IN DEFENSE OF THE FAITH
Truth About Seventh-day Adventists
REPLY TO CANRIGHT
THE LAW OF GOD
CANRIGHT'S chief attacks are leveled at the moral law of God as
contained in the Ten Commandments, the Ten Commandments. From among his
many declarations on this point, we select the following as typical:
under Christ, we are delivered from the law; that law is dead.
Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, p. 331.
letter of the law is not binding upon Christians as a coercive code.
Ibid., P. 330.
have something better than the Ten Commandments. Ibid., p. 355.
CANRIGHT ANSWERS HIMSELF
will contrast with these bold statements the following paragraphs chosen
from a pamphlet on this
published by D. M. Canright while he still regarded the law of God as
holy. Let the reader note how
he answers himself on this subject while he was still a Seventh-day
law of God is that which should be our rule of action here, and
certainly will be our rule of
hereafter. What is this law? And how came we by it? We learn from the
Scriptures that the living
came down upon Mt. Sinai in the most terrible majesty; and there, in the
presence of a whole nation,
this sacred law with His own voice, which then shook the earth. Deut.
4:12, 13; Heb. 12:26.
is the law of God. The Ten Commandments. Let us examine it.
Thou shall have no other gods before Me.
Thou shall not make an image and worship it.
Thou shall not profane the Lord's name.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Thou shall not kill.
Thou shall not commit adultery.
Thou shall not steal.
Thou shall not bear false witness.
Thou shall not covet.
simple, and yet how comprehensive! The first four precepts relate to our
duty to God, embracing in
all that we owe to Him. The last six relate to our duty to our fellow
men, summarily covering all our
to one another.
if this law were strictly observed in this community, would it not
produce an excellent
of society? There would be no idolatry, profanity, Sabbath breaking,
disobedience to parents, murder,
stealing, or lying. Who would not wish to live in such a community? This
is the law for which we
These principles have always existed since God made man upon the earth.
They were as binding
the antediluvians as upon the Jews, and they are as obligatory now as
can conceive of no nation, generation, or individual that could violate
these precepts with
This taw is as. eternal and unchangeable as the Creator. John says, 'All
unrighteousness is sin.' 1
5:17. 'Sin is the transgression of the law.' Chap. 3:4. Paul says,
'Where no law is, there is no
(Rom. 4:15) ; and, 'Sin is not imputed when there is no law.' Chap.
5:13. Hence, where we
unrighteousness and sin imputed to men, we know that the law was
binding. . . .
Bible explicitly and repeatedly declares that all these commandments
shall stand forever. 'All
commandments are sure. They stand fast forever and ever.' Ps 111:7, 8.
Again, 'Concerning Thy
I have known of old that Thou has founded them forever.' 'Every one of
endures forever.' Ps. 119:152, 160.
of being abolished, changed, loosened, or in any manner altered in the
law of God is, on the other hand, confirmed and established in the most
solemn manner by Christ
and by all His apostles. At the very opening of His ministry, Jesus
said, 'Think not that I am come
destroy the law or the prophets.' Matt. 5:17. He is anxious that they
should not have a wrong impression
this all-important subject. He had not come to destroy the law. This was
no part of His mission. The
and wicked men hate the law of God, and would rejoice to see it
destroyed; but the mission of Jesus was
exactly the opposite of this. He says, 'I am not come to destroy, but to
fulfill.' To fulfill is to obey.-
(See also Gal. 6:2.) Christ came, then, not to destroy the law, but to
obey it; and this is just
OUR EXAMPLE KEPT THE LAW
prophet, speaking of Jesus, says, 'He will magnify the law, and make it
Then we shall expect Jesus to keep this law, and honor it in all His
ways and teachings; and so we
He did. He says Himself, 'I have kept My Father's commandments, and
abide in His love.' John 15:10.
holy Son of God paid the greatest deference to His Father's law, and
devotedly obeyed every one of the
Commandments. What gives this greater force is the fact that He did this
as our example. Hence the
says, 'He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a
liar, and the truth is not in
'He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He
Walked.' 1 John 2:1, 6. This
very plain. Christians should walk as their Master walked. He kept this
law of God. If they claim to be
followers, and do not keep the commandments of God, the apostle says
they are liars.
