what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the hour is
striking and striking at you,
the hour and the end!" Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)
Questions on Doctrine
Again? Yes, Again!
A Revealing Position
With the republication of Questions on Doctrine in an Annotated Edition, the Church is again confronted with the "doctrinal upheaval" it faced some forty plus years ago. This time, most of the players in that confrontation have gone to their rest. Further, all the evidence is still not on the table. The original answers given to the questions asked by Walter R. Martin are classified. The 1957 edition of Questions on Doctrine was itself a revised edition. A few copies of this current annotated edition were circulated prior to its official release in December. These had not only a different pagination but differed also in content. Does this mean that there were more pages or less pages when it was released?
There is no question that M. L. Andreasen was actively involved in the controversy which surrounded the first edition in 1957. Dr. George R. Knight, editor of the annotated edition, while admitting that Andreasen "had been the denomination's most influential theologian and theological writer in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s," seeks to denigrate him by citing an article in the Ministry magazine, rather than noting the questionable positions advocated in the book itself. There are no annotations regarding these pages in the book. They are ignored. In this issue, we explore them.
It is remarkable that Knight admitted and documented the fact that the Adventist conferees lied to the Evangelicals about the teachings of the Church in previous decades. He seeks to cover this manipulation of the facts by the Adventist conferees and the seeming contradictions in the Writings by setting forth an Anglican position on the Incarnation. This will be covered in the next issue of WWN.
Questions on Doctrine
Again? Yes, Again!
This Time as a Part of the Adventist Classic
Andrews University Press is planning a reprint of a series of publications which will be in "the Adventist Tradition." They indicate that the term "Adventist" will be used broadly, and that "while most of the selections in the Adventist Classic Library will be directly related to Seventh-day Adventist heritage, some will come from Millerism and other branches of the Millerite tradition." The second selection of this series was the reprint of Questions on Doctrine. It was released in December 2003 with annotations by Dr. George R. Knight, who is the general editor of the series. In a "note" it is stated that "a very few copies of Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: Annotated Edition, circulated before the volume was officially released, and have a slightly different pagination and content" (emphasis supplied). No complete evaluation of the annotations can be given until this "limited" release is available on loan, say from the University Library, or Heritage Room, or is made available to other libraries.
After giving the factual data from which the above paragraph is drawn, a page captioned "Viewpoints" is inserted before the section listing the contents of the re-publication. The first viewpoint is what Knight considers to be "one of M. L. Andreasen's most surprising statements in his prolonged struggle with the denomination" over the book (p. xxvi). It reads:
There are so many good things in the book that may be of real help to many; and some may think I repudiate it all, when what I am concerned about is only the section on the Atonement which is utterly unacceptable and must be recalled.
There was another book - The Living Temple - that was published in 1903 of which the same thing could be said - "many good things in the book" - but which "presented the alpha of deadly heresies" (Special Testimonies, Series B, #2, p. 50.) It was a "combination of good and evil" permitted by God so that His people might "understand to what lengths the sophistry and devising of the enemy would lead" (ibid., #7,p. 36). In 1905, following the printing of the book, there was the warning by Ellen White that statements from her books "may be taken out of their setting, and placed in such connection as to make it appear that the sentiments in Living Temple are sustained by Sister White's very words" (ibid., pp. 49-50). The warning given at that time dare not be ignored now: "The omega will follow, and will be received..." (op. cit., #2).
Two other viewpoints are cited, and made congruous to each other. One by M. R. DeHaan, an Evangelical editor, who expressed his "great" disappointment with the book because he "found that there had been no essential change in the historic stand of the Adventists" (emphasis his). The second was by R. R. Figuhr, then president of the General Conference who commented on DeHaan's evaluation - "The point of special interest is his testimony to the fact that the book does not represent any change of Adventist doctrine."
The final viewpoint made was by Knight himself. It reads:
But Questions on Doctrine did set forth one problematic change in Adventist theology; a change done in such a way that it alienated various factions of the church theologically. The publication of Questions on Doctrine did more than any other single event in Adventist history to create what appears to be permanently warring factions within the denomination.
The question then arises, "Why
republish the book?" The Adventist News Network, in a release dated
If the Seventh-day Adventist [Church] will not back up its answers with actions and put Questions on Doctrine back in print ... then they're in real trouble that I can't help them out of; and nobody else can either."
This explanation raises more questions than it answers. There can be no doubt that Walter Martin was following closely the moves within
Adventism, such as the changes made
in the Fundamental Statement of Beliefs voted at
You ask if Seventh-day Adventists still stand behind the answers given to your questions in Questions on Doctrine as they did in 1957. The answer is yes. You have noted in your letter that some opposed the answers then given, and, to some extent, the same situation exists today. But certainly the great majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in harmony with the views expressed in Questions on Doctrine (The Kingdom of the Cults, p. 410).
