Seventh Day Adventist Roots, part 4

At the close of two years of intensive study, in 1818, William Miller came to the conclusion that there were a dozen points on which he differed radically with the popular views of the day. He was convinced that: “1. The popular view of a temporal millennium before the second advent, and the end of the age, was a fallacy. 2. The theory of the return of the Jews was not sustained by the Word. 3. Jesus will come again personally, with all the holy angels with Him. 4. The kingdom of God will be established at that coming. 5. The earth will perish in a deluge of fire. 6. The new earth will spring forth out of its ashes. 7. The righteous dead will be resurrected at the advent. 8. The wicked dead will not come forth until the close of the thousand years. 9. The papal Little Horn will be destroyed at the advent. 10. We are living in the last phase of the outline prophecies —such as, in Daniel 2, in the period of the ‘feet and toes.’ 11. All prophetic time periods—such as the 70 weeks, the 1260 days, and the rest—are to be computed on the year-day principle. 12. The 2300 year-days, extending from 457 B.C. to about A.D. 1843, will bring the climax of prophecy and of human history; and that Jesus will come ‘on or before’ the Jewish year ‘1843.’ ” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 463.

Miller concluded at the end of his intensive study that in about 25 years (1843) the world would come to an end at the Second Coming of Christ. As far as he knew, no one agreed with him in this belief. His findings so startled him that he thought that there was something wrong, and he determined to restudy the prophecies and to challenge each step considering every objection including the scriptural statement “no man knows the day or the hour.”

He spent another four years in his restudy and, in 1822, Miller was persuaded that his conclusions were correct and he then wrote his “Compendium of Faith,” which contained his “Twenty Articles of Faith.”

Miller formulated fourteen rules for Bible study. We will enumerate seven of his rules as they show his procedures in the study of the prophecies and how he formulated his conclusions.

“IV. To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error.

“V. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed or wisdom, is my rule, and not the Bible.

“VI. God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are oftentimes revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one.

“VIII. Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are used much in prophecy to represent future things, times and events—such as mountains, meaning governments.

“X. Figures sometimes have two or more different signification, as day is used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time, namely, first, indefinite; second definite, a day for a year; and third, a day for a thousand years.

“XII. ‘To learn the meaning of a figure, trace the word through your Bible, and when you find it explained, substitute the explanation for the word used; and, if it makes good sense, you need not look further; if not, look again.

“XIII. To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of a prophecy: If you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event; but if one word lacks a fulfillment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development; for God takes care that history and prophecy shall agree, so that the true believing children of God may never be ashamed.” Ibid., 470.


A Message to Proclaim


As the year 1831 approached, the conviction began to grow in Miller’s mind that he must proclaim his findings, especially regarding the imminent return of Jesus to this earth, to the world. He stated: “After a number of years I was compelled by the Spirit of God, the power of truth, and the love of souls, to take up my cross and proclaim these things to a dying and perishing world.” The Great Second Advent Movement, 120. He thought he could comply with the impression by writing and publishing his views in public journals and his first article appeared in the Vermont Telegraph, a Baptist paper printed in Brandon, Vermont.

Nevertheless, all the writing and publishing of Miller’s views did not quiet the urging in his mind to proclaim, to the world, the nearness of Christ’s coming. One day, as he rose to do something, the strong conviction came to him that he was to go and tell the world about the coming of Jesus. The impression was so strong that he began to make excuses to the Lord that he could not go. Some of the excuses he made were: I am too old, I am not a preacher, I lack ability or I am slow of speech. But none or all of these excuses “could silence the voice of conviction that insisted it was his bounden obligation to share his faith with others in a public way.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 482.


A Monomaniac?


An incident occurred in Miller’s experience that illustrates the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. There was a doctor living in Miller’s community that had expressed the opinion that Miller was a fine man, but that he was a monomaniac on the subject of the Second Coming.

When one of Miller’s children became ill he called this doctor to handle the case. While the doctor was treating the child, Miller sat in a corner of the room not uttering a word. When the doctor finished he asked Miller what was wrong. “Well, I hardly know . . . I want you to see what the trouble is and prescribe for me.

“The Doctor’s superficial examination revealed no symptoms. So he asked Miller what he thought was wrong.

“I don’t know . . . but perhaps I am a monomaniac. I want you to examine me and see if I am; and if so, cure me. Can you tell when a man is a monomaniac?

“The doctor blushed at the question, but replied that he thought he could.

“How can you tell? Miller asked.

“Why, a monomaniac is rational on all subjects but one; and when you talk about that subject, he will react violently.

“In that case I must insist that you see whether or not I am a monomaniac; and if I am, you must cure me. You shall therefore sit down with me for two hours while I present the subject of the Advent to you, and if I am a monomaniac, you will be able to tell it by that time.

“When the doctor hesitated, Miller insisted, reminding him that the problem involved his mental health and that therefore the doctor might feel free to make his regular charge for professional services. Unable to find a graceful way out of the situation, the doctor finally consented. So for the next two hours Miller asked questions. And the doctor, under Miller’s direction, read the answers from the Bible, in what was probably one of the most unusual Bible studies ever given. Before the study ended, the doctor had been led step by step to the conclusion that Christ was coming to the earth in 1843. At the end of the study he sat back in his chair, paused a moment as if to speak, thought better of it, and without saying another word picked up his hat and left the room. “But the next morning he returned to the Miller home, very much upset.

“Mr. Miller . . . I feel that I am going to be lost. I have not slept a wink since I was here yesterday. I have looked at the question from every side, and I cannot see but that the vision will end about 1843, and I am not prepared. “So each day for the next week Miller and the doctor spent some time together studying the Bible prophecies. And at the end of the week the doctor was as great a monomaniac as Miller was.” The Urgent Voice, 38, 39, by Robert Gale.


Miller’s Covenant with God


In 1832, Miller’s distress of soul was so great that he entered into a covenant with God that if He would open the way, he would go and perform his duty to the world. He further agreed that if an invitation should come to speak publicly in any place, he would accept the invitation and go and tell others what he had found in his Bible studies.

“Little did he dream that within a scant half hour he would be confronted with just such an opening. He had thought himself safe, through the terms of his condition, from having to carry out his compact. His burden seemed lifted. And he felt relieved. But at that self-same moment a lad of sixteen was riding down the road on horseback from nearby Dresden to Low Hampton, bearing an invitation to Miller to come and tell the members of the Baptist church of Dresden his views on the second advent.” Ibid., 483.

When the lad arrived and delivered his message, Miller was thunderstruck, and he became angry with himself for having made such a covenant. He rebelled at once against the Lord and determined not to go and stormed out of the house. In a maple-grove near his house, Miller fell to his knees and at first asked God to release him from his promise. But the only answer he received was to go. Finally He surrendered to the clear command of God and said, “Lord, I will go.”

Thus William Miller was launched on a career of itinerant preaching for the next ten plus years. Invitations poured in for him to lecture mostly in churches all over the northeastern states. Miller was determined to fill as many appointments as was physically possible, and to do his best to warn as many people as he could of the end of all things.


Events that Validated Prophecy


There were two astronomical phenomena that occurred between 1833 and 1844 that attracted attention to the Bible prophecies. The first was the falling of the stars on November 13, 1833. The meteor shower was especially heavy over the northeastern states where the Millerite movement had begun and exerted its greatest influence. Many people that were not necessarily believers in Miller’s message were inclined to regard his teaching with more seriousness than before.

The second occurred between February 28 and April 1, 1843. A great comet (not Haley’s Comet)appeared, causing those that were serious minded to take note that what Miller was teaching might be true and that the end of all things was at hand.

But more than these two occurrences there was a direct fulfillment of prophecy that inspired increased faith in the Scriptures as the Word of God and strengthened the position of the Millerite movement regarding the prophecies of the Bible.

A Millerite preacher, by the name of Josiah Litch, wrote a number of articles on the seven trumpets of Revelation 8 and 9. He said that the sixth trumpet would cease to sound on August 11, 1840, and that the Ottoman Empire would come to its end on that day. When that happened he said that the fulfillment would substantiate a day for a year in Bible prophecy.

War broke out between Turkey and Egypt in 1839 and continued until August, 1840, when Turkey asked the allied powers of England, Russia, Austria and Prussia to intervene, and on August 11, the Ottoman Empire came to an end. “In the Words of Dr. Jerome Clark, ‘By accepting the intervention of the Allied powers to bring a settlement of his difficulties with Egypt’s pasha, the Ottoman Turkish sultan had lost control of his external affairs insofar as Egypt was concerned . . . The pasha took the message under advisement on August 11, 1840. That same day the sultan wrote the four powers for assurances of their help should the ultimatum be refused. Turkey from that time forward was known as the sick man of Europe. The pasha complied with the ultimatum. The prophecy of the 1391 years and fifteen days of Ottoman Turkish domination had been fulfilled to the day.’ The event exactly fulfilled the prediction.” Ibid., 51, 52.

This fulfillment of prophecy made a deep impression on thousands of people. Josiah Litch wrote that, within a few months, more than a thousand infidels wrote to him saying that they had been led to accept the Bible as the Word of God. Some of these men became preachers in the Millerite movement. As a result of the astronomical events and what had occurred in the Middle East, Miller’s name became a household word all over the United States.


Some Rejected the Light


It was only natural for some churches to reject Miller and his message, and some ministers warned their congregations to stay away from his lectures. In one town, after delivering his first lecture, “Miller received a letter signed by ten ‘bullies and blackguards’ saying that if he did not get out of the State they would put him where even the dogs would not be able to find him. But Miller was not a man to cower before a threat. He stayed; he delivered his lectures and God blessed his work in that community.” Ibid., 52.

Noah Webster wrote to Miller saying, “Your preaching can be of no use to society but it is a great annoyance. If you expect to frighten men and women into religion, you are probably mistaken . . . If your preaching drives people into despair or insanity, you are responsible for the consequences. I advise you to abandon your preaching: you are doing no good, but you may do a great deal of harm.” Ibid., 52. This man had never attended any of Miller’s lectures. Miller’s marching orders came from God, not man.

