CONTENDING FOR FAITH
~ The Received Text ~
ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS
THE real HISTORY of “King James Onlyism”
ORIGIN OF “KING JAMES ONLYISM”
The leadership of the King-James Only movement likes to trace its staunch principles of Biblical preservation and purity to John William Burgon (1813-88), the preeminent textual scholar of his day and arch critic of the Westcott-Hort New Greek Text and the English Revised Version. An Anglican clergyman and Dean of the Cathedral of Chichester, England, John Burgon wrote several articles and books on textual criticism, notably The Revision Revised: The New Greek Text, The New English Version and Westcott & Hort’s New Textual Theory and The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels (London, George Bell & Sons, 1896).
Dean John Burgon is extensively cited as a textual authority in Riplinger’s New Age Bible Versions but is mysteriously absent in her later book, In Awe of Thy Word. Burgon is also regularly cited in the works of other KJV-Only defenders such as D.A. Waite who, in 1978, organized and has served as the president of “The Dean Burgon Society” for the “defense of Traditional Bible texts.” The problem with the Dean Burgon Society is that the views of John W. Burgon on the KJV and the Textus Receptus diverge significantly from its “Articles of Faith.” For example, “Article of Faith ‘A’” of the Dean Burgon Society states:
“We believe that all the verses in the King James Version belong in the Old and the New Testaments because they represent words we believe were in the original texts, although there might be other renderings from the original languages which could also be acceptable to us today. For an exhaustive study of any of the words or verses in the Bible, we urge the student to return directly to the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Traditional Received Greek Text rather than to any other translation for help.” (Dean Burgon Society “Articles of Faith,” November, 1978)
Although Dean Burgon passionately refuted the very corrupt the Westcott-Hort Greek Text and the English Revised Version, he was not of the opinion that all of the verses in the KJV represented words that were in the original texts, i.e., that the KJV was without error. Burgon’s The Revision Revised mentioned at least one “palpable mistranslation” in Luke 23:42 in the context of refuting the ERV’s omission of “LORD”:
“In S. Luke xxxiii. 42, by leaving out two little words (tw and ke), the same blind guides, under the same blind guidance, effectually misrepresent the record concerning the repentant malefactor. Henceforth they would have us believe that ‘he said, ‘JESUS, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.”’ (Dr. Hort was fortunately unable to persuade the Revisionists to following him in…substituting ‘into thy kingdom’ for ‘in thy kingdom’; and so converting what is in the A.V., is nothing worse than a palpable mistranslation, into what would have been an indelible blot…) Whereas none of the Churches of Christendom have ever yet doubted that S. Luke’s record is, that the dying man ‘said unto Jesus, LORD, remember me,’ &c.” (The Revision Revised, p. 72).
Nor did Burgon believe that the Textus Receptus was inerrant, but stated only that it was “practically identical” to the Text “which was in popular use at the end of three centuries from the date of the sacred autographs themselves.”
“But pray, who in his senses,—what sane man in Great Britain,—ever dreamed of regarding the ‘Received,’—aye, or any other known ‘Text,’—as ‘a standard from which there shall be no appeal’? Have I ever done so? Have I ever implied as much? If I have, show me where... I mistake the Received Text, (you imply,) for the Divine Original, the Sacred Autographs,—and erect it into ‘a standard from which there shall be no appeal,’—‘a tradition which it is little else but sacrilege to impugn.’ That is how you state my case and condition: hopelessly confusing the standard of Comparison with the standard of Excellence…
“We must have some standard whereby to test,—wherewith to compare,—Manuscripts. What is more…to the end of time it will probably be the practice of scholars to compare MSS. of the N.T. with the ‘Received Text.’…And,—What standard more reasonable and more convenient than the Text which, by the good Providence of GOD, was universally employed throughout Europe for the first 300 years after the invention of printing? Being practically identical with the Text which…was in popular use at the end of three centuries from the date of the sacred autographs themselves, in other words, being more than 1500 years old.” (The Revision Revised, pp. 385-6)
“In other words I have not made [the Textus Receptus] ‘the final standard of appeal.’ All critics, — wherever found, — at all times, have collated with the commonly received text: but only as the most convenient standard of Comparison; not, surely, as the absolute standard of Excellence.” (The Revision Revised, Preface, p. xviii)
Dean John Burgon’s views concerning the inerrancy of the KJV and the Textus Receptus are important because they demonstrate that the King James-Only movement does not derive its precepts from this eminent nineteenth century textual scholar. For this reason, we must look elsewhere for the source of the KJV-Only claims.
