The Fathers of the Protestant Reformation and Ellen White believed in two completely different gospels.
A Clinical Case of Legalism Diagnosed and Remedied
May this article bring peace and healing to all whom Jesus died for that read it!
The Fathers of the Protestant Reformation and Seventh-day Adventist prophetess, Ellen White taught two completely different modes of judicially becoming worthy of eternal life. Ellen White wrote about several of the Fathers of the Protestant Reformation in her book Great Controversy, thus allowing her and all of Adventism to ride their coat tails. Today this illusion will be swept away. As will be abundantly proven in this post, comparing what these great men believed about faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, and comparing it with Ellen’s views reveals a striking contrast:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Is the Atonement the trains engine or the caboose? Has the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ fully reconciled us to God; or are we fully reconciled to God only after our characters pass the bar and are determined righteous, during an “investigative judgment?” What drives the Christian to do good works? Is it love and gratitude from having all of our sins forgiven, and being reconciled to God in spite of the fact that we were undeserving of His amazing love and grace; or are good works motivated from the hope of retaining God’s approval only after proving ourselves worthy before an uncompromising Law that will condemn without mercy if the slightest flaw in our character is uncovered during an “investigative judgment?”
“Aim to make your children perfect in character. Remember that such only can see God.” – Ellen White, Child Guidance page 73.
“The Lord loves those little children who try to do right, and He has promised that they shall be in His kingdom. But wicked children God does not love. He will not take them to the beautiful City, for He only admits the good, obedient, and patient children there.” – Ellen G. White, An Appeal to the Youth, pp. 62-63.
Note: According to Spectrum Magazine 6 out of 10 Adventist youth defect the moment they leave home, many of whom abandon Christianity entirely. Perhaps the most notorious case is Ozzy Osbourne’s rock band ‘Black Sabbath,’ all of whom were raised Seventh-day Adventists. In nearly every case I have heard about over the years, the cause is usually Ellen White’s doctrine of perfectionism that was hammered into them by their parents. My own brother is sadly one of Ellen White’s victims. He wants nothing to do with Christianity. Seventh-day Adventist Doctrine – Is A Yoke of Bondage that has a very long history of turning countless thousands of people, both young and old into infidels.
“The Lord requires at this time just what He required of Adam in Eden – perfect obedience to the law of God. We must have righteousness without a flaw, without a blemish.” – Ellen G. White, Faith and Works page 89.
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
“We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son“
“We have NOW received the atonement.”
Do we receive the atonement now through an unmerited act of mercy performed by Christ on the Cross; or does the Atonement come later after proving ourselves worthy before the Law, during an “investigative judgment?”
How you answer this one question will effect everything else you believe about the gospel; and consequently will effect how you view your relationship with God! Are you reconciled to God and accepted by Him right now, or do you feel you still need to do something to either earn or retain His approval?
New employees are often hired on a probationary basis and earn the right to keep their jobs based on performance! We are sons and daughters of God! Not hired employees working during a probationary period under someone that is waiting to see how things work out. Although his brother would have thought it to be appropriate given his brothers many sins, the prodigal son was not placed on probation before being welcomed back into the family! Instead the father welcomed his wayward son home with open arms, and gave to him the family ring, that empowered him with the family seal.
Ellen White has conditioned millions of people into believing that the Lord has placed them on probation and are left hoping they will be hired (so to speak) after the grace period is over, if they can only prove their performance is worthy! Under these terms it is very difficult to view yourself as a son or daughter of a loving Father in Heaven that has already welcomed you home like the prodigal sons and daughters that we all are.
Both Jesus and Paul said we are sons, and are no longer servants (see illustration below). We do not have to worry about being hired, because we have already been adopted into the family of God, and are joint heirs with Christ. Because of this we can come boldly to the throne of Grace as his children. Our adoption into the family of God is not earned through good behavior, rather it is offered freely as a gift of God’s own mercy and grace.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” Titus 3:5.
Download > > > LUTHER’S COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS
For the next few moments lets set aside all the talk about theology, and set aside terms like justification, sanctification, the atonement etc. Because everything comes down to the most simple question. Are you born again? Are you a child of God?
