Pacific Press® publishes “Character of God Controversy”

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For those interested in the conversation about the Good News Tour, Desmond Ford, and questions on the character of God, a new from book Pacific Press Publishing entitled "The Character of God Controversy" adds an interesting twist. According to a media release the book, co-authored by Steve Wohlberg and Dr. Chris Lewis, comes “in response to a growing controversy within the Church over the character of God.”

The controversy, Pacific Press says, is that Adventists are increasingly open to the notion that God does not kill. Quoting again from the press release, “The Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference has long expressed concerns about this theory, but no mainstream Adventist author has publicly addressed these issues until now.”

Steve Wohlberg is apparently the “mainstream” author needed to address the controversial character-of-God issue for the Church. Wohlberg, the speaker / director for White Horse Media (whose website prominently features an image of a sword-toting Jesus and an exploding atom bomb), previously wrote Hour of the Witch: Harry Potter, Wicca Witchcraft, and the Bible, in which he attempted to link the popular children’s books to the occult.

The connection between the Potter books and Wicca has been widely rejected by both Christians and Wiccans. As a tangential aside, I had the opportunity to spend an evening at the home of LLU professor of religion, Julius Nam, conversing with the leader of a Wiccan coven in Southern California. When asked about the link between Wicca and Harry Potter, the self-described witch responded that no Wiccan she knew of considered Harry Potter even remotely Wiccan. I wonder whether Wohlberg interviewed any Wiccans before writing his book.

Like countless popular Adventist evangelists and speakers, Steve Wohlberg was raised outside the Adventist church, experienced a period of "wild living", and a subsequent conversion to the Adventist Church.

Dr. Chris Lewis is a surgeon who practices medicine at Loma Linda University. Along with his wife, Dr. Lewis founded Right Arm of Love ministry. The husband and wife team co-hosts the television show Practical Living on the Loma Linda Broadcasting Network.

"The Character of God Controversy" seems to be a frontal attack on the idea that God cannot resort to violent destruction of humanity, arguing instead that God’s wrath, a central concept in the book, is an active wrath against evil, not a passive, withdrawn wrath. Still, the book seeks to present a picture of a loving and just God.

That neither Steve Wohlberg, a TV and radio evangelist, nor Chris Lewis, a surgeon, is employed as a church theologian is noteworthy given the way that this book is being billed as an official Adventist response to a very weighty theological topic. While the task of reading and interpreting scripture is a task in which every Seventh-day Adventist should participate, the Seventh-day Adventist church expends vast resources in providing Adventist theologians the most academically rigorous training possible. Such academic rigor should certainly be a characteristic of every major contribution to the key theological issues of our time.

Watch for a full review of Wohlberg and Lewis’s The Character of God Controversy here on Spectrum, coming soon!

Comments

Which proves that most anyone can write a book and get it published, especially by an SDA publishing house (unless it is found by the powers-that-be to be in egregious error).

In conversations with Ryan Bell about publishing a book on evangelism, I found that not everyone can get published. Evidentally several book proposals that were not "mainstream" enough got killed in committee somewhere.

See there's that labeling bit again.

Jared,

I dont know if you have thought about it before but the Pacific Press gets many requests to publish books from different people hoping to get their perspectives in print. They have far more requests that they have capacity even if they wanted to publish many of them.
If you were ( may be you are, I dont know) a SS superintendant you would be familiar with the often 6 month lead times for printing even SS materials.

I guess my main point is that particular operation has other issues with productivity aside of some committee somewhere screening "worthy" manuscripts.

It'd be interesting to see someone compare Wolberg/Lewis' treatise with Ty Gibson's See With New Eyes: The True Beauty of God's Character (2000, Pacific Press). I read the latter in 2007 and recall it leaning towards the passive-consequential end of the spectrum. (Sorry I can't do a quick summary myself because I loaned it out shortly afterwards and don't expect it to be returned.) I also recall a Mike Tucker series not too long afterwards in which Tucker also proposed a consequential stance to God's ending sin.

So a couple quick thoughts:

1. There are indeed more factors involved in publishing than "worthiness," factors like reviewers' backlogs and the time for print-production. But for a comparatively small house like PP and the other regional Adventist houses, substantial worthiness is a huge factor. Surely all Adventist publishers have the cautionary tale about Kellogg and his sanitarium summarized somewhere in their cubicles. There's far too much at stake for an Adventist house to publish scripts that the organization cannot doctrinally stand behind -- and it would be unprecedented for such a thing to occur. I can't imagine anything making it to the local ABC without having been vetted and unofficially authorized first. There are too many historical incidents for that to happen without somebody losing their corner office.

2. Experience with CQ suggests that lead-in time for SS Lessons is now closer to 18mths, and that may be even longer for the general Adult series. Committees have to factor in writing time (perhaps with international contributors), editing time, reviewing time, committee time, publishing time, translation time, and distribution time. Busy system. But content always prevails.

3. That said, it is possible that, as far as "God's character" goes, the committees have not decided where on the spectrum they'd like to sit until now. I strongly doubt that the Wolberg/Lewis book will even reference Gibson's book, though it was only published 8 years ago. Adventist writers, in SS Lessons and in published books, have a bad habit of not connecting their new conclusions with previous internal works on their subject. The effect of that habit is the assumption that what is now presented was always the authorized position -- not the "popularly held" position, mind you... just the authorized position. The nature-of-Christ books over the last 20-25 years are a prime example of this. And I suspect (prejudgment alert!) that the Wolberg/Lewis book will follow that pattern also...

I hope that the book will at least be aware that there is the "first death" and the "second death" that should be analysed. I am not aware of anyone who believes that God did not kill the firstborn of Egypt or did not send the flood killing masses of people or did not send fire to consume untold people in Sodom. So I assume the controversy that must be gaining attention is whether God kills beings resulting in the "second death". In a significant sense this depends on whether one understands that "The wages of sin is death", meaning that sin brings with it the result of self-extinction. Or that sin does not of itself produce death so God must interject his own active power to cause permanent death "proactively". In Genesis did God mean "If you eat the fruit I will kill you?" Or, "If you eat the fruit you will die because you will be cutting yourself off from life?"
For those who understand that someone's soul is immortal (most of the Christian Church I suppose), it totally makes sense to me that God would have to interject an "external" punishment in order to interrupt the immortality. For many of that persuasion, however, the result is not literally non-existence, but an eternally and literally burning Hell where people are consciously in torment as a result of God's punishment.
For those, like SDAs, that do not believe in the immortality of the soul there is more of a possibility for another view besides God's active punishment resulting in the second death.
If the Wohlberg book only discusses this topic concerning the First Death it will not be very important, nor particularly controversial. If he addresses the Second Death, and if that is controversial, then it will be worthwhile to see how it is resolved.

This is interesting, it is like a bunch of blind people talking about another group of blind people and discussing what they saw. Basically all we have here is history. Which means from a Progressive Adventist viewpoint Wohlberg has a beginning position of being a traditional Adventist. Which means he holds to the traditional and fundamentalist whereby if it says so in the Bible it most likely literally happened. In which case God did a whole lot of killing and in the case of the Flood a whole lot of overkilling. More liberal theologians would not hold to such concepts as a worldwide flood, scientifically viable nor really all that sensible as a way for God to interact with His creation even if they were behaving very badly.

So the Book I would expect will spend a good deal of time on the literal and assumed historical biblical narratives. God clearly kills in those. I would suspect there will be something about the ungodly "higher criticism" so that the truly faithful must accept God who gets mad and kills even when there would be alternatives which logically would be better.

Since the book is written from the traditional Adventist view point it will no doubt also deal with Ellen White and our eschatology. Ellen White can probably even supply examples where God killed which the Bible does not even have. And of course we have the unfortunate habit of assuming our eschatology is not simply predictive interpretation but literal and simply the way it will be. So if you assume that what the Adventist tradition says about the future is what will happen then again God must kill because that is the way we have laid out the future.

It becomes simple to see why such a book would be published by our Adventist publishing house. It asserts that what we have believed we still believe and that might be an important thing to publish because in so many ways such as the Investigative Judgment what we have believed we no longer believe. I posted on my blog an abbreviated section from Desmond Ford's recently posted online book demonstrating some of those changes. http://cafesda.blogspot.com

What I find interesting also is that if we are correct and everyone good and evil are resurrected they are resurrected to life as a supernatural act. So if you have wicked people raised to life again through a supernatural act of God would it not also take a supernatural act of God to end the previous supernatural act? So anyway you look at it if the life is caused by God then the cessation of that life is equally caused by God. I would not expect the above book to delve into the alternative views or the different ways of looking at things. Those books don't get published by Adventist publishers.

Just plain Universalism. Tom

Michael,
You're right in saying that there are other reasons for passing over a book than the fact that the publishers didn't consider it "unworthy". However in the case of the book I refer to, my understanding was that several committees rejected it on the basis of their feeling that the book either wouldn't sell to the Adventist masses, or that it was not quite in line with "mainstream" Adventist thinking.

KM,
One thing that I feel a bit bothered by is that books being billed as official church positions on issues oftentimes represent an issue in a very one-sided way. They often appear to make very complex and involved issues into clear-cut, thus-saith-the-Lord cases for whatever position they (vetting committees etc.) espouse. Reality is never that homogenous, and we do theology a huge disservice when we make reality black and white, cut and dry.

Ken,
I would suspect (without having read the book) that "The Character of God Controversy" will address instances in Scripture in which God killed (what you describe as the first death), as well as the final act of removing evil (which you might refer to as the second death). I would guess that both would help the authors advance their argument that God has killed before, and God will kill again, and that this is perfectly in line with God's justice and love.

This is the impression I get from reading the descriptions of the book I've seen at Pacific Press's website and the ABC website.

You may be surprised to know that there are plenty of scholars who do not agree that God killed in the Old Testament. An alternate view is that Hebrews attributed everything to God, both good and evil. So when violent occurences wiped out large chunks of people, the Hebrews attributed to God what God did not in fact actively cause, because to the Hebrews, every unexplainable act derived from God. Supernatural was the default explanation for the inexplicable. Be aware that this view is out there, even among Adventists.

RC,
Did you happen to read this?
The point that if God supernaturally raises the "wicked to life" in the resurrection, then God must also supernaturally "take them out" is one that Adventists have used frequently. What it overlooks is the (also) Adventist idea that humanity is mortal. Without God's sustaining intervention, humanity cannot live indefinitely. Those who contend that God does not actively, violently kill still believe that the wicked die, but that it is a result of separation from the life-giver, not an act of violent punishment on God's part.

Tom,
I don't know of too many on either side of the debate, whether those who believe that God will forcibly kill the wicked OR those who believe that God allows them to reap the consequences of their sins, that would agree that their positions amount to universalism.

In the end, most people believe that the wicked will die (as far as I can tell). The question is about whether God directly, forcibly and violently kills them (active) or whether God "turns them over" to the natural consequences of sin (passive).

There are those rare souls in Adventism who subscribe to Universalism, but they tend to be disengaged from this conversation.

Did you see Steve Wohlberg's website? Yikes--the graphics alone make me think "fringe" and definitely not "mainstream." It's no wonder I stopped reading PP books--they just don't look professional and/or get credible writers.
http://www.whitehorsemedia.com/

Is there someone who would be willing to share with us poor, ignorant souls how anyone has been able to determine God's character?

Pope warned us many years ago: "Presume not God to scan...." but we have continued to dissect, analyze and presume all sorts of descriptions of what we have never seen, touched, heard, or otherwise have any method of knowing.

How is knowledge of God obtained? How can anyone be certain it is not merely subjective desires or wishes and that anything said cannot possibly be validated? When someone speaks, knowingly, of God's character, by what method can he scrutinize and possibly verify?

Why can't we honestly admit we know absolutely nothing about a god other than what we have chosen to believe, much of it based on assumptions made by those who lived thousands of years ago? By what definition can their assumptions be trustworthy today? What other ancient stories do we hold with such absolute certainty as being unquestioned? Historians have studied hundreds of ancient texts in an effort to understand the perceptions of those people who lived then, but of all those, which ones are evaluated as being 100% truthful and which ones are simply myths that were commonly believed by a group of people long ago?

As far back in history as one can go, most people have adopted gods and credited or blamed them for the blessings or disasters that occurred. What makes the god the Hebrews eventually chose also our choice today? Monotheism was not firmly established until around 600 B.C. and prior to that time, there were multiple gods in the Hebrew nation that were regularly worshiped. Did they have an inner source or more developed cognition to be able to equate their god with the qualities Christians later began to accept? Why believe that the Hebrews were the only ones to own the one true god and reject all the others? Do we believe that today we can understand that god much better than they? What evidence do we have to qualify that today we can understand and explain God's character? Are we not limited entirely to what other humans, just like us, believed and wrote?

There are those rare souls in Adventism who subscribe to Universalism, but they tend to be disengaged from this conversation.

Posted by: Jared Wright | 31 August 2008 at 10:12

*******
I converse with a few such rare souls, and find them tremendously passionate about this -- and sometimes just as uncertain of how to participate in discussions with vocal annihilationists without being run off with pitchforks. All it seems to take these days is the "u-word," which in turn is often swiftly followed by the "h-word" ("heretic," that is, not "heterodox"). :)
I think our Adventist community misses a lot by not receiving these voices. And as someone once said "Where there are gaps, stereotypes rush in." At minimum we see this in the common failure distinguish between several distinct universalisms (eg. universal-ism, universal forgiveness, universal salvation, and universal reconciliation) -- none of which imply the same things about God, Christ, salvation, the afterlife, or man's responsibilities in the here-and-now, and none of which challenge eternal-torment or annihilationism in the same way.

I am familiar with a number of people who can only accept the idea of God as Universalists; anything else they find repulsive and demeaning to a God of love but also a God of unmitigated cruelty.

There seems to be no way out of this contradictory nature if acceptance of the traditional Christian message is to survive. How can it possibly be called "Good News"?

Man is clay until God breathes. If man rejects, denies, or auses God God turns away--breath leaves man and he becomes clay. Read Isa 33: 14-15. It is the Righteous not the wicked that dwell with everlasting fire! For my personal satisfaction,I reference the story in Daniel and the three worthies. The men who threw them in the furnace were immediately consumed. I see no everlasting burning except at the throne of God. Tom

Yes Jared I did read the article about labels. Even commented on it. You are entirely wrong. Labels are word pictures used to indicate more complex information. Fundamentalism in Chrsitianity has a very specific meaning which they apply to themselves, defined by their positions. The same is true of Adventists who call themselves traditional. I for one will continue to use language as it is with all those labels included.

As for the idea that Adventist use the supernatural life idea therefor God must take them out, that is actually rarely thought of in Adventists. Yes they are raised to life but we ignore that there is nothing natural about that life, it is nothing like this life. Even if we assume that the idea of life review per person is true, which many Adventist assume. Let us say 2 seconds per person we are talking about people standing around with no food or water or place to sleep for 5000 years. Probably a good dexcription of Hell but not one of any kind of natural life. So a supernatural life calls for a supernatural demise, how ever it happens it would fall into the category of being an act of God causing life to cease. Even if God when He gave the life only gave it for a specific period of time.

Comment on the resurrection of the wicked: Why bother to resurrect the wicked at all? After all, the wicked dead are, well, dead and not hurting anyone. They've lived, and they've died. One would think that it would be over. natural consequences of living, so to speak. Why on Earth bring them back? I think Nietzsche is right to quote Tertullian in "On the Genealogy of Morality":

"However there are other spectacles—that last eternal day of judgment, ignored by nations, derided by them, when the accumulation of the years and all the many things which they produced will be burned in a single fire. What a broad spectacle then appears! How I will be lost in admiration! How I will laugh! How I will rejoice! I`ll be full of exaltation then as I see so many great kings who by public report were accepted into heaven groaning in the deepest darkness with Jove himself and alongside those very men who testified on their behalf! They will include governors of provinces who persecuted the name of our lord burning in flames more fierce that those with which they proudly raged against the Christians!. . . Then it will be easier to hear the tragic actors, because their voice will be more resonant in their own calamity (better voices since they will be screaming in greater terror). The actors will then be easier to recognize, for the fire will make them much more agile. Then the charioteer will be on show, all red in a wheel of fire, and the athletes will visible, thrown, not in the gymnasium, but in the fire, unless I have no wish to look at their bodies then, so that I can more readily cast an insatiable gaze on those who raged against our Lord. . .Besides, what sorts of things has the eye not seen or the ear not heard and what sorts of things have not arisen in the human heart (1. Cor. 2, 9)? I believe these are more pleasing than the race track and the circus and both enclosures (first and fourth tier of seats or, according to others, the comic and tragic stages). Through faith: that`s how it`s written."

So, we make god to be every bit as petty as we are. And not just the dear Early Fathers, but the gospel writers also have Jesus saying that his enemies will experience their humiliation at his return. Really sounds like "Nanananana!!!" Vengeance is not limited to the OT.

We have the Cross to tell us the Character of God. Why the guessing game about the end times and God's dealing with recalcitrants? We were sent to tell the Good News--not speculate on bad suppositions. We are so used to scaring people in the Church. We have forgotten the praise we owe the Godhead for the Covenant of Redemption. Tom

Elaine wrote: Is there someone who would be willing to share with us poor, ignorant souls how anyone has been able to determine God's character?
Although the cross is of course central to God's revelation of his character to man and to the universe, the whole bible is a record of God's dealing with mankind in many and various circumstances. As any good story teller knows, the best way to reveal character is to see the character in conflict. God is revealed in a lot of conflict. And of course the ultimate revelation of the character of God is the LIFE of Jesus who said near his death "If you have seen me you have seen the Father."

Of course to accept that revelation it is necessary to accept that the bible is more than just ancient literature and has something to tell us about God's dealing with humanity. But that's another discussion.

Mark

In the current political battles, it is disgusting to see each side trying to "spin" things by painting their opponent with things they don't really believe or with only part of their opponent's position.

I will be interested in whether this book on the character of God differentiates between people who don't think that God has to do anything to the wicked at the end for them to die, vs people who ALSO think that God never killed anyone. (And yes, there ARE lots of such people, many of whom are friends.) It would be very unfair, perhaps even deceptive, to claim that those who think that God doesn't have to add anything to the end of sin an sinners also claim that God has never had to take emergency actions in the biblical account. It is clear to me at least that he has had to do so - even if I accept that a great many of the places where he is described as doing such things is simply the Hebrews ascribing everything that happened to God. This is a nasty fight on this planet, and I think that God has had to get his hands dirty in order to preserve any chance for his children to "choose again."

Mark

Here is where things become muddled. Can Scipture be a revelation of God, be true, and yet at the same time be factually inaccurate in many points (by modern standards, not ancient standards). I think that many biblical scholars would say, "yes, it can be all of the above."

As for a God that needs to get his hands dirty at times, to take emergency actions, I begin to feel uncomfortable if what is meant by "dirty hands" and "emergency actions" is God's violence against humanity.

Here is why I feel uncomfortable. If we believe that violince is evil (do you see where I'm going?) and God commits acts of violence as a last resort for the sake of God's love, what we're really talking about is a utilitarian God who employs morally reprehensible methods to accomplish good ends. Perhaps I oversimplify. It is in those terms that I understand God's killing of so-called evil doers in Scripture.

It is an unsatisfactory picture of God and God's actions. I am open to the possibility of framing it differently, I just have not seen how to do it.

Maybe the Good News Tour can help me out this weekend.

Jared: you wrote, above: '... what we're really talking about is a utilitarian God ...'.

I would not use the U word here. As I understand the definition of utilitarianism it must be a consequentialist philosophy and hence would (by my understanding anyway) be inconsistent with omniscience.

I would prefer a phrase like 'a pragmatic God', where I don't see pragmatism as a synonym for utilitarianism. FWIW I have been greatly helped in my understand of these messy issues by the book 'Through the Moral Maze' by Dr. Robert Kane, a philosopher a U Texas, Austin. In the book Kane talks about the concept of a moral sphere. Inside of it one can act in ways aligned with Kant's Categorical Imperative. But many of this world's events are outside the sphere. Then responsive moral action is harder - and also harder for a bystander to understand.

Mark, your question has, at least partially, been answered by Jared:

" Can Scipture be a revelation of God, be true, and yet at the same time be factually inaccurate in many points (by modern standards, not ancient standards). I think that many biblical scholars would say, "yes, it can be all of the above."