The co-founder of the Dean Burgon Society with D.A. Waite was David Otis Fuller, who served as its Vice President until his death in 1988. Fuller also edited three books which were compilations of the works of various KJV advocates: Which Bible? (1970), True or False? The Westcott-Hort Textual Theory Examined (1973) and Counterfeit or Genuine? (1978). Whereas Counterfeit or Genuine? was a condensed edition of John Burgon’s book, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, along with other contributors, fully one-half of Fuller’s first book, Which Bible, was an edited reprint of Benjamin Wilkinson’s book, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated (1930).
In his widely-read book, Which Bible?, David Otis Fuller never so much as mentioned Wilkinson’s religious affiliation, much less his leadership role as one of the Seventh Day Adventists’ leading propagators and proselytizers. Benjamin Wilkinson actually directed numerous SDA Conferences, served in various leadership positions of SDA schools, was an SDA missionary in remote regions of world and worked in the SDA headquarters for several years with SDA founder, Ellen G. White. The title page of Wilkinson’s online book states his official position at the Washington Missionary College:
“In 1904, a significant new player moved to Takoma Park. Helping with relocation of the Michigan based Seventh Day Adventist Church, search committee member A. G. Daniells wrote in June of 1903, ‘One of the finest places we have found was a place called Takoma Park… It is a magnificent place.’
“With a missionary college and a sanitarium in mind, the Adventist church first purchased a 50-acre site on Sligo Creek from Dr. Flower, whose plans, despite a $60,000 investment, remained stillborn.
“In 1907, the Church dedicated its Foreign Missionary Seminary (today’s Columbia Union College), and a year later, the Washington Sanitarium building.
“The church acquired a second large tract, in the center of Takoma, for a General Conference building, a publishing center, and a church; they also bought land between Tulip and Carroll Avenues to resell as residential lots to church members.
“From its headquarters in Takoma Park, the General Conference Center oversaw 2,874 churches around the world by 1912, and published texts and literature for church use from its companion Review and Herald Publishing Association building. At its opening, the Review and Herald print shop reportedly employed between 60 and 70 people.” (Historic Takoma, Inc.)
Benjamin Wilkinson’s book, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, would appear to be the template upon which the leading lights of the KJV-Only movement based their various books. Most of the major themes found in Wilkinson’s book – from the promotion of the medieval Gnostics as the “true Christians” persecuted by the evil Roman Church to purveying heretical translations such as the Syriac Peshitta, Old Latin and Gothic bibles – these claims are parroted nearly verbatim in the books of David Otis Fuller, D.A. Waite, Gail Riplinger, Peter Ruckman, James Sightler, David Cloud, Samuel Gipp, William Grady, and all of their protégés.
A good portion of Wilkinson’s book is devoted to portraying the medieval Waldenses as the “true Christians” who preserved the Textus Receptus during the Dark Ages.
“Anyone who is interested enough to read the vast volume of literature on this subject, will agree that down through the centuries there were only two streams of manuscripts.
“The first stream which carried the Received Text in Hebrew and Greek, began with the apostolic churches, and reappearing at intervals down the Christian Era among enlightened believers, was protected by the wisdom and scholarship of the pure church in her different phases; by such as the church at Pella in Palestine where Christians fled, when in 70 A. D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalem; by the Syrian Church of Antioch which produced eminent scholarship; by the Italic Church in northern Italy; and also at the same time by the Gallic Church in southern France and by the Celtic Church in Great Britain; by the pre-Waldensian, the Waldensian, and the churches of the Reformation.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 12)
“For nine hundred years, we are told, the first Latin translations held their own after the Vulgate appeared. The Vulgate was born about 380 A.D. Nine hundred years later brings us to about 1280 A.D. This accords well with the fact that at the famous Council of Toulouse, 1229 A.D., the Pope gave orders for the most terrible crusade to be waged against the simple Christians of southern France and northern Italy who would not bow to his power. Cruel, relentless, devastating, this war was waged, destroying the Bibles, books, and every vestige of documents to tell the story of the Waldenses and Albigenses.
