1950's Evangelical Conferences
These conferences wouldn't have happened if our own men adhered to these warnings.
"Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor." – Ellen White, Manuscript 62, May 24, 1905, par. 14; Manuscript Release 760, pp. 9, 10; Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 235.4
“. . It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth” - Ellen White, Review & Herald, July 24, 1894
The document to the right was assembled by William Grotheer from Adventist Laymen's Foundation. In it is the record as told by three of the key men involved in these Conferences, T.E. Unruh (SDA); Donald Barnhouse and Walter Martin (Evangelicals). Click on the PDF to download it. This is a major historical event that has allowed new theology to come into our denomination. It set our ship on a wrong course of sailing.
The story told by a young seminary student, Vance Ferrell who would witness what took place over time and it's apostasy carried out by Leroy Froom, Roy Allan Anderson and others from the General Conference over time. This account of history is absolutely second to none. Click on the PDF to download it.
The issue of the 1950's Evangelical Conferences as told by Pastor Bill Hughes.
THE EVANGELICAL CONFERENCES AND CRISIS
To faithful Seventh-day Adventists back in the mid-fifties, it was a fearful doctrinal crisis in our church. But to the faithful in our day it is recognized as marking the beginning of a doctrinal split which has shaken our denomination as an earthquake.
This is because the errors that the Evangelical Conferences brought into our denomination grew throughout the sixties and seventies. They were used by liberals and modernists in our church, to lay a solid foundation for what is now called the “new theology.”
There would be no new theology in our church today if certain leaders had not welcomed its theological roots back in the mid-fifties.
The saddest thing today perhaps, is that members have no idea about this, and they allow the new theology
to live on mostly thru ignorance.
This historical event is needed to be studied, more so than at any earlier time in our history.
T.E. Unruh, along with Roy Allen Anderson, and LeRoy Edwin Froom, were the primary figures leading out on the Adventist side of those Evangelical Conferences. Walter R. Martin and Donald Grey Barnhouse were the leaders on the Evangelical Protestant side.
Barnhouse was the minister of the Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, besides an author of a number of Evangelical books, founder and senior editor of Eternity Magazine.
Anderson was the coordinator and authority figure that kept the wheels rolling toward Adventist-Protestant unity in these Conferences. Froom was the researcher and the one, along with Anderson, who did most of the writing. Martin was the one who approached the Adventists for information and possible conferences to help him in the writing of his forthcoming book about our Church and its doctrinal positions. Although a little dubious about it all, Barnhouse was Martin's influential backer both in the Conferences and the writing of his book. Unruh was the man that initially got them all together to start with. His part in the later Conferences was not as significant. It was primarily Anderson, Froom, and Martin that made the decisions, wrote the books and led out in the defense of entire transaction, by which Adventists moved several significant steps closer to the fallen churches.
The event which led up to the conferences themselves started when T. Edgar Unruh, president of the East Pennsylvania Conference, heard several radio sermons by Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960) on righteousness by faith in the book of Romans. Barnhouse was the well-known editor of Eternity magazine and a foremost leader of conservative Protestantism (T.E. Unruh, letter to Donald G. Barnhouse, November 28, 1949).
On November 28, 1949, Unruh commended Barnhouse for those radio sermons. At the time, he was a popular radio preacher, minister of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, author of a number of books, and founder and senior editor of Eternity magazine.
Barnhouse wrote back that he was astounded that one of the heretics, an Adventist minister, would commend him on righteousness by faith. He then invited Unruh to have lunch with him (Barnhouse letter to Unruh, December 22, 1949).
We know about the entire incident because later, in 1977, Unruh wrote a complete article about it in Adventist Heritage.
Although they never ate together, the two men continued to correspond until June 1950. In response to a copy of Steps to Christ, which Unruh had sent to him, Barnhouse who was always ready for an opportunity for a fight, published a scathing review of the small book. He called Ellen White the founder of a cult and denounced the book as “false in all its parts” (Barnhouse, “How to Read Religious Books,” Eternity magazine, June 1950, pp. 42-44).
