Let History Speak
Let History Speak

A Brief Summary of the

Before and Since the 1950s with Comments

Compiled by Donald K. Short October 1998

This monograph presents wide-ranging historical details showing how our in-house publications, periodicals and books, have made strenuous efforts to influence and change the Adventist teaching about the fallen human nature that Christ "took" in the incarnation. The decade of the 1950s brought repeated efforts for our acceptance by the Evangelical world, leading to the publication of Questions on Doctrine. This plan to present the idea of the pre-Fall nature of Christ brought much negative reaction from the field.

This produced numerous articles in Ministry magazine and the Review. Scholars of the Evangelical world were quoted as sources. Some 35 years after Questions on Doctrine was published, the church press continued to promote the pre-Fall theology with Review editorials plus entire books to sustain this concept and discount the 1888 message. This paper, given to Primacy Committee members in June 1999 brings data from different publications as well as from the Bible, Ellen White and the 1888 "messengers," all of which support the post-Fall human nature of Christ. Here is the paper:


Preamble: Seventh-day Adventists are committed to the firm conviction that "God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth" (4 T17). This "platform" demands that we have a correct understanding of "Jesus the author and finisher of our faith," for He was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Eternal life and all that is involved in the conflict between sin and righteousness depends upon knowing Jesus Christ who was sent by God (John 17:3).

(1) The plan of salvation is built upon God's gift of Christ
to the children of Adam.

Christ confirmed that God "gave"—therefore God had less subsequently. For eternity He would have less; what He gave was not a loan; it was a gift. Numerous texts seem to confirm this, and Hebrews is explicit.

This gift was without strings, no reservations. It was a mutual sacrifice; God/Christ agreed that forever Christ would remain a member of the human race.

Christ laid down His prerogatives; He was "sealed" to the human family (John 6:27). He became the "Author" of our salvation; the Word is explicit. Christ is the One "who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. … Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity. … For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Heb. 2:11-17 NIV).

(2) Our spiritual forefathers in the 1844 era understood that Christ took our human nature.

Following the great disappointment, years before there was \ Seventh-day Adventist church, these early faithful ones studied seriously why Jesus had not returned; they were not confused about His human nature. Their sentiments seem clearly portrayed:—

"After the great disappointment ... the truth was opened point by point, and entwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. The searchers after truth felt that the identification of Christ with their nature and interest was complete" (2SM 109, 110).

(3) A few years later in 1858, truths that make us a people were being established.

The Lord's messenger explained to these early believers:—

"Jesus [told the angels] that he should take man's fallen nature, and his strength would not be even equal to theirs. … [Satan] told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man's nature, he could overpower him, and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, pp. 25, 27).

(4) Over the years Adventists have consistently proclaimed that although Christ took fallen human nature, He did not sin.

Ellen White preached and published this theology throughout her lifetime. Never did she suggest that Christ came to this world with the nature of Adam before the fall. The Desire of Ages is a book replete with clear confirmations:—

"As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experience. … As a man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. … Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. … In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam's failure. … For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation" (pp. 24, 48, 117).

Her writings are the reasonable echoes of Scripture and portray the same teaching found in messages published by many Adventist authors over decades.

(5) Recent years have seen new and different teachings about the human nature of Christ.

The Scriptures leave no question: there is a true Christ, and there is a false christ. Justice demands that the One whom God gave be known for what He is. This means that it is impossible that "between Jesus and us a great gulf is fixed," as the church has been told (Adventist Review, July 8, 1993). The gospel proclaims that "in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13 NIV).

John contrasts the true Saviour and the false: "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God" (1 John 4:2, 3).

The Scriptures know only one kind of flesh—human flesh. Thus the record says of the Saviour, "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, … the Lamb of God, … the Son of God, … who in the days of his flesh … learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation" (John 1:14, 29, 34; Heb. 5:7-9; see: Gen. 6:3, Hebrew).

(6) The seriousness of multiple choice theology confronts the church.

Seventh-day Adventists will have to decide if they know "the only true God and Jesus Christ." The reality of our dilemma has been placed before the world church in a significant editorial in the Adventist Review, July 22,1993:—

"We see, then, that the stakes in this debate are high. This isn't some abstract theological discussion—it's about our salvation; it's about the very gospel God calls us to proclaim" (Our Matchless Saviour—II).

