LESSONS FROM THE PAST
MEN WHO HAVE ARISEN
the 1940s, there was a family living up in a mountain range in the
northern part of Queensland, Australia. The father and mother in the
home had been blessed with high caliber intelligence and a studious
devotion to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. In the course of their
earlier research, they had even checked out the German Reform Church
(which calls itself the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement), and,
after discovering its errors, they had returned to the Adventist
Church and a deeper study of God's Word. (For more on the German Reform
Church, see our tract set, The Adventist Reform Church--Part 1-2
(WD-101-102), which is also available in our Offshoots Tractbook.)
they lived in a rural area, several other Adventists came to study the
books with them once each week. Gradually the study group grow larger,
until many families were journeying weekly to their meetings some from
over a hundred miles away. The name of the family was Brinsmead.
the early 1950s, their son, Robert, decided to go to Avondale College.
He had inherited the brilliance of his parents and, upon arrival at our
college in Australia, soon became the center of a student study group. Bob
was filled with information which his parents had researched out, and he
shared these concepts with others. Eventually, he became reader to one of
the leading Bible teachers at the school. ("Reader" means he
graded student papers for that teacher.) One day, that professor tossed a
swath of papers over to Robert, with a remark that caught his attention.
The packet had just arrived in the mail from Takoma Park in America. It
was from the office of Leroy Edwin Froom in the General Conference. That
Australian teacher had been selected as one of those in the world field to
have the privilege of reviewing portions of the forthcoming book,
Questions on Doctrine, before it was published. Young Bob sat down and
read the papers, and found error.
the beginning of our lengthy study on the Martin--Barnhouse Conferences
with our leaders in Washington, D.C., from 1954 to 1956 (Evangelical
Conferences, now in our Doctrinal History Tractbook, the present writer
tells of his own experience at that time. Having completed college, he was
studying next door at the Adventist seminary, and janitoring nightly in
the General Conference building.)
mentioned the problems he found to his mentor, but the teacher shrugged it
off. He agreed it was error, but he had no intention of sending any
negative comments to world headquarters. Keeping his job was more
important than keeping error out of the first official doctrinal book ever
published by our denomination.
in Washington, D.C. the present writer was objecting in Heppenstall's
classes and reading about the progress of the Evangelical Conferences in
Protestant magazines and Ministry magazine. (See the above-mentioned study
for historical details and reprints of magazine articles.)
passed, and at some point along the way, the weekly Brinsmead family
studies came to the attention of the Queensland Conference president. RA.
Grieve. It was time for a repeat of Enemclaw.
called the family in to find out what was going on. He learned that simple
Bible Spirit of Prophecy studies were being given. The family reviewed
them with him. Grieve had several associates with him in the office as the
presentation was given, but all there knew that as conference president,
he was the key man and whatever he decided would be done. None would
dare cross him. That was the way it was at Enemclaw, and the way it always
shall be. The fatal flaw is that, within their jurisdiction, the
conference, union, and (outside North America) the Division presidents
have far too much power. As soon as the top man makes a decision, that is
it. Then all the locksteps fall into place.
Grieve sat there entranced, he was shown a preview of future events, as
delineated in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. When it concluded, he
was deep in thought. You see. RA. Grieve was no ordinary leader; he was
also a thinker. Then he spoke: I see that if you are right, there is a
crisis ahead of the church." Then he dismissed the meeting and walked
was very much right! There IS a crisis ahead of the church! It is the
crisis of the National Sunday Law, which will cause every person in the
world to decide for or against Sundaykeeping. That decree will be given,
we are told, accompanied by a threat of imprisonment and death. That
crisis will begin well before the general close of probation. A crisis?
Yes, an immense crisis for the world and for the church!
leadership folklore in the church would have it that there is no crisis
ahead of the church! Instead, we will just keep getting bigger and more
successful, till Jesus returns in the clouds and takes His people to
Brinsmead family had invented nothing new in this respect. They were
simply explaining to the conference president something clearly stated
in Revelation and the Spirit of Prophecy. The problem regarding this truth
is twofold: (1) Few are studying God's Word as they ought, and are not preparing
for that coming crisis (2) Leadership does not want to be told that the
church will ever face any crisis.
