A 2016 Interview with Robert Brinsmead 

Bill Diehl, editor of Present Truth Magazine , Fallbrook, Ca. ( www.PresentTruthMag.org ) interviews Robert Brinsmead (now 84 years old), previous editor and former Seventh-day Adventist.

The topics are soteriology, Christology, cosmology, Eschatology, and epistemology

Note to the reader: The following email correspondence was between Bob Brinsmead, the former editor of Present Truth Magazine and Bill Diehl, Jr., the present editor. It is given now before my departure from this world in order to document the sad downward spiral and decline of Bob Brinsmead from an evangelical Christian to become a humanistic Deist universalist who rejects the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as revealed in the word of God, the Bible. This is posted to give some historical context as to how Present Truth Magazine developed from its beginning as "Gems of Truth" in the middle 1960s to become the evangelical Protestant internet magazine that it is today and is now edited by Bill Diehl Jr. since Bob left as editor in the early 1980s.

Start at the bottom of this page and work upward to read each email in chronological order.

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Bill to Bob 10/12/2017

Have been reading the stuff about "New Perspectives on Paul" (Sanders, Dunn and Wright) and now I see where you got your ideas in the early '80s for your lecture in 1982 called "Justification Re-examined".  You bought into Sander's, Wright's, and Dunn's false historical narrative that the heart of Paul's message was universal acceptance of all groups within Christianity to embrace the Lordship of Christ and the universal grace of God and His universal acceptance of all whether Jew or Gentile without regard to different minor customs and opinions.

They, just as you did, thus discarded Luther's view of justification as a "mere medieval" approach to Paul.  In other words Paul was not concerned with individual salvation and acceptance with a righteous God, but rather he was concerned about the church as a whole and acceptance of all men regardless of ethnicity and minor differences.

This of course banishes the idea of a forensic atonement on the cross by Jesus and trust in his imputed righteousness as Luther interpreted Paul, but rather Jesus was merely a social reformer who was crucified because he was upsetting the Jews because He rebuked their legalism. All this false narrative led you directly into antinomianism, social gospel, a denial of the concept of personal justification as a legal declaration of acceptance before God. Christ as Lord is thus merely a messiah of Universalism and a supposed advocate of universal acceptance of all men regardless of the messy old teaching of blood atonement, personal repentance for sin as transgression of God's holy Law, and the personal need for a covering of imputed righteousness.

It has been very interesting to listen to this cassette tape of yours to see that your views of universalism that you now hold came from this very deceptive misunderstanding of the real reason that Paul was opposing the "Judaisers", namely that Paul was actually opposing those Judaisers within the church who denied  the atoning death of Christ on the cross, His bodily resurrection, His divinity and the need for imputed righteousness,-----those being the Gnostic Ebionite Jewish false converts to Christianity who were corrupting the gospel message and denying all that the apostles taught regarding redemption atonement and personal salvation through faith alone in the sinless life and atoning death of Christ on the cross. These false believers taught salvation by mere imitation of Christ' perfect law-keeping rather than by faith alone in Christ's doing and dying as the meritorious cause of acceptance with God reckoned to the repentant believer in Christ. Their messiah was merely an example rather than a substitute . This placed them "under the Law" for acceptance with God. Blessing to you, Your friend, Bill Diehl www.PresentTruthMag.org Fallbrook, Ca

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Bob, I will stick with the way the apostle Paul dealt with those who rejected the gospel that he taught. As usual you over-exagerate and distort your historical narrative . If Paul is correct, then you will not be in Christ's kingdom when He appears on the Last Day. But then you don't really believe that I know. You will stand your lot with the unbelieving world and the great Deceiver. Bill

From RDB 6/3/2016 Bill:  Poor old Bill, still stuck with his ad hominem.  Why?  Because what matters to him is who said it, not what is said. This email below is just a lot of railing, character assassination, impugning motives of anyone who does see it his way.  Where does the email address the real literary problems I raise? I note that Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and agnostic scholars all agree on the dating of the NT documents.  They cite evidences for their position.  They don't do this by railing against Fundamentalists and Conservatives.  They just fusslessly cite the data and the evidence- like the Fathers of the Church.

The NT books were written by members of the church in the first century and became endorsed by the church at large in the 4th Century.  The Protestants with their sola scripture never faced up the RC argument that their scripture verses the church argument was fallacious.  The simple fact is that it was the church that produced the documents and the church that formed the Canon of the NT.  The documents are testimony to the authority of the church, and anyone who accepts, for instance, that Matthew should be included in the Canon does so, not on the authority of sola scriptura, but on the authority of the church.

It used to be that what was said had to be backed up by some external authority.  The scholars of the Middle Age would debate how many teeth a horse had according to Aristotle.  This is an illustration of false reasoning or logic.  A statement has to be true on its own self-evident account.  It is not rendered true if you say this is on the authority of God, Jesus, Moses, Gandhi, Paul, the NT, the church or anything else.  You might say that God says this?  How are we to know that God says this?  God was once said to have told an old man to take his son and kill him to show his supreme loyalty to God.  Would God really say a thing like that?  God says you should kill members of your own family if they depart from your faith?   Did God really say that?   God told David to go and hang the seven sons of Saul to make an atonement for the wrong Saul had done to the Gibeonites?   Did God really say that?  What a marvelous cover for David to wipe out the house of Saul!  God tells Israel on one occasion to go an kill everything that breathed in one community except some thousands of virgins that the soldiers could have for their own pleasure  Did God really say that?  Well, some Muslims think God said it, and so they are doing just this today.

So much of this pious religion is contrary to all common sense.  Railing against me won't pass muster, judging my character or divining my motives is just playing silly games.  "Test everything, and hold fast to what is good."  This is some good Pauline common sense.  It time to face up to the hundreds of clear contradictions in the different Gospels.  They can't all be true.  Eg.  Was the Last Supper a Passover meal? (Synoptics)  Or was the Passover the Friday evening event? (John)   Did the disciples go back to Galilee after the death of Jesus to see him there (Matthew and Mark) or did they see him in and around Jerusalem (Luke and John)?  Was Jesus born at the time of the Census when Quirinius was governor of Syria (6 CE ) or was he born before Herod died ( 4 BCE)? Or was there a 10 year pregnancy in here?  The evidence is clear that all the Gospels were written in Greek by persons who did not live in Palestine but belonged to a culture foreign to Palestine. They give lots of evidence, even geographical evidence, that there were outsiders or strangers to Palestine.

Don't rail on people who are just doing honest research rather than believing anything on authority.

Is it not a simple fact that in all the great Creeds of the Church, including the lesser creeds like the 27 Fundamental Beliefs of SDAs, that the clear teaching of Jesus about loving our enemies just like God does not even rate a mention — even though Jesus acted this out when he prayed from the Cross, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Does your very judgmental email exhibit that you are moved by this teaching and try to practice it?  If the Church has kept this teaching central in its mission, could it have exhibited all this internecine hatred of differing others that was  manifested in judging,  shunning, banning, persecuting and killing dissenters?  We need to ask ourselves, honestly, do we really respect and love those who don't see it our way?  What do you really think counts the most with Jesus?  Being doctrinally correct like you are or being someone who loves others no matter what?  What does the world need most?  Right now.

Have fun with my questions, and don't take my messianic complex too seriously — because I don't either.

Bob

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From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 1 June 2016 3:24 PM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: True Arminianism

Bob,

As your brother and faithful good friend I have to tell you that your comment at the end of paragraph seven that you have many things to tell me but that I "cannot bear them now" at my stage of my journey really gave me a good belly laugh. Bob, you are still suffering from a tremendously serious case of narcissism and delusions of grandeur. Even the wording of "you can't bear them" now quote from Christ indicates that you suffer from a grandiose Messianic complex. I first began to realize this when the myth started probably by your sister Hope that the advances in your "prophetic" enlightenment to ultimate truth came in "ten year" increments. She verbalized this myth in a letter that she sent me sometime around the year 1980 I think was maybe the approximate date . Also Jack, Norman, Fred Metz and I were fond of advancing this hagiographic myth.  

If one looks at your thinking over the course of 30 or 40 years or so from 1960 onwards you are always "certain" that you have arrived at absolute truth. This is especially true now that you have abandoned the authenticity of the authorship of the apostolic record. You started with Ellen White as your absolute authority and then went on to only accept the Bible as your only ultimate authority, and then having come to the conclusion that the Bible is a pseudopigraphic document, you now are embracing the "authoritative" sounding paradigm of accepting the theories of so-called "scholars" who think that they have "proven" that all the apostolic gospels and epistles are supposedly only the product of second and third century deluded lunatics and that the true "historical" Jesus must be someone who is the imaginary invention of these dreamers and that the Bible is nothing more than a beautifully written apocalyptic fairy tale.

Unfortunately your last "leap of faith" paradigm is so bogus that much of the scholarship today is no longer even advocating the opinions that you describe in your final phase of belief and have done an excellent job of refuting your new-found world view. What I don't know is whether your have ever even read some of the authors who have very ably refuted your world view and these theories about how the New Testament came about.  You have put your faith in and have bought into a bogus historical narrative that is based only upon the distortions and half truths of persons who are puffed up with their imagined authority and high-sounding "scholarship".  You have sold your birth-right in the true Christ of the bible for a pot of porridge. In the end you will wail and gnash your teeth as you see with your own eyes what you have given up when you bought into the distortions of those who hate the Creator of the world, the Redeemer, Lawgiver, and Lord of the bible, Jesus Christ.  You will stand all alone and be so ashamed of yourself.  I only hope that He will allow the scales to fall from your blinded eyes.

Your friend to the end, Bill www.PresentTruthMag.org Fallbrook, Ca.

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From RDB 5/31/2016, Bill, A couple of points on the beginnings of the 70s:   I was engaged in a study on the essential difference between Catholic and Protestant doctrine of JBF to get to the crux of what the issue was all about.  It was there I perceived it all rested on this distinction of the "for us" and "in us" -  Romanism failed to maintain that distinction.  It could never grasp Luther's insight of being accepted in spite of being unacceptable.  My brother John did not at first like such a clear distinction of the historical and the experiential.   Not long before this we had both worked on Syllabus No. 3  The Work of the Holy Spirit.  This was the only Syllabus that he had helped me put together and it showed his influence (There were four Syllabuses in all — the fourth was on Original Sin)  That Syllabus on the Holy Spirit was now shown to be more RC and Reformational because it had confused the "for us" and the "in us"  -  with a tendency to make the Holy Spirit's work in us encompass the blotting out of sin, the sealing, and almost everything else.  The forensic and the historical had almost disappeared altogether in that Syllabus.

Now  it was about this time that John got the Mumps, pretty serious for a mature man — and he had to spend a week in bed.  I had just gotten hold of an interesting book about a dialogue between Hans Kung (Catholic) and Karl Barth on JBF.  As John read Barth's digest or big picture take on the Christ event and the triumph of God's grace (central theme to Barth), the meaning of "righteousness by faith" dawned on John.  It was not about our sanctification by the inward work of the spirit, had nothing to do with the perfecting of the saints or any of that which the Awakening was on about.  John's  was a clear and simple breakthrough. Paul taught clearly that in this life we could be righteous (or perfect) only by faith -  which is contrary to being righteous by empirical reality.  We can be righteous only by the merciful reckoning of God.  This being so, the vision of the Awakening on the perfecting of the final generation within the historical process was a mistake. The article of RFF or JBF (same thing in all languages except English) bore the fruit of sanctification (imparted R), but was not part of the article of JBF.  After after some initial resistance, I did the Review of the Awakening Part 1 and Part 2 and also wrote a small tract called The Meaning of Righteousness by Faith (by memory, I think that was its title).  When Noel Mason, a theological student under Des Ford at Avondale, read this paper, he was amazed because he saw immediately that this had never been taught within Adventism.  He took the paper to Des Ford, asking if the paper was correct in its assertion that RBF was JBF alone rather than being a combination of imputed and imparted righteousness. Des asked for time to look into the matter.  After a week or so he got back to Noel saying that RDB's paper was correct.  When Des joined in teaching this, a fuse was lit and a great contest was ignited within Adventism.  The RH men, Woods and Douglas, fired back insisting this was a truncated version of RBF. To them, RBF was imputed and imparted, justification plus sanctification.  That is when the Church Hierarchy began to fear that Des and the RDB camp were becoming inseparable.

One needs to remember that at this stage my brother and I had not rejected EGW.  We could find statements from her pen, especially after 1888, that appeared to support this — although the later COL chapter on the Wedding Garment clearly did not. I was yet to write The Theology of EGW which was really an EGW apology.  So still being Adventists through and through, how did we now deal with this matter of The Close of Probation and living without a Mediator in the time of Trouble.  John was the first in discussions on this matter to articulate a response to the old Adventist chestnut.  He reasoned that it did not change the fact that during this TT the saints would still be righteous only by faith, that is,  only by the merciful reckoning of God and could only live under the umbrella of JBF.  The test therefore would not be about the matter of whether they were totally without human sinfulness, but it was to be a test of faith.  As long as their faith did not fail, the righteousness which was theirs by faith would prevail. 

But this 1970's change was not possible without a change in the use of EGW.  Before this, our theology was really based on EGW and pioneer Adventist premises. Most of the literature of pro and anti Awakening before this time was concentrated all too much on the use of EGW, like a paper war of EGW statements — and even the matter of harmonizing this EGW statement with that EGW statement.  It was not strictly based on the Bible alone.  The change that took place in 1970 was a change to basing our theology on our understanding of the Bible.  When you look at the stream of writing produced, it was no longer just an intra-Adventist dialogue.  It was not a dialogue about the teaching of EGW.  It was a dialogue about the NT doctrine of salvation.

After several years of this, the focus shifted to the eschatology of the NT, and the eschatological meaning of JBF, and how the whole NT was written in the context of its end of the world consciousness.  The more I thought about this NT focus on the last days being a present reality to the apostles, the more it made nonsense of the idea that the time of the end rested on two Adventist dates — 1798 and 1844.  The last days arrived with the Christ event and the preaching of the Gospel.  I was at the same time not willing to give up Adventism.  So I began thinking along the lines of that little booklet called The Pattern of Redemptive History. This was my last line of defense for Adventism, even reflected in my 1844 Re-Examined.  This was not to be seen as a de novae event  but a reciting the meaning of the one and only Salvation Event  and the one and only Gospel.

But I was reluctant to begin another conflict within Adventism by any challenge to the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, 1844 and so on.  I first went to Des Ford and expressed how something should be done about a review of the matter — namely, the eschatological meaning of JBF.  Des declined, saying he had enough on his plate just defending the forensic nature of JBF.  I then went to Heppenstal.  He was very uncomfortable with the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  I even had to explain it to him how the doctrine originated step by step until its first expression by James White in 1857.  He just shrugged his shoulders in a kind of despair that Adventism had become saddled with such a ridiculous teaching, but was unprepared to challenge it openly.  I was reluctant to open up a new front of a war within Adventism.  But I returned to Australia and wrote  l844 Re-examined, but wishing someone else would have the courage to do it.   Des Ford could not hide any longer.  This led to the Glacier View Conference.  But one can see from what was I wrote that my arguments were no longer based on EGW statements  but on the basis of what the Bible teaches in respect to the doctrine of Judgment, the end-times and the Gospel.

I think you can follow my journey up till there.  After that my journey took me into an examination of the historical Jesus and how and when the NT books began to be written — and how much they interpreted or re-interpreted the historical Jesus.  After some time I began to see that I had used the NT writings just as I had used EGW writings.  The eschatology of EGW was all based on some false premises drawn by a very selective and biased interpretation of the Bible.  In the same way I began to see a tension between the teaching of the historical Jesus and the apocalyptic mythology about Jesus that had developed from 4 to 7 decades after Jesus. I had to deal with the evidence that none of the NT books had been written by eyewitnesses. Except for Paul, all had been written after Judea had been practically been wiped from the face of the earth by the Romans like it was the end of that Judean world.  It is wonder to me now why none of the great Creeds of the Church say a thing about the core teaching of Jesus.  The Creeds are all about a certain Christology that is totally incompatible with the teaching of Jesus.  This is a big story.  I have many things I could say to you, but you can't bear them at your stage of the journey.

You will appreciate that when I read EGW now, I am free to evaluate what she says solely on the basis on its content, not on the basis of her authority. So when I read what this pseudo-Matthew says in the first Gospel, I am free to evaluate it on the basis of what it says, not on the basis of the authority of the unknown author.  I read it in the same way that I read The Gospel of Thomas, that Sayings Gospel of 114 verses, of the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) of the Gospel of Peter — which is Jewish Christian attack on Paul.  Everything must be evaluated on the basis of what is said without accepting anything on the basis of some presumed authority.  Neither you or I can prove, on the basis of Sola Scriptura, that Matthew should be included in the Canon anyway.  It was the 4 th Century church that put Matthew into the Canon.  Is that Church our authority?   We don't know who write this book. The author or authors don't claim any divine authority for what is written.  We know it was written near the end of the First Century CE.  If someone accepts it as some infallible authority, it is totally an assumed premise without a skerrick of evidence.  I believe what is written about love in l Corinthians l3.  I say this is inspired, not on the basis of who said it, but on the basis of what is said — nothing more.  Here I agree with Gandhi who was a great fan of what Jesus is supposed to have said in the Sermon on the Mount.  Gandhi said it would make no difference to him if it was proven that Jesus never existed or that this passage was written by someone else.  He embraced what was said in the Sermon on the basis of what was said, not on the basis of the authority of who said it.  I don't evaluate the words within the Canon of the NT any differently from words that never got to be included in the Canon.  I must examine what is said on the basis of what is said, not on the basis of who was supposed to have said it.  You can't prove that Paul wrote the so-called Pastoral epistles. There is a lot of evidence to indicate that he did not.  But at the end of the day, it makes no difference whether Paul wrote Ephesians and Colossians (most literary scholars now question that he did) but these matters make no difference to the literary value of these books.  It is like arguing who produced the literary art that bears the name of William Shakespeare.  Scholars admit that no one could ever write a biography of Shakespeare.  It can't be proved that this obscure playwright was the genius author of the material under his name.  But at the end of the day, it does not matter if he was only a pen name for a more learned author.  The authors of Jewish Apocalyptic literature were anonymous.  These books were not really written by Enoch, Ezra, Baruch and Daniel.  So too with most of the NT.  Peter did not write 1 and 11 Peter.  John did not write the Gospel of John.  Matthew did not write Matthew.  Mark did not write Mark. Luke did not write Luke. This too was all apocalyptic literature ("Apocalyptic was the mother of all Christian theology")  So in keeping with that apocalyptic tradition, we don't know who wrote most of the NT — although it can be fairly accurately dated.  These books are no different from EGW books, nor any literature under the sun.  They must be examined according to evaluating what is said.  It is silly, downright childish, to impute some final authority to an unknown author, especially when that unknown author does not claim to be writing Holy Scripture.  It is only the legend-makers who imputed such authority to a bunch of anonymous authors.

This is how it is in science — which is simply the observation of reality.  Einstein articulated the theory of Relativity — E = MC2.  We do not claim this is true on the basis of the authority of Einstein, but solely because we find that it comports with reality.  How silly it would be if we said, "We know that the theory is true on the basis of who said it.  Einstein was virgin born, he worked great miracles, he speaks with divine authority,  so we believe it on this basis. 

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From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, 29 May 2016 2:15 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: True Arminianism

Having gone through that entire episode in the 70s, I must say that there were some very wonderful liberating aspects to the message of Present Truth during that time.  While it is true that we dealt at length with the much needed aspect of the forensic "out-side-of-me" nature of justification, and the eschatological prophetic aspect, and the need for creedal correctness, there was an eventual neglect of the personal and experiential aspect of justification as being personal daily prayer and repentance and forgiveness of actual sin and actual falling short in one's down-to-earth expedience in life.

I guess we might call it the devotional aspect of justification and forgiveness. This was probably because most us were affected by such a distorted over-emphasis on this devotional aspect through Ellen White's influence that there was a much needed emphasis in the other direction. This need was supplied by Present Truth through the 70s in its emphasis on the meritorious cause of acceptance with God and a de-emphasis on the moving and work of the Holy Spirit as the instrumental cause in bringing lost hopeless souls to a saving knowledge of Christ. We emphasized the proclamation of the historical gospel and need for "faith" in the atoning work of the Lord on the cross in the forensic justification of the individual to the point that it was inevitable that a lack of personal repentance and devotion to loving our neighbor and the Lord in a tender-hearted relationship resulted.

This did happen to me and many I knew here in Fallbrook associated with that emphasis even though we often tried to decry that such a thing should ever be the fruit of the "forensic" nature of the gospel. The "Sanctification" issue of Present Truth attempted to correct this, but it still did not adequately address the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing us to God through His bonds of unmerited love and His saving message of Christ.  This fruit can be seen even today in the Lutheran and the Calvinist believers and teachers as they interact and live in the world today. They are very cold and distant and almost un-human.  

I know that you valiantly tried to resist this trend in your efforts to emphasize "becoming human", but I think that the riptide was too strong to swim against. Antinomianism in one form or another seems to stalk the Reformation emphasis of the "objective" gospel like a dark cloud due to the natural tendencies of selfish human nature. I think that the strong emotional appeal of the "Moral Influence" interpretation of the Christian faith is based upon a reaction against the sometimes emotionally cold presentation of justification by faith in a "legal" event that took place two thousand years ago.