With the busy schedule Miller had set for himself, he still had a farm to run from which he gained the means for supporting his itinerary. Near the end of 1843, his lecturing was taking up so much of his time that he had to decide whether to farm or to continue to preach. He decided to rent out his farm to one of his sons. “At the same time he wrote to (Elder) Hendryx, ‘I devote my whole time, lecturing.’ ” Ibid., 53.

Next month we will continue the story of William Miller and we will meet a few old friends that came into his life and continued with the Great Advent Movement to their death.


Romans 7

Two completely opposite interpretations occur within Seventh-day Adventism, today, concerning the seventh chapter of Romans. The difference is a question about what Paul meant when he said: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Romans 7:15.

Was that Paul’s actual spiritual experience at the time, when he, as a converted Christian, wrote to the Romans? Or was he illustrating a lesson using an earlier experience in his life, when he had realized the Law’s demands, but was not yet converted and therefore had not received insight into God’s plan of salvation from sin?

Without hesitation we recognize much from the illustration in our own struggle in the Christian life, but is it exactly the same for everyone? Also, what did Paul mean when, later on, he said that we should not feel any obligation or indebtedness to the flesh?

“We are debtors, not to the flesh,” but that we, with the Spirit’s power, shall “mortify the deeds of the body.” Romans 8:12, 13. Naturally, we can fall and then Jesus raises us up again, but that is not what Paul is dealing with here. The question is not so much concerned with Paul’s conversion as it is with whether we believe that God is powerful enough to be able to give us “power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12), and strength to subdue our sinful nature. Did God ask too much of Cain when He said to him that he should “rule over” (Genesis 4:7) his nature? Was it impossible for the woman taken in adultery to, in God’s strength, “go, and sin no more”? (John 8:11.) Also, was Peter able to do the humanly impossible —to walk on the water?

The question is fundamental and serious. If Paul, that giant of God’s servants, were converted in Romans 7:15–25, and yet could not do other than sin, none—not even God—can demand that we stop sinning. It would indirectly be an excuse for us to continue to live in sin, because then it would be impossible to overcome sin and keep the law of God. But that statement is, in fact, Satan’s basic lie since the rebellion in heaven. (See The Desire of Ages, 309.)

This interpretation shall, with the help of parallel texts, attempt to clarify whether Paul described himself as being converted or not, in Romans 7:14–23.


Different Methods of Interpretation


When God teaches us about important truths, which He does not want us to misunderstand, He repeats the message using different illustrations. The book of Ezekiel, chapters 4, 5, 12, 15, 17, 23 and 24, are striking examples of how He does this. In these chapters, God speaks to the Jews through the prophet, and warns them that because of their backsliding from the faith, and the spread of corruption among both the rulers and people, they will be carried away into captivity to Babylon. At that time, as during all of the history of the Israelites, there were only a few among the people, and even fewer among the leaders, who took any notice of God’s warnings through His prophets.

When it has to do with Righteousness by Faith, and victory over the temptation to transgress the law of God after being born again, God uses the same method of repetition as we find in Paul’s letter to the Romans. However, in spite of the fact that He uses four parables which are unambiguous, some interpret His statements differently, and, as a result, they limit their interpretation to a few texts in the fourth repetition.

To interpret a subject with a limited number of texts, however, is to invite an incorrect interpretation. When others interpret God’s Word in that way, we criticize them. Nevertheless, Romans 7:7–25 is often interpreted with this same “limited-number-of-texts” interpretation procedure within Seventh-day Adventism today. The moral declension in the world and the ecumenical spirit among professed Christians, influence Adventists to an ever-increasing degree, through the introduction of Romish lines of thought into our theology. Aurelius Augustine’s (354–430 A.D.) doctrine of inherited sin has greatly influenced how many Adventists believe, and it is a deciding factor in understanding Romans, chapter 7.

Peter counsels us about how some will use Paul’s writings, in 2 Peter 3:15, 16: “Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Therefore, each of us should be careful not to draw hasty conclusions about what Paul means. In addition to this, some texts are poorly translated, or even incorrectly translated, depending upon whether the translator had a Romish, or Biblically based viewpoint. However, we must also understand Paul’s letter correctly; and it is true that those who really want to understand will understand, if they will ignore their own and others’ prejudices and interpretations and listen directly to the Holy Spirit’s instruction in the Bible. (James1:5.) God’s Word is given through the Holy Spirit and it never contradicts itself.


Paul’s Conversion


What was the consequence of Paul’s conversion? Those who claim that he was converted in Romans 7:14–23, believe, in practice, that Paul, who through God’s grace should “[be obedient] to the faith among all nations” (Romans 1:5), could not avoid sinning himself—or, in other words, that nothing had actually happened in his life after he, in Romans 7:25, exclaimed that he had obtained the solution to his sin problem through Jesus Christ.

Is the Holy Spirit’s power which accompanied the preaching of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 5) only a promise for the future, and not in reality something which leads us to liberty and victory over sin in our everyday life here and now? Many today say that it applies to the future when they expect that the “latter rain,” by a miracle, shall so change them that they stop sinning. They also say that now (before the latter rain), no one can escape the transgression of God’s law, and they often refer to Paul’s experience, in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans, to support their view.


Different Definitions


It is obvious that differences of understanding are caused by differences in definitions of what conversion involves. Is one already converted when only one’s will and aim is to do good, or is one first converted when one has received the power to effect a complete change, and go in the opposite direction?

Roman Catholic theology teaches that it is enough to will to do good. This means that God has instituted a law that one cannot live up to. It is acceptable for Catholics to sin. Their ideals, in the first place, are guiding principles that are neither necessary nor possible to live up to. There is only a continual pardon but no victory over sin. But is that the Gospel of the Bible? Is the aim and the will enough? Doesn’t it need something more than that?


Examples of Conversions


Perhaps the experience of Pentecost, in Acts 2:36–38, can shed some light on the question of conversion. Peter had just preached the Pentecost message of the new covenant and that the Jews had slain their own King, the only true Mediator between God and them. He stressed the fact that God’s sacrificial Lamb was given and that the service of reconciliation in the holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary had begun.

When the Jews, who had gathered, heard that, “they were pricked in their heart.” They felt that they needed more than their symbolic service in the earthly temple, and they had a will to alter the state of things. But were they converted by the will alone to change? No. Instead, they asked: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter saw that they were now ready and answered: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38.

In the same way, Paul was “pricked in [his] heart” when he realized the demands of the law. (See Acts 26:14, 22:10, The Acts of the Apostles, 112–122.) He says: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” Romans 7:9. Paul understood that it required more than outer religious formalism. He wanted to follow the demands of the law, but he was powerless to do so. He was “sold as a slave to sin” and was “[captive] to the law of sin.” Romans 7:23. Paul had no alternative! Does that really describe, as some declare, a person’s life after having been changed and set free (Luke 4:18; 33–36) by the grace of God? Is it not so, instead, as Paul describes it here in Romans 7:14–23, an account of how he deals with the demands of the law—without grace?

Paul had the desire, but, realizing the hopeless situation with his carnal nature, exclaimed in despair: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The Swedish Bible (1917 edition) has it thus: “Who shall save me from this body of sin?” At this point, he was also ready to receive the power of conversion, finding the answer as did the Jews on the day of Pentecost: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:25.

That joyous message was the solution to his problem, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth . . .” Romans 1:16. The Gospel is not only about forgiveness; it also concerns the Holy Spirit’s power in us to win the victory over the world, Satan and ourselves. By ourselves, we have no power to oppose our nature and our intelligent fiend, Satan. However, God grants us the power through: “Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24.

That power is not a miracle that belongs to the future. It is the same power which Jesus requested of His Father to overcome evil. It is the same power which Enoch (who walked with God) and Elijah (who was taken up to heaven) both received. When Paul found the solution to his problem, he received an alternative to his earlier life. He could choose one or the other. He summarized the two alternatives at the end of the seventh and beginning the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans.

“So then with the mind [spirit] I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death . . . That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 7:25, 8:1, 2, 4.


Four Parallel Confirmations


Does the information, up to this point, support what Paul wrote earlier in his letter? A deciding factor is to know why he wrote the letter and to whom he wrote it. It can be established that he wrote partly to highly educated Christians of heathen origin as well as to Jewish Christians who were on intimate terms with “the law” but without grace, and who therefore tried to earn their salvation through “works” alone. Paul wrote: “thou art called a Jew, and restest [v.i. to be left, to remain; to stay; to continue—Webster’s dictionary] in the law . . . Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” Romans 2:17, 21. (Read verses 17–29.)

The Swedish Bible (1917 edition) renders it thus: “You call yourselves Jews and trust in the law . . . You who want to teach others don’t learn yourselves!” These Jews kept the outward letter of the law, but their hearts did not keep the spirit of the law. Their Christianity was motivated by a fear of punishment, or of desire for an expected reward. The driving force behind their type of Christianity was not love to God for His sacrifice or for that which was right.

The structure of the letter shows that Paul wrote to people who were familiar with the way that the Old Testament conveyed a particular truth; namely that of repetition. Since Paul wrote to people with a knowledge of the Old Testament’s method of description, he has repeated what he says in Romans 7:7; 8:4, about serving either the “flesh” or the “spirit,” not less than three times earlier, from Romans chapter five. The first description he gives is that of the theology of baptism. In the second, he illustrates the principle through the story of the slave who was freed to serve another master. The third is a picture of a woman who, through the law, is bound to her husband until he dies, but after his death she is free to give herself to another man.


  1. The Symbol of Baptism


Paul begins with the theology of baptism, since baptism is the symbol for the death of Jesus, His burial and resurrection—the fundamental principles of everything else in God’s plan of salvation. As an introduction to his teaching, he talks about Adam who, through his transgression, brought sin and death into the world, but explains that, in Romans 5:18, “the second Adam,” Jesus Christ, had come and solved the problem of sin and death by His righteous life and His substitutionary death. By that means, none were automatically judged to die for eternity. The “second Adam” now offers redemption and power to overcome. Therefore, “as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21.

