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THE CONTROVERTED NAME
"Seventh-day Adventist"

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." LUKE 6:22.

"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of [YAHSHUA]." ACTS 4:18.

"...Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?...." ACTS 5:28.

"...they commanded that they should not speak in the name of [YAHSHUA],.... And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." ACTS 5:40, 41.

"...I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." ACTS 9:16.

"Men that have [risked] their lives for the name of our Lord [YAHSHUA], [the] Christ." ACTS 15:26.

"And ye shall be hated of all [men] for My name's sake...." MATT. 10:22

"...they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute [you], delivering [you] up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake." LUKE 21:12.

"yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God." 1 PETER 4:16 (RSV).

"Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you?"JAMES 2:7 (RSV).


The above references should be a convincing list to suggest that "The Controverted Name" in the days of the apostles was first "YAHSHUA [the Christ]," and soon afterwards, "Christian."

"Long before the close of the century the prophecy of Christ had come true: the Christians were hated of all men 'because of the name.'" Persecution in the Early Church, Herbert B. Workman, p. 21.

The jealousy of the Jewish Church and compulsory emperor worship of pagan Rome aroused a constant threat of persecution to the Christians. Beginning with Jewish pursuits in 31 A.D. (Matt. 24:9), the Romans brought a wave of torments starting with Nero, after he burned Rome in the year 64, followed by Domitian in 95 and Emperor Decius in 250.

"The remark in the Smyrna letter about persons who 'say that they are Jews and are not' (Rev. 2:9), may perhaps be a literal reference to those Jewish people who, in their excitement, assisted in the burning of Polycarp" [c. 155 A.D.], God Cares, Vol. 2, p. 121.

The notable ten-year persecution, from 303 to 313, came at the hands of Emperor Diocletian (Rev. 2:10). By the time of his reign it had become settled policy of the Roman emperors to treat Christianity as itself a crime.

"In the month of March, A.D. 313, Constantine and Licinius met at Milan, and formed an alliance, and jointly issued an edict, granting 'to the Christians, and to all, the free choice to follow that mode of worship which they may wish;' decreeing 'that no freedom at all shall be refused to Christians to follow or to keep their observances or worship, but that to each one power be granted to devote his mind to that worship which he may think adapted to himself.' This freedom was 'absolutely granted to them.' The privilege was 'also granted to others to pursue that worship and religion they wish,...that each may have the privilege to select and to worship whatsoever divinity he pleases.'

"Plainly, with reference to the separation of religion and the state, this edict put the Roman empire exactly in the attitude in which the United States government stood at its organization and under its Constitution.

"But, as we have seen, the rulers of the apostate church were anxious 'to assert the government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves;' and there was another portion of this edict upon which they seized and which they made to work to their advantage, in securing a union of the church with the state, by which they could indeed assert the imperial government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves. That other portion of the edict commanded that all the property of the Christians which had been destroyed, or confiscated, in the late persecution, should be restored 'to the Christians.' And it was definitely stated in the edict that this contemplated 'the right of the whole body of Christians,' and commanded that this property should 'without any hesitancy,' 'be restored to these same Christians; that is, to their body, and to each conventicle respectively.'

"Now no sooner were the claims presented, and restitution begun, according to the edict, than the Catholic Church raised the issue that only those in communion with her were Christians: and so insisted that only these were entitled to the restored property. She thus forced a governmental interpretation of the term 'Christians,' and a governmental decision as to who could properly bear the title of 'Christians.' And, since that church had given to Constantine her active support, in his campaign against Masentius, which brought to him the whole power of the Western empire, this issue which she raised, was pressed with this added force of the political favor which she has rendered to him and for which she demanded a corresponding return.

"Accordingly, upon the first appeal, Constantine issued an edict to the proconsul in the province from which the appeal came, in which he said: 'It is our will that when thou shalt receive this epistle, if any of those things belonging to the Catholic Church of the Christians in the several cities of other places, are now possessed either by the decurions or any others, these thou shalt cause immediately to be restored to their churches; since we have previously determined that whatsoever these same churches before possessed, shall be restored to their right.' This was not true in fact: it was not 'the Catholic Church of those Christians,' but 'the Christians,' 'the whole body of Christians,' to whom it was 'previously determined' that the property should be restored. Yet this interpretation being that of the supreme imperial power, was final as to what was implied in this edict. And this interpretation was in effect a decision that those of the Catholic Church were the only Christians, and made the edict of Milan, from the beginning, bear that meaning.

"It having now been decided that only those of the Catholic Church were Christians, the issue was next raised as to what was in truth the Catholic Church. A division of the church in Africa, that was not just then in communion with the bishop of Rome, claimed, equally with the communion of Rome, to be the Catholic Church. This also called for a decision on the part of the emperor.

"Accordingly, still in the same month of the issue of the original edict of Milan,-- March, A.D. 313,-- Constantine addressed an edict to the proconsul of the province in which the question was raised, in which he specified that to be 'the Catholic Church, over which Caecilianus presides.' Caecilianus was the principal bishop in that province over that portion of the church which was in communion with the bishop of Rome. This was, therefore, in effect, with the decisions already made, to settle it that only those of the Catholic Church were Christians, and only those who were in communion with the bishop of Rome were the Catholic Church. The effect of this was, of course, to make the Church of Rome the standard in the new imperial religion.