In their zeal to emphasize this moral influence aspect of the faith, Maxwell and Abelard came to totally deny the need for any "legal" aspect of the atonement to satisfy the justice of God's kingdom and rule. However, as much as we wanted to proclaim that justification by faith is not an "experience", the fact is that while faith and repentance are not meritorious, Paul and the apostles certainly taught that they are absolutely something which the individual sinner must experience and  do in order to be accepted by God. 

Calvinism and Lutheranism bend over backwards to avoid this obvious fact, because the only way out of their paradigm is to accept the Arminian and Wesleyan teaching of Prevenient Grace which they denounced then and still denounce today as a return to Romanism and a "works based religion". Your essay on Election was a very tactful and masterful wedge into their weak and unsatisfying teaching on "regeneration".  But perhaps in the end by the 80s you had it up to your neck with all the debating over Seventh-day Adventism and the legal matters of the Pauline and Reformation paradigm of bible truth and even you for a while resorted to the moral influence view yourself by thinking that Paul had abandoned the forensic nature of the cross and the gospel in his epistles and you convinced Geoff and John of this as well. Bill D.

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From RDB 5/28/2016 Bill:  In all the material I published on JBF during the 1970s, I clearly understood how faith was the instrumental rather than the meritorious cause of Justification.  The insight that came to me about 1970 was the need to make a clear distinction between what was done for us and in us.  The basis of Justification was wholly in the outside-of-us righteousness of the substitute, JC -  the grounds of JBF was all about what was done 2,000 years ago and must never to confused with  the inward work of the HS.

I remember doing an Essay on Election.  When I was in Holland, I was taken to meet the great Dutch theologian Berkouwer.  He was a close friend of Karl Barth and ministered to him as he was dying.  Berkouwer personally told me that he had read my essay on Election and greatly appreciated it.  He told me that when he was in the real world of a grass-roots ministry with ordinary people, the hard-line Calvinist doctrine of Election did not work and sometimes had a bad effect on people.  He thought that my essay opened a new way forward on a subject that had greatly troubled him as he tried to minister to people with the Gospel.

On the point of Arminianism which I think I understood correctly, it seemed to me that traditional Adventism had a very weak or perhaps an even truncated Arminian soteriology.  When a sinner responded to the Gospel with repentance and faith, Adventism and even Ellen White would often stress that he was pardoned and placed on probation.  It seemed that salvation was still very iffy.  He must experience imparted righteous so as to overcome all sin and perfect a character.  The purpose of the Investigative Judgment, according to COL 69 (chapter on Wedding Garment) is to examine the candidates for salvation by seeing how many, through imparted righteousness, have a perfect character.  This reflects the earlier, cultic EGW who seemed to grow out of that after 1888.  Did she return to that kind of perfectionism before she died, or was that the work of her bookmakers who wrote a lot of her last works in her name?

At first my focus was on the forensic (out-side-of-me) nature of JFB, but then I began to understand its eschatological nature — indeed, the eschatological focus of the NT.  One writer who got me thinking along these lines was GE Ladd, A Theology of the NT.  The D&R event was seen as an end of the world event, with the wrath of God in judgment Day manifested in the Cross, and the R signifying the end-time R had already begun in the R of Christ.  In this light, justification was the verdict of the Judge, or the verdict of the Judgment in the now by faith. That is much stronger than a mere pardon that puts the believing sinner on a mere probation, not too sure whether he is going to stand in the final judgment.

JBF is the verdict of the final judgment possessed in faith, not in a crass Baptist sense of "once-saved always saved," but more in the Lutheran sense of it being a possession that is held in an on-going faith.  So also in the Gospel of John, the eschatological salvation of the age to come has dawned, and those who believe the Gospel have eternal life and will never die.  It was this fourth Gospel, along with the eschatological nature of JBF that convinced me that the pre-advent judgment that Adventism had been on about began in the proclamation of the NT Gospel, and that the only pre-advent judgment could be the Gospel by which mankind is judged.  When I got to this point in my thinking, then I was ready to review the entire doctrine of 1844 and the Investigative Judgment.-  

More later if I get the time.  I hope you find this reflection useful.

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From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, 21 May 2016 8:18 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: True Arminianism

Bob,

Back in the 70s you would have loved this brilliant article by professor John Hicks, "Righteousness of Saving Faith: Arminian Versus Remonstrant Grace" It would have cleared up a lot of misunderstanding about the nature of "faith" and how faith justifies the believer.  Even now I think you will appreciate his insight into the problem of how faith justifies.

http://evangelicalarminians.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Hicks.-Righteousness-of-Saving-Faith.-Arminian-Versus-Remonstrant-Grace.pdf

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From RDB May 10, 2016 Bill:  David is an Australian who has been a friend of mine for well over 50 years. His grandfather happened to be Nicolici, leader of SDA German Reform movement.  David would be in his 60s now. He always had a penchant for history and research and all that kind of thing.  He is very good at languages and  etymology and recently has been finishing his work on a Masters degree in some kind of history.  In that respect he has been a great help to me.  In recent years he has gone to the trouble of collecting all the works of RDB that he can find. He is currently locked into a serious battle with a rare cancer.  I would feel it a great loss to lose him.

Some years ago David started doing research on Waggoner, springing from a great interesting in the 1888 JBF thing within Adventism. So he tried to find out as much about Waggoner as he could.  On this matter he did some valuable research.  But when he came to putting it all together he sought out some help from me.  I was very familiar with some of the works of Waggoner.  From time to time David used to come up to see me, stay around a few days, discuss his research, share notes and ideas and all that kind of thing.  I suggested he put all the stuff together in a little book on Waggoner, and when it came to writing it out, all that I can say is that I had a lot to do with helping him as a ghost writer.

There was another book for which I was a ghost writer from beginning to end: and that was The Sanctuary Restored by Peter Jarnes.  I scripted the entire book from beginning to end for Peter and completed it all in one week. He read over the Ms, liked it and put his name to it. The tactic was to publish another presentation of "the message" that would appear under another pen name, and in this case, a man who had been a Professor of Theology in one of SDA schools.   After it was published, some people said he wrote and expressed the matter better than Brinsmead.  But take it from me — Jarnes never himself wrote a line of it.  That's acceptable. Anyone is allowed to use a speech writer.  Obama uses a speech writer.  This is done all the time.  We know that  Kennedy's most memorable speeches and sayings were written by a  speech writer who has been specifically identified.  But it will be forever credited to Kennedy.  He adopted the words framed for him by another and put his name to the words, and so they became his words legally.  It is like saying that Jesus was the legal son of Joseph and therefore the legal son of David even though it has been claimed that Jesus was not his biological son. If he was Joseph's legal son, that is what matters.  Let us just say that The Myth and the Man is the legal "son" of David McMahon who in putting all his research together used a ghost writer to help him do it. Ah, "the hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob," as old Isaac could discern even on his death bed.  Now does that answer your question.

Have fun (or your life is done!)

Bob

-----------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 11 May 2016 2:13 AM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: David McMahon

Bob, could you please give me for historical purposes the true background to the publishing of the booklet, E J Waggoner: the Myth and the Man ?

For example, who was David McMahon and how did you make his acquaintance? How much did you collaborate with him on the book and what percentage of the book was actually written by you? Who did most of the research for it? Any other incidental details would be most appreciated.

Thanks,

Bill

-------------------------------------------

Bill, Never heard of him, Bill.  I have very little contact with Adventism.  Best. . . .Bob

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, 9 May 2016 2:54 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Bill Liversidge

Bob, do you know an Australian Adventist evangelist named Bill Liversidge? He's all the rage in SDA circles now along with Jack Sequeira. I watched some of his You Tube material and he seems really creepy, condescending, and intimidating to the very pliable SDA audiences. I read that he passed away about a year ago. Perhaps you know him and have an opinion?

Bill Diehl
------------------------------------

 

From RDB 3/11/2016 Bill FYI — here I suggest a grand bypass around all this Christian theology — totally by-passing all Christology and soteriology and eschatology.

No more vicarious this and that, no more satisfying perfectionistic demands of the Sky God with  perfect righteousness of another, no more mediator of any kind — you don't need any of this with the historical Jesus, just directly dealing with the Abba who is not the old perfectionistic deity at all, but a God who loved imperfection since God evidently made so much of it, even creating an earth that wobbles on its axis and with an orbit around sun that is not perfect ellipse and not always on same path.  So read my blast against the God of perfectionism — and start laughing!

From: Robert Brinsmead [mailto:rdb@tropicalfruitworld.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, 10 March 2016 7:44 AM
To: 'wendell krossa'; 'Ellen Townsend'; 'herb.sorensen@gmail.com'
Cc: 'William "Bill" Ferguson'; 'Avril Spencer'; 'Gail Vincent'; 'Henri Fortuin'; 'Ian Boyd'; 'Julia Tyack'; 'Kerry Deller'; 'Mike Spencer'; 'Nola Denington'; 'Ted Burns'; 'Thomas Vincent'; 'Tim Smith'
Subject: RE: DID BUSH LIE ABOUT IRAQ?

Think it through.  Christian theology is founded on perfectionism.  God created a perfect universe. So the old story goes. (What utter, ridiculous poppycock, so contrary to science, to history, to reality!)  It has been said for ages that mankind's original Fall is responsible for all imperfection, even of nature — despite the evidence of massive explosions, disruptions, destruction of entire celestial systems, supernovae which we can now see and measure happening billions of light years away, meaning that all this was happening billions of years before humans suffered any Fall.  Even on this earth, 99% of all species that had lived on the earth had died and disappeared because they were unable to adapt.  There have been a lot of discarded life-forms like so many Edsel autos coming off the Ford assembly line.  It was a good thing that a great meteor hit the earth to wipe out the dinosaurs before humans arrived on this earth. Even after the earth was purged of threatening dinosaurs, humans still arrived into an environment "red in tooth and claw," seemingly poorly equipped to engage in the dangerous struggle of survival.  Well, hundreds of burial sites dug up around Europe in recent years have proved conclusively that the Neanderthal humans were not able to adapt and survive like Homo sapiens — or Homo, the wise ones.

But then along comes this religious account of how everything began as perfect and a God bent on punishing everything that marred his perfect universe, bent on relentlessly punishing every imperfection of human behavior.  Yes, this God was supposed to establish the hon our of his Law, his government, his character by demanding perfection "to the utmost degree to his every decree" ( I cite the words of my old colleague, Geoffrey Paxton) and never able to overlook any fault in the human character. So it was that in this schema of theology, God sent his Son to obey every decree to the utmost degree and give to God the perfection that the rule of God relentlessly requires — and having done this kind of doing (the righteousness of his life) had to add to that his dying — but not any ordinary dying, but an actual bearing of God's wrath against every infraction of God's perfectionism, fully paying the debt incurred by any imperfection, making atonement by enduring the infinite punishment, meaning that in the most important sense, this perfectionistic God is a Celestial Shylock who never really forgives anything unless the debt is first paid in full — paid out by actually suffering the pains of Hell and divine rejection for any falling short of this perfectionistic glory.  So this is the so-called Plan of Salvation — a plan that makes us perfect in God's sight after all even though we are never perfect — but surely here is a marvelous (magical) plan to meet all these perfectionistic demands while we struggle on in a world where it is plain that all nature is flawed with imperfection and we are flawed with it too.  This Plan of Salvation not only saves us so that we can be magically perfect in God's eyes (when we are clearly not), but it saves God because he does not have to compromise his perfectionistic government. All his perfectionistic demands have been met (and fully paid for) by a human Representative who did it on our behalf- vicariously!  That's the Christian gospel.

This whole religious structure has a long tradition, much longer than Christianity, going back through Zoroaster to the very earliest Sumerian and Akkadian traditions that try to religiously explain the human condition and the challenging human environment where we confront disasters, disease and the fact that everyone who is born on this earth is going to leave his bones on this earth — and like it or not, that includes the bones of Jesus of Nazareth whose ossuary and the ossuaries  of his family was recently discovered at Tapiot, near Jerusalem.  The whole theological edifice of Christianity is built on these mythical perfectionistic assumptions that have plagued the human race for thousands of years.

In the teaching of the historical Jesus we have the good news (gospel) of a new kind of God who invites us to love our enemies without any thought of retaliation, punishment, atonement, pay-back, getting even, but surprising them with our generosity, forgiveness and kindness — and all this on the basis that this is the way this new kind of God treats his enemies and relates to human imperfection with unconditional forgiveness and acceptance, keeping no score of wrongs and seeing only the best in every person as per that inspired  account of love in 1 Corinthians 13.

Instead of this old religious treadmill of endless guilt, shame, self-flagellation about our imperfection, we need to embrace our imperfection in a way that leads us to be more tolerant and forgiving in respect to the imperfection of others.  We need to embrace the real human condition is something that is both beautiful and beautifully flawed, like a pioneer who embraces a piece of real estate or an enterprise as something to be improved, developed and enjoyed.  God is not upset and angry about the imperfection of the human condition.  It is something we should gladly embrace to develop courage, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion and last but not least, a sense of humor. Rather than become a source of constant irritation, it is far better to embrace this flawed humanity as a constant source of fun and laughter.

--------------------------------------------

 

From RDB 2/27/2016 Bill:  You may consider improving the Wikapedia article on RDB — it is pretty superficial,  even terrible — starting with a complete misrepresentation of what the Awakening was all about re perfectionism.  This was not a here and now perfectionism, but an eschatological event. Just as most evangelicals in America today believe in a special rapture of believers prior to the Great Tribulation, historical Adventism taught there would be a special sealing event for the people of God just before the TT — what the Awakening did was to turn the ogre of the "investigative" judgment (See COL where EGW editors turned the Wedding Garment into Perfect character achieved by infused righteousness — well, that was how it was understood how believers were to grow into perfection in prep for final events — I saw the judgment was in scripture (as also with the word Justice) a thing of deliverance for the saints, good news for those who realize that perfection of character for the here  and now was unachievable, but instead was the gift of that final judgment — this eschatological perfectionism was the logical end of having a pre-Advent judgment.  Anyhow, the Awakening made the Judgment into good news in that it was not a judgment of the saints as traditionally taught, but a judgment for the saints — with the church called to enter the event by faith, etc.  Then the 70's changed that in one key respect — instead of this pre-Advent judgment as something that was imminent in these last days, that pre-Advent judgment was the Gospel, something in the now, because  to be justified by faith was to have the verdict of the final judgment in the now by faith — that is RBF.  In the cross event, God called the world to Judgment Day and there it took place with the result being the Jubilee, a forgiving of all debts for all hopelessly in debt, a mighty verdict of full acquittal announced in the Gospel.  Any talk of a pre-Advent judgment other that this NT Gospel is really a serious failure to understand what that Gospel really is.  This is where Des F messed up badly at Glacier View.  Instead of going on with this distraction of his re-interpretation of Daniel 8:14, he should have stood up in this SDA Sanhedrin and said, "It is on this matter of the all sufficiency and finality and all sufficiency of the NT Gospel that I am called into question."  He stuffed up here big time by majoring on a stupid minor.  

You are correct where you observe that my opponents could not refute the Awakening without appearing to refute the premises of historical Adventism — in the end it had to be myself.  I had to dismantle the old Awakening rather than the opponents — even the arguments of Heppenstal had to sidestep Adventism's historical vision of the special experience of the translated as James White clearly taught. He never addressed the real issue, and he never understood that RBF was JBF alone — when I talked to him (spent an evening with him at his home) he was still confused with an element of RC understanding of RBF.

Anyhow, the whole article in the Wikipedia is a distortion -  maybe you might think about having it edited — I can't think of a better authority on the RDB of that era that you are.  You have not begun to understand where I am at now or how I got there, but you will one day. The less you say about this aspect of RDB the better. 

Cheers,

Bob

------------------------------------

 

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, 27 February 2016 3:30 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Des Ford

I don't think that I am being overly effusive of you personally in my statements. I realize that you were just a beggar at the feet of Jesus just like the rest of us during the era. But who ever came to your and John's defense when the fur was flying during the '60s when you were making your last ditch defense of the biblically indefensible traditional SDA's "1844 second apartment ministration", special blotting out of sin, perfecting latter rain, sinful nature of Christ, sinless final generation of the 144,000, and a "close of probation without a mediator" theology?  Everything that you were advocating in the '60s was right down the line exactly what Ellen White and the other traditionalist had taught for the past 100 years. You put it all together in a succinct orderly format so that no one could deny that this was what Adventism had taught historically. You did such a good job of it that everyone in the leadership of the denomination hated the very name of Brinsmead. You were an embarrassment to them because you told it like it was without pulling any punches. They were unable to refute you because you had all the Ellen White and James White quotes to prove your point. Where was Des Ford then to either defend your position or refute it? He could not refute you because he knew that you had Ellen White in your corner.

So who finally took up the challenge and entered the ring to go toe to toe against the historic SDA position? It was Robert Brinsmead himself fighting the old Robert Brinsmead theology that no one else could refute. Only you had the guts to challenge the status quo and do the grunt work of historical and biblical research to refute the cultic Adventists.  Not only did you employ the Protestant reformers to prove the traditional SDA immaturity wrong, you employed Paul, John, James, and yes even the post 1888 Ellen White to refute the cultic bogus sinless final generation perfectionism, the misinterpretation of Daniel 8:14, the two apartment ministration of Christ, the perfecting latter rain, close of probation for the believer, the last days beginning in 1798, the historicist method of interpreting biblical apocalyptic literature, and the sinful nature of Christ. And further on you did a devastating expose' of the unbiblical teachings of E J Waggoner, A T Jones, M L Andreassen, Robert Weiland and Donald Short, Graham Maxwell, and Herbert Douglas. Your work in 1844 Re-examined, A Review of the Awakening, The Shaking of Adventism, E J Waggoner: the Myth and the Man, and all of the material that flowed from your "Institutes" that you held annually were so seminal and so revolutionary that historic Adventism is still reeling against the ropes and staggering.

Unfortunately just as the dark shadow of cultic Adventism was ready to fall to the mat and arise as the new evangelical Adventism which Ellen White sincerely hoped would be the replacement for the old dry legalism, you for some unknown reason, perhaps unknown even to yourself, bailed out at the very moment of victory and snatched "defeat" out of the jaws of "victory". Now the name of Robert Brinsmead is a byword to the enemies of the evangelical gospel of Christ and thus in their distorted opinion demonstrates and proves to them what results when one rejects the historic SDA message.  The historic SDAs are gloating and celebrating over your abandonment of the bible and the Christ of the bible. The Lilliputians have tied down the great Gulliver and doing a dance around his impotent person. The tiger has been defanged and caged. All heaven is amazed at the turn of events. Even Des Ford has proven to be a false hope to the evangelical Adventist cause. But not all hope is lost. The www.PresentTruthMag.org web site that you began but did not finish is receiving over 2,000 new visitors daily and is being used as required reading for many schools of divinity in the evangelical non-Adventist world. Adventists are coming to the site in amazing numbers even among the leadership. The old line perfectionists at 3ABN and Amazing Discoveries are pulling out their hair in consternation over the success of the "new theology".  History is repeating itself over and over again.

Blessing to you and our friends there who love Jesus Christ as savior and Lord,

Bill Diehl

---------------------------------

Bill, After we gave up that pioneer, final generation eschatological perfectionism, we met up with Des in Washington.  My brother John said to him, "Des, if you had understood the NT and Reformation doctrine of RBF, you could have set us straight in 10 minutes.  Rather than do that, all that you could do was argue with Bob about the order of last day events.  You wasted your time with fictitious arguments about nothing when you should have been able to knock him out of the ring in 5 minutes."  It was not Des but my brother who straightened me out having gained an insight into the NT meaning of RBF.  He came down with the Mumps, a serious thing for a mature man of breeding age. Anyhow, as he lay in bed, I gave him an interesting book to read on Justification, written by Hans Kung the avant garde Catholic theologian.  It was a discussion between Barth and Kung. In this marvelous little book, Kung does a digest, overview of the theology of Barth with particular focus on JBF.  The abstract was so good, that Barth congratulated Kung for doing a better presentation of his teaching that he could have done himself.  Then Kung set about to critique it, using the insights as I discovered of converted Anglican, Cardinal John Henry Newman, which helped me to understand RC thinking so well.  Anyhow, as John was reading this abstract of Barth, somehow it came to him in a blinding flash that RBF means that in this life we are righteous only by faith — and this came to him in such clarity that it totally discredited our final generation special perfectionism.  At first, and not surprisingly, I tried to resist with some special pleading re 1844 event and all the rest of this Adventist heritage, but John would have none of it and blasted me loose.  Meanwhile I had been studying the real divide between Rome and Reformers and the clear implications of the "for us" and "in us" came to me and how important it was not to confuse the historic, objective reality of the gospel and its fruits (new life in the spirit, etc).  John did not at first like that either, because not long before this he had helped to put together Syllabus 3, The Holy Spirit — which was the worst piece of stuff we had ever put together because it utterly botched the "for us" by mixing it with the "in us."  So when we had enlightened each other on these respective things, I was able to do  the two part Review of the Awakening — which Tom Durst to begin with hated like poison.  That's just a little history, my friend.

-------------------------------------------

 

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, 27 February 2016 3:53 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Des Ford

By the way, when I said that Des Ford "stays in his ivory tower", I meant that he has never really gotten down into the trenches like we all did and fought hand to hand with "the beast and his image".  Just look at how you personally traveled all over the entire world in a pre-internet era just to uphold the word of truth to a dying world. You never got any praise, any encouragement, or any money for all that you did. Your only motive was for the love of Christ, His cross, and His word of truth. Perhaps you burned yourself out from all the struggle and effort, got into higher criticism and scholasticism, and let go of hand of Christ. He still knocks at the door of your heart for you to re-open the door. Don't resist, it's too late in the day for false pride. The miracle of creation's undeniable complexity, the harmony of the word of God, and the life of Christ are all an unassailable testimony to the only viable answer to the meaning of life in this world of suffering and woe and injustice.  

Bill

----------------------------------------------------

From RDB Feb 26, 2016 Bill, your lauding me like this is an embarrassment.  I have a lot of time for Des F.  He is not an egoist.  Like the very best of humanity, he is a "brilliantly flawed."  I will always regard him highly. I could never question the utmost sincerity of the man, even though I have sometimes had to laugh how his teaching sounds like a collection of clichés that he rattles off like a string of rosary beads.  I once joked to our mutual friend Noel Mason (who was once Des's close colleague) that Des reminded me of those chocolate machines we had when we were kids.  As soon as you put in a penny the machine would spit out a ready-made chocolate — and in Des's case, a ready made cliché.  Noel laughed as he replied, "He will spit one out even before you can get the penny in."  Yet, honestly, we both admire and love the man. He has never meant any ill-will toward me, rather, he remains very charitable it seems.

---------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 24 February 2016 4:02 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Des Ford

I know that I am sounding redundant by harping on this issue with you. But I have been reading a lot of Adventist authors lately regarding the events surrounding the so-called theological crisis of the 1970-1980 era. The ignored "elephant in the room" in these discussions is how they all ignore the tremendous scholarship of Bob Brinsmead and heap all the praise upon Des Ford for his work on Daniel 8:14. They hold Desmond Ford in such high esteem and never even give a single mention of Brinsmead's contribution towards dragging the Adventist movement kicking and screaming out of the dark world of a nineteenth century holiness cult and into the mainstream of the Protestant Reformation.

I am constantly amazed as I read and re-read many of the back issues of Present Truth and your seminal work in 1844 Re-examined, especially the chapter 11  explaining the meaning of "judgment" in the Old and New Testament. You were able to take the verbose rambling works of the old and new theological giants of Protestantism which no average guy in the street would ever read in a million years and boil it all down to a few pages of easily understood "man on the street" verbiage. I have even listened to some of the audio tapes and other works of Ford while claiming to be preaching the gospel and most of it is mere allegorizing and typologizing sentimentality.  What a joke to see all the praise and respect heaped on Ford while the real genius of the era remains a hidden enigma that nobody even knows about. Very sickening and outrageous in my opinion. Ford sits in his ivory tower and refuses to come clean about who the real hero of the day was. He has not advanced a bit since those days and still has not made the advances that you made in understanding the great themes of the bible and putting it in a brief understandable format.

The true heroes of history are seldom recognized except in the Lamb's book of life. And your life is one of those heroes who will never be recognized for the contribution you made to the elucidation and meaning of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. What a debt the Seventh-day Adventist movement owes to Robert Daniel Brinsmead without its even knowing it!!!

Bill D.

-----------------------------------------------

 

From RDB Jan 14, 2015 Bill, I read what you say and appreciate your goodwill. I like your tenacity.  You have seen some issues sharply and fight for the same. Good for you.

When I wrote 1844 Re-examined, it was not written as an attack on 1844 as a special event, but it was pointing out that just as the Millerites had misinterpreted what was to happen at the end of the 2300 days, so James White with the support of his visionary young wife also misunderstood the real meaning of 1844.  The Investigative Judgment doctrine was going off on a false lead as the explanation as to what would or should come at the end of the days.  The IJ doctrine is rubbish for sure.   The term "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed/restored to its rightful state" should be understood as "then shall the Gospel be "cleansed," "justified" or restored to its rightful place/state.

Des Ford went to Glacier View to defend his thesis on Daniel 8:14 as a apotlelesmatic (can't even spell the dam thing) principle of interpretation.

I actually wrote to him in the middle of this whole sad affair to tell him not to mess around with side-issues.  The issue was simply the Gospel. It was to be all about restoring the Gospel to its rightful place.  This was the prophetic marching orders given to Adventism.  Be like Paul I pleaded, who stood up in the rowdy Sanhedrin gathering and declared,  It is on the question of the resurrection that I am being called into question.  You know how that simple statement changed the whole meeting like a wrecking ball in a China shop.  Suppose Des had stood up and said, It is on the all sufficiency of the NT Gospel that I am called into question.  It is for the supremacy of the Gospel over all other issues that I take my stand.  He failed his moment of truth.  He argued with the conference on side issues of no real urgency or relevance.  He majored on minors.  He missed his one shot he had left in the locket.  He fired only a dud and most people yawned or thought "is this really a life and death issue?"

So in 1844 Re-examined I made my last and final apology for 1844.  It was to be all about restoring the Gospel to its central role.  Glacier View and Des with it missed that one opportunity.  Was it for fear he might sound too much like RDB?  I don't know.  But he missed the boat big time.  I think he knows that now.  

But then I will have to send you my letter, written soon after, where I explained that Adventist history has all been about trying to justify, vindicate the original apocalyptic delusion.  I don't think you are ready to hear that.  But that letter is on record soon after Glacier View.

Cheers and my very best wishes.

Bob

---------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 14 January 2016 9:17 AM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Arthur Patrick

Hope your are still well and happy. Thought that I would send you a link to a long article by Arthur Patrick written just prior to his passing. http://adventiststudies.com/

It could be seen as his "Swan Song" and relates to his experiences in dealing with Des Ford and you in the Awakening era. of the late '70s and the '80s. Very pathetic in view of the fact that if the Adventist leadership would have read the material that you had put out in that era it would have smoothed out the shock of transforming the Adventist movement from one of a bizarre cult to a true iteration of evangelical conservative Christianity.  All of the answers were right in front of them in A Review of the Awakening Message , The Theology of E. G. White E. J. Waggoner, the Myth and the Man The Shaking of Adventism ,  and some of the profound chapters in  1844 Re-Examined .

I know that you mentioned that Arthur Patrick visited you and urged you to reconsider your departure from the faith. I still have not relinquished my hope that you will regain your faith in the God of the Bible. You have no idea of how the Adventist movement needs you and your evangelical insights of the late 1970s today more than ever. The churches have sunken deeper and deeper into final generation perfectionism on the one hand and Maxwell's moral influence teaching on the other hand. They are all at one another's throat. They have refused to baptize my wife who is a true Adventist believing saint, because she and I are anti-perfection evangelical gospel believers who focus on the cross of Christ and justification by faith in the sinless life and atoning death of Christ alone as the meritorious basic of acceptance with God.  The members all stood at the church door and blocked our entrance to the building. Funny, eh? All they want to talk about is what food to put in their mouths.  And the kicker is that they are all so unhealthy.  They are all hoping that we will both drop dead soon because we eat meat and dairy so that they can justify their fanatical views of E.G. White's health counsels. The really funny thing is that I appreciate Ellen White today even more than when we Awakeners saw her as inerrant.

If you have any news to pass on to me, don't forget to let me know. You are never far from my prayers on your behalf. Blessing to you in Christ.

Your friend,

Bill Diehl,

www.PresentTruthMag.org

--------------------------------------------------

From RDB Aug 9, 2015 Bill, Interesting what you say re Ballenger.  I never got into him that far — just saw his objection to having Christ enter the Holy of Holies in 1844 and his objection to the sanctuary doctrine.  All that stuff that EGW wrote in GC about the sanctuary service is completely up the creek without a paddle — transfer of sin to sanctuary via the blood etc.  Problem is early Adventism, including EGW in GC, reasons "as in the type, so in the antitype."  That is a false premise.  The contrast between type and antitype was not just parallelism but contrast like Romans 5: "not as it was by the one that sinned. . . ."And in Hebrews the Melchesidek priesthood is not a matter of as in type, so in antitype, but on essential points difference not mirrored in the type. In the old it was day after day making offerings etc, but in the new and living way, one offering forever.  I think I understand the direction of thought and reasoning of the book of Hebrews — but I am not impressed by any of that kind of apologia for the death of Jesus.  It was just the martyrdom of a great Jewish sage about whom we know very little -  it is his core wisdom teaching that matters to me despite what denigration of that wisdom by Paul in Corinthians, probably preached by Apollos, that matters.  I am solely interested in what the man said.  Who it was who was supposed to have said it makes no difference to what is said.  Truth is determined by giving critical attention to what is said.  Who said it is irrelevant.  It is the same for everything, especially science (which is only an investigation of reality).  Who first said that E = MC2 does not prove it is true — it would be just as true if a scientific boofhead like me said it.  Pay attention to what the historical Jesus said.  The apocalyptic interpretation of who said it is religious mythology, and it makes no difference to the truth of what is said anyway. Putting it another way, my interest is in the teaching of the man, not the teaching about the man which has overshadowed and detracted, in fact contradicted, the former.

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, 9 August 2015 9:15 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Article with Historical Interest

I agree with the basic tenor of your analysis of the early and later Ellen White, but the issues surrounding Ballenger's theology are much more convoluted than you describe. While it is true that he was correct in some of his criticism of Seventh-day Adventist eschatology and soteriology, he was far from apostolic orthodoxy in his views on sanctification and the holy flesh movement of which he was a prominent instigator. He was very confused in regards to his inability to differentiate between the "meritorious cause" of acceptance with God (justification) and the "instrumental cause" of acceptance with God. The atonement which was accomplished at Calvary is the "meritorious cause" and is a finished work and is a universally finished atonement for all the world. This was commonly understood by all of the early SDA pioneers. However, the point of contention among the Protestants of EG White's era and the pioneers of Adventism was over when the benefits of the atonement were made effective for the individual sinner. The Calvinists with their "irresistible grace" and "limited atonement" doctrine taught and still teach that God's elect have been foreknown and therefore predetermined since the beginning of time. Therefore in their opinion all of God's elect were personally saved at the cross. Ballenger's teaching was very similar to this view and therefore he was urging his followers to merely "receive the Holy Ghost" to enjoy the benefits of salvation and perfect sanctification and holiness. He saw no need for a pre-advent judgment to determine who would believe the gospel and remain faithful to Christ unto the end of time. The great strength of the SDA teaching of the sanctuary is that while the meritorious cause of salvation was accomplished through our Lord's suffering at Calvary, the "instrumental cause" of the individual sinner's salvation is only accomplished when he comes to  personal faith and personal repentance for his sins and continues in the faith to the end of his life or until the parousia. Thus the individual's acceptance with God does not take place until the sinner is personally forgiven of his sins when he accepts Christ as his personal Savior and he personally asks God to forgive him of his sins just as the repentant publican in Christ's story of the publican and the Pharisee.  So while it must be admitted that the teaching of the commencement of the pre advent judgment of the world as beginning in 1844 is very bad theology, the basic teaching of the pre-advent judgment is very sound apostolic theology.  God has been judging  the world since Pentecost by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In true apostolic proclamation the meritorious cause and the instrumental cause of salvation are always clearly differentiated but never separated.

While the early SDA pioneers were fighting to defend the instrumental cause of salvation by way of their emphasis on the high priestly ministry of Christ in heaven, they seem to have gone too far and began to become confused regarding the meritorious cause of salvation and some even began to down play the meritorious cause of Christ's sinless life and atoning death. J. H. Waggoner was one of those who went too far and Ballenger was objecting to these extreme positions of those like J. H. Waggoner.  In the end Ballenger went off the deep end and to my knowledge never returned to the SDA movement.

Ellen White while she seems to have become rather lopsided at times, in my opinion she was very consistent when taking into account what she was specifically refuting at the time when she was writing material like The Great Controversy and Early Writings . But she is not here to either defend her views on the one hand or admit her mistakes and theological weaknesses on the other hand. Either way she was a great Christian author. Unfortunately, most of her present day defenders have gone way over board and done her a great disservice.

What a pity that you are no longer a part of the final movement to restore and defend the great truths of the Christian faith that have been lost during its Babylonish captivity to Rome.

Bill

-------------------------------------------

 

From RDB Aug 8, 2015 Bill, Just glancing through this paper by Dennis Fortin, its most obvious weakness is not to recognize the development of EGW's thought  - although as in the case of the Shut Door, she did not frankly acknowledge the early fanaticism of the SDA group of which she was very much a part, along with James White who was the leader in the Shut Door phase of the movement. Nowhere does Early Writings acknowledge the atonement was made at the cross. It teaches the opposite pioneer position. It was the pioneer view that Christ went into the MHP to make the atonement or final atonement.  That was a basic part of explaining what happened in 1844.  From memory also, I don't think the Great Controversy spoke of an atonement at the cross, indeed the whole flow of the argument about entering the MHP in 1844 to begin the work of blotting out of sins is against that orthodox Christian view of atonement.

So I would say that in her early ministry she reflected the views of Waggoner and Uriah Smith and Crozier (who she explicitly said had the light on the sanctuary).  It was only in her later writings that she moved the focus of a completed atonement at the cross without (as in the case of the Shut Door) acknowledging her former error.  Or else say that both views are true.  Now this is all a long way back in my memory now, but I suggest it might have been that she perceived she must express a more evangelical view of things because of the challenge of men such as Ballenger who clearly saw the fallacy of the old view.  So too W.W. Fletcher who was after the time of EGW.  Up until his time, W.W.Fletcher (an Australian) had written the clearest refutation of EGW's theology (or Adventism) that had even been presented, and he did it in a very kind and charitable spirit.

So also EGW changed her position on the perfecting of the final generation, perhaps influenced by the need to refute the Holy Flesh heresy.

In short, EGW had two faces — there was the cultic Ellen White of Early Writings (dreadfully cultic) and Great Controversy, and there is the catholic EGW of DA and SC.  She never really renounced her cultic roots, and that was clearly manifested in her terrible answer to Ballenger — she just said he misinterpreted the Scripture without giving one instance where he had done that.  Her's was just an appeal to the authority of those who had gone through the 1844 experience — which experience was pure apocalyptic fanaticism.

--------------------------------------------------

 

From RDB, May 14, 2015
Bill:   A few  preliminary comments.  The average age of the SDA pioneers was somewhere in the mid-twenties.  They had no theological training. They were young, daring, innovative, ready to challenge the status quo on a whole range of religious issues.  So the leading Awakeners too were young during the 60's, and in the big world outside our little religious ghetto, it was the young generation leading the charge on alternative lifestyles, "make love, not war" and all that Hippie stuff that challenged their materialistic elders. These youngsters all conceived of their brave new world.

So these young SDA pioneer upstarts were ready to reform Christianity and did not hesitate to be radical.  Chucking out Sunday as the traditional day of worship was only the start.  A lot of the new ideas were spawned by trying to come up with an explanation for the 1844 October 22 disaster.  Crozier was the first to make a detailed explanation via the two apartment sanctuary, (he was just a kid who came up with this novel interpretation of the book of Hebrews  - that' won't stand up anyway) but he was following the visionary lead of Hiram Edson the bloke walking through the cornfield and conceiving how that instead of coming out of the Holy of Holies in the sanctuary as the High Priest came out to bless the waiting congregation (Second Coming) — on this antitypical 10 th day of the Jewish Seventh month (Day of Atonement) the High Priest Jesus went into the second apartment of the sanctuary.  The young and more erudite Crozier found a way to justify this apocalyptic stupidity by writing up his thesis, and the visionary Ellen Harmon (later EGW) endorsed the new theory.  So it was out of this idea of going into the most holy place to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat to make atonement according to Leviticus 16 that the pioneers came up with the idea that the atonement was either not made at all at the cross (Smith) or at least was not finished at the cross — and so EGW in her early teaching could write of Jesus going into the MHP to make a final atonement/blotting out of sin. 

To evangelical or orthodox Christians, that sounded pretty heretical.  But this innovative young band were ready to change the church on a whole range of issues.  I think JH Waggoner questioned the Trinity, and some of the others did too.  Some of them were clearly Arian re denying the absolute divinity of Christ, and they proposed that Christ appeared in "sinful flesh" or with a sinful human nature whatever that meant (I don't think,  any more than the young RDB (early Awakening) that they had sufficiently thought this through — but anyhow, they were more interested in apocalyptic speculations and interpretations of the symbols of Daniel and Revelation rather than plumbing the deeper things of real theology and Christology.

In looking at the theology of EGW one needs to avoid the fundamental mistake (distortion) of my Theology of EGW.  I should have called that, The Theology of EGW at her Best, because I knew all too well there were other things in EGW that did not sit well or could not be easily harmonized with this rather "orthodox Christian" EGW.  We have to see that the early EGW was far more cultic and that the later, more mature EGW was more catholic (small c).  Early Writings and The Great Controversy are very cultic  - and there are things there cannot really be harmonized (without some great summersaults and jumping through hoops) with the later more mature EGW of say DA, SC and some of here articles on 1SM.  I really think that in COL (Wedding Garment) she (or her ghost writers, because she was now well beyond being a serious writer) reverted to the perfectionism of the early EGW.  I suggest that her encounter with the Holy Flesh movement jolted her to modify her early perfectionism as in EW 71.  There are statements which support the view of A.T. Jones on the sinful flesh of Christ as well such as "He took upon his sinless nature our sinful nature" — because there is nothing here that implies imputation at the cross, but rather it is dealing with a Chalcedonian framework of the union of the two natures in the incarnation.

But we have the same problem in the Bible — like the early Paul (too late to get married) and the later advice (get married), or "we which are alive and remain" (expecting to see the Parousia) and "absent from the body and present with the Lord" (after delay and refection).  Or the earlier NT writings and Jerusalem church (no virgin birth) and later virgin birth — or  that Jesus becomes Son of God Messiah at resurrection (adoption as in Psalm 2 ect) or later Johannine  Sonship.  Of course if I go back to delve into OT written over a period of time, it is not hard to find different views, traditions in tension — or two entirely opposite stories that have been blended — or to play off the violence of the OT against the non-violence of Jesus like bring fire down from heaven to consume one's opponents (Elijah) or not destroy the rude Samaritans who refused hospitality (Jesus).

One way to harmonize this kill and don't kill, condemn and don't condemn, and lots more, is to come up with the magical glasses of Dispensationalism — "Oh, those passages belong to a different dispensation when different rules apply. . . ..."  Well, that's one way to harmonize statements that appear to contradict — or should we say,  update or are informed by a better or more mature view of God.

I am in the midst of a huge study on the life of Muhammad, trying to understand what is happening in Islam today what with moderate Muslims and radical Muslims.  I find that Muhammad's ministry as Messenger of Allah lasted about two decades.  He was a bit like RDB — changed views at the end of each decade, ha!   Anyway, his first announced his prophetic calling at Mecca as Allah's prophet to the polytheistic Arabs.  Muhammad's old teacher Maraqa was actually a Nazarene or Jewish "Christian" and Muhammad was still basically of this faith.  His preaching was simple and direct, and the substance of it was much the same in ethics and theology as the preaching of John the Baptist.  He sought to convert people by convincing them.  For a decade he was a prophet of peace.  He had little success, and for the most part he was ridiculed, humiliated and rejected and in the end had to flee for his life to Medina.  Then he dramatically changed — in ethics and theology.  At Mecca he was monogamous — his first wife (a Nazarene too) died not long before leaving Mecca.  She had had a powerful even dominating influence on his life as wealthy, older partner, educated, cultured  etc.  But when this illiterate Muhammad, now a widower got to Medina he consummated marriage to a 9 year old girl when he was 52, then took many more wives and concubines, changed the day of worship to Friday, and started his military career that converted lots of people to Islam at the edge of the sword.

Now through all this, Muhammad was having his very EGW-like visions and giving out his revelations in poetic-like verses that now form the Quran.

The problem Muslims now have is how to handle (harmonize) the more peaceful early religion of Muhammad with the more aggressive, even militaristic Muhammad.  You have people like Obama who can cite the Quran to prove that Islam is a religion of peace, and the Islamic fundamentalists (terrorists) who can cite the later Muhammad ordering them to kill the infidels and conquer the world for Islam. Some of them argue that the later texts must be preferred over the earlier ones (well, one is tempted to say like Christians who say that NT love of enemies must now take precedence over OT killing of enemies — you can get the gist of what I mean.

And as I witness Muslims wrestling with this problem I see that they are not a lot different to Christians from whence they originally sprang. You see, given that they believe the Quran is the literal Word of God, they are stuck with having to harmonize the yawning disparities, just as Christian Fundamentalists, believing that everything in the bible is the Word of God, have to bend over backwards , do summersaults, invent Dispensationalism or some other abracadabra to prove that the Bible never ever contradicts itself  - no wonder this has produced 30,000 Christian denominations, all claiming that they and they alone correctly interpret the Bible  — or have the right glasses to prove, for instance that the two creation stories, the two flood stories, the two nativity stories, or the two resurrection stories are all perfectly in harmony despite the mutually exclusive contradictions. Ah, says my good friend Bill D., " you just need the correct hermeneutic, my hermeneutic of course, and that can harmonize everything every writer in the Bible has ever said over a period of a millennia.

Must run now. . . ...

