A Review of Karl Wagner's Book My Gospel Journey Part 1

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Dear Reader,

What follows is a book written by Karl Wagner, who is a Bible teacher and itinerant SDA preacher in Arizona.  He is not a credentialed SDA minister but believes and teaches as most New Movement Seventh-day Adventists ministers teach. 

 

My purpose in critiquing Karl’s book is to demonstrate the insidiousness of how the New Theology is taught side by side with truth, admixing serious truth with serious error and the impact this methodology has on Laodicea Christians.  My purpose is not to expose Karl Wagner’s errors per say, but to use his teachings as a prototype of what is being taught by all such New Theology advocates.  

When I say that they mix pure truth with serious error, Karl’s book provides a very apt example of that fact.  The methodology of mixing truth with error is that folk think the error part is true because it is mingled with truth.  Within the scope of his book, he will touch on the true gospel, but then he will heal the wound of the daughter of my people slightly by teaching that there is security and assurance in Laodicea, when Ellen White says that Laodicea’s are the foolish virgins:

 

Jeer 6:14 They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.

 

Karl establishes that his message is to Laodicea and we will compare his message with that of Ellen White to find much disparagement of the truth in what he is saying to Laodicea.  The gist of Karl’s message serves the purpose of only comforting Laodicea, and offering her security and assurance in her terrible plight.  Ellen White’s view of Laodicea is a strong denunciatory warning by way of her very definition of the Laodicea state of the church and the measures necessary to awaken the ten virgins who all sleep, Matthew 25:5:

 

Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept

 

The question is:  Can one awaken a sleeping people, especially Laodicea, with a peace and safety security and assurance message, when that people are seeped in apostasy.  The scriptures answer a resounding no!  God’s prophets gave strong denunciatory warnings to Israel of old and spelled out what they must do to turn around.  

Make no mistake about it, the 1888 message of righteousness by faith has been perverted into one of the most subtle misrepresentations ever perpetrated by Satan and his host.  The intended teaching of Jones and Waggoner, was that by faith in Christ’s ability to dwell and work within the believer, the same faith Abraham had, one will make the full surrender to Christ and let Him work His works of obedience in and through the true believer.  Also, regarding a scriptural rendition of righteousness by faith, this is the only reasonable and rational conclusion one can make of Scripture if one interprets all relevant data so that nothing contradicts.

 

I will highlight passages by Karl that I want you to note in this color.  My commentaries will be in this color (Dark Blue).  I have made a few grammatical corrections which I will always place in brackets and in this color, while leaving Karl’s original.  At times I will use red for emphasis.  All Karl’s material is in black print. Any sections that are encased in a white background contain data entered by me.

 

Now to my review of Karl Wagner’s book:

 

 

Something for the new year...

 

 

My Gospel Journey

 

 

Karl S. Wagner

2000

revision 2002

 

Introduction

 

I had found the gospel, but why Adventism?1  I stood at a crossroads on a journey I've been on for seven years when I asked that question. I'm still on it today some ten years later. My journey into the gospel is not unique.  My words will resonate with my fellow travelers and I hope my words will speak to those contemplating their own journey.

The major catalyst in my experience that brought me back into the church of my youth was the study of the Adventist critics.  Those who called the denomination a cult and attacked Ellen White became the focus of my study.  I figured if our understanding of the 2,300 days were indeed wrong; then I'd be better off not coming back and jeopardizing my relationship with my Master.  Instead, what I discovered was an interconnection between the true gospel and the Advent message.  I found the gospel's central position within our message and mission that still seems to be largely neglected today. I hope to give a succinct presentation that will also help those who have been walking in the three angels' messages for a long time. It embraces more then dealing with evangelical and legalistic issues.  Know this, that not one “legalist” would suggest that what one does can merit their salvation. In this sense, they are not legalists. And still we are robbed daily of our power as a people and a movement by those who would look to self instead of Jesus. Nevertheless know this before you judge me. I believe in perfectionism! Because I believe in my very being that what the Holy Spirit has begun in me, He can complete. You see, I believe in Jesus! I don't believe in me!

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Notice the words:  I found the gospel's central position within our message and mission that still seems to be largely neglected today.”

It is true that SDA’s got sidetracked on true righteousness by faith, but Karl’s gospel is not true righteousness by faith.  And in addition to that, he, and the church are now swinging the pendulum to the opposite extreme of neglecting not only true righteousness by faith, but the second angel’s message as well!

I am fully cognizant that Karl is trying to define the gospel part of Revelation 14, as it relates to righteousness by faith, but I also am fully aware that his gospel is false.  And, since the true gospel cannot be separated from the law or the three angel’s messages, it is futile to try to explain one without the other, especially in light of the fact that the capstone to the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14, is verse 12, and this verse is directly involved with the correct understanding of true righteousness by faith.

You will find a conspicuous part of the Everlasting Gospel largely neglected in Karl’s book—and not only in his book—the second angel’s message is being strangely neglected today by the New Movement SDA church.  It is unpopular, and it is denounced by the World Council of Churches.  That body of Satan demands no stealing of sheep; that a church can only proselytize from the unchurched—try to seek members from the unchurched only.  The SDA church is now largely ceding to those demands in order to receive financial benefits from the WCC and NCC by way of reduced radio and television broadcast rates.

 

Know this:  Not one true “New Theology” teacher will admit that he is not a perfectionist!  Does that sound odd?!  Did you think that they do not believe in perfectionism—that by NO MEANS available can the human arrive at perfection this side of glorification?  Well, friend, they have found a way to arrive at perfection this side of glorification!  They merely take the white, sinless robe of Christ’s righteousness and try to cover their filthy robe with His.  They call that imputed righteousness.  They are perfect IN CHRIST. 

 

There is one huge problem with the above scenario.  Christ is not perfect IN THEM.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit will not abide in a soul that has not died to sin and self by His free grace gift of dying to self.  These sad souls want the security and assurance of believing they are saved IN THEIR SINS, instead of FROM THEIR SINS.  So Karl and his fellow travelers are PERFECTIONISTS in the totally wrong sense of the word. 

 

Karl is not the most honest New Theology person I have heard.  He has his own hybrid gospel.  The more honest of them will tell you forthrightly that they believe that we cannot overcome all known sin this side of glorification.  Karl says that we can overcome sin this side of glorification, but what he really means is that Christ’s substitute obedience outside of us, rather than IN AND THROUGH US, is our perfection and overcoming this side of glorification. 

