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Shall We Desert The “Fathers”

Of Ancient Thought In Modern Dress?


compiled by Frank Klin
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though
ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ
Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” - (1 Corinthians 4:14-15 KJV)

This document was compiled for my brothers and sisters in the Seventh-Day Adventist
church with a goal to help us understand the “Fathers” of ancient thought and how they
survive today in modern dress. While one man is the catalyst of our focus, this
examination is not about him as a person, but about representations, associations,
principalities and powers. This is not intended to denigrate any persons past or present.
It was prepared with love and respect in the hopes of facilitating prayerful Scripture study
and soul searching. My commentary is minimal to allow others to speak for themselves.

Will the teachings of ancient thought, as you see presented here, turn our hearts and
minds to our Heavenly Father through our Saviour Jesus Christ? Are they based on
Scriptural truths that can help us in our daily walk and witness? Please pray for
discernment as we all must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

What do these pictures have in common?

1
To unravel the relationship of the pictures our journey begins on October 31, 2010. This
day found me in a private library doing research on Christian church history when I
copied something from a book originally published in 1907. The very next day someone
showed me an advertisement from the October 29, 2010 edition of the Coeur d'Alene
Press newspaper. I was amazed to discover that a name from the history book I read
was related to a name in the ad. Before we continue, a brief look at some history relating
to the two churches found in the book of Revelation is in order.

The Apostolic Church Became the Church in the Wilderness


“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the
wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time,
from the face of the serpent. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a
place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and
threescore days.” - (Revelation 12:14, 6 KJV)

“The Church in the Wilderness is the connecting link between apostolic


Christianity and God's people today… [T]here were Christian people in every country
during this long period of history who possessed churches, colleges, mission stations,
and theological schools; who followed closely and adhered steadfastly to the beliefs and
practices delivered by the apostles to the saints; and who possessed and preserved the
original Scriptures given to the church in the first century. These people constitute the
Church in the Wilderness.” (B.G. Wilkinson, “Truth Triumphant: The Church in the
Wilderness”, page 9)

“The Church in the Wilderness did not arrive at the truth by opposition to prevailing
dogmas and heresies. Its faith was not a faith newly received. The religious beliefs of its
members were an inheritance from the days of the apostles. To them men owe the
preservation of the Bible. Contrary to almost universal belief, the Church in the
Wilderness embraced the true missionary churches during the long night of the Dark
Ages. It held aloft the torch of education while the rest of the world about it was falling
into the darkness of ignorance and superstition. Its territory was not circumscribed.
On the contrary, its influence penetrated into all parts of the known world.” (Ibid page 11)

“The history of nominal Christianity is the record of bitter theological controversies,


and, at times, even of bloody encounters to achieve its aims; it is a record of incredible
activity to secure political power. The history of the Church in the Wilderness is a
stirring revelation of consecrated, evangelical labor in continent-wide leadership for
the salvation of the hopeless and benighted. It did not, as its rivals did, claim
intellectual logic in doctrine; it did not attempt to enforce its views by political
cruelty. It severed all territorial and family ties which might have held it to the world and
to the rapacious churches of empires, thus successfully preserving its scriptural
doctrines and its apostolic organization.” (Ibid)

“Previous to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Roman army, at which time
the apostles were dispersed, the gospel had gone to Samaria, Ethiopia, Syria, Asia
Minor, Greece, Italy, and India. The religion of Christ was enriched in all utterance. As
a bright and shining light, it evangelized Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Greek philosophers,
and Confucianists, laying strong foundations for the future.” (Ibid page 21)

2
“Christianity was to enter a new field through the leadership of Paul, strong herald of the
cross. In Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria, was to be found a new
center for the gospel. When Jerusalem, the original headquarters, was destroyed, the
leadership passed to Antioch, where it remained for some time.” (Ibid page 23)

”Long before the establishment of Christianity in Egypt, Alexandria was famous for its
various schools, among which was the `Museum', the greatest philosophical school in
the East containing in its library between two hundred thousand and half a million books
and manuscripts. It was a unique center of a brilliant intellectual life where Egyptian,
Greek and Jewish cultures were taught.” (Bishop Angaelos, “The Altar in the Midst of
Egypt: A Brief Introduction to the Coptic Orthodox Church”, page 25)

“The metaphorical way of (Bible) commentary, with its deep spiritual meanings,
began in Egypt. Origen composed over 6,000 commentaries of the Bible in addition to
his famous Hexapla. In this context, the historian Rees states, 'The most renowned
intellectual institution in the early Christian world was undoubtedly the Catachetical
School of Alexandria, and its primary concern was the study of the Bible. The
preoccupation of this school was to discover everywhere the spiritual sense underlying
the written word of the Scripture.” (Ibid)

“Around 190 AD the Catechetical School of Alexandria became an important institution


of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras,
Clement, Didymus, and the native Egyptian Origen, who was considered the father of
theology and who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical
studies… Coptic priests-to-be and other qualified men and women are taught on
subjects including Christian theology, history, Coptic language and art - including
chanting, music, iconography, and tapestry.” (“Catechetical School of Alexandria”, wikipedia)

“Antioch did not so early become a seat of Christian learning, but from e. 270 onward,
under Lucian, it came into rivalry with Alexandria as a center of theological thought and
influence. In the great christological controversies of the fourth and following centuries
Alexandria and Antioch were always antagonists, Alexandria representing a
mystical transcendentalism and promoting the allegorical interpretation of the
Scriptures; Antioch insisting on the grammatico-historical interpretation of the
Scriptures, and having no sympathy with mystical modes of thought. (Albert Henry
Newman, “A Manual of Church History”, Volume 1, page 297, 1899)

“The Bibles produced by the Syrian scribes presented the Syrian text of the school of
Antioch, and this text became the form which displaced all others in the Eastern
churches and is, indeed, the Textus Receptus (Received Text) from which our
Authorized Version (King James) is translated.” (de Lacy O'Lear, “The Syriac Church
and Fathers”, page 49)

“To the common people, the principal truths of Christianity were explained in their
purity and simplicity, and all subtilties were avoided: nor were weak and tender minds
overloaded with a multitude of precepts. But in their schools, and in their books, the
doctors who cultivated literature and philosophy, and especially those of Egypt,
deemed it elegant and exquisite, to subject divine wisdom to the scrutiny of reason,
or rather to bring under the precepts of their philosophy, and examine metaphysically,
the nature of the doctrines taught by Christ.” (Johann Lorenz Mosheim, “Institutes of
Ecclesiastical History”, page 216, 1832)

3
The Advertisement that started this examination.
Who is Athanasios Paul Thompson?
On the right hand column we let him speak from his Seven Holystones website.
http://sevenholystones.org/index.html

Fr. Athanasios Paul Thompson has been


“catholic” in belief since 1990 when he was
known as Pastor Rob. (This sentence has since
been removed. Our screen capture is on
November 3, 2010 at 9:29:57 pm. There is a
running clock on his website)

Athanasios Paul is an ecclesiastical name


given by the Orthodox Catholic Patriarch of
Alexandria at the time of his ordination
to the priesthood in 1994.

His birth name Robert remained in common use


throughout his early ministerial career from
1973 through 1991. He briefly served as a
license minister in the Adventist church in the
1970s before establishing an independent
ministry. He pastored and did evangelism from
1977-1990, prior to a four year formation and
preparation period, which included living in
Egypt and Northern Africa for a year … finally
being ordained the Apostolic priesthood.

Ordination in many Orthodox and Roman


Catholic orders may recommend and
sometimes requires a new name for the newly
ordained. The Coptic Patriarch selected the
two names Athanasios and Paul – After the
famous 4th century Bishop turned Patriarch, St
Athanasios The Great who defended the deity
of Christ against Arianism and after St Paul,
the Hermit the first solitary monk on record
from Thebes.

The former Pastor Robert Thompson has been


recognized by those two names ever since.
Taking an early retirement from active priestly
ministry he has crossed a cultural bridge and
recently identified with American Evangelicals
and Adventism in particular in a renewed
commitment to Bible oriented Gospel faith.

On October 30, 2010 he rededicated himself


through a symbolic act of immersion in the
waters of baptism. He still honors the
sacramental baptism at the hands of the highly
Athanasios Paul Thompson also has another ministry esteemed orthodox Patriarch. The re-baptismal
called “Ancient Truths Media.” “Over the years I was is just a symbol of [leaving the old and
to learn of amazing connections between ancient embracing the new (removed from current
monasticism in Russia, Greece and Egypt, secret website)] returning to a Biblically dependant
scrolls and twenty first century bible prophecy. It was rather than a tradition dependant Christian
through the writings of American Monk Seraphim faith.
Rose that I first heard of the Christian east and the
Orthodox faith. I thought Orthodox churches were Fr Athanasios Paul aka Robert Thompson will
more Catholic than the Pope but still Catholic. By still be known as Athanasios or simply Athans
God’s providence in our own times Orthodox but will no longer use the title Father
Christianity has been returning to the West which [though he has no disdain for those who do
departed from it some 900 years ago.” (removed from current website)].
(Spelling and grammar left intact)
http://ancienttruthmedia.com/index.html

4
What’s in a name? Who are Athanasios and Paul from history?
“Athanasios Paul is an ecclesiastical name given by the Orthodox Catholic
Patriarch of Alexandria at the time of Robert’s ordination to the priesthood in 1994.”

“Athanasius (Athanasios) was born at Alexandria about 297


A.D., and died in 373 A. D. As an archdeacon and the attendant
of the bishop Alexander, he took a prominent part against the
Arians at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. From that time
during his whole life he struggled for the doctrine of Christ's
essential divinity and eternal coexistence with the Father, and
his importance as a theologian is that he developed this idea.
Five times he was sent into exile and five times returned to
power by the swing of the pendulum-like church politics of the
Eastern emperors, but he lived to see his idea conquer, and it
is to-day an essential part of the Catholic creed.” (1907,
“Library of Original Sources, Vol. 4”, edited by Oliver Joseph Thatcher, page 71-72. &
“Source Book for Bible Students,” 1940 revised, Review & Herald Publishing Assoc.,
page 40) His feast day in the Orthodox Church is January 18.

At the First Council of Nicaea, Athanasius argued against Arius and his doctrine,
“But we say and believe, and have taught, and do teach, that the Son is not unbegotten,
nor in any way part of the unbegotten; and that He does not derive His subsistence from
any matter; but that by His own will and counsel He has subsisted before time, and
before ages, as perfect God, only begotten and unchangeable, and that before He was
begotten, or created, or purposed, or established, He was not. For He was not
unbegotten.” (Arius quoted in The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret, Book 1, Chapter
3, 'Letter of Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia' http://www.hullquist.com/Bible/bib-onegod.htm)

“Athanasius held that not only the Son of God was consubstantial with the Father,
but so also was the Holy Spirit, which held a great deal of influence in the
development of later doctrines regarding the trinity.” (Will Durant, “Caesar and
Christ”, 1972. & Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 2, 1997)

“Athanasius was bishop of Alexandria from 328 to 373. These were turbulent times in
the church with fierce arguments about what was the true catholic faith. (Benedict
Baker, “Vitae Patrum”) “During his exile in Treve and his flight to Rome in 339 AD, Pope
Athanasius was influential in the introduction of the monastic movement to
Roman religious life.” (Bishop Angaelos, “The Altar in the Midst of Egypt”, page 35)

“Paul of Thebes 228 A.D. – 341 A.D., commonly known as Saint


Paul the First Hermit or St Paul the Anchorite is regarded as the
first Christian hermit. Jerome relates the legendary meeting of
Anthony the Great and Paul, when the latter was aged 113. They
conversed with each other for one day and one night. When
Anthony next visited him, Paul was dead. Anthony clothed him in
a tunic which was a present from Athanasius of Alexandria and
buried him, with two lions helping to dig the grave. His feast day
is February 2 in the Oriental Orthodox Churches.” (“Paul of
Thebes”, wikipedia)

5
“Athanasios Paul Thompson has been ‘catholic’ in belief since 1990”
“The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the official name of the largest
Christian church in Egypt. It is a part of the Oriental Orthodox communion which
comprises six groups: Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Malankara Orthodox Syrian
Church of India and the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Oriental Orthodox believe that
they are the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic" Church of the ancient Christian
creeds.” (“Coptic Orthodox Church/List of Coptic Popes”, wikipedia)

According to tradition, “the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded by St Mark the
Evangelist and produced great scholars and defenders of truth as St Clement, St Cyril,
St Athanasius, as well as the source of monasticism and the anchoritic example
of asceticism with St Paul the first hermit, the Great St Anthony, St Shenouda the
Archimiandrite and St Bachomious the father of monastic communal living throughout
the world. The writings of these desert fathers continue to bless the world and our
Christian lives, whilst our ancient liturgical worship teaches us wonderful spiritual
truths that provide a sense of peace in today’s world. The tunes we sing and chant as
we worship come from the oldest school of music in existence, and are sourced from
the ancient Phaoroh’s, the ancient Greeks and also from the Jewish Temple.”
(http://4incorporealcreatures.wordpress.com/)

During his lifetime Athanasius became Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of
Alexandria. “The current head of the church and the See of Alexandria is the Pope of
Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy See of Saint Mark, is Pope Shenouda
lll.” (“Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria”, Wikipedia)

Pope Shenouda lll gave Robert Thompson the name Athanasios Paul
“His Holiness Pope Shenouda is well known for his deep commitment to Christian
unity. In an address he gave at an ecumenical forum in Cairo in 1974, His Holiness
declared that: "The whole Christian world is anxious to see the Church unite. Christian
people, being fed up with divisions and dispersion, are pushing their Church leaders to
do something about Church unity and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is inspiring us."
(“Shenouda III of Alexandria”, orthodoxwiki)

“In June 1989, His Holiness opened the conference of the International Commission for
Inter-Orthodox theological Dialogue. A part of the agreed statement said: "When we
speak of the one composite (synthetos) hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ, we do not
say that in Him a divine hypostasis and a human hypostasis came together. It is that the
one eternal hypostasis of the Second Person of the
Trinity has assumed our created human nature in
that act of uniting it with His own uncreated divine
nature, to form an inseparably and unconfusedly
united real divine-human being, the natures being
distinguished from each other contemplation (theoria)
only....Great indeed is the wonderful mystery of the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one True God, one ousia
in three hypostaseis or three prosopa. Blessed be the
Name of the Lord our God, for ever and ever.” (Ibid)

6
The Pope of One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church meets another Pope
“His Holiness Pope Shenouda told Pope John Paul II in
their February 2000 meeting “I hope that all efforts for
Christian unity may go forward through your help.”
(http://www.amcoptic.com/Vita/h_h_pope_shenouda_29t
h_monir_daood.htm)

“During Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III's visit to


Rome from May 4 to May 10, 1973, Pope Paul VI gave
the Coptic Patriarch a relic of Athanasius.”
(“International Commission on Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and
Oriental Orthodox Churches”, 2004)

“In his homily on that occasion, His Holiness Pope Paul VI mentioned the following:
“How propitious is today’s liturgical reflection, celebrating as it does the glorious
memory, as we have said of Saint Athanasius, the intrepid and undaunted defender of
faith! Saint Athanasius is a Father and Doctor of the universal church and thus
merits our common commemoration … “The Word of God”, declares Saint Athanasius,
“came himself, so that, being the Image of the Father, he might create man anew in the
image of God” (cf. De Incarnatione, PG.) (Ibid)

Former Adventist Pastor Robert Thompson


went through a “four year Formation
Formation and Preparation period”
before being ordained in the Apostolic priesthood as Father Athanasios Paul
Christian Monasticism was born in Egypt and was instrumental in the formation of the
Coptic Orthodox Church character of submission, simplicity and humility, thanks to the
teachings and writings of the Great Fathers of Egypt's Deserts. All Christian
monasticism stems, either directly or indirectly, from the Egyptian example. (“Coptic
Orthodox Church” & “Desert Fathers”, wikipedia)

