LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES
by Elder M. L. Andreasen, 1957
CHAPTER 6 - THE ATONEMENT
The serious student of the atonement is likely to be perplexed when he consults the Spirit of Prophecy to find two sets of apparently contradictory statements in regard to the atonement. He will find that when Christ "offered Himself on the cross, a perfect atonement was made for the sins of the people." Signs of the Times, June 28, 1899. He will find that the Father bowed before the cross "in recognition of its perfection. 'It is enough,' He said, 'the atonement is complete."' Review and Herald, September 24, 1901.
But in Great Controversy he will find this: "At the conclusion of the 2300 days, in 1844, Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to perform the closing work of the atonement." p. 422. In Patriarchs and Prophets p. 357, I read that sins will "stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement." (in 1844) Page 358 states that in "the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven." Early Writings, p. 253, says that "Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, to make the fine atonement."
The first set of statements says that the atonement was made on the cross; the other says that the final atonement was made 1800 years later. I have found seven statements that the atonement was made on the cross; I have twenty-two statements that the final atonement was made in heaven. Both of these figures are doubtless incomplete; for there may be others that have escaped my attention. It is evident, however, that I may not accept one set of statements and reject the other if I wish to arrive at truth. The question therefore is which statements are true? Which are false? Or, are both true? If so, how can they be harmonized?
I was perplexed when in the February number of the Ministry, 1957 I found the statement that "the sacrificial act of the cross (was) a complete, perfect, and final atonement." This was in distinct contradiction to Mrs. White's pronouncement that the final atonement began in 1844. I thought that this might be a misprint, and wrote to Washington calling attention to the matter, but found it was not a misprint but an official and approved statement. If we still hold the Spirit of Prophecy as of authority, we therefore have two contradictory beliefs: the final atonement was made at the cross; the final atonement began in 1844.
Definition of Atonement
I have listened to several discussions of the meaning of the Hebrew word "kaphar," which is the word used in the original for atonement, but have received little help. The best definition I have found is a short explanatory phrase in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 358, which simply states that the atonement, "the great work of Christ, or blotting out of sin, was represented by the services on the day of atonement."
This definition is in harmony with Leviticus 18:30 which says that "the priest shall make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." Atonement is here equated with being "clean from all your sins." As sin was the cause of separation between God and man, the removing of sin would again unite God and man. And this would be at-one-ment.
Christ did not need any atonement, for He and the Father were always one. John 10:30. Christ prayed for His disciples "that they may all be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they may be one in Us." John 17:21.
The definition of atonement as consisting of three words- at-one-ment- is by some considered obsolete, but it nevertheless represents vital truth. Mrs. White thus uses it. Says she: "unless they accept the atonement provided for them in the remedial sacrifice of Jesus Christ who is our atonement, at-one-ment, with God." Mss. 122, 1901.
God's plan is that in "the fulness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ." Ephesians 1:10. When this is done, "the family of heaven and the family of earth are one."--Desire of Ages p. 835. Then "one pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation."-Great Controversy, p. 878. At last the atonement is complete.
Two Phases of the Atonement
Much confusion in regard to the atonement arises from a neglect to recognize the two divisions of the atonement. Note what is said of John the Baptist, "He did not distinguish clearly the two phases of Christ's work - as a suffering sacrifice, and a conquering king." Desire of Ages, pp.136, 137. The book Questions on Doctrine makes the same mistake. It does not distinguish clearly; in fact it does not distinguish at all; it does not seem to know of the two phases; hence the confusion.
The First Phase
The first phase of Christ's atonement was that of a suffering sacrifice. This began before the world was, included the incarnation, Christ's life on earth, the temptation in the wilderness, Gethsemane, Golgotha, and ended when God's voice called Christ from the "stony prison house of death." The fifty third chapter of Isaiah is a vivid picture of this.
Satan had overcome Adam in the garden of Eden, and in a short time nearly the whole world had come under his away. At the time of Noah there were only eight souls who entered the ark. Satan claimed to be prince of this world, and no one had challenged him.