“Since then, some authorities speak of the Waldenses as having as their Bible, the Vulgate. We regret to dispute these claims. But when we consider that the Waldenses were, so to speak, in their mountain fastnesses, on an island in the midst of a sea of nations using the Vulgate, without doubt they knew and possessed the Vulgate; but the Italic, the earlier Latin, was their own Bible, the one for which they lived and suffered and died.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 28)
“It is evident that the so-called Christian Emperor gave to the Papacy his indorsement of the Eusebio-Origen Bible. It was from this type of manuscript that Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate which became the authorized Catholic Bible for all time.
“The Latin Vulgate, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, the Hexapla, Jerome, Eusebius, and Origen, are terms for ideas that are inseparable in the minds of those who know. The type of Bible selected by Constantine… was different from the Bible of the Waldenses, and, as a result of this difference, the Waldenses were the object of hatred and cruel persecution, as we shall now show. In studying this history, we shall see how it was possible for the pure manuscripts, not only to live, but actually to gain the ascendance in the face of powerful opposition.” (Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 22)
It is highly improbable that the Waldensians would have appealed to the Pope for approval of a Bible that had not been translated from the Roman Catholic Vulgate. The dishonesty of Wilkinson’s claim is apparent in many reliable sources which confirm the well-established fact that Peter Waldo translated from the Latin Vulgate.
“The Latin Vulgate Bible was the only edition of the Scriptures at that time in Europe; but that language was inaccessible to all, except one in an hundred of its inhabitants. Happily for Waldo, his situation in life enabled him to surmount that obstacle…. [H]e either himself translated, or procured some one else to translate the four Gospels into French…” (William Jones, History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, pp.7, 9, 10; 5th Ed., 1826).
“The ‘Lingua Romana,’ or Roumant tongue, was the common language of the south of Europe from the eighth to the fourteenth century… Into this tongue—the Roumant—was the first translation of the whole of the New Testament made so early as the twelfth century. This fact Dr. Gilly has been at great pains to prove in his work, The Roumant Version of the Gospel according to John . The sum of what Dr. Gilly, by a patient investigation into the facts, and a great array of historic documents, maintains, is that all the books of the New Testament were translated from the Latin Vulgate into the Roumant, that this was the first literal version since the fall of the empire, that it was made in the twelfth century, and was the first translation available for popular use…it was made, as Dr. Gilly, by a chain of proofs, shows, most probably under the superintendence and at the expense of Peter Waldo of Lyons, not later than 1180…” (J. A. Wylie, History of the Waldenses, 1870, 4th ed., pp. 12, 13)
“He [Waldo] employed Stephen of Ansa and Bernard Ydross to translate the Gospels from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome into the Romance dialect for the common people.’ (Thomas Armitage, History of the Baptists, Traced by their Vital Principles and Practices, from the Time of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Year 1886, p.295).
The reason behind Wilkinson’s heavy promotion of the Waldenses seems to be that, like the Plymouth Brethren, the Unitarians and the Baptists, the Seventh-Day Adventists claim to have descended spiritually from the Waldenses. Ellen G. White’s book, The Great Controversy, devoted an entire chapter to “The Waldenses”:
“In lands beyond the jurisdiction of Rome there existed for many centuries bodies of Christians who remained almost wholly free from papal corruption... These Christians believed in the perpetuity of the law of God and observed the sabbath of the fourth commandment.... But of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost.... Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath... Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.” (Chap. 4)
A footnote states:
“A report of an inquisition before whom were brought some Waldenses of Moravia in the middle of the fifteenth century declares that among the Waldenses ‘not a few indeed celebrate the Sabbath with the Jews.’ – Johann Joseph Ignaz von Doellinger, Beitrage zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters (Reports on the History of the Sects of the Middle Ages), Munich, 1890, 2d pt., p. 661.)”
The Waldenses were a movement organized in the 12th century by Peter Waldo, who began to preach in the town of Lyon in southern France, the region in which the Merovingian Jews also lived – which explains why “not a few” Waldenses “celebrated the Sabbath with the Jews.” In modern times the name has been applied to members of a Protestant church located on the border of France and Italy, which formed when remnants of the earlier movement became Swiss Protestant Reformers.
