Foreword by Ron Beaulieu: Friends, if you want to see an exact fulfillment of every specification about the New Movement—New Organization that was to form as part of the Omega of Apostasy, as prophesied in Selected Messages, Bk. 1, 204-5, just read this document. This is one of 21 papers presented at the QED 50th Anniversary conference last year.


Here is the Website where you may obtain the other 20 presentations:







Questions on Doctrine 50th Anniversary Conference


October 24-27, 2007


Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI








Herbert Edgar Douglass, Th.D.


October 24, 2007










I.Early Warning Signs 4


Began with a friendly letter 4

“Eternal Verities” 6

Double Challenge 7

“Lunatic Fringe 7

If only . . . 7


II. Basis Flaw on the Part of Both Parties 8


Tectonic Plates Colliding 8

Calvinism Rooted in Augustine 9

“Five Points” 9

Forensic-only Salvation 10

Adventist Trio’s Fatal Flaw 10

Principle Issues 11

Adventist Trio Were Highly Respected Leaders 11

Personal Friends 11


III. Analysis of a Theological Impasse 12


More What Ifs 13

Perpetuating the Myth 14

Group Think 14

Loma Linda Professionals 15

Mythical Mantra 16

Cottrell’s Sixteen-page Warning 16

Nichol’s Warning 17

Washing of Hands 17

Unknown to Commentary Editors 18

Why Commentary Editors Did Not Speak Louder 18

Missed the Opportunity of a Century 19

IV. Time to See the Big Picture 19

Major Issues in Great Controversy 19

Adventist Template and Calvinistic Template Incompatible 20

Obviously, Andreasen and Others Aroused 21

Biblical Sanctuary Doctrine 21


V. When Theological Clarity Becomes Fog 21


180 Degree Turn—Nature of Christ’s Humanity 22

Two Trigger Words 22

Another Subheading Flaw 23

Nichol’s Editorials 23

Brief Review of 100 Years 24

Branson’s 1954, Drama of the Ages 24

Strange Act of 1949 25

Anderson’s Explanation 26

Scholarly Fraud 26

Anderson’s Strawman 27

Ellen White Consistency 27

Not a Mere Theological Exercise 28

Another Ministry Editorial 29

Strange Hermeneutics 29

Misrepresentation Worked Both Ways 29

An Attempted Compromise 30

Henry Melvill 30

Melvill’s Federal Theology 32

Ellen White, No Calvinist 32

Adventists Not Alone 33

Andreasen’s Second Concern 33

QOD Trio’s Defense to Andreasen’s Charge 34

Misapplication of One Statement 35

Again, the Larger View 36

Missing the Opportunity of a Century 36

Why Was Andreasen Upset? 37

February 15, 1957 Letter 37

October 15, 1957 Letter 38

November 4, 1957 Letter 39

November 14, 1957 Letter 39

December 2, 1957 Letter 40

January 5, 1958 Letter 40

January 19, 1958 Letter 41

January 31, 1958 Letter 41

September 1960 Letter 41

“Outright Deceit” 42

“The Highest Infamy” 43

Flash Points in Later Eternity Editorials 43

Barnhouse’s Eternity, September 1957 Editorial 44

Martin’s Eternity, September 1957 Article 44

Barnhouse’s Eternity, November 1957 Editorial 44

What If Barnhouse and Martin Read Annotated QOD? 44

Adventist Professionals Not Asleep 45

Telephone Conversation 45

Chief Issue: Connection Between Christology and Eschatology 46

Reality Check 46

Hancock’s Research 46


VI. Fifty Years of Muddle 47


Quick Overview of Adventist Disarray Since 1960 47

Bull and Lockhart’s Analysis 48

Edward Heppenstall, Chair, Systematic Theology 48

Change of Emphasis in Nearness of Advent 49

Unity and Coherence in Andreasen’s Theological Paradigm 50

Theological Liberalism 50

QOD Magisterium 51

Opportunity of the Century, What ifs 51


VII. Fifty Years Later, What Should We Do To Rectify Mistakes?




A Summary of Issues in the Great Controversy Theme.1

B Ellen White’s Use of Words Such as Passions, Inclinations,

Propensities, Corruptions, etc.

C. The Elliptical Nature of Truth.

D. Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?

E. Why Did Jesus Die?

F. What Do We Mean by Moral Perfection in Contrast to



1 A very brief summary of my book, God At Risk— the Cost of Freedom in the Great Controversy,(Roseville,

CA: Amazing Facts, 2004), 480p p.


The QOD earthquake—Attempted merger of two theological

tectonic plates


Early Warning Signs


In editing the Annotated Edition of Questions on Doctrine, George Knight spoke for many in his

usual fresh way when he wrote that QOD became the most divisive book in the Adventist world

over the last 50 years.2 Many believe that denomination confusion the Seventh-day Adventist Church

ever since has been a devastating price to pay for the theological detour.3 Those who think

other wise have been in an historic/theologic coma.


My limited assignment was to answer two questions: What happened and Why!

The fundamental problem in 1955-7 was that the participants unwittingly tried to merge two different theological systems without realizing all of its ramifications. When Adventists try to overlay their theology on the Evangelical grid, warning lights, buzzers, etc., should be going off—many areas simply won’t fit. Neither the Evangelicals nor the Adventists seemed to see some of the basic doctrines that created this Grand Canyon between Calvinism

and the Adventist form of Arminianism.4


From another perspective, Adventists did not realize that they had certain aspects of their

tectonic plate that couldn’t merge with the Calvinist tectonic plate. In the attempt to close

that difference, a theological earthquake jarred both worlds—and the debris of the resulting

volcano is still settling down today.5


In discussing the far-reaching effect of Questions on Doctrine with a Union Conference

committee recently, I was not surprised, just sad. Some of the reaction was, “That was long

ago, Herb. We are more interested in today and the future.” Or, “That was decided by our

brethren years ago, why try to go over it again.” Among other issues, when I suggested that

most independent ministries that thrive in our churches today exist because of what

happened in 1957, I got more blank looks. But also a new interest to hear more! Every cause

has an effect and nothing is without cause. And that is why we are here this week on the 50th 




2 Annotated Edition, Questions on Doctrine (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press), 2003), xiii.

3 Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart Seeking a Sanctuary, Second Edition (Bloomington, IN: Indiana

University Press, 2007), 106: “Questions on Doctrine raised uncertainties about what Adventists actually

believed that made the evangelical era that followed the most destabilizing in the church’s history.”

4 Adventists part with Wesleyan Arminianism in (1) their understanding of the immortal soul notion that has

much to do with one’s understanding of the atonement and the doctrine of sin and (2) how to fully understand

John 3:16: was it a gift to be accepted or an offer to be sought. or both?

5 I am indebted to many through the years who have wrestled with the impact of QOD on Adventist thinking. I

am particularly grateful for Julius Nam’s remarkable doctoral dissertation, “Reactions to the Seventh-day

Adventist Evangelical Conferences and Questions on Doctrine 1955-1971.” Others who have been extremely

thorough in their analyses through the years include Kenneth Wood, Jerry Moon, Ralph Larson, Ken

McFarland, Robert Hancock, Sr., Leroy Moore, Jean Zurcher, Kevin Paulson, William Grotheer, Larry

Kirkpatrick, Woody Whidden and George Knight.




anniversary of the publication of QOD, to look at cause and effect of probably the most

“divisive” book in Adventist history.


Began With a Friendly Letter


The whole QOD dance began with a letter of special appreciation (November 28, 1949)

from T.E. Unruh, president of the East Pennsylvania Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,

to Dr. Donald Barnhouse, editor of the influential Eternity magazine, after hearing his radio

address on “righteousness by faith” in 1949. Barnhouse was astonished that an Adventist

leader would commend him when Barnhouse was convinced that Adventists believed in

“righteousness by works.” Barnhouse also noted that Adventists had a “satanic and

dangerous” Christology.6


But Unruh hung in with several exchanges of letters. In one of them he enclosed Steps to

Christ, “affirming the evangelical character of Adventist doctrine.” And Barnhouse fired

back, in an Eternity article on “How to Read Religious Books,” stating that Steps was “false

in all its parts.” bearing the “mark of the counterfeit” from the first page. He also charged

that Steps to Christ promoted “universalism. . . half-truths and Satanic error. . . so much

emphasis on God’s love to unregenerate men smacked of universalism.”7 Unruh decided

there was no point of continuing the correspondence. No further communication took place

between Unruh and Barnhouse from June 1950 until 1955.