I was born in Roseburg, Oregon, and because of that I am a citizen of the United States of America. The only thing I had to do to receive this citizenship was to be born in the USA . Through faith in Jesus Christ, I have been born again. I am made a son of God through this new birth, and this makes me a citizen of the kingdom of God. The Bible says that Jesus Christ “made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” The Bible says that I am an ambassador of God’s kingdom. My identity, and worth is not based on my own works, rather it is based on the fact that God has made me his son, through His own mercy and grace by giving His Son to die on a Cross for me, and then raising Him to life on the third day.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, of the fact, that I am a son of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and am a citizen of His kingdom right now. In fact I already have a mansion there. I do not deserve it, I did not earn it, and there is nothing I can ever do to repay God for it. It is a gift, that I received solely by faith. If you are born again then I want you to know that means you are a child of God right now, which in turn means you are a citizen of God’s kingdom right now , and that you have a mansion there right now, complete with a crown, and the titles of ambassador, king and priest but most importantly you are a son or daughter of God right now .
I have found my answer in Jesus Christ, and have more faith and peace than I ever did as an Adventist. Now the question you need to ask, “is our adoption and citizenship into God’s kingdom an unmerited event we receive immediately through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone or is our heavenly citizenship something we only receive on a probationary basis and then must prove worthy of retaining through good works and character perfection (infused/imparted righteousness)?”
Imputed -v- Infused Righteousness
Martin Luther’s doctrine of “Righteousness by Faith Alone,” took a bold position against the Roman Catholic Churches teaching of Infused Righteousness. Luther taught that Justification is through imputed righteousness ALONE! (Quotes from Martin Luther will follow later in this article, that will help clarify these terms).
Martin Luther believed in imputed righteousness ALONE! Whereas the Roman Catholic Church taught BOTH imputed and infused righteousness. In other words Martin Luther believed that being accounted righteous is an “event” received immediately by faith alone, whereas the Roman Catholic Church taught that being accounted righteous is BOTH an “event” received immediately, and a “process” retained through good behavior. This radical new teaching in Germany, in the early 16th century, was called Sola Fide! “Righteousness by Faith ALONE!”
Roman Catholics, Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists all teach that being accounted righteous is BOTH an “event” received immediately, and a “process” retained through good behavior. Whereas all of Mainstream and Evangelical Christianity today fully embrace Martin Luther’s belief in “Righteousness by Faith ALONE!” That being accounted righteous is “an event” we receive immediately through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ by faith ALONE!
“Legalism is the notion that a sinner can, by his own efforts, or by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life, do some work to obtain or retain his salvation.” – What Is Faith, John W. Robbins (Editor – The Trinity Foundation) , pg. 121-122.
Ellen G. White
The Bible is the ONLY inspired and authoritative word of God, and is the ONLY source for Christian doctrine
Adventists must believe in her writings and yield to to her views and teachings, in order to be among the remnant
Salvation is offered as a free gift by Grace Alone, the cost of which was dearly paid for at the Cross.
Adventists believe in Grace plus Law, and have label Salvation by Grace Alone ‘Cheap Grace’
Justified by Faith Alone
Initially justified by Faith,
Retain Justification through perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments
Forgiveness of all sin.
Inherently sinful nature of the first Adam judicially 100% condemned and crucified by faith in the Cross. Through the “new birth” we are released from all condemnation that the sinful nature of the First Adam brought upon the world. Christ bore all the sins of the world upon himself, and died as our substitute.
Forgiveness of past sinful acts.
Adventists are placed on probation and then must perform well in order to retain their salvation. Their performance is ‘investigated” in a judgment that began in 1844, and if they do not measure up to the Law, they are condemned.
God no longer imputes (keeps account of) sin
Angels keep account of all sins with “terrible exactness”
Christ holy character is imputed, Christians are judicially declared righteous by faith alone. Released from all fear of Judgement.
Christ holy character is infused/imparted. Adventists must achieve the same level of character as the Law, in order to retain their justification during the Investigative Judgment
Jesus faced judgment as our substitute. Christians are justified by the imputed Righteousness of Christ by faith alone!
