1987 February Vol. 3 Num. 1
Centennial Spurs Study
Announcement of plans for a "centenary commemoration of the 1888 ministerial institute and General Conference session" by action of the 1986 Annual Council gives immediacy to the investigation of the history and content of the 1888 message.
What really happened at the Minneapolis General Conference in 1888? What was the 1888 message, which Ellen White said God gave to the church through Jones and Wagner? If that message was "the beginning of the loud cry?" as God's messenger declared, why are we still waiting 100 years later for the coming of Jesus?
Questions like these are spurring loyal Adventists around the world to study, to attend seminars, join study groups, and listen to sermons and recordings in a sincere effort to understand a long neglected era of our denominational history and its significance for the church today.
Fortunately, there is such material available from the pens of Ellen White, E. J. Waggoner, A T. Jones, Robert Wieland, Donald Short, Ralph Larson and others. A booklist will be sent on request.
Tapes of the excellent sermons heard at Camp Winnekeag, MA, last September are available for $2.00 each from Keith Stokes, Living Springs Retreat, Rt 3, Bryant Pond Rd., Putnam Valley, NY 10579. The sermons include "Day of Atonement Repentance", by Jerry Finneman; "1888 and the Cleansing of the Sanctuary", by Steven Grabiner; a four part series on Galatians; and others—15 tapes in all.
The tapes of the Second National 1888 Message Conference are still available from American Cassette Ministries, P.O. Box 922, Harrisburg, PA 17108.
We must individually know what is truth through our own diligent study. Members of the 1888 Message Study Committee, who sponsor the Newsletter, are deeply committed to making available to anyone who will read or listen, answers to questions about our history and distinctive end-time message.
"The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work." (2 SM 390) If the time is near for "the closing work" as we fondly hope and believe, we may also believe that the time is here when the "history of the past" must be faithfully "rehearsed." "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history." (LS 196)
New Book Circles Globe
Sale of As Many As I Love, is nearing 7,000 in the first six months, making it necessary to consider reprinting. It has traveled around the world. It has been sent to all General Conference Committee members and an extensive list of theology teachers. But this is only a token of the Adventist membership that needs to receive its sobering call to repentance.
The plans for an 1888 Centennial lend special urgency to our united effort to place this little book in the hands of friends, fellow church members and, especially, pastors. To facilitate wide distribution of the book, it is available at the special price of $20 for 10 copies.
Another book that needs wide distribution is Dr. Ralph Larson's research of Adventist literature on the subject of the nature of Christ. The Word Was Made Flesh, One Hundred Years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology, documents a major doctrinal shift which underlies our present confusion and disunity.
For an introduction to the 1888 message, read The Glad Tidings, by E. J. Waggoner); A Summary of the History and Content of the 1888 Message; The 1888 Message, An Introduction. For additional reading, request our price list with brief descriptions of books available on this vitally important subject.
West Coast Conference Planned
A committee of ministers and laymen in the Southern California area have been laying plans for a West Coast 1888 conference this spring and ask Newsletter readers to join them in prayer for God's guidance.
They have been negotiating with Loma Linda University officials for a date in the school's crowded schedule when facilities would be available and hope to make a definite announcement in the near future.
Bible Study Guides Are here!
If you have been looking for a way to share the good news with your friends and neighbors, you will be delighted with the new Bible study guides.
Advance orders for the long-awaited set of studies have already nearly exhausted the first printing. We apologize for the long delay but encourage you now to place your order. They have been especially designed for use in small study groups.
Author Urges Networking!
The sense of urgency increasingly apparent among Adventists who eagerly anticipate the return of Jesus is well expressed in the following letter from Lewis Walton, author of Advent, Decision at the Jordan, etc.:
I absolutely agree with the idea of networking people who are committed to the coming of Jesus. It is vital that some unity and sense of identity be developed. I think the time is here for concerted action by Adventists who are absolutely determined that this window of opportunity not be lost.
We must do something about united intercessory prayer. We must strengthen each other's faith and sense of persistence. We must continually remind ourselves that this dream is possible—if we have faith to see it happen. But none of this is likely to occur if we are only isolated, disconnected people not working in faith and prayer toward a common goal. May God bless your efforts to help bring this unity about.
1888 Message Reaches Japan
Cheering evidence that the 1888 message is spreading abroad comes in the form of a manuscript in Japanese characters.
Yoshifumi Tsuji, a young Japanese student at Loma Linda University, submitted the text of his sermon for the Japanese group of the University church to Adventist Life, periodical for church members in Japan.