But God did not recognize Satan's claim to dominion, and when Christ came to earth, the Father "gave the world into the hands of the Son, that through His mediatorial work He may completely vindicate the holiness and the binding claims of every precept of the divine law." Bible Echo, January, 1887. This was a challenge to Satan's claim, and thus began in earnest the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
"Christ took the place of fallen Adam. With the sins of the world laid upon Him, He would go over the ground where Adam stumbled." Review and Herald, February 24, 1874. "Jesus volunteered to meet the highest claims of the law." Ibid., September 2, 1890. "Christ made Himself responsible for every man and woman on earth." Ibid., February 27, 1900.
As Satan claimed ownership of the earth, it was necessary for Christ to overcome Satan before He could take possession of His kingdom. Satan knew this, and hence made an attempt to kill Christ as soon as He was born. However, as a contest between Satan and a helpless child in a manger, would not be fair, God frustrated this.
The first real encounter between Christ and Satan took place in the wilderness. After forty days of fasting Christ was weak and emaciated, at death's door. At this time Satan made his attack. But Christ resisted, even "unto blood," and Satan was compelled to retire defeated. But he did not give up. Throughout Christ's ministry, Satan dogged His footsteps, and made every moment a hard battle.
The climax of Christ's struggle with Satan, came in the garden of Gethsemane. Hitherto Christ had been upheld by the knowledge of the approval of the Father. But now He "was overpowered by the terrible fear that God was removing His presence from Him." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 95. If God should forsake Him, could He still resist Satan and die rather than yield? "Three times His humanity shrank from the last, crowning sacrifice. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance." Ibid., p. 99. "As the Father's presence was withdrawn, they saw Him sorrowful with a bitterness of sorrow exceeding that of the last struggle with death." Desire of Ages, p. 759. "He fell dying to the ground," but with His last ounce of strength murmured, 'If this cup may not pass from me except I drink it, Thy will be done.
'A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man." Desire of Ages, p. 694. In His death, He was victor.
"When Christ said, 'It is finished,' God responded, 'It is finished, the human race shall have another trial.' The redemption price is paid, and Satan fell like lightning from heaven." Mss. 11,-1897.
"As the Father beheld the cross He was satisfied. He said, It is enough, the offering is complete." Signs of the Times, September 30, 1899. It was necessary, however, that there should be given the world a stern manifestation of the wrath of God, and so, "in the grave Christ was the captive of divine justice." M. V. F. February 24, 1898. It must be abundantly attested that Christ's death was real, so He must "remain in the grave the allotted period of time." Review and Herald, April 26, 1898. When the time was expired, a "messenger was sent to relieve the Son of God from the debt for which He had become responsible, and for which He had made fall atonement." Mss. 94, 1897.
"In the intercessory prayer of Jesus with His Father, He claimed that He had fulfilled the conditions which made it obligatory upon the Father to fulfill His part of the contract made in heaven with regard to fallen man. He prayed, 'I have finished the work which Thou gayest me to do." Mrs. White then makes this explanation, "That is, He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for men to follow." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 280.
The "contract" between the Father and the Son made in heaven, included the following: 1. The Son was to work out a "righteous character on earth as an example for man to follow." 2. Not only was Christ to work out such a character, but He was to demonstrate that man also could do this; and thus man would become "more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." 3. If Christ thus could present man as a new creature in Christ Jesus, then God was to "receive repentant and obedient men, and would love them even as He loves His Son." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 280; Desire of Ages, p. 790.
Christ had "fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of repenting, believing sinners, presenting to God the offerings of His people." Mss. 42, 1901.
"In His incarnation He had reached the prescribed limit as a sacrifice, but not as a redeemer." Mss. 11., 1897. On Golgotha He was the victim, the sacrifice. That was as far as He could go as a sacrifice. But now His work as redeemer began. "When Christ cried 'It is finished,' God's unseen hand rent the strong fabric which composed the veil of the temple from top to bottom. The way into the holiest of all was made manifest." Ibid.
With the cross the first phase of Christ's work as the "suffering sacrifice" ended. He had gone the "prescribed limit" as a sacrifice. He had finished His work "thus far." And now, with the Father's approval of the sacrifice, He was empowered to be the Saviour of mankind. At the ensuing coronation forty days later He was given-all power in heaven and earth, and officially installed as High Priest.