 

Also, he teaches that we can overcome with the aid of the Holy Spirit, but that such works have nothing to do with salvation because it is all a free gift and if works were involved, it would not be a gift.  What he and many other New Theologists do not understand is that the Holy Spirit indwelling us and obeying in and through us is also a free gift.  Is this concept biblical?  Indeed it is.

 

The Christ In-You Motif That Karl Omits

 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

"In order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience through active living faith that works by love and purifies the soul:'  E.G. White, 1 Selected Messages, 366.

 

Notice the faith and love duet!  When we receive the free gifts of faith in and love for Christ, He then indwells us and purifies the soul.  He is the only one who can render continual obedience in and through us.

 

Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

 

Jhn 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent,  him ye believe not.

 

Jhn 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

 

Jhn 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

 

Jhn 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

 

Jhn 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

 

Jhn 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 

Jhn 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 

Jhn 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

 

Jhn 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.

 

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

Rom 8:10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.

 

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

1Cr 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

 

1Cr 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 

1Cr 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on [his] face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

 

2Cr 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

 

2Cr 9:14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

 

2Cr 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

 

Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

 

Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

Phl 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

 

Phl 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

 

Phl 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

 

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. [Christ is the Word]

 

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

 

Phm 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

 

1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The New Theologists who really give themselves away are the ones who say that proof that one cannot overcome this side of glorification is the fact that there is no one who is perfect.  Then they will ask you if you are perfect in order to test you.  What should you be able to answer without deceiving yourself and others?  You should be able to answer thusly:

 

  1. I am striving to die daily to self, as Paul of Scripture advocates. 
  2. I am experiencing the free grace gift of love for Christ, which hates sin.
  3. I am experiencing the indwelling Spirit of Holiness that hates sin and sees its results in the world.
  4. I am striving to behold Christ and keep my eyes focused on Him.
  5. By beholding I am being changed, because God promised this will occur by beholding Him.
  6. My changing may not be as rapid as I wish, but I trust that God knows what I need and how fast He wants me to progress in change.
  7. By God’s indwelling grace and power, He is fulfilling His character in and through me and I find myself not committing known sin.
  8. If and when I should show the Holy Spirit the exit door from my being, I experience a setback, and I have to repent, ask forgiveness, and receive Him into my life again. 
  9. I thank God for this advocacy of His Son when I make the serious mistake of ushering Christ and His Holy Spirit from my life and being.  Because I make this mistake periodically, I do not believe in once saved always saved, and will not self-deceive myself into believing Satan’s lie that I am saved in sin.
  10. Because the Bible teaches that one can draw back to perdition, I do not believe in once saved, always saved.  Were that true, I would not have to die daily.  I would need to die but once!
  11. Ellen White said that those who say we cannot be perfect by the indwelling of Christ, would not recognize it if they saw it!   That is why they NEVER see the righteousness of Christ in anyone.  All they see is what they perceive to be as self-righteousness.
  12. I accept the only Scriptural text whereby I may KNOW that I am in relationship with Christ—He in me and I in Him—namely that because I love him and have received the free grace gifts of faith and love from Him, He lives in and through me and keeps His commandments in and through me.  When I see that transpiring in my life, then, and then only, can I KNOW, that I am in a saved relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is the Bible test:

 

1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

 

If we buy (receive) gold (faith and love) tried in the fire, the same love and faith that Christ had for His father, and was tested in the fire of His experience, then we will be indwelled by Him and He will keep His character (which is a transcript of His law) in and through us.  That is the New Covenant placed in the heart of man.

 

We will prove that Karl believes in Christ’s perfectionism and that His perfection is imputed to us by forensic (legal) proxy—rather than by working His works in and through us.  Karl has referred to this concept as “a black hole.”  Indeed it is a “dark hole” TO KARL, and his “fellow travelers,” that they cannot seem to understand. There is a huge difference here that “broad way” initiates cannot understand—especially the “dumb-dog” watchmen of Isaiah 56:10-12.  So I will elaborate.  But keep in mind that what you are about to read is what I have already presented to Karl Wagner, and indeed, he did refer to it as “a dark hole” and error.  

 

  1. Indeed, Christ does it all, but in and through us.  We cannot keep the commandments.  We cannot earn one wit, one thread of salvation by our own works or devising.  Karl and I agree that no one can do one thing to earn salvation by way of law keeping and/or any obedience of our own.  Karl takes this a step further and teaches that not even Christ’s Holy Spirit empowered works are efficacious toward salvation.  This is where we part commonality in teachings of the gospel.
  2. I believe that Christ’s Holy Spirit empowered works are His own works being worked in and through us, and that such works surely contribute to our salvation.
  3. Karl has said many times on internet e-mail groups that:  Works have nothing to do with being the basis of our salvation—even Holy Spirit empowered works.  A key word here is basis.  Christ came in the likeness of sinful man to prove that works expected of Adam and Eve—obedience to God’s commandments, were possible.  Christ overcame all temptations involving disobedience to His Father’s Will.  If that same obedience of Christ is imputed to us by Christ’s Holy Spirit indwelling us and obeying in and through us, how would such WORKS of His, not be efficacious toward our salvation?
  4. Some don’t want Christ obeying in and through us. They merely want pardon for all sins they continue to commit.  They believe that no one can overcome sin this side of glorification.  Some of the New Theology teachers, such as Karl Wagner, say that we can overcome sin this side of glorification, but that such overcoming is not the basis of our salvation, but is rather the result of being saved, and has nothing to do with being saved.
  5. In our state of degradation and depredation we cannot overcome. We can only pray for the gift of being made willing to surrender to the will of Christ’s Holy Spirit; for the gift of the Divine Nature of Christ indwelling our heart, soul, mind and body.
  6. Karl believes that Christ kept the law for us, and thus imputes His obedience to our account.  He believes that if we are saved, we will do good works because we are saved.  He even admits that one who does not do good works is “probably” was not justified in the first place.
  7. I believe that Christ keeps the law in and through us and then imputes that obedience (His own obedience in and through us) to our account.
  8. New Theology advocates most always teach “us in Christ,” they call it the “in Christ motif,” or something similar, rather than “Christ in us AS WELL as “us in Christ.”  The “in Christ” motif means that our filthy robe of unrighteousness is not changed by Him, but rather He places His Robe of Righteousness over our filthy one and saves us “IN SIN,” instead of “FROM SIN.  It is clear to see that the concept of “CHRIST IN US,” would not support the notion of on-going sin on a continuum basis.
  9. New Theology advocates usually focus on the substitutionary aspect of the gospel—the propitiation death of Christ on the cross.  They focus little on the EXAMPLE of Christ’s victory over sin and NEVER on the fact that His same victory can be fulfilled in and through us by His indwelling Holy Spirit.  This is true imputation in the full gospel sense of the word.
  10.   Karl’s reference to his belief in perfectionism relates to his belief that Christ was perfect and kept the law for us, rather than in and through us.  He believes that Christ’s perfection is imputed to us as a free gift of grace, and that if He worked in and through us, somehow that cannot be a free gift!  That is just a “black hole” concept to Karl, and many other SDA’s I might add.  But why?  Because many want free grace pardon for sin, but not the free grace gift of daily dying to self and full surrender to the Will of Christ.  That would involve too much inconvenience.  And that is the reason Ellen White states for a lack of full surrender.  If involves inconvenience.