Adventists must have their characters weighed against the Law and have no flaws in order to pass the judgment
Francis Turretin (1623-1687)
A Gradual Shift Back to Reformation Theology Within Adventism
There is a trend that has been growing ever since Desmond Ford’s Evangelical earthquake at Glacier View, California in 1979 within the Adventist church, in which many contemporary Adventist ministers preach more about faith and grace and Christ alone; and leave off Ellen White and her “Investigative Judgment” theory from their teachings. Ultra-conservative Seventh-day Adventists strongly resist this change, and have labeled it “New Theology;” going so far as to leave the Adventist church and start independent home churches in order to remain loyal to Ellen White. There is nothing “New” about this “Theology!” It actually predates Ellen White, and is in fact the Protestant Reformers Theology! Martin Luther called it, “Justification by Faith ALONE!”
- The first time this was introduced within the Adventist church was at the General Conference in 1888, through the preaching of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. The Leaders of the General Conference categorically rejected Righteousness by Faith, a fact well known among Adventists today.
- The second time it was considered was in 1956 during meetings that were held between several Adventist leaders and cult watcher, Walter Martin. At that time the Adventist leadership accepted an Evangelical understanding of several fundamental beliefs of gospel. These views were published the following year in the book, Questions on Doctrine.
- This caused a division within the Adventist Church. Every independent church /separation movement, over the last 60 years has stemmed from what was published in Questions on Doctrine.
- The third time Martin Luther’s views on “Justification by Faith Alone” was brought to the forefront within the Adventist Church, was in 1979 by Desmond Ford.
- In the 1980’s Questions on Doctrine was retired, and was replaced by the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe which was very carefully written to appear to support both the ultra-conservatives and those who embraced the “New Theology” espoused in Questions on Doctrine. It did not matter which side you believed, because as you read the statement of faith, it appeared to support your view. “Seventh-day Adventists Believe” was designed to heal the rift within the Adventist church, while at the same time it appears Evangelical so that the rest of Christendom would be less likely to label it a cult. “Seventh-day Adventists Believe” was written at the request of Walter Martin, after Questions on Doctrine was no longer printed. Failure to do so, would have resulted in Walter Martin labeling Adventists as a cult that had reverted to its earlier Victorian age beliefs.
- Every year between 2000-2010 more than 300,000 people have left the Adventist church. That is more per-capita than any other church in the world! Seventh-day Adventist churches in the United States mostly consist of elderly, and middle-aged, and are experiencing little or no growth. In order to turn things around in the United States, more ministers fresh out of seminary are teaching a gospel that is more in line with Evangelical Christianity today, than it ever has in the past. Historical Adventism views this “infiltration” of the Protestant Reformers Theology, as a serious threat, and resist it with ferocity giving it labels, like “new theology,” to avoid its obvious connection with Martin Luther and the other Reformers. Ultra-conservative Seventh-day Adventists recognize just as clearly as we do on this website, that Adventists must choose between “New theology” (i.e. the Reformers Theology) and Ellen White, because you cannot hang on to both!
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28.
“(Martin) Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. … Luther based his position on Predestination on St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians 2:8–10. Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are performed in cooperation with God, Luther wrote that Christians receive such righteousness entirely from outside themselves; that righteousness not only comes from Christ but actually is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to Christians (rather than infused into them) through faith. … Faith, for Luther, was a gift from God; the experience of being justified by faith was “as though I had been born again.” His entry into Paradise, no less, was a discovery about “the righteousness of God” – a discovery that “the just person” of whom the Bible speaks (as in Romans 1:17) lives by faith.”
Download > > > LUTHER’S COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS
The way Ellen White used great names like Martin Luther, John Huss, Calvin, etc. in The Great Controversy is extremely misleading because it leaves a totally false impression that the reformers fundamentally believed the same things as Ellen did. What you, the reader, need to understand is that historically all of these men spent their lives opposing the core principals we find in Ellen White’s gospel. The “5 Solas” summarize the Reformers’ basic theological beliefs.
The Five Solas are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers’ basic theological beliefs in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. The Latin word sola means “alone” or “only” in English. The five solas articulated five fundamental beliefs of the Protestant Reformation, pillars which the Reformers believed to be essentials of the Christian life and practice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_solas
Ellen White herself said to “seek to arouse the spirit of true Protestantism.” Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5 p. 716. The “5 Solas” ARE the spirit of TRUE Protestantism! Simply taking anti-Catholic stances without them really is not TRUE Protestantism! Adventists have their anti-Catholic stances for completely different reasons than the Fathers of the Reformation did. For the Adventists it is primarily the “Sabbath alone.” For the Fathers of the Reformation, the issue was “faith alone” grace alone” “Christ alone” “Bible alone” “glory to God alone.”
Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
Sola scriptura is the teaching that the Bible is the ONLY inspired and authoritative word of God, and is the ONLY source for Christian doctrine.
When the Reformers used the words sola Scriptura they were expressing their concern for the Bible’s authority, and what they meant is that the Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the pope, not the church, not the traditions of the church or church councils, still less personal intimations or subjective feelings, but Scripture only. Other sources of authority may have an important role to play. Some are even established by God—such as the authority of church elders, the authority of the state, or the authority of parents over children. But Scripture alone is truly ultimate. Therefore, if any of these other authorities depart from Bible teaching, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected.
Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
Sola fide is the teaching that justification (interpreted in Protestant theology as “being declared just by God”) is received by faith only, without any mixture of or need for good works. Protestants see this doctrine as being summarized with the formula “Faith yields justification and good works” and as contrasted with the Roman Catholic formula “Faith and good works yield justification.”
The article by which the church stands or falls, according to Martin Luther, “Justification by faith alone!” The Reformers called justification by faith Christianity’s “material principle,” because it involves the very matter or substance of what a person must understand and believe to be saved. Justification is a declaration of God based on the work of Christ. It flows from God’s grace and it comes to the individual not by anything he or she might do but by ‘faith alone’ (sola fide). We may state the full doctrine as: Justification is the act of God by which he declares sinners to be righteous because of Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone.
“Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us … Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31)” – Martin Luther
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
Sola gratia is the teaching that salvation comes by divine grace or “unmerited favor” only, not as something merited by the sinner. This means that salvation is an unearned gift from God for Jesus’ sake.
The words sola gratia mean that human beings have no claim upon God. That is, God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very willful sins. Therefore, when He does save sinners, it is only because it pleases him to do it. Indeed, apart from this grace and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit that flows from it, no one would be saved, since in our lost condition, human beings are not capable of winning, seeking out, or even cooperating with God’s grace. By insisting on ‘grace alone’ the Reformers were denying that human methods, techniques, or strategies in themselves could ever bring anyone to faith. It is grace alone expressed through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ, releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from death to spiritual life.
The “Investigative Judgment” is a front against the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation!
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. “Galatians 3:11
“Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.”
– Rock of Ages
Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
Solus Christus is the teaching that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and that there is salvation through no other. Our righteousness, from beginning to end is through faith in Christ alone.
The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christ’s work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any ‘gospel’ that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one.
Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)
Soli Deo gloria is the teaching that all glory is to be due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through His will and action — not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement of Jesus on the cross but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit.
Each of the great solas is summed up in the fifth Reformation motto: soli Deo gloria, meaning ‘to God alone be the glory.’ It is what the apostle Paul expressed in Romans 11:36 when he wrote, ‘to Him be the glory forever! Amen.’ These words follow naturally from the preceding words, “For from him and through him and to him are all things” (v. 36), since it is because all things really are from God, and to God, that we say, ‘to God alone be the glory.
“Sola fide” (Salvation by Faith alone) existed long before the Reformation. Here are multiple quotations compiled from the Early Church Fathers on the topic.
- Clement of Rome (c. 30-100): “And we [Christians], too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”– Clement Alexandria. Epistle to the Corinthians.
- Justin Martyr (d. 165) in his Dialogue with Trypho: “No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account.” – Justin Martyr. Dialogue with Trypho.
- Didymus the Blind (c. 313-398): “. . . a person is saved by grace, not by works but by faith. There should be no doubt but that faith saves and then lives by doing its own works, so that the works which are added to salvation by faith are not those of the law but a different kind of thing altogether.” – Didymus the Blind. Commentary on James, 2:26b.
- Hilary of Poitiers (c 315-67) on Matthew 20:7: “Wages cannot be considered as a gift, because they are due to work, but God has given free grace to all men by the justification of faith.” – Finch, George. A Sketch of the Romish Controversy. pp. 230.
