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

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

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




The QOD earthquake—Attempted merger of two theological tectonic plates


I.                  Early Warning Signs


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.[1] Many believe that denomination confusion

ever since has been a devastating price to pay for the theological detour.[2] Those who think

other wise have been in a 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.[3]


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.[4]


In discussing the far-reaching effect of Questions on Doctrine with a Union 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.” 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 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, the 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.[5] 


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.”[6]  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 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.”[7]


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.[8]


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 Seventh-day Adventists as one of “The Big Five”—Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Mormonism, Unity, and Seventh-day Adventists.[9] But it seems that the Holy Spirit was urging him to check his facts once more regarding the Adventists because he wanted to treat them fairly. Martin turned to Elder Unruh because he had been reading the correspondence between Unruh and Barnhouse of five years before.[10]


Martin knew of LeRoy Froom for his impressive major work on the history of prophetical interpretation.[11] 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, 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.[12] 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.[13]


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, 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.


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.”[14] 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.[15]


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.[16] 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.”[17]


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, 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.”[18]


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”][19] 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.”[20] 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.[21]


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 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.[22]


Evangelical Calvinism is the theological tree of most Evangelicals although some Evangelicals try to graft some branches to the Arminian tree.[23] The Calvinism tree has its 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, considered by many as antiquity’s greatest theologian to whom Roman Catholics are also greatly indebted.[24]Augustine’s logical but  ill-conceived presuppositions began with his huge major premise of the Sovereignty of God, which led to his innovative notions concerning original sin and  man’s total depravity, which infused those who followed him from the sixth century A. D., through Aquinas and into the Reformation, to our day.[25]


“Five Points”

Calvinists reduce their theology to the famous Five Points, all emanating from the core doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

1. Total depravity of man (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 salvation. However, most Arminians, lacking the integrity of a coherent theology, have many viewpoints in common with Calvinists such as Sunday being the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and the soul being immortal, leading to an ever-burning hell.


But the concept of human responsibility 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 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, those finally lost or unsaved are those who reject 1) God’s invitation to forgive them and 2) God’s power to live a transformed life.  Thus, for most Arminians sanctification was 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 were not forced into Calvinism’s straitjacket that assumed Christ’s work on Calvary 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 riddled the Christian church for 400 hundred years. This unbiblical notion has confused the works of grace and the meaning of “righteousness by faith.”[26] 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 with.


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 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) 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.[27]


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 Fathers, 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.


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 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.[28] 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. 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.”[29] I surely could not have said it 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 seminar on QOD more than mere history lectures? Because:


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”[30]


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.[31]


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. Many statements were deliberately altered with unethical use of the ellipsis (…); many were obviously used only in part, removing the clarity of the context.[32]


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.[33] 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.


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” could 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 must.[34]


(2) Another “what if” (that should be discussed in other presentations) 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 in 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 contributions.


(3) Another “what if” (again one that should be discussed in other presentations) 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.[35]


(4) What about the “what if” that never happened, such as the misleading assertions in Figuhr’s article in Ministry, January 1958: “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, 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.”[36]  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!


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 the 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.”


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 wrote: “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.”[37]


Looking back, we must give the QOD trio a huge A+ for their fantastic public-relations, propaganda campaign, even before QOD was published.[38] 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.”[39]


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.”[40]


Pure fantasy!


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 responded[41]—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 Elder Figuhr and to the QOD trio. Each expressed great concern for the general procedure, hoping for more biblical backup for each of our doctrines.[42]


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.[43]


(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. (5) 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 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).”[44]


Cottrell’s warnings and suggestions did not seem to have any marked effect on the finished QOD.[45]


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 fellowship.”[46]


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.”


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.[47]


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 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 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,[48] both book editors at the Pacific Press Publishing Association, wrote cogent concerns in defense of Andreasen.  M. E. Kern, General Conference administrator,[49] 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.”[50]


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.”[51]


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.”[52]


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.”[53]


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 surely 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 and we didn’t want anything to limit the 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 contribution that the Commentary would make on the very issues that were already dividing the church. 


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.


Major Issues in the Great Controversy Theme

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.[54] 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 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 posts.

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 the Calvinist, 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 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.[55]


Biblical Sanctuary Doctrine

The sanctuary doctrine emphasizes how God forgives only the penitent man or woman, 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 who continues to cooperate with God will truly find the peace and assurance 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.


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 1957.


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 fabrication of Ellen White theology? How many young people were elated to hear that their character had nothing to do with their salvation? And 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, page 383, states that Jesus was “exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam.”  On pages 61, 62 we read “Jesus took, all that He bore, whether 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).[56]


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 grave.


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.”[57] Calvinists would love this statement but not a trained Adventist thinker! Not one of the 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.


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, we are told that He “saves” us in our sins, not “from” our sins (Matt. 1:21).


It should not require a rocket scientist to see the deep gulf between this understanding of salvation and the century-old, 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

Elder 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 loss.’


“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 battle with the tempter; and we, through His promised forgiveness and power, may also win. Adam could have won, but he lost. Christ could have lost, but He won. Therein lies the startling contrast. and the contrast is heightened by the fact that Christ was born into the human family some four thousand years after sin’s entry into our world, with all that is mysteriously involved of a weakening of body and mind in the fight against sin. . . . Christ won despite the fact that He took on Himself ‘the likeness of sinful flesh,’ with all that that implies of the baleful and weakening effect of sin on the body and nervous system of man, and its evil effects on his environment.


“The objector feels that the only way to do honor to Christ and to protect Him from all taint of sin is to take the position that He could not sin.  But what comfort and assurance of personal victory over sin can we find in a spotless Christ if His freedom from sin as He walked this earth was not truly a victory over temptation but an inability to sin? We would rightly stand in awe of such a Holy Being.  But we could not see in Him one who was ‘made like unto his brethren’ ‘in all things,’ one who being ‘tempted like as we are’ ‘is able to succour’ us when we are ‘tempted.’”


The fascinating part of this brief review of Adventist history is that between the years 1852-1952 we find more than 1200 similar statements that Christ’s human nature was fallen like ours and not like that of the unfallen Adam.  Four hundred of these statements were written and published by Ellen G. White. In addition during this 100-year period, thousands of statements written and published by Ellen White and other Adventist authors emphasized that by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can stop sinning even as Jesus could overcome.[58] Nichol was simply part of the historical stream of classic Adventist thought.


Branson’s 1954 Book

But there was more that the QOD trio should have been reading. Unfortunately, in 1954, W H. Branson, president of the General Conference, retired for health reasons. Author of many books in addition to valiant service in China, he finished his last book, Drama of the Ages, just months prior to his retirement. He wrote: “It was of man’s flesh and blood that Jesus partook. He became a member of the human race. He became just like men. . . . This, then was real humanity. It was not the nature of angels that He assumed, but that of Abraham. He was ‘in all things made like unto his brethren.’ He became one of them. He was subject to temptation; He knew he pangs of suffering, and was not a stranger to man’s common woes.”


Then Branson explained why Christ took the fallen nature of humanity: “In order for Christ to understand the weakness of human nature, He had to experience it. In order for Him to be sympathetic with men in their trials, He also had to be tried. He must suffer hunger, weariness, disappointment, sorrow, and persecution. He must tread the same paths, live under the same circumstances, and die the same death. Therefore He became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, His Incarnation was in actual humanity.”[59]


It has been well said that if Branson continued his presidency, QOD would never have seen the light of day!


Strange Act of 1949

Except!  Except for that strange act in 1949 that set the stage for the overture that would soon present the strange music in the new opera called QOD!  It was the first of many acts to come. 


The issue? Since 1915, Adventists had published Bible Readings for the Home Circle.  Exceptionally large numbers had been sold in several countries. Many thousands became Adventists after reading this powerful book. Here is the original question and answer on the humanity of Christ before the editing in 1949:


“How fully did Christ share our common humanity?  ‘Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.’ Hebrews 2:17. Note.—In His humanity Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature. If not, then He was not ‘made like unto His brethren,’ was not ‘in all points tempted like as we are’ (Hebrews 4:15), did not overcome as we have to overcome, and is not, therefore the complete and perfect Saviour man needs and must have to be saved.  The idea that Christ was born of an immaculate or sinless mother, inherited no tendencies to sin, and for this reason did not sin, removes Him from the realm of a fallen world, and from the very place where help is needed. On His human side, Christ inherited just what every child of Adam inherits—a sinful nature. On the divine side, from His very conception He was begotten and born of the Spirit.  And all this was done to place mankind on vantage ground, and to demonstrate that in the same way every one who is ‘born of the Spirit’ may gain like victories over sin in his own sinful flesh.  Thus each one is to overcome as Christ overcame. Revelation 3:21. Without this birth there can be no victory over temptation, and no salvation from sin. John 3:3-7” (Emphasis in the original).[60]


In 1956, this revised question/answer passage in Bible Readings became public knowledge. In Anderson’s Ministry editorial in September, he used this revision as an example of Adventist literature that had been purged. No one apparently had seen the edited Bible Readings before this September editorial. It hit the fan!


Anderson’s Explanation

Here is how Anderson explained the revision: “Many years ago a statement appeared in Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1915 edition) which declared that Christ came ‘in sinful flesh.’ Just how this expression slipped into the book is difficult to know. It has been quoted many times by critics, and all around the world, as being typical of Adventist Christology. But when that book was revised in 1949 this expression was eliminated, since it was recognized as being out of harmony with our true position.”


