Robert Wieland, Adventist reformer goes to rest

From the web: Wieland obituary … Robert J. Wieland passed away on July 13, 2011. Elder Wieland was a true Seventh-day Adventist who lived a long life of service and sacrifice to further the gospel. To his ministry the Seventh-day Adventist church is deeply indebted. The current and strengthening interest in the messages of Jones and Waggoner and deepening study into the message of Christ’s righteousness is to no small extent a result of the courageous work of Elder Wieland.

In 1950, Elder Wieland and Elder Donald K. Short served as missionaries in Africa. At that time they both stood as delegates to the General Conference held in San Francisco. When a call was given for delegates to communicate their concerns or advice to the elected leadership, Robert Wieland had something to say. With a deep soul burden of the work of God, he wrote a letter of concern about misunderstandings of the gospel that were infiltrating the church. His colleague, Donald Short, assisted him with advice and much prayer. Elder Short decided that he would also sign the letter, so Elder Wieland changed the pronouns and added the second name.

The two missionaries were asked to stay in America for further review of their document and of their position in the church. In the meantime, they prepared a more complete disclosure of their concern in a manuscript for church leadership that would be known as 1888 Re-Examined. Ultimately, church leadership discerned that Elders Wieland and Short were being faithful to
their calling as Seventh-day Adventist pastors and missionaries. The men were sent back to Africa to continue in service. From that point on, the names Wieland and Short became inextricably linked together. They were leaders in calling for the Seventh-day Adventist church to gain all the blessings God intended when He sent us the “most precious message” which was presented at the Minneapolis General Conference in 1888.

In the providence of God, the 1888 Re-Examined manuscript passed from one person to another, stirring many minds. Conscientious Seventh-day Adventists began to understand that the reason why Christ’s coming had been so long delayed was to be found in our failure to appropriate the blessings that were contained in messages God sent through Jones at Waggoner at Minneapolis. Many church leaders, who felt good about the status quo in the denomination, worked to quell
and stifle the concerns. Numerous books and responses to the 1888 Re-examined manuscript were written asserting that the “1888 Message” of Christ’s righteousness had already been widely accepted in the years since Minneapolis. These claims rang hollow as the denomination descended into deeper division and controversy concerning the nature of the gospel itself.

Wieland and Short, for their part, worked vigorously to bring to light the hundreds of testimonies Ellen White wrote with regard to the 1888 message. They also worked to make the message available through publishing Jones’ and Waggoner’s books and sermons. In addition, they demonstrated clearly how this message is supported throughout the Bible.

The names “Wieland and Short” were synonymous with dedicated Seventh-day Adventists trying to reform the church when i was little in the 1960s-70s. I thank God so much for their dedication and zeal in seeing that the 1888 Message did not fall to the ground, but was carried on to a new generation. Personally i had a few email exchanges with him around 2004, as he strongly supported Jack Sequiera’s book “Beyond Belief”, which clearly is teaching universalism. In his replies, he showed a strong leaning towards that view also, which i hope he repented of before his passing. May i be as true and faithful to the cause of God as he was, and i hope to see him in heaven!

4 thoughts on “Robert Wieland, Adventist reformer goes to rest”

  1. Thank you brother for bringing this up for discussion. I have read their publications for over three decades and I have come to the conclusion that they themselves were not able to decipher the 1888 message. This is what they themselves confessed, the first time in their first edition of The 1888 Message Re-Examined, pp.242,243 saying, “Many even in the world today are trying to discover the light which God revealed to His people in 1888. No one has so far been successful. Religious thinkers are yearning for something no one clearly understands, though it would seem that a few are on the verge of discovery.” 1950

    Then, in 1987, 37 years later, in their revised edition, on page 184, they again confessed that the message was still elusive to them: “It would seem that 1888 presents a problem unique in the long history of God’s confrontations with His people. There is a message involved therein that seems more elusive than any in the history of past ages.”

    Can you imagine that? Ellen White had declared that the message was just as simple as ABC but that we did not understand it. “The matter of salvation is just as simple as ABC but we don’t understand it.” Faith & Works, 64. (May 11, 1889)

    In January of 1999, after many years of searching, the Lord opened the eyes of my understanding as to what constituted that message. It was then that I saw how simple it was and how we must receive it with the simple faith of a little child. Here is that message in a nutshell:

    “Present your case before God pleading the MERITS of the blood shed for you upon Calvary’s cross.” Faith & Works,106. Here is why: “The MERITS of Christ’s sacrifice are SUFFICIENT to present to the Father in our behalf.” Steps to Christ,36.

    “We shall come in repentance and contrition with a despairing sense of our own finite weakness and learn that we must DAILY APPLY to the MERITS of the blood of Christ that we may become vessels FIT for the Master’s use.” Faith and Works, 86.

    Unless we do this daily, we cannot be saved.

    “Unless he makes it his LIFE BUSINESS to BEHOLD the uplifted Saviour and to ACCEPT the MERITS which it is his PRIVILEGE to CLAIM, the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus.” Testimonies to Ministers, 93.

    The message was, indeed, clear and simple. It is our privilge to come to God just as we are, sinful, helpless dependent, claiming the merits of the Saviour. As we do this, we become one with Christ and we are clothed with His robe of righteousness which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. See Testimonies to Ministers, p.92,97, and Faith and Works, p.64,65.

    This is the only true faith which leads to the keeping of all the commandments of God.

    This is the message in a nutshell.

    I did not find this message presented in clear and distinct lines in the publications of the 1888 Message Study Committee, simply because this message was elusave to them.

    Reflecting on the message, Mrs. White wrote: “How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God’s righteousness. God has given them HIS MESSAGE. They bear the Word of the Lord: There is SALVATION (pardon and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit) for you but ONLY through the MERITS of Jesus Christ. The grace of the Holy Spirit has been offered to you again and again.” Testimonies to Ministers, 96,97.

    “Looking unto Jesus and TRUSTING in His MERITS, we appropriate the blessings of light and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.” Testimonies, Vol.5, 744

    Thus she wrote, “The ONLY FAITH that will BENEFIT us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour: which APPROPRIATES His MERITS to ourselves.” Desire of Ages, 347.

    As we daily appropriate the merits of Jesus by claiming them, Jesus places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He places HIS OWN MERITS in the censor in our hands to encourage our petitions.

    To conclude: “You cannot explain this faith that lays right hold upon the MERITS of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour TO BRING Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS into your life. Clothed with the righteousness of Christ and not your own righteousness, you will not depend upon what you can do or what you will do,” for “Christ’s righteousness accomplishes everything.” Faith & Works,64,65,27.

    The Lord used Wieland and Short to make me enquire about the 1888 message, so much so that it became my sole passion while taking theology in one or our universities in the early eighties.

    I will always be thankful to Him for that.

    God bless,

    laval

  2. Brother laval, pls review your theology. I was worrying when I read your statement “Unless we do this daily, we cannot be saved”. it seems that your you have a galatians’ mind. I pray for you

    peace be with you. ruben

  3. Thank you pastor Wieland. Your sermons have been breath of fresh air We need more pastors like Wieland to clean-up the tainted message coming from the pulpits of MOST Seventh-day Adventist churches

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *