Friday, September 12, 2008

Appendix 3: Walter Martin's Questions to General Conference


The three
questions [referred to in the interview] that Walter Martin asked the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are:
1. Why is the book Seventh-day Adventist's Answer Questions on Doctrine no longer available?
2. Does the Seventh-day Adventist church still hold to the answers it gave in that book to the doctrinal questions non-Adventists have posed?
3. Do you regard the interpretations of the Bible by Ellen G. White to be infallible, that is, to be the infallible rule of interpreting Scripture? For instance: if an issue comes up where you are debating something and Mrs. White speaks on it; is that the infallible voice?
[This third question was left unanswered.]

GENERAL CONFERENCE REPLIES TO WALTER MARTIN'S QUESTIONS
When Currents originally taped the interview (17 February 1983) with Walter Martin that later appeared in the magazine's first (Jul/Aug) issue, he had already written Neal Wilson certain specific questions. Among those questions were two that Currents is aware of:

1. Why is the book Seventh-day Adventist's Answer Questions on Doctrine no longer available?
2. Does the Seventh-day Adventist church still hold to the answers it gave in that book to the doctrinal questions non-Adventists have posed?

Currents queried General Conference officers and discovered that Neal Wilson's assistant, Arthur Patzer, had written Martin - on Wilson's behalf - informing him that his questions were being referred to the Biblical Research Institute for answer by its chief officer W. Richard Lesher.

When Lesher's office was contacted (26 August 1983), Lesher was out of town; but his associate, Frank Holbrook, answered the two questions posed above.

In answer to the first question, Holbrook said that Questions on Doctrine "went out of print for the same reason that any book goes out of print; there was no call for it." He added the astonishing statistic - and repeated it - that there had been four copies of Questions on Doctrine printed for every North American Division member! When asked where they all were, he said, "in libraries."

Told of Holbrook's answer, retired General Conference Ministerial Association secretary and former Ministry Magazine editor R. Allan Anderson found it preposterous. Anderson has repeatedly said that the total of all Questions on Doctrine copies ever published is 147,000.
Responding to the second question from Martin regarding our present faithfulness to the answers given back in 1957, Holbrook said vaguely, "We answered him consistent with our 27-point Statement of Fundamental Beliefs."

Holbrook would not elaborate on answer number two; but he did say that Questions on Doctrine was, in a sense, passé; that it had outlived its usefulness; and that a special volume (number eleven) of the SDA Bible Commentary series was being prepared to deal with various doctrinal issues (such as the nature of Christ). Fortunately or unfortunately, the new book will not be published for several years.
[Adventist Currents, October 1983]

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