The Unitarian Church also claims descent from the Waldenses, and a sizeable section of the Unitarian Church also keeps the Jewish Sabbath:
“Andreas Eossi became the leader of the Unitarian Church on the death of Francis Davidis in 1579. Davidis had established the Unitarian Church in Transylvania in 1566 from Hungarian elements of the Unitarian church called Waldensians. Eossi was converted and became a Unitarian in 1567. Similarly to the western Waldensians at the commencement of the Reformation, the East European Church split into Sunday and Sabbath-keepers from the death of Davidis and Eossi became leader of the Sabbath-keepers.” (Christian Churches of God)
In addition to observance of the Jewish Sabbath, the Unitarian Church holds other doctrines deriving from Judaism – denial of the doctrines of the Deity of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Earl Morse Wilbur, the author of A History of Unitarianism: In Transylvania, England and America, Vol. I, reveals historic parallels between Unitarianism and Judaism:
“As early as 1583 the Jesuit writer Possevino reports that a great many of the people of Kolozsvár are forsaking the Gospel for the Prophecies of the Old Testament, and that the Unitarian ministers in Szeklerland universally…abstain from blood and pork. [Cf. his Transslvania (1584), p. 66; Epistolae et Acta, i, 280.] In their literal devotion to the teachings of Scripture many of them discovered more and more points in which its plain commands were being neglected by Christians: such points as observance of the Sabbath and of feast or fast days, unleavened bread, abstinence from blood or unclean meats, and circumcision; and conscience made them feel bound to keep these commands, which had never been abrogated, as well as to abandon certain Christian usages which had never been ordained in Scripture. It was therefore but natural that these literal biblical Christians should presently be given the reproachful name of Judaizers or Sabbatarians, and be looked at askance as corrupters of true Christianity; and the measures against innovators passed at frequent intervals in the Diets during half a century from 1578 on were undoubtedly more often aimed…
“Sabbatarianism as a religious movement was at first simply a variety of Christianity, which for various reasons commended itself to the more active-minded Unitarians, and to a considerable extent also to the Reformed, especially among the inhabitants of the Szekler counties. Though it had its roots in Christianity it was much influenced by Old Testament elements which Christianity had neglected but Judaism had retained, as noted above. It held that the whole law of Moses was to be kept as still valid, and that the Gospel had abolished none of its requirements. It held strongly to the absolute unity of God, and taught that Jesus, though not to be worshiped, was greater than all the Prophets, and was the promised Messiah.”(A History of Unitarianism: In Transylvania, England and America, Vol. I, Chap. VII)
The English historian, Robert Robinson, a Unitarian Baptist, claimed in his Ecclesiastical Researches that most Waldensians were Unitarians. Baptist author, Thomas Williamson, conceded Robinson’s point in his defense of the Waldenses, with a rare admission of the Unitarian (Arian) heresy of other medieval sects which Baptists claim as their predecessors:
“The question of whether the Waldenses held orthodox views on the subject of the Trinity and the deity of Christ is worthy of examination. After all, the study of dissenting sects in the Middle Ages yields many disturbing hints of belief in Adoptionism, the notion that Christ was a mere man who was endowed with Divine attributes at His baptism by God the Father. Through the centuries there have been churches with a Baptist name and testimony which yet have held Arian and Socinian views; such churches are prominent in the church history of Poland and Transylvania in the late 16th Century, and of England in the 18th Century…
“…it is beyond doubt that the early Waldenses must have been exposed to Arian influences, which were numerous in the early Middle Ages. We are justified in stopping to ask whether the Waldenses preserved their orthodoxy, untainted by the Arian and Adoptionist heresies, through the misty gloom of the Dark Ages. The 18th-Century English historian Robinson claimed that most of the ancient Waldenses were Arians:
‘In regard to the great leading point, the most were Unitarians, but many held the same opinions as the church of Rome did, and consequently the doctrine of the Trinity.’ [Robinson, op.cit, p. 316]
Of the later Bohemian Waldenses he says:
‘They were all indiscriminately called Waldenses and Picards, and they all rebaptized: but they were of very different sentiments; some held the divinity of Christ, others denied it.’ [Ibid., p. 517]
