“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” — Jeremiah 17:5
When the subject of the Shepherd’s Rod comes up amongst Seventh-day Adventists one of the common tactics used to dismiss the message and its claims is the appeal that the teachings of Victor Houteff were submitted to “the brethren of experience”. As the message first arose in the 1930′s these “brethren of experience” determined that it contradicted the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and therefore it is a false message and should be ignored. At first glance, and tragically the reaction of most Seventh-day Adventists who hear this from their church leaders or an alleged expert on the teachings of the Rod, is that they accept it without thinking any further if something might be amiss. All this in disregard for the counsel from the Spirit of Prophecy which states that we should not come to the table to investigate a message with prejudice or preconceived ideas (CSW 26, TM 107, 476, MYP 260). For example, how can the men of today speak with any authority for what actually happened when the leading men first investigated the teachings of the Rod? Since none were actually there and most have read the entire Rod message for themselves we would have to rely upon the written reports and documents related to the presentation and alleged fair hearing the leading men gave to Victor Houteff in 1934. If one relies solely upon the report of one side of the story, in this case the antagonists, then this would neither be fair nor in harmony with the basic principles of justice. Tragically, this is exactly what the Rod antagonists do today.
Fortunately, for the honest seekers of Truth who want to get to bottom of the matter and hear both sides of the controversy before firing for or against, there are accurately preserved documents from the side of the Rod proponents which tell a very different story. Naturally the church leaders who are opposed to the Rod and its teachings would dare not speak of this or tell the church members to investigate for themselves as it would plainly expose the unjust handling of the case in the first place. For instance, one of the many glaring inconsistencies is that the primary arguments against the Rod came not from a Committee of Twelve brethren of experience as claimed, but essentially from the mind of one man who in his arguments openly contradicted some of the most basic principles of Seventh-day Adventist teaching regarding the use of parables, symbols, and typologies! This is something that no sincere Seventh-day Adventist can afford to overlook.
Thus below is provided a faithful report entitled “Investigation of the ‘The Shepherd’s Rod’ by Pacific Union Conference” originally published in 1934 at the height of the proceedings. Also included is a scanned copy of an original Rod tract publication that specifically addresses the meetings, correspondence, and subsequent replies between Victor Houteff and the leading men. After carefully reading these documents, one should honestly ask themselves are these the “brethren of experience” that we want to follow? Are we repeating the same mistake of Israel of old when they listened to the leading men in their day who schemed and plotted behind the scenes for the destruction of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus because He taught unpopular new Truths that exposed their man-made teachings and traditions?
Investigation of “The Shepherd’s Rod” by Pacific Union Conference (from Tract No. 3, 1st Ed., 1934, pp. 62-80, Los Angeles, CA)
Tract No. 7, “The Great Controversy Over the Shepherd’s Rod” (1954 Reprint)