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Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology

by Claude Webster


C. The Third Period: 1892-1916

This third period of Waggoner's life which we have chosen may be sub-divided into two sub-divisions. The first division would cover the time when Waggoner was in England serving as editor of the Present Truth (1892-1903).
111 This would be the most important section of the two sub-divisions and will demand most of our attention in connection with Waggoner's Christology. The second division of the total period would be Waggoner's years of decline, as far as his connection with church work was concerned (1903-1916).112 This latter time period did not see any major Christological development over his years in England.

In focusing on Waggoner's Christology during the first half of the period, namely, 1892-1903, we will do this thematically as we did with the first two periods of Waggoner's ministry. We will look at Waggoner's Christology under the following seven headings: Christ considered as God; Christ the only means of salvation; the unity of Christ's work in Old and New Testament times; Christ sinless but made sin; the internal and immanent Christ; Christ produces sinless living in man; and the blurring of grace and nature. We will devote an eighth section to a general overview of the main Christological position of Waggoner in the years of decline (1903-1916).

1. Christ Considered as God

Waggoner upheld the divinity of Christ during this period. In an article in The Present Truth of 1896113 he gave textual evidence for Christ as Creator in evidence of His divinity. He maintained that Christ is not a created being and only a misconception of Revelation 3:14 would lead one into this error. Christ is of the very substance and nature of God and has life in Himself, possessing immortality in His own right. Christ is properly called Jehovah and the self-existent One. It is right and proper to worship the Son. Waggoner taught that Christ was begotten but not created. For Waggoner this begetting, whatever it indicated, was so far back in the days of eternity that it meant practically without beginning.114 In a pamphlet, "How to Get Knowledge," Waggoner sees all true wisdom centered in Christ. For him Christ is the only manifestation of God and is the source of all creation. Christ is the beginning, the head, or source of the creation of God. The study of natural science must begin and end with the study of God in Christ.115

In The Glad Tidings Waggoner gives an exposition of Paul's epistle to the Galatians.116 While focusing on the message to the Galatians, aspects of Waggoner's Christology are clearly apparent. One of the important themes relative to Christ in this book deals with the divinity of Christ. Waggoner sees all gospel teaching as based on the fact of the divinity of Christ.117 He sees Jesus Christ and God the Father associated on equal terms.118 Waggoner accepts Christ as the truth, the power of God, and the Divinity of God.119 In summarizing the first chapter of Galatians, Waggoner "notes the fact that Christ is Divine."120 In this book Waggoner presents Christ as of the same substance as the Father and as one with Him.121 It is from this high sense of the nature of Christ that Waggoner discusses the claims of the gospel in this epistle.

It is important to note Waggoner's emphasis on the distinction between the divine Christ and the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. He says that Christ is larger than the visible Jesus of Nazareth. Flesh and blood cannot fully reveal the Christ. By the Spirit, Christ can dwell in every man on earth, and fill the heavens as well, a thing which Jesus in the flesh could not do.122 We observed this same hint of what is called the 'extra-Calvanisticum' in Waggoner's work of 1890.123

2. Christ the Only Means of Salvation

Waggoner sees Christ in His person and work as unique and believed that He was the only means and channel of salvation. To trust in anyone or anything else is to remove Christ from His singular position as Saviour. Any teaching that leads men to trust in any object or any work or effort of their own for salvation, is a perversion of the truth of the gospel. It is only the life of God in Christ which has efficacy for salvation.124 

To trust in Christ plus anything in addition is to destroy the unique role and work of Christ. Waggoner, in discussing the true gospel and a counterfeit gospel, indicates that although the question of the specific rite of circumcision for the purpose of salvation is not an issue today, the question of salvation itself, whether by human works or by Christ alone, is as live as ever. He states that when people lose the unique place of Christ in salvation they are in danger of drifting far and will surely return to their former evil ways. It is dangerous to turn any man away from Christ to some substitute.126

3. The Unity of Christ's Work in Old and New Testament Times

During this period Waggoner continued to maintain the unity between the Old and New Testament dispensations. He did not see a dichotomy between the Old Testament and Christianity. For him the religion of the Old Testament was Christianity. He saw perverted 'Judaism' as a rejection of the gospel as set forth in the Old Testament and a following of tradition. Waggoner believed that Moses revealed Christ.127 Waggoner strongly advocated that Moses and Christ cannot be separated and we must believe in both.128

In The Glad Tidings (1900) Waggoner continues to depict Christ's work as uniform in both dispensations. He takes a typically anti-dispensational stance regarding the work of Christ. Because God does not change, Waggoner cannot see any change in the gospel. The same gospel which Paul preached to the Corinthians - "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" - was the gospel preached by Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Isaiah. "Thus we find that the way of salvation has every age.”129

Speaking of Christ as the Mediator, Waggoner says:

"It should be understood that Christ's work as Mediator is not limited either as to time or extent...Christ was Mediator before sin came into the world, and will be Mediator when no sin is in the universe, and no need for expiation...He is, then, the means, medium, Mediator, the way, by which the light of life pervades the universe. He did not first become Mediator at the fall of man, but was such from eternity.”130

It is interesting to note that Waggoner here also indicates the eternity of Christ which could be an advancement on his 1890 position.131 In Waggoner's interpretation of the phrase 'after that faith is come' (Gal. 3:25), he takes the position that this refers not to a point in time but to one in experience.132 In this way he avoids two dispensations and has the work of Christ and the gospel maintain their uniformity in all times. He does also apply the phrase 'till the Seed should come' in a unique way as referring for its complete fulfillment to the second advent of Christ.133 Waggoner also sees the sacrifice of Christ as efficacious for all times: "It is 'through the eternal Spirit' that He offers Himself for us (Heb. 9:14), so that the sacrifice is equally present and efficacious in every age."134

In The Everlasting Covenant (1900),135 Waggoner again reiterates the truth that Christ is the Mediator of the covenant throughout the gospel dispensation which runs from Eden lost to Eden restored.136 Christ is the only means of salvation and no change in this method has been made by God.137 In the entire experience of Abraham and especially in the covenant which God made with him it is clear that Abraham saw Christ and believed in Him as his Savior. Waggoner believes that in Abraham's experience with Isaac, the patriarch perceived the reality of God's revelation in Christ and saw His death and resurrection.138In the experience of Jacob Christ is represented by the ladder connecting heaven and earth.139 Waggoner believed that Moses clearly understood the sacrifice of Christ for man and had such a knowledge of Christ as few other men have had. Moses gladly accepted the reproach of Christ.140 Waggoner was clear that Israel of old understood and knew Christ as a real and living Saviour.141 For him Calvary and Sinai are connected and linked by the presence of Jesus Christ.142

4. Christ Sinless but made Sin

In this period Waggoner proceeds with the almost paradoxical position that Christ came in sinful flesh with the same evil tendencies as all other flesh, and yet maintains the sinlessness of Christ. He sees Christ as born in sinful flesh and believes that if the flesh of Jesus was not like ours it would involve the idea of the immaculate conception.143 Strangely enough, after taking his stand on the similarity of Christ and all other men, Waggoner maintains that it was Christ's miraculous birth which neutralized the evil tendencies of His evil ancestry.144

Despite this picture of a Christ in sinful flesh possessing evil tendencies, Waggoner endeavors to maintain the sinlessness of Christ. He says that because Christ was sinless Satan could not have power over Christ's life and the grave could not hold Him captive. Because His life was untainted by sin He could not be held bondage to this evil world.145