Many individuals who spent part of their lives in the Egyptian desert went on to become
important figures in the Church and society of the fourth and fifth century, among them
Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, John Cassian, and Augustine of
Hippo. Through the work of these last two, the spirituality of the desert fathers,
emphasizing an ascent to God through periods of purgation and illumination that led
to unity with the Divine, deeply affected the spirituality of the Western Church and the
Eastern Church. For this reason, the writings and spirituality of the desert fathers are still
of interest to many people today. (Ibid)

“The contemplative movement traces its roots back to these monks. They were the
ones who first promoted the mantra as a prayer tool. The desert fathers believed as
long as the desire for God was sincere--anything could be utilized to reach God. If a
method worked for the Hindus to reach their gods, then Christian mantras could be
used to reach Jesus.” (Ray Yungen, “A Time of Departing”)

7
“St. Athanasius of Alexandria wrote, ‘God became man so that man might become
god’ (On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B). His statement is an apt description of
theosis. Theosis ("deification," "divinization") is the process of a worshiper becoming free
of hamartía ("missing the mark"), being united with God, beginning in this life and later
consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Theosis is salvation.
Theosis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or
Nature of the all-Holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from
the state of unholiness for participation in the Life of the Trinity — which is everlasting.”
(“Theosis”, wikipedia & orthodoxwiki)

“Through theoria, the contemplation of the triune God, human beings come to know
and experience what it means to be fully human (the created image of God); through
their communion with Jesus Christ, God shares Himself with the human race, in order to
conform them to all that He is in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. As God
became human, in all ways except sin, He will also make humans god (Holy or saintly),
in all ways except his divine essence (uncaused or uncreatedness).” (“Theosis”, wikipedia)

“For many fathers, theosis goes beyond simply restoring people to their state before
the Fall of Adam and Eve, teaching that because Christ united the human and divine
natures in Jesus' person, it is now possible for someone to experience closer
fellowship with God than Adam and Eve initially experienced in the Garden of
Eden, and that people can become more like God than Adam and Eve were at that time.
Some Orthodox theologians go so far as to say that Jesus would have become incarnate
for this reason alone, even if Adam and Eve had never sinned.” (Vladimir Lossky, “The
Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church”, 1957)

“The journey towards theosis includes many forms of


praxis (practice). Living in the community of the church
and partaking regularly of the sacraments, and
especially the Eucharist, is taken for granted. Also
important is cultivating "prayer of the heart", and prayer
that never ceases, as Paul exhorts the Thessalonians.
This unceasing prayer of the heart is a dominant
theme in the writings of the (Desert) Fathers.”
(“Theosis”, orthodoxwiki)

“The Coptic Church has seasons of fasting matched by no other Christian Church in
their length, depth and rate of practice by the faithful. Out of the 365 days of the year,
Copts fast for over 210 days… All fasting seasons are seen as periods of preparation,
preceding a particular feast; for example: Lent precedes the feast of the Resurrection
(Easter), Advent precedes Christmas, and so on.” (Bishop Angaelos, “The Altar in the
Midst of Egypt: A Brief Introduction to the Coptic Orthodox Church”, page 18)

“Fasting has been used by almost every major religion as a tool to help purify one’s
desires and to increase the experience of contentment. The purpose is to give your
mind and body a break from something that you typically feel a need for in order to
engage in a more intense opportunity for spiritual activities, for spiritual focus. Fasting
helps to restore the belief that we, not our appetites, are in control of our lives.”
(“How Can I Be More Compassionate and Centered?”, iFollowdiscipleship.org,
Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

8
Which “spiritual
“spiritual disciplines” do you follow regularly?
Which do you need to add to your life?
Questions posed at ifollowdiscipleship.org for Seventh-Day Adventists

“The Judeo-Christian tradition of contemplation and prayer dates back to the earliest
Christian church and beyond. The exercise of contemplation in prayer is ancient, and
shows up in every major religion in some form. Buddhists are deeply contemplative,
disciplined observers of their own minds, dedicated to understanding, accepting and
overcoming suffering. Hindu mystics have contemplated the many attributes of God
and developed a dynamic system of worship... Sufis, who make up the mystical arm of
Islam, have traditions of deep, wild mystical prayer expressed in dance and poetry.”
(http://contemplativechristian.com/contemplative-prayer/history/)

“In the Christian tradition, the earliest forms of contemplative prayer are attributed to
ascetic monks living in the desert in the first few centuries following Christ’s death and
resurrection. Commonly referred to as the “desert fathers”, these monks lived simple
lives in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria. This group included and influenced
church fathers like St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great in the West, and Pseudo-
Dionysius and the Hesychasts in the East.” (Ibid)

“The mystical tradition was reinvigorated again in the Middle Ages, through St. Bernard
of Clarivaux, St. Hildegard, Meister Eckhart, Ruysbroek, Tauler and others. Thomas
A’Kempis, writer of Imitation of Christ, later followed, as well as Julian of Norwich, and
the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing. It continued in the post-Reformation
church with St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St.
Grancis de Sales. Ignatius of Loyola’s order of Jesuits began and continued in the
contemplative tradition, and there were many others who contributed.” (Ibid)

“In the modern church, Trappist monk Thomas Merton certainly renewed interest in
contemplation, and the Jesuit and Carmelite orders have followed suit… The parallel
efforts of Thomas Keating and John Main have brought Centering Prayer and
Christian Meditation, respectively, into the mainstream. And, I can’t talk about
contemplation without mentioning Richard Rohr, director of the Center for Action and
Contemplation, whose writing has deeply touched me on my journey.” (Ibid)

“The Protestant Church can’t boast of this kind of historical tradition, as its
concern for the Bible as sole truth has limited its receptivity. However, its
contemplative practices have no doubt existed along the way, and are well established
today. With the exception of some evangelical or especially conservative churches,
there are deliberate efforts to encourage contemplative prayer in Protestant
congregations throughout the United States.” (Ibid)

“Here are important terms you need to understand: contemplative prayer, centering
prayer, breath prayer, prayer labyrinth, taize, Christian yoga, spiritual disciplines &
spiritual formation (lectio divina), the silence/stillness, sacred spaces,
GODencounters and Jesus prayer, prayer stations, prayer rooms, etc. This “new
spirituality” has many more names, too many to even list.”
(http://reclaimsda.org/reclaimsda/Welcome.html)

9
“I shall now attempt to explain how these simple exercises can be taken to be
contemplation in the strict Christian sense of the word. If the explanation does not
satisfy you or only creates problems for you, then I suggest that you put aside all I say
about this matter and practice these awareness exercises merely as a means of
*disposing yourself for prayer and contemplation, or just ignore these exercises
altogether and move on to others…that are more to your taste.” (Anthony de Mello,
“Sadhana: A Way To God: Christian Exercises in Eastern Form”, (Institute of Jesuit
Resources, 1978), page 28) *Disposing-- set in readiness, to come to terms, to transfer to
the control of another.

“Richard Foster’s 1978 best-seller Celebration of Discipline, and Dallas Willard’s 1988
Spirit of the Disciplines, re-introduced evangelicals to classic spiritual disciplines such as
solitude, silence, and fasting, and offered a more contemplative approach to Scripture
and prayer. (Keri Wyatt Kent, “Rediscovering Spiritual Formation”, WILLOW Magazine,
Issue 4, 2007, http://www.willowcreek.com/wcanews/story.asp?id=WN02I42007)

“Such spiritual disciplines had been a part of the Catholic tradition for a long time, although
they were often practiced primarily within the walls of the monastic community. Foster and
Willard brought them to the evangelical community, although it took a while for mainline
and evangelical churches to embrace them.” (Ibid)

“Spiritual formation is not a new idea or concept, and "a lot of Protestants are in the same
boat--we are rediscovering it," says Dr. Jon Dybdahl….And, he adds, the Adventist Church
has some work to do. For many years, his Spiritual Formation at Andrews Seminary
has surprised, shocked and blessed pastor-students who thought they knew everything there
is to know about spiritual growth and discipline. His fresh approach to spiritual formation
for Adventist leaders will help re-ignite the fire within you for ministry.” (Empower 2005
Conference info)

Jon Dybdahl wrote the 2007 contemplative book “The Hunger: Satisfying the Longing of Your
Soul.” You can read a review by Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor John Witcombe here:
http://amazingdiscoveries.org/ad-newsletter-archive-summer-2009-Hunger.html

Dr. Derek Morris, senior pastor of the Forest Lake SDA Church, adjunct professor at
Andrews University Theological Seminary and editor of Ministry Magazine states, “For much
of the Christian era the practice of spiritual direction was
confined to Catholicism, particularly monasticism and the
Society of Jesus [the Jesuits]. In recent years, there has been a
revival of interest in spiritual direction as a resource for
spiritual formation among both Catholics and Protestants. A
leading Protestant advocate of spiritual formation is Tilden
Edwards, director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in
Washington, D.C. As I began my own prayer search for a spiritual friend, I came across the
significant work by Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction.
I strongly recommend this book as a valuable resource.” (Derek Morris, Shalem Institute
dissertation, p. 7)

“In the wider ecumenism of the Spirit being opened for us today, we need to humbly accept
the learnings of particular Eastern religions….What makes a particular practice Christian
is not its source, but its intent. If our intent in assuming a particular bodily practice is to
deepen our awareness in Christ, then it is Christian…this is important to remember in the
face of those Christians who would try to impoverish our spiritual resources by too narrowly
defining them. If we view the human family as one in God’s spirit, then this historical cross-

10
fertilization is not surprising . . . selective attention to Eastern spiritual practices can be
of great assistance to a fully embodied Christian life.” (Tilden Edwards, “Living in the
Presence,” Acknowledgement page)

"For the next five hours you are to enjoy EPC (acronym for Extended Personal
Communication with God.) Keep the time just for you and God. Find a place where you
will be in solitude-your room, a rock along some trail, your car, wherever you choose;
and observe silence-no professional chats with the other pastors. Don't break the
silence until at least 3:00 o'clock. You can fast if you want, or pick up a sack lunch. You
may want to journal, read Scripture or some devotional book, enjoy nature, or simply
meditate as ways to be in the presence of God. Go in peace and grace." (Adventist
Pastor Dr. Merle Whitney, “A Journey With God and Colleagues in Solitude, Support and
Sharing”, Adventist Today magazine, September 1, 2002)

“The Task Force to Reach the Next Generation was set up by the administrators of the
Southeastern California Conference (of Seventh-Day Adventists)…to reach and retain
youth and young adults… As additional groups of pastors were formed, the "official"
name became The Journey to Reach the Next Generations…, and most participants and
leaders now refer to the process simply as "The Journey." (Ibid)

“Paul Jensen, director of The Leadership Institute, and an


ordained Adventist minister, was commissioned to direct and
facilitate the task force. He was joined by his Institute colleagues
Wayne Anderson, Jon Byron, and Chuck Miller. They have
continued the process along with other Institute staff and resource
persons who have been added. (Ibid)

“Paul Jensen is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of


Leadership and Christian Formation and Spirituality in Contemporary Culture at
Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ
and pioneered campus ministries and trained campus chaplains for the Adventist
Church.” (“Leadership Institute” website, http://www.tli.cc/)

Staff includes Jon Ciccarelli who “serves as senior pastor at the Calimesa Seventh-
Day Adventist Church. Jon is a singer/songwriter and speaks on the subjects of
spiritual formation/life transformation, worship, mentoring, and leadership. With his
wife, Lisa, Jon leads Sacred Hearts, a retreat ministry for married couples,
deepening their intimacy with one another through deepened intimacy with God.” (Ibid)

“On the Journey, we will experience two Spirit-led journeys (Inner & Outer): An Inner
Journey- At the heart of this process is spiritual formation–the central priority of
discipleship and the foundational base from which Christian leaders learn to serve the
church and the world with love and power… Attention will be given to nourishing the
inner life of participants through the daily exercise of spiritual disciplines and in extended
times alone with God for silence, solitude, prayer, confession, worship, celebration,
study, praying the hours, meditation, reflection, examen, lectio divina, journaling, spiritual
reading, etc… Target Audience- Pastors, associates, church planters, youth pastors,
parachurch staff, missional leaders, teachers, chaplains and marketplace leaders. (Ibid,
2010-11 “The Journey” brochure, http://www.tli.cc/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/gen19introduction.pdf)

11
Retired Seventh-Day Adventist pastor W. Clarence Schilt specializes in Spiritual
Formation and integrated what he learned during “The Journey” into his 2009 book “A
Life To Die For.” His endorsement of the program was included in a previous “Journey”
brochure. Read an eye opening dialogue between Brother Schilt and pastor John
Witcombe here: http://spiritualformationsda.wordpress.com/

An October 2009 Andrews University newsletter, put out by Kenley D. Hall (Andrews
DMin Project Coach) explains that "Discipleship & Spiritual Formation" and "Youth
and Young Adult Ministry" began in February 2010. Part of the curriculum involves a
retreat to “Still Waters.”

“Do you need time and space to allow Love to free you? Do you long to "recollect a
scattered life and focus on the One who calls and seeks and invites us to communion"?
Do you desire a deeper knowing of who you are and who you are called to be in this
world? Still Waters is a retreat house that values the timeless need for silence,
solitude, and spiritual companionship in order to better hear God's voice and,
therefore, be transformed by Him.” (http://www.stillwaters.org/)

Launched in the Fall of 2010, “the new discipleship training resource, called iFollow,
has been developed specifically for Adventist congregations, and it responds to
both a serious and growing demand for practical, reliable discipleship training.” (Dan
Day, Director of the NAD Church Resource Center And Executive Editor,
iFollowdiscipleship.org)

“Richard Foster, a contemporary author, has written perhaps the


most widely used book on the topic of spiritual disciplines as they
relate to deepening the spiritual life, Celebration of Discipline: The
Path to Spiritual Growth. In this book he groups spiritual disciplines
into three categories: the inward disciplines (meditation, prayer,
fasting, study), the outward disciplines (simplicity, solitude, submission, service), and
the corporate disciplines (confession, worship, guidance, celebration).” (“How Can I Be
More Compassionate and Centered?”, iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship Resource for
Seventh-Day Adventists)

“These three categories he refers to as three “movements of the Spirit.” In other


words, the disciplines within each movement are tools that provide opportunity for us to
experience the divine Spirit flowing with greater ease and power through our lives.
These spiritual tools have been used by people to grow bigger hearts, to develop
greater compassion in us and a deeper centeredness in the midst of life’s commotion
and busyness. When we are willing to make these kinds of disciplines a part of our
daily lives, when we are willing to shape the rhythm of our lives around these spiritual
activities, we are empowered to shed our superficial habits and “bring the abundance of
God into our lives.” (Ibid)

“The Nouwen Society continues the legacy of Henri Nouwen, one of the most widely
respected writers on spiritual topics. Its purpose is “to foster the spirituality of solitude,
community and compassion that was embodied in the life and teaching of
Nouwen.” His materials provide many ways to encounter and experience God.
Accessible at: www.henrinouwen.org/ (“Ways To Encounter God”,
iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

12
"The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in
the inner sanctuary of each human being." (Henri Nouwen, “Here and Now”, page 22)

"Today I personally believe that while Jesus


came to open the door to God's house, all
human beings can walk through that door,
whether they know about Jesus or not.
Today I see it as my call to help every person
claim his or her own way to God." (Henri
Nouwen, “Sabbatical Journey”, page 51, 1998)

“The quiet repetition of a single word can


help us to descend with the mind into the
heart. This repetition has nothing to do with
magic. It is not meant to throw a spell on God or force him into hearing us. On the contrary, a
word or sentence repeated frequently can help us concentrate, to move to the center, to
create an inner stillness and thus to listen to the voice of God.” (Henri Nouwen, “The Way
of the Heart”, page 80-81)

“Prayer is "soul work" because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one and
where God is with us in the most intimate way.” (Henri Nouwen, “Bread for the Journey”,
page 15)

