“They received not the love of the truth , that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” II Thessalonians 2: 7-8.
Madness (to use the older term) comes in many ways. We hear of phobias, fixations, obsessions, delusions, and other mental disorders without number. From Alzheimer’s disease to schizophrenia, they have been analyzed, classified, and treated, until there is quite a body of literature on the subject. We learn that some mental impairments are caused by physical problems, such as birth defects or brain injuries. Others are to some degree self-inflicted through the use of liquor or drugs. Others seem to be an outgrowth of dire living situations or experiences.
In our previous article we learned about the hideous monster-god of Calvinism who ordains, decrees, creates and supervises every thought, impulse, and action of all persons on earth, whether they be good or whether they be evil. We felt inclined to agree with John Wesley, who said of the Calvinistic theologians of his day, that they made God worse than Satan. We also learned that Satan has endeavored to clothe God with his own attributes by making false accusations against Him, and that the centerpiece of those false accusations was the allegation that God had given a law that His subjects could not obey. He hoped by this means to convince the universe that God is arbitrary, cruel, harsh, unforgiving, etc.
We were required to recognize that Satan’s accusation, that God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, is now being taught as truth at our theological seminary, in our colleges, and in many of our churches throughout the land. This is astonishing, and the methods by which this was brought about are even more astonishing. They remind us of our text, and of some sobering statements by Ellen White. From these we learn that there is a particular and peculiar manner of madness that begins with having no love for the truth and ends with an inability to distinguish truth from error. It seems that a dislike for the truth can cause God to withdraw His protection, and then Satan moves in upon the mind with all of his mighty power, bringing serious mental derangement. Consider this evidence:
“Light rejected becomes, to the rejector, blacker than the darkness of midnight.” Review and Herald, June 3, 1902.
It must have been this principle that caused Isaiah to write: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” Isaiah 5:20.
Could it be that they were afflicted by this peculiar form of madness? We read of some of the leaders of Israel: “By rejection of evidence they lost their spiritual insight, and could not discern between good and evil, between truth and error, between light and darkness.” Review and Herald, May 18, 1893.
Ellen White comments further: “The mind that cherishes sentiments that tend to destroy faith in the foundation that has made us what we are, becomes confused, and cannot discern between truth and error.” Bible Training School, March 1, 1915.
“He who deliberately stifles his conviction of duty because it interferes with his inclinations will finally lose the power to distinguish between truth and error.” Great Controversy, 378.
This would surely be a tragic condition. It must be a recognition of this principle that caused Ellen White to write: “I question whether genuine rebellion is ever curable.” The Australian Years, 286.
Before anyone can be helped in spiritual matters, there must be a sense of need. God has promised that “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” John 7:17. But how can God help the one who simply does not want to do His will? The truth has been made known to him but it is not welcome. He wishes that it were not so. This is the beginning of what ends in a terrible mental problem, a madness that is defined as an inability to distingish truth from error.
It happened to some Jewish leaders. It has happened to some of our leaders. Remember the Kellogg tragedy? Dr. John Harvey Kellogg had one of the most brilliant minds among us, but he became enamored with the ancient falsehood of pantheism. A. G. Daniells, who had worked in India, and knew pantheism when he saw it, tried hard to help Kellogg, but found that he could not reach him. Kellogg had developd a distaste for the Spirit of Prophecy, and he had clearly lost the ability to distinguish between truth and error. It happened to other leaders as well, calling forth from Ellen White in 1901 the anguished question:
“Are there men at the heart of the work men who cannot distinguish between truth and error?” Mind, Character, and Personality, 717.
It could even happen to a General Conference president. Elder G.I. Butler wrote and published in the Review an article arguing that there are different degrees of inspiration, an idea that is sometimes advanced in our time. It was also being taught in Battle Creek college. This called forth from Ellen White: “Have God’s people put out their eyes, that they cannot distinguish between the sacred and profane?” 1888 Materials, 258.
She was referring to a General Conference president. And she was referring to another when she wrote of president O. A. Olsen: “When Elder Olsen linked himself with these men, he perverted his spiritual eyesight, and saw things in a strange light . . . His clear discernment between right and wrong has become injured.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 182.