In The Glad Tidings (1900) the problem of the sinful nature of Christ is not accentuated as much as in Waggoner's earlier Christ and His Righteousness (1890) and The Signs of the Times article, "God Manifest in the Flesh," of January 21, 1889. He presents Christ as without sin of His own and yet made sin for man. He says that these sins were not merely figuratively laid on Christ, but they were actually in Him.146 Waggoner also sees Christ continually bearing the sins of all men in an intimate association with mankind.147

5. The Internal and Immanent Christ

As this period progressed Christ became more and more immanent in Waggoner's thinking. More emphasis was placed upon an internalized Christ of the heart and the life than the Christ of history. The internal, existential crucifixion of Christ in the heart of the believer took on great importance. In fact, the distinction between Christ and all humanity became blurred, for Waggoner maintained that Christ dwells in all sinful human flesh awaiting only to be recognized by the awakened sinner. This whole tendency on the part of Waggoner grew slowly, gaining greater momentum around 1897 and flowering by 1900 when The Glad Tidings and The Eternal Covenant appeared.148

By 1900 Waggoner's emphasis on the immanent, internal Christ had become pronounced. One could defend Waggoner to some extent for a legitimate usage of Paul's concept of the abiding Christ in the life (See Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27).149However, Waggoner proceeds further to declare that Christ abides in the flesh of sinners. He says: "What a glorious thought that wherever sin is there is Christ, the Saviour from sin! He bears sin, all sin, the sin of the world. Sin is in all flesh, and so Christ is come in all flesh."150 Waggoner is clear that Christ dwells and abides in all men whether they recognize it or not. The very fact that we live is evidence that Christ is in all men. Sometimes the mere fact of living and breathing is the only evidence that Christ is there.151 For Waggoner, the internal experience of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is vital. He says: "A man may believe that Jesus was crucified eighteen hundred years ago, and may die in his sins; but he who believes that Christ is crucified and risen in him, has salvation."152

6. Christ Produces Sinless Living in Man

In Waggoner's emphasis on the Christ of the inner life he maintained that the power of Christ would be radically manifested in the believer. The power of the crucifixion and the resurrection would be demonstrated in the life. Christ's healing of the palsied man illustrated the powerful effect of the forgiveness of sins. Just as physical healing brought restoration, so forgiveness of sin would bring an eradication of evil from the heart and life. This power of Christ in the heart would bring about sinless living, perfect obedience and the conquering of all lust, for Christ would do the obeying rather than man.153

While Waggoner accepted that the corruptible and sinful body would remain with us until the end, he believed that God would demonstrate His perfection in man through the indwelling Christ. This demonstration of God's power and ability would be seen in a group of people before Christ returns at the end of time.154Christ is the power of God for He is the Creator and when Christ abides in the heart by faith this brings the power of God into the life of man.155 When Christ dwells in the heart of man He will be as obedient to the law as He was eighteen hundred years ago.156 Waggoner, furthermore, saw the internal Christ living the perfect life in place of the believer who exercised faith in Christ. Notice his words: "It is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us, and uses His own faith to deliver us from the power of Satan."157

7. The Blurring of Nature and Grace

It is important to notice the gradual merging in the thinking of Waggoner between the spiritual and the natural worlds. This blurring of grace and nature began almost imperceptibly like a tiny flow until it grew into a steady stream. No doubt, his very emphasis on the internal and immanent Christ abiding in all flesh contributed to this merging of the two realms. We notice an innocent reference to the similarity between redemption and creation in 1893.158 While this position is Scriptural it can also serve as a foundation for a progressive blurring of the spiritual and the natural realms. We observe a tendency in 1895 to equate the gospel, at least partially, with the revelation of God's power in the grass and flowers.159

Waggoner's book, The Gospel in Creation,160 while setting forth important spiritual truths from the natural world could very well indicate the beginnings of a path which might eventually lead Waggoner onto the slippery rocks of pantheism. Some have believed that the contents of this work might also reflect the message of 1888 but there is no evidence for this.161

In the Introduction to the book, Waggoner indicates that the reason why comfort and hope can be found in the Scriptures, and particularly the Old Testament, is because Christ is found in them. He maintains that the Old Testament contains the gospel. Creation is intricately related to Christ as Creator and to the gospel message.162

Waggoner devotes one chapter to each day of creation and draws spiritual lessons from each day's activities. In the first chapter he emphasizes that Christ is the Creator and gives Scriptural evidence for this. He maintains that Christ is inseparably connected with creation as Creator.163 By virtue of His power as Creator, Christ is set forth as Redeemer.164 As to whether redemption or creation are the greater, Waggoner believes that both are equal, for redemption is creation.165 It is only as we acknowledge and worship Christ as the Creator that we acknowledge His divinity. Only by faith does one get to know the alphabet and Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, even the entire alphabet of God.166 Christ is the Word and just as everything Was spoken into existence in the beginning, so Christ is the divine Word who speaks righteousness upon the sinner.167 Not only does Christ speak everything into existence, but He holds everything together as well. Christ is a Rock and as we build on the Rock we become part of Him.168 The word of God creates and upholds all things and the gospel is simply the creative power of God applied to men.169 Christ as Creator created light and He is light. The light of Christ's sinless life is to shine into the dark and evil hearts of mankind and this light of Christ is the only source of righteousness.170 Righteousness is only found in Christ and thus man can only live a righteous life if Christ, the light of the world, is abiding in him.171

For the second day Waggoner sees the clouds, the rain and the bow as symbolic of God's presence, grace and pardon. On the spiritual plane these are revealed to us in Jesus Christ.172 Christ, the Creator, who brought the sea into existence was able to control its raging waters when He was on earth, and the growth of plant life reminds us of Him who created this on the third day and is still able to control all physical and spiritual growth.173

The fourth day declares God's creative power in the heavens. The heavens, according to Waggoner, preach the gospel and reveal Christ as the light of the world. The sun reminds us that Christ is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. The heavens show forth the faithfulness of God and Christ is the faithful and true Witness. The saints will in the future shine as the stars which will be the flashing forth of the grace with which they were filled by the indwelling of Christ.174

God's providential care for the animal world created on the fifth day is illustrative of His care for man through Jesus Christ. While intense activity on the part of the creatures is evidenced, the gracious nature of God's gifts is reminiscent of the gifts of God by His Son.175 The creation of man on the sixth day from the dust of the ground is a reminder of man's frailty and weakness apart from God. Sin entered to mar the image of God in man but Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of God, is hope. Those who have a relation-ship with Christ can have real hope for they have life and beyond tomorrow is the hope of the resurrection and life everlasting.176

The final day of creation week saw the creation of the Sabbath. Christ made the Sabbath and, therefore, it is the Lord's day.177 As Christ is the only manifestation of God it must have been Christ who in the act of creation blessed and sanctified the Sabbath. That which celebrates creation also celebrates redemption and thus the Sabbath points us to Christ as Creator and Redeemer.178The works of creation show the power and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the Sabbath is a sign of the divinity of Christ.179 Moreover, true Sabbath rest can only be found for one who trusts in Christ. The Sabbath is a memorial of a perfect creation and also looks forward to a perfected world where Christ Himself will lead His people into eternal rest.180