The Second Phase
"After His ascension our Saviour began His work as High Priest. . In harmony with the typical service He began His ministration in the holy place, and at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844. . . He entered the most holy to perform the last division of His solemn work, to cleanse the sanctuary." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 265, 266. On the same page, 266, Sr. White repeats, apparently for emphasis, "at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, into the presence of God, to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to His coming." The reader cannot fail to note how clearly and emphatically this is stated. John the Baptist "did not distinguish clearly the two phases of Christ's work, as a suffering sacrifice and a conquering king." Desire of Ages, pp. 136, 137. Our theologians are making the same mistake today - and are inexcusable. They have light, which John did not have.
In studying this part of the atonement, we are entering a field that is distinctly Adventist, and in which we differ from all other denominations. This is our unique contribution to religion and theology, that which "has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work." Counsels to Editors and Writers, p. 54. In the same place she warns us against making "void the truths of the atonement, and destroy our confidence in the doctrines which we have held sacred, since the third angels message was first given."
This is vital counsel, and written for this very time when efforts are being made by some among us to have others believe that we are like the churches about us, an evangelical body and not a sect. Paul, in his day, had the same heresy to meet. He was accused of being a "pestilent fellow," a "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." Acts 24:5. In his answer before Felix, Paul confessed that after the "way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our Fathers believing all things which are according to the law and which are written in the prophets." Acts 24:14. R. V. In those days men spoke sneeringly of the true church as a sect, as men do now. Paul was not disturbed by this. We have no record that he attempted to have the church of the living God recognized as an evangelical body by men who trampled the law of God in the dust. On the contrary, whatever they might call him and his "sect," he confessed that he believed "all things which are written in the law and the prophets." Verse 14.
The religious journal, Christianity Today, states in the March 3, 1958 issue, that "the Adventists today are contending vigorously that they are truly evangelical. They appear to want to be so regarded." Mentioning the book, Questions on Doctrine, it says that this "is the Adventist answer to the question whether it ought to be thought of as a sect or a fellow evangelical denomination." It states further that "the book" is published in an effort to convince the religious world that we are evangelical and one of them.
This is a most interesting and dangerous situation. As one official who was not in favor of what was being done stated to me: "We are being sold down the river." What a sight for heaven and earth! The church of the living God which has been given the commission to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and call men to come out of Babylon, is now standing at the door of these churches asking permission to enter and become one of them. How are the mighty fallen! Had their plan succeeded, we might now be a member of some evangelical association and not a distinctive Seventh-day Adventist church any more, in secrecy "sold down the river." This is more than apostasy. This is giving up Adventism. It is the rape of a whole people. It is denying God's leading in the past.
It is the fulfillment of what the Spirit of Prophecy said years ago:
"The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted an error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. . . . Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement," Series B, No. 2, pp. 54, 55.
"Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature." Ibid., p. 18.
"When men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled? Those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men who are spoiling the faith of the people of God, are guided by a delusive sentiment." Ibid., pp. 9, 11.
"Renewed energy is now needed. Vigilant action is called for. Indifference and sloth will result in the loss of personal religion and of heaven. My message to you is: No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of truth. We must firmly refuse to be drawn away from the platform of eternal truth, which since 1844 has stood the test." Ibid., pp. 14,15,50.
"I hesitated and delayed about the sending out of that which the Spirit of the Lord impelled me to write. I did not want to be compelled to present the misleading influence of these sophistries. But in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met." Ibid., p. 55.
"What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhanded, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith - the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say?. I must obey the command, 'Meet it.'" Ibid., p. 58.
All this was written to meet the apostasy in the alpha period. We are now in the omega period which Sr. White said would come, and which would be of a "startling nature." And the words are even more applicable now than then. Is the reader one of "those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men who are spoiling the faith of the people of God?" Ibid., p. 11. "Shall we keep silent for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled?" Ibid., p. 9. It is time to stand up and be counted. There are times when I have been tempted to think that I stood alone as did Elijah. But God told him that there were 7000 others. There are more than that now, thank God. They need to reveal themselves - and they are doing it. Most heartening are the letters I am receiving. It is with deep regret that I find I am unable to enter into extended correspondence. I am overwhelmed with work.
