Part One - Will the true `Historic Adventist' please stand up?
This is the first of a series of articles which seeks to examine what is truly `Historic Adventism' - and how it differs with what is commonly accepted as `Historic Adventism'. While I do not seek to write comprehensively on Adventist history for the reason that a multitude of documents have already been produced on this; what I do seek to do is to give an entirely different perspective on a life giving faith which all Adventists should classify as `Historic Adventism'. So please forgive me if I cover some points in Adventist history, while ignore others which the reader may feel important.
For many years the uniqueness of the Advent message has led to what has come to be known as `Last Generation Theology', which is believed by the conservative wing of the Church. It teaches that the faithful will need to cease sinning before the second coming of Christ so the character of God is vindicated. It is based upon the typical Hebraic Sanctuary Service on the Day of Atonement and is largely attributed to the following statement by Ellen White:
`When the third angel's message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received the "latter rain," "the refreshing from the presence of the Lord," and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received "the seal of the living God." Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, "It is done:" . . . .  When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time, the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.' (`The Great Controversy', E.G. White, 1911, pp 613, 614.)’
Within this conception of Christ's people `living in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor' lies some fundamental concepts which are unique to Adventism. Which is to say that the Adventist position on the atonement is irrevocably intertwined with the Sanctuary Service of the Old Testament. As in the typical Day of Atonement, when the High Priest ceased interceding for His people and vacated the second apartment of the Sanctuary, so also do conservative Adventists believe that in the antitypical Day of Atonement, Christ finishes interceding for His people, the golden censor is cast to the ground (Rev. 8: 5), and the pronouncement is then made:
`He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.' (Rev. 22: 11, 12)
Unfortunately, the passing of time has seen fewer and fewer Adventists comprehensively understand the work of Messiah in His Sanctuary on the antitypical Day of Atonement, with the result that this doctrinal confusion has not only blurred our focus on precisely how Christ atones for our sins, but has also led to thousands of `Evangelical Adventists' leave the Church, as they view this theology as an incomplete atonement which emphasizes Christ as our example, instead of our Saviour. On the other hand, thousands of conservative Adventists have also left the Church, as the "New Theology" which is espoused by the Evangelical brethren has gained general ascendency within the Church - to the point that it is officially sanctioned by the General Conference as orthodox theology. These opposing wings of the Church vie for control of it and give absolutely no quarter to the other, for both wings of the Church believe that their view of the Atonement is essential to. No quarter is given and none is expected - as both wings of the Church believe the future of Adventism hinges upon their mode of theology. The dispute is largely over three issues:
1. The Investigative Judgement: Evangelical (or Progressive) Adventists emphasize that as the atonement was completed at the cross, then therefore the Investigative Judgment is meaningless, as nothing can be added to or detracted from the finished work of Christ at Calvary. They make the point that this scrutinizing of one's life as one lives it leads to an insecure relationship with Jesus, as one can never be assured of one's salvation. They charge that this position leads directly to legalism, as one is constantly asking `What must I do to be saved?'. Progressive Adventists thus charge Conservative Adventists with believing in a faith which is based on ones' performance, instead of salvation by grace alone. On the other hand, Conservative Adventists insist that this theology has been grafted into the Church straight from the Churches of fallen Babylon, and confuses justification with sanctification. Ultimately this `New Theology' (as they call it) leads to `cheap grace', as it matters not what I do, for as long as I believe in Christ, then ultimately I will be saved. For this reason, Conservative Adventists believe that many which partake of the `New Theology' will ultimately leave the Church, for they believe that this mode of theology not only degrades the atonement, but reduces the Ten Commandments to the Ten Suggestions - which of course renders the Sabbath Commandment as meaningless and removes the basis of identity upon which the platform of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is based.