In this manner Waggoner endeavored to tie Christ and the gospel into the very fabric of creation week. By 1897, when at the General Conference Session Waggoner presented eighteen studies on the book of Hebrews, his move towards a more pronounced blurring of grace and nature becomes apparent as we look back objectively from our vantage point.181 At the fourth lecture Waggoner was suggesting that "God's power is in everything," and that the gospel is found in the elements of nature.182 During the sixth lecture he again spoke of God's power in man and appeared to mingle grace and nature as he spoke of Christ in fallen man.183 We note Waggoner's interest in the close affinity between divinity and the natural world: "Look at the trees; we see the power and the divinity of God in the trees and grass, and in everything that God has made, and see it clearly, too."184 During the seventh lecture Waggoner again mingled the power of God and the natural world as he spoke of God's life in the grass. He said: "But what was that power? - God's own life, his own personal presence there, doing in the grass just what he designed for the grass; it was God that was working in it, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure."185

We continue to observe this tendency on the part of Waggoner to mingle grace and nature as he speaks of Christ and His presence in all of nature. Speaking during the eighth lecture on the nearness of Christ, he said: "Why? - Because the Lord Jesus is in everything that he has made. He upholds all things, because he is in them. He is cohesion even to inanimate nature."186 In the ninth lecture we find Waggoner again mingling Christ and nature as He identified Christ with light. He says that we should "simply drink in the light, and that is the life of Christ."187 In the closing lecture on the book of Hebrews, Waggoner again identified natural and moral law188 and spoke of God and Christ as a force manifest in all matter: "God himself is personally present in all his works. He himself is the energy that is manifest in all creation. God himself is force, the force that is manifest in all matter."189 After speaking of God as force and power Waggoner pointed out that Jesus Christ is the wisdom and the power of God. Was he here also implying that Jesus Christ is a force which fills all sinners and all nature? We have now completed our brief review of Waggoner's presentations at the 1897 General Conference Session.190

At the General Conference Session of 1899 Waggoner spoke on the gospel of health and the mingling of nature and grace is apparent as he spoke of Christ and literal bread as well as natural air and the Holy Spirit. Speaking of removing from our tables everything that is corrupted he said: "Whoever really recognizes Christ in the bread, ought to cut off every-thing from his table that which is not purely of Christ, and that does not have the pure life of Christ in it."191 In Waggoner's message on the water of life at the same session we find that Waggoner continued with the blurring of the distinction between the natural and the spiritual worlds as he spoke of water and righteousness.192

In The Everlasting Covenant (1900) we continue to see evidences of this mingling of grace and nature. Waggoner discovers the life of Christ in all creation including our water and our daily bread. Christ is our life and apart from Him there is no life "so that wherever there is any life there is evidence of the presence of God in Christ."193 After referring to Romans 1:20 where God's power and divinity are seen in the things that are made, Waggoner declares that here again we are brought face to face with the actual presence of Christ in all creation.194 In commenting on the experience at Horeb where the Lord gave the Israelites water, Waggoner indicates that if they had accepted Him by faith in this incident "His Real Presence would have been in them by means of the water which they drank, as well as by the food that they ate. "195

In this work under consideration, Waggoner sees the communion bread, not as a representation or symbol of the body of Christ, but the actual body of Christ. Although the bread of the Lord's supper was the ordinary bread eaten in every Jewish home, it was nothing else than the body of Christ. Waggoner finds this unequivocal in the words, "This is my body." He says: "So in the Lord's supper we partake of the body of Christ, and not a mere representation of His body."196

Finally, we mention that at the1901 General Conference Session Waggoner again showed his deep interest in his conviction that nature and grace should not be separated. In discussing the Biblical statement, "God is light," Waggoner stated that he believed this just as it read. He did not trouble his mind to differentiate between 'spiritual' or 'literal' or 'figurative' language, but accepted the Biblical statement at face value.197 In this same message he indicated that light, food, drink and air are all manifestations of the life of God.198 Thus we have seen Waggoner's growing interest in the relationship between redemption and creation commencing imperceptibly in 1893 and having become pronounced and all-absorbing in 1901.

We have now given consideration to Waggoner's Christology during the first half of the third period, namely, 1892-1903. Waggoner continued to give prominence to the divinity of Christ as he had done throughout the first two periods. In this respect there was no fundamental change. He likewise maintained his convictions on Christ as the only means of salvation. His usual clarity regarding the unity of Christ's work in Old and New Testament times is evident. Regarding Christ and sin, Waggoner proceeded along former lines that Jesus Christ was sinless although coming in sinful flesh. Here we have some tension in a Christ in sinful flesh subject to evil tendencies and yet sinless because of His miraculous birth. Whatever the intricacies of the humanity of Christ might be, these are overshadowed by the implications of Waggoner's emphasis on Christ's divinity. During this period we found a growing interest and concern for the internal and immanent Christ. This naturally led Waggoner to the belief that an indwelling Christ would produce sinless living in man, even if it called for the overshadowing of man's personality. We finally discovered that Waggoner's interest in the immanent Christ was a part of his larger concern for the blending and mingling of all aspects of deity with nature.

8. The Christology of the Declining Years199

During this second sub-division of the last period we will look at two sources as we continue our investigation of Waggoner's Christology. The first will be periodical articles during 1903-1905 and secondly, a document entitled the "Confession of Faith" written by Waggoner shortly before his death in 1916.200

a. Periodical Articles, 1903-1905

In perusing these articles we discover that Waggoner's Christology was basically the same now as during the latter part of the 19th century and the early 1900's. The transitional period was roughly from 1893-1897201 and beyond the latter date there was no marked change in his Christology.

The articles in the periodicals from 1903-1905 reveal at least five aspects of the nature of the person and work of Christ in Waggoner's thinking. Firstly, Waggoner presents Christ as sinless at least in action, and in fact has little to say regarding the sinful nature of Christ. He indicates that our sinful natures make it impossible for us to judge others. Yet despite this we may work for the salvation of sinners. The work of the gospel has been committed to sinners, so much so that even He "who knew no sin had to be made sin for us, in order that He might save us from sin," therefore, Waggoner says that "we have no divine warrant for judging, for Christ, the sinless One, did not cast stones."202 Here we have Waggoner's balance between a Christ who "knew no sin," called "the sinless One," and yet "made sin" for us.

Secondly, Waggoner presents Christ as the power of God and the One who is equal with the Father, claiming the attributes and appellations of the Godhead. Waggoner speaks of the life-giving power that flowed from Christ when He healed the sick. In describing the healing of the woman with the blood affliction (Mark 5:24-34), he writes: "The power, the life that went out from Jesus, went into the woman."203 Waggoner indicates that the fullness of the power of the universe was manifested in Christ bodily while He was on earth.204 He also refers to the divine nature of Christ being infinite.205

In this same connection we find that Waggoner ascribes the names of deity to Christ. He discusses the significance of the "I AM" appellation for Christ's person.206 He also refers to Christ as the 'Word of God,’207 the 'Creator' and the 'Amen,' 208 the ‘Lifegiver’209 and the 'Power of God.' 210When Waggoner discusses the Lord's prayer one senses his conviction on the equality of the Father and the Son in his treatment of the phrase 'Hallowed be Thy name.'