“If Robinson, a Baptist of militant Unitarian views, was willing to admit that some of the Waldenses were Trinitarians, we can be sure that some of them were.” (“The Waldenses Were Independent Baptists”)
Even if we accept Williamson’s claim that the predecessors of the Independent Baptists were not the Unitarian Waldenses, there is solid evidence that the other Waldenses, the Trinitarians, were not the guardians of “true Christianity” as defined by Scripture. A well-researched book on the various medieval sects which KJV-Only Baptists also claim as their spiritual ancestors is James Edward McGoldrick’s Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History. A chapter devoted to the teachings and practices of the Waldenses reveals that they had more in common with Roman Catholicism than Protestantism:
“In 1179 a small delegation of Waldenses appeared at Rome during the Third Lateran Council and asked Pope Alexander III (1159-81) for his approval of the Waldenses’ ministry. At that time the Waldenses gave the pope a copy of their Bible translation. The pope and council recognized the Waldenses’ right to practice evangelical perfection but denied them the right to preach… As of yet the Waldenses had issued no pronouncements which could have been rightly construed as heresy, and in 1180 Waldo signed a statement of faith dictated by a papal legate in which the popular exponent of apostolic living subscribed to all of the major tenets of traditional Catholicism…
“…Because Waldo’s confession of faith is quite specific in its affirmation of loyalty to traditional Catholicism, it bears quoting at length:
“‘…We believe in one Church, Catholic, Holy, Apostolic and Immaculate, apart from which no one can be saved, and in the sacraments therein administered through the invisible and incomprehensible power of the Holy Spirit, sacraments which may be rightly administered by a sinful priest…’”
“…Waldo’s outlook on the Christian life was at least semimonastic… When Waldo adopted a life of poverty, he left his family after giving some of his possessions to his wife and come to a convent of nuns, to which he entrusted the care of his daughters…
“In a statement of faith…Peter Waldo affirmed his belief in transubstantiation, prayers for the dead and infant baptism. The famed Baptist historian A.H. Newman drew the only conclusion warranted by the evidence. ‘Waldo and his early followers had more in common with…Roman Catholicism than with any evangelical party. His views of life and doctrine were scarcely in advance of many earnest Catholics of the time.’
“…the early generations of the sect maintained the essentially Catholic view that salvation comes by grace plus human works of merit… in the early phase of their history they retained a priest-centered, sacramental view of salvation. They accepted all seven sacraments of the medieval church, including infant baptism, the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, and priestly absolution from sin. In fact, a Waldense confession of faith composed at a relatively late date of 1508 espoused all of these tenets.” (McGoldrick, pp. 71-80)
A Mennonite classic, The Martyrs’ Mirror, identifies the Waldenses as “Albigenses” living in the southernmost district of France. The Mennonites, along with the Anabaptists and Quakers are modern-day Cathars, the greater sect of which the Albigenses were a local body in the Languedoc. Of the Manichean dualism of the Cathars and Albigenses more will be said in the next chapter.
“About A. D. 1170. For the year 1160, we gave an account of Peter Waldo and his conversion, as well as of his having brought many who sat in the darkness of popery, to the light of the holy Gospel. It is stated of these people, that in doctrine, faith, and life they were like the Apostolics, of whom we made mention for the year 1155, and stated, that they were opposed to infant baptism, purgatory, etc. The rise of these people, called Waldenses and Albigenses, is fixed about A. D. 1170, that is, ten years after Peter Waldo began to teach them; which matters shall hereafter be treated more fully and circumstantially. Compare Bapt. Hist., page 599, with Nietigh., page. 85; also, Introduction to the Martyrs" Mirror, fol. 50, col. 1, 2, (although the principal rising of said people is there fixed A. D. 1176) from Bar. in Chron., A. D. 1176, num. 1, 2, 3…
“When Peter Waldo with his adherents, through the cruel hatred of the papists, had to leave the city of Lyons, on account of his faith, they became distributed and scattered into different parts of the world, and, hence, received various appellations, with regard to the places where they resided, as well as with regard to their faith, and to the accusations brought against them, especially by the Romanists.