2. The Flesh which the incarnate Christ manifested Himself in: Progressive Adventists believe that the incarnate Christ assumed the pre-lapsarian nature of Adam; which is to say that He assumed sinless flesh; which is the sinless nature, or character which Adam was created in before the fall. Conservative Adventists emphasize that in His human nature, Christ manifested Himself in the post-lapsarian nature of Adam; which is to say that He manifested Himself in so-called `sinful flesh'; yet overcame sin in this flesh. At the same time, they believe that he had no propensities (or indwelling tendencies) to sin. While conservative Adventists charge Progressive, or Evangelical Adventists with believing in `original sin and insist that Christ can only save that which is assumed (which is to say that in order to save the whole man, it was necessary Christ was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin); Evangelical Adventists counter this by insisting that if Christ had `sinful flesh', then this would constitute sin itself, as this would be a corruption of His divine nature. For this reason Conservative Adventists charge Progressive Adventists with spiritualizing away the humanity of Christ by believing in `original sin', while Progressive Adventists make the point that Conservative Adventists over-emphasize Christ as our example, instead of Christ as our Saviour.
3. The ministry of Ellen White: Amid charges of plagiarism and the like, Progressive Adventists generally believe that Ellen White was at best flawed, and at worst a complete fraud, while conservative Adventists believe that she was blessed with the spirit of prophecy.
Although these issues were raised as early as the 1880's when D.M Canright (1840 - 1919), who was known to Ellen White and subsequently defected to the Baptist Church to become a Baptist pastor; they did not really become a significant issue until 1956, when Donald Barnhouse , editor of `Eternity' magazine, wrote an article which he entitled `Are Seventh Day Adventists Christians?' In this article, Barnhouse wrote that there are three doctrines which separate Seventh Day Adventists from other Churches, and:
"To sum up, I would say that the differences between other evangelicals and the Seventh-day Adventist position are three:
"(1) The unimportant and almost naive doctrine of the 'investigative judgment'
"(2) The more serious doctrine of Sabbath-keeping, which is not sufficient to bar Seventh-day Adventists from the fellowship of true Christians but which makes such fellowship very difficult because of the overtones of legalism that has a tendency to gnaw at the roots of the truth of sovereign grace to unworthy sinners; and
"(3) Finally, the most serious difference, to me, is their belief in conditional immortality (i.e., soul-sleeping and the annihilation of the lost)."-"Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?," (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Eternity, September 1956, pp. 6, 7, 4345.)
Barnhouse wrote of the Investigative Judgement that:
` 11 .. We personally do not believe that there is even a suspicion of a verse in Scripture to sustain such a peculiar position, and we further believe that any effort to establish it is stale, flat, and unprofitable!' (ibid.)
To be fair to Barnhouse, one should try to understand his perspective. After all, if one believes in the natural immortality of the soul, as Evangelicals such as Barnhouse do - then what need is there for an Investigative Judgment? For according to orthodox Protestant and Catholic theology, when you die - your immortal soul goes straight to heaven to be united with Jesus. Unless of course you believe in purgatory! Therefore the doctrine of the Investigative can only make sense if one believes in the conditional immortality of the soul; for obviously annihilationism infers that the judgment of the dead and the living must take place sometime before Christ returns to raise the sleeping dead from their graves, and the righteous living to their just reward. Hence an Investigative Judgement.
Articles which had been written in Eternity magazine by Barnhouse and his young sub-editor Walter R. Martin (who had also written a book entitled `Rise of the Cults'), led T. E. Unruh (who was at that time president of the East Pennsylvania Conference), to write a letter of protest to Barnhouse on his treatment of Adventists. Unruh had previously been in communication with Barnhouse, when in 1949 he commented on a series of radio broadcasts which Barnhouse had made on righteousness by faith in the Book of Romans. Barnhouse was a Presbyterian and a Calvinist - which is diametrically opposite to the Wesleyan Arminianism of most Adventists; which makes it difficult to understand why Unruh found Barnhouse's presentations so inspiring, as Calvinists find Arminianism verging on universalism and an insult to the sovereignty of God.