Another thread was also being weaved into the big picture when E. Schuyler English,

chairman of the Revision Committee of the Scofield Reference Bible, wrote a January 1955

editorial in his Our Hope magazine. He stated erroneously that Seventh-day Adventists

“deny Christ’s Deity” and that we “disparage the Person and work of Christ.” He based the

latter expression on the fact that some of our literature used the expression, “partook of our

sinful, fallen nature.”


Froom wrote immediately to English contending that “the old Colcord minority-view note in

Bible Readings—contending for an inherent sinful, fallen nature for Christ—had years

before been expunged because of its error, and again furnishing incontrovertible evidence to

sustain these statements.”8


English subsequently acknowledged that he had made “mistakes through the columns of

Our Hope” regarding Adventists. When he still contended that Christ “did not partake of

the fallen sinful nature of other men,” Froom assured him that “is precisely what we

likewise believe.” Then Froom footnoted this sentence with a typical misuse of Ellen White

comments allegedly supporting his viewpoint.9




6 Donald Grey Barnhouse, “Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians? A New Look at Seventh-day Adventism,”

Eternity, September 1956; T. E. Unruh, The Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956,

Adventist Heritage, fourth quarter, 1977.

7 Barnhouse, “Spiritual Discernment, or How to Read Religious Books, Eternity, June 1950.

8 Movement of Destiny (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1971), 469.

9 Ibid. 470.




Now enters Walter Martin, a young researcher with a reputation in the evangelical world as

a specialist in non-Christian cults and one of Barnhouse’s consulting editors on Eternity. He

was finishing up his next book on The Rise of the Cults in which he categorized Seventhday

Adventists as one of “The Big Five”—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science,

Mormonism, Unity, and Seventh-day Adventists.10 But it seems that the Holy Spirit was

urging him to check his facts once more regarding Adventists because he wanted to treat

them fairly. Martin turned to Toby Unruh because he had been reading the correspondence

between Unruh and Barnhouse of five years before.11


Martin knew of LeRoy Froom for his impressive major work on the history of prophetical

interpretation.12 He asked Unruh for a meeting in Washington, D.C., where he could

interview Froom and other leaders in preparation for his upcoming book on the cults.

The rest is history. The stage was set for a frank, open discussion on the vital issues that

troubled Martin and Barnhouse. Unruh and Froom asked Walter Read, a field secretary of

the General Conference and biblical linguist, to join them, believing that this was a dramatic

moment in Adventist history to improve the Adventist image with Evangelicals. A short

time later, Roy Allan Anderson, editor of Ministry, was asked to join the study group.13

These conferences began in March 1955 and ended in May 1956.


“Eternal Verities”


The Adventist trio responded to Martin’s questions with a list that Froom called “the eternal

verities”—“eternal pre-existence and complete Deity of Christ, His miraculous conception

and virgin birth and sinless life during the Incarnation, His vicarious atoning death on the

Cross—once for all and all-sufficient—His literal resurrection and ascension, His Mediation

before the Father, applying the benefits of the completed Act of Atonement He had made on

the Cross And climaxing with His personal, premillennial Second Advent, which we firmly

believe to be near, but without setting a time.14


In a further presentation he listed certain doctrines that only some of the evangelical

churches would agree with, such as: “baptism by immersion, the seventh-day Sabbath, free

will, conditional immortality, and the complete annihilation of the wicked in the end-time.”

Then the Adventist trio presented a third group of five doctrines that appeared to be unique

to Adventism, such as: the heavenly sanctuary and Christ’s two-phase ministry in it, the

investigative judgment, the Spirit of prophecy as manifested in Ellen G. White’s ministry,



10 Walter R. Martin, (The Rise of the Cults, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1955) 12.

11 Unruh, Adventist Heritage, op cit.

12 L. E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers (Washington, D.C: Review and Herald, 1950). Four


13 Unruh, op. cit.

14 Froom, Movement of Destiny (Washington, D.C., Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1971) 478.

Emphasis in original.



the seal of God and mark of the beast, and the three angels’ messages of Revelation 13.

These five were designated to be distinguishing characteristics of Seventh-day Adventists.15

While saying all this, Martin soon saw that what he was now hearing was “a totally different

picture from what [he] had fancied and expected.”16 It seemed to deny many teachings that

he had ascribed to Adventists “because of his reading of Adventist literature.” Not many

hours went by before Martin told the Adventists that “you folks are not heretics as we

thought but rather redeemed brethren in Christ.” He, of course, was focusing on Froom’s list

of “eternal verities while recognizing that some of the second list were also believed by

some evangelical churches.17


Double Challenge


For Martin, his challenge was that he had been commissioned by Zondervan Publishing to

finish his book on the cults that was to include Adventists.18 For the Adventist trio, they had

the burden of explaining to the Adventist Church why certain books and doctrinal points of

the past were to be purged, hoping that church members would understand that their

answers to Martin were expressed in ways that evangelicals could understand.

At that point began the attempt to merge two theological tectonic plates. Froom, Read and

Anderson convinced Martin and Barnhouse that the troublesome issues such as the human

nature of Christ and the larger view of the atonement were, as Barnhouse wrote, the

products of “the lunatic fringe as there are similar wild-eyed irresponsibles in every field of

fundamental Christianity.”19


The fat was in the fire! At least M. L. Andreasen, long-time Adventism’s leading

theologian, read Barnhouse’s article and found himself among the “lunatic fringe” along

with most other Adventist writers who emphasized the human experience of Jesus and His

two-phased atonement.


The “Lunatic Fringe”


Obviously, after Barnhouse had made this charge, whatever else the Adventist trio would

write would be suspect and would have to be “met” with Adventist vigor. This accusation of

a “lunatic fringe” was incredible when we take a quick look at those who did believe that

Jesus took on Himself sinful flesh to live a sinless life. Think about the following list of

prominent “lunatic” Adventist leaders: Francis Nichol, W. H. Branson, Ray Cottrell, Don

Neufeld (all living in Washington, D.C. during the 1950s) as well as a century of Adventist

leadership, such as E. J. Waggoner, A. T. Jones, S. N. Haskell, W. W. Prescott, Uriah Smith,

M. C. Wilcox, G. W. Reaser, G. B. Thompson, M. E. Kern, C. M. Snow, C. P. Bollman,



15 Julius Nam, “Reactions to the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences and Questions on Doctrine

1955-1971, 57. Doctoral dissertation, Andrews University, 2005, 54, 55.

16 Froom, Movement of Destiny, 479.

17 Julius Nam, “Reactions to the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences and Questions on Doctrine

1955-1971, 57. Doctoral dissertation, Andrews University, 2005.

18 Froom, op. cit., 480.

19 Barnhouse, Eternity, September 1957.



Mead MacGuire, C. B.Haynes, I. H. Evans, L. A. Wilcox. William Wirth, E. F. Hackman, A. G. Daniells, Oscar Tait, Allen Walker, Merlin Neff, W. E. Howell, Gwynne Dalrymple,

T. M French, J. L. McElhany, C. Lester Bond, E. K. Slade, J. E. Fulton, D. H. Kress,

Frederick Lee, L. H. Wood, A. V. Olson, Christian Edwardson, J. C. Stevens, F. M.

Wilcox, A. W. Truman, F. G. Clifford, Varner Johns, Dallas Young, J. B. Conley, Fenton

Edwin Froom, W. E. Read, J. A. McMillan, Benjamin Hoffman, H. L. Rudy, including the

writings of M. L. Andreasen and hundreds of times that Ellen White unambiguously wrote

that Jesus “accepted the results of the great law of heredity . . . to share our sorrows and

temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”20



If only. . .