The Swedish Bible (1917 edition) renders it thus: “As sin had exercised its domination in and through death, so should now also grace through righteousness exercise its domination to everlasting life and that through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

After this, Paul poses a question to the Romans: “Shall we continue in sin? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1–3. Paul explains here for the Romans that those who have been baptized have died, been buried and have been resurrected and therefore “should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4.

The old man of flesh is buried “that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:6, 7.

The grammatical form, used in the above quotations, is continuous. That means that something begins at a point of time and continues to go on now. By way of explanation, one could say: It began to rain yesterday and has continued to rain ever since. (Another text with the continuous form is John 3:16 where it says: “that whosoever believeth [and continues to believe] shall be saved.”)

In the same way, shall the old man be dead, and remain dead. The new, spiritual man shall live and continue to live. Paul exhorts them: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:12–14.

Accordingly, Paul says that a new power has been established which shall have Lordly dominion and press down the former.


  1. The Obliging Servant


Yet again Paul asks: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?” Romans 6:15.

This time, Paul illustrates his salvation from sin by using the example of a servant who becomes released from his servitude, and who, of his own free will and with all his heart, chooses, instead, to obey his deliverer. The servant’s relationship to his master was well known in Roman society which was full of servants or slaves taken from the people of those lands which the Romans had conquered. But Israel also had a slave system of its own with a system of regulations governing it. If an Israelite found himself in a debt situation where he could not manage to repay, he could be forced to sell himself as a servant to another Israelite so that he did not need to starve. However, he became free and was released from his debt in the seventh, or “free,” year. A real slave, however, was bound to his master and remained his slave for life, unless a rich or powerful person released him.

The servant, who had been released, Paul spiritually applied to the Christian whom Jesus had redeemed. He exclaimed: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you . . . for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Romans 6:17–19.

Paul says that the Christian is free to serve the good instead of, as earlier, his own fallen nature, when he had no other alternative than to be a slave to the world and Satan.

Next month we will study out the last two illustrations that Paul uses.*

*Charles Axelson passed away in July of 1998.

Charles Axelson has been a faithful Seventh-day Adventist in Sweden for many years. Over 20 years ago Charles was involved in an automobile accident that left him a quadraplegic. Using a stick in his cheek, he was active as a writer and an artist. He had the respect and love of his associates and he is missed by each one. He was looking forward to this article being published in Land Marks magazine. We look forward to seeing Charles again—seeing him jump for joy that he can walk again. Then we will all spend eternity together forever.


Food for Life — September 1998

September, the beginning of autumn and the time when the leaves turn their colors. Isn’t God wonderful to create the glorious colors throughout the seasons for us to enjoy? Praise His holy name! I happen to be in California, and although for most of the year with the horrible storms of all kinds, we were very thankful that we were here, instead of the Midwest, where we usually are this time of year; yet we cannot forget the beauty of Missouri this time of year.

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.

“But not all foods wholesome in themselves are equally suited to our needs under all circumstances. Care should be taken in the selection of food. Our diet should be suited to the season, to the climate in which we live, and to the occupation we follow. Some foods that are adapted for use at one season or in one climate are not suited to another. So there are different foods best suited for persons in different occupations. Often food that can be used with benefit by those engaged in hard physical labor is unsuitable for persons of sedentary pursuits or intense mental application. God has given us an ample variety of healthful foods, and each person should choose from it the things that experience and sound judgment prove to be best suited to his own necessities.

“Nature’s abundant supply of fruits, nuts, and grains is ample, and year by year the products of all lands are more generally distributed to all, by the increased facilities for transportation. As a result many articles of food which a few years ago were regarded as expensive luxuries are now within the reach of all as foods for everyday use. This is especially the case with dried and canned fruits.

“Nuts and nut foods are coming largely into use to take the place of flesh meats. With nuts may be combined grains, fruits, and some roots, to make foods that are healthful and nourishing. Care should be taken, however, not to use too large a proportion of nuts. Those who realize ill effects from the use of nut foods may find the difficulty removed by attending to this precaution. It should be remembered, too, that some nuts are not so wholesome as others. Almonds are preferable to peanuts, but peanuts in limited quantities, used in connection with grains, are nourishing and digestible.

“When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats. The oil, as eaten in the olive, is far preferable to animal oil or fat. It serves as a laxative. Its use will be found beneficial to consumptives, and it is healing to an inflamed, irritated stomach.

“Persons who have accustomed themselves to a rich, highly stimulating diet have an unnatural taste, and they cannot at once relish food that is plain and simple. It will take time for the taste to become natural and for the stomach to recover from the abuse it has suffered. But those who persevere in the use of wholesome food will, after a time, find it palatable. Its delicate and delicious flavors will be appreciated, and it will be eaten with greater enjoyment than can be derived from unwholesome dainties. And the stomach, in a healthy condition, neither fevered nor overtaxed, can readily perform its task.” The Ministry of Healing, 296–299.

Nut Crackers

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups nut butter cream

Mix flour and nut butter cream thoroughly and knead for about 20 minutes. Roll to 1 inch thick and cut with small round cutter. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes and reduce heat to 350° for about 20 minutes.


From Mourning to Celebrating, part 2

Editor’s Note: In last month’s article we looked at eight objectives which the Vatican II Council wished to achieve by introducing the Celebration Movement. The underlying purpose was to promote ecumenism and lead the whole world to Sunday observance. We saw how these goals are being worked out in Adventism today. In this article, we will look at another of the devil’s great deceptions, which is masked in the Celebration Movement.

There is a another deep spiritual issue involved in the celebration worship style. It has to do with the most fundamental issues in your existence as a Christian. Is there any sin in your life that is not totally overcome? The apostles in New Testament times taught the people that they must overcome their sins if they were going to have eternal life. Read 1 John 3, James, the words of Jesus in John 8, or what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6 or Romans 8.

One of the most fundamental of Christ’s teachings is self-denial. (See Matthew 16:24.) Jesus said that if we were going to follow Him we must take up our cross daily. But we are living in a time when instead of crucifixion of self, as Jesus and the apostles taught, many have accustomed themselves to self-indulgence. The Christian religion is a rebuke to self indulgence and worldliness. But many people like a religion that no longer rebukes worldliness and self indulgence but endorses it and incorporates it as a fundamental element in the service of God; a religion that allows them to remain in their sins and still celebrate the idea that they are saved. It would be almost impossible to experience a greater delusion.

Jesus says to the church in Laodicea, “as many as I love I rebuke.” But there is no place for rebuke in the celebration type of worship service or religion. The rebuke of sin is eliminated. It is like the patient who has cancer—if the cancer is not cured he is going to die, but the physician says let’s pretend that everything is alright, everything is going to be fine, just experience love, acceptance and forgiveness and be happy. What is going to happen to that patient and what should happen to that physician? You see, it is the greatest delusion imaginable to be celebrating and rejoicing if you have a serious disease and your celebrating and rejoicing is taking the place of getting rid of the problem that will cause your death. God’s ancient people had this very same problem and the Lord told them that they would lose eternal life as a result. (Study Isaiah 22.)


Celebration — The Cradle of Carnal Security


We are living in the great anti-typical day of atonement, as brought to light not only in the book of Hebrews, but in Revelation 14:6, 7. This is a time for us to examine ourselves and ask the question, “Is my robe of character spotless? Does my robe of character have a spot or stain upon it? Am I ready to go to the marriage supper of the Lamb? Are my garments in condition for me to attend that great celebration?” Those who are celebrating while their garments of character are still stained and wrinkled with the sins and earthliness of this life will meet with an eternal loss. It is this great deceptiveness that is most serious about the celebration worship style. People who are lost are taught to believe that they are saved. They cannot be touched anymore with the preaching of the gospel because they are so content in the cradle of carnal security.

It is not a message of love that teaches people to celebrate in their sins. There will be a great celebration for God’s people when the sin problem is solved, but God’s word does not teach us to celebrate when we should be mourning for those, all around us, who are going to destruction. Maybe even members of our own family or ourselves, if we are self deceived and celebrating while we are living in sin! It is a great insult and outrage, to the Holy Spirit, for any Christian to be celebrating while he is living in sin. The Bible says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” The context of that statement, in James 4:8–10, is that the day and hour of judgement is here, as you can see in the next verses.

The message of the Bible, to sinners, is not a message to rejoice and celebrate. It is a message to lament, to mourn and weep, to seek the Lord that we may be purified and made whole. The fact that a person participates in religious services and ordinances does not guarantee his salvation. A wicked person does not become righteous simply by associating with the righteous at worship service or in celebrating. A man is only made holy and acceptable with God when his heart is made clean by the grace of Christ through faith and by obedience to words of truth and righteousness. We must accept all the truth that God reveals to us, choosing to obey Him if we are going to be cleansed from the defilement of sin. We cannot receive forgiveness and acceptance with God unless there is repentance—true heart sorrow for sin. Repentance is not a work of rejoicing or celebration. By its very definition, repentance is a work of sorrow of heart, sorrow for sins committed and a turning away from sin.

There is no such thing as real love to God without obedience to His law. This so called love, acceptance and forgiveness that does not include a preaching of the law of God, a call for sinners to repent, is a delusion. It is not real love at all, but a soul-destroying deception. Repentance means being sorry for sin and turning away from it. All eloquent portrayals of love and charity will never save a soul who does not repent!


The Celebration Movement Foretold


We will list, from the pen of Ellen White, certain erroneous methods and deceptive theories which she foretold would be a part of the apostasy to come just before the close of probation. She wrote: “The things you have described as taking place in Indiana the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 36. What are these things that would take place just before the close of probation?

  1. “A bedlam of noise that shocks the senses and perverts that which, if conducted aright, might be a blessing. The powers of Satanic agencies blend with the din and noise to have a carnival and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working.” Ibid.
  2. “Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting with drums, music and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions and this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Ibid.