In his reply, Barnhouse expressed astonishment that an Adventist pastor would commend him on righteousness by faith, as it was his express opinion that Adventist views were Satanic and dangerous, and that Adventists believed in righteousness by works. Unruh accordingly sent Barnhousea copy of Ellen White's `Steps to Christ'. In 1950 Barnhouse wrote an article in it, which was entitled `Spiritual Discernment, or How to Read Religious Books', in which he criticized `Steps to Christ' as `universalism'; for he believed that the first chapter entitled `Gods Love for Man' emphasized God's love for fallen man so much that it neutralizes His justice and labelled White as the `founder of the cult'. At this, Unruh decided that any further communication would be pointless.
Five years later Dr. Barnhouse commissioned Walter Martin, a young sub-editor of Eternity to expose Seventh Day Adventists as a cult, principally because Martin was a skilled debater and researcher who had already written a chapter which was critical about Adventists in his book `Rise of the Cults. However, to his credit Martin sought to treat Adventists fairly, and wished to meet with LeRoy Froom so that Froom might explain the current position of Adventists on Scripture, as he was already familiar with Froom's work entitled `Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers.' Froom suggested that W. E. Read and Unruh be included. At that time Read was then a field secretary of the General Conference. After dialoguing with the Adventists, and finding that they vigorously denied some of the teachings that had been attributed to them, he decided that Seventh Day Adventists had been misunderstood, and except for what he believed to be some rather bizarre doctrines (such as the Investigative Judgement), instead qualified to be treated as a true Christian Church. However, he demanded that the church publish a series of statement which would give evidence to these claims - with the result being `Questions on Doctrine'; which was published in 1957.
The principle writers of `Questions on Doctrine' were Froom and Roy Allen Anderson, who are both now deceased. Although the General Conference President, Elder R. R. Figuhr (1896 - 1983), strongly supported its publication in media announces; there are some who believe that privately he thought that at times Froom had gone too far in the doctrinal changes he had made. The principle doctrinal changes which Froom and Anderson made were on the atonement, and the human flesh which Christ manifested Himself in. In relation to the atonement, Dr. Martin declared that:
`It is to the credit of the Adventists that their organization has officially repudiated this position [on an incomplete atonement], maintaining that the atonement has already been completed.' (`Martin Speaks Out on the Cults, p. 152.)
As the `New Theology' has permeated the Church so much that there are few Adventists who now understand the Investigative Judgment; let me unequivocally state that while Christ's sacrifice at Calvary was indeed a complete atonement for sin - that precious blood still needs to be applied in the believing Christian's life; which explains why Ellen White and the denomination tend to lean toward Wesleyan Arminianism; for the strong point of this doctrine is sanctification. Therefore, if one believes in the conditional immortality of the soul (as do Adventists), as well as leading a sanctified life that conforms to the Ten Commandments - then it is critical to understand that we need a High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary Who is pleading His shed blood to the Father now for us, so that `If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' (1 John 1:9)
Why do Adventists teach that we need a High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary? Two factors, really. As Adventists believe that when we die, we sleep in the grave until Jesus calls us from it at the Second Coming, and that conformity to the moral law is a pre-requisite for salvation, then the pre-Advent judgement as believed by our pioneers is both logical and necessary. But if one's faith is undermined by believing that a full atonement for sin necessitates that obedience to the moral law is no longer necessary, simply because the judicial equity of the law was satisfied at Calvary - then the Sabbath commandment has also been abrogated and the primary platform upon which the identity of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church consists is completely decimated. Thus the `New Theology' confuses justification with sanctification, by implying the Calvinist position of `once saved always saved'; which eventually leads to lax moral behaviour and the removal of every platform upon which the Seventh Day Adventist Church is built. Thus, while justification took place on the cross - sanctification results through confessing our sins to our just and faithful High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary; `For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.' (Heb. 2: 11) Unfortunately, though; the confusion which the `New Theology' creates about the Investigative Judgment has necessitated in many Adventists no longer understanding the two-phase process of the atonement.
