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Roan Mountain Report

Posted Oct 01, 2014 by Adrian Ebens in Adventist Issues
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Roan Mountain Report

As we travelled through the beautiful hills of Tennessee towards the Roan Mountain meetings my heart was brimming with much emotion. I was eager to see many of my brethren and to fellowship with them in the bonds of peace in Christ. I also carried a sense of the significance of these meetings and what it would mean for the cause of God for those who love the Father and His only begotten Son.

Just prior to the meetings a number of delegates had made very clear statements about their convictions regarding the law and the covenants and especially the feasts. Such statements were sending diplomatic messages that positions were already potentially decided and there would not be candid discussion. I knew this would be problematic for free and open discussion but I continued to pray and leave these things in the Father’s hands.

One of my main purposes was to get a sense of the majority’s feelings towards worship as related to the law for those who desire to worship God through the Statutes. The second critical point for me was would the movement anchor itself in the central pillar of Adventism and that is the Sanctuary message in relationship 1844, the investigative judgement, the process of sanctification and the Sabbath sealing message.

I was very happy for the leaders of the movement that were willing to come and sit together. The investment that each person made in coming revealed a desire to be close to each other and a willingness to try and listen to each other and work together. I rejoiced when I saw David Clayton, Howard Williams, Nader Mansour, Imad Awde, Lynnford Beachy and Jim Raymond. Each of these men and those who work with them have blessed many people in pointing people to the one true God and the Lord Jesus Christ. As we talked together of the different parts of the world field that we have served in and the blessings and challenges we have encountered it drew my hearts towards them in a strong sense of brotherhood. It was also a real joy to meet Mac and Sandy McCrillis again. We had met earlier in the year and spent several sweet hours in fellowship together and I was thankful for all the effort they put in to prepare for the meetings.

During the first evening and next day of meetings the attendance was slowly building up. Lynnford opened the meetings with a clear presentation of the truth about God and reminded us of the precious truth we have in the Father and Son. I enjoyed Howard Williams power in preaching and sharing the Word of God and the joy we have in Christ Jesus. Nader and Imad shared on the centrality of the cross of Christ and the joy we have in him. I enjoyed Ken Corklin’s presentation on Daniel 11, it was well researched and presented. David Clayton shared in the themes of the everlasting covenant and contrasted aspects of his understanding with things that E.J Waggoner had taught on this subject and why he felt he was incorrect. Having listened to many of David’s presentations on the topic of the law and the covenants I did not hear anything that was new but a clear and decided presentation laying out clearly his convictions and concerns. I embraced him after the meeting telling him that I appreciated his honesty in what he expressed and that what he said about Waggoner was blunt but very clear so that none need to misunderstand where he was coming from. In between meetings and at meal times we talked in a spirit of grace towards each other while expressing our different understandings of things.

I knew that several people at the meetings had serious doubts about my ministry after I had declared an interest in the statutes and judgements as expressed in Mal 4:4 nearly a year ago. There were serious walls of division that had been erected with several people. These divisions were not so much visible but much more the feelings of the heart and a sense of caution and reserve in dealing with each other. I also felt Satan seeking to try and press to erect such barriers against my brethren. I had prayed many times for an open heart and not to entertain negative feelings towards any of my brethren. With these thoughts in mind I presented the sermon Lessons on Nineveh which I was able to share at the feast of tabernacles at Talking Rock the previous October and had resulted in a pouring out of the Spirit in large measure.

Before the meeting there was a strong sense of desire for the Spirit and many prayers were offered which really prepared the way for the spirit to come into the meetings. Through the work of Lynnford, the Hershbergers, and the young people two non-Adventists came to the meeting and said afterwards they were very happy to have been able to attend. After the presentation the floor was opened for those who wished to respond. I shared that I had struggled with some of the things that David Clayton had said and I had determined that I would not let go of him in my heart even when we disagreed on vital points. I wanted to display Christian grace and make my appeals in a gentle manner. Two others stood and confessed they had previously had negative feelings towards David Clayton and some with tears thanked the Lord they could be free of these feelings. Others began to share of barriers and walls that they determined to overcome. Some that had serious concerns about me apologised publically and the walls came down. We sensed the spirit of grace and hearts became united in love. Brother Alexander stated that this was the Pentecostal experience that he had hoped for in coming to these meetings and was very thankful to God for what was taking place. I was very thankful when brother Imad came and we shared together from our hearts. Layer after layer of issues from the past came down and our hearts were drawn closer and closer. This was such a joy for me and I know for him also. The next day I was able to sit with Nader also and we shared from our hearts and made things right before the Lord so that nothing negative stood between us. It was a very precious experience and I thank the Lord for granting us this precious gift.

