M. L. Andreasen: The Reason Why SDA’s keep Saturday instead of the Lunar Sabbath
In 1955-1956, secretive meetings took place between the Seventh-day Adventist leaders at the behest of General Conference President R. R. Figuhr and two evangelical leaders, Walter Martin [27 years old at the time] and Donald Grey Barnhouse. The purpose of these meetings was to get the evangelicals to accept the SDA Church as part of mainstream Christianity rather than a cult, as it had been the custom to classify the SDA Church. As a result of these meetings, the SDA Church modified several of its distinctive doctrines that the church held on the nature of Christ, the atonement, and the ministry of Ellen White. These compromises in doctrines by the Adventist Church allowed the evangelicals to classify SDA Church as a Christian denomination. The outcome of these meetings led the SDA Church to publish the book, Questions on Doctrine (QOD), in which the leaders of the church subtly introduced the changes in doctrine for the first time to members around the world.
The release of this book gave rise to great uproar amongst conservative SDAs, and Andreasen [then retired] led the protest against this book and published several letters denouncing the doctrinal concessions made to the evangelicals as “the most subtle and dangerous error”1 and “a most dangerous heresy.”2 President Figuhr considered the publication of QOD as “the most meaningful accomplishment of his administration,”3 which lasted 12 years. When Andreasen did not relent and continued protesting the concessions made to the evangelicals, Figuhr sent him the following scathing rebuke and the ultimate threat of suspending his sustentation unless he ceased his opposition to QOD:
"You are doing yourself great harm and bringing confusion and perplexity to the cause. You should not now be tearing down what, through the years, you have helped to build up. To see a retired worker, supported by sustentation of his church, actively opposing that church and breaking down confidence in its leadership, cannot but make one feel very sad.4
Figuhr’s threat of suspending Andreasen’s sustentation unless he ceases his protest against QOD, brought the following sharp response:
"I am a man of peace. I can be reasoned with. But no man can threaten me and expect to avoid the consequences. So I hope you will not renege on your threat, but will carry through. . . . You have threatened me. . . . You have disqualified yourselves by judging without a hearing; the next higher authority is the people. You are upholding the Ministry [sic] which is destroying confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy, watering down the Testimonies, telling plain untruths, etc. On this there can be no compromise. You say the matter is settled, you have closed the door. The matter is not settled and never can be with a threat. Washington is threatening the whole working force of the denomination and using me as an example of what will happen if others should wish to protest. So this is a warning from me to make sure where you stand if you join in the protest. It may cost you much. Our leaders—some of them—have become our masters, and are ready to bear down on any that objects.5
The use of force to quell any dissent within the SDA Church is not surprising at all, given that the SDA Church is a hierarchal in its organization modeled after the Roman Catholic Church, with the laity have no voice whatsoever. Therefore, the courage that Andreasen exhibited in his confrontations with Figuhr revealed a great deal of courage. Sadly, this initial courage in confronting and exposing a corrupt GC president, was not maintained to the end. As Andreasen kept publishing his open letters denouncing the doctrinal concessions made in QOD to please the evangelicals over the atonement, nature of Christ, and the position of Ellen White within the SDA Church, Figuhr and the other leaders voted in the Spring Council of 1961 to “suspend the credentials of M. L. Andreasen until such time as he can manifest a better spirit of unity and harmony.”6 The church also removed his name for list of the retired workers in the Yearbook. The actions taken by Figuhr crushed Andreasen, as he increasingly felt alienated from the church and the leaders. His health deteriorated rapidly, and he was now ready to fully surrender to Figuhr and make peace with him. From his death bed at the hospital, he asked for a visit from Figuhr. In this meeting Andreasen expressed his regret that his protest has created “doubt and confusion” within the church, and asked that his letters not be duplicated any more so that ‘offshoots’ within Adventism would not seize on them. He assured Figuhr that he never wanted to “engage in any activity which would harm the church.” During this eventful meeting, Andreasen discussed financial arrangement with Figuhr for his wife after his death.7
Andreasen could not die before making peace with Figuhr, the church leader who was behind the removal of several important pillars of Adventist theology to appease the evangelicals! In a letter from Andreasen’s wife to Figuhr, shortly after the death of her husband, she thanked Figuhr for the visit he paid to her hospitalized husband. She recounted how her husband “spent many nights sobbing his heart out”, but after Figuhr’s visit he could die a ‘happy’ man; for he could not be estranged from his church.8
What started as a valiant protest by Andreasen against the blatant doctrinal surrender of the SDA Church to the fallen evangelicals, ended by Andreasen fully surrendered to Figuhr. But this is not the main reason why we at WLC do not hold M. L. Andreasen in high esteem. There is a far more serious travesty undertaken by Andreasen, which had vastly greater catastrophic results for the whole SDA Church, than his regrettable surrender to Figuhr.