Christ's death on the cross corresponds to the moment when on the day of atonement the high priest had just killed the Lord's goat in the court. The death of the goat was necessary, for without its blood there could be no atonement. But the death in and of itself was not the atonement, though it was the first and necessary step. Sr. White speaks of the "atonement commenced on earth." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 261. Says Scripture: "It is the blood that maketh atonement." Leviticus 17:11. And, of course, there could be no blood until after the death had taken place. Without a blood ministration the people would be in the same position as those who on the passover slew the lamb but failed to place the blood on the door posts. "When I see the blood," said God, "I will pass over you." Exodus 12:13. The death was useless without the ministration of the blood. It was the blood that counted.
It is the blood that is to be applied, not "an act," "a great act," "a sacrificial act," "an atoning act," "the act of the cross," "the benefits of the act of the cross," "the benefits of the atonement," all of which expressions are used in Questions on Doctrine, but any reference to the blood is carefully avoided. It is not an act of any kind that is to be applied. It is the blood. Yet in all the 100 pages in the book dealing with the atonement, not once is the blood spoken of as being applied, or ministered. Can this be merely an oversight, or is it intended? Are we teaching a bloodless atonement? Elder Nichol states the Adventist position correctly when he says, "We believe that Christ's work of atonement was begun rather than completed on Calvary." Answers to 0bjections.,p. 408. This was published in 1952. We shall be interested to see what the new edition will say. Many are waiting to find out what they are to believe on this important question.
Here are some expressions from the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to blood atonement:
"Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, and with a loud voice of deep pity cried, 'My blood, Father; My blood; My blood; My blood.'" Early Writings, p. 38.
"He appears in the presence of God as our great High Priest, ready to accept the repentance, and to answer the prayers of His people, and, through the merits of His own righteousness, to present then to the Father. He raises His wounded hands to God, and claims their blood-bought pardon, I have graven them on the palms of My hands, He pleads. Those memorial wounds of My humiliation and anguish secure to My church the best gifts of omnipotence." Spirit of Prophecy vol. 3, pp. 261, 262.
"The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner's behalf." Great Controversy, p. 415.
"When in the typical service the high priest left the holy place on the day of atonement, He went in before God to present the blood of the sin-offering, in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners." Ibid., p. 429.
Christ is "now officiating before the ark of God, pleading His blood in behalf of sinners." Ibid., p. 433.
"Christ, the great high priest, pleading His blood, before the Father in the sinner's behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every repentant, believing soul." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 351.
"As Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest in the daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place in the sinner's behalf." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.
"The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it was to stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.
And with all these statements before him, not once does the author of Questions on Doctrine mention the blood as being applied or ministered.
The Final Atonement
"The Father ratified the covenant made with Christ, that He would receive repentant and obedient men, and would love them even as He loves His Son." This, as stated above, was on the condition that "Christ was to complete His work and fulfil His pledge to make a man more precious than fine gold even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Desire of Ages, p. 790. "This Christ guarantees." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 250.
When Christ says in His high priestly prayer "I have finished the work which Thou gayest me to do," (John 17:45 Sr. White comments: "He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for man to follow." Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 260.
In working out this righteous character, Christ demonstrated that it could be done. But could others do the same? That needed to be demonstrated also. Christ had guaranteed it could. It was now for Christ to make good His pledge.
Character is not created. It is made; it is developed; it is built through manifold tests and temptations and trials. God at first gives a light test, then a little stronger, and still a little stronger. Little by little resistance to temptations grows stronger, and after a while certain temptations cease to be temptations. A man may have a great struggle with tobacco; but at last he is victorious, and his victory may be so complete that tobacco is a temptation no longer.
Thus, ideally, it should be with every temptation. Holiness is not attained in a day. "Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven." Desire of Ages,- p. 330. A man may gain victories every day, but still may not have attained. Even Paul had to admit that he had not "already attained, either were already perfect." But undaunted He exclaims, "I follow after that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:12.