There is an interesting connection between this letter by Lesher and the republication of the book in question. In the acknowledgment by Knight of those who helped him critique "the manuscript" and provide "corrective suggestions" is the name, W. Richard Lesher (p. xii).
Why the republication of the book should be a response to Martin's warning is open to serious questioning. Knight, in his annotations indicates that the Adventist conferees "manipulated" the data regarding the teaching of the Church on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and then in the compilations from Ellen G. White's Writings on the teaching, erroneously captioned the section on the human nature Christ assumed. They also omitted certain key statements which did not agree with the position they had stated to the Evangelical conferees that the Church held (See annotation pp. 520-521).
In plain language, the Adventist conferees lied to Barnhouse and Martin. Froom, one of the Adventist conferees, continued the lie in his book, Movement of Destiny (pp. 427-428), published in 1971. The next year, the Biblical Research Committee revised Appendix B of Questions on Doctrine and published it as an insert in the February 1972 issue of the Ministry magazine. (See p. 533, Annotated Edition).
Then how can this publication be
Attack on Andreasen
A 23-page "Historical and Theological Introduction to the Annotated Edition" follows the preface. It discusses two doctrinal issues: 1) the Incarnation and 2) the Atonement, and focuses primarily upon one individual - M. L. Andreasen.
The introduction is in turn prefaced with this lone paragraph:
Questions on Doctrine easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-day Adventist history. A book published to help bring peace between Adventism and conservative Protestantism, its release brought prolonged alienation and separation to Adventist factions that grew up around it (p. xiii).
There is more involved in the divisiveness than the book which was first published and now republished. The publication of Questions on Doctrine in 1957 was itself a revision of the original answers given to Barnhouse and Martin, so as to be more palatable to the rank and file in Seventh-day Adventism. The original answers have yet to be released. Until this is done, a full evaluation cannot be made.
On one occasion, I was passing
with him. He had an appointment that morning to see Elder Don Neufeld and invited me to go with him. After a conversation about his and Short's manuscript, 1888 Re-Examined (original edition), the conversation turned to Questions on Doctrine. Neufeld explained that it was not the answers as given to Barnhouse and/or Martin but rather a revision. He indicated that he had a copy of those original answers in his desk. Naturally, I asked to see them, but he was under an oath of confidentiality. On my return home, I wrote to him, and pled with him to release them in the interest of the cause of truth. Again he declined. However, there is evidence available on one key issue, an issue discussed by Knight in the introduction.
Question 3 of the original edition asked - "Have Seventh-day Adventists changed from some of the positions advanced by certain adherents of earlier years, from whom citations are still currently circulated? Do such citations misrepresent the present teachings of Adventist leadership?" In the answer given two interesting paragraphs are to be found:
With the passage of years, the earlier diversity of view on certain doctrines gradually gave way to unity of view. Clear and sound positions were then taken by the great majority on such doctrines as the Godhead, the deity and eternal pre-existence of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Clear-cut views were established on righteousness by faith, the true relationship of law and grace, and on the death of Christ as the complete sacrificial atonement (p. 30; emphasis supplied).
All this has made it desirable and necessary for us to declare our position anew upon the great fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every statement or implication that Christ, the second person of the Godhead, was not one (sic) with the Father from all eternity, and that His death on the cross was not a full and complete sacrificial atonement. The belief of Seventh-day Adventists on these great truths is clear and emphatic (p. 31; emphasis supplied).
A series of articles on "The
Truth About Seventh-day Adventists" written by Walter Martin appeared in Eternity, a publication edited by
Barnhouse. In the second article, "What Seventh-day Adventists Really
Believe," Martin chose to quote from the answer given him to Question 3.
He prefaced it with this comment - "The following statement, prepared by a
group of leading theologians of the
The key sentences from the same two paragraphs quoted above from Questions on Doctrine read as follows:
Clear-cut views were established on righteousness by faith, the true relationship of law and grace, and the death of Christ as the complete atonement for sin (From page 30).
All of this made it desirable and necessary for us to declare our position afresh upon the great fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, and to deny every statement or implication that Christ, the second Person of the Godhead, was not One with the Father from all eternity, and that His sacrifice on the cross was not a full and complete atonement (From page 31).
It can readily be seen that the word "sacrificial" was not in the original answers given to Martin, and was added to the edition which the Seventhday Adventists would read. That one word omission changes the whole picture.