What does all of this say to us? It tells us with unmistakable clarity that among all of the other kinds of mental impairment that afflict men’s minds, there is a particular, peculiar form of madness that begins with “They received not the love of the truth,” and ends with “They cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood.” Brilliance of intellect is no defense against it, nor is power, position, or higher education. It can strike in any place where truth is known but not appreciated. Lack of protection from God leaves the individual alone to contest the massive intellectual powers of Satan, which have never been equalled or even approximated by the greatest intellectual powers of any man.
This type of madness can be quite specific. It does not mean that the individual becomes unable to function normally in other ways. But in spiritual matters, dealing with the eternal truth of God, his behaviour will be erratic, bizarre, and wildly out of harmony with reality. He may set forth ridiculously false propositions, and steadfastly maintain that they are true. He may even try to rewrite the facts of history to make them fit his theories, make false statements about the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, or even re-write the Spirit of Prophecy.
While doing these strange things, he may appear to be earnest and sincere, since he actually does not know when he is telling the truth and when he is not telling the truth. He may set forth ludicrous self-contradictions in his written materials, apparently having no awareness at all of what he has done. And perhaps most astonishing of all, he will publish his ridiculous misrepresentations of fact and sign his name to them, seemingly unconcerned that his distortions of fact, self-contradictions and untruths will eventually be uncovered and exposed. This is probably one of the more dependable means of identifying such a mental problem. Men in their right minds who set out to deliberately deceive us would doubtless be more careful to employ disguises of various kinds, in order to avoid being caught in their misrepresentations. These poor people seem to manifest no such caution or concern.
This should help us to understand our present situation in the Seventh-day Adventist church. For quite a few years now we having been gazing in dumfounded astonishment at the things that are being said, written and done by some of our church leaders. We have found it unbelievable, yet undeniable. Utterly horrendous misrepresentations of fact have been issuing from our Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses and appearing in our church papers for several years. Protests have been utterly fruitless.
I have personally made a supreme effort to call the attention of our church leaders to some of the worst misrepresentations that have appeared. During the years 1981–1986 I engaged in careful and thorough research in our historical records, and found 1200 statements by our pioneers and church leaders to reaffirm that our Lord had come to this earth in the human nature of fallen man. Of these statements, 400 had been published by Ellen White. This was in startling contrast to the claim, made in the book Questions On Doctrine, that our church had never believed such a thing.
In 1986 I presented my findings in manuscript form to both of our major publishing houses. Both refused to print it. So I published it at my own expense, and then sent free copies of it to all of our church adminstrators in North America. This included one hundred Genaral Conference officers, and the three leading officers in every Union and local conference in this division. I also sent free copies to every minister in Australia and New Zealand.
In the book I offered a reward of $1000.00 to any person who could produce from Ellen Whites’s writings a single statement that Christ had come in the human nature of the unfallen Adam, as was claimed to be her teaching in the book Questions On Doctrine. This offer was met with a thunderous, ear-shattering silence. It soon became clear that there was a firm determination to simply “stonewall” the facts and defend the falsehood.
Conditions have not improved since then. It is now 1996. On every side we see ominous indications of the approaching end. Departures from the truth are becoming worse and worse, and books containing glaring falsehoods are continuing to roll off the presses. Meanwhile the efforts of church leaders are being exerted only to silence the voices that are calling for fidelity to the truth. We can no longer realistically hope for any kind of reform, and so silence is no longer appropriate. You need to know, and you have a right to know, what is being done in our church in defiance of the truth, and by whom.
I will therefore place before you a list of five names. All of these persons have Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Three of them have been seminary professors, and two have been college teachers. They have all written books in defense of Calvinistic falsehood. These books have been printed in our denominational publishing houses, and sold in our Adventist Book Centers. The names are Dr. Leroy Edwin Froom, Dr. Edward Heppenstall, Dr. Desmond Ford, Dr.Helmut Ott, and Dr. Roy Adams.
As I said, they have all written books in defense of Calvinistic falsehood. What I shall share with you today, therefore, is in no sense of the word rumor or hearsay. It is a matter of record. I am personally convinced that these authors and publications fit the inspired description of that peculiar mental problem that begins with “They received not the love of the truth,” and ends with “They are not able to distinguish between truth and error, right and wrong, light and darkness.” I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
Dr. Leroy Edwin Froom was the leader in the ill-fated dialogues with Walter Martin and his Calvinistic colleagues in the 1950s. He put together the materials for the book, Questions On Doctrine, and followed with another volume called Movement of Destiny. His particular style is the “quotation wrap-around,” in which he writes long sentences with his own words, and includes in them tiny snippets of quotations from the writings of Ellen White, sometimes as small as two or three words. He who traces these small snippets to their sources, and examines their context, will experience a series of shocks. We submit an example.