Best regards,  Bob  

----------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 14 May 2015 1:26 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Article with Historical Interest

I have not forgotten the question you raised about E. G. White's use of the "wedding garment" motif as to whether she saw it as imputed or imparted righteousness as in Christ's Object Lessons . With this question in mind I thought that you might find this brief article dealing with the theological development of E. G. White stimulating from a historical perspective:

Differences Between Joseph H. Waggoner and Ellen G. White

http://www.presenttruthmag.org/7dayadventist/DennisFortin.htm

-----------------------------------------

From: Robert Brinsmead [mailto:rdb@tropicalfruitworld.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, 23 April 2015 9:07 PM
To: 'Rudy Lim'
Subject: RE: Des Ford Reflects on His Adventist History

Dear Rudy:

I thank you for your clear, no-beating-around-the bush comments.  It mirrors the way I have always tried to express myself.

I would suggest one simple edit on your summary.  It would more truly express Pauline theology (as well as RDB of 1978) if you had said, "God justifies sinners, the ungodly, his enemies. . . ."  As F.F. Bruce pointed out at one time, if you take a word check of the book of Romans you will find that Paul uses the word "God" more than any other noun.  It is all about the actions of God who is said to be the one that "justifies the ungodly."

Rather than say I have changed my view that "God justifies sinners, the ungodly, his enemies," I would say that I have simplified or purified my view of the absolute freedom of God's love.

Whereas I formerly taught the Pauline/Reformation view that God does this justifying on the basis that Christ has bought, purchased and paid for God's amazing forgiveness by his obedience, suffering and death, I now say that this view seriously compromises the unconditional love for God for all and casts an enormous shadow over God's acting freely and unilaterally to do this apart from any payment, compensation, payback atonement or retaliatory justice.  Not only was this the teaching of the great OT prophets, but this scandalous generosity of God was the core teaching of the historical Jesus.  He urged us to extend to our enemies the kind of love that never retaliates against the evil done to us but to endlessly and unconditionally forgive on the basis that this is what his Abba Father does. Absolutely no eye for eye and tooth for tooth, no demand to repay evil with evil which is the basic meaning behind atonement through blood sacrifice. (See Luke 6:28-36).

So in Jesus' parable of the son that was a waster, the father did not kill a sacrificial lamb but a fatted calf to celebrate a total forgiveness and acceptance without prior demands of payment and compensation for the evil done — and all this without regard to his own dignity and honour that had been so dreadfully outraged. These things are luxuries that love cannot afford.  Love  must remain unconditional or it is not love at all. As even Paul in one of his finest moments bears witness that love keep no score of wrongs, sees the best in every person, is never violent or resentful and never gives up hope of achieving its end.

Am I really following the teaching of St. Paul?  In one sense No.  For whereas Jesus taught us to practice non-violent love that does not retaliate against those who mistreat us on the basis that this is how God treats his enemies (Luke 6:28-36), Paul in Romans 12 exhorts us to practice this ethic too, but on the basis that we should leave it to God to do the vengeance and retaliation. This is Paul's God of blood atonement — of supreme payback justice!  Moving to an apocalyptic interpretation of the death of Jesus who becomes a cosmic Christ figure who reconciles the world to God, Paul in this goes clear contrary to the teaching of the historical Jesus who rejected apocalyptic and forgiveness based on a sacrificial payment for sin.

Today there is hardly a scholar of the historical Jesus, whether Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, who does not frankly acknowledge that there is a vast disconnect between the historical Jesus and what became the Christ of faith.  One is dealing with historical realities and the other with apocalyptic myth. This is where the 200-year quest for the historical Jesus has brought us.

On the other hand I am following the teaching of Paul in respect to his teaching about not living under the Torah — which in the context of the book of Galatians 3 and 4  especially and in other places as well means Holy Scripture and Written Code. In principle, this  includes my not living under the Law (nomos), Scripture (graphe) or Written Code (gramma) of Paul either. Out of respect for Paul, I therefore do not live under Paul.

Robert D. Brinsmead

From: Rudy Lim [ mailto:rshlim@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Thursday, 23 April 2015 2:41 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Des Ford Reflects on His Adventist History

Hi Bob,

This is to confirm that you have articulated Justification by Faith clearer than anyone I know including Des Ford,

who however later said  the same thing that you had expressed  earlier and that is the doctrine of 

Righteousness by Faith is only justification,   and does not include sanctification.  Your presentation one morning in the last 

Canby meeting, 1978 or 1979,   on Salvation by Grace though Faith by Christ on Romans 5, that Jesus justifies sinners,  the ungodly and

his enemies still remains clear to me. After the presentation I did speak to you.

This is the unique view of Christianity that unites all Christians,  and that it is absent in all other religions.  I thank you for it 

By the way, Heppenstall did not have it either. If he had he would have said it in his Week of Prayer  at La Sierra College in 1964/1965

when I was at the meeting. 

Graham Maxwell had no clue on Salvation by Grace through Faith at all. He never expressed in any of his books and

never said that Jesus is  our Saviour.  All he said was that we have misunderstood the character of of God. As if he did understand ! 

Greetings to all in Australia

Ever your friend,

Rudy 

On Saturday, March 21, 2015 2:47 AM, Robert Brinsmead < rdb@tropicalfruitworld.com.au > wrote:

Rudy:  So my old friend and sparring partner Des says that learning that RBF was nothing but JBF is one of the greatest things he learned and also greatest comfort.  What he could tell you privately is that he learned it from RDB — even though the Wikipedia article on RDB says I learned it from Des.  Actually I learned it first from my brother John after he got the mumps and spent a few days in bed reading Justification, Dialogue between Karl Barth and Hans Hung.  Then I wrote a small paper called The Meaning of Righteousness by Faith in which I spelled out its challenge to traditional Adventist teaching. An Avondale student under Des Ford (a lifelong friend of Des called Noel Mason) read this paper, saw its importance and took it to Des, pointing out it was different to what Des and Adventism generally believed.  Instead of giving an immediate opinion, Des took the matter on notice and studied the matter for a couple of weeks, after which he returned to Noel and declared that my paper was correct.  Des afterward participated in promoting an Adventist Reformational revival — and the rest is history.

The insight led my brother John and me to renounce the teaching of the perfecting of the final generation within history.

Some small time later John and I met up with Des at the General Conference offices.  John said to Des, If you had understood the NT meaning of righteousness by faith you could have straightened us out in 5 minutes years ago! The reason why neither Des Ford nor Heppenstal helped me to see that our perfectionism for the final generation was wrong is that they themselves had a bastardized Roman Catholic/Protestant soteriology in the matter of RBF.  When I met Hep some time later (we became very good friends) the poor old guy was still demurring whether RBF was nothing but JBF.

These are just the facts of that bit of Adventist history.  Noel Mason lives in California near Sacramento (I correspond with him a bit) he is an old mate of Des and worked to support him for years.  He can verify how his mentor became enlightened re the Pauline/Reformation meaning of RBF for the simple reason he was there to help bring this change in Des's thinking. 

I won't go on to say how I have learned to transcend all that kind of conditional soteriology and all that kind of religious salvationism supposedly based on great acts of God what are, when you examine them, all acts of divine violence and pay-back justice so contrary to the core teaching of the historical Jesus according to the Q — but still found in Matthew 5:38-48/Luke 6: 28-36.  If we would only pay attention to that core teaching —also taught in his core parables- we could dispense with the whole of Christian Christology (the person of Christ) and Soteriology (the work of Christ) for the ethic of non-violence based on a theology of non-violence that flows from a totally unconditional, non-retaliating Love.

Regards,  Bob

From: Rudy Lim [ mailto:rshlim@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Saturday, 21 March 2015 2:55 AM
Subject: Des Ford Reflects on His Adventist History

Do not miss the comments that follow this article, if you have not seen it !

Des Ford Reflects on His Adventist History

 

---------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [ mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com ]
Sent: Thursday, 23 April 2015 4:14 AM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Fw: Some Thoughts About Robert Brinsmead

Hi Bob,

Thought that you might get a kick out of reading this email I received.

Bill D.

www.PresentTruthMag.org

----- Original Message -----

From: Bruce Riddington

To: BillDiehlJr@gmail.com

Subject: Some Thoughts About Robert Brinsmead

Hi Bill Diehl,

My contact with _Present Truth Magazine_ goes back to 1975 when I was an unbeliever searching for "truth" in a morass of Transcendental Meditation, the Urantia Book, Zen, the Aquarian Gospel, etc. I was convinced that "truth" was an experience of enlightenment that arose from within. So the focus of the search centred on my subjective self. It was a long drug-addled story about a seeker whose life hovered on the edge of a toxic meaninglessness. 

Nevertheless, my new Japanese wife and I moved to Victoria BC where, in the summer of '75, I was admitted to hospital for an operation on a painful abscess. The day following the surgery I was walking down the hallway of the recovery ward when I passed a magazine rack. I saw one entitled "Present Truth," and almost didn't pick it up because I associated it with "Plain Truth" which I despised. I did pick it up, though.

I read articles there on Justification by Faith that, when I returned home, drove me into the Bible. It was shortly afterwards that the Lord laid His loving hand upon both my wife and I, and taught us that "truth" isn't an item lying in wait in our consciousness; He is a Person (God made flesh) who entered history to die for helpless,hopeless sinners. The wondrous objectivity of the Gospel turned me inside out, and truly, "My chains fell off, my heart was free,I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."

I then subscribed to Present Truth, and my life as a new Christian was edified by reading its excellent commentary. However, I realized, after later doses of Verdict Magazine that Robert Brinsmead's orientation to "the simplicity that is Christ" had gone wonky, and I dropped it, though my joyous, Bible-fed growth in Christ Jesus continued. 

As the years passed, I was always curious about what had happened to RB. With the coming of the internet I was able to uncover some of the mystery concerning his spiritual whereabouts. It seemed, from evidence in his writings, that he had fallen into Satan's deepest world-view trap—a scientistic belief in the creative power within the primordial elements produced by the Big Bang. These were, somehow, endowed with an innate capacity to 'acquire' the complex encoding that eventually produced life, incredible biodiversity and the human brain. 

RB's trust in higher criticism and his rejection of the authentic historicity of scripture are based upon a core metaphysic—dead matter taught itself to think. And poised over this hyper-natural transformation was an Evolution-Director (god) who took 15.5 billion years to tweak the phenomenon into an elegant, but very messy, completion.

 It's obvious that RB's hidebound commitment to the scholarship of biblical debunkery feeds off a loathing for what he once professed. When one rejects the Gospel and discredits all Christian belief, one's intellectual energies are going to be expended on defending this great abandonment. Bob has placed himself well beyond the reach of "the present truth." His so-called evolutionary and analytical "evidences" have been seared into his identity.

What I found most pathetic (and it amazes me that a man of RB's intelligence can't apprehend the pathos) is his reference to God and His love: "We are free [sic] to be human, free to love unconditionally as God does. . . ."  There's a kind of desperate, angry aura hanging over this comment. It could be RB realizes he's been reduced to mouthing propositional platitudes—with no textual authority of any kind to back it up. Did his god so love the world that he gave us a humanist perspective? Sadly, RB is not at peace with himself, and certainly not with the interchangeable humanism-theism entity he calls "God."

May the God of Glory rescue Robert Brinsmead from the dead.

May the Lord Jesus be magnified,

Bruce Riddington


---------------------------------------------------

Fyi -  Hick summarizes pretty well my take on the Bible, Jesus etc.

Thanks for sending on your friend's take on RDB.  It would the critique I too would make if I was still with the gospel of the cosmic Christ of faith.  I subscribe to the now almost universal  scholarly consensus that there is a great disconnect between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith.  I think I can now understand how the latter developed and supplanted the former. It is no longer relevant to our world and will make less and less impact on it.  The Jesus of history and his teaching is very relevant to Jews, Christians and Muslims today,  I agree with Gandhi who said, in reply to the question what prevents the message of Jesus reaching the people of India today, "Christianity!"  

---------------------------------------------

Bill, let me make the suggestion that you leave off looking at everything through your little theological prism ( I could misspell that and make it prison) and read some good literature that would get you educated on the basics of what has made our modern world so prosperous compared with anything in the past.  May I recommend Bernstein, How the Modern Age of Prosperity Was Born.  There is no theology or religion in it. He shows that not a lot changed until about 200 years ago. Until then,  all human progress to improve the human condition was slow.  Then prosperity and improvement of the human condition began to accelerate.  He addresses the matter of what gave birth to all this, and why some places remain more retarded than others.  The book is easy to follow, in fact he shows that progress has depended on just four principles, that wherever those four principles prevail, people shake off backwardness, under-development and poverty and become intellectually and economically progressive. (It applies to non-Christian cultures such as Japan) You might be disappointed to find out that this improvement has not as much to do with Christianity, the Bible, the Reformation (things that seem important to you) as you tend to imagine.

But let me urge you (please, just this once!) to read it and stop seeing everything out of your narrow little religious prism.

Good luck friend.  Bob

------------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 20 March 2015 1:59 AM
To: wendell krossa; 'Robert Brinsmead'
Cc: 'David McMahon'
Subject: Re: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

Unfortunately, in your case, it has taken an entire lifetime to get it all wrong. The progress that you see in the world today is the result of the word of God and the gospel of Christ going forth into all the world as leavening to leaven the whole loaf. This is not a "red herring" at all as Bob mistakenly claims. Without the gospel going into all the world, the world would be the total habitation of incarnate devils. But these blessing from the Lord are not irreversible and when society turns away from the Law of God in its First Use these blessing can be withdrawn with amazing results within one generation and an era akin to the Dark Ages can commence rapidly. All societies have a judicial system of rewards and punishments. Your world view represents total anarchy and it has been refuted by better scholars than I. Your most glaring denial of reality is in your denial of "original sin" and the natural corruption, selfishness, and wickedness of human nature since the Fall of Adam.

Another area where you and Bob are totally wrong is in your imposition of a false definition of "apocalyptic" in the word of God.  It actually means a prophetic revelation , especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forcesof good permanently triumph over the forces of evil . The promises of God are two sided not just one sided as you are inferring. Blessings and curses are the covenantal promises and threatenings of God's covenant with Mankind.  Your scenario ignores justice and evil as actual moral values to be urged or resisted respectively by all humanity from childhood to old age. Children who are not corrected and warned of the consequences of their moral choices will grow up to be monsters and devils as adults. Without moral absolutes no society can survive. This is what the antediluvian society experienced and they reaped the consequences of their actions. You and Bob and other like atheists have benefited by the moral education of the Christian religious society in which you have been raised and so you both have a residual moral ethic which guides your lives today even though you now deny that such a divine, extra-terrestrial code of morality is necessary to be imposed upon society since you are now convinced that Mankind is able to rule itself and "progress" without any outside divine Law and justice to bless the righteous and punish the wicked.

So, no Wendell and Bob, my world view is not "stupid". Your atheistic paradigm will fall of its own weight into the trash bin of history as it always has in the past history of experimental humanism and political Marxism. Humanism has always resulted in a real "barrel of fun" such as the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Real success stories, eh? Your false idealism will reap the whirlwind of disaster as the barbarians knock down your front door to rape and pillage, all because you invented a false Christ from your imaginary "Q document" and ignored all the rest of the word of God. Dream on, Dream on. Until you are awakened by cruel reality.  As Christopher Booker so aptly describes your world view:

"the fantasy cycle" ... a pattern that recurs in personal lives, in politics, in history — and in storytelling. When we embark on a course of action which is unconsciously driven by wishful thinking, all may seem to go well for a time, in what may be called the "dream stage". But because this make-believe can never be reconciled with reality, it leads to a "frustration stage" as things start to go wrong, prompting a more determined effort to keep the fantasy in being. As reality presses in, it leads to a "nightmare stage" as everything goes wrong, culminating in an "explosion into reality", when the fantasy finally falls apart.

So no matter whether your kind of world view is theistic or atheistic, without punishment of the wicked there can be no viable society. As Mark Levin would say of those who "dream the impossible dream", you are living in a fantasy Marxist, humanist paradise.

Wendel's reply:

The point is that conditions in the world have improved — immensely since the time of Daniel or the writing on the NT. The point is to acknowledge that fact.  The cause of the improvements is another matter.  Let's not use the cause of the imprivements as a red herring. I just want you to be a rational human being who is able to transcend your religious bias and acknowledge that the human condition has improved rather than deteriorated — and on so many fronts.  At this point of confronting the point of issue, it makes no difference if the improvement are due to the Reformation or Hoo Flung Dung. Just admit the point — things have improved rather than deteriorated.  You're a barrel of fun, Bill, even though we have to get you to come kicking and screaming to say, Woah, wait a minute, the Apocalyptic writings got it wrong here, eh?

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 19 March 2015 1:52 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

And 90% of those improvements owe their existence to the Protestant reformation which flowed from Western Europe into all the world: Educational reform, hospital movement and the practice of modern medicine, the scientific method, the dignity and worth of the individual, the industrial revolution, and personal and societal hygiene. All these improvements were the direct or indirect result of the spread of the word of God and the Bible through the missionary movement of the 17th - 20th century. Your boasting about "progress" is not based on the correct cause of the modern world in which we live and benefit. And that is the "simple fact of history".

-----------------------------------

From RDB March 17, 2015

The simple FACT of history is there was never a time in history when mankind on this planet had it so good as NOW.  Most of us live longer — a lot longer- have much better living conditions, educational and cultural opportunities, are better fed, clothed, entertained, looked after, have more human rights and more worker rights and have access for far more information than was available to humans than in any time in history.  Bill, you are not living in the real world, but in an apocalyptic fantasy world.

The book of Daniel and most NT writers saw the world getting worse and worse . . . .. But the improvements in the human condition since that time in every department, including more humane moral and ethical standards, have improved  light years ahead of the First Century — when less then 10% of people were even semi-literate.  Political rights, worker rights, human rights, democratic rights were just about zero — no 40-hour week, no holiday pay, no workers compensation, slavery was accepted, divine right of kings was in force, life expectancy was 30 years.  Nearly everything has improved out of sight.  Stop living in this stupid, anti-human religious ghetto.

From: wendell krossa [mailto:wkrossa@shaw.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, 18 March 2015 7:05 AM
To: 'Bill Diehl, Jr.'; 'Bob Brinsmead'
Subject: RE: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

Bill, you speak of reality, real truth, and in previous posts of evidence, facts. Good for you. But then continue that honorable concern with truth and reality to all factual evidence, even evidence that counters one's views of things. That makes one uncomfortable. If there is any more overwhelming array of evidence, of fact and therefore truth and reality, it would be the overwhelming evidence amassed by Julian Simon, Bjorn Lomborg, Matt Ridley, Greg Easterbrook and others on the rising trajectory of life, and civilization toward something ever better. And throw in the overwhelming evidence amassed by James Payne and Stephen Pinker on the decreasing violence across human history as humanity has become ever more empathic and loving and non-violent. Hard factual data that cannot be denied. Only the unthinking embrace of apocalyptic declinism (corrupt humanity destroying the world and all heading for disaster) blinds people from seeing such overwhelming evidence. Myth is myth, and truth is truth, especially when supported by masses of good evidence.

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [ mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com ]
Sent: March-17-15 12:46 PM
To: wendell krossa; Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

Dream on, Wendell. Dream on. Your world view about the "progression" of humanity is an illusion of puffed up pride and imagined superiority that will crumble with the passage of time---simply chasing windmills in your mind while humanity sinks lower and lower into anarchy and lawlessness. Without justice and punishment of evil-doors there can be no social order.  Your fantasy world which rejects the Biblical paradigm is a philosophical Pied Piper ending in the very doom from which your narrative attempts to flee. Time alone will reveal the truth of the matter. Your "liberation" will prove to be a totalitarian tower of Babel of the cruelest order once the restraints of God's Law are removed. Love without justice is disastrous.

----- Original Message -----

-------------------------------------------------

From: wendell krossa

To: 'Bill Diehl, Jr.' ; 'Robert Brinsmead'

Cc: NoelMason@sunnysideinsurance.com

Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 10:44 AM

Subject: RE: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

A better way to frame all this is in terms of the progression of humanity from a barbaric subhuman past to a more humane present. We (humanity) now understand better what is human and what is inhuman. All this talk of biblical authority, reliability, and so on must be subject to this larger context of humanity discovering ever more clearly just what is human. Just as Lotufo and others are presenting- we can no longer accept a personality that takes pleasure in causing others harm or suffering, as humane. It is pathological, psychopathic, sick, subhuman. And that monster resides at the core of Christian atonement.

To try to describe all that horrible mythology in terms of love, grace, mercy or whatever is to distort entirely the meaning of love, mercy, grace. To define it with pathological violence of the worst kind (pleasure, appeasement in the suffering and harm of others).

Ah, read Pallmeyer, Lotufo, and Ellens and discovery what we have wrestled with and now understood better. Just what is wrong with all this Salvationism and what is the humane alternative that Jesus discovered and offered to  humanity- unconditional treatment of all. Because this is just what God is like. No demand for some condition to be met, some salvation plan, no threat of punishment, no judgment, no apocalypse looming, no hell. Ah, such liberation and love.

 

---------------------------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [ mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com ]
Sent: March-17-15 8:58 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Cc: Wendell Krossa;
Subject: Re: Lotufo- Cruel God, Kind God

Bob, I was getting concerned due to your long silence. But am relieved to see that you are still with us even though you are still dancing with wrong girl. (Don't you know that you should leave the dance with the girl you brought?) (grin) Your historical narrative sounds amazingly tidy with all the nice bells and whistles, but unfortunately your imagined fantasy contains only a slight glimmer of reality.

In order to prop up your dream, you have to imagine that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and the epistles of Paul and John and Peter and the theology revealed therein are the work of merely misguided "Gentile" believers in Christ as the promised Jewish messiah. Also you have to discount as fraud the substitutionary nature of the Jewish temple ritual as well. Of course this is easy for you to do as you discount these with the mere wave of your magical hand: no creation "myth", no sin "myth", no punishment "myth", no divine justice "myth", no redemption "myth", and no loving redeeming God "myth" in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God is merely a gigantic fabrication and conspiracy invented by a few radical Jews and Gentiles who believed in the "nonsense" and "drivel" of God's promises from Genesis to Malachi and then pawned this fabrication off as fulfilled in the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ.  

The only real truth in your historical narrative is that the Jewish faction that hated Paul so much that they hunted him all around the Roman empire to have him killed truly did exist. They even hated the orthodox Christian faith so much that they had the apostle John kicked out of his own church and refused him and others of the orthodox faith fellowship. So it is true that the Ebionites and others of their ilk were very actively opposing the orthodox doctrine that the gospel narratives and the epistles expressed. Of course I realize that you have rejected these witnesses as unfaithful pseudepigraphia or apocryphal. Your entire view point hinges upon this assumption, i.e., if the New Testament is historically and theologically reliable, then your thesis  is untenable. But is seems that you are determined to chase after your windmills with your Sancho-like friends Wendell and I suppose others like Noel Mason and Danny and Ellen Townsend also. 

I suppose that my request in my last email to you for you put on your old "evangelical hat" and evaluate my first three article of faith from that perspective seems to be no longer feasible objectively without your being influenced by your present world view. Perhaps you have lost your youthful exuberance for objectivity in evaluation of points of view with which you differ? But I still have the highest regard for your gift of expression and creativity albeit misguided at the present time. I am sure that if the past is any pattern for the future you will eventually see the futility of your present thesis and clamber back on to the old rickety gospel wagon that the world hates so much.

Blessing to you and the family there in Aussy-land,

Your old pal, Bill D.

------------------------------------------------

Bill:  It is always a pleasure to hear from you.  First a comment on the article you sent me which was really refuting the Baptist and popular evangelical view of "once saved always saved."  If I believed as they do in the doctrine of an eternal torment in hell for the unsaved, then yes, I think your only emotional and psychological protection from that horrendous doctrine would be to get saved and make sure it is permanent.  One theological mistake makes another mistake necessary to maintain sanity.  Reminds me when I was doing a math procedure in senior high school.  The teacher said to me, "You have made a mistake here."  I replied, "But I got the correct answer" — as if that was proof I had not made a mistake.  Then he replied, "Then you have made two mistakes."  Very clever and accurate observation!  We do stuff like that all the time.

The first mistake of early Christianity was to explain the scandal of a crucified Messiah by saying that his death was an atoning sacrifice for human sin. (That idea was not new, because ideas of human sacrifice to propitiate the displeasure of the gods had a long history and it had a history in Israel too).  This apology was put forward, not by the first believers, the Jewish Christians (who never did accept it) but by the Hellenists and Gentile Christians. That mistake led on to others.. In ordder to be the spotless sacrifice, the victim would have to be virgin born sinless human etc.  But then to be of infinite value, it had to be a divine-human sacrifice — and as Athanasius finally argued against Arianism, unless the Christ was God in the highest sense, the sacrifice could not bridge the gulf between God and man, and so there would be no salvation coming from an Arian Christ.  The original believers, all Jews, including the family clan of Jesus, never did go down that road of atoning sacrifice — virgin birth — and Godhood of Jesus.

The Reformation was all about Soteriology (the work of Christ) and not about Christology (the person of Christ).  I now dispense with all of it, the whole Christ myth, as contrary to the teaching of the historical Jesus.  No wonder none of the Creeds have a thing to say about the teachings of Jesus which are clear contrary to the Christ myth, beginning with the atoning sacrifice-  inhuman, sadistic, pagan, etc.  You know the big dump truck I used to talk about — put all that religion in the big dump truck, then go and join the human race. The God of religion — of Christian theology, atonement, virgin birth, the divinity of Christ and the rest — disappeared from my radar some years ago.  I found and believe in the God who is revealed in and with humanity without distinction of chosen peoples, chosen remnant, special people and all such inhuman stuff.

Anyway, I can recommend Lotufo, Cruel God Kind God and Nelson-Pallmeyer, Is Religion Killing Us.  See comments below.

Interesting and well written by yourself.  The issue at Glacier View was the NT Gospel, and Des missed his one great chance to stand up and say, "It is on the question of the NT Gospel as God's final (eschatological) Word to humanity that I am called into question."  Ah, if only he had done that. . . .. The great conference would have divided as Paul divided Pharisees and Sadduceus.

That Gospel and this traditional interpretation of what happened in 1844 don't fit. You have one or the other, but not both.

He gave no clear, Here I stand!  At best he offered a crawl-out apology for 1844, one that traditionalist would say that it was, at best, a watered down version.  In the midst of Glacier View I sent an appeal to Des not to go down his chosen path, but to grab the central issue of the Gospel by the throat.  

EGW blew hot and cold on perfectionism.  Have another look at the chapter on the Wedding Garment in COL. It was probably written up by her book makers, but her name was put on it.  It is one dreadful chapter presenting view that your final destiny depends on using your probationary period (what an extreme Arminian position is this limiting JBF to putting one on a wretched probation — doesn't sound like John's passing from death unto present possession of eternal life, does it?) perfecting a character by imparted righteousness.  What is your take on COL?

With my best regards,

Bob

----------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 5 February 2015 6:03 PM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Present Truth Archives in Spanish?

Further historical comment regarding Adventism and the Awakening, regarding Des Ford and his "apostelismatic principle". At Davenport I imagine that Des Ford was still trying to appease the old line SDA dogma and trying to give the 1844 interpretation of Daniel 8:14 some semblance of respectability for the sake of the SDA traditionalists. He was perhaps attempting to salvage the prophetic or apocalyptic element of Adventism by appeasing the 1.) traditional, and the 2.) liberal schools of interpretation. This attempt satisfied neither of the viewpoints. As you say so insightfully, he should have simply stood for the Christocentric view which you so masterfully developed in your essay, The Eschatological Nature of the Old Testament .

This essay and also as I have said before your devastatingly powerful essay on the  Doctrine of Judgment in the Old and NewTestament  was in my opinion the "crossing of the Rubicon" in regards to how to interpret the Old Testament promises and  apocalyptic like Ezekiel and Daniel (including Daniel 8:14). Old traditional historicists want a "time line method" of interpretation of Daniel, but you with the help of George Ladd (I think it was) put that method in the trash heap with the Messianic or Christocentric method of interpretation which is obviously the method which Christ Himself and the apostles like Paul and John employed.

I don't want to seem insensitive, but Des Ford was always a "Sabbath's day journey" behind your development of evangelical progress in Adventism. After you in 1980 went in other directions in your "journey", I listened to Des' emphasis in his public speaking after 1980 and he never seemed to hit the nail on the head regarding the absolute centrality of justification by faith in the imputed active and passive righteousness of Christ like you did prior to 1980. He did not seem to have the fire in the belly that you did. It did not seem to be his "burning passion" as you used to say. Maybe it was just his personality differing from yours, but I think it may have been something more. I think that you took much more seriously and passionately the "how can a sinner be accepted before a holy God" question. This passion which we all had since the early 1960s days of the Awakening was due I think to the ground-work which the early Awakening laid of emphasizing Acts 3:19, "repent and be converted" and Leviticus 16, "coming to the heavenly sanctuary afflicting one's soul on the Day of Atonement". 

This decade of preparation lead to a profound passion for the evangelical era that followed in 1972 with the abandonment of sinless perfection and embracing the objective "out-side-of-me" alien righteousness of Christ as the only meritorious cause for acceptance with God even unto the second Advent. The ground-work of the 60s was, I think, never part of Des' experience like it was with us in those days. We really took the truth of the Law and the Gospel seriously and passionately. We knew that our cases were hopeless without the imputed righteousness of Christ just as the apostle Paul knew it in his day. Also you brought forth the teaching and concept of "original sin" which was entirely lacking in Adventism and still is to this day.  They still yawn with a long Laodicean yawn when the gospel is presented to them, because they are totally ignorant of the depths of their sinfulness in the sight of God's righteousness. They have never waded through Romans 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 with Paul. They have the Sabbath and the state of the dead and the imagined right diet and pay their tithe to the greedy bureaucrats in Hagerstown, Maryland.

But getting back to the subject of the book of Daniel, it is because the present-day Adventists never embraced the insights that the Awakening had regarding how Daniel 9 explains all that preceded it in chapters 2, 7, and 8---that it was all fulfilled in the Christ-event--not in the Papacy, or the 1,260 years from 538 to 1798, or  the ten horns or divisions of modern Europe, or even in Antiochus Epiphanes for that matter as Des insists to this day that the "little horn" of  Daniel 8 portrays.

To the 70s Awakening the "trampling down of the temple" in Daniel was fulfilled in the Christ-event and the "restoration of the temple" was the fulfilled in the Christ-event. The four gospel accounts are all a fulfillment of the apocalyptic Messianic theme of Daniel. The "little horn" which thought to "change the Torah and its times" can be seen in Christ's constant debates with the Pharisees and the Sadducees over the Torah and the Sabbath. They and Rome finally had to kill Him in order to preserve their alliance with Rome and their Herodian temple built with stone while they crushed out the life of the true Temple.  The themes and terminology of Daniel run all through the New Testament. This was the gospel insight that the Awakening had in the 70s that to this day the Adventists reject and still "see men like trees walking". Is it any wonder that Des Ford was not able to make any dent in Adventist maturation. The light that the Awakening shone upon Adventism was ignored and is still ignored to this day even by Des Ford.

The "apostelismatic" stuff just did not cut it and it still doesn't cut it in making an impact upon the human conscience. Only the Christocentric gospel of the Awakening was able to reach to the very core of one's being. Acceptance with God destroyed the alienation of selfishness and allowed us to accept and respect ourselves, our neighbor, and our natural world around us. All this was the message that God wanted to bring to the Adventist people to prepare them for the final judgment clothed not only in the wedding garment of the  imparted righteousness of Christ (Ellen White COL pg 310) but also in the  wedding garment of the imputed righteousness " The filthy garments are removed, for Christ says, 'I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee.' The iniquity is transferred to the pure, holy, innocent Son of God; and man, all undeserving, stands before the Lord cleansed from sin, and clothed with the imputed righteousness  of Christ. Oh, what a change of garment is this!" (Ellen White S.A.T.vol 2 pg 211).


Blessings my brother to you and yours,

Faithfully, Bill Diehl

----- Original Message -----

----------------------------------------

From: Robert Brinsmead To: 'Bill Diehl, Jr.'

Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:03 PM

Subject: RE: Present Truth Archives in Spanish?

Bill:  Your interchange is interesting historical comment.  Have you ever read that junk on Wikipeadia on RDB?   No idea what the perfection controversy of the 60's was all about. Leader in Australia Adventism, Naden, accused me of putting off putting off reaching perfection of character now by the sanctification process.  Until Heppenstal came along, no one argued the case for a perfection at the Second Advent.  The most accurate history of this argument probably would be found in Paxton's The Shaking of Adventism.  Hey, I have some interesting letters which I wrote to Des Ford during the Glacier View, warning him that he was missing the only thing worth arguing for at Glacier View.  He should have stood up like Paul and said, "It is on the question of the all sufficiency of the NT Gospel that I am here today."  Instead, he foolishly made the battle ground on the apotelesmatic (sp????) principle of prophetic interpretation — what a side-stepping of the main event.  I will  send you that historic letter when I get time.  Yes, for a time I considered making a stand for "evangelical Adventism," but I wrote an open letter to friends explaining why this was not feasible.  I will send you that letter also.   If I could answer you in detail (which I might get around to doing) on your stand on the three uses of the law, I would say to you,  "You that desire to live by Paul, do you hear Paul."  I respect Paul as a genius, but following this genius Paul (like the young Luther rather than the old irascible, back-tracking beligerant Luther ) I refuse to live "under Paul" as if he was a new torah to replace the old one.  More on this later.  In some haste at the moment. . . ..   Best. . . .Bob

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [ mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com ]
Sent: Tuesday, 16 September 2014 11:50 PM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Present Truth Archives in Spanish?

Bob, your analysis is right on the mark. The one thing that the Awakening from its earliest beginnings added to the Adventist symphony that was lacking was "imputed" righteousness. Even when we still believed in a final sinless generation before the "close of probation",  the message was that it was because the "latter rain" was an unmerited gift based upon the imputed righteousness of Christ as the only sinless One. As it was then so it is now a "rock of offense" to the pride of the religious man. All the unctuous and smooth talkers like Des Ford, and Morris Venden and Robert Weiland never stood by and affirmed  the Awakening and bore the insults of the Adventist leadership. These guys tried to imitate the Awakening but they could never equal it.

This socially unacceptable message was the "pearl of great price"  that the apostle Paul discovered and for which he was hated by the Ebionites of his day. It is the one and only eternal truth which can bring peace to the troubled conscience of mankind. We all know in our deepest level of consciousness that we are all a bunch of selfish asses despite our efforts to hide it from ourselves and others. This is the true "Laodicean" condition which despite all outward appearances is the condition of us all. At our core we are all both antinomians and at the same time legalists . This was Paul's unique contribution and discovery in his treatise to the Romans, especially chapter 7. Even today he is hated by every religious and every agnostic anti-religious philosophical faction.  

Having said all that, it really is amazing how the Lord chose a bunch of rag-tag zealots such as Ellen White with no theological training or social polish to turn the established sleepy denominational churches upside down. Adventist doctrine really does poke just about every "ism" that existed then and more so now in the eye. The great achievement of the Awakening of the '70s was that it marshaled all of the disparate teachings of the Protestant streams of thought into a systematic cohesive unit that challenged and managed to offend just about every "ism" of Protestantism, including the Seventh-day Adventist leadership.

Your discourse on Election which weeded out the weaknesses of hyper-Calvinism's deterministic predestination was a masterpiece of insight which the Holy Spirit opened to your understanding. The providential gift of a guy named Brinsmead was his insatiable reading appetite and his ability to distill and systematize streams of thought. The Awakening boiled down all the broth of theology and came up with a simple and concise formula that brought joy and relief to the troubled consciences of thousands. It brought a simple theology to the common man on the street. After all, who has the time and inclination to wade through the bog of ink put out by men like Buchanan, Hodge, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Ladd, Barth and hundreds of other verbose theologians---Bob Brinsmead that's who!!! You chewed it up and spit out only the essence of each man's contribution to the theological landscape and came up with Present Truth Magazine. It managed to offended everyone on the right and on the left!! That is what proved that the message had the ring of truth.

If Ellen White had lived through the 70s she would have been overjoyed to see the synthesis that the Awakening had come up with. She had many faults and the main fault was that as she grew in her understanding of the word of God she never admitted to her readership that she had made mistakes in the past . Her associates in the Adventist cause like Uriah Smith and D. M. Canright and others were driven crazy by the fact that she was progressing, maturing and changing and all the while never admitted that her visions were subject to her immature views held at the time of enlightenment. But in spite of all of her faults it is quite amazing to see how she was able to offend each faction in the movement, especially after 1888 when the  door began to crack open and the faint rays of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ began to filter into the room of her consciousness.

So yes, your Theology of Ellen G. White was a picture of Ellen at her best and you left out all of the rubbish of date setting and two apartments in heaven etc.--- the essence of the rubbish  I listed here. Your treatise on "The Doctrine of Judgment in the Old and New Testament" was a seminal turning point in clearing up the Adventist understanding of the so-called "investigative judgment" and the "pre-advent" judgment. She would have shouted "hallelujah" if she could have read that treatise. That's why last week I sent you a link to that audio file to your talk where you laid it all out with amazing power and insight. It is in that treatise that you pulled it all together into one cohesive understandable unit. With all the pieces of the puzzle put in place, you turned Seventh-day Adventism from a cult into a true iteration of Pauline and biblical exposition.

How Ellen would have exalted had she lived to see all of her fuzzy notions about imputed and imparted righteousness brought into such sharp focus and clarity. Amazing how a movement that had started as a crazy group of childish enthusiasts for the second coming of Christ with some really strange ideas from the book of Daniel and has developed via the Awakening into such a startlingly clear manifestation of a truly profound biblical apostolic Christian message. It is a message that hits the man on the street at his most basic need---acceptance of himself, of his neighbor, and acceptance with the loving Savior and Lord of the bible.  On the one hand His glory and truth and light lifts up and saves the humble repentant sinner, while on the other hand the brightness of His presence and truth and glory destroys the unbelieving, the indifferent,  and the sin-loving hardhearted followers of Satan and his lies about God. Who is sufficient for these things? " But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 As we used to say, the door (of unmerited grace and imputed righteousness) is open, come into unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out and you will receive times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. That message still has all of the power to save today as it did then way back in the 1960s. 

My best regards,

Bill Diehl

www.PresentTruthMag.org

----- Original Message -----

From: Robert Brinsmead To: 'Bill Diehl, Jr.' Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 6:57 PM

Subject: RE: Present Truth Archives in Spanish?

Bill:  All very interesting.  I note your comments .  Adventism generally functioned with a bastardized version of RxF — even Des  Ford before he became enlightened by our insights that RxF was Justification x F alone.  Adventism has historically been an extreme form of Arminianism that downgraded imputed R as if was kinda a stop gap thing until you get the real thing, imparted R.

I think it was Branson who said that God rraised up the Reformation to preach imputed righteousness, but he raised up Adventism to go a step further with the importance of imparted righteousness.    

Now on EGW;  when I did the Theology of EGW I cited her statements in 1SM at length because that is where she was the clearest.  But I left out any mention of her commentary on the Wedding Garment in COL.  There it says that the Wedding Garment is the imparted righteousness of Christ. So the Investigative Judgment is to see if you have "the real deal" eh??  What is your take on these COL exposition of the wedding garment?   At that time of did The Theology of EGW, I also left out the pronouncements of the early rather cultic EGW  and the EGW of the book GC — like her apology for what happened in 1844 —  where she says the door through which people had found salvation for 1800 was closed (that is an apology for the old Shut Door doctrine) but then it says that "another door" to salvation was opened.  Anyhow, perhaps I should have called my paper, The Theology of EGW - at her Best.  Any comments?   Regards,  Bob

------------------------------------------

From RDB
To:
'Bill Diehl, Jr.'; Wendell Krossa; David McMahon;
Subject: RE: no mercy

The Jerusalem church of Jewish believers — called Nazarenes historically rather than ' Christians' (a Gentile term strictly speaking) continued to keep Torah — that is, circumcision, Sabbath keeping and eating Kosher.  No dispute about that.   The Didache was a Jewish "Christian" document and belongs alongside the book of Matthew.  The Ebionites were Sabbath keepers.

Given all the reconstruction that has been done on the first century and the work done on the two branches of the early church — Jewish and Gentile — I suggest that the debate on keeping of days is settled, along with matters of whether a Christian can eat pork and eat food offered to idols and all that.  The Gentile churches of Paul had nothing to do with imposing circumcision, kosher food and Sabbath keeping on the young Gentile churches.  That matter was settled.  It seems a strange anachronism to me that anybody today professing to know anything about the early church and its divisions between the Jewish and Gentile wings of the church could seriously propose that the young churches raised up by Paul could have been Sabbatarian.  When Adventists raise up new converts they need a lot of tuition and instruction and  continual counsel about how to keep Sabbath just as young Adventists in the army need a lot of counsel on how to keep Sabbath under army conditions.  Most of the early Gentile Christians were lower class, many were slaves, there was no forty hour week.  Imagine the conflicts that keeping Sabbath would provoke within a Gentile culture where slaves were required to work seven days a week.  How come Paul does not encounter the problem of Sabbath keeping backsliders in his young churches? How come when he lists up to twenty sins in a list, in letters to one young church after another,  breaking Sabbath is not included?  If a teaching is not historically sound, in keeping with the facts of early church reality, then it is not true. 

Suggest you read Romans 7 (beginning) again and see how the NEB translates "under the law" as "subject to the law" just as it means when we talk about living under American law means being subject to American law.  So too 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul says that when he lived among those subject to the Torah law he lived as a subject to the Jewish law, and when he lived among the Gentiles who were not subject to the Jewish law he was not subject to the Jewish law.

The term "not under the law" means exactly what it says and NEB is quite justified in translating it as "not subject to the law."  Look at Paul's analogy in Romans 7 of a woman married to a husband being under the law that binds her to her husband as long as he lives, and that when he dies, she is no longer bound by the law to her husband but is free from it.  Your attempt to maintain that "not under the law' just means "not under the law as a means of salvation" is only a crawl-out to avoid the obvious meaning of Paul.  I don't think I exaggerate when I say that I now observe that all authentic Biblical scholars say that Paul proclaimed a 'law-free gospel.'  Hence it seems to me the meaning of Romans 14 is obvious.  The Jewish  'Christians' in Rome were eating kosher and keeping the Sabbath, the Gentile Christians were not, and the divisions between them, as history has demonstrated, was very sharp.  The onus of proof is on you to show that the keeping of days on the part of the Jewish believers did not include the keeping of Sabbath days.  Of course it did for the simple fact it is now established beyond any reasonable doubt that the Jewish wing of the Jesus movement continued to live as Jews and they continued this way until they were banned from synagogue near the end of the Century.  On the whole the Jewish 'Christians' remained as it says in Acts 'zealous for the law.'  I repeat, Paul rebuked the young churches for all sorts of sins, but don't you think it strange that Sabbath-breaking is not among them.

I suggest therefore that you get out the good standard translations of the NT and see that 'under the law' simply means 'not subject to the law.'  For goodness sake, if under the law meant under the law as a means of salvation, do you mean to tell me that Paul said that when he was within a Jewish environment/culture that he would be under the law as a means of salvation — which would be against the basic Christian faith he proclaimed.?   C/mon my friend, 'not under the law' means exactly what it says.  And law here does not just mean 'ceremonial' law either — that is another crawl-out for Christian legalism and Christian Sabbatarianism. Law is these Pauline contexts is always singular, it is Torah, the whole Jewish Torah, the 613 Commandments, and broader than that, Paul uses the word nomos in the broader sense to mean all of holy scripture including the prophets.  This is how the word law is also used in the Fourth Gospel — it means the whole Jewish Scripture.  With both Paul and  the writer of the Fourth Gospel,  their faith was decidedly against a religion of the Book.  The NT is not a book according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 3.  According to the Fourth Gospel, the Word of God is not a Book. The new life in Christ or in the Spirit that they advocated did not mean living under the written code even when that written code was holy scripture.  Both Paul and the writer of the Fourth Gospel, therefore, would have treated the 'sola scriptura' of Protestantism as a heresy.  It was Rabbinic or Pharisaic Judaism which created a religion of the Book in the post-temple era.  Muhammad too was caught up in this error of deference to what he repeatedly calls 'the people of the book.'

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From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [ mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com ]
Sent: Monday, 12 January 2015 12:27 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: no mercy

Bob,

For now I will ignore your Muslim diatribe and will deal with it in the future if need be. Needless to say your attempted reconstruction of history is another distortion of historical fact in an effort to make the orthodox Christian faith seem ridiculous.

Back in 1981 you thought that you had given the Protestant and SDA teaching on the Third Use of the Law it's final  coup de gras with your publication of Sabbatarianism Re-Examined . You really thought that you had the "Prots" and Adventists over a barrel with your "three witnesses": Romans 14, Colossians 2: and Galatians 4.  However, any simple and objective examination of both the textual and historical context of these verses will reveal that you have distorted these texts into false witnesses in your futile effort to destroy the orthodox Christian doctrine of the 1st, 2d, and 3d use of the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments.

Only if one ignores the historical context of Romans chapter 14 as you have repeatedly done in your discourse in Sab. Re-exam . can one reach this mistaken conclusion.  The problem that Paul is dealing with is not a matter of whether or not to observe the seventh day Sabbath as you falsely deduced. The issue at hand was rather whether or not to those who had a "weak" conscience should observe certain fast days wherein no freshly offered meat to idols that was sold in the marketplaces could be eaten by those who had this "weak" conscience. 

This issue was one which was vexing the entire early Christian church including the church at Corinth. When one compares Paul's counsel to the Corinthians with his counsel to the Romans then the context is obvious.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Now as touching things offered unto idols , we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.  As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world , and that there is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. {in: or, for}  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge : for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.   But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple , shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols ;And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

Comparing Romans 14 with 1 Corinthians 8:

Romans 14:1-23 "Accept him whose faith is weak , without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything , but another man, whose faith is weak , eats only vegetables . 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another ; another man considers every day alike . Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special , does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains , does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself . But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean . 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food . All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

This entire fourteenth chapter of the epistle to the Romans records Paul's counsel on how to deal with new Christian converts who are offended by eating food and wine offerings offered to pagan gods as if eating this food would be a denial of the Faith and an act of participating in idol worship should they partake of this food. Some of these "weaker brethren" even believed that to observe certain fast days wherein this freshly offered food to idols is entirely left out of the diet was pleasing to Christ and mandatory as a "way to honor the Lord".

To show that these fast days are really what "days" Paul had in mind, look at verse 6. Here Paul places the observance of a certain day in opposition to the freedom to "eat anything". "Whoever thinks highly of a certain day does so in honor of the Lord: whoever will eat anything does so in honor of the Lord, because he gives thanks to God for the food. Whoever refuses to eat certain things does so in honor of the Lord and he gives thanks to God."

So we see that some will not eat the food and do "observe the day", while on the other hand some will eat the food and do not "observe the day" Thus if we keep these "days" in their context (days of eating or not eating: fasting or not fasting) we see that the apostle Paul is not referring at all to the observance of the seventh day Sabbath as being optional or a matter of choice, but rather he is referring to observance of optional fast days.

It is interesting to note that the Didache , a very early second century Christian catechism, mentions the fact that there were factions in the early Christian church which were advocating certain fast days and that there was a dispute as to which days of the week to observe as a fast days. If you will read through this brief catechism and note especially where the text is in bold text, you will see that not only were these fast days mentioned, but as an aside I would call your attention to the fact that the "preparation day" is mentioned in line 8 as being one of these fast days. The "preparation day" is the sixth day of the week and is the day which is mentioned in the new testament as the day preceding the Sabbath day. 

Also note that the believers are urged in the Didache to gather on "the "Lord's own day" (see line 14 near the end of the document in bold text). The day of the week here mentioned as "the Lord's own day" is obviously the seventh day Sabbath. We can know this because "the preparation day", mentioned the sixth day of the week, was the day to prepare for the blessing of the seventh day Sabbath rest. These texts in the Didache give us some very important insight as to the fact that "the Lord's own day" was the seventh day Sabbath which was being observed by the very early Christian church. The early church was indeed observing the Sabbath day of the fourth commandment.

So in light of the textual and historical context your first "witness" in Romans 14 has proven to be a false witness due to your having ignored the context of the text.

As another aside, isn't it interesting that you latch on to your imaginary antinomian interpretation of Romans 14 while at the same time you reject his affirmation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in the same discourse. Just another example of your picking and choosing of New Testament texts to try to jam your square peg of antinomianism into the round hole of the New Testament's clear teaching of wring the law of God upon the hearts of those who are justified by faith in the blood of Christ.  

If need be I will review how you slaughtered the historical and textual context of Galatians 4 and Colossians 2 in Sab. Re-exam. as well. But since you mentioned Romans 14 in you last response I will leave that for another go-round.

With brotherly affection,

Bill

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Bill, Don't do what Carey has done and misread my remarks — or put an interpretation on them to suit a pre-judged thesis -  I am just saying that when I make up my mind to think or to do something, whether that is going to make me more pleasing to others or less pleasing has nothing to do with it.  If the matter of love for others comes into it, the best way I can love others is to be true to my own calling and journey.  Let me illustrate the point by referring to the economic philosophy of Adam Smith — which I happen to think is more loving to others than say the economic theories of socialism — which makes a lot of claims about acting for the good of others.  The best way to make a contribution to the benefit of all, according to Smith, is to develop your own potential and be as successful in what you are doing as you possibly can.  You are of course obligated to love your neighbour as yourself, but you can't truly love your neighbour unless you truly respect yourself, are true to yourself, and love yourself.  Hence most of this pious talk about self-renunciation and self-abnegation is just self- hatred — and that is no basis for loving your neighbour.  So in conclusion, the best way I can be a blessing to you is to my own self be true.  I must be true to my own conscience and not yours.  There is a place for this piece of wisdom from Le Ching (a kind of Chinese Bible) — "Love your neighbour: leave him alone."  Cheers,  RDB

 

Bill:  Yes, I read this some time ago.  It is his take on me, but not a well-informed one.  I have been a man on a determined intellectual and spiritual journey.  If anyone wanted to come along, they would have to bring a cut lunch so to speak, and I did not look behind to see who wanted to travel on my trail or who wanted to stay by the stuff.  It made no difference to me whether people wanted to praise what I was doing or be critical of what I was doing.  Anyone who understood my spirit knew that I never sought a following,  did things to discourage a following, and certainty I was not there to perform to any audience, much less to entertain it.  If and when I changed my views on any points or advanced new thought pathways, I did not care what others would think.  I do not mean that I was indifferent to their feelings and to their human situation.  But it was simply that my journey had to remain my journey. What friends or foes thought about my journey was irrelevant to me because what I chose to think was not politically motivated.   I was never tempted to play the holy man.  I have been a man on a mission, and that mission is my business.  Young Carey has not understood this and has presumed to make personal judgments on things he knew nothing about. If that gives him any satisfaction, that is fine with me, but it has absolutely no influence on my journey.  At the same time I read widely, listen carefully to any of my critics who have some constructive ideas that challenge mine (sometimes they prevail), but I have never had any time whatsoever for ad homimen arguments.  What is the chaff to the wheat?

RDB

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From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:39 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Former Awakener's Analysis of Brinsmeadism

Hmmm. I had to read your response over a few times to really get the full impact of your thoughts and self analysis of your life. Also I have re-read Martin Carey's analysis of his experience of having grown up as an Adventist involved so closely with the Awakening through his mother Iris.

http://www.lifeassuranceministries.org/proclamation/2011/2/brinsmead.html

The only part of Martin's essay that I could see which might be seen as being an ad hominem criticism of you personally may have been the final analysis of how he saw the weakness of the gospel message that we were proposing (an analysis which I think is very lacking in accuracy and point of fact, but that is merely a matter of his opinion and mine).  His facts are generally accurate, but he may be wrong on understanding what your motivation was in your publishing of your thoughts in your publications like Present Truth and Verdict. Only you can know what was going on in your mind and heart at that time, but we who knew you through those years can get a pretty good idea, albeit in a limited way, from personal association with you over the years.

Even though you don't now care a wit about what people think about all that you have done in your life-time, the fact is that we all exert an influence upon others and have at least some responsibility to the human beings with whom we come in contact. And I think that as much as you want to deny that by claiming not to care what influence you had on others who read your material, we all have an influence for "weal or woe" whether we want to admit it or not.

I know for a fact having been associated with you from 1965 through 1980 that at one time you did in fact take your ministry in the Christian faith seriously in regards to what drastic effect you and your brother John were having upon your audience. You really did at one time care in a loving Christian way for those with whom you associated in the Awakening. One who doesn't care about how he is influencing his listeners and have some sort of brotherly bond with them will not be willing to travel all over the globe to just about every continent entreating and praying and preaching about Christ to thousands of souls. You felt a responsibility to teach others what you felt was a God-given responsibility to proclaim the word of God and Christ as Lord and Savior. You did have a burden for those to whom you reached out to.  

I admit that you did noticeably change your attitude dramatically after around the year 1981 or '82 (?) once you began to seriously doubt the message of the bible as the full truth about God and life in general. I saw a real disconnect by you from those with whom you once were united in the Christian faith. As I saw things, it was at this time when you radically lost interest in what others thought about you and what you were advocating philosophically. But then you usually disagree with me so I am sure you might want to stick by your guns and say that you never did in fact care about whether you were a willing active leader of others who were desperately seeking a full understanding of the message of the bible. It was only after you abandoned faith in the bible that so many who saw you as a thought leader made such a mess of their lives and adopted your view that we cannot know anything about the meaning of life by knowing about the will of God since God has never spoken to mankind and has merely left us on our own to figure it all out and find our own "journey" (agnosticism). Maybe with the passing of all these years you have forgotten how you kindly ministered to us young guys at the youth seminar that you held in Southwest City, Missouri. Also how glad you seemed to be to see us when Bill Winebrenner and I drove from Michigan at Andrews University down to Chicago to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Seminary in a blowing snow storm in his little Volkswagen to see you teaching there. We got there late after you had finished speaking but you spent some time with us. Also I remember when you and I and Geoff Paxton and Hans LaRondel all spent the night in a motel discussing theology with Hans until the wee hours of the night until Hans had to go to sleep. Then at the crack of dawn you and Geoff started in again discussing theology and Hans was rather grumpy that you guys had awakened him so early. Ha. Ha!!

Well I still remain eternally grateful to you for having taken the time to reach out to a mixed up bunch of youngsters like all us were then and made the bible and Christ come alive in our hearts and minds. As always I hope and pray that you will live another 50 years and come to see that the only real light of the world is the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, arisen from the grave, and coming again. How many of your friends care that much about you and your welfare, eh? Ha Ha.

Bill

From: Bill Diehl, Jr. [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 22 July 2014 11:55 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Former Awakener's Analysis of Brinsmeadism

Bob, don't know if you have seen this or not but you may find it interesting to read how others have viewed your life's work. This is by Iris Carey's son, now a psychiatrist in California. Perhaps you may remember her. She died a few years ago.

http://www.lifeassuranceministries.org/proclamation/2011/2/brinsmead.html

Bill

www.PresentTruthMag.org

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Bill:  My father departed this life not long after making the transition from Adventism — this especially included the 1844 theology, the authority of EGW and the Sabbath.  At the time of this transition, my father read again The Great Controversy by EGW which he had not read for a number of years, and after feeding on the Pauline/Reformation teaching on RBF during the 70's,  he was appalled at the cultic nonsense in what he once embraced as a great outline of the Adventist worldview.  My brother John discerned that my rejection of Sabbatarianism was not just the usual superficial argument about the keeping of a particular day (Saturday versus Sunday and all that stuff), but he could clearly see that I had departed from the Reformation theology on the three uses of the law, especially what was called the second and third uses of the law.

I remember John prancing around my large library (from which he had read lots of books) wherein he pulled out Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, Wesley, Spurgeon and others — and rightly pointed out that I was not just challenging EGW, but I was challenging the best Protestant tradition. . . .  Had I lost my mind? He asked.

I had not only plugged into the insights of scholars such as Stendahl and Wright on the matter that the Reformers had not exactly reproduced the Pauline doctrine of JBF,  but I understood now that the doctrine of the second and third uses of the law was not a reflection of Pauline thought either.  In Galatians, Romans and Corinthians, Paul  uses the words Nomos, Graphe, and Gramma (Law, Scripture, Written Code) interchangeably -  he can quote from an OT prophet and call that Torah just as Fourth Gospel has Jesus doing the same.

In Galatians 3 and 4 Torah is Scripture and Scripture is Torah — the words are used interchangeably.  Not being under the Law means not being under the Scripture which in that context was the OT.  F.F. Bruce also knew these things, but dared not do more than hint at it.

This is where I made my break from the traditional use of Scripture as final authority.  The Scripture is not, strictly speaking, the Word of God  (Gospel of John), and the NT is not a written document (2 Corinthians 3) —  it is a witness to the Word of God — thus my rejection of Bibliolatry.  Thus began my reading of any Scripture without wearing my special glasses that coloured everything with a religious authority.  Cedric understood my point of departure — and was not prepared to make that transition and so remained trapped in religion.  Anyone  who lives under any kind of written code/document/confession is under the Law.  "If we are led by the spirit, we are not under the law (nomos,graphe/gramma)."

"The Word is made flesh."  "God is manifest in the flesh."   "You are God's epistle, God's NT, to be seen and read of all men."  I accept Jesus as the revelation of God, the light of the world."  I accept also what Jesus said, , "You are the light of the world."

God expresses Godself in the arena of human existence.  God is love — and wherever love is manifested there is God.  Whoever loves lives in God and God lives in him/her.  Wherever ordinary humans live ordinary lives, caring for and sharing with one another, there God is revealed — in Jesus of Nazareth, of course, but in a Gandhi, a mother Teresa or a Mandella and in very ordinary people doing the truly human thing of caring for the wellbeing of others, especially enemies or differing others.  So the concept of God confining revelation to a book is a very impoverished view of thing-  God reveals the Mystery of Truth, the way of being truly human in many and all peoples on the face of the earth.  The idea of God speaking only or granting special revelation to just one little tribe or cult on earth is a terrible elitism and arrogance —No , no, God reveals the mystery of Life and Light everywhere people reveal the image of God simply by being truly human.   So too, the claim that only the written religious tradition of one tribe of earth is the authorative Word of God is the same kind of arrogance — God revealed Truth through the philosophy of the Greeks and the insights of Zoroastrianism, as much as God spoke through the best of the Bhuddist and the Hindu traditions. Of course there are crudities and inhuman material in all those sources. But surely we can't deny there are crudities and very inhuman things, and so contradictory things, in the Bible too.  Wherever the human race has made advancements to improve the human outlook and to improve the human condition, whether in religion, in ethics, in philosophy, in science or in medicine, there God has been at work in and through humanity everywhere.

So to get back to your question.  My father, who brought his family into Adventism in 1913, stepped off the Adventist bus around 1980.  After some initial resistance,  John stepped off the bus too — and continued on this  journey with me, especially in the matter of research into the historical Jesus versus the teachings of the later church.  My father did not live to progress that far.  He saw the fallacy of Adventism and urged me "to clean the whole thing up."  Laurence retreated into Adventism, became a respected elder of the church — and was initially encouraged to move in that direction by John, who later did the research that convinced him that the conclusions I had reached were unassailable.

I rest my case, my future and the meaning of my existence on the amazing teaching of the Jesus of the original Q — whose basic teaching is found in about ten verses in Matthew 5:38-48 and a parallel passage in Luke 6 (which  is probably a bit more reflective of the original) — if I may summarize the gist of it: Love unconditionally because our Creator Father does,  love our enemies ( and all the differing others) because the supreme Good One does, and never never retaliate, pay back, get even, demand atonement for wrongs against us — because the Abba of Jesus  does not --  despite what Paul says in Romans 12,"Vengence is mine, I will repay."   There is an issue here of Jesus versus Paul -  a gospel about never retaliating on the one hand, and on the other hand,  Paul and the Christian Church's grande narrative of retaliation against the mythical fall of the human race, against a Man who hung on a cross to pay for human sin, and against most of the human family who will suffer vengeance for not believing such a sadistic and inhuman narrative.  If you can accept that one who accepts this visionary outlook of Jesus in Matthew 5 is a Christian, then I am a Christian.  But if one who no longer accepts the church's vision of the cosmic Christ who reveals a God of divine retaliation is not a Christian, then I am a Christian.

PS. Bernard is my nephew.  He obtained his doctorate of theology from Harvard.  He was at one time an ordained Adventist minister.  His Harvard studies convinced him there was little historical evidence to support most tenants of the Christian faith. He became an Accountant and a Cattle Rancher.

From: Bill Diehl [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, 4 January 2014 1:07 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Father Brinsmead

I think that you answered my question regarding the direction that you dad took regarding your departure from a biblical world view. I gather from what you are saying that he went along with your abandonment of Christianity? Your statement is kind of confusing though regarding Lawrence "never recovering". Not sure what he never recovered from: agnosticism or biblical Christianity? I also am interpreting from your statement that John "woke up" to his mistake of trying to defend Christianity? Am sort of confused, perhaps I am not reading you email correctly. What about Bernard? Is he your brother or your nephew? Did Cedrick go along with your view?

Bill

Bill, I have often been urged to write something about my journey/history, but up till now have balked at it because I feel very strange, even bored with the prospect of writing about my thought journey.  The last week in our family holiday in Lord Howe Island over the Xmas break I read a novel that gave me an idea that might overcome my problem.  Since my brother John grew up with me and shared more than anyone else (and even argued with me more than anyone else at crucial times) the idea came to me that I should tell it in the form of a story called My Brother John —  an incredible spiritual odyssey.  The appendix would contain or provide the links to  the complete works of RDB (and the few things John wrote) the good and the bad — starting with my Vision by the Hiddekel that got me thrown out of Avondale (well, we all knew it was the excuse, an expulsion that was as much a relief to me as it was to the conference leaders).  Being a bit older than me, John was my mentor/competitor/minder/critic etc. Then there were the family influences of father and mother — my father becoming an Adventist at the beginning of his married life just before start of World War 2, and later my dad and eldest sister Hope searching for a better kind of Adventism — one that would finally "finish the work" and stop the funerals, an incredible apocalyptic vision indeed. Story of growing up with John in this family, how he sometimes corrected and rescued me and the never told story of his opposition to my break with EGW and the 1844 Theology, how it was his conferring his concerns with the church leaders re the direction both myself and Des Ford had taken and the part this played in Glacier View and the sacking of Ford -  my dad prophesying to me how John would come around (wake up) to his mistake and that brother Laurence, (recently deceased) was wrongly influenced by John and would never recover — all of this accurately came to pass.

But a decade earlier it was John who first saw that any form of perfectionism was a mistake and contrary to the meaning of rbf. . . ..  Well, there was a lot of history in how different ideas developed and how they were tested etc.   But behind all this, there was a real history in the commercial world, property, politics — not just living in an ivory tower -  and reasons we changed our minds on various issues —

But I won't put my hand to do this review unless I am convinced it would make an interesting read.

Cheers,    RDB

From: Bill Diehl [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 25 December 2013 8:34 PM
To: Bob Brinsmead
Subject: Father Brinsmead

Bob,

Have you ever taken the occasion to write anything about the history of your father and mother? If not, perhaps you might consider such an undertaking as a worthy endeavor? Fred Metz once told me a few stories about your dad, but I don't know if they were apocryphal or not.

As ever,

Bill Diehl

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Bill: Thank you for taking the time to reply.  You have obviously put a lot of thought into it.  And I respect your opinions and beliefs.  You marshall your arguments quite well, and I admire that.