The truth of this pronouncement will be confirmed as the church continues to wait for the latter rain which cannot come until there is unity and "this debate" is settled. We must understand what the Lord wanted to do for us over 100 years ago in 1888.

(7) The Evangelical world knew where Adventists stood on the human nature of Christ.

The 1950 decade of dialogue with Evangelicals is well known among Adventists, and in the press of the Evangelical world. That we should have tried to set our beliefs before them is perfectly legitimate, for it fulfills our calling. But we gave them a distorted view of the third angel's message "in verity."

This failure was the direct result of our not knowing or our rejecting the 1888 gospel concepts. These would have enabled us to make clear to them our Adventist doctrines. We should have been able to convince the Evangelicals that we do indeed believe in righteousness by faith, and that the sanctuary message is truly biblical.

They would have understood the significance of our great High Priest's mediation following His sojourn on earth when He took our fallen human nature. Our sin was unbelief of the "beginning" of the latter rain and loud cry sent to us over a century ago.

(8) Our compromise led to the publication of Questions on Doctrine.

This book published in 1957 became the basis of illogical presentations of Adventist beliefs which created an outcry at the time and ever since. This treatise prepared by an unknown "Editorial Committee" confused the world about what we profess to believe, and it became a distorted chart for the next generation of students in our schools.

We now have a corps of scholars and workers around the world whose thinking reflects the erroneous theology of this book. They have cast aside the "old view" which was accepted and taught from our beginning and in its place substituted a concept which brings the approbation of the popular churches and makes Christ "exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam" (p. 383).

(9) Consternation in the world field produced a litany of Ministry editorial rebuttals.

Beginning in 1956 as the dialogue with Evangelicals was in process there was an endeavor to condition church members to accept the views of scholars outside our ranks, which were in sharp contrast with the Adventist "old view." Ministry magazine led out in this conditioning process that continued over a period of years:—

September, 1956:— Before Questions on Doctrine was published, an editorial appeared entitled, "Human, Not Carnal." The editor presented a series of Ellen White statements carefully selected to support the "new view."

This same tactic was used in Appendix B (pp. 647-660) when the book was published. Italicized portions with inserted headings give the compiler's concepts but defy clear-cut statements in The Desire of Ages.

The editor states that "in only three or four places in all these inspired counsels have we found such expressions as 'fallen nature' and 'sinful nature.' But these are strongly counterbalanced and clearly explained by many other statements that reveal the thought of the writer." Actually this "writer," Ellen White, writes dozens of statements using expressions that clearly state "fallen nature" and "sinful nature" which Christ took.

December 1956:— Another Ministry editorial, this one entitled, "Changing Attitudes Toward Adventism." There was a tone of rejoicing that we were making progress in being accepted. The editor said: "No attempt whatsoever has been made to add to, take from, or change our doctrines, but only to explain 'those
things which are surely believed among us.'"

If the editor really believed that no change was being made in our doctrines, clearly the Evangelicals thought otherwise.

• June 1957:— An article entitled "Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine." The editor said: "Of all the books we have ever published, none has had more careful scrutiny than this one. … No manuscript has been more carefully prepared and no book has been awaited with more eager anticipation."

• December 1957:—This issue featured a "Special Theme: The Incarnation." The leading article was by Dr. William G. T. Shedd, theologian of several seminaries and author of Dogmatic Theology. His article was said to "provide much valuable material which could be used by our workers."

This article is confusing. It tells Adventists: "The incarnate Logos can think and feel either like God, or like man. … When incarnate, the Logos is capable of a two-fold existence of consciousness and of agency. … The human nature assumed into union with the Logos was miraculously sanctified, so as to be sinless and perfect." It quotes Calvin (Inst., II. xiii. 4) that Christ was perfectly immaculate because he was born of a woman unconnected with any man so "his generation was pure and holy, such as it would have been before the fall of Adam."

Dr. Shedd goes on to say: "The doctrine of the sinlessness of Christ, is thus necessarily connected with the miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost. … In the one person of Jesus Christ, consequently, there are two different kinds of consciousness or experience: one divine and one human. … Having two natures, he could have two corresponding forms of consciousness. He could experience either divine feeling, or human feeling; divine perception, or human perception."