Grieve went home and thought about it. He could not only execute, he could
create. First, he executed. He sent out an order from the office of the
Queensland Conference that the Brinsmead's were heretics and they and
anyone favoring their ideas were to be eliminated from church membership.
Then he created. Grieve invented a theology to substitute for the one he
had heard that day. Just as Ballenger had done at the turn of the
century. Grieve set aside the Spirit of Prophecy, and devised a new theory
for the people.
Grieve's idea was simple enough (error sometimes is): instantaneous
sanctification. That was essentially the error which Merle Rogers fell
into: You don't need to obey; just accept Christ and sin all you want. As
soon as you accept Christ, you are instantly sanctified and ready for
heaven regardless of your ongoing conduct. (Sound familiar? We are
facing it again today.)
immediately began teaching his new idea at worker's meetings. Without a
word of protest, it was just as quickly accepted by the ministerial force
of the Queensland Conference. They took it back to their local churches
and began urging it upon their church members. R.A. Grieve was pleased,
and his workers were pleased. No one had lost his job.
also sent word up the ladder to the Australasian (now called South
Pacific) Division headquarters in Waroonga, that the Brinsmead's were
teaching error and they and all favoring their ideas must be eradicated.
passed the word along to world headquarters in Takoma Park. The wheels of
progress began rolling.
Grieve had been doing such good work crushing out the Brinsmead faction,
he was transferred to one of the two New Zealand conferences. But there
was no word of reproof regarding his new teachings. Apparently, no one
cared. Upon arrival, he immediately began teaching instantaneous
sanctification, and it was promptly accepted and taught by the ministerial
force. All this is enough to make one quiver: how fast men can accept and
champion error when their jobs depend on it. But, along with it, why was
there so little concern in leadership, higher-up in this case, the
division office--over the error he was teaching?
is obvious that the church was ripe for any error which might come
along--as long as it was first presented by a high-placed church worker,
and it appealed to sin in man. Within less than five years. Grieve
resigned from the ministry and became a Protestant minister. Little more
was heard about him. Several years later, Robert Brinsmead learned where
he was living, and called and asked if he could stop by for a brief visit.
It was unforgettable.
evening. RA. Grieve, the man who started the pogrom against the Brinsmead
family, told their son this: "You people were right--if you believe
the Spirit of Prophecy. But I don't, and I didn't then. I decided I could
give the people, a better message, and I did."
came the year 1960. The Brinsmead's combined brilliance of mind, a
knowledge of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, and Australian push.
Young Robert had inherited all that, but had he also inherited the solid
grounding in the Word which his parents had, or did he merely receive an
education in it? Many still wonder about that.
had been traveling in Australia and preaching his parents' message.
Meanwhile, a young man in eastern Oregon heard of him and the two
Hudson had a little printing company in Baker, Oregon. He urged young
Brinsmead (about 26 at the time) to come to America and present his
message. He did just that. It was 1960 and a Catholic was running for
president of the United States. Our people were upset, and wondered what
was coming next.
at the Portland, Oregon, airport, Robert was met by a friend of mine who
drove him to his home. That night, that friend tried to show Bob a key
error in his teaching, but to no avail. Bob Brinsmead was never a man to
back down. He had a bulldog pugnacity, which fascinated people and helped
produce his large following. Humility was not part of it. Shortly
thereafter, Brinsmead arrived at Walla Walla College. Leadership in
America was totally unwarned and unprepared. They did not know be was in
the country. Many people attended the meetings, and listened as he spoke
several nights in a building off campus. By the time leadership awoke,
it was too late. Key Spirit of Prophecy truths had been imparted.
about a crisis: Walla Walla College had one right then.
was determined to stop this, no matter what the cost. As a result, a
number of teachers and their families were kicked out. Many students were
forced to leave. And those who remained entered the abyss.
next school year at Walla Walla was a hades. Every type of frolic, sport,
and sin was entered into. Why not? Rejecting God's Word was the price of
readmission. It was as if those who remained had sinned away the day of
grace. From Walla Walla, Brinsmead headed south. We learned that some
young man was going to preach the next Sabbath afternoon up in the hills
(Placerville or Camino, California; I do not recall which). So we went.