If only both sides had stepped back for a quiet moment, they would have realized that they

were both shooting at moving targets. They stood on two separate tectonic plates attempting

to merge, setting up earthquakes that would reverberate for at least fifty years. If Froom had

not had a short fuse and a driving premise that obscured his normal historical nose for truth,

and if Anderson had been not so excited about what seemed to be a monumental public

relations scoop—we would not have had the QOD earthquake.

Strange as it now appears, if Froom had not early on so quickly dismissed the results of his

own informal poll among Adventist leaders regarding their understanding of Christ’s human

nature, he may have avoided the developing earthquake. In the answers to his poll he

discovered that “nearly all of them had that idea” [that Christ had a “sinful nature”]21 In

Froom’s letter to R. R. Figuhr, president of the General Conference, he blamed this

unfortunate situation of these leaders being “too weak in theology and in giving the right

impression to others.”22 Friend Froom was simply wearing blinders caused by personal

assumptions while Figuhr was intimidated by Froom’s august stature as the long-time editor

of Ministry magazine.23


II. Basis Flaw on the Part of Both Parties


Tectonic Plates Colliding


Calvinism and Arminianism, two tectonic plates, were about to collide. Even as earth

scientists have warning systems in the ground that can help predict the collision of moving

plates, so keen theologians should have warning systems in place. When Adventists try to

impose their theological structure on Evangelical Calvinism, warning lights in computers

should be going off before huge, unintended consequences develop for both parties. And




Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, 49. “Clad in the vestments of humanity, the Son of God came down to the level of those He

wished to save. In Him was no guile or sinfulness; He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He took upon Him our sinful

nature.” Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1896. “He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature that He might know

how to succor those that are tempted.” —Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, 181.

21 Nam, op. cit., 66.

22Ibid., 67.

23L. E. Froom (1890-1974), secretary of General Conference Ministerial Association from 1926-1950. During

this time, he founded The Ministry magazine and was its editor for 22 years.



vice versa. Many contemporary Evangelicals tried to warn Barnhouse and Martin of what

was happening but only time would have to tell the full story.24


Evangelical Calvinism is the theological tree of most Evangelicals although some

Evangelicals try to graft some branches to the Arminian tree.25 The Calvinism tree has its



24I was and still am grateful for the courage and gracious spirit of both Barnhouse and Martin. As soon as

Martin’s book, The Truth about Seventh-day Adventism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960) was published (with

Barnhouse’s foreword), scathing reviews appeared in books and magazine articles. These well-known but

unconvinced writers included John W. Sanderson, Westminster Theological Journal 23, (1960); Merrill

Tenney, Eternity, May 1960; Frank A. Lawrence, Christianity Today, July 4, 1960; John Gerstner, The

Theology of the Major Sects; Herbert S. Bird, Theology of Seventh-Day Adventism,1961; Norman F. Douty,

Another Look at Seventh-day Adventism, 1962; Russell P. Spittler, Cults and Isms: Twenty Alternates to

Evangelical Christianity, 1962; J. Oswald Sanders, Heresies and Cults, revised, 1962; Jan Karel Van Baalen,

The Chaos of Cults, 4th rev. and expanded,1962;Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults,1963; Gordon R.

Lewis, Confronting the Cults,1966; Irving Robertson, What the Cults Believe, 1966. I found it more than

interesting that none of these books were published by Zondervan Publishing, the publisher of Martin’s The

Truth about Seventh-day Adventism. In 1965, Martin published his response to the major, near-unanimous

evangelical opposition to Martin and Barnhouse in his next book, The Kingdom of the Cults: An Analysis of the

Major Cult Systems in the Present Christian Era, 1965. He did not list Seventh-day Adventism among the

twelve major non-Christian cults but he did provide an appendix with a lengthy overview of evangelical

responses to The Truth about Seventh-day Adventism. For an extended review of these unsatisfied

Evangelicals, see Julius Nam, op. cit., 105-174.

25 For example, splitting the Evangelicals today is the “Lordship/no-Lordship salvation” controversy. Though

both sides are admittedly predestinarians, the debate is virtually identical to what has tended to divide the

Adventist church for the past 50 years. Reading what John F. MacArthur, Jr (the leading representative of

Lordship salvation) teaches and then reading Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie (leading spokesmen for no-

Lordship salvation), one hears echoes of the same issues that Paul faced in the first century, and every other

church leader from Paul’s day to ours. (See John F. MacArthur, Jr., Faith Works, the Gospel According to the

Apostles (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1993, especially chapter two: “A Primer on the ‘Lordship Salvation’

Controversy”). However, MacArthur and I differ fundamentally on the “definition of faith,” which colors his

defense, even though he is vastly more correct than his opponents.

25For perhaps the latest and most inclusive biography of Augustine, see James. J. O’Donnell, Augustine

(HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), 1-396.

26Roger Olson summarized: “Augustine’s God, though Trinitarian, is made captive to the Greek philosophical

theology of divine simplicity, immutability, and impassibility and turns out to be more like a great cosmic

emperor than a loving, compassionate heavenly Father. . . . [Theologians] ought to consider the extent to which

classical Christian doctrines of God have been unduly influenced by Greek philosophical categories of

metaphysical perfection.” The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform

(Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1999), 530.

27Probably the greatest phenomenon in Christian church history has been the magisterial role that Augustine

has played in his development of the original sin notion. None of the Latin fathers before him taught that moral

sin was somehow transmitted to offspring; the Eastern church never bought into Augustine’s notions. Irenaeus

(c.144-c202), the church’s first systematic theologian, clearly avoided Augustine’s later conclusions. Julian

and Pelagius, Augustine’s contemporaries, countered his biblical exegesis regarding his use of Romans 5

especially, as all previous church fathers had interpreted that chapter and other texts Augustine had used.

Pelagius, of course, was equally wrong in opining that each person is born with a clean sheet and not born with

inherited weaknesses and liabilities, each person able to make moral decisions without prevenient (Godinitiated)

grace. Because of Augustine’s immense political, oratorical and philosophical skills, he became the

recognized chief architect of orthodoxy in the Western Church. Augustine’s system of theology is reflected in

Calvinism, which Evangelical Protestantism generally holds in common.




roots in a partial picture of God—God only as Sovereign. But sovereign in such a way that

all that happens in this world is fore-ordained or predestinated. Thus, only some men and

women are elected to be saved; others are not, they go to an eternally burning hell. The idea

of human responsibility is eliminated—God wills the future for everyone because no one

can possibly thwart God’s will.


Calvinism rooted in Augustine


Calvinism’s roots are nurtured by Augustine theology, who is considered by many as

antiquity’s greatest theologian and to whom Roman Catholicism is also greatly

indebted.26Augustine’s logical but ill-conceived presuppositions began with his huge major

premise of the Sovereignty of God27 that led to his innovative notions concerning original

sin and man’s total depravity. In turn, these particular notions infused those who followed

him from the sixth century A. D., through Aquinas and into the Reformation, to our day.28



“Five Points”


Calvinists reduce their theology to the famous Five Points, all emanating from the core

doctrine of their understanding of the sovereignty of God.


1. Total depravity of mankind (all men and women are born sinners)

2. Unconditional election (some are elected to be saved; others are not)

3. Limited atonement (Christ died for only the elect)

4. Irresistible grace (men and women who are elected are given the “gift” of faith)

5. Perseverance of the saints (“once saved, always saved”)

Arminians begin with their roots in the soil of freedom out of which develops all aspects of

the Great Controversy between God and Satan. Because God made men and women out of

love, for love and to live in love, Arminians clash with Calvinists on every main issue

concerning responsibility in salvation. However, most Arminians, lacking the integrity of a

coherent theology, have many viewpoints in common with Calvinists such as total

depravity, Sunday being the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and the soul being

immortal, leading to an ever-burning hell and other biblical inconsistencies.


But the concept of human responsibility (synergism) in response to the love of God became

the fundamental, core truth for Arminians in their 16th century response to Roman Catholics

and Calvinism. And Calvinists repaid their response with incredible cruelty! Predestination

(implicit monergism) was, for the Arminians, unbiblical. They accepted the biblical message

that Jesus indeed died for sinners, all sinners, not just for the selected few. For them, the

decision to be a follower of Christ was the response of a thoughtful man or woman, thus

leading to the rejection of infant baptism among other differences.

