1986 September Vol. 2 Num. 4
Long awaited, prayed and planned for, the Second National 1888 Message Conference is now history. A record of the messages given is available on tape (see insert). But how can the inspiration, the "loving, peaceful, heavenly atmosphere" that pervaded the conference be shared with those who were unable to be present?
Attendance that tripled the Mohaven meeting reflected the spreading interest in the "most precious message" but numbers are not the true measure of the success of the conference. The blessings so many experienced during those four days of "sitting in heavenly places" were the work of the Holy Spirit on receptive hearts.
The beautiful campus of Andrews University and the gracious hospitality of its staff provided for every need and comfort. More important, about 250 people from the campus and surrounding communities were able to attend weekend meetings, joining the 250 who registered for the entire conference.
Beginning with "The Good News Is Better Than You Think" presented by Robert Wieland on Wednesday evening, speakers included E. H. Sequeira, David Grams, Donald Short, Alex Snyman, Milton Crane, Gerald Finneman, R. J. Gravell, Jerome Justesen, Steven Grabiner.
Workshops in health evangelism and giving Bible studies provided practical instruction in soul winning. Program guides and visual aids were demonstrated. (See "Health Evangelism Workshop"; "Bible Study Guides" pages 2, 3.)
The response to the appeal for financial support was most encouraging. Your continued support will make it possible to spread the good news in the Newsletter, books, study guides, seminars, workshops, etc.
During the meetings in the chapel of Lamson Hall, children's programs planned and directed by Kay Gravell were provided in the large room below.
Thanks to painstaking preparation by Don Cate, working closely with Ron Knott, associate PR director of the University, registration, use of facilities and services moved smoothly.
Questions submitted to the panel, conversations and written evaluations reflected keen interest in the truths presented; deep gratitude for the inspiration and fellowship of our day’s together; and fresh commitment to the beautiful message of Christ's righteousness, which is manifested in obedience to all the commandments of God.
The Planning Committee, meeting at the close of the conference, voted to accept the invitation of Andrews University to hold the Third National 1888 Message Conference on the Andrews campus next August 18-23.
At the same time the committee agreed on the importance of encouraging the holding of regional conferences on the east and west coasts and wherever a committee can be formed to be responsible for arranging and sponsoring such a conference.
As we go to press the Regional Conference planned at Camp Winnekeg in Massachusetts has 100 advance registrations, filling the available housing to capacity. There is also a stirring of interest in such a conference on the West Coast.
The Holy Spirit is impressing many hearts with the need to share the beautiful truth of Christ's righteousness as it was given to the church in 1888. May we suggest a few specific ways to spread the good news?
1. Daily, earnest prayer for the Holy Spirit's work in our own lives and in the church.
2. Organization of small prayer and study groups.
3. Distribution of the new book on repentance by Elder Wieland, As Many As I Love. A special price of $2 per copy has been arranged for those who will order at least 10 copies to sell or give to friends, and especially to Adventist ministers.
4. Request additional copies of the Newsletter to share with your friends and send us names of people who may be interested in receiving it.
5. Arrange for an 1888 Message Seminar in your area. To contact Elder Elder Wieland, write or call: 625 Mariposa Circle, Chula Vista, CA 92011. Phone: 619-421-8011.
To schedule Elder Alex Snyman as a speaker in your church, contact American Cassette Ministries, P. O. Box 922 Harrisburg, PA 17108. Phone: 717-652- 7000.
Perryville, Maryland Sept.6-Oct. 4
Evangelistic series, Blythedale Adventist church. Alex Snyman.
Orange County, California Sept 13
Adventist Forum Association. Robert Wieland.
Madison, Ohio Sept. 18-Nov. 13
Revelation Seminar / 1888 Studies in Madison H. S. Miroslav Kavur.
Camp Winnekeg, Massachusetts Sept.25-28
Regional 1888 Message Conference. Elders Wieland, Short, Brace, Finneman.