Now, if one agrees with his statement, it allows the reader to be much more perceptive, even questioning, than that of the literal reader who accepts everything written therein as factual, based on our standards of today.

But, if one chooses to adopt the view that all ancient literature (nearly two millennia ago, at least), was not held to our standards of literal, accurate, historical biography or narrative, he will read the Bible in a very different way.

So, one's viewpoint will depend on which of the two interpretations above, that he relies upon.
However, with either one, there will be more problems than can adequately be answered:

1. Adopting the literal and factual truth of the Bible, how does one handle the many contradictions when describing the same events?
How does one answer the question of where did Jesus' parents go immediately after his birth? To Nazareth or to Egypt? Did Herod order all the firstborn killed when no secular historian ever mentions such a draconian measure that would surely not escape other historical writers?

2. If one adopts the idea that all ancient literature was never designed to be accurate and factual, but was written to express ideas, concepts, beliefs that were common during their lives, but perhaps questionable today, inevitably questions will be raised. Did Jesus spend 40 days on earth after his resurrection or was he taken upward immediately afterward? Was he an apparition that could appear and disappear at will, or walk through walls or locked doors? Because ancients honestly believed in demons and stationary shining stars (over Bethlehem) were those displays described (the curtain torn in the temple, and earthquake at Jesus' death) told to bring great emphasis to an event that could not be explained by ordinary reasons?

Those are only a few questions regarding the proper reading of any ancient writings. We do use such criteria when reading all other ancient writings of gods, miraculous conceptions and births, but because we call it the "Word of God" it is never to be questioned or examined under such a microscope. Why not?

"Of course to accept that revelation it is necessary to accept that the bible is more than just ancient literature "

I thoroughly disagree. It is most germane; in fact, absolutely essential if one is to plead a case for God's character to ask: what are your sources? Otherwise, what one individual believes is no more or less irrelevant than what another believes.

When I read any nonfiction book, I always go to the back for both bibliography and mark the endnotes and constantly refer to them with any comments made by the author to determine: What are your sources?

While this was not necessary for ancient writings, evidence demonstrates that many curious and improbable events were told, some most preposterous.

Realizing that was a common form with writers only a few hundred years in the past (and the usual for older writings), why should we not question the accuracy or faithfulness of accounts written simply because they have been bound into a book called the Bible; a book which was not accorded full and complete compilation and status until approximately the 2nd century A.D.? (Although the Septuagint (ca. 200-300 B.C. was the source for NT quotations.) And for the NT, it was not officially adopted and many more writers were eliminated than retained, until the third or fourth century A.D.

What other ancient books ca the same time are you willing to read at face value and accept everything written therein, no questions asked?
If so, I can refer you to a host of writers contemporary with the Hebrew Bible for your perusal. Homer? Herodotus? Even Josephus? Eusebius? Each took great liberties with facts.

Greetings to all,

I just discovered this thread and now know that you are discussing my book, "The Character of God Controversy." Well, I am happy for this and hope that people actually read it to learn my true position.

Hopefully, you will deem the book to be "Fair and balanced" (borrowing from Fox News).

Sincerely,

Steve Wohlberg
Author, The Character of God Controversy
www.whitehorsemedia.com

Steve, I appreciate the comment, and I hope to have a copy of the book soon to get a better idea of where you are coming from. I hope that it will be more fair and balanced than Fox News...

Looking forward to continuing the conversation on this very important and timely topic. Thanks again!

-Jared

Hello Jared,

I'm looking forward to talking with you too. I welcome all interviews. Our COG book isn't an attack on any person, and no names are mentioned. Plus it has lots of heart-warming information about God's love - including a few stories about my own kids. My son Seth just turned four, and little Abigail (Abby) is 8 months. Being a dad is great!

I hope we can talk soon.

Warm regards,

Steve Wohlberg

That neither Steve Wohlberg, a TV and radio evangelist, nor Chris Lewis, a surgeon, is employed as a church theologian is noteworthy given the way that this book is being billed as an official Adventist response to a very weighty theological topic. While the task of reading and interpreting scripture is a task in which every Seventh-day Adventist should participate, the Seventh-day Adventist church expends vast resources in providing Adventist theologians the most academically rigorous training possible. Such academic rigor should certainly be a characteristic of every major contribution to the key theological issues of our time.

"The Character of God Controversy" is too trivial a debate for any true Biblical scholar to unravel. The most effective response only requires a basic understanding of Second Century Gnosticism, Medieval Moral Influence Theory, The New Age interpretation of the Cross, Adventism's recent indebtedness to the pantheism of John Harvey Kellogg and a Bible.

Jared

How to you assess COG with Universalism? Tom

Schube
If you're arguing that the SDA church shouldn't outsource theological analysis to people who lack the skills to do so, I agree. Unfortunately, trained theologians within the SDA church for a generation have stayed away from the burning issues of the day to avoid the fate of Desmond Ford. The reason the church has ended up with demagogues and amateurs doing its heavy theological lifting is a direct result of this being a culture that puts orthodoxy (i.e. tradition) above Scripture.

As far as Kellogg is concerned, it's unfair to label him a pantheist. He was not. The only reason he is still called one, is that EGW leveled that charge against him. Kellogg vehemently denied the libel. The church responded by saying that his unwillingness to confess, in the face of EGW's charge, proved that he didn't believe in the SOP, and that was the official reason given by the Battle Creek chuch, when he was excommunicated in 1907.

Kellogg seized upon statements by EGW (e.g. in the book Education) that nature was not a self-contained system that automatically produced its effects. Apple trees produced apples because the power of God, pulsating through nature, induced it to produce apples. Kellogg carelessly stated that in that sense you could say that God was in the tree. What we call natural law, Kellogg argued, was God's immanence in nature, his power that suffused everything he had created.

Pantheism was simply a convenient excuse to get rid of an excentric power player in the church, who knew way too much about EGW to be intimidated by her supposed infallibility.

Kellogg was a pantheist in the same way that Obama is a Muslim.

Another distortion, widely believed and promoted by the SDA church. History is told by the victors.

Elaine,

I believe that Kellogg promoted “scientific theories which are akin to pantheism” but not because Ellen G. White said so. I have an intimate understanding of what Kellogg taught. It's true that Kellogg vehemently denied the charge. So what? The court system is full of accused criminals that refuse to acknowledge their guilt. It's certainly possible that an accused person is guilty once in a while. Graham Maxwell denies that his theory is just a mixture of Second Century Gnosticism, the medieval moral influence theory, the New Age interpretation of the cross and Kellogg's denial that God executes judgment. However, all these charges are easy to prove. For example, John Harvey Kellogg wrote: "The idea that God inflicts pain, or that pain is in any sense an arbitrary or retributive punishment, is a notion altogether foreign to a proper conception of God." – The Living Temple, p. 441. Maxwell teaches that "the death that results from sin is not an imposed penalty."

Kellogg was a pantheist in the same way that Obama is a Muslim.

No Aage. Kellogg was a pantheist in the exact same way that Maxwell is a pantheist. According to them, the true God that we must fear is Natural Consequence.

Unfortunately, trained theologians within the SDA church for a generation have stayed away from the burning issues of the day to avoid the fate of Desmond Ford.

I love the way that Dietrich Bonhoeffer argues against their self-serving sentiment with a great quote from Luther.

" 'How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!' (Ps 133:1). ...
The Christian cannot simply take for granted the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. In the end all his disciples abandoned him. On the cross he was all alone, surrounded by criminals and the jeering crowds. He had come for the express purpose of bringing peace to the enemies of God. So Christians, too, belong not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the midst of enemies. There they find their mission, their work. 'To rule is to be in the midst of your enemies. And whoever will not suffer this does not want to be part of the rule of Christ; such a person wants to be among friends and sit among the roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the religious people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who would ever have been saved?' " Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 5, pages 27-28.

So, I have a question. Can God be less moral - less forgiving than what he asks of us? Must we forgive 70x7 which equals infinite, but God will reach a point where he can't take it any more and will, as he did in Noah's day, kill the lot? What will get God to the point where he will say to the 80 year-old; and the 50 year-old; and the 20 year-old; and the 10 year-old; and the infant; or the embryonic baby still in the womb, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR SIN and bring the flood of destruction upon them equally? I fear we anthropomorhize God too much. He is not, after all, this super guy perpetually sitting on some throne scrutinizing the universe until he's fed up with it all because he hasn't been given enough attention. I can say, along with J.B. Philips, MY GOD IS BIGGER THAN THAT.

--
No Aage. Kellogg was a pantheist in the exact same way that Maxwell is a pantheist. According to them, the true God that we must fear is Natural Consequence.
Posted by: Shubee (not verified) | 20 November 2008 at 7:03
--

Right Kellogg was not a pantheist nor is Maxwell. Of course neither of them said that natural consequences are God. But no doubt that is what Eugene thinks, though just as the analogy used in the comparison of Kellogg and Maxwell he has to begin with a faulty assumption to arrive at his even more faulty conclusion most of his thinking is of the faulty assumption category. Go ahead and give them your website Eugene. It is good for a laugh.

So Aage, Shubee, rc and others... how to we get Adventist theologians to engage? Do we offer them immunity or absolution?
or both?

Repeatedly on this venue questions have arisen that need to be seriously dealt with above and beyond the lay level. Do we not have scholars who are willing to take up these issues - do they not see them as important - or is fear really the motivating factor?

"Go ahead and give them your website Eugene. It is good for a laugh."

Hey Ron...

I'm not even part of this conversation, but I couldn't help but notice this remark. Last week, you asked Tom to give you specific examples of where he felt you were belittling him.

Well, this particular remark may not be directed at Tom, but here is such an example. It would be far better to stick to the issues, and leave your own personal disdain for someone's views as just that...personal and private.

Thanks...

Frank

So Frank it is okay for Shubee (eugene) to call Graham Maxwell a Pantheists, to say that Maxwell's true God is natural consequences but my pointing out Eugenes faulty logic is just too belittling.

I Know of Eugene's work apparently you don't so go ahead and read his insipid article The "Spiritualistic Philosophy of A. Graham Maxwell" http://www.everythingimportant.org/seventhdayAdventists/spiritualism.htm
In which he takes a few quotes from "a course in Miracles" and attributes similar statements by Maxwell to demon spiritualism. Rather like saying do unto others from the Bible is spiritualism because other religions also say do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Then be sure to read his other garbage:
http://www.everythingimportant.org/seventhdayAdventists/

You might like these also:
--

Eugene Shubert's Repartee with Pharisees
Wicked and Adulterous SDAs ask for a Sign
Reporting a Church Disturbance
Revival Thwarted at RevivalSermons.org
Seventh-day Adventism is Like First Century Judaism p. 1
Seventh-day Adventism is Like First Century Judaism p. 2
Seventh-day Adventism is Like First Century Judaism p. 3

--

I think that reporting a church disturbance has to do with a lawsuit of some sort he is working on because he was kicked out of a church, but I don't know for sure not having the stomach to read too much of his tripe. Oops that might be too belittling eh.

[yes Ron, using words like 'insipid', 'garbage', 'tripe' is over the line. I will leave your post up so this addition can be read. If Eugene's comments & articles are of the quality you infer then make your case on the evidence and stop the pejorative words. If not your posts will be deleted. You can make your points in a more civil manner than this. - website editor]

Hard to know when something said here is tongue in cheek or totally serious. I tend to take most with a grain of salt. Open forums of this nature seem to draw all kinds. I really thought Shubee was joking...

And surely the everythingimportant site is a joke - right?

Sadly it is not a joke. But you better be careful calling it a joke may get you deleted.

A question to author Steve Wohlberg, if I may.
Steve, what do you understand about the standing before God of your little Abby?

You may ask questions, Wohlberg may not reply. He has been disengaged from this conversation, though it would be nice to have his input on some of our conversations here!

Donna
Your question is important: "... how to we get Adventist theologians to engage? Do we offer them immunity or absolution?
or both?"

As long as salvation is seen as function of theological perfection, it won't happen. The reason why the SDA church is authoritarian is that it takes tremendous pressure and control to keep a doctrinal consensus from falling apart. Christianity, ideally, should be a fellowship around a person, not a graduate course in theology.

What we often overlook is that authoritarianism is simply a control mechanism driven by the need to preserve uniformity of doctrine. If Christianity was modeled on Jesus, who put deed above creed, like the good Jew he was, there wouldn't be a need for the kind of heavy-handed authoritarianism that has characterized the SDA church.

The Jews only excluded one thinker from Judaism in modern times, Baruch Spinoza in the 17th century, and they've regretted it ever since. It is all driven by theology.

If Christianity was modeled on Jesus, who put deed above creed, like the good Jew he was, there wouldn't be a need for the kind of heavy-handed authoritarianism that has characterized the SDA church.

Wasn't the Christian Church in the First Century modeled on Jesus? It didn't silence the heretics of the church (2 Timothy 2:17-18). The reason for so many Adventists approving of heavy-handed authoritarianism has to do with preferring the spirit of popery above the Spirit of God.

Kellogg seized upon statements by EGW (e.g. in the book Education) that nature was not a self-contained system that automatically produced its effects. Apple trees produced apples because the power of God, pulsating through nature, induced it to produce apples. Kellogg carelessly stated that in that sense you could say that God was in the tree. What we call natural law, Kellogg argued, was God's immanence in nature, his power that suffused everything he had created.

If you're jumping up and down with great delight when you take a shower because you think that God is in the water and you’re splashing God filled water all over yourself, then I think it’s fair to call you a pantheist.

When the theology of the final judgment is reduced to a joyous excitement about the death process and you're jumping up and down because God doesn't kill, it's just Natural Consequences, then that's the exact same trap that Kellogg and his associates fell into.

Schubee
Can you name one known thinker in the world of theology--preferably somebody trained in the field--who agrees with you that Pantheism (or what you seem to think it is) is the key that unlocks the mystery of church history and explains what's wrong with Adventism? One person, Eugene, other than yourself.

Entire religious traditions have arisen from an obsessive interest in single Bible verses or a fixed idea (Adventism, Mormonism, Christian Science, for instance). To you pantheism is the unified field theory of religion, as far as I can judge. Anybody out there who shares that point of view, or are you a new denomination all to yourself?

Can you name one known thinker in the world of theology--preferably somebody trained in the field--who agrees with you that Pantheism (or what you seem to think it is) is the key that unlocks the mystery of church history and explains what's wrong with Adventism? One person, Eugene, other than yourself.

Many Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen White was professionally trained by receiving more than 2,000 inspired dreams and visions directly from God. Can you think of any theologian in Adventism that has produced more Biblically solid theology than Ellen White? She connected Kellogg's pantheism (the alpha) with a similar endtime crisis (the omega). There is plenty of source material available to confirm that Adventism's Past Pantheism is exactly what I said it is. Kellogg's theology connected God's presence with life. Maxwell's theology connects God's forsaking and turning away in the final judgment with death. Are you telling me that you don't recognize any similarity between those two constructs?

Suppose you only have a picture of half a face (say the left side). That's the alpha. Take the mirror image of that half face. That's the omega. Bring the two pictures together and you have a perfect whole—a complete object—a naturally symmetric face. The omega is an astoundingly perfect completion of Kellogg's heresy.

To you pantheism is the unified field theory of religion, as far as I can judge.

I have written on many of the great theological riddles of Adventism where the pantheism of Kellogg or Maxwell doesn't appear: Daniel, Revelation (3 scenarios, the 3 angels' messages, 7 churches), including the human nature of Christ and the Trinity. Isn't this thread for discussing the “Character of God Controversy”?

Schubee
So,apart from claiming support from EGW, nobody to vouch for your views?

So, apart from claiming support from EGW, nobody to vouch for your views?

I believe that the original question asked was "Have any of the scribes and Pharisees believed on him?"

I don't know of a single person in the hierarchy that defends the right with unswerving fidelity but here are three non-clerics that strongly agree with my theology:

http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?p=5578#p5578
http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1191
http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=930

I gave my E.G.W. library to the Augusta Church School so I cannot cite the exact wording. But my rercall suggested the E.G. White stated that the omega of apostasy would be to make of none effect the "Spirit of Prophecy" ego: E.G.White.

Certainly, the concept of a "perfect final generation" reflecting the character of Christ perfectly comes mighty close to pantheism.

Why doesn't anyone cite Edward Heppenstall's book The Man Who Is God?

Christianity means accepting no substitutes or look alikes!

Tom

Schubee
I suppose that if Jesus started with twelve disciples and ended up with millions, you may yet turn your three disciples into a great army. But I think you need a more winning message, something closer to the one Jesus preached, if your movement is going to prosper. Pantheism just is not a reality that afflicts or affects people in our part of the world. Neither the Pope nor Jan Paulsen are secret pantheists (now, if you're talking Illuminati, that's entirely a different matter--or not) and no matter the interpretative contortions you go through, they're not going to turn into pantheistic Gregor Samsas.

Eugene, I'm not a church member (I once was), but I can assure you that whether your fellow church members work for the church or not, they are people like yourself, people who try to make sense of life and their faith. They may be very wrong about things, but it's silly to suggest that they're Valdemortians bent on destroying eveything that's sacred. Even back in the day there was no Omega of apostasy, just people who agitated an egocentric prophet.

E.G. White stated that the omega of apostasy would be to make of none effect the "Spirit of Prophecy"

That is certainly a part of the omega prophecy and it has already been fulfilled. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it clear that Jesus instituted and ordained the system of animal sacrifices. This is a truth that The Counterfeit Character of God Movement adamantly denies.

Certainly, the concept of a "perfect final generation" reflecting the character of Christ perfectly comes mighty close to pantheism.

I don't see that belief as being related to pantheism, Kellogg or Maxwell. The Manifest Sons of God doctrine is seen as a legitimate threat by many evangelicals but, from what I've read on the internet, they don't believe that Adventists are teaching that heresy.

I think you need a more winning message, something closer to the one Jesus preached, if your movement is going to prosper.

My message is identical to what Jesus taught on every level. "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Seventh-day Adventist leadership, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." cf. Matthew 5:20.

Pantheism just is not a reality that afflicts or affects people in our part of the world.

Do Adventists in your part of the world seek a better understanding of Daniel, Revelation (7 churches, 3 scenarios, 3 angels' messages), including the human nature of Christ and the Trinity?

I can assure you that whether your fellow church members work for the church or not, they are people like yourself, people who try to make sense of life and their faith.

Church members are not all the same and the Seventh-day Adventist church is not a monolithic structure. It is composed of seven spiritual factions. Have you ever read The Seven Faces of Seventh-day Adventism?

Pantheism just is not a reality that afflicts or affects people in our part of the world.

Do Adventists in your part of the world oppose sincere efforts to expose the powers of darkness and false doctrine in the church?

I hope that the book will at least be aware that there is the "first death" and the "second death" that should be analysed. I am not aware of anyone who believes that God did not kill the firstborn of Egypt or did not send the flood killing masses of people or did not send fire to consume untold people in Sodom. So I assume the controversy that must be gaining attention is whether God kills beings resulting in the "second death".

I believe that's a rather empty riddle to analyze. From the perspective of omega pantheism, I believe that Maxwell's riddle is absolutely identical to answering the following questions:

If I pull back on a bowstring knowing that if I let go, an arrow will eject at high velocity and pierce your heart, and if I do so and you die instantly, did I kill you? Or is your death purely natural, due to the elastic kinetic energy of the bow delivered to the bowstring via tension, which is thereby imparted to the arrow via contact acceleration? Am I innocent because it takes zero energy to release a "taut" string? Would it help if I were to cry, "How can I give you up, How can I let you go?"

"I am not aware of anyone who believes that God did not kill the firstborn of Egypt or did not send the flood killing masses of people or did not send fire to consume untold people in Sodom."

So which planet is your home? There are millions who do not believe such fiction. There is not one confirming evidence for any of those occurring.

For those who still believe there was a real Odsseyus, a Croesus, Atlantis, and the wicked witch of the West, they may be the few remaining ones who also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy--for which there is equal evidence.

Shubee
My part of the world is Virginia, and our struggle here has mostly been to expose the Republicans to the consequences of their politics and policies. It may not reach your standard of exposing the powers of darkness, but Virginia, as of now, is tentatively a hopeful blue, and I think that's a great beginning.

EGW projected the Canright scandal into the future in the form a prophecy about the very last deception of Satan would be to make of none effect the testimonies (letter 12, 1890). You claim to see the fulfillment of this "prophecy." Let me point out the following:

1. The SDA church, unfortunately, has not rejected EGW as a divinely authorized interpreter of Scripture. People like me, who used to be members, have. That's different.

