Pitting truth against truth

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Adventist History
“The little flock” who refused to surrender their faith after the 1844 disappointment, as portrayed in Revelation 10, responded to the call to “prophecy again” (10:11). Heeding the instruction in Revelation 11:1, to examine the sanctuary, they found that it was in heaven (11:19), not on earth, as they had thought. By earnest study they discovered the basic pillars of the three angel's messages, which they now proclaimed: (a) the soon coming of Jesus; (b) the judgment – cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary; (c) the Law as the standard of judgment; (d) the Sabbath as the seal of God and sign of worship of the Creator; (d) the spirit of prophecy, sign of the remnant church; and (e) man's sleep in death.

But within a few years they were divinely reproved for allowing their focus to shift from Christ, Who provides both meaning and cohesion to all the doctrines, to the doctrines themselves. Because they did not grasp and internalize the principles involved in the reproof, God had to put His plan on hold until they were prepared to proclaim present truth doctrines with a focus upon Christ Himself.

From 1844 to Minneapolis
Seventh-day Adventists were commissioned by the Creator to proclaim His message to the entire world. And God was prepared to enable our fathers to fulfill that commission in their day. But for decades they remained at the threshold of the final battle between Christ and Satan, unready for that final round. Thus the Angels of Revelation 7 had to hold “the winds of strife.” Christ can not gain His ultimate victory over Satan, “father of lies,” until His servants permit Him to seal them in their foreheads (minds). For this is essential both to his final unmasking before the universe and to their preparation to withstand the greatest deceptions of all ages concerning which Jesus said, “If possible he would deceive the very elect” (Mk 13:22).

The problem was that as a result of intense opposition to the law and Sabbath our pioneers became increasingly focused upon doctrinal evidence and failed to focus adequately upon the Author of the law and Lord of the Sabbath. Even as they defended themselves against charges of legalism, they thus became increasingly legalistic in experience and were unable to proclaim and represent the self-sacrificing character of Christ, which the law reflects and for which the Sabbath provides. Ellen White called attention to the consequent Laodicean self-righteousness even as she sought to focus attention upon Christ, our only righteousness; but while initially responding to this, few recognized the depth of the problem and continued to focus upon doctrine rather than upon Christ and His principles of righteousness, which He offered by faith.

We repeated Israel's Egypt to Canaan experience: a distance of only 11 days travel took 40 years! To understand why God's plan still remains on hold we need to see our route from 1844 to Minneapolis in that light. Ancient Israel came to the border of Canaan but was turned back because, instead of choosing to believe, they accepted the report of the unbelieving spies and rebelled against God. Even so God brought us to the border of Canaan by a message to correct our legalism and focus our minds upon Christ our Righteousness, Who is Himself the primary content of our message. But we rebelled and were turned back into the spiritual wilderness because of unbelief that caused our fathers to fear that the message to correct legalism by a re-focus on the law Giver would destroy the law itself.

Resistance to Christ: Climax at Minneapolis
The message God gave to E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones in no way discredited the law or obedience, but magnified and made honorable the law by providing a key to true obedience. It was a simple call to focus upon Christ-crucified as the One Who removes our sins and offers His righteousness, both imputed and imparted. It was a shift of focus from the law to the law Giver, Who alone could enable true obedience. But our fathers feared that a shift of focus from the law itself to Christ and His righteousness would lead to antinomian rejection of the law and Sabbath.

Instead, God’s message revealed that human efforts to obey the law are only acceptable as we focus upon Christ Himself, with Whom a love relationship produces the inner obedience the law requires. Just as the Pharisees resented and rejected Christ’s insistence that, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:17-20), even so our fathers resisted the message that “our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa 64:6). Failing to see their Laodicean condition, they did not cry out for a writing of the law in their hearts. Thus Christ’s message was opposed as heresy.

As Ellen White explained, they thus scorned Christ Himself, Who sent the message and to Whom it pointed. In this, they trod “under foot the Son of God, … counted the blood of the covenant … an unholy thing … and did despite to the Spirit of His grace” (Heb 10:29), Who alone can write the law in the heart.