“He quoted a number of statements which he called half truths introducing satanic error, like a worm on a hook, ‘the first bite is all worm, the second bite is all hook, That is the way the devil works.’ ”—Unruh, “The Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences, 1955- 1956,” Adventist Heritage, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1977.
So Unruh canceled plans to meet with Barnhouse, and stopped writing him.
“Unruh, who thought he had Barnhouse’s word that he would publish nothing more against Adventists before their conference, lost both confidence and interest.”— Keld J. Reynolds, “Coping with Change,” Adventism in America, p. 185.
Time passes by.
Walter Ralston Martin (1928-1989), director of cult apologetics for Zondervan Publishing Company was contributing editor of Barnhouse’s Eternity magazine. He was also Barnhouse’s son-in-law. He had already written a chapter critical of Adventism in his book, Rise of the Cults, along with several other books about American cults which were considered standard works in that field.
So in 1954, still filled with loathing for Adventists, Barnhouse commissioned Martin to write a complete book on them, which would expose and denounce all their supposed evil teachings.
In the spring of 1955, while checking through Barnhouse’s files, Martin discovered those earlier letters from Unruh. Martin Immediately contacted Unruh and requested a “face-to-face contact with representative Seventh-day Adventists.” According to Unruh, Martin added that he wanted “direct access” to authoritative Adventists and their publications, so “he could treat Adventists fairly.”
Surprised, Unruh notified the General Conference (hereinafter referred to as the GC). Unruh served as chairman at the initial meeting.
William Branson (1887-1961) was on his way out as GC President, retiring on May 24, 1954 at the age of 67 due to failing health. Into the picture came Reuben R. Figuhr (1896-1983) as the new GC President, who was not a doctrinal expert, but entrusted lower-level responsibilities to men whom he trusted. He gave a open door for anything goes for Froom and Anderson on behalf of the GC.
Martin, a Southern Baptist, came to Washington D.C. and stopped in at General Conference headquarters. He told them that he was about to write his next book which would include Seventh-day Adventists and asked whether they might have anything to give him in the way of source materials. This is the kind of book you wouldn’t want to be included on.
He was half expecting them to kick him out the door, but instead he was ushered into the office of L.E. Froom, our leading General Conference researcher at that time. Froom asked that two other General Conference workers be present: Roy Allen Anderson, Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association, and W.E. Read, a second General Conference researcher.
Anderson, working with Froom, immediately took control of the Adventist side of the situation. Anderson prided himself on being able to warmly win the friendship of everyone he met, and Anderson held the key to the whole building. Whatever project Anderson wanted to begin, Reuben R. Fighur, the General Conference president, gave him his full backing.
Leroy Edwin Froom (1890-1974) was the most in-depth researcher our denomination ever produced. His four-volume set, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, and his two-volume set, Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, showed how our basic teachings had been taught by many Christians in earlier centuries. A GC worker from 1926 to 1950, he had founded Ministry magazine and was its editor for 22 years. He also served as a church historian for many years.
According to Unruh, Martin said he had a special request: He wanted to meet Froom, whose research books he deeply admired. He had his opportunity in the spring of 1955.
Roy Allan Anderson (1895-1985), a former public Evangelist and powerful leader of men, immediately took charge and called in Walter E. Read (1883-1976), a GC field secretary who had earlier served overseas in various administrative capacities. But he was not a doctrinal expert either.
Once Froom started working on the project (for he was the one who did all the research and primary writing), a strange fascination seemed to grip his mind. He became intent on bending everything to the one great objective of making our most controverted beliefs acceptable to Walter Martin.
Martin had brought with him George E. Cannon (a professor of Greek and theology at Nyack Missionary College in Nyack, New York) with him. Affable, but always quick-thinking and hard-driving, Martin said he thought it would be well if they might have several more such meetings together. Barnhouse attended a few of those later sessions. And they even carried over to Banhouse’s mansion in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Martin presented these leaders with a list of what he considered to be questionable doctrines, and asked for written replies. Our men saw here a grand opportunity to evangelize the other churches) All they had to do was to word their replies in such a manner as would be agreeable to Martin, and he would then write his book and declare Seventh-day Adventists to be "fellow Evangelicals." It was a glorious opportunity, or so Anderson and Froom thought. They would lead out in preparing all those "answers to questions on doctrine."