These confusing overtones are foreign to remnant church teaching and should not be offered to Adventist workers as "valuable material."

• January 1958:— The president of the General Conference continued with the editor's agenda and promoted the new book with his statement: "Probably no other book published by this denomination has been so carefully read by so large a group of responsible men of the denomination before its publication as the one under consideration."

• March 1958:— An article, "Unity of Adventist Belief," repeated the story of careful work, wide support, and enthusiastic reception that Questions on Doctrine received. Since 250 denominational leaders had examined the manuscript, it stood approved "except for minor suggestions, no change whatsoever in content was called for. … in no area of doctrine was any major change called for."

• April 1958:— The next article was entitled, "A Call to Action." As criticisms continued to come from the field, there was an endeavor to refute the concern by announcing, "It may appear to some that we have changed our beliefs; it is better to say that we have emerged, that our denominational beliefs have crystallized, and that we have become unified in our declared understanding of truth."

Many within the church considered they were being asked to believe something that was against their conscience, that was a departure from Adventist theology.

June 1958:— This issue of Ministry contained a book review of Questions on Doctrine prepared by a General Conference officer, a further attempt to reassure church members who felt that leaders had compromised or even changed basic doctrines to obtain the good favor of the Evangelicals. Christian journals of the world in this era plainly said we had altered our theology. The reviewer, however, urged every Adventist to obtain a copy, for it was authoritative and the new standard of orthodoxy. To think otherwise was to be "prejudiced." Adventist workers were assured, "This book in no way compromises our faith."

(10) Negative Reaction in the Field Is Published.

At this juncture, a life-long retired college and theological seminary teacher, M. L. Andreasen, was constrained to voice his strong opposition to what he perceived as a conspiracy to change solid Adventist theology and to prevent church members from learning of the concessions made to the Evangelicals. Whatever his faults may have been, he was a voice that many sincere people listened to.

His concern was published in a series of six articles entitled "Letters to the Churches." Andreasen was deeply perplexed about the way Questions on Doctrine had referred to the incarnation. He was adamant that Christ was not "exempt" from anything that human beings must face. He said:

"It is, of course, patent to all, that no one can claim to believe the Testimonies and also believe in the new theology that Christ was exempt from human passions. It is one thing or the other. The denomination is now called upon to decide. To accept the teachings of Questions on Doctrine necessitates giving up faith in the Gift God has given this people."

He discerned: "We have reached a crisis in this denomination when leaders are attempting to enforce false doctrines and threaten those who object. The whole program is unbelievable. Men are now attempting to remove the foundation of many generations, and think they can succeed. If we did not have the Spirit of Prophecy we would not know of the departure from sound doctrine which is now threatening us, and the coming of the Omega which will decimate our ranks and cause grievous wounds."

His concern was set forth in very strong words: "What a sight for heaven and earth! The church of the living God which has been given the commission to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and call men to come out of Babylon, is now standing at the door of these churches asking permission to enter and become one of them. How are the mighty fallen! … This is more than apostasy. This is giving up Adventism. It is the rape of a whole people. It is denying God's leading in the past."

There was no way for Andreasen to know how his percep-:ion in the 1950s would presage increasing peril as time went on.

(11) Books, World-wide Convention, and Major Treatise, Support Questions on Doctrine.

The turmoil and confusion in the field received new impetus in 1971 when a 700-page book was published containing a blatant disregard for and perversion of historical facts. (See Appendix A of this paper.)

1971 Movement of Destiny:— This book gives total support to Questions on Doctrine as evidenced by the 16-page chapter dealing with the book (pp. 476-492). It is lauded as the compelling power to reach the Evangelicals; the praise is profuse:—

"The corrective and balancing influence of Questions on Doctrine is doubtless its greatest single contribution to the Cause of Truth among religious leaders not of our faith. … They accept Questions on Doctrine as representative and reliable, and trustworthy for citation. … Its influence is steadily on the increase, as continuing letters and citations attest" (pp. 489, 492).

