Background Information

In 1941, while at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, I gave my heart and my life to the Lord. In 1942 I married a young evangelist; Ken Berry.   We worked for a year as colporteurs of Christian literature and he as tent master for ministers who were holding evangelistic meetings. Then he became the Conference evangelist to raise up churches in Sterns, KY, Centerville, TN, and other small towns. I cooked on a hot plate, slept in tents, and was his “one and only” Bible worker. Not knowing what questions would come my way, I read my Bible with great interest and a red pen. Time and again he preached a sermon on “The Two Laws”—The Ten Commandments that were written in stone and placed in the ark, and the “Ceremonial Law” written by Moses that was placed in the side of the ark and was “nailed to the cross” on Calvary.   I taught this same thing in many homes to many persons. It was such an effective doctrine and so easily illustrated.

In 1946 we were called to be missionaries in Kenya, East Africa. While he was being instructed on how to go on safari journeys, I was told to stay at the Kendu Hospital to learn the procedures that I would need to know in running the dispensary at Chebwai Mission where we were assigned to be the next seven years.

There I met Dr. and Susie Abbot and D.K. Short who was in charge of the Gendia Mission just two miles down the hill from the hospital. One day I heard Dr. Abbot say to Don Short, “You know, the Israelites did not have refrigerators as we do now. Pork is held at nearly freezing temperature for three months.  Today you could eat it without fear of parasites. You know that all those ceremonial laws were “nailed to the cross.” Brother Short did not make any protest and I assumed that he agreed with that idea.

As a child, my parents were regular Christians, who at least once a year when the weather was cold enough, they slaughtered a pig. It was a day of celebration with a big roast-gravy-potatoes, veggies, pie cake, cookies and condiments. Everyone expected and made ready to be sick afterward! We all knew that a fresh port dinner had its after-affects! Basins and sacks were made ready. Even at fourteen years of age, I was sick from a fresh pork dinner. I thought of that and looked at my Bible underlined with red pen that rested in Lev. 11. Pork was banned! Why? If the laws were nailed to the cross, why was it still making people sick?

I went back to our mission, sick at heart. I fasted and prayed for light on the subject.  Something just was not making sense. Something was “out of joint.” Little by little the Lord answered my prayers. I wrote a paper titled “The Four Laws” in which I pointed out four categories of law found in the Old Testament.   1.  The Ten Commandments; 2. The Health Laws; 3. The Civil laws for the courts; and  4. The Sacrificial laws that were nailed to the cross at the crucifixion. I showed when each began and when the sacrificial laws ended at the cross. That paper was published word for word in the Ministry magazine 4-6-1948.

Later, I learned the following: Elder Kotz, a German minister was presiding in the Sligo Church right there in Washington D.C. at the General Conference headquarters. For years he had been having breakfast at the near-by diner relishing his sausages and pancakes! He was beginning to share his new-found license to eat what he pleased since such laws had all been “nailed to the cross.” Those who went out to eat with him, did not know what to make of this new doctrine.  

When the Ministry magazine published the paper on the “Four Laws” he was challenged and removed from that prestigious position.

From that very early experience, I knew there were more than just two kinds of laws given in the Old Testament. I did not yet know that the “Health Laws” were called “Statutes” nor how the statiutes were related to the Ten Commandmnents. That was to come many years later. Read On…

About 1952-3, Elder Wieland became President of the Kenya, East Africa Mission Field in which was the Chebwai Mission station where my husband, Ken Berry and I had lived since 1947. Elder Wieland visited our station several times, from which we traveled to a number of outlying “branch” churches we had raised up. He preached in our mission church and we traveled together to one fine church up on Mt. Elgon. As we traveled we had many fine conversations regarding his research and he asked me to read his manuscript, “1888 Examined.

When we first arrived in Africa, we went to the Kendu Hospital for me to learn how to do “dispensary: work and a couple miles from the hospital was Gendia Mission Station and Kenya Publishing House where D. K. Short was in charge. We enjoyed many days in their home and enjoyed his sense of humor!