The `New Theology' makes little difference between justification and sanctification; simply because by declaring that salvation was finished on the cross, as the evangelistic churches do - when taken to extremes (such as in Calvinism), it leads to believing that once one has accepted Christ it is impossible to fall out of salvation. Thus, the Law of God is cheapened, and His Sovereignty is impugned. When Adventists take the Evangelical position by inferring that there is only one phase of the atonement, such as the stated position of `Questions on Doctrine' - then the doctrine of the Investigative Judgement is nullified and the perpetuity of the entire moral law is abrogated. Which is of course a serious matter.
An interview conducted between Walter Martin and Douglas Hackleman which was published in `Adventist Currents', Vol. 1., July 1983', reveals that Froom assisted Martin in the manner by which the questions were framed, `because Froom wanted them placed in such a way that Adventists would understand exactly what we were saying'. In this same interview Martin reveals one of the reasons why he listed Adventism as a cult in the first place:
`After I started doing the research, I saw definite division in Adventist theology. There were people who really were believers and held to the foundations of the Gospel. Then there were those who were downright legalists - worshippers of Ellen White - who had exalted her beyond the role that she ever claimed for herself, and, in effect, were the loud voice that the evangelical world was always hearing. They were hardly ever hearing the conservative Adventists. They were hearing these people who were stamping [them] with the mark of the beast and telling them that the atonement wasn't finished and all kinds of other things.' (`Adventist Currents', Vol. 1, 1983.)
Although I quite frankly don't believe some of the statements which Martin made in this interview; for example that after Canright defected to the Baptist Church he accused Ellen White of hypocrisy by stating that he once saw Ellen White eat pork and then order snails (which is of course considered to be unclean food) -there is much to be said about the manner in which `Historic Adventism' has presented itself to the Evangelical churches over the years. We have largely reaped what we have sown, for Froom and the administration were patently aware of the manner by which some elements of the Adventist Church were presenting the Advent message, and they wanted to soften the doctrines which were being presented, so that Adventism might thereby be seen as more acceptable to the Evangelical Churches:
“As a result of extensive dialogue in the 1950s between leading Evangelicals and key Adventist leaders, Adventists published Questions on Doctrine (1957), seeking, among other things, to demonstrate to the larger Christian world on biblical grounds that we are indeed part of Christianity proper and not a cultic deviation.” (Alden Thompson, Ministry Feb 2004, page 30, ‘Response to Dale Ratzlaff’)
When we summarize events which led to the publication of `Questions on Doctrine', one factor which should be taken into consideration is Froom's desire to change the doctrine of the Adventist Church from what he perceived as outright legalism, to what is now considered as orthodox doctrine by Evangelical churches today. So when the debate began with the Evangelicals began, Froom made sure that he controlled the outcome, as he had been waiting for an opportunity such as this to arise since 1930; for in that year aging ex-General Conference President A.G. Daniels commissioned Froom to write a book on Adventist History, which encompassed what Froom and Daniels were convicted should be orthodox Adventist theology. But Daniels also instructed Froom not to write it until many years later, for Daniels `knew that time would be required for certain theological wounds to heal, and for attitudes to modify on the part of some' In the following passage, Froom quite candidly outlines the charge that was given to him by Daniels:
`PROPOSAL ORIGINATED WITH A. G. DANIELS.—Back in the spring of 1930 Arthur G. Daniells, for more than twenty years president of our General Conference, told me he believed that, at a later time, I should undertake a thorough survey of the entire plan of redemption —its principles, provisions, and divine Personalities—as they unfolded to our view as a Movement from 1844 onward, with special emphasis upon the developments of "1888, and its sequel [which Froom then reveals is Daniel's `Christ Our Righteousness'] . . . . . . . that it would round out in historical sequence what he had begun in 1926 in the comparatively brief recital of his epochal Christ Our Righteousness. This had become a conviction with him, which he felt he must pass on to me . . . . for I had gotten a vision of it, and had a background and burden for it . . . . But, he said, it is to be later—not yet, not yet . . . . He knew that time would be required for certain theological wounds to heal, and for attitudes to modify on the part of some. Possibly it would be necessary to wait until certain individuals had dropped out of action, before the needed portrayal could wisely be brought forth. He likewise envisioned the vast toil and time involved. He pressed me to lay long-range plans to that end, and never to give up. Such was his solemn charge in 1930 . . . .
Accepting the assignment, I first sent out a questionnaire to all delegates to the '88 Conference then still living . . . . The quest was quietly under way.' (`Movement of Destiny', LeRoy Edwin Froom, 1971, pp. 17, 18.)
One of the theological wounds which Froom was waiting for to heal, was most certainly on Arian perceptions of the Trinity, and in particular the identification of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead:
`May I state that my book, The Coming of the Comforter was the result of a series of studies that I gave in 1927-1928 to ministerial institutes throughout North America. You cannot imagine how I was pummelled by some of the old timers because I pressed on the personality of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead. Some men denied that—still deny it. But the book has come to be generally accepted as standard.' (Letter, LeRoy Froom to Dr. Otto H. Christenson, October 27, 1960).
No doubt Froom's 1928 book entitled `The Coming of the Comforter' was a major factor which influenced Daniel's decision to pass the evangelical baton of `Righteousness by Faith' on to Froom two years later in 1930; for Elder Daniels had already published `Christ Our Righteousness' in 1926 - two years before Froom published `The Coming of the Comforter'. It also reveals that contrary to what our historians tell us, the issue of the identity of the Holy Spirit could not have been settled by the 1931 `Statement of Beliefs' and was still an issue with some as late as 1960, as the letter reproduced above demonstrates. Transcripts of the 1919 Bible Conference reveal that Elder Daniel's believed the historical view of the Holy Spirit until `Desire of Ages' was published with a pro-trinitarian emphasis in 1898:
"A.G. DANIELS: So far as I am concerned, I went along with a mystified idea quite a while, and the thing that began to knock the scales from my eyes was when the Desire of Ages came out. I was in Australia when the page proofs were brought out. I never believed some other things till the Testimonies came out and set me thinking. And I said, Look here, Sister White has always been in harmony with the Bible, now she has dropped a stitch here or else I am wrong. I went to studying, and that did more for me. Perhaps we have discussed this as long as we need to. We are not going to take a vote on Trinitarianism or Arianism, but we can think.' "(1919 General Conference Session, 3 p.m session, July 6, p. 244.)
That `mystified idea' was the identification of the Holy Spirit as a `mysterious emanation' which proceeds from the Father and Son, which some of our pioneers believed prior to the publication of `Desire of Ages'. In the following passage Uriah Smith (who was editor of the `Review and Herald' for intermittent periods that spanned forty years) echoes these sentiments of a `mystified idea' about the Holy Spirit:
`The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God; it is also the Spirit of Christ. It is that divine, mysterious emanation through which they carry forward their great and infinite work.' (“The Spirit of Prophecy and Our Relation To It,” The General Conference Bulletin, IV (March 18, 1891), p. 146.)
He also described the Bible as using ` . . . . expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both . . . .' (“In the Question Chair,” Review and Herald, LXVII October 28, 1890.)