R. A. Anderson believed that, with Froom’s marvelous ability to frame everything in smooth words, they would be able to please Walter Martin.
18-MONTH LONG MEETINGS (March 1955 - August 1956)
The first meeting (March 1955)—At the time of this first meeting, Walter R. Martin was 27 years old, Donald G. Barnhouse was 60, Leroy Edwin Froom was 65, Walter E. Read was 72, and Roy Allen Anderson about 60 years old. All knew that this series of meetings, and the book which would follow it, would be the high point of their careers.
Froom did the research and writing; and Anderson gave him encouragement and led out in keeping the strong friendship of Martin and Barnhouse. Anderson was warm and friendly and excellent at making and keeping friends.
There were over one million Adventists in the 1950s (These Times, May 1981, p. 6). Could this small group of three Adventists (Froom, Anderson, and Read) represent our entire church? They certainly did not represent the solid historical believers; for their champion in the Review building, next door to the General Conference, Francis Nichol (senior editor at the Review)—was purposely excluded from the meetings. According to Martin, Nichol “was prohibited from making contact” with him (Martin interview, Adventist Currents, July 1983, p. 18).
Obviously for some reason, Mr. Nichol would not have been in agreement with what would be unraveling and taking place moving forward. So they left him secluded next door, out of this event.
W.E. Read was only a minor figure in all that occurred. It is a significant fact that, only five years earlier, in front of the entire 1950 General Conference Session, Read defended our historic teaching about the fallen nature of Christ. He quoted a Spirit of Prophecy passage, that “Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh even as we are” (1950 General Conference Bulletin, p. 154; quoting Acts of the Apostles, 472).
“These conferences, ranging in length from one to three days, stretched out over a period of eighteen months.”—R.W. Schwarz, Light Bearers to the Remnant, p. 544.
Through all the turbulent experiences which followed, T.E. Unruh maintained close contact with Anderson and others at the GC and Review. In his lengthy report (Adventist Heritage, Fourth Quarter, 1977), Unruh described what happened: “At first, the two groups looked upon each other with great suspicion.”
“Martin came armed with a formidable list of definitely hostile and slanted questions, most of them drawn from well-known critics of Seventh-day Adventists— among them the inevitable D. M. Canright, on to the late defector E.B. Jones.”—L.E. Froom, Movement of Destiny (1971), p. 478.
D.M. Canright was an Adventist for many years and even a Pastor. However at some point, it was like a light switch that clicked and he revolted against the faith and went awol and began witnessing and writing against the SDA church.
Martin, having already read a large amount of Adventist literature, presented the GC team with about 40 questions concerning points of doctrine. Unruh reveals that, after the group adjourned that day, Froom, at this time at the height of his mental powers, spent the afternoon and evening preparing a 20-page study, in reply to Martin’s initial list of questions. He had the ability to research, write, snip off parts of quotations, and tilt doctrinal concepts. He was a true word-smith.
The manuscript was then sent over to Martin, who spent until 2 a.m. reading it carefully.
“The second day will never be forgotten by those who participated in the conferences. Anderson was present. And as the morning session began Martin announced that, as the result of the first round of discussion and the reading matter he had been given, he was admitting that he had been wrong about Seventh-day Adventism on several important points and had become persuaded that Adventists who believed as did the conferees were truly born-again Christians and his brethren in Christ. In a dramatic gesture he extended his hand in fellowship.”—T.E. Unruh, “The Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956,” Adventist Heritage, Fourth Quarter, 1977.
In spite of all the Adventist publications Martin had read, here was something new and refreshingly different. Yet this small victory only served to whet the appetite of Anderson and Froom even more: If at all possible, they must gain full acceptance by the Evangelicals!
