RIP Elder Robert J. Wieland

Elder Robert J. Wieland died on July 13, 2011.  
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Grace.  As of this writing, the time for his 
memorial service has not been set.
We are trying to process the sad news of the passing of our dear friend, Robert J. Wieland who 
passed away on July 13, 2011.  Elder Wieland was a true Seventh-day Adventist who lived a 
long life of service and sacrifice to further the gospel.  To his ministry the Seventh-day Adventist 
church is deeply indebted. The current and strengthening interest in the messages of Jones and 
Waggoner and deepening study into the message of Christ's righteousness is to no small extent a result of the courageous work of Elder Wieland.
In 1950, Elder Wieland and Elder Donald K. Short served as missionaries in Africa.  At that time 
they both stood as delegates to the General Conference held in San Francisco. When a call was 
given for delegates to communicate their concerns or advice to the elected leadership, Robert 
Wieland had something to say.  With a deep soul burden of the work of God, he wrote a letter of 
concern about misunderstandings of the gospel that were infiltrating the church. His colleague, 
Donald Short, assisted him with advice and much prayer. Elder Short decided that he would also
sign the letter, so Elder Wieland changed the pronouns and added the second name.
The two missionaries were asked to stay in America for further review of their document and of
their position in the church. In the meantime, they prepared a more complete disclosure of their 
concern in a manuscript for church leadership that would be known as 1888 Re-Examined.
Ultimately, church leadership discerned that Elders Wieland and Short were being faithful to 
their calling as Seventh-day Adventist pastors and missionaries.  The men were sent back to 
Africa to continue in service. From that point on, the names Wieland and Short became 
inextricably linked together.  They were leaders in calling for the Seventh-day Adventist church 
to gain all the blessings God intended when He sent us the “most precious message” which was 
presented at the Minneapolis General Conference in 1888.
In the providence of God, the 1888 Re-Examined manuscript passed from one person to another, stirring many minds.  Conscientious Seventh-day Adventists began to understand that the reason why Christ's coming had been so long delayed was to be found in our failure to appropriate the blessings that were contained in messages God sent through Jones at Waggoner at Minneapolis.
Many church leaders, who felt good about the status quo in the denomination, worked to quell 
and stifle the concerns. Numerous books and responses to the 1888 Re-examined manuscript 
were written asserting that the "1888 Message" of Christ's righteousness had already been widely 
accepted in the years since Minneapolis.  These claims rang hollow as the denomination 
descended into deeper division and controversy concerning the nature of the gospel itself.
Wieland and Short, for their part, worked vigorously to bring to light the hundreds of testimonies 
Ellen White wrote with regard to the 1888 message.  They also worked to make the message 
available through publishing Jones’ and Waggoner's books and sermons.  In addition, they 
demonstrated clearly how this message is supported throughout the Bible.Numerous times certain church leaders suggested the idea of defrocking Elder Wieland, and 
removing him from service.  Several other church leaders such as Elder Herbert Douglass and 
Elder C. Mervyn Maxwell stood firmly in defense of the message. Although vigorous opposition 
has continued in some quarters until this day, Elder Wieland always attempted to keep the focus 
on the message of truth and not on his personal wounds. In a recent visit with Elder Wieland, he 
expressed how his heart was broken with sadness that our collective Laodicean lukewarmness 
has delayed the coming of the Lord.  He so dearly hoped that he might see the Lord come in his 
In the early 1970’s, in response to the call of Elders Wieland and Short, the work of republishing 
works of the pioneers – particularly those of Jones and Waggoner, was undertaken by our 
denominational publishing houses.  Waggoner's books, Christ and His Righteousness, and 
The Glad Tidings brought clarity, hope, and renewed faith to thousands.    
Elder Wieland authored or co-authored many other books, most of which focused on the history 
and content of the "most precious message" which God sent to His people through Elders 
Waggoner and Jones in the late 1800s. In the mid 1970s, Southern Publishing, a
denominationally recognized publishing house then based in Nashville, Tennessee, published 
The 1888 Message: An Introduction. In it, Elder Wieland and Elder Short set forth the principles 
of the 1888 Message as given in the words and writings of Jones and Waggoner.  
For the centennial marking 100 years since the Minneapolis General Conference session, 
Elder Wieland prepared a book which clearly demonstrated from Scripture and Inspiration the 
reason for the continued delay in Christ's coming. The book, Grace on Trial was published by 
the 1888 Message Study Committee. Only in eternity will we know how many Seventh-day 
Adventists gained hope and courage from that book.  Many, many Adventists have testified that 
they received Grace on Trial just in time to keep them from giving up their faith and leaving the 
church.   Instead, they found a firmer foundation – a stronger faith in the bedrock truths of the 
Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the motivation and power to become active participants in 
spreading the good news.  