2. EGW was not concerned about pantheism subverting the church. The pantheism charge was simply a convenient libel to get rid of Kellogg. Go read the exclusion report written by the Battle Creek SDA church in 1907. Pantheism is nowhere mentioned. It was all about EGW's authority.

3. If Satan has nothing worse to hurl at the Christian church in the latter days than destroying confidence in the writings of EGW, he is not the clever demon we all thought his sulpherous majesty was. For one, it means that Baptists and Tom's Presbyterians don't have much to worry about, since they never believed in her in the first place.

Unless, of course, you're going to argue that all non-SDA Christians are already minions of the devil, and that EGW-believing Adventists are the only people on earth who have not succumbed to the wiles of the evil one. But you wouldn't go there, would you, Mr Shubert?

The foundation of Maxwell's theology is essentially Second Century Gnosticism:

“A rejection of all legal categories pertaining to God, leaving sin as ignorance and salvation as a healing of the mind through accurate information about God and His purposes, was the core teaching of the Gnostic movement in the second to third centuries, and is the basis for most Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.” —Richard Fredericks, Ministry, March 1992, pp. 6-10: The Moral Influence Theory—Its Attraction and Inadequacy: The distorted attraction of one popular theory of the atonement.

“The name ‘Gnosticism’ is given to all those different theories of the universe which professed to be Christian, but amalgamated elements of Christian belief with Hellenistic ideas regarding an intermediate world of superhuman beings between the Supreme One and men, and regarding the human soul as a part of the Divine which had fallen into the dark and evil world of Matter. Each Gnostic sect claimed to have a special ‘knowledge’ (gnosis) to communicate, by which the Soul could get deliverance from matter and win its way back to the Upper World. Most of the Gnostics represented the God of the Old Testament as an inferior Being, often a Being hostile to the Supreme God, ruling in the lower world, from which ‘knowledge’ enabled the Soul to escape.” — The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, article 785: ‘Gnosticism.’

“The basic premise common to the many varieties of Gnostic belief was that since God is good and the material world is evil, he cannot have created it” (David Christie-Murray, A History Of Heresy, p. 21). The basic premise of Neo-Gnostic Adventism (and Maxwell) is that since God is good and retribution is evil, then God has nothing to do with meting out punishment in a final judgment.

“These systems were philosophical in that the problem which concerned all Gnostics was the reconciliation of the existence of evil with God who is good; religious because they offered salvation”, salvation by gnosis. (Does that sound familiar)?

Shubee

Graham Maxwell made only one mistake. He chose The University of Chicago for his doctorate against the advice of the "brethren". They and you seem to have been after him ever since. Did you know that Rick Rice also went to Chicago?
Now there is some far out thinking!

I met Graham in the Seventh grade. I attended his S.S. class as South Side SDA church. I was a fellow faculty member at LLU. He was my primary advocate for membership on the Board of Trustees of LLU. He is a very private person because of people like you. If I ever had a Christian friend, Graham Maxwell would be just after my Dad. Disect him for all you are worth and it will not change the truth that Graham Maxwell is a clarian call to the gospel plus nothing.
P.S. Your concept of Grostic thinking is 180 degrees out if you catagorize Graham as a Gnostic. His entire teaching ministry has been directed toward the unigue God/Man Jesus Christ as a friend and primary adovocate. It is The Editorial staff of the Review past and present that have a strong Gnostic infusion. The primary examples are Ken Woods and Herbie Douglass if one must put names to the genre. Tom
Tom

If I really were one of the ancients, I would insist that the meaning is in the message not the narrative, and I would be surprised - very surprised - if anyone took my storytelling as a string of sequential facts.
I am relieved that Elaine understands, but those seeking to expose truth in the detail, rather than the idea would never find meaning in my world.
Most ancients would agree with me - Greek, Celtic, Indigenous... and Hebrew.

Tom,

You don't seem to recognize Maxwell's fundamental assumption that God is good and retribution is evil. How is that possible?

Shubee

It is obvious you never heard Graham, you may have listened but not understood. Grahams message is simply: "Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle Breast!" Of course, he doesn't subscribe to retribution. God isn't trying to get even. He is already way ahead! Graham is simply saying: If man finally and completely rejects the source of life, God will reluctantly conceed to that rejection. The absence of the life giver is eternal death. Not a vengeful act but an act of ultimate sorrow. God's wish is that all might live in peace and worshipful adoration of a benign Creator/Redeemer/Friend. Graham's message is simple: Satan, not God is your adversary. The Investigative Judgment would have us believe otherwise that God is looking for those He can Zap! Graham says not so: God is looking for the least sign of acceptance of His Son--and then saying that's my man or my women or my child.

One can live for eternity with a God like that, without fear, but in loving adoration. If you don't find that in Paul, in the Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Book of Revelation, I feel very sorry for you. Tom

Of course, he doesn't subscribe to retribution.

So A. Graham Maxwell does hold to the fundamental assumption that God is good and retribution is evil. Do you care to defend the pantheistic implications? God will not punish the wicked or make them undergo any kind of suffering: It would be a monstrous evil for Him to do so. If nature does all this, then it’s OK. How is this not exalting nature above God?

Shubee
I wish you well in fighting your battles against all odds, but even you will be aware that the bloddiest battleground is within your own head
Tom
Thanks for the personal Maxwell bio
World
"It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!" (Nietzsch)

Shubee

I have no quarrel with you or Graham. There is a text that reads something like this in the King James. Vengence is mine saith the Lord. Graham merely points out that God's allowing man and angels to reject His life sustaining power is vengence enough. God has no need for thumb screws or any other devilish tools of torture. If you want them in your tool box be my guest--just stay away from my door--while I agree with Graham, I don't know if I have the same level of Grace. So don't use anything stronger than a keyboard on me, O.K. Tom

I have no quarrel with you or Graham.

But of course you do Tom Zwemer. I wanted to know more about Maxwell's pantheistic understanding of God as it relates to Nature and Natural Consequences and you retaliated by representing me as believing in a sadistic God that uses thumb screws and other devilish tools of torture.

Shubee

My quarrel,is with any unwarrented, unsubstantiated,
broad brush acussation against a life long member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, A leading scholar and teacher of the Gospel in the post WWII era, a contributor to the SDA Bible Commentary. It is not personal, it is generic. My reference to thumb screws etc. was to put a face on the word retribution--and the human use of the term throughout the Dark Ages, even as recent as Salem of Cotton Mather's day. Methods that would still be in use today by many "good churchmen" , if it were not for the U.S. Constitution and the civil laws stemming from that document.

Pan means involving all or including all. Theism refers to the existance or presence of god. Thus, pantheism means to believe in the prevasive in-dwelling of god in all living organisms. Beyond that, the term takes on the view of each person's view of the nature or definition of "their" god.

Graahm, as I understand him, believes it is unscriptural to depict God as a vengeful "get even" retaliatorydeity. He stands with Christ, who in the telling of the parable of the Wheat and the Tares said: "An enemy hath done this!"

The History Channel that headlines natural disasters as "The Wrath of God" perpretuates this false picture of God.

Graham has no use for the concept of a "Left Behind Scenario"
so popular as an expression of God's wrath against unbelievers. Graham blieves with the prophets of old that the "everlasting burnings" surround the throne of God. Only the redeemed can walk in that firy furnace.

My quarrel is with any propositional "truth" that is contrary to the plain word of Scripture--such as the concept of a "perfect final generation." Now there is a blatant pantheistic concept.

The humor of it all is that dispensationalists believe they can hasten the "rapture" and Seventh-day Adventists believe that man can retard the return of Jesus. Thus, according to your use of the word pantheism, a fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is unadulterated pantheistic.

Graham sees the law of God as the ethos of Heaven not as a penal code. In Heaven, one does not take the name of God in vain, One does not build idols, one honors their parents, one does not kill, lie, lust, or covet.

If anyone finally and completely rejects that Life Style and the Creator/Redeemer God who established that ethos--the consequences are the severance of life force eternally but sadly. God finds no pleasure in it but is willing to accept that rejection and its consequences. The Maxwellian thought is there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repents and sorrow over every sinner who stubbernly refuses to repent.

It is the devil,not God,who goes around seeking whom he may devouer!

It was the devil, not God who put the boils on Job!

The Lord is my shepard..He restoreth my soul! That is the God I learned from my dad and was reinforced by Graham. Tom

Graham has no use for the concept of a "Left Behind Scenario" so popular as an expression of God's wrath against unbelievers.

When and where did A. Graham Maxwell repudiate his earlier teaching that God is a God that forsakes and God turning away is the mechanism that triggers natural consequences, i.e., God's wrath?

Shubee
I don't know. I do know that except for Pine Knoll publications, Graham did very little formal publication because of critics. You would have to listen to hours of his tapes to find his candid thoughts. I have no knowledge of his repudiation of any early teaching. I do believe that his thoughts matured and became more measured, but I don't believe his basic theology changed. Nor do I believe that it needs change or repudiation. His papers: "Safe to Save" and "How God Won His Case" are vintage Maxwell. His contibutions to the commentary of Romans is a work of great
understanding and love. I respect Graham for his quiet courage, tolerance, and careful but loving guidance of the young mind seeking answers to eternal questions.

In an aside, I also found his sister's teaching and guidance in the principles of education and leadership in academics a wonderful boost to my career. The Maxwell family while not always agreeing were never disagreable. They were steeped in the concept of nuture and skilling in the Socratic method without stooping to intimidation.

My personal testimony is that I have gained the most in my life's journey from Edward Heppenstall, C.B. Haynes, H.M.S. Richards Sr., Graham Maxwell, and Paul Heubach within Adventism. The rest have been pastoral writers from a diverse
denominational background. I must mention Fred Craddock from Emory and John R.W. Sott. Finally, Graham, as we all, see through a glass darkly--thanks be to God we have an eternity to get it clear and sharply focused. In the mean time, I find it a great honor and priviledge to call Graham my friend, mentor, and colleague. Tom

When it comes to doctrine, Seventh-day Adventists should place a greater value upon the teachings of Ellen White than upon those who do not have the gift of prophecy. This is not to say that there is no new light for God's people; but when so-called new light obviously contradicts the light that has gone before, then we have a duty to reject the new theories. One reason that God gave our denomination the Spirit of Prophecy was to protect us from every wind of doctrine that would be blowing as we near the end of time. In spite of Dr. Maxwell's mild manner and his beneficial contributions to this denomination, anyone with an open mind must admit upon close examination that some of his theology directly contradicts - and blatantly so - the clear teachings of Scripture and Ellen White. Many in the church today brush aside Ellen White's writings as mostly her opinion, but those who accept her teachings as divinely inspired light from our Creator reject all theories that without doubt contradict her writings.

E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones once had a special message for God's people, but both were later taken in by false teachers. Jones became ensnared in the so-called visions of a young girl named Anna (whom Ellen White declared to be a false prophetess); and Waggoner fell victim to the pantheistic theories of Dr. J.H. Kellogg. We cannot be too careful in accepting any teaching that contradicts inspiration; and yet there are Adventists who are totally charmed by Dr. Maxwell's false ideas regarding the character of God, the atonement, the blood of Christ, and other crucial doctrines as established by Scripture and the writings of Ellen White. Why are his ideas on these subjects false? Because they directly contradict inspiration.

Ellen White fought a constant battle against fanaticism because she knew that every fanatical person and movement that arises within the church creates disgust in the world that we are trying to reach. Surface readers of Dr. Graham Maxwell’s theories often delight in the image of a God who only wants to be our friend; but below the surface lie many sinister heresies that strike at the very core of Christianity and create disgust among those who need to know the truth about our loving Creator.

Dr. Maxwell has joined the list of men like Jones and Waggoner who have promoted error that is dangerous to the soul. Here is but a small sampling of His odd teachings: there is no reason to fear God, even for those who know they will be lost; there is no power in the blood of Christ; God is not directly involved in the final destruction of the wicked in what is termed the second death; the hell that brings about the second death is not literal fire that burns the wicked to ashes but only the consuming nature of God’s glory; the atonement has nothing to do with Christ paying the penalty for our sins; Jesus did not have to shed His blood in order to save sinners; and it is dark speech for Christians to use the term "justification." Every one of these theories taught by Dr. Maxwell blatantly contradict inspiration.

It should be upsetting to Seventh-day Adventists to know that Dr. Maxwell denounces the Christian doctrine of justification as “dark speech,” for Ellen White taught that justification by faith is the third angel’s message in verity. By denouncing the term justification as dark speech, Dr. Maxwell would brush aside the commission given to Seventh-day Adventists to preach the third angel’s message. Those who see that some of Dr. Maxwell's theories are in direct conflict with inspired light have a duty to warn others to not be taken in the snare.

When seen in their true light, many theories of Dr. Maxwell resemble more the theology to be found in modern day New Age theology than the doctrines established by the Advent movement. For a detailed exposé of Dr. Maxwell’s fanatical theories where his own words reveal his distaste for established Adventist doctrine, please read the article referred to by Shubee titled "The Counterfeit Character of God Movement."

Dwight

An excellent partisan defense of a failed theology based upon faulty exegsis of Daniel and the benediction of a self proclaimed prophetess. Never-the-less, you never heard or read a disparaging word about E.G. White from the mouth or pen of Graham Maxwell. If he has any doubts he certainly has kept them to himself.

The great gulf between Graham and classic Adventist thought is that classic Adventist thought is built upon fear and Graham's presentation is based upon love, compassion, and Grace. His is a theology based upon a "bend reed will He not break nor a smoldering flax will He not quench." His students arrived full of fear and doubt and leave full of hope, joy, and confidence in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Such graduates were not easily bulldosed by power point hyper ventilation. Yet they remained strong leaders and teachers within the denomination.

Do a track record on any Bible teacher in SDA colleges and test the staying power 10, 20 years out. I believe you will find Graham's students among the strongest defenders of the faith.

I have friends in their 90's, too old to attend Church who listen to Graham's SS lessons on tape and remain faithful to
the church in tithes and offerings and in defense of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs.

I just happen not to be in that category. But, Graham had nothing to do with my decision to find other church fellowship.

Frankly your condemnation is ill placed and serves no useful purpose. Particularly your reference to Waggoner and Jones is poorly considered and way off the mark.

Those who I know best who find fault with Graham are hide bound legalists with a check list mentality.

Here ends my defense of Graham. I leave his critics and him in the hands of a compassionate loving Savior. May we each and all find Grace in His sight. Tom

When it comes to doctrine, Seventh-day Adventists should place a greater value upon the teachings of Ellen White than upon those who do not have the gift of prophecy.

I just ask that pastors and teachers of salvific truth have courage. Ellen White wrote: "My message will become more and more pointed, as was the message of John the Baptist, even though it cost me my life. The people shall not be deceived." And much of Ellen White's writings throughout her life were devoted to precisely that work. Tom Zwemer has testified that "Graham did very little formal publication because of critics." If that testimony is true, then I don't respect Maxwell's cowardice one bit. Maxwell knows that no scholar is going to listen to countless hours of audiotapes on unsystematic theology to try to figure out what his message is. I believe that there is something unethical about disseminating new doctrines in the church in such an underhanded manner.

What did Ellen White say about that?

“In the very midst of us will arise false teachers, giving heed to seducing spirits whose doctrines are of Satanic origin. These teachers will draw away disciples after themselves. Creeping in unawares, they will use flattering words, and make skillful misrepresentations with seductive tact.” Special Testimonies, August 27, 1903.

There is something very creepy about “creeping in unawares” and making “skillful misrepresentations with seductive tact.” I've personally heard Maxwell exalt Ellen White publicly on numerous occasions so as to make the audience believe that he is a traditional Adventist. Yet Adventist Pastor Larry Christoffel told me that behind closed doors among scholars, Maxwell openly admits that the sacrificial system came from paganism and was never instituted by God. This kind of duplicity has to be exposed.

Shubee

Grace is sufficient even for critics like you and me. You think Graham Maxwell is in error, I think Herbie Douglass is in error. I expect we will have eternity to exalt the Glory of Redemption together with Paul, Graham, Herbie and
E.G. White--even Canright. Tom

Dwight Turner said:

    Dr. Maxwell has joined the list of men like Jones and Waggoner who have promoted error that is dangerous to the soul. Here is but a small sampling of His odd teachings: there is no reason to fear God, even for those who know they will be lost; there is no power in the blood of Christ; God is not directly involved in the final destruction of the wicked in what is termed the second death; the hell that brings about the second death is not literal fire that burns the wicked to ashes but only the consuming nature of God’s glory; the atonement has nothing to do with Christ paying the penalty for our sins; Jesus did not have to shed His blood in order to save sinners; and it is dark speech for Christians to use the term "justification." Every one of these theories taught by Dr. Maxwell blatantly contradict inspiration.

Dwight or Eugene, help me out if you could on some of these points. You say that Maxwell puts forward these false doctrines. If he is wrong, then what is the right answer? What do we tell our kids?

    1) there is no reason to fear God, even for those who know they will be lost

Does this mean we should be scared of God? If so, why?

How about those who don't they will be lost? Should they be scared of God?

    2) there is no power in the blood of Christ.

Does this mean we need the actual physical blood of Christ? That the actual blood has the power?

    3) God is not directly involved in the final destruction of the wicked in what is termed the second death

Does God have to physically torture and kill the wicked in the end? Are the wages of sin, execution by God? Is that what you are saying? What is atonement? Is it making amends, or is it making peace?

    4) the atonement has nothing to do with Christ paying the penalty for our sins

To whom is the penalty paid? Does God demand a blood sacrifice? If Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, why will anyone be lost?

    5) and it is dark speech for Christians to use the term "justification."

Is not the term "justification" a Latin term? Can not the the Greek term that is often translated "justification" also be translated righteousness? Is not the use of "justification" most often used in a legal sense?

Speaking of dark speach, when did Jesus not talk in dark speech? How about John 16:25,ff? God loves us and we need no go between between us and God. Is that not what these verses are saying?

    6) the hell that brings about the second death is not literal fire that burns the wicked to ashes but only the consuming nature of God’s glory

Does the fire that burns the wicked up, also kill the wicked? The Bible dies say that where ever sin is found, our God is a consuming fire. Fire in the Bible is often as something psychological, but obviously the end time fires can be that right? It has to be physical, right?

From your position, what is the Good News?

In spite of Dr. Maxwell's mild manner and his beneficial contributions to this denomination, anyone with an open mind must admit upon close examination that some of his theology directly contradicts - and blatantly so - the clear teachings of Scripture and Ellen White.

How is it possible that no thought leader has ever encountered a church member that was absolutely mesmerized by Maxwell's spiritualistic philosophy and didn't think that there was something demonic about it?

I am confident that there is a conspiracy of silence and that persons at the highest echelons of the church hierarchy have decided on a policy of non-interference regarding Maxwell's teachings. I believe strongly that this compromise goes back to the time when Neal Wilson was the president of the General Conference. Edward Heppenstall informed Wilson of the danger in Maxwell's heresy and Wilson said that nothing should be done about it. Larry Christoffel told me this. Also, Bill Shea mentions an understood policy of silence in the hierarchy regarding Graham Maxwell in a letter to Eugene Shubert.

The developments of these last days will soon become decided. When these spiritualistic deceptions are revealed to be what they really are,--the secret workings of evil spirits,--those who have acted a part in them will become as men who have lost their minds. Ellen G. White, Battle Creek Letters (1928), p. 124.

I believe that we are already there.

For a detailed exposé of Dr. Maxwell’s fanatical theories where his own words reveal his distaste for established Adventist doctrine, please read the article referred to by Shubee titled "The Counterfeit Character of God Movement."

I sure do hope that Wohlberg didn't praise those in The Counterfeit Character of God Movement like Martin Weber did in Who's Got the Truth, Making sense out of five different Adventist gospels, (1994).

Here are some pertinent quotes from Weber's book that tell me that if you want to get published by an Adventist publishing house, you have to soft-pedal the truth:

"Obviously, all of these spiritual leaders have much to contribute in terms of gospel truth, or they wouldn't have their large followings of thoughtful Seventh-day Adventists." p. 5.

"Reading Servants or Friends makes obvious why Graham Maxwell is so popular with thousands of thoughtful Adventists." p. 15.

"Perhaps all of us can agree with what we have seen so far in Dr. Maxwell's teaching. Many of the kindest Adventists I know cherish what he says. Among them are half a dozen of my best friends. The loving quality of their lives shows how his teaching has enriched their walk with God." p. 16.