“In the History of the Waldenses, by D. Balthasar Lydius, 1st book of the first part, cap. 3, page 4, col. 2, and page 5, col. 1, the following account is found of the various names of said people, ‘They, in the first place, called them Waldenses, after Waldo, who was a citizen of Lyons: and, after the district of Albi, they called them Albigenses.’…
“NOTE.-That the Albigenses also, who were one with the Waldenses, were defenseless, peaceable, and meek people, living in quiet under certain papistic authorities, who protected them. See, among others, Introduction, page 50, cot. 2, and page 51, cot. 1, from Baron. in Annal.” (Martyrs’ Mirror)
Benjamin Wilkinson’s other book, Truth Triumphant: The Church in the Wilderness, presents a succession of religious sects who carried on the teachings and practices of “primitive Christianity” throughout Church history and passionately resisted the doctrinal decrees of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. These medieval sects are presented as the “true Christians,” not only because they rejected the sacraments and teachings of Roman Catholicism, but because they preserved the Saturday Sabbath. In fact, according to Truth Triumphant, the Waldenses were the principal Sabbath-keepers for 200 years preceding the Reformation:
“Robert Cox has cited the fact that Erasmus pointed out how strictly Bohemian Waldenses kept the seventh-day Sabbath.12
“…The Reformers took a wrong attitude on the Ten Commandments. They respected them as a code of teaching, but not as a law of binding obligation. Most all the Reformers could be quoted, but only one statement will be given, from the English Reformer Tyndale: ‘As for the Saboth, a great matter, we be lords over the Saboth; and may yet change it into the Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or may make every tenth day holy day only, if we see a cause why.’… The papacy did not recognize the obligatory observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Therefore, during the 1260 years, whenever the fourth commandment had its proper place, it was always the work of the Sabbathkeepers of the Church in the Wilderness. We have seen the crises brought on by the powerful antagonism of the papacy to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.” (Benjamin Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant: The Church in the Wilderness, Pacific Press Publishing Assoc., pp. 385-6)
A section follows on “The Background of the Day of Worship” in which Wilkinson asserts that the “true Christianity” was of the “Judean type” and was preserved, not by the Roman Church of the West, but by the Semitic churches of the Persian Empire.
“It was a great moment in the agelong struggle between the Bible and tradition when, in 489 the Roman emperor in his zeal for hierarchical doctrine, closed the notable college established by the Assyrian Church at Edessa. This act resulted in the erection of a barrier between the evangelical East and the papal West. The Church of the East promptly left Edessa, which was just within the border of the Roman dominion, and moved the institution to Nisibis, a few hundred miles within the Persian Empire. Here, near the Tigris River, a great university was established, which for a thousand years not only confirmed the Persian Christians in the Judean type of teachings as against the papal type, but also spread Greek culture and Roman civilization to the nations of the Orient. Nine years later (A.D. 498) the Assyrian Church, in council assembled, renounced all connection with the church of the Roman Empire. Many writers point out the Semitic nature of the nations in the midst of which this new college was placed. This settled once and forever that the teachings of Semitic Abraham and his descendants, not the state religion of the West in its pagan philosophy, would color the churches of Asia. Thus, the graduates of Nisibis as they stood like prophets before the sovereigns of China and Japan would preach the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
“It was attested by the early church historians, Socrates and Sozomen,…as well as by other authorities, that at this time all the churches of the world, except Rome and Alexandria, sanctified with divine services the worship of the Sabbath of the Decalogue. Wherever Sunday was also observed, it was with memorial resurrection services. The papal church, yes, even the Reformers, did not recognize Sunday as a continuation of, or a substitute for, the Sabbath. Sunday was in no way considered as having been instituted by a divine commandment, but only by a church ordinance.” (Truth Triumphant, pp. 386-7)
The Assyrian Church at Edessa which brought the “Judean type of teachings” into the Persian Empire did not separate from papal Rome over the “Saturday Sabbath” observance, as Wilkinson avers, but rather over the nature of Jesus Christ. For the Assyrian Church at Edessa (presently Urfa in Turkey) was and is still known as the “Nestorian Church” precisely because it preserved the heresy of Nestorius who denied that the two natures of God and man coexisted in the person of Jesus Christ. Nestorius taught that Christ was actually two persons—God the Son and the man Christ Jesus—a heresy that was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431. Nestorius had been a student of the School of Antioch which produced the Syriac Peshitta, a hybrid translation based on the corrupt Alexandrian as well as Antiochan manuscripts, contrary to the claims of KJV-Only defenders that the Peshitta was in the manuscript line of the Textus Receptus. [See: The Semitic New Testament]