“Leonard Sweet is a United Methodist Minister and professor of evangelism at Drew


University seminar in New Jersey. He is the author of many books on dealing with the
diversity that exists in contemporary society. He blogs and announces new books, etc.
at: www.leonardsweet.com (“A Church That Values People”, iFollowdiscipleship.org,
Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

“The interest in shrines, candles, incense, and mantras is an expression of our need
to take these rituals back and make them a part of our templed dailiness. In fact, the
world is doing better than the church in wooing outsiders with templing experiences,
providing spiritual activities (not necessarily good ones) that can be fitted into everyday
life.” (Leonard Sweet, “SoulSalsa”)

“Love unites all, whether created or uncreated. The heart of


God, the heart of all creation, and our own hearts become one in
love. That's what all the great mystics have been trying to tell
us through the ages. Benedict, Francis, Hildegard of Bingen,
Hadewijch of Brabant, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of
the Cross, Dag Hammarskjeld, Thomas Merton, and many
others, all in their own ways and their own languages, have
witnessed to the unifying power of the divine love. All of them,
however, spoke with a knowledge that came to them not
through intellectual arguments but through contemplative prayer.” (Henri Nouwen,
“Bread for the Journey”, page 16)

“Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person
to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this
personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the
consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, “The
Practice of Spiritual Direction”, ignatianspirituality.com)

13
“Guidelines for Those Who Give the Spiritual Exercises-- Those who would give the
Exercises to others will…be a fully initiated Roman Catholic in good standing for at least
three years or a similarly invested member of another Christian denomination who is
respectful of, and comfortable with, Roman Catholicism…a basic understanding of
Theology (especially Theology of the Trinity, of Christ, of Salvation, of morality, and of the
Church). http://www.jrh-cleveland.org/Guidelines%20for%20the%20Sp%20Ex_Oct%2012%202009.pdf

“Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the
scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear
of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics
for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting
on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the
aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine… The current resurgence
of Lectio Divina owes much to the reformations of Vatican II and the revival of the
contemplative dimension of Christianity.” (contemplativeoutreach.org)

“Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of praying and reading the Bible to encounter
God. This web site explains the simple process: www.valyermo.com/ld-art.html (Ways To
Encounter God, iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)
“Renovare (founded by Richard Foster) is a Christian parachurch organization that provides
resources related to spiritual disciplines: www.renovare.org (“Meditation”,
iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship for Seventh-Day Adventists)

“Jesuits are called to be contemplatives: seeing God in all. The Spirituality of the
Exercises enables us to perceive the Divine at the heart of the secular. Sensitivity to the
unfolding of the Kingdom of God in all realms of life is the dynamics of Jesuit spirituality.
This means a spiritual alertness to the grace and demands of the Spirit of God, a
discernment that makes us listen to what the Spirit is telling us in the concrete life situation.”
(“Jesuit Community, Leadership and Spirituality Today: S. Asian Perspective”)
http://www.ranjesu.org/getResources.php?newsid=7

“Ignatian (Jesuit) contemplation makes use of guided imagery and active imagination
within a selected gospel text. It is advisable to choose an action filled passage, so that it
brings one’s personal desires, inclinations, emotions, problems, shadows, etc. into focus in
prayer, without planning to air these. Choose an action filled passage from the gospel —
one that has a lot of colour and movement. Avoid discourses, teachings and parables, for
these will lead you to moralise or intellectualise. (Savio Rodrigues SJ, “Pray: How”)
http://www.goajesuits.in/prayer/02ignatiancontemplation.htm

“Read the passage. Stop for about five seconds for the scene to settle in your mind. Read
it once again so as to take in some of the details you may have overlooked. Stop and let it
sink in. Read it once or twice more in case you feel you need to do so. Do not struggle to
remember details or words or passages. Be fully satisfied with whatever you remember.
Remembering the passage or its details is of no importance at all.” (Ibid)

“Place yourself in the presence of God. Centre yourself using any of the centering
methods you feel suits you best. Centering is a help to create an empty mind, a mind
free of worries and distractions. Have no fixed agenda or definite graces, but ask with an
open mind and heart.” (Ibid)

14
“Now close the Bible and let yourself sink into the scene you have created for yourself
through the reading of the passage. Let your self get lost in the scene and identify yourself
with some person or something in the scene. Try and re-live the actual situation. You may
soon find your self in active conversation, of helping or sharing or just being with
someone in the scene. Be passive, but alert. Let the others in the scene control the
events, you just go along, but always being a part of that reality that is re-enfolding.” (Ibid)

“Do not try to find parallels in the scriptures, or in your personal life. Avoid moralising
like saying, “It should be like this”, “I must”, “We must”, “We could”, “It is better”, etc. No
judgements or comparisons are to be made. When you get to your reflection later on, you will
find yourself automatically living what you experienced in your contemplation.” (Ibid)

“Here’s an interesting idea next time you have the remote control in your hand. If you’re
watching a movie and you come to a scene that stimulates in your heart the qualities you
desire, rewind that scene and play it again. Watch it carefully. Allow yourself to feel the
desire, longing, passion for the divine qualities being manifested. Rewind it again and
play it. Watch it. Feel it. Reflect on it. Talk about it with your partner or friend watching
with you. Consider doing this throughout the whole movie, spending time focusing on the
divine qualities being shown.” (“How Can I Be More Compassionate and Centered?”,
iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

[T]he foundation for The Journey was the spiritual formation of the pastors involved in
the process. Though we who began The Journey…did not know this was a key element
in what we were getting into, it was welcomed and quickly accepted. Soon spiritual
formation as part of The Journey process became an important aspect of recruiting
subsequent groups… The Journey is truly a life-saving journey to God, and as a pastor on
this journey I have the privilege of inviting my parishioners to join me. They in turn invite
others. I wish you, too, could come along. (Adventist Pastor Dr. Merle Whitney, “A Journey With God
and Colleagues in Solitude, Support and Sharing”, Adventist Today magazine, September 1, 2002)

“The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and
darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the
Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language
employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, “Ye
know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God.” [Mark 12:24.] The language of the Bible
should be explained according to its obvious meaning,unless a symbol or figure is employed.
Christ has given the promise, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.”
[John 7:17.] If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers
to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make
angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands
who are now wandering in error.” (Ellen G. White, “Great Controversy”, 1888 edition page 598 par. 3)

“Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or


methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism
such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the
emerging church movement in which they are promoted.”
(Elder Ted N.C. Wilson, newly elected President of the
Seventh-Day Adventist church, keynote sermon at the Atlanta
GC 2010 Session)

Why would Elder Wilson ask us to stay away from spiritual


disciplines or formation? Are they truly non-biblical as he states? We pray that what you
have read so far will have given you pause for thought. If you are unsure, keep reading.

15
Doug Batchelor knew “Robert Thompson”
(centerered photograph below featuring Doug and Robert is dated 1980)
Doug now acknowledges Robert as “Athanasios”
“Athanasios”
because they both support the central doctrine of “Universal” faith.
“Excerpt from a congratulatory E-mail greeting - Evangelist, Doug Batchelor.
Hi Athanasios, Wow … Sounds like you have had quite a journey, I’m so happy to hear the Lord
is still on your heels … I’m very thankful you have made your decision to rejoin the Adventist
church family, that is wonder-ful! Give me a call the next time you’re through and we can visit
over a burrito - warm regards Doug” (http://sevenholystones.org/untitled1.html)

“Reginald Heber (1783-1826) was a Bishop in the Church of England. He wrote the hymn Holy,
Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty in 1826 for Trinity Sunday celebration.” (Athanasios Paul
website sevenholystones.org)

“The tune (of Holy, Holy, Holy) is named Nicea in memory of the famous council of 300 bishops
which convened there in A.D. 325. They had met to decide the controversy concerning the
relationship to Christ and the Holy Spirit to the Godhead. Arius denied the divinity of Jesus, but
then the comparatively unknown Athanasius defended the doctrine of the Trinity with such
success that it has been an article of faith ever since. (Edward E. White, “Singing With Understanding”, A
Commentary On Each Hymn in the Official Hymn-Book of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1968)

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!


Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,


Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,


Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!


God in three persons, blessed Trinity! All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth,
2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
“What About The Trinity?” God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!
by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor http://sevenholystones.org/index.html

“God over all who rules eternity” replaced “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity”
in all Seventh-Day Adventist hymnals until the mystery of the trinity was
“officially” voted in as a Fundamental Belief of the church in 1980.

16
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with GOD, and the Word was GOD.
The same was in the beginning with GOD. All things were made by him; and without him
was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3 (Emphasis in original) (2007
Amazing Facts cartoon book “What About The Trinity?” by Jim Pinkoski with Doug
Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, page 25)

“Jesus was “The Word” – But notice that there is a Trinity of God mentioned here! A
Trinity ! “GOD,” “GOD,” and “GOD!” (Emphasis in original) (Ibid)

“Jesus had to lower himself into human flesh to be able to die for our sins – but “Eternal”
Beings cannot die, especially a GOD who pre-existed the creation of the universe ! So
how did GOD arrange it so that GOD could die for us? One of Him decided to lower
Himself into human flesh, into a body that could die.” (Emphasis in original) (Ibid, page 46)

“Pastor Doug, I wonder if anyone has considered what would happen if GOD was really
only ONE BEING, and it had to be GOD THE FATHER who would have come to earth
and DIE for lost humanity? What are your thoughts on this? (Emphasis in original) (Ibid, page 47)

“Hmmmmm – First of all, God the Father couldn’t do it in His present form, His glory
would KILL US ALL . . . So let’s imagine GOD THE FATHER somehow managed to
work that out, so He comes to earth and “Lets” people PUT HIM ON A CROSS and
KILL HIM – Ah, then we would have a really BIG problem on our hands !”(EIO) (Ibid, page 47)

“THIS ONE GOD SUSTAINS THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE ! IF HE WERE TO “DIE” FOR
EVEN ONE MOMENT, THE ENTIRE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE
WOULD COME APART AND CEASE TO EXIST ! . . .” (Emphasis in original) (Ibid, page 47)

“YOU’RE RIGHT ! And that is undoubtably (spelling in original) “Why” God decided that
He would need to be 3 SEPARATE BEINGS ! God has always known the END from
the BEGINNING – And because of His unlimited LOVE, He decided to do it by being a
TRINITY !” (Emphasis in original) (Ibid, page 47)

“When Jesus hung on the cross, suffering for our sins, every fiber of His being was torn
as the eternal relationship with His Father and Spirit was ripped apart. In agony He cried
out, “My God [for the Father], my God [for the Spirit], why hast thou forsaken me?”
(Matthew 27:46). If there had been only one person in the Godhead, there would not
have been this excruciating pain of separation to wring the life out of the heart of Jesus.”
(Doug Batchelor, “The Trinity”, 2003)

“OK, here’s where it gets really COSMIC and a bit “Spacey” – BECAUSE NOBODY
CAN SEE THE HOLY SPIRIT! The Holy Spirit is a Self-Aware member of the ONE
TRUE GODHEAD ! The Holy Spirit is able to see things within us on a level that no
scientist can measure. There are LOTS of things all around us that we CANNOT SEE –
So what’s the problem with accepting an “Invisible” God? The “Invisible” things in the
Universe are probably Not “Invisible” to the Invisible Person of the Godhead !”
(Emphasis in original) ((2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book “What About The Trinity?” by
Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and Pastor Anderson, pages 29, 32, 33)

“Back in the 4th century the people wrestled with the “3 In 1” idea because it defied all
the mathematical categories that had been in use since the days of ARISTOTLE.”
(Emphasis in original) (Ibid, page 44) On the same page the Nicene Creed is highlighted.

17
“The Ecumenical Council of Nicea AD 325 was
convened by Constantine in the face of the Arian
controversy. Arius, a Libyan preacher, had declared that
although Jesus Christ was divine, "there was when he
was not.” This made Jesus less than the Father and
contradicted the doctrine of the Trinity. The formulation
of the Symbol of Faith…explicitly affirms the divinity of
Jesus, applying to him the term "God". The 381 A.D.
version speaks of the Holy Spirit as worshipped and glorified with the Father and the
Son.” (“Nicene Creed” & “Coptic Orthodox Church”, wikipedia)

“While the Adventist Church is Trinitarian and agrees with the basic intention of the
Nicene Creed, its theologians also hesitate to accept and use some of its phrases. In this
case, Adventist philosophers have, for instance, been sceptical towards the notion of
divine timelessness which reflects Greek philosophy rather than biblical revelation.”
(http://spd.adventistconnect.org/fs-theological-questions)

Another result of the Council of Nicea was an agreement on when to celebrate Easter,
which was the most important feast of the ecclesiastical or liturgical calendar. The Romish
church adapted the spring pagan festival honouring the mother goddess of fertility, and
resurrection of her son, as their own “Resurrection Sunday” feast to counteract the Jews
and “their” Passover even though the apostolic church after Jesus’ ressurection had
continued to observe it and other feasts of the Lord according to Scripture.

History reveals the church in the wilderness continued to keep the seventh day Sabbath
along with the feasts as had the apostolic church before them. Those who were antagonistic
towards the apostolic church proclaimed it was the “Jews” who had crucified Christ and
wanted to distance themselves from any association. “Let us then have nothing in
common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a
different way.” (Eusebius, “Life of Constantine”)

“At the Council…all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be
celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal
equinox. [1]” At the same time it was decided that the vernal equinox would be March 21
in the Julian calendar. ([1] “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Imprimatur Potest + Joseph
Cardinal Ratzinger (1995) p. 332)

“The English term (Easter), according to the Venerable Bede, relates to Estre, a Teutonic
goddess of the rising light of day and spring…” (“Catholic Encyclopedia”)

According to wikipedia, “The Biblical law regarding Passover and Unleavened Bread is said
to be a ‘perpetual ordinance’, but what it means to observe Biblical law in Christianity today
is disputed.” What do the Scriptures say?