"Seventh-day Adventists owe deep gratitude to Maxwell." p. 17.

"To summarize: The name Graham Maxwell is well-known and beloved by Adventists around the world; he is too significant a thought leader to ignore." p. 33.

"Whatever our differences, Dr. Maxwell and I are friends. He has invited me to visit in his home, and the next time I'm in Loma Linda I plan to accept his invitation and enjoy his fellowship." p. 34.

E. G. White has a wax nose. One can cut and paste and make almost any doctrinal point you want. For example: Take any one of the compilations: and note the bias of the compilers. Graham Maxwell, always quotes E.G. White to strengthen his point; a common practice throughout Adventism.
As I pointed out previously, The substance of Graham’s Christianity is found in two simple papers available through Pine Knolls. “Safe to Save” and “Now God Won His Case.”
The case made against Graham are always based upon hear-say accounts, usually twice or three times removed from any primary source or documented citation.

Graham is well within the pale of Basic Christianity—were that Seventh-day Adventism were ALSO! Eh, THERE IS THE RUB!

In an aside: I was walking with Graham from the Medical Center to his office one day. In our conversation, I mentioned how much I appreciated Edward Heppenstall's article in the Signs entitled: The Centrality of the Cross. Graham replied: Great! have you written Ted and told him? I said no, not as yet. I did write and got a wonderful reply.

Some years later, Dr. Heppenstall gave a Wednesday evening talk in the Youth Chapel at the University Church on the Brinsmead Movement. He gave a very linear, clear, and kind critique of Bob et al. Knowing the character of the man, I find the assertion that Heppenstall "warned the brethren about Graham" unbelievable.

If anyone every made a case for the Character of God as lived by Jesus Christ on the dusty roads of Israel it is Graham Maxwell.

Tom.

The case made against Graham are always based upon hear-say accounts, usually twice or three times removed from any primary source or documented citation.

The strongest case that I know of against Graham Maxwell from primary sources is The Spiritualistic Philosophy of A. Graham Maxwell. Which of the many quotations do you not believe?

Shubee

If you suggest that the highlighted passages are from Graham Maxwell, I say Amen to each.

God invites "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest."

"Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, you shall be white as snow."

"Suffer little children to come after Me and forbid them not for such are the Kingdom of Heaven."

"A bend reed will He not brake, nor a smoldering flax will He not quench."

The Gospel is not built on fear but upon love--For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believeth upon Him shall have eternal life."

Which of these to you disagree with?

Compare with E.G.White: "Soon no one knows how soon, the judgment will turn to the living!" She tells a loving story in Desire of Ages and then blows it all in the final chapters of Great Controversy. Tom

P.S. Graham teaches from Desire of Ages. The Church builds its case on Great Controversy--what a shame for a Church that claims proprietary rights to Rev. 14: 6. Tom

If you suggest that the highlighted passages are from Graham Maxwell, I say Amen to each.

Ah, that is your mistake. I highlighted a very Maxwellian explanation but the source is from a channeled spirit guide that dictated the following to a medium for the New Age book, A Course In Miracles. That evil spirit only pretended to be Jesus.

“The Message Of The Crucifixion”

“For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. I did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid upon it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.

“The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take, and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it.” — A Course In Miracles, Vol. 1, pp. 84-85.

“The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:

‘Teach only love, for that is what you are.’”

“If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the ‘wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.

“These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, ‘I come not to bring peace but a sword.’ This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught. Nor could they have described my reaction to Judas as they did, if they had really understood me. I could not have said, ‘Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?’ unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The ‘punishment’ I was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?

“As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it.” —A Course In Miracles, Vol. 1, pp. 87-88.

Don't you just want to shout and rejoice that even demons agree with you and The Counterfeit Character of God Movement on the fundamentals of Maxwell's gospel?

Tom wrote that "...you never heard or read a disparaging word about E.G. White from the mouth or pen of Graham Maxwell." One does not have to speak or write disparaging words directly against Mrs. White in order to reveal their distaste for her theology. All one need do is contradict over and over again what Mrs. White has written regarding important Biblical doctrines. Maxwell professes great admiration for Ellen White, but his theories directly contradict her teachings enough to make one doubt his respect for her. Example: In an interview of Dr. Maxwell published on the Internet, Dr. Maxwell was asked this question: "So the shedding of blood is not a precondition for God in terms of his forgiveness?" Dr. Maxwell’s answer was: "No." Mrs. White wrote: "A lesson was embodied in every sacrifice, impressed in every ceremony, solemnly preached by the priest in his holy office, and inculcated by God Himself,—that through the blood of Christ alone is there forgiveness of sins." Maxwell says that the shedding of Christ's blood is NOT a condition for God to forgive sinners, but Mrs. White states very clearly that "through the blood of Christ alone" is there forgiveness of sins. I choose to believe God's last day prophet.

I can go around telling people that I greatly admire the U.S. Bill of Rights, but if I write articles where I declare that Congress should pass a national Sunday law, that citizens have no right to a speedy trial, and that a bail of no less than five million dollars should be levied against people who steal bread because they are hungry, then do I really respect the Bill of Rights? Don't defend Maxwell's supposed admiration for Ellen White.

Tom also wrote that "E. G. White has a wax nose. One can cut and paste and make almost any doctrinal point you want." Then Tom stated: "Graham Maxwell, always quotes E.G. White to strengthen his point." Why would Tom point out that Maxwell "always quotes E.G. White" (as if this were a virtue of his) after saying that any doctrine can be defended by E.G. White? Tom is speaking is circles. Is it a virtue when Maxwell quotes EGW but not when others quote her?

The reason why I usually avoid posting in blogs like this is because people reveal their pride of opinion, even those who claim to follow the meek and lowly Jesus. I am guilty of pride of opinion and so is everyone else who has posted on this blog. But sometimes I am compelled to speak out against those whose theories undermine the work that God is attempting to do through the organized church, defective though this church may be. When people like Graham Maxwell attempt to rewrite church doctrine, and when groups like the Good News Tours run around the country claiming to be Adventists but who teach a long list of doctrines that are contradictory to what inspiration teaches, then I cannot remain quiet. Let those people do as Tom has done and remove themselves from fellowship with the Adventist Church; or go start their own denomination.

Only God can read hearts and I won't speculate as to why people fall into the trap of false doctrine, but the Spirit of Prophecy counsels us that whenever we see lies being taught to God's people, we are to "unmask the pretentious sophistries." The organized church is busy with the work of defending God's law in a lawless society, while those "Adventists" who are enthralled with new and strange teachings are busy trying to convert all Adventists to their opinions. The law has no place in their theology, and to them a person is automatically a legalist if they even mention the law. I guess Jesus was a legalist, for He taught "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matt 19:17.

If there are those reading this who have not embraced the errors of men like Graham Maxwell, please go and compare his theories with the Bible and writings of Ellen White, and you will discover so many blatant contradictions that you will clearly see that Dr. Maxwell is doing great harm to God's work in these last days.

For those who have already fallen into the trap and are warring against the church's established doctrines, I can only say that if you persist, you someday will experience that fear that you so desperately want to avoid. Maxwell and others have rocked you to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There is no need to fear God if we live in accordance with His law; but if we are clinging to known sin, we should "fear and tremble before Him." (Medical Ministry, p. 95.) Why doesn't Maxwell point this out? Why does he begin his thesis on being God's friend with John 15:15 instead of verse 14 where Jesus establishes the prerequisite of friendship with Him? "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." (verse 14) To leave obedience to the lawgiver out is to give people a false sense of security. Someone in this blog wrote that people enter into Maxwell's class with fear and leave with love. I assure you that they leave with a false love, for Jesus taught that "If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. But oh, we can't talk about keeping God's commandments because that's legalism. Some of you may have been badgered into obedience, or taught to believe that God DEMANDS obedience. It is no wonder some of you have rebelled. But I fellowship with many Adventists who obey God out of love; but they are not foolish enough to think that they are eternally safe as long as they cling to cherished sins.

I see too many out there who are enamored with Maxwell. Let them turn their sights upon Jesus and discover His matchless charms.

Shubee, I just want to impress upon everyone who read those quotes you used from the book "A Course In Miracles" that these are supposedly the words of a channeled jesus. This book "A Course In Miracles" contains the same jesus that is found in the false character of God movement. Those quotes sounded like they were taken from something G. Maxwell wrote. They express the same sentiments. Those sentiments are in direct conflict with Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. People who are following after Maxwell are oblivious to the fact that he is teaching the same theories that are being swallowed by millions through the false teaching of New Age spiritualism. This is one reason why some are declaring that the teachings of Maxwell and others of like mind make up the omega heresy that Ellen White predicted would come into the church in the very last days. The sad thing is that once a person has embraced spiritualistic error, it is almost impossible for them to escape the snare. They become Satan's lawful prey and lose the ability to discern truth from error.

The warning about these false concepts of the atonement and other key doctrines must go out to the people. I have not yet read the book "The Character of God Controversy," but I am sure it will expose the false teachings being promoted by certain individuals who wish to maintain their connection with Adventism. The newly released book may not go far enough for some people when it comes to exposing individuals and organizations, but it at least is purported to tackle the key issues in this controversy that has arisen within our ranks.

It is also important to realize that when we speak of spiritualism, we are not talking about reading tea leaves and dabbling with the occult. We are talking about the new form or spiritualism that Mrs. White identified that "is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise...While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight." The Great Controversy, pp. 557-558. Maxwell and his followers certainly dwell on love as the chief attribute of God, but they also keep the requirements of His holy law out of sight; for any discussion of obedience to the law is immediately brushed aside as legalism.

Let these people cling to their new theories that soothe their conscience and promise no punishment for those who cling to sin; but let those who are just becoming awawe of these new theories take heed lest you embrace that which is of Satanic origin.

Dwight

I was not writing in circles. I was explaining how the Seventh-day Adventist Church speaks and teaches in circles.

Graham teaches from Desire of Ages. You critics teach and condemm from Great Controvery.

You critics have a Cotton Mather mentality of Christianity.
Graham Maxwell has a John Wesley view of Christianity. He has a Erasmus attitude toward controvery rather than a Luther or Calvin attitude. He is obviously 180 degrees out of syn with you or Shubee--thank the Lord. It is transparent that you feed on the Investigative Judgment and Graham serve the Gospel. Your diets are incompatable. That is for sure!

Which is fine with me. I just abhor Libel by Label a sport that seems to engergize you both. Enjoy. Tom

The statement that "Graham teaches from Desire of Ages. You critics teach and condemm from Great Controvery" is absurd in light of the fact that Ellen White wrote both books. You are a perfect example of how people who do not love the light of truth end up in darkness.

You refuse to believe what has been revealed through inspiration regarding the character of God, and so you invent a god that fits your own concepts of what a God of love should be like. It is no wonder you thumb your nose at Ellen White, for she exposes your sins to the world. "They do not believe a merciful God who made men will consume them with fire because they do not believe the warnings given. This, they reason, is not in accordance with God...God's love is represented in our day as being of such a character as would forbid His destroying the sinner. Men reason from their own low standard of right and justice. 'Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself' (Psalm 50:21). They measure God by themselves. They reason as to how they would act under the circumstances and decide God would do as they imagine they would do. God's goodness and long forbearance, His patience and mercy exercised to His subjects, will not hinder Him from punishing the sinner who refused to be obedient to His requirements." MS 5, 1876.

The god dripping and oozing with sentimental love that you have conjured up in your mind is not the God of the Scriptures.

Dwight

Didn't you ever notice that there are at least two E.G. White's? E.G. White "A" was a Post-Aldergate Methodist. Desire of Ages reflects mostly that perpective. E.G. White "B" was a post-Oct 22, 1844 legalist. Great Controvery from page 317 on reflects that "perfectionistic" check list-perpective. The Testimonies and the compilations reek with such legalisms. It is apparent that you revel in such finger pointing. I don't. neither does Graham.

The entire theological world, including most scholars within Adventist privately, if not publically, disavow E.G. White B.

Evidence, the recent welcome of Des Ford to the Hill Church at Loma Linda and the same weekend "Graham Maxwell returns to Loma Linda at the University Church". The evidence is clear.

Scholars true to Scripture are embarrassed by E.G. White "B".
Most stay within the church to save souls confused by the disfunction. Fortunately, while encouraged to stay by some high ranking Adventist leaders, I chose to disassociate as a member. Objectivity demands that degree of openness, to me a least. To others, I salute your willingness to grin and bear it.

Some like Alden Thompson find a maturing E.G.White. I find an increasingly domineering E.G.White--impatient that the church doesn't "shape up" so the Lord can return. At least that is how compilers paint her and quote her.

Now, even now, you and others would pick on an 88 year old saint in Israel to blame for your own blindness and self righteous bigotry. Tom

"You are a perfect example of how people who do not love the light of truth end up in darkness.
...You refuse to believe what has been revealed through inspiration regarding the character of God, and so you invent a god that fits your own concepts of what a God of love should be like. It is no wonder you thumb your nose at Ellen White, for she exposes your sins to the world."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And this is a perfect example of self-righteous judgementalism! How do you know the content of Tom's life from day to day? From a few sentences that he wrote here?

How dare you condemn his conception of God based on a couple of blog posts! Go live as his neighbor, see what drives his daily life, and then you may find out what God he believes in. Then, if you still think he has a problem, bring the matter between you and him alone, as Jesus would counsel.

How do you know what led Tom to the views he holds on EGW's writings? Have you walked in his shoes? Have you lived through the sad stages of Adventist history that he did, when her writings were used as a condemnatory club to keep the rank and file in line, and to squash all perceived dissidence? How do you know the state of his heart and consciense before God, and how God views him...especially on these issues?

Jesus said it best, we all need to take the logs out of our own eyes first, then we'll clearly see how to remove the speck of sawdust from our brother's. That's the theology I'll stake my life upon!

Thanks...

Frank

Dwight said:

    The god dripping and oozing with sentimental love that you have conjured up in your mind is not the God of the Scriptures.

Please, I ask again Dwight, tell us what the "Good News" is? Is there any "Good News"?

One thing I have noticed about Graham Maxwell is that he always talked about God and a Good News that is truly Good News. All I hear you talking about is everyone except God. Your picture of God appears to be as Maxwell says, "Love me, or I'll kill you". The greatest commandments are Love God with all you mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39 ) So to keep "The Commandments", means you love your neighbors and God. I know Graham showed love to all around him. Would you give your life for Graham Maxwell? (John 15:13) All I hear is detest for Maxwell from you. Yes, John 15:14 says we are God friends if we keep his commandments, which is to love God and our neighbor. You can't command love. God will not win his case (Romans 3:4) by the use of might and power (Zech 4:6). I'm not ashamed of the Gospel. (Romans 1:16).

BH

Thank You Frank! Tom

Now for a postscript:

Did anyone ever notice that the General Conference was in Takoma Park and E. G. White was either "down Under" in in St. Helena? That is as close as they could stand each other. Most must recall 1888. E.G.White challenged the President of the G.C. because he sided with E.G.White "B" while Jones and Wagneer sided with E.G. White "A". Ellen White blasted Bulter with E.G. White "A" just to prove her dominance. The 1919 Bible Conference should have settled that matter. E. G. White was a control freak and a copy cat. We didn't have to wait for Ron Numbers or Des Ford, or Walter Rhea, or Don McAdams.

The best part is the part she copied and her editors simplfied. The worst part is her confounded perfectionism--once she was too old to "sin". Tom

Tom, when you come back one more time with both guns blazing at this poor, uninformed legalist, give it your best shot; because this is my last post directed at you. Your last posting was the most nonsensical babel I have ever heard about Ellen White. It is bad enough that false teachers in the church are trying to drive a wedge between the Old and New Testaments (the Old Testament God was so mean and nasty but the New Testament Jesus was so sweet and kind), but now you, who voluntarily separated from the SDA denomination, have invented a new fable about Ellen White to undermine the faith of those who love this church and rejoice in being a part of this movement. Run your theory about the A and B Ellen White by the theologians at the Biblical Research Institute and those who serve at the Ellen White Estate and see what kind of response you get. The more you ramble on, the more out of touch with reality you appear to be to loyal Adventists.

It amazes me how people will separate from the church and then turn their guns on those of us left who are struggling to do God's work. You are right and we are all wrong. Take your accusations about Ellen White and lay them before God, and then be prepared to suffer the consequences for attacking the prophet that God declared was the weakest of the weak. I truly feel sorry for people like you who once had the truth but did not walk in the light, and the light has moved on and left you in darkness. Those are harsh words, but would you rather I flatter you for your great insight into the great Advent movement and cement you in your rejection of truth? You have stepped off of the platform of truth hammered out by the founders of my denomination and examined the planks that make up the platform, and in so doing you have lost your way. Please step back upon the platform and give up these notions of there being two Ellen Whites. There is not one in one thousand Adventists who are sacrificing their time and means to further God's cause who would agree with your unsubstantiated conjecture regarding God's chosen last day special messenger.

Facts are facts; opinions are often biased. Tom speaks to the FACTS, and those who ignore history or either blind, ignorant of the facts, or bound to repeat it. Evidence seen here.

---
Now, even now, you and others would pick on an 88 year old saint in Israel to blame for your own blindness and self righteous bigotry. Tom
Posted by: Tom Zwemer | 24 November 2008 at 9:03

* reply

"You are a perfect example of how people who do not love the light of truth end up in darkness.
...You refuse to believe what has been revealed through inspiration regarding the character of God, and so you invent a god that fits your own concepts of what a God of love should be like. It is no wonder you thumb your nose at Ellen White, for she exposes your sins to the world."

==
And this is a perfect example of self-righteous judgementalism! How do you know the content of Tom's life from day to day? From a few sentences that he wrote here?

How dare you condemn his conception of God based on a couple of blog posts!

--

Perchance I was not as harsh in my comments about Eugene as you first suspected.

What I find so offensive about his article on Maxwell via the "course in miracles" is that truth mixed with error is the best method of deceiving. A course in miracles whether it is demon inspired or human inspired is going to have some truth also. Eugene simply dismisses that reality to use his illogic of guilt by association because there are a few things in common. We could easily find similarities between Ellen White and a course in miracles also. But it does no good to fight illogical writings with more illogical writings. It only shows the absurdity of the beginning position but that absurdity will not be seen by those practicing illogical methods. Which lead me to express my opinions on the written material in question.

BH, you ask, "Where is the good news?" I set up a website years ago that features sermons by the late Elder J. W. Lehman. There you will find the good news of the gospel. There you will find no contradictions between inspiration and Lehman's sermon material. The focus of my website is a prediction made by Ellen White: "One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other - Christ Our Righteousness." Sons & Daughters of God, p. 259. How I long for that day when the debates amongst God's people will disappear, and all minds will be focused on the marvelous righteousness of Christ. Before that day happens, there will be a great shaking amongst God's people. How much do you and the average Adventist know about this subject that will swallow up every other subject? Satan has sought to sidetrack us from this subject by raising up men who teach fables that contradict inspiration.

The message of Christ our righteousness is central to the 3 angel's messages, which during the Loud Cry will go out in great power to do its sealing work. I find it interesting that when God's faithful will be exclaiming "Fear God and give glory to Him..." there will be some running around saying, "There is no need to fear God."

Bill Lehman was the senior pastor at the Campus Hill church in Loma Linda when Maxwell was promoting his theories about salvation. Bill preached several sermons exposing Dr. Maxwell's theories, while never mentioning him by name. I incorporated some of Bill's thoughts into an article I placed as a link on my website. It has been my experience that those who have sided with Maxwell and adopted his theories regarding salvation has no relish for the message of Christ our righteousness. They prefer to sidestep clear statements found in inspiration of how the sacrifice paid by Jesus and His Father paid the penalty for our sins by asking questions such as, "Who was the penalty paid to?" The penalty was paid to God, for His justice demanded the life of the sinner. Pardon me for using Mrs. White to establish a truth, but she wrote: "The death of Christ was to be the convincing, everlasting argument that the law of God is as unchangeable as His throne. The agonies of the garden of Gethsemane, the insult, the mockery, the abuse heaped upon God's dear Son, the horrors and ignominy of the crucifixion, furnish sufficient and thrilling demonstration that God's justice, when it punishes, does the work thoroughly. The fact that His own Son, the Surety for man, was not spared, is an argument that will stand to all eternity before saint and sinner, before the universe of God, to testify that He will not excuse the transgressor of His law." - Manuscript 58, 1897.