This group in Indiana maintained the theory that when Christ passed through the agony of Gethsemane He obtained holy flesh such as Adam possessed before his fall. And that those who follow the Savior must also acquire this same “holy flesh” in preparation for translation. In their meetings, people were worked up to a high pitch of excitement by the use of musical instruments such as organs, flutes, fiddles, tambourines, horns, and a drum, the people sought a physical demonstration and shouted and prayed and sang until someone in the congregation would fall prostrate and unconscious from his seat. Then this person would be dragged up to the rostrum and about a dozen individuals would gather around the prostrate body, some singing, some shouting and some praying all at the same time. When the subject revived, he was counted among those who had passed through the Gethsemane experience and had obtained holy flesh and had translation faith. Therefore, it was asserted he could not sin and would never die. We see in this description, a breaking down of normal inhibitions between people, in these services in Indiana, which were a type of what would happen before the close of probation.

Another part of the experience in Indiana, which is typical of what will happen again, was the playing of dance tunes with sacred words, which is all too common with much of today’s so-called “Christian” music. The syncopated jazz-like beat of music had its beginnings in bordellos of New Orleans around 1900. This jazz music went through various stages—boogie-woogie, swing and finally rock, which is a mixture of Negro rhythm blues and country western. The stimulation of sexuality was the primary purpose sought after with this music. This type of music, with its varying degrees of syncopation and beat, still appeals to bodily movement and sensual responses.

Ellen White had this to say about it: “Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them and darkness envelops those in that dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping . . . Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer. Music is the idol which many professed Sabbathkeeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth . . . When turned to good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan’s most attractive agencies to ensnare souls.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 506. To the shame of many Adventists, the world knows what they claim not to know—namely, that drugs, acid rock and perverted sex go together.


Drama—Never a Part of God’s Work


Another point we can learn from the Indiana episode, which is to be repeated at the end of time, was the theatrical performing and intense bodily gestures and movements engaged in by the participants. Concerning theatrical performances Ellen White has the following to say: “In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performance in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden…The light given me was to give this no sanction. These performances which savored of the theatrical were to have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us. The enemy will watch closely and will take every advantage of circumstances to degrade the truth by the introduction of undignified demonstrations. None of these demonstrations are to be encouraged. The precious truths given us are to be spoken in all solemnity and with sacred awe.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 125.

“Can the Lord Jesus accept the theatrical exhibitions as service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the service of another leader.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 335.

Ellen White said that no encouragement should be given to the kind of worship that took place in Indiana. She said, “I was instructed to say that at these demonstrations demons in the form of men are present working with all the ingenuity that Satan can employ to make the truth disgusting to sensible people.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 125.

The liberal development of celebration worship, the failure to have trust and confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy and the activities which go directly contrary to her inspired counsels on these points, were predicted and are happening. However, this is only part of the present day apostasy that we see in Adventism. This apostasy today is so deceptive that often the word celebration is not even used, but what is practiced is the same as the celebration type worship that was introduced in the 80’s and early 90’s into Adventist churches. As the saying goes, “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” But the apostasy in Adventism is much broader and much more multi-faceted than what we have been able to portray so far. In another article, we hope to show another side of the apostasy on a completely opposite end of the spectrum, in Adventism.


What Doest Thou Here?

There came a time in Elijah’s life when the Lord asked him a very important question. “The Lord said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:13.That is the question I want to ask you, dear reader. If the Lord were to ask you that question today, what would your answer be? It does not have to be the Lord who asks you that question. Maybe your local church pastor may ask you that question, or another Seventh-day Adventist. Or maybe your next door neighbor.

It is an important question and we need to have a good answer to it. Can you remember the first time that you heard the Advent message? The time you decided that this was God’s truth? The time that you decided to be one of God’s remnant people? You knew then that there were some changes that had to happen in your life. There were things that you had to leave behind, things that you could no longer do. There were places that you could not visit any longer. There were friends that you could no longer be friends with. Some had to make a choice between employment and the Sabbath. Do you know why you made those choices? Are you quite clear in your mind about that?

Today circumstances have moved on for many of you. Some of you are no longer welcome even in your Seventh-day Adventist Church. Why are you here rather than there? Do you know the reason? From time to time I attend my local Conference Church. I remember a few weeks ago when I was in a Conference Church. If you had come to me after that service and asked me the question, that many people asked me, “What was wrong with the sermon we heard?” I would have found that question very difficult to answer because I could not remember what that sermon was about. Within a few minutes, what that man had said went out of my head. All I could tell you was this, that during that Sabbath morning service, I heard nothing and I saw nothing which could have showed me that I was in a Seventh-day Adventist Church.

About two months ago, I was in a Seventh-day Adventist Church and the preacher was a very good speaker. People came up to me afterwards and they said to me, “Was that not an excellent sermon?” Some of those people who asked me that question come to historic Seventh-day Adventist meetings. But there was nothing in that sermon that told me that he was a Seventh-day Adventist minister. It was a good sermon, but it was not a Seventh-day Adventist sermon. So what was I doing in that church?

Let me try to explain by using a kind of a parable. Suppose that you developed an interest. Your new hobby was model railways. If you have an interest like that, you might want to join a club or society of people who have the same interest.

These societies have regular meetings each week. Why would you go to those meetings? Because you want to meet other people who share your interest. What will you talk about when you go to those meetings? You want to talk about model railways. When you have special speakers coming to those meetings, what will those men talk about? They will talk about model railways, because that is what the society is for.

But what if the time came when the members of that society started to get interested in postage stamps instead? And when you went along to your model railway society, all that they wanted to talk about was postage stamps, comparing their collections, hearing talks about postage stamps and exchanging their duplicate stamps. Would you still want to be a member of that club? How would you feel about that?

But it is not just a question about how you would feel. How much would you learn about model railways in a club that talked about postage stamps? Would your interest in model railways grow, week by week, if you went to a club like that? Suppose that they had an excellent lecturer that came to that club and gave a good lecture about postage stamps and the other people in the club said to you, “Was that not an excellent lecture?” Or maybe they said to you, “What was wrong about that?” What would you say?

If you love the Adventist message, then that message is your whole focus and interest. Did you join the Seventh-day Adventist Church because you loved the Advent message? In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Paul talks about some people that are going to be lost. He says that some will perish because they received not the love of the truth.

Do you have a love for the truth? Do you want to meet with others that have a love for the truth? Do you want to hear the truth? If you do not have a love of the truth, then you will perish.

I read some words from Sister White that made a deep impression on me. She wrote about different opinions and different views in the church. She said, “This I do know, that our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith.” Gospel Workers, 301.

If we do not have the truth on righteousness by faith as a living reality in our lives, then we will die spiritually. This is the truth around which all the other truths cluster. Every truth in the Bible must be studied in the light of that truth. We may wish to speak about the state of the dead or the second coming of Jesus or the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, but all those truths are given us to show us about the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

This is what the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be about. I know that the congregations I meet with, in Seventh-day Adventist Churches, are being starved for lack of these precious truths. They never hear the truth of righteousness by faith—the truth that sinful men and women may overcome those sins through faith in the power of Jesus Christ.

I want to meet with those who love this message. I want to hear messages about the truth of God’s word. I want to share experiences with people who know the truth. I want to hear what great things the Lord has done for you. I am tired of being starved and I want to feed upon the bread of life.

What are you doing here? What is your answer to Him? The Lord will want an honest answer and your answer will be tested. If you go to home churches because you have a quarrel with your pastor, a new pastor will come to your church and he will be very nice to you. Then you will discover why you went to that home church.

If you attend an independent Seventh-day Adventist meeting because your church has a woman pastor, will you still be there when your pastor is a man? If you are there because they will not let you do anything in church, will you still be there when they ask you to take the Sabbath School Lesson? Or lead out in the Prayer Meeting? Or give a talk to the young people? Will these things persuade you that it is just fine to be there?

Sister White says that the time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. Every one will be tested to see whether they have received a love of the truth, because if they have not received a love of the truth, they will perish. The contest is very simple. It is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Who is giving the commandments in your life?

It is my prayer that each one of us will stand before the throne of God, one day, because we received a love of the truth that we might be saved.

Children’s Story — A Stormy Night

A few years ago, my family went on a vacation to a national park in North Dakota. We had an enjoyable time camping and hiking, and all too soon, it was time to go back home. Of course, we had to camp a couple of nights on the way back because it took a few days to get home from where we had been vacationing. The last night that we camped was a very adventurous one.

We had been driving all day and were looking for a nice place to camp. Lake Sakakwea seemed to be good enough, so we stopped, paid fees, and selected our site. We set up our tents and put our bedding in them. Then we got out our supper and ate. When we were finished, we sat on the bank of the enormous lake to enjoy the beautiful sunset. It was a very nice evening. My brother decided to look around a bit and do some exploring. He had been walking around on the bank’s edge for a couple of minutes, when we heard a big “ker-plunk” like a piece of the bank had fallen into the lake. My mom said in a worried voice, “Hud, are you OK?” Hud was all right, but he told us that right after he had walked on a little patch of the bank it had fallen in. His guardian angel must have held that little patch up until he passed. What do you think?

All of us went to see where the bank had caved in, and there it was, a gap where dirt had once been. We could see the water bubbling and some of the fallen bank sticking out of it. We were all glad that our tents were set up safely—a few yards from the lake’s edge. As the evening went on, more of the bank fell into the lake, but we were all cautious and stayed out of harm’s way. Soon we went to bed.

That night a huge storm came through. It was raining hard, and the wind was ferocious! My brother, sister and I were sleeping in a fairly old tent that could not withstand such wind. I was sleeping on the side of the tent that was facing the wind, and the wind was so forceful on that side of the tent that it flattened the tent against me, and the poles were digging into my skin. It was not a comfortable position, to say the least.

My parents came out to make sure that their tent stakes were securely in the ground. My mom saw how our tent was being flattened, and came to see how we were doing. She saw my predicament and offered to let me spend the rest of the night in her sturdy tent. I accepted, glad to get away from those terrible poles.

I packed up my sleeping bag and made my way out into the dark and stormy night. Of course, when I left, the wind completely flattened the spot where I had been lying and pushed the tent against my sister. She decided to go sleep in our van, as she did not fancy poles grinding into her skin either. So, she packed up her things and emerged into the cold night.

When she got out, the wind deformed the tent even more. My brother experienced having the whole tent pinning him down, with very little space to move. He definitely did not like the hard poles squeezing him either, so he joined my sister and me for a more peaceful night in our van. My parents went back to their trusty tent for a noisy, but reasonably comfortable night.