He explains in a letter, "I had to take charge of the SS lesson dealing with the sanctuary. Although I had grown in the SDA Church since I was a baby, I had never studied the sanctuary truth. Unfortunately there is no book about the sanctuary written in Japanese. So I began to read English books. After reading three books about the sanctuary, I found The 1888 Message. I was strongly impressed by it. It rejoiced my heart."
When, later, he prepared this sermon "it flashed across my mind to send my manuscript to Adventist Life. I thought that an average Japanese Seventh-day Adventist did not know about the 1888 message and the beauty of the sanctuary truth. In Japan I have never heard/read a sermon on justification by faith and the sanctuary. I am not a pastor or a church leader but just a layman, but the editors had my manuscript printed in the issue of December, 1986."
This 26-year-old freshman, who did not know English when he came to the U. S. two years ago, has read The 1888 Message, The Broken Link, As Many As I Love, The Good News is Better Than You Think, Gold Tried in the Fire, The Knocking at the Door, In Search of the Cross, An Explicit Confession Due the Church, History and Content of the 1888 Message.
Harrisburg, PA Feb. 13-14
Revelation Seminar. Alexander Snyman, speaker. Hillside SDA Church, Herr St.
Ft. Myers, FL Feb. 20-22
Everlasting Gospel Bible Seminar Robert Wieland, speaker. Ft.
Myers Shores SDA Church, Highway 80. 400 yards east of Buckingham Rd. intersection. For more information, call 813-369-1548.
Palatka, FL Feb. 27-March 1
"The Good News-Better Than You Think." Robert Wieland, speaker. Palatka Adventist Church.
Huntington Park, CA Feb. 2
Morning: "Facing up to the Bottom Line of Adventism"; Afternoon:
"The Wisdom of Solomon" (Sample evangelistic slide program.) Alexander Snyman, speaker.
Rehoboth, MA March 26-29
1888 Message Seminar. Speakers: Robert Wieland, Gerald Finneman, Sidney Sweet, Steven Grabiner. Cedarbrook SDA School.
Jackson Heights, NY April 17-18
1888 Message Seminar. Speakers: Gerald Finneman, Sidney Sweet, Steven Grabiner.
History Will Be Repeated
A recent article in the New York Times particularly attracted my attention because of my Jewish descent. The title: "Erasing the Past, Europe’s Amnesia About the Holocaust." The article has lessons for us as we discuss the question, Why talk about 1888?
The article states that with the passing of the present generation "collective memory is about to become history." Therefore a full, truthful rendering of the past is essential, lest the lessons be lost. Already there is a group of historians who are rewriting the history of the war. The very existence of the gas chambers and concentration camps is being challenged. This, although an extreme position, is an example of the rewriting of history.
We all can agree on the importance of understanding accurately what occurred during the war, that we might not lose the lessons. The author writes that "indifference presents a danger as great" as that posed by the revisionist historians. We lose the memory, we lose the lessons, we lose the key to healing.
To neglect the history of WW II is to allow its repeating. The same is true of the history of 1888. Not to understand that the message that came at that time was the beginning of the latter rain is to open the door for continued resistance.
"Every time the same spirit awakens in the soul, the deeds done on that occasion are endorsed and the doers of them are made responsible to God." (Letter 5/31/96) "In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they [those who have not humbled themselves] will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous. . . . and they will brace themselves to resist it." (Letter 8/30/92)
To be indifferent to the atrocities of WW II is minor compared to apathy regarding the rejection of the loud cry and the latter rain. "The conference at Minneapolis was the golden opportunity for all present to humble the heart before God and to welcome Jesus. . . . The Lord . . . designed that they should be baptized with the Holy Spirit and . . . communicate the light to the world." (Letter 1/9/93)
"This message was to bring before the world the uplifted Saviour." (TM 91) "Now at the present time God designs a new and fresh impetus shall be given to His work. Satan sees this and he is determined it shall be hindered. Heaven is looking upon us all and what can they think of recent developments?" (CWE 31; Ms. 13, 1899)
"The third angel's message in the place of swelling into a loud cry is being smothered." (Ms. 177, 1899). Here the Lord tells us that the message given in the 1888 era was to be given to the world. Instead, however, of lightening the earth, the message was "hid under a bushel." That we might see the immensity of that action! It was not merely a theological argument. Nor was it merely the clashing of personalities. It was "resistance" to the Holy Spirit, "rejection" of Christ. (See TM 89-98) To leave the Minneapolis meeting to the past is to continue the rejection.
