In Defense of the Faith


Mr. Canright Affirms Natural Immortality

Now, it was to these scriptures that Mr. Canright took such strong exception. He opens his attack thus: DOF 244.2

“That man’s spirit survives the death of his body and lives in a conscious state, has been so generally believed by all people in all ages that we may fairly call it universal. In this, the most barbarous and the most enlightened nations have agreed.”—Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, p. 395. DOF 244.3

To this we reply that any system of error in the world could be proved in precisely the same way. If all that is required to prove a thing to be true is the fact that both barbarous and enlightened nations “have agreed” upon it, then we can, find abundant proof for almost any error, from the countless myths of the heathen world to the evolutionary theory, unknown to our grandfathers, but now almost wholly eclipsing the Christian faith of two generations ago. DOF 244.4

The majority have not usually been on the side of truth. Truth has ever been unpopular. It has always had to plead its cause against strong odds, and often in the face of bitter persecution by the masses. The broad road of error and superstition has always been well patronized, while the narrow road of truth has had only a few travelers. The fact, therefore, that both barbarous and enlightened nations have agreed upon any point of theology is far more likely to constitute a proof against that point than for it. DOF 244.5

The church in which Mr. Canright found a borne after renouncing Adventism was, only a few centuries ago, much more unpopular, and some of its doctrines were at that time more sternly denounced than are the Adventists and their doctrines today. In those days many Baptists were put to death. Some were burned at the stake in England, and many were executed in Germany. “The most enlightened nations” were against them. DOF 245.1

Again, Mr. Canright brings forth his arguments to prove that the wicked as well as the righteous possess immortality, and that therefore their punishment will be eternal torment, that the wicked dead are even now suffering this punishment, and that they will continue to suffer thus throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Note carefully the “proof” he sets forth: DOF 245.2

“The Apocrypha gives the views of the Jews just before the time of Christ. Here are a few verses: The wicked shall ‘endure eternal torture by fire.’ 4 Maccab. 90. ‘The divine vengeance is reserving you for eternal fire and torments, which shall cling to you for all time.’ Chap. 12:12. ‘Let us not fear him who thinks he kills; for great is the trial of soul and danger of eternal torment laid up for those who transgress.’ Chap. 13:14. Of the martyrs it is said: ‘Through which also they now stand beside the divine throne, and live a blessed life.’ Chap. 17:18. ‘The children of Abraham, with their victorious mother, are assembled together to the choir of their fathers, having received pure and immortal souls from God.’ Chap. 18:23. ‘The tyrant Antiochus was both punished upon earth and is punished now he is dead.’ Verse 5.”—Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, pp. 395, 396. DOF 245.3