However, when we look at the original 1915 statement, it is obvious that the phrase “in sinful flesh” was not an “expression” (it took almost a full page of explanation so that no reader should have been confused).  Further, this nearly full page of explanation of “sinful flesh” was certainly not “out of harmony with our true position.”  It was clearly harmonious with the position of dozens of Adventist writers as well as with hundreds of Ellen White statement that were the most lucid on the subject.[61]


The question should have been obvious to the QOD trio: How could our Lord condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3,4) if He did not take sinful flesh?


What was causing this blind spot in the QOD trio’s theological response to the Evangelical’s concern? In the attempt to appear gracious and accommodating, they read into the expression, “fallen, sinful nature,” the “corruptions” that come from actually choosing to sin. (Such had been the habit of Sabbath School lesson editors, many leaders and Ellen White for scores of years—they differentiated between inherited tendencies and cultivated habits of sin.) But with this failure, the QOD trio emasculated the real power in our Lord’s incarnation and vitiated many Bible texts such as Revelation 3:21—that we should overcome as He overcame.[62]


Scholarly Fraud

But there was more in this September 1956 issue of Ministry.  Here for the first time were fragments from Ellen White’s writings that Dr. Knight has shown to be far off the mark of careful scholarship—excerpts contrary to context and ellipses that were scholarly fraud.  And these were the same quotations later found in Appendix B of QOD!


Anderson’s editorial mentioned above recommended this compilation “as full coverage of this subject as can be found in the writings of Ellen G. White. . . . As far as we have been able to discover, this compilation fully represents the thinking of the messenger of the Lord on this question. A few other statements have been found, but these are either repetitions or mere verbal variations, and add no new thought.” Amazing!


Further in the editorial, we find: “In only three or four places in all these inspired counsels have we founds such expressions as ‘fallen nature’ and ‘sinful nature.’  But these are strongly counterbalanced and clearly explained by many other statements that reveal the thought of the writer. Christ did indeed partake of our nature, our human nature with all its physical limitations, but not of our carnal nature with all its lustful corruptions” (emphasis in the editorial).


Anderson’s Strawman

Let’s take a little time out to analyze again what my friend Anderson is saying. In logic theory, he here is using the “straw man” to throw off or mislead his opponents: no Adventist has ever applied the words “corrupt, carnal, or lustful” to our Savior! Never! Because of Anderson’s marvelous record as an evangelist and editor of Ministry, his readers blithely accepted his manufactured comments without a pause.


But we should pause a moment and at least look briefly at the 70-year writing ministry of Ellen White. Definitely she referred to our Lord’s humanity as possessing “our sinful nature.” She always put this profound concept in connection with what it meant to our individual salvation: “The example He has left must be followed. He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature that He might know how to succor those that are tempted” (emphasis supplied).[63]

Again, “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. Clothing his divinity with humanity, that he might associate with fallen humanity, he sought to redeem for man that which by disobedience Adam had lost, for himself and for the world” (emphasis supplied).[64]

This particular White quotation reminds us of Gregory of Naziansus (329-ca. 389) who said: “For that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved,:[65] Gregory was a leading theologian who helped to settle the Arian controversy as well as the teachings of Apollinarius who denied the rational soul in Christ and that the body of Jesus came from heaven.


Ellen White Consistency

Many times Ellen White quoted Romans 8:3, 4 to signal this weighty concept: “‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh’--it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law—‘God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 5:1, 3:31, 8:3, 4” (emphasis supplied).[66]


Briefly, it would take many pages in this review to list the quotes of her constant theme that Jesus came into this world to accept “the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. . . . Yet 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 loss.”[67]


Obviously, if the QOD trio emphasized even slightly the mass of Ellen White quotes that linked our Lord’s humanity with fallen mankind, Martin and Barnhouse would have quickly packed their bags and continued their attacks on the Adventists as cultists.  As Calvinists, they had no other choice.


Not a Mere Theological Exercise

But Ellen White did not emphasize our Lord’s humanity as a mere theological exercise.  She virtually always linked His humanity with mankind’s only hope for rescue from the cords of sin. In other words, theologically speaking, what one thinks about the humanity of Christ directly affects what one thinks about what our Lord expects from men and women regarding character transformation. Further, this linkage is exactly what Andreasen saw that the QOD trio did not—that character transformation had much to do with the Adventist understanding of Revelation 14 and thus the Second Advent.[68]  And they knew that if they emphasized this linkage, it would have demolished the Five Points of Calvinism.


For example: “He for our sakes laid aside His royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe His divinity with humility, and became like one of us except in sin, that His life and character should be a pattern for all to copy, that they might have the precious gift of eternal life.”[69]


These insights could be reproduced hundreds of times: “The character of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be reproduced in those who believe in him as their personal Saviour. They will be ‘rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ Our acceptance with God is not upon the ground of our good works, but our reward will be according to our works. ‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’”[70]


Another Ministry editorial

But another Ministry editorial turned up the heat for blastoff. Before the publication of QOD in September, after the Calvinistic leaders had accepted the answers provided by the QOD trio, in April 1957, Louise Kleuser, associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association, and a graceful, life-long Bible Worker, wrote that the soon-to-be published QOD was “a new milestone” in the history of the Adventist church.  More kerosene on the fire!


Some would call these Ministry editorials and articles supporting QOD a gigantic fraud that would be chiseled into Adventist history. If not a fraud, it would be at least gross misrepresentation!


Strange Hermeneutics

One of the strangest techniques ever used in Adventist literature was the use of a personal letter as if in that one letter Ellen White was changing seventy years of her teaching ministry. As if that one letter indeed said something (which I doubt) that “counterbalanced” the many lucid, unequivocal statements in just one book, The Desire of Ages, never mind hundreds of other statements elsewhere like those in Desire That really is a test of one’s hermeneutical principles!


Instead of using Ellen White’s hundreds of similar thoughts to help us to understand certain phrases in the Baker letter, the QOD trio used the Baker letter to explain what White meant in hundreds of unambiguous statements about the humanity of Jesus! For the purposes of this study, we can safely say that the Baker letter can be understood and reconciled with all of White’s hundreds of statements as well as biblical exegesis. Ellen White does not have a wax nose, as some have suggested!


Misrepresentation Worked Both Ways

Of course the misrepresentation worked both ways: Calvinists were to be convinced that Adventists had changed their teachings and Adventists had to be convinced that we had not changed our teachings. It worked, for awhile! For 45 years, secrecy even veiled the names of the QOD trio, except for those of us who were “there” when it was happening.


How do we explain all this? If both parties had stood back for even two weeks and as trained scholars reviewed their data, their quotations, etc., they would have suddenly seen that they were proposing and accepting garbled references and conclusions without adequate verification. No graduate student in any university could have even earned a Master’s Degree with such substandard scholarship! Yet, I have read several doctoral dissertations that have defended the inconsistencies and underwhelming logic of QOD.


Dr. Jean Zurcher, an Adventist scholar and distinguished administrator, was well recognized in the academic world for his notable book, The Nature and Destiny of Man. In 1999, he wrote Touched With Our Feelings, one of the most persuasive books ever written aimed at putting the record straight regarding the QOD nuclear bomb. He reviewed a century of Adventist thinking regarding the divine and human nature of Christ, including many extracts from official church publications on two continents. Further, he examined the printed material since 1957 that extolled QOD, but all that should be dealt with in other presentations.


In all his broad research, Zurcher found no sign of any disagreement among Seventh-day Adventists anywhere, on both continents, regarding the human nature of Christ, before the middle 1950s.  He used the words, “remarkable unanimity” to sum up his research regarding preQOD Adventist thinking on the humanity of Christ.[71]


An Attempted Compromise

I know some are wondering how later administrators and theological leaders eventually attempted a compromise that would quiet opposition to QOD. Some suggested an alternative or a third option that would explain what seemed to them to be contradictory statements in the writings of Ellen White. It was a brave attempt at a mediating position between the pre-lapsarians and the post-lapsarians.


It worked like this: 1) Christ’s humanity was not Adam’s innocent humanity before his Fall; that is, He inherited the weaknesses of our “innocent infirmities” such as hunger, pain, sorrow, and death. He came only in the “likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3); that is, He did not inherit a “tendency to sin” or “sinful propensities.


How shall we relate to this compromise, the recent third option in the Adventist Christological debate? First, we should note that Jesus did not come to liberate humanity from our “innocent infirmities,” but to deliver from indwelling sin. That is why Jesus came “in the likeness [not unlikeness] of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3) and “in all things He had to be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17).


Further, we must recognize the difference between “inherent propensities” and “evil propensities.” In Ellen White’s world, these two phrases do not say the same thing. A propensity is a tendency, a bent, an enticement to temptation. If resisted, it is not sin (James 4:17; John 9:49; 15:22). “Inherent propensities” become “evil” or “sinful propensities “only after yielding to temptation.


The same distinction may be made between “evil tendencies” and “evil propensities.” Jesus never had “evil propensities.” But Ellen White wrote that Jesus met and was “subjected to all the evil tendencies to which man is heir working in every conceivable manner to destroy his faith.”[72]


Henry Melvill

Probably the strongest argument (and strangest) that the third option makes is the connection they see between some phraseology Ellen White apparently borrowed from a sermon by Henry Melvill. [73] Melvill taught that fallen human nature had two characteristics: innocent infirmities and sinful propensities—Jesus took the first but not the second. Melvill said that before the Fall, Adam had neither.  But Jesus, weakened by four thousand years of sin, Melville said, assumed mankind’s “innocent infirmities” but not the “sinful propensities.” Nice try, but Melvill was burdened with his Calvinistic presuppositions!


