob him of the majesty of his mission or the triumph of his resurrection. Nobody else than Christ can do what the world needs. His philosophy fits into every human life. His philosophy is for everybody everywhere, and he has promised to be with us even until the end of the world. His teachings, and his teachings alone, can solve the problems that vex our heart and perplex the world.[5]

And the next day, William Jennings Bryan was dead. The last public testimony he ever gave affirmed his faith and his desire to uphold his Lord and Saviour as the only answer to the great need of the world.

Now, it is true Bryan lacked in certain areas of his testimony and had reason to be dismayed with himself. He was bungling when it came to things scientific and historical, and lacking even in his understanding of the Bible. His standard answer to many questions was the effect of I do not know or I have not studied that. Now, it is true he did not know he would be called to the witness stand and, therefore, had not prepared a defense, but that does not have to be true for us. We know the broad outlines of the future and that we may be called to the witness stand. Bryan had a just cause to defend, and so do we, but he was undermined by his lack of elementary knowledge about the world in which he lived. We know that Christ’s vast army of workers need not have a degree in anything, but, if we can, we should have, at least, a basic knowledge of history (for it will be repeated), of true science (God is its author), of ancient civilizations (many are in the Scriptures), of proper language usage (Jesus taught the people with words that touched hearts), and of mathematics (the Bible uses it extensively). If we are not versed in any of these subjects, however, we need not be dismayed. If God lives in our hearts, we speak with the language of love. What other language do we need? When God lives in our hearts, the Wisdom of the Ages walks with us and guides us each step of the way and will give us the answers for our faith, when we need them. Who could ask for more?

But let’s get back to the trial.

Star witnesses

Among the experts chosen to present written testimonies for the defense were:

1. Rabbi Herman Rosenwasser, who “pointed out [supposed] errors and mistranslations in the King James Bible” (de Camp p. 378). By documenting these errors, the defense sought to prove that one cannot take every word of the Bible literally. We discuss Rosenwasser below.

2. Dr. Shailer Mathews, dean of the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, who was expected to prove “that Genesis contained two contradictory accounts of the Creation and, moreover, could not and should not be used as a scientific textbook” (p. 374).

It is true Genesis 1 and 2 are not the type of science we expect today, in the sense that they do not give us the details of anatomy and physiology of man and beast, the details of botany and of the starry heavens, etc., but the chapters are a factual account of the events of creation and are trustworthy and not contradictory.

3. Herbert E. Murkett, of the First Methodist Church of Chattanooga, who “stressed the allegorical nature of Genesis. The Bible, he asserted, did not say just how God ‘made’ man” (p. 378).

Genesis is not an allegory, and it does say how God made man—he made him in his image. The details given are that the Lord formed man out of the dust of the earth and he, himself, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This was a personal creation that leaves no room for man to have evolved from a one-celled organism, as magnificent as they are in their own rights. God fashioned man. That is what the Hebrew word translated formed can mean. God fashioned all the intricate parts of man and formed them together into his crowning act of creation. It is an insult to our Creator to say otherwise.

4. “Dr. Kirtley F. Mather, geologist of Harvard University, who showed how the structure of the rocks indicated the immense age of the earth, the manner in which its surface had changed over the eons, how mountains had been formed and worn down, and how glacial ice had advanced and retreated. He, too, told of the fossil sub-men—‘missing links’ no longer missing—and argued that one could at the same time be an evolutionist and a Christian” (p. 375).

Please consider Ariel Roth’s seventeen slide presentations on creation and evolution for an in depth explanation of the geological layers.[6]

5. “Wilbur A. Nelson, the state geologist of Tennessee, who discussed the building up and tearing down of the rocks that gave the land of Tennessee its modern form” (p. 378).

6. “Dr. Jacob G. Lipman, soil chemist and bacteriologist of Rutgers University, who described the chemistry of bacteria and other micro-örganisms, the chemistry of the higher organisms that evolved from these, and the record of these chemical reactions in the rocks” (p. 378).

I am not sure how Dr. Lipman explained this chemistry, but I do know that Drs. Williams and Rickaby of Oxford University, both chemists, acknowledge they do not know how life supposedly evolved:

In passing it is sometimes asked if life could have arisen elsewhere. There are two separate issues. We do not have any clear idea how the great complexity of life on Earth arose. Even the very first forms of life we postulate are very complex, as we have indicated above by reference to general organism chemistry, organic and inorganic. It seems to have arisen once on Earth. Thus we do not know how to estimate the probability of it being found on another planet. Secondly we have no certain knowledge of the environmental requirements for life. . . . The idea that we can detect life resembling life on Earth by analyses of elements in objects, in the residues of meteorites, or on the surfaces of planets may well be misleading when we appreciate the demands of the life which have existed or do now exist on Earth. We will see that life has always required close to 20 elements in selected amounts. (Robert Joseph Paton Williams and Rosalind Rickaby, Evolution’s Destiny: Co-evolving Chemistry of the Environment and Life, p. 90; emphasis supplied)

It is amazing that they admit they have no clear idea how life arose, but they still believe it evolved. The elements necessary for life are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, and iodine—nineteen in all, and to think that intelligent minds believe all nineteen combined randomly and of themselves in just the right amounts, in just the right order, and in just the right environment to form a living cell is difficult. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the very hand of God. He did not speak us into existence. Of his own hands he made us. This should leave no doubt in our minds about our origin.

7 & 8. Dr. Winterton C. Curtis, a zoölogist from the University of Missouri and Dr. Maynard M. Metcalf, a zoölogist from Johns Hopkins University, and Metcalf believing that evolution did not contradict “an enlightened view of Christianity” (p. 378).

All were famous and knowledgeable people of their day. All were admired by many as experts in their fields, but all discredited, in one way or another, the word of God. They were deceived, no matter how logical their reasoning appeared to be. The mastermind of all deception had control of their minds, and they did not even know it. That is like the Dunning-Kruger effect at the highest academic level!

Let us now more closely examine the teaching of one of these scholars.

Rabbi Herman Rosenwasser

Rabbi Herman Rosenwasser spoke fluent English, German, Yiddish, Hungarian, and Hebrew, and was well versed in Latin, Greek, Chaldaic, French, and Italian, and he provided the defense with a written statement about some of the supposed mistranslations of the Hebrew scriptures into English. He first discussed the Hebrew word bara, translated into English as create, and then wrote of the meanings of the four Hebrew words translated man.

He explained that the Hebrew word adam, for example, means a living organism, human or animal, that contains blood; and, therefore, the use of adam cannot be restricted to humans. According to him, the use of adam in Genesis 1 and 2 supports the understanding that either humans are descended from the original human, Adam, a living organism containing blood, OR or are descended from a lower order of animals, which are also living organisms containing blood. Rosenwasser believed that because adam has this dual application, no conflict exists between evolution and the biblical account of creation. Does this explanation impress you? It shouldn’t. As knowledgeable as the rabbi was in languages, especially Hebrew, he did not include Genesis 1:26 in his written testimony. Since we are made in the image of God and since God certainly had not previously evolved from a lower order of anything, we can be sure we haven’t either.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

We also read in the New Testament, which admittedly Rosenwasser did not accept as inspired: “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). In case you are inclined to interpret this verse to mean “one blood” after we evolved into humankind, please consider the fact that absolutely nowhere in the Bible is any kind of a physical evolution of man or other living creature taught. In fact, the opposite is taught. Everything reproduced after its own kind (Genesis 1:12, 21, 24). One might also think, There is no reason to deny the truthfulness of something just because it is not in the Bible, and this is true. Many physical laws are not mentioned in the Bible, but we accept them as true. The fact that an idea or a concept (such as evolution) is not mentioned in the Bible does not, of itself, make that concept false. It could be true, and its truthfulness has to be determined in the best ways known to man; however, we can, with certainty, know that whatever is in the Bible is true and that whatsoever contradicts the Bible is false. The record of creation is contained in the Bible. The Bible tells us we were made in the image of God. Evolution contradicts this; therefore, we know it is false. It is as simple as that.

Brothers and sisters, only an absolute faith in what the Bible says will sustain us during the time of Jacob’s trouble. We cannot waffle on different parts of what the Bible says or on the edges of truth to suit the so-called science of the day. We are all for science, for logic, and for reasonable thinking, but if any of it contradicts the Bible, then it is “science, falsely so-called”:

An enlightened judgment compels us to acknowledge that heavenly things are superior to the things of earth, and yet the depraved heart of man leads him to give precedence to the things of the world. The opinions of great men, the theories of science, falsely so-called, are blended with the truths of Holy Writ. (Ellen White, Christian Education, p. 79; emphasis supplied)

When an idea contradicts the Bible, we know man is wrong and God is right. Yes, the supposed dating of Egyptian civilization predates the flood by many years, but I know there is something wrong in the dating, not in the Bible, and I may not know where the calculations are wrong. I do not have to. There is no way any of us can understand every aspect of research data and know where it is wrong. Even if we are experts in one or more fields of study, we still have a more sure word to depend upon, and that is the sure word of prophecy. When the Bible and secular knowledge collide, we must cling to the Bible by faith and realize that a day is coming when all will be made plain. We have enough substance upon which to base our faith, but all doubt will not be removed to keep us there.

The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it. It requires discernment to distinguish the voice of God. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 258)

Thomas Stuart Ferguson

Thomas Ferguson was a lawyer turned researcher and explorer, and his personal quest led him to the jungles near the shore of western Laguna de Términos in Campeche, Mexico. As his guide hacked a path through the undergrowth, an astonishing world opened before him.

“We have explored four days and have found eight pyramids and many lesser structures and there are more at every turn. . . . Hundreds and possibly several thousand people must have lived here anciently This site has never been explored before.” (Thomas Ferguson, as quoted by Lizzie Wade, “The Believer,” Science, 19 January 2018, p. 264)

That was 1948, and Ferguson was excited. His one compelling desire was to prove the accuracy of the history revealed in The Book of Mormon, and so he spearheaded expeditions in Campeche and Chiapas and unearthed traces of the region’s earliest complex societies. He established an archaeological institution in the area that continues research activities. Mesoamerican archaeology has been transformed by his unrelenting passion to document his faith. But it couldn’t be documented. By 1975 Ferguson realized The Book of Mormon was a fake:

In 1975, he submitted a paper to a symposium about Book of Mormon geography, outlining the failure of archaeologists to find Old World plants, animals, metals, and scripts in Mesoamerica. “The real implication of the paper,” he wrote in a letter the following year, “is that you can’t set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere—because it is fictional.” (Ibid., p. 268)

The science of archeology marched against Ferguson’s faith, and faith lost. Ferguson chose scientific truth over a deceptive faith. Darrow marched against the Butler Act and hoped to prove to the world that science was far more trustworthy than the claims of Christianity, which he considered to be deceptive and harmful. Ferguson’s faith, however, was not a true faith, which is always based on the Bible.[7] The Book of Mormon is a masterful lie of Satan, and Ferguson was man enough to admit it is a work of fiction. When Darrow attacked Bryan’s faith, Bryan was tossed about as a raft upon an unsettled sea. We know Bryan was wrong on the length of a creation day, but, on a personal level, he was able to continue his fight against evolution, speaking to a large crowd just a few days after his testimony at the Scopes trial. Though his knowledge of the Bible was lacking, we can be glad Bryan espoused two immensely important pillars—the Bible is the word of God and Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. Even true science cannot surpass these precious truths!

We may face our own Darrows one day, and we cannot falter like Bryan did. We cannot compromise our faith, and we cannot be wrong about any of the truths of the Bible, for, if we are on the Lord’s side at that time, we will have no guile in our mouths. At the same time, we can deal gently with those in the past who understood not the great truths which we have been called upon to lift before the world, for God alone is their judge. They were not summoned to duty by the last urgent trumpet, sounding through the camp of spiritual Israel: Get ready, get ready, get ready.