Sept.29-30 Atlantic Union College. Robert Wieland.
1888 Message Seminar. Robert Wieland.
Livermore, California Oct. 17-19
1888 Message Seminar. Robert Wieland.
Oshawa Ontario Nov.7-9
1888 Message Seminar, College Park Church. Alex Snyman, Robert Wieland.
Robert Wieland. (For information call: 714-734-6549.)
Grassie, Ontario Nov. 28-30
Seminar: "How to Share the Good News." Gerald and Shirley Finneman. (For information, call: 416-945-2833.)
Send announcements of seminars, etc. as early as possible. Include telephone number for additional information.
Two very special little books were given to those who registered at the Andrews Conference. They are choice additions to the library of anyone who cherishes the "most precious message"—not only to read and reread and pray over but to share with as many other people as possible.
Order your copy of As Many As I love, Elder Wieland's new book on repentance ($3.95 single; $20/10 copies ppd.); Union with Christ, the dynamic of the 1888 message, published by A. L. Hudson ($1.75 ppd.)
My heart was broken anew by the Sabbath morning presentation of agape love, a love willing to suffer the second death for us. May we all come to understand this love—corporate repentance—and show it to the world.
The 6:00 a.m. Sunday meeting by Elder Sequiera opened to me the key to the gospel (which I thought I had understood). How near Christ came to us! Born like us, condemned under the law, we are translated into the kingdom of God in Him. May God continue to bless the 1888 message that the earth may be "lightened with His glory." —Robert J. Neufeld, M.D.
I came to the 1888 Message Conference not knowing what to expect. As I mingled with others I heard not one word of dissension or discord but underlying all that was said there was a concern and a desire for unification and seeing the work finished. These meetings have been a blessing and my prayer is that God will bless those leading out. —Albert E. Hayward
The conference has come and gone, but not forgotten. Two hundred fifty people [500 on Sabbath] filled the chapel of Lamson Hall, listening, questioning, praying together. I was thrilled to see so many young men attending, sitting right up front so interested in all that was going on.
The meetings were very helpful to me personally in understanding many issues and doctrines, particularly the two covenants and legal justification, and stimulated my zest for private study. —Gloria Laura
Los Angeles, California
More than anything else at this conference I have felt compelled that we as a people need to go out and spread this message to others. If only half of the group that met here have had this conviction, we would be able to have a wondrous effect in bringing the loud cry of the third angel to the world! —Jackie L. Morphew
During the Health Evangelism Workshop at the Andrews Conference, Candace Sweet demonstrated the Country Life Nutrition Seminar materials available for conducting classes. The program includes 210 slides for six presentations and six tapes which provide a training program for those who give the presentations. ($199 postage paid); Country Life Cookbook. ($8.75 ppd.)
Order from Steven Grabiner, c/o Newsletter, 2934 Sherbrook Drive, Uniontown, OH 44685.
Elder Alex Snyman will be giving 25 presentations, using 80 slides in each in his evangelistic series, "These Tremendous Times," which opened Saturday night, September 6 in the Blythe- dale SDA church, 36 Blythedale Road, Perryville, MD. He is speaking five nights a week through October 4— Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30. He will also be speaking in Adventist churches in the area during this time.
(The following is an abridgment of a sobering message Elder Donald Short presented at the Second National 1888 Message Conference.)
When Jesus speaks we should be willing to listen. What He said to His disciples, He says to us: "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus, the True Witness, has spoken down through history to the seven churches from the infant Ephesus to our church, the church of Laodicea. Though spanning history from the cross to the second coming yet it is one church, one corporate body built by Jesus. The fact that the church is still being built, must be understood as being the result of her own choice.
"Had Adventists after the great disappointment in 1844 held fast their faith and followed unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward. . . .For 40 years did unbelief, murmuring and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord's professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years." (1 SM 68, 69)
And so the end is near. It has been for over a century. The year 2000 is only three General Conference sessions away. Will "the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration and strife among the Lord's professed people" continue to hold us for another hundred years? Is modern Israel doomed to cling to the same "unbelief" that plagued ancient Israel? It need not be so.
The seventh church needs to understand the difference between forgiveness of sins and blotting out of sins. In the end a church would have to be built by Jesus against which Satan and all of his angels could not prevail, a church ready for translation. The books of heaven will continue to "record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity" until such time as they are blotted out (5BC 1085; ST July 31, 1901). This involves the work of the High Priest in the final atonement.
From Eden to the final hours of Laodicea, the Lord has only asked for repentance. But the responsibility of Laodicea is the greatest in history. She lives in the hour to which all the prophets looked, when the High Priest is to accomplish through the Holy Spirit a work never before seen in the universe. All creation is party to this final work. This is the day when God says: "I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zech. 12:10).
At this date it is clear that the Advent Movement has not made progress consistent with its prophetic destiny. The fact that the world has not as yet been stirred by the three-fold message of Revelation 14 is evidence enough. This has been painfully impressed upon us by two Gallup polls (AR July 3, 1986). Only 65 to 70 percent of all Americans have ever heard or read about our church, let alone hearing the message the church has. Public opinion will not have anything to do with that other angel that comes "down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory" (Rev. 18:1). His cry that "Babylon the great is fallen, . . . and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit," will hardly enhance our public image.
The conviction is deepening that the long delay is assuming vexing proportions. A recent Review article puts it this way: Adventism has been talking about Jesus' soon coming for more than 140 years. After this time, it is not clear what soon means. The prophetic time periods and "signs" plausible in the mid-1800 don't seem to matter much to them [our young people] in the late 1900's (AR June 19, 1986).
In North America for every 10 people who join the church, 4.3 people simply disappear and when death is considered the loss comes to 6.2 persons. Surely this cannot be the fulfillment of our destiny. We must ask ourselves if the number of members on our church books is relevant to the work of the High Priest in the final atonement. Will more members contribute to the repentance and contrition required on the great day of final atonement— the cleansing of the sanctuary? Do Seventh-day Adventists really believe that the second coming of Christ is contingent upon an ever larger membership? If current promotional material is being read correctly it appears this is our chief reason for existing. It cannot be so. The patience of the Lord must be vindicated.
Our consciences dictate that in the day of judgment God cannot lower His expectations for His people and vindicate an unfaithful church. This would imply that His standards were too high and Lucifer was right from the beginning. This would be defeat for God. This would show that Jesus was not able to build the church and the gates of hell had prevailed. We have already referred to one of many statements of Ellen White indicating that the plan of salvation could have been completed before now; God's cause could have been victorious.
Suppose God's people never do get ready because they cannot or will not. If they could have been ready and the first resurrection could have taken place before now, what will eventually precipitate this victory for God? Without it Abraham looked in vain for "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10).
This city is a victorious community of his spiritual descendants who attain to maturity of Christian experience and faith. This is a corporate body made after the divine similitude. The universe waits to see this victorious community while Abraham sleeps in his grave and all humanity wallows in the misery and woe of sin. Surely the time has come to put our best efforts to understanding the real problem.
It should be clear that if the first resurrection could have taken place before now had Adventists fulfilled their calling, then from that point onward Adventists are responsible for the continued reign of sin. Inherent in this must be the understanding that our church has a special place to fill and is not merely a church among many churches. The Lord confirms this with ample specific counsel.
"I am instructed to say to Seventh- day Adventists the world over, God has called us as a people to be a peculiar treasure unto Himself. He has appointed that His church on earth shall stand perfectly united in the Spirit and counsel of the Lord of hosts to the end of time" (2 SM 397; Letter 54, Jan. 21, 1908).
As God's commandment-keeping people, we are being weighed in the "balances of the sanctuary," and are called to have an experience corresponding to the advantages bestowed upon us. We will be judged by the light we have been given (8T 247). We are warned: "Many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. . . . The heavenly Teacher inquired: 'What stronger delusion can beguile the mind than the pretense that you are building on the right foundation, and that God accepts your works when in reality you are working out many things according to worldly policy and are sinning against Jehovah?"' (8T 249).
Vast amounts of this kind of counsel could be paraded before us. Thousands of pages have been in our hands for decades. But what will bring into focus our real situation which has eluded us for generations? Currently we have put all our eggs into the Harvest 90 basket, or, as proclaims a recent Review editorial, "our barns will overflow with the bounty of Harvest 90" (AR July 17, 1986).
In all candor we must acknowledge that any significant increase in membership is found in third-world countries. But other denominations are having the same kind of results in these countries. Experience has shown our treasury department that the greater the membership becomes in some areas, the greater the burden on the home church. This defies the gospel principle which requires that every branch bear fruit. Furthermore, simply having a numeric increase will only make thousands more Laodiceans. This cannot be the answer. The reign of sin is far too deeply entrenched for an ever larger membership to conquer.
The fact that we consider we have a special message for the world, a kind of corporate predestination in the end- time, places us in supreme jeopardy. The ancient Jews were in the same predicament. The apostasy that had overtaken them required years to develop. Their rebellion was so subtle in its manifestation that it was not fully unmasked by Jesus Himself. It took another 40 years to bring full fruition and retribution to the nation.
The stoning of Stephen was the final rejection of the witness of the Holy Ghost, and for this there was no further remedy. The priests and rulers knew all too well the content of their sacred history. To accept this history meant to accept Christ and this meant repentance. To deny was to insult the Holy Spirit and to "mistake the form of godliness for the spirit and power thereof." To be blind to God's purpose is one thing; to be opposed to it is a completely different thing and amounts to being in league with the enemy. Jesus laid down the principle this way: "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth" (John 9:41). Jesus had promised the ultimate in understanding: "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). When this Spirit of truth was rejected, the Lord had to make another plan.
And now, in this end-time we profess to be the Israel of God, chosen, called to fulfill a divine destiny. As children of Abraham are we able to learn from our spiritual forefathers of 2000 years ago and our pioneers of 100 years ago? When we see that the Jews rejected Christ because they rejected their own written history, does it open our eyes to the peril we face? Can we understand that every failure of God's people to follow the light shining on their pathway the past century must somehow be rectified by the present generation before the remnant church can be granted a divine vindication before the world and the universe?
Nothing which fails the test of truth can triumph in the judgment. God as judge cannot clear the guilty, whether it be an individual or a movement. To hope that time will erase past rebellion and rejection of truth or rectify present theological aberrations is to belittle the King of the universe and cast down His law to the ground.
Nearly 100 years ago we rejected "in a great measure" the "most precious message" sent by the Lord to His people (TM 91). "The light that was to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world" (1 SM 235). But the "tradition of the elders" says this is not so. The thrust of over 1000 pages supports the denial, continuing to proclaim that there was no denominational rejection. Like the Jews we deny our own history. Can the cleansing of the sanctuary ever be completed in such an environment?
We submit that the root of our denominational problems is to be found in the 1888 episode. The fruit of that event becomes a little more bitter with each passing year. Theological deviations become a little more subtle, a little more soul destroying. Greed for quick riches becomes ever more pervasive. The vindictive spirit demanding litigation consumes ever more money and effectively kills the Spirit. But this grows out of not hearing, not understanding the message the Lord wanted to give us a century ago. All this can be reversed.
The work can be finished in an incredibly short time. But it will require more than we have been willing to face thus far. It will require the repentance of the ages, for which the True Witness pleads. It will require an understanding of truth that so far has eluded us, the abandonment of worldly policies and man-made programs. Every species of legalism will have to die. Ultimately the experience awaiting the church is like that Jesus went through in Gethsemane. Only God's very own will be willing to accept that.