Ellen White also borrowed phrases from Octavius Winslow’s The Glory of the Redeemer[74] who also used language, as did Melvill, in describing Christ’s humanity. Some leaped immediately into thinking that a few words from Melvill and Winslow would help us understand what Ellen White meant in the scores of times she used similar words.


Strange reasoning! Perhaps it would have been better hermeneutics to turn the reasoning around: read Ellen White to help us to understand what she was warning Baker about and what Melvill should have written.


Observations come to mind immediately: 1) Ellen White never used the phrase, “innocent infirmities;” 2). She used “infirmities” in the sense that “for four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity.  Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation. . . . Our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities” {emphasis supplied).[75]


Further, we think it would have been helpful for the Annotated Edition of QOD to include Ellen White’s many insights, such as “Christ’s perfect humanity is the same that man may have through connection with Christ. . . .Christ took our nature, fallen but not corrupted, and would not be corrupted unless He received the words of Satan in the place of the words of God.”[76]


Or make reference to White’s understanding regarding how Jesus was saved from

 corruption by His godly mother and their leaning on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit:

“Jesus knows the burden of every mother's heart. . . . Let mothers come to Jesus with

 their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their

 children. . . .. Even the babe in its mother's arms may dwell as under the shadow of the

Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the

Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect

 the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.”[77]


In other words, whenever Ellen White applied the term “corrupt propensities” to Jesus she meant that Jesus never sinned, never corrupted Himself. Whenever Ellen said anything similar to the following quotation, she never thought in terms of “vicariously”: “Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help men. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed.”[78]


Melvill’s Federal Theology

Henry Melvill was a federalist; much of his Christology and salvation theory can then be better understood under the federalistic rubric: “If a man be a fallen man, he must have fallen in Adam [the natural head of the human race]; in other words, he must be one of those whom Adam federally represented. But Christ, as being emphatically the seed of the woman, was not thus federally represented; and therefore Christ fell not, as we fall in Adam. He had not been a party to the broken covenant, and thus could not be a sharer in the guilt consequences of the infraction.”[79]


Federal theology, often called “Covenant Theology,” is rooted in Augustinian theology that began with Augustine’s notion that all mankind is inherently depraved and sinful because we all sinned in Adam. Further, God holds all mankind responsible for the violation of a covenant that God made with Adam that all descendants of Adam had no part in establishing. Federalism then proceeds to avoid the charge that God accounts mankind to be sinners (that is, charging babies to be sinners when they have not yet chosen to sin) by creating each human soul with a corrupt nature so that all mankind then corresponds to His decree. (In one sense, this makes God the author of sin.) Common sense should tell us that imputation of sin cannot precede and thus account for corruption; corruption is the result of a choice to sin, not the cause of it. One can do wonders with theological gymnastics!


Because of this Federal or Covenant Theology, Calvinist thinkers, including Melvill and Winslow, are blind to their Augustinian roots. Whenever they use the word “corrupt” or “corruption,” especially when discussing the humanity of Christ, they must be understood as using the sovereignty of God notion that required more theological gymnastics to explain why we are sinners! Their chief texts are Romans 5:17-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:22—“As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” Thus “as the sin of Adam was legally and effectively our sin so the obedience of Christ is legally and effectively the righteousness of all believers. . . . To provide their salvation [those federally related to Adam], the needed reparation had to made by another who was not of federal connection with Adam and thus was free from the imputation of guilt. Federal theology represented these requirements as being met in Christ, the second Adam, in whom a new race begins.”[80]


Ellen White, no Calvinist

Ellen White did not buy into this kind of reasoning, which kept her from using Melvill’s formulation of a “third” way of looking at the humanity of Christ. Of course, we find a voracious reader like Ellen White indebted to phrases of others, such as D’Aubigne, Wylie, Melvill, Winslow, and Hanna, etc—phrases that spelled out her desired concepts more eloquently than her own choice of words in her hurry to complete a manuscript. The choice phrases did not alter Ellen White thought intent but did make her meaning more pleasing and forceful. She borrowed some of their felicitous phrases but not their theological intent. Ellen knew when to distinguish truth from error whenever she gleaned helpful thoughts from others. 


Adventists Not Alone

Before leaving our comments on the nature of Christ issue it would be salutary to note that Adventists are not alone in their 150 years of understanding the humanity of Christ. Many Biblical scholars have challenged the so-called “orthodox” view that Christ somehow took Adam’s pre-Fall nature rather than the human equipment inherited by every other child of Adam. Among these are, and not limited to, Edward Irving, Thomas Erskine, Herman Kohlbrugge, Eduard Bohl, Karl Barth, T. F. Torrrance, Nels Ferre, C. E. B. Cranfield, Harold Roberts, Lesslie Newbigin, E. Stauffer, Anders Nygren, C. K. Barrett, Wolfhard Pannenberg, and Eric Baker among many more.[81]


Would Barnhouse and Martin include this galaxy as the “lunatic fringe” of the Protestant world?


Andreasen’s Second Concern

The other major concern of Andreasen and others looking on from the sidelines was QOD’s language used to describe the Adventist doctrines of the atonement, sanctuary service (type and antitype) and the investigative judgment.


Froom’s February 1957 article in Ministry entitled “The Priestly Application of the Atoning Act” was designed to prepare readers for QOD. He continued his typical cherry-picking of Ellen White statements. However, in this article, Froom wrote, on one hand, that the atonement could not be limited to Christ’s death on the cross or the investigative judgment in heaven, that the atonement “clearly embraces both—one aspect being incomplete without the other, and each being the indispensable complement of the other.” All right so far!


But, on the other hand, he used unfortunate language to describe that Christ’s death provided “a complete, perfect, and final atonement for man’s sin” and “a completed act of atonement.” Because of these poorly chosen words Andreasen felt that Froom had swung too closely to the Calvinist viewpoint in over emphasizing the Cross at the expense of other equally important sanctuary truths


Later, after Andreasen’s agitation (which I think was overstated) aroused many others around the country, Figuhr himself felt that “it would have been better if that article of Brother Froom’s had not appeared in The Ministry.[82]


All this before QOD had been printed! As I see it, if the QOD trio were wise and secure in their opinions they would have circulated their manuscript pages to Andreasen as they did to many others. If they had, some of Andreasen’s concerns would have been eliminated. He would have seen on pages 342-347 that QOD did indeed present a “wider connotation” when discussing the atonement. That is, they fully agreed “that the work accomplished on Calvary involves also the “application” of the atoning sacrifice of Christ to the seeking soul. This is provided for in the priestly ministry of our blessed Lord, our great High Priest in the sanctuary above.”[83] Good, but they were not finished.


Further, QOD showed their Arminian understanding of the atonement on 1957 QOD, p. 350: “But this sacrificial work will actually benefit human hearts only as we surrender our lives to God and experience the miracle of the new birth. In this experience Jesus our High Priest applies to us the benefits of His atoning sacrifice” (emphasis in text).


QOD Trio’s Defense to Andreasen’s Charges

What was the trio’s proof?  They quoted Early Writings, page 260: “The great Sacrifice had been offered and had been accepted, and the Holy Spirit which descended on the day of Pentecost carried the minds of the disciples from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly, where Jesus had entered by His own blood, to shed upon His disciples the benefits of His atonement. (Emphasis supplied).


But what is this sentence saying and what is the context of this cherry-picked sentence? 


First, it was in answer to Martin’s question 29: “Seventh-day Adventists have frequently been charged with teaching that the atonement was not completed on the cross. Is this charge true?”[84]


How should the Adventist trio have answered this question? For clarity’s sake, they should have replied, “Yes.”  And then proceeded to explain the larger view of the atonement that a Calvinist would never have thought of. Of course, our Lord’s sacrificial atonement was completed on the cross but there is more to be said. The Bible and Ellen White, expanding on the biblical understanding, should have robustly been used to show that the Cross and the heavenly sanctuary are two phases of the Atonement and that the cleansing of the planet from the instigator and consequences of sin completed the Atonement.


Let’s look again at Early Writing (1851), p. 260. At first glance, the inference is that whatever is going on in the heavenly sanctuary is not part of the atonement but only an “application of the atonement.”


The larger context of this “benefits of the atonement” statement begins on page 251 of Early Writings: “Jesus sent His angels to direct the minds of the disappointed Adventist Millerities to the most holy place, where He had gone to cleanse the sanctuary and make a special atonement for Israel” (emphasis supplied).


Then, page 253: “As the priest entered the most holy once a year to cleanse the earthly sanctuary, so Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly, at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, in 1844, to make a final atonement for all who could be benefited by His mediation, and thus to cleanse the sanctuary” (emphasis supplied).[85]


Then, page 254: “The third angel closes his message thus: ‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God's commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts” (emphasis supplied).


Misapplication of One Statement

It is more than difficult to extract from these statements that the Atonement was made at the Cross only and that only its “benefits” summed up Christ’s work as High Priest. With a misapplication of one statement taken out of context that inferred that the atonement was completed at the Cross, the Protestant world was satisfied— but the Adventist world was confused and sadly misrepresented.