The purpose of the message was to humble in the dust the glory of man. But they spurned Christ’s offer of the gift of humility and chose to turn back into the wilderness, causing Ellen White to declare, “You have preached the law until you are as dry as the hills of Gilboa …” At the 1901 General Conference she announced that because of insubordination they would have to remain in this world a long time.

Minneapolis, Kingly Power, & 1901 Reorganization
Testimonies against “kingly power” multiplied through the 1890s and into the next decade. Though not itself a theological issue, authoritarian control may result in heresy. Moreover, it seriously violates Minneapolis principles. In answer to her own question: “What is justification by faith?”Ellen White declares, “It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust" (TM 456; 20 MR p. 117). The Minneapolis principles not only require individual humility in serving the Lord, but deny to anyone, whatever his position, authoritarian control over others.

Authoritarianism, a natural instinct of sinful man, can be overcome only by the aid of the Spirit, Whom our leaders resisted. In thus resisting Christ Himself, Who spoke through His Spirit, pride and self-will increased, intensifying the tendency to control. Nor were theological heresies long in springing forth, after incubating for varying amounts of time. At least two of the five post-Minneapolis heresies relate directly to “kingly power.”

Resistance to Truth Spawns Five Heresies
Following the 1888 Minneapolis crisis, Ellen White often warned that resisters of light were in darkness and in grave danger; for to resist light is to invite heresies. ”In March, 1890 she wrote re: Waggoner-Jones’ opponents “To Brethren in Responsible Positions”:

There are those who have prided themselves on their great caution in receiving new light, as they term it; but they are blinded by the enemy,

and cannot discern the work and ways of God. Light, precious light comes from heaven, and they array themselves against it. What next? These very ones will accept messages that God has not sent, and thus will become even dangerous to the cause of God ... (1888 Materials, V2, 722).

In the same letter she explains:
The Lord has presented before me that those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy, and have not fully recovered, will be in

peril because they cannot discern light from heaven, and will be inclined

to accept a falsehood. ... because they have blinded their own eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. Then they will originate something

they call light, which the Lord calls sparks of their own kindling, by which they will direct their steps. (ibid, 727).

On the same page, she warns:
By many the words the Lord sent will be rejected, and the words that man may speak will be received as light and truth.”

This warning proved prophetic. For within a decade and a half five heresies struck with blinding force that would have shattered Seventh-day Adventism to pieces, had not God sent messages of correction and instruction to meet the onslaught. These are:

  • Daniel’s Time Prophecies Applied to Future
  • Holy Flesh Doctrine
  • Panentheism
  • Independence & False View of Holy Spirit’s Function
  • Rejection of Sanctuary Message
Over-literalism Breeds Mysticism & Heresy (Late 1890s)
We have seen how confusion regarding the Holy Spirit and His function results in heresy. We now need to consider how over-literalism both reflects and encourages false concepts of the Holy Spirit and His role as Connector between sinful man and a holy God that stimulate the mysticism that bred the holy flesh movement and led Kellogg and Waggoner into Panentheism. The same over-literalism caused Jones and Waggoner to develop the individualism that both violates and precludes the exercise of priesthood of believer principles, which if exercised would have checked all three heresies.

Symbolic language, metaphors, and idioms, are present in every language. It is humorous when learners of a new language interpret idioms literally. But taking Bible metaphors and/or idioms literally is no laughing matter. Because metaphors designed to reveal intimacy between us and Christ and/or His Spirit were taken literally, even key leaders became vulnerable to Panentheistic mysticism, a Pagan philosophy then popular in society that was infecting evangelical churches. For example, Paul is not stating spatial relations when he says, “Christ lives in me.” He, rather, testifies to intimate, dependent relations that Christ described symbolically by the essential relation between the vine and branch.

It recently took a few weeks to answer questions raised by readers enamored with and confused by Waggoner's 1900, God’s Everlasting Covenant. The challenge related to over-literalized expressions such as, “in Him” and “in Christ,” etc., as well as, Christ or the Spirit “in you,” which inducted Kellogg and Waggoner into Panentheism. As with key leaders a century ago, the same tendency to over-literalize makes many SDAs vulnerable even now.