The justice of God's law demands the death of the sinner, but the love of God provides a way of escape for the sinner who will comply with the terms set forth in God's plan. That's the good news. The good news is not that people have misunderstood God for thousands of years but that now we are to be enlightened by the truth that He does not destroy or punish sinners. The good news is that Christ took upon Himself the penalty the law demanded for the sins of those who are reconciled to God through faith in Christ and obedience to His requirements. The bad news for sinners who cling to cherished sin and false doctrines is that the suffering of Jesus will not cover their sins, and they will have to suffer in their own corrupt flesh the penalty for their own sins. The carnal mind hates this, for it wants to find a way to continue in sin while sliding into heaven by the skin of their teeth. Those who refuse to allow God to rule over them must themselves be subjected to a punishment that involves pain and suffering. That concept does not gel in the minds of liberal pacifists, so they invent a god who thinks like they do. They drag God down to their level and propose to tell God what is and is not a just punishment for unrepentant sinners.

I once sent a copy of the book "Christ Our Righteousness" and a set of the sermons tapes on this series to a devoted Maxwell follower, and he emailed me expressing his distaste for the message. He did not want to deal with those dark speech terms used by Lehman. He praised Maxwell more than he praised Christ. He is a minister in an Adventist church, and I read a series of Bible studies he wrote that leaves out several key doctrines taught by the church. The world desperately needs to know more about the love of God, and Satan knows that; so he is constantly introducing false concepts about God's love, and carnal minds (both inside and outside the church) are embracing those false theories with great gusto. They love to hear about a God who never punishes sinners. They are being taught to call God their friend while living in known violation of His holy law. They accuse and abuse those who point out the error being taught by men like Maxwell. They mistake the exposing of that error as mean-spirited instead of concern for the loss of souls.

The movement within Adventism that thinks they are enlightening us in this modern age of God's true character deviates so much from established Adventist doctrine to warrant their exposure. I wish they'd go peddle their opinions elsewhere and stop bringing in division in our churches. Let them link up with the brethren who are working to preach the third angel's message.

Gentlemen:

It is obvious you have no understanding of Seventh-day Adventist politics. Elder A. G. Daniels, Pesident of the General Conference called the 1919 Bible Conference. At that meeting the minutes will disclose, Elder Daniels spoke very candidly about E.G.White and her method of writing and her use or misuse of sources.

Several years later, at the General Conference session, Elder Daniels was up for re-election as President. Elder Spicer came in as a "White" knight claimed that Elder Daniels was "soft" on the Spirit of Prophecy. As a result of that gambit, Elder Spicer became the new General Conference President. The political lesson was not lost on any cleric seeking higher administrative office. At Glacier View, it was patently clear to Neal Wilson that the issue was Des or me.
Obviously Neal made the historically correct political choice.

Now you gentlemen may put and keep your faith in a bi-polar discredited prophetess. You may be sure, however, that in heaven there will be only Ellen White A! In the meantime, I intend to place my faith in Jesus Christ. I thank the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul for introducing me to my Savior. I also thank, my dad, Edward Heppenstall, C.B. Haynes, H. M. S. Richards, Graham Maxwell, and Paul Heubach for making plain the full character of my God and my Lord. Since that is the title of this thread. I wish to say: "Jesus Loves Me This I Know for the Bible" and some very dear friends have told me so!" Tom

Well, every time I get involved in these types of blogs and forums, it always ends the same way. I arouse the indignation of those who can't stant to hear the truth about themselves and the false teachers they worship.

I learned a trick from Elder HMS Richards, Sr (founder of the Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast program) that I have applied to my posts on this and other blogs and forums. He was on a committee organized by the GC that reviewed V.T. Houteff's teachings commonly referred to as the Shepherd's Rod. Houteff was invited to the GC to explain his views and Richards and other Adventist leaders, theologians, and educators sat and listened to Houteff expound on why his theories were truth.

Then Richards stood up and purposely made a not-so-flattering comment that really rubbed Houteff's ego the wrong way, and Houteff lit into Richards with all manner of wrath and "righteous indignation." When Houteff finished his tirade, Elder Richards calmly said to him, "When I suspect there is a dog in the bushes, I throw in a rock, and if I hear a whelp, I know I hit one."

Well, I have hit a few dogs on this blog; especially Frank with his "How dare you..." self-righteous indignation. You people who claim to have the truth about the meek and lowly Jesus have characters that are far from His. You parrot the things you hear from Maxwell that touch a cord of response in your carnal hearts, and then you slam into the ground anyone who dares question your hero's theories. You have all whelped like a bunch of dogs. I stirred up a hornet's nest, and that's because there are a bunch of hornets on this blog.

Someday I hope to actually meet a Maxwell follower who is meek and lowly instead of giving lip service about the Jesus you profess to follow. You have no idea how many sour, nasty, condemning emails I get from people who have read my article titled "The Counterfeit Character of God Movement." I have been pounced on by an army of vultures seeking to exonerate Maxwell and his anti-Adventist doctrines, and calling me names that I cannot repeat here. People start out corresponding with me, or exchanging blog posts with me by trying to be humble and patient, but if I throw in that rock, they always come out whelping. When you people who profess to be God's friend start walking the walk instead of just talking the talk, I might be willing to seriously sit and listen to what you have to say.

It's time for me to move on in search for that elusive human being who really does have the love of God in their heart as evidenced by their humble responses to my digs into their uninspired theories.

Ah once you have declared that you have the truth you always are on the side of right. It matters little how you got the so called truth, does not even matter if it was ever truth. All it takes is the belief that you have the truth and all else fails in front of you. All others are less than the Christian you are and all others fail to discuss without rancor because of course how can they do otherwise when they follow uninspired theories and you have the truth.

Do you see how this works do you see why those type of writings are hard to stomach.

The saddest thing is these people will likely be the inheritors of the Adventist church.

rc

Brave words for a person without the intestinal fortitude to sign their own name.

Dwight: "Onward Christian Soldiers!"

I think you both have exhausted all the derogatory language allowed on this site. So Good Night. Tom

Dwight,

I was trying to sift what you were trying to say, from the terrible way you were going about saying it.
I cant say I've succeeded, but I offer this council.
Sometimes a person meets resistance to his thoughts or opinions not because of the opinions, but because of the poor people skills he has displayed.

I have a brother in Christ where I attend church now that I have a hard time saying he is wrong on the issues, but I often wish he was so I could be seperated from his approach and attitude.

I hope you will read some more of EGW's council, but this time on your attitude and approach.

Dwight...

Just to set the record straight, I'm not a Maxwell follower. I've never read anything by him, nor do I agree with what I've seen posted about his rejection of substitutionary atonement, if what is posted is accurate.

Secondly, I'm not interested in the outcome of the doctrinal discussion going on here as much as I dislike your treatment of a fellow Christian brother. And that's what matters most to me, how we treat one another, even in our disagreements.

Go see what Ellen White kept emphasizing in Minneapolis during the 1888 Conference. The two sides were warring with one another over issues as obscure as the daily in Daniel 8, all the way to the content and meaning of the gospel itself.
And yet, what she found most important was the way both sides were treating one another. In fact, she didn't think much of anyone's theology if it didn't lead them to be kind, tenderhearted and patient with one another.

I didn't find any evidence of that in your post to Tom. You can call my reaction whatever you would like...but that simply reinforces my feelings about the matter even all the more. Why? Because there is a lack of willingness on your part to look at the people you may have offended on a personal, relational level and simply say, "I'm sorry." Instead, you simply justified your behavior in your last post, took no ownership of your actions, took the role of the wounded party, and wrapped it all up in "theological" correctness.

You can keep throwing rocks for whatever "theological" reasons you may have. Or you can run and just write us all off. I'd just rather engage on a level where we could agree to disagree, but not be disagreeable.

Thanks...

Frank

Ron,

I might have disagreed with your language earlier, but I can understand your frustration.

Thanks...

Frank

Shubee, I just want to impress upon everyone who read those quotes you used from the book "A Course In Miracles" that these are supposedly the words of a channeled jesus.

Dwight,

I found this interesting. It is the testimony from Helen Schucman herself. You can listen to Helen Schucman's experience from an audio file as you read the four-paragraph excerpt at Helen Schucman talks about “The Voice” That Conveyed A Course in Miracles to Her.

Satan's ability to communicate directly to people like Schucman and Maxwell reminds me of these two Ellen White quotes:

"Sometimes our physicians talk for hours, when they are weary and perplexed, and in no fit condition to talk. Medical missionaries should refuse to hold long night sessions of conversation. These night talks have been times when Satan with his seductive influence has stolen away from one and then another the faith once delivered to the saints. Brilliant, sparkling ideas often flash from a mind that is influenced by the great deceiver. Those who listen and acquiesce will become charmed, as Eve was charmed by the serpent's words. They cannot listen to charming philosophical speculations, and at the same time keep the word of the living God clearly in mind." Selected Messages Book 1, p. 197.

I consider the following quote to be even more descriptive of Satan inspiring Maxwellians than the previous one about Kellogg:

"He appeals to the reason by the presentation of elevating themes; he delights the fancy with enrapturing scenes; and he enlists the affections by his eloquent portrayals of love and charity. He excites the imagination to lofty flights, leading men to take so great pride in their own wisdom that in their hearts they despise the Eternal One." GC 554.

There was once a small group of people who thought the whole of the final plans for Earth as it is known revolved around them. In fact their vision was so tightly focused as to be somewhat comical but mostly tragic. 160 some years seems to have changed little. I would suggest that Shubee and Dwight Turner crack their door open and peek outside.

What I find so offensive about his article on Maxwell via the "course in miracles" is that truth mixed with error is the best method of deceiving. A course in miracles whether it is demon inspired or human inspired is going to have some truth also. Eugene simply dismisses that reality to use his illogic of guilt by association because there are a few things in common.

Not even close. The only relevant controversy is the core meaning of the cross. I have asserted that there is a devilish similarity between the brilliant, sparkling ideas of A. Graham Maxwell and the revelation about Christ's atonement by Helen Schucman. Maxwell claims that his whole gospel is predicated on the question, "Does God say, 'Love Me, or I will kill you'? or is it, 'love Me, or I will let you go, and you will die'?" See the section Why Did Jesus Have to Die? in my article on Maxwell. The difference there is between Servants and Friends.

Schucman summaries her gospel by contrasting those who are fearful and misunderstand to those with love and understanding. According to Schucman, the fearful are known to speak of the ‘wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Schucman's ultimate conclusion is that no one is punished for sins and that the crucifixion represents release from fear to anyone who understands it. That's precisely Maxwell's conclusion in Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Why don't you just frankly admit that, on the meaning of the atonement, you are closer to the teachings of Helen Schucman than with Ellen White affirmations of Christ's vicarious substitutionary atonement?

Shubee

It is vain sir to extenuate the matter. You are more than weclome to your own opinions. The issue is not your opinions but the vindictive manner in which you condemn those who disagree. I believe, the Graham Maxwell is a true disciple of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I believe that he has kept his ordination vows, I believe he has lead many to a saving relationship with God. I believe that he has served his church with honor, grace, patience, and good scholarship. You obviously don't agree. Which is your priviledge--the primary question is why do you and your gentlemen friends have to be so disagreable about it? The Helen Schucman issue is irrelevent--one can cherry pick anything. I bet they both believe in sliced bread. Tom

Frank, your last message to me finally makes sense. We have all been slinging mud and throwing rocks at each other. This is a human reaction when dealing with controversial and highly personal subjects. Looks like we are having our own mini-1888 conference here on this blog. You wrote that Ellen White "didn't think much of anyone's theology if it didn't lead them to be kind, tenderhearted and patient with one another." Now, if you had written this at the beginning of the first signs of mudslinging, and then repeated it often, I wouldn't have used that throw-the-rock-into-the-bush analogy.

For personal reasons, I have a burden to expose blatant falsehoods that arise within the ranks of the SDA Church; and we know from what Ellen White predicted that all manner of false theories will come in, and will be partially responsible for the great shaking. The reason for my burden is that I have lost good friends to false movements that have arisen within the church, such as the so-called deliverance ministry back in the mid-80s. There were Adventists who were running around the country claiming the ability to cast out demons; but they used techniques totally foreign to the Bible. Closely associated with the deliverance fanaticism were many who were claiming to be receiving "thought messages" from God. This movement was grooming a 16 year old girl to become the new Ellen White (Shannon was her name). It was all obvious fanaticism. Both of those movements faded from the Adventist scene in the early 90s after one of the so-called "messengers" ordered a church elder who had spoken against her "gift" to be murdered. The person who murdered that elder is still in prision. A book was written about this whole sordid affair and can be purchased in Adventist Book Stores. I had friends who got caught up in that fanaticism, and I tried my best to warn them that the deliverance ministry and message movements were not Biblical because of the many contradictions between what they were teaching and what the Bible and Ellen White taught. Some of them heeded my warnings and pulled out of the movement, but some were so deceived that they died in their hatred of the Adventist church for not recognizing their deliverance or message practices. The General Conference transcribed a set of tapes I made about these movements and distributed them to areas that were being plagued with deliverance and message fanatics. Those transcripts prevented fanatics in Oregon from taking over the leadership of some of the Adventists churches there.

In 1985, some Davidian SDAs came to my church as wolves in sheep's clothing. I lost two of my best friends to them. In secret, my friends started studing Davidian doctrine (Shepherd's Rod) and soon they left the church to join in with the Davidians. Later they came to their senses, but now they belong to a Sunday-keeping church. I felt obligated to write and post on my website (www.sdabeaconlight.org) an article showing how V.T. Houteff's doctrines were out of harmony with Ellen White's writings, even though Davidians claim that his teachings are 100% in harmony with Ellen White. In the 12 years since I first posted that Davidian article, I have received dozens of emails thanking me for opening people's eyes...people who were on the verge of joining the Davidian movement. I have also received tons of hate mail from Davidians.

Then along came what I call the false character of God movement. Not being the type of person who sticks their head in the sand when souls are in danger, I spent 2 years researching this movement. I began to see who the key players were, and how their theories were out of harmony with inspiration. I wrote an article and posted it on my website. A couple of days after I posted the article, I received an email from an Adventist lady who was literally on the brink of joining a group of Adventists in her home town that were starting their own church to promote the theories of Maxwell and others (such as Marco Belmonte and Brad Cole). She said that my article opened her eyes and caused her to pull back from the movement, and today she is actively warning others about the error being taught by well-intentioned, but deceived Adventists.

Soon after I posted my article on the counterfeit character movement I started receiving emails from Maxwell supporters slamming me and as a hopeless legalist. Not once did anyone ever defend the points of doctrine being taught by Dr. Maxwell that I brought up in my article. All they did was throw rocks. Well, it's difficult to get pelted and not return fire; but Frank, as you pointed out, warring over points of theology is pointless. It's the spirit in which the discussion is conducted that makes the difference. I will continue to sound the warning against the false teachings in the counterfeit character of God movement to those Adventists who will listen, and try not to get so riled up when people refuse to deal with the issues, put human beings on a pedestal, and belittle Ellen White (which she predicted would happen just as we near the end).

This blog started out on the theme of the new book titled "The Character of God Controversy." I think I'll go find a copy and see what it has to say.

Eugene wrote:
--
Why don't you just frankly admit that, on the meaning of the atonement, you are closer to the teachings of Helen Schucman than with Ellen White affirmations of Christ's vicarious substitutionary atonement?

--

On that issue I may well be, Then again I would also be more in line with the Early church Fathers and a host of others Christians also. My greatest problem with Maxwell is his reliance upon Ellen White. You can read my reaction to his "why did Jesus have to die interview" with Jonathan Gallagher. You will notice that I never question his Christian standing or that of Ellen White even when I disagree with them. Unlike Eugene's method.

http://newprotestants.com/Grahamaxwell.htm

Dwight,

I am a late joiner of the conversation and may not stay long.

I will agree with you that Graham (perhaps a perfect gentlemen...never met him) teaches a "neo-moral influece" view that does not adequately deal with God's justice and wrath against sin/sinners and the necessity of Christ's substitutionary atonement.

However I feel on the other end of the Spectrum we have those views that equally "undermine scripture" by extrapolating "false views" of the scriptural basis of Dan.8:14...i.e. 1844 and the IJ and carry that on to "Why Jesus waits, the final generation and perfectionism." What say you on these issues?

regards,
pat

Pat wrote:
--
God's justice and wrath against sin and the necessity of Christ's substitutionary atonement.
--

What is wrath against sin? Do you separate sin from the person who commits the sin, that is they have the attitude that hates, or kills or whatever. How can one have wrath against an attitude or an action which we would call sin without that wrath being against the individual with the attitude that committed the sin.

In other words we had great atrocities in history. Take the crusades on both sides, the Crusaders and the Muslims. Is it possible to have wrath against the actions such as destroying a village and the people in it without your wrath being against the people who did the destroying? Then again what good does such wrath do against people long dead?

Why if these things make no sense do we insert them into God. Why use language that sounds all spiritual and traditional yet can't even be explained reasonably. If it could be explained reasonably why not use that explanation instead of the phrase "wrath against sin". Maxwell would call that dark language. I would call it subterfuge, a way to prop up a theory that has little to support it so the language used to defend it is misleading and inaccurate and incomprehensible if examined. So the users of that language don't want to examine it, they want it to be unquestioningly accepted because it is their accepted tradition.

There was once a small group of people who thought the whole of the final plans for Earth as it is known revolved around them. In fact their vision was so tightly focused as to be somewhat comical but mostly tragic.

I can see how easy it is for the world to mock Jesus, His Apostles, and the early Adventists for their eschatology. I stand with the righteous and offer no apology to those that have no fear of the Lord (Revelation 14:7).

I would suggest that Shubee and Dwight Turner crack their door open and peek outside.

Not only do I see the world as it really is, I also have a clear understanding of the future. I even know the vision of the future that New Age spiritualists imagine. Their vision is in the book, Reinventing Jesus Christ. It's a truly fascinating illusion; I simply don't believe it's true.

RC,

At this time I am trying to converse with Dwight. We have spent considerable time on this in the past and "agree to disagree."

regards,
pat

There are those who are so involved that for them religion becomes toxic. A book recommended is "When Religion Becomes Evil" by Charles Kimball, professor and chair of religion at Wake Forest Univefsity, and an ordained Baptist minister. There is a very long history of people, groups, and movements that became so zealous for their particular religious beliefs that the murdered and killed (not only in the Christian religion, either). That is the religion that converts to atheism and agnosticism, rather than to any religious belief.

No one so zealous for a particular view would be made happy knowing he was converting to agnosticism and against all religions, but that is happening by such extreme fanatacism.

Selections from the book mentioned:

"Absolute truth claims based on selective reading of sacred texts is often a sign of corrupted religion."

"It is possible to embrace and affirm religious truth without defining truth for others. It is much easier to know the truth than to seek it."

"We would do well to remember that religious truth claims concern issues and events about which we have far less tangible data than the facts involved in our daily lives. And one's background and worldview shape the way religious questions are framed."

"If at the heart of the Christian theology one affirms that human logic is inadequate to explain the mystery of God, how can one casually declare that one-fifth or more of the world's population is mistaken in their particular non-Christian belief?"

"Sacred texts can be misused through a kind of sanctification of the whole and through selective reading and interpretation. Sacred texts are the most easily abused component of religion."

Pat, you bring to mind something that Ellen White wrote: "In this world we might become hopelessly perplexed, as the devil wants us to be, if we keep looking upon those things that are perplexing; for by dwelling upon them, and talking of them, we become discouraged." Our High Calling, p. 246.

In these last days the devil has made sure to bring in multiple perplexing issues to keep Adventists from their mission to proclaim the third angel's message. Some issues need to be dealt with, but some issues are obvious tangents to our journey to heaven. There are so many issues that I can't keep track of them all. I know that a few individuals have come along to say that 1844 has no prophetic significnace, and have tried to undermine the Adventist views of the Investigative Judgement. Des Ford and Charles Wheeling, for example. My approach is to study the Bible and Ellen White's comments on subjects that I want to learn more about, and then come to my own conclusions.

It is perplexing as to why Jesus has not returned yet. Everyone has their opinions but all we can really do is watch and pray to be ready. Please don't get too caught up in the controversial issues that can lead to becoming "hopelessly perplexed." Cling to what you firmly believe is truth. Move very cautiously into anything purporting to be new light.