 

The entire gospel is legal.  The gospel cannot be separated from the law, because the gospel is God’s way of propitiating the law.  Ellen White also realized that they cannot be separated.  Paul recognized that they cannot be separated.  He said:

 

Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

 

2Cr 9:8 And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work:

 

1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

 

 Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple.

 

It is a bit difficult to avoid the legalities of the law when discussing the gospel, because God says that the law of the Lord if perfect, converting the soul.  But relax friend, I am one Reformer who believes and proves that Christ does it all in and through us, as opposed to “for us.”  If Christ does it all in and through us, then any legalism that you will encounter in my commentary will be the inherent legalism that is only a natural part of the gospel.

 

It should be noted here that Karl Wagner strictly avoids what he deems “ecumenical and legalistic issues.  It should also be noted what Ellen White thinks of such issues: 

"The peculiar work of the third angel has not been seen in its importance. God meant that His people should be far in advance of the position which they occupy today. But now, when the time has come for them to spring into action, they have the preparation to make. When the National Reformers [the title of the ecumenical movement before it became the Federal Council of Churches in 1908, and then the World Council of Churches, in 1948) began to urge measures to restrict religious liberty, our leading men should have been alive to the situation and should have labored earnestly to counteract these efforts. It is not in the order of God that light has been kept from our people--the very present truth which they needed for this time. Not all our ministers who are giving the third angel's message really understand what constitutes that message. The National Reform [Ecumenical] movement has been regarded by some as of so little importance that they have not thought it necessary to give much attention to it and have even felt that in so doing they would be giving time to questions distinct from the third angel's message [the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14]. May the Lord forgive our brethren for thus interpreting the very message for this time." E.G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, 714, 715. 

The three angel’s messages involve a legal command of God.  That legal command is in the form of a call made to all professing Christians in Babylon to come out of the fallen churches that have become so much like the world that there is no difference E.W. 273.   

"The law and the gospel cannot be separated. In Christ mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The gospel has not ignored the obligations due to God by man. The gospel is the law unfolded, nothing more nor less. It gives no more latitude to sin than does the Law. The Law points to Christ, Christ points to the Law. The gospel calls men to repentance. Repentance of what?--Of sin. And what is sin?--It is the transgression of the Law. Therefore the gospel calls men from their transgression back to obedience to the Law of God. Jesus, in His life and death, taught the strictest obedience. He died, the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, that the honour of God's law might be preserved, and yet man not utterly perish....

In giving His Son, God gave Himself that man might have another trial. If God could have changed this Law to meet man in his fallen condition, would He not have done this, and retained His only begotten Son in heaven?--He certainly would. But because His law was as changeless as His character, He gave His beloved Son, who was above Law, and one with Himself, to meet the penalty which His justice demanded.

Satan is working with all his deceptive power to ensnare the world. He would have them believe that this great sacrifice was made in order to abolish God's law. He represents Christ as opposed to the law of God's government in heaven and in earth. But the Sovereign of the world has a law by which to govern His heavenly intelligences and His human family, and the death of His Son fixes the immutability of that Law beyond any question. God has no intention of doing away with His great standard of righteousness. By this standard He can define what a correct character is.

Christ consented to die in the sinner's stead, that man, by a life of obedience, might escape the penalty of the law of God. His death did not make the law of God of none effect, it did not slay the law, lessen its claims, or detract from its sacred dignity. The death of Christ proclaimed the justice of His Father's Law in punishing the transgressor, in that He consented to suffer the penalty of the law in order to save fallen man from its curse. The death of God's beloved Son on the cross shows the immutability of the Law of God. His death magnifies the Law and makes it honourable, and gives evidence to man of its changeless character. From His own divine lips are heard the words, 'Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the prophets I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.' The death of Christ justified the claims of the law." E.G. White, Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, 02-08-97, pr. 1.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans had to do with the doctrines of Baal. Ellen White further elaborates on this doctrine: 

"But the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of none effect that by 'believing' we are released from the necessity of being doers of the word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned. To the church of Ephesus He says, 'I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember then from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the first works or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Those who are teaching this doctrine today have much to say in regard to faith and the righteousness of Christ but they pervert the truth, and make it serve the cause of error. They declare that we have only to believe on Jesus Christ, and that faith is all-sufficient that the righteousness of Christ is to be the sinner's credentials that this imputed righteousness fulfils the law for us, and that we are under no obligation to obey the law of God. This class claim that Christ came to save sinners, and that He has saved them. 'I am saved,' they will repeat over and over again. But are they saved while transgressing the law of Jehovah?--No for the garments of Christ's righteousness are not a cloak for iniquity. Such teaching is a gross deception, and Christ becomes to these persons a stumbling block as He did to the Jews,-- because they would not receive Him as their personal Saviour; to these professed believers in Christ, because they separate Christ and the law, and regard faith as a substitute for obedience. They separate the Father and the Son, the Saviour of the world. Virtually they teach, both by precept and example, that Christ, by His death, saves men in their transgressions. [versus from their transgressions].

It is necessary that every intelligent being shall understand the principles of the Law of God. Christ through the apostle James declares, 'Whoso shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.' These words were spoken this side of the death of Christ therefore the Law was binding upon all at that time.

The Saviour raised His voice in protest against those who regard the divine commandments with indifference and carelessness. He said, 'Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.' And He also declared, 'Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law till all be fulfilled.

Many talk of freedom, of gospel liberty. They may assert that they are not in bondage to the Law. But the influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the Law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind, and he fully understands the requirements [conditions] of God, and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life. 'Whosoever abideth in Him,' says John, 'sinneth not whosoever sinneth, hath not seen Him, neither know Him." E.G. White, Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, 02-08-97.

There is no abiding IN HIM, without the accompaniment of HIM ABIDING IN US!