Thirdly, Waggoner continues to reveal a lack of sharp distinction between the life of Christ and the life manifest in the natural world. We have already given evidence for this in his Christology of the latter part of the 19th century.211This merging of deity and nature on the part of Waggoner continued to be a feature of his Christology. For example, he indicates that the light that shines is but the shining forth of God's glory and that when Christ said He was the light of the world He meant it literally. In describing Christ's healing of the blind man, Waggoner states that when Christ said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12) He meant "that He is the light that shines from the sun; that He is the light that shines in the daylight, in the starlight."212

Furthermore, Waggoner mingles the life of Christ with the plants and the vines of the natural world. In speaking of Christ as the vine he could say: "He [Christ] is the parent stock whence all vines on earth spring; and therefore when that same night He took the cup containing the fruit of the vine, He could say, 'This is my blood.'"213 From his treatment of the communion bread and the body of Christ214 we would assume that Waggoner is likewise stressing the identity between the fruit of the vine and the blood of Christ.

Fourthly, Waggoner shows continued emphasis on the existential nature of the cross and resurrection experience in his treatment of the work of Christ. Not that he would reject the reality of the cross and its significance, but it would appear that his interest was primarily in the existential application of the cross experience in the heart of the believer.215 Lastly, we note that Waggoner continued to lay stress on the internal and immanent Christ as he did in the period from 1893-1903,216 which appears to harmonize with his views concerning the identity of deity and nature and the existential nature of the cross.217

b. The "Confession of Faith"

This brief document found on Waggoner's desk after his death in 1916 does reflect the basic issues of his Christology at the close of his life.

Waggoner set forth the fundamental truth that Christ is the Word of God and is the revelation of God to this world. This revelation must be seen as central to the Scriptures and a failure to find Christ thus revealed indicates a faulty hermeneutic.218

According to Waggoner God is first revealed to us in Scripture as the Creator in Christ. Christ as the living Word spoke everything into existence and the truth of Christ's creative power is foundational for Christ as Redeemer.219 Whether speaking of creation or the power of re-creation in redemption, Christ is the Mediator - the medium through whom the work is accomplished.220

Very clear is Waggoner's expression of the uniformity of the work of Christ and the gospel throughout all times. He takes a very strong anti-dispensational stance and finds the same Christ operative in the lives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament as in the saints of New Testament times.221

In this last testament of Waggoner he appears to present the paradox of Christ taking the nature "of sinful man”222 and yet offering a “perfect life - a life free from sin,...”

Waggoner presents Jesus Christ as occupying the triple office of Prophet, Priest and King simultaneously and concurrently from eternity rather than consecutively. Christ has always been Prophet in that He is the Living Word who has always spoken for God. Waggoner sees Christ as the mouthpiece of Divinity. He sees Christ as Heir and King long before Bethlehem for He was born to the throne from His "goings forth." He likewise sees Christ's Priesthood reaching back at least from the foundation of the earth and bases this on the experiences of Abraham, David and Isaiah.223

In this final statement of Waggoner the existential nature of the cross relative to the work of Christ stands out very strongly. He repeats his conviction that the cross of Calvary profits us nothing unless it is erected in our own hearts and we are thus crucified with Him. Waggoner understands Paul to indicate that "we do not find Christ in heaven or in the grave, but only within, crucified and risen again in our own hearts."224

Waggoner sees the gift of God's life which since the fall comes by the way of the cross of Christ as the great fact of eternity and not simply the event of a day.225 God is always giving and the cross is the method of giving during the time of sin. Thus, Waggoner sees the cross as an ever-present reality for all men and not as something confined to Palestine nineteen hundred years ago. He believed that no one ever had to look either backward or forward, but only upward and within, to find the cross.226

Thus ends Waggoner's contribution to the Christology of Adventism. It has been an important and controversial one and it now awaits our evaluation and critique.


111 In England Waggoner and his family lived in London. While editor of The Present Truth, he also had charge of the church work in North London, and was also engaged in conducting Sunday night evangelistic services and general evangelism in many parts of England. Throughout his stay in England he was busy with editorial, ministerial and evangelistic work. His daughter reports that her father was a member of a male quartet which often sang at general meetings. About 1895, Waggoner, along with A T Jones, made a trip through Turkey. In 1897 he spent a summer leading out as a Bible Instructor at the new and large school at Frederickshaven, Denmark. In 1899 Waggoner helped out at the Lausanne campmeeting in Switzerland. In 1901 he co-operated with Professor Homer Salisbury and his wife in starting the first Adventist school in England. School was held in Duncombe Hall, North London, and Waggoner taught Bible. This school was later transferred and built up at Watford. In 1902 he spent two or three months teaching Bible at Skodsborg Sanitarium, Denmark, Just before returning to the U.S.A., Waggoner again spent a short time in 1903 teaching in Denmark. See Pearl Waggoner Howard, "Dr Ellet Joseph Waggoner, Biographical Sketch and Background."  [back]

112 We have observed that in 1905 Waggoner was divorced from his wife and the following year was married to Miss Edith Adams. These events resulted in Waggoner's severance from church employment and hence we have spoken of his declining years of influence in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  [back]

113 E. J. Waggoner, "The Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ," The Present Truth, January 9, 1896. For Waggoner's application of the 'I AM' passages to Christ see the following: "True Education," The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference, Vol. 8, No. 7, February 23, 1899, pp.70-72; "The Wondrous Name," The Present Truth, Vol. 15, No. 18, May 4, 1899; General Conference Bulletin, Vol. 1V, Extra No. 10, April 14, 1901, pp. 220-224. See also "Studies in the book of Hebrews No. 1,2," The Daily Bulletin, 1897, pp.6-9; 23-26.  [back]

114 For the above thoughts see Waggoner, "The Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ," The Present Truth, Vol. 12, No. 2, January 9, 1896, pp.17-19. We observe the similarity in Waggoner's basic views on the divinity of Christ running right through from 1884 (see footnotes 16-21; 57-74 of this chapter). [back

115 E. J. Waggoner, "How to Get Knowledge," Apples of Gold Library, No. 4, Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing Co., September, 1893. [back

116 E. J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1900. From the earliest years of his editorial work the epistle to the Galatians had been a fruitful source for Waggoner. Even before Minneapolis (1888) while editor of The Signs of the Times many of his editorials touched on the themes of Galatians. During July and August, 1886, he wrote a series of nine editorials on Galatians 3. Then we have his reply to Butler dated February 10, 1887, entitled The Gospel in the Book of Galatians, a 71-page pamphlet which was distributed almost two years later. This pamphlet is not as comprehensive as his 1900 The Glad Tidings. The pamphlet confines itself to certain themes in the epistle such as the relationship between circumcision and righteousness, justification by faith in Christ alone, salvation through Christ alone in all dispensations, the centrality of the moral law in the epistle, the seed that should come, the phrase 'under the law' and Christ's position in the Incarnation relative to that term. From November 1898 to May 1899 Waggoner placed a series of twenty-one articles on Galatians in The Signs of the Times. These messages became the basis of The Glad Tidings. [back
117 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.13. [back

118  Ibid. [back

119 Note Waggoner's words: "Now Christ is the truth (John 14:6-, and He is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:24), and the Divinity of God (John 1:1)" (Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.35). [back

120 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.52. [back

121 We note Waggoner's thought: "Truth for Christ, who is the shining of His glory, very impress of His substance (Heb. 1:3), is (John 14:6)" (Ibid., p.67). [back

122 Waggoner writes as follows: "Jesus of Nazareth was 'the manifestation of Christ in the flesh;' but the flesh was not Christ, for 'the flesh profitteth nothing.' It is the Word which was in the beginning, and whose power upholds all things, that is the Christ of God... While Christ was going about doing good in Judea and Galilee, He was in the bosom of the Father making reconciliation for the sins of the world" (Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, pp.90.91). [back]  >