The word of God is plain. It is a straight chain of truth, and will prove an anchor to those who are willing to receive it, even if they have to sacrifice their cherished fables. It will save them from the terrible delusions of these perilous times. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 345)

Let us follow the injunction of Peter: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Brothers and sisters, whatever storm you may have to weather, let the Rock of the ages pilot you. He will save you from the powerful delusions of science, of history, and of every other philosophy and is able to present you faultless before the throne of God.

Onycha Holt

[1]. December 2017 issue of Old Paths

[2]. The following section is taken from parts of de Camp, pp. 382–404, unless otherwise noted. The particular page numbers in de Camp are in parentheses.

[3]. The Bible says the LORD “prepared a great fish” (Jonah 1:17).

[4]. Among his many duties, he was professor of geology at Pacific Union College 1920–1922. (Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, vol. M–Z, p. 382)

[5]. “The Last Speech of William Jennings Bryan,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 2 (September 1947), pp. 282, 283; emphasis supplied

[6]. Some are available at https://www.slideshare.net/arielroth/10-fascinating-fossils-11697556. You may also find his videos on Youtube interesting, and his books are of value.

[7]. True faith comes from the word of God (Romans 10:17).


 

2018 West Virginia Camp Meeting

We are very pleased to announce that the theme for the 2018 West Virginia camp meeting is prophecy. We will especially be focusing upon the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.

The camp will be scheduled in two parts. The evening meetings will be for the public, as well as for our believers. These meetings will focus upon the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and Revelation 13. There will be an emphasis upon these prophecies as they highlight the second coming of Jesus and the Sabbath issue, leading up to and including the mark of the beast.

The morning and afternoon meetings will cover other various prophecies, and the topics can be seen in the accompanying table. We have been told:

The book of Revelation, in connection with the book of Daniel, especially demands study. Let every God-fearing teacher consider how most clearly to comprehend and to present the gospel that our Saviour came in person to make known to His servant John—“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” Revelation 1:1. None should become discouraged in the study of the Revelation because of its apparently mystical symbols. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” James 1:5. (Ellen White, Education, p. 191)

Concerning the book of Revelation, we also have this counsel:

The last book of the New Testament scriptures is full of truth that we need to understand. (Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 133)

The unfulfilled predictions of the book of Revelation are soon to be fulfilled. This prophecy is now to be studied with diligence by the people of God and should be clearly understood. It does not conceal the truth; it clearly forewarns, telling us what will be in the future. (Ellen White, Last Day Events, pp. 15, 16)

The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God’s people. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 302)

Some of the speakers will include Thomas Akens, Elvis Alberto, Jean-Christophe Bolotte, Onycha Holt, David Sims, Allen Stump, and Andy Whitehurst.

As always, we are planning meetings for the youth and we encourage all to come. This will be the nineteenth camp meeting we have had at Smyrna, and each year we have said, Perhaps this will be the last before the work closes up. Perhaps this will be the last camp. We remember what Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth:

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)

We believe this will be a camp meeting that will help strengthen our people in the prophecies and prepare them for the events ahead.

While we are planning to broadcast the meetings live over the Internet, as well as by telephone conference,. we encourage all who can possibly be here to attend in person. Last year we had broadcast problems on the very first meeting, and various types of problems still happen, so please do not trust the broadcasts to provide you access to the meetings. Furthermore, there is nothing like being here in person. We only have this camp meeting once a year and while there are other meetings worth attending, I know that these meetings will be meetings of truth, truth that will agree with the threefold witness of the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the pioneers.

It is important that the members of our churches should attend our camp meetings. The enemies of truth are many; and because our numbers are few, we should present as strong a front as possible. Individually you need the benefits of the meeting, and God calls upon you to number one in the ranks of truth.

Some will say: “It is expensive to travel, and it would be better for us to save the money and give it for the advancement of the work where it is so much needed.” Do not reason in this way; God calls upon you to take your place among the rank and file of His people. Strengthen the meeting all you possibly can by being present with your families. Put forth extra exertion to attend the gathering of God’s people.

Brethren and sisters, it would be far better for you to let your business suffer than to neglect the opportunity of hearing the message God has for you. Make no excuse that will keep you from gaining every spiritual advantage possible. You need every ray of light. You need to become qualified to give a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. You cannot afford to lose one such privilege. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 38, 39)

There is plenty of camping space at Smyrna, and we have showers and toilet facilities, as well. There will be a fellowship meal provided on Sabbath afternoon. Camp stoves are fine in the camping area, but open fires are not allowed.

Please bring your Bibles and all the temporal things you will need. We have a limited supply of sleeping bags and camping supplies, for those who lack them and cannot acquire them. If you need some of these things, please contact us early to reserve them.

Almost each year we have from five to fifteen people who come early to help us set up camp and to get an extra weekend of spiritual blessing. If you would like to come to help, please let us know, and we will do all we can to make your stay as nice as we can.

Allen Stump

Tentative Camp Meeting Program

Time

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Sabbath

6:00–6:25

Camp Set-up

Prayer Band in the Chapel

6:30–7:30

Chains of Prophecy and Biblical Hermeneutics

Isaiah 58 and Health Reform

The Omega

Living in the Time of the Investigative Judgment

7:30–9:00

Break

9:00–10:15

Daniel 8:14; 9

Daniel 8:14; 9

Communion

Signs of the Times

10:15–11:00

Break

11:00–12:15

Revelation 17

Revelation 18

Daniel 11, 12

Ezekiel 8 & 9 –
The Seal of God

12:15–2:15

Break

2:15–3:30

The Seven Seals

The Seven Trumpets

The Seven Plagues

Panel Discussion

Baptism

Testimonies

3:30–4:00

Break

4:00–5:00

Youth Classes

Youth Classes

Youth Classes

5:00–6:30

Break

6:30–6:45

Song Service

Song Service

Song Service

Song Service

Song Service

6:45–7:30

Testimonies

Testimonies

Testimonies

Testimonies

Testimonies

7:30–8:45

Daniel 2 and the 2nd Coming

Daniel 7, 8

Revelation 13

The Golden Clasp

The Mark of the Beast


Youth’s Corner —The Voyage of the “Messenger”

(Chapter 6 of Cannibals and Head-Hunters of the South Seas by Charles H. Watson, published in 1926 by the Review and Herald Publishing Association)

Scarcely had the rugged cliffs of Pitcairn sunk from view when a big bank of black clouds made its appearance on the western horizon. Night was coming on, and the seas began to roll high. The wind increased till it blew a furious gale, and the most violent storm ever experienced by any of the islanders aboard burst upon the leaky vessel.

The same storm swept the island they had just left, and caused fearful damage on the land. The wives of the men aboard feared that the little craft could not live in such a sea as they saw rolling in upon the island, and gave them up for lost. But God, who controls both wind and wave, brought them through to safety.

All through that dreadful night they drove furiously before the wind, tossed from the heights of the mountainous waves to the depths of the troughs between, but no life was lost.

Four days later they reached Mangareva, where a week was spent vainly endeavoring to stop the leaks in the timbers of the little craft. Finally it was decided to sail for Tahiti, 900 miles farther from their island home. So once more the sails were spread, and they glided out onto the wide sea, with nothing between them and destruction but the battered planks of the leaking ship that they had hewn from the trees of lonely Pitcairn.

All went well during the first day, but as night came on, the wind changed and blew a moderate gale, against which they were compelled to beat about for twenty-one days, when they found themselves within 250 miles of Tahiti. But their troubles began to multiply. The violence of the wind greatly increased until it blew with hurricane force, driving them with all sails down far away from their destination. Thirty-six hours later, when they were able to take their bearings, they found themselves still being driven southward toward the Austral Islands, and 500 miles from Tahiti.

The sea was lashed into foam by the terrific violence of the wind. Mountainous waves rushed upon them like ravenous wolves panting for their destruction. They mounted up to heaven, they went down into the depths. They cried unto the Lord for deliverance, and the Lord heard their cry and delivered them.

While the storm was at its height, a huge column of water was seen coming directly upon them. It came with tremendous velocity to within a few yards of the ship, when its course was changed as if by some mighty power, and they were saved. Truly, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” When the hurricane ceased, they discovered that they were midway between Pitcairn and Tahiti, and almost 300 miles from Tubuai, an island of the Austral group.

The Messenger.pngBy this time provisions were running low, and the supply of fresh water was almost exhausted. They were much perplexed to know in which direction to steer, but just then a fair wind sprang up and blew steadily toward Tahiti. All doubt was thus swept from their minds. Joyously they shook out the white sails in the favoring breeze, and again committing their ways to God, turned the prow of their frail bark once more toward their desired haven.

Five days and nights passed, and then the mountains of Tahiti were seen afar off; but with the long-sought harbor before their eyes, while they were eating the last morsel of food and drinking the last bucket of fresh water, the wind suddenly dropped, and they were utterly unable to bring the boat to land.

Again the Lord was merciful, and mindful of their state, brought them the help they needed. The harbor master had sighted them, and curious to learn what “queer craft” had come to his shores, went out in his motor launch, and hearing their story, took them in tow and brought them to a safe anchorage within the harbor.

They had been forty-four days on the ocean in a leaky vessel, had weathered two terrific storms, and with food and drinking water all gone, had at last been brought safely through to their destination. For all this they heartily praised God, and then went to work to repair the brave little “Messenger.”

A full two months was occupied in stopping the leaks and repairing the damage done by the storms. New steering gear and masts were placed in the vessel, and then bidding good-by to their many friends and well-wishers at Tahiti, they sailed away upon a sunlit sea, anxious to relieve the fears of their loved ones on far-away Pitcairn.

But as the sun went down, a storm gathered, and before sail could be shortened, the wind burst with cyclonic fury upon them, splitting the mainsail from top to bottom and beating them back from their course.

With all possible speed the ship was put about for the safety of the harbor, and when day broke she was seen struggling through the opening in the reef. As she was brought once more to her moorings, a wealthy merchant’s wife came to inquire the reason for their return. The story was soon told. At once this good lady took Mr. Adams and his crew to her home, and there supplied them with canvas and rope and twine with which to make another sail. When the new sail was ready, the “Messenger” turned courageously toward the open sea, and weighing her anchor, started once more on her long voyage home.

In the meantime anxious hearts on Pitcairn were watching daily from the tallest cliffs and the loftiest trees for the first glimpse of the returning “Messenger.” At last her sails were espied far out at sea. Every man, woman, and child instantly hurried to the landing, eager to be the first to welcome the voyagers, and to learn if all had returned and were safe.

With what joy they at last hailed their ship as she cast anchor once more in Bounty Bay! With what pride, too, they regarded her as they learned of her remarkable seaworthiness! And with what deep gratitude wives and mothers received back their loved ones from the perils of the deep!

The story told, all gathered to give God thanks for His wondrous love and care. And as the “Messenger” rode at anchor near the place where her timbers were grown, the old hills rang again with the praises of the people, joyously sung to Him who had brought their loved ones back from the dangers of their adventurous voyage.


Divine Secrets for Life

Psalm 16

A lot of the articles in Old Paths are theological and deal with issues specific to Adventism; yet, we realize that there are basic facets of our Christian life that are also fundamental to others outside of the scope of Adventism. The following article is more pastoral than it is theological, but it is one we believe will be a blessing. It is based on a sermon presented at the Smyrna Chapel in January of this year.

1. Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

3. But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

5. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16)

The Sixteenth Psalm is an expression of the total happiness that is the result of a complete submission to God. David’s writing progresses from the thought of God as his only protector to the declaration of faith in everlasting life. The psalm ends with a prophecy of the Messiah.