The Seventh-Day Adventist cult, of which Benjamin Wilkinson was a prominent leader, embraced an earlier heresy than Nestorianism, that of the heresiarch Arius (c 250-336) of Alexandria. Arius claimed that Jesus Christ, the Son, was not of the same substance of the Father but was a subordinate deity who was created or begotten by the Father and then exalted to the level of God in preparation for his role as an agent for creating the world. The Arian heresy was embraced by Ellen G. White, who also taught that Jesus was Michael the Archangel. According to former Adventist, Dr. Verle Streifling, author of the expose, “Did Ellen White teach ‘A Different God’?” Seventh-Day Adventism taught the Arian heresy from its inception:
“It is well known that the early Adventist leaders and founders were Arians, who denied the deity of Christ, and the Trinity. Their article ‘The Doctrine of the Trinity Among Adventists’ by Gerhard Pfandi, of their Biblical Research Institute (referred to as ‘Trinity’ henceforth) tells us on page 1:
‘Two of the principal founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Joseph Bates and James White, were originally members of the Christian Connection Church which rejected the doctrine of the Trinity… Other prominent Adventists who spoke out against the Trinity were J.N. Loughborough, R.F. Cottrell, J.N. Andrews, and Uriah Smith…’
“These SDA leaders denied Jesus’ deity and the Trinity. Joseph Bates, raised in the Congregational Church, repudiated the Trinity doctrine upon joining the Christian Connection Church. Bates learned the Sabbath doctrine from Rachel Oakes, a Seventh-day Baptist; however, Bates did not accept the Seventh-day Baptist doctrine of the Trinity. So, early Adventists had more in common with the Shakers, who not only kept the Sabbath and had prophets, but also believed in Arianism. Only by the turn of the century did Adventism begin to move out of Arianism to espousing Jesus’ deity, and subsequently, the Trinity. This was hard to do in light of Ellen White’s statements, spanning over 50 years, upholding Arianism.
Ellen White’s Arian Views
“Ellen often called Jesus ‘The Son of God’ at original creation. We read these words not seeing them as the Arian views they are, for they evoke the question ‘How was He ‘the Son of God?’’ John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 1:10 show He was YHWH, the Word at creation, but became ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’ at His incarnation (Heb 1:5-6) when the Father said ‘I will become to Him a father, and He will become to me a Son’ (cf Lk 1:35). Arians teach he was the ‘Son of God’ by being created or begotten by the Father, and then God created other things through him. So he was only a lesser deity, whose pre-eminence over the angels was conferred to him, by the Father. Ellen G White also held this Christ-debasing view:
“‘…yet, Jesus, God’s dear Son, had the pre-eminence over all the angelic host. He was one with the Father before the angels were created. Satan was envious of Christ and gradually assumed command which devolved on Christ alone.
[Devolve: To transfer from one person to another: hand down. Webster's Dictionary]
“‘The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that he might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon his Son…The Father then made known that it was ordained by himself that Christ, his Son, should be equal with himself." (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 17, 18, emphasis supplied)
“The article ‘Trinity’ acknowledges this implies that ‘he was not equal to the Father before that time’, for Jesus’ command was only ‘devolved’ or handed-down from the Father, and his equality was ‘conferred’ or positional equality rather than being equal by nature, as necessary for True Deity. (Gal 4:8).” (Ellen G. White Research Project)
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church claims that around the turn of the century Ellen G. White “received more light” and embraced the Biblical doctrines of the pre-existence and deity of Jesus Christ and also the Trinity. However, according to Streifling, Mrs. White’s volte face was not a repudiation of Arianism, but a project of certain Adventists who revised her writings in order to cite certain statements as proof of her orthodoxy—statements which do not agree with other statements made by White during the same time period which maintain the Arian heresy.
And so we are confronted with the appalling fact that the esteemed leaders of King James Only movement have promoted the fraudulent claims of a minister in the Arian Seventh-Day Adventist Church, without notifying their followers of his credentials, and that among Wilkinson’s falsehoods are claims that the Waldenses were among those “enlightened believers” of the “pure church” “in her different phases” which preserved the manuscripts that would become the Textus Receptus, when in fact the Waldenses were, at best, Judaized Roman Catholics, or, even worse, Unitarians or Manichean dualists.
ALBIGENSES & CATHARI
CONTEND FOR THE FAITH:
THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS