Monday, September 08, 2008
Address to the Biblical Research Committee in response to official findings and statement regarding the manuscript “The Return of Elijah”
To my brothers in Christ who are over me in the Lord, Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have prayed earnestly about the observations, counsel and guidance you have given me in response to my manuscript “The Return of Elijah.” I wish to thank all of you for taking the time to consider this document, as you have mentioned that you have considered it at “several” meetings. Since it is a large document, it would have required significant time and resources to give it proper consideration and for this I am grateful.
I know that you would be fully aware of the challenges I face in light of the response given and I want to highlight a part of the challenge I now face so that you might pray for me that I will follow God’s will and do what is right in all things.
In my first submission, I stated the following which I believe is a core component of this whole process:
I never dreamed that I would be placed in a position where I would be producing a paper like this. I write with mixed emotions because on the one hand the views presented in this paper have opened to my heart a view of Christ and His righteousness that has caused my heart to overflow with joy and stand in awe of such great salvation. On the other hand, I am well aware of the fact that some of the concepts revealed in this paper will cause alarm and dismay for some and my pastoral heart shrinks from anything that would cause a major upheaval for the Lord’s flock. In many ways I am at a loss to know how to proceed with it or what to do with it.
…This paper came together in about 2 weeks. I was often awakened in the early hours and as I communed with my God, I saw things that I was compelled to put to paper. The words have flowed like a great current through my mind and heart onto these pages. It is your job to test what spirit is driving this experience. I need your feedback in this process.
It is important for me to tell you that it was not my intention to write such a document as I have. At the time of writing I was extremely unwell and hardly eating at all and then in the midst of this situation I found myself typing up to 8 hours per day every day for 2 weeks. I could not account for the energy I received nor the clarity of mind to put together a systematic treatise of such scale. As I noted above, I often would awake in the early hours of the morning and many things would pass through my mind with such clarity and clearness and the joy I experienced at what I observed was almost overwhelming at times. At one point as I considered what I was learning concerning Christ, I was overwhelmed with joy and just wept with a sense that I had found the true identity of Christ and in this identity I had found the true WAY of salvation.
Obviously, these powerful emotions have found expression in my document for which some have accounted as arrogance and presumption, I have no defense against such accusations and offer none except the experience that I passed through.
As you would know, a key element of my thoughts centre on the concept of the channel of blessing and the importance to submit to God’s ordained authority, and so I eagerly submitted my manuscript to Pr Neil Watts who received me graciously.
In submitting my materials to you I have tried to follow the counsel of Scripture:
1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
Each of you are men of experience beyond mine and have been placed in a position of responsibility to guide and bless God’s flock. It was necessary therefore that I should submit myself to you to ascertain not only the content of my manuscript but also the experience that I have passed through. Anything of an experiential nature must be compared with Scripture and I would not dare to trust my experience without the counsel of my brethren.
In coming to you I have come as a son would to his father with great anticipation and joy, saying “Father, Father, look at what I have found. Isn’t it wonderful?” I was not and am not naïve to the realities of what answer I might receive but I trusted God would oversee such issues.
In telling me that you have seen nothing in the document of merit, I feel as a son would feel when his father tells him that what he is excited about is nothing to be excited about and not helpful. I confess that I experienced a great wave of depression as a result that tested my heart severely. I know of a certainty that it has never been the committee’s intention to hurt me or cause me pain and I believe that each of you have a love and concern for me as any father would for his son. So I do not take these things personally but only share them that you might know the trials of my soul.
Beyond this experience, I am now placed in a perplexing situation. If you are certain there is nothing noteworthy in my document and that the sentiments should not be shared with the church, what spirit was it that motivated me to put these things together? The conclusions of the committee would seem to indicate that I have been deceived and am being led by a false spirit. I sense this has not been the focus of the committee but I think you can understand my thoughts on this matter as a consequence. Please be frank with me and tell me if you think that I have been deceived. This manuscript is not simply an intellectual exercise, it was forged in a deeply spiritual experience and the spirit that gave it must be tested and revealed.
I appeal to each of you in this regard that you ask the Lord on my behalf concerning this matter. If you can ask our heavenly Father concerning this matter and whether I am indeed mislead and have been deceived for whatever reason. This is of utmost importance as I am sure you can understand.
In regard to the content of my manuscript and the reply given, I confess I am quite disappointed. I was hoping for Biblical guidance from you regarding the manuscript, but you have not offered me one text of Scripture in response. I realize that you have stated that the reply does not deal with all the details and there are issues left untouched, but the points given to me have no Scriptural support.
One of the key points mentioned is:
“AE’s paradigm thus view God from a human perspective and imposes anthropology on theology”
This has been stated, but the process has not been shown to me by quoting from my manuscript and then showing in Scripture how I have faltered in my thinking. I am eager to listen to what you are saying but is it unreasonable for me to ask for a Biblical response? I asked the committee to show me where my logic process has faltered, but the statements offered such as the one above do not help. They appear simply as opinions rather than a Biblical presentation of the facts. If I have imposed anthropology on theology, I need to be shown the references where I have done this and how it conflicts with Biblical truth.