Indeed, we are now to an even greater extent surrounded by a sea of mysticism and Pentecostalism, the product of over-literal interpretations of Scripture that proliferate in evangelical churches, especially those that place the greatest emphasis on verbal inspiration. Over-literalism reveals confusion regarding the nature and function of the Holy Spirit, Whose personality is denied even by some SDAs, who assume that “the Spirit of Christ” means some kind of essence of Christ, Who is thus literally “within” us.

By God’s grace, we defeated Pentecostalism and mysticism a century ago and most other denominations managed to push it back, thus isolating its hard core. But a vastly greater Pentecostal invasion characterized by an inadvertent tuning to mystical Pagan philosophies in a now leading many unwittingly into the spiritualism predicted in Revelation 16:13-15).

And again, in numerous seemingly benign ways, such as mantra type prayer, Adventism is being invaded by this counterfeit. Well meaning leaders seeking revival are reaching out for something that will produce an effect. And various Pentecostal, new age forms are now seen as movements of the Spirit – just as our forebears mistakenly reached out to Pentecostalism in its early development, as they sought to induce the latter rain which the resisted Minneapolis message was designed to bring. Thus not infrequently it is said, “We have the truth and they have the Spirit,” and indicating that these need to be united.

Various avenues of penetration include intense focus upon angels and upon prayer rituals. But we are also increasingly penetrated by natural health modalities as eastern religions are rapidly taking over that field of ministry of which we were once leaders. Part of our vulnerability stems from opening ourselves to mega church mania, with its focus on numbers. Our need, rather, is to call our people to take up the cross, as we emphasize solid conversions and thorough Bible training.

Meanwhile, almost as soon as the five heresies were quelled, a new controversy burst forth over the “daily” of Daniel 8:11-13, which demonstrates a different danger implicit within over-literalism. Not only does the “daily” debate in many ways reflect that of Minneapolis, but over-literalism was a common precipitator of both conflicts. Yet the “daily” conflict reveals more clearly the danger of the verbal inspiration mentality in relating to divine revelation that gravely impacts us, especially in over-literal interpretation of the spirit of prophecy in a focus on the words which blinds one to the context.

Daily Conflict, Conservatives Unite (1908-1910)
We were still embroiled in conflict with Kellogg, Jones, and Ballenger when in 1908 Daniells and Prescott precipitated conflict with all remaining pioneers, their erstwhile, conservative allies, by discrediting their view of the “daily … taken away” by the little horn of Daniel, as portrayed in 8:11-13. Instead, they promoted what their now conservative opponents dubbed, the “new view.”

The Pioneers, without whose loyal support the movement could not have emerged intact during the preceding two decades, held Miller’s view that “the daily [hatamid] taken away” was Paganism. Without prior consultation with other brethren of experience and without honoring their allies, the old Pioneers, Prescott and Daniells began to proclaim that hatamid was not Paganism, but Christ’s heavenly sanctuary ministry, the place of which was cast down by the Papacy.

Concluding that they were identifying Paganism (hatamid) as Christ’s sanctuary, our Pioneers could only see that their leaders were engaged in blasphemy and branded the “new view” as the omega of apostasy, against which Ellen White had recently warned.

Ellen White reproved both sides: Kellogg and Prescott for failing to honor the Pioneers and unnecessarily precipitating the conflict; and the Pioneers for making her single, Early Writings statement a test of faith. She insisted, moreover, that she did not know and was not shown which view was correct, and forbad the use of her statement as a test. In 1910 she wrote to all participants:

I have words to speak to my brethren east and west, north and south. I request that my writings shall not be used as the leading argument to settle questions over which there is now so much controversy. I entreat of Elders H, I, J, and others of our leading brethren that they make no reference to my writings to sustain their views of "the daily.

… The true meaning of "the daily" is not to be made a test question.

I now ask that my ministering brethren shall not make use of my writings in their arguments regarding this question; for I have had no instruction on the point under discussion [“daily”], and I see no need for the controversy. (1SM 164; emph sup).

