protestant: "originally, any of the German princes and free cities that formally protested to the Diet of Spires (1529) its decision to uphold the edict of the Diet of Worms against the Reformation." (Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition, 1962.) It is very interesting and somewhat disappointing how meanings of words tend to lose their impact and true meaning over time. I am reminded of the example once shared with me of a new white shirt. When new, the shirt is obviously "snow white". As time passes, and several washes intervene, the shirt still appears to bear the same white color. However, the day a brand new white shirt is brought home to hang in the closet, a comparison is made. What a disappointment to see how "yellowed" the old shirt has become with use. Thus it is with Protestantism-- once protesting, now conceding. Read of the spirit of THE TRUE PROTESTANT:
"'The principles contained in this celebrated Protest [of Spires] . . . constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this Protest opposes two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and the second the arbitrary authority of the church. Instead of these abuses, Protestantism sets the power of conscience above the magistrate, and the authority of the word of God above the visible church. In the first place, it rejects the civil power in divine things, and says with the prophets and apostles, "We must obey God rather than man." In presence of the crown of Charles the Fifth, it uplifts the crown of Jesus Christ. But it goes farther: it lays down the principle that all human teaching should be subordinate to the oracles of God.'. . . The protesters had moreover affirmed their right to utter freely their convictions of truth. They would not only believe and obey, but teach what the word of God presents, and they denied the right of priest or magistrate to interfere. The Protest of Spires was a solemn witness against religious intolerance, and an assertion of the right of all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences." (The Great Controversy, p. 181, paper).In time past Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Wesley, Waldo, Roger Williams, Calvin, Tyndale, Zwingli, Knox, Latimer, Melanchthon, and unnamed others, all by divine faith, stood on the holy ground of True Protestants. And yet, these men, for the most part were Sunday-keepers, believing either Sunday was the seventh day of the week, or that the solemnity of Sabbath had been transferred to the first day of the week [both tenets being in error]. By testimony of the Roman Catholic Church we read:
"For ages all Christian nations looked to the Catholic Church, and, as we have seen, the various states enforced by law her ordinances as to worship and cessation of Labor on Sunday. Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the church, has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought logically, to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. The State, in passing laws for the due Sanctification of Sunday, is unwittingly acknowledging the authority of the Catholic Church, and carrying out more or less faithfully its prescriptions. The Sunday, as a day of the week set apart for the obligatory public worship of Almighty God, to be sanctified by a suspension of all servile labor, trade, and worldly avocations and by exercises of devotion, is purely a creation of the Catholic Church." --The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Jan., 1883, pp. 152, 139. (Cited in Bible Readings for the Home, p. 425.)
"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself, hidden under veil of flesh." --The Catholic National, July, 1895.
"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church."--Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today (1868), p. 213. (ibid., p. 430.)
The official newspaper of the Cleveland Diocese says: "By what authority did the Church change the observance of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? "The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant. . . ." The Catholic Universe Bulletin,Aug. 14, 1942, p. 4. (ibid., p. 430.)
". . . the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant. . . ." was a statement to be proud of in 1942. But what happened to the Seventh-day Adventist Church ? In 1942, they were standing on the holy ground of THETRUE PROTESTANT. Our discussion requires some regression at this point to gather some historical background and relevant principles.
Antichrist was recognized by Luther as the pope. ". . . at last I know that the pope is Antichrist, and that his throne is that of Satan himself." (Quoted in The Great Controversy,p.126, paper.) Wycliffe understood the office of the pope to be Antichrist. ". . . Wycliffe called upon the people to consider whether these two [rival popes] were not speaking the truth in condemning each other as the Antichrist." (ibid., p. 79, paper). This position has been the norm for conservative Protestants since the Reformation. In Bible Readings for the Home, published (1963) by Review and Herald Publishing Association, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists holds the same posture as the Reformers in the chapter entitled "The Kingdom and Work of Antichrist," pp. 204-210. But in 1976, the General Conference President, Neal C. Wilson is quoted in Conflict, p. 6, as saying, "Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint...that attitude on the church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of wide-spread anti-popery among conservative Protestant denominations in the early part of this century, and the latter part of the last, which has now been consigned to the historical trash heap as far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned." So we can clearly see a significant decline (or fall) in the Protestant position once held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Summarizing what has been discussed so far from THE TRUE PROTESTANT viewpoint, we note that the Roman Catholic Church is the Antichrist kingdom, with the pope sitting on the throne as "the man of sin". Further, we discover that the Roman Church authorities of 1942 regarded "the Seventh Day Adventist [as] the only consistent Protestant". By 1976 the Seventh-day Adventist Church is making obvious "concessions to Rome."