I would contend that I have offered several passages of Scripture for the thesis I have put forth and I am asking the committee to give me a “Thus saith the Lord” in response, but this has not been done.
There are several assertions that the committee has made but not one of them has been supported by a clear Biblical reasoning process to help me see the error of my thinking. I don’t believe that any of you would want me to accept the naked assertions and opinions of man without a clear thus saith the Lord. To do such would be to violate my conscience and is completely non-Protestant.
I have been asked to “not pursue the line of thinking” contained within this manuscript. The only authority you have to ask me to stop this is to appeal to the authority that my mind is captive to and that is the Word of God. I cannot submit my thinking to any authority other than this. I am sure you understand this.
I am eager to submit to you my brothers that are over me in the Lord, but your authority over me has been established and given to you by Scripture and therefore this is the only authority I can accept. To accept your request on any other basis is to submit myself in matters of conscience to the will of man. This I cannot and will not do under any circumstances.
On a number of occasions I asked the committee to show me from the Bible where I am wrong, I am not submitting this document for comment on where I can further prove my understanding, I am asking to be shown the error of my thinking clearly and unequivocally from the Scripture.
The committee has also stated that there are several areas in the manuscript that are uncertain and lack clarity. I am more than open to talk to any of the committee about these areas. My paper has not been submitted as an academic paper to ascertain its academic qualities but as a springboard of discussion and to enter a process of dialog so that the things that are unclear can be made plain. This is why I requested that I might appear before the committee to answer questions that seem to be unclear. I would also contend that truth does not only come in the form of a scholarly paper. I have written as I sense things have been revealed to me. I am sure the paper can be expanded as the beginning of something that can be developed into a series of scholarly papers if that is useful, but these are not needed to ascertain the truthfulness or non truthfulness of the paper.
I have been asked by the committee not to circulate my document to the “church in general.” I have not been given sufficient Biblical authority as to why I should not. At this point I certainly will not pass the document to the church in general hoping for the Biblical evidence that I am seeking. But it must be understood that I have submitted myself to the committee for the purpose of being shown from the Authority of the Scriptures where my errors are. I am sure you agree that the requests of the brethren must be supported by a clear thus saith the Lord.
Finally my brothers I wish to ask each of you on a personal level. Are you absolutely sure beyond reasonable doubt that the church’s current position on the Trinity is correct? Are you absolutely certain that there is nothing of merit in the manuscript “The Return of Elijah”? I urgently need an answer on this. Have you taken the manuscript to the Lord and prayerfully asked Him whether there is any light in this or has the manuscript been only considered in an academic way? I mean no offense by these questions but the subjective experience I have passed though urges me to appeal to you in this way.
My brothers if there is reasonable doubt concerning the church’s current view of the Trinity and there is a possibility of light in what I am saying then there is a possibility that we as a church are engaged in the worship of a false understanding of God. The history of Israel clearly teaches us the possibility of God’s people being led astray regarding the worship of the true God. I am not stating these things as facts to the committee but merely to talk of possibilities. ARE WE SURE ABOUT THIS!
The committee has asked me to show my trust in Adventist scholarship. My brothers you are asking me a very hard thing. Certainly there are scholars that I have been blessed by and appreciate in the church, but I can’t trust any scholar that rejects a literal six day creation and there are scores of them amongst our ranks. I can’t accept any scholar that seeks to downplay the concepts of the Remnant and references to other churches in respect of the concept to Babylon and again there are scores of them. I can’t accept a scholar who rejects the investigative judgment in its proper understanding and again there are scores of scholars who do and I know this for a fact. Your request for trust cannot be extended to any of the above and never will be by myself. I am happy to accept any member of the Adventist church as a brother or sister in Christ and love them as Christ would, but to trust scholarship outside the plain statements of Scripture will never occur with me.
- If you could please provide me a Biblical response to my manuscript both showing my errors of judgment by quoting the areas of my document and then giving a clear Biblical rebuttal of such a position.
- If you could please advise me concerning my personal experience, is it of God or of men or worse the Devil?
- If you can affirm that you are certain that our current position of the Trinity is correct and is indeed the correct view of God and would you be willing to sign such a statement personally or have a representative sign the statement on behalf of the committee with the official seal of the church?
- Can you arrange a forum where the contents of this document can be discussed and explored?
I thank you once again for giving these things serious and prayerful consideration. As you can imagine these things are urgent for me and your speedy response would be most appreciated.
Please be assured that I hold each of you in high regard and esteem you highly in love and keep you in my prayers that God will impress you the correct path to follow with respect to this matter.
Faithfully in His service