James Lamar McElhany
Back in 1938, General Conference President, James Lamar McElhaney, appointed a Research Committee to study the basis on which the Millerites arrived at October 22 1844 date. A high ranking member of this Committee was Andreasen. After careful study of the Millerite methodology and the Biblical calendar, an entirely unexpected and unwelcomed discovery was made: when the Sabbath is calculated by the Biblical calendar, it does not fall on Saturday! They came across another shocking revelation: although Scripture makes clear that Yahushua was crucified on Passover, the sixth day of the week, the Passover did not fall on Friday in AD 31!
The Research Committee was faced with a clear dilemma: if AD 31 is rejected as the crucifixion year, then the 2300 day prophecy did not begin in 457 BC and thus did not end in 1844; and the weekly cycle of the Biblical calendar does not correspond to the weekly cycle of the modern calendar because there is no way possible for Yahushua to have been crucified on a Friday in AD 31, even though He was crucified on the sixth day of the Biblical week.
The Committee was at a loss to know what to do with their two startling findings. They studied the ramifications of presenting the Biblical calendar to the Church. Tragically, instead of running to the church with the news that Saturday is not the Biblical Sabbath, the Committee took the opposite action. They began to search for reasons why their discoveries needed to be kept hidden from members of the church. Andreasen provided the reasons and the rationale why the Committee needed to hush this truth from the members. Here are the reasons he gave:
"It would not be easy to explain to the people that the God who advocated and instituted such an arrangement would be very concerned about the exact seventh day.
"If an explanation were possible, and the people were at last adjusted to the shift in the feast day and the stability of the seventh day, it might be supposed that in time they would get used to the arrangement. But they would no sooner have become accustomed to this, till another shift is made. Now they shift back to where they were before.
"But neither is this settled or stationary. Another shift comes, and another and another. Now Denver observes the day before Omaha does, then it observes the same day. Now Omaha and Chicago observe the same day, but at another time a different day. There is no uniformity, and just as the people get used to a certain arrangement the day is changed again. Such is more than the common people can understand, and if we go to the people now with such a proposition, we must expect that confusion will result. And our enemies will not be slow to point out the difficulties and ring the changes on them."9 (Emphasis supplied)
The abominable reasons and rationale that Andreasen provided the Committee so they would not share with the church their findings resulted in the tragic outcome of the SDA Church continuing to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. Yahuwah tried to show this Committee that there is a divine calendar by which the Sabbath and His feasts are to be determined, and that it was not acceptable to Him that His people continue to keep the Sabbath by Rome’s calendar. This divine light was hushed by the Committee; and Andreasen provided the justification for hiding this precious light from the members of the SDA Church, and thus from the whole world.
It is tragic when someone turns his or
her back on Yahuwah’s truth but it is
infinitely more tragic when someone uses his or her elevated standing in the
eyes of others to obstruct Heaven’s light from Yahuwah's faithful. We tremble for the fate of Andreasen, and many other leaders within the SDA Church who have stood as a barrier
between Yahuwah and His people.
1 M. L. Andreasen, “A Review and a Protest,” 15 October 1957, TMs, C 152, box 28, fld 8, Roy Allan Anderson Collection, Andrews University Library.
2 M. L. Andreasen, “A Most Dangerous Heresy,” September 1960, TMs, C 152, box 28, fld 8, Roy Allan Anderson Collection, Andrews University Library.
3 Walter Martin Interview, from Adventist Currents, Vol. 1, No. 1, July, 1983
4 R. R. Figuhr to M. L. Andreasen, 19 December 1957, TL, ADF 3773.06d, Loma Linda University Library.
5 M. L. Andreasen to Officers of the General Conference and Other Men in Responsible Positions, 29 December 1957, TL, C 152, box 28, fld 8, Roy Allan Anderson Collection, Andrews University Library.
6 R. R. Figuhr to George J. Appel, 10 April 1961, TL, RG 11, box 3208, General Conference Archives. The full text of the resolution to suspend Andreasen’s credentials can be found in Minutes of the General Conference Committee, 6 April 1961, General Conference Archives.
7 Minutes of the General Conference Officers’ Meeting, 26 February 1962, General Conference Archives.
8 Gladys Andreasen to R. R. Figuhr, 27 February 1962, HL, ADF 3773, Loma Linda University Library.
9 M. L. Andreasen, undated letter to Grace Amadon, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 2, Folder 4, Center