The results of this conflict were to further hinder a grasp and proclamation of the Minneapolis message, focus of which was Christ-crucified. Moreover, as we will see in the next segment, this conflict precipitated discussions regarding the nature of inspiration at the 1919 Bible conference that would ultimately stimulate the emergence of the liberal wing of Adventism.

1919 Bible Conference: Liberal Party Spawned
At Ellen White’s insistence, public debate on “the daily” ceased, but merely went underground. The Pioneers were certain that proclaiming hatamid as Christ’s heavenly sanctuary ministry, “taken away” by the Papacy, was clear evidence of repudiating the spirit of prophecy. And unplanned discussions following the 1919 Bible Conference, in which Daniells participated with Prescott (the two “new view” leaders), again unleashed their public attacks against Daniells, who there confirmed, they insisted, his unbelief in the spirit of prophecy.

The issue was a spin off from the Pioneer’s claim, based on a single very brief statement (EW 74-75), that Ellen White taught that the “daily” was Paganism. Believing the evidence was clear on the face of it, they accused any who insisted on examining the context of rejecting the authority of the Spirit of prophecy and merely using context as a pretext to rationalize the evidence.

Prescott, who led the 1919 discussion, was convinced that this approach to inspiration seriously interfered with a true understanding of both Ellen White’s writings and the Bible. Thus, he opposed a verbal inspiration mentality with its focus on the words rather than the message requiring a study of the words in the context of the whole message. He did not discuss the issue in relation to the “daily” conflict, where a few words were used as a test of confidence in the Spirit of prophecy and contextually examination was refused. But it was not doubted by his former opponents that this was his real issue.

Significantly, Prescott himself had contributed to the confusion. For two decades, deeply impressed by an Evangelical book insisting that every word of Scripture was, in the original autographs divinely inspired, he had enthusiastically taught this for some time and this was the general concept of our ministers. Since that time he was engaged with Ellen White in editing her book The Great Controversy for sale to the public and had become aware of his former error. He now knew different; for had he not himself suggested some changes? Indeed, in her own introduction to that 1911 edition she emphasized that inspiration involves a “union of the divine and the human”; thus inspiration does not act upon the prophets words but upon the prophet Himself, thus assuring the message is inspired. Speaking of the prophets of Old, she declares:

The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nevertheless, from heaven

The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language,

Yet it is the testimony of God; … (GC vii).

Meanwhile, Prescott’s efforts to explain this fell on deaf ears, so far as his “daily” opponents were concerned. Indeed, the could only interpret the efforts of the two men who had led out in the “new view” of the “daily” an effort to defend their view. And this they saw as further evidence that they repudiated the Spirit of prophecy authority.

Consequently, at the forthcoming, 1922 General Conference Session a broadside was published which openly attacked on Daniells, accusing him of repudiating the Spirit of prophecy. This delayed the election of a president for several days. Indeed, it ultimately caused the committee to withdraw a nearly unanimous prior decision to re-elect him Daniells as president. Though Spicer was elected in his place, this did not resolve the conflict. It precipitate what proved to be a permanent division between those who opposed Daniells and Prescott and those who opposed this verbal inspiration mentality that prevented real examination of Bible or Spirit of prophecy evidence. The result was the gradual development of a liberal party within Adventism that would become dominant by the late 1950s and 1960s.

Questions on Doctrine Incites Liberal-Conservative Conflict
For twelve years Le Roy Froom and M. L. Andreasen, taught together at the seminary with no theological conflict. They even shared similar views on the spirit of prophecy. But during that time the gap was widening between supporters of Daniells and Prescott and of those who accused them of repudiating the spirit of prophecy, in identifying the “daily” as Christ’s heavenly ministry.

In the former, two distinct groups were developing: true believers in the spirit of prophecy who urged Ellen White’s insistence that it was not the words but the message that was inspired; and those who increasingly opposed the messages of the spirit of prophecy, which they treated as inconsistent and un-authoritative, even echoing evangelical charges against this gift of the Spirit. This stirred Andreasen to an increasingly vocal and influential defense of the spirit of prophecy.