The very next morning I was able to present on the subject of the Divine Pattern of Father and Son as the basis of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col 2:2,3 I related that the Father and Son relationship formed the pattern for the relationship between the Old and New Testament and that the New Testament was an expression of the Old Testament. I shared some thoughts from Scripture and then some quotes like these:

No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded. The law is the root, the gospel is the fragrant blossom and fruit which it bears. The Old Testament sheds light upon the New, and the New upon the Old. Each is a revelation of the glory of God in Christ. Both present truths that will continually reveal new depths of meaning to the earnest seeker. COL 128

Nor does Paul proclaim to the Jews a Messiah whose work is to destroy the old dispensation, but a Messiah who came to develop the whole Jewish economy in accordance with the truth. {Ev 554.1}

As they see the Christ of the gospel dispensation portrayed in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, and perceive how clearly the New Testament explains the Old, their slumbering faculties will be aroused, and they will recognize Christ as the Saviour of the world. AA 382

I showed that as there is no tension between Father and Son because the Son is the express image of the Father so there is no tension between Old and New Testament and we don’t have to emphasize the gospel at the expense of the Law or uphold the law at the expense of the gospel. Then I shared this quote to support this point.

The Old Testament, containing the prophecies of the coming of Christ, is now made of small account. The cry now is, "The Christ, the Christ! The gospel, the gospel!" But the gospel is taught all the way through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The gospel is revealed in all the prophecies of the first advent of Christ as the Saviour of men. Every act of the old dispensation to turn men away from sin or to bring them forgiveness was done with reference to the Saviour who was to come. He was the steppingstone by which man was to be exalted. As Moses saw this steppingstone despised, and beheld the Jews, blinded by Satan, turning away from their only hope of salvation, and crying, "Away with Christ!" and as he heard the Christian world in the new dispensation crying, "Away with the Father! Away with the law!" he was filled with astonishment. Do men honor God by despising His law? As the special work of Satan has been to separate the Father and the Son, he has so blinded the eyes of the Christian world that they now turn from the Father and from His law and dwell wholly upon Christ. {10MR 156}

Brother David Clayton came up to me smiling after the meeting and hugged me and said he did not agree with my emphasis using the Divine Pattern. I said I was willing to listen to anything specific on the topic if I had missed something. Several people appreciated this principle that the Father and Son relationship is the key to all relationships where we see two parts such as the Old and New Testament, the two tables of the law, our parents, the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, Faith and Works and Reason and Emotion. All these things reflect the source channel relationship of Father and Son as depicted in 1 Cor 8:6. In the following days a few leaders told me that they felt I took the Divine Pattern too far but nothing specific was given me or anything that would suggest the EGW quotes I had shared were misguided or misinterpreted.

Leading up to and during the meetings I wanted to show a level of flexibility regarding the feast question. I didn’t wish nor still wish to make it a test of fellowship but one of freedom of conviction. I was hoping to secure a consensus that there would be a reduction in sentiment against the feasts in publications and sermons and a willingness to choose not to see this as a threat to the movement. I hoped also to assure others that for those who hold convictions about the statutes that I could encourage them not to press these issues as mandatory and the basis of judging others as inferior. I also was not committed to a specific calendar and wanted to show a level of flexibility in dealing with this question. So in all the discussions and meetings I was hoping to see if we could get some consensus and harmony on this question of the statutes.