"The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means." "You cannot neglect God's messages of warning and cannot reject them or treat them lightly but at the peril of infinite loss." (TM 467, 466)
The remedy for today is the same as it was 100 years ago. "There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance" (Letter 30, 1892).
"Let every heart now seek the Lord. Let self be crucified, for rich and glorious blessings are awaiting all who shall maintain contrition of soul." (Quoted by S. N. Haskell, R & H 7/26/92)
Our precious Saviour is extending yet another opportunity for His Bride "to make herself ready." Let us not repeat the mistakes and attitudes of our spiritual forefathers. Let us plead together for the heavenly eyesalve that would enable us to learn the lessons from the past.
"Again and again I have been shown that the past experiences of God's people are not to be counted as dead facts. We are not to treat the record of these experiences as we would treat last year's almanac. The record is to be kept in mind; for history will repeat itself." (Ms Release No. 346)
WW II and 1888? Drawing comparisons is not so unrealistic. Especially when we consider that the former would never have occurred without the latter. —Steven Grabiner (All quotes are from Ellen G. White.)
Good News From New Zealand
The good news of Christ's righteousness, made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God, is bringing courage and joy to hearts not only across North America but in Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe.
In a letter to Elder Wieland, Robert and Rosalie Cook expressed gratitude for the blessing that his visit "down under" brought into their lives:
In 1984 you came to New Zealand and presented the 1888 message in a cold and nearly empty school hall. The sound system did not work very well so you were hard to hear. But I heard you say that the Spirit is opposed to the flesh, to prevent you from doing the bad things that you would—and to me, who believed we can never stop sinning till Jesus comes, this was truly Good News! All I could say was "Amen."
Later I heard the recording and read your book, The 1888 Message. Now the good news leaps from every page of the Bible constraining me in service to our Saviour. It was a delight when I read in your book that Jesus had come down to where we are and truly knows what it is like to be tempted as we are in sinful flesh. It broke my heart and I confess that it brought tears to my eyes as I read it.
God's love truly turns people's lives upside down. Thank you for the section on justification by faith. I thought it was a purely legal trans-action and that sanctification was not a part of the gospel. Justification by faith is "much more." It truly is appreciation of the cross of Calvary for how can anyone look at that cross and keep looking without being transformed? Now when I read in Christ's Object Lessons about the wedding garment, I don't have to substitute the word "imputed" where she wrote "imparted.". . .
When I read your book Knocking at the Door, at first I did not understand what you were talking about on "unconscious sin" and "corporate repentance," but I have come to see what Jesus wants to do in our lives in conjunction with His work in heaven. Thank you. I heard the
Australian tapes and your presentation on the cleansing of the sanctuary and Laodicea, Now the health message makes sense and the Bride of Christ, the Song of Solomon messages, make sense and now I look at the church as the "body of Christ" (that can overcome).
The message you brought to New Zealand still rings true with Scripture, points my eyes to Jesus and weakens my knees before Him in prayer. . . . This message has the ingredients to turn the world upside down for it has the true cross of Christ. —Rosalie Cook
Gifts Spread The Good News
We are grateful for the funds that we are receiving from many of you to make it possible to share this precious message with the greatest number of families. We thank you who have sent a contribution and indicated that this represents what will be sent each month to support the work.
This helps all of us to realize that the heralding of this message is a deep concern and it challenges the rest of us to join with you in this work which must be done in a short time. We can all rejoice that the Lord will finish the work in the earth and that it is our privilege to have a part in it. —Harold Coats
What Happened To Revival
The question raised in the last issue of the Newsletter (Nov. 1986), "What Has Happened to Revival?" finds a revealing answer in 1888 Re-Examined:
The second outgrowth of this 1973-74 interest in 1888 was tragic. . . . Recognizing that the church needs "righteousness by faith," the General Conference convened the Palmdale Conference in 1976, where certain theologians dominated the discussions and won support for their "Reformationist," Calvinist views of "justification by faith." They claimed that their views were a true revival of the 1888 message content, when in fact they were a denial of every basic essential of that "most precious message."
Time soon demonstrated how these views are incompatible with the Adventist truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary. If the General Conference and our publishing houses had appreciated the unique content of the 1888 message itself and had faithfully published it, these views could never have taken root in North America, Europe, Africa, the Far East and the South Pacific. Misreading the history of the 1890’s resulted in repeating it with even more tragic consequences.