Since Ellen White also says that there is not one thread of our own devising in the salvific process, then we must conclude that Christ must do it all and indeed, He has promised His Divine Nature Holy Spirit for that express purpose.  We can only escape the lust for sin by partaking of His Divine Nature:

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Then, having partaken of the Divine Nature, that nature works in and through us and it overcame the corruption that is in the world through lust.  Christ then imputes His obedience in and through us.  Would you think that He will indwell us and manifest only our corruption?  Of course not!  In fact, He will not indwell any who will not die to self daily and receive the working of His Will in and through them.  Is there bible evidence for this truth?  Notice:

Luk 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not [himself], neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many [stripes].


Jhn 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.


Jhn 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.


Act 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.


Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?



Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,


Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:


Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;


2Ti 2:26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.


Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sigh, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.


1Jo 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

 

I-THE MESSAGE: TIME TO TAKE THE POINT

 

Chapter One

 

The First Angel's Message

Our mission.

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation,"2 We have long understood this text to be the preaching of the gospel to the world in an end-­time setting.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Strangely, and what more, importantly, Karl chose to omit the second angel’s message from his book.  The Everlasting Gospel includes all the messages of the angel’s in Revelation 14, with the church being given the commission of the three angel’s.  Here are those messages which detail OUR MISSION:

 

6 And I saw another angel [first angel] fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel [the second], saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. 14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

 

Note:  It is interesting that John the Revelator says in 14:6, that he saw “another angel.”  The only other reference to any prior personage is Christ, the Lamb.  

 

1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

 

Going forth as last day Elijahs with the good news, we are to turn, “the hearts of the fathers to the children, and disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."3  In this grand mission, it’s Seventh-day Adventists who are to take the point! We are to be up front leading others and not the followers.  Instead, we stumble around in confusion. Many not even knowing what the gospel is.  Some are more concerned with the 27 fundamentals then they are about a person accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. We argue about the gospel and what it is, while our mission goes neglected and we become a shadow of what we were called to be.4 Unable to explain the gospel, a significant number of us haven't even had an experience with the Lord! It was no different one hundred years ago. 5  

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The reason professing Seventh-day Adventists argue about the gospel is because they fail to use the following formula in their study of the Bible and the Spirit of Propehcy.  This is profound, not because I say so, but because of the built in check and balance of the formula—being that if all pertinent data is brought forth and interpreted so that nothing contradicts, then and then only, ONE CAN KNOW THAT HE IS NOT IN ERROR AND HAS ARRIVED AT PURE TRUTH:

 

Weight of Evidence Formula: "1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible.  2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering.  4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error. 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, [interpreter] since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible." E.G. White, Second Advent Review and Herald, 11-25-34, pr. 24.

 

Karl, if you and every other SDA would employ the above formula, we would all come into the unity of the faith because we would be forced to the conclusion of truth by interpreting so that NOTHING contradicts.  It works!  Try it!  God has so managed and arranged truth, that He even gives us the latitude of forming theories regarding spiritual things, and if there is nothing to contradict our theories, they are true!  That is positively amazing! Conversely, if there is any error to anyone’s conclusions, there is Scripture to expose the error.  Were this not the case, man could not be held responsible for believing error!  Think about it!

 

The variant interpretations of the 1888 message is a good example of the reason why there are so many gospels!  The weight of evidence formula is not followed.  There are too many personal opinion theologies and not enough interpreting of all available evidence so that nothing contradicts!  If ANYONE can demonstrate a contradiction in one’s conclusions, he/she should be fully willing to re-study the issue and make no conclusions until he/she can do so without any contradictions!

 

1888 all over again

 

It should have been very different in 1900 than it was.  Twelve years this side of the 1888 conference in Minneapolis left Ellen White still admonishing many for not accepting the gospel.  It was during this conference that the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church largely rejected the experience of the gospel of righteousness by faith leaving Ellen White standing virtually alone against them.  While it was this very message that was to be proclaimed through to the Loud Cry and Latter Rain, it instead stalled and has remained so for over 114 years!

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Though it is true that the gospel of righteousness by faith is to be proclaimed as part of the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14, the Loud Cry and Latter rain message is more precisely the call to come out of Babylon and all fallen churches.  But here, Karl reduces the Loud Cry and Latter Rain exercise to ONLY righteousness by faith.  This is the objective of the New Movement, New Theology SDA Church.  They want to discard the call out of Babylon and preach only righteousness by faith.  But the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14, includes both—it does not attempt to avoid the legalities of the law or the ecumenical implications of the call out of Babylon.  Revelation 14:12, inseparably links the law with the ecumenical aspects of the call out of Babylon.  The first angel’s message cannot be separated from the second and third!  Strangely, Karl does not refer to the second and third and the gospel cannot be separated from any of them—as they combine to be the Everlasting Gospel.  Some do not see or agree with this.

 

 While Ellen took this message to the people along with the two young men responsible for it's presentation at Minneapolis, she received a call to enter the newly opened Australian field. Many in leadership saw an opportunity to get Ellen White out of their hair. Upon her return to the states in 1901, she verified that it wasn’t God's will for her to go to Australia.6  It's bad enough that the gospel wasn't being accepted, but to drive out the ones giving it to the people indicates just how far we had yet to go to find it. On her return in 1901, she still had to put many on notice that they had no experience in the cross.7 We need the gospel today just as much as we did then. In many ways, it's 1888 all over again.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Sadly, Karl and the New Movement SDA church he represents, does not understand the true gospel of righteousness by faith.  Both have now perverted the true intent of the 1888 message.  Both have adopted the false version taught by the fallen churches, “the In-Christ” motif, versus that plus “the Christ in you” motif.  Karl dabbles in the Christ in us motif, but only enough to cause confusion.  And where is the confusion?  His incessant harping on the substitution element in an way that conveys that Christ did it all FOR US, instead of IN AND THROUGH US.

I have dialogued with Karl for a number of years now and I can assure you that like the mainstream churches, he emphasizes the substitution part of the cross—the part whereby Christ died for the sins we can do nothing about!  Those He certainly substituted for, but His other mission was  to indwell us and works His will in and through us.  That mission of Christ is minimized by Karl and all who want to regard Christ as our substitute only.  They mix just enough of the concept of Christ in us, to say that they covered that, while their great focus and emphasis is the substitution act, rather than the reconciling and restoration act of Christ reproducing His image and character in us.  That is as fair as I can possibly be to Karl’s attempts at the gospel.