Sorry I don't have any more insight into the issues you raised. I am 62 now and my energy levels have been drained by years of chronic pain, recent major surgery, living 51 years with Tourette Syndrome, and constant travel as part of my job (60,000 miles per year). Since I became an Adventist in 1975, I have loved this movement and every day I am convinced that Jesus will return soon. This is our great hope. The intellectuals (and psudeo-intellectuals) can debate all of the side issues, but I have learned to be selective on where to channel my energy. The subject that started this blog is one of my big interests because I see the damage that false theories in regard to the character of God can do to individuals and to the Adventist denomination.

Dwight,

I hope that your health improves.

I am not "hopelessly perplexed" because I simply seek to have the Bible as my final authority. You have seemingly demanded that on "Maxwell" followers but I am not sure you apply the same standard to yourself on all of EGW's views. I appreciate those views of EGW that I can find biblical support for...such as the need for the atonement made by Christ as propitiation to turn away God's wrath from those who receive Christ as savior, since God/Christ himself received that wrath in our stead.

I can find no such support for 1844 and the IJ. I can accept a momentary "pre-advent" judgment as "necessary" if our pre-millennial view is correct.

regards,

pat

Pat at least with me you would have a discussion. You will not have that with Eugene or as it appears Dwight. You made a statement about Maxwell's view being inadequate. Well the main thing you find inadequate about it is that it does not include substitutionary atonement.

Which as I had earlier said in my blog is what a lot of Adventists complain about with other Atonement theories...that is they are not the same as their substitutionary theory. So how can they possibly be accepted. Well the answer is found when you learn how to get past the confusing phrases people use in their effort to support the substitutionary theory.

Further I don't think we have ever agreed to disagree on what you mean by "God's justice and wrath against sin". It is very germane to the topic of this thread however.

RC,

Please explain to me your understanding of "penal substitution" as an atonement theory. Also, please explain the Greek words that describe "propitiation" and how that relates to the turning away of wrath.

If we were not "enemies" and their is no "wrath", why is there a need for reconciliation? Why are we saved "from wrath" by Christ? Rom.5:9-10.

regards,

pat

Pat, have you read Clifford Goldstein's "1844 Made Simple"? I read it when it was first published and recall that it was a good Biblical study on 1844 and the IJ.

I have a copy of Ministry Magazine that was published in October of 1980. It was a special edition titled "Christ and His High Priestly Ministry" and dealt with the Desmond Ford controversy. It might be of help in understanding the church's position on the IJ. It is 64 pages long, but I'll xerox a copy and send it to you if you provide your address. You can email me at beaconlightsermons@yahoo.com.

Dwight

Dwight,

Thanks. I am already familiar with it. Perhaps you could convince our SDA scholars to present their arguments to "conservative" Westminster Theological Journal for a scholarly opinion,evaluation and possible publication...to break down misunderstanding to the SDA belief.

http://www.wts.edu/resources/wtj.html

Perhaps they could also show how Christ did not enter the Most Holy until 1844 which seems clearly unbiblical to me and is part of the outworking of the IJ doctrine as taught by SDA's.

regards,

pat

Dwight,

The church's position on the Investigative Judgment doesn't answer most critics. I'm the only person that I know of that can defend the IJ.

Dwight,

Perhaps Shubee is what the SDA church (of which I am a member) has been praying for!

regards,

pat

Pat wrote:
--
Please explain to me your understanding of "penal substitution" as an atonement theory. Also, please explain the Greek words that describe "propitiation" and how that relates to the turning away of wrath.
--

Now why would it be necessary for me to explain Penal substitution in order for you to define what you mean by saying "wrath against sin"?

I have an article which identifies the major atonement theories in the appendix of "What is wrong with the Substitutionary theory of the Atonement" http://newprotestants.com/Subatone.htm

As for propitiation why not tell me the last time you used that word in any non religious context. As if the King James English word is some kind of final authority as to what the New Testament writer meant. Luckily we have modern translations that don't feel the need to hold to the language of English 400 years ago. Though I do understand the desire to use the language that produced the theory, perhaps it is not really the best way to go. Today instead of propitiation translators say "sacrifice of atonement" and we can understand that well enough something given up for the purpose of reconciling estranged parties. That is a much different idea then the appeasement concept of pagan religions found in the word propitiation.

rc,

The reason is that in your personally explaining what you understand the theory to mean, I can then evaluate your personal understanding since I will read it.

I don't want an article on your site. I want your own words and understanding. If this is to much effort then...we can agree to disagree.

regards,

pat

I get it Pat, I am probably too stupid to know what Penal/Substitutionary atonement is. Even though I have created articles going over the history of the Atonement theories I must prove to you here that I know what it means, that you can't be bothered to look at the article I have and it's references. I have to derail the thread so that you can be satisfied and then you can tell me what you mean when you use the term "wrath at sin".

Pretty good evidence if you ask me about the way Penal theorists rely on subterfuge to prop up their theory.

So it is not so much as agree to disagree, it becomes agree that you can't get an answer from them to disagree with.

"Shubee ... You are more than weclome to your own opinions. The issue is not your opinions but the vindictive manner in which you condemn those who disagree."

I don't believe that I said a single vindictive word on that thread. I simply believe that type matches antiptype, that the alpha reveals the omega, that Ellen White was a prophet, that everything she wrote about elder Kellogg is also true of elder Maxwell and that Ellen White's words were faithful, true, appropriate and inspired.

For instance: I see noting inappropriate or unchristian in the following EGW testimonies:

    "How long shall the testimonies of warning be rejected for the wisdom of men? There are many things that I have not wanted to specify, but I am compelled to do this by the course that Dr. Kellogg takes. The last move made--the sending out of Living Temple--is a sample of the working of the man's mind. He makes the statement that he cannot see in Living Temple the things that I have said are there. Why can he not see them? Because his mind is being worked by the very one who seduced the angels of God in the heavenly courts."

    "Let me tell you of a scene that I witnessed while in Oakland. Angels clothed with beautiful garments, like angels of light, were escorting Dr. Kellogg from place to place and inspiring him to speak words of pompous boasting that were offensive to God ..."

    "The Lord still has thoughts of mercy toward John Kellogg, but the fallen angels are close by his side, communicating with him."

    "I hope that you will be true and faithful to help Dr. Kellogg. He is in a perilous condition. His case is a heavy burden on my soul. It would be a great relief to me to hear that he is reaching a place where he can see the terrible mistakes he has made. He needs to understand the simplicity of truth. He needs to realize that the Lord will not accept him unless he sees the mistake that he has been making, and turns to the Lord with full purpose of heart. How can a man who has had such great light link up with evil angels? And while he does this, how can he be accepted as a guide of our people to stand at the head of the medical missionary work?"

    "Before leaving Washington for Berrien Springs, I was instructed upon some points regarding the work at Battle Creek. In the night season I was in a large meeting. Dr. Kellogg was speaking, and he was filled with enthusiasm regarding his subject. His associate physicians and ministers of the gospel were present. The subject upon which he was speaking was life, and the relation of God to all living things. In his presentation he cloaked the matter somewhat, but in reality he was presenting scientific theories which are akin to pantheism, as of the highest value. . . . One by my side told me that the evil angels had taken captive the mind of the speaker..."

    "At the time of the General Conference in Oakland, I was forbidden by the Lord to have any conversation with Dr. Kellogg. During that meeting a scene was presented to me, representing evil angels conversing with the Doctor, and imbuing him with their spirit, so that at times he would say and do things, the nature of which he could not understand. He seemed powerless to escape from the snare. At other times he would appear to be rational."

    "Soon after the Oakland conference, in the night season the Lord portrayed before me a scene, in which Satan, clothed in a most attractive disguise, was earnestly pressing close to the side of Dr. Kellogg. I saw and heard much. Night after night I was bowed down in agony of soul, as I saw this personage talking with our brother. I was instructed that notwithstanding the warnings, counsels, and reproofs given, he has followed his own way, when as a people we have been receiving instruction to advance in an opposite direction. In the place of cooperating with the angels of heaven, he has cooperated with evil angels."

    "Many things have been presented to me. I have been shown that although J.H. Kellogg has written that he has surrendered, he has not surrendered. He will vindicate himself, and will not, unless thoroughly converted, be a safe man to stand in positions of influence. We must guard the flock of God from just such things as have for years been proceeding from his sophistries. It is not safe for him to bear the responsibilities that he has borne. The burden has laid heavily upon me as I have been obliged to meet his ways, his suggestions, and his plans, which the Lord has not inspired, and which, if followed, would cause many to turn aside from the truth to fables dressed in angels' robes. God forbid that this should continue."

Dwight,

The mistakes you made talking to Tom Zwemer are of a technical nature. Here are some brief examples. You wrote:

You refuse to believe what has been revealed through inspiration regarding the character of God, ...

We don't know that for sure. It could be that Tom Zwemer is a demon in human form. Demons believe and know what they're doing. They simply refuse to obey.

    "Satan will use every opportunity to seduce men from their allegiance to God. He and his evil angels who fell with him will appear on the earth as men, seeking to deceive. God's angels also will appear as men, and will use every means in their power to defeat the purposes of the enemy. We have a part to act." -- EGW, 8MR 399.

and so you invent a god that fits your own concepts of what a God of love should be like.

This statement is also technically incorrect because Tom Zwemer could be a mere dupe of Satan. We can't be certain that he invented anything.

It is no wonder you thumb your nose at Ellen White, for she exposes your sins to the world.

This statement is only poor because it's imprecise. We know for a fact that Tom hates Ellen White but his hatred could be because of his hatred for truth in general.

[ Your comments toward Tom in this post are absolutely over the line! I will leave this post up so you and others can read the feedback. In the future posts like this will be deleted. Keep this up and you will be banned from this site. - website editor]

Shubee and Friends:

Below is a poem composed by H.M.S. Richards Sr, that I think addresses directly the Character of God. At least that is the God that I love and serve. I highly recommend it; as we are sinner all. I will pray for you, unless you explicitly request that I not. Love Tom

Go In an Make the Old Think Right.

Adam saith to Seth, his son,
When Adams’s life was nearly done/
“I’m the first man that e’er was made,
And yet a failure, I’, afraid;
But you are young, and life is thine;
You’ll have a chance that ne’er was mine;
So at last when I give up the fight,
Go in and make the old thing right”

But when the years had come and gone,
Seth also passed the word along
To Enos, then his son and pride;
And he again, Before he died
To his son Cainan made appeal,
Who give it to Mahalaleel,
So on to Jared went the word,
And deathless Enoch also heard.

Methuselah, through smiles and tears,
Lived with it near a thousand years;
Then after Lamech heard the call
‘Twas Noah bore it last of all,
Before the Deluge came to end
A human race that would not mend,
Each father would his son indite:
“Go in and make the old thing right.”

And so the ages went and came,
Yet still the problem was the same;
Unsettled there at Eden’s gate,
For some redemption seemed to wait.
The sin that shortened human breath
The shadow that the world called death,
A million tears to blind our sight,
No man could ever make it right.

And the He came! He came! He came!
Redeemer with the wondrous name.
In birth, in life, in love, in death,
He walked our ways, he breathed our breath,
With pierced hand extended wide,
The Lord of heaven—for us He died
While midday hid its face in night—
When in and made the old thing right!

H. S. M. Richards.

God bless. Tom

What a contrast between Suhbee and Tom! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all demonstrate that type of non-judgmental view of
other people and their ideas.

It is enlightening listening to the tactics used to attack and defend (thanks TomZ for being a spokesman for many) Graham Maxwell. What interests me is that so much of it is attack against the person rather than what he teaches. I have heard almost nothing cited as something he teaches that I have ever heard him actually say. I've heard a lot of "claims" about what he teaches, supposedly from "years of research".

But from first glance, I have to conclude that those who are opposing his viewpoint have not really listened to him - or if they have it has only been to find ammunition for their preconceived position. To accuse him of spiritualism or pantheism is simply ludicrous to anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with his position and methods. Since I would prefer to put the best spin on such statements I assume that they are not lying but simply have never taken the time to listen to him for themselves - or heaven forbid, to take his suggestion and read through the bible asking "What does this tell us about God?" Any one who has listened to him thoughtfully could not possibly make the outrageous claims about what he is teaching that have been made here. One might not agree with him, but to paint him as some sort of monster out to wreck the Adventist church and lead us all into perdition (I know, no one actually said those exact words)... words fail me.

BUT, here is the biggest objection that I have to all this discussion. If one really wanted to take Graham Maxwell at his word, and maybe go him one better, we wouldn't be talking about him at all. Instead, we would be talking about the wonder of our glorious Father and how we can paint an even better picture of him for his estranged children. That is the point of the whole bible (and EGW for that matter, though as has been noted, she grew and learned throughout her life without reaching perfection).

If you want to show me that Graham Maxwell is wrong, show me how your view of God makes him even more gracious, loving, forgiving and winsome than Graham's approach. If you can do that then you have something and I'll be the first to acknowledge your viewpoint and accept your picture of God. If you can't, don't be found trying to make God LESS gracious and loving than someone else's picture. You may find yourself hearing God say "You have NOT said of me what is right as my servant Job has."

My $0.02

Mark

"It could be that Tom Zwemer is a demon in human form."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I've seen people demonize their opponents...but I've never seen any one try to do it literally! If one has to resort to this, then one's arguments don't matter at all... they themselves have destroyed any semblence of intellectual and spiritual credibility they may have had. Why? The argument and arguer again has to stoop to attempting to assasinate character instead of sticking to the issues.
But they'll probably deny it, not own it, and find someway to to attack this criticism as well.

Meanwhile, Tom uplifts Jesus Christ in his last response as THE TRUTH that we need! He uplifts the redemption that was given to us in love from his hands! As Jesus said:

"By their fruits you shall know them."

Everybody.....have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks...

Frank

[Frank (& others): See the added comment, above, to Shubee's original posting. This sort of incivility will not be tolerated. - website editor]

Mark wrote: "I have heard almost nothing cited as something he [Dr. Maxwell] teaches that I have ever heard him actually say. I've heard a lot of 'claims' about what he teaches, supposedly from 'years of research'."

Mark, virtually every quote attributed to Dr. Maxwell in the article at http://www.sdabeaconlight.org/Counterfeit.htm, is quoted verbatim from his Internet interview, from his book, his website, and from a transcript of a series he conducted at Andrews University. You may not have personally heard him say these things, but the quotes are documented. In the article, it is not the intent to attack Dr. Maxwell, but rather to compare his theories with inspiration (Bible and Spirit of Prophecy). Any true-hearted reader will acknowledge that there exists multiple discrepancies between his teachings and the established doctrines of the church. Also, one will note the many similarities between his words and the theology being presented in the book "A Course in Miracles," which is without doubt of Satanic origin.

People confuse criticisms of Dr. Maxwell's theories as a direct attack on his character. This is not true. If were to personally meet Dr. Maxwell, I would treat him with respect. Frank has provided insight in one of his postings that it is the spirit in which these controversial subjects are discussed that is important, otherwise it is nothing less than mud-slinging. I have taken to heart the wisdom in his effort to conduct these discussions in the right spirit. I apologize for having offended anyone who has adopted Dr. Maxwell's viewpoints. They have every right to believe as their conscience dictates; but so do I.

In order to not be deceived by new theories, I believe that they must be compared to what inspiration has to say on the subject. At some point, if the contradictions are blatant and numerous, then I must reject them as error. I have seen in my years of experience as an Adventist that if people listen without caution to so-called new light, they are easily sucked into error without being consciously aware of it. That is why I have undertaken the effort to warn the unsuspecting to be extremely cautious about approaching the new theories being taught about the character of God.

That article about the counterfeit character of God movement was not written for the benefit of those who have already embraced what many consider to be questionable theories regarding the character of God to be found in the church today, for once a person has embraced those theories, it is almost impossible to change their minds. Read the article and see (in their own words) how far some have taken the theories of Dr. Maxwell and others. The article was written simply to warn those who have not yet been exposed to those theories. If they are exposed to the errors of what is being taught by well-intentioned Adventists who believe they are truly defending the character of God but whose theories contain mostly human speculation, then they almost surely will reject those theories once exposed to them.

The theories attributed to Dr. Maxwell are not "claims" but his own words.

Thank You Elaine, Mark, and Frank.

Betty and T will celebrate Thanksgiving with our second son and family tomorrow noon--Steve is on call tomorrow evening.

Our daughter and her husband will join us tomorrow evening.

We will celebrate Thanksgiving again this weekend with our first son and extended family about 30 including two great grandchildren.

We are looking forward to both gatherings with great pleasure.

May your holiday be as joyous.

Tom

Dwight - I started reading your article you linked to above. Neat the beginning you say:

    Note the statement that ―God has allowed His people to believe Him to be a destroyer for 1000s of years.‖ This is one of the fundamental errors of the counterfeit movement. Implied in that statement is that there is new light regarding God‘s character—that mankind is now to be enlightened that God is not a destroyer. Once that false concept is embraced by some human minds, it doesn‘t matter to them anymore what inspiration teaches. From that point on, they will only believe in a god that does not destroy. They scoff at the idea of a God that destroys out of love and mercy.

I take it then that I can summarize your thoughts in this paragraph like this: God destroys, get use to it. Note, I'm quoting from the main article of this thread.

Yet, you say that the counterfeit movement rejects what inspiration teaches. Inspiration teaches us this:

    We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death. {1MR 131.1}

Inspiration also says this:

    God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God's hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty. {GC 36.1}

Punishment fell on Jerusalem, no question. But how was God involved, according to inspiration? God withdrew, and let them go. The result is not pretty. Sin pays it own wage, and that is death.

The Bible says this:

    James 1:13-15
    (13) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
    (14) but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
    (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

And yet, you say it is God who destroys. It would be better to just come out and say this clearly, so we could have understood your position in the beginning.

Inspiration also tells this this about Satan's plans:

    The very attributes that belonged to the character of Satan, the evil one represented as belonging to the character of God. Jesus came to teach men of the Father, to correctly represent him before the fallen children of earth. Angels could not fully portray the character of God, but Christ, who was a living impersonation of God, could not fail to accomplish the work. The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes. That men might have salvation he came directly to man, and became a partaker of his nature. {ST, January 20, 1890 par. 6
    Those who would behold this glory would be drawn to love Jesus and to love the Father whom he represented. Christ exalted the character of God, attributing to him the praise, and giving to him the credit, of the whole purpose of his own mission on earth,--to set men right through the revelation of God. {ST, January 20, 1890 par. 9}

I sense from your article Dwight, that those whom you claim represent God as a God of Love, are not giving God attributes that really belong to Satan. Satan is the destroyer, and who is it that is trying to put that attribute on God?

Thank you Mr. Badger and Tom for you words above. And thank you Dwight for your contrasting view, it helps me understand.

Blessings on all.

I will now go back into the lurking mode...

Punishment fell on Jerusalem, no question. But how was God involved, according to inspiration?

Jesus answered that question decisively in The Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22):

    1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2"The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

    4"Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'

    5"But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

    8"Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

    11"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.

    13"Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

    14"For many are invited, but few are chosen."

And yet, you say it is God who destroys. It would be better to just come out and say this clearly, so we could have understood your position in the beginning.

No. I think it would be better if those who are ashamed of what Jesus taught and repudiate Scripture so that they can exalt Natural Consequences above God would come out and frankly admit that they are pantheists. I admit that those who interpret Jesus to be a pantheist have a weak argument but it is ultimately deceptive. I consider the following Scriptures to be self-evident in meaning, non-pantheistic and perfectly consistent with the Ellen White quote from 1MR 131.1.

John 5
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

John 12
44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

So how shall we summarize what Jesus taught about the judgment in these verses? Is it that His judgment will be perfectly just or is it that God will step aside at the final judgment and let the Force of Nature punish the wicked as the pseudo-Adventist pantheists believe?

http://www.everythingimportant.org/seventhdayAdventists/pantheism.htm

Pan means involving all or including all. Theism refers to the existance or presence of god. Thus, pantheism means to believe in the prevasive in-dwelling of god in all living organisms.

You only got the meaning of pan and theism right. Pantheism, according to dictionary.com is

1. the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.
2. any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.

I add a third bullet as a qualification to the first point:
3. You're a pantheist if you exalt Nature above God.

There is no doubt that Kellogg and his associates confused God and nature. They were absolutely thrilled by God being in their bath water, in the air they breathed and in the bread they ate:

http://www.everythingimportant.org/seventhdayAdventists/alpha.htm

It is equally clear from my earlier posts on this thread that pan-Gnostic Adventist spiritualists are also pantheists.