123 We found this same thought in Waggoner's Christ and His Righteousness of 1890 (see footnote 72 of this chapter). In 1900 Waggoner appears to be even more outspoken in this regard. [back

124 See Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.66. [back

125 See Ibid., p.95. [back

126 Waggoner comments: "But remember this one thing, when you seek to turn a man away from Christ to some substitute for Christ, you cannot tell where he will end...If a converted drunkard loses faith in Christ, he will take up his drinking habits as surely as he lives, even though the Lord may have taken the appetite away from him" (Ibid., p.176). [back]  >

127 See Waggoner, "Judaism and Christianity," in The Signs of the Times, August 1, 1895. Waggoner sees 'Judaism' as it developed by New Testament times as a perversion of the intent of the Old Testament. He writes: "The religion of the Old Testament is the religion of Jesus Christ" (The Glad Tidings, p.39). [back

128 Waggoner, "They Can Not Be Separated," The Signs of the Times, September 19, 1895. [back

129 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, pp.28,29. Note also: "The Gospel differs in no particular now from what it was in Abraham's day: for his day was the day of Christ. John 8:56" (Ibid., p.106). Further: "The Gospel was as full and complete in the days of Abraham as it has ever been or ever will be" (Ibid., p.136). [back

130  Ibid., p.141. [back

131 See footnotes 73 and 74 of this chapter. In 1889 and 1890 Waggoner presented the Father as first in point of time. In other words, Christ had a beginning even though in the distant past. [back]

132 See Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, pp.151,152. [back

133 See Ibid., pp.157,161. Here we are reminded of his same view presented in 1887 when he wrote to G. I. Butler on the gospel in Galatians. See footnotes 25, 26 in this chapter. [back

134 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.168. [back]  >

135 For details see footnote 1 of this chapter. [back

136 Note Waggoner's words: "But the Scriptures teach us that 'The gospel dispensation' or 'gospel age' is from Eden lost to Eden restored" (The Everlasting Covenant, p.341). [back

137 Waggoner states that from the days of Adam and Eve to the present there "has been no more change in the plan of salvation, nor in God's requirements for salvation, nor in the number to whom salvation was offered, than there has been in God Himself..." (Ibid., p.353). [back

138 Waggoner sees in the transaction between Abraham and Melchizedek evidence that Abraham saw Christ's day (see Ibid., p.64); when Abraham believed the Lord and it was counted unto him as righteousness, he must have believed in Christ, for righteousness is only found in Jesus Christ (see Ibid., pp.68,69); Waggoner believed that in the experience of Abraham and Isaac it was Abraham's faith in Jesus Christ as the resurrection that gave him strength for the ordeal (see Ibid., p.100,101);see also Ibid., pp.302,341. [back

139 See Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, p.138. [back

140 See Ibid., p.166. [back

141 Waggoner says: "Christ was as really present with them as He is with us. They could endure as seeing Him who is invisible, and we can do no more" (The Everlasting Covenant, p.200). Waggoner sees all the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection as operative from the foundation of the world. [back

142 Waggoner sees Jesus Christ as revealing the holiness of the law of God at both Calvary and at Sinai. At Calvary this was seen in His death and at Sinai in His proclamation of the precepts (see The Everlasting Covenant, p.311). [back

143 In a sermon given on April 16, 1901, at the General Conference Session, Waggoner discusses the question of the birth of Christ from the Virgin Mary. He states that the flesh of Christ must have been the same as all other men and must have been sinful flesh. (See General Conference Bulletin, Vol. IV, Extra, No. 17, April 22, 1901, pp.403-408). In a sermon at the same session on April 6, 1901, Waggoner reiterates that Christ came in sinful flesh so that God could demonstrate what His eternal power could do for any man. (See Ibid., Vol. IV, Extra, No. 6, April 9, 1901, pp.145-150). [back

144 See Waggoner, "The Miraculous Birth," The Present Truth, December 20, 1900. One does wonder whether it is possible to hold together a Christ with sinful flesh possessing evil tendencies from an evil ancestry, and at the same time, a spotless Christ as a result of a 'miraculous birth'? When Waggoner goes on to state that godly parents could also, through the power of the Holy Spirit, give birth to a similar child, one wonders if the unique distinction between the birth of Christ and all other children is not destroyed. [back

145 Waggoner states: "Sin had spent all its force on Him, and had not marred Him in the least. It had not made a single blot upon His character. His was a sinless life, and therefore the grave could have no power over Him" ("Life in Christ," The Signs of the Times, Vol. 19, No. 19, March 13, 1893, p.292). For a similar thought see also "The Unconquerable Life," The Signs of the Times, March 27, 1893, p.323. See also Waggoner's position on the sinlessness of Christ in 1900; "Christ alone is righteous; He has overcome the world, and He alone has power to do it; in Him dwelleth all the fullness of God, because the law - God Himself - was in His heart;" (The Glad Tidings, 1900, p.80). While the law is an expression of the nature of God we would question Waggoner's extreme equation of the law with God Himself. [back

146 Waggoner does not see this as a superficial work. The sins were 'in His body' and Christ was made a curse for us. While He "knew no sin" He was actually made to be sin for us and yet was personally untainted by it. (See The Glad Tidings, pp.117,11.) See also Ibid., p.238. [back

147 Waggoner has Christ continually bearing sin in an existential relation with the sinner: "Christ is crucified in the sinner, for wherever there is sin and the curse, there is Christ bearing it" (The Glad Tidings, p.89). [back

148 In 1893 there was a legitimate emphasis on the Christ of the heart. Note: "When Christ is abiding in us, we are justified by faith, and we have His life abiding in us" ("Life in Christ," The Signs of the Times, March 13, 1893); see also "The New Life in Christ," The Bible Echo, March 1, 1893. However, as early as 1893 there are some seed thoughts which indicate Waggoner's possible predilection towards an over-emphasis on the immanent Christ. He was speaking of the mystery of the Incarnation being manifested again today in the lives of men. (See "Good Works," The Signs of the Times, March 20, 1893.) See this same idea in 1891 under footnote 101. He spoke of the internal Christ taking over the personality "so that the one person is not us but Christ" ("Baptism-Its Significance," The Bible Echo, February 15, 1893). At the 1897 General Conference Session E. J. Waggoner gave a series of 18 studies on the epistle to the Hebrews, recorded in the General Conference Bulletin (1897). This emphasis on the immanent Christ becomes quite apparent. Note, for example, in the study given on Monday afternoon, February 15, 1897, Waggoner discusses Romans 10:6-10 and says: "Christ has come in the flesh, my flesh. Why? Is it because I am so good? - 0, no; for there is no good flesh for Christ to come into. Christ has come in the flesh, in every man's flesh" ("Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 6," The Daily Bulletin, pp.70,71). Also: "What life therefore is manifested everywhere in the universe? - The life of Christ...that very same life is in me, and confess it and believe it, everything that that life can do is mine" ("Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 7," The Daily Bulletin, p.88). See also The Daily Bulletin, pp.103,104 (study No. 8); also "Studies in Hebrews - No. 18," General Conference Bulletin, 1897, p.11. [back

149 For example, when Waggoner says: "In that Christ is given to every man, each person gets the whole of Him...So the life of Christ lights every man that comes into the world, and in every believing heart Christ dwells in all His fullness" (The Glad Tidings, pp.16,17). [back