"However, the opposite party was not satisfied with this decision, but sent a petition to the emperor, requesting that he refer the matter to the bishops of Gaul for a decision. Constantine accepted their petition, and responded, so far as to refer it to a council of bishops. But, instead of having the council composed of the bishops of Gaul, he had it composed of the bishop of Rome and eighteen others, of Italy, before whom the contending parties were required to appear in Rome for the hearing.

"The bishop of Rome here concerned and definitely named in the edict, was 'Miltiades;' the same as 'Melchiades' who was the very bishop who had invited Constantine to come from Gaul to the rescue of oppressed Israel under the Pharaoh, Maxentius; and who thus early began to reap in imperial and joint authority, the fruit of that episcopal-political endeavor. And, thus, one of the very first steps in that union of church and state, was that 'the bishop of Rome sits, by the imperial authority, at the head of a synod of Italian bishops, to judge the disputes of the African Donatists.'- Milman. The council met Oct. 2, A.D. 313.

"Of course, the council decided in favor of the Church of Rome. The defeated party appealed again to the emperor, asking for a larger council to consider the matters involved. Again their appeal was heard, and a council composed of 'many bishops' was appointed and held at Aries, in Gaul, August, A.D. 314. This council confirmed the decision of the previous council, in favor of the Church of Rome as the Catholic Church.

"The defeated party again appealed-- this time for a decision from the emperor himself. Constantine held a consistory, listened to their plea, and, in harmony with the councils already held, pronounced in favor of the church of Rome as the Catholic Church.

"The course of the positive growth, in favor and distinction, of the Catholic Church, throughout this whole procedure, is distinctly and most suggestively marked in the expressions used by the emperor in the successive documents which he issued in connection with the question.

"As we have seen, in the edict of Milan, March, A.D. 313, 'the whole body of Christians' were included, without any distinctions or any suggestions as to any distinction.

"But, when the issue was raised that only those of the Catholic Church were Christians, the next edict ran, in the same month: 'The Catholic Church of the Christians.'

"Next, in his epistle summoning the first council, in the autumn of A.D. 313, he calls it 'the holy Catholic Church.'

"Next, in the summer of A.D. 314, in his epistle summoning the second council, he referred to the doctrine of the Catholic Church as embodying 'our most holy religion.'

"Then, at last, when the controversy had run its course of appeal to where it came to him in person, and he had rendered the final decision, a document issued A.D. 316, granted money, and announced the imperial favor, to the 'ministers of the legitimate and most holy Catholic religion.'

"This final document also gave to Caecilianus and to the party who, with him, were in communion with the bishop of Rome, authority to call upon the imperial officers of the province, to enforce conformity upon those who 'wished to divert the people from the most holy Catholic Church by a certain pernicious adulteration;' and commanded him: 'If thou seest any of these men persevering in this madness, thou shalt without any hesitancy proceed to the aforesaid judges, and report it to them, that they may animadvert upon them, as I have commanded them when present.'

"Thus was formed the union of church and state, out of which came the Beast, and all that the papacy has ever been, or ever can be. And it all grew out of the interpretation of a governmental document that was perfectly just and innocent in itself." (Quoted from Review & Herald, May 8, 1900, p. 296; by A. T. Jones.)

Adventist prophetic understanding can be further delineated by quoting Review & Herald, July 3, 1913, p. 632 (8):

"In the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation we have a striking prophecy of the work which the people of the United States, represented by the symbol of the two-horned beast, will do in the closing days of earth's history. There shall be formed an image to the papal beast, a union of church and state. The church will carry on its work and enforce its dogmas and doctrines through the power and support which the state affords." (by F.M.W.)

THE CONTROVERTED NAME continues even unto this present time when Seventh-day Adventists are posed with a great question: "Who are the real Seventh-day Adventists?" Their "messenger," Ellen G. White, intimated that the commandment-keeping people of God would be called by "this name [which] means much," and that "this distinctive banner [would] be borne through the world to the close of [human] probation" (Ms. 15, 189). She also wrote that this name "marks us a peculiar people," and that Seventh-day Adventists "excite [the dragon's] ire because they have dared to raise the standard and unfurl their banner in opposition to the Protestant world...." Testimonies for the Church, p. 223. [Emphases and brackets mine.]

History repeats for Christ's Church, and just as the following was true in Tertulian's time (2nd Century), it will again be viewed in events connected with THE CONTROVERTED NAME, Seventh-day Adventist:

"Christians alone are not allowed to say anything to clear themselves, to defend truth, to save a judge from injustice. That alone is looked for, which the public hate requires-- the confession of the name, not the investigation of the charge...." Tert. Apology (197), ii.

Even though the real Seventh-day Adventists will be regarded as guilty of maietas (Latin, stirring up civil strife), in violating the papal trademark law(s), YAHSHUA will be able to say, "...thou [are faithful to] My name, and hast not denied My faith...." Revelation 2:13.


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