“How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?
By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore
they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts
commanded by the same Church. (Rev. Henry Tuberville D.D., “Douay Catechism of 1649”, p.58)

“How prove you that? Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the Church's power
to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin; and by not keeping the rest by her
commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power.” (Ibid)

18
Athanasios Paul states he “recently identified with
American Evangelicals and Adventism in particular”
“[E]vangelicalism (is) an organic group of movements and religious tradition.
Within this context “evangelical” denotes a style as much as a set of beliefs. As a result,
groups as disparate as black Baptists and Dutch Reformed Churches, Mennonites and
Pentecostals, Catholic charismatics and Southern Baptists all come under the
evangelical umbrella-demonstrating just how diverse the movement really is.” (“Institute
for the Study of American Evangelicals”, website)

“[Evangelicals] sought allies in denominational churches and liturgical traditions,


disregarding views of eschatology and other "non-essentials," and joined also
with Trinitarian varieties of Pentecostalism. They believed that in doing so, they were
simply re-acquainting Protestantism with its own recent tradition.” (Maya George, “Faith
and Philosophy of Christianity” (2009) page 173)

“Evangelicals are Christians who define themselves, their faith, and


their lives according to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth.
(Evangelical comes from the Greek word for good news, or gospel.)
Believing that the Gospel of Jesus is God’s good news for the whole
world, we affirm with the Apostle Paul that we are “not ashamed of the
gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” (“An
Evangelical Manifesto”, (2007), anevangelicalmanifesto.com)

“Defined and understood in this way, Evangelicals form one of the great traditions
that have developed within the Christian Church over the centuries. We fully appreciate
the defining principles of other major traditions, and we stand and work with them on
many ethical and social issues of common concern. Like them, we are whole-heartedly
committed to the priority of “right belief and right worship,” to the “universality” of the
Christian church across the centuries, continents, and cultures, and therefore to the
central axioms of Christian faith expressed in the Trinitarian and Christological
consensus of the early church. Yet we hold to Evangelical beliefs that are distinct from
the other traditions in important ways — distinctions that we affirm because we see them
as biblical truths that were recovered by the Protestant Reformation, sustained in many
subsequent movements of revival and renewal, and vital for a sure and saving
knowledge of God —in short, beliefs that are true to the Good News of Jesus.” (Ibid)

“Evangelicals adhere fully to the Christian faith expressed in the historic creeds of
the great ecumenical councils of the church, and in the great affirmations of the
Protestant Reformation, and seek to be loyal to this faith passed down from generation
to generation. But at its core, being Evangelical is always more than a creedal
statement, an institutional affiliation, or a matter of membership in a movement. We have
no supreme leader, and neither creeds nor tradition are ultimately decisive for us. Jesus
Christ and his written word, the Holy Scriptures, are our supreme authority; and whole-
hearted devotion, trust, and obedience are our proper response.” (Ibid)

“From the Millerite controversy of the mid-19th century to the phenomenal sales of
books like The Late, Great Planet Earth (overall best-selling book of the 1970s) and 88
Reasons Why the Rapture Will Occur in 1988 (over 4 million copies sold that year), to

19
the popularity of the Left Behind series of end-time novels, interest in the apocalyptic
has been a highly-visible aspect of the evangelical subculture.” (“Institute for the Study of
American Evangelicals”, website)

“[T]here are a wide variety of beliefs within the evangelical community over these issues.
A general premillenialism and amillennialism (the view that the millennium is strictly a
symbolic reference to the current age leading up to the Second Coming and the last
judgment) are held by many evangelicals. If one must search for a “typical” view on
the end times among contemporary evangelicals, it is probably best to say that they
share a firm attachment to the Scriptural promise that Christ will return to Earth one
day.” (Ibid)

Speaking of the sixth General Conference of the Evangelical Alliance, “The object of
the Alliance is not to interfere with the different shades of opinion or forms of worship
which characterize its members, but to unite the Christian church throughout the world in
one grand army. It hopes to utilize its united power so as to spread the light; to repress
intolerance and persecution; to crush out ignorance; to pave the way for the coming of
the better days. The accepted platform of the organization, as adopted in London in
1866, included briefly: The divinity of the Holy Scriptures: the right of private judgment;
the doctrine of the trinity; depravity consequent upon the fall; the incarnation,
atonement, mediatorial intercession, and reign of the Son of man; justification by faith:
the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification; the immortality of the soul; the resurrection
of the body; the judgment of the world; the blessings of the righteous, and the
punishment of the wicked; the divine institution of the Christian ministry, baptism, and
the Lord's-supper—which platform is not a creed, but simply an indication of such belief
as it is desirable to embrace within the Alliance.” (C.H. Bliss, “Advent Review & Sabbath
Herald”, December 16, 1873)

“If they were founded upon the "commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,"
we might indeed hope that some good would be done; but, if little regard is to be
paid to practical godliness as taught in the law, and exemplified in the life of Christ, and
the test is to be on various articles of faith, which are not practical, nor absolutely
indispensable to salvation, what will be the result? Let the history of the past answer.
“Can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Ibid)

“Adventists can subscribe to the World


Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith. They fully
accept the authority and supremacy of the Word of
God, the Trinity, the person of Jesus Christ and his
saving work, justification by faith, prayer, conversion,
sanctification, and the Second Coming of Christ.” (“Joint Statement of the WEA and the
Seventh-day Adventist Church”, 2007)

“The member churches of the World Council of Churches and Seventh-Day


Adventists are in agreement on the fundamental articles of the Christian faith as set
forth in the three ancient symbols (Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum,
Athanasium). This agreement finds expression in unqualified acceptance of the
doctrine of the Trinity and the Two-Natures.” (“So Much In Common”, p. 107 (1973)
Co-authored by B.B. Beach (past SDA General Conference President) and Dr. Lukas
Vischer – Faith and Order Secretariat of the WCC)

20
“Apostolicum- The Apostles Creed was developed between the second and ninth
centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central
doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. It has been called the Creed of
Creeds.” (creeds.net)

“Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum- In the year AD 381, Pope Timothy I of Alexandria


presided over the second ecumenical council known as the Ecumenical Council of
Constantinople, to judge Macedonious, who denied the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. This
council completed the Nicene Creed with this confirmation of the divinity of the Holy
Spirit:” (“Coptic Orthodox Church”, wikipedia)

"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified who spoke by the
Prophets and in One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic church. I confess one Baptism for
the remission of sins and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the coming
age, Amen." (Ibid)

“Athanasium- The Athanasian Creed has two parts. The first part is about the Trinity.
The second part is about Christ. The Athanasian Creed gives the most clear statements
regarding the Trinity and Christ among the four commonly accepted Christian creeds.”
(“Christianity and Islam”, blogspot)

“On October 30, 2010 “Athanasios” rededicated himself through a symbolic


act of immersion in the waters of baptism. He still honors the sacramental
baptism at the hands of the highly esteemed Orthodox Patriarch”
“Baptism is a Holy Sacrament by which we are born again by being immersed in water
three times in the name of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
(“Baptism”, CopticChurch.net)

“In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite, instituted by Christ, that
mediates grace, constituting a sacred mystery. The root meaning of the Latin word
sacramentum is to “make sacred. A sacrament is something you do within the church to
become closer to God.” (http://www.search.com/reference/Sacrament)

“The most conventional functional definition of a sacrament is that it is an outward sign,


instituted by Christ, that conveys an inward, spiritual grace through Christ. The two most
widely accepted sacraments are Baptism and the Eucharist; the majority of Christians
recognize seven Sacraments or Divine Mysteries : Baptism, Confirmation
(Chrismation in the Orthodox tradition), and the Eucharist, Holy Orders, Reconciliation of
a Penitent (confession), Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony. Taken together, these are
the Seven Sacraments as recognised by churches in the High church tradition - notably
Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Independent
Catholic, Old Catholic and some Anglicans.” (Ibid)

“The traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy do not limit the number
of sacraments to seven, holding that anything the Church does as Church is in some
sense sacramental. To be more accurate, for the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
Orthodox Christian the term “Sacrament” is a Westernism that seeks to classify

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something that may be impossible to classify. Preferably the term “Sacred Mystery” is
used, the reason being that the “How it is possible” is unanswerable to human
understanding. God touches us through material means such as water, wine, bread, oil,
incense, candles, altars, icons, etc. How God does this is a mystery. On a broad level,
the Mysteries are an affirmation of the goodness of created matter, and are an
emphatic declaration of what that matter was originally created to be.” (Ibid)

“If the person to be baptized is a man, then after completion of the Rite of Renouncing
Satan and recitation of the Orthodox Creed, and the Liturgy of Baptism, the
attendants should leave the Baptismal room, so the baptized may undress, and go down
into the Baptismal font immersed up to his neck, then the priest comes and dips his head
in the Baptismal water three times saying: “I baptize you ... in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (“Baptism”, CopticChurch.net)

“Then the priest leaves the room, and the baptized person arises out of the Baptismal
water and dries his body by the prepared towel, then wears his underwear. Then the
priest comes and anoints him with the Myron oil 36 times. Then he dresses in garments
appropriate for this happy occasion.” (Ibid)

“The Sacrament of Myron, also known as the Holy


Anointment, or the Sacrament of Confirmation, is a holy
Sacrament, with which we receive the seal of the Holy Spirit.
The word ‘Myron’ is a Greek word which means ‘ointment’ or
‘fragrant perfume’.” (“Sacrement of Confirmation”,
CopticChurch.net)

“The baptized person receives it immediately after Baptism, so as to become a temple


of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit aids him to grow in his spiritual life. Although it is
received directly after Baptism, it is an independent Sacrament and the priests have to
be very careful to grant it accurately to the baptized, anointing them with 36 crosses.”
(Ibid)

“The 36 anointments are on all the joints and senses of the human body, and the
anointment protects them against Satanic warfare, so that the devil does not abide in
this person by any means. A Christian who is possessed by a demon, is said to be
‘Myron deficient, which means that he was not anointed by the Myron as required, and
so the devil was able to penetrate into his body and dwell there.” (Ibid)

“Being baptized, we are enlightened: being enlightened, we are adopted as sons:


being adopted, we are made perfect; being made complete, we are made immortal.
The Scripture says “I said, You are gods, and all are sons of the Highest.” This operation
has many names; gift of grace, enlightenment, perfection, and washing. Washing, by
which we are cleansed from the filth of our sins; gift of grace, by which the penalties of
our sins are cancelled; enlightenment, through which that holy light which saves us is
perceived, that is, by which our eyes are made alert to see the divine; perfection
means the lack of nothing, for what is still lacking to anyone who has the knowledge of
God?” (Clement, Patriarch of Alexandria: "Paedagogus" I vi (26) c 200 AD)

"It is utterly impossible for the soul to attain salvation unless it has believed while
in the flesh; so truly does salvation hinge on the flesh. In fact, when the soul is admitted
to God's company, it is the flesh that makes that admission possible. The flesh indeed is

22
washed that the soul may be cleansed; the flesh is anointed that the soul many be
consecrated; the flesh is signed that the soul may too be fortified; the flesh is
shadowed by the imposition of hands that the soul also may be enlightened by the
Spirit: the flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ that the soul should be nourished
by God." (Tertullian, “De Resurrectione Carnis”, c 200 AD)

“There is a confessional commitment to discipleship. When we baptize disciples, the


disciples identify with a specific God. From the earliest doctrinal debates, the
church has worked hard to distinguish the Trinity with accuracy, e.g., the
Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed.” (Fred Sanders, “The Deep Things of God: How
the Trinity Changes Everything”)

“By virtue of their valid baptism, and their belief in Christ’s divinity and in the doctrine
of the Trinity, Seventh-Day Adventists are both ontologically and theologically
Christians.” (“Catholic Answers on Seventh-Day Adventists”, website)

“The Holy Spirit is presented as ontologically equivalent to the Father and the Son.”
(Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Larry Kirkpatrick, “Notes on the Holy Spirit and the One
God in Three Persons,” 2010)

“Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as


such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a
part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with
questions concerning whether entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities
can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and
differences.” (“Ontology”, wikipedia)

Former Adventist Pastor Robert Thompson aka Athanasios Paul


has crossed a “cultural and religious bridge from ancient Christian Tradition
to fully embrace a Biblical Movement
Movement of Destiny”
The current Baptismal Vow asks the candidate to agree to live in harmony with the
Fundamental principles of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Principle two states:

Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal
Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is
infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is
forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt.
28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)

“Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the
church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination's Fundamental Beliefs.
More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals
with the doctrine of the Trinity.” (George R. Knight, “Ministry Magazine”, October 1993)

“The Nicene Creed ultimately explains the Church's beliefs about the Trinity… Even
though the creed does not directly quote Scripture, it is based on biblical concepts
and truths.” (David Bennett, “The Nicene Creed: Ancient Symbol of the Catholic Faith”)

23
Illustration to the left from “Principles Of Life From
The Word Of God, A Systematic Study of the
Major Doctrines of the Bible.”

Prepared by and Published for The Department of


Education General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists, (1952), Pacific Press Publishing
Association, Chapter 7, The Godhead Or Trinity.

“The Flower of Life floats amid a sea of other


possibilities; a heart opens in light and love with
the grace and transformation of buttlerfly wings, the
trinity of divinity and humanity emerge from an
open lotus giving rise to infinite possibilities…all present when a heart allows its flame
to shine.” (Eileen Lighthawk)

“That we have chosen this symbol is perhaps no mere accident. The priests and seers
of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off
spirits of evil . . . (Bill Wilson, “Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age,” page 139)

"Unless (people) keep this Faith whole and undefiled, without doubt (they) shall perish
everlastingly. And the Catholic faith is this: we worship one God in Trinity. The mystery
of the trinity is the central doctrine of Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other
teachings of the church." (“Handbook for Today’s Catholic”, p.16)

After hearing the above statement in prayer meeting an Adventist pastor exclaimed, “We
Are Catholic!!! Not catholic as in Roman Catholic, but catholic as in Universal.”
Someone commented, “I have never heard the Adventist church in any way shape or
form referred to as catholic. That word has connotations.” His reply, “It’s just a word. I
know what I meant when I said it.” At a church business meeting an Elder demanded I
read the definition of catholic from the dictionary wherin the pastor declared, “There are
only two denominations that meet the definition of catholic from the dictionary,
the Roman Catholic Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.” (Eyewitness
account from Frank Klin, 2009)

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a


scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -
neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice,
"whether you can make words mean so many different
things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is
to be master - that's all." (Lewis Carroll, “Through the
Looking Glass” [1872], ch. 6) Alice was too much puzzled
to say anything. Like Alice who did not know the language
games of a nonsense world, the alert (theological) student
(studying exegesis and hermeneutics) could wish for a bit
of help in grasping what words really mean, especially
when their masters stretch them beyond recognition.
(http://forum.bible-discussion.com/showthread.php?11030-Origen-s-contribution-to-the-dogma-of-the-Trinity)

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“Just teach that they (the Scriptures) mean something different from what they say, and
you will be all right; and the farther you get from the plain declaration of the text, the
nearer right you are, according to the Fathers. That method is a very easy one, but it will
ever fail to promote Christian growth. The “sincere milk of the word” alone can bring men up
to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (E. J. Waggoner, “Fathers of the
Catholic Church”, page 154, 1888)

“The question does not so much center on the use of a particular English word,
namely, “Trinity”, but rather on the concept/idea that is being conveyed. Ask yourself if
you believe in the personhood of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and that all
three are fully divine in nature. If you do, then you believe the concept that is officially held by
the SDA church regarding the nature and character of God. If you do not like the word Trinity
because it is used by the Catholic church, that’s okay. Don’t use it. The real question is, Do
you believe that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God, and
as such that they are three personal beings who are one in essential nature and character?
This is one of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventist church, and has been since the
time of Ellen White.” *** (Seventh-Day Adventist minister, evangelist, Ty Gibson, personal
correspondance July, 2010) *** The word “Trinity” was not added to a Fundamental Belief
statement of the Adventist Church until 1931. This addition was without a vote. Official vote
as a Fundamental Belief came at the 1980 Dallas General Conference session.

“Q. Do you observe other necessary truths as taught by the Church, not clearly laid
down in Scripture?”