Movement of Destiny vs. Bible Readings:Movement of Destiny testifies that it wins friends and creates acceptance by no table theologians and scholars of the popular churches of the world as well as Roman Catholic priests (pp. 465-475).

This accomplishment is done in the chapter entitled, "Changing the Impaired Image of Adventism." The impairment is said to be an "unfortunate note" in Bible Readings, copyrighted in 1914, dealing with the human nature of Christ. This offending statement, according to Destiny, reads as follows: "In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature" (p. 115, 1935 ed.). This is called an "erroneous minority position" whereas Froom says: "He [Christ] was like Adam before the fall" (p. 428).

By the stroke of a pen, Bible Readings is edited and made to state that Christ took the nature of Adam before the fall. But Ellen White's terminology leaves no room for uncertain double interpretation.

She speaks of Christ's human nature as that of "fallen Adam," "man's fallen nature," "weaknesses and necessities of fallen man," "took upon Himself fallen human nature," "our fallen nature," "liabilities of human nature," "our nature in its deteriorated condition," "nature of fallen man," "He took upon Him our sinful nature," "became flesh, even as we are," "the nature of Adam, the transgressor," "man's nature in its fallen condition," "complete humanity." Further, "Had he not been fully human, Christ could not have been our substitute" (ST June 17,1897). The Scriptures proclaim He was "tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15; see Woodrow Whidden, Ellen White on the Humanity of Christ, Appendix B, pp. 105-149).

•  1970 The Man Who Was God by Edward Heppenstall:— The denomination is told in this book that because of Christ's unique conception, Romans 8:3 does not mean what it says. "In the likeness of sinful flesh" really means unlike sinful flesh. Christ did not "inherit" Adam's post-Fall nature. "Made of the seed of David according to the flesh" is ignored (pp. 136, 137). Quotations from many Evangelical scholars are given to support his idea, while Ellen White is virtually ignored.

• April 23-30, 1976, Palmdale Meeting:— As the theological harmony worsened in the world field, it was deemed expedient to call a meeting of Bible teachers, editors, and administrators. The agenda proposed was to reach harmony on the "doctrine" of righteousness by faith. A significant segment of those present was from Australia including Dr. Desmond Ford, who urged the pre-Fall human nature of Christ. As harmony was not reached at the meeting, the premise was established within Adventism for proposing "we may hold either view" on the human nature of Christ and thus the controversy was left to continue.

• 1982 - Christ Our Substitute:— This book was to be the Sabbath School lesson helps for the first quarter of 1983. The Sabbath School lessons were entitled, "Christ's All-Atoning Sacrifice," presenting the same theme as the book. Repeatedly the church is told: "Christ took the spiritual nature of man before the Fall, and the physical nature of man after the Fall; … taking upon Himself all the physical results of the Fall, but not the spiritual. … He had the pre-Fall human nature of Adam" (pp. 33,38), "the bottom line is the tremendous advantage He had over you" (p. 53). The book is a hypothetical dialogue building "straw" situations answered with concepts obtained from non-Adventist scholars.

(12) Articles in the Church Press Continue to Present the Pre-Fall Agenda.

•  June 30, 1982, Review feature article, "Behold the Man":— This four-page article brought to the denomination further perplexity. In a kind of synthesis of two views the article proclaims, "Seventh-day Adventists look on the humanity of Jesus in two ways. (1) The pre-Fall view. … (2) The post-Fall view. … The church has never taken a stand for or against one or the other view. This is because both views are found within Scripture and in the writings of Ellen White. If even inspired writers wished to preserve both truths about Jesus, it seemed right for the church to do the same. Therefore both views are found in historic Adventism."

This is theological confusion. Ellen White never speaks about a "pre-Fall nature" of Christ. Nor does she endeavor to establish a "balance" between two opposing views. To suggest that both views are found in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White is to make a mockery of "inspired writers" and place a halo upon deception.

• Letters to the Review Editor:— Church members were not prepared to accept the fallacies of this Review article, June 30,1982. Letters to the editor were four to one against the aberrant message published. The conviction of these church members was in harmony with inspired counsel. We are told: "Daniel... did not think, as do many at the present day that it is no matter what we believe,
if we are only honest, and love Jesus. True love for Jesus will lead to the most close and earnest inquiry as to what is truth. Christ prayed that his disciples might be sanctified through the truth. He who is too indolent to make anxious, prayerful search for truth, will be left to receive errors which shall prove the ruin of his soul"
(RH, February 8,1881).