Just as Elder Smith's lengthy tenure as editor of `Review and Herald' lead to him exerting a considerable amount of influence upon the how individual Adventists formulated their doctrinal views - so also did Elder Daniel's 22 year stint as General Conference President serve to do precisely the same thing at the turn of the twentieth century - for the publication of `Desire of Ages' in 1898 saw Elder Daniels become a Trinitarian, and he began to gather like minded people around him. By 1930 his greatest ally and closest confidante had become Le Roy Froom, who firmly believed that the `Latter Rain' could not be poured out until our doctrines depicted Christ as "all the fullness of the Godhead" - which no Adventist today could disagree with. However, interwoven with his conception of the divinity of Christ was his belief that the `Latter Rain' could not commence unless we first accepted ` . . . . the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead, likewise as "all the fullness of the Godhead"':
` . . . . not until recognition of the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead, likewise as "all the fullness of the Godhead" (Series B. no. 7. pp. 62, 63: Ev 615), was acknowledged - and the need of our yielding to Him, for the Holy Spirit Himself to infill, control, and use us - could we experience the power of the Latter Rain and participate in the Loud Cry in its fullness that will be heard and heeded by multitudes in time's last hour.' (`Movement of Destiny', Le Roy Froom, 1971, p. 316.)
Froom also believed that the `Latter Rain' would not commence unless we accepted the Trinitarian position of Christ as the Second Person of the Godhead:
`Not until we were united in setting forth Christ in all his "fullness" as the "centre and circumstance" of every doctrine; not until we were united in presenting Christ in His full majestic stature of complete equality with the Father as the Second Person of the Godhead, and the omnipresent and omnipotent Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Godhead - charged with finishing the work of God in the earth, and cutting it short in righteousness - would we be in a position to act our part in the "quick work" involved in the grand finale of the Third Angel's Message.' (`Movement of Destiny', LeRoy Froom, 1971, p. 317.)
For Froom, this was true `Righteousness by Faith' as he believed it was first propounded at the watershed Minneapolis Conference in 1888 - albeit with a few forgivable errors by A.T. Jones on the humanity of Christ, and E.J. Waggoner on the Sonship of Christ - for it was at Minneapolis that Froom first saw the `eternal verities of the gospel' (a favourite phrase of his) first being propounded to the denomination. As far as Froom was concerned, the only way by which our denomination could accept true `Righteousness by Faith', was by accepting the doctrine of the Trinity; for while on the one hand Froom correctly realized that true `Righteousness by Faith' can only be rightly perceived if one first begins with a right premise of the character of God - he instead erred by believing that this could only be rightly perceived once the denomination had accepted the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, and its subsequent daughter doctrines - such as the nature of Christ which (to use a pun) emanate from it:
` We must then conclude that Righteousness by Faith `was not simply a simple acceptance or rejection of the alternatives of Righteousness by Faith versus righteousness by works. It had vastly greater connotations. It involved the very nature of the Chirst in whom that faith was to be vested . . . Again, the promised Latter Rain was not simply a matter of laying hold of the requisite power proffered. Instead, it involved recognition of the Holy Spirit as a Person - the mighty Third Person of the Godhead, to whom we are all to yield, and who is to imbue, infill, and use us as the channels of His working, thus to finish the work.' (`Movement of Destiny', LeRoy Froom, 1971, p. 318.)
But to Froom's chagrin, apart from assumed `priceless leads in the Spirit of Prophecy', he was unable to find anything in our published works which related to a Trinitarian Holy Spirit
`May I here make a frank and personal confession? When, back between 1926 and 1928, I was asked by our leaders to give a series of studies on the Holy Spirit, covering the North American union ministerial institutes of 1928, I found that, aside from priceless leads found in the Spirit of Prophecy, there was practically nothing in our literature setting forth a sound Biblical exposition in this tremendous field of study. There were no previous path finding books on this question in our literature.' (`Movement of Destiny', LeRoy Froom , 1971, p. 322.)
He therefore turned to the Evangelical churches for inspiration and guidance, whom he believed were receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a result of our rejection of the Trinitarian Holy Spirit - but could only go so far because they had no conception of the `Loud Cry' of the Advent Message. As far as Froom was concerned - true `Righteousness by Faith' hinged upon believing in the outpouring of the `Latter Rain' by the Trinitarian Holy Spirit:
`I was compelled to search out a score of valuable books written by men outside of our faith - those previously noted - for initial clues and suggestions, and to open up beckoning vistas to intensive personal study . . . But - and this is most vital - these other writers could only go so far. This was because they were without the concept of the consummating place of the Loud Cry and the Latter Rain in the grand finale of God's last message of Righteousness by Faith among men, framed in the great commission of this [Advent] Movement. Their limitations definitely circumscribed their presentations. They could only go so far. That is the glory and wonder of Present Truth. ' (`Movement of Destiny', LeRoy Froom , 1971, p. 322.)