“A. The doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine the knowledge of which is certainly
necessary to salvation, is not explicitly and evidently laid down in Scripture, in the
Protestant sense of private interpretation.” (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,
August 22, 1854 -Quoted from “A Doctrinal Catechism: Wherin Divers Points Of Catholic
Faith And Practice Assailed By Modern Heretics Are Sustained By An Appeal To The
Holy Scriptures, The Testimony Of The Ancient Fathers, And The Dictates Of Reason”,
Rev. Stephan Keenan, 1846. ***The 1876 edition states that the book does “Conform
Ably To The Decrees Of The Council Of The Vatican”)

“Our opponents sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not
explicitly stated in Scripture….But the Protestant churches have themselves
accepted such dogmas as the Trinity, for which there is no such precise authority
in the Gospels.” (Graham Greene, “Assumption of Mary”, Life magazine, October 30, 1950)

“Let me be crystal clear about something. I am confessedly noncommittal about the


word Trinity. I am confessedly noncommittal. In other words, to me I couldn't care less
about the word. And so here’s a robust piece of advice. If you don’t like the word
Trinity, don’t use it. It’s so easy. I remain committed to the biblical picture of God’s
unity and God’s plurality." (SDA pastor, evangelist David Asscherick)

“A confession of the Trinity is required through the agreement to live by the


fundamental statement of Seventh-day Adventists. To be non-committal to the term
trinity, is to be non committal to the fundamentals of Seventh-day Adventists. It is
not as easy as Pastor Asscherisk is stating. If it could be that simple, then a lot of
problems could be solved.” (Adrian Ebens, “A Crystal Clear Confession”,
http://www.maranathamedia.com/site/)

25
“May I here make a frank personal confession? When, back between 1926 and 1928,
I was asked by our leaders to give a series of studies on the Holy Spirit, covering the
North American union ministerial institutes of 1928, I found that, aside from priceless
leads found in the Spirit of Prophecy, there was practically nothing in our literature
setting forth a sound Biblical exposition in this tremendous field of study. There
were no previous pathfinding books on the question in our literature.” (Leroy Edwin
Froom (1890-1974), Adventist minister & historian, the man most responsible for
bringing the trinity doctrine into the SDA church, “Movement of Destiny”, p. 322 [1971])

“I was compelled to search out a score of valuable books written by men outside
of our faith— . . . men like Murray, Simpson, Gordon, Holden, Meyer, McNeill, Moody,
Waugh, McConkey, Scroggie, Howden, Smith, McKensie, Mclntosh, Brooks, Dixon,
Kyle, Morgan, Needham, Pierson, Seiss, Thomas, West, and a score of others—for
initial clues and suggestions, and to open up beckoning vistas to intensive personal
study. Having these, I went on from there. But they were decided early helps. And
scores, if not hundreds, could confirm the same sobering conviction that some of
these other men frequently had a deeper insight into the spiritual things of God
than many of our own men then had on the Holy Spirit and the triumphant life. It
was still a largely obscure theme.” (Ibid, page 324)

May we here make a frank personal confession? “As the North American Division of
Seventh-Day Adventists researched resource needs at the local church level, we were
told, year after year, that the greatest need was for a discipleship resource that
came specifically from the Adventist church. Churches attempting discipleship
training were experiencing “pushback” from members on the content in off-the-shelf
discipleship training materials from Christian suppliers, and were requesting products
that reflected more completely the distinctive character of Adventism.”
(iFollowdiscipleship website with first sentence addition by Frank Klin)

“We didn’t want to be reactionary in approach or to produce a product that was


merely copied from what others were doing, with an Adventist name on it. We
wanted to respond with a quality product that would bring unique value to churches. So,
we set out on the long journey to create one-a journey that included advisory groups,
committees of pastors, writers and editors-and then a lot of work.” (iFollowsiscipleship.org)

“We knew that a “better” resource wouldn’t just be one that threw in a few
Adventist terms, here and there, but that was, indeed, more useful to pastors and
other church leaders. The process of developing what has come to be known as iFollow
was a long and arduous one. It took us a full six years to get a broadly-based set of
discipleship training “lessons.” (iFollowsiscipleship.org)

“All of the writers are people who have much experience with spiritual growth as it
occurs among people who participate in Adventist congregations. The theology of every
presentation is congruent with the Twenty-eight Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church and rooted in Adventist heritage. We did look at other Christian
sources related to each topic and we made use of good ideas that were Bible-based
and not in conflict with Adventist theology… I can assure you that we edited out
anything that was not rooted in Scripture and the Adventist heritage. There is
nothing "New Age" or "spiritualistic" in these materials, not a single jot nor tittle!!”
(Rachel Davie’s “Spectrum” interview with and commentary by Monte Sahlin, iFollow’s
General Editor, http://www.spectrummagazine.org/node/2721)

26
We found that, aside from priceless leads found in the Spirit of Prophecy, there was
practically nothing in our literature setting forth a sound Biblical exposition in this
tremendous field of study. There were not many previous pathfinding books on the
question in our literature. (adapted from the iFollowdiscipleship website and Movement
of Destiny by Frank Klin)

We were compelled to search out a score of valuable books written by persons outside
of our faith, people like Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet, Brian D. McLaren, Richard J.
Foster, Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, Philip Yancey, Joan Chittister, John Ortberg,
Thelma Hall, Leo Tolstoy, A. W. Tozer, Donald Miller, James Bryan Smith, Donald S.
Whitney, Vincent Brummer, Mark D. Baker, Scot McKnight, N.T. Wright, Thomas Cahill,
Lynne M. Baab, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Christopher D. Ringwald, Lewis B. Smedes,
Miroslav Volf, John Eldredge, Bill Hybels, David Augsburger, Thomas N. Hart, Tony
Jones, Delcy Kuhlman, Wendy Miller, Oletta Wald, Warren Nelson, Bill Ashlock, Richard
Rohr, Mark Galli, Chris Erdman, and a score of others. Having these outstanding
resources we went on from there. Scores, if not hundreds, could confirm the same
sobering conviction that some of these other persons frequently had a deeper insight
into the spiritual things of God than many of our own people had on Spiritual Disciplines,
Formation, Direction, Centering, Contemplative Prayer, Fasting and Meditation and other
themes relating to Discipleship. These were still a largely obscure theme in our church.
(adapted from the iFollowdiscipleship website and Movement of Destiny by Frank Klin)

“The worship planning and scheduling tools used by some of the best-known
Protestant mega churches can be found at this website:
www.planningcenteronline.com (“Worship”, iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship
Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

Orthodox Priest Athanasios Paul embraces Adventist Message


at Sacramento Life Discovery Series

“Seventh-day Adventists believe that Jesus is one of


the three persons, called the Trinity, who make up our
one God. The Bible describes Jesus, the Father, and the
Holy Spirit as each being committed to our growth as
Christians and to our salvation as their children. They
made this salvation possible when Jesus came to
Bethlehem as a human baby. He lived a life perfectly in
accord with God's will and then died innocently for all of
our sins. He was placed in a borrowed tomb, but He
came back to life three days later. Now he is in heaven interceding with the Father for
us, preparing for our deliverance from sin and death.” (“Life Discovery Ministries”, website)

“According to Genesis…God lived in a kind of united community we cannot begin


to understand, so we argue about it all the time. God lived within something we call
a Trinity, or Godhead, and even then, began to create other beings to love. This
Word of Love eventually created this world, hand-sculpted beings to live on it, personally
breathed Life or Spirit into them, and put itself into some sort of form that could
“walk and talk with them in the cool of the evening.” (“Love” , iFollowdiscipleship.org,
Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

27
“Some ancient Greek hippies called the Pythagoreans observed that all of creation is
mathematical. Then they noticed that music is math. They realized that music is
mathematically composed in such a manner that it creates new thoughts and feelings in
the human soul. So they came up with a hypothesis that the Creator must be a
singer, and He must have sung the universe into existence. The entire cosmos must
operate on a musical score of some kind! Who knows, maybe the Pythagoreans were
right.” (Ty Gibson, “A God Who Sings”, Signs of the Times, November 2010)

“Why did God create persons? Because He is Persons and we’re made to reflect
Him. “Let us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26); “image” includes the capacity for
relationship because He enjoyed His own relationships so much. Why is it not good for
man to be alone (Genesis 2:18)? Why are two better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9)? How
can two totally different persons be so intimate that they become one (Genesis
2:24)? Because of the Trinity.” (Sean K. Higgins, “The Theological Basis for
Discipleship,” one28minitries.org)

"We are left with no alternative than to accept that Jesus could not have become a
literal son of God in eternity – He could not be His own son. He clearly accepted that
role for the purposes of the Plan of Redemption. Some anti-Trinitarian objectors have
claimed that we accuse God of only pretending to be the Father and that Jesus was only
pretending to be the Son. Those who make such accusations have obviously blinded
themselves from the evidence. Pretending implies deception and God should not be
accused of such a practice. Why retreat from the concept that the Members of the
Trinity participate in role-playing? Role-playing is not deception. Jesus for example
performs many roles in the plan of redemption. Was He really the Angel of the Lord,
Michael the Archangel, the Lamb, a Lion, a High Priest, the Rock, and so on? Yes, but
not literally so, He fulfilled these roles and it would be absolute foolishness to accuse
Him of pretence or deception in doing so." (Max Hatton, “The Trinity Doctrine for
Seventh-Day Adventists”)

"His Sonship can only be figurative. Correspondingly, the Father has not always
been the Father. These must have been adopted titles suitable for the parts the Two
played in the Plan of Redemption." (Ibid)

“Later when Jesus was preparing to depart planet Earth, he gave his disciples a
Trinitarian formula, urging them to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It took the brightest minds
of the early church almost five centuries to come up with lasting formulations to
express the concept of the Trinity.” (Philip Yancey, “Reaching for the Invisible God,”
page 126) *****His books are sold at Adventist Book Centers*****

Life Discovery Series is a prophetic, Holistic,


Holistic, gospel based ministry
ministry
associated with “It Is Written.” Holistic is an interesting buzz word.
“For a spirituality to be holistic it must be trinitarian, at least implicitly. Trinitarian
spirituality is characterized by, first, form and stability and a sacramental understanding
of created things. Second, it seeks a personal relationship with God through the person
of Jesus Christ. Third, it is open to the powerful workings of God the Spirit in signs and
wonders as well as in “holy familiarity.” (Simon Chan, “Spiritual Theology”, page 49, 1998)

28
“As many have observed, there is renewed interest today in this unseen thing we
call the “soul”…. The church…accepted a false secular/sacred dualism which
separated body from soul, heaven from earth, and focused its attention on getting
people “saved” more in a futuristic sense of “getting into heaven” than in the “here and
now” of spiritual care.” (imagodeifund.org)

“Many Christians today are seeking to move away from a more narrow “proclamation”
centered gospel to a more holistic gospel which cares for the whole person: body,
mind and soul….The resurgence of the soul can be seen within the church as the
movement to reclaim the contemplative essence of the
Christianity which unites us beyond our theological differences.
How do we know, really know this God we believe in?” (Ibid)

“Education reform has taken center stage lately as Americans


struggle to close the oft-condemned achievement gap….The
Seventh-Day Adventists' holistic curriculum serves as a
model for how to overcome that gap….But even more, it shows
how to narrow the gap between mind, body, and spirit, truly educating students
for success.” (Christian Science Monitor, November 2010, Opinion page; “For real education
reform, take a cue from the Adventists”, by Elissa Kido- professor of education at La Sierra University,
a Seventh-Day Adventist college, where she directs the CognitiveGenesis Research project)

“Areas of interest under the umbrella of "Care of Souls" include: contemplative prayer,
sacred art, spiritual disciplines, contemplative reading of Scripture ("lectio divina"),
spiritual formation, spiritual direction, holistic healing, mind-body practices,
ecumenical dialogue & church unity across denominational, racial and gender lines
and efforts to promote a more kind, compassionate, heart-centered, holistic Gospel.”
(imagodeifund.org)

“In popular contemporary forms of Christianity, faith too often has become equated with
belief and the ancient path of “salvation" has become reduced to a futuristic, legal
transaction for “getting into heaven." Many seeking a deeper experience of God find
their religious faith disconnected from their very human spiritual quest. Many are
turning to Eastern spiritual practices for a more holistic, direct connection with
the Sacred. In response, many branches in Western Christendom are seeking to
recover the mystical heart of classical Christian spirituality and to offer this to our
seeking culture. Protestantism in particular—with its more propositional emphasis is...

looking backwards
to the early church fathers,
to the desert fathers & mothers,
to the mystics
to our roots in Hebrew spirituality

looking Eastward
to the Orthodox Church
& to other faith traditions
for help to move beyond the mind
& into the heart to reclaim Christianity
as a transformative, fully human path
of following Christ & growing in divine likeness
as image-bearers of God.” (imagodeifund.org)

29
What is Christian Mysticism?

“Very simply, mysticism is our awareness of and response to divine love. As human
beings with senses, both physical and spiritual, we all are created to be mystics! As we
become more aware of and cooperative with God's loving presence, our souls grow slowly
from the inside out into the true-self-in-Christ (the "imago Dei") we were created to be.”
(imagodeifund.org)

“Christian mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness
of God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Christian mysticism centers
on the habitual practice of deep prayer (i.e. meditation, contemplation) involving the
person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This approach and lifestyle is distinguished from
other forms of Christian practice by its aim of achieving unity with the divine.” (“Christian
Mysticism”, wikipedia)

“First of all, it must be said that if the historical Jesus was a mystic, then much of what he
purportedly said is consistent with that Universal point of view. His teachings stressed
compassion and love towards all….Jesus taught that we should not be judgmental, should
love one's enemies as oneself. He taught that we should be compassionate towards all, and
that as one treats the lowliest person, one is treating Christ. Perennial philosophy teaches
that God is looking out through all eyes, and the spark of the Divine is within every
heart. "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). (Professor Rafael Espericueta,
“Christian Mystics”)

“The earliest Christian mystics were called Gnostics, from the root meaning
"knowing (of the heart)". For Gnostics, it's a matter of knowing, not just believing.” (Ibid)

“The Rosicrucians are a sect of Christian mystics with close connections to the Western
mystery traditions, including Qaballa and Alchemy. Today there are various groups
carrying on these traditions. This tradition is closely related to the Masonic Order,
although most current members may be oblivious to the deeper meanings involved in their
rituals. Many of the founding fathers of the United States of America were active Masons,
and Rosicrucian teachings helped to guide the framers of our constitution.” (Ibid)

“Hannah Whitall Smith’s book The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life (1875) is an
extremely popular book of Christian mysticism and practical Holiness theology. It is
still widely read today.” (“Hannah Whitall Smith”, wikipedia)

“A more recent mystic in the Catholic tradition was the Trappist monk, Thomas
Merton. He initiated many inter-faith dialogues with a decidedly perennial philosophic
perspective, and his books have had a tremendous influence among Catholics and
non-Catholics alike.” (Professor Rafael Espericueta, “Christian Mystics”)

30
“St. Augustine (354–430) developed the conception of the unity of the mental life, the
significance of the will in the life of both God and humans, and also he formulated the
truths that self–certainty is more immediate than our knowledge of the external world
and that valid metaphysics must be based on the self–knowledge of the finite
personality. Not only did he put thought above things but he rightly valued the thinker
above thought. Augustine established the existence of the soul as a thinking and
willing being. In his Confessions and De Trinitate, he made much use of analogies
between observed aspects of the human soul and the distinctions within the Holy
Trinity, thus showing many times his belief in a profound kinship between the human
soul and God, despite the mystery and transcendence which he also emphasized.” (Rev.
Bogumił Zygmunt Gacka, Professor of Systematic Theology, “A Presentation of
Personalism”) http://www.personalism.pl/biannual/number-1/a-presentation-of-personalism/

“Any trinitarian theology, Simon Chan believes, forms spirituality in . . . decicive ways.
[B]ecause the triune God is a relational God, to know this God must be a relational
knowledge of a “personal union with God” (Spiritual Theology, page 52). Chan believes
this personal urgency is reinforced by Augustine’s psychological understanding of
the Trinity, where Christ and the Spirit are known as Word and Love descending
from the Father. This personal immersion into the divine has been the traditional
province of mystical and contemplative Christianity, and more recently that of
Pentecostal and charismatic expression.” (Roderick T. Leupp, “The Renewal of
Trinitarian Theology,” page 105, 2008)

“The God of the Bible is a triune Being because HE IS LOVE. Love cannot be
exercised in isolation. You cannot be all-loving and be alone at the same time. Love is
manifested in relationships. Augustine expressed this truth eloquently, when he said:
“Ubi amor, ibi trinitas—Where there is love, there is a trinity.” By that he meant, that
where there is love, there is a lover, a beloved, and a spirit of love." (Samuel
Bacchiocchi, “The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity’)

Some people infer Ellen White belongs in the Christian Mystic category. Even the
Ellen G. White Estate does so, in this ever so subtle, make that blatant, allusion in the
logo for their magazine for children. “Books of a new order” are already being written and
published using her quotes to tout this philosophy.