On page 497 of Movement of Destiny Dr. Froom presents a paragraph on the human nature of Christ over which he places this heading: Took Sinless Nature Before the Fall
Beneath this heading he arranges a series of brief quotations from Ellen White, including this line:
“He did not in the least participate in its sin.”
If you look at those two lines for a moment, you will surely have some questions. What sin was there in the sinless nature of Adam before his fall that Christ might have participated in? None whatever. There was no sin of any kind in Adam before his fall. Why, then, did Ellen White write a senseless statement like that? What was the matter with Ellen White? Deeply perplexed, we go to the source, and discover that as Ellen White wrote it, the statement actually looked like this:
In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.” Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898. (Emphasis supplied)
We gaze at this in disbelief. This is the ultimate violation of context. The writer has been represented as having said the exact opposite of what she actually did say. This was done by a scholar with a Doctor of Philosophy degree, a seminary professor. And this is not an isolated example. It is typical. In my book, The Word Was Made Flesh, I devote 33 pages to exposing, point by point, the wrongful manipulations of evidence in the paragraph presented by Dr. Froom. I also present conclusive evidence that the statement given to Walter Martin, that our church had never believed that Christ came to earth in the human nature of fallen man, was a methodological monstrosity and a historical fraud. And Dr. Froom put this out over his own signature. How could it happen?
Did not Ellen White tell us how it could happen? I am convinced that she did.
Dr. Edward Heppenstall served for many years as chairman of the Systematic Theology department of our theological seminary at Andrews University. He wrote several books in defense of Calvinistic falsehoods. His specialty was self contradiction, sometimes between two different books, and sometimes within a single book.
Contradictions between two different books.
In 1975 Southern Publishing Association published a book called Perfection, The Impossible Possibility. Dr. Heppenstall wrote a section in it. In this section there are twenty-one statements that it is impossible, even by the power of God, for Christians to stop sinning. Here is a sample:
“The Bible rejects every possibility of our reaching sinless perfection in this life.” Ibid., 73.
In 1974 The Review and Herald Publishing Association had published a book written entirely by Dr. Heppenstall entitled, Salvation Unlimited. In this book there are fifteen firm statements that it is possible, by the power of God, for Christians to stop sinning. Here is a sample:
“We need to commit ourselves to that love from God and from His Son that issues in our deliverance from all that is sinful. Let us give full scope to His incomparable love and law in our lives. The power of the Holy Spirit within us is sufficient to make us like Him, to keep His commandments, and to know Him whom to know is life eternal.” Ibid., 236.
Contradictions within a single book.
In 1977 the Review and Herald published the book, The Man Who Is God, written entirely by Dr. Heppenstall. In this volume Dr. Heppenstall lays caution aside and goes all out in defense of Calvinistic falsehoods. And he repeatedly contradicts himself. If we present a series of questions related to his subject matter to this book, we are confronted by a bewildering array of self-contradictory answers.
1. Was Christ conceived as all men are? Yes, page 60. No, page 135.
2. Was Christ born as all men are? Yes, pages 24, 25, 125. No, pages 126, 135.
3. Was Christ born with the same flesh and blood that we have? Yes, pages 36, 86, 91, 136. No, page 137.
4. Is sin a thing of the flesh? Yes, page 137. No, page 138.
5. Did Christ have advantages in meeting temptation that we do not have? Yes, pages 132-133. No, pages 86, 90-91.
6. Was Christ born into the same state or condition that we are? Yes, pages 24, 91, 98. No, pages 126, 129, 132-133.
7. Is this state or condition into which all men are born actually guilt? Yes, page 146. No, page 121.
8. Did Christ take human nature as it was before Adam’s fall? Yes, page 155. No, page 121.
9. Is Christian character perfection possible? Yes, pages 120, 125, 166. No, page 147.
10. Is original sin a matter of man’s nature? Yes, pages 108, 118, 132, 135. No, pages 107, 109, 122.
Three times I have heard Dr. Heppenstall make the statement, “We must not let Ellen White veto the scriptures.” I submit that when a man publishes a book exalting Calvinistic falsehoods, containing incredible self-contradictions, then accuses Ellen White of vetoing the scriptures because she disagrees with him, that he is not a well man. He has the affliction that Ellen White and the Apostle Paul have described for us. He has lost the ability to distinguish between truth and error.
