34. Seed/Nurture Authority Structures

Posted Jul 30, 2007 by Adrian Ebens in Return of Elijah Hits: 7,061

A. Authority Structures Come in Twos

We noted in chapter 29 that Mankind has been made in the image of God not only individually but also relationally. We noted the following parallels of that image.

 

Father and Son

 

 

Adam and Eve

Son comes forth from the Father (John 8:42; Prov 8:22-30).

Eve comes forth from Adam (Gen 2:21-23).

Christ was the express image of the Father. and inherited everything He possessed from Him (Heb 1:2-4).

Eve was a help-meet and companion to Adam comparable to him. All that she had she inherited from Adam. She was made from his bone not from the ground (Gen 2:20-24).

Father is the head of Christ (1 Cor 11:3).

Man is the head of the woman (1 Cor 11:3).

Christ is equal with the Father through the relationship (John 5:18; Phil 2:6).

Eve was equal with Adam through the relationship. They were one flesh (Gen 2:24).

Father made all things through Christ. The Father’s life source was channeled (nurtured) by Christ and from Christ came the whole universe (1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:17).

Adam’s seed (life) was nurtured by Eve and from Eve came the whole human race (Gen 4:1; Gen 5:3).

In Chapter 30 we looked at headship concepts associated with male leadership and the resulting authority structure that results in the family. In Chapter 31 we looked at how these authority structures ripple through the church and the community.

As we have stated earlier, our view of the Father and Son relationship has a direct impact on human relations both in terms of equality concepts and authority concepts. When equality is based on a perfomanced-based understanding, the nature of the Father and Son as well as husband and wife relationship is altered to the point where roles can be potentially interchangeable and identity can no longer be attributed to the terms Father and Son or husband and wife. The terms are only functional and no longer an expression of core identity.

If we consider the direct authority areas of the Christians life, it is evident that God has authority as expressed in the first four commandments and our Parents have authority as expressed in commandment five.  God’s Authority is directly reflected in the Lordship of Both Father and Son. Parental authority is reflected in the leadership of both husband and wife. When we look at the authority of God’s revelation of Himself we find it also follows a two part formula: The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. In each authority structure, there is a source authority and a nurturing authority. We could summarise this as follows:

Seed/Source

Father

Husband

Bible

Nurture

Son

Wife

Spirit of Prophecy

Shallow thinking could lead to the above chart by reciting texts that Christ is referred to as the Seed in Scripture. It is indeed true that Christ is the Seed in relation to the creation, but this seed was given to Him by His Father, it comes through the channel of blessing. The emphasis of seed here is the point of origination and that always resides with the Father.

B. Seed/Nurture Relationship of Bible/Spirit of Prophecy

It must be conceded that a shift in the relationship between Father and Son from relationship equality to power based equality will have a direct impact on husband/wife equality and also Bible/Spirit of Prophecy equality and authority.

For the last 30 years there has been an intensified concern as to how to express a Seventh-day Adventist belief in and support for the Spirit of Prophecy. This concern was raised in the 1919 Bible conference with legitimate questions as to how we should relate the Bible to the Spirit of Prophecy. It was not until the 1970’s when the minutes for this conference was found that Adventist Consciousness began to seriously engage this question again.

It is my observation that the shift in equality between Father and Son (with the introduction of a power based equality Godhead) directly impacted our view of the relationship between the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

C. Shift to Trinity Impacts Authority of Spirit of Prophecy

With the strong allegiance to the Spirit of prophecy from the 1930’s to 1960’s it was inevitable that the church would find it hard not to place the Spirit of Prophecy on the same authority base as the Bible, even though this would be denied in theory. In elevating Christ to the same power and source position as the Father, the natural result would be an elevating of the Spirit of Prophecy to the same power and source position as the Bible. The results are evident that during this era it was common practice to derive doctrine directly from the Spirit of Prophecy.

This dilemma was most painfully revealed in the early 1980’s when Bill Johnson was questioned by Walter Martin on the John Ankerberg show about how Adventists viewed the Spirit of Prophecy. Dr Johnson did his best to give answers, but Martin pulled out several quotes from Adventist leaders clearly showing that the Spirit of Prophecy was effectively equivalent to the Bible. Walter Martin correctly exposed this flaw of thinking, but the consequential alternative that would rise in the coming decades would be equally wrong.

Of course, it must be acknowledged that if Adventism wished to remain true to Protestant principles of the Bible and the Bible Only and even support Ellen Whites admonition that we should go to our Bibles for our doctrine, then ultimately the Spirit of Prophecy would have to be shifted from its incorrect position of power equality with the Bible.

Sadly, without a shift in the equality concepts between Father and Son, the only way to remove the Spirit of prophecy from the position of equality is to in fact make it of none effect. The growing mantra of “lesser light” and the greater focus on Ellen White’s humanness, her borrowing of sources and “growth in understanding” concepts, and the growing annoyance at the use of EGW in sermons and presentations all attest to the shift that Ellen Whites writings have taken towards being of “none effect”. Any Student of Adventist History would know how much Satan hates the Spirit of Prophecy and how many times he tried to kill Ellen White and prevent her work. It appears that the devils success has come in firstly elevating the Spirit of Prophecy to an incorrect position, then apply heat to this inconsistency, firstly through evangelicals and later internally and finally a muted or destroyed authority in the Spirit of Prophecy. A brilliant tactic, directly related to false equality concepts that find their inspiration in the Trinity.

I have struggled for years to know how to relate the Spirit of Prophecy to the Bible. I knew that the Spirit of prophecy was not the source of doctrine and yet I knew that to ignore its writings would be to ignore precious light. I have wrestled for years to know how to relate the Spirit of Prophecy to the Bible and still maintain the Protestant principle of Sola Scriptura. Lesser light is still light and light is to be followed and obeyed. It is not simply good advice, it is salvational. I see now that while my concepts of equality were clouded by the Trinity, it would be impossible to hold these two authorities in correct tension. Either I would become an “Ellen White Worshipper” as Walter Martin Called F.D Nichol or I would hypocritically espouse the virtues of writings while disregarding anything she said that did not suit me personally. Once correct Authority structures are established, the dilemma is solved. The Spirit of Prophecy is a nurturer of the Seed. It allows us to “prosper” and develop. It corrects false world views and assumptions and allows us to right the Bible in a correct light. Just as a son or daughter would obey his/her mother’s commands and the Mother would submit to the leadership and authority of her head; her husband; So should we submit to the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy even as it submits to the headship and Seed of the Bible. The concept is simple, the impact; profound, the effect; life transforming.

It should be pointed out that just as the Spirit of Prophecy is being made of “none effect” through a false elevation, so too the person of Christ will be made of none effect by a false elevation. This false elevation in a power equality context destroys Christ as the Way. The altering of His relationship to the Father blurs the way of salvation. Is it possible that in Satan’s efforts to “dispute the supremacy of Christ” that he found it easier to first falsely elevate Him and then make Him of none effect? Let us consider well these things as we ponder how we shall constitute our authority structures.