Keep in mind, Sister White said: “....It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth”- Review & Herald, July 24, 1894
But our men were not listening to the Spirit of Prophecy.
For whatever reason and thinking, Martin needed to convince Barnhouse that the Adventists were Christians. For this reason, he arranged that, on August 25-26, the meetings were to be held at Barnhouse’s mansion in Pennsylvania.
“The meetings in Dr. Barnhouse’s home persuaded Barnhouse and his son, an adviser on the staff of Billy Graham’s Evangelistic crusades, that they, too, had held many misconceptions of Adventist teachings . . The younger Barnhouse persuaded his father that justice demanded that they report their changed view in the columns of Eternity. Dr. Barnhouse agreed, although both he and his son knew that many of their subscribers with strong anti-Adventist prejudices would surely be displeased.”—R.W. Schwarz, Light Bearers to the Remnant, p. 544.
Not only did our leaders roll out the red carpet for Martin at General Conference headquarters, but they also brought him over to the Adventist Seminary to speak, plus letting him speak at our large Takoma Park Church, just across the street from the front entrance of the GC. They also took him on an all-expenses- paid trip to Loma Linda—and, also in 1955, to mission stations around the world.
“The General Conference arranged a trip for Martin to the West Coast, where Anderson was to introduce him to representative Adventists. On this trip Martin spoke in Adventist churches and met the staff of the Adventist radio station, Voice of Prophecy.
“In the East, Martin met with the staff of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and spoke at an assembly there. On overseas trips, he observed Adventist missions in action.”— T.E. Unruh, “The Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955- 1956,” Adventist Heritage, Fourth Quarter, 1977.
It was clear from the start that Martin had four points on which he would accept no disagreement. On all others, there might be some variations, but these were central to modern Protestantism.
Martin presented four key points—which if we compromised on them, it would ultimately work havoc in the Adventist Church.
“(1) That the atonement of Christ was not completed on the cross; (2) that salvation is the result of grace plus the works of the law; (3) that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being, not from all eternity; (4) and that He partook of man’s sinful fallen nature at the incarnation.”— Walter Martin, “Seventh-day Adventism Today,” Our Hope magazine, November 1956, p. 275.
There were men in our church already at work for decades on point #3 dealing with the existence of Christ in eternity. We actually never believed that Christ was created, but begotten. Begotten means that something comes from a source of something. In this case, Jesus came from the Father. Created is when something comes from nothing. Just like the earth came from nothing. There was not a source that it came out from. God spoke. And it happened. Our people taught and believed that Christ had a beginning sometime in eternity. But men coming into the church from the Trinitarian side were eager to change that. And that has been taught strongly after Sister White died from W.W. Prescott. The belief that Christ is fully divine, equal to the Father, and has existed since all eternity. The Spirit of Prophecy teaches that Christ was made equal with the Father, was begotten and brought forth from the Father, and had the God-like nature of the Father, therefore because of his Son-ship, he was truly divine.
There were two primary areas of historic Adventist belief which were compromised by Froom and Anderson. Well really, all four and more were compromised. But here are two real sticking points.
1 - They assured Martin that the atonement was essentially finished when Christ died on the cross. Nothing of any importance is said to have occurred in a Sanctuary in heaven after the ascension of Christ.
2 - They told him that Christ never really took the human nature that we have; but, instead, He took a kind of sinless, angelic nature. It was impossible for Him to sin when tempted.
Our beliefs about the atonement and the human nature of Christ are solid core doctrines. To tamper with them is to change many other beliefs, including the truths about salvation, grace, obedience, and the law of God. As a result of those two compromises, our entire doctrinal foundation of obedience to God’s law was fractured. The Sanctuary message with Jesus as our High Priest was literally thrown into a trash can.
In order to better understand this, we need to recognize that the modern Protestant teachings about (1) a “finished atonement at the cross,” and (2) “Christ had an inherent, sinless nature which could not be tempted”—were devised in order to get rid of the need to obey the law of God—the Ten Commandments!
If the atonement was finished at Calvary, then we today were saved at the cross—2,000 years ago! All we now need do is accept Christ with our lips. Conduct counts for nothing. Just accept Him one time, and you are saved. This is the once-saved, always saved doctrine (not believed by our denomination).
If Christ did not actually take our human nature, then His sinless life is not an example we need to follow. This is because, according to this error, He could not sin, while we can. Therefore, we do not have to obey the Ten Commandments as He did. It is even claimed that if Christ had taken our nature—He could not have resisted sin!
It is said that human beings do not need to try to stop sinning, because they cannot stop sinning. God is not concerned that they stop sinning, so He has provided salvation at the cross to save them in sin.
(This terrible error was invented; and it is eagerly accepted by millions because it teaches that they can continue to sin and still go to heaven.)
This corruption of our basic truths about the atonement and the human nature of Christ changes the doctrine of obedience to the law of God, but this error also eliminates the three angels’ messages!
The three angels teach that we must worship the true God, that the judgment is taking place in these last days, that we must leave the churches which reject these truths, and that the mark of the beast will be placed on all who reject these truths. Also, as a capstone, the key salvation issue in these truths is clearly summarized:
“Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”—Revelation 14:12.
Each of these points in the messages of the three angels is keyed to the necessity of obedience to God’s law, by faith in the enabling grace of Christ, which is provided to us through the example of Christ’s obedient life, His self-sacrificing death, and His mediation in the Sanctuary above to provide us the strength needed to obey all that God commands in the Inspired Books.
Can you see how devastating that these changes are which Froom and Anderson agreed to? They gutted our entire system of beliefs. According to these changes, it is not even necessary to keep the Bible Sabbath!
Martin and Barnhouse clearly recognized that this momentous change was being made, otherwise they would not have so readily accepted us into fellowship with the Evangelicals.
Throughout this event, Martin’s plan was to actually change our doctrinal beliefs and to remake Adventism into the mold of Evangelicals!
Certain core beliefs had to be radically altered. And he attacked us like he was “holier than thou”. As if he held the key to the Kingdom. The key point to be eliminated was the means of salvation. In other words, how are men saved? The objective was to do away with obedience to the holy law of our Creator.
By calling the atonement finished at the cross, all reason for a Sanctuary in heaven and Christ’s ministry in it, culminating in an investigative judgment would be eliminated.
By declaring that Christ could not have taken our nature, lest He too sin, the concept would be instilled in Adventist thinking that it is impossible for us to stop sinning.
As a result, conduct no longer mattered. Live as you please; ignore standards. Regardless of how you speak and act, as long as you have professed faith in Christ and are a member of the church, you are going to be saved anyway.
It was decided that, in some cases, the very words used to describe our beliefs should be changed. The resultant confusion of terms would make it easier to modify our beliefs so they would mirror those of the other churches.
Walter R. Martin suggested that he present our leaders with a lengthy set of questions, and that our leaders should write a lengthy set of replies that would be agreeable to the modern Ecumenicals. Then the Adventists should PUBLISH those questions and their replies in a BOOK that would go to all the Adventists, and also be sent to Protestant libraries throughout the world. Martin's concern was obviously to CEMENT in those replies into DOCTRINAL FACT, thus roping all the Adventist believers into these new positions.
He, in turn, would publish his book exonerating Seventh-day Adventists as a great people that were fully Christian and fully orthodox and definitely not a cult.
“As the dialogue progressed, the Martin-Barnhouse group joined forces with the Adventists in formulating written questions and answers designed to bring out the actual teachings of Adventism with the greatest clarity. In some instances this required translation of the inbred vocabulary of the church into language common among theologians of other communions.”—Keld J. Reynolds, “Coping with Change,” Adventism in America, p. 186.
Froom and Anderson decided that they could accomplish their objective by primarily doing four things: (1) Rephrasing Adventist beliefs so Evangelicals would think they meant something different than what we actually believed.