What seemed even worse, for some strange reason, other than a temporary blindness, the QOD trio did not follow the maturing of Ellen White’s larger view of the atonement, subsequent to 1851. If so, Andreasen would have been their loudest cheerleader![86] 


For instance, they could have quoted The Great Controversy, p 430: “It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement, who received the benefits of his mediation in their behalf. . . . They saw that their great High Priest had entered upon another work of ministration , and following Him by faith, they were led to see also the closing work of the church” (emphasis supplied).


What were these High Priestly benefits? As High Priest, “Christ was to complete His work and fulfill His pledge to ‘make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ Isa. 13:12. All power in heaven and on earth was given to the Prince of life, and He returned to His followers in a world of sin, that He might impart to them of His power and glory.”[87]


Again, the Larger View

The QOD trio could have included White’s larger view of the atonement as found on p. 671, The Desire of Ages: “The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. . . . Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty energy of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. . . . Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.”


These two statements in The Desire of Ages are examples of many more that spell out Ellen White’s grasp of the ellipse of truth that grounded her mature theology.                            


But there is so much more where Ellen White had enlarged on this concept of “benefits” and “atonement,” such as in The Great Controversy, pp. 422, 480:


“And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of

the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is

to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there

recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of

the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ,

are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary

therefore involves a work of investigation--a work of judgment. This work must be

performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes,

His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. (Rev. 22:12. . . .)


“Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man—to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.. . . So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God [that is, all those of all the ages who professed loyalty to God]” (emphasis supplied).


Missing the Opportunity of the Century

Anyone who was reading what Andreasen was reading would also have felt nettled and disappointed by church leaders who were surely missing the opportunity of a century. But those who supposedly “read” the page proofs of QOD didn’t bother to read the context of this “benefits of the atonement” statement nor many later congruent statements in the Conflict series. They too were also part of the missed opportunity of a century.


For many involved, however, including the General Conference president, the clumsy statements in QOD seemed to demolish Andreasen’s concerns. But Andreasen and others knew that these carefully cherry-picked quotations portrayed a limited understanding of the Adventist doctrine of the atonement and could be easily accepted by the Evangelicals. 


To repeat, QOD’s selected quotations did not embrace the fuller understanding that Adventists had taught for many years. For instance, “And everyone who will break from the slavery and service of Satan, and will stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel, will be kept by Christ's intercessions. Christ, as our Mediator, at the right hand of the Father, ever keeps us in view, for it is as necessary that He should keep us by His intercessions as that He should redeem us with His blood. If He lets go His hold of us for one moment, Satan stands ready to destroy. Those purchased by His blood, He now keeps by His intercession. He ever liveth to make intercession for us. ‘Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them’ Heb. 7:25. (emphasis supplied).”[88]


So much was left unsaid—and that was the pity and the essence of Andreasen’s concern, as well as the concern of others. Andreasen knew Adventist thought far better than any of the QOD trio. His filing system was probably the most inclusive, private collection of Ellen White materials known anywhere. He knew that page 488 of The Great Controversy was as clear as the noonday sun: “Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell

upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The archdeceiver

hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful

mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds

from Jesus and His truth.


“Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour's mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”


Here is another typical example of Ellen White’s understanding of the ellipse of truth—Atoning Sacrifice and All-powerful Mediator. We can’t have one without the other, anymore than we can find water without hydrogen and oxygen!


Why Was Andreasen Upset?

The question arises—about what was Andreasen upset in his attacks on the atonement issue? The best way to understand Andreasen’s concern is to see the situation through his eyes. I will let Andreasen speak for himself as he reviewed Froom’s editorials, beginning with Froom’s February article in Ministry, which we have already referred to. (These were unpublished, private letters written to the president of the General Conference. Andreasen was a highly principled man who throughout his ministry was respectful of church leadership as his contemporaries well knew.)


                                                                                                                          February 15, 1957: Andreasen was astonished that Froom said that the QOD revision of the doctrine of the atonement was because “no one had taken the time for the sustained effort involved in laborious, comprehensive search [in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy] to find, analyze, and organize them.”  Previous church leaders were “largely unaware of this latent evidence and its priceless value: the need was not felt, and the time required for such a vast project was not considered available.”


This was too much for Andreasen in view of the many books that previous thought-leaders had written in addition to his own excellent, synoptic studies on the sanctuary doctrine and the atonement.


Andreasen could see that Froom’s narrow understanding of the atonement was missing the grand picture that Adventists have studied for most of a century—that Christ on the cross was not the beginning or the end of the suffering that sin brought to the heart of God. In other words, the cost to God of the atonement is not to be measured by the hours on the cross. He saw Froom’s problem—he had too limited views of the atonement.


Further, Andreasen wrote: “To rush into print at this time with shallow and confused ideas; to announce to the world that the theories set forth in the article under consideration is the Adventist understanding of the atonement, is unfortunate and is not true.”[89]


October 15, 1957:  The question now focused on Froom’s statement that Christ’s
sacrificial act of the cross [is] complete, perfect, and final atonement for man’s sin.”  Andreasen appealed to the denomination’s “Declaration of the Fundamental Principles of the Seventh-day Adventists”[90] which said: “Jesus Christ . . . ascended on high to be our only Mediator in the Sanctuary in Heaven, where, with His own blood, He makes atonement for our sins: which atonement, so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of his work as priest, according to the example of the Levitical priesthood: which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in heaven.”[91]


If only the Adventist trio had sat down with Andreasen before publication, it seems obvious that careful re-wording would have eliminated what seemed to be a grievous error.


November 4, 1957: Again the issue revolved around what happened on the cross. If Calvinists are correct in insisting that Christ’s death was the Day of Atonement, then Adventists for a century had been wrong. Andreasen quoted extensively from Uriah Smith, J. H. Waggoner, C. H Watson, plus many Ellen White references.


And then Andreasen was astonished at Froom’s question regarding Ellen White: “Why in our early days, did not Mrs. White point out and correct the limited or sometimes erroneous concepts of some of our early writers concerning the atonement? Why did she employ some of the restricted phrases without contrasting, at the same time, her own larger, truer meaning when using them?” Then Froom answered his own question: “No doctrinal truth of prophetic interpretation ever came to this people through the Spirit of Prophecy—not a single case” (Froom’s own emphasis).[92]


This kind of thinking requires more than a strong assertion.  Andreasen turned to

 Ellen White’s own words: “Often we remained together until late at night, and

 sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again

and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might

 know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the

 point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord

would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the

passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were

to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the

scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending

from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me,

and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me. 


“During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given.”[93] 


The point Andreasen was making is that Froom was either ignorant of his Adventist history—or the QOD trio is, here and in other places, downgrading Ellen White.


November 14, 1957: Andreasen is still concerned (although he may have misunderstood Froom) with the wording that “the death of Christ [was] the complete sacrificial atonement for sin” (QOD 30).  Again he cites more Adventist scholars who had taught the larger view and he lists them as evidence that “there is too much at stake to leave any doubt in the mind of the reader.” No one could read these letters and not “see” or “feel” the anguish of the veteran Adventist scholar who sensed that the central feature of Adventist theology was being compromised.


He referred to copious quotations from The Great Controversy and for the first time submitted the clearest Ellen White statements of all that could be quoted. If only the Adventist trio had quoted and emphasized these statements, it seems to me that Andreasen would have had no reason to continue his warnings: “The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We are now living in the great day of atonement.” And then he added: “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ.”[94]


We can see that the 80-year-old veteran had the big picture of the plan of salvation in mind, which had no limited views of the atonement—he was in the major leagues while the QOD trio remained in the minor league playing a theological game with other minor league players, especially in discussing the atonement.


As Jerry Moon said so eloquently in 1988: “Much more might have been accomplished had the conferees [QOD trio] been able to show the evangelicals the significance of the investigative judgment as the logical extension and refinement of Arminianism and the blotting out of sins as essential to the completion of a universe-wide atonement.”[95]                                                      


December 2, 1957. Andreasen reviewed Froom’s editorials again with added insights regarding the historic Adventist understanding of the big picture of the Atonement. Probably no person alive in 1957 had a more extensive library of Ellen White writings; his index system was a marvel to those who saw it and this was before any attempts had been made by the White Estate to formally index her writings.


Those most familiar with Ellen White theology recognize her profound insight into the elliptic nature of biblical truth—the symbiotic union of the objective and subjective aspects of all truth, such as grace-faith, Savior-Mediator, for us-in us and through us, justification-sanctification, forgiven-cleansed, law-gospel, etc. In other words, we can’t have one without the other. In this way, Andreasen could easily appreciate Ellen White’s wording that our Lord’s High Priest ministry is just as important as His death on the cross. And any dimming of this symbiotic relationship became a red flag to his brilliant mind.


He was especially disturbed when he read Froom’s defense: “When, therefore one hears an Adventist say, or reads in Adventist literature—even in the writings of Ellen G. White—that Christ is making atonement now, it should be understood that we mean simply that Christ is now making application of the benefits of the sacrificial atonement He made on the cross; that He is making it efficacious for us individually, according to our needs and requests.”[96]


(When keen Adventists read that the QOD trio was telling the world that they now were the experts as to what Ellen White meant, using the words, “it should be understood,” a great big exclamation point goes up! That was the underlying Achilles' heel of QOD. For Andreasen and others, this pervading hubris tainted even the best of their effort.)