Jewish Christianity (really the Jewish Jesus people who shunned the name Christian) remained a separate and distinct movement from the Pauline/Gentile movement.  They went on different trajectories, and developed into two rival or opposing religions hostile to each other.  It is now pretty clear that Jesus family clan remained with the Jewish Jesus people and did not align themselves with Paul and what was to become the great Gentile Church.  The Jewish wing of the Jesus movement never accepted the cult of the God Christ, never had a doctrine of the atonement on the cross, never accepted the virgin birth and continued to be loyal practitioners of the Jewish Torah.  Even as late as the end of the first century you can pick up the drift of this Jewish movement from the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.  At first there was conflict with Paul and later real hostility, and from Paul's part it was mutual.  The best scholars now recognize that Paul's attack on the super apostles of Jerusalem  in 2Corinthians was an attack on Peter, John and James etc. There is now a formidable body of literature on this evidence, especially some excellent studies on James the brother of Jesus.   This wing of the Jewish movement was kicked out of the Synagogue about 90 CE, and so they were spurned by both the Jews and the Christians — a term that should only be applied to the Gentile movement.  Remnants of the Jewish Jesus movement finally morphed into Islam.  Fascinating history.

There is good work being done on Paul and Jesus.  Paul did not know Jesus after the flesh.  He did not get his Gospel from the apostles who knew Jesus.  His source was entirely visionary — not based on the actual teaching of Jesus.  So you have a movement who tried to preserve the teaching of Jesus and you  have the Christ cult -  they are clearly distinguishable. I recommend the little book Its Time, by Michael Morwood (whom I know personally)  Also you might have a look at James Tabor, Paul and Jesus.

The NT Gospels were put into the cannon on the grounds they were apostolic with first hand witnesses testifying to what they saw and heard.  To support this mythical and dishonest fabrication names were attributed to the Gospels of apostles or people who were servants to the apostles.  There is not a scholar left that will support that fairy tale today.  The Gospels were written long after the generation of Jesus had died. It was second and third generation material.  We don't have any eye-witness accounts.  There are no contemporary records of Jesus either from Jewish or Roman sources.  Some of the basic stuff in the later stories are not factual as to history or geography.  The accounts are seriously at odds on very important points of the story, such as the two nativity stories are mutually exclusive, the resurrection appearances are mutually exclusive, that the last supper was a Passover and before the Passover (John) are mutually exclusive, that the skirmish at the temple in John and the Synoptics are mutually exclusive, that he was both virgin born (Matthew and Luke) and not virgin born (Mark and John) are mutually exclusive.   Hey, Bultmann was correct when he confessed that we have no direct access to the historical Jesus.  To the few bare bones that we really know about the Jesus of history there has been supplied a lot of myth and legend.  But good ol' Paul, he just bypasses it all with a Christ based on his own personal visions. . . ..

I attach an email discussion on the Q and related matters:

Best regards,

Bob

From: Bill Diehl [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 4 December 2013 5:32 PM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: Hi

Bob,

Again, an interesting response. You may have misjudged my motives in relating to you the current scene in the Adventist movement.   I wrote to you because my burden is for you and not to merely criticize them .  I had hoped that you would be able to "read between the lines" rather than see me as merely wanting to criticize the Adventist movement.  If you failed to see that it is probably due to my lack of communication skills rather than any insensitivity on your part.

To reply to you proposition that the response of Jesus to the opponents to his messianic claims was always serene and without indignation and never with "retributive justice", I would say that, because you limit the truth about Christ mostly to the so-called Q "source" that was supposedly "taken over" by Matthew and Luke, you seriously limit the full revelation of Christ's life and teachings as depicted in the rest of the material contained in all four gospels and the epistles. In my opinion, with which I am sure you disagree, this is where the full  witness of the reality and meaning of Christ's life and ministry, death and resurrection from the dead is unfolded.  The New Testament is a trustworthy witness. The attempt by the modern scholarly community to reconstruct how the gospels came into existence is an absolutely futile exercise. The data is so sparse and lacking that any attempt to reconstruct an accurate account as to how they came into being is only hypothetical conjecture at best and so nearly worthless as a noble and honest historical pursuit. But there will always be those who will try to come up with a propose explanation and even invent prejudicial and unwarranted conclusions. An assertion with which I am sure you will take issue.

I realize that you feel that the majority of the New Testament is merely a made-up mythological construct derived from the wishful hopes and aspirations of his deluded Jewish followers rather than the true "historical" Christ. This attempted search for the so-called actual  historical Jesus as distinct from the miraculous  biblical Jesus is a futile effort in my opinion. It depends upon a historical construct which exists only in the minds of certain agnostic scholars and is based upon an unshakable belief that the New Testament apostolic account is an imagined messianic conspiracy invented by His deluded Jewish disciples (again, in my opinion).  

Your historical construct depends upon an unfounded "certainty" that the complete gospel account of Christ's life and death and the witness of the apostles was merely a "cleverly devised fable", i.e., wishful messianic thinking rather than historical fact. But as I have stated in previous emails, the testimony of the eyewitnesses of the events of Christ's life and teachings is either truthful or that of wild-eyed lunatics. The fact is that either Christ died on the cross of Calvary and then arose from the dead or He didn't.  This is the testimony of the apostolic witness. They were either liars or truthful.  If Peter, James, and John had not actually witnessed the transfigured Christ and the resurrected Christ, it is very doubtful that they would have been willing to face the threats and assaults to life and limb which they endured. There really is no in-between position. You have chosen by your own admission to "doubt" the truthfulness of the New Testament witness. John, however, at the end of his gospel avows that his testimony is absolutely true.

Yet you still seem to cling to some hope that there was in fact a "Jesus" in history who was more of a Gandhi-like "Hindu" or "New Age" passively unconditionally forgiving mystic guru rather than an altogether Jewish prophet whose attitude to sin, righteousness, justice, forgiveness, and covenant love were reflective of that of the Old Testament prophets like Noah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist.  Your depiction of Christ, if you would really take a step back from you assertions, is much more wishful thinking than the Christ fully depicted in the New Testament account. The God of the bible (and even of the "Q" document) is the creator/redeemer God of justice, fatherly loving kindness, mercy, hope, faith, and yet He is also the God who withdraws His blessings from those who align themselves with lawlessness and wickedness and the Enemy of righteousness.

It is this kind of biblical world view and moral ethic which actually works in the real world. In the real world sin and suffering and death are a real tragedy not merely some "karma" that must work itself out. History is a life and death struggle with eternal implications. There must be a moral reckoning  at the end of the road and will not merely end with a whimper and a puff of smoke. If God is unknowable and has not made Himself known, then God is dead and Man is dead as well and there is no meaning to the concepts of love, hate, kindness, evil, beauty, sympathy, human / inhuman, hope and faith, good and bad.

This brings us back to the Jesus of the bible, not merely to the "Q". Christ is also recorded to have said, "What does if profit a man if he should gain the whole world and yet lose his own soul." and "fear not him who is able to merely kill the body, fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell". This is the God that Jesus revealed to His followers, not the eternally smiling "Buddha" who is always forgiving even those who seek no forgiveness and manifest no remorse and repentance.

Your younger brother and ever loving friend,

Bill

 

 

From RDB Bill, Not a matter of looking for hooks upon which to hang doubts.

Its about being willing to look at real evidence rather than getting your exercise by jumping to conclusions.

Imagine a court of law that respects the rules of evidence. . . . ask yourself, would this kind of evidence stand up in a court of law?

Maybe Huxley had a point when he said that when it comes to improving natural knowledge, scepticism was the one indispensable requirement,  and that blind faith was the one unpardonable sin.

I suggest Eve should get a posthumous Nobel prize of freedom and courage.

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From Bill Diehl to Bob
April 8, 2013

Bob,

There will always be hooks of doubt upon which to hang ones hat. I think that you have finally come to the real heart of the matter of the Christian faith. We could spend a great deal of time discussing all of your doubtful speculations over the authenticity of the New Testament "witness" : whether or not John and his gospel and epistles are pseudepigrapha or not, whether the gospels of Matthew, Mark, or Luke are true historical record or not, whether the apostle Paul was a raving lunatic or not.  You apparently already have total confidence that your opinion regarding their lack of authenticity is unassailable. But actually all of the issues that you have raised and many more for that matter have already been carefully and thoroughly debunked by excellent New Testament scholarship which you obviously have either overlooked or else simply rejected out of hand.

You have chosen to take the road that leads to a total rejection of the Christ depicted in the New Testament. You take the suppositions and speculations of the Jesus Seminar and other higher critics seriously. (And I do mean "speculations". They make assertions based upon the most meager shreds of evidence and make far reaching extrapolations based upon those questionable assertions which are actually laughable. As computer programmers say, "put junk in and you get junk out.")  I have researched their claims and read the rebuttals of these claims by many serious Christian scholars and apologists and find the rebuttals to be much more convincing. 

So there you have it in a nut shell. It's either "sola scriptura" or "sola fraud". Either the witness is a true one or else the witness is a product of a group of fanatical 2d and 3d century lunatics who invented the Savior and His claims as found in the Bible. You have "looked behind every bush" and found fraud. I have looked behind every bush and nook and cranny and found that the weight of evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of acceptance of the testimony of the witnesses recorded in the bible. I do not deny that my acceptance of the record from Genesis to Revelation is for me a very small "leap of faith". But I think that you fail to realize that your acceptance of the arguments of the higher critic scholars is a much longer leap of faith across a Grand Canyon filled with salties. The fact is that even if only one half of the gospel account is true you are in real trouble as to your final outcome once you pass on to the "other side".  The terrible warnings and pleading invitations of the Christ of the Bible are something that if true should, I believe, make one take serious pause before brushing them off as a "myth". In doing this, one must reject the complete veracity of the historical record and the theological claims of the Old Testament as well as the New. I am sure that this is the case for you also. 

To the rejecter of its witness the Old Testament is merely Nationalistic Jewish  Propaganda. One must with great resolve determine that they were all raving lunatics. There simply is no middle ground, either the God depicted in the record is an actual Being intervening in the horrific stream of human history to save Man from the consequences of his own madness or else He is the figment of the wishful thinking of a few Don Quixote mystics chasing wind mills.  (At this point I must scratch my head and ask myself, "Hasn't Bob ever read an account of the recorded history of the human race??) How on earth can one arrive at the conclusion that this horrific record of incalculable suffering, weeping, misery, sickness, war, and gore is merely "God's plan" from the very beginning of the so-called "big bang" : Kill and be killed, Rape and be raped, Steal and be stolen, Burn and pillage and be pillaged. Bob, open your eyes to the reality of life!!!! If the "God" that you have described has actually designed life to be the way it is is an actual Being, then He is a sadist of the first most despicable order of magnitude.  If this is the God and understanding of reality that you "embrace" then you have indeed embraced a monster and a demon.  

Please pardon my directness, but your "advantage" is obviously a pathetic tragedy of the highest order of magnitude. You have thrown away the Pearl of great price for a handful of sand and in the final moment you will wail and gnash your teeth unless you come to your senses like the prodigal son before it is forever too late like the unfaithful Esau who sold his inheritance for a stinking pot of porridge. The story of the deceiving "old prophet" certainly should be a lesson for you to consider and weep over:

1 Kings 13:1-30  And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.' " 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out." 4 So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Arrest him!" Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. 5 The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 6 Then the king answered and said to the man of God, "Please entreat the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me." So the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as before.

7 Then the king said to the man of God, "Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward." 8 But the man of God said to the king, "If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. 9 "For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.' " 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel. 11 Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, "Which way did he go?" For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah. 13 Then he said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me." So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, 14 and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" And he said, "I am." 15 Then he said to him, "Come home with me and eat bread." 16 And he said, "I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. 17 "For I have been told by the word of the LORD, 'You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.' " 18 He said to him, "I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.' " (He was lying to him.)

19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water. 20 Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, 22 'but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, "Eat no bread and drink no water," your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.' " 23 So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse.

25 And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. 26 Now when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard it, he said, "It is the man of God who was disobedient to the word of the LORD. Therefore the LORD has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke to him." 27 And he spoke to his sons, saying, "Saddle the donkey for me." So they saddled it. 28 Then he went and found his corpse thrown on the road, and the donkey and the lion standing by the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse nor torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the corpse of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back. So the old prophet came to the city to mourn, and to bury him. 30 Then he laid the corpse in his own tomb; and they mourned over him, saying, "Alas, my brother!"

Bob, you have been a true prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ, but you have been lied to by false "old prophets" and you have eaten the bread of doubters and agnostics who only want to deceive you so that they can stash your carcass in a grave to share with them and be buried with them in death. It is your Christian friends who mourn over you with the lament of "Alas, my brother!"  And to that lament we add, "How the mighty man of God has fallen!" But unlike the Man of God, for you it is not too late. Just as your mother swept you up in her arms when you spitefully continued to throw dirt on her nice cleanly swept floor, you can allow the Lord Jesus Christ who has been hiding behind the door to sweep you up close to Himself once again. This time He will sprinkle clean water upon you and you will mourn for your having caused the nail prints in His hands. The paradise that He offers is no myth, no fools paradise. He is real and faithful and true. He is the way, the truth, and the life. This is no mere theory. This is the true testimony of all the sons of God who call upon the name of the Lord. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and He will have mercy and abundantly pardon. "Behold the Man" standing in the hall of judgment for you!! By His stripes you may be healed. The "universe" that you now find yourself in will at last bite you like the serpent that deceived Eve and said, "You shall not surely die". The wisdom that you think that you have found will be like the bitterness of gall. It's time to quit hiding from the Lord. Come back out to Him and allow Him to clothe you with the clean robe of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  All things are ready. Come unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Your very good friend, Bill

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From Bob to Bill Diehl
April 8, 2013

To Bill,

I have a whole library of books picking out the weaknesses in Darwinism, especially neo-Darwinism.  One of them is by an atheist scientist who finds much of the theory as unconvincing as a fairly tale---he says there are mysteries there that no science as yet can explain.  I am more acquainted with the literature pro and con than you realize.  I am no longer an Adventist because I took Adventism so seriously that I looked into and examined every nook and cranny of it, ditto with Reformation theology, ditto with Christian theology etc.  I looked under and behind every rose bush, so to speak.  I did not hastily jump into anything or out of anything. I've dealt with every point I have considered or canvassed thoroughly and honestly---I have found that looking for evidence to prove that one is right is not as important as honestly looking for any evidence that might prove one is wrong.  That happens to be the way of true science where healthy scepticism is seen to be more important than a gullibility dressed up as laudable faith.  I say again, the same thoroughness with which I went into every aspect of the old Awakening or with which I went into the exploration of the Reformation faith I carried forward in examining the linguistic, contextual and historical meaning of "not under the nomos/gramma/graphe" in Paul and the fourth Gospel.  And the same with the age of the earth and evolutionary science. Have the courage, my friend, always to examine your premises, and your taken-for-granted certainties.

Take for instance the matter of the historical Jesus.  No historian, Christian or otherwise, can tell you when he was born and when he died. The problem is that there is no contemporary record of him.  We have nothing written about him during his actual time---we have no written record of his birth, life or death. No doubt there must have been some records, but these were destroyed in the great war with Rome and the sacking and burning of just about everything.  The earliest stuff we have written about Jesus is by Paul, and that was about a generation later than Jesus, and a bit later than that we have Mark.  We have no eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Bible.

Most of what we nave in the NT was written two and three generations later.  Of course the church wanted everyone to believe that the NT contained first hand, eye-witness accounts (or what second Peter, clearly a book forged in Peter's name, claims as eyewitnesses of his majesty)  So the church gave names to the NT gospels, all of which are anonymous books written up long after Jesus walked the earth.  The church told us that the disciple Matthew wrote the first Gospel, that Mark the disciple of Paul wrote Mark, the physician friend of Paul wrote Luke (even if that was true they were not eye-witnesses) and that John the beloved disciple wrote the Fourth Gospel which the science of linguistics show has been written by at least four different editors just like we have an edited appendix to Mark on the resurrection appearances.

Well, who wrote the books?  We can simply say they were written up by certain groups of Christian communities and reflected the religion of those disparate communities.  Paul and Mark have no knowledge of a virgin birth.....that came much later.  Mark has no knowledge of a physical resurrection appearances of Jesus ---- the long ending to Mark is now acknowledged on all sides to be added much later.  There are mutually exclusive accounts of the Nativity and the Resurrection appearances in the Gospels. Was the last supper a Passover meal. Yes according to the Synoptics, No according to John.  Was the skirmish at the temple at the beginning or end of the ministry of Jesus. Yes according to the Synoptics, No according to John.

Did he first appear to his disciples in Galilee, at least 7 days journey from Jerusalem. Yes according to Matthew and Mark, No according to John and Luke.  Was his physical flesh and blood body brought out of the grave? No according to the Paul in I Corinthians 15 and no evidence of it in Mark (without the edited long ending), but what happens later?---physical appearance stories complete with fish and chips on the beach.  And so I could go on....and on..... what is the sense of talking about bodily ascensions to heaven.....if that body even travelled at the maximum speed of light, then he has hardly reached our nearest star yet.  Since Galileo and Relativity and Time/Space realities, primitive ideas about God up there and hell down there make no sense.  There are now laws out there that are not down here, and there is no God up there that is not equally down there....we don't pray or commune with an Elsewhere God.  God is not in some other place more than God is in this place.  Humans don't fly off somewhere to some other place where God is supposed to be.  God is here as much as God is anywhere.

There was no fall of man, and God never left.  Your good logic will tell you if there was no first Adam there was no second one either.  You are exactly right.

Death was not introduced to this planet by human sin or Fall. Death was on this planet according to the clear fossil record millions of years before humans walked this planet--- in saber teeth tigers, in predatory dinosaurs and in the fish of the sea.  Death is written into our DNA ---death is both necessary and beneficial.  God is the author of both life and death.  Both are to be embraced as a gift from God, each in its time, I might add.  Jesus did not come to bridge some apocalyptic gulf between God and man --- because God never left.  I prefer the gospel of Jesus that God is near, you don't need mediators, so you can celebrate the kingdom's arrival right now......Who needs religion, apocalyptic and its salvationism whether of the Christian or environmental kind? Who needs religion which is based entirely on the apocalyptic fear of death?  Who needs all these doctrinal, theological debates or arguments on this for that kind of Salvationism?

We are fee to be human, free to love unconditionally as God does----- how then do we find God?  By finding our neighbour.  " He who loves another has seen the face of God. " (Les Miserables)   Yes, my theism has been transmuted or conflated into humanism, and my humanism into true theism.

How can we really communicate when I live in another kind of universe than you do?  My real advantage here is that I have lived in your universe as you full well know.  I understand it very well. 

Your good friend,

Bob 

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To: Bob from Bill Diehl
Friday, 5 April 2013 3:47 PM

Bob,

Interesting reply. I was replying to your description of your journey as outlined in your last email to me. You stated that your doubts regarding Adventism began once you claim to have discovered that Paul did not teach the Third Use of the Law or living by any written code for that matter. You were able to convince your brother John and Geoff Paxton on that point too. From there you began to doubt the Second Use of the Law as well as doubt the Protestant reformers understanding of the vicarious atonement of Christ and justification by faith. If I understand your words correctly, I assume that you also stated that you finally came to believe that even accepting the cosmology and theology and soteriology of the Bible amounted to Bibliolatry.  And then you finally made the last break with Christianity when you rejected the apostolic teaching of the divinity of Christ. You state that  Ellen White had very little to do with your journey from a conservative Bible believing Christian to arrive at what you believe now. 

I am surprised though to see your rather condescending attitude towards my comments and your ad hominem remarks suggesting that I am very unread and slow to understand the modernist scholarship and thus cannot keep up with you and others who think that they have much more factual truth than poor benighted souls who cannot seem to accept your understanding of what the apostle Paul meant by "living under the law". I guess that you see yourself as the "horseman" who is very much running in advance of the thousands of Christian theologians and Christian scientists who interpret the biblical teachings and scientific cosmological evidence differently that you. Even your brother John pointed out to you that all of the biblical scholars of the Reformation differed from your interpretation, but you seem to have been able to disarm his objections with your views. 

After dismissing with the mere sweep of your hand my suggestion that you are incorrect in your understanding of Paul's true teaching regarding the Ten Commandments and my suggestion that Paul was actually opposing the Ebionite heresy, you then jump to the subject of cosmology and origins. You list a few of the so-called irrefutable evidences that the earth is supposedly billions of years old and that the Biblical account of the origin of life, mankind, evil, suffering, and death is a myth. 

As your friend I can say with all candor that it is very evident that you have never taken the time to actually do any scholarly unbiased investigation into the overwhelming evidence that is contrary to the Darwinist/Big Bang paradigm. You have never attended any actual debates between knowledgeable creationist scholars and Darwinist scholars. The evidence for the truthfulness of the Biblical cosmology is able to completely overwhelm the assumptions proposed by the Darwinists.

I would hope that you might at least take a look into the discussions offered by your fellow countryman, Ken Ham, who heads the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis  or from the American creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research here in San Diego. You might actually be surprised to see that perhaps it is the Darwinists who can't keep up with the footmen let alone the horses.

When push comes to shove in any discussions you seem to then take the tack that it does not really matter any way what anyone believes about life, truth, or God.  No one can know anything about God or life and so why try to know what the truth is since you think that God does not care about truth or evil or suffering or death or sin or righteousness.

It just so happens that it is these very things that the God of the Bible is vitally concerned about above all things. Perhaps it is because of this biblical concern that so many of the scholars with whose views you want to identify want to dismiss the theology of the bible with a mere condescending pat on the head and a condescending wink of the eye. But the fact is that is exactly how Jesus Christ himself was regarding by the "scholars" of his day: a lunatic who thinks he is the only one with any understanding of what life is all about.