From Eden to Calvary to Laodicea the universe has watched the outworking of sin. "He who was ever touched by human woe, who healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, who fed the hungry and comforted the sorrowful, was driven from the people He had labored to save. He was unable to reach the hearts of those blinded by prejudice and hatred, and who stubbornly rejected the light." (DA 541).
But now the last church is on the scene. There is no eighth church. The prejudice and hatred, the stubborn rejection of past years can be overcome.
Jesus said He would build His church. When the church accepts all that the Lord wants it to have, it will fill the same role that Christ filled on earth. His work for the "short period of three years was as long as the world could endure the presence of the Redeemer." (DA 541). The work of God's people will be as effective and cut short for the same reason. The world will not be able to tolerate the 144,000. The prince of darkness will be furious, astonished, but vanquished. God's truth will do this. There is no need for the church to be here in the year 2000.
Truth is being lifted up in these confusing days as God leads men to produce well-documented books to meet some of the errors that have crept into the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Dr. Ralph Larson, pastor and until his recent retirement, professor in the SDA Theological Seminary, Far East, has published a monumental piece of research.
In The Word Was Made Flesh, Dr. Larson has documented the historic Adventist position that Christ took the fallen nature of Adam. His investigation of "One Hundred Years of Seventh-day Adventist Christology, 1852-1952," reveals striking unanimity among Adventist writers, editors, administrators and Ellen White until 1952 when a subtle confusion first became evident in Adventist publications.
Dr. Larson's book is must reading for anyone seriously concerned about the present dichotomy in the church. It is available from Cherrystone Press, P. O. Box 3180, Cherry Valley, CA.
Dr. Lloyd Rosenvold has made another valuable contribution in his Separation and Unity, to those who are troubled about apostasy in the church and question whether they should heed the voices calling them to leave it. The book is available from this office, 2934 Sherbrook Dr., Uniontown, OH 44685.
Book and tape lists with instructions for ordering are available from this office.
Ever since attending the First National 1888 Message Conference we have hoped and prayed for another conference. We were thrilled to learn that it would be held at Andrews University. The reality has been much greater than our expectation.
We've been thrilled again to hear that "precious message" that Brethren Waggoner and Jones first presented to our brethren in Minneapolis in 1888. It has the certain ring of truth as we perceive it. The effect has been to cure fanatical and futurist ideas and to assure us that the Advent Movement will go through to a glorious triumph and that in order to triumph with the movement we must stay with and remain loyal to the organization.
We are very grateful to see so many more present here than at the Mohaven conference. Many men, many youth and many families are here for which we thank God.
We look forward to the Third 1888 Conference if the work isn't finished shortly. We praise God for the privilege of being here, to share blessings from Heaven. We're refreshed by the loving, peaceful, heavenly atmosphere present throughout the meeting. —Harold and Dottie Toms
Sitting at the feet of our precious Jesus as He spoke to us through Elders Short, Wieland, Snyman, Sequeira, Grams, Justesen and more, our souls were richly fed and impressed to come home to share. A young man from Detroit excitedly exclaimed after Elder Sequeira's presentation of the "in Christ" motif, "Oh! Now I see! I see!" All who were present at the Second Annual Conference exclaimed, "Jesus be praised!"
Thank You, God, for the tremendous spiritual feast. With Paul, I believe I am debtor to all I meet, my family, my neighbors, my church. —Adele Laszlo
I have been struggling with a personal conflict for quite a few weeks. Because of all the messages God has given me through all the elders, I am now prepared to go home and face, with God's help, what I have been fighting. God has given me an understanding of righteousness by faith, my body as His temple (the health message), how God only lets things happen to us because of His love, and most of all how I should be giving the agape that Jesus gave us.
I pray that you will continue to give these conferences across the country to make people as hungry as f am and take it home to search and share even more. —Glory Gwozdz
Editorial Committee: Helen Cate, Steven Grabiner, R. J. Gravell Alexander Snyman, Sidney Sweet
Artist: Greg Owen
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