The message was about the sanctuary service. What I heard agreed with the
Spirit of Prophecy. Shortly afterward, Brinsmead held meetings in the
city of the valley I was living near.
holding that series, Brinsmead journeyed up into the hills to a natural
healing health ranch and told a friend of mine that, as soon as this
initial lecture tour of America was completed, he intended to come back,
learn how to give natural remedies himself, and start his own health
that resolution was never again to be uttered. Heading south, Brinsmead
went to Loma Linda, and there met wealthy backers. As long as he stayed
with theology, his future was assured.
there, Bob eliminated the Mentone, California. German Reform Church (the
official name is the Adventist Reform Movement). Their own
denominational leaders had been taken unawares also, and young Brinsmead
had the opportunity to speak with most of the Reform Movement members
in that area at a series of meetings. Because of his parents' experience,
young Brinsmead knew exactly how to pinpoint the German Reform errors, and
reply to them from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. The entire Mentone
church disbanded and rejoined the Adventist Church. (One of the families
which left that church later provided me with the doctrinal information
at the back of my tract set on the German Reform Church (Adventist Reform
Church Part 1-2 (WD101-102.)
would not do that again. Throughout North America, German Reform leaders
held emergency meetings with their followers and told them they must not
attend Brinsmead's meetings, while refusing to say why they should not do
so. The sheep obeyed the shepherds they had chosen. In the main body, our
denominational leaders were doing the same thing. Upon inquiry, they would
say, "Brinsmead teaching contains dangerous error." "What
is it?" "It is so dangerous, I cannot tell you." Brinsmead
teaching did indeed contain error an error which was Quite obvious
and easily shown from the Bible/Spirit of Prophecy to be false. If the
workers knew what it was, they would gladly have revealed it.
present writer later heard the proceedings of the General Conference
hearing of Robert Brinsmead. Officials at that hearing did not grasp his
error either. The problem was that our people just were not studying the
Bible/Spirit of Prophecy as they should have been doing.)
the warning had been given. In the early 1940s, Elder Andreasen, after
researching out errors in the Shepherd's Rod teaching, wrote a letter to
the General Conference president. In it he stated that the problem was
that our people were not studying the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, and
that, if the situation did not change, an error would come along which
would endanger the whole church. (I have seen the letter, but do not have
a copy of it here as I write.) That prediction is being fulfilled in the
new theology, which Desmond Ford brought, first, to Australia, and, then,
to the United States. (For more on that, see our New Theology Tractbook,
Schools Tractbook, and Doctrinal History Tractbook.)
at Loma Linda, Bob picked up a new error from an Adventist physician with
Freudian leanings, an error foreign to the Spirit of Prophecy: the
cleansing of the conscious, followed by a cleansing of the subconscious.
later years, Brinsmead added yet another error: the idea that the European
Common Market was predicted in the book of Revelation.
year, Brinsmead left the ranch (he inherited from his folks) in north
Queensland, Australia, and came back to North America for another
tour--he brought with him new concepts. As did the folk at Athens so long
ago (Acts 17:21), the people continually hungered for something new.
therein lay the problem: Instead of studying God's Word, and going out and
sharing it with others--including the lost out in the world, the people
wanted the excitement of hearing something new for themselves.
Brinsmead's 1964 visit, it was obvious that there had to be a breaking
point eventually. Every year, Brinsmead had to come back with a new
message; surely, eventually such a pattern would lead him off into deep
error. And it did.
before discussing that, it should be noted that there were two kinds of
people interested in what Brinsmead had to offer.
first category, were those who were interested in all the Bible and Spirit
of Prophecy quotations he presented. Wherever he went, friends showered
him with quotations they had found. These he shared in lectures, which
were faithfully typeset by still other friends and printed.
there was also another group. There were those who were fascinated with
the man himself. Whatever Bob Brinsmead said; that was the last word on
the subject. In contrast, the first group respected the man, but their
first loyalty was ever to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy itself
that would make all the difference in the years to come.
