THE IOWA FOUNDATION
Adventist Laymen’s Foundation of Iowa, Inc. was chartered in 2012 as the official successor of Adventist Laymen’s Foundation of Mississippi / Arkansas, Inc. It is the purpose of the Iowa Foundation to resume and continue the work of the Mississippi / Arkansas Foundation which was dissolved in 2010 after the death of Elder William H. Grotheer, primary founder and original Executive Secretary. Like its predecessor, the Iowa Foundation is engaged in the research, development, and publication of critically important Christian doctrines and prophetic interpretations. The thought paper, “Watchman, what of the night?,” which chronicles this research primarily involving the history and teachings of the Seventh- day Adventist Church, was revived in 2013. New issues are now sent out bimonthly, free of charge, to all who are interested and request a subscription. The objective of each Iowa issue of “Watchman, what of the night?,” is to continue stimulation of in-depth thought on biblical topics and doctrines. The Foundation also serves as an outlet at as near cost as possible for the (reprinted) research publications produced by Elder Grotheer as well as the newer publications issued by Iowa’s research officers. We are committed, by the grace of God, to the development and progression of the sacred trust of present truth committed to the Seventh-day Adventist Movement.
Tragically, over the last half century, this has been betrayed into the depths of compromise, heresy, and apostasy by those in responsible positions within the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure. Early on, Elder Grotheer was one of the very few Adventist leaders to stand firm against this rising tide. Through the development of theological positions which on the one hand, remained scripturally grounded firmly on the basic foundational landmarks on which the Movement was founded, he advanced the details of those landmarks within a solidly biblical framework, thereby strengthening that which is genuinely true and discarding that which is not. It is the conviction of the Iowa Foundation’s officers that the work pioneered by Elder Grotheer not only answers and counters the claims put forward by critics both without and within the Adventist Church structure, but it also restates the importance of the biblical principle set forth in Proverbs 4: 18: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (KJV). Therefore, the work of the Foundation continues to faithfully adhere to the basic theological views proposed by Elder Grotheer in accordance with the progressive light of present biblical truth.
THE HISTORY OF ADVENTIST LAYMEN”S FOUNDATION OF MISSISSIPPI – ARKANSAS
How Adventist Laymen’s Foundation Began
Adventist Laymen’s Foundation (the Foundation) was chartered in 1971 by Elder Wm. H. Grotheer, then 29 years in the ministry, together with associates, for the benefit of Seventh-day Adventists who were deeply concerned about the compromises of fundamental doctrines by the Church leaders in conference with those who had no right to influence them. Elder Grotheer began to publish a monthly ‘Thought Paper,’ “Watchman, what of the night?,” in January 1968, and continued the publication under the auspices of the Foundation until the end of 2006.
Elder Grotheer was incapacitated by a terminal illness at the end of 2007. From that time the work of the Foundation at Ozone, Arkansas, came to a halt. Elder Grotheer died on May 2, 2009. From the time of his incapacitation, there were managerial and legal problems which proved to be intractable. By 2010 dissolution was inevitable. In order to preserve the work built up and nurtured by Elder Grotheer over a period of thirty-six years, two of the Foundation’s Board members, together with an associate in the work, incorporated Adventist Laymen’s Foundation Publications, Inc., (ALFP) on July 8, 2010, for the purpose of being awarded distribution of the assets of the Foundation. The award was granted on October 14, 2011. Prior to the date of the award the principal office of ALFP was relocated to Mason City, Iowa. Adventist Laymen’s Foundation of Iowa, Inc. (the Iowa Foundation) was incorporated on June 15, 2012, to be the surviving entity in a merger with ALFP, and for the purpose of reviving and advancing the religious work of the Foundation. This purpose is now going forward as of October 2012. New issues of “Watchman, what of the night?,” along with the (reprinted) manuscripts of Elder Grotheer and other Foundation books / literature, have been revitalized and are presently available through the Iowa Foundation.