The psalm is divided into six stanzas.

Stanza 1 — The secret of a life of trust—I trust in him

Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. (Psalm 16:1)

David’s trust, or his faith, was in God. Jesus instructs us to “have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). There is no other place in which we may confidently place our faith. Jesus went on to explain how faith in God can become an active force:

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:23, 24)

When we are in trouble, we are to run to God, as if our lives depended upon him, for they do!

Paul says that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). How do you see something invisible? Seems impossible, doesn’t it? But faith is seeing the unseen, not with our eyes but with our minds, and knowing in our hearts that if God has promised something, it is as true as God is true. The world says, If I can see it, I will believe it. But the Christian says, Since I believe (have faith) it, I can see it.

In the United States a person who follows Christ is usually called a Christian. I am sure this is true everywhere one goes, to a degree. Several years ago, as I started to visit with Christians in eastern Europe, I heard Christians primarily called believers. Believers believe, or have faith, and true faith is grounded in the promises of God’s word.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

This faith is so important that we are told in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please” God.

Believers can trust God for all of their temporal and spiritual needs. Jesus said:

Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:25–29)

Jesus goes on to say that those who worry about these matters have “little faith” (Matthew 6:30). We can trust and know by faith that God will provide for all of our temporal needs and will preserve us.

When David, under inspiration, wrote, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Psalm 16:1), he was teaching all future generations that they can ask God to honor his word and that God will preserve those who trust in him.

But more important than our physical needs are our spiritual needs, and God has promised to provide for them. Peter writes:

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

When in difficult trials, we are tempted to think that we are forsaken of God and that God is far from us, but we have been told:

God is pleased when we keep our faces turned toward the Sun of Righteousness....When we are in trouble and pressed down with anxieties, the Lord is near, and He bids us cast all our care upon Him, because He cares for us. (Ellen White, Our Father Cares, p. 17; ellipsis in original)

There is not a person who is without trials and troubles. In fact, nearly all the great characters of the Bible, at one time or another, endured difficult trials that could easily have brought discouragement, but God has promised to send help just when it is needed.

“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” [1 John 5:4.] It is faith that enables us to look beyond the present, with its burdens and cares, to the great hereafter, where all that now perplexes us shall be made plain. Faith sees Jesus standing as our Mediator at the right hand of God. Faith beholds the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Faith sees the robe and crown prepared for the overcomer, and hears the song of the redeemed. (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, pp. 259, 260)

Stanza 2 — The secret of a surrendered life—I belong to him

O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; (Psalm 16:2)

David is declaring that God is his lord and none other. Furthermore, God is the source of all good, and David is proclaiming that God is his only source of goodness and, therefore, the only object of his trust and devotion.

God was David’s lord because David realized that he was the creature of God’s creation. As Psalm 100:3 states:

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

We are not our own. We did not create ourselves; God has made us. In the oldest book of the Bible, we read God’s question to Job:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. (Job 38:4)

Then, in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 2:10 proclaims, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” From the beginning to the end of the Old Testament and then in the New Testament, we read that God is our creator and that we owe him our love and allegiance.

Though created in the image of God, man has fallen and of himself is totally depraved and unable to do any good. Isaiah even mentions the so-called right doings of mankind, declaring them to be nothing but filthy rags:

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

Paul says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

And taking note from the Old Testament, Paul states:[1]

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:11, 12)

Writing about this in his classic book, Christ and His Righteousness, Elder E. J. Waggoner penned:

But it is not simply in one particular that men have failed. They have come short in every particular. “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Not only so, but it is impossible for fallen man, with his weakened power, to do even a single act that is up to the perfect standard. This proposition needs no further proof than a restatement of the fact that the law is the measure of God’s righteousness. Surely there are none so presumptuous as to claim that any act of their lives has been or could be as good as if done by the Lord Himself. Everyone must say with the Psalmist, “My goodness extendeth not to Thee.” Ps. 16:2. (E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 53)

We owe God our total being. We are to lay all of our lives, our plans, and our goals at his feet for examination. Paul explains in Romans 6 the depth that our surrender must be:

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)

Just as fully and totally as a person has formally yielded to sin and Satan, he or she is to now fully and totally yield to God and surrender all of his or her life to him. Jesus told the truth, when he said: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). A man or woman will not be able to serve two masters. We will either fully surrender to Satan or fully surrender to Christ, and to whom we surrender determines the nature of the outcome of that surrender.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Yielding to Satan leads to death, but fully surrendering to Christ leads to obedience unto righteousness and eternal life.[2]

Beloved, we may think we can serve both Christ and the world but in the end, it must be 100% or nothing! We shall gain all or lose all.

God will accept nothing less than unreserved surrender. Half-hearted, sinful, professing Christians would spoil heaven, were they permitted to enter. They would stir up a second rebellion there. Those who know the truth, yet do not exalt the Author of truth, will never enter the city of God. Heaven would be purgatory to them, because they know nothing of the high, holy principles that govern the members of the royal family above. (Ellen White, The Southern Watchman, June 11, 1903; all emphasis in this article supplied unless otherwise noted)

God wants you to surrender all of your life to him and be his tool for only righteousness. If you do this, you will be great in the kingdom of God. Greatness in God’s kingdom is not based upon our fame or the deeds we may have done. The following short story explains this well.

A prominent Japanese Christian leader arrived in San Francisco for an extended lecture tour. A news reporter commented to the man that he had been referred to as “the greatest Christian in the world.” The Japanese visitor responded, “I do not know who is the greatest Christian in God’s sight. It may be a poor, unknown woman living in the slums of Tokyo.” The man knew that in God’s sight greatness is not determined by fame or the conditions under which one lives but by character and surrender to God’s will and purpose. (Herschel H. Hobbs, My Favorite Illustrations, p. 43)

Goodness only comes from God. We have no hope of success without divine aid but with it, every trial and temptation may become a victory!