(2) Quoting tiny snippets here and there from the Spirit of Prophecy.
(3) In Questions on Doctrine (QD), they make “official” statements which assumed that all Adventists believed that which almost none of them believed at that time.
(4) Repeatedly tell Adventist believers that nothing had really been changed.
Keep in mind, there is no internet at this time. No email. You could easily make changes and the majority would never really know what happened. The push back would hardly register on the radar.
In order to forestall a world-wide Adventist uprising against this strange new doctrinal book, at one of the meetings Martin asked that the questions and replies be sent, prior to publication, to a large number of Adventist leaders throughout the world field. Anderson and Froom sent the paperwork to 250 world leaders of Adventism, thus implicating them so that they would not dare to later raise a hue and cry against the book later.
But there was one man that Froom and Anderson privately agreed among themselves that should not receive a copy of those book chapters. That man was Elder M.L. Andreasen. Andreason stood head and shoulders above any other theologian in the denomination. Back in the late 1930s, it was he who had been selected by the General Conference to teach the first experimental class at, what was to become, the "Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary." In the 1940s he had written book after book on the Sanctuary Message, and he knew it better than any other man alive. Froom and Anderson knew that this solid Adventist, who stood solidly for the Spirit of Prophecy, was not going to accept the new light that the atonement had been finished in A.D. 31.
The end result after giving up our beliefs was the publishing of a book for the world to see called, Questions on Doctrine. This is and was the result of a few, very few men. Not the world wide church. And for the next year or more, if you weren’t reading Donald Barnhouse’s Eternity Magazine articles, you wouldn’t know these conferences even took place. They were done in a hush hush environment to the body of the church. Froom, Anderson, Read, Figuhr were working on their own. Without the Spirit of Prophecy. Without the guidance of God.
How Martin changed our other books —At their meetings with him during the Evangelical Conferences, Froom and Anderson were well-acquainted with Martin’s “rapid-fire” way of talking (Movement of Destiny, p. 478).
He had a memory like an encyclopedia, a voice like a drill sergeant, and an intensity comparable to a field commander in a war. As the present writer will explain in the Appendix, he heard Martin speak at the Takoma Park church and the man spoke like a machine gun.
Martin was not only involved in changing our beliefs, but he also coerced the General Conference into getting rid of—or rewriting—a sizeable number of our denominational books!
Many do not realize that Martin not only changed certain official doctrines, but also our books. An extreme rapid reader, he scanned through our published books at that time (including many reprints from our earlier writers). Martin not only demanded that many of our books must be expurgated by our published houses, but he started a trend that no more such books were ever again be printed—unless certain offending passages were eliminated prior to publication.
This information comes from an audio tape of an address given by Walter Martin on February 22, 1983 in Napa, California. His message was stunning. Here is a portion of what he said"
“Now we learned early on in our discussions that there was a division in Seventh-day Adventism that had to be recognized. There was a lunatic fringe that believed doctrines that appalled even the Adventists. And I came in one day with a suitcase, literally a suitcase, full of publications from Adventist publishing houses.
“Before I opened the suitcase, I said to my brothers on the committee, ‘Do you know that your denomination teaches these things?’ And I listed them, and they were appalled. I said ‘I have the mark of the beast,’ and they looked at each other and said, ‘Impossible!’ I said, ‘Well I have.’ I said, ‘I have been told that by three Adventist publishing houses.’ ‘No!’ [they answered].
“I said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘It gets even worse brothers. It says here in your [non-Spirit of Prophecy] publications that Jesus didn’t complete the atonement on the cross. It says here in your publications—and I went down the line on the subject. ‘Impossible!’ [they replied].
“I said, ‘All right, look in the suitcase.’ So I put the suitcase up on the table and spread out about two hundred documents. And they spent a couple of days going through the documents.