Rightly understood, the confusion engendered by the Calvinist views of righteousness by faith widely promulgated in Adventism in the 1970's-80's can be traced to General Conference insistence for decades that the 1888 message was only a re-emphasis of popular Protestant views. Our theologians were merely building upon the foundation laid for them in the 1920’s.
Jesus Repented For Us
The First Advent Movement and message of Christ was based on the time prophecy of Dan. 9:24-27. The message was one of repentance and faith. Christ began His public ministry preaching repentance. (Mark 1:14, 15) And the Second Advent Movement with its message to God's people is the same message of repentance that Christ gave when He lived on earth. (Rev. 3:19; Acts 3:19)
The cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven cannot be finished until God's people are cleansed while living by faith in fallen nature on earth. God's will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:10) This cleansing work cannot be accomplished without heartfelt repentance on the part of believers. Christ's high priestly work of atonement in the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary includes the gift of repentance to His body, the remnant church.
While our High Priest ministered on earth—the courtyard of the heavenly sanctuary—He not only preached repentance, faith and baptism, He led the way as Representative and Example for the human race.
Christ's lifetime experience in resisting and overcoming sin was corporate in its essence. His identity with the fallen human race was a corporate identity. He became the federal head of fallen humanity. His faith, repentance and baptism; his death, resurrection and ascension were for the whole human race.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John demurred. He realized he was in the presence of a purity of character which he had not witnessed before in any human being. Nevertheless Jesus insisted that John perform the rite of baptism on Himself. (Matt. 3:13-15)
"John could not understand why the only Sinless One upon the earth should ask for an ordinance implying guilt, virtually confessing, by the symbol of baptism, pollution to be washed away. . . . Christ came not confessing His own sins; but guilt was imputed to Him as the sinner's substitute. He came not to repent on His own account; but in behalf of the sinner. . . .
As their Substitute, He takes upon Him their sins, numbering Himself with the transgressors, taking the steps the sinner is required to take; and doing the work the sinner must do." (R & H 1/21/73)
"He was numbered with the transgressors." (Isa. 53:12) The word "numbered" (mene) is the same as that recorded in Dan. 5:25, 26 concerning the handwriting on the wall when Babylon was found lacking. Christ, too, was weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary. Not because of any personal sin but because He took your place and mine.
Because Christ bore our "sins in his own body to the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24, margin); because Christ became our Representative, He had to take the steps we must take in conversion. These steps are "...repentance, faith and baptism." (Evang. 306)
"He took upon Himself our nature, that He might teach us how to live. In the steps which the sinner must take in conversion—repentance, faith, baptism—
He led the way. He did not repent for Himself, for He was sinless, but in behalf of men." (ST 7/31/84).
"After Christ had taken the necessary steps in repentance, conversion and faith in behalf of the human race, He went to John to be baptized of him in Jordan." (GCB 01, 36)
Christ was (and is) the greatest teacher who ever lived. No one taught as He did because no one lived as He did. He put into practice that which He preached. And He practiced before He preached. Because He repented He could preach repentance with power.
"Christ . . . had taken the steps which every sinner must take in conversion, repentance and baptism. He Himself had no sins of which to repent and therefore He had no sins to wash away. But He was our Example in all things, and . . . must do that which He would have us do." (ST 5/27/97)
Christ was made to be sin. Because of this He felt as though He had committed sin. Many of the psalms concerning the sufferings of Christ were written with this in mind.
Bearing in Himself the sins of mankind and therefore made guilty of the sins of the whole world. This penitential psalm portrays Christ distressed in both body and mind. We see Jesus the Man of sorrows tempted to mental depression. He experienced bodily derangement caused by sin. Soul sickness caused His body to draw together convulsively into a fetal-like position. (Verses 6-8) The wrath of sin spread itself over His entire body, burning and consuming as it went.
Especially in Gethsemane He tasted "death for every man." The energies of life were yielding. Partial lifelessness came over Him. He was brought to a condition of violent dissolution. In verse 10 intense palpitation of heart is recorded concerning Him.
He is obliged to confess His guilt and to repent of His sin. He was truly sorry for His sin and guilt which He took from us. (Verse 18) The closing verses of the psalm are words of faith. He could not see through the darkness except by faith as He sighed for help. What a picture of Christ we have here! He who knew no sin or guilt and therefore needed not to repent on His own behalf, entered into our experience of sorrow for sin.
Can we not, should we not, therefore, feel sorrow for others who feel no need of repentance for themselves?