Thank you Shubee

It is your application of the term that I disagree with as I do with your instant libeling one by labelling them before you attempt to destroy them.

Diagnosis should precede treatment that should lead to healing not to disposal.

"Let the lower lights be burning" does not refer to putting the torch to the kindling at the feet of one tied to a stake.
Tom

A. Way...you bring up some excellent points. I believe that any who are investigating the subject of the character of God can come up with Bible and SOP quotes that confirm their views. The same is true when discussing the human nature of the Jesus and other subjects where people tend to polarize into groups.

I think that there is a lesson here, which is that when people migrate to opposites ends of the spectrum, it could be that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I have no doubt but that God has allowed the controversy over His character to come to the forefront of discussion within the Adventist Church because He realizes that we all need to dig deeper to find the gems of truth that lie below the surface. I think that there are things I can learn about God from those I oppose, and they can learn things from me. The problem, as I and Frank have noted, is that controversy often leads to blindness on the part of both sides of the controversy. My article was written as a warning about the dangers that lie in embracing the extreme views of some in the God-does-not-destroy camp. If we could somehow harmonize the quotes you presented with the quotes I used in my article about God's punishment and destruction of the wicked, we'd end up with some marvelous truths concerning His character. Instead of drawing circles around quotes that defend our own viewpoints and ignoring those quotes presented by the other side, we all need to stretch our mental powers to the utmost and look for an understanding of God's character that harmonizes with all of the quotes.

Mrs. White wrote that when discussing the personality of God, we should take off our shoes because we are on holy ground. But we humans tend to jump into this controversy with preconceived ideas, put on the gloves, and step into the ring to spar with our opponents...those who don't see truth as we see it. I believe that during the Loud Cry, there will be a harmonous viewpoint of God's character that will win people's confidence in God rather than cause them to dig ditches on opposite sides of the road and throw rocks at the opposition.

But right now all I see is people on opposite extremes hurling rocks and only focusing on the Bible texts and SOP quotes that support their own views. My article, I admit, is on the more conservative end of the spectrum. I pray that God will raise up men with a balanced approach to the subject of God's character...one that will bring us together rather than drive us apart.

Your summary of one part of my article was that "God destroys, get use to it." I offered many quotes that do confirm that God destroys, but I also tried to offer the reasons for why He must sometimes destroy. There are quotes that indicate that sin brings with it its own destruction. How can we harmonize these seemingly contradicting quotes? If there is seeming contradiction between inspired quotes, the quotes are not at fault, but rather our human understanding and our way of seeing truth. No two people see truth exactly the same way. But I believe that soon God will shed more light upon this entire subject in a way that will bring us joy, except for the extremists who seem to take delight in their extremism.

Thanks for sharing those quotes.

New light and choosing our passages:

To me it is clear that God and his message to humanity and to the universe has not changed. Some have suggested that the controversy over the character of God represents some sort of "new light." If talking about the character of God is something that has never been touched on before I'd say they might have a point. But the Good News is the Eternal Gospel that illuminates the whole world. It isn't new. And while Christ is the best revelation of God's character, God has been working all along to reveal himself to us. Some of the most beautiful descriptions of God's love for his children and his desire for us are in the Old Testament. And not just the minor prophets where it comes through so clearly in books like Hosea, but also in the midst of the fiercest language in Exodus and the other books of the Pentateuch. So this emphasis on the character of God is not something "new". It is in fact what God has been trying to show both to us and the onlooking universe. This is at the heart of the Great Controversy over... over what? the 2300 days? the little horn?... the Great Controversy is over the character and government of God as EGW puts it. This is what it has been about since Satan first charged God before the whole universe as being untrustworthy. That is as old as it gets.

Which leads me to the other thing I wanted to say. It has been noted that one can pick and choose places in the bible (and EGW) that say whatever one wants. True enough. So the supporting evidence for a particular view point is not "Can we find enough places in the bible that support our viewpoint?" But rather the best viewpoint is the one that is most inclusive, can best synthesize all the texts, especially the ones that don't seem to fit. That is what I have found most beneficial about listening to Graham Maxwell. It is not so much his conclusions, though I agree with most of those, but his methods of taking the bible as a whole and relating all its parts to the one central theme - the mission of Jesus Christ who said "I have finished the work that you have given me, I have revealed you to men." That is the context for reading the entire bible. And when you do that, all the bible starts to come into focus, at least for me. And God ends up looking even more winsome in some of the darkest places in the Old Testament. Why? Because you realize just how low the people he is trying to reach have sunk and you realize that God is willing to shout in thunder and lightening and threaten and in general do some pretty harsh things if that is that it took to be heard by his almost stone deaf children. So all the "harsh" places make perfect sense in the light of God's character. How does Jesus' revelation of his Father's love and methods make sense to those who think that God is harsh, arbitrary, exacting, vengeful, unforgiving and severe?

Ok, probably my $0.04 this time,

Mark

Thank you, Mark. An excellent summary of the Maxwellian
leadership and teaching. Your retelling brought back some very touching and revealing sessions in the LLU University Church on Wednesday evenings. No preaching, no telling, just asking and listening and learning. He is a man of God, a scholar of the Word, and a genuine friend to man. Living on Campus St with him for six years, our walks together, our private conversations in his office when I would return for Board of Trustee Meetings, and his manuscripts and tapes are precious to me. Thanks for the memories. Tom

Tom,

How wonderful to have a chance to really talk with Graham. I've met him a few times, but never really had the chance to talk. It is odd to have had three people who I feel were mentors but who didn't really know me from Adam. Dr Dick Nies from Glendale, Dr Graham Maxwell, and Dr Jack Provonsha were all used by God in his preparation of my heart and mind to show me his love for me, for his "black sheep" world, and really for all of his creatures. I have no doubt that without them God would have worked in other ways to reach me, as he does with everyone every where in whatever way we can hear him. But for me these were the three men that launched me on my journey back to him and I am forever grateful for their willingness to be used by God to reach others.

I only hope that I can in some small way do the same for others. Which is why I have to struggle to be engaged but not enter into the controversies. How does that help anyone reconnect with their Father? How does that "say of him what is right?" It doesn't. And yet I know that is my first inclination - jump in swinging. I'm still learning to follow the example of Jesus and believe him when he said: "He who would be first among you must be the servant of all" - and then backed it up with his own actions. I am inclined to think that if you really want to see God's character fully revealed, in action the place to go is to the upper room where Jesus showed what it means to be godlike. Astounding, absolutely astounding!

Mark

Mark

Great conversation. That is what this site was established to do. I knew all three you mentioned. Great Christian scholars, gentlemen all. Tom

"I am inclined to think that if you really want to see God's character fully revealed, in action the place to go is to the upper room where Jesus showed what it means to be godlike. Astounding, absolutely astounding!"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Beautiful thoughts, Mark!

I don't mean to throw a monkey wrench into the works, but how about these other pictures the gospel writers give us of Jesus... such as:

His overthrowing the money-changers' tables and clearing the temple?

His cursing of the fig tree?

His calling the religious elite a brood of vipers and hypocrites?

His publicly calling Herod a poser and a nobody?

His pronouncing that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomarrah in the judgement than cities like Capernaum that rejected him?

I only bring this up to suggest that the portrait of God's character that we get through Jesus is more complex and multi-faceted than we sometimes allow. Along with his tender, self sacrificing love and care, it also includes harder edges and harder sayings than we are often prepared or desire to deal with.

Thanks...

Frank

Frank,

Jesus was certainly passionate about protecting people from evil. But in all of the cases you mentioned, Jesus seems to have gotten most exercised about "pretentious piety", about people who were misrepresenting the Father to the people (OK Herod is probably an exception there, though by being King in Judea one could make the case that he was misrepresenting the nature of the Kingdom of God). And as Dr Thompson says (possibly quoting someone else) "When Jesus gets angry he attacks the furniture, not the people." :-)

Certainly sin is bad stuff, and God makes no bones about his revulsion for it. And Jesus accurately represents that in his speaking the truth to the worst for of evil - those who work according to the principles of Satan, and yet wrap themselves in a cloak of religious fervor.

But that is a far cry from saying that God does not love those who have been deceived by the father of lies - or even have consciously chosen to turn their back on him. These are all his children, even though they reject him. And Jesus speaking the truth to the religious leaders eventually bore fruit - we are told that a large number of the priests joined the new Christian movement later on.

And if you accept EGW, the "cursing" of the fig tree was illustration of the false piety of the Jewish nation. Apparently a fully leafed out fig tree should indeed have had figs (as I'm told, don't know this first hand). So the fig tree in full leaf without figs was advertising itself as something it was not, just like God's people. Nor do I think that we need to see the "curse" as the cause of the withering. As with the "blessings and the curses" it may well be that God is simply describing what will happen - the results of sin. I know that there are various plant diseases that do in fact stimulate growth. It may well be that the tree in question had such a disease, that Jesus knew this, and used it to drive home to his disciples their true condition. I don't think it is necessary or even reasonable to see this as an example of God getting mad at a tree and blasting it. That would contradict much of the rest of scripture's depiction of God's feelings for his children.

So, I do not see that the examples you cite in any way contradict the picture of God's love for all his creatures. Nor do they speak to his willingness to forgive and heal anyone who will accept it. In fact, I would submit that Jesus acted as he did because of his love for his children, because there was no other way in which he had any chance of getting through to them. And I think this same principle applies to the Old Testament as well. If we take Hebrews seriously, then it was this same Jesus who lead Israel in the wilderness and through its entire troubled history. Since God "changes" not, I think we have to assume that the same principles that Jesus revealed were in force in the Old Testament and throughout eternity.

So, you see, a monkey wrench is sometimes a useful tool! ;-)

Mark

Thanks Frank

You are always perceptive and kind. But to have the man who is God say those things is a far cry from labeling a fellow blogger as Satan is human guise, as some seem compelled to express in the name of defending "Truth".

Certainly, the Character of God is not enhanced by such defense. I ask the generic question, how long would Jesus have waited before He blow His horn at some slow driver who didn't start as soon as the light turned green? Would he have waved with one finger or the entire hand? That is where the rubber hits the road for a "Truth" filled Christian. Tom

Tom,

I certainly wasn't bringing up some of Jesus' hard sayings to legitimize the "libel by label," as you so aptly put it, that has gone on here. I realize that imbalanced sorts have and still use these things to justify their bad behavior in the name of 'truth.'

I was simply raising the idea that the character of God as seen in Jesus is not always so simple to pin down. The meek and mild flannelboard or Hallmark Jesus does not do justice to the complexity of his person, and the sometimes puzzle of his actions. Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew," raises such issues quite well, along with N.T. Wright's "The Challenge of Jesus."

I'm also not suggesting that Mark originally presented some superficial picture. And his subsequent response to the questions I raised is quite good (Thanks, Mark!). I guess I was just looking beyond the picture of the upper room to other instances in Jesus' life and saying, "What about this?"

Food for thought!

Thanks...

Frank

Mark,

One other small monkey wrench if you'll indulge me further:

Mark 11:13 says that when Jesus came to the fig tree, "...he found nothing but leaves on it, because it wasn't the season for figs."

This just doesn't seem quite like a one to one correspondence with the "pretentious piety" of Israel in this account. It would have been more of an aptly acted out parable if it was in season, and yet the tree, while giving the appearance, still bore no fruit. If it wasn't yet time for fruit, why would Jesus curse the tree?

I know this sounds like I'm picking at details. I just raise this as an example that Jesus' words and actions can sometimes be more puzzling than we acknowledge or allow.

Thanks for your patience...

Frank

Frank

I never for a moment considered you as a critic. An Apt student of Scripture and a kind friend.

About the fig tree, the only thing I can reconcile that curse is with the judgment scene outlined in Matt. 25:31-
By their fruits ye shall know them! The tree and the Jews were all show and no go! That is the lesson, I see in the Fig Tree Incident. Tom

I would suggest that if anyone insists on being an abuser of the vulnerable either spiritually or physically they will encounter a Jesus who doesn't fit the "Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild" profile.

Dick

I think you got the message, the Scriptures unfolded in 1000 pages. Tom.

Frank, I wrote this some time ago. But it speaks in some depth to the curse of the fig tree. Thought you might be interested. Tom

Obviously, “God Bless America” is a prayer plea. No less obviously, America needs and craves God’s blessing. The current issue is: Why now and in what way is America asking for God’s blessing? America in a moment of fear, anger, and frustration, lashed out against unsubstantiated enemies without thought or a plan for disengagement or exit. The current prayer plea connotes “Bless us in what we are doing!” Not unlike the boxer who knees in prayer prior to a bout to knock his opponent senseless.

Americans generally believe that America was created first as a haven for the oppressed and later as a bulwark against tyrants. Now it resorts to power simply because it has power. Biblical history is replete with stories of God’s dealings with rebellious people. He relented in the case of Nineveh, yet The Assyrians over ran the Ten Tribes, Babylon over threw Judea and Benjamin, and Rome finally destroyed Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple.

The point is simply, God’s blessing on a nation, a people, a church is conditional. Yes America is in need of blessing. I only suggested that America also behave as honoring the ethical and moral tenets of that God’s Kingdom as the conditional nature of God’s blessing upon nations suggests.

The final week of Jesus prior to His Crucifixion is instructive on that point.

On Monday of the week that saved the world, Jesus and His disciples again walk back into Jerusalem from Bethany. Jesus sees a fig tree and looks for ripened fruit and finds none. He curses the barren fig tree that was all show and no go! At first blush such an impetuous and vindictive act seems out so of character. Therefore, the context is all important. Remember that Jesus was the One “Who spake and it was done. Who commanded and it stood fast!” Who on the third day of creation said: “Let the earth bring froth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so!” Now confronted by a barren fig tree in a barren city, The Creator/Redeemer God made the fig tree His object lesson.

He, in His Grace, had planted the Children of Israel at the crossroads of the world and after a thousand years the Israelites were as barren as the fig tree. He also knew, that in less than 40 years, the Jewish people in rejecting the Gospel message told by Peter, would experience a second Diaspora under Rome: not unlike the loss of Eden by Adam and Eve. To make His point ever so clear, He once again cleansed the temple of profiteers, not a welcome action by those already well into a plot to kill Jesus.

I merely, suggested that America learn from history as it makes its plea for blessing. Tom

Frank,

The fact that it "was not the season for figs" as direct bearing on the significance of the illustration that Jesus is making. Since it was not the season for figs no one would have had any expectation of finding any on the tree. But, since a fig tree (apparently) does not put on leaves until after it has figs, the fact that this tree was in full leaf meant that it was, in a way advertising itself as being in the stage that it should have figs. In a way that makes it a perfect illustration of the nation of Israel who claimed to be the chosen of God and therefore should have had the fruit that would be expected to accompany that condition. The fact that they did not means that they, like the fig tree, were in a fatal state. I see Jesus pronouncing the same "curse" on the nation of Israel when he said "Behold, I leave your house unto you, desolate." Jesus is simply declaring the condition in which the nation was in, not causing them to be in that condition. I think that the same is probably true of the fig tree. The fig tree did not wither because Jesus cursed it, rather Jesus cursed it because he recognized its condition and knew its result.

And this illustrates a key issue in the Great Controversy. Satan's claim is that sin and sinners would be fine if God would just leave them alone. He claims that the only thing wrong with sin is that God doesn't like it and therefore punishes anyone who breaks his arbitrary rules. God's response is to show clearly that "sin pays its wages, those wages are death." If we suggest that sin isn't so bad but that God has to do something to make it worse then we are supporting the assertion that God is really the problem rather than sin.

My point is that something or someone suffering under the disease of the "curse of sin" doesn't need any additional curse from God or anyone else to make them "wither." That is what is going to happen to them anyway - it is the course that sin takes in everything it touches. We should not make God culpable for the bad things that sin does in the name of upholding his sovereignty or justice. (Actually, the meaning of "justice" is probably another discussion that we need to have, but that is another discussion.)

Happy Sabbath to all,

Mark

Tom and Mark,

Thank you both for taking the time to engage and for your insights!

Thanks...

Frank

So, apart from claiming support from EGW, nobody to vouch for your views?

Here is one more person that I forgot about.

Stan Ermshar at the For the Gospel Forum wrote:

Thanks for the link you posted:

http://www.everythingimportant.org/seventhdayAdventists/spiritualism.htm

I just read through it, and I agree that Graham Maxwell’s theology is very similar in many ways to the New Age course in miracles. I personally believe you are correct, that Maxwellian theology is a doctrine of demons.

He makes of no effect the wrath of God. The crucifixion loses it’s meaning and the true gospel is denied.

Thanks for sharing.

Stan

Shubee - could you state in 50 words or less, what is the wrath of God? And maybe in the next 50 words, what is it that Maxwell denies about it. That might clear up for us who are not well versed in these controversies what the positions are.

BH

Shubee - could you state in 50 words or less, what is the wrath of God? And maybe in the next 50 words, what is it that Maxwell denies about it. That might clear up for us who are not well versed in these controversies what the positions are.

The controversy, most precisely, isn't about the wrath of God. The controversy is if God will punish anyone at the final judgment. New Age spiritualists, following Helen Schucman, say no. Pan-Gnostic Adventist spiritualists, following Graham Maxwell, say no. Jesus, the Bible writers, Ellen White and all mainstream Catholics and Protestants say yes.

The parable of the fig tree has always eluded me.

Having grown figs and enjoyed picking the fruit many times, no tree, fig or orange or apple will bear fruit when it is not the time. Jesus' cursing of the fig tree does not seem an anlogy that can easily be applied to anything recognizable.

There are usually two "seasons" for figs: spring and fall, and one season is more productive with larger and more fruit. Nothing is quite as delicious as a ripe, fresh fig, and in the valley where I live, in years past it was a virtual fig orchard, but few fresh ones can be found in the local stores today in season.

What could the analogy properly have been, since it was an untimely period for figs why would Jesus have cursed it?

Elaine
Only a Calvinist could love the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree for not growing fruit out of season. In the classic Calvinist world view, God choses some people for salvation and some for perdition, even before they're born. So why would God then even bother cursing the damned, when they were destined for damnation by his own decree? It seems very similar in nature to the fig story.

Shubee said:

    The controversy, most precisely, isn't about the wrath of God. The controversy is if God will punish anyone at the final judgment. New Age spiritualists, following Helen Schucman, say no. Pan-Gnostic Adventist spiritualists, following Graham Maxwell, say no. Jesus, the Bible writers, Ellen White and all mainstream Catholics and Protestants say yes.

So in the Maxwellian world, sinners are not punished? Does sin pay it wage, or is it punishment by God? James 1 says sin which it is full grown, brings forth death. So is this wrong? Should it be translated, sin when it is full grown, brings punishment by God? Is there nothing intrinsically damaging about sin? Or does it necessarily have be extrinsically punished? I guess my question to you then is this, sin and thus sinners, unless punished by God, would go on and live forever, right? If true, then how is the punishment inflicted by God not an arbitrary imposed sentence?

A modern metaphor while admittedly a trivial one would be a speed limit. You go over 70mph, (and get caught), you get a speeding ticket and a fine. This is an imposed penaltly. And 70mph is an arbitrarily imposed limit. Another example might be smoking. You smoke, you might get lung cancer or emphysema. But this is a natural consequence of smoking, which causes damage to lung tissue, and over time, will kill the smoker. This is not an arbitrarily imposed punishment. It is an intrinsic response to smoking. Can not sin also be damaging to the sinner to the point of death?

BH

Another way of saying this is God is the source of life. “In him we live and breathe and have our being.” A created being has no life in and of themselves, creatures are not immortal. So if a created being leaves or separates from God they cut themselves off from life and they will ultimately cease to be.

Now you can say that death will occur only when God “pulls the plug” or “withdraws” his living giving presence thus making God the active agent in their death. This action makes God responsible, albit not culpable, for the death of the creature. It can also be said of this “withdrawal” that it is God’s sentence or punishment on sin and rebellion.

Dr. Dick Nies had an interesting twist on the death of the wicked. His theory is partly based on Psalms 1 that portrays the righteous as trees planted by streams of water and the wicked as chaff that will not stand in the judgment. The righteous are filled with the energizing, life-giving Holy Spirit and the wicked are totally devoid of this spirit. So Nies postulates that in the second resurrection all human beings are given eternal life, but the wicked, true to their character would immediately begin to destroy one another as they did the first time around – so God “isolates” them from each other for their protection.