“When they came back, they said, ‘Who would ever have believed that all of this was in print?’ ‘We certainly have to do something about it immediately.’ I said, ‘Good! —But this is what is confusing the whole Evangelical world and this is what is confusing the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. You’ve got to speak with one voice on the great foundations of the gospel. You’ve got to speak with one voice so the sheep—the people— can hear it. And there are problems. You must face them.’ They were very responsive, and we entered into work in earnest.”—Walter Martin, “We Must Help the Adventists Solve Their Problem,” address at Napa, California, February 22, 1983.
You might be interested in knowing that the purpose of that talk, held in a public auditorium, was to attract students and faculty from nearby Pacific Union College, to hear his threat that, if we did not either re-issue Questions on Doctrine (which had only recently gone out of print), or publish a replacement with the same errors—he was going to publish a new book attacking us! He was the author of a book on cults called "Kingdom of the Cults". So this threat was always hanging over our heads. He knew that the Adventist students from the college (which filled the public auditorium) would send the message to the General Conference. Events which occurred in the later 1980s revealed that his warning reached receptive ears, which were quick to initiate plans to do his bidding.
The Introduction to QD, itself, mentioned Martin’s careful examination of all our books:
“He visited our denominational headquarters in Washington, D.C., and obtained firsthand information. Moreover, he came not for just a single visit, but in company with other scholars made a number of trips to the General Conference covering a period of almost two years. Hundreds of hours went into this research, and hundreds of books and pamphlets, both Adventist and non-Adventist, were examined. In addition, there were a large number of interviews. During these many months of study, the major aspects of Adventist teaching were carefully analyzed.”—QD, Introduction, pp. 7-8.
Froom and Anderson had a “desire to please” (Knight, QDAE [QD Annotated Edition], p. xxx).
It was a strong desire, for both were determined to gain the acceptance of Evangelicals. Martin and Barnhouse recognized their opportunity and they made full use of it. Scores of Adventist books were carefully changed, while many others were permitted to go out of print.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church emerged from the 1950s with a sharply defined, but still open-ended, body of belief. The dialogues had much to do with both the focus and the defense. Benefited by knowing where it stood with the Evangelicals, the Adventist Church went forward with efforts to purge from its older literature the fact or appearance of error.”—Keld J. Reynolds, “Coping with Change,” Adventism in America, p. 188.
Walter Martin (Eternity, October 1956) at one time noted that “less than 20 percent” of the Adventist books in print at that time were acceptable—the rest had to be changed or eliminated entirely!
Here are several outstanding books from earlier years, which you will never see in a denominational Adventist bookstore today:
James S. White, Bible Adventism
William A. Spicer, Our Day in the Light of Prophecy; Beacon Lights of Prophecy
Uriah Smith, The United States in Prophecy; Here and Hereafter; Looking Unto Jesus; Synopsis of the Present Truth
Stephen Haskell, The Cross and Its Shadow
James E. White, Past, Present, and Future
Many other authors could be included, such as Roy C. Cottrell, A.T. Jones, and Charles T. Everson.
Martin had demanded that different books must be printed. So what kind of doctrinal books are we presented with now? Books ridiculing Ellen White. Books making fun of “perfectionism.” Books praising Protestant churches. Books subtly denying the possibility that we can obey the law of God. Books teaching our youth how to be clowns and make movies. Books about our wonderful breakthroughs in “planting churches” which have drums, bands, and swaying singers. Books that compare those of us who keep God’s commandments to legalistic Pharisees.
On January 23, 1957, the General Conference issued a directive that the Review & Herald Publishing Association, just across the alleyway. They were to print a new book for the General Conference Ministerial Association called, “Questions on Doctrine.” As for authorship, it was to say "compiled by a committee appointed by the General Conference." No one had the nerve to put their name on it, although it was Froom that did most of the writing, with additional research by W. E. Read, and some supplementary material by R.A. Anderson (A.V. Olson and Richard Hammill were also on the Review editorial committee, with the above-named as "editorial consultants;" but none of these names appeared anywhere in the book or in advertisements for it.)