Just how do you arrive at your sweeping conclusion that " all your thinking and believing and theologising (and mine too) does not change what God thinks of us" ? Without any word from God himself, how can you make such a pronouncement? Have you talked with God directly and he told you this? How do you even know that there is a God? What criteria do you use to reach such a conclusion? What data do you bring to the table? I bring the witness of historical figures such as Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the major prophets, the minor prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and his apostles who all left us their testimony as to what they have seen with their own eyes and touched with their own hands. Are all these men liars and deceivers and myth-tellers? 

The proof is in the fruit that the tree bares. What is the fruit of Darwinism, Deism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Communism, Socialism, and Romanism? Compare the fruit of these philosophies throughout history with the fruit born by the evangelical Christian faith: the modern hospital systems, the scientific method of applied science, democratic governments of the people by the people and for the people,  and all of the modern colleges and universities which had their origins within evangelical Christian movements, and even the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the USA. These were all the fruit of the evangelical Christian faith as revealed in the Bible, the word of God.

Do you know how radio carbon dating actually claims to arrive at its conclusions and that there are serious challenges being brought to bear upon these conclusions? Do you know how geologists actually arrive at their dating methods for the rock strata and that there are many distinguished scientists who are challenging the accepted assumptions and extrapolations of the popular views on the ages of the rocks? Do you know how genetic mutations are actually expressed in living organisms and that there are a variety of views challenging their so-called beneficial effect upon life forms?  Do you actually know that the speed of light can be altered by gravity and thus is unreliable as a time measurement?  Do you know about the red shift and the blue shift and how there are differing views on how to interpret these phenomena?

I would urge you to take some time to look into both sides of the debate that is becoming so intense that many of the Darwinists are now abandoning their evolutionary cosmology in favor of a "panspermia" cosmology. Why are they doing this? Because they sense that they have actually lost the argument for biological and genetic evolution for the origin of life and its many iterations. Maybe, just maybe it is you who have fallen behind the footman and who is using arguments that those who are in the forefront of the Darwinist circles don't really use any more.

Hope that you are able to have your assumptions challenged without becoming too impatient and caustic as you have in the past when involved in discussion. But then if we cannot know anything about anything that really matters, what is the profit in even discussing anything at all? If we cannot know anything until we "pass on to the other side", does life and truth have any meaning at all?

Cheers to you too, (I never really knew what "cheers" meant. Sort of a meaningless salutation like, "here's mud in your eye!". Doesn't really mean anything I guess :-)

Hope you are in good health and finding love in your life from your family and friends, (I hope that I am still counted as among your friends after all this!) I wish your mother and father were still alive so that they could have more of an influence upon you than I can. Bernard called me on the phone many years ago in the 1990's I think. We were never able to meet though. Also Cedrick Taylor was in touch back then with me for a while, but I have lost touch with him. Jack Zwemer called me a month ago and asked me if I could help you gather some of your stuff. He sounds great. Hope he is in good health. Norman has been in touch but not too recently. He had prostrate cancer then and I hope that he is doing well.

I keep rolling along here in San Diego. Just finished building a big home in the mountains on six acres of land. Sort of like a mountain lodge with lots of rustic beams and paneling. It is spring time now and the cold winter snow is gone. Lots of deer, turkeys, mountain lions, bob cats and birds. Planted lots of good fruit trees and have irrigation to all of them from the well.

Take good care of yourself,

Bill

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From Bob to Bill Diehl
Thursday, April 04, 2013 6:24 PM

Bill,

I like your tenacity and zeal. But your theology and worldview means that you only have a very restricted future on the fringes of Adventism. The rest of the world will pass you by because what you talk about has no relevance to the mass of modern humanity and will therefore never have an impact on that mass of humanity ----- which may be OK if you think that God is satisfied with a little esorteric group living on the fringes of a little apocalyptic sect who image that they and they alone have the power or mission to somehow bring on the eschaton if only they can get the message right.  For goodness sake, if you cannot  fathom what " living under the nomos/gramma/graphe means " .....If you can't keep up the  footmen, how will you contend with the horsemen.   As for contending for a 6,000 year old earth and a Fall of man myth (we can easily prove that the Aborigenes have been here in Australia for 50,000 yrs.....don't you even keep up with the science of mapping the human genome and DNA sequences that prove Homo sapiens came out of Africa well over 100,000 years ago, and what about the discovery of all those Neandathal remains for which they now have their DNA.....you ought to read a good book on the history and evidence for the birth of our universe about 13.7 billion years ago, where the scientists first discovered or heard the background noise  of the Big Bang.  There is not much future remaining with a troglodyte theology.  When I became a man, I put away childish things.  But none of these comments mean that I think any less of you or that God thinks any less of you nor any more of me. . . .we are safe in the divine keeping, and all your thinking and believing and theologising (and mine too) does not change what God thinks of us.   Cheers,  RDB

-------------------------------------------------   

From: Bill Diehl to Bob
Tuesday, 2 April 2013 2:06 PM

Bob,

Give me some time to do that.

In the meanwhile I think that you need to rethink your understanding of the historical context of Paul's dispute with the Judaising sect of the Christian circumcising party who came to be known as Ebionites (the humble ones). The issue was not that the Galatians were  starting with justification and then being made perfect or complete by obedience to the Law. This was your premise regarding the nature of the Galatian error as you stated in Present Truth. The actual error of the Judaising party was that they completely rejected the concept of a substitutionary atonement on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ and they also rejected the eternal divinity and pre-existence of Christ.

When Paul accuses the Galatians of now "being made perfect by the works of the Law" he is saying that they had completely rejected the concept of justification by faith in the substitutionary atonement of Christ and had fallen into the Ebionite error of salvation and eternal life by keeping the Law. The imputed active and passive righteousness of Christ had no place in the Ebionite circumcision party teaching. They taught that Christ was merely a Messiah who showed the way to eternal life by keeping the Law. The believer was to copy the pattern laid down by Christ and thus obtain salvation.

In other words, Christ was circumcised: the believer should be circumcised. Christ kept the shadows of the holy days and ceremonial sabbaths: The believer should and can keep all of the sabbaths. Christ lived a perfect life of obedience to the Ten Commandments: The believer must do the same. Thus for these Ebionites salvation was by imitation not by substitution and imputation. This is why Paul accused the Galatians of rejecting his gospel of atonement for "another" gospel of imitation. That is why Paul begins his epistles to the Galatian and the Colossians with a clear proclamation of salvation through faith in the blood of the divine Christ (substitution).

Colossians 1:14-16 In whom we have redemption through his blood , even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God , the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created , that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him :

Colossians 1:19-22  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross , by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death , to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight :

Galatians 1:3-7 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins , that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 2:21-3:1 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified among you?

The point that I am making here is that you got off the track when you misunderstood the actual error that Paul was confronting. It was not a matter of the Third Use of the Law. It was a matter of rejecting the concept of the atonement of Christ on the cross as the means of reconciliation of the sinner to God through faith in the blood of Christ. This is what the Judaisers were rejecting. They taught acceptance with God through the believer's obedience to Law ( nomos ) just as Jesus was accepted by His obedience to the Law. This was a gospel of attainment rather than atonement.

Your "Sabbatarianism Re-examined" was a total misrepresentation of the historical context of the epistles of Paul. Your "three witnesses" from Romans, Colossians, and Galatians were taken out of their historical context and misused to attempt to prove that Paul had rejected the Third Use of the Law. Paul was attacking any kind of law ( nomos ) keeping as a means to justification and eternal life.

Once starting down this road I think that you probably began to peruse the works of other higher criticism scholars who lead you right out of the Christian faith entirely.

By the way, cierographon in the Greek in Colossians 2:14 does not mean Law or rules of conduct. It means the list of charges (indictment) that is against the sinner.  The Law is not blotted out and nailed to the cross. The debt that we owe to the Law was nailed to the cross. This is why Paul states that we are not debtors to the Law but to grace. Those who are "under the Law" as the Judaisers were teaching are still in debt to the Law to keep it perfectly if they are to attain to the righteousness of God and eternal life. This was the way of the flesh. The gospel was the way of the Spirit.

Bill

---------------------------------------------------

From: Bob to Bill Diehl
Monday, April 01, 2013 5:45 PM

Bill,

When I do a thorough outline of my journey, you will understand that what you say as to what made me change is only conjecture, and a false one at that.

Actually, you would have to look at my restudy of the OT and Jesus meaning of Justice/Righteousness in a three part series, The Scandal of God's Justice.  Then a review of Reformation theology with special attention to its doctrine of the third use of the law and an understanding of what Paul meant by not living under the nomos/gramma/graphe --- terms that both he and the NT culture used interchangeably.  I understood Paul to mean that not living under the law was the same as not living under any written rule of life and not living under any document including the Bible.  This insight that came to me had nothing to do with the EGW ---- she was furtherest from my mind ---- but I was going back to NT linguistics and arguments from Paul in his use of the words nomos, gramma and graphe.  This led me to say that the Reformation doctrine of the third use of the law (and the second use of the law too for that matter) was simply Galatianism.  The Jerusalem brethren had come up to Galatia telling converts to Christ that now that they were believers, they ought to start living by the OT----if you look at Paul you will find that nomos means scripture and scripture means nomos ----- or that nomos can means the Psalms and/or the prophets.  If you have not seen that, then you have not read Paul's letters or the book of John closely.  When I was at college, I memorized all of Paul's epistles and the book of John, so it is easy for me to scroll through the different texts in my mind.  If you want linguistic help on this, then I suggest you read Kittel's NT Dictionary on the meaning of nomos in the NT ----it means scripture including its history and stories (as in Galatians 4)  Paul can cite an OT prophet and call it nomos, and Jesus in John can cite a Psalm and call it nomos.  And so Paul, now that Christ has come we are no longer under nomos/gramma ---- written codes and rules of life---- or graphe which all more or less mean the same thing.

Well yes, I understood then that EGW understood none of this, she simply parotted off the Protestestant/Puritan tradition about the second and third uses of the law, like the saying, "The law drives us to Christ and Christ sends us back to the law."  What a joke to be so ignorant of the actual NT and Paul especially!   So yes, when I rejected Biblicism (but not the wisdom of the Bible or value of the Bible) I had to reject living by EGW or anything else.  But I never did subscribe to Walter Rae's bitter attack on EGW ---- he concentrated on her literary borrowings and implied she was a total fraud ---- but I concentrated on the fact that she was wrong because she was into Galatianism, and she was wrong as per the book of Hebrews, 1844 etc. Hence my kind appraisal of EGW in my Judged by the Gospel , including mention of her valid prophetic ministry to SDA's ---- she saved the church from a much worse kind of legalism.  Please take into consideration my very late The Theology of EGW, written for the express purpose of trying to teach SDA's a better appreciation of "the common faith".

Whenever I moved on in any single point, it was only after long and careful reflection on the evidence from every conceivable angle.  It did not rush from one point to the next.  When I explored Reformation theology, I explored it with great care and thoroughness.  When I finally reviewed 1844, I reviewed it with care and great  thoroughness ---- it generally took me 10 years to graduate from one major landmark position to the next ---- I never woke up one morning and just decided I would start beating another drum.  Let me tell you a little story:  when my brother John saw that I was rejecting the whole protestant tradition of the third use of the law, he paced around my large library of at least 10,000 books, he pulled out Luther, he pulled out Calvin, he pulled out the Puritans, he pulled out John Wesel, he pulled out the Systematic Theologians (Hodge, Strong etc) and said something like, " You are not just flying in the face of EGW and the Adventists, you are flying against Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, Wesley, Spurgeon and all of them.....you are sitting out there like an old shag on a rock.....you are flying in the face of hundreds of years of the best Christian tradition.....have you  lost your mind? "   But when he finally cooled down and settled down to review the best in NT studies (Sanders, Bring and others) and some good NT period history, he too was convinced.  When I flew to US with Paxton, he asked me what was my evidence, and we just went straight to the letters of St. Paul - and Paxton understood it also.

You see first of all I questioned my Adventist assumptions enough to go back to the Reformation ---- (after ten years)

Then I went back to NT documents in historical and linguistic context and question the premises of the Reformation ( that is after another 10 years)

Then I started to question that assumptions of the NT documents written two and three generations after the historical Jesus (then silence for a whole ten years, because I did not known nor was I prepared to cross my Rubecon on  the Christian presuppositions about the absolute divinity of Jesus.  That  was the holy of holies of the Christian faith.  I was not blind to the implications.  So help me God, I crossed over after ten whole years of silence, and wrote The Scandal of Joshua ben Adam.  How much did EGW question enter into my thinking in any of this long journey?  Very little.  I am indebted to EGW for a lot of good things.  I am indebted to Paul for giving me the key to escape from Biblicism (Bibliolatry).  I love the theological implications of his 1 Corinthians 13. 

Hey, what about you read Tabor's recently published Paul and Jesus ----- or The Jesus Discovery?

What about reading my An Outline of the Apocalyptic Theology from Zoroaster to Al Gore?  (Irenic Publications)  You could get it up on Google in less than a minute.

But don't try to evaluate something that you have never evaluated.

Have fun,

Bob

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From: Bill Diehl to Bob
Tuesday, 2 April 2013 2:13 AM


Bob,

For what its worth, my own opinion as to why you abandoned the historic Christian faith is that when the White Lie came out and the revelations of Ellen White's extensive literary borrowing came out into the open your confidence in her ministry was completely shattered and destroyed. You reacted in an excessively negative way toward all that she and the Seventh-day Adventist movement stood for and irrationally abandoned all faith in any form of divine inspiration and revelation. (thus your attempted illustration of divine knowledge as being a "large piece of chalk writing on a postage stamp). Your excessive reaction totally destroyed your confidence in the faithfulness and truthfulness of the witness, historicity, and testimony of the apostles Peter, James, John and Paul regarding the identity, mission, and purpose of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You have relegated their witness to the realm of hopeful fantasy with a very large dose of willful deception and exaggeration. The Jesus Seminar is an example of this thinking.

From that point it was all down hill towards a deistic humanism with a leaning towards mysticism and social Darwinism. Your dabbling in near death experience seems to be a hope that all life consciousness is merely a part of the whole divine mind into which all life eventually merges. You may or may not like it when others try to categorize your personal philosophical journey, but it may be hard for you to stand back and realize that there are many others throughout history who have made the same journey and ended up where you are today in your world view. Once one abandons faith in any divine revelation regarding the meaning of life and history there are very few other choices for one to embrace. Your present hopeful outlook can only be attributable to a subjective mysticism. The only other alternative to subjective mysticism is to sink into total despair of there being any "meaning" at all for the existence of life and the universe.

There is no question that you have exhibited a savant ability to delve head first into the realm of epistemology and philosophy.  There is hardly a shade of belief that you have not examined in passionate thoroughness. I remember your talk on the meaning of life. What is the Meaning of Life? (part 1) What is the Meaning of Life? (part 2)  In fact without any Word from outside of us there is no real meaning to anything in life: there is no truth, no evil, no goodness, no right or wrong. Pain, sadness, loneliness, and tragedy are not even ripples in the fabric of existence without the Word, the Logos of God.

Once as a theology major at Andrews University I was walking on the campus and Erwin Gane passed by me. You may remember him as one of your detractors.  I stopped him and asked him what he thought of Bob Brinsmead and the present agitation on the gospel. He abruptly answered in a very caustic tone that I was in great danger in reading the material of a "narcissist" like Bob Brinsmead.  I replied that maybe it takes a "narcissist" for God to use as His instrument to arouse the Adventist people. He just huffed and walked on. I guess that we are all narcissists in one way or another. It's part of being human.

Your faithful friend,

Bill Diehl

---------------------------------------------------

From: Bob to Bill Diehl
Monday, April 01, 2013 12:41 AM

Thanks Bill.....I am working with a friend from way back who has some computer expertise to do an anthology of everything that we can find from decade to decade ---- I will do a few historical notes on the historical background to certain things but leave each publication in its original form ---- it should be a complete record of the journey that anybody can refer to for whatever reason.  So your help is appreciated in getting started.  There are also some people who kept just about everything along the way.....Dr. Arthur Patrick was leading Avondale figure......went to college with me.....he kept touch over the years.....wanted to bring about a reconciliation in the church.....agreed with him they should let Des Ford back in, but no point in trying to achieve same with me as I have journeyed on a long way from that world.  Anyway he died recently, but recently wrote an article Robert Daniel Brinsmead: A Reflection after 57 Years.  Arthur did not have a mean bone in his body, and I think he wrote an interesting and charitable paper.  In contrast to the stuff in Wikapedia which is terrible.

Best. . . .RDB

--------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bill Diehl to Bob
Sunday, 31 March 2013 3:41 PM

Subject: Old Awakening Material

Hi Bob,

Regarding your search for digital copies of your old Awakening material, I suppose that you have already found the web site that has all of the old Awakening material on it: audio material and text material. 

1st Meeting of Robert D. Brinsmead in America at Al Hudson's

http://www.awakeandsing.com/Sermon%20Tapes/Sermon%20Tapes.htm

http://www.awakeandsing.com/Book%20Index.htm

Bill Diehl

------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Bill. . . . I am working with a friend from way back who has some computer expertise to do an anthology of everything that we can find from decade to decade — I will do a few historical notes on the historical background to certain things but leave each publication in its original form — it should be a complete record of the journey that anybody can refer to for whatever reason.  So your help is appreciated in getting started.  There are also some people who kept just about everything along the way. . . .  Dr. Arthur Patrick was leading Avondale figure. . . .went to college with me. . . ..he kept touch over the years. . . .wanted to bring about a reconciliation in the church. . . . agreed with him they should let Des Ford back in, but no point in trying to achieve same with me as I have journeyed on a long way from that world.  Anyway he died recently, but recently wrote an article Robert Daniel Brinsmead: A Reflection after 57 Years.  Arthur did not have a mean bone in his body, and I think he wrote an interesting and charitable paper.  In contrast to the stuff in Wikapedia which is terrible.

Best. . . ..RDB

 

From: Bill Diehl [mailto:billdiehljr@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 1 March 2013 4:34 AM
To: Robert Brinsmead
Subject: Re: New Testament Eschatology

That's a rather cryptic comment regarding "it will be clearer one day". I hope that you aren't indulging in a form of narcissistic delusion regarding how the world will ultimately "turn out right in the end". You and I have debated this point in the past but you have refused to consider my objections to this type of rosy outlook to the human situation. I have indeed given much thought to the myth of "unconditional love". This belief system has proven to be completely bankrupt and unworkable in the human predicament. unconditional love without justice and punishment of evil will end in rule by the tyrant who will set the rules as to what constitutes love speech and hate speech, right and wrong, good and evil. Mankind does not have it himself to define right from wrong. He needs an outside of himself code of conduct that is based in God's revealed will through His word. As Christ said, "Thy word is truth" and "you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free". There is in fact such a thing as sin and mankind seeks out evil as a duck seeks out water. The God of the bible is not a God of "unconditional love" and you very well know this. He will require a final reckoning. Everything that was "done in secrete will be shouted from the rooftops."

Having known you for over forty years I know that should you live another twenty years you will dabble in your present mindset for a while and then come to realize its downside and eventually end up where you started as young man with the faith of your mother and father in the word of God as one only true authority  and source of understanding the realities of life:  biblical creationism, biblical anthropology, biblical soteriology,  and biblical eschatology. These are the only truly workable world views which actually work in the face of the tragedy of the human predicament. Man is not immortal. Man is not self governable. Man is not able to determine what is right and wrong in his own eyes. Mankind will ultimately self destruct without repentance towards God faith the Jesus Christ of the bible who is the true light of the world and the only way to eternal life. Heaven and earth will past away but Christ's words will never pass away.   "Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it."

The way is set before you today. Your life can end as a tragedy or a blessing. Either against Christ or for Him. The "search for the historical Christ" is a mythical nonexistent christ. The Christ of the bible is the true Christ. The Christ of the bible is not a "mythical invention" of His apostles but rather the true Christ of history and reality.

Matthew 25:29-34  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Matthew 7:24  Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Bob, I owe everything that I have today to your willingness to share the truths of the word of God with me.  If it had not been for you proclamation of the gospel I would have ended my life in jail or worse. A tree is known by the fruit it bears. The tree that you are now nurturing does not bear good fruit. It does not bear up to sound workable lifestyle in the real world. As we once proclaimed back in the sixties, "Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out when times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." Without repentance there is no true faith. Paul's gospel was no mythical invention of a lunatic. He was not a liar.

I trust truly hope that you will have many many more years ahead in your time on earth. I know that you will not take as a personal affront from all that I write you. That's why I can always unload on you without worrying that you will stop listening to your friends who care about you. Give my best regards to your friend Wendell Krossa with whom we had an extensive dialogue. God bless you and your family. I hope that your brother John, Bernard, and sister Hope, are still in the land of the living. Also say hello to Cedric Taylor for me. Tell him to email me sometime.

Bill

 

From: Robert Brinsmead
To: 'Bill Diehl'

Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:26 AM

Subject: RE: New Testament Eschatology

Many thanks for taking the time to give me all those links.  I would like to oversee an anthology of my writings put together before I pass on — others would probably try to do that, but I know some stuff gets changed about to suit the publisher own needs — but if I could sign off on the genuine ones, that would help researchers.  Its been an incredible journey, eh. . . .  some can't understand why things turned out and proceeded as they did, but it will be clearer one day.  I urge you to think more about the meaning of an UNCONDITIONAL love.  God bless,  Bob

1st Meeting of Robert D. Brinsmead in America at Al Hudson's

http://www.awakeandsing.com/Sermon%20Tapes/Sermon%20Tapes.htm

http://www.awakeandsing.com/Book%20Index.htm