Froom followed the advice given him by Daniels - he did not publish the book until the majority of his old enemies who resisted the `New Theology' were dead. The book was entitled `Movement of Destiny', which was published in 1971; three years before his death at the age of 84 - his life's work accomplished. Truly, Froom loyally bore the torch which had been entrusted to him by Elder Daniels. He is buried in the `George Washington Cemetery' 9500 Riggs Rd., Adelphi, Maryland.' His graveside is Masonic Plot B, Plot 860. GPS coordinates for his gravesite (in which his wife Esther also lays with him) are N 39 degrees, 00.667, W 76 degrees, 58.133. This of course begs the question - precisely why is a Seventh Day Adventist and his wife buried in a Masonic plot - when only Masons can be buried in Masonic plots? Whatever the reason, it is ironic to think that the doctrines which encapsulate `Historic Adventism' were being formulated at precisely the same time as when Elder Daniels was exerting his influence in regard to acceptance of the Trinity, and the denomination began its slide into apostasy. By the same vein, `Historic Adventists' accept the Trinity for precisely the same reasons as did Daniels - simply because Ellen White is assumed to have referred to the Holy Spirit as a trinitarian Holy Spirit. Thus, in some ways Walter Martin's summation of the denomination in 1957 has become eerily prescient in regard to the present day:
`What I think is happening in the echelons of leadership right now is that they have gotten to the place where they have elevated Ellen White to be the infallible interpreter of Scripture. By doing so they have painted themselves into a theological corner. They are on Masada and they don't know it. If Ellen White is an infallible interpreter of Scripture, then what they've preached against all these years has finally come to pass - the self-fulfilled prophecy; they have a pope.' (`Adventist Currents', Vol. 1, 1983.)
Although we had accepted Trinitarianism in a limited form as early as 1931, the Trinitarian perception of Christ's human nature did not come until much later, when `Questions on Doctrine' was first published in 1957 - at which a furore erupted over the post-fall and pre-fall perceptions on the human nature of Christ. But as the denomination had already been conditioned to accept Trinitarianism for the previous twenty five years, the real issue at stake - had we accepted the Trinity?; was not comprehended by our people. The reason for this is that by the time that `Questions on Doctrine' was printed, our people had become so conditioned to almost unconsciously accepting Trinitarianism, none realized that the pre-fall view on the human nature of Christ is a doctrine which is firmly welded to the Trinity, for it expresses the Trinitarian perspective of the human nature of Christ. This included those who first came to be known as `Concerned Brethren' , and later as `Historic Adventists'. Thus, the question should be asked - what truly consists of the Historic Adventist message? Is it what our pioneers believed prior to pre-1888; is it the doctrines which `Historic Adventists' believe - which is the period of time from the turn of the century until the publication of `Questions in Doctrine' in 1957 - or is it a brief period of time when the `Loud Cry' began to sound in `1888', when Elders Waggoner and Jones first propounded a unique gospel message which had lain dormant since the first century? There is one thing of which we are certain - any theology which has its basis in Trinitarian doctrine cannot adequately reflect that message. Therefore the evangelicalism (or `New Theology') of Froom and the theology of `Historic Adventism' is erroneous - for both modes of theology are based upon Trinitarian process. What then, is the life-giving wellspring that comprises that `most precious message' which was given to our people in 1888?
Will the true `Historic Adventist' please stand up?
Here are the other articles in this series:
The Last Generation - Part One
The Last Message of Mercy - Part Five