"While the Protestant world is by her attitude making concessions to Rome, let us arouse to comprehend the situation and view the contest before us in its true bearings. Let the watchmen now lift up their voice and give the message which is present truth for this time. Let us show the people where we are in prophetic history and seek to arouse the spirit of true Protestantism, awaking the world to a sense of the value of the privileges of religious liberty so long enjoyed." (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 716.)
To see where we are in prophetic history, we need to look at how God worked with His people in the channel of truth.
"When the early church departed from God and imbibed pagan errors, she became Babylon. When she united with the state, she fell, and, as an organization, was the body of Christ no longer. While the Reformation churches held fast to the word Christ was with them. When they crystalized their various errors into creeds and endeavored thus to confine God's word, they made themselves daughters of Babylon. When some of them united with the state, they fell, and God had to use other people, called out of Babylon to carry forward His work. Now (1896) among these very churches which came out of the second Babylon, confusion reigns; and now (1896) great Babylon, including later daughters, is in adulterous union with the kings of earth, and is endeavoring to make that union stronger. God calls no church Babylon which holds to His word, and follows the light that shines from it . . ." (International Sabbath School Quarterly, First quarter, 1896).
This means that in 1896 the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the only church called of God to carry His gospel. All of the others were "in adulterous union with the kings of earth". As early as 1846, Ellen Harmon [White] saw, ". . . that the third angel proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, represents the people who receive this message, and raise the voice of warning to the world to keep the commandments of God and His law as the apple of the eye . . ." (Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 96). What other people did God call to give the warning of Revelation 14:9-12 which reads as follows?
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:9-12.)
Who is giving this warning today? It is not the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. They had "consigned [it] to the historical trash heap" as early as 1976. The various "off-shoot" Sabbath-keeping bodies are heralding a wide variety of messages, but none include the "third angel's message in verity." THE TRUE PROTESTANT is to preach the warning message of Revelation 14 as prescribed. Since the General Conference Seventh-day Adventist Church has failed in her mission, what is her spiritual state? When she "departed from God and imbibed pagan errors, she became Babylon (1903)."
"I saw our Instructor [Jesus] pointing to the garments of so called righteousness. Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: 'Can you not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of character? How is the faithful city become an harlot! My Father's house is made a house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! " (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 250, 1903.)
"When she united with the state, she fell, and, as an organization, was the body of Christ no longer." This condition was fulfilled in trade-marking the name Seventh-day Adventist in 1981 [church-state union], the persecution of dissenters [1988-1991] in the United States, and refusal to corporately repent. This conforming to the mind of Rome by the General Conference "marked" her as an "image to the beast". At that point, present truth dictated a reclassification of churches. "The image" is spiritually part of "the beast" [or Roman Catholic system]. Therefore "the image" cannot be a Protestant church. The Protestant churches must be bodies protesting the corruptions of "the image". THE TRUE PROTESTANT is protesting the sins and errors of "the beast and his image".
"The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority [trademark lawsuits], the inroads of spiritualism[homosexual church membership, church-sponsored abortions, mind-control techniques, etc.],the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power-- all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. . . . In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven [The 1888 Message through Bros. Jones and Waggoner; 1888Re-Examined by Bros. Wieland and Short, 1950; the Brinsmead movement, 1955-62; Fourth Angel's Movement, 1965-1988; Life Supports Ministry, 1980-88]. (The Great Controversy, p.532, paper-- brackets supplied.)
Summarizing our conclusions, we note that the Roman Church has been fallen for many centuries; the Sunday-keeping daughters (apostate Protestantism) have been fallen for many decades (since al least 1896) ; the initial channel of truth for Sabbath reform, the General Conference of SDAs, is fallen [image of the beast]; and the various Sabbath-keeping bodies classified as "off-shoots" of the advent movement are in confusion and error-- none of which are heralding the messages of Revelation 14 [being designed to seal the 144,000].Where are the true Protestant churches? THE TRUE PROTESTANT is preaching the gospel of "Christ in you the hope of glory", calling the faithful souls out of the fallen churches, and resisting the designs of "the beast and his image". There is One Leader in this work. God has called The Creation 7th Day Adventist Church to the front for "the final conflict". Other dispersed Protestants are in the field, just as there were 7000 which had "not bowed unto Baal." (1 Kings 19:18.) There are home churches in various places-- "little companies standing in the light". The sheep have been scattered by the false shepherds, but the Good Shepherd is now gathering His flock "from one end of heaven to the other." Soon the controversy will be ended, but one last battle is facing us. Will you not join in the call of the third angel and lift up the voice of warning? "The banner of truth and religious liberty which the Reformers held aloft has in this last conflict been committed to us." (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 402.) "Blessed be the name of [YAH ]" (Ps. 113:2), and "the man that doeth this--" (Isa. 56:2). THE TRUE PROTESTANT "shall not fail nor be discouraged."(Isaiah 42:4.)