stronger language the Savior continues: 'For verily I say unto you, Till
heaven and earth pass,
jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be
fulfilled.' Matt. 5:18. How could language
stronger? Heaven and earth have not passed yet. But till they do, not
one jot or tittle shall pass from the
one. Every precept shall stand. Not even a letter, or the corner of a
letter, shall be changed till
and earth shall pass away, yea, longer, till all (all things) are
fulfilled. Christ is speaking of the law
the prophets, and He says till these are all fulfilled, the whole law
shall stand. But all the prophets will
be fulfilled, even when heaven and earth pass away. No, not till the
eternal kingdom is reached. Thus in
strongest language, Jesus teaches that every precept in the law will be
in force until we shall reach the
world. He confirms this position with the following solemn words:
'Whosoever, therefore, shall
one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be
called the least in the kingdom
heaven.' Verse 19. How sacred was every one of these commandments in the
eyes of the divine Son of
Not the least one of them can be disregarded. Reader, if you are
breaking one of these
and teaching others to do the same, how will you meet these words of the
Master in the
COMMANDMENT STILL BINDING
as an Adventist further says:
teaches the same simple truth, that every one of the Ten Commandments is
He says, 'For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of
James 2:10. Of what law is he speaking? The Ten Commandments, as he
proceeds to show in the very next
verse: 'For He that said [marginal reading, that law which said], Do not
commit adultery, said also, Do
kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become
a transgressor of the law.' James is
speaking of that law which says, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery. We
all know that this law is the
Commandments, for it is the only law which contains this language.
Wherever these words are quoted
the New Testament, they are quoted directly from the Ten Commandments as
contained in the Old
Now James says positively that whoever shall keep the whole of that law,
that is, nine of the
Commandments, and break any one of them, he is guilty of all.
has broken the law. He is a transgressor, and God will hold him guilty.
How could the
and perpetuity of that law be taught in stronger language? People who
can explain this away,
explain away anything.
commandments are constantly appealed to, not only in the Old Testament,
but just aseternal
life, the Savior's answer was, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the
commandments.' Matt. 19:17.
in the New Testament, as the standard of right and wrong, of moral
character; as that which
who is righteous and who is wicked. When the young man asked Christ what
he should do to inherit
the Lord held up before him the commandments of God as the condition of
eternal life. That He here
to the Ten Commandments is evident, for He immediately proceeded to
quote several of them to
what law He meant.
Jesus would prove the Pharisees to be hypocrites and wicked men, He
brought the same
to bear upon them. 'Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by
your tradition? For God
saying, Honor thy father and mother.' Matt. 15:3, 4. Here the Ten
Commandments are plainly
to. The Savior then says, 'In vain they do worship Me, teaching for
doctrines the commandments of
Verse 9. It is vain for us, then, to profess to worship and, and yet
disregard any precept of His holy
. . .
the New Testament this law is spoken of in the highest terms. Paul,
referring to the Ten
(ROM. 7:7), says, 'Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy,
and just, and
'For we know that the is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.'
'For I delight in the law of God.'
7:12, 14, 22. This Was the character of that law at the time Paul wrote,
which was A. D. 50. He does
say it used to be holy and good; but it is holy,' 'is spiritual,'
etc. The holy apostle says, 'I delight in the
of God.' Should we not do the same? The apostle states: 'The carnal mind
is enmity against God; for it
not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' Rom. 8:7.
God's law is just right: the trouble is with the carnal heart. It does
not love to obey that
How is it with yourself? Do you love to meditate upon that law? Do you
observe its precepts? Or are
breaking some of these commandments? Remember that one of them plainly
requires you to keep the
Sabbath. We beseech you not to regard this matter lightly, nor condemn
us for teaching and
the law of God just as the Bible presents it. We solemnly believe that
the time has come for a
concerning the commandments of God, as predicted in the last message
(Rev. 14:12): 'Here are
that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.' Just before
Jesus comes, a people is to be
up who will keep all the commandments of God, while they also have faith
in Jesus. This is just what
see fulfilled in the work of Seventh-day Adventists. D. M. CANRIGHT,
The Law of God.