January 5, 1958 Here Andreasen reiterated his concerns of the past year and noted, regarding his observations in Froom’s February article, that “there has been no renouncement of the doctrines, no public repudiation of the new ideas set forth, nor any public reprimand. We are, therefore, warranted in believing that the article under consideration speaks for the denomination.” Amazing, to read this today!


Andreasen went further in analyzing the QOD trio’s response to Martin’s question on p. 341 of QOD: “Seventh-day Adventist have frequently been charged with teaching that the atonement was not completed on the cross. Is this charge true?” Andreasen opined that the trio could have answered in the words of Elder Nichol, as used in his Review and Herald 1952 July editorials that we referred to earlier. Andreasen then dissected the trio’s answer, calling it “unique” and “evidently confused,” especially when “bloodless atonements” are mentioned.


Before ending this letter he referred to two letters from the General Conference officers asking him to cease his activities and if not, it “will undoubtedly bring up the matter of your relationship to the church.” In prescience, Andreasen said that “this is the approved and diplomatic way of saying that my credential and sustentation will be affected.”[97]


January 19, 1958 Andreasen reviewed his former letters, each review using fresh logic and new information. He mentions the defection of A. F. Ballenger, a much-respected evangelist at the turn of the twentieth century. Andreasen noted that “the heresy for which he was dismissed is the very doctrine now being forced upon us, teaching that the atonement was made on the cross.”  In one way, Andreasen was correct but he was overlooking the QOD trios’ intentions amidst their bumbling explanations. Thus, he overstated his objections.[98]


January 31, 1958 Andreasen continued his dissection of QOD’s understanding of a “bloodless atonement”—that Christ’s “blood” was efficacious only on the Cross and not involved in our Lord’s work in the Holy and Most Holy Places in the heavenly sanctuary. He knew many Ellen White statements say otherwise. In other words, “the ‘new view’ entirely denies the blood atonement in the sanctuary” contrary to the Old and New Testament descriptions.[99] For instance, the death of the victim is not the atonement. It is after the goat was slain that the high priest ‘goeth into make atonement in the holy place.’ Lev. 16:17. The atonement was made when the high priest went in to make atonement in the holy place, not outside in the court. See also Hebrews 9:7, 11, 12.


September 1960. Andreasen now looked back on the published QOD and on Martin’s 1960 book, The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists. On page 15 of Martin’s book is a statement signed by H. W. Lowe, chairman, Bible Study and Research Group of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists that said in part: “His [Martin’s] presentation of our doctrines and prophetic interpretations as found on pages 47-86 is accurate and comprehensive. . . . The reader will not overlook the fair and accurate statements of Adventist teachings so clearly set forth on pages mentioned above, 47-86.”  Again, “This author has earned our gratitude and respect for his earnest endeavor to set forth correctly our doctrinal positions and by his attitude of Christian brotherhood.”[100]


In Martin’s opinion, what hinders Adventist’s full acceptance of the Evangelicals is our older Adventist literature which “is still in circulation,” and which “teach some of the divergent views of Seventh-day Adventism. . . . It must be remembered that it will take time for divergent literature within the denomination to be brought under editorial control, and harmonized with the declared denominational position. The Adventists are seriously studying this problem.”


For Andreasen, a long-time Adventist scholar especially skilled in the very subjects being discussed in both books (QOD and Martin’s book), the trauma had to be most troubling. But then there was the Cleveland General Conference in 1958, which Martin referred to in his book: “The General Conference meeting in quadrennial session in Cleveland in 1958, thought the book [QOD] was sufficiently in harmony with Adventist views to preclude any necessity of even reviewing the issue. Its approach was apparent to all, as was its acceptance.”[101] Martin had a point!


“Outright Deceit”

Finally, in this 1960 letter, Andreasen, after expressing his disappointment over QOD’s treatment of the atonement, he came to the “worst” of the distortions of Adventist doctrine—“it attacks the character of God, and accuses both the Father and the Son of outright deceit.  Here is the QOD statement [p. 383]: ‘Although born in the flesh, He was nevertheless God, and was exempt from the inherited passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam.’”


Then Andreasen quoted p. 49 of The Desire of Ages, which we have looked at earlier. His comment: “Christ was not exempt from the working of the great law of heredity. He accepted it.”[102]


After a discussion of “temptations”—whether from God who tests or from Satan who

tempts to make men and women to fall into evil habits—Andreasen quotes several Ellen White



“These were real temptations, no pretense. . . .It was enough. Satan could go no further.

 . . . The severity of this conflict no human mind can compass. The welfare of the

whole human family and of Christ Himself was at stake. . . . Human power was ready

to fail. But all heaven sang the song of eternal victory.  The human family have

all the help that Christ had in their conflicts with Satan. They need not be overcome.

 . . .The Son of God in His humanity wrestled with the very same fierce, apparently

overwhelming temptations that assail men—temptations to indulgence of appetite,

 to presumptuous venturing where God has not led them, and to the worship of the

god of this world, to sacrifice an eternity of bliss for the fascinating pleasures of this

 life. Everyone will be tempted, but the Word declares that we shall not be tempted

above our ability to bear. We may resist and defeat he wily foe.”[103]


“He [Christ] was not exempt from temptation. The inhabitants of Nazareth were proverbial for their wickedness. The low estimate in which they were generally held is shown by Nathanael's question, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ John 1:46. Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood.”[104]


“Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action; and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of his failing.”[105]


In other words, if Christ was tempted in all points as man is tempted but yet “exempt” in some way that other humans are not, underneath the plan of salvation God was not playing fair—how could He ask men and women to overcome as Jesus overcame (Revelation 3:21). “Outright deceit?”


 “The Highest Infamy:

In his closing comments in his September 1960 letter, Andreasen wrote explicit arguments for retaining Ellen White’s understanding of Christ’s humanity: “Had God favored His Son, Satan would have had an argument that even God could not meet. God sent His Son to show that He is not unjust in requiring obedience of Him. Christ came to earth to demonstrate God’s justice. If God favored His Son, He would in that act have admitted that man cannot keep the law, that it was necessary for God to exempt Christ from some of the requirements He had imposed upon man. This would be for God to admit defeat. Moreover, it would have vitiated the whole plan of salvation. If Christ had received favors or exemptions, He would thereby have admitted Satan’s claim that it is impossible for man to do God’s will


“Perish the thought that God in any way favored Christ! To teach or believe such is the highest of infamy, in that it is an indictment of God Himself, and accusing Him of deceit. It would be one of Satan’s masterpieces to have His denominated people accept such doctrine.


“The matter we have been discussing here in regard to Christ being exempt from the passions and pollutions that corrupt the natural descendants of Adam, we consider one of the most heinous of the many departures from the faith which a study of the book Questions on Doctrine reveals. . . . That God miraculously exempted Him, as He did not exempt the rest of humanity; that He favored Christ so that He could not sin, was heathenism of the worst kind.[106]


Flash Points in later Eternity Editorials

During this time of private communication to Figuhr and, later, the QOD trio, Andreasen was reading and rereading Barnhouse and Martin’s five editorials in Eternity, during 1956 and 1957. Much of what they had written was surprisingly cordial and accurate. But several points aroused Andreasen’s fears. 


To be historically faithful to reality in the late 50s, we should role-play with Andreasen and think as he thought. For instance:


In his September 1957 Eternity editorial, Barnhouse wrote. “They [the QOD trio] further explained to Mr. Martin that they had among their number certain members of their ‘lunatic fringe’ even as there are similar wild-eyes irresponsibles in every field of fundamental Christianity. . . . The position of the Adventists seems to some of us in certain cases to be a new position; to them it may be merely the position of the majority group of sane leadership which is determined to put the brakes on any members who seek to hold divergent from that of the responsible leadership of the denomination. . . . [The investigate judgment] to me, is the most colossal, psychological, face-saving phenomenon in religious history! . . . Further, they do not believe, as some of their earlier teachers taught, that Jesus’ atoning work was not completed on Calvary but instead that He was still carrying on a second ministering work since 1844. . . . [Regarding the investigative judgment since 1844] we personally do not believe that there is even a suspicion of a verse in Scripture to sustain such a peculiar position, and we further believe that any effort to establish it is stale, flat, and unprofitable!


How would any of us have reacted to this editorial written after QOD had been published, if you had the theological insights of Andreasen, or most any other Adventist pastor, editor, or teacher?


In Martin’s editorial in Eternity September 1957, he again characterized himself and Barnhouse as representatives of “historic orthodoxy” (meaning Calvinism and not including Arminian historics such as the Methodists, Nazarenes etc.) After recognizing that Adventists “have always as a majority, held to the cardinal, fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith which are necessary to salvation, and to the growth in grace that characterizes all true Christians believes, he then listed seven areas of disagreement. These were conditional immortality (including the annihilation of the wicked), sanctuary doctrine and the investigative judgment, the scapegoat (a teaching concerning Satan), the seventh-day Sabbath, Spirit of Prophecy, health reform, and the remnant church.


In Barnhouse’s November 1957, Eternity, editorial, after noting the cordial interchanges of the previous two years, he referred again to how one Adventist writer “in particular set forth that Jesus Christ had a sinful human nature. The present volume [QOD] approaches this statement from several different points of view and repudiates it with horror. Because this has been made such a large issue by one ‘defender of the faith,’ who has attempted to pin this error on Mrs. White herself, the Adventist leaders in this present volume boldly present thirty-six different quotations from the writings of Mrs. White expressing herself in the strongest fashion in positive statements concerning the eternal Godhead and sinless human nature of our Lord. In another appendix are listed more than fifty quotations concerning the mystery of the incarnation in which Mrs. White expresses over and over the wonder of the Word made flesh and the glory of His sinlessness. The original difficulty arose from the fact that Mrs. White was not a trained theologian. She was unaware that some of her terms might be construed against her. In my opinion she lacked profundity, accuracy, and scholarship, but she owned, honored, and taught Jesus Christ as the eternal, sinless Son of God.”


Suppose the Annotated Edition of QOD was read by Barnhouse and Martin

How would Barnhouse and Martin have felt if the Annotated Edition of QOD had been printed in their lifetime? How would they have responded to the Adventist trio if he discovered that QOD’s use of Ellen White quotations should have made a trained theologian weep?


Adventist Professionals, Not Asleep

But laypersons around the United States were not asleep. An Adventist printer and first elder, Al Hudson in Baker, Oregon, had lawyers who used him to print their briefs for submission to the Oregon Supreme Court. Following their format, Hudson prepared a “Supporting Brief” for a proposed Resolution to be submitted to the delegates to the 1958 General Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. It read:


“Let it be resolved, that in view of the evidence presented, the book Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine does not represent the faith and belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is hereby repudiated on the following five points:


1)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It contains specimens of scholastic and intellectual dishonesty.

2)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It contains duplicity.

3)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is inadequate.

4)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It contains error.

5)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is Satan’s masterpiece of strategy to defeat the purpose of God for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


In the balance of the Brief, evidence was given to support the five charges.  The Brief was ignored and never presented to the delegates. Hudson wrote to both Martin and Barnhouse and received no replies.


Telephone Conversation

However, on May 16, 1958, Hudson had a lengthy telephone conversation with Dr. Barnhouse. Some of Barnhouse’s comments are as follows:


“All I’m saying is that the Adventists are Christians. I still think their doctrines are about the screwiest of any group of Christians in the world. I believe this beyond any question. In fact, the doctrine of the investigative judgment is the most blatant face-saving proposition that ever existed to cover up the debacle of the failure of Christ to come in 1844 as they said.


“The Adventists are wrong in keeping Saturday, the Protestants are wrong in keeping Sunday, and that the only thing to keep is, to have the attitude that every day is alike and that God is not entering into this day, but He hates the Sabbath today. . . .


“[Regarding Ellen White] she was just a human being in the first place.  Now I recognize clearly that Mrs. White very frequently wrote some very spiritual things, but God Almighty never spoke through a woman. Let’s face it. You can’t justify a woman preaching and usurping authority over a man. It can’t be done. . . .


[Regarding Christ’s human nature] Hudson asked Barnhouse: “They [Adventist trio] are taking the position, are they not, that Christ has the nature of Adam before he sinned, isn’t that true?”  Barnhouse replied: “I hope not! . . . Adam was a created being subject to fall. Jesus Christ was the God-man, not subject to fall.” Hudson answered: “And that’s your understanding of the position of our leaders?” Barnhouse: “Of course! They have taken it so strongly and it is their book. . . . You see, if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal, sinless Son of God, that He could have not sinned, and . . . we have eighteen quotations from Mrs. White saying the same thing . . . and denying what you are telling me.”


From this conversation, even this mere sampling, you can see how easy it is for Christian leaders to completely misunderstand each other, even when they use the same words! We cannot use the weasel excuse that it is all a matter of semantics! That would reveal outright ignorance of what is going on.


Chief Issue: Connection Between Christology and Eschatology

As all theologians can be measured by their linkage between their Christology and their eschatology, Andreasen was as clear as the noonday sun. However, the QOD trio, departed from a century of Adventist thinking. In their attempt to please the Evangelicals, they wandered away from copious biblical texts and forgot to read Ellen White’s The Great Controversy, chapter by chapter. Andreasen’s careful connection between Christology and Eschatology was the chief issue separating him from the General Conference President and the QOD trio. Andreasen got his theological vector from statements such the following:


“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to

become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield

to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain

a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their

 power. But Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath

 nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would

enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father's commandments, and there was

 no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which

those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.”[107]


Reality Check

Andreasen thought it unfortunate to focus on topics such as “perfection” and “the nature of Christ” without equal or even greater focus on Christ Himself, who will be the agent of perfecting human character through His Holy Spirit.[108]“The truth as it is in Jesus,” a common Ellen White phrase, simply means that: the more we focus on Jesus as our closest and best Friend, the more we let His words become our daily nourishment, the more “natural” and “habitual” we will be relentlessly pursuing perfection.[109] Perfection is an attitude more than it is an attainment; even after 100,000 years into eternity, we will still be pursuing “perfection.” But this attitude must be based on accepting truthful principles of who Jesus really is and why He came the way He did and why He died.  Or else we will still be in Babylon and not know it!


Hancock’s Research in 1962

Coming like the glow of Indian Summer after some killer frosts, Robert Lee Hancock’s 1962 thesis entitled “The Humanity of Christ,” at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary is perhaps the last to be written at the Seminary on this subject from his and Andreasen’s point of view. In his three-part conclusion, Hancock wrote:


“Regarding the specific question of Christ’s humanity, this study has revealed that: 1) From its earliest days the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taught that when God partook of humanity He took, not the perfect, sinless nature of man before the Fall, but the fallen, sinful, offending, weakened, degenerate nature of man as it existed when He came to earth to help man. . . .


2) That during the fifteen-year period between 1940 and 1955 the words ‘sinful’ and ‘fallen’ with reference to Christ’s human nature were largely or completely eliminated from denominational published materials. . . .


3) That since 1952, phrases such as ‘sinless human nature,’ ‘nature of Adam before the fall,’ and ‘human nature undefiled,’ have taken the place of the former terminology. . . . The findings of this study warrant the conclusion that Seventh-day Adventist teachings regarding the human nature of Christ have changed and that these changes involve concepts and not merely semantics.”[110]


VI.Fifty Years of Muddle


One of the many movements within Adventism that grew out of the perceived errors that were leading up to and including QOD is formally called The 1888 Message Study Committee. Among its leaders have been Donald Short and Robert Wieland. The imbedded connection between this 1888 Message group and QOD should be covered in a later presentation.


Many other groups, often called “independent ministries,” have flowed through the Adventist community on all continents in response to what they have seen as the flaws of QOD. Each one of them would not have seen the light of day if QOD had not been published.


Quick Overview of Adventist Disarray Since 1960s

The theological contours affected by QOD were far more serious than what appeared on the surface, especially the humanity of Christ and sanctuary issues. Many teachers, pastors, and laypeople continued to see the issues clearly—that one cannot separate or reframe Christology without immediately affecting one’s eschatology.  Andreasen saw it early on. Church leaders, in workers meetings and in various publications, in support of QOD, very soon began treating as equally heretical emphases: 1) Christ’s post-fall nature and 2) overcoming sin this side of the Second Advent


An amazing spirit of retaliation against those who differed with QOD soon was endemic. Soon heavily advertised publications appeared focusing on “perfection” (overcoming sin) as an impossibility while still in “sinful flesh.” In so doing, a novel definition of “perfection” was created, at least for Adventists, in the place of the time-honored understanding of human cooperation with divine power in overcoming sin, here and now.[111] All this was given impetus when the QOD trio bought into classic Calvinism regarding the humanity of Jesus. Thus, as surely as the next day’s sunrise, classic Adventist thought regarding eschatology was dramatically distorted—unless one is comfortable with non-sequitors.


Bull and Lockhart’s Analysis of the Post-1960 Era, Especially at the Seminary

This shift in denominational thought, especially in our Theological Seminary was clearly seen in Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart’s second edition of their Seeking a Sanctuary. Probably no authors have focused more plainly on the influence of QOD and on how it dramatically affected the instruction of key Seminary teachers for a generation, on such subjects as “righteousness-by faith,” “the humanity of Christ,” and the linkage between Christology and eschatology.


These two men saw immediately the impasse that arises when one is confused about the nature of sin—a confusion that Andreasen and Ellen White avoided. They recognized Australian layman, Robert Brinsmead’s quandary who assumed that there was “an unbridgeable gulf between human sinfulness and the need for perfection.” Brinsmead’s solution was to “emphasize the miraculous infusion of perfection through the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary” because QOD had made perfection seem a remote possibility.”[112] Brinsmead soon developed a world-wide following.


Edward Heppenstall, Chair of Systematic Theology[113]

In contrast to Brinsmead (as well as to Andreasen), “the focus on the crucifixion encouraged by Questions on Doctrine was taken further by the Adventist theologian, Edward Heppenstall. His solution to the difficulty of explaining how the sinner could reach perfection was to argue that perfection was neither necessary nor possible. In 1963 he stated that ‘absolute perfection and sinlessness cannot be realized here and now.’”[114]


What was the theological paradigm that Heppenstall had bought into? Bull and Lockhart continued: “This response, which in Adventist terms was far more radical than that of Brinsmead, was partly the product of Heppenstall’s understanding of original sin, a concept that had not been much in evidence in Adventism until this time.”[115]


How did this new understanding of sin affect Heppenstall’s rejection of Andreasen’s and the rest of Adventist thought before 1955, especially in the issue of the humanity of Christ?[116] Bull and Lockhart continued: “Heppenstall opposed the notion of Christ’s fallen nature because in his view, ‘the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice lay in his absolute sinlessness.’”[117]


Thus for Heppenstall, his understanding of sin directly affected his understanding of both Christ’s humanity and the traditional understanding of Adventism in regard to “overcoming sin.”  Note Bull and Lockhart’s observation: “Prior to Heppenstall, no important Adventist writer denied the possibility of perfection.”[118]


The issue also involves using different definitions for “perfection,” “absolute perfection,” “overcoming sin,” etc. But presuppositions affect the way anyone uses these phrases. For all of us. it depends on how we understand the sin problem and how Adam’s posterity also becomes sinners


Change of Emphasis on Nearness of the Advent

But Bull and Lockhart saw how core theological thoughts don’t stand alone—everything is connected to everything else. Our authors chronologically noted the amazing change of emphasis in Adventist teaching and preaching after 1960. Using a late 1960 survey that indicated that “the Second Advent received less emphasis in the preaching of the church than thirty years previously,” they asserted that “Heppenstall’s emphasis on justification in the 1960s” was a “reaction to the new soteriology of Questions on Doctrine, the theory [that] the theology of justification can be viewed as a way of compensating for a decline in belief in an imminent Second Coming.”[119]


Our authors continued: “Justification enables believers to be made righteous immediately rather than at the end of the world. . . . The wide appeal of justification in the 1960s indicated that by this point many Adventists were simply looking for an answer to the question of how perfection might be achieved in the present, rather than in an increasingly remote final generation of the future.”[120]


Bull and Lockhart found evidence that “Heppenstall rarely mentioned the prospect of translation and never discussed the character of the last generation. Heppenstall broke the connection between Adventist soteriology and Adventist eschatology.”[121]


As we turn back to QOD and Andreasen we see more clearly how the two immensely important paradigms (Andreasen’s and Heppenstall’s) differed and vastly affected the future of the Adventist Church for a whole generation.


Unity and Coherence of Andreasen’s Theological Paradigm

If Andreasen is correct in (1) his understanding of why Jesus came the way He did and (2) if he is correct in his synoptic picture of why Jesus died and (3) why His incarnational ministry is completed in His High Priestly duties and, (4) if he is correct in his understanding of the Great Controversy issues—then His “last generation” scenario follows as day follows night. If one of our Lord’s reasons to live and die as He did—demonstrating that men and women “in sinful flesh” as He had, could, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, overcome sin completely—then the biblical pictures of a last generation being sealed with God’s approval for their victory over sin follows logically. But, also, many are the White references that reflect this connection between a correct understanding of our Lord’s humanity and loyal believers who become overcomers in earth’s last generation


White and Andreasen simply unfolded such biblical passages as 2 Peter 3, Revelation 7:1-4, and 14:6-16 among many.


For Andreasen, this straight line from the humanity of Christ through the atonement in all of its phases fulfilled the gospel plan and met the purpose of the Great Controversy theme—changing rebels into loyal sons and daughters who rely on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. He also saw clearly how the century-old Adventist understanding of Christology and eschatology focuses on how Jesus and His loyalists proved Satan wrong and God fair and just. Changing one’s understanding of the humanity of Christ immediately changes one’s understanding of the several phases of the atonement and thus what may be expected in a last-generation scenario.[122]


Theological Liberalism

All the reactions to QOD must also include the rise of theological liberalism (some prefer the label, progressive) in the Adventist Church. Such church members responded to what was perceived as latent legalism in the church generally because of its focus on Revelation 14:12 as an identifier of God’s loyalists in the endtime.


Instead of both groups (classicists and liberals) looking again at the Laodicean message of Revelation 3, both groups tended to build a deeper divide. Liberalism took courage in (1) QOD’s confusion over Christology and its less-than-lucid explanation of Christ’s high priestly ministry, and (2) was especially comforted with the prevailing shift of Adventist thought regarding “overcoming sin,” and (3) took new courage in explaining away the delay of the Advent.


Those who tended toward legalism (as some have been described) often focused on correct theology but not on the personal characteristics of Jesus that would make them more gracious in contending with the so-called liberal-progressive factions. Both groups tended to lose the big picture of the Great Controversy and its personal issues for each of us today.


QOD Magisterium

Many authors and teachers through the years swallowed some of the unsupportable conclusions of QOD (such as those Dr. Knight has pointed out in his Annotation), thus making QOD’s assertions the accepted magisterium. In many ways the word has been out since the 1960s that pastors and teachers should not speak out on subjects such as the sanctuary and the humanity of Christ because such topics were divisive. But when did the divisiveness begin?  


Perhaps what has been really unfortunate in the past fifty years, has been the astounding attempt to ridicule M. L. Andreasen. For instance, in a recent book, Andreasen “is a good example of the improper use of her writings.” He “shows no evidence that he correctly understood inspiration from the Bible or Ellen White’s writings.” Or, that his “line of reasoning had many weaknesses, for example: It held an inadequate and non-biblical view of the nature of sin.’ Or that “many of the ideas of Andreasen were later taken to their logical conclusion by . . . Brinsmead, who caused havoc and division in the church during the 1960s.”[123]


Then, in revealing his personal theological bias, the author correctly noted the main tenets of Andreasen’s “final generation theology” but then dismissed them as nonbiblical and a misuse of Ellen White’s thought. Yet, he provided no proof that his assertions were correct and that Andreasen was wrong.


Alas, several other books have been unfortunately written in a similar vein.


Opportunity of the Century—What If?


What if the Adventist trio had not muted our understanding of the second angel’s message of Revelation 14?


Adventist self-understanding involves its primary historical reason for existence—to call God’s people out of Babylon, out of churches that have fallen for Satan’s heresies, and to prepare them to live forever. Many laypersons have understood this emphasis on Revelation 14 through the last 160 years or so, leading them to leave their established churches and become happy, loyal Adventists. But then to watch their Adventist leaders go mute on this basic reason for the Adventist Church’s existence—all this became a great concern for many in the past fifty years.


Though not a popular message, the Adventist message on Revelation 14 is a prophetic message of present truth.  But Martin and Barnhouse, it seems, never were given even a clue as to the biblical basis for our allegiance to the three angels of Revelation 14.


What if Martin and Barnhouse were convinced that we had not repudiated our century-old conviction that God has challenged the world in the second angel’s message?


What if Martin and Barnhouse were given the big picture of what is going on in the Great Controversy and how we are living in its closing days? Such was the opportunity of the century that was strangely ignored.


In conclusion, I cannot improve upon George Knight’s evaluation that Questions on Doctrines easily qualifies as the most divisive book in Seventh-day Adventist history.”[124]


Nor would I want to improve on John Milton: “Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do ingloriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple: who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”[125]


Or Socrates’ advice to Charmides: “But what matter,” said Charmides, “from whom I heard this?” “No matter at all,” I [Socrates] replied: “for the point is not who said the words, but whether they are true or not.”[126]


©2007 Herbert Douglass

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

[2] 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.”

[3] 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 (2) how to fully understand John 3:16: was it a gift to be accepted or an offer to be sought. or both?

[4] 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, Leroy Moore, Jean Zurcher, William Grotheer, Larry Kirkpatrick, Woody Whidden and George Knight.

[5] 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.

[6] Barnhouse, “Spiritual Discernment, or How to Read Religious Books, Eternity, June 1950.

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

[8] Ibid. 470.

[9] Walter R. Martin, The Rise of the Cults, 1955 ed., 12.

[10] Unruh, Adventist Heritage, op cit.

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

[12] Unruh, op. cit.

[13] Froom, op.cit., 478.

[14] Ibid., 479.

[15] Julius Nam, “Reactions to the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences and Questions on Doctrine 1955-1971, 57. Doctoral dissertation, Andrews University, 2005.

[16] Froom, op. cit., 480.

[17] Barnhouse, Eternity, September 1957.

[18]The Desire of Ages, 49.

[19] Nam, op. cit., 66.

[20]Ibid., 67.

[21]L. 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. 

[22]I 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 KarelVan 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 is 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.


[23] 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.


[24]For perhaps the latest and most inclusive biography of Augustine, see James. J. O’Donnell, Augustine (HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), 1-396.


[25] Probably the greatest phenomenon in Christian church history has been the magisterial role that Augustine has played in his invention 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. 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.


[26]Forensic-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. 

[27] Nam, op. cit., 70-72.

[28] Ibid., 267: “Despite his contributions as a leading theologian of the church during the two decades prior to his retirement, he had not been one of some 250 who were invited to review the manuscript in September 1956.

[29] Annotated QOD, xxvi.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid., xvi.

[32] 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.

[33] 1957 QOD, 567-609.

[34] The Desire of Ages, 49, 117.

[35] 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.

[36] Nam, 246.

[37] J. R. Zurcher, Touched With Our Feelings (Hagerstown, MD, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1999), 175.

[38] Nam. op, cit.,229-239.

[39] 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.

[40] Nam, op. cit., 98/

[41] Ibid., 247.

[42] Ibid., 250-256.

[43] Ibid., 240.

[44] Ibid., 239-245.

[45] Nam, op. cit., 254, 268.

[46] Ibid., 255.

[47] Unruh, Adventist Heritage, fourth quarter, 1977.