In this conflict of righteousness against unrighteousness, we can be successful only by divine aid. Our finite will must be brought into submission to the will of the Infinite; the human will must be blended with the divine. This will bring the Holy Spirit to our aid; and every conquest will tend to the recovery of God’s purchased possession, to the restoration of His image in the soul. (Ellen White, Our High Calling, p. 153)

Stanza 3 — The secret of a separated life—I side with him

But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. (Psalm 16:3, 4)

Just like the three angels’ messages, Psalm 16 is also a separation message. In fact, the whole Bible is a separation message. The word of God teaches the believer to separate truth from error, righteousness from sin, and purity from wickedness. There are God’s people, and there are Satan’s people. Both God and Satan are trying to draft us into his own service, but we will choose whose service we will enter and whose society we will entertain! God wants his people to fellowship with the saints because they help each other develop character and life; whereas, fellowship with the wicked destroys both character and life. Some dynamic translations of Psalm 16:3 state:

And these God-chosen lives all around—what splendid friends they make! (The Message Bible)

How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them. (Today’s English Version)

Perhaps you have heard the proverb, Birds of a feather flock together. While environment affects everyone to a certain degree, we must remember that those we are with do not determine our attitude as much as our attitude determines with whom we will flock. We should determine to congregate with God’s people and shun the friendship of the world. James 4:4 states:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Ellen White adds:

From the beginning, Christ has chosen His people out of world and required them to be separate, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. If they love God and keep His commandments, they will be far from having the friendship, and loving the pleasures, of the world. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 279)

We often hear the remark: “You are too exclusive.” As a people we would make any sacrifice to save souls, or lead them to the truth. But to unite with them, to love the things that they love, and have friendship with the world, we dare not, for we should then be at enmity with God. (Ibid., p. 282)

David notes in verse 4 that those who hasten to serve other gods bring many troubles on themselves. He declares that he will not take part in their sacrifices or worship their gods, and neither should we!

God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God’s service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ. (Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 176)

Stanza 4 — The secret of a happy life—I am satisfied with him

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. (Psalm 16:5, 6)

David is declaring God to be his first and only choice, and he is delighted to know that God is holding, supporting, and maintaining his lot or future. In other words, God has chosen David! God has given to David a beautiful place and even made him his heir. That certainly is good news for David, but it is also good news for you because “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), and what he did for David, he wants to do for you!

David could write:

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (Psalm 23:5)

Our testimony can and should be the same as this! Remember that God is not a respecter of persons. What he did for David, he will do for you. David also noted:

. . . God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. (Psalm 73:26)

God is our strength and our portion! The world looks for happiness through vain and frivolous things and means, but the Christian finds happiness and satisfaction through God. Happiness is not about self but about others and serving them.

In order to be happy, we must strive to attain to that character which Christ exhibited. One marked peculiarity of Christ was His self-denial and benevolence. He came not to seek His own. He went about doing good, and this was His meat and drink. We may, by following the example of the Saviour, be in holy communion with Him, and by daily seeking to imitate His character and follow His example, we shall be a blessing to the world and shall secure for ourselves contentment here and an eternal reward hereafter. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 227)

Stanza 5 — The secret of an instructed life—I listen to him

I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (Psalm 16:7)

David says he will bless the LORD. The Hebrew word is בָּרַךְ (barak) and according to the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, it means “to kneel, bless, praise, salute.” David was going to praise the Lord and salute him because God had given him counsel and instruction!

God has promised to give counsel to the Christian, when he is in need of wisdom. James 1:5 promises:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Of course, we are to ask in faith, believing that there is a God (Hebrews 11:6) who hears and answers prayers.

The LORD wants to teach and instruct us, and we desperately need instruction. We are ignorant and out of God’s way.

So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. (Psalm 73:22)

But God does not want us to stay ignorant! He wants to teach us, if we will listen and then surrender to what God shares with us! God says to us:

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, Or as the mule, which have no understanding: Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, Lest they come near unto thee. (Psalm 32:8, 9)

God says, Don’t be hard to teach! Too often we are hard to teach because we do not want to learn. We want things our own way, and so God has to shake us sometimes to get us to listen.

I think of all the counsels that God has been pleased to give his people in the Spirit of Prophecy and instead of praising and blessing God for them, we curse him and complain and speak negatively of it!

David says his “reins also instruct me in the night seasons.” While feelings by themselves are not a sure guide, with the word of God the inmost feelings of the one truly led by God’s Spirit will tell of God. In the stillness of the night, when all the cares of life and of family can be set aside, God speaks to a person’s heart in a most precious manner.

Stand in awe, and sin not: Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. (Psalm 4:4)

Stanza 6 — The secret of a steadfast life—I am engaged with him

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (Psalm 16:8, 9)

The closest parallel passage in scripture to verses 8 and 9 may be John 15, where Jesus speaks of the believer abiding in him.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:4–7)

It is only as we are connected to the source of our righteousness, wisdom, and strength that we can be successful in our Christian walk. When we are determined to abide in Christ and have him abide in us, nothing can separate us from him or from his love.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39)

Paul could not write with more positiveness. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, except our own perverse hearts. But if we will give our hearts and lives in full surrender to God, he will hold us, with his big strong arms, and nothing can pluck us out of our Father’s hands.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:28, 29)

I have found the following promise concerning this to be extremely precious:

If we are determined not to be separated from the Source of our strength, Jesus will be just as determined to be at our right hand to help us, that we may not be put to shame before our enemies. The grace of Christ can accomplish for us that which all our efforts will fail to do. Those who love and fear God may be surrounded with a multitude of cares, and yet not falter or make crooked paths for their feet. God takes care of you in the place where it is your duty to be. (Ellen White, Counsels on Health, p. 424)

What a wonderful promise, but it is for those who are in the place of their duty. We cannot expect God to keep us, if we allow our feet to tread in places we should not be. Neither can we expect God to keep us, if we are not in earnest about our lives and do not seek God.

