what of the night?”
has come, the hour is striking and striking at you,
the hour and the end!" Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)
WHO ARE THE
(Excerpt from Watchman, What of the Night? dated September 1982)
There is a sentiment among the rank and file of the laity of the Church; that is, among those who have not embraced the heretical teachings of Dr. Desmond Ford, nor have bought the plagiarism charges of Elder Walter Rea, that anyone who differs with the hierarchy is an "offshoot,” and anything which does not carry the official imprimatur of the publishing Committees of the Church is an "offshoot" publication. This is not new, nor peculiar to these present times. The charge of "offshoot" has been a favorite smear tactic used by religious leaders in their attempt to blind the eyes of sincere seekers of truth, and to keep those who might wish to investigate truth from doing so.
[Note: (a) “Off-Shoots” is a pejorative term applied
to those who have departed from pure Bible Truth. In the eyes of the
laity who have remained loyal to the Church Organization, ALF is an
Off-Shoot. This misconception is fostered by the Church Organization.
(b) “Hierarchy” is a pejorative term applied to the Church Organization which has evolved over the past century into an apostate system of hierarchical church governance. Grotheer applies the term repeatedly to the Church Organization; and the strongly negative connotation is demonstrated by his reference to Lucifer (Satan) as the first Off-Shoot (see next paragraph.)]
An "offshoot" by definition is "a side root or branch from the main stem of the plant." The first "offshoot" was Lucifer. Jesus told it very simply as to why he became an "offshoot" - "He ... abode not in the truth." (John 8,:44) And in the same breath, Jesus charged the religious leaders of His day as being of their "father the devil." They were the true off-shoots of Christ's day, that is, if the criterion by which judgment is to be made is truth. And why? Jesus emphatically stated - "He that is of God [the main stem] heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." (John 8:47) In other words, "offshoots!" (Underscored emphasis added.)
This charge by Christ stung these self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy. They said to Him - "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil." (verse 48) Calling Christ a Samaritan was the worse epithet they could use to cause the rank and file of Israel to have nothing to do with Jesus, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. (John 4:9) To this they now added thou "hast a devil." In so doing they sought to toss back the charge upon Jesus that He abode not in the truth. Jesus ignored the charge of being a Samaritan, but emphatically denied the allegation that he was possessed with a devil, and stated why - "I have not a devil; but I honor my Father." (John 8:49)
Herein was the basic difference between Himself and the religious leaders of His day. These leaders and spiritual guardians of the people would not believe Jesus nor the message He brought from God. Why? Jesus revealed the answer by asking on another occasion, a question - "How can ye believe, which receive honor one from another, and seek not that honor that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44) When we seek the honor and prestige that men can give, rather than seeking to uphold the truth and honor of God alone, we will compromise truth so as to gain the favor of men. At that point we become "offshoots".
The Jewish leadership played the "offshoot" name calling to the hilt. After the encounter with the Jews as to who was of the devil, or who had a devil, Jesus performed a miracle by giving sight to one who had been born blind. It being on the
p 2 -- Sabbath day, "eyebrows" were raised. The former blind man was brought before the Pharisees. One segment after hearing the testimony stated of Jesus - "This man is not of God." He is an "offshoot" Some were not quite so sure because here was a miracle that could not be gainsaid. (John 9:1-16) However, as the issue became more intense, they closed ranks behind the one argument which seemed to keep everybody in line. To the former blind man they haughtily responded - "We be Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not whence He is." (verses 28 & 29) In simple words, they sought to picture Jesus as having so far departed from the norm which they defined a "Moses" that they could not even perceive if He ever had been associated in the same concepts they professed. And He never had. That was why He was where He was, and they were where they were. If He had sought honor of men, and had been willing to look to them for the guidance of His Mission, they would have readily accepted Him. Had not Nicodemus stated their original evaluation of Him, when he said - "We know that thou art a teacher come from God." (John 3:2)
These ancient guardians of orthodoxy find their counterparts today in those who profess to acknowledge the historic Adventist beliefs, while they adhere to the compromises represented in the books - Questions on Doctrine and Movement of Destiny. They further confess their allegiance to the Statement of Beliefs which reflects the heresy of these books and continues the compromise so as to be accepted by the World Council of Churches when they think the time is ripe to cast their lot with that Council. Those who expose this departure from the truth are labeled as "off-shoots," and this as effectively closes the minds of the "devout" as did the charge that Christ was a "Samaritan" close the minds of the Jewish people till they could concur in His crucifixion. (Underscored emphasis added.)
There is an interesting parable that Jesus told which should cause us to consider very carefully as to who really is an "offshoot" In connection with His delineation of the signs which would mark the end times of human history, Jesus also gave some illustrations to help clarify the issues that would be involved with those end times. One such illustration is the parable of the Ten Virgins. [I am well aware of the fact that the early pioneers in the Advent Movement applied aspects of this parable to the experience associated with the summer of 1844. (See Second Advent Review, June 9, 1851, Paris, ME, p. 1f) However, in 1896, Ellen G. White commented - "My mind was carried into the future, when the signal will be given, 'Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.'" (R&H, Feb. 11, 1896)]
[Note : In the illustration of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Grotheer reasons that separation is inevitable. See the last paragraph. This confirms that ALF is separated from the Church Organization.]
Jesus pictured the Ten Virgins as all together in one group - albeit, all asleep. Suddenly at midnight, a voice is heard from outside the sleeping virgins calling, 'Behold the Bridegroom, go ye out to a meeting of Him." (Matt. 25:6 Gr.) Suddenly there is an arousement. All trim their lamps - they all perceive the nearness of the end! But five find they are short of oil - spiritual perception - and their lamps start to flicker in the final waiting period. These go to those who merchandise in the things of God - the hierarchy, the so-called guardians of the spiritual interests of the people. The other five - the wise virgins - go out to a meeting with their Lord. There is separation! Who are the "off-shoots"? The wise or the foolish? (Underscored and bold emphasis added.)
While the foolish turn to the venders of spiritual merchandise, the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready go in with Him to the marriage, and the door is shut! (Matt. 25:10) Again who are the "off- shoots"?
I am sure that the venders - the hierarchy - would console the foolish with the idea that the wise separated themselves from them because they would not listen to them, the venerable supporters of orthodoxy. These venders in heavenly wares urge the foolish - "Stay with the ship; those others are very foolish; they have become "offshoots." But while the foolish consider themselves so wise by placing their trust in men, the door is shut against them, and when they knock, the Lord confesses woefully, I know you not." Who then are the real "offshoots" if you are really serious about heaven? (Underscored emphasis added.)