(13) The Biblical Research Institute Adds Another Document.

The theological confusion that refused to go away precipitated another treatise to be produced for the church.

• 1989 - "An Appeal for Church Unity":— In an endeavor to bring healing and direction to the denomination, the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference issued this document in August. This "official" ten-page treatise deals with specific matters, quotes nearly fifty Scriptures, and much from Ellen White.
"Appeal" lists four points as potential problems: "(1) Fanaticism. (2) Rejection of basic Christian doctrine. (3) Party spirit. (4) Differing with the position of the church on nonessentials." Point four is the real thrust of the paper and takes up six pages of the ten. The heart of this "differing" is on the human nature of Christ.

Great concern is expressed for the "divisive effects of some segments of the church." "These members hold certain positions on the nature of Christ, the nature of sin, and the doctrine of righteousness by faith in an end-time setting. … The world church has never viewed these subjects as essential to salvation nor to the mission of the remnant church. … These topics need to be laid aside and not urged upon our people as necessary issues." The reason given to lay aside these topics is said to be that they are not part of the "27 fundamental beliefs."

The church needs unity, but why should "Appeal" affirm that these subjects are not essential? The book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe … 27 Fundamental Doctrines, presents a whole chapter on the Saviour, "God the Son" (pp. 36-57), which makes clear that Romans 8:3 means what it says, "likeness" is not unlikeness; and "righteousness by faith in an end-time setting" is promoted in scores of places.

To plead for unity in this environment presents serious problems. The Evangelicals see our confusion, and have plainly said so with headlines in Christianity Today, February 5, 1990, "Seventh-day Adventists … are still debating their true identity." How is it possible that the world can see what we fail to see, and how can basic teachings be laid aside in the name of "unity"?

(14) The Plea for Unity Goes Unheeded With Six More Articles in the Review.

The call for unity by the BRI was hardly in the field before it was challenged and disregarded, and this by the official church press.

• January 18, 1990, New Year/New Series in Adventist Review:— Six articles published (Jan. 18, 25; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22) on the nature of Christ, entitled, "Model or Substitute?" This new series continues with the same confused theology as previously and proclaims that: (1) "His nature was unlike ours" (which defies Hebrews 4:15); (2) Ellen White "speaks of a pre-Fall and a post-Fall dimension" of Christ's nature but no support is given for such a statement; (3) "Jesus could not experience the inner urgings of sinful humans," which ignores Christ's own testimony (John 5:30, 31; 6:38; Matthew 26:39, 42).

Letters to the editor express strong opposition to the theology presented in these articles. In the fifteen letters published, eleven writers took emphatic exception to the author with expressions such as: "new theology," "not good enough," "confuses," "misleading, if not totally false," "poor logic," "unscriptural," "the … position does violence to Scripture and, more important, to the character of God." Adverse reaction was so pronounced that the author was allowed a full column of rebuttal in the April 26 issue, but this only repeated previous inaccuracies and by innuendo searched to theologize the pre-Fall contention.

(15)     Another Review series on the Forbidden Topic in the
Spring of 1990.

The shock produced by the six-articles series was not over before another three-part-serial was published:

•  March 29, April 12, April 26, 1990, "Like Adam or Like Us?":— These articles brought further confusion, but no letters from readers were allowed to be published and subscribers cannot know what they said. But the articles speak for themselves, based upon the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, suggesting that Ellen White speaks in a contradictory way, and that Hebrews 2:17 [made like his brethren] may have more than one meaning—the church is told that Christ "would have been crippled as a Saviour" if in nature He "were altogether like us." The Scripture must be incorrect in stating that our High Priest "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin"
(Hebrews 4:15). Such a drama of confusion cannot bring unity.

(16) The Review Continues to Promote the Problem Topic.

Following the three articles concluded in April 1990, the matter comes again to the church before the year-end, and is repeated in following years.