Further, for Arminians, those finally lost or unsaved are those who reject 1) God’s offer to

forgive them and 2) God’s power to live a transformed life. Thus, for most Arminians

sanctification is as important as justification—a point rejected by Calvinists because it

didn’t fit their rigid straitjacket of predestination—human performance for them didn’t

matter. Even further, Arminians are not forced into Calvinism’s straitjacket that assumed

Christ’s work on Calvary alone to be sufficient for salvation and that His work as High

Priest had nothing to do with preparing men and women to be eventually saved.

Forensic-only Salvation


Calvinism’s straitjacket led to “forensic-only salvation,” which has troubled the Christian

church for 400 hundred years. “Forensic justification” is another term for “penal

substitution” wherein, in some way, (1) God’s wrath is appeased in the death of Jesus and 2)

the sinner is forgiven by “faith” that is denuded from any relationship to character change in

the process. This unbiblical notion has confused the works of grace and the meaning of

“righteousness by faith.”29 This confusion has been at the bottom of divisions in the

Adventist Church since the 1960s. For many, it became monomania.


Adventist Trio’s Fatal Flaw


One of the major issues that seemed to elude Froom, Anderson, and Read was that

Adventists do not fit into either the Calvinist tectonic plate or Arminian tectonic plate. Here

was their fatal flaw—they were unprepared to portray the gestalt of classic Adventism!

For instance, Adventists differ with Calvinists and many Arminians in regard to the nature

of mankind; that is, we do not believe that we possess an immortal soul, which immediately

involves one’s concept of original sin and/or the kind of body/mind human beings are born




29Forensic-salvation (overemphasis on its own definition of justification) ignores 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and

Titus 3:5, etc. The Bible never considers sanctification as inferior to justification—they are considered as two

foci in the ellipse of truth. Ellen White said it best in a few words: “So we have nothing in ourselves of which

to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ

imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.”–Steps to Christ, 63. “The proud

heart strives to earn salvation, but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness

of Christ.”—The Desire of Ages, 300. The basis for the “forensic-only salvation” notion rests squarely on

one’s understanding of original sin that, for many, pollutes all humans from birth and thus makes perfect

obedience impossible. Marvin R. Vincent Word Studies in the New Testament, volume III (Peabody, MA:

Hendrickson Publishers, ,n.d.): “[Justification] is not, however, to be construed as indicating a mere legal

transaction, or adjustment between God and man, . . .The element of character must not only not be eliminated

from it; it must be foremost in it. Justification is more than pardon. Pardon is an act which frees the offender

from the penalty of the law, adjusts his outward relation to the law, but does not necessarily effect any change

in him personally. It is necessary to justification but not identical with it. Justification aims directly at

character. It contemplates making the man himself right; that the new and right relation to God in which faith

places him shall have its natural and legitimate issue in personal rightness. The phrase faith is counted for

righteousness, does not mean that faith is a substitute for righteousness, but that faith is righteousness;

righteousness in the germ indeed, but still bona fide righteousness. The act of faith inaugurates a righteous life

and a righteous character. The man is not made inherently holy in himself, because his righteousness is derived

from God; neither is he merely declared righteous by a legal fiction without reference to his personal

character.” 39, 40 (emphasis in original).



Again, because we have a more complete understanding of why Jesus is our High Priest,

Adventists think carefully about how His High Priestly work directly affects one’s salvation

and one’s preparation to be entrusted with eternal life. That is, the QOD trio did not make

exceedingly clear to Martin and Barnhouse how our Lord’s Cross and High Priestly

ministries are two equal parts of His atonement that directly affect our human responsibility

in the redemption process. More about this later.


Further, because Adventists, almost unanimously, for a century prior to 1955, accepted the

biblical counsel that Jesus was born a human being, “in every respect,” and “that He was in

all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15), they had believed that

Jesus met and defeated Satan’s fiery darts in the same way He asks us to—by trusting in the

Holy Spirit’s intervention in our lives. He showed us how to live and die so that we can

eventually be entrusted with eternal life. This too was under-emphasized with Martin and

Barnhouse—an unfortunate failure on the part of the Adventist trio.

Principle Issues


In other words: the principal issues in the 1955-1957 tectonic earthquake were clear-cut 1)

differences regarding sin, original sin and its implications and 2) conditionalism and free

will—all of which affected (a) one’s understanding of Christ’s humanity, (b) the multiple

aspects of His atonement, and c) the consequences of all this on one’s eschatology. Above

all, one’s understanding of sin and the nature of man is the “issue underneath all other

issues”—the key to Adventist theological taxonomy.


Adventist Trio Were Highly Respected Leaders


How could all this happen? We say this with complete respect for our Adventist friends:

R. A. Anderson was a revered homiletician and public evangelist. His preaching became a

mountaintop experience for large audiences on several continents. During the 1950s he was

editor of Ministry, the monthly magazine that all Adventist leaders and pastors would avidly

read. But he was not a trained theologian.


W. E. Read knew his biblical languages and was a highly respected and valued church

administrator— but not trained in systematic theology. Framed by his white goatee, we

enjoyed his slight whistle when he softly spoke. And he and Froom labored with less than

mutual trust.30


Leroy Froom was well known in Christian circles as an indefatigable researcher. His major

contributions, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers and The Conditionalist Faith of Our

Fathers31, became benchmarks for scholars in many denominations. His productive capacity

was enormous; his towering energy made him a leader in any conversation. But, he too was

over his head in systematic theology.



30 Nam, op. cit., 70-72.

31 Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, Vols I, II (Washington, D.C., Review and Herald, 1965).



Personal Friends


These were remarkable men, highly respected. Anderson and Froom became my strong,

lifelong friends. In the 1970s, while I was associate editor of the Review and Herald, Froom

would visit me periodically to discuss current events in the world and in the church. He

knew exactly where I stood theologically because of my weekly editorials that deliberately

focused on the flaws in QOD—but theological positions did not interfere with our

friendship. Froom aged gracefully. When he was dying at the age of 84, in the Sligo Nursing

Home (Takoma Park, MD) I was probably one of the last persons to stroke his hand. I

treasure his memory.


Anderson and I had a father/son relationship. He ate in our home, our children were

impressed. In his retirement, especially after his move to Loma Linda, he would call

periodically, at least every month. With his famous voice now weak and raspy, he would

invariably ask, “Herb, what is happening to our church?” I never did have the courage to

suggest that most of the problems he was troubled with started with the publishing of QOD.

Elder Anderson died in 1985 at the age of 90—a model preacher and wholesome friend.

But the facts are that our Adventist trio, untrained as theologians, was no match for Martin

and Barnhouse, specialists in Calvinistic-Evangelicalism. What made the situation in 1955

even thornier was the deliberate decision to ignore M. L. Andreasen, the senior Adventist

theologian for decades.32 Andreasen had been head of the Systematic Theology department

of the Adventist Seminary for years, retiring in 1949. He had written numerous articles and

at least 13 books, some of which have never been surpassed.33 Well-known as an authority

on the sanctuary doctrine, he was the author of the section on the book of Hebrews in the

Seventh-day Adventist Commentary.


I can heartily affirm Dr. Knight’s penetrating statement in his “Introduction to the

Annotated Edition” of QOD: “Looking back, one can only speculate on the different course

of Adventist history if Andreasen had been consulted regarding the wording of the Adventist

position on the atonement, if Froom and his colleagues hadn’t been divisive in the handling

of issues related to the human nature of Christ, if both Froom and Andreasen would have

had softer personalities.”34 Probably, it could not have been said any better!


III. Analysis of a Theological Impasse


Nevertheless, we now work with what happened. We now realize, after 50 years, that the

nuclear fallout of the 1957 QOD needs to be thoughtfully and fairly addressed. Why is this

2007 seminar on QOD more than mere history lectures? Because:

32 Nam., 267: “Despite his contributions as a leading theologian of the church,. . . he had not been one of some

250 who were invited to review the manuscript in September 1956.”

33 Some of Andreasen’s books include The Sanctuary, The Epistle to the Hebrews, A Faith to Life By, The

Faith of Jesus, What Can a Man Believe, and Saints and Sinners.