Now you may think that we must have had a terribly chintzy tent. Actually, it seemed like a pretty nice one. We bought it from a good company, and when it was new, it was strong. Even in its later years, it served well through small storms. We were comfortable with it usually, and even now use it occasionally. It is good enough for most situations. The problem with that tent is that it failed the big test.

Thinking about that made me think about myself. “Do I have a faith, which, like that tent, is only strong enough for small storms? Am I building up my faith so that it will be able to bring me through the Christian’s big storm, because it is secured in our only true Foundation, Jesus Christ? Will I stand up strong and firm in all my trials, like my parent’s tend did?” These thoughts passed through my mind. I am now praying and striving for a faith that is strong enough to pass my big test.


No Place to Go

“And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.

Some time ago, I received a phone call from Indiana. One of God’s true saints seemed to have a very serious problem. “Pastor,” she began, “I have no place to go. What am I going to do?” For a moment I was speechless. I was not sure I was hearing this woman correctly.

So I asked this lady, “What do you mean you have no place to go?” She explained what she meant. The church where she attended had gone full celebration. The music was horrible (in her words), syncopated by the beating of drums. No longer did she feel the spirit of divine worship, but rather that of another spirit. She continued: “And during the eleven o’clock service, drama has filled God’s house with the spirit of excitement and entertainment. The pastor’s message is nothing but psychology and New Theology.”

She wanted to hear the simple preaching of the Word of God and to feel God’s divine presence in the worship service, but it was not there. She felt that she could no longer attend her local home church. So she decided to look elsewhere. Can you imagine how surprised she was, after visiting other churches in the city where she lived, to discover that these, too, were all caught up in the fervor of celebration?

Then someone told her of a small country church some twenty miles out of the city. The next Sabbath, with her family, she drove to this little church, thinking that they would find a place to worship God in a pure Seventh-day Adventist atmosphere, a place that would be distinct from the world. As they arrived at this little country church, a nice looking gentleman kindly greeted them. But on entering the church sanctuary they noticed banners hanging on the chapel walls and displayed on the pulpit, the same kind that you would see in the churches of Babylon. She was disappointed to see ladies leading out in the Sabbath School who had large earrings dangling from their ears. However, a bigger surprise awaited them, for suddenly they noticed that many of the ladies in the audience were wearing gold necklaces with sizeable gold crosses attached to them. She and her family began to wonder if they had entered the wrong church. Perhaps this was a Sunday keeping church. But then they remembered that this was indeed the Sabbath day.They felt so out of place and so disappointed that they walked out.

As they left, the man that had greeted them, upon their arrival, approached them and asked, “Why are you leaving? You just came in.” Politely they began to explain, when he broke in with the words, “Oh, the members of this church pride themselves on being very liberal. I know that you are leaving because of the jewelry. I, too, am very much concerned.”

Then the lady said, “Why do you not speak up and do something about it?” But he just shrugged his shoulders as if nothing could be done. So the lady and her family drove to a nearby hill. There in the midst of nature they spread a blanket and listened to one of my tapes for a Sabbath sermon. Once more she lamented, “Oh, pastor, how I miss my good old Seventh-day Adventist Church. I long to attend where I know God’s blessing is waiting. But, pastor, I have no place to go!”

That just broke my heart. What happened to this lady and her family is happening in other places. I am getting calls from the north, the south, the east and the west with like experiences. It is certainly a tragic situation.

Some time ago, in a nearby church, the Conference speaker began his tirade by belittling God’s last day prophet with these words, “This little old lady.” As he continued his antics, he stated that Sister White was not inspired by God, and that he was opposed to God’s last day prophet. My wife and I walked out, and so did a number of others. Later my wife told me that she became so depressed that week that she did not want to go back there any more. And I felt the same.

Shortly after this experience, I happened to meet a man who had been baptized recently by the pastor of this church. I asked him why he did not go to that church anymore. He answered, “When I joined the church, I thought I was joining a church that had left Babylon. But last Christmas I found paganism in the church and the sermons my pastor gives, week after week, were exactly the same as I used to hear in the church that I left to join the Adventist Church. I want to go to a church where the pastor is preaching a spirit filled message from God’s word that helps me to get ready for the coming crisis.” My mind began to recount how God has told us that such things would happen within our church in the end time. Two parties would be found within a church that was once united. One group would cry and sigh for the abominations seen within the church. The other would stress the need to compromise so that we could be more attractive to the surrounding churches.


What Are We to Do?


What are the faithful historic Adventists to do, for more and more of those who are crying and sighing over the abominations so prevalent within Adventism are being disfellowshipped? Perhaps God is trying to tell His faithful few that we are nearing the time of trouble when we shall be forced to go from door to door with our Bibles in our hands. We will visit our neighbors and those in the surrounding countryside to explain to them our peculiar faith and to study the Scriptures with those who are interested.

This is to be done in preparation for a soon coming Sunday law, when this will be the only way in which we can obey the law of the land and still be faithful to our God. God is shutting the door of mercy upon a compromising church. He is opening the door to His faithful few who are lamenting the abominations of celebration. It is time for us to begin the long awaited house-to-house missionary work to our surrounding neighborhoods on Sabbath afternoon in preparation for Sunday missionary work. The church has failed to do this in a time of ease, on the Sabbath day, and soon it will be more difficult.

I believe there are thousands upon thousands just waiting to hear the truth of the Three Angels’Messages. What an opportunity to start Branch Sabbath Schools and Bible studies as we used to do. We can personally visit the needy with packages of love and start being concerned for those who are sick. We can obtain necessary training for medical missionary activity. Perhaps God is just waiting for you to start a Branch Sabbath School of new believers without any celebration and drama. Then you will never say that you have no place to go! A great soul-winning program needs to be initiated by historic Adventists.


A Feast Without Guests


In Luke 14, Christ told a parable that is very appropriate for our situation. In this parable, a king invites many people to attend the wedding feast he has prepared for his son. Sadly, all of those invited make excuses and do not answer the invitation. “The master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” Luke 14:21. This master was deeply concerned. This is a very serious crisis. The king has spent a fortune for this supper. The truth is that the stability of his kingdom is involved. The refusal to accept this invitation is rebellion, for this invitation involves the wedding of the king’s son. To refuse to attend is looked upon by the king as treason.

Now what will the king do about this? He is a godly king, with his rulership based on love. So he executes a plan to solve the problem. He will reveal his mercy, his longsuffering and his loving care. Since the first effort failed, he will try again. The supper must be attended by guests. His determination is amazing. His attitude should electrify all who bear his name. He gives this challenging command, “Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city, and compel them to come in that my house may be filled.” This is God’s command for you and me today.

Why is the command so urgent? Why does the master say, “Go quickly?” It is because “all things are now ready.” Luke 14:16, 17. The feast is prepared: the food is cooked and everything is in order, all that is missing is the guests. Likewise, God also predicted a list of conditions that must take place here on this earth so it could also be said of the world, “All things are now ready.”

Consider the following areas and how they are being fulfilled before our eyes.

  • Increase in knowledge: Eighty percent of all the scientists that ever existed on the face of this world are alive today. Technology increases by quantum leaps every day. New discoveries continually change the way we live and work.
  • Destruction: You may be startled to know that Russia still has over a thousand nuclear warheads pointed at some of our larger cities in America. If these were all launched, the effects would be so complete as to destroy every living being in the United States.
  • Famine: This world has now reached a population of between six and seven billion inhabitants, and experts predict a massive famine in the Orient and in Africa in the near future.
  • Employment: One out of every four workers in the world is unemployed today.
  • Diseases: There are scores of new outbreaks of terrible diseases. One hundred million will die of AIDS. One out of every thirty college students test positive for the HIV virus.
  • Disasters: We hear so much about disasters today, that we have almost become hardened to the daily entourage. Often, the news that hundreds or thousands have been killed in still another catastrophe initiates little more than a moment of pity.
  • Divorce: When I was a boy, one out of three marriages ended in divorce. Today it is one out of every two. I am sure that you will agree that this is terrible. But consider Russia, where divorce is twenty-six percent higher than it is in the United States.
  • Morals: We now have ten million homosexuals in America. But when you look at the small country of Holland, it boasts of thirteen million homosexuals!


“Go” Means You!


This world has indeed become like Sodom and Gomorrah. Surely the earth is ready for Christ to come and destroy the sinners and the supposed saints. “All things are now ready,” but the guests have ignored the invitation. There is much to be done by you and by me. No wonder God says, “Go.” That word taken to heart and put into action has great power. “GO” scattered the disciples abroad after the Savior’s crucifixion and they finished their task in just one generation. Today, we have come to a place where we like to juggle the wording of Scripture or change the spelling of Inspiration. Some would spell “GO” with the letters LOOK, WRITE, GIVE or SEND, for they believe it best to work by proxy. After all, the preacher gets paid for it. Let him do the work. He is better qualified.

When God says, “GO,” He is speaking to every member of His church. He means GO into the streets and the lanes—to wherever there is a soul to be found, into the huts of poverty, the camp of sin, the abode of outcasts, into the castle of the rich or down the street to our neighbors. Preach the gospel to every creature. Go out to where you find the unregenerate heart. This is our personal missionary field. Often I hear people say, “But, I do not know what to say.” If this is the case, you need to check your own heart, because inspiration tells us that, “Everyone who is connected with God will impart light to others. If there are any who have not light to give, it is because they have no connection with the source of light.” Historical Sketches, 291.

I well remember a preacher giving a message in which he made the statement that every

Christian can win someone to Christ. There was a poor seamstress in his church who worked early and late to feed her fatherless children. She remained after the service to talk to the pastor.

She said, “This is the first time, Pastor, that I have ever heard you say something that I felt was unfair.” The pastor listened. Then he said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” And he left her. She began to think and to pray about it. She had no transportation. But she thought about her sewing customers. Then she thought about the milkman. So the next morning she was up bright and early and when she heard the rattle of the empty bottles at her door, she opened it and stammered a bit.