•  November 1, 1990:— The Review editorial focused on a serious need of the church, "Time to Press Together." The problem according to the editorial is theology. "Some want to ignore or delete part of the 27 fundamentals; some want to add to them. … As an example, take the human nature of Jesus." Somehow a topic that "Appeal" said should be laid aside, repeatedly merits notice in the church press.

• Fall 1991:— An unusual 16-page tract insert on "Tithe" was included in the Review of November 7. The tract diverges from its announced subject to promote the forbidden topic of the nature of Christ. The world church is told there are three views: (1) "Christ took the nature of Adam before Adam's fall"; (2) "after the fall"; (3) a combination of these two. The tract states that a large number of Adventist ministers, Bible teachers and members take the third view because of "certain acknowledged ambiguities in both Scripture and Mrs. White's writings on the human nature of Jesus." Never before has the denominational press stated that we Adventists have "three views of the nature of Christ." Truth demands that the alleged "ambiguities" be recognized as such, and be listed for all to see. This has not been done.

• Winter 1993:— The Review for January 7 raises the question "whether there exists among us any theological controversy of sufficient magnitude to generate a schism in the church." The answer is given: "One theological issue, however, has that potential. It centers on the nature of Christ, righteousness, and the absolute sinless perfection of the final remnant." That the denomination should face such a quandary, "a schism in the church," is foreign to its mandate and makes a correct understanding of the nature of Christ of supreme importance.

• Summer 1993 - Another series of Review Editorials:— The church is again brought face to face with an endeavor to promote the prelapsarian view of the Incarnation. Five editorials, July 8,22; August 12, 19, 26, are all based upon a pre-Fall concept of the nature of Christ and published under the title, "Our Matchless Saviour."

Editorial I — Following the same pattern used in previous decades, readers are told that "between Jesus and us a great gulf is fixed" and cherished phrases from the Baker letter lifted from context are quoted.

Editorial II — Leads off with the inference: "The deity of Jesus means everything to us.... "However in contrast we are told by EGW: "The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us" (2 SM 244). A serious understanding is set forth: "We see, then, that the stakes in this debate are high. This isn't some abstract theological discussion—it's about our salvation; it's about the very gospel God calls us to proclaim."

Editorial III — Much of the main thrust in this series is found in this editorial. The proposal is made that "principally" there are "five things" the Bible tells us about Jesus' humanity.

"1. Jesus was truly human." This is true but then it is conditioned with the proposal that this was only "for a little while He stooped lower than the angels." This questions the unequivocal statement: "He gave His only begotten Son to come to earth, to take the nature of man, not only for the brief years of life, but to retain his nature in the heavenly courts, an everlasting pledge of the faithfulness of God" (1SM 258).

"2. Jesus had an undivided personality." This is absolutely true. The confirmation is clear: "In Christ divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an over-comer is through becoming a partaker of divine nature. … Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ" (Sons and Daughters of God, p. 24). But then comes the bewildering statement: "He experienced no inner conflict, as if deity and humanity pulled Him in different directions." This ignores Christ's own words: "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done" (Luke 22:42). He surrendered His will (see John 5:30,31; 6:38).

"3. He entered into our human experiences." Positively true, this expresses His taking the post-Fall human nature; but never did He capitulate to His own will, which victory enables Him to be our "merciful and faithful high priest."

"4. He suffered temptation." Obviously, this has never been questioned but it is not clear from the editorial that it means He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," nor that it is true that He "condemned sin in the flesh," nor that He was "made of a woman, made under the law … made in the likeness of men … in fashion as a man … [or] in the days of his flesh … learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 4:5; Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:7,8; Heb 5:7,8). This obedience He learned was not the physical suffering while on the cross for a few hours, but it was the terrible lifelong conflict with "self" because He took our fallen human nature — "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6).

"5. Throughout all, however, He remained sinless." Of course He remained sinless! How dare anyone infer otherwise? But then the editorial sets up a "straw man" question: "But what does the Bible indicate concerning His nature—was it pre-Fall or post-Fall?" The reader is told: "The Scriptures don't give a specific answer," which denies all of Paul's clear statements. The reader is then told Hebrews 2:16 does not mean what it says, the translation is poor. Yet the Greek says "he took on him the spermatos of Abraham" which is beyond debate. This same passage from Hebrews states: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." Four times in one phrase Paul gives a "specific answer"!