1965, I met one of Brinsmead's top financial supporters. He told me he
would do anything Brinsmead told him to do; give any amount of money, go
to any distant country, anything. .
with that type of mentality went with Brinsmead all the way; first, into
his 1970 heresy, and, later, into his 1980 heresy. Those in the other
category remained with the Spirit of Prophecy and grieved as they saw
their friends led away from God's Word.
Robert Brinsmead had error; we have noted some of it (and will mention the
key error shortly). Did he have anything right? Yes, he did. He
forcefully brought to the attention of the church the fact that there
was a message for them in the Sanctuary service, as given in the Bible and
explained in the Spirit of Prophecy. What is that message? The answer to
that is simple enough, and you cannot be deceived when I tell you. It is
this: Read chapters 23. 24, and 28 of the book, Great Controversy, and
there you will find it. With no error included.,"
if you want still more quotations from Inspiration on the subject, order a
copy of our The Sanctuary Message, now included as Part Two of our
Sanctuary Tractbook. The message is presented there as clearly as
possible, yet entirely from inspired quotations.
my friend, of doctrinal discussions with a few quotations and a lot of
man's talk. Error is very likely to be there.
leave the broken cisterns of man's theories and speculations, and go to
the living springs of God's Written Word--the Bible and Spirit of
Prophecy and drink deeply. There was another error, which Brinsmead had
from the very beginning of his ministry: He believed in original sin. This
was the error which a friend tried to lead him out of but without
success while at the airport in Portland, Oregon, in the spring of
of that error, Bob Brinsmead taught it is our present work to "pray
for repentance," and, later, when the judgment passes to the living,
we will receive a cleansing of heart and mind, which will miraculously
remove our sins from us.
is a fascinating idea, but it is incorrect. The truth is that it is NOW,
in the strength of Christ, that we are to put sin from us. That is the
only teaching you will find in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Then,
when the judgment passes to our cases, we will be sealed into the
character already in place and go out and give the loud cry to the
mentioned that Brinsmead always had to come up with something new. By the
late 1960s, he was beginning to flag. Just about everything had been
presented which could be presented, and he dared not discuss natural
remedies, and he did not care to tell the people to go out and work for
the lost souls in the world. That might place their money somewhere
else. So, instead, he kept instructing them to pray for repentance and
keep listening to what he had to say.
the early 1980s, I met a family whom I will not name (many of you know
their name), who had a conceptual study, which was invaluable. They showed
it to Brinsmead in the mid-1960s. He was very willing to take and run with
it, but only on the proviso that they let him have it as HIS. Not granting
that permission, he would have nothing to do with it. That was Brinsmead.
day, one of Brinsmead's primary financial backers stepped into the Porter
Adventist Hospital cafeteria for a quick lunch and spotted a Signs of
the Times magazine on a rack. The feature article was "Is Perfection
Possible?" by Edward Heppenstall, a teacher at our seminary. It
taught that we cannot obey God until the Second Advent. This Colorado
backer immediately conceived the idea of getting Brinsmead to write a
reply to it, call it "Perfection is Possible, " to show that, in
Christ's strength, we can obey God. He and place both articles in parallel
columns in an 8 x 11-inch publication (the cost of which he would
underwrite) and send it all over Adventism.
the project was completed, it was given widespread circulation. Bible
/Spirit of Prophecy statements, interspersed with sound reasoning, was
presented to show that we can obey the law of God, just as Advent
believers and Inspiration has always taught.
not that this was a new concept. Our spiritual forefathers have always
believed, taught, and practiced it: In the strength of Christ we can obey
the law of God. Indeed, if we could not do so, why bother to tell other
people to "keep the Sabbath"? Why tell them that the Ten
Commandments are to be obeyed?
the decade of the 1960s neared its dose, Brinsmead conceived the idea of
touring major cities in North America. Australia and New Zealand, and
holding meetings for Protestant ministers. At these meetings, he would
be able to share deep thoughts. He was getting tantalizingly close to what
Canright dreamed of doing. Brinsmead's backers were only too glad to
subsidize the expensive meetings. Some Protestant ministers attended and
were duly impressed with the man for, by this time, Brinsmead was becoming
ponderous in his vocabulary and weighty in his theological descriptions.