On retiring Andreasen thus gave seminars throughout his conference and elsewhere defending the integrity and authority of the spirit of prophecy. Because he saw this undermining as a fruit of evangelical influences, he understandably looked suspiciously upon conferences between evangelical leaders, Martin and Barnhouse, and our men – especially as he was left out of discussions even on sanctuary issues on which he had long been considered the denominations top authority. This suspicion seemed confirmed when more than 225 manuscript copies were sent to key college and seminary teachers, administrators, and editors throughout North America and overseas and none was sent to him, despite his expertise. The authors, chief of whom was Le Roy Froom his former colleague, obviously blocked his participation so he would not threaten their purpose.

The final evidence to Andreasen that QOD authors had “sold the farm” to Evangelicals was his discovery of their repudiation of our long held position on the nature of Christ in favor of the evangelical position. Thus confirmed in his mind that the brethren had repudiated our sanctuary, investigative judgment doctrine, he felt commissioned to “meet it” headlong as “the omega of apostasy.” Thus with great intensity he attacked not only the book but its authors and administrators who stood by them.

Unfortunately, those who recognized Andreasen’s just claims regarding the nature of Christ assumed the validity of his false charges regarding the sanctuary; for was he not the foremost expert? Conversely, grossly false sanctuary charges caused others to assume that his nature of Christ charges were equally false. So long as neither side in our continuing conflict is willing to seriously and objectively examine the other’s claims our conflict is irreversible. Meanwhile charges on both sides stimulate those who not only deny the spirit of prophesy but now increasingly repudiate the very pillars of our faith.

Meanwhile, representatives of all groups who hold a particular view regarding QOD on its 50th anniversary met on the last week of October, 2007 to hear and speak to each other. The courtesy and fellowship between those holding opposing positions provides the key to our dilemma and offers hope. It is not so urgent that we agree on each factor as that we treat each other fairly and honestly as we seek unity without compromise.

QOD Intensified by Brinsmead Controversy (late ‘50s & ‘60s)
As the initial QOD conflict intensified, a young Australian grasped the opportunity to appear as a champion to its opponents but to introduce his own sanctuary doctrine. With Andreasen’s false charges against QOD’s sanctuary position and quotes from his books as powerful weapons to authenticate his own doctrine, Robert Brinsmead stepped up to the plate and delivered his doctrine that differed essentially from Andreasen’s; yet even now these two positions are assumed by many to be the same.

Thus though there was no collusion between Andreasen, who died a year after Brinsmead arrived in the US, and Brinsmead the two different causes blended into a single conflict, to the latter’s great benefit. For though Andreasen battled intensely with QOD authors and General Conference officers, he resisted any attempt to organize a following. Thus Brinsmead, who did organize his “Awakening” movement, was left as the beneficiary of Andreasen supporters.

Few of his followers, most of whom continued to represent Andreasen’s theology, were aware of the fundamental conflict between their views and those of Brinsmead, who taught that we are to go into the Most Holy Place by faith and await the time when God suddenly removes the carnal nature and thus perfects his people by so cleansing their soul temple that even the memory of their former sins is removed, along with the sins. And what was the basis for his view? He believed, just as did his primary opponents, that we will continue sinning as long as we are in a sinful nature.

The difference is thus that his opponents insisted that we will continue to sin until Christ comes, while Brinsmead insisted that the cleansing of the soul temple must take place before the latter rain. This insistence on perfection before Christ, which provided the connecting link between their views, with thus also a point of serious difference between them which, for his own reasons he failed to clarify. Nor did they know that their concept of gaining victory over sin was anathema to him; for he believed such victory impossible.

Brinsmead-Ford Controversy (‘70s)
As the QOD conflict intensified in the late 1950s, Brinsmead taught a doctrine of perfection by the mystical removal of the carnal nature. What was not clear in the controversy was that his underlying principle was the same as his opponents, led in America by Edward Heppenstall. Both men believed we will sin until our carnal natures are removed. But while Brinsmead insisted this must happen before the latter rain, Heppenstall insisted it could not happen until transformation at Christ’s coming.