34 Annotated QOD, xxvi.


1) We owe it to a generation of pastors and administrators who have been schooled

since 1957. They have been taught that the conclusions of QOD fairly represented

the core beliefs of the Adventist movement.

2) And we owe it to a generation of millions of lay members who have very little clue

as to the colossal issues at stake for clear Adventist thinking today. On several

continents they wonder why certain theological issues still divide our church and

why there are so many “independent” groups the world over.


We must heartily note before we analyze some of the imbedded theological flaws in QOD

that much of QOD has served us well, such as its treatment of law and legalism, Sabbath

and Sunday, Daniel 7-9, etc. Andreasen himself said that “there are so many good things in

the book that may be of real help to many”35


But several problem areas stare us in the face! We have already noted the flaw in the

mystifying reference to scores of Adventist thought leaders who were listed as the “lunatic

fringe.” The second puzzling problem was the amazing maltreatment of Ellen White

quotations and the unwarranted subheads used to group them. Dr. Knight analyzed this well

when he noted that the 1957 QOD “creates a false impression on the human nature of

Christ” and that one of the headings, that Christ ‘Took Sinless Human Nature’, especially

was “problematic in that it implies that that was Ellen White’s idea when in fact she was

quite emphatic in repeatedly stating the Christ took ‘our sinful nature,’ etc.36


In the early 1970s while serving as one of the Review and Herald editors, I had the library

resources to check all the QOD statements in its Appendixes and Indexes. I was repeatedly

shocked at the obvious bias of those who had collected the Ellen White statements. Day

after day, when time permitted, I would bring the original source into Ken Wood’s office

(Editor-in-chief) and we would exchange our amazement and bafflement that the

denomination for decades had been misled in such crucial areas. Many statements were

deliberately altered with unethical use of the ellipsis (…); many were obviously used only in

part, removing the clarity of the context.37


The third problem was the method the Adventist trio employed in using non-Adventist

references to support certain positions. Fair enough. In several places, Froom used his

encyclopedic knowledge of “champions of conditional immortality” to validate the

Adventist position on the nature of man and our position on the immutability of the moral

law.38 But when the trio tried to defend our century-old understanding of the unique

importance of Christ’s human nature, they went into a fog. An immense line of Protestant

scholars could have been presented to underscore this long-standing position of Adventist

leaders, but not one was referred to.



35 Ibid.

36 Ibid., xvi.

37 I am reminded of those times when Ellen White was disappointed with those who misused her writings: “I

know that many men take the testimonies the Lord has given, and apply them as they suppose they should be

applied, picking out a sentence here and there, taking it from its proper connection, and applying it according

to their idea.” —Selected Messages, bk.1, 44.

38 1957 QOD, 567-609.



Because of these valiant attempts to reconcile Calvinistic disagreements with an agreeable

presentation from the Adventists, major theological issues were misconstrued. No amount

of historical analysis will gloss over this theological malfeasance. Adventists missed the

opportunity of the century! Never had Adventists been given such a platform to cheerfully

clarify any misunderstanding with Protestants and to illuminate distinctive doctrines that

Adventists think important—but they missed it by a couple of light years.

Obviously it could be argued that if we had laid out the logical, symbiotic interaction of

Adventist beliefs, Martin and Barnhouse would have responded differently, perhaps.

Perhaps QOD would not have been published!


More What Ifs!


But the “what ifs” continue:


(1) if QOD had been winsomely clear regarding its beliefs, the

Adventist church would not have spawned the plethora of troubled responses within

Adventism that segued into many so-called “independent” groups. Think about these

“independent ministries,” dozens of them, almost all concerned with the undertreatment of

two specific Adventist truths: the importance of the dual ministry of Jesus and the full

humanity of Jesus as He accepted the genetic stream of His many ancestors, as any baby



(2) Another “what if” is the theological swerve in certain Seminary instruction beginning in

the 1960s. Some of the new uncertainties floating as theological germs in QOD directly led

to unintended consequences in the Adventist bloodstream; a so-called “new theology”

suddenly highlighted so-called “Reformation theology,” muting the century-old emphasis on

character transformation expected in God’s loyalists. Interweaving within these new

theological contours since 1957 has been an attempt to “revise” what happened in the 1888

General Conference and an attempt to reevaluate Ellen G. White—resulting in her

inspirational assets being highlighted at the expense of her theological insights and



(3) Another “what if” is the phenomenal silence in the Adventist media, pulpit and

classroom for the past forty years regarding a proper emphasis on traditional Adventist

topics such as “the investigative judgment,” “latter rain,” “loud cry,” “sealing work,”

“character determining destiny,” “delay in the Advent,” “why Christ’s humanity is so

important to a transformed life,” etc.40




39 The Desire of Ages, 49, 117.

40 In fact, almost unbelievably, the Biblical Research Institute opined in 1989 that “the world church has never

viewed these subjects [nature of Christ, nature of sin] as essential to salvation nor to the mission of the remnant

church. . . . There can be no strong unity within the world church of God’s remnant people so long as segments

who hold these views agitate them both in North America and overseas divisions. These topics need to be laid

aside and not urged upon our people as necessary issues.” Cited in Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist Church

and Certain Private Ministries, Appendix XVI, 238-244. In fact, many pastors and teachers were advised (as

well as threatened) not to speak on these subjects.


(4) What about the “what if” that never happened, such as the misleading assertions in

Figuhr’s article in Ministry, January 1958, before the ppu “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. Some 250

men in American and in other countries received copies of the manuscript before it was

published. The preliminary manuscript work by a group of some fourteen individuals had

been so carefully prepared that only a minimum of suggestions of improvement were made.

There was, however, a remarkable chorus of approval.”


But, in fact, only a small number actually replied and “those who did respond supplied a

number of penetrating and (even what turned out to be brilliantly prophetic) critiques.”41 (At

that time, Adventists, leaders and lay members alike, were accustomed to believing the

statements of contemporary leaders, especially if they were in print!) These leadership

beguiling assertions were all it took to hijack a whole generation of Adventists!


Perpetuating the Myth


For instance, look at Anderson’s editorial in the June, 1957 issue of Ministry where he

perpetuated the myth: “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.”

R. R. Figuhr, president of the General Conference writing further in the January 1958, issue

of Ministry, made matters even more surreal, Referring to the Ellen White quotations in the

appendix, he stated: “This book representing, as it does, the careful work of a large group of

responsible leaders, and containing such valuable quotations from the Spirit of prophecy, is

unique and, we believe, fills a needed place among our published works.”


Group Think


This is a marvelous example of “group think” that anesthetized everyone in the General

Conference group, 1957-1958, and for decades thereafter. In the March 1958 issue of

Ministry, Anderson continued this nightmarish drama after repeating the enthusiastic

reception that QOD received after publication.


He pointed out that while 250 denomination leaders had approved the manuscript, “except

for minor suggestions, no change whatsoever in content was called for. . . . Some valuable

suggestions were offered, but in no area of doctrine was any major change called for.”

Further, “A careful reading of Questions on Doctrine makes one aware that alongside the

Bible is the constant confirmation of our denominational beliefs by the Spirit of prophecy.

In the light of this we are surprised that a section of this book, as well as certain statements

in Ministry has evidently been misunderstood by a very few. This is particularly surprising

to us in the light of the universal appraisal that has come.”



41 Nam, 246.



But there was more. Apparently even Anderson felt uneasy; He needed to convince himself

as well as the rest of the Adventist Church, even further. He continued: “As already stated,

from all parts of the world field have come expressions of heartfelt gratitude for the

convincing and scholarly answers this book contains. . . . The field reveals the unanimity of

our denominational beliefs, and a careful reading of Questions on Doctrine will reveal that it

is in complete accord with the clear statements of the Spirit of prophecy, which we have had

in our libraries for more than half a century.”


