In Defense of the Faith


Mr. Canright the Adventist Speaks

Now we will again permit Mr. Canright to reply to his own arguments. While he was still an advocate of the binding claims of the Ten Commandments, he wrote an excellent treatise on this subject, from which we take the following paragraphs: DOF 70.2

“The agitation of the Sabbath question is perceptibly changing the position of ministers and churches touching the Ten Commandments. Till this question came to be urged upon their attention, the so-called orthodox churches were almost unanimously agreed in teaching the binding force of all the Ten Commandments in the New Testament. They solemnly affirmed this in their creeds, disciplines, and confessions of faith; they strongly defended it in their sermons and writings; and their children were taught it in their catechisms and Sunday schools. DOF 70.3

“But if the Ten Commandments are unrepealed, then the seventh day is the Sabbath and should be observed. Hence, wherever the Sabbath question is agitated we find representatives of the same orthodox churches, in order to avoid that conclusion, quite largely giving up the old positions upon the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments, and advocating the abrogation of all the Ten Commandments! DOF 70.4

“The entire strength of the opposition consists in jumbling together the ceremonial and moral laws, and then affirming that they are all abolished altogether. Plainly settle the distinction between the two laws, and the controversy is ended. The author confidently believes that this is done in the following pages.”—The Two Laws (1886, three years before he printed Seventh-day Adventism Renounced), Preface. DOF 70.5

Now let us read on. Mr. Canright is still speaking:

“‘Do we, then, make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’ Romans 3:31. DOF 71.1

“‘Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances.’ Ephesians 2:15. DOF 71.2

“Both these texts are in the New Testament, and both were written by the same apostle; yet one asserts that the law has not been abolished by Christ, and the other declares as positively that the law has been abolished. How is this seeming contradiction to be reconciled? By the simple fact that Paul is speaking of two entirely different laws. The first text relates to the Ten Commandments; the second, to the typical law.... DOF 71.3

“We will now show that there were two systems of law running parallel from the fall of Adam to the death of Christ; and that then one expired, while the other was confirmed and established. DOF 71.4

“In the beginning, man was placed upon probation under such conditions that he could have secured eternal life by simple obedience to God. Adam was placed in Eden and given free access to the tree of life and all the trees, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-17. As long as he could continue to eat of the tree of life, just so long he would live. Genesis 3:22. To Adam the Lord said, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou may freely cat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it; for in the day that thou eats thereof thou shall surely die.’ Genesis 2:16, 17. Then the day of his death would not come till the day when he disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit. Had he never disobeyed God, he never would have died. But death came in consequence of sin, as Paul says, ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.’ Romans 5:12.... DOF 71.5

“Now, [our first parents] having disobeyed God and become sinners, it thereby became necessary that Christ should die to save fallen men. Hence the Redeemer was immediately promised, in the declaration that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. Genesis 3:15. And so it is said that Jesus was a Lamb ‘slain from the foundation of the world.’ Revelation 13:8. But it was to be many ages before the Savior would come; hence it became necessary to offer sacrifices as types and shadows of the death of Christ, thereby to show their faith in the coming Redeemer; also to confess thereby that they were condemned sinners. To offer a sacrifice, they must have an altar upon which to offer it; they must have a priest properly set apart to officiate at the altar; this priest must be supported; and finally a temple with all its ceremonies became necessary. To regulate all these a law was necessary. Hence the introduction of the law relating to types and shadows, commonly called the ceremonial law. DOF 71.6

“The least reflection will show that this law never would have existed if man had not previously transgressed the other-the moral law. No precept relating to sacrifices, types, shadows, the priesthood, and the temple, would ever have been given if man had not first broken the moral law, and thus become a condemned sinner, needing a Savior.... DOF 72.1

“Many references to both these laws may be seen in Genesis. In chapter 3:21 we learn that the Lord clothed Adam and Eve with skins. This intimates that beasts had been slain in sacrifice. Abel offered a sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock. Genesis 4:4. He did this by faith, as Paul tells us in Hebrews 11:4. By this he showed his faith in the death of the Lamb of God who was to come. But the infidel Cain, having no faith in the coming of Christ, simply brought of the fruit of the ground a thank offering. Genesis 4:1 This the Lord would not accept, as it showed no faith in the coming Redeemer. DOF 72.2

“Noah built an altar and offered upon it burnt offerings. Genesis 8:20. So did Abraham. Genesis 12:7, 8. Melchizedek ‘was the priest of the most high God’ (Genesis 14:18), whom Abraham honored and to whom he paid tithes. Verse 20. This shows that at an early day the Lord had regularly ordained priests, and a law for their proper maintenance. Isaac offered sacrifices (Genesis 26:25); so did Jacob (Genesis 31:54).”—Ibid., pp. 5-11. DOF 72.3