Because they shared the same root conviction, neither side placed this in focus. Meanwhile, Heppenstall dealt with both Brinsmead and his followers by simply repudiating the possibility of perfection and insisting we will sin unto Christ comes, the point on which they were at odds. Because the underlying harmony was not clarified, few of his followers discovered the contrast between their position and his.

Failure to clarify masked a second conflict with Heppenstall, that would be evident when Brinsmead joined Heppenstall in repudiating perfection before Christ comes, but denied the role of sanctification in the gospel. His intense repudiation of the role of sanctification, which he had always held, was directed by his new relation to Paxton and his Plymouth Brethren doctrine of forensic-only justification, a position Brinsmead held but had not yet matured. Thus, Brinsmead did not make a 180 u-turn in the ‘70s as was generally thought. He simply repudiated his speculative, mystical explanation of perfection which was not in harmony with the root of his doctrine, which root he had in common with his opponents.

Because they did not understand the underlying conflict between the sanctification focus and strictly legal justification, few understood why the brethren did not welcome Brinsmead with open arms, but continued to oppose him. However, Brinsmead now challenged Heppenstall’s (and most of our leaders) emphasis on sanctification, which was the focus of his own followers who in this way were in harmony with Heppenstall and opposed to Brinsmead -- with whom they were generally identified.

The primary Australian opponent was Heppenstall’s protégé, Desmond Ford, whose position then replicated that of his teacher. But all that would change in the 1970s, as Ford joined Brinsmead in denying sanctification a place in the gospel even as he repudiated perfection before Christ’s coming. Thus at that time there actually six distinct views, all relating to the issue of perfection:

  • perfection and sealing through sanctification (traditional doctrine);
  • perfection via cleansing of the soul temple through sanctification (Andreasen doctrine);
  • perfection through sanctification (Brinsmead followers’ doctrine);
  • perfection through a sudden cleansing of the soul temple which removes both the carnal nature and the memory of sin (Brinsmead doctrine);
  • repudiation of any perfection before Christ’s coming but strong focus on sanctification (Heppenstall Doctrine); and
  • repudiation of perfection and a legal justification at the cross doctrine that denies sanctification as part of the gospel, identifying it as a fruit of the gospel (Brinsmead-Ford 1970s doctrine).
Each of these was based on partial truth; none portrayed a balance of truth; and four repudiated truth.

Legal Justification Repudiates Sanctuary Message(‘80s to present)
Until the time I wrote my 1979dissertation (published in1980 as Theology in Crisis; cover mistakenly: The Theology Crisis) Ford had for years met accusations by insisting that he still believed our sanctuary message, based on Daniel 8:14 and an 1844 judgment. But three weeks after the fourth Righteousness by Faith Committee (called each year from 1976 to examine Ford’s justification view) he publicly repudiated our sanctuary message, claiming Daniel 8:14 has nothing to do with 1844.

Ford’s legal justification at the cross doctrine had gained support with each previous meeting. In 1976 about 50% (mostly representatives brought from Australia to defend his view) stood with Ford. This was more than 80% in 1978, when I was working on my dissertation. Soon after I completed my writing in May, 1979 I was invited to attend the 1979 meeting on October 3-4. As a result of its circulation, Ford’s doctrine was virtually shut out in 1979. For I show that Ford’s Plymouth Brethren view, received from his doctoral professor, F. F. Bruce, makes it logically impossible to retain our sanctuary-judgment doctrine. For his legal justification at the cross doctrine not only denies a place to sanctification in the gospel; it holds that the only judgment for the righteous took place at the cross in 31 AD.

Following his repudiation Ford was immediately withdrawn from the class room and given six months to prepare to defend his position -- extended to nearly ten months. I was one of a little over a hundred delegates to evaluate his position in August, 1980. Divided into six sub-groups, all were given the same questions to grapple with each day, following which all groups brought a daily report to the main body. For the first four days we were asked to deal only with Bible evidence. On the 5th day we were asked to deal with Ellen White’s view.