Loma Linda Professionals


In other words, if anyone disagreed with QOD, he surely was not in the mainstream of

genuine Adventism! Or did not believe in the Spirit of prophecy! This message was not lost

on many around the United States. A group of prominent leaders in Loma Linda, CA, signed

a very unambiguous statement charging that QOD “misrepresented “certain vital

fundamentals and compromised other tenets of our faith” and that “certain statements and

teachings of the book will never be accepted by a considerable number of our people. In

fact, it is our conviction that not since the time of J. H. Kellogg’s pantheistic controversy of

more than a half century ago has anything arisen to cause such disquietude, dissension [sic]

and disunity among our people as the publication of this book.”42


Looking back, we must give the QOD trio a huge A+ for their fantastic public-relations,

propaganda campaign, even before QOD was published.43 For example, the trio did an

incredible sales job in softening up Adventists on the new slant that chiefly focused on

whether Jesus assumed “sinful nature” when He became a baby boy and whether the best

way to explain the work of Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary was only in terms of “applying

the benefits” of the Cross. (More about this later.)


In January 23, 1958, Figuhr, president of the General Conference, wrote in the Review and

Herald that Questions on Doctrine had been “prepared by the General Conference by a

group of our ablest scholars and approved by our leaders through the world—to clarify to

the world the true evangelical nature of Adventist beliefs and teachings.”44

On July 25, 1956, in writing to Adventist leaders worldwide, Froom said: “No more eminent

or representative group could have been consulted. No more competent group could

approve. And that they did.”45


Pure fantasy!


42 J. R. Zurcher, Touched With Our Feelings (Hagerstown, MD, Review and Herald Publishing Association,

1999), 175.

43 Nam. op, cit.,229-239.

44 Nam observed that “Figuhr seems to have been guilty of overstating his case and misleading his readers.

While it is true that the manuscript was widely distributed, documentary evidence and later testimonies from

those involved in the publication of the book indicate that there was never a resounding and unanimous

‘chorus of approval.’ . . .It remained essentially the product of a few men.” op cit., 280-281.

45 Nam, 98/


The Mythical Mantra


I was there. I read and heard the mantra that this large group of Adventist leaders had

indeed affirmed the QOD approach. Only later did the truth come out that only a very few

actually responded. Nothing arrived from outside of North America; no local or union

conference administrator from North America responded46—partly because they were

stunned or, on reflection, they thought that QOD was not going anywhere.

The editors at the Review and Herald Publishing Association sent individual letters to

Figuhr and to the QOD trio. Each expressed great concern for the general procedure, hoping

for more biblical backup for each of our doctrines.47


Cottrell’s Sixteen-page Warning


The inimitable Raymond Cottrell, associate editor of the Commentary, would find it

impossible to write only a one-page letter, especially when asked by the Review’s editorial

committee to respond to QOD. In his sixteen-page evaluation (November 1956) written

exclusively for General Conference leaders, Cottrell listed five areas of concern:


1) the change in Adventist theology;


2) Ellen G. White;


3) the remnant church;


4) Adventism in

relation to other evangelical churches; and


5) the proposed book on Adventism by Martin.48


(1) Cottrell declared that the evangelicals’ assertion that Adventist theology had recently

changed to be “a fundamental fallacy.”


(2) Cottrell argued that Ellen White never claimed

infallibility and that “there is no intrinsic difference between the Bible and the writings of

Ellen G. White as to degree of inspiration, infallibility, authoritative quality, or binding

force upon the consciences and lives of Seventh-day Adventists.”


 (3) Cottrell contended

Adventists had not suddenly changed their definition of the “remnant church,” still believing

that they still considered their movement to be the remnant church but always appealing to

others to join them.


(4) Cottrell declared that no evangelical church could agree not to

proselytize for no church anywhere could prevent members from switching churches.



Cottrell questioned the objectivity in Martin’s book on Adventism, whether readers would

“know where facts end and where Martin’s interpretation of the facts began.”

Cottrell ended his neatly developed fears regarding QOD that was still in the editing process

by appealing for clarity and honesty on the part of the Adventist trio. He was fearful that

Martin would feel “double-crossed” which would “lead. . . to the most intense bitterness

when he discovered that QOD did not clearly represent the Adventist mind and that he and

Barnhouse had been deliberately misled.


In his closing sentences, Cottrell predicted: “Almost certainly, there will also arise a storm

of opposition when our ministry and laity discover the real meaning of the actual terms on

which we have achieved rapprochement with Martin and other evangelicals.” He said that

we should expect “a serious division” among Adventist workers when both QOD and



46 Ibid., 247.

47 Ibid., 250-256.

48 Ibid., 240.



Martin’s book were published but that there was still time to “take adequate measures now

to clear the atmosphere before Martin’s book is published, and to set forth in [Questions on

Doctrine] a clear exposition of [Adventism’s] true position (Cottrell’s emphasis).”49

Cottrell’s warnings and suggestions did not seem to have any marked effect on the finished




Nichol’s Warning


Francis D. Nichol, editor of the Review and Herald, wrote in a confidential letter to Figuhr,

that some statements were made to Martin that “many of us, on mature consideration, are

unable to support.” He feared that the QOD trio had “either not sensed as they should the

full import of most distinctive doctrinal differences with the world, or else unwittingly

succumbed to the temptation to blur deficiencies in order to find a middle ground of



However, even though some minor editing was done, QOD did not reveal any indication

that the criticisms made any significant impact on the book’s content. The Adventist trio

won out, almost as if keen readers of the manuscript did not count. Note the extravagant

language in QOD’s introduction: “These answers represent the position of our

denomination. . . . This volume can be viewed as truly representative.”52

I remember as if it were yesterday when the QOD trio finally told the Review and Herald

editing committee on January 30, 1957 that no more editing would be permitted. Thus, the

Review and Herald Publishing Association accepted the manuscript on a “text basis,” that

is, the publishing house would not be providing any editorial oversight, but simply would

serve as a printer and distributor. Thus they would not be held responsible for its content.53


Washing of Hands


That morning in the Commentary office, Raymond Cottrell left the room and returned with a

towel over his left arm and a basin of water in his right. Then each of us on the

Commentary staff took turns washing our hands of any more input or responsibility for

QOD. We didn’t know then the full implications of what we were doing together around

that basin!.


Unknown to the Commentary Editors As Well Others


For many months prior to the printing of QOD, the covert battle was on between M. L.

Andreasen and the QOD trio. Andreasen first sent his concerns privately to Figuhr who did

his best to be loyal to the trio. Several editorials in Ministry, however, rang Andreasen’s

bell, setting off well-reasoned concerns. Other church leaders pled with General Conference

administrators to at least let Andreasen see the manuscript before publication—all were



49 Ibid., 239-245.

50 Ibid.,, 254, 268.

51 Ibid., 255.

52 1957 QOD, 8.

53 Unruh, Adventist Heritage, fourth quarter, 1977.



denied. All this correspondence has been resurrected in Dr. Nam’s doctoral thesis, which I

hope gets published in book form soon.


Thoughful men such as Merlin Neff and Richard Lewis,54 both book editors at the Pacific

Press Publishing Association, wrote cogent concerns in defense of Andreasen. M. E. Kern,

General Conference administrator,55 speaking for others, was deeply concerned. North

American leaders, such as R. R. Bietz, predicted a great disaster ahead, that “a tornado was

yet to come.”56


Theodore Carcich, president of the Central Union Conference, sent a letter to all his local

conference presidents: “Under a guise of sweet-honeyed words oozing with so-called

Christian fellowship, Mr. Martin proceeds to serve up the same theological hash . . . that our

spiritual forefathers had to refute years ago.” In his letter to Figuhr, he called QOD “a clever

and subtle attempt to undermine the foundational doctrines of Seventh-day Adventists.”57

Edward Heppenstall wrote ominously, “It will be very unfortunate, if after . . . publication,

any position taken will be repudiated by a large section of the workers themselves,” leading

to “widespread division” and “confusion with and without.”58


And Cottrell was even more prophetic: “Let us be certain that nothing gets into the proposed

book that will take us the next 50 years to live down.”59


Why Commentary Editors Did Not Speak With Louder Voices


I know some may be asking: What if the editors of the SDA Bible Commentary had reacted

sooner or with a louder voice? As we have seen, the various editors did make their concerns

known but not in public or in their periodicals. Why? For two specific reasons:


1) We truly never thought QOD would go anywhere. Who would buy it? But we never

dreamed of the push-polling that the editors of Ministry would do, with the hovering

blessing of the General Conference president. Many local conferences were invited,

after a considerable price break, to send QOD to all their workers.