"As we see souls out of Christ, we are to put ourselves in their place and in their behalf feel repentance before God, resting not until we bring them to repentance. If we do everything we can for them and yet they do not repent, the sin lies at their door; but we are still to feel sorrow of heart because of their condition, showing them how to repent and trying to lead them step by step to Jesus Christ." (Ms. 92, 01; 7 BC 960)
Let us gaze steadfastly "Unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith" and of our repentance. "...Consider Him" . . . and receive His gift of genuine repentance which needs "not to be repented of." (Heb. 12:2, 3; Acts 5:31; 2 Cor.7: 10) Then let us, like Christ, teach from the standpoint of experience, and the more sure word of prophecy. —Gerald Finneman
From the Mailbox
St. Maries, Idaho
I see now an unfair picture has been painted by independent groups in regard to God's last church on earth, the Seventh- day Adventist Church. . . . I wanted to let you know where we stand on this and that we are praying for what you are trying to do.
Since we have had the true agape spirit, we have been able to work with our local church to a great degree. We are still firm to principle and are reformers in the true sense of the word. The Lord has opened many doors for us to speak at other local churches, straight truth in the Spirit of Jesus, not as a self-righteous Pharisee.
Thank you so much for answering my letter and telling me of the wonderful meetings that were to be held at Camp Winnekeag. A friend and I went down for all of Sabbath and how we enjoyed them and were blessed. We know time is quickly coming to an end and we need to have the righteousness of Christ. May He help us all.—Janet Burdett
Fort Meyers, Florida
Our neighbors, a young couple with two daughters were having marital problems and finally separated. She was raised an Adventist but had not been to church for awhile; he, a nice young man, a hard worker but used drugs. As they are our neighbors we've had some good interaction. I had some opportunities to share the Father's love with them.
One afternoon after a week or two of being separated, he came to me and asked for Bible studies for himself, his wife and his parents. I chose to study out of the book, Fundamentals of the Everlasting Gospel, by E. H. Sequeira (a wonderful study book). After our first study our friends moved back in with one another and we praise God and continue to study to know Him. This is it. God's grace is more than sufficient. —David Schartiger
I would like to thank you for your messages and publications that you blessed us with. . . . Many of my students are interested in studying more in depth the nature of Christ and the problematic question of the delay of the second coming. . . . The message of God that you have brought will continue to affect them via me. I cannot express how your work In Search of the Cross, has touched my heart. So often my experience has been very intellectual yet lacking in true commitment. —Trina Schneider
I've been an Adventist for a little over two years. . . . I recently read History and Content of the 1888 Message, My heart was so full of joy to realize that there is a chance to live a sinless life in this sinful flesh through the righteousness of Christ. —Yvette McDowell.
To believe that evil must not be condemned because this would condemn those who practice the evil, is to act in favor of falsehood. —Ellen White, Series B, No. 2, p. 10
I just received my first copy of the Newsletter and enjoyed it very much and feel it is necessary to send it to these friends who are sincerely seeking truth for these last days. I heard Elder Wieland speak on the 1888 message. Have two of his books, As Many As I Love, which I have shared with my pastor and one of the church elders. Enclosed is my check to help with your work. —Wanda Graham
We now have four study groups studying Daniel and Revelation. We praise God for the many things we are learning. And to see the ones really searching for truth coming out. We pray that more will have understanding and more groups will be started. We earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts and in the church. To many of our people it is like a foreign language.—Mrs. Charles Steele
I am beginning to see that the way the Jews pushed Jesus into the background we have tried to push 1888 out of people's minds. I thank you for uncovering 1888 for me. I have grown so much closer to Jesus because of it. I praise the Lord for this beautiful message. Friday nights we are inviting different members to our home and discussing the points you covered in your sermons. These people are so thankful and hungry for this good news. —John Rossetti
Cedar Springs, Michigan
I’m concerned about 1888 message finances. Wouldn't it be feasible and just to invite 1888 supporters to commit themselves to a monthly gift to the Lord's 1888 message group. I cannot give a large sum, but a consistent monthly amount, multiplied by hundreds, hopefully thousands by now, would help, put the group on a more firm foundation.
I was thrilled with the article in the Review, "1888 Centennial Commemoration. Will our 1888 message messengers have valuable input? I'm writing the Review. — Adele Lazio
Editorial Committee: Helen Cate, Steven Grabiner, R. J. Gravell, Alexander Snyman, Sidney Sweet
The 1888 Message Newsletter is distributed free of charge. Those who wish to make tax-deductible gifts toward the cost of 1888 message publications may make checks payable to "1888 Message," and send them to:
Donald Cate, 2934 Sherbrook Dr. Uniontown, Ohio 44685