MAGNIFIES THE LAW
following paragraphs also were written by Mr. Canright before he
renounced the moral law.
these he clearly shows that Christ did not abolish the Ten Commandments,
but greatly magnified and
them. Thus again speaking as an Adventist he answers himself:
will now briefly examine what is said of the law of God. The psalmist
says, 'The law of the
is perfect, converting the soul.' Ps. 19:7. Since it came from a perfect
being, we should naturally
it to be perfect. Of the extent of this law we read: 'Let us hear the
conclusion of the whole matter:
God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.'
Eccl. 12:13. The requirements
God's law extend to every moral duty of man. The Ten Commandments is, of
course: but a brief epitome
these duties, while all the moral precepts of the Old Testament, and of
the New also, are but the further
of it, and continue in force with it. Of this law the Lord says, 'I gave
them My statutes, and
them My judgments, which, if a man do, he shall even live in them.' Eze.
Speaking of the
of Christ's mission upon the law, the prophet says, 'He will magnify the
law, and make it honorable.'
42:21. Did He magnify the law by abolishing it? Did He make it honorable
by doing it away? No,
Listen to His own words as He shows how His coming was to affect the law
(Matt. 5:17-28) `
not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets.' He is careful at
the very opening of His
to disclaim any intention of destroying the law. 'I am not come to
destroy, but to fulfill.' To fulfill
to keep. Gal. 6:2. 'Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfill the
law of Christ.' Is a law ended when it
fulfilled? Then the law of Christ was abolished in the apostles' time.
No; to fulfill a law is to keep it. (See
Rom. 2:25-27; James 2:8-12.) So Jesus came to obey the law, not to break
or abolish it.
it is the Ten Commandments of which He is speaking, He shows by quoting
two of them to illustrate
He means (verses 21, 27): 'Thou shall not kill,' and 'Thou shall not
commit adultery.' Where are these
to be found? Nowhere in all the Old Testament except in the Ten
Commandments. Hence it is
that this is the law of ,,which He is speaking. . . .
then takes two of those commandments, and comments on them to show how
broad is their
'You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not
commit adultery; but I say
you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, hath committed
adultery with her already in
heart.' Does He abolish that commandment? He does that which is just the
opposite: He that it extends
than to the outward act. He simply states what had always been true of
it, though not explained so
before. Thus He magnified the law, and made it honorable. How different
this language is from that
we have found used when the ceremonial law was spoken of! So we shall
find it all the way through. . .
time the Ten Commandments, or any one of the Ten Commandments, is
mentioned in the New
it is honored, exalted, and enforced; while on the other hand, the law
of ordinances is always
of as being of no further importance. Notice a few examples. When the
Pharisees asked Jesus why
transgressed the tradition of the elders in not washing His hands before
eating, He said unto them, 'Why
you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God
commanded, saying, Honor
father and mother; and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the
death. But you say, Whosoever
say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou
mightest be profited by me, and honor
his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect
your tradition. You hypocrites! well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
This people draws nigh unto
with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips; but their heart is far
from Me. But in vain they do
Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.' Matt. 15:1-9.
quoted the fifth commandment, and then severely reproved the Pharisees
for making this
He says that all their other worship is in vain as long as they
disregard one of these commandments....
Paul concludes his argument on the Ten Commandments thus: 'Do we then
law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.' Rom. 3:31.
we take our stand. The apostle's statement is positive, dear, and
decisive. The law is not
Romans 7, Paul again refers to the Ten Commandments (verse 7): '1 had
not known lust,
the law had said, Thou shall not covet.' This is a quotation from the
tenth commandment, showing
law he means. Of this law he says (verse 12), 'Wherefore the law is
holy, and the commandment holy,
just, and good.' How could he exalt that law in higher terms than this?
Nor does he say that it used to be
but he says, 'the law is holy.' It was still holy, just, and good, when
he was writing, thirty years after
resurrection. Again he says of it (verse 14), 'For we know that the law
is spiritual.' Again (verse 22),
I delight in the law of God after the inward man.' Could Paul have said
all this of an old abolished law,
at the best was a yoke of bondage, which was against us, and contrary to
us? No, indeed.
testimony of James in favor of the Ten Commandments is plain and strong.
Chap. 2:8-12. 'If you
the royal law [royal, kingly, the law of the great King] according to
the scripture, Thou shall love thy
as thyself, you do well.' It requires love to fulfill the law, hence in
keeping it we must remember
principle. 'But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, and are
convinced of the law as
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he
is guilty of all.' Now
will show of what law he is speaking: 'For He that said [margin, that
law which said], Do not commit
said also, Do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou
kill, thou art become a
of the law.' Here James quotes the sixth and seventh of the Ten
Commandments, the holy law
says what he here quotes. Thus he directly enforces that law, and all of
it, too, for he says that
keeps the whole of that law and yet offends in one is guilty of all.