The milkman thought that she had just gotten up and he began to leave when she finally said, “Wait. Do you know Christ?” The milkman almost dropped the empty bottles. For two nights he had been despondent over his sins. Yes, he would love to come to her home and have Bible studies. Do you know, one year later she presented her pastor with seven people for baptism. I personally met a young man who lived in a large community, in the Ozarks, who had visited every home within fifteen miles of where he lived. He was giving a Bible study every night of the week, and he still held a regular job in a factory working five days a week. Where is your mission field?


Have You Passed Your Neighbor By?


“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves. And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:30–37.

This man fell among thieves. Those who are without Christ are being robbed. The world offers tinsel pleasures but they soon lose their appeal. The devil robs and strips them, revealing their nakedness, just as he did to Adam and Eve. Sin is a cruel master. The man in Christ’s parable was in a pitiful condition. Bruised and badly beaten, he was half dead.

That is what Satan does to his victims. The Scripture says we are dead in trespasses and sin. Christ, in telling this story, is teaching us that sinners are spiritually dead in sin but alive in the body. In other words, they are half dead. Only the Great Physician can resurrect them to new life.

What about the Levite and the priest? “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” Luke 10:31, 32. The priest was on his way to the temple when he came near to this dying man. He looks, but he does not stop. How can he determine if this man is worthy of his help. He decides to report the matter when he gets to Jerusalem. Perhaps the Dorcas will help him. So he passes by.

Next comes the Levite, a servant of God. His business is to conduct worship and ceremonies. He had better not get his robes dirty helping this poor wretch. After all, this man was at fault. He came down this road of sin, and the law had warned him not to engage in sin. How could love be extended to such a man?

The case seems hopeless. Already, two men have passed by the wounded man, leaving him to die. But wait, there is someone else coming. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” Luke 10:33. The wounded man could not come to Jesus, for he was about to die. So Christ came to the wounded man and He was prepared to help. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10. Paul further states: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15.


The First Aid Kit


Notice that Christ was carrying a medical First Aid Kit. “And [he] went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” Luke 10:34. Nothing soothes and heals like the oil of the Holy Spirit. The wine is a purifying remedy, the cleansing blood of Jesus. This First Aid Kit contained bandages, emollients, antiseptic, oil (the Holy Spirit) and wine (the blood that cleanses from sin). The kind man exchanges places with this poor man. For the wounded man is placed on the Master’s donkey to be carried to a hospital (the church). Jesus sees the man’s terrible condition, caught and wounded by sin. So He comes down to earth and takes on humanity. He travels down the road to Jericho looking for sinners that He might save. Who do you know who is half dead, discouraged and whose religion does not answer their need? What they need is the touch of the Great Physician and God wants you to go and bring these individuals the good news of the Saviour. “Go and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:37. Christ says, “Go!” Go out into the streets and the lanes of the city. Go where the lost are to be found.

“Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.” The Desire of Ages, 329.

Christ says to you, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23. If your first effort fails, try again. You are offering a compelling force of love. God will stand by you and help you, for He has promised, “Go thou and do likewise.” We must go and fetch them and bring them to the remnant church.

But now I hear someone say, Brother Nelson, I cannot invite individuals to my present church. It has become too much like Babylon. Then start a home church by personal visitation and Bible studies until you have a group where the Spirit of God is manifested. Remember, dying men cannot come to the inn by themselves. Do not leave your work to the minister, the radio or the TV. God has given you the means you need—the two pence. “And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Luke 10:35. What is the two pence? It is the provision by which you have access to every power that Christ possessed. And any effort you put into the work will be rewarded. Christ promised, “When I come, I will repay.” And you know that He is coming soon. So be true to your Saviour. Keep the faith. Obey His command, “This do and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:37.

If you are truly converted, if you are washed in His blood, filled with the oil of His Spirit and bathed in His love, then go out into the streets and the lanes and compel them to come “that My house may be filled” and Christ may come. Do not stand around and cry, I have no place to go. Start a Branch Sabbath School that will eventually become a place of worship.

“God requires everyone to be a worker.” Bible Echo, 1901. “God demands that every soul who knows the truth shall seek to win others.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 103. “God expects personal service from everyone.” Ibid., 30. “We must participate in His labors for their redemption.” The Desire of Ages, 142.

So, GO, go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and compel them to come in.


True Education

Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come. The source of such an education is brought to view in these words of Holy Writ, pointing to the Infinite One: In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom.” Colossians 2:3. “He hath counsel and understanding.” Job 12:13.

The world has had its great teachers, men of giant intellect and extensive research, men whose utterances have stimulated thought and opened to view vast fields of knowledge; and these men have been honored as guides and benefactors of their race; but there is One who stands higher than they. We can trace the line of the world’s teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of our solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gleam of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world. In these days much is said concerning the nature and importance of “higher education.” The true “higher education” is that imparted by Him with whom “is wisdom and strength” (Job 12:13), out of whose mouth “cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6.

In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate.

In this communion is found the highest education. It is God’s own method of development. “Acquaint now thyself with Him” (Job 22:21), is His message to mankind . . .

What education can be higher than this? What can equal it in value?

“It cannot be gotten for gold, Neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.

It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,

With the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

The gold and the crystal cannot equal it

And the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.

No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls:

For the price of wisdom is above rubies.” Job 28:15-18.

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.

He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work. As he awakens a desire to reach God’s ideal, he presents an education that is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe; an education that cannot be completed in this life, but that will be continued in the life to come; an education that secures to the successful student his passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher grade, the school above.

Taken from Education, 13-19


The Purpose of Missionary Schools

In mid-1989, my brother Colin and I spent two hours in the office of Pastor Enoch Olivera, then Vice-President of the General Conference. Pastor Olivera, a Brazilian, was a fine Seventh-day Adventist administrator, one who loved the Lord and His truth. As he poured out his heart to us, tears ran down his cheeks. He had held his post for nine years. One by one, Pastor Olivera enumerated his heartaches. He loved the Seventh-day Adventist church, but as he saw the actions of many administrators, he was full of forebodings.

Among a number of his expressed concerns was his fear for the souls of Seventh-day Adventist young people attending Seventh-day Adventist colleges in North America. He concluded his remarks with sorrowful words. “I cannot recommend to God’s people any one of our North American Division Colleges as a safe place for them to entrust the training of their young people.”

Pastor Olivera passed to his rest three years later, but his tears are still before my eyes and his words continue to ring in my ears. As a fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist, the Seventh-day Adventist message, based on the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, is to be found in the marrow of my bones. That map and Christ’s love are the divine driving-force of my life. To see the degeneration of our educational system, which has spanned over the past 50 years, greatly distresses me. Have our church administrators and educators lost sight of the accountability due of them as they stand before the judgement bar of God? Have they neglected to consider the eternal destiny of each young soul they teach?

It would seem to any spiritually-minded observer that the answer to each question posed above is “Yes.” How else can we explain the reckless disregard of the numerous divine counsels with which our colleges have been blessed?

Following the acceptance of the false principle of state accreditation in 1931, colleges followed a policy that has led to an escalating course of decline. Inspiration warned of such a consequence: “Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly are gradually led further and further from the principles of truth until they become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which God has committed to men through his ministers and prophets and apostles. And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that they can introduce it into our schools. But let me tell you that you must not take what the world calls the higher education and bring it into our schools and sanitariums and churches. We need to understand these things. I speak to you definitely. This must not be done.” Review and Herald, November 11, 1909.

Seventh-day Adventist education has not followed God’s counsel, but the counsel of unconsecrated men. When, in 1966, the South Pacific Division accepted state aid for its schools, it followed a course which doomed the entire system. At Carmel College, shortly after accepting “no strings attached” state aid, the accreditation committee inspected the school’s library and noted that it was “deficient” in novels. Rather than lose accreditation we introduced “good” novels to the school library, in total disregard of divine counsel. Other examples of the results of the acceptance of state aid, in the South Pacific, is that in New Zealand every Seventh-day Adventist school has joined the government school system. They have school boards consisting of a mixture of Seventh-day Adventists and those not of our faith and they follow the obligatory process of advertising senior school administration post vacancies in the secular press. Avondale College, Australia’s only Seventh-day Adventist Tertiary Educational Institution has four non-Seventh-day Adventist Board members. Students who drink alcohol, play rock music (even on Sabbath) or commit adultery, cannot be expelled because the state prohibits expulsion for such “inconsequential” matters. As a result, these breeches of Seventh-day Adventist standards are not infrequent.


Adventist-schooled Youth No Different from Worldly Youth


It comes as no surprise to learn that a recent study of Seventh-day Adventist’s aged between 19 and 24 years, undertaken as part of a Ph.D. degree by Pastor Bradley Strahan in conjunction with Pastor Berry Gane, Youth Director of the South Pacific Division, revealed that “there was no significant difference between young adults who were Adventist schooled, partly Adventist schooled or non-Adventist schooled on the measure of Christian commitment, denominational loyalty, doctrinal orthodoxy, social responsibility, self-esteem, egoidentity, or participation in at risk behaviors” South Pacific Division Record, May 2, 1998.

What were these “at-risk behaviors?” Let us summarize:

  1. Nearly 30 percent of participants reported experiencing some kind of abuse. (The South Pacific Division Record, July 25, 1998, has since discussed the protection of Seventh-day Adventist children and youth from abuse in the church.)
  2. More than half the perpetrators of abuse attended church; nearly one in five were involved in church leadership.
  3. Forty-four percent of the participants had engaged in premarital sex at least once, with more than one-half of these (54 percent) using no contraceptives.
  4. More than 40 percent of participants reported drinking in the past 12 months; more than 20 percent reported binge drinking.

The study reported that “The figures are so close to national norms they suggest that Adventists are not much different from the rest of the population.” (Ibid.)

If we are true Seventh-day Adventists then we are different! True Seventh-day Adventist education does make a profound difference!