[It is also interesting to observe that the word, "afresh" was changed to "anew" - While the two words are synonyms, there is a nuance between them. "Afresh" indicates "from a new start," while "anew" indicates "in a new form." Why this change was made, only the editor(s) involved can tell; however, the challenges made against the book were passed off as if the issue were only a matter of semantics, in other words, "anew,"- in a new form.]
It is over this issue of a "sacrificial" atonement, or a "complete atonement" at the cross that Knight seeks to denigrate Andreasen. He chose two "mimeographed documents" in which Andreasen challenged the position Froom had taken in an article in the Ministry (February 1957). Froom wrote:
The atonement is
initially and foundationally, the tremendous act of the cross. That is basic.
The death of Christ on
once for all, all-sufficient, all-efficient, and never to be repeated.
But this should be most
carefully noted: That Christ's atoning death on
But that is not all, nor is it enough. That completed act of atonement on the cross is valueless to any soul unless, and until, it is applied by Christ our High Priest to, and appropriated by, the individual recipient. That becomes apparent upon a moment's reflection. Then and then only, does the general covering provision become a personalized realization and a saving actuality to the individual. But that application is made, or ministered, by our heavenly Priest subsequent to His own death as substitutionary Victim. That is the second imperative part of the complete and all-inclusive atonement (pp. 9, 10; emphasis his).
Knight cites a sentence which Andreasen took from the above quoted article of Froom's. The sentence reads - "That is the tremendous scope of the sacrificial act of the cross - a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." Andreasen in quoting this sentence removed the hyphen, and substituted the "is" in its place, so that it read - "the sacrificial act of the cross (is) a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." The words following the dash in Froom's article are not only "an explanatory phrase" as Knight alleges but also definitive, justifying the transfer of "is" in the sentence when quoted in part. No amount of fallacious reasoning can alter the fact that Froom wrote that the "sacrificial act of the cross" constituted a "final atonement."
Actually, it can be rightly assumed that Knight is supposed to be writing annotations regarding the book, Questions on Doctrine, not Andreasen's "mimeographed documents." The book itself plainly indicated the "final atonement" to be at the Cross; however, those statements carry no annotation by Knight. We need to keep in mind also that Froom was the "scribe" for the Adventist conferees. (See Adventist Heritage Vol. 4, #2, 1977, p. 38).
The questionable statements in the book, Questions on Doctrine, on the Atonement are:
Adventists do not hold any theory of a dual atonement. "Christ hath redeemed us" (Gal. ) "once for all." Heb. 10:10) (p. 390, emphasis theirs).
These two sentences are followed by a "but." But this "but" while enlarging the scope of the atonement does not mention the "final" atonement as understood in Adventism. If then there is but "one" atonement, then as Froom indicated in his article "the sacrificial act of the cross (is) a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man's sin." Andreasen understood Froom's position correctly. Knight has no "annotation" on this page or paragraph!
Another: Under the heading - "VIII Redemption Absolute by the Victory of Christ" - is found the following:
How glorious is the thought that the King, who occupies the throne, is also our representative at the court of heaven! This becomes all the more meaningful when we realize that Jesus our surety entered the "holy places," and appeared in the presence of God for us. But it was not with the hope of obtaining something for us at that time, or at some future time. No! He had already obtained it for us on the cross. And now as our High Priest He ministers the virtues of His atoning sacrifice for us (p. 381; emphasis theirs).
This statement speaks for itself, with the emphasis being supplied by Froom, the Conferees' "scribe." Again there is no annotation by Knight!
Not only is there the above internal evidence as to the compromise made by the Adventist conferees in regard to the Atonement, but the appraisal of the conference by the Evangelicals reveals even more. In his publication, Eternity, (September 1956) Barnhouse disclosed what was said to him and Walter Martin when they discussed the doctrine of the Atonement. In the article captioned, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians," Barnhouse told of their reaction beginning with the first contacts with the Adventists. He wrote after listing various areas of theological disagreement:
The final major area of disagreement is over the doctrine of the "investigative judgment" [final atonement], which is
a doctrine never before known in theological history until the second half of the nineteenth century and which is a doctrine held exclusively by the Seventh-day Adventists. At the very beginning of our contacts with the Adventist leaders, Mr. Martin and I thought that this would be the doctrine on which it would be impossible to come to any understanding which would permit our including them among those who could be counted as Christians believing in the finished work of Christ.