order to deepen the interest and increase the attendance. Brinsmead
would appear on stage with one or two ministers of other denominations in
a forum discussion. Bob was becoming sophisticated and a man of
theological affairs. He was also even more conceited over his mental
powers then before.
he met Geoffrey Paxton.
was the year 1970, and it marked the fall of Brinsmead. He has been a
hollow shell ever since. Because it was then that he turned away from the
Spirit of Prophecy. It came about this way:
was busily making friends with Protestant pastors and leaders in
Australia, so he could hold public forums with them. In Brisbane one day,
he stopped off at a theological school, intending to do some research in
its library. But he also wanted to meet the headmaster, Geoffrey Paxton,
who was influential among the ministers in that city.
was a highly-educated Anglican minister, with as much self-confidence and
assertiveness as Brinsmead. An hour of intended discussion turned into
days, and Paxton gradually converted Brinsmead to Anglicanism!
entire changeover did not occur all at once, but the foundation was laid
that year. Shortly afterward, Brinsmead issued his famous written
statement, which went something like this: "I was wrong and
Heppenstall was right."
had capitulated. No longer did he believe that, prior to the Second Advent
of Christ. temptation could be resisted and sin overcome. Yet that great
truth--which he had now set aside--remained the basis, both of Biblical
Christianity and the Advent Movement: We MUST obey the law of God, and
we CAN do it through the empowering grace of Jesus Christ. Yes, we agree,
all the saving is of Jesus; He does it all--except one thing: our ongoing
cooperative choices to work with Him in doing it. He gives all the desire
and power to obey, but we must determinedly set our face to cooperate. If
we do not, we fall.
Brinsmead set to work to defend his new position. With Paxton's help, he
tried to imaginatively expand on definitions of justification. and he
devised theories to downplay the importance of sanctification. By the time
of his 1971 meeting tour of North America. he was proclaiming that we are
saved solely by justification. Period.
To state the truth again: Although we are totally saved by Jesus. He does it through cooperation with our will and efforts. If we do not, in His strength, do our part, He will not do His. Salvation is a cooperative work, but all the strength and enabling comes from Him. But the power of choice is ours, and at each step, we choose whom we will serve. And that ongoing choice--and the resultant cooperative thoughts, words, and actions--make all the difference between redemption and perdition. No one will be saved in sin, on the basis of profession alone. As Ellen White says it somewhere: "His part is infinitely great, and our part is infinitely small; but without our part, He will not do His part. " That is a deep truth.
[There is a work that every one of us must do if we would be saved in the eternal world. But while we must on our part do what God has given us to do, we must realize that, having done all, we should come far short of salvation, did not the Lord on his part do that which finite, sinful man cannot do for himself. The religious life is wholly dependent upon the blending of both human and divine forces. Man is to work out his own salvation, but he cannot do this without divine aid; and although Christ has paid an infinite price to save the souls of men from everlasting ruin, He will not do that part of the work which was left for man to perform. We are to live by faith. We are not to be controlled by impulse and feeling, but the principles of God's law must govern our lives. While we look to Jesus as the source of all power, we shall not fail to receive help in every time of need, "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." - RH, October 30, 1888 par. 2]
Brinsmead began proclaiming another modern Protestant error: that it is
wrong to try to obey God, because that would be legalism. Instead, we must
not try, but simply wait placidly for Him to do it for us someday when He
decides to. That teaching is also found in books by Helmut Ott and Morris
In reality, it is NOT wrong to try to obey God. If perchance, a person makes some mistakes (tending toward legalism) in the process, if he keeps studying God's Word and pleading with Jesus for help, soon all will be proceeding well. The one seeking to obey God quickly learns that he can only do the right in full dependence upon Christ for help. Taking hold of that strength, he perseveringly does so. He is cooperating with God, and God approves.