As humans are social creatures, living eternally, totally alone, would be hell. The pain of hell is living without hope, without a future, no one to be with, totally isolated from all social interaction. So evidentially the wicked pled for mercy. God will honor their request, but the only thing he can do is to come close to them and take them in his arms. His unveiled presence,the glory of his love is like the fire that consumes chaff. Poof – matter into energy.

Whether or not God “withdraws” or “comes close” in the end God is the active agent in the destruction of the wicked and thus can be said to punish sin. But here is in crux of the matter. Is the punishment for sin arbitrarily inflicted pain and suffering? To deliberately cause pain and suffering when there is hope of redemption or a change of heart can be defined as discipline. Deliberate inflicting of pain and suffering when no change is possible or expected is sadistic. This God is not.

Romans 2:5-8 (New International Version)

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:5-8).

Why aren't pan-Gnostic Adventist spiritualists interpreting this Scripture pantheistically? It seems to me that an Adventist pantheist should freely admit that wrath is something physical that can be literally stored up and that God will release this stored up wrath on the day of God's wrath.

If I pull back on a bowstring knowing that if I let go, an arrow will eject at high velocity and pierce your heart, and if I do so and you die instantly, did I kill you? Or is your death purely natural, due to the elastic kinetic energy of the bow delivered to the bowstring via tension, which is thereby imparted to the arrow via contact acceleration? Am I innocent because it takes zero energy to release a "taut" string? Would it help if I were to cry, "How can I give you up, How can I let you go?"

Whether or not God “withdraws” or “comes close” in the end God is the active agent in the destruction of the wicked and thus can be said to punish sin. But here is in crux of the matter. Is the punishment for sin arbitrarily inflicted pain and suffering?

How do you define arbitrary? According to dictionary.com, arbitrary can mean "subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion." It can also mean "despotic; tyrannical; capricious; unreasonable; unsupported."

The answer to your question is obvious. The punishment for sin will be contingent solely upon God's discretion. It will not be capricious or unreasonable. God is just.

Deliberate inflicting of pain and suffering when no change is possible or expected is sadistic.

Deliberate means "carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional." So your view of a loving God is a God that doesn't know what He's doing and doesn't realize the consequences of His actions?

Why in the name of all that is holy do we spend so much time on "God's Wrath". The incarnation was to demonstrate God's love. The Three Angels Messages begins with an Angel having the "Everlasting Gospel" That is the Commission Jesus gave to His disciples and subsequently to us.

"Christians" from the crusades and on have been trying to "get even" for God. For God's sake, let us try a cup of cold water, a slice of fresh bread, a well prepared fish and not a serpent.

The vile spilled on this site, should make even Jesus turn away is saddness.

Just a little story. Sometime in the second grade, I did something that dad thought required a spanking. He sent me to the woodshed to pick out a stick to paddle me with. The only thing I could find as a slat for an old orange crate. But it had a nail in one end. I finally decided I had no choice. I brought him the slate with the nail in one end. I tearfully cried: 'Dad, please don't use the end with the nail!" Dad told me much later, that he was laughing so hard inside that he could hardly give me even one gentle swat with the end without the nail."

It is the devil, not God, who is going around look for whom he may devour. The wrath of God is a deep sorrow. It is the Nehachaduezzars of the world that build the furnace seven times hotter.

The story of Saul who became Paul should demonstrate the constrast between the self-righteous and the converted. Or the story of James and John the sons of thunder, who became the champions of the gospel.

My friend Shubee, God is not willing that any should perish.
Neither is He willing to force anyone. Thus, He is left without choice to allow the rebellious to reap the consequence of their own rejection of life and the Life Giver.

To stand before the throne of God without a Redeemer is to face instant death. See Isa 33: 14-15

God is pro-active in the Plan of Salvation--we should be at least willing advocates of His Righteos Love and Compassion.

Labeling others is of no assistance to God in the Great Controversy. Our cry is the cry of Paul: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. 7: 24,25

Lead on oh King Eternal! Tom

Thanks Tom, and "let us try a cup of cold water, a slice of fresh bread, a well prepared fish" is where I desire to spend my life. It may not answer all the questions but wait ... maybe it does.

Thanks Dick:

Yesterday, was our "Sabbath" Thanksgiving. We met with 22 members of the extended family and two of Esther's patients without a home in which to celebrate. (the husand with an illness that will not see another Thanksgiving.) The group included Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Roman Chatholics, Baptists, Church of England, agnostics, We had a wonderful feast, a heart felt prayer to be of Christian service, a wholesome conversation, England, Ireland, America, even the contrasts between New Jersey, Georgia, and California. It was an ecumenical delight.

It was marred by the highway death of a family acquaitance and community star. Surely an enemy hath done this.

We were supported, knowing that where sin doth abound, Grace does much more abound. Happy Holidays. Tom

Why in the name of all that is holy do we spend so much time on "God's Wrath".

Because pan-Gnostic Adventist spiritualists are a fulfillment of Ellen G. White's alpha/omega prophecy. The alpha heresy focused on life as the living presence of God. The omega deception is destined to dwell on God withdrawing His life-giving presence at the final judgment.

To stand before the throne of God without a Redeemer is to face instant death.

Hell is not an instant death.

Luke 12:47-48 (New International Version)

"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

Shubee Dear Friend,

You seem obsessed with the term pan-Gostic. pan-Gostic if there is such a term would refer to the view that God is in all men, not that God is good to all men--which seems to be your disgust with Graham and me.

If there is such a thing as everlasting life. The opposite is everlasting death not everlasting dying! God takes no joy from the death of the wicked as you seem to express with either a degree of delight or glee.

Recall the phrases of Jesus, "I would, but ye would not!" It is not the will of God but the contrary will of men that brings on the withdrawal of God's Grace, love, and life.

You write as if you would be greatly disappointed if God didn't burn the living hell out of everyone who disagrees with you. How does that make you feel? How do you think that makes God feel? It makes mer feel very sorry for you and anyone close to you. Tom

Are you not glad that God wants us to be his friends and not just servants!

Shubee, there is something that you may not yet understand, for many of us, Jesus is the "way and the truth and the life". He is the door we enter through to see the Father, not EGW.

Isn't strange that a thread entitled the Character of God seems to bring out the worst in us? The question from the fall until the Cross had been: "How can God be just and at the same time be the justifier? The answer was and is the Redemptive Act of His Son, Jesus Christ. There is a theological name for it. It is know among reform scholars, at least, as the Covenant of Redemption--the foundation for the "New Covenant" that we all praise and cling to in loving gratitude, which we demonstate by our civility and neighborliness to each other, regardless of affiliations, spiritual guides, and helps. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth, is my hope and my salvation. I recommend such confidence to all who are convicted of sin. Tom

Tom

Having pondered for many years what might be the essence of the different ways of looking God and his handling of the problem of evil, I got an "aha" from reading a book called "Recovering the Scandal of the Cross" The authors spent a great deal of time talking about how very jarring it was for early Christians to try to understand Jesus' death and what it meant. To us now, the cross is the symbol of God's love and Jesus' sacrifice. But at the time, it would have been more like taking a swastika as the defining symbol for one's religious group. It really was quite "scandalous"! They then proceeded to cover the pros and cons of the standard atonement models - and convinced me that there is one missing, the "Great Controversy Atonement model." (But I digress.)

Toward the end of the book, the authors had an excellent discussion of why people preferred one atonement model over another. Their conclusion, and the point of this post (you knew I'd get to it eventually) was that one's atonement model was almost determined by one's understanding of the meaning of justice.

For those in western society in particular, justice most often means "an-eye-for-an-eye", a balancing of the books, a legal remedy to a wrong done. And if one has this view of what it means for God to be "just" then I can see how one would insist that if God does not actively extract the appropriate amount of pain then our transgressions have not been dealt with in a just way, justice has not been done. If one understands justice in this way then obviously there is only one atonement model that satisfies this definition and anything else would be unjust (or maybe pan-gnostic).

But there are other reasonable definitions for "justice". The one that appeals to me the most is the concept of "justice" as simply "setting things right", "making things the way that the are intended to be", "restoring the right relationship." If this is one's understanding of justice, than a legal balancing makes no sense. In fact, a legal solution may in fact make things worse rather than better for a legal retribution answer may further the destruction of the relationship.

God knows that people see things in different ways. And he has put the "legal" language in the bible so that people who see justice that way can feel safe in coming to him. But he has also put the relational language in the bible for people who see justice in a "set things right" way so that they can have confidence that it is safe to come to God. If you feel like you have been unfaithful, God gives the model of going out after his unfaithful wife. If you feel that you have been sold into slavery, God supplies the ransom to buy you back. If you have dishonored your father, God tells the story of the prodigal son. If nothing else, God says "I'm like a mother hen who would like to take my chicks under my wings."

We need to see all these as valid ways in which God has spoken to us, as metaphors of our problem and God's solution. We need to be wise enough and sensitive enough to understand what people are struggling with and present to them the solution that best reconciles them to God.

But what I have seen more often is that we insist that only one model works. Or we even insist that it is not really a "model" but the core reality behind God's dealing with man. We all need to realize that what appeals most to us may not appeal to someone else, and that no matter how confident we are that our model is best, it is still only a model. We all have much to learn about God's handling of evil - a subject that we are told we will study throughout eternity. It's kind of arrogant to assume that we have it all worked out now. ???

Mark

Marks

Some very good observations. I think we should keep to the issue. It is our character that is in question, not God's. Tom

Tom,

You wrote: It is our character that is in question, not God's.

It is true that it is our character that is in question with respect to salvation, and mostly the thing we worry about. But in the larger context it is God's character that was brought into question by the Adversary, both in heaven, and in the garden of Eden. If the questions about our character are cleared up, but the questions about God's character are not, we're still in deep trouble, so is the universe. Conversely, if God's character is vindicated then the universe can be set back to rights, even if none of us are, "Let God be true though every man be false." Fortunately, God has chosen to link the vindication of his character to how he has handled winning back and restoring lost humanity.

Mark

" if God's character is vindicated then the universe can be set back to rights, even if none of us are."

The "universe" is frequently referred to as if it is part of God's salvation. Where do we discover that "the universe" is either sinful or waiting for God to act?

hi brother shubee,

i have a question. when i read my bible it tells me to overcome all known sin, with the 10 commandments being my guide. according to what i know of you, you also believe this.

but yet you took a bit of my comment addressed to someone else from a completely different site than yours and posted it on your site. then you made remarks about my statement that had nothing to do with your comments as well as suggestions as to which church i should go to.

the bit of my comment below had to do with me giving up my anger and bitterness, which are known as faults, defects and sins.

my question is, how do you understand the 10 commandments, most specifically the nineth, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor?

and why do you see it as a fault or sin to want to give up sins, since that is what God asks us to do?

based on what you did to me i can not trust your perceptions of anything or anybody. the glory of God does not seem to be your goal.

http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1437&p=5453&h...

Board index : Midheaven : The Everlasting Gospel

Post subject: First Century, Modern Times: Jewish-Adventist Parallels Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:24 pm

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:40 am

teresaq wrote:
I spent decades being angry with the church and its pride and self-righteousness but how did that make my life better? or the church?

eugene shuberts response
Your anger is not the issue. Also, my comfort, your comfort and the comfort of the church on this earth is not my goal. There are only two choices:
Quote:
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

"Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 411.

If you don't want to obey the gospel and only want to feel good and have success in this life, then you should seek to join Joel Osteen's church.

Mark, thanks for answering.

However,the issue of God's character was settled at the Cross. "It is finished", settled the matter for the universe. Of course, Jesus invites us to come and see! The Gospel is a call to witness the character of God. The conflict continues, it seems for three reasons to display the character of Satan and that of unregenerated man in the service of Satan and finally to allow mankind to accept the invitation, The First of The Three Angels carries.

We might look at the "delay" rather as forbearance.

It seems a bit of arrogance for scholars this side of the cross to question God's character. Samuel Zwemer, a great uncle, missionary to Islam for 17 years and Professor of Missions at Prinston for more than 20 wrote a book almost 100 years ago, entitled: The Glory of the Open Tomb. It seems to me that is where evangelism lies. Not in questions about God!

The evidence is available about God, not necessarily so about you and me. At least that is one of the 28 fundamental beliefs. "I believe, help thou mine unbelief". Isn't that what Jesus invited the disciples of John the Baptist to do and report back to John? And he was satisfied. What will it take to satisfy this generation? Some say the Rapture, others say a perfect final generation, I say the empty tomb. Tom

Tom,

You wrote: However,the issue of God's character was settled at the Cross.
Ah, agreed. I was not taking your statement that God's character is literally enough. :-) I agree that it is no longer the issue - though it was up to that point. On another forum we were commenting on how very astounding the statement in DofA is regarding the onlooking universe being somewhat "in sympathy" it Satan up to the time of the cross. Really? That is amazing that they didn't really "get it" until the cross. But I suppose that having lived in this stuff does give us the advantage of being very clear that this is not what you want to get involved in.

Elaine,

It kind of depends on what one means by "salvation". The onlooking universe certainly doesn't need to be healed from the disease of sin. But they did have questions, serious questions. They had never seen evil, didn't know what its consequences really were, and didn't have any context for knowing who was right between their beloved Captain Lucifer, and their friend Michael. It must have seemed equally unbelievable that either one of them was lying. So in that sense the onlooking universe is involved in God's dealing with the whole problem of sin and evil.

Mark

you took a bit of my comment addressed to someone else from a completely different site than yours and posted it on your site.

That someone else was Bourbaki, a famous mathematician. That's me. It's plainly obvious that I represented you accurately. See http://thethreeam.com/index.php?showtopic=2388.

Like the ministry Jesus had while on earth, I too sometimes reveal the spiritual blindness of my critics and detractors. See http://www.everythingimportant.org/dupery and http://www.everythingimportant.org/SDA/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1428, for example. The censorious ones at http://christianforums.com/showthread.php?t=7159518 deleted my comments from that thread. The censors at http://thethreeam.com believe that they are qualified "thought police" to rewrite my posts. I have a right to expose the bigotry of Adventists that oppose my message. That's why I sometimes copy threads.

based on what you did to me i can not trust your perceptions of anything or anybody.

Please note that I cite evidence on par with mathematical proof and that your complaint is entirely emotional, which is a consistent characteristic of Adventist spiritualists.

Mark

It is good visiting with you. Tom

Mark, you wrote:

"The onlooking universe certainly doesn't need to be healed from the disease of sin. . But they did have questions, serious questions. They had never seen evil, didn't know what its consequences really were, and didn't have any context for knowing who was right between their beloved Captain Lucifer, and their friend Michael."

The concept of an onlooking universe, and their observation of this earth's problem with sin, and more, has been captured into an entire doctrinal position, it seems, based on what? Even the definite identity of Michael is speculative, is it not?

The naming of angels is a late development which in the canonical OT is found on in Daniel, and the apocryphal books of II Esdras, Tobit, and later in the NT. By the 2nd century B.C. the Jews had come to believe that each nation had its heavenly prince or guardian angel, their own being Michael. This concept was no doubt rooted in Israel's ancient heritage (Deut. 32:8,9) but much of the later development came from Persian influence. That there should be conflict among these implies rebellion of some of the heavenly beings against God, an idea found in the myth alluded to in Gen. 6:1-4, Isa. 14:12; and perhaps Isa. 24:21. This is a mythological presentation of the truth that God has given to his whole creation, not just to man, the freedom to be for or against him and his redemptive plan for the world.

While most SDA Christians do not use the Apocryphal books, there is much written there that has influenced the books of the Bible that we use today, such as found in the book of Jude which says that Michael and the Devil fought over Moses' body, certainly conjecture.

Which Bible statements are being used to speculate on that scenario? Please explain.

Elaine wrote:
--

Which Bible statements are being used to speculate on that scenario? Please explain.

--

You know good and well it based upon Ellen White. Though I understand your purpose because it seems that the supporters of such theories have not realized it yet. It is the biggest problem with the Great Controversy view. To accept it you first have to accept a 19th century prophet. Not really very Biblical at all when you think about it.

Sorry, Mark. My comments should have been directed to someone else.

Elaine wrote: Sorry, Mark. My comments should have been directed to someone else.
No problem. But why do you think they should have been directed elsewhere? I know you come from a "historical critical" approach and I know that I don't speak your language in that respect. But you are certainly welcome to challenge me on my "take" on what the meaning behind the stories in the bible might be.

And RC, I don't think that one needs EGW in order to find the Great Controversy in the bible. Many of us found it because she pointed it out. But the hints are there. They are certainly not unequivocal. But the Great Controversy starts with the sly charges made by the Serpent in Eden and runs all the way though to the "war in heaven" in Revelation.

Mark

It seems like there are two types of Christians--Pharisees/Saducess and Marys. Remember that the Saducess and Pharisees sat around arguing whether there was a resurrection? Of course after Jesus actually resurrected that became a moot point and I bet somebody probably wished they could reclaim all that time they had wasted over the issue.

Then there was Mary--simply sitting at the feet of Jesus, drinking in His presence, seeking to honor and love Him. When she washed Jesus' feet, there was lots of criticism, but Jesus said to leave her alone.

What kind of Christian are you? Are you seeking Jesus? Or arguing over what you think someone else might be doing wrong?I have never met Graham Maxwell. Never even heard of him until a year or two ago. But even a person reading this would get the feeling that Maxwell is the Mary type of Christian. I bet if Jesus were here physically, listening to Maxwell's critics, He would say leave him alone.

As to someone's charge earlier about Maxwell discouraging the use of the word justification, what about Ellen White's own words?

"A little girl once asked me, "Are you going to speak this afternoon?" "No, not this afternoon," I replied. "I am very sorry," she said. "I thought you were going to speak, and I asked several of my companions to come. Will you please ask the minister to speak easy words that we can understand? Will you please tell him that we do not understand large words, like `justification' and `sanctification'? We do not know what these words mean." {CT 254.2}
"The little girl's complaint contains a lesson worthy of consideration by teachers and ministers. Are there not many who would do well to heed the request, "Speak easy words, that we may know what you mean"? {CT 254.3}
"Make your explanations clear, for I know that there are many who do not understand many of the things said to them. Let the Holy Spirit mold and fashion your speech, cleansing it from all dross. Speak as little children, remembering that there are many well advanced in years who are but little children in understanding. {CT 254.4}

One by one, in the last year, I have examined the arguments about Maxwell from pantheism to the moral influence theory and I have not found any of those charges to be true.

If you truly believe in a punitive, punishing God, surely you will want to be careful about what you say falsely about another. But I for one think the good news is that God sees your heart and wants to show you how much His love covers all--so rather than punish you, I think Jesus is crying out "Saul, Saul, why persecutest Me?"

Let's all sit at the feet of Jesus!

Cherie

Mark wrote:
--
And RC, I don't think that one needs EGW in order to find the Great Controversy in the bible. Many of us found it because she pointed it out. But the hints are there. They are certainly not unequivocal. But the Great Controversy starts with the sly charges made by the Serpent in Eden and runs all the way though to the "war in heaven" in Revelation.
--

And where does one find the following idea from the quote that Elaine gave:
--

"The onlooking universe certainly doesn't need to be healed from the disease of sin. . But they did have questions, serious questions. They had never seen evil, didn't know what its consequences really were, and didn't have any context for knowing who was right between their beloved Captain Lucifer, and their friend Michael."

--

Questions even serious questions from the supposed onlooking universe. Where do you find that other than Ellen White. Not to mention the insertion of the lucifer myth unknown to Jews or New Testament Christians or the myth that Jesus is Michael, or the fact that there has never been any kind of agreement in Christianity that the war in heaven spoken of in Revelation was literally a war in heaven. Which leads to precious little aside from acceptance because one believes EGW is a prophet.

rc

Of course that is the story of Job. There are the three temptations of Jesus. The is the command "Get thee behind me Satan, after Peter's wrong headed appeal that was a hidden temptation. There is Paul: We wrestle not against Flesh and Blood----.

If you can't take the book of Revelation how do you manage
E.G. White's writings?

Have you ever read the word of Fred Veltman and other scholars?

May all means celebrate her birth but not her inspiration. Tom

One by one, in the last year, I have examined the arguments about Maxwell from pantheism to the moral influence theory and I have not found any of those charges to be true.

Cherie,

It is said of the alpha and omega deception that if you understand the first, you will recognize the last. Do you understand the alpha of deadly heresies?