2) A larger picture served as a backdrop—editors did not want to take sides publicly

because financially the Review and Herald Publishing Association had gone deep

into the preparation of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary; we didn’t want

anything to limit its potential sale. In other words, we didn’t think taking sides

publicly on QOD was worth jeopardizing the success and appeal of the much bigger



54 Nam, op, cit.,299, 300.

55 Ibid., 316.

56Ibid.,, 352.

57 Letter to Local Conference Presidents, Central Union Conference, March 24, 1960. In a letter to Figuhr, on

the same date, he said that none of the Adventist bookstores in the Central Union would be stocking Martin’s

book because it would “confuse the faith of man.” Both items cited in Nam, op. cit.,346, 347..

58 Ibid., 255.

59 Ibid.



contribution that the Commentary would make on the very issues that were already

dividing the church. The Bible Commentary avoided the errors of QOD by

emphasizing the classic Adventist understanding of the humanity of Christ and the

purpose of the sanctified life in preparing people to live forever.


Missed the Opportunity of a Century


All these “what ifs” contributed to the nuclear fallout or, as some say, the neutron bomb of

the 1957 QOD. The Adventist church had seemingly lost for a time its uniqueness as the

bearer of God’s last-day message to a mixed-up, terror-ridden world. In our attempts to

prove our “Christianity” we muted our distinctive contribution to rediscovering the genuine

roots of Christianity (I will leave it to other presentations to document this virtual silence of

distinctive Adventists principles since 1962).


IV. Time to See the Big Picture


The issue in 1957 was the fatal attempt to meld (1) the limited understanding of the

Adventist trio’s understanding of what made Adventism work with (2)

Augustinian/Calvinism’s Sovereignty of God theme. What could have made all the

difference would have been a biblical review of the Great Controversy Theme in contrast to

Calvinism’s limited understanding of the character of God and the gospel. The central

question for both parties is: What does God plan to accomplish with His Salvation Plan?


Major Issues in the Great Controversy Theme60


In a few words, on God’s side, the purpose of the Great Controversy Theme is to prove

Satan wrong in his charges against God’s character and His government.61 The issue is

always planted in God’s created soil of Freedom. Before love, there had to be freedom. All

created intelligences beginning with the angels, extending throughout the inhabited worlds

were endowed with freedom—the freedom to even say No to God’s plan for them. In other

words, responsibility (ability to-response) was the actionable word—freedom to respond to

their Creator, either positively or negatively. Love is an attribute found only in the larger

embracing air of freedom. Throughout the biblical story, God was trying to make clear what

He planned to accomplish with His salvation plan as He manifested His fairness, love, and

trustworthiness through His dealing with, first the Israelites and eventually in the person of

Jesus Christ.


On the human side, the purpose of the Great Controversy Theme is to restore in willing men

and women the image of Christ, their Maker. To do so, the Holy Spirit’s task is to work out

of a person’s life all that sin has worked in. By God’s grace, men and women, regardless of



60 See Appendix A: “Issues in the Great Controversy.”

61 “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the

saints” (Revelation 15:3). “For true and righteous are His judgments” (Revelation 19:2). For a biblical essay

on how the Great Controversy Theme pervades the Scriptures, see the author’s “God on trail,” in Ministry,

May 1982. For a extended unfolding of the Great Controversy Theme, see author’s God At Risk (Roseville,

CA: Amazing Facts, 2004), 408 pp.



nationality and level of schooling, can be forgiven and transformed into overcomers who

hate sin. People that God and the angels can trust with eternal life will inhabit the redeemed

world. No rebels will be granted eternal life. The highest motivation for God’s loyalist is to

honor God, not to merely impress Him.


Therefore, the following principles do follow:


1. The believer’s character determines destiny, not merely one’s profession of faith.

2. Perfection is a matter of continual moral growth and not a concern for arbitrary goal


3. Christian growth rests on the profound linkage of human will and divine grace—the

grace of pardon and the grace of power.

How does this all work out in theological talk?

Soteriology is the study of the plan of salvation. The life and work of Jesus should be one’s

chief consideration. How one thinks about Jesus directly affects all other biblical studies,

especially Eschatology, the study of Last-day Events.

For Calvinists, their Five Points’ yardstick controls all aspects of their soteriology. Their

understanding of the utter depravity of mankind rests on their notion of original sin and,

thus, the companion doctrine that all men and women are born sinners. Their only

explanation for the sinfulness of mankind was to simply declare that we all are sinners

because Adam sinned. Because of their controlling “sovereignty of God” principle, mankind

could not possibly have free will and thus any responsibility. If anyone were to be “saved” it

would have to be due to God’s sovereign choice, not man’s response.

Therefore, for the Calvinist, if Jesus is man’s Savior, He would have to die for those that are

already elected to be saved. Further, our Lord could not have inherited as we do the genetic

stream of His ancestors because, if so, He too would have been born a sinner. The

Calvinistic solution: Jesus had to be “exempt” from all inherited tendencies to sin—just as

Roman Catholics had concluded. Thus, to make their major premise work, the elect would

be those who were “given” faith and thus the “ability” to profess gratefulness for Christ’s

substitutionary atonement. Because they had been foreordained to be saved, the elect could

not fall out of grace; they could never be “unsaved.”


Adventist Template and Calvinist Template Incompatible


Obviously, Seventh-day Adventists should have great difficulty trying to harmonize their

understanding of salvation with their Calvinist friends, no matter how much linguistic

gymnastics they could muster. The problem in 1955-1957 was that foggy thinking on the

part of the Adventists led them, almost unknowingly, into capitulating to the Evangelicals.

Here began fifty years of focus on some kind of objective atonement without equal weight

on the subjective aspect of the atonement that would have highlighted our Lord’s work as

our High Priest.


The Adventist trio were untrained theologians. They had not seen that 1) the Scriptures

embrace a complete system of truth and that every part in the Bible should sustain and not

contradict any other part; 2) that any defective or imperfect concept of any one doctrine

must inevitably lead to confusion and error throughout the whole system and 3) that two or

more self-consistent systems of theology are possible but they cannot both be biblically

correct. For instance, it is impossible to join the tectonic plates of Augustianisn-Calvinism

with either Pelagianism/SemiPelagianism or Arminian-Adventism. Unless one is prepared

for a plethora of troubles


This explains the volcanic eruptions that soon developed.


Obviously, Andreasen and Others Aroused


All this incompatibility aroused Andreasen and many others. The veteran theologian knew

from personal study and experience that only those who acknowledge the binding claim of

the moral law can explain the nature and purpose, of the atonement—that when Jesus paid

the indebtedness of the repentant sinner, He did not give him or her license to continue

sinning but to now live responsibly in obedience to the law. Calvinists are not able to

process this fundamental thought.


Because Andreasen started with the systematic principle of God’s freedom and man’s

responsibility and not God’s sovereignty and man’s predestination, the veteran theologian

saw immediately that the Adventist tectonic plate should be an unmovable theological mass.