Ford was given a number of delegate choices so that in each subgroup of about 18 it was planned that two or more supported him. Each sub-group was asked to seek consensus. This meant there could not be as strong a statement on sensitive items either way. Each day the reports from all committees were parallel, with not one of Ford’s crucial views affirmed. To achieve consensus, however, it was necessary in crucial cases to express the need for further study, which was later misrepresented to indicate that we were uncertain. Had we been basing our report on majority votes, this would definitely not have happed. However, it would have pit Ford’s minority against the majority in a way that would have likely spit our church.

Of course, Ford had gained wide prior support and a number of pastors and teachers did leave the church. More serious was the impact of followers who did not leave but went underground with Ford’s theology by avoiding his terminology. The impact of his theology has thus not only been major but has continued to grow, while the boldness of its defenders seems to increase.

Where Things Stand Now
Since we have not yet made significant progress in priesthood of believers’ practices, we continue to fragment, with each party seeking to triumph over the others and few taking seriously Ellen White’s earnest admonition in both the Minneapolis and “daily” conflicts. As we face fast fulfilling prophecies regarding the final conflict between Christ and Satan it is urgent that we heed the most important instruction to search our own hearts as we humble ourselves one to another and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, together seeking the fullness of truth that will remove our various errors and correct our imbalances. Encouragingly, the last weekend of October, 2007 saw a gathering of representatives of various groups who have strong convictions regarding Questions on Doctrine. The example set of courteous sharing between opposing groups gives hope for the future.

Meanwhile, as time runs out, evidence abounds of the fulfillment of both Bible and Spirit of prophecy portrayals that a great majority will fall away. We must each do all we can to see that none are lost because of our failure to follow divine instruction on how to relate to truth and to one another in relation to truth.

The perilous condition of markets here and around the world suggests that we have little time to internalize the ultimate principle of perfection, the self-renouncing love of God received into the heart and shared liberally with all family members, church members, and those we contact in society, that the character of God can be manifest without obstruction.

In this time of peril we not only face resurgence of former heresies, but as never before we are faced with internal challenges to our pillar doctrines; and we are increasingly penetrated by Pentecostal and New Age offers for a quick spiritual fix based on emotional stimulation and mantra ritual. Moreover, New Age health modalities now knocking at our door are often gaining admittance.

Meantime, there is cause for rejoicing that increasing numbers are seeking balanced truth and many are awakening to the need for true, inner reformation that begins with the reformer. The reform needed is not primarily either theological or life style, important as these are, but writing of the law of love, kindness, and compassion upon the heart. We need a love that transforms motives and produces the external reformation which has too often been given primary attention.

ALTERNATE 1844 TO MINNEAPOLIS - “The little flock” who refused to surrender their faith after the 1844 disappointment, as portrayed in Revelation 10, responded to the call to “prophecy again” (10:11). Heeding the instruction in Revelation 11:1, to examine the sanctuary, they found that it was in heaven (11:19), not on earth, as they had thought. By earnest study they discovered the basic pillars of the three angel's messages, which they now proclaimed:
    (a) the soon coming of Jesus;
    (b) the judgment – cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary;
    (c) the Law as the standard of judgment;
    (d) the Sabbath as the seal of God and sign of worship of the Creator;
    (e) the spirit of prophecy, sign of the remnant church; and
    (e) man's sleep in death.

But within a few years they were divinely reproved for allowing their focus to shift from Christ, Who provides both meaning and cohesion to all the doctrines, to the doctrines themselves. Because they did not grasp and internalize the principles involved in the reproof, God had to put His plan on hold until they were prepared to proclaim present truth doctrines with a focus upon Christ Himself.

ALTERNATE INTRO - Where are we now? As Seventh-day Adventists, we are commissioned by the Creator to proclaim His message to all the world? But after many long decades, we remain at the threshold of the final battle between Christ and Satan, unready for that final round. Thus the Angels of Revelation 7 still hold “the winds of strife.” Christ cannot gain His ultimate victory over Satan, “father of lies,” until His servants are sealed in their foreheads (minds). For this is essential to his final unmasking before the universe. The first key to why God's plan remains on hold and how we can prepare for the final conflict lies in understanding our route from 1844 to Minneapolis.