The heart of any teaching of the gospel is concerned with the fact of what Christ does IN AND THROUGH US.  He does it all, but some do not want ALL THAT HE DOES.  The tension in all teachings of the gospel concerns the issue of the who’s, what’s, where’s and when’s and why’s of all that transpires in the good news of the gospel.  For example, who does the works?  What is the purpose of the works?  Where are the works performed?  And when are they performed, eg. when does justification and sanctification begin?  The answers to all these questions are quite simple and do not require a book to teach them.  I will answer these questions in a few sentences:

 

  1. Who is the subject of the gospel?  It is Christ in us, and us in Christ, the hope of glory.

 

  1. Who does the works?  Christ does them all in and through all who receive His free grace gift of full surrender to His Will, lest any man should boast.

 

  1. What is the gospel?  The gospel is the plan of God by which man might be redeemed from his violation of the law of God.  That plan includes two sacrifices that involve two different purposes:

 

(a) The sacrifice at the Incarnation was the crowning and greatest good gift that made proviso for the Divine Nature Holy Spirit of the Son of God to be given to all for the purpose of restoring man to the image of God’s character, His law.  This sacrifice was very subjective and very fraught with legality.  Without this gift the sacrifice on the cross would have been to no avail except to provide for the pardon of sin on an everlasting basis.

 

(b)  The death of God’s Son on the Cross, enacted for the purpose of paying the penalty for man’s violation of the law of God, by His substitutionary death.  This was a legal sacrifice.

 

  1. Where did the sacrifices take place?

The Incarnation took place in heaven.

The Substitutionary sacrifice took place on the cross.

 

  1. When did the sacrifices take place? The Incarnation was planned from the foundation of the earth, but its exact time of occurrence is not known by man.

The substitutionary death on the cross took place circa A.D. 33.

 

  1. Why did the sacrifices take place?  The Incarnation took place in order for the Son of Man to lay aside His Holy Spirit life and soul for the purpose of restoring man to the image (character) of God, in order to cure the sin problem.  Without this gift, the death of Christ on the cross would have been to no avail except to pardon sin eternally, for there would have been no cure for sin without this proviso. The death of the Son of Man took place on the cross to make a substitutionary propitiation for man’s violation of God’s law.

 

Laodicea

 

This story has roots that go back even further. Over twenty years earlier in 18568 the little flock of Adventist accepted the fact that they were Laodicea and not the "good" church of Philadelphia.  Many today may be tired of hearing that we are Laodicea, while many others just accept it with a sigh of resignation.  But did you know that the message to Laodicea is a promise, and not a curse?  When we discover the victory that is to be had by the Church of Laodicea if she receives the counsel of the true and faithful witness, we will have discovered the heart and soul of our mission and message!

Ron’s Commentary: Actually, it was in 1852, that the church was first recognized by the Spirit of Prophecy to be in the Laodicea condition:

Church Laodicea 1852 (June 10) "Many who profess to be looking for the speedy coming of Christ, are becoming conformed t this world, and seek more earnestly the applause of those around them, than the approbation of God. They are cold and formal, like the nominal church, that they but a short time since separated from. The words addressed to the Laodicea Church, describe their present condition perfectly....And unless they heed the counsel of the 'faithful and True Witness,' and zealously repent, and obtain 'gold tried in the fire,' 'white raiment,' and 'eye-salve,' he will spue them out of his mouth." E.G. White, Review and Herald, June 10, 1852, Vol. 1, p. 18, col. 2.

Notice Karl’s’ words:  “When we discover the victory that is to be had by the Church of Laodicea if she receives the counsel of the true and faithful witness, we will have discovered the heart and soul of our mission and message!”

Here Karl goes directly contrary to Ellen White's counsel.  The message to Laodicea is to individuals within her borders, because corporate Laodicea will NEVER be saved if we believe Scripture and Ellen White.

In Ezekiel 5:9, he mentions the worst thing God ever does in connection with that chapter.  That chapter involved one of the punishments to God’s people, the Jews.  Are we to conclude that punishment to God’s first chosen people was the worst thing He would ever do?  Nay!  Matthew 24:21, tells us that God’s professing people will experience the worst thing He ever does at the end-time:

 

Mat 24:21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

 

So we see that God’s professed people are in for another punishment by God, because Ezekiel 5:9 involved God’s people only.  Then we have Ellen White’s statement that Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled again LITERALLY:

"Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling will YOU hear? Will YOU receive His message? Will YOU be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity. Letter 106, 1909, pp. 2, 3, 5, 7. (To "The churches in Oakland and Berkeley, September 26, 1909.)" E. G. White Manuscript Releases Volume One, p. 260.

Ezekiel 9 deal ONLY with Jerusalem, God’s spiritual Jerusalem.  It’s last fulfillment dealt only with the Jews, His first “chosen” people.  Ellen White called that fulfillment in 70 A.D, a PREFIGURE, p. 25, The Great Controversy, 1911 edition.  So the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 was a TYPE, that will be literally fulfilled again involving “spiritual Jerusalem.”  It all begins “at His Sanctuary,” those who have had great light:

"Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus 'Peace and safety" is the cry from men who will  never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together." E. G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, 211.

That is precisely what happened to the Temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  The chapter the above statement is taken from begins quoting Ezekiel 9.

"The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music, than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working." E. G. White,  Selected Messages, Vol. 2, 36.

So here (above) we have the church, Laodicea, doing every uncouth thing at it’s camp meetings JUST BEFORE PROBATION CLOSES!  Is that indicative of a corporately repentant Laodicea that will go through to the Kingdom?  Is that indicative of a primitive revival of the entire corporate seventh church so that Laodicea could be designated the church triumphant?  Nay!  Ellen White said that Laodicea was the state of the church represented by the foolish virgins, and they are not saved:

"The state of the Church represented by the foolish virgins, is also spoken of as the Laodicea state." E. G. White,  Review and Herald Articles,  Vol. 2, 420.

So Karl Wagner’s hope for Laodicea as being the final church era that is triumphant is found wanting.   

Karl continues (Keep in mind that Karl’s material is in black print):

Let's look at the message to the seventh church in Revelation.  We'll begin by reading it.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodicea’s write;

 

Ron's Commentary:  Here Karl goes directly contrary to Ellen White's counsel.  She said that the Laodicea state of the church is the foolish virgin state.

 

These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:14–22).

What strikes you about the counsel of the true witness?  What is the message that calls to be understood?  It is the very gospel of Jesus Christ!  