Thousands of Adventists credit the survival and growth of their faith in the gospel of Christ's 
Righteousness to the faithful work of Elder Robert J. Wieland.  He was constantly pointing us 
back to God’s clear messages to the church.  He kept prominent the clear testimony of the Spirit 
of Prophecy and the Scriptures with regard to Jones’ and Waggoner’s messages on the love of 
God, righteousness by faith, and the good news of the gospel. Many of us, upon reading Grace 
on Trial, have been re-established, not only in our convictions as Seventh-day Adventists, but in 
loyal support and belief in the ultimate triumph of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Elder 
Wieland's work has done much to build up confidence in the final victory to be obtained by 
Laodicea, if it will only heed to the call of the "True Witness".   
Elder Wieland most earnestly longed and hoped to live to see his Friend, Jesus come in the 
clouds of heaven. He longed to see the Seventh-day Adventist church apply the call of the True 
Witness to itself, accept the invitation to repent, and receive the "third angel's message" and 
proclaim it in the power of the Holy Spirit. He understood that wrapped in that message is the 
blessing of the latter rain and of the loud cry. Through decades, against storms and opposition, Elder Wieland stood unflinchingly in giving the call for repentance and acceptance of the key 
truths contained in the messages of Jones and Waggoner.
Elder Wieland never held himself up as a model of perfection. He had his faults and made 
mistakes. We do not pretend to find perfection in all of his positions. Yet, in many minds, Elder 
Robert Wieland stands out as an Elijah or John the Baptist of his day. Some theologians have 
quibbled over details of exegesis, others have made him an offender for a word.  Some have 
gathered up prejudice and doubt against a man.  In spite of all this, the call for repentance, 
revival and reformation goes forth with greater power.  
So many of us can close our eyes and hear Elder Wieland’s soft, humble, yet confident voice 
caressing the words of the Faithful Witness:  "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, 
that thou mayest be rich: and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of 
thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As 
many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the 
door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will 
sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, 
even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let 
him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Revelation 3:18-22).
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Angels now guard the final resting 
place of God’s humble servant, Elder Robert J. Wieland.   Below we quote words of reproof and 
promise of ultimate victory from the prophetess of the Lord.  These words were taken seriously 
and ardently cherished by Elder Wieland.   
"God has not changed toward His faithful servants who are keeping their garments
spotless. But many are crying, "Peace and safety," while sudden destruction is coming 
upon them. Unless there is thorough repentance, unless men humble their hearts by 
confession and receive the truth as it is in Jesus, they will never enter heaven. When 
purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of 
being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing.
“Who can truthfully say: "Our gold is tried in the fire; our garments are unspotted by the 
world"?  I saw our Instructor pointing to the garments of so-called righteousness.
Stripping them off, He laid bare the defilement beneath. Then He said to me: "Can you 
not see how they have pretentiously covered up their defilement and rottenness of 
character?  'How is the faithful city become an harlot!'  My Father's house is made a 
house of merchandise, a place whence the divine presence and glory have departed! For 
this cause there is weakness, and strength is lacking."  Unless the church, which is now 
being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of 
the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself. When she resists the evil and
chooses the good, when she seeks God with all humility and reaches her high calling in 
Christ, standing on the platform of eternal truth and by faith laying hold upon the 
attainments prepared for her, she will be healed. She will appear in her God-given 
simplicity and purity, separate from earthly entanglements, showing that the truth has made her free indeed. Then her members will indeed be the chosen of God, His 
“The time has come for a thorough reformation to take place. When this reformation 
begins, the spirit of prayer will actuate every believer and will banish from the church the 
spirit of discord and strife. Those who have not been living in Christian fellowship will 
draw close to one another. One member working in right lines will lead other members to 
unite with him in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. There will be 
no confusion, because all will be in harmony with the mind of the Spirit. The barriers 
separating believer from believer will be broken down, and God's servants will speak the 
same things. The Lord will co-operate with His servants. All will pray understandingly 
the prayer that Christ taught His servants: „Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in 
earth, as it is in heaven‟” 
    --Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pages 250-251.
With tears in our eyes, we write our positive assurance that Elder Wieland, if he were still with 
us today, would want nothing more than for you, dear reader, to recognize the tender love of 
your Saviour, and your inestimable privilege to simply let your heart be warmed and brought to 
whole-hearted repentance by the agape love of God as revealed in the saving work accomplished for you through the Cross of Christ.  Elder Wieland would want you to understand how easy it is to say "Yes" to Jesus, and to let Him lead you to heaven. He would want you to understand the Everlasting Covenant – the eternal plan of salvation through simple faith alone.  He would want you to know how beautiful and restful it is for those whose hearts truly believe to strive earnestly for, and actually experience real victory over sin and Satan. Elder Wieland would want you to let the sturdy, “much more abounding,” “Christ initiated” grace of God “work in you to will and to do” for Jesus under all circumstances.  
As we mark the closing of Elder Wieland’s earthly life, let us each take the opportunity to say 
"yes" to Jesus.  Let us humbly respond to His love in contrition and repentance, rededicating our 
lives to being "one member working in right lines" within God's Remnant Church, leading others 
to unite in intercession for the victorious revelation of the Holy Spirit.  
--Special thanks to David L. Wilson for his significant contribution to this remembrance.

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