In the United States, Seventh-day Adventist Colleges have advertised a large range of gay and lesbian books advertised by the book store (La Sierra University), permitted the cardinal archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal Kesler, Chairman of the Roman Catholic Bishop’s conference, to preach on the subject of baptism during a Thursday evening in their church (Union College, Nebraska), published specifically Roman Catholic depictions of Christ in their student identification book (Andrews University), provided free condoms for students (Walla Walla College), led out in defiance of the position of the world church by ordaining women pastors (Columbia Union College), formed a gay and lesbian society with two theology professors, a sociology professor and two deans on the committee (Walla Walla College), employed a chaplain and teacher who published a book, freely sold in Adventist book centers, which advocated that unmarried couples should engage in sexual activities, the one limitation being that both parties agree (Loma Linda University), arranged abortions for their students (Pacific Union College), accepted students full of faith in God’s message and graduated them filled with doubt (Walla Walla College), promoted interschool sporting competitions (Columbia Union College and Southwestern Adventist University), taught that Christ is not our example, that the redeemed will sin after the close of probation, that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the heart of the individual and that the day-year principle is invalid (Southern Adventist University).

Do we need self-supporting schools? Not necessarily! We only need self-supporting schools if they teach fidelity to scriptural truth and shun worldly accreditation. Such are most assuredly required. With our denominational tertiary institutions largely given over to worldly education, it is little wonder that faithful denominational leaders have cried out. Elder Robert Pierson stated, two decades ago, that even then “there are those in the church who belittle the inspiration of the total Bible; who scorn the first eleven chapters of Genesis; who question the Spirit of Prophecy’s short chronology of the age of the earth; and who subtly, and not so subtly, attack the Spirit of Prophecy.” That Elder Pierson was focusing his remarks upon our tertiary educational system cannot be denied, for he continued in his article, “Fellow leaders, beloved brethren and sisters, don’t let it [the intrusion of the apostasy cited above] happen! I appeal to Andrews University, the seminary, to Loma Linda University. Don’t let it happen! We are not Seventh-day Anglicans, not Seventh-day Lutherans, we are Seventh-day Adventists!” Adventist Review, October 26, 1978.

This was good reason for the editor of the Adventist Review, Pastor Kenneth Wood, to write eighteen years ago: “We confess that we are alarmed by the fact that some of our colleges seem to be drifting away from the standards and objectives established for them by their founders. We are alarmed by the secular climate that prevails on some campuses. We are alarmed by the strange winds of doctrine that blows on some campuses. We are alarmed by lax moral standards that prevail on some campuses. We are alarmed by the feeble efforts put forth by some administrators and faculty members to create a spiritual climate that will prepare students for the greatest event in earth’s history, the Second Coming of Jesus.” Adventist Review, February 21, 1980.


Where are the Watchmen on the Walls?


While men like Elders Pierson and Wood sat in the General Conference office, men who were prepared to openly denounce the in-subordination of God’s people and pastors, some hope of reform was cherished in the hearts of God’s true flock. But, where do we hear such public denunciations today in an era where our colleges and universities have degenerated to a level vastly lower than that of two decades past? Any institution which works to prepare young people for the service of God seems to be the butt of attacks from the General Conference. (See Issues published by the North American Division in 1992 and spread worldwide by the General Conference administration.) The gross abominations in the denominational colleges produce paralysis of the vocal cords and of the writing-hands of the very same administrators. The Adventist Review likewise is silent on these matters.

When these colleges pervert their high and holy calling, administrators claim impotency to correct the matter. But they do hold, within their responsibility, to act-not as dictators, but as faithful shepherds standing on the walls of Zion, blowing the warning trumpet (Ezekiel 33:2–10). When a college, such as Walla Walla, rejects efforts to reform its disgraceful record, it is beholding upon church administrators to publish widely the fact that it is no longer a Seventh-day Adventist institution and warn God’s flock of the peril to the souls of their children should they seek to enter that college. The staff should be notified that no longer will they receive denominational service credit for their employment in the college and, further, the administration should be informed that no longer will the institution be a recipient of denominational subsidy.

Denominational administrators have abrogated their responsibilities as watchmen unless they protect God’s people and warn them, not in a corrective manner, but in sincere fulfillment of their duty as watchmen on the walls of Zion. It is no longer acceptable to excuse their inaction on the grounds that the college will lose its accreditation (that would prove to be a wonderful benefit to the institution in any case), or that the Labor Department would not permit dismissal of staff. These are limp excuses for failure to undertake one’s beholden duty in the cause of our Lord. The answer is to divest the denomination of unfaithful institutions which are determined to destroy the faith of the flower of our youth.

It is essential that we learn the lessons of the First Advent. Why did John the Baptist fail to enroll in the schools of the rabbis? John was the son of a priest, he was a descendant of Levi and clearly was a man of high intellect. He was a prime candidate to enter into such training. But God, in choosing John to preach the Elijah message of the First Advent, specifically forbade such a course. We need not speculate why the Elijah message was not presented by a graduate of the denominational colleges of his day. Inspiration clearly testifies to the reason: “The training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him [John the Baptist] for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures.” Desire of Ages, 101. So it must be today.

In Australia and New Zealand, I warn parents, who desire their children to be trained for service in God’s work, that Avondale College is an unfit institution to prepare their children for such a purpose. I do so, not because I have any disaffection for Avondale. It is my alma mater, from which I graduated in 1951. Nevertheless, one dare not permit such natural emotions to excuse one from his spiritual duty.


Self-Supporting Schools Answer the Call


God has clearly set forth for us the principles of an education approved of Him. Our denominational colleges in first world nations, and even many third-world countries, no longer even marginally approach these principles. Those faithful believers need schools of a new order. Today some self-supporting schools are working diligently to meet God’s standards.

Bible prophecy indicates that the two continents, which will figure most prominently into end-time events, are North America and Europe. It is time, long overdue, for the establishment of an institution with high, holy and noble ideals in Europe. The European Institute of Health and Education (EIHC) Lia-Ullared, Sweden, has been established, but with a commitment to the training of young men and women to take God’s last message to the world.

European Institute of Health and Education is providing a one-year work-study program. The board is convicted that we are at the very end of earth’s history and that it is now time to expedite the training of these young people. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we believe that these youth will go forth to complete the task in Europe and beyond.

The Board and Administration of the European Institute of Health and Education take seriously God’s counsel. “To supply the need of laborers, God desires that educational centers be established in different countries where students of promise may be educated in the practical branches of knowledge and in Bible truth. As these persons engage in labor, they will give character to the work of present truth in the new fields. They will awaken an interest among unbelievers and aid in rescuing souls from the bondage of sin. The very best teachers should be sent to the various countries where schools are to be established, to carry on the educational work.Testimonies, vol. 6, 137.

The European Institute of Health and Education will have a small faculty, but in heeding the divine counsel cited above, it has searched the world in order to provide the highest quality of teachers for the school which will be known as the Lia Missionary Training School. Already the eight-member board is drawn from four continents—Europe, North America, Africa, and Australia—in order to provide a breadth of experience upon which to draw.

The board will not base its policies and curriculum upon those of denominational colleges. We are committed to following divine counsel and avoiding such a mistake. “I have been shown that in our educational work we are not to follow the methods that have been adopted in our older established schools. There is among us too much clinging to old customs, and because of this we are far behind where we should be in the development of the third angel’s message. Because men could not comprehend the purpose of God in the plans laid before us for the education of workers, methods have been followed in some of our schools which have retarded rather than advanced the work of God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 533.

The board and administration recognize that, “Without the influence of divine grace, education will prove no real advantage; the learner becomes proud, vain and bigoted.” Ibid., 94. The education provided at the new institution will point each young person to a heart relationship with Christ and personal sanctification. This, the Lord terms “Higher education.” “Higher education is an experimental knowledge of the plan of salvation, and this knowledge is secured by earnest and diligent study of the Scriptures. Such an education will renew the mind and transform the character, restoring the image of God in the soul. It will fortify the mind against the deceptive whisperings of the adversary, and enable us to understand the voice of God. It will teach the learner to become a co-worker with Jesus Christ, to dispel the moral darkness about him, and bring light and knowledge to men. It is the simplicity of true godliness— our passport from the preparatory school of earth to the higher school above.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 11.

We can have no higher ambition for the students who are privileged to enter the portals of the Lia Missionary Training School than, “To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.” Education, 15, 16. This, too, is the purpose of Lia Missionary College, for no young person devoid of Christian character perfection will be entrusted with the Latter Rain power so essential for the final proclamation of the Loud Cry Message.

Will Lia reach its high and holy destiny? Only by God’s guidance. That destiny is summarized in the wonderful words of inspiration, well known to us all: “Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.” Education, 13.

Is Lia Missionary College necessary? The general state of Seventh-day Adventist education demands institutions such as Hartland and Lia and the proposed Southland Institute in Australia. May God’s flock keep these institutions in their prayers. God needs the graduates of these schools, and in the history of eternity, their work will be recorded as having faithfully prepared God’s army of youth, rightly trained, who will shoulder the unprecedented task of taking the last message of warning to the six billion inhabitants of this earth. These youth will have been taught and will have accepted the divine principle that “In the highest sense, the work of education and the work of redemption are one.” Education, 30.


New Bottles

“We want to understand the time in which we live. We do not half understand it. We do not half take it in. My heart trembles in me when I think of what a foe we have to meet and how poorly we are prepared to meet him. The trials of the children of Israel, and their attitude just before the first coming of Christ, have been presented before me again and again to illustrate the position of the people of God in their experience before the Second Coming of Christ—how the enemy sought every occasion to take control of the minds of the Jews, and today he is seeking to blind the minds of God’s servants.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 406.

As we analyze this statement, it becomes apparent that we could learn a great deal by studying the experiences of the Jews at the time of the First Advent. This is a type of what we are going to go through just before the Second Advent. There was a very powerful group of leaders among the Jewish people of that time. They were wealthy, highly educated and their counsel was accepted as the voice of God. These men claimed to be the thought leaders of the people of God and they had control of their church organization. They did not believe all of the inspired writings, but they claimed that they believed the most important parts. In other words, they had no confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen White said that they were skeptics, materialists. But, despite all this, they were in control of the professed church, in Jesus’ day.