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Indeed, the gospel may be found in the message to Laodicea.  She is to buy (receive) gold tried in the fire (faith and love) tried in the fire of Christ’s obedience.  By that free gift of faith and love, we surrender our will to Christ’s.  He then abides IN US, and keeps His Will in and through us as long as we remain dead to self.

 

"Inasmuch as a man in earnest, be he right or wrong, is even a better man than one professing what he does not feel."9  

 

Ron’s Commentary:  An earnest man is better than a hypocrite, but when it comes to spiritual things, wherein the heart is deceptive above all things, one must test “earnestness,” and God

 

Will God let the earnest seeker of truth be wrong?  I say no!  He will send the truth by way of the Holy Spirit if all other avenues fail.  Notice the source of Karl’s quotation.  He is quoting man.  9 M.R. Vincent, "Word Studies in the New Testament", Vol. I, (Mac Dill AFB, FL: Mac Donald Publishing Company-N.D., originally published in 1886), 595, 596.

 

I choose to consult God when it comes to a test for deciphering between feeling and genuine experience.  Why?  Because earnestness will not save the foolish virgins and Ellen White says that they are not hypocrites:

 

“The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit's working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man's heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. "They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." Eze. 33:31. The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ's second coming. He says, "In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." 2 Tim. 3:1-5. {COL 411.1}

     This is the class that in time of peril are found crying, Peace and safety. They lull their hearts into security, and dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up
                                                                            412
another's deficiency. The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul. The message of the gospel has been heralded, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17. But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit's working. "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." Eze. 14:20. {
COL 411.2}

     It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him," and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul's need to be supplied. {COL 412.1}

     The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth's history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God's service. All apparently wait for Christ's appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall. {COL 412.2}

     At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ's kingdom, saying, "We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets." "Lord, Lord,
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have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?" But the answer is, "I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me." Luke 13:26; Matt. 7:22; Luke 13:27. In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. 2:11. {
COL 412.3}

     Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, "I know you not." The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.” {COL 413.1}

"Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere REPENTANCE AND REFORMATION. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin. Says Paul, speaking of the WORK OF REPENTANCE: 'Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." E.G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 640.

That is the problem with Laodicea.  I'm not talking about feeling, but we must have an internal experience if we are going to talk about it. But one who has not experienced, can only profess with words, and that's lukewarm!

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The only bible prescribed test for knowing that we have the genuine experience Karl speaks of, is not man assessed earnestness, but rather as follows:

 

1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

 

 

 Faith tested by experience! Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and spiritual discernment! These are the things of salvation, these are the marks of a true Christian.  "Buy of me…" are not some code words to indicate that we can purchase these things.10 Instead, we are to attach value to these things, and not to take them lightly.  This counsel is the straight testimony that is to be received before we can have power11 to carry forward the work.  The Lord's messenger tells us that it will be the cause of the shaking!  There will be those who will rise up against the counsel of the true witness.  They will not bear it, yet it will accomplish its work.12  I can hardly believe it, but its true.  The gospel will be the center of attack by our very own!

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Yes Karl, “Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and spiritual discernment! These are the things of salvation, these are the marks of a true Christian.”  Yes indeed, and there is only ONE WAY to self-test the reality of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ and possessing spiritual discernment, and it is not mental assent to believing.  It is, and I repeat for important emphasis:

 

1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

                                               

When we hear the words, "straight testimony", we usually think of our distinctive doctrines. We may say someone is preaching the straight testimony, as opposed to a watered down message designed to soothe the people.  Within Adventist culture, I haven't a problem with that usage. However, the principal application of the terminology belongs to the message to the Church of Laodicea. The straight testimony is the counsel of the True Witness.  That counsel is that we cannot rely on ourselves.  It is the very gospel, the gospel unto salvation! Be careful what you rise up against.  You may find yourself rising up against God and His truth.  You may find yourself rejecting the very means of salvation. Are we afraid that we may be accepting the "New Theology?”

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Yes Karl, be very careful what you call a “black hole!”  You are teaching the New Theology!  The following dialog took place between Karl Wagner and myself.  Take very careful note of what he terms a “black hole” in my presentation to him:

 

--- In SDAIssues@yahoogroups.com, "Ron Beaulieu" <rsbeauli@telusplanet.net>...

wrote:

 

Karl,

 

God gave the personal test for KNOWING that one is in relationship with Him.  If we receive the gift of full surrender (empowerment) as well as the gift of pardon AT THE SAME TIME, we will KNOW we are doing HIS WILL that is wellpleasing in His sight.  He will be working in us, so it is not of us lest any man should boast, but any view of salvation without full surrender to Christ and thereby dying to self daily and letting Him do His Will in us, is nothing more than the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, who believe as you do, that works of righteousness, even those done by the Holy Spirit working in and through us, have nothing to do with salvation.

 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the

Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 

 Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

 

 "...The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism (see SDACom 7:957). Nicolaitans of the 2d cent. seem to have continued and extended the views of the 1st-cent. adherents, holding to the freedom of the flesh, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh had no effect upon the health of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation." SDA Bible Dictionary, vol. 8 of the Commentaries, p. 770, 771.

 

You have said many times and you do it again in your post below, that the deeds of the flesh eg. behavior etc., have no effect upon the heath of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation.  The truth is that if we receive the gift of daily dying to self and surrender to God will, our deeds of the flesh are then His, and they have everything to do with every relation to salvation.  He went through the same process with His Father, while on this earth.  He had to remain surrendered moment by moment.  The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teach that we can avail ourselves of the same process.  

 

Your process Karl, says only confess belief, and the rest is a forensic act imputing His righteousness, His obedience, to our account without working His Will in and through us.  That is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  Then you say that we do good works because we are saved and not in order to be saved.  The former contradicts the latter!

 

We don't do any of it when we are saved!  It is all gift.  You say the gift is legal--forensic only.  I say the gifts include forensic pardon, and a subjective working of His Will BY HIM, IN AND THROUGH US at the same time we receive the gift of full surrender and forensic pardoning.

 

The part you leave out Karl is:

 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and

ever. Amen.

 

His will involves behavior--acts of obedience--as He obeyed His Father's Will by surrendering to His Father's will.  Did that process have anything to do with His victory over sin?  Yes indeed.  The Son's victory WAS NOT forensically imputed to Him, and neither is our victory forensically IMPUTED to us without a daily surrender of the will to Him, and letting Him work His good will in and through us.  

We do not do it lest any man should boast.  By His empowerment, we permit Him to do it.