[48] Nam, op, cit.,299, 300.

[49] Ibid., 316.

[50]Ibid.,, 352.

[51] 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..

[52] Ibid., 255.

[53] Ibid.

[54] “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).

[55] 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)

[56] 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.


[58] We are indebted to Ralph Larson for marshalling these statements in The Word Was Made Flesh and Tell of His Power.

[59]W. H. Branson, Drama of the Ages (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1953, 1980), 97, 98.

[60] I am including this Bible Readings statement in full because it later opened up this particular issue in the QOD debate.  To my knowledge, I don’t think anyone outside of the very few who were responsible for the revision even knew of the revised editing.  It surely threw kerosene on the smoldering fire.

[61] In the Annotated edition of QOD we are given a host of indications that the 1957 QOD was less than a fair, reliable treatment of Adventist thought, such as page xv, “less than transparent;” xxx,“push the facts a bit too far;” xxx,“present their data in a way that creates a false impression;” xxxiv, “misleading title;” 41, “masks the fact;” 45,” in a historic sense, false;” 324, “not accurate;” 516, “a misleading heading;” 517, “less than straightforward;” 52, “manipulation of the data;” 521 “had not told the truth;” 522 “elements of betrayal in the manipulation of data and in untruths;” 524, “misleading heading.”

[62] In so doing, QOD developed a teaching that paralleled the teaching of the Holy Flesh Movement in Indiana in 1900.  When S. N. Haskell reported by letter to Ellen White of his experience at the 1900 Campmeeting in Muncie, Indiana, he wrote: “Their point of theology in this particular respect seems to be this: They believe that Christ took Adam’s nature before he fell; so He took humanity as it was in the Garden of Eden, and thus humanity was holy, and this was the humanity which Christ had; and now, they say, the particular time has come for us to become holy in that sense, and then we will have ‘translation faith’ and never die.”

[63] Medical Ministry, 181.

[64] Review and Herald, August 22, 1907.

[65] First Epistle to Cledonius, Patrologia Graeca, ed. J. P. Migne in Harry Johnson, The Humanity of the Saviour (London: The Epworth Press, 1962), p. 129.

[66]Patriarchs and Prophets,373.

[67]The Desire of Ages, 49.

[68]“When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

    “ It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ Object Lessons, 69

[69]The Youth's Instructor, Oct. 20, 1886.

[69]Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895.

671957 QOD, 655

[71] J. R, /Zurcher, Touched With Our Feelings (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1999), 146.

[72] Manuscript 303, 1903, cited in Review and Herald, February 17, 1994.

73Henry Melvill, (1798-1871) Anglican preacher whose sermon, “The Humiliation of the Man Christ Jesus,” was retitled, “Christ’s Man’s Example,” and published in the Review and Herald, July 5, 1887. Melvin was an Anglican preacher who regularly filled his church of more than 2000 worshippers weekly.

74Octavius Winslow, The Glory of the Redeemer (London: John Farquhar Shaw, 1853).

[75]The Desire of Ages, 117

[76]Manuscript Releases, Vol. 16, 181-182

77The Desire of Ages, 512.



78 Review and Herald, July 28, 1874.

79 Melvill, op. cit.

 80Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1984), 413.




[81] See Harry John son, The Humanity of the Savior (London: The Epworth Press, 1962), 1-230.

[82] Nam, op. cit.,273.

[83]1957 QOD, 347

[84]Ibid., 341.

[85] This insight and many more like it were the background of Andreasen’s charge that the QOD trio had little understanding of the immense purpose of Christ’s work as High Priest in His mediatorial work. That lack of grasping the larger view of what Christ was doing today in the Heavenly Sanctuary drove Andreasen unceasingly in his grievances concerning what Martin and the world was getting. He understood the implication of many Ellen White quotations that said, “In consequence of limited views of the sufferings of the divine Son of God, many place a low estimate upon the great work of atonement.. . . . The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through his mediatorial work he may completely vindicate the binding claims and the holiness of every principle of his law.” ST: August 7, 1879;

[86]For instance: “Those who cannot see the force of the sacred claims of God’s law cannot have a clear and definite understanding of the atonement.” ST August 14, 1879.

[87]The Desire of Ages, 790.


[88]Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15, 104, (emphasis supplied).

[89]The M. L. Andreasen File,” (St. Maries, ID, LMN Publishing International, 1993). 1-5.

[90]Because of many accusations that Adventists believed “subversive” doctrines, one of which was that Adventists taught that the atonement was not made on the cross (which without further explanation is fatal to the whole sanctuary doctrine and the historical relevancy of the Adventist movement), James White felt impelled to issue this “creed” in the first issue of Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874.

[91]A ndreasen File, 11.

[92]Ibid., 15-22.

[93]Selected Messages, vol. 1, 207.

[94]Andreasen File, 23-29.

[95]Research paper, “M.L. Andreasen, L. E. Froom, and the Controversy over Questions on Doctrine.

[96]Andreasen Files, 34-41.

[97]The Andreasen File, 66.

[98]Ibid., 67-73.

[99]Ibid., 77.

[100]F. D. Nichol wrote to R. R. Figuhr, March 10, 1960 that “the non-Adventist world would take Lowe’s words as a kind of endorsement of the book.” Further, “I don’t think we should ever have put such a prefatory page in a book that is subtly attempting to show that many of our teachings are wrong.” Cited in Nam, op. cit., 394.

[101]Ibid., 393.

[102]The M. L. Andreasen File, 91.

[103]Selected Messages, bk. 1, 95.

[104]The Desire of Age, 71. 

[105]The Youth’s Instructor, July 20, 1899.

106“The M. L. Andreasen File,” 94.




[107]The Great Controversy, 623, (emphasis supplied).

[108] Among his several books, Andreasen’s The Faith of Jesus was perhaps his most systematic presentation of Adventist theology:”Let us study the faith of Jesus, not as a matter of theology, but as a way of life.” 12.

[109] Lexus car motto: “The relentless pursuit of perfection.”

[110] Hancock may not have been aware of. 1) F. D. Nichols’ editorials in July, 1952, (mentioned earlier) in which he dealt specifically with this subject and 2) W. H. Branson’s Drama of the Ages, which we referred to earlier. Other than these two items, Hancock was clear as a foghorn in San Francisco Bay.

[111] A tsunami of new emphasis on what is meant by “perfection” emerged in the early 1960s.  This subject became the litmus test for Adventist workers and laymen. This fallout from QOD should be surveyed in another presentation this week. It has generated dozens of “strawmen,” such as “living without a Mediator,” “sin is built into human nature (birth-nature) and not merely a choice,” “behavior is legalism,” “perfect people think they can meet Satan on their own,” “focusing on personal perfection overrides a focus on Jesus, etc,”

[112] Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, Second Edition, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2007). 86.

[113] Ted Heppenstall and I had a remarkable relationship and, as with Froom, we never let our theological differences trouble our friendship. Whenever we attended various meetings, we would spend many evenings in our motel rooms talking over the business of the church. Only occasionally did we discuss the humanity of Christ or the difference between “moral perfection” and “absolute perfection.”

[114]“Is Perfection Possible? Signs of the Times, December 1963.

[115]Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart, op. cit., 87.

[116] Heppenstall’s long tenure at the Adventist Theological Seminary has been called the “Heppenstall hegemony.”

[117] Ibid. We today can better appreciate Heppenstall’s  commendation of the writers of Question on Doctrine  in view of his merging theological leadership in the Adventist Seminary: He said that the QOD trio had done “an excellent job” and that the manuscript to be “the best that has been so far” in stating Adventist belief to the world.” Cited in Nam, op.cit., 248.

[118] Ibid.

[119] Ibid., 93. See also Graeme Bradford, More Than a Prophet  (Berrien Springs, MI: Biblical Perspectives, 2006), 193: “The church [Seventh-day Adventist Church] had changed from its ideas on the nature of Christ, sinless perfectionism and the atonement due largely to the teachings of Heppenstall.”

[120] Ibid., 93, 94.

[121] Ibid., 94.

[122]For example: “When he comes he is not to cleanse us of our sins. He is not then to remove from us the defects in our characters. He will not then cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. He will not do this work then. Before that time this work will all be accomplished, if wrought for us at all. Then those who are holy will be holy still. They are not to be made holy when the Lord comes. Those who have preserved their bodies, and their spirits, in holiness, and in sanctification, and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. And when he comes, those who are unjust, and unsanctified, and filthy, will remain so forever. There is then no work to be done for them which shall remove their defects, and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue his refining process, and remove their sins, and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us. . . .


“As we lay hold upon the truth of God, its influence must affect us. It must elevate us. It must remove from us every imperfection. It must remove from us sins of whatever nature. And it must fit us, that we may be prepared to see the king in his beauty, and finally to unite with the pure and heavenly angels in the kingdom of glory. This work is to be accomplished for us here. Here we are, with these bodies and spirits, which are to be fitted for immortality.”ST, September 18, 1879 (First presented in Battle Creek, March 6, 1869, Testimonies,vol 2, 355, 356).



[123] Bradford, op. cit., 188.

[124] QOD Annotated Edition, xiii.

[125]John Milton, “Areopogitica.” (1644) , The Harvard Classics. ed., Charles W. Eliot (New York:P. F. Collier & Son Company, 1909, Vol. 3), 239.

[126] The Dialogues of Plato, Jewett, vol. 1, 11 (161).