Editorial IV — The question is raised: "What did Ellen White tell us about Jesus?" The answer is given: "Plenty." It is correctly recognized that she has written "thousands of comments about Jesus' humanity." The need is to accept what she has written. But then the strange agenda is offered that we "need to note what she did not write as well as what she wrote." The gospel is not established on what is not written in the Bible, neither can the truth of the Incarnation be denied by what Ellen White has not written. What she has written is explicit, beyond controversy, for there is no dispute in truth.

Editorial V — The church is told we "need a Saviour who is different, one who is not part of the sin problem, who does not Himself need a Saviour." This subtle insinuation denies the Scripture which says that Christ "condemned sin in the flesh. … The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all … being made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (Rom. 8:3; Is. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21). Christ did not have a "dual nature" as stated in these editorials. On the contrary the witness is that in "Christ divinity and humanity were united," "divinity and humanity were blended" (1888 Materials, p. 332; ST Mar. 8,1899). Anything blended or united is one and only one. Thus we are assured: "Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human. The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery—the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into this mystery. … Divinity took the nature of humanity, and for what purpose?—That through the righteousness of Christ humanity might partake of the divine nature"(1888 Materials, p. 332).

The subtle implications in this entire series of editorials are staggering. A detailed critique should be published.

(17) Undated Unique Copyrighted Publication Released in the Fall of 1992. The North American Division Officers and Union Presidents released a 467-page publication late in 1992 entitled, 'ISSUES: The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries." It carried the stated purpose to demonstrate how certain church members "are out of harmony with God's plan for His established church" and "to determine if they are loyal to the church … or if they are divisive" (p. 7). Further it is affirmed specifically: "These differences are grounded in theology" (p. 12).

Issues does not propose "to provide a theological rebuttal," yet it claims that the "issues of the conflict over the nature of Christ and righteousness by faith are not nearly as straightforward as [some] would have them appear." It goes on to say: "Both Scripture and Ellen White contain statements that seem to support varying viewpoints, and these must be held in tension with each other" (p. 12). If such "tensions" and "acknowledged ambiguities" do exist it should be a simple matter to list a few of them. Instead, Issues tells the church to study the series of six articles that ran in the Review in 1990. This is the series that caused consternation among many Adventists at the time it was published. Now it is set forth as the touchstone of orthodoxy and does in fact become "a theological rebuttal."

(18) Another Article in Ministry About the Nature of Christ.

The 1993 October Ministry presented a five-page scholarly paper, "Essential Adventism or historic Adventism?" The reader is told "the term historical Adventism is of questionable value in Adventist theological discussion." Then the article proposes that, "Not everything historic is essential. … Such issues as the human nature of Christ, the interpretation of 1888, and the meaning of Christian perfection have always had differing interpretations in the Adventist doctrinal tradition. … With advancing research the so-called historic Adventists have no monopoly on any orthodox understanding of these issues. Take the issue of Christ's human nature." Then the post-Fall view is called in question as being "suspect with advancing research." The source of that advancing research is said to be the book, From 1888 to Apostasy, published in 1987.

(19)     The Church Gets an Entire Book on the Forbidden Subject.

This 143-page treatise, The Nature of Christ, published in 1994, sets new records in vindictive condemnation of workers past and present. Anyone acquainted with the sources and context of the citations used, along with the theological concepts presented, is amazed. M. L. Andreasen is accused of "scores" of discrepancies in his writings and "manipulation of the evidence," as well as "glaring contradictions and misrepresentations," and personally his theology was "misguided and wrongheaded" which virtually makes him a heretic (pp. 52-54). Anyone who believes that Christ in the Incarnation took the nature of Adam after the Fall is ridiculed without mercy. [Because of the theology presented and the serious nature of the indictments in this book which is highly recommended by a broad spectrum of leaders, a 16-page review has been printed entitled, "A Friendly Response to This Amazing Book," available from this publisher.]

(20) Yet Another Book on the Important Subject that Won't Go Away.