The reason why so many are left to themselves in places of temptation is that they do not set the Lord always before them. When we permit our communion with God to be broken, our defense is departed from us. Not all your good purposes and good intentions will enable you to withstand evil. You must be men and women of prayer. Your petitions must not be faint, occasional, and fitful, but earnest, persevering, and constant. It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. Let every breath be a prayer. (White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 510, 511)

Bonus stanza

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:10, 11)

While we view verse 10 as a Messianic promise, we realize that it was also a record of David’s experience and if it was a part of David’s experience, it can also be a part of our experience. It is as if David was saying: I was hell bound and:

You canceled my ticket to hell—that’s not my destination! (Psalm 16:10, The Message Bible)

After the assurance that God would not leave his soul in hell, David describes the delight in having life and blessings from God. In God’s presence there is life and pleasures evermore. I cannot describe it, and humanity can only imagine what it will be like.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

What rapture and joy!

Continuing his theme of being taught of God, David says that God will show him the path of life, not a path of life. There are many paths in life but only one path of life, and that path is Jesus.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Being at the right hand of God is not only a position of close proximity to God, but it is a symbol of favor and acceptance. Beloved, our goodness extends not to God. We have no goodness of our own, but we can be good and have goodness from God. It is not our own personal merit or goodness that grants us to be at his right hand but, rather, our character and our surrender to his will and purposes. May God bless us now, while we have time to develop character and to choose to serve him, that we might realize these divine secrets for life from Psalm 16.

Allen Stump

[1]. See Psalm 14:3; 53:1–3.

[2]. John 3:16


Asia Mission Trip, Part 2

by David and Marrah Sims

Cambodia

The next leg of the trip [from Malaysia] was to Cambodia, where, after paying a good bit for a visa, instead of a warm welcome, we were greeted to the country by an immigration official that yelled at us with a vehement hatred in his voice and countenance for an innocent mistake of coming up together to the counter.

Angkor, a city near Siem Reap, was built in the twelfth century and used to be the home of a very prosperous society. In fact, it was the largest city in the world for several centuries, until the industrial revolution. It is currently the home of the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat (Capital Temple),[1] along with hundreds of other colossal temples and palaces. Elephants and a network of man-made canals enabled the many thousands of builders to transport the sandstone from a mountain some miles away. The temples are covered with carvings in the stone, including countless images of Vishnu, the goddess to which the capital temple was dedicated. This temple was originally a Hindu temple but later was converted into a Buddhist temple. It is strategically placed astrologically. Angkor Wat is surrounded with a 13 foot deep, 650 fifty foot wide, and 3 mile long moat, and a 2.2 mile long outer wall, just inside the moat.

 

Angor Wat

 

After about five centuries of prosperity, this ancient Khmer metropolis was invaded, and for reasons that are still a mystery to scholars, became virtually uninhabited. Except Angkor Wat, which was turned into a Buddhist temple, the rest of the city with its palaces and temples became desolate, and was taken over by the trees and plants and hidden under foliage of a dense jungle for over four centuries. Our thoughts turned to ancient Babylon, as we viewed this once proud and idolatrous ancient metropolis.

Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her. (Jeremiah 51:47)

In another city in Cambodia, we met with a friend of Marrah, who helped us to arrange meetings for a week in an Seventh-day Adventist missionary school of about 250 students, 13 to 23 years of age and about 50 staff. The congregation was made up of mixed descent; mostly Cambodian, some American, Korean and Filipino and a few Laotian. We spoke twice a day sharing lessons on faith from Bible and personal experiences, as well as making personal visits. We felt the Lord blessed in a special way. We shared some material with these souls and pray that they will be blessed with the knowledge of God that will be to them eternal life. God opened up various ways for us to share and minister while we were in Cambodia. We also saw some things while there that will stay with us as long as we live. Lord willing, we will share more of this at a future time.

Thailand

We had the pleasure to meet an American missionary couple who had been laboring in Thailand for some years. They are in-laws of some believers we met at the Smyrna camp meeting. We received their contact info when we were impressed to email the other workers about our trip to Thailand. God gave us opportunity to share with them the truth concerning the subject of the Holy Spirit. They listened with open hearts and minds and resolved to study further on this most important subject. Their humility and desire to know more of the truth was to us a refreshing breath of air in the midst of a seemingly cold spiritual atmosphere in Thailand. Though the majority of the population are Buddhist, for most, it is simply a nominal and cultural Buddhism that people are born into, not something that they practice for reasons of faith and conscience.

We heard of a foreigner living in Thailand from Brother Stefan Skucy. But Stefan never got back to us with contact information for him, so we tried looking on Facebook. We found a man on the non–trinitarian group with a similar sounding name living in Bangkok and assumed he must be the one. We looked him up, and he was eager to meet with us. He was out of town for a week, and just arrived a day before we were scheduled to leave. It was providential that we scheduled an extra week to spend here. While speaking with him, we realized that he was not the same man that Stefan referred to us, but we all felt that God had a purpose in this seemingly funny case of mistaken identity. We had a blessed fellowship together, sharing testimonies and thoughts that were edifying to one another. We also shared with him contact information for people in Thailand that he could try to contact and fellowship with, who are fellow believers or are studying the truth about God.

On the way back to Bangkok, after visiting with Christina, a missionary friend serving in the northern part of Thailand, we were not able to find the hotel online that we had stayed at before, and others did not seem the right price or had other difficulties. Just at that time, the friend of Christina, whom Marrah had been communicating with, invited us to stay at her place. This was not only a blessing to us to have a place to stay, but to her as well. We had been hoping to be able to meet up with her, and it was not looking like it was going to work out, since we were arriving too late on Sunday night, the only time she could meet with us. But, by being able to stay at her place, we were able to spend some evenings with her and early mornings, which helped us to understand better her needs. She is working at a Muslim school teaching English, and having not studied in depth for herself reasons for the Christian faith, they were not real clear in her mind to give an answer to those that were asking. We thanked God for sending us there to encourage her to study and know for herself the reasons for her faith, so that she can give an answer to those that ask. We also shared the knowledge of the true God that the Adventist church used to believe in, and left her with some material to study. She was especially joyful to hear this message because it helped her to understand why she had been having difficulty in explaining to her Muslim friends the Trinity doctrine.