Dr. Desmond Ford taught at Avondale College and Pacific Union College. On October 27, 1979, he made a public attack on the sanctuary doctrine. I was one of those who were asked to analyze his arguments and send a written report to the General Conference. The first thing that I noticed was that he now admitted that he had been disbelieving the sanctuary doctrine for many years, although he had firmly denied this when others had suspected it of him. I discovered, as I went through his presentation, that his particular specialty was the employment of artificial, manufactured, falsified evidence. He made false statements about the Scriptures, the Spirit of Prophecy, and other sources as well. I counted twenty-six arguments against the sanctuary doctrine in his presentation. Of these, I reckoned twenty–three to be totally fictitious, and the other three to be half truths. I was reminded that when a half truth is presented as if it were an entire truth, it can have the effect of an untruth.
Dr. Ford alleged that: The word “cleanse” is not in Daniel 8:14 and Leviticus 16 in Hebrew, (it is); that modern translations do not use “cleanse,” (some do); that in his own commentary he refused to relate Daniel 8:14 to Leviticus 16, (he did not see his Daniel, p. 175); that most versions translate Hebrews 9:12 as “most holy place,” (they do not); that bulls and goats were sacrificed only on the day of atonement, (they were not, see Leviticus 4); that the high priest had no distinctive work in the holy place, (he did, see Exodus 30:7 and Hebrews 7:26-27); that Adventists invented the concept of a movable throne, (we did not, see Daniel 7:9-10, Revelation 4:2-3, and Ezekiel 1); that Ellen White said the day of atonement began in 31 AD, (she did not, see Great Controversy, 409, Patriarchs and Prophets, 350, and Early Writings, 251); that she made double applications of the earthquake prophecies in Revelation, (she did not, see Great Controversy, 304 and 637). Other problems were as grievous as these, but are too technical for this paper.
A man who does things like this is either being deliberately dishonest, which I do not want to believe, or he suffers from the affliction described by Ellen White and the Apostle Paul—he has lost the ability to distinguish between truth and untruth. He apparently believes his own fictions to be true.
Dr. Helmut Ott teaches at Southern College. In 1987 he published a book called Perfect In Christ. It would be better entitled Sinning In Satan. The purpose of the book is to prove that Ellen White taught that overcoming sin in this life is impossible, and that God does not expect that of us. He maintains that this is the correct understanding of Ellen White’s writings. Inasmuch as she had written the opposite not less than 4500 times, his project required some enormous distortion, twisting, and misrepresentation of her words, as well as of the Scriptures. Here is a sample of Dr. Ott’s work, in reference to the robe of Christ’s righteousness:
“Clothing is never an integral part of those wearing it. It is some-thing that is put upon someone, an outward cover intended to make a person look appropriate.” Ibid., 22.
Compare Revelation 19:7-8: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
But now let us permit Ellen White to speak for herself: “The wedding garment represents the character which all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 307.
“By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess.” Christ Object Lessons, 310.
“By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united to His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed in the garment of His righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312. (Emphasis supplied)
And the other side of the picture is this: “The righteousness of Christ will not cover one cherished sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 316.
We tremble for those who read and believe Dr. Ott’s book and continue sinning, confident that they will be covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness. We tremble even more for Dr. Ott. How well Ellen White wrote: “Religious teachers have led souls to perdition, while professing to guide them to the gates of Paradise.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 640.
Dr. Roy Adams has taught at the theological seminary of the Far East, where I once taught, and is now an associate editor of the Review. In 1994 he published a book entitled The Nature Of Christ. It is the most wildly erratic and irresponsible of the books that we have examined. In his attempts to exalt and defend the falsehoods of Calvinism, he literally stops at nothing. He rewrites portions of the history of our church into pure fiction,and even dares to rewrite the words of Ellen White, to make them serve the purposes of Calvinistic falsehoods. He grossly misrepresents the views of those who are trying to be faithful to the Adventist faith, reviles them, and makes wildly false accusations. And his book is highly reccomended to us by the president of the General Conference, Robert Folkenberg.