1888 Examined.

With great interest I read the manuscript which was not yet published. I was puzzled. There was no doubt in reading the exact quotations, that Ellen G. White expressed great disappointment with the 1888 meetings held in Minneapolis. It was obvious that she expressed her disapproval of the leading brethren who had vented their disdain for the two young men who were bringing a special message to the meeting. I saw that the main objection in the manuscript was that the whole church had rejected “Righteousness by Faith.”   That I could not understand.

“Righteousness by Faith” Rejected?

For several years, I had given many Bible studies to people who attended my husband’s evangelistic meetings. (In those days every evangelist needed a Bible Worker,)  I had also done much Bible research on a personal basis. I knew that the church had faithfully taught “Righteousness by Faith” through justification in the name of Jesus. I had also read many times that the church taught “Righteousness by Faith” through sanctification (not by works alone) but by faith in the power of Jesus to bring the character into harmony with the character of God. It seemed to me that this must be a false charge. I was convinced that the meetings in Minneapolis had gone wrong but that the charges were false. I also read the little book “Righteousness by Faith” and that settled it in my thinking.

Time passed; by 1970, my husband was stationed in Ohio where I became an Associate Superintendant of Education and had an office in the Ohio Conference building in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The officers and ministers in Ohio were to attend a very special meeting or “retreat” held by the Columbia Union Conference. I was included in that ten-day experience.

The Columbia Union Ten Day Meeting.

I had read the four volumes titled “The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers” by Dr. L. E. Froom. He had spent thirteen years researching the libraries of Europe and had produced excellent documentation to reveal the progressive fulfillment and recognition of Bible prophecy which Seventh-day Adventists hold so dear to their hearts. I treasured those books which had so strengthened my faith. I confess that I had them all underlined here and there with red pen!

Dr. Froom was the main speaker at the Columbia Union ten day meeting. He had made a chart that was about 30 feet long that stretched all across the front of the conference room. Day after day he explained the “roots” of the Adventists movement, as it arose out of the 1800 Awakening. To me, all this was extremely fascinating. He covered the Great Disappointment of 1844 in great detail. Then he explained what had happened in Minneapolis in 1888. This was what he said:

The Report by L. E. Froom’

(As I remember his report in a brief)
Two young men, A.T. Jones and E.J Wagner attended the 1888 Minneapolis meeting with an urgent message. Wagner had previously attended a summer camp meeting. He had decided to sit out on the edge of the hot tent and large crowd, to get the breeze, not paying full attention to the speaker when it seemed that he had a vision and saw Christ hanging on the cross. It so moved him that he had prepared a series to present at the 1888 General Conference meeting to be held in Minneapolis. His plan was to present Jesus each day in each aspect of His work, in each of His offices to accomplish our salvation.    His sermons were very well organized and they had taken notes of all that he had presented. He had an attractive manner of presentation and was well received. Jones was not so well received because he had “uncouth gestures” and was too repetitious.

(At that point the meetings were about to close and Dr. Froom asked if there were any questions.)
I rose to my feet and said, “You have explained very well what was done by Wagner. Can you give us information on what was said by Jones?”

Dr. Froom appeared to be “flustered” but said, “No.  I cannot; because we cannot get our hands on the book that has that information in it. The book is held by some contrary persons who will not turn it over to us.”

At that point, I knew that the issue was not about “Righteousness by Faith” nor the work of Jesus for our salvation. There had been an issue which was still not understood. Later, I heard that Jones had introduced two abrasive topics: “Perfection of character” and “Kingly Power” [as held by administrators] of the church! The latter seemed to align with a statement of Ellen G. White who registered her disappointment that there had been no change after 1888 in the administrative structure.

Fall Counsel in Mexico—Repentance

There was a Fall Counsel held in Mexico. The Ohio President returned from it saying that an action was taken to make a statement of repentance for the unkind attitudes and actions of those who attended the 1888 meetings. The action was for what “our fathers” had done. I did not feel the issue was settled.