They did not believe the historic message that God had given to the children of Israel. These Sadducees were even guilty of removing some of the primary landmarks that God had given to His people, some of the peculiar truths, which had made them different from the world. Educated in Greek schools, such as the one in Alexandria, Egypt, they adopted many worldly philosophies. Today, we would call them “liberal Adventists.” (And yes, they were “Adventists,” because they were looking forward to the First Advent of Christ. They were even Seventh-day Adventists because they kept the Sabbath.) Under the control of Satan’s delusive power, they had left the historic doctrines that God had given to His people, and the majority of the people went along with them. If you had been a self-supporting worker, such as John the Baptist, you might have thought that this group was one of the most dangerous developments among God’s people. They held a lot of influence among the leadership in Jerusalem, and they even had connections with the Romans.

Many people, today, think that those who have removed the doctrines concerning the sanctuary, the investigative judgment, the necessity of overcoming sin, the divine authority of the Spirit of Prophecy and other landmark Adventist doctrines are the greatest danger to the truth. Of course, we would never deny that we need to spend time attacking and trying to correct these falsehoods. Jesus publicly condemned the sophistries of the Sadducees in His day. However, there was another influence even more dangerous which Jesus put much more effort into counteracting. This group was so insidious that even Jesus’ own disciples were strongly influenced by it. These men were called Pharisees.

When we try to focus our energies attacking the errors of Sadduceism (liberalism), I say to myself, are we missing the point? That is dangerous and we should be opposed to it, but that is not the biggest danger.


What is Pharisaism?


What is Pharisaism and how do we avoid being influenced by it? Ellen White described Pharisaism as the spirit of human nature, manifested in all ages among the human family. Jesus said concerning the Pharisees: “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:2, 3.

Pharisaism is the spirit of self-exaltation, seeking to be in control of others and of the work. In a speech, in 1901, Ellen White declared that God’s work is to advance without asking permission or support from those who have taken to themselves a kingly power (Pharisaism). (See General Conference Bulletin, April 3, 1901.)

“For years a degree of Pharisaism has been springing up amongst us . . . A spirit which desires to rule . . . but very little of the spirit which leads men to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him . . Human inventions and human plans are eclipsing sacred things, and excluding divine instruction. . . They rule without a vestige of the authority of God . . . and others are becoming leavened by this wrong influence.” 1888 Materials, 1558, 1559. Jesus told His disciples, in Matthew 16, to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. We hear much today about properly constituted church authority, but the Pharisees did not have any divine authority for what they were doing.

The essence of Pharisaism, as described in Hosea 10, is professed service to God when a person is actually working for himself. It results in a critical, unforgiving spirit that is devoid of love. Those who exhibit this spirit show a resistance to the truth and are involved in evil surmising. Where does evil surmising come from? Ellen White says, “Surmisings are a repast from the enemy, a banquet of his own preparing.” Review and Herald, October 17, 1899.

She warns that there is far more Pharisaism among our people than they suppose. “It is a spirit of wanting to be first . . . A spirit of criticism toward others . . . Envy, jealousy, suspicion, faultfinding, and false witnessing . . . A spirit of retaliation is secretly at work: yet those who are thus creating disaffection and disunion . . . all the while claim to be firm believers in the truth. Such do not practice the spirit of the truth. The leaven of their evil surmisings permeates the company where it exists.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888. Simply speaking, Pharisaism leads people to make a profession of that which is true, while their lives are not in harmony with their profession.

When Jesus came to this earth, a war was waged between His humble, self-sacrificing spirit and the spirit of Pharisaism—the predominate spirit in the church among the professed people of God at that time.


New Wine Must Have New Bottles


Jesus said, “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wine skins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16, 17.

You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. You cannot unite the teachings of Christ with Pharisaism. Many people have tried it, but always to their own destruction. Ellen White says, “The principles of Christ’s teaching [could not] be united with the forms of Pharisaism. Christ was not to close up the breach that had been made by the teachings of John. He would make more distinct the separation between the old and the new . . . The effort to unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would be vain. The vital truth of God, like fermenting wine, would burst the old, decaying bottles of the Pharisaical tradition.” The Desire of Ages, 278, 279.

When Jesus came, what He taught could not be united with the insidious and deceptive forms of Pharisaism. This group, which outwardly professed the truth, had made a god out of their church organization. The words of Christ, Ellen White says, were an arraignment of the whole system of Pharisaism. He declared, that by placing their requirements above the divine principles, the rabbis were putting themselves above God.

Remember, that the experience of the children of Israel at Christ’s first coming illustrated the position of God’s people just before the Second Coming. Can the forms of Pharisaism be united with the truth anymore today than they could two thousand years ago? No, never! What is the only hope for us, then?

“Only in Christ Jesus will the church near the period of Christ’s coming be able to stand. She is required of her Redeemer to advance in piety, and to have increased zeal, understanding better as she nears the end that her own high calling is of God in Christ Jesus.” 1888 Materials, 333.

I often hear people say today, “It is all right. Just let the tares grow. The tares and the wheat have to grow together until the harvest. This apostasy will just have to continue until Jesus comes.” How does God’s prophet answer this? She said that as we (the church) approach the end, we are required of our Redeemer to advance in piety and to have increased zeal. We must have a better understanding of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

However, the devil has a far different plan. He intends to leaven the camp with so many tares and so much Pharisaism that the wheat will be choked out. And the success that he is having is almost unbelievable. Parents come to us from all over the country, telling us sad stories of what has happened to their children. They say, “My children are all out in the world. They grew up in an Adventist home, they went to an Adventist church, they went to an Adventist school, and now they are gone.”


A Reformation and a Coming Out


Ellen White wrote, “Pharisaism (is) . . . leavening the camp . . . Seventh-day Adventist Churches were affected; . . . but the Lord had given me a message, and with pen and voice I would work until this leaven was expelled and a new leaven was introduced, which was the grace of Christ.

“I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches.” 1888 Materials, 356, 357. God is telling us that we cannot go to heaven the way we are. There must be a reformation in our lives and in our churches. Inspiration says, “Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light . . . As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity of another coming out.” Ibid.

That last sentence has direct bearing on the home church movement that is springing up all over the world. Some of us that should be leaders in Adventism are so blind. The Lord is taking the work into His own hands. I see people without education, training or knowledge, starting churches all over the world. God is at work. If you and I do not do our part to save our children and the people around us, the Lord will use someone else, and we might lose our souls.

Continuing from 1888 Materials, 356, 357: “While we will endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry.”

Bigotry is Pharisaical control—human control over the church. Human beings are never to control the church of God. Read that in The Desire of Ages, 414, 415. She says, “Many will close their ears to the message God sends them and open their ears to deception and delusion . . . Our brethren separate themselves from God, by reason of the homage they give to human beings.” 1888 Materials, 357, 358.

“There was much talk, but very little of the mind of Christ . . . The enemy often employed them in his service . . . Under the influence of the great deceiver they would take a position to oppose the most sacred things of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 219.

“There must be no rings of men to unite together in unholy fellowship to strengthen each other in ways and ideas that are opposed to the spirit of God . . . Unless they were changed in spirit and confessed their mistakes, they would go into greater deceptions.” 1888 Materials, 359, 360.

“As long as you maintain this spirit of Pharisaism, God’s Spirit will not, cannot work with you.” Ibid., 410.


Pharisaism and Christ’s Teaching Do Not Mix


We must realize that preaching and teaching and all religious service is utterly vain, worthless, and helpless unless the Spirit of God is working. As long as the leadership maintains the spirit of Pharisaism, God’s Spirit will not work with them, because they do not feel their utter dependence upon Him. When they humble their hearts before God, they will see the danger of Pharisaism in every church. That includes home churches. As the disciples lived and worked with Jesus, and listened to His teaching, they began to understand what really counted in religion. It is important to have a faith that works by love in the heart and purifies the mind and soul.

The more they understood that principle, the more they knew that there was no place for union with the old religion of the Pharisees. The disciples found that an effort to unite the teachings of Jesus with the established religion would have been a mistake.

As Ellen White says, “The new doctrines, like fermenting wine would have burst the old decaying bottles of the Pharisaical tradition.” Signs of the Times, September 19, 1892. To the Pharisees, the teaching of Jesus was new in almost every respect. It was unrecognized, unacknowledged as truth. They professed to have great respect for the religion of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Moses. Nevertheless, when Christ taught the original truths that had been committed to the fathers, His teaching was new to the Pharisees.

That is the exact condition we are in today. Historic Adventists are not teaching something new, although we meet that accusation frequently. The reason people think it is new is because the doctrines they hold have been perverted. We are teaching the original truths that were given to Adventism, just like Jesus was teaching the original truths that were given to the fathers. They were new to the Pharisees, but they were actually the old, original theories.

In this type of situation, the devil comes with a very skillful, sly temptation. The leaders in Adventism were tricked by this in Minneapolis, in 1888. The people were confused about what the truth was. When a message was presented to them, which they thought was new (it was really just the good old truth), they rejected it. Their minds were so distorted that they said, “We must cling to the old-theories (their distorted beliefs).” The result was that they had no part in the message that God was sending to His people, right then.

Today, just as at the First Advent, Christ is looking for new bottles. Bottles which are not warped and perverted by long-held traditions and fallacies. Ellen White wrote about this in Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 333: “Now, those who have had years in this same experience, know not God nor Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and should such go forth as representatives of Jesus Christ? These men will never give the right mold to other minds; they have not grown up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. They simply have the name of Christians but are not fitted for the work of God, and never will be until they are born again, and learn the A.B.C. in true religion of Jesus Christ. There is a little hope in one direction. Take the young men and women, and place them where they will come as little in contact with our churches as possible, that the low grade of piety which is current in this day shall not leaven their ideas of what it means to be a Christian.”

God is finding new bottles today. I am amazed as I travel and visit God’s people. God is taking people who have been drug addicts, and those who have been involved in all kinds of crime, and He is showing them the gospel, and they are accepting it. Among this class, who have a willing heart and are not self-sufficient, God is finding new bottles to carry on His work.

Ellen White gives us the promise that if we were willing to become new bottles, the Lord will fill us with wine. Do you want to be a new bottle? Do you want to say, “Lord, I want to be converted? I do not want to have a Pharisaical heart anymore. Take the desire for kingly power out of my heart. I am willing to do whatever You say. I am willing to take my place among the brethren.” If this is your sincere prayer, the Lord will answer you.