The spirit in which Dr. Adams writes is well demonstrated by his reviling. He applies these words to us: Sour, festering, self-appointed, infected with the virus of judgmentalism and suspicion, disease, martyr complex, seasoned controversialists, spirit of accusation, outraged, aghast, scandalized, pathetic, self confessed expert, misguided, wrongheaded, steeped in their cherished position, impenetrable to any theological logic, irresponsible, almost dishonest, deluded self-appointed gurus, disgruntled, pious self-appointed prophets, turncoats, charlatans and scoundrels. He applies these descriptive terms to our reasoning: Mumblings, innuendos, broken faith with the church, specious theology, perfection-istic agitation, petty, picayune, disgusting, speciousness, repetitive, exasperating, subtle spin, overblown, vacuousness, subtle legalism, anger, irritation, anger to new heights, radical articulation, fuss, ingenious theological gymnastics, willfulness, mischief, dishonesty, far-fetched explanations, artificial and contrived, totally fabricated, thoughtlessly, narrow, shallow, facile admonitions, simplistic pietism, shrill, provincial, manipulative, like Jim Jones and David Koresh, dogmatism, trap of perfectionistic legalism, frustration, heated, quoted piously, specious reasoning, vehement, inordinate insistence, maliciously accusing, sharpened tongues, navel-gazing, and self flagellation.
The crescendo of vituperation reaches its climax in a viciously false accusation against Robert Wieland and Donald Short: “Look at the Middle East today. (There was war there.) Look at Northern Ireland. Look at Yugoslavia. Look at Sudan. Yet this is what people like Wieland and Short wish on us.” Ibid., 106.
This is too contemptible to deserve comment, but it may well remind us of Ellen White’s prediction that when apostasy in our church has reached its climax, our greatest enemies will be the false brethren who once walked among us. And what is the crime that we have committed, that has called forth such venomous language? Simply that we want to remain faithful to Adventism, and not change our faith to Calvinism. Visualize a court scene in which faithful Seventh-day Adventists are being put on trial for their faith. The prosecuting attorney calls Dr. Adams to the witness stand. Need we question what hatred and false accusations will pour forth from his lips?
We have said that Dr. Adams even presumes to rewrite Ellen White’s words in order to make them serve the purposes of Calvinism. He was displeased by the following statement by Ellen White in Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.
“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as his own.”
Dr. Adams “rephrased” it like this: “When the spirit of unselfish love and labor for others will have fully ripened in the character of His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”
The words “character of Christ” have been removed, and the words “spirit of unselfish love and labor for others” have been put in their place. Why? Is there something wrong with the character of Christ being reproduced in His people? And what of the thousands of other references in Ellen White’s writings that testify to character perfection by the power of God? Will Dr. Adams undertake to rewrite them all? Do we need to have the Spirit of Prophecy rewritten for us? And is Dr. Adams qualified to rewrite the Spirit of Prophecy? What do you think?
Dr. Adams writes on page 120 of his book: “The people I most admire—whether within the Adventist church or out of it . . . are those who never dwell on the subject of perfection or sinlessness.”
That clearly excludes Ellen White. And it forcefully reminds us of that strange manner of madness, that mental impairment, that is described for us by Ellen White and by the Apostle Paul, the madness that begins with “They received not the love of the truth,” and ends with “They are unable to distinguish between truth and error, right and wrong, light and darkness.”
We are clearly approaching the long awaited crisis in Seventh-day Adventist history. We observe that the hatred toward the truth manifested by these afflicted persons grows more intense as they go along. We cannot doubt that there will be more. We must prepare ourselves to encounter worse manipulation of evidence, more ludicrous self-contradictions, more brazen falsifications of evidence, greater violence to the Spirit of Prophecy, and more viciously and maliciously false accusations.
Under these circumstances, it is imperative that we take a clear-eyed look at the situation. Let us not deceive ourselves that these strange actions are only human error. They go far, far beyond that definition. Men who do things like this are either dishonest persons who are deliberately trying to deceive us, or they are suffering from the self-induced mental impairment, the manner of madness, that the inspired writers have warned us about. We have to believe one or the other, and neither is a happy choice. Whichever view is correct, the result is certain to be some very difficult times ahead of us. Only in the power of God and by the grace of God can we hope to survive.
“The prudent man foreseeth the evil.” Proverbs 27:12.
Th evil looms largely and clearly ahead of us. How imperative then that we know the truth, love the truth, and learn to trust God even in the most forbidding circumstances. We must learn to “put not your trust in princes.” We must not follow a multitude to do evil, and we must never let ourselves lose sight of the final result of this great conflict. The truth will ultimately triumph, and triumph gloriously. We must triumph with it. May God bless you.