- Basil of Caesarea (329-379): “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord, that Christ has been made by God for us righteousness, wisdom, justification, redemption. This is perfect and pure boasting in God, when one is not proud on account of his own righteousness but knows that he is indeed unworthy of the true righteousness and is (or has been) justified solely by faith in Christ.”- Chemnitz. Examination of the Council of Trent. 1:505.
- Ambrose (c. 339-97): “Therefore let no one boast of his works, because no one can be justified by his works; but he who is just receives it as a gift, because he is justified by the washing of regeneration. It is faith, therefore, which delivers us by the blood of Christ, because blessed is he whose sins are forgiven, and to whom pardon is granted.” – Finch. A Sketch of the Romish Controversy. pp. 220.
- Jerome (347-420) on Romans 10:3: “God justifies by faith alone.” (Deus ex sola fide justificat). – Jerome. Epistolam Ad Romanos. Caput X, v. 3, PL 30:692D.
- Chrysostom (349-407): For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent. – Chrysostom. Homily on Ephesians. 4.2.9.
- Augustine (354-430): If Abraham was not justified by works, how was he justified? . . . Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). Abraham, then, was justified by faith. Paul and James do not contradict each other: good works follow justification.
- Augustine (354-430): “When someone believes in him who justifies the impious, that faith is reckoned as justice to the believer, as David too declares that person blessed whom God has accepted and endowed with righteousness, independently of any righteous actions (Rom 4:5-6). What righteousness is this? The righteousness of faith, preceded by no good works, but with good works as its consequence.” – Augustine. Expositions of the Psalms 1-32. Exposition 2 of Psalm 31.
- Ambrosiaster (4th century), on Rom. 3:24: “They are justified freely because they have not done anything nor given anything in return, but by faith alone they have been made holy by the gift of God.”
- Cyril of Alexandria (412-444): For we are justified by faith, not by works of the law, as Scripture says (Gal. 2:16). By faith in whom, then, are we justified? Is it not in him who suffered death according to the flesh for our sake? Is it not in one Lord Jesus Christ? – Russell, Norman. Against Nestorius (Cyril of Alexandria). pp. 165.
“Meeting Worldly-Wiseman and Climbing Mt. Sinai”
John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress“
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Mainstream Christian understanding of the gospel actually stems directly from the reformation, which in turn dates back to the earliest church fathers. Whereas the Adventist church, though it claims to be “an extension of the reformation,” actual is not, but actually surfaced as “another gospel” in the 19th century. Adventism has no historical basis either during the reformation, or in the early church period for its views on Sanctification.
Adventism’s emphasis on good-deeds / personal growth / character / etc. in order to judicially meet God’s approval and pass Ellen’s “Investigative judgment” theory is totally contrary to Martin Luther’s view of Righteousness by Faith Alone. Because of this if Seventh-day Adventists were true to their own beliefs, then they really ought to remove Martin Luther and each of the other great historical characters from their book, Great Controversy! “Keeping it real,” Great Controversy is actually giving a glowing review to great men that wrote in very strong terms against the fundamental positions that Adventists take about an atonement based on ones own good-deeds / law keeping / personal growth / character / righteousness etc.
This may be an ugly thought to you, but the Adventists view of sanctification is actually closer to both Mormonism, and Catholicism, than it is to Protestantism. Catholicism and Mormonism both teach our own works play a part in our Judicial standing before God. Mainstream Christian apologists agree that the Adventists view of sanctification is actually closer to Catholicism, than it is to the Protestant’s view, and this is one of the reasons why Evangelicals consider Seventh-day Adventists a cult.
Our Judicial Standing
Process or Event
Forensic or Moral Justification
Event & Process
Event & Process
Event & Process
Plus Many Many more!
(Available for Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PC and Mac on Amazon)
Melanchthon, was a close friend to Martin Luther’; he was the first to systematize Luther’s theology. Philip Melanchthon defends imputed righteousness (Forensic Justification) against infused/imparted righteousness (Moral Justification).
Unfortunately Protestant Christianity does have a lot of disagreements within itself – Calvinism v Arminianism for example. However most all of mainstream and Evangelical Christianity is totally unified on the fundamentals of the gospel itself. Faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone etc.