150 Waggoner, Salvation in Jesus Christ, Apples of Gold Library, No. 64, October 1899, p.4. See also General Conference Bulletin, Vol. IV, Extra No. 3, April 5, 1901, p.81, where he speaks of Christ "taking on Himself sinful flesh, coming into your flesh and mine, abiding there, standing there, enduring all the shame that we heap upon him" waiting for the sinner to turn on the connection. [back

151 See Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.35.Further to the thought that Christ dwells personally in all flesh, Waggoner says: "We do not make it so by believing it; it is so, whether we believe it or not, we simply accept the fact, which all nature reveals to us" (Ibid., p.81). The only difference is that in the sinner Christ is unrecognized in the life while the Christian accepts His presence by faith (Ibid., p.89). In The Everlasting Covenant (1900) Waggoner asks what is the difference between a sinner and a Christian if Christ is in all men. He says the difference is only one of faith. "It makes all the difference in the world, whether Christ is in a man simply as His life is in the brutes, or whether He dwells in the heart by faith" (See pp.248,249). [back

152 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.88. See also Salvation in Jesus Christ, Apples of Gold Library, No. 64, October 1899, p.4. Waggoner says that the cross cannot be separated from us. No one was ever saved simply by looking forward or backward to a cross where Christ was erected. The cross must be internalized. For the same thought in 1891 see footnote 108. See also The Glad Tidings, p.84; Salvation in Jesus Christ, October 1899, p.3. While it is legitimate to internalize the cross existentially, one must guard against neglecting the importance of the historical events of Christ's life and death. [back

153 Illustrative of this emphasis on the power of the indwelling Christ are Waggoner's two articles in The Bible Echo, entitled, "The Power of the Resurrection" (August 1, 1893) and "The Power of Forgiveness" (November 1, 1893). In the first article Waggoner states that we are to know the resurrection of Christ, not as a historical event eighteen hundred years ago, but as a present reality which gives us forgiveness and victory over sin. In the second article Waggoner equates the forgiveness of sins with an effective justification where the sinner receives actual power in forgiveness. Furthermore, the life of Christ in the believer will demonstrate the same power as in His life. His life in us will be as strong to resist sin as when He lived in Judea (see "The New Life in Christ," The Bible Echo, March 1, 1893; compare a similar thought in 1891, "Letter to the Romans - No. 10," p.19). See also "Christ the Life-Giver," The Signs of the Times, June 5, 1893. Waggoner sees the gospel as "the revelation of the power of God to work righteousness in men" ("What is the Gospel?" The Bible Echo, May 1,1893). He accepts that the perfect life of Jesus will be reproduced in all the true church ("The Spirit of Prophecy," The Daily Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 2, February 17, 1899, pp.13,14). [back

154 Waggoner writes: "Before the end comes, and at the time of the coming of Christ, there must be a people on earth, not necessarily large in proportion to the number of inhabitants of earth, but large enough to be known in all the earth, in whom 'all the fullness of God' will be manifest even as it was in Jesus of Nazareth. God will demonstrate to the world that what He did with Jesus of Nazareth He can do with anyone who will yield to Him" (The Everlasting Covenant, 1900, p.366). For similar thoughts see also, sermon, April 6, 1901, General Conference Bulletin, Vol. IV, Extra No. 61, April 9, 1901, p.147; "The Gospel of the Kingdom," European Conference Bulletin, 1902, pp.62-64.

155 See Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, pp.26,27. See also "The Work of the Gospel," The Bible Echo, June 15, 1893; "The Power given to God's People," The Bible Echo, July 1, 1893. [back

156 Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, p.346. See also Ibid., p.367. Waggoner further says that with Christ dwelling in our bodies "we have the instant and continual victory over every lust of the flesh" ("Suffering in the Flesh," The Present Truth, Vol. 17, No. 7, February 17, 1901). [back

157 Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p.92. Notice further: "He redeems us by coming into our place literally, and taking our load off our shoulders...We drop out entirely, so that it is 'not I, but Christ'" (Ibid., pp.168.169). He sees Christ dwelling in us "exercising His own faith" (Ibid., p.81). Waggoner continues: "He lives in us also the fullness of His life, so that it is no more we but Christ living in us, and then His obedience in us makes us righteous" (Ibid., p.113). Is there not a danger here that the mystical Christ will make the human personality dormant and expendable? [back

158 Waggoner wrote: "Redemption is the same power that was put forth in the beginning to create the world and all that is in it, now put forth to save men and the earth from the curse of sin" ("Creative Powers," The Bible Echo, December 8, 1893).

159 Speaking of the growth of the grass and the flowers and the reception of God's gifts resulting in the returning of the fruits, Waggoner says: "That is the Gospel" ("God's Glory His Gospel," The Signs of the Times, July 25, 1895). [back

160 Waggoner, The Gospel in Creation, London: International Tract Society, 1895. [back

161 0n the back cover of the facsimile reproduction of Waggoner's book, Christ and His Righteousness (1890), printed in 1972 by the Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee, appears this statement: "Following this conference [1888], Dr Waggoner edited the messages he had presented, and published them in three books: Christ and His Righteousness (1890);.. The Gospel in Creation (1894); and The Glad Tidings (1900)." Incidentally, our original copy of The Gospel in Creation carries the date 1895, but regardless of the date, there is no substantial evidence that The Gospel in Creation forms the basis of the 1888 conference messages. See footnote 56 of this chapter.  [back

162 Waggoner, The Gospel in Creation, pp.7-12. [back

163  Ibid., pp.13-15. [back

164  Ibid., p.15. [back

165  Ibid., p.16. [back

166  Ibid., pp.18.19. [back

167 Ibid., p.27. [back

168  Ibid., pp.30-42. [back

169  Ibid., pp.43,44. [back

170 Waggoner, The Gospel in Creation, pp.46-52. [back

171  Ibid., pp.55-61. [back

172  Ibid., pp.62-76. [back

173  Ibid., pp.77-104. [back

174  Ibid., pp.105-124. [back

175 Waggoner, The Gospel in Creation, pp.125-133. [back

176  Ibid., pp.134-144. [back

177  Ibid., p.147. [back

178  Ibid., p.150. [back

179  Ibid., p.151. [back

180  Ibid., pp.154-169. [back

181 Ellen White was in Australia at the time and was not present at the session. It is known that Dr. John Harvey Kellogg shared some of the same sentiments with Dr. E. J. Waggoner. To what extent other ministers and leaders were conscious of any problem in Waggoner's presentations at this time is not clear. According to David McMahon, Robert Haddock is the first scholar to have detected Waggoner's so-called pantheism at the 1897 General Conference Session (McMahon, E. J. Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, p.148). See Robert Haddock, "A History of the Doctrine of the Sanctuary in the Advent Movement: 1800-1905," B. D. thesis, Andrews University, 1970. The general understanding has been that it was Dr. J. H. Kellogg who introduced pantheistic ideas during his talks at the 1897 General Conference Session which then influenced Waggoner to move in that direction later. Arthur White has written: "Dr. Kellogg was also at this session and spoke frequently and then introduced his pantheistic views - views which were to have a far-reaching influence on Elder Waggoner" (Arthur White, "Compilation on E. J. Waggoner," p.9, available from White Estate). Evidence from Waggoner's own presentations of his 18 studies on Hebrews indicates that he hardly needed any introduction to pantheistic ideas from Dr. Kellogg!  [back]

182 After stating that God's presence is in fallen humanity and that the stamp of the cross is upon everything, Waggoner said: "He simply means that everywhere we go, and everything we have to do, and everything we eat, and the air we breathe, - through these he is simply preaching the gospel to us, giving the gospel to us" ("Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 4," The Daily Bulletin, 1897, p.46). [back]