2009 Logo New Logo

“While (Ellen) White’s conception of contemplation does not fully concur with the
modern definition of the term, it is a form of spiritual practice closely connected to one of
the essential features of her spiritual thinking. She seems to be aware of the classic
tradition of contemplation, i.e. the Catholic praxis of contemplative prayer, though the
approach she takes to it is an independent one. Her use of the term contemplation
allows us to assume that she has seen it in use and come to some understanding of it.
Her frequent references to contemplation indicate that she wants her readers to
include it as an integral part of their spiritual practice. She is thus a follower, if
from afar, of the contemplative tradition, even though she cannot be regarded as an

31
actual contemplative spiritual guide (SC 21, 70–71, 89, 103–104, 118.)” (Harri Kuhalampi,
“Holistic Spirituality in the Thinking of Ellen White,” Academic Dissertation, University of
Helsinki 2010) (https://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/63691/holistic.pdf?sequence=1)

“Ellen White speaks about contemplation even in conjunction with the most vital
points of salvation, since she seems to see it as the means by which transforming
grace pervades the whole person from within. We can thus conclude that for her
contemplation is not only one option among many for executing spiritual praxis, but is
rather an essential means of evocatively experiencing God’s invigorating presence and
establishing a constant connectedness with him (DA 478.)” (Ibid)

“Finally, White introduces contemplation as a way to catch a real glimpse of divine


love, which is beyond the description of human language. Thus contemplation is an
activity which takes place at the spiritual level. She states that though contemplation
has no transforming virtue in itself, it is still a channel by which the mystery of divine
love can become personally meaningful, which in turn results in an inner
transformation of the contemplator by God’s grace. On this basis she insists that
contemplation be regarded as a key spiritual practice (MB 43.)” (Ibid)

“[Christopher] Bryant points out that contemplation as a concept is given varying


meanings in different traditions. Thus its exact content in White’s writings cannot be
definitely determined. By speaking about contemplation – which she does a number
of times – she does not automatically qualify as a follower of the contemplative
tradition which was represented in particular by Teutonic mysticism, the English
mystics, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. However, certain elements of
that approach are also to be found in her spirituality.” (Ibid)

“It is quite a privilege to have Athanasios join the Life Discovery Ministry.”
(Jim Reinking, Evangelist for Life Discovery Series,
an Associate Ministry of It Is Written)
“These are difficult days we live in, pressures and forces
coming against this remnant church from outside and
from within. You know it’s the truth. You must dare,
with respect, with love and with the Bible, challenge
those in your midst and even those with higher positions
of leadership when something comes down the highway
of spiritual delivery that simply does not comport well
with the clear teaching of Scripture as identified,
described and aptly defended in those twenty seven - -
twenty eight doctrinal positions in the book the Statement of Beliefs published by the
church.” (Athanasios Paul Thompson testimony, February 2010, Life Discovery Series)

“Justin Martyr (c. 100 - c. 165, Feast Day, June 1), born in modern day Palestine, was
an early Christian apologist and martyr. "He claimed to have been raised a Gentile, and
in his search for truth he studied with the Stoics, Aristotelians, Pythagoreans, and
Platonists. Impressed by the devotion of Christian martyrs, he was eventually converted
to Christianity by an old Christian who taught him about the Hebrew prophets. According
to Justin, Christianity filled the highest aspirations of Platonic philosophy and was,

32
therefore, the 'true philosophy.”[1] In his First Apology, Justin argued that there were
traces of Christian truth that could be found in pagan writings….God had prepared a
way to his final revelation in Jesus through hints of truth found within classical
philosophy.” (Justin Martyr, theopedia, [1]-Elise M. Bender-“Ecole Glossary”)

“Pythagoras taught that there must be an inward quiescence of the soul, a stilling of
the mind in which the true receptivity of the heart can enable real learning to take
place.” (Raghaven Iyer at Theosophy Trust, “Pythagoras and His School”)

“For Pythagoras, philosophy was a purgation of the mind and emotions so that the
pure light of the immortal soul may freely shine through the limited vestures common
to all men. The purification must begin by preparatory reverence – becoming truly
worthy of relationship through silent worship of the immortal Gods with the
transcendental order which holds everything in the universe in a divine harmony.”
(Ibid)

“He (Justin Martyr) wore his philosopher’s gown after his


conversion, as a token that he had attained the only true
philosophy. And seeing, that, after the conflicts and tests of
ages, it is the only philosophy that lasts and lives and triumphs,
its discover deserves the homage of mankind. “It survives in the
pulpits of Christendom—Greek, Latin, Anglican, Lutheran, etc.—
to this day, in slightly different forms.” (A. Cleveland Coxe, “The
Ante-Nicene Fathers,” 1886 American Introduction)

“The great trouble with Justin and the others who are misnamed
“Christian Fathers,” is that their Christianity consisted largely of heathen philosophy. This
it was that clouded their minds to the simple truth of the gospel, and made them such blind
leaders of the blind. Whatever they learned of Christ, they learned in spite of their study of
philosophy, and not because of it.” (E. J. Waggoner, “Fathers of the Catholic Church,” page
147)

“Of course there are very few nowadays who stop to think of the significance of the
vestments of “the church;” but we may be sure that Justin Martyr had a distinct purpose in
retaining his philosopher’s gown after he professed Christianity. It was not a matter of
convenience merely, but it signified that he was a philosopher still, but with a new idea. It
signified that he could discern no incompatibility between Christianity and pagan
philosophy.” (Ibid)

“Therefore my friend, wait for the final outcome


for all things will certainly turn out,
whether in this life or the life to come.
In every circumstance yield to the
incomprehensibility of God’s providence.”
John Chrysostom, fourth century
(Athanasios Paul, sevenholystones.org)

33
“Endeared as one of the four great doctors of the Church, St. John Chrysostom was born in
347 in Antioch, Syria….Chrysostom fled from the seductions and tumults of city life to the
monastic solitude of the mountains south of Antioch, and there spent six happy years in
theological study and sacred meditation and prayer. Monasticism was to him (as to many
other great teachers of the Church) a profitable school of spiritual experience and self-
government… He embraced this mode of life as "the true philosophy" from the purest
motives, and brought into it intellect and cultivation enough to make the seclusion available
for moral and spiritual growth… (“The Life of Saint John Chrysostom”, Cornerstone,
November 1998)

“His writings enable us — as they did for the faithful of his time, who were repeatedly
deprived of him because of his exiles — to live with his books, despite his absence. He gave
homilies against the Arians…and others on principal liturgical feasts: constituting a
great teaching of faith in Christ, in light of his saints… Intimacy with the Word of God,
cultivated during the years in the hermitage, matured in him the irresistible urgency to preach
the Gospel, to give to others what he received during years of meditation. The ideal
missionary was thus launched, a soul afire, into pastoral care. Let us pray that the Lord
render us docile to the lessons of this great teacher of the faith.” (Pope Benedict XVI,
“Reflection on St. John Chrysostom”, Vatican City, Sept. 19, 2007 (Zenit.org)- delivered at
the general audience in St. Peter’s Square)

"The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other
and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are
many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the
festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish
to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now." (John Chrysostom, “Discourses
Against Judaizing Christians”, trans. Paul W. Harkins) Interestingly, there are several feast
days dedicated to him.

“All Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive our sins. Master, pardon our
transgressions. Holy One, look upon us and heal our infirmities for your name’s sake.

“O Only Begotten Son and Word of God, immortal as You are, You condescended for
our salvation to be incarnate of the holy Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary, and without
undergoing change, You became man; You were crucified, O Christ God, and You
crushed death by Your death; You who are One of the Holy Trinity, equal in glory with
the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us.

“We have seen the True Light, we have received the Heavenly Spirit, we have found
the True Faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity who has saved us.”

“Let us worship the Father and glorify the Son and Holy Spirit; let us sing together with
one voice, “O Holy Trinity, save us!”

“O faithful, let us sing to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one God, the one
Lord: for the Trinity, one Sun with a triple radiance, enlightens all those who cry aloud,
“Remember us also when You come into Your Kingdom!”

“Unity sharing the same throne, Trinity without beginning, Essence without division
in whom the glory is shared, Majesty who by nature precede all time: save the faithful
who sing to You!” (Above Excerpts from “The Divine and Holy Liturgy of our Father
among the Saints”, John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople)

34
A liturgy is a set form
form of ceremony or pattern of worship
The liturgical year, also known as the church year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons
in Christian churches which determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints,
are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read. (“Liturgy” & “Liturgical
Year”, wikipedia)

Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which
had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the
Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter... Easter is the
principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest
feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for
Easter. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

“This past Sabbath was Trinity Sabbath… Adventism is not known for it's strong
Trinitarian roots. I have learned Trinitarian spirituality from my Christian sisters and
brothers of other faiths, not least Orthodox Christians.” (Pastor Ryan Bell,
Hollywood, California Seventh-Day Adventist Church)
http://www.ryanjbell.net/intersections/sermons/page/2/

“This Sabbath is referred to as Trinity Sabbath following the one after Pentecost . . . [It]
is a time to think anew about the doctrine of the Trinity, recognizing God as Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit.” (“Liturgical Worship Service”, La Sierra University Church,
lasierraliturgy.org)

“The liturgical service is a contemporary Seventh-day Adventist expression of the rich


tradition of historic Christian worship. Its focus is Scripture, thoughtfully heard and
prayerfully received. Its style is participatory, involving the congregation throughout the ser-
vice. Its spirit is contemplative, including structured periods of silence for reflection
and prayer . . . [W]e use several different traditional affirmations of our faith in the
liturgies . . . (e.g., the Nicene Creed). The homily and the hymns are integrated with the
readings from the Bible, which follow a pattern to which many Christians around the world
also adhere… We have included…an annual All Saints' Day remembrance of persons
who have died.” (Ibid)

The congregation of the Kalispell, Montana Seventh-Day Adventist Church was led in a
Liturgy of Remembrance as part of their Centennial celebration on Sabbath December
11, 2010. In all my forty-seven years growing up in the Adventist church I had never
heard the word “liturgy” used in our worship service. (Eyewitness account from Frank Klin)

“[T]he evangelical church is trying to recover its holiness. We have started paying a lot
more attention to the older traditions of prayer, spiritual direction, and liturgy. They are
not being left as an individualistic thing that can be reduced to whatever you do in your quiet
time….Suddenly, people are feeling thin, impoverished, and realizing our spiritual
ancestors have rich resources which we need to recover….Spiritual direction deals much
more out of health, and an identity of Christian holiness, so I think it's an obvious response
to the failure to transcend….It's very Trinitarian. Unfortunately, we have lost that
Trinitarian wholeness, a sense of relational wholeness….The Trinity is a very active
concept, if you lose that you just end up with doctrines; a doctrine of God, a doctrine of
justification, all propositions that you continually have to reactivate in your life.” (Michael J.
Cusick Mars Hill Review, excerpts from “A Conversation with Eugene Peterson” author of
The Message Bible, 1995)

35
“Spirituality is nothing complicated for the "emerging churches." They teach about
prayer, and about other spiritual disciplines like simple living, fasting, community, and
reading the Bible. This is where the "emerging churches" part company with the "seeker
friendly" churches of prior decades…spiritual seekers don't want us to reproduce what
they already have and know--if that were sufficient, they wouldn't be seeking! They don't
want banal entertainment--they seek transcendence. And the "emerging churches"
realize that old Christian practices still have power.” (Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor
Bill Cork, “What Can Adventists Learn From The Emerging Church?”)

“The process of spiritual formation is the respectful engagement of the experience


and wisdom already within the person, not an attempt to "add" something but rather,
to discover the fullness of the inner life that is already present deep within. Spiritual
formation engages the whole person in response to the life of the Indwelling Trinity
acting through the community of disciples. This formation in Christian life is going on
all the time through family life, worship, scripture, prayer and meditation, simplicity and
solitude, earthkeeping and justice making, etc.” (“Making Us One Campaign”, mittensynod.org)

“Spiritual Formation is the process that takes place in the believer, as the life of the
Spirit of God transforms our spirit through deepening intimacy with the Trinity,
changing our being from the inside out into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Spiritual
formation also involves the believer's intentional response to God in this
transformation process. The goal of this process in the believer is the reflection of God's
glory in a relationship of love with God and toward the world for which He died. (“Imago
Christi, A Covenant Community of Spiritual Formation Ministry”)

Trinitarian facts prevent our discipleship from being shallow, sentimental, let alone
idolatrous (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons). But an only-for-facts’ sake Trinity
leads to a only-for-facts’ sake discipleship. A Trinitarian God who aims to test us on our
ability to explain Him means we better work to get disciples ready for the test. (Sean K.
Higgins, “The Theological Basis for Discipleship,” one28minitries.org)

“Thus the Trinitarian intentionality of Christian prayer shapes and directs it as an


expression of praise and desire for perfect union with God through Christ. This union is
nothing less than a sharing in the life of the Most Holy Trinity. It is, as it were, an
'immersion' in the mystery of the Triune God. Following the imagery of St. John of
the Cross, the Holy Spirit, as the 'mutual breath of Father and Son' becomes the 'mutual
breath' of God and the one praying. As baptized into Christ, the Christian lives with
his life and, together with Christ, approaches God as Father/Mother.” (Shaun
McCarty, “Centering Prayer Trinitarian?”)

“What has been said so far suggests a relationship between Christian Centering Prayer
and other ways in which baptismal identity finds nourishment. Nowhere is Trinitarian
intentionality better expressed and shaped than in liturgical worship. We cannot
appreciate the Christian perspective of contemplative prayer apart from its relationship to
all of life and the liturgy in particular. Again, we take our cue from Thomas Merton: “It
would...be a serious error to ignore the true meaning of inner meditative prayer and its
crucial importance for the whole Christian life, especially for the full understanding of the
liturgy. In any case, we are not speaking here of the prayer of the heart as an isolated,
particular exercise, as a separate department of the devout life. The prayer of the heart must
penetrate every aspect and every activity of Christian existence. It must flourish above all
in the very heart of all liturgy.” Contemplative Prayer, p.136. (Ibid)

36
“He who is humble in his thoughts and engaged in
spiritual work, when he reads the Holy Scriptures -
will apply everything to himself and not to his neighbor.”
St Mark, the Ascetic, fifth century
(Athanasios Paul, sevenholystones.org)
“It is not possible for the mind to be quiet
unless the body is quiet also…
nor is it possible to tear down the wall between them
without contemplative quiet and prayer.”
(Mark the Ascetic, “Counsels on the Spiritual Life”)

“Mark the Ascetic was born in Athens in the fifth century, and lived in the Egyptian
desert as a monk. His feast day is commemorated on March 5. St. Mark was an ascetic
and miracle-worker, sometimes known as Mark the Faster. In his 40th year he was
tonsured a monk by his teacher, St. John Chrysostom. Mark then spent 60 more years
in the wilderness of Nitria (a desert in Lower Egypt) in fasting and prayer, and in writing
many spiritual works concerning the salvation of souls. He knew all the Holy Scriptures
by heart. He was very merciful and kind, and wept much for the misfortunes that had
befallen all of God's creation.” (“Mark the Ascetic”, orthodoxwiki)

“Asceticism refers to the idea that a higher spiritual and moral state is attainable
through the practice of self-denial. It is characterized by abstinence from various
sorts of carnal or mundane pleasures such as cultivating power, engaging in sexual
activity or consumption of alcohol. It is often accompanied with the objective of pursuing
religious and spiritual goals.” (“Asceticism”, Theological Dictionary, Timothy Ministries)

“Some non-Judaeo-Christian religions teach that salvation and liberation involve a


process of mind-body transformation that is effected through practicing restraint with
respect to actions of body, speech and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of
these religions (e.g. Buddhism, Jainism, the Christian desert fathers) lived extremely
austere lifestyles refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material
wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life but a
recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence.” (Ibid)

“Asceticism is most commonly associated with monks, yogis or priests, however


any individual may choose to lead an ascetic life. Lao Zi, Gautama Buddha, Mahavir
Swami, Saint Anthony, Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi and David Augustine Baker
can all be considered ascetics. Many of these men left their families, possessions, and
homes to live a mendicant life, and in the eyes of their followers demonstrated great
spiritual attainment, or enlightenment. (Ibid)

“Asceticism within Christian tradition is the set of disciplines practiced to work out
the believer's salvation and further the believer's repentance as well as for the
purpose of spiritual enlightenment. Although monks and nuns are known for especially
strict acts of asceticism, ascetic practices are evident among other early Christians.”
(Ibid)