 

You have termed this concept as another language before Karl.  You do not understand it.  I realize that, so I will just agree to disagree.  I will restate this truth at times for others who might be able to discern the truth of it.  I am not trying to convince you Karl.  I am fully aware that you cannot understand what I am saying.  

 

You rejected the concept years ago [when you rejected the True Reformer Adventist position], and now your mind is darkened to an understanding.  It is truly like another language to you.  I accept that and merely agree to disagree.

Your theory of the salvation conflicts with Scripture and Ellen White.  I see that clearly.

 

The Son's victory WAS NOT forensically imputed to Him, and neither is our victory forensically IMPUTED to us without a daily surrender of the will to Him, and letting Him work His good will in and through us.  We do not do it lest any man should boast.  By His empowerment, we permit Him to do it all.

 

You have termed this concept as “another language” before Karl.  You do not understand it"

 

Ron

 

Karl Wagner responded:

 

Let me term it not another language, but another gospel. A black hole.

 

Karl

 

End of dialog with Karl.

 

The New Theology of Justification Alone

 

Will we accept the gospel today and let it do its work?  Will we let the cry go forth to receive the Latter Rain?  Or will we call it new theology and turn our backs on it?  It was almost accomplished in 1888; it will be accomplished before Jesus returns. In his book, "The Shaking of Adventism",13 Geoffrey Paxton seeks to show Seventh-day Adventists the errors of their ways. Steeped in Reform theology he points out Adventism’s "other" gospel in three areas. They are, 1) Sanctification, 2) original sin, and 3) the Final Atonement.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Now we have nominal Adventists like Karl, using Babylonian preachers to tell us what righteousness by faith means!  Evidently, Karl does not feel that Ellen White was sufficient!  And I can assure you that I know precisely why Karl regards Ellen White as insufficient in properly defining righteousness by faith.  The following page is a link on Geoffrey Paxton’s Website.  It tries to paint as Catholic what Christ promises to do when we partake of His Divine Nature.  IF YOU EVER DECIDE THAT PAXTON AND ROBBINS ARE RIGHT, GO TRHOUGH THIS CRITIQUIE OF KARL’S BOOK AND CUT OUT EVERY TEXT I PRESENT, AND/OR RECONCILE THEM WITH THEIR TEACHINGS AND TELL ME HOW TO DO IT!  PLEASE!

 

http://members.aol.com/DaevidHT/RURC.html

 

Addressing each, Paxton suggests that Adventists who believe they must live sanctified lives in order to obtain salvation are seeking it by works. He notes Adventism's lack of an integrated doctrine on original sin, which would help define man's sinfulness.  Somehow, if looked at on the surface, these two areas can lead to a kind of legalism. We see sin as just an act, not a state of being. It is both, not one or the other. I will address some of the issues on the nature of sin later in the book. But for now lets continue to look at sanctification.

I hope here to unmask the legalism that threatens the Advent movement. It's worse then merit-based systems.  If we believe that an exercise of our will to obey God by a modification of our habits in order that we may meet the requirements of His law, all the while saying it's not merit, we are lost!  Did you get that?  Even though we know it's not by "merit", if we still believe that we by our own efforts (uno, ego) alone or combined obtain, then we are in trouble.  To those who may be wagging their heads, I know what Ellen White said14 about obedience. But she also says, "It is peace that you need--Heaven's forgiveness and peace and love in the soul. Money cannot buy it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain to it; you can never hope, by your own efforts, to secure it. But God offers it to you as a gift, "without money and without price." Isa. 55:1. " (FLB, 103). It seems that the tensions here are in the areas of faith and works. We will continue to address those issues in the section, "Working the Works of God."

 

Ron’s Commentary: God will exercise His Will if and when we receive the free grace gift of surrender of our wills.  Karl is correct on this, we do not combine our effort with His—it is all His Will that He exercises in and through us.  I guess that Karl has concluded that Ellen White taught peace in the soul some other way than dying to self and surrender to Christ’s Holy Spirit dwelling within!  And how do we know that we have love in the soul?  When the heart is deceitful above all things, how can we know that we truly love?  I will say it again, and again, and again—there is one biblical test whereby we may KNOW such an important element that we are counseled to buy as part of the Laodicea message:

 

 

1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

 

Anyone who teaches in a manner that would obfuscate the above test is to be feared!  Beware!  Further, anyone who teaches contrary to the above biblical test is teaching the doctrine of the Nicolaitans that God especially hates.

 

However, Paxton's reform theology emphasizes the "Christ for you" motif, (justification alone) while Adventism includes Christ "in" you (sanctification). Put in it's right place, it's both. Christ for us and in us.

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Thank you Karl.  You are correct, it is both!  And it is not just Adventism that includes Christ “in-you” “in-us” sanctification.  It is very Bible which all the verses I cited near the beginning of my critique attest.

 

In the first epistle of John, verse 9, we read, " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He not only forgives us, but he cleanses us from sin. It is a work for us and in us. It's only when we believe that this work in us is something we do in order to obtain salvation does it become legalism. Paxton believes this to be the case in Adventism. If this is true, Paxton is correct.

 

Ron’s Commentary:   Paxton’s Website and other sites he links to, teach that any teaching that stresses Christ in us is something to avoid like the plague and Catholicism, like the following link he makes to John Robbins’ Website:

 

Roman Catholicism

The Bible

Justification is subjective, psychological and internal.

Justification is objective, legal and external.

We are justified by God's work in us.

We are justified by Christ's work for us.

Justification is man-centered.

Justification is Christ-centered.

God justifies a person by making him personally righteous.

God justifies a person by imputing Christ's righteousness to him and declaring him righteous because Christ has taken the punishment he deserves.

 

You can see how the above scenario discounts all the texts of Scripture I provided regarding the IN US MOTIF.  If the above assertions are correct, and they are not, the Bible is false and Ellen White is a false prophet!  Take your choice!  Robbins or the Bible, because there is a whole lot of contradiction going on!  That contradiction is what causes the shaking and there is also a whole lot of shaking going on!  According to Paxton and Robbins, justification is just a legal means of pardoning sin and atoning for it.  No solution to the sin problem whatsoever!  No character development!  Just mental assent belief and you are saved!  If one can take solace in that theology despite all the scripture to the contrary, then he/she could believe anything!

 

So what is wrong with the Catholic belief?  They believe that God infuses His righteousness into us, rather than our surrendering the will and dying to self and being born again.