Then the whole ten are
and must be kept. Hence he adds: 'So speak you, and so do, as they that
shall be judged by the law
liberty.' Then men will be judged by this law in the judgment. It is
properly led the 'law of liberty,'
those who keep it are not condemned, but are free from sin. Thus David
says, 'I will k at liberty:
I seek Thy precepts.' Ps. 119:45.
also says, 'This is the love of God, that we keep is commandments.' 1
John 5:1 Describing the saints
at the second advent, the Lord says, 'Here are they at keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of
v. 14:12. The faith of Jesus embraces the gospel, the teachings of
Christ. The commandments are
of God the Father - His moral law, the Ten Commandments. And, finally,
in the very last revelation
have from Jesus, which we find in Revelation 22:14, He especially
mentions His Father's
and pronounces a blessing upon those who keep them. 'Blessed are they
that do His
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through
the gates into the
we see that whenever the Ten Commandments are mentioned, or any one of
them, either by
or His apostles, they are always praised, exalted, and enforced. That
law is held up as the standard of
the test of character, and the rule of judgment.-D. M. CANRIGHT, The
Two Laws (1886), pp. 87-97.
any candid mind turn lightly from the truth thus clearly stated by Mr.
Canright, buttressed as
is in its every detail by a Thus says the Lord, and in its stead
accept his later teaching, that the law is
binding upon Christians. That it is dead. And that we have
something better than the Ten
We think not.
SCRIPTURES VERSUS MR. CANRIGHT
us briefly compare some of Mr. Canright's later statements concerning
the law with what is
of it in the Scriptures.
the Baptist, after renouncing the law of God, said:
law is dead. Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, p. 331.
letter of the law is not binding upon Christians as a coercive
code.-Ibid., p. 330.
have something better than the Ten Commandments. --Ibid., p. 355.
God, by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, says:
that thou had hearkened to My commandments then had thy peace been as a
river, and thy righteousness
the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18.
also speaks of it thus:
law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the
Lord is sure, making wise the
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment
of the Lord is pure,
the eyes. Psalms 119:7, 8.
is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.
adds this testimony:
commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction
are the way of life.
is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to
fail. Luke 16:17.
not that I am come to destroy the law. . . . Till heaven and earth pass,
one jot or one tittle shall in no
wise pass from the law. Matthew 5:17, 18.
thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Matthew 19:17.
had not known sin, but by the law. Romans 7:7.
the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans
we then make void the law through faith? God for; yea, we establish the
law. Romans 3:31.
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of
all. For He that said, Do
commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit adultery,
yet if thou kill, thou art become a
the law. So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the
law of liberty. James
the Beloved adds this:
are they that do His commandments, that they have right to the tree of
life, and may enter in
gates into the city. Revelation 22:14.
these patriarchs, prophets, and disciples of our Lord did not in any
wise agree with Mr. Canright's
of the moral law as a guide for God's children. Nor do his teachings
agree with those of Jesus.
Canright, the Baptist, declares, The law is dead.
replies, I came not to destroy the law; and it will endure as long
as heaven and earth remain. Paul
that faith has not made it void.
Canright says, We have something better than the Ten Commandments.
replies, The law of the Lord is perfect. And Paul adds, The law
is holy. If a thing is perfect and
then nothing else can be better. A thing cannot excel perfection, for
perfection cannot be improved
A thing cannot advance from holiness to greater purity. Therefore there
is a very wide divergence
between the teachings of Mr. Canright after he renounced the divine law,
and the words of David,
and Paul. Mr. Canright takes the position that the Ten Commandments have
been improved upon,
we have something better. But note again that David and Paul declare the
Decalogue to be perfect and
and therefore not capable of improvement.
It is therefore not merely
with Seventh-day Adventism that
Canright's argument is in conflict but with the writers of both the Old
and New Testaments, and with
Lord Himself. Surely he must have joined the class of which Jesus said,
Howbeit in vain do they
Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the
you hold the tradition of men. Mark 7:7, 8.