After reviewing some background
history including the experience of Hiram Edson on the morning following the
It should also be
realized that some uninformed Seventh-day Adventists took this idea and carried
it to fantastic literalistic extremes. Mr. Martin and I heard the Adventist
leaders say, flatly, that they repudiate all such extremes. This they have said
in no uncertain terms. Further, they do not believe as some of their earlier
teachers taught that Jesus' atoning work was not completed on
Andreasen had every evidence upon which to base his charge that the leadership compromised the faith regarding the atonement in their conferences with the Evangelicals. Even though Knight admits that Andreasen was "the denomination's most influential theologian and theological writer in the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s (p. xviii), he still sought to denigrate him, even as he tried to denigrate A. T. Jones in his 1987 book, From 1888 to Apostasy (See Website, WWN, 1988, the "Knight Descends on Jones" series of articles).
It should be noted that Knight in his recognition of Andreasen as the leading theologian of the church for two decades, called attention to the fact that Andreasen "had been left out of the process in both the formulation of the answers (to the Evangelicals) and the critiquing of them, even though he had been generally viewed as an authority on several of the disputed points" (ibid.) This shunting of Andreasen to the sidelines did not begin over the conferences with the Evangelicals but was also evident in his exclusion as a presenter at the 1952 Bible Conference. While professional jealousy cannot be ruled out, there was also evidence of a undertow that was moving the Church off course. In 1950, the document, 1888 Re-Examined had been presented to the leading brethren of the General Conference, and rejected. New names were appearing as theological voices and deviant concepts were beginning to appear, right or wrong, in both major and minor points of the Church's teachings.
(To Be Continued)
A Revealing Position
On the back page of The Catholic World Report is a feature article captioned the "Last Word" written under the pen name, Diogenes. In the December 2003 issue, the public stance of Catholics on questions that concern the Catholic Church troubled the writer. He wrote:
What do you call a Catholic who says he is "personally opposed" to some form of moral behaviour, but refuses to take action against it?
Under some circumstances, you call him Your Eminence.
Then "Diogenes" discussed
the historical precedence which was bothering him. It was concerning His
Eminence Richard Cardinal Cushing who was the then Archbishop of Boston. The
year was 1965. Michael Dukakis, a young state representative in the
"On June 22, Cardinal Cushing appeared on a local radio program, 'An Afternoon with Haywood Vincent' and effectively scuttled the opposition. Cardinal Cushing announced:
My position in this matter is that birth control in accordance with artificial means is immoral, and not permissible. But this is a Catholic position. I am also convinced that I should not impose my position - moral beliefs or religious beliefs - upon those of other faiths.
Diogenes' reaction - "So there it was: the 'personally opposed' argument, in fully developed form, enunciated by a Prince of the Church nearly 40 years ago!" Diogenes had, earlier in the article, noted the argument of Catholic legislators justifying their failure to vote for Catholic social legislation: "You can't legislate morality." But he wrote - "We can legislate morality; we do it all the time. Our laws against murder, slavery, and fraud are based on moral judgments."
Then came the paragraph which is the sole reason that I have called attention to this "Last Word" by Diogenes in the December issue of The Catholic World Report:
Granted, it may be imprudent for a secular society to legislate matters of sectarian religious interest, such as dietary laws or Sabbath observance.
Ah, here I said is an article in a conservative Catholic journal I will need to keep and use when the National Sunday Law comes. But I carefully reread what was written - "imprudent for a secular society." Then I recalled the outline of Louis Veuillot in The Liberal Illusion:
When the time comes and men realize that the social edifice must be rebuilt according to eternal standards.... Catholics will arrange things to suit said standards. Undeterred by those who prefer to abide in death, they will re-establish certain laws of life. They will restore Jesus to His place on high. They will raise their children to know God and to honor their parents. They will uphold the indissolubility of marriage. ... They will make obligatory the religious, observance of Sunday on behalf of the whole of society and for its own good, revoking the permit for free-thinkers and Jews to celebrate, incognito, Monday or Saturday on their own account. ...
In a word, Catholic society will be Catholic, and the dissenters whom it will tolerate will know its charity, but they will not be allowed to disrupt its unity (pp. 63-64).
There it was. Secular society cannot
do what Catholic society will do. This should give us the picture clearly as to
why all of this hue and cry about secularism in
The documents which will give you as full a picture as it is presently possible to give of the 1955-56 Conferences between Seventh-day Adventists and Evangelicals are available through the Foundation. The bound manuscript will contain:
1) T. E. Unruh's report 20 years after the event in The Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, #2.
2) The five articles in Eternity by Barnhouse and Martin written just following the conferences.
3) A recorded telephone conversation between A. L. Hudson and Donald G. Barnhouse.
While the supply lasts in its present form, this document will be available from the Foundation.
(The Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine can be obtained
from Andrews University Press,