183 Waggoner wrote: "He is brought face to face with the power of God in him, keeping him alive. It is Christ in fallen man, it is Christ in cursed man, it is Christ with the curse on him, it is Christ crucified" ("Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 6," The Daily Bulletin, p.71). [back]

184 Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 6," The Daily Bulletin, p.72. [back]

185 See Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews No. 7," The Daily Bulletin, 1897, p.87. In the same lecture he spoke of natural law and moral law and asked whether there was any difference. He went on to say: "Then what are called natural laws are simply the life of God manifested in the things we see, -...It is the same life in the grass, in the vine, in the oak tree" (Ibid., p.88). [back]

186 See Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 8," The Daily Bulletin, 1891, p.102. He goes on to say that it is the personal, powerful presence of God that keeps the mountains together..."because God is there with his personal power" (Ibid.). [back]

187 Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 9," The Daily Bulletin, p.159. In the same lecture he had said: "Christ is the Sun of righteousness. We are to be trees of righteousness, therefore the sun that is shining upon us is the Sun of righteousness, and that is not far removed from the sunshine that we see, because that teaches us of it" (Ibid., p.158). To draw a lesson from light and the sun regarding Christ is in order, but the general tendencies of these studies indicates a closer mingling of the elements of grace and nature than is usual. [back]

188 Waggoner, "Studies in the Book of Hebrews - No. 18," General Conference Bulletin, 1891, p.13. [back]

189 Ibid. [back]

190 It is significant to note that in the eighteen studies on the book of Hebrews, presented by Waggoner at the 1897 General Conference Session, he only covered certain aspects of the first four chapters of the epistle. Some have asked the question as to why Waggoner failed to get into some of the chapters such as seven to ten dealing with aspects of the sanctuary service which are so important in the thinking and the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. David P. McMahon suggests that it was because he no longer believed in a literal sanctuary in heaven nor in its "cleansing" through the intercession of Christ. He bases this assertion, of course, on Waggoner's "Confession of Faith" found at the time of his death. See David P. McMahon, Ellet Joseph Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, p.147. For his treatment of the 1897 General Conference Session and the pantheism of Waggoner see Ibid., pp.147-159. Robert Wieland does not accept Waggoner's statement in his "Confession" of 1916, with regard to his having given up the sanctuary doctrine some twenty-five years earlier, as fully reliable. See his arguments in footnote 257. On these grounds Wieland makes a suggestion as to Waggoner's intentions: "What he should have said in 1916 was that as early as 1891 he began to be tempted to doubt the doctrine. But it is hardly fair to say that he yielded to this temptation while he was publicly teaching it" (Wieland, The 1888 Message, An Introduction, p.158). [back]

191 Waggoner, The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference, Vol. VIII, No. 7, February 23, 1899, p.58. He likewise spoke of the wonderful connection between the air we breathe and the Holy Spirit and said: "When a man knows and recognizes that every breath he draws is a direct breathing of God into his nostrils, he lives in the presence of God, and has a Spirit-filled life" (Ibid.).  [back]

192 Note Waggoner's thought: "0, I delight in drinking water, as I never have before: I delight in bathing. Why, I come right to the throne of God. A man may get righteousness in bathing, when he knows where the water comes from, and recognizes the source" ("The Water of Life," The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference, Vol. 8, No. 8, February 24, 1899, p.80). For further details on Waggoner's presentations at the 1899 General Conference Session see McMahon, Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, pp.159-165. [back]

193 Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, p.247. [back]

194 Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, p.248. [back]

195 Ibid., p.271. He goes on to say that if we do not see God's own life and His Spirit in the water He gives us now we would fail to see anything wonderful in the river of life if we get to heaven. See Ibid., p.275. [back]

196  Ibid., p.254. It is interesting to note that Waggoner rejects the Roman Catholic conception of transubstantiation on the grounds that the priest does not change the bread into the body of Christ as it is that already (see Ibid., p.255). He also sees no substantial difference between the communion bread and our daily bread except that the Lord's supper is a public profession of faith that we only have life in Christ and that we receive His life in the food He gives us to eat (Ibid., 256). [back]

197 See Waggoner, General Conference Bulletin, Vol. IV, Extra No. 10, April 14, 1901, p.221. [back]

198 Note his words: "The wind that blows, the air that surrounds the earth, is the breath of God, and He is breathing it upon us day by day and month by month" (Ibid., p.222). For more details on Waggoner's participation in the 1901 General Conference Session see McMahon, Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, pp.165-171. [back]

199 The term 'declining years' does not refer to age or lack of mental ability. It has reference to Waggoner's relationship to the church and its leadership largely as a result of his developing theological ideas. Here we have in mind not only the merging of the natural and the spiritual realms but particularly the teaching of 'spiritual affinity' - that is, that one not rightfully a marriage partner here might be one in the life to come, and that this allows a present spiritual union. Evidently, in the years after the General Conference Session of 1897, where Waggoner had presented his lectures on Hebrews, he began to promulgate his ideas of 'spiritual affinity' in England. He came to the 1901 General Conference Session "enthused with what" he "supposed to be precious spiritual light" (E. G. White Letter 224, 1908).In this same letter, Ellen White in speaking of Waggoner's experience in 1901 said: "Dr Waggoner was then departing from the faith in the doctrine he held regarding spiritual affinities" (Ibid.). It would appear that while in England, Waggoner had been spreading these ideas abroad. Ellen White wrote in 1906: "In the European field for a long time he has sown seeds that have borne and will bear evil fruit, leading some to depart from the faith, and to give heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of satanic origin" (E. G. White Letter 121, 1906). Ellen White had warned Waggoner of becoming infatuated with another woman back in 1903 (see E. G. White Letter 231, 1903, cited in Medical Ministry, pp.100,101). As we have noted, Waggoner's wife divorced her husband in 1905 and in 1906 Waggoner married Miss Edith Adams. [back]

200 This manuscript was the last thing written by Dr. E. J. Waggoner, and was found on his desk after his death which took place suddenly, May 28, 1916. See footnote 5 of this chapter. [back]

201 It is interesting to note that McMahon speaks of Waggoner being in theological transition much earlier, in fact, between 1889 -1891 (see Ellet Joseph Waggoner: The Myth and the Man, pp.93 -116). We prefer to place this later and see the transition time in his theology as from 1893 -1897. [back]

202 See Waggoner, "Saving, Not Stoning, Sinners," Medical Missionary, January 1905, pp. 2,3. Speaking of the one sacrifice on the cross for sin, Waggoner refers to the atonement which Christ made when He took the sins of the world upon Himself: "The sin of all the world was upon him who upholds the worlds; and so, in giving himself, he atoned for the sins of the world" ("Daily Bread," Medical Missionary, May 1904, p.162). It is good to hear Waggoner speaking of what sounds like an objective atonement on the cross rather than a mystical atonement in the heart. [back]

203 Waggoner, "He Bore our Sicknesses," Medical Missionary, Vol. 14, No. 4, April 1905, p.100. He says that in healing the woman and other sick persons Christ laid down His life just as surely as when He hung upon the cross of Calvary (Ibid., October 1903, p.254). Is Waggoner not here in danger of losing the uniqueness of the death of Christ upon the cross of Calvary or at least of mystifying it? He speaks of Christ demonstrating resurrection and overcoming power in His person (see Ibid., November 1904, p. 352). This power was manifested whether Jesus healed or saved (see Ibid., September 1903, p.222). [back]