also decided to make his monthly journal even more weighty with deep
thoughts, and mail it free to
Protestant ministers. As usual, his backers stepped forward with all the
money he would need for the project. Those who had ever revered Brinsmead
more than his message, steadfastly followed him. Those who appreciated the
Bible/Spirit of Prophecy quotations he printed, had, by 1971, drawn
that which we today call the new theology urged so strongly by Desmond
Ford in Australia and New Zealand since the mid-1960s was making
fabulous headway. This was actually the same apostate Protestant position
which Brinsmead accepted from Paxton. By the late 1970s, it was being
welcomed with open arms by liberal Adventists in America. Desmond Ford
had been a key promoter of these modern Protestant errors.
a history of Ford's activities in Australia, see especially The
Australasian Controversy Part 13 [FF_7]. which is also included in
Doctrinal History Tractbook. For more detailed information on the spread
of the new theology in North America, see our early Waymarks and Firm
Foundation tracts (now in our New Theology Tractbook, Doctrine Tractbook,
Ford has reason to be proud of the fact that he is the only man to arise
with a message--who has been wholeheartedly accepted by a majority of
church members. Why? Because his message appeals to the carnal nature. He
tells his hearers it is all right to sin and still be saved. That is a
message, which is always very much appreciated. We know we are very near
the end of time--for the church, which was supposed to give the final
message to the world, is in the process of repudiating it! Moreover, most
of the smaller groups that remain true, are either not giving the message
to the world or are being led off after one man after another.
are really ready for the end. Few believe we have a hell to shun and a
heaven to win. Few believe that the law of God is really important or
worth keeping in this life. Few believe they need to go out and warn their
neighbors. Few are doing it.
are almost to the Sunday Law Crisis, and soon it will be upon us. And, as
in the days of the apostles, it appears that there will be few to
initially give that final message.
we see not as God sees. He has in reserve His faithful ones, and when
the threat of imprisonment and death are suddenly thrust upon them, the
faithful who remain will arise under the direct command of heaven (TM.
300), and will go out and give the loud cry. (For much, much more on this,
see our series of booklets on final events, entitled The End of Time
Series. It is the most complete Spirit of Prophecy compilation on
the end of the 1970s, so much progress had been made in introducing the
new theology into North America, that it was felt that more rapid advance
moves could now be made in our denomination. Unknown to most of us, a
majority of the Bible teachers in our colleges and universities were, by
that time, solidly new theology. The future was assured, for every year
more ministerial students--indoctrinated in the new view--graduated and
went out to the local churches. It was thought that the hour had come to
take the wraps off the teaching and give it fuller display.
came Ford's lecture. Always very self-assured. Desmond Ford was
determined to lead the way. In October 1979, he gave a powerful Adventist
Forum lecture at Pacific Union College, in which he praised Ballenger and
ridiculed a variety of historic Adventist concepts. When A. L. White,
living in retirement at Deer Park a few miles down the hill (working on
the six-volume E.G. White biography) heard about it, he immediately
notified the General Conference. Ford was put on suspension until the
Glacier View hearing the next summer.
more information on this is available in our New Theology Tractbook, and
Doctrinal History Tractbook. For a specific, detailed analysis of that
October 27, 1979, lecture, see our How Firm Our Foundation-Part 1-8
(FF-8-15), now in our New Theology Tractbook.)
Ford's close friend in the new theology (see Australasian Controversy
for details about that friendship), Robert Brinsmead, published a
special issue of his journal in 1980, in which he repeated the jaded
jargon of the antinomians who hate the law of God and the Bible Sabbath.
He concluded by fully repudiating God's holy Sabbath.
in October 1981, Frank Knittle, the president of Southern College,
delivered his two-part address to the students of the college, in which
he ridiculed the idea that our denomination had any kind of inspired
"blueprint" to guide us, downgraded the Spirit of Prophecy, and
exalted the values of masturbation (Knittle's "Blueprint"
Lecture (WM39), now in our Schools Tractbook). We published major parts
of that lecture, released a tape of it, and Knittle went to La Sierra as
an English teacher.
repudiating the Seventh-day Sabbath, Brinsmead broke his last connection
with many of our people. But that special group, which had always
venerated the man more than God's Word, clung doggedly to him and went all
the way out with him.
of people will be lost because of Robert Brinsmead.
