Elder Ted N. C. Wilson, President October 15, 2010
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
Dear Elder Wilson,
This letter is respectfully written to you by a group of Seventh-day Adventists with a prayer for the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ to be with you in your new appointment as president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Your keynote sermon of the 59th General Conference session (July 3, 2010) – also your stirring message at the Fall Council – are thrilling affirmations of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s position on the literal reading of God’s Word. It brought many of us great joy to hear. Through you we were greatly comforted by God.
Firstly we write to assure you that there are many of us across the world field who in our prayers uphold you and your fellow leaders within the General Conference. We have full confidence that through your leadership, God can indeed bless His covenant church.
We love this Church. This is why, like you, we desire that all will unite on the literal reading of the Bible. This approach to reading and studying Scripture provides the foundation needed to understand the important teachings of the Scriptures. This includes the truth about the Sabbath, the heavenly Sanctuary, and a full appreciation of the salvation obtained for us by the death of God’s dear Son.
There were a number of statements made by you in your sermon which we are fully supportive of and were greatly encouraged to hear. These include
- That a literal understanding of Scripture will safeguard not only our faith in the Sabbath of the Lord but the Lord of the Sabbath.
- That we believe in a literal Creation week;
- That we believe in a literal Sanctuary not built with hands;
- That the plain teachings of the Word of God are not to be so spiritualized that the reality is lost sight of,
- And that we should take the Scriptures as they read – unless of course a literal reading would be impossible.
You assured us that “The historic Biblical beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church would not be moved”. You also expressed a commitment to holding firm “the foundation of our faith—the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work.” From this statement, we understand that your reference point must be the years immediately following 1844. This was when “the fundamental principles,” (a term that was also used by James White in 1872), of which the Prophet to the remnant stated were “based upon unquestionable authority.”
We join you in seeking the humble spirit of submission to our Father in heaven whilst through our prayers, words and efforts in our local churches, we seek to support His appointed leaders. Through your dedication, prayers and talents, we know that you – also those with whom you work at every level of administration in the General Conference - are the authorities over us through whom God’s blessings are ordained to flow.
It is with these thoughts that we present our case before you - expressing also the difficulty with which we currently serve in our various congregations. Having reached the same conclusions as you regarding the literal reading of Scripture, we have come to believe what God says concerning His beloved Son – that He truly is God’s Son.
As a group we share the concern that, due to the spiritualising of Scripture, the reality of our heavenly Father and His divine Son—the One whom was begotten before all things and inherited all the fullness of his Father (which was the faith of the Adventist people throughout the lifetime of Ellen White, the Lord’s messenger)—has been lost sight of. We ask you to appreciate our concerns.
As believers in the divine Sonship of Christ, we long for the freedom within our church family to worship the same God that our fathers worshipped—the God who is the Father of “the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father” (2 John 3). Through our gifts and talents within our local churches, we long to serve Him.
We wish to make it clear that we believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of God – meaning that it is His appointed agency to bless the world with the everlasting gospel contained within the Three Angels messages.
We love our church and its leaders. We feel it is our privilege to uphold you all in prayer. We fully believe that we are counselled to “rebuke not an elder but entreat him as a father” 1Timothy 5:1. This is the spirit of this letter – to seek your advice on what we should do in this situation. It is not our intent here to draw you into any theological discussions on this topic - as many theologians have been doing and are still doing at this time. Our first concern, in the face of distrust, exclusion and for some the risk of censure, is what action we should now take in continuing to support our church.
Each of us have found ourselves thrilled with the joy of knowing that God has a Son but we also respect our church which currently tells us that Christ is not a Son begotten in eternity. While we do not wish “to misinterpret…areas of Scripture as allegorical or merely symbolic,” current church teaching instructs us to dismiss the words of God Himself as metaphoric.
We are perplexed therefore to know how to move forward. This is why we ask you to pray for us and share with us any words or instruction that you believe our Father in heaven would wish us to know. Could you show us where we are out of step with a literal understanding of the Bible? We are eager to receive counsel and guidance from you and those you feel can help us follow the Bible faithfully according to the literal rule of interpretation.
Regarding our beliefs, we have taken the liberty to attach an excerpt from the 1914 SDA Yearbook with which we are in agreement. If you would be interested in a more detailed exposition of evidence from God’s word and inspiration, we would like to share this with you or your designated colleagues. Would you kindly consider this?
As brothers and sisters in Christ we look forward to your response,
Georgia Gary Hullquist, MD
Michigan Corey McCain
South Dakota Joanne Isaak
California Andy Knoski
Washington State Michael Eugene Brown PhD
Washington DC Randolph and Karna Thompson
Cayman Islands Ralph Wesley
South England Terence Hill
East Norway Inger Marie Wiik
Germany Michael Milosevic
Transylvania Gheorghe Vancea
South Queensland Craig and Bronwyn Jacobson
Lothar and Elke Schaumann
North Queensland Craig and Cathy Jones
North NSW Bob and Vicki Maggs
Greater Sydney Kelvin and Judy Cobbin
Ghana Oliver G. Saade
Na Ju, Korea Stefan Skucy
Statement of Relevant Fundamental Principles
in the 1914 SDA Yearbook
Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith, for which they feel prepared to give a reason "to every man that asketh" them. The following propositions may be taken as a summary of the principal features of their religious faith, upon which there is, so far as is known, entire unanimity throughout the body. They believe: —
1. That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and every where present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139: 7.
2. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom he created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that he dwelt among men, full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in heaven, where through the merits of his shed blood, he secures the pardon and forgiveness of the sins of all those who persistently come to him; and as the closing portion of his work as priest, before he takes his throne as king, he will make the great atonement for the sins of all such, and their sins will then be blotted out (Acts 3: 19) and borne away from the sanctuary, as shown in the service of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven. See Leviticus 16; Heb. 8: 4, 5; 9: 6, 7.
3. That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of his will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practise.