We had a number of special music pieces by some of the young people. It was a real blessing to see their gifts and talents dedicated to the Lord and blessing the people of God. In my final presentation on Sabbath it was a joy to speak to the subject that as worshippers of the begotten Son we are beholding someone who is blessed. Because the Son of God has received everything from His Father, He is greatly blessed. This blessing He pours upon those who receive Him. I described that as followers of the blessed Son of God we will reveal this Spirit in our lives and bless others. What a privilege it is to speak words of blessing and encouragement into our families and communities of faith. We then invited people to come and receive special prayer and receive the blessing of their Father and hear the words “You are my beloved Child in whom I am well pleased,” through Christ Jesus. Many came forward and hearts were touched as prayer was offered and blessings received. There was a warm sense of joy as we dwelt on the wonderful love of our Father. Brother David finished the camp with a presentation on the law and the covenants and the gospel in the person of Christ Jesus.

I spent some time in prayer seeking for an attentive mind and the love of Christ as we began the Bible discussions. We had a good season of prayer as we began. There was a feeling by some that taking time to discuss doctrinal differences was wasting time and we just needed to get on and present the Third Angel’s message. Both David Clayton and I agreed that we needed to discuss some keys things and that the issues were important. It was a blessing to be able to sit beside brother David Clayton as the meetings began.

We began to discuss the law and the covenants and much of the discussion centred on what was available before and after the cross. We all agreed that for Christ to operate as a High Priest that He must be perfected through His sufferings as a human and be able to offer His blood. We also established that Christ did have a mediatorial work in the Old Testament. Brother Imad made an excellent point with the idea that the entire career of Aaron reflected the meditorial work of Christ. In Egypt, Aaron spoke the words of Moses and carried the rod of Moses to do great miracles and save God’s people from Egypt and then once they left Egypt he became a priest. So his entire career reflected the work of Christ before and after the cross.

There was some discussion on forgiveness in the Old and New Testament. I was interested to note the words used for forgiveness in the following:

Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest [H5375 - Qal] the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

H5375 1) to lift, bear up, carry, take

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to lift, lift up

1a2) to bear, carry, support, sustain, endure

1a3) to take, take away, carry off, forgive

Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness [G859] of sins:

G859 - From G863; freedom; (figuratively) pardon: - deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.

The emphasis was slightly different but still the sins were taken away. Points were raised that sin could not actually be forgiven until Christ came but they were covered by the promise. Yet we know that the lifting off and carrying away of sins has a counterpart in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Sin is transferred and cleansed on the day of Atonement. Ancient Israel looked forward to cross atonement and standing in that reality we look forward to final atonement.

As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. {FLB 206.6}

Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service. A substitute was accepted in the sinner's stead; but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim. A means was thus provided by which it was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his guilt in transgression, and expressed his desire for pardon through faith in a Redeemer to come; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people. Such was the service performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary. {GC 420.1}

Brother Lynnford showed a number of examples of new birth in the Old Testament but some felt these texts only revealed divine influence and not true conversion. The key emphasis for this was that without the actual human nature of Jesus in a person they could not be truly forgiven or converted. In private conversations between the public discussions I raised the following texts

1 Pet 1:10-11 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: (11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Isa 63:8-9 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. (9) In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

There was much discussion about Enoch, Moses and Elijah and how they could be in heaven if they were not truly forgiven or perfected in character. It was suggested a number of times that without the actual human nature of Christ, these men could not be perfected.

Enoch and Elijah are the correct representatives of what the race might be through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan was greatly disturbed because these noble, holy men were untainted amid the moral pollution surrounding them, perfecting righteous characters, and accounted worthy for translation to heaven. Confrontation Page 26

For myself I found the discussion very productive for myself because it forced me to think about where are the foundations and did my understanding of Scripture stand up. I found that some of my expressions needed to be modified to accurately represent what the Bible is saying. One point that was made to me is that some brethren seek to represent the Old Testament as being no different to the New Testament. I have always tried to state that the New Testament is a great expansion of the Old and therefore much light that was hidden was manifested in a greater way. I think that sometimes in the discussion when some were saying the New Testament is a new system completely different to the Old it gives the impression that there was no salvation in the Old Testament and efforts made to correct this position sound like they are making the Old Testament exactly the same. As I have continued to reflect on the question of before and after the cross I have found these statements helpful.

The world has been committed to Christ, and through Him has come every blessing from God to the fallen race. He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. He has given light and life to all, and according to the measure of light given, each is to be judged. DA 210

As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary RH, March 12, 1901.