the 1980s, much of his time was spent on his banana and avocado
plantation in the hills of northern Queensland. Yet the money kept
pouring in. His supporters were thrilled that he had delivered them from
obedience to the law of God and the divinely-given Sabbath. They were
anxious to pay him back for their forthcoming destruction.
it is time to end this brief survey of men who have arisen in our church
with a message. (We could actually continue for many pages, for there
are now many men arising with messages.)
before concluding, whatever happened to those men after that?
the earlier-mentioned ones are now dead. Desmond Ford, after separating
from the denomination in 1980, was determined to take his message to the
world via books, magazines, and radio broadcasts. He aroused his
followers to a white heat, and set to work.
it all fizzled. Ford's message--that it is not necessary to keep the
law of God--is exactly what they already believe. Few in the other
churches were impressed with the man. He offered a special thrill to our
people: freedom from obedience. But the other churches already had it, and
they surely did not need to hear Ford tell it to them again.
in important positions in our denomination who opposed the new theology
in the early 1980s were all sent overseas or retired. Since then, no
denominationally-salaried worker dares openly oppose it. As for the few
Fordite workers who became too obnoxious in their defense of Ford, they
have been quietly sent off to high-paying jobs in Adventist Health
what about Brinsmead? Whatever happened to Robert Brinsmead after he
rejected the Bible Sabbath in the spring of 1980?
friend from Australia stopped by to visit us recently. I asked him if he
knew what Robert Brinsmead was doing today. He told me he took the
trouble to find out.
the year 1989, he drove up to Brinsmead's ranch in north Queensland (which
is well over a hundred acres in size)and discovered it was a gigantic
fruit and nut farm, intermingled with a large theme park, complete with a
small railroad engine and cars. Brinsmead had built himself a Disney
World! Where did he get the money to do it? Thousands of people come
yearly to enjoy the fun on the rides and other amusements. With many
employees and hundreds of revelers our friend hardly knew what to do.
Finally he managed to find his way to the main office, and there inquired
if he could speak to Robert Brinsmead, the owner of this expensive
name was taken and he was seated. Eventually, a man in his mid-fifties
walked in (Brinsmead was born about the year 1934). The two spoke together
for about half an hour. Our friend unabashedly declared himself to believe
in the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and historic Adventism. Brinsmead
told him Adventism was an idle tale and he told him why: Brinsmead said
that people should hold no beliefs that separate them from other people.
He said the Sabbath does this, and so does other Adventist beliefs. He
concluded that all such beliefs should be abandoned. (But, according to
that, we should all smoke, drink, and engage in free love, for then we
will not, be separated from most anyone. It is morality which separates.)
asked why he was running an amusement palace for Australians and overseas
tourists, he said that making people happy was God's will for mankind, and
he was doing that. Then he excused himself and hurriedly left. It was impressed
on our friend's mind that Brinsmead appeared to be a man filled with
Brinsmead was blessed with a powerful mind and keen analytical powers. Yet
when he switched to false premises, all his conclusions built on the
new, erroneous foundation were erroneous. When a man accepts false
premises, he can no longer think right. Even a child, with only part of
the mental powers of an adult, can know the truth, make right choices, and
be saved--if he will base those decisions on the Word of God and relying
on Jesus as a little child, he will be true to them.
where do we stand today? When will we learn our lesson? Are the Advent
people condemned to forever wander off after weak, erring men who want
their own way? There is so little time left. We no longer have time for
mistakes. We are too near the end for that.
appeal to you, my friend: Trust only the Word of God, and you will be safe
in the crisis ahead. Put your trust in man, and your future will be more
shadowed. The problem is that there have been few men in the past who have
arisen to defend the Word of God in humility of spirit. Most have
desired to gain a following. But such men will do whatever is necessary
to keep that following--compromise and error results. The humble and meek
are the ones closest to Jesus. But they will also be the ones to defend
God's truth in a time of crisis, when so many about them are compromising.
And that is the situation in the world today. "Many have tried
neutrality in a crisis, but they have failed in their purpose." We
cannot be half-way on either side in the final controversy over God's
special truths. To be "half and half, whatever may be their
intentions," will ultimately find them "enlisted on the enemy's
side." (TD. 240). Remain true to God, dear friend!