Elder M.L. Andreasen, the acknowledged expert on our Sanctuary Doctrine in the 1940s, led the attack against the book, Questions on Doctrine, when it was published late in 1957. But it cost Andreasen his life. Kicked out of the ministry, and with his denominational retirement withdrawn, he finally had to apply to a local California State Welfare Office in Southern California for money for himself and his wife to live on. Officials there inquired into his case and learning that the denomination had illegally stopped paying him the denominational sustentation he had worked for during his lifetime, they telephoned our leaders and said that they were glad to pay Andreasen's welfare bills, but they would also be instituting legal proceedings against the General Conference to recover them. Immediately Andreasen's sustentation payments were again sent to him from Takoma Park.
A few years later, faithful Elder Andreasen who had always been strong and healthy died of a bleeding ulcer. The battle had cost him his life. Perhaps before this is all over, more of God's people will die in the fight to defend those God-given standards and doctrines, but it is a good way to go.
In order to appease Walter Martin, his bully pulpit and our Ecumenical friends, our denomination stopped printing full-message old-time hard core doctrinal books by 1980.
And its interesting to note in that very same year of 1980 is when a very, very large change happened in our fundamental beliefs. The trinity doctrine was given to the church by a few men behind the curtain at the 1980 Dallas Conference. It was already a done deal. Not voted or vetting properly via the world wide body. The church had been dumbed down and now a prophesy of Ellen White made in 1903 came true.
“Our religion would be changed”.
In addition to changing our basic beliefs, and the books our church prints and sells, Walter Martin also changed our broadcasting identification. Previously, like all the other churches, we broadcast our radio and television broadcasts without necessarily identifying our denomination. But, with the idea in the back of his thinking that many of our teachings are poisonous and harmful to the audience, he demanded that we must let people know who we are.
“Later, Martin spoke to a meeting of Evangelicals that I attended. In his talk he told several things that the Adventists were going to do differently now because of his and Barnhouse’s meeting with them. One of these was that the VOP [Voice of Prophecy] and Faith for Today would now be identifying themselves publicly for what they were. When the question period came afterward, I stood up and asked, ‘Is Charles Fuller going to identify the fact that he is a Baptist on his radio pro- grams now?’ Martin didn’t answer it.”—Statement by a General Conference Worker, March 1983
Charles Fuller was a well-known religious radio speaker back in the mid-fifties. Walter R. Martin was also a Baptist. Yet he was not ordering Fuller to identify his broadcasts as Baptist!
In May of 1988, the new doctrinal book came off the presses of the Review. Entitled, “Seventh-day Adventists Believe...27”, this very-readable book had all of the same errors in it that Questions on Doctrine had, with the exception of a clear-cut error on the Nature of Christ. After being written, the book had been subjected to many revisions by both liberal and conservative leaders, and both sides of several views could be found in its pages. (For example, not only our conservative belief on salvation is given, but also the new theology view, and even instantaneous and multiple-past and present salvation!)
Over time, tithe money had been used to publish these books in error, “Questions on Doctrine” and “Seventh-Day Adventists Believe” so that tens of thousands of copies could be mailed free of charge to major Protestant churches and college libraries all over the world. Both books satisfied Walter Martin for a time and as he demanded, that doctrinal compromise was infiltrating the lives of Adventist people.
And this is why we are where we are today listening to such Sabbath School lessons in the 1st quarter of 2017 on the person-hood of the Holy Spirit. We are so far removed from the foundations of our faith that God led the early Pioneers that were inspired through deep and earnest Bible study, not Systematic Theology degrees from the Jesuit system of academia.
It is a tragedy that we think that our doctrinal beliefs must accord with those of modern Protestantism. What we do not realize is that their denominations were penetrated over a century ago by Jesuit agents. Ours could not be successfully penetrated until Ellen White's death and the rest of the "old-timers" had died off (Leroy Froom reference). Prior to that time, she would point out key men that should be expelled from positions of leadership in our ranks. What the Evangelical Conferences accomplished was to hasten the linkage of our teachings with those of modern apostate Protestantism.
"In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years? - Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, May 25, 1905, par. 28