He was to become acquainted with the weakness of every human being. He could do this only by taking upon himself human nature. He must be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, that at the judgment of the great day none might question the justice of the decisions made. RH March 12, 1901

Later in the day I spoke about the rest of the Sabbath that has been available from the foundation of the world.

Heb 4:3-4 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

Access to this perfect Spirit of rest has been available from the creation and continued to be available through faith in the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. This rest was complete and perfect through all the Old Testament and could be entered into by faith. Understanding the principle that this rest was available by coming in faith at an appointed time could be expanded to include other appointed times to access this rest. This is the heart of the Sabbath principle. This makes sense that we are sanctified through the Sabbath.

Eze 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.

The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.  

     To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given "for a perpetual covenant." To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people. It is a pledge that He will fulfill to them His covenant. Every soul who accepts the sign of God's government places himself under the divine, everlasting covenant. He fastens himself to the golden chain of obedience, every link of which is a promise. The fourth commandment alone of all the ten contains the seal of the great Lawgiver, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Those who obey this commandment take upon themselves His name, and all the blessings it involves are theirs. {6T 350}

Israel was invited to enter into this perfect rest by faith in the promised lamb but they refused. This rest was available at an appointed time and by partaking of the rest at the appointed time it made complete sense that the rest of the Sabbath could be given at other appointed times. I expressed that as the rest of the Seventh day Sabbath was found in a number of the feasts and especially the Day of Atonement this revealed a divine pattern connection between the weekly and annual Sabbaths. The annual Sabbaths inherit the moral element of the weekly Sabbath. I then quoted this passage to summarise my point

Again the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the first fruits of His bounties. The object of all these regulations was stated: they proceeded from no exercise of mere arbitrary sovereignty; all were given for the good of Israel. PP 311

In private discussions I indicated that Ellen White shows the connection between the Sabbath and the feasts because they remind us of the Sabbath not just of the plan of salvation. The rest of the Sabbath was available in all the fall feasts (the seventh month) and especially the Day of Atonement. Was not the perfect rest of God available at these times for those who came in faith? Did Jesus truly nail these times of Sabbath rest to the cross reducing the principle of the Sabbath rest? Since the rest of the Sabbath from creation is available in the feasts this connection reveals the feasts are moral in their connection to the Sabbath and ceremonial in their sacrifices and their pointing forward to the work Christ would do.

A number of people indicated that I took the divine pattern too far but no points were given in response to my points on Old Testament and New Testament and the quotes from Spirit of prophecy about the law being the root and the gospel the fruit. Again in private discussions I mentioned that the Sun and moon are in a divine pattern. All the light of the moon comes from the Sun. The weekly Sabbath is determined by the earth’s rotation in relation to the Sun and the annual Sabbaths by the earth’s rotation in relation to the moon. One is seven days and the other within seven months. I think this reveals a very interesting pattern of source and channel.

The first day ended with some positive discussion, although day two was much better organised. The central discussion from day one was the differences before and after the cross and if people could be truly saved in the Old Testament. The feast question did not surface until late on the first day. Gary Hullquist expressed the point that TRSC was seeking to reach out to those who believed in the feasts and emphasize the blessings associated with these gatherings. David Clayton made it clear that he saw the feasts as dangerous to the proclamation of the gospel and that he felt the need to warn against them. Others expressed similar concerns

I indicated that I was witnessing a similar spirit that many of us experienced with the Trinity in the SDA Church now being revealed in the Feast Question.

  1. Telling people its ok if you keep it to yourself
  2. Telling people that it will cause division if it continues to be raised.
  3. Warning people against those who hold the view
  4. Telling people that it is Satanically inspired to distract the movement.
  5. Threats of avoiding those who engage in these things, not inviting them to speak or warning against their gatherings as a pseudo disfellowship.

I stated that I had detected that I myself was beginning to walk this path with others and I determined to be free of it.

We finished the evening around 9pm and came together at 10am the next day. As have been reported by others there was a better process that allowed us to address key issues. I spoke with David Clayton before the meeting after much prayer acknowledging that of theological differences were quite vast even though several people would not appreciate those differences. I wanted to affirm our love for one another but accept that our paths were heading in very different directions at the present time. We have discussed many points over a number of years and this extended face to face did not yield any changes in our convictions. The only unity I can accept is based upon the solid platform of Adventism. I think David feels differently about this and that it is foolish to stick to the same processes that obviously have failed in the past. I understand where David is coming from and can appreciate this point of view but it is not one that I hold.