Christ had pledged to make man "finer than gold," even the golden wedge of Ophir. In this work man must not be a submissive instrument only; he must take an active part. Note these quotations:
"The ransom of the human race was appointed to give man another trial," Mss. 14, 1898. "The plan of salvation was designed to redeem the fallen race, to give man another trial." Signs of the Times. April 26, 1899. God "looked upon the victim expiring on the cross and said, 'It Is finished; the human race shall have another trial."' Youth's Instructor, June 21, 1900. "That the transgressor might have another trial. . . the eternal Son of God interposed Himself to bear the punishment of transgression." Review and Herald, February 8, 1898. "He suffered in our stead that men could have another test and trial." Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, p. 28. "As Jesus was accepted as our substitute and surety, every one of us will be accepted if we stand the test and trial for ourselves." Review and Herald, June 10, 1890. "The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome." "Man must work with his human, power aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and to conquer at any cost to himself. In short, he must overcome as Christ overcame. . . . Man must do his part; he must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Christ gives him." Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 32, 33.
Christ had pledged to make men overcomers; He had "guaranteed" this. It was no easy task; but the work of atonement was not finished until and unless He did it. And so Christ persevered till His task should be done. Out of the last generation, out of the weakest of the weak, Christ selects a group with which to make the demonstration that man can overcome as Christ overcame. In the 144,000 Christ will stand justified and glorified. They prove that it is possible for man to live a life pleasing to God under all conditions, and that men can at last stand "in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor." Great Controversy. p. 614. The testimony is given them, "they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God's judgments." Great Controversy, p. 649. "They are the chosen ones, joint heirs with Christ in the great firm of heaven. They overcame, as He overcame " MS. November 28, 1897. To us comes the invitation, "Now, while our High Priest is making atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ." Great Controversy, p. 623.
In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul presents us with a mystery. Says he, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:31, 32. Marriage fitly represents the union between Christ and the church, effected by the atonement. In harmony with this picture of a marriage, the public announcement is made at the close of probation; "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. . . . And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in linen, clean and white; for the linen is the righteousness. of the -saints." Revelation 19:8. As husband and wife are one, so now are Christ and the church. The atonement, the true atonement, the final atonement, the complete atonement, has bean made. "The family of heaven and the family of earth are one." Desire of Ages, p. 835.
Practically all Adventists have read the last few chapters in Great Controversy, which describe the fearful struggle through which God's people will pass before the end. As Christ was tried to the utmost in the temptation in the wilderness and in the garden of Gethsemane, so the 144,000 will likewise be tried. They will apparently be left to perish, as their prayers remain unanswered as were Christ's in Gethsemane when His petitions were denied. But their faith will not fail. With Job they exclaim, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Job 13:15.
The final demonstration of what God can do in humanity is made in the last generation who bears all the infirmities and weaknesses which the race has acquired through six thousand years of sin and transgression. In the words of Sr. White they bore "the results of the working of the great law of heredity." Desire of Ages, p. 48.
The weakest of mankind are to be subjected to the strongest of Satan's temptations, that the power of God might be abundantly shown. "It was an hour of fearful, terrible agony to the saints. Day and night they cried unto God for deliverance. To outward appearance, there was no possibility of their escape." Early Writings, p. 283.
According to the new theology which our leaders have accepted and are now teaching, the 144,000 will be subjected to a temptation immeasurably stronger than any Christ ever experienced. For while the last generation will bear the weaknesses and passions of their forefathers, they claim that Christ was exempt from all these. Christ, we are told, did not inherit any of the passions "that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." Questions on Doctrine, p. 383. He was therefore functioning on a higher and altogether different level from men who have to battle with inherited passions and hence He does not know and has not experienced the real power of sin. But this is not the kind of saviour I need. I need One who has been "tempted in all points like as we are." Hebrews 4:15. The "substitute christ" which our leaders present to us, I must reject and do reject. Thank God-, "we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Ibid.