Light on the “main issue”

In my thinking, the main issue has been lying dormant for over a century. And, yes, it does have to do with “righteousness” but not with justification or sanctification. Though the church has promoted fully “Righteousness” that has to do with justification and sanctification by faith, there was still something that was unsolved.  “Right doing” and right thinking is always connected with the keeping of God’s laws. An issue has been rising among honest-hearted children of God regarding God’s laws. There is something that seems to be “out of joint” as follows:

Denominational history and current practice reveals the fact that the early pioneers of Adventism were students of Scripture. They based their “Advent” date on a study of the statutes that included the “day of Atonement” that occurred Oct. 22, 1844. This was called “The Seventh Month Movement, referring to the Feast of Tabernacles and the “Day of Atonement” An important date to Adventism to this day. They felt duty bound to keep the seventh-day Sabbath from sundown to sundown because they found that instruction in the statutes. They made tithes and offerings an important part of their worship of the Creator because they found that instruction in the statutes. Likewise the health message of Lev. 11—another statute. Ellen G. White explained that the statutes were given to guard the Ten Commandments and were not to pass away at the death of Christ but to continue as long as time should last.

“…The statutes were explicitly given to guard the Ten Commandments
They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ
They were to be binding upon men in every age as long as time should last
These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and
They clearly and definitely explained that law.”
ST 4/15/1875  (Reprinted in RH May 6, 1875)  Ellen G. White.

As a matter of fact, the “Heb. Word “mo’edeim” or “appointed times” to worship the Creator God is found in Gen. 1:14-16 which was before the creation of mankind. These “appointed times” for worship are listed in Lev. 23 and are known as “the feasts of the Lord.” (not the feasts of the Jews). The seventh day-Sabbath is the first “feast” listed. The other six are annual Sabbaths and all are known as statutes.   They are regulated in time by the sun and moon in the sky.

Not until man fell, was there a need for the ceremonial sacrificial system. The “appointed times” for worship, the Edenic diet, marriage, the best occupation for man, the statutes, were all given before the fall, but the ceremonial law came into being after the fall. There are many who are thinking that the real issue of 1888 was the determination by some of the leadership of the church to lump the statutes in with the ceremonial law “nailing them to the cross”. This decision was not “Righteousness” in a disregard of God’s holy statutes that guard and are empowered by His moral law.

Today, the consensus of opinion is that the statutes are a part of the ceremonial law that was “’nailed to the cross.” Six million books have been circulated advocating this very idea. When and how did that idea come into Adventism? Was that the real issue of 1888? Apparently, from 1875 to 1888 this issue over the statutes was rising and came to a head in the 1888 meeting. But, as in every issue, the prophetess was determined to prevent the remnant church from disintegrating over a theological split and although she voiced her disappointment over the matter, she withdrew to Australia to begin a good work there.   But the issue still remained and the Lord still has not come because his remnant are not yet ready.

How could a church be in ignorance regarding part of the statutes for over 120 years and still be “spiritual; Israel”? The story of ancient Israel under king Hezekiah is a partial explanation. In ancient times, Israel had been carried away into Babylon and only Judah was left. It had also fallen into apostasy so that the temple was in disrepair, Hezekiah had the scrolls of the prophets—the Word of God read to him. He saw their true state and went about the work of reform. When the enemy came, the Lord delivered them in a most miraculous way. Today and over the past century God has seen spiritual Israel struggling to keep the first one of the statutes, to give the gospel to the world, to take the three angels’ messages and to work for the healing ministry in a lost and dying world. He has not thrown away His remnant people because of their theological misunderstanding and following the confusion established by leadership so long ago.

But today, “knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:4). Like Hezekiah, the statutes shall be restored to their proper place. There are to be no doctrines taught that don’t make sense or that seem to be “out of joint” with reality! A little remnant, called out of the remnant are known as the 144,000 who will be blessed as they know and keep the statutes in their fullness. All seven “appointed times” to worship their Creator-Life-giver God will be kept to His glory to prepare them for translation.