We had three 20 minute presentations representing 3 positions on the feasts. David Barron presented some points especially relating to the New Moon and that if we are going to be keeping this in heaven according to Isa 66:23 then how can it be a shadow that is to be done away now. Several questions went back and forth of which I don’t recall the detail now. Gary Hullquist then pointed out the prophetic significance of the feasts and their connection to the Jubilees. He emphasised that the specific timing was not the key issue but that was not his focus. Nader and Imad questioned that if the timing was not significant then why engage it at all and risk division in the movement of something that is non-essential. I felt they raised a good point and it was a question that needed an answer. If there was nothing special about the times then why make this an issue? That question stuck with me and I processed it through the rest of the meeting. David Clayton restated his position that the law that came at Sinai was a complete system designed to restrain sin until the Messiah came to bring the gospel. In this context none of the laws given by Moses would have any relevance in the New Testament for the Christian. It only spoke to the sinner but once in Christ it had served its purpose as a school master. Obviously the feasts become irrelevant with this model of the gospel. The law is indeed written on the heart without any external writing needed to remind us because it was all done by the new nature in Christ.

I asked David if there was a literal 10 Commandments written in heaven in the ark in the Most Holy Place. He stated that it was symbolic. I clarified by asking if what Ellen White saw in Early Writings was also symbolic. He said it was. Again this is entirely consistent with the platform David has been sharing and makes sense in that context but from my experience in Adventist seminary, this process of turning these things to metaphors takes you to places you could not imagine when you begin. With these statements along with the statements about the 10 Commandments and that Waggoner was incorrect on the key thrust of the Everlasting Covenant I felt it only fair to state my position because these points expressed are not consistent with the everlasting gospel as revealed in the 1888 message and an Adventist context of Scripture and history. For me to accept these things is to completely forget the way the Lord has led us in the past and that I indeed had something to fear if I did this. This made very clear to me the decided difference in path we were taking. I needed to tell my brethren of the path I needed to follow. I don’t wish to judge any of my brothers for the convictions they hold, we are in a world of sin and we are all trying to work out the pathway to life but I needed to leave my witness for what I understood was the truth without malice or pride.

So the combination of Nader and Imad’s very good questions and the statements concerning the sanctuary, Waggoner and the covenants combined into the statement I shared at the end.

Adrian Ebens Closing Statement Roan Mountain Sept 2014

After my statement I was alerted that we had to leave, so I was not able to stay and discuss further which was not optimal considering the statement I had made. I contacted a number of leaders after the meetings to assure them of my love and regards towards then and apologised that I had to leave when I did.

As you will hear at the end of my statement, many will find my expression of support for the statutes and judgments to be strange. I hear many “amens” from many readers but as I stated, I don’t stand where many stand on the covenants or the gospel. I believe that I have left a witness of liberty and freedom of conscience in my ministry which counteracts the charge of legalism. Yet many fear I will be swallowed up by this legalistic mindset. Perfect love casts out fear brethren and in the grace of Christ the commandments of God are not grievous. I will not bow to any pressure that discourages me to give up my love for the statement that

Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

I wish all of you the grace of Christ in your journey to the kingdom. I have no intention of speaking against others who hold different convictions than myself. I greatly desired to have this meeting in person so we could say things to each other in person and leave each to decide what is their duty. There is clearly a divide in the pathway for many of us at this point. This divide does not mean we need to be enemies. I certainly pray this will not be the case. Family members often have differences of understanding but hopefully they will love each other. David Clayton and I realised that our differences mean that our views on the gospel would make it impractical for us to work together at this present time. We have an obligation to those we work for to bring them the very best messages to help them in their Christian walk. As for each of the other ministries I guess they will express their convictions accordingly and I still hope that our Father will help us come together. To all in ministry my door will always be open by the grace of God and I want to leave a heap of stones here for you that I will not pass this point towards you in anger and I pray that you will do the same for me.

Your brother in the blessed Hope

Adrian Ebens
Maranatha Media

See Also Unity - Report by Gary Hullquist