Indictment Against God
But more than even this is involved in the new theology; it places an indictment against God as the author of a scheme to deceive both men and Satan. Here is the situation:
Satan has consistently maintained that God is unjust in requiring men to obey His law, which he claims is impossible. God has maintained that it can be done, and to substantiate His claim offered to send His Son to this world to prove His contention. The Son did come and kept the law and challenged men to convince Him of sin. He was found to be sinless, holy and without blame. He proved that the law could be kept, and God stood vindicated; and His requirement that men keep His commandments was found to be just. God had won, and Satan was defeated.
But there was a hitch in this; for Satan claimed that God had not played fair; He had favored His Son, had "exempted" Him from the results of the working of the great law of heredity to which all other men were subject; He had exempted Christ "from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam." Questions on Doctrine, p. 383. He had not exempted mankind in general, but Christ only. That, of course, invalidated Christ's work on earth. He was no longer one of us who had demonstrated the power of God to keep men from sinning. He was a deceiver whom God had given preferred treatment and was not afflicted with inherited passions as men are.
Satan had little difficulty in having men accept this view; the Catholic church accepted it; in due time, the evangelicals gave their consent; and in 1956 the leaders of the Adventist church also adopted this view. It was the matter of "exemption" that caused Peter to take Christ aside and say, "Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee," which so raised the wrath of Christ that He told Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Matthew 16:22, 23. Christ did not want to be exempt. He told Peter, "Thou savourest not the things that be of God." So some today savour not the things of God. They think it merely a matter of semantics. God pity such and open their eyes to the things that be of God. With the surrender of the Adventist leaders to the monstrous doctrine of an "exempt" Christ, Satan's last opposition has surrendered. We pray again, may God save His people.
I have been asked what I expect to accomplish. I am not out to "win" any argument. I am a Seventh-day Adventist minister whose work is to preach the truth and combat error. The Bible is mostly a record of the protest of God's witnesses against the prevailing sins of the church, and also of their apparent failure. Practically all protesters sealed their testimony with their blood, and the church went on until God intervened. All Paul hoped was that he might "save some." 1 Corinthians 9:22. Practically all the apostles died martyrs, and Christ they hanged on a tree. It took forty years before the destruction came. But when God intervened He did thorough work.
This denomination needs to go back to the instruction given in 1888, which was scorned. We need a reform in organization that will not permit a few men to direct every move made anywhere in the world.
We need a reform that will not permit a few men to handle finances as is now being done. We need a reform that will not permit men to spend millions on institutions not authorized by the vote of the constituency, while mission fields are suffering for want of the barest necessities. We need a change in the emphasis that is given to promotion, finances and statistics. We need to restore the Sabbath School to its rightful place in the work of God. We need to put a stop to the entertainments and suppers that are creeping in under the guise of raising money for good purposes. We need to put a stop to the weekly announcements in church that are merely disguised advertisements. This list could be greatly enlarged.
But all these, while important, are after all only minor things. We need a reformation and revival most of all. If our leaders will not lead in this, "then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place." Esther 4:14. I am of good cheer, praying for the peace of Israel.
Brief Biography of Milian Lauritz Andreasen:
- Born in 1876 in Denmark. - Ordained in 1902.
- President of the Greater New York Conference from 1909 to 1910.
- President of the Hutchinson (SDA) Theological Seminary from 1910 to 1918.
- Dean of Union College from 1918 to 1922.
- Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska in 1920.
- Master of Arts degree from the same institution in 1922.
- Dean of Washington Missionary College from 1922 to 1924.
- President of the Minnesota Conference from 1924 to 1931.
- President of Union College form 1931 to 1938.
- Professor of Theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (at Washington D.C.) from 1938 to 1949.
- Field Secretary of the General Conference from 1941 to 1950.
- Author of numerous Seventh-day Adventist books that were published by our denomination, including: "The Sanctuary Service," "The Epistle to the Hebrews," "A Faith to Live By," and 'What Can a Man Believe?'
- He was considered a denominational authority on the doctrinal subject of the Sanctuary service.
- Wrote "Letters to the Churches" in the late fall of 1957. - He died in 1962.