The trip back home also gave us opportunity to minister to some people. One was a Catholic cab driver who had given up pork as he recognized it is unfit for food and who had some honest inquiries about the Bible and the Christ revealed in it. Another, while in a bus station, was to a couple whose child was sick with fever, cough and stomachache, using the simple remedies God provided. We believe that God brought them into our path for a purpose, and we realized that we must be “instant in season and out of season” in ministering to the needy and in sharing the words of life to those who are hungry.

In some countries it seems that Satan has been so wonderfully successful in covering minds with a pall of error, ignorance, and superstition that the darkness seem impenetrable. But there are glimmers of light here and there; hearts burdened with the same burden that is in their Saviour’s and souls starving for that which only heaven can fill. The Lord has not yet fully given up the earth to Satan’s dominion. Very soon, it will be. But now as yet, we have this short borrowed time left to, if possible, snatch souls from the claws of the enemy.

It is no time now to relax our efforts, to become tame and spiritless; no time to hide our light under a bushel, to speak smooth things, to prophesy deceit. Every power is to be employed for God. You are to maintain your allegiance, bearing testimony for God and for truth. Be not turned aside by any suggestion the world can make. We cannot afford to compromise. There is a living issue before us, of vital importance to the remnant people of God, to the very close of this earth’s history; for eternal interests are involved. On the very eve of the crisis, it is no time to be found with an evil heart of unbelief, departing from the living God. (Ellen White, The Review and Herald, December 6, 1892)

Upon our arrival home, we were given homemade cards by our children. On one of the cards, it said,

Dad and Mom, You are not alone in doing God’s holy work. Matt and I are willing to lend our little hands and feet to do what we can do to ease your burden and lighten the load. Just tell us what to do and we’ll be happy to obey. Happy arrival dad and mom. We love you so much.

This brought great relief and joy to know that the little ones we had to leave behind for a few weeks, were not complaining, but happy that we were doing God’s work, and ready to help lighten our burdens.

Philippine mission report – December 2017

The sixth annual camp meeting held in the northern part of Philippines at the Kagatungan health restoration site just closed. About 200 people attended the four day camp. It was one of the largest, if not the largest, gatherings of believers I have attended in the movement promoting the knowledge of the true God. But more than the numbers present, it was especially beautiful to see the sweet spirit of Christ among the believers. There were no argumentations or disagreements, only love expressed for one another and a real spirit of helpfulness by the young missionaries.

There was a large number present for whom it was their first time to attend one of our camps. Subject matter presented included the responsibilities of parents in regard to their families, true education, Christ in you the hope of glory, and the truth about God. The messages were well received. Many came that were not convinced that we had the truth, but virtually everyone left convinced or at least much more so than when they had arrived. At the close of the camp, fifteen souls were baptized in the beautiful creek that runs past the health center.

The Philippines is enjoying a special outpouring of the Spirit of God at the present time. There have been scores of new believers in the true God, and among them are many young missionaries in training and others that have just having finished a medical missionary training. The missionaries from one of the self-supporting training centers have been ostracized because they are considered heretics now, after accepting the knowledge of the true God. However, another medical missionary training institute had a very different experience. The teachers (including a naturopath) and students as a whole, accepted the message. This was the fruit of the efforts of many souls. Sister Marrah helped to prepare the soil, Brother Morgan Polsky and Brother Chris Sparks to plant the seeds, brother David Sims to water, and brother Ray Mendiola to reap. This is often the case in the conversion of souls. One prepares the soil, another plants the seeds, another waters, and another reaps.

Some of the new believers have come from a background of promoting the 1888 message in the recent past. Others have been in the Philippine Reformation movement of the 1990s. One individual who served as a lay evangelist for thirty years has never believed in the Trinity but had not been out in the open with his beliefs. Recently, after his knowledge of God has increased, he took an open stand. He shared some important messages at the camp meeting on the family and practical godliness.

Another brother, some years ago, was close to graduating with a theology degree from an Adventist College, but withdrew to follow his convictions about certain things. He then served as a teacher in a missionary training school for a while and providentially he left to return to his home province in Mindanao, just in time to meet two foreign missionaries visiting Mindanao for a few weeks, who planted some seeds into the soil of his heart concerning the true God. After those seeds were watered by others it grew and bore fruit. He has been sharing the knowledge of the true God for almost two years now, and at the recent camp meeting, he took the opportunity to be re-baptized. Many have been recognizing that they have been breaking the first commandment in worshiping the philosophical idol of the Trinity, and have chosen to be re-baptized like many who come to the knowledge that they have been violating the ten commandments in keeping the first day, instead of the seventh day, as the Sabbath,

The true knowledge of God brings to view Christ our Righteousness. This message is precious when it is free from fanatical elements that so often have accompanied the presentation of it. It is necessary to have a proper understanding of the nature of sin, man, and Christ; the relationship of faith and works; the meaning of righteousness; and the place of God’s law.

Accepting this message often involves a sacrifice, and it tends to sift out those unwilling to bear the cross. So those receiving the message usually are sincere and come into it as missionaries, and that is how it should be. It is impossible to explain, or even to know the extent of the work being done. But we praise God as we see the earth being “lightened with his glory,” and more and more people coming to the knowledge of the true God in the Philippines as well as in other places around the world.

[1] Four times larger than the Vatican


Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, 750 Smyrna Road, Welch, WV 24801–9606 U. S. A. 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 website. The url is: http://www.smyrna.org. Phone: (304) 732–9204. Fax: (304) 732–7322.

Editor Allen Stump—editor@smyrna.org
Associate Editor Onycha Holt—onycha@smyrna.org