204 See Waggoner, "The Gospel of the Kingdom," General Conference Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 5, April 3, 1903, p.69. [back]

205  Ibid. [back]

206 See Waggoner, "Co-workers with God," Medical Missionary, April 1903, pp.93,94. He further equates the names 'Lord,' 'Jehovah,' 'Living One,' and 'I AM' in discussing Psalm 23:1 (see "Daily Bread for Christian Workers," Medical Missionary, June 1904, p.194). [back]

207 Waggoner, Medical Missionary, September 1904, p.285. [back]

208  Ibid., p.283. [back]

209  Ibid., November 1904, p.349. [back]

210 Waggoner, Review and Herald, January 6, 1903, [back]

211 Notice especially footnotes 184-189 in this chapter which deal with Waggoner's concept of Christ and the natural world. [back]

212 See Waggoner, The Medical Missionary, September 1933, p.222. Notice further: "This was not a theoretical thing, a mere figment of the mind, which some people would call 'spiritual light,' or 'mental light,' but real light that is visible to the natural eye" (Ibid.). See also Ibid., June 1904, p.196; September 1904, p.284; May 1905, p.130. [back]

213 Waggoner, Medical Missionary, December 1904, p.391. For further examples of this mingling of deity and creation life note the following: Waggoner says that the glory of God may be seen in every wayside plant as truly as at Cana of Galilee or at the grave of Lazarus (The Medical Missionary, May 1904, p.161); He sees the rain and water as the flowing forth of the stream of God's own life and as therefore literally God's righteousness (Ibid., December 1904, p.382); further examples of this tendency are when Waggoner says: "Christianity is pure science" (Medical Missionary, September 1903, p.222), and "Redemption is creation" (Ibid., May 1904, p.162). Sensing the charge of pantheism around 1903 Waggoner defended himself by stating that unless one accepted that God's personal life was manifest in all persons and all plant life one would have no alternative but to state the heathen idea that God's life is one thing and the life in plants and the natural world is another form of life, namely, creature life. (The Medical Missionary, September 1903, p.223). See also Ibid., November 1903, p.300. [back]

214 See footnote 196 of this chapter. [back]

215 We note Waggoner's treatment of the cross of Christ and its importance for salvation. See General Conference Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 11, April 1903, pp. 175-190; also "The Manger and the Cross," Review and Herald, January 6, 1903, p.91. Rightly warning against simply regarding the cross of Christ as a piece of wood set up nineteen hundred years ago, Waggoner points out that the "cross of Christ is everywhere, always giving life" (Medical Missionary, October 1903, p.253); furthermore, "Christ crucified, buried, and risen again, with His eternal power, is with every person, in order that he may do the things that are right" (The Medical Missionary, October 1903, p.252). One could raise the question as to whether salvation is to be accepted by faith in the historical death and resurrection of Christ or whether one can only accept its reality upon the mystical application of the real crucifixion of Christ re-enacted in the heart. [back]

216 See footnotes 148-152 in this chapter regarding this emphasis during 1893-1903. [back]

217 Waggoner says: "Christ dwells among us, only because He dwells in us - in humanity. He dwells in every man" (The Medical Missionary, September 1904, p.283). After speaking of God's presence being particularly with His children Waggoner says this does not mean that God is not everywhere, "even in the heart and the mouth of the sinner, but that with such He is present as a stranger - a transient lodger" (Ibid., April 1904, p.125). [back]

218 Christ is primarily the Word of God, the expression of God's thought; and the Scriptures are the Word of God simply because they reveal Christ" (Waggoner, "Confession of Faith," p.5). Speaking of the revelation of Christ which came to him thirty-four years before at a campmeeting in Healdsburg one Sabbath afternoon, he wrote: "I have always believed that every part of the Bible must set forth with more or less vividness, that glorious revelation" (see Ibid., pp. 5,6,). Speaking further of the centrality of Christ to all Scripture Waggoner wrote: "Christ must be the beginning and end of all Scripture, as He is the Author and Perfecter of faith. It was the Spirit of Christ that testified in the ancient prophets; and so the Scriptures are the 'testimony of Jesus,' - the 'testimonies' to which the Psalmist so frequently refers" (Ibid., p.6). [back]

219 We know God first of all as the Creator in Christ" (Waggoner, "Confession of Faith," p.6). [back]

220  Ibid., p.14. [back]

221 Jesus Christ is 'the same yesterday, and today, and forever.' He cannot change, because He is the revelation, the out-shining of the unchangeable God... Therefore, the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, must be always the same, with no shadow of change" (Waggoner, "Confession of Faith," p.7). Again he writes: "The unchangeable God has but one way of saving men. Any change would make either for perfection or for imperfection...the Gospel was the same and as complete in the beginning as it is now; for it is but the revelation of the life of God to and in men dead in sin" (Ibid., p.10). Understanding the cross and its significance and God's power to re-create men, Waggoner stated that twenty-five years ago it was evident to him that there could never be any changes or differences in God's work of saving men, and that Christ crucified was as much a reality and available in the days of Moses, Isaiah or Paul as today. See Ibid., p.14. Quite clearly, Waggoner would never subscribe to a law-gospel dispensational scheme or to some supergospel today over against Paul's day. We remind the reader of his clear statement in 1891 in this connection. See footnote 109 of this chapter.  [back]

222  Ibid., p.8. He says that sin can only be met by "the gift of a perfect life - a life free from sin, a life victorious over death. So God in Christ gave His life for and to sinful men. That is the sum of the gospel" (Ibid., p.10). Waggoner says that "sin is a condition, not an entity" (Ibid.), and therefore it cannot be removed and deposited somewhere else. Again he says: "Sin is not an entity, neither is it a debt... but sin is part of the sinner; it is, indeed, his whole life" (Ibid., p,11). This would imply that Waggoner sees the solution to sin not as the payment of a debt but the new life of Christ applied to the heart of the sinner which destroys the sin like leprosy or consumption is cured. Does this not point to Waggoner's thought of an internal atonement in the heart of the sinner where the power of the indwelling Christ will heal the condition of sin? On pages 14,15 Waggoner repeats the thought that "sin is not an entity but a condition that can exist only in a person." Again on page 18 he affirms that "sin is not an entity, a commodity, that can be taken away from a person and deposited intact somewhere else, awaiting its final destruction." [back]

223 For Waggoner's discussion of this three-fold office of Christ see his "Confession of Faith," pp. 8-10. Waggoner's treatment of these three offices of Christ is new. Usually, Christ is seen as Prophet, Priest and King in relation to this world of sin. He could be God's Prophet or mouthpiece during Old Testament times and during the Incarnation. Then Christ is seen as Priest in the offering of Himself at Calvary and in His priestly ministry in heaven. Thirdly, Christ is accepted as King of the throne of grace at His ascension and, finally, King of glory at His second advent. Waggoner's presentation is new and different. [back]

224 Waggoner, "Confession of Faith," P.11. [back]

225 Note his words: "It may be said, therefore, that the cross exists from eternity to eternity, and that sin causes it, during the period of sin's duration, to be connected with pain and shame; or we may say that the one thing which exists from eternity to eternity is the gift of God's life, for the creating and re-creating of men, and that sin makes the cross the only way of entrance for that gift" ("Confession of Faith," p.13). [back]

226  Ibid., p.12.  [back]

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