This 1997 publication, Ellen White on the Humanity of Christ, brings to the church 160-pages of study "on the lingering debate 3ver the nature of Christ." Twenty-five percent of the book, the last 44-pages, presents an excellent compilation of Ellen White quotations setting forth her view of the nature that Christ took in :he Incarnation. To read these statements and to accept them for ,vhat they say raises the question as to why this book rationalizes ind (by inference) attempts to uphold the pre-Fall theory. The weeping statement is made: "Probably the majority of current icademics and ministers hold to some version of the pre-Fall view" p. 13). The overall purpose of this book is to buttress the position )f those who hold the pre-Fall view of the humanity that Christ ook. The circuitous route traveled to reach this conclusion is amazing. (This book has been examined in much greater detail in an 88-page compilation, Truth on Trial, available from this publisher.)

(21) Minneapolis and the Incarnation Remain Current History and Fundamental Truth for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Early in 1998, the Review and Herald released another book dealing with 1888, bringing the total to over 600 pages of historical interpretation on this era by the same author in the last ten years. This book of 183 pages appeals to church members with the pleasing title, A User-friendly Guide to the 1888 Message. The reader will find the same thesis and the same conclusions as published previously with the added feature that the 1888 Message Study Committee now is singled out for severe criticism. The last major subject of the book, the human nature of Christ, is said to be an "extremely small" topic at the Minneapolis meeting. As usual for the pre-Fall contention, the "Baker letter" is quoted out of its context. However, with all the rationalizing in support of this view, the author makes the clear, positive statement in italics proclaiming Ellen White's understanding and her teaching which ought to be accepted: "There is not the slightest doubt that Ellen White believed that Christ took upon Himself fallen, sinful human nature at the Incarnation. Whatever that consisted of, however, it is clear that it did not include any evil propensities to sin" (p. 160). The truth of this statement is at odds with the thesis of the book. Numerous statements misread Adventist history and demand some further consideration which has been published in An Urgent Look At Adventist History (available from this publisher).


After over four decades of protracted controversial dialogue, where does the conscientious Adventist turn—is there no solution? Is the pre-Fall and the post-Fall theology so similar or so unimportant that either or both can be accepted or rejected with impunity? Do truth and error lie so close together that one or the other or both can be embraced without compunction? Can a church engulfed in this kind of turmoil fulfill its calling, receive the Latter Rain, and become the "bride" of Christ?

Our present confusion has relevance to the Saviour's warning to take heed "that no man deceive you, … false Christs, and false prophets, … insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." There is little difference in distorting the human nature of Christ and denying His actual crucifixion—both serve the purpose of making Him impotent.

Could it be ...? When the glory and the saving truth of the Incarnation is fully appreciated by the remnant church there will be a revival and reformation. Multiple-choice theology now rampant in our church will come to an end. The Holy Spirit can function only when we have been guided into the unity of all truth. As long as Christ is considered to be "exempt" from anything, there is no way fully to appreciate His condescension. The universe stands amazed not only that He joined His divinity to our humanity, but that weak, vacillating human beings are the medium through which He exhibits the mystery of godliness by humanity being joined to divinity. Without this living vital union the truth of the gospel lies dormant.

Only when stripped of His power can Christ prove that sacrificial love is the basis of His government. His "strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). Only when "made in the likeness of men" can He show the total power of righteousness. Some of His "friends" would lessen the glory of His victory by "exempting" Him from the real struggle. But He will manifest the same victory that no one can deny—even in His bride who will "overcome even as [He] overcame." The universe awaits this revelation and the consummation of the union between humanity and divinity.

The loftiness of Christ's sacred desire and planned destiny for His people, His bride, is beyond our most penetrating dreams; it has not yet entered into the heart of man (1 Cor. 2:9). The Father is infinitely grieved when we interpret the Saviour's birth, life, and death, as merely some means to compensate for the fall of man and his sinful rebellion. The Incarnation must be understood as a promise to the universe that God gave His only begotten to take fallen human nature and join His divinity to our humanity so that we through the righteousness of Christ might have our humanity joined to His divinity. The record is clear, the betrothal is announced, the "marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7).

For this purpose He was "made like unto his brethren."

Read Section #4 — A Brief Summary of the Nature of Christ Controversy Before and Since the 1950's with Comments

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