Thus, the ruling principle of human responsibility led Andreasen toward a different

understanding of the Atonement. He saw that the sanctuary doctrine (including the purpose

of the Old Testament sanctuary service and its New Testament application as best described

in the Book of Hebrews) painted a picture of the unbroken union between the objective and

subjective aspects of the Atonement. From the moment Christ was “slain from the

foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) to the end of the millennium when Satan and the

consequences of sin will be no more, Andreasen could see what the Calvinists could not

Biblical Sanctuary Doctrine.62


The sanctuary doctrine emphasizes how God forgives and justifies only penitent men or

women, but more! The doctrine equally emphasizes that God promises to empower the

penitent so that sins are eliminated by the inner graces of the Holy Spirit. The penitent men

62 Exegetical methodology, biblical theology, etc., have their limitations for each text, chapter, book, because

their drilling for meaning depends on their presuppositions. Each scholar works with his own presupposition as

he/she sifts biblical materials. “Only systematic theology provides the tools and disciplinary space for such a

task . . . . Biblical theology requires a center from which to gather the vast variety of issues, histories, and

teachings present in biblical texts. . . .Thus, the proper expression of the Sanctuary doctrine as hermeneutical

vision of a complete and harmonious system of truth requires the contributions of new approaches to biblical

and systematic theologies. . . . From this foundational level, the Sanctuary doctrine becomes the hermeneutical

light guiding in the interpretation of these far-reaching ideas (hermeneutical conditions of theological method)

and in the understanding of the complete and harmonious system of Christian theology.” Fernando Canale,

“From Vision to System,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 16/1-2 (2005)

and women who continue to cooperate with God will truly find the peace, assurance, and

divine empowerment that comes in completing the gospel plan in his or her life. This was

never made clear to our Calvinist friends in 1957 and it has been one of the causes of

Adventist theological muddle in the years since.63


V. What Happens When Theological Clarity Becomes Fog


In the years since 1957, both clergy and laypeople have experienced this theological and

leadership muddle. Think how many articles in Adventist periodicals that have argued over

whether sanctification was even part of righteousness by faith. Think how many churches

were rent over those who said justification was far more important than sanctification.

Behind all this was the confusion over what happened on the Cross and what happened in



Further, how many pastors left the Adventist Church because they were convinced by very

persuasive scholars that Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary was not only not needed, but a

twisted fabrication of Ellen White theology? How many young people were elated to hear

that their character had nothing to do with their salvation? Or that Jesus paid it all on the

Cross and our only responsibility was to accept His death as full payment and not to worry

about doing anything to add to what Jesus did for us? All this is pure confusion!


180 Degree Turn On The Nature of Christ’s Humanity


The other chief concern that Andreasen and others had with QOD was the astonishing, 180

degree deflection regarding the nature of Christ’s humanity, in addition to the murky

explanation of the Adventist understanding of the atonement.


Two Trigger Words


Along with the lack of careful biblical scholarship and the general misuse of Ellen White

quotes, two words became flaming beacons that something was terribly confused. Those

words were “exempt” and “vicarious”—words that had been most used by the Roman

Catholic Church as well as many Protestants to explain their novel understanding of the

human Jesus. .


QOD, states that Jesus was “exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt

the natural descendants of Adam.”64 Further, we read “Jesus took, all that He bore, whether



63 Canale is correct in his understanding of the necessity of a central hermeneutical principle for any

theological system; for Adventist theology, Canale believes that foundation principle is the sanctuary doctrine.

This is precisely what the QOD trio never seemed to understand. Note the following: “The scripture which

above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith, was the declaration,

“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (Daniel 8:14).”—White, The

Great Controversy, 409. “The subject of the sanctuary was the key with unlocked the mystery of the

disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious,” Ibid., 423.

“Those who received the light concerning the sanctuary and the immutability of the law of God, were filled

with joy and wonder, as they saw the beauty and harmony of the system of truth that opened to their

understanding.” Ibid., 454.

64 QOD, 383.




the burden and penalty of our iniquities, or the diseases and frailties of our human nature—

all was taken and borne vicariously” (emphasis in text).65

What should we make of these interesting words? Why did these words add to the Grand

Canyon between authentic Adventism and Calvinism?


These two words, exempt and vicariously pleased our Calvinist friends because of their

“Points” that emphasized (1) that men and women, are not responsible for their sins because

they are born sinful, and (2) are “saved” only because God so elects them. Thus, as applied

to Jesus, since all men are corrupt from birth, Christ could not have come as all babies do,

accepting the genetic flow of His forebears (or He would have needed a Savior as well).

Therefore, for salvation purposes, He must be seen as our Substitute only. As our Example,

He would only be an inspiration, a portrait of a better life that is unreachable this side of the



These two words, exempt and vicariously, really turned on Andreasen’s after-burners.

Though Jesus could vicariously die for our sins, how could His human life of 33 years relate

to our salvation vicariously? He made it possible that we will not be punished for our sins—

He died for us, vicariously. But how could He live as our Example vicariously? Does that

mean we don’t have to live an overcoming life, resisting the Tempter at every turn—

because He did it for us vicariously? Did He keep the law for us vicariously? Rather, in

resisting evil as our Example, He showed us how to “walk as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Although He died for us vicariously, He didn’t obey for us vicariously! Vicariously, He

gave us freedom from the “wages of sin.”


Another Sub-heading Flaw


But this theological confusion was heightened by another flawed subheading in the

compilation of Ellen White quotations: “VI. Bore the Imputed Sin and Guilt of the

World.”66 Calvinists would love this statement but not a trained Adventist thinker! Not one

of the listed White statements came close to the implication of this heading! White couldn’t

have supported Christ bearing our “imputed sin and guilt” because her understanding of the

Bible overruled such Calvinistic representations. Similarly, she never associated “pollution”

with “passion” is if the two concepts were interchangeable.67



65 Ibid., 61, 62. It is more than interesting that these two words, “exempt,” and “vicariously” do not appear in

the prepublication manuscript copy of QOD. In fact, considerable editing is evident in the section “The

Incarnation and the “Son of Man,” between the prepublication manuscript and the printed book. In some

respects, the printed QOD was improved over the manuscript in rhetorical smoothness and clarity of

explanation; in other instances, some of the reasons for Andreasen’s concerns were greatly augmented. At this

point in time, I cannot determine when and where the editorial staff of the Review and Herald Publishing

Association ended their editing at the request of the General Conference officers as prompted by the QOD trio.

See also Nam, op. cit. 99.



67 See Appendix B: “Ellen White’s Use of Words Such as Passions, Inclinations, Propensities, Corruptions,


The next step follows logically: If Christ had such an advantage over all men and women, it

would be unfair, and even unreasonable, for God to expect us to live and overcome as He

did (Revelation 3:21). Thus, for Calvinists, God could not expect us to “stop sinning.” Thus,

with this reasoning,we are told that He “saves” us in our sins, not “from” our sins (Matt.




It should not require a rocket scientist to see the deep gulf between this understanding of

salvation and the century-old, classic Adventist understanding. However, the nuclear fallout

of the 1957 QOD provided the climate for this kind of thinking to become standard fare in

many Seminary classes and later, in many of our college religion departments. Of course, it

was challenged by others but they were classed as theological dinosaurs.

For anyone thinking that the QOD trio had it right in stating that only a “lunatic fringe” had

believed that (1) Jesus took our sinful nature (but not a sinning nature) and that (2) His

“temptations” to sin were exactly like what other human beings have to face and therefore

could have sinned—all they had to do was read, for one example, Francis D. Nichol’s two

Review editorials on July 10 and 17, 1952.


Nichol’s Editorials


Nichol, invited to become an associate editor of the Review and Herald in 1927, was elected

editor-in-chief in 1945. In part he said in his July 10 editorial: “Indeed, just what is

comprehended by the term ‘sinful nature’? Protestants, from the earliest of Reformation

times, have been unable to agree. But certain critics of the Advent Movement seemingly

have no difficulty whatever in the whole matter, and move forward with dogmatic assurance

through the mystery of the nature of Christ and the mystery of a sinful nature to the

conclusion that Seventh-day Adventists are guilty of fearful heresy. . . .In our literature that

could be considered as truly authoritative on this is what Mrs. E. G. White has written. . . .

On page 49 [of The Desire of Ages] Mrs. White declares: ‘Into the world where Satan

claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness

of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to

fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal



“This is Adventist belief. And we hold this belief because we feel it agrees with revelation

and reason.” Nichol then proceeded to quote New Testament verses and a lengthy excerpt

from F. W. Farrar’s Life of Christ after which he wrote: “These should suffice to prove that

the Adventist view of Christ in relation to temptation is not a strange, heretical teaching. . . .

When we speak of the taint of sin, the germs of sin, we should remember that we are using

metaphorical language. Critics, especially those who see the Scriptures through Calvinistic

eyes, read into the term ‘sinful flesh’ something that Adventist theology does not require.”

In his July 17 editorial, he quoted numerous theologians that also declared that “Christ, the

‘last Adam,’ won the bat