In Defense of the Faith
In the years succeeding the organization of the Foundation, Elder Grotheer and his associates battled against the increasing tide of departure from the old landmarks of the faith and the intensifying attempts to remove the doctrinal pillars of the Advent movement. Only from without the corporate body have efforts been made to hold the line on what had been committed to the Church in sacred trust; but sadly, there has been, and continues to be, a confusion of many voices proclaiming conflicting versions of Present Truth. The result is that some contemporary Adventists now say that it is all a matter of opinion and, in direct consequence, that adherence to sound doctrine is not essential for salvation. But what say the Scriptures?
THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THE MISSISSIPPI – ARKANSAS / IOWA FOUNDATIONS
The Bible Speaks
God has spoken thus through the Prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4: 6 NRSV). Our Lord Himself promised the “Spirit of truth” to guide us into “all truth.” He also said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7: 17 KJV); and again, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 32 KJV). The apostle Paul emphasized the importance of sound doctrine, and made this prediction: “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” (2 Timothy 4: 3, 4 NRSV).
Prophecy is Being Fulfilled
From the pen of Paul also came the following dire prediction which applies specifically to these times: “The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.” (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12 NRSV).
It bears repeating that God sends a powerful delusion to those who refuse to love the truth and so be saved, thus taking pleasure in unrighteousness, leading them to believe what is false. They will not put up with sound doctrine, “but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” (2 Timothy 4: 3, 4 NRSV quoted above). There has been a proliferation of conflicting voices in the Adventist com- munity for over two decades; sadly, many Adventists cannot distinguish between the truth and myth.
How to Study the Bible
In this context the following words of Ellen G. White are of vital importance: “How shall we search the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth? Many who read and even teach the Bible, do not comprehend the precious truth they are teaching or studying. Men entertain errors, when the truth is clearly marked out, and if they would but bring their doctrines to the word of God, and not read the word of God in the light of their doctrines, to prove their ideas right, they would not walk in darkness and blindness, or cherish error. Many give the words of Scripture a meaning that suits their own opinions, and they mislead themselves and deceive others by their misinterpretations of God’s word.
As we take up the study of God’s word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded.
“Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago. We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. Solemnity characterized these councils of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. … “
“We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” (The Review and Herald, July 26, 1892, emphasis added.)
The same writer made the following statement: “The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pg. 707, emphasis added.)
The Bible and the Bible Only
Note that in both of the above quotations the Bible is the sole basis for the revelation of Truth. This is the principle on which Adventist Laymen’s Foundation has consistently worked from its very inception. Thus relying on the Bible, there is no room for pontification. Every position proposed for consideration, every doctrine promulgated, must stand the test of verification from the Bible and, where necessary, the records of history. The reader of “Watchman, what of the night?” is urged as an imperative to search the Bible diligently to confirm that what is stated is Truth. Nothing must be taken for granted. It is dangerous to be a surface reader in spiritual matters. May you be blessed in your study of God’s Word.
The Doctrinal Studies of Wm. H. Grotheer
Although the doctrinal studies of Elder Grotheer are the work of an ordained minister with over sixty years of experience, you will find as a reader that you are expected to delve deeply into the Bible and relevant history to verify that the positions presented for your consideration are valid. The author did not pontificate, and abhorred the advocacy of “Truth” that cannot be verified by the Bible. Since the pillar and ground of all doctrine must be the Protestant principle of the Bible and the Bible only, this sometimes demands that we re-examine some of our positions that are regarded as the ultimate truth. Thus light can be shed on some traditional beliefs that are not based on the revealed Word of God, and have consequently caused serious problems and done a disservice to the Truth. Many, too many, have turned away from the fundamental doctrines on which the Seventh-day Adventist Church was established. This was totally unnecessary. All that was required was a re-examination of those aspects of the Church’s doctrines that became established tradition without reference to the clear revelation of the Scriptures.
The Bible Student’s Responsibility
It was Ellen G. White who wrote, “The Lord has made his people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done.” (The Home Missionary, Art. B, July 1, 1897). The purpose of the biblical studies offered by the Iowa Foundation is to stimulate every reader, whether or not trained in Bible exegesis, to follow the counsel of Ellen G. White and become active in developing the fundamental Truths for these times “on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done.” We urge you not to be a surface reader, but in the words of the apostle Paul to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2: 15 KJV). In the words of Jude, we “appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1: 3 NRSV). If ever there was a time to “contend for the faith” it is now when the Christian world is flooded with false and delusive doctrines.