37
“Christian authors of late antiquity such as Origen, Jerome,
John Chrysostom, and Augustine of Hippo interpreted
meanings of biblical texts within a highly asceticized
religious environment. Through their commentaries, they
created a new “asceticized Scripture,” and in the process an
"asceticized" version of Christianity. (“Asceticism”, Theological
Dictionary, Timothy Ministries)

“Eastern Orthodox Christianity has an old form of meditation


practice called hesychastic practice, that has been practiced
by Christian ascetics and Desert Fathers from the earliest
days of the church. Based on Christ’s injunction to “go into your
closet to pray”, hesychasm (which translates as “stillness, rest, quiet, silence”) involves
the process of retiring inward, withdrawing from the senses, so as to achieve a
direct experiential knowledge of God. These practices even involve physical
postures and breathing exercises, reminiscent of Hindu yogic practices.” (Professor
Rafael Espericueta, “Christian Mystics”)

“Subsequently, for many people seeking engagement with spirituality it means


“withdrawal” into a “solitary place” and also from social interaction. Following the
example of St Antony in third and fourth-century Egypt, many others have sought
peace and solitude in order to find a more meaningful relationship with God through
disciplines such as prayer, contemplation and selfdenial. (Keating 1999; Stewart 2005,
86–87) The origin of mystic asceticism can also be traced to the same root. These
categories of spiritual activity have a long tradition… The experience of God can even
now be conceived at the core level in mystical terms “not as a transcendent Other but
as an immanent Self.” (Perrin 2007, 241) (Harri Kuhalampi, “Holistic Spirituality in the
Thinking of Ellen White”, Academic Dissertation, University of Helsinki 2010)

“Silence fosters stillness; it is indispensable for stillness. Inner stillness, however,


goes beyond silence insofar as its aim is to purify the heart and issue in pure prayer.
That purification involves the body in its entirety, because body and soul, like mind and
heart, are ultimately inseparable. In the words of St Mark the Ascetic, “The intellect
cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be
demolished without stillness and prayer.” (John Breck, “On Silence and Stillness”)

“To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind
from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never
ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by
another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all
the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or
sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on.” (Anthony de Mello,
“Sadhana: A Way to God” (Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28)

”Monasticism is a total withdrawal from every person and every material thing to
connect to the One and Only "God", who fills the heart, mind, and time….A monk
will never achieve this spiritual level if he still desires worldly things. This is why
monasticism is a life of loneliness….In loneliness a monk may continue a life of
prayer, contemplation, and songs without delay or distraction of any kind. A true monk
escapes people to be with God.” (His Holiness Pope Shenouda, “What is
Monasticism?”)

38
"I tell you, "Jesus replied, if they keep quiet,
the stones will cry out."
Luke 19:40

Seven Holystones
A Ministry of Athanasios Paul Thompson
http://sevenholystones.org/index.html

“The Stones Bear Witness - Edinburgh, Scotland,


June 3, 2010--In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says
that if his disciples stopped bearing witness to him,
"the stones would shout out." (Elliott Wright, “The
Stones Bear Witness”, Global Ministries, United
Methodist Church)

“A dramatic reminder that all creation figures in


God's mission took place in Edinburgh on June 3
as delegates to the World Mission Conference brought stones from their homelands
to lay at the foot of the cross.” (Ibid)

“A litany for the ceremony declared that Christian mission is about more than people: “It
is for the world and not just humanity that Jesus was born and lived and died and rose
again.” The litany said that people who love God have the responsibility to care for the
earth, “to love, admire, and preserve it for others.” (Ibid)

“The ceremony of the stones was part of opening worship on the first full day of the
conference that brought together 300 delegates from more than 60 countries and from
every Christian communion: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox,
Pentecostal, and Independent.” (Ibid)

“Centennial Observance - The 2010 conference marks the centennial of a 1910 World
Missionary Conference in Edinburgh that led to urgency about Christian mission, an
urgency responsible in large part for the enormous spread of Christianity throughout the
20th century.” (Ibid)

“Mission of the Cross - The theme of the cross at the center of mission and witness
was developed by the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tvit, general secretary of the World Council
of Churches. The council not only helped with the 2010 event but inherited the heritage
of Edinburgh 1910 when the International Missionary Council, spawned in 1910, became
part of the World Council in 1961.” (Ibid)

“The Norwegian clergyman (Tvit) said that a witness to Christ required "a mission
movement of the cross. This means that if there is a will to be one in Christ, there must
be an ecumenical movement of the cross.” (Ibid)

39
“Building Bridges - The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World
Evangelical Alliance, also spoke at the worship that included the stones around the
cross. His alliance represents 128 evangelical organizations and 100 Bible colleges
around the world.” (Elliott Wright, “The Stones Bear Witness”, Global Ministries, United
Methodist Church)

“Among the 250 delegates of churches and Christian World Communions attending the
conference will be Seventh-day Adventists Cheryl Doss, director of the Church's
Institute of World Mission in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and John McVay, New
Testament scholar and president of Walla Walla University in Washington. Ganoune
Diop, director of the Adventist Church's Global Mission Study Centers and member of
the Edinburgh 2010 General Council, has been invited to co-chair the Foundations for
Mission session during the conference.” Jon Dybdahl preceded Diop as the Adventist
representative on the Edinburgh 2010 planning committee. (“Advent Media Trust”)

“Edinburgh 2010 organizers say their goal is to explore the best ways to share the
gospel in the twenty-first century. Nine study themes have been chosen to aid
discussion, including post-modernity, relating to other faiths, unity, spirituality,
discipleship, and mission and power. Diop, a theologian who focuses on the integration
of theology and mission, said, “I’m grateful to be part of a venue that explores ways to
present Christ to our contemporaries.” (Ibid)

“Common Call - As we gather for the centenary of the World Missionary Conference of
Edinburgh 1910, we believe the church, as a sign and symbol of the reign of God, is
called to witness to Christ today by sharing in God’s mission of love through the
transforming power of the Holy Spirit.” (edinburg2010.org)

“1. Trusting in the Triune God and with a renewed sense of urgency, we are called to
incarnate and proclaim the good news of salvation, of forgiveness of sin, of life in
abundance, and of liberation for all poor and oppressed. We are challenged to witness
and evangelism in such a way that we are a living demonstration of the love,
righteousness and justice that God intends for the whole world.” (Ibid)

“3. Knowing the Holy Spirit who blows over the world at will, reconnecting creation
and bringing authentic life, we are called to become communities of compassion and
healing, where young people are actively participating in mission, and women and men
share power and responsibilities fairly, where there is a new zeal for justice, peace and
the protection of the environment, and renewed liturgy reflecting the beauties of the
Creator and creation.” (Ibid)

“9. Remembering Jesus’ way of witness and service, we believe we are called by God to
follow this way joyfully, inspired, anointed, sent and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and
nurtured by Christian disciplines in community…” (Ibid)

“As we strive toward a mission spirituality that embraces the contributions of a


diversity of cultural spiritualities, we have seen that some of our terms may need to
change. Instead of discipleship, we may, as the Orthodox do, need to talk about a
path to holiness or a path of devotion, as Indian spirituality espouses. Instead of
mission, we may need to speak of a path of love, of dialogue or of ecclesiastical or
community duty.” (Edinburgh 2010 Volume II, “Witnessing to Christ Today”, page 249)

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“What should an authentic discipleship path look like? What sort of spirituality will it
embrace? This will of course in some ways vary from culture to culture, and yet, we can
glean some seeds of commonality. We have seen that discipleship should be
holistic….To speak about spirituality is to speak about living a life oriented toward the
fulfilment of God’s purposes for all creation. Rene Padilla has made the following point:
(Edinburgh 2010 Volume II, “Witnessing to Christ Today”, page 249)

“Christian spirituality is a gift and a task. It requires communion with God


(contemplation) as well as action in the world (praxis). When these two elements are
separated, both the life and the mission of the church are deeply affected.
Contemplation without action is an escape from concrete reality; action without
contemplation is activism lacking a transcendent meaning. True spirituality requires a
missionary contemplation and a contemplative mission.” (Ibid) (C. Rene Padilla.
‘Spirituality in the Life and Mission of the Church’ (2009), paper submitted to Edinburgh
2010 Study Group 9)

“The theological foundation of mission in unity is built on the koinonia of the triune God.
Mission is based on the infinite love of God, who created out of nothing the whole of creation
and humankind in his image and likeness, so as to make us part-takers of this ineffable love.
The Father sent the Son (John 16:5) to fulfill the plan of the Divine Economy. The Word of
God became incarnate, born fully human by the Holy Spirit (Nicene Creed). This inner
communion of the Holy Trinity is the ultimate source of the unity of the church and the
aim of God’s mission: to invite every human being to experience fellowship with God and
with one another according to the inner unity of the One God in three Persons (John
17:21) [“The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the
Trinity.” J.N. Loughborough, Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 5, 1861] in the
eschatological hope of the restoration of the whole created world… (Ibid, page 208)

“Mission is an authentic witness to the Church’s eschatological experience (that is, the
inclusive reality of God’s kingdom) as the Holy Spirit ‘blows wherever s/he wills’
(John 3:8)…Thus Christian mission is relational more than rational and is not limited to a
proselytizing mission, but has become holistic in character; redemption from sin covers
all aspects of social, moral, and ecological concerns.” (Ibid, page 26)

Psalms 68:13: "Though ye have lien among the pots ...yet shall
ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her
feathers with yellow gold.” (Athanasios Paul website)

“We lodge among the pots, figuratively speaking. We are dirty and
soiled by sin, and yet when the grace of God takes hold of our lives,
we are to soar up out of all of that filth and dirt and become a new
creature in Christ Jesus, and that which is dirty and that which is
unlovely becomes beautiful in the sight of God.” (Athanasios Paul
website, Dr. Joe Temple, “Birds of the Bible study: Dove”)

“There is nothing any more beautiful, nothing any more thrilling than a changed life in
Christ. You can see why the Spirit of God was pleased to use this particular illlustration.
Every time David saw a dove mounting up into the sunlight from the place where she
had been soiled and dirty, he was reminded of the soul that is changed, that is
revolutionized by the power of God.” (Ibid)

41
Ancient Thought In Modern Dress
“Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas
and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying
similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached. This common
ground is no other than Theosophy - the Secret Doctrine of the ages; which, diluted and
disguised to suit the capacity of the multitude, and the requirements of the time, has formed
the living kernel of all religion.” (Madame Blavatsky, “open letter
to the Archbishop of Canterbury”, Lucifer magazine, 1887)

“We are accustomed to say to the Buddhist, the Mohammedan, the


Hindoo, or the Parsee: “The road to Theosophy lies, for you,
through your own religion.”… Were we, therefore, to encourage
Christians, as we do the votaries of other creeds, to study their own
religion for themselves, the consequence would be, not a knowledge
of the meaning of its mysteries, but either the revival of mediaeval
superstition and intolerance, accompanied by a formidable outbreak
of mere lip-prayer and preaching—such as resulted in the formation
of the 239 Protestant sects of England alone—or else a great increase of scepticism, for
Christianity has no esoteric foundation known to those who profess it. For even you, my Lord
Primate of England, must be painfully aware that you know absolutely no more of those
“mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” which Jesus taught his disciples, than does the
humblest and most illiterate member of your church.”(Ibid)

“Your Grace will now understand why it is that the Theosophical Society has taken for
one of its three "objects" the study of those Eastern religions and philosophies,
which shed such a flood of light upon the inner meaning of Christianity; and you
will, we hope, also perceive that in so doing, we are acting not as the enemies, but as
the friends of the religion taught by Jesus — of true Christianity, in fact. For it is only
through the study of those religions and philosophies that Christians can ever
arrive at an understanding of their own beliefs, or see the hidden meaning of the
parables and allegories which the Nazarene told to the spiritual cripples of Judea, and by
taking which, either as matters of fact or as matters of fancy, the Churches have brought
the teachings themselves into ridicule and contempt, and Christianity into serious danger
of complete collapse, undermined as it is by historical criticism and mythological
research, besides being broken by the sledge-hammer of modern science.” (Ibid)

“For many years, I have kept in my office an ink drawing of two smiling figures with their
arms around each other: Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, with the caption: “Jesus
and Buddha must be very good friends.” They are not the same, but they are friends,
not enemies, and they are not indifferent to one another. From the very beginning of
Shalem [Institute], I have been moved to affirm that statement.” (Tilden Edwards, “Jesus
and Buddha: Good Friends”)

“How can we help our hearts to grow every day, to be able to embrace everything?
The Buddha gave a very beautiful example. Suppose you have a bowl of water and
someone put a handful of salt in the bowl of water; it would be too salty for you to drink.
But suppose someone threw a handful of salt into a clear mountain river. The river is
deep and wide enough that you can still drink the water without tasting the salt.” (“How
Can I Be More Compassionate and Centered?”, iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship
Resource for Seventh-Day Adventists)

42
“A Jesuit friend once told me that he approached a Hindu guru for initiation in the art of
prayer. The guru said to him, "Concentrate on your breathing." My friend proceeded to
do just that for about five minutes. Then the guru said, "The air you breathe is God. You
are breathing God in and out. Become aware of that, and stay with that awareness."
My friend, after making a slight theological adjustment to that statement, followed
these instructions-for hours on end, day after day-and discovered, to his amazement,
that prayer can be as simple a matter as breathing in and out.” (Anthony de Mello,
“Sadhana: A Way To God, Christian Exercises in Eastern Form”, Introduction)

“I hope that all efforts for Christian unity may go forward through your help.”
His Holiness Pope Shenouda to Pope John Paul II

“The boasted unity of Romanism was gloriously displayed, by the diversified


councils and confessions of the fourth century. Popery, on that as on every other
occasion, eclipsed Protestantism in the manufacture of creeds. Forty-five councils,
says Jortin, were held in the fourth century. Of these, thirteen were against Arianism,
fifteen for that heresy, and seventeen for Semi-Arianism. The roads were crowded with
bishops thronging to synods, and the traveling expenses, which were defrayed by the
emperor, exhausted the public funds. These exhibitions became the sneer of the
heathen, who were amused to behold men, who, from infancy, had been educated in
Christianity, and appointed to instruct others in that religion, hastening, in this manner, to
distant places and conventions for the purpose of ascertaining their belief. (Samuel
Edgar, “The Variations of Popery”,1838, page 276)

"Ecumenical activity has a dual dynamic", the Pope (Benedict XVI) explained. "On the one
hand it means searching dedicatedly, passionately and tenaciously for all the unity in truth,
devising models of unity, illuminating points of contention and obscurity in order to achieve
unity. This must take place through the necessary theological dialogue, but above all in
prayer and penance, in that ecumenical spirit which constitutes the pulsating heart of the
entire journey. The unity of Christians is and remains prayer, it dwells in prayer. On the
other hand there is another operational dynamic which arises from our firm awareness
that we do not know the time that the unity of all Christ's disciples will be achieved,
and we cannot know it because we do not 'make' unity, God 'makes' it; it comes from on
high, ... it is a participation in divine unity. Yet this must not diminish our commitment; quite
the contrary, it must make us ever more attentive to recognising the signs and times of
the Lord, knowing how to recognise with gratitude what unites us and working to ensure it
... grows.” (“Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity”, Vatican City, 18 Nov 2010)

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)


President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan
has invited Pope Benedict XVI to
work together with the Lutheran
communion in realizing an
ecumenically accountable
commemoration of the 500th
anniversary of the beginning of the
Protestant Reformation. (VATICAN
City, Vatican/GENEVA, 16 Dec. 2010)
http://www.lutheranworld.org/lwf/index.php/younan-pope-500th-anniversary.html#more-17106

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“For us there is joy in the liberating power of the gospel proclaimed afresh by the reformers,
and we will celebrate that,” said Younan in a message today, when he led a seven-member
delegation in a private audience with the Pope. He underlined the need to recognize both the
damaging aspects of the Reformation and ecumenical progress. (Ibid)

“But we cannot achieve this ecumenical accountability on our own, without your help.
Thus we invite you to work together with us in preparing this anniversary, so that in 2017 we
are closer to sharing in the Bread of Life than we are today.” (Ibid)

Greeting the LWF delegation, Pope Benedict expressed gratitude for “the many significant
fruits produced” by decades of bilateral discussions between Lutherans and Roman
Catholics, saying it had been possible “slowly and patiently to remove barriers and to
foster visible bonds of unity by means of theological dialogue and practical cooperation,
especially at the level of local communities.” In the years leading up to the next
Reformation anniversary, “Catholics and Lutherans are called to reflect anew on where our
journey towards unity has led us and to implore the Lord’s guidance and help for the future,”
he said. (Ibid)

In his statement, Younan reiterated the LWF’s commitment to “moving closer toward one
another around this Table of the Lord, which Luther saw as the summa evangelii.” The LWF
president pointed out that while it was important to “rejoice in each small step which brings
us closer together, we do not want to be content with these steps. We remain strong in hope
– both for the full visible unity of Christ’s Church and for the Eucharistic communion
which is so crucial a manifestation of that unity.” (Ibid)

“For some time theologians from the Roman Catholic Church had manifested interest in
holding conversations with Seventh-day Adventists concerning Adventist beliefs. After
careful consideration, and motivated by the opportunity to present our beliefs to leading
Catholic theologians, the invitation was accepted. Consequently, Dr. Bert Beach and Dr.
John Graz of the GC Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, and Dr. Angel
Manuel Rodríguez of the Biblical Research Institute met in Rome May 5-6, 2000 with
Bishop (now Cardinal) Walter Kasper and Msgr. John Radano from the Vatican.” (Angel
Manuel Rodriguez, “Conversations Between Adventists and Catholics”)

“Work and celebration are intimately connected in the life of families: they condition choices,
influence relations between married couples and between parents and children, affect the
relation of families with society and with the Church. Holy Scripture (cf. Genesis 1-2) tells
us that the family, work and the feast day are gifts and blessings of God to help us to
live a fully human existence. Daily experience attests that the authentic development of the
person includes the individual, familial, and communal dimension, activities and functional
relationships, as well as openness to hope and to the Good without limits. (VATICAN CITY,
SEPT. 26, 2010 (http://www.zenit.org/article-30476?l=english) -- Excerpt from the translation
of the letter Benedict XVI sent to the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family
regarding the 7th World Meeting of Families, which will be held in 2012 in Italy)

“In our days, unfortunately, the organization of labor, conceived and realized in function of
market competition and maximizing profit, and the concept of feast as an occasion for
escape and consumption, contribute to the break-up of the family and the community
and to the spreading of an individualistic lifestyle. Thus, it is necessary to promote
reflection and efforts at reconciling the demands and the periods of work with those of the
family and to recover the true meaning of the feast, especially on Sunday, the weekly
Easter, the day of the Lord and the day of man, the day of the family, of the community and
of solidarity.” (Ibid)

44
“Currently, Christians of the world celebrate the Great Holiday Easter on two different days,
which is an evident marker of the divisions that divide the Christian denominations. On April
4, 2010, and April 24, 2011, Easter in the denominations’ calendars coincidentally fall on the
same day. People who signed this text call to Christians of all denominations to use this
period to prepare to jointly celebrate the Easter holiday on April 8, 2012, on the day
which corresponds to the rule and method for the calculation agreed upon by the Catholic,
Protestant, and Orthodox Churches in 1997. The benefit of this method of calculation,
which was recognized by all, is that it actualizes the rule established by the First
Ecumenical Nicea Council. (A Call to Jointly Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on April
8, 2012 http://www.ecumenicalstudies.org.ua/eng/call-jointly-celebrate-resurrection-christ)

“During the conference in Aleppo in Syria, which took place from March 5 to March 10,
1997, representatives of the big Christian traditions proposed to establish a common
date to be used by the whole Christian world… At the conference in Aleppo, which the Syrian
Orthodox Church hosted, were represented the Anglican community, the Armenian Orthodox
Church, the Orthodox Church, the Middle East Evangelical Churches, the Greek Orthodox
Church, the Lutheran World Federation, the Middle East Council of Churches, the Union of
Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman-Catholic
Church, Seventh-day Adventists, and the World Council of Churches. (Ibid)

“The Council of Nicea…has an enduring lesson for Christians today in its willingness
make use of contemporary science in calculating the date of Easter. While the council
sought to advance the concrete unity of the churches, it did not itself undertake a
detailed regulation of the Easter calculation. Instead it expected the churches to employ the
most exact science of the day for calculating the necessary astronomical data (the March
equinox and the full moon).” (“Towards a Common Date of Easter”, World Council of Churches website)
http://www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/wcc-commissions/faith-and-order-commission/i-unity-the-
church-and-its-mission/towards-a-common-date-for-easter/towards-a-common-date-for-easter.html

“God is in the tabernacle moving around in the desert; God is localized in the temple in
Jerusalem; God is in the person Jesus all over Palestine and Judea; God is manifested
through the global community of believers; and God is even encountered through people
who genuinely love and care even though they may not know God or Jesus personally.
Wherever love is, God is, because God is love. Perhaps the most important issue here is
the ability to develop a heightened awareness (eyes to see) of the divine all around us.”
(Ways To Encounter God, iFollowdiscipleship.org, Discipleship Resource for Seventh-Day
Adventists)

When we read THE WHOLE STORY of the Father, the


SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT, it is Very Clear they are all
ONE GOD ! THE TRINITY ! The Only way for us to be
SAVED is to accept JESUS CHRIST as your Lord and
Savior, And Accept the HOLY TRINITY ! (Emphasis in
original) (2007 Amazing Facts cartoon book “What About
The Trinity?” by Jim Pinkoski with Doug Batchelor and
Pastor Anderson, pages 54 & 56.)

What does Scripture teach? “These words spake Jesus,


and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy
Son also may glorify Thee:… And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. That they all may be one; as Thou,
Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe
that Thou hast sent Me” - (John 17:1, 3, 21) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak
not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” - (Isaiah 8:20)

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Can We Discern The Times?
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our
salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us
therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” -
(Romans 13:11-12)

"No man drops in one day from perfect faith to gross error; much less do multitudes of
people apostatize all at the same time. Error is insidious in its working, and the people
who fall away are rarely conscious that any change is taking place in them." (E.J.
Waggoner, “Present Truth”, Jan. 30, 1902)

“A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It
wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a
well-packed web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the
truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” (Dresden James)

“It seems as though people would surely rate the Fathers as they deserve, if they would
only read their puerile writings; nevertheless, most of those who study them are so eager
to find something which will give them a show of excuse for continuing some custom for
which they can find no authority in the Bible, that they are willfully blind to the gross
errors which they contain. The great majority of people, however, have no chance ever
even to see the writings of the Fathers, and no time or patience to read them if they
should see them; and so when they hear doctors of divinity gravely quoting from the
Fathers, they have a sort of vague idea that those “venerable staggers” are the salt of
the earth.” (E.J. Waggoner, Fathers of the Catholic Church, page 207, 1888)

“If I depend on a teacher to expound to me (on Scripture), and he should guess at its
meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise,
then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible." (Ellen G.
White, “Advent Review and Sabbath Herald”, November 25, 1884 par. 24)

“In a convoluted theology, the Holy Spirit is de facto claimed, controlled, summoned,
and held captive by individuals of faith (whether clergy or laity); the institutional church
(and its leaders in a community of faith as the body of Christ which is the same ipso
facto claim as the churches of an episcopal succession); special interest groups of
Christians; ritual practices; mission and ministry projects or programs; theological
stances; and even by majority vote. In general, the Holy Spirit can be claimed to support
almost everything and anything any Christian person or Christian group thinks, says, or
does. In fact, a convoluted theology believes that everything that one believes, thinks, or
that happens is God’s will (except for a specific sin, disease, or natural disaster). It mixes
free will with God’s will.” (Harold Schlachtenhaufen, “Some Emerging Convoluted
Theological Positions in the ELCA”)

"As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit Sabbath (Sunday worship)
other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as
sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in
misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it
ignorantly; but can it be that the church of Christ will carry along with these errors till the
judgement scenes burst upon the world? We think not… This class who live just prior to

46
the second advent will not be keeping the traditions of men, neither will they be holding
fundamental errors relative to the plan of salvation through Christ." (James White,
“Advent Review and Sabbath Herald”, March 6, 1855)

“God appointed the church to be the light of the world, and at the same time ordained
that his Word should be the light of the church. But when the church becomes unfaithful
to her trust, and corrupts the pure doctrines of the gospel, as a natural consequence the
world becomes intoxicated with her false doctrine. That the nations of the earth are in
such a condition at the present time is too obvious to be denied. The world is intoxicated
in the pursuit of riches and honor, but the sin lies at the door of the church; for the
church sanctions what the Lord strictly forbade, and she sets the example to the world.
If the church had not intoxicated the world with the wine of false doctrines, the plain
truths of the Bible would powerfully move the public mind. (Ibid)

Letting the Word Speak


“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is
the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We
will not walk therein.” - (Jeremiah 6:16)

“And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and
His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became
vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, whom the Lord had
charged them, that they should not do like them.” - (2 Kings 17:15)

“Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far
from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” - (Jeremiah 2:5)

“Hath a nation changed gods, which are yet no gods? but My people have changed their
glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly
afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For My people have committed two evils; they
have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken
cisterns, that can hold no water.” “Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and
with your children's children will I plead.” - (Jeremiah 2:10-13, 9)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of
men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” - (Colossians 2:8)

“Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for
all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart
of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come
and smite the earth with a curse.” - (Malachi 4:4-6)

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any
man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I
speak of Myself.” “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distil as the dew,
as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:” “[S]peak
thou the things which become sound doctrine:” “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye
not My law.” - (John 7:16-17; Deuteronomy 32:2; Titus 2:1; Proverbs 4:2)

47
“I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father
knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other
sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice;
and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” – (John 10:14-16)

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried
stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”
“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the
stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of
stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient:
whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called
you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are
now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” –
(Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:7-10)

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of
Christ.” “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” “Jesus saith…,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” “And
whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the
Son.” – (Ephesians 2:13, 18; John 14:6, 13)

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints,
and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed
together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for
an habitation of God through the Spirit.” – (Ephesians 2:19-22)

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick
and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out
of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of
an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” - (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane vain babblings: for they will increase unto
more ungodliness.” - (2 Timothy 2:15-16)

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that
abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto
you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:”
- (2 John 1:9-10)

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which
before was preached unto you:” - (Acts 3:19-20)
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of
bread, and in prayers.” - (Acts 2:42)

“[N]ow, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the
work of Thy hand.” - (Isaiah 64:8)

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Resources
These resources have benefited my study and research. Because a resource is listed here does
not mean that those involved endorse this examination. Inclusion is also not a blanket
endorsement, on my part, of their content. All things we hold to be truth must be carefully studied
in the light of Scripture preserved and handed down to us from the apostolic church.

• Maranatha Media- In Honour of the Father and His Son.


http://www.maranathamedia.com/site/

• Reclaim SDA- Exposing The Dangers Of The “Emergent Contemplative Spirituality” In


Adventism. http://reclaimsda.org/reclaimsda/Welcome.html

• Lighthouse Trails Research Project- This site alerts others about the contemplative belief
system that has embedded itself into Christianity. http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/index.html

• Smyrna Gospel Ministries- A ministry dedicated to upholding Bible truth and sharing the
love of God the Father and His only Begotten Son. http://www.smyrna.org/

• Restitution Ministries- Our purpose and calling is ‘to contend earnestly for the faith which
was once delivered unto the saints’. http://acts321.org/welcome/

• Scripture Studies- Studies that bring to light the relationship between our Heavenly Father,
His only begotten Son and how they, through their Spirit work together to show us the way to
Salvation. http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/2657032

• I Will Not Leave You Comfortless- Collections of inspiration and encouragement about our
wonderful Saviour, His Father and Spirit from the pen of Ellen G. White.
http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2636549

• The Prophet Still Speaks- What did leading pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism all have in
common with each other? http://theprophetstillspeaks.co.uk/

• Ancient Thought Research- Why is the mystery of the trinity so important to the Seventh-
Day Adventist church? http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/2811227

• Certain Sound Ministry- Their mission is to encourage people to respond to YHWH’s


trumpet call and to proclaim a certain sound of warning to their fellow man. Responding to the
call of YHWH’s trumpet can be seen by the illustrations of marriage within the Bible.
http://certainsoundministry.com/

• Followers of Yah- Our Mission is to spread the (Besorah) "Good News of Yahushua Ha
Mashiach, the only brought forth Son of Yahuwah. http://followersofyah.com/

• Amazing Discoveries- An organization committed to exposing deceptions and errors in the


religious realm, history, science, media, and health. http://amazingdiscoveries.org/

• Seventh-Day Adventist Archives- A wonderful resource for research with records covering
the entire period of Adventist church history. http://www.adventistarchives.org/DocArchives.asp

• Ellen G. White Database- Access Ellen White’s complete published writings.


http://egwdatabase.whiteestate.org/

• Spectrum Magazine- If you want to see the heart of contemplative spirituality beating in
Adventism, you’ll find it here. http://www.spectrummagazine.org/

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One Final Picture
We have been on an interesting odyssey and one picture remains. It is included in a rotating collage
of photographs on the Athanasios Paul website. We don’t know if the former Robert Thompson
personally knew Brother and Sister Vandeman, the founders of It Is Written, but there they are smiling.
The association is understandable as Brother Athans is now a
speaker for the Life Discovery Series a ministry of It Is Written.
Our concern is that the use of this picture gives validity to the
conflicting testimony of Robert Athanasios Paul Thompson. As
his website shows he still has one foot firmly planted in Egypt
with the Desert Fathers and the other planted in the camp of
American Evangelicals and Seventh-Day Adventism.
Can you or I say that as members of the Seventh-Day Adventist
church we uphold the Scripture and beliefs handed down from the
apostolic church to the Church in the Wilderness? Are we a remnant of that wilderness church, or are we
wandering confused in the spiritual desert wastelands of Egypt after the Fathers of ancient thought in
modern dress? Do we blend our faith with theirs in creeds and schools of Trinitarian philosophy, mystical
contemplation and formation promoted through a metaphoric and allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures?
Please think seriously about the answer to these questions. This is not a call to come out of the church our
Saviour established. It is a call to earnestly contend with and return to the faith once delivered to the saints
as found in the assembly of those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith and testimony of
Jesus.

If we are out of harmony with our Heavenly Father and His eternal son Jesus then prayer and genuine
repentance for ourselves and the church collectively are the key. A friend shared something profound,
“Israel was only released from Babylon when Daniel began to pray the prayer of repentance for His people
as one of them.” “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek
My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal
their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This is true revival and reformation for only then will Jesus bless us with a
greater outpouring of His indwelling Spirit. Our prayer is that those leading the corporate Seventh-Day
Adventist church are listening to the voice of the True Shepherd.

Add Brother Thompson to your prayer list as we want to take his admonition at face value, “I challenge you
to achieve great happiness through holiness ... Come on up to the higher calling in Christ Jesus. God has
provided the Bible, practical help from an American prophet and a biblically sound Christian move-ment to
remind us all just how blessed we are. No tradition, ritualistic practice or ecclesiastical leader may stand
above the clear teaching of the Word of God!” (Athanasios Paul Thompson)

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come
unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of
living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy
Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words
that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” - (John 7:37-39; 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 6:63)

Can you hear the voice of our Shepherd calling, “Come home, come home. Ye who are weary come
home.” “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that
is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” - (Revelation 22:17)

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out
of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven
saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His
people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any
more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I
make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said
unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is
athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” - (Revelation 21:1-6)

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