 

Men like Don Hawley, a former Adventist wrote in his book, "Getting It All Together", "With the passage of time we should require less emphasis on Christ's imputed righteousness and should actually posses more and more of His imparted righteousness."  He has since left Adventism. Its too bad we have to have people leave Adventism in order to find the gospel.15 We must remember Imparted righteousness (sanctification) is not a human act. It is all Christ, and none of us. We will continue to see how we are connected to this work in the sections, "Persistent Grace" and "Rushing to Abide".

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Indeed, imparted righteousness is Christ indwelling us. When we surrender to such imparted righteousness, then He imputes His righteousness to us, but it is His righteousness in both cases, lest any man should boast.

 

The other area Paxton addresses is the area of the final atonement. The subject he really means here of course is the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. Lets just say here that if a favorable decision in the judgment is based on my works, then I'm in trouble. It's based on the merits of Christ, and Christ alone. Its based on who is wearing the robe of Christ's righteousness.  If we have the right garment on, we pass!16

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Ellen White was a good Catholic!  She believed that Christ does not put His White Robe on anyone to cover sin.  She believed that Christ saved us from sinning and not in sinning.  That is what Scripture teaches if one takes all pertinent data and interprets so that nothing contradicts, and without this formula, one could believe about anything he/she wishes, and that is indeed why we have so many different belief systems!

 

What Paxton wants to emphasis [emphasize] is the completion of the cross. When Christ said, "It is finished"17, Paxton says that Adventism seems to add something to the sacrifice of Calvary. If that is the case, then I have to side with Paxton. The cross was complete, the sacrifice sufficient.  What Adventism points refers to is the administration of the atonement.

Had the sin problem been wrapped up at the cross with nothing more needing to be done to expunge sin from the universe, my question is, "Why are we still here?"  

 

Ron’s Commentary:  Scripture implies that Christ is waiting for His bride to prepare herself by surrendering to the character of Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

 

Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

 

Rev 2:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  

 

Oswald T. Allis seemed to believe so. He wrote, "But sin was finally dealt with ("made an end of") and reconciliation brought about through the death of Christ…It only remains that the benefits of the finished work be applied to all those for whom it was performed."18  In a certain way, Allis was right. The finished atonement needs to be applied to all those in the universe for whom it was performed. Getting sin out of the universe is more then just dealing with fallen man, it's a problem in the whole universe. It is in the model of the sanctuary that we are to understand how God is to deal with it.  So now the question.  Was the atonement complete?  Yes it was. Was it completed? Of course it wasn't. Because if it was completed, we wouldn't be here!

 

Ron’s Commentary:  The question is:  What is there to complete?  I believe God is waiting to perfect a bride whose righteousness will be demonstrated to the entire earth.  That bride is Zion, Isaiah 62:

 

1 “For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. 3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. 4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. 5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. 6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence…”

 

Critical points in identifying the final church:  Notice that Zion is Jerusalem.  Ezekiel 9 deals with “Jerusalem.”  At the end-time it is spiritual Jerusalem that is involved.  Now notice in the above scripture, verse 2, that Zion gets a NEW NAME.  Philadelphia gets a new name.  Her new name is NEW JERSUALEM, the NEW BRIDE OF JESUS CHRIST, because we are told that He divorced Israel as His fiancée.

 

Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

 

Laodicea had a chance to be the bride of Christ, but she has played the harlot also!  Ellen White called her a harlot on three different occasions and never altered that description. See the following document:  

 

http://members.tripod.com/omega77/harlotdocument2.htm

 

 



 

 

 

2 Revelation 14:6. First of three angels outlining the message and mission of Seventh-day Adventism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Luke 1:17. Like John the Baptist, the Elijah of the first advent, our message also points to one who comes after us in preparation for the Second Advent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 An excellent book by Martin Weber, "Whose Got the Truth." It's unfortunate this book had to be published, but considering our situation it was needed.  I understand Pastor Weber took some heat for publishing comments from one of Adventism's thought leaders. Good for him! How much heat are any of us willing to take?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 "How many there are who are ignorant of what it means to be a child of God, an heir of heaven!  They have a sneer on their countenances, and in their hearts, for the simplicity of true godliness.  They have no experience in it.  It is unintelligible to them.  They are wise in their own conceits, and know not that they are 'wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.' The True Witness say to them, 'I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.'…" (Ellen White, Review and Herald, October 16, 1900, par. 8).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 "July 109, 1892.  …The question forces itself upon me, Why do I not receive the blessing of restoration to health?  Shall I interpret these long months of sickness as evidences of the displeasure of God because I came to Australia?  I answer decidedly, No, I dare not do this.  At times before leaving America I thought that the Lord did not require me to go to a country so far away, at my age and when I was prostrated by overwork.  But I followed the voice of the [General] Conference, as I have ever tried to do at times when I had no clear light myself." (RY, 141.) and again, "Dear Brother [O. A.] Olson:…I have not, I think, revealed the entire  working that led me here to Australia.  Perhaps you may never fully understand the matter.  The Lord was not in our leaving America.  He did not reveal that it was His will that I should leave Battle Creek.  The Lord did not plan this, but He let you all move after your own imaginings.  The Lord would have had W. C. White, his mother, and her workers remain in America.  We were needed at the heart of the work. . . . But the Lord read the hearts of all.  There was so great a willingness to have us leave, that the Lord permitted this thing to take place.  Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them.  Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way, which they thought superior to the way of the Lord.”  (10MR, 392).  See also, A. G. Daniels, “The Abiding Gift of Prophecy (1935); page 369.                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Op cited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Isaiah 55:1   “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  

  55:2   Wherefore do ye spend money for [that which is] not bread? and your labour for [that which] satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye [that which is] good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”

 

 

11 Romans 1:16   “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

 

 

12 “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodicea’s.  This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth.  Some will not hear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God's people."

"I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded.  This solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded.  This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it, and be purified." (CET, 176).

 

 

13 Geoffrey J. Paxton, "The Shaking of Adventism", (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House-1977).  "A documented account of the crisis among Adventists over the doctrine of justification by faith."

 

 

14 These are some references to Ellen White's writings that appear to suggest our efforts  is our contribution to our salvation. See, Acts of the Apostles, page 500; Education, page 123; Gospel Workers, page 107; Lift Him Up, page 122; Selected Messages, book two, page 166; Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, page 255 and others.

 

 

16 Matthew 22:1-14, The story of the Wedding Feast. The man who was cast out was not because he was a bad man. He just wasn't wearing the correct garment. When we attempt to add to the garment, we are saying that Christ's righteousness is not good enough.  See also, Zech 3:1, the story of Joshua the High Priest and the angel of the Lord.

 

 

17 John 19:30