In fact there are VERY conservative groups, such as the Mennonites and Reformed Baptists, that have an even higher moral code for Christian living than most Adventists have, and yet still have unwavering stances on Faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone etc. In other words they do not feel their own good works or rigid Christian living values play any part in their judicial standing before God. I am friends with the president of Christian Answers Television out of Texas. He is a professional apologist who has conducted literally thousands of televised debates over the last three decades, and he is a VERY CONSERVATIVE reformed Baptist. And yet his ministry uncompromisingly defends faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone etc. What Luther and the other reformers taught about the gospel verses what Adventists teach about an atonement based on ones own good-deeds / law keeping / personal growth / character / righteousness etc. could not be more completely opposite. Ellen White has changed Biblical definitions and interpretations of key scriptures so that her theology can better appear to harmonize with the Bible.There is a striking distinction between historical Protestantism, and Adventism, that is much more fundamental and far reaching than Adventists care to admit. Since the 1950’s Adventists have worked very hard to appear Evangelical to avoid being labeled a cult. Also this effort aids them in their seminars when unsuspecting evangelicals attend their meetings having no idea they are hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist church since this is carefully hidden from them till later in the meetings. This appearance of being Evangelical is highly deceptive, not only to Evangelicals, but to the Adventists themselves, who are totally unaware that the fundamentals of the gospel believed by the two groups are totally different.
If these differences were clearly spelled out in the seminars conducted by Adventists, I think the number of new recruits would decrease drastically. Evangelical’s stress how much our salvation rests upon the works of Christ, whereas Adventists view of Sanctification stresses how much our salvation rests upon ourselves through a process. Evangelicals stress how 100% of our righteousness is imputed to us by Christ through faith, whereas Adventists teach we must evolve into literally perfect righteous people in order to retain our salvation.
The question has never been about whether or not we should practice Christian living. Protestants see this doctrine as being summarized with the formula “Faith yields justification and good works” and as contrasted with the Roman Catholic formula “Faith and good works yield justification.” This PDF linked below has every scripture giving EVERY command in the New Testament. New Covenant Christianity has plenty for even the most conservative person to obey!
Dr. Michael Horton (theologian)concurs by saying,
This debate, therefore, is not over the question of whether God renews us and initiates a process of gradual growth in holiness throughout the course of our lives.
SOME Adventist downplay what Ellen wrote about perfectionism, because it is actually quite embarrassing when trying to proselytize from Evangelical churches. However there is something Ellen left us to illustrate just how perfect you have to be according to her gospel in order to retain your salvation. Adventists believe that one day they will have to live without a Mediator. You have to be TOTALLY PERFECT to do that! I thank God for the Good News, that Jesus is our mediator, and he will NEVER leave me!
Download > > > LUTHER’S COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS
Martin Luther was caught in a system that taught him his own works would justify him before God’s judgment, and it was the scripture, “The Just Shall Live By Faith,’ which taught him the Righteousness By Faith message, which A. T. Jones, and E. J. Waggoner tried to present to the 1888 G. C. session. Seventh-day Adventist had NEVER heard of Righteousness by Faith before, and utterly rejected it. They believed in the Investigative Judgment, and passing this judgment based on their own good characters.
The Gospel of the Reformation, of Salvation by faith alone, was completely foreign to the Adventist pioneers. The fundamentals of the Adventist gospel itself are totally opposite, to the gospel the fathers of the reformation believed in. Since 1888, Adventists have become familiar with the term, “Justification by Faith.” However they have neglected the most important part, “ALONE!” They have done this because they endeavor to combine Righteousness By Faith, with the Law. Which is something the writings of Paul does not allow. The Reformers gospel, and the gospel of Ellen White fundamentally is very different. The closest the Adventist every came to accepting the gospel taught during the Protestant Reformation was in 1888, and instead they rejected it, because it was totally foreign to them when they compared it to what they believed about passing the “Investigative Judgment” based on their own good characters.
This new gospel manifested itself within the small disappointed groups that had once followed after the Millerite movement during the middle of the 19th century. At that time a young 17 year old girl named Ellen Harmon, said that an “angel messenger” had taught her these things. Paul had warned the early church, that deceiving spirits could appear as “angels of light,” teaching “another gospel.” This “angel messenger” that Ellen communed with regularly convinced her to believe in theological positions that were contrary to what the early church and the fathers of the reformation taught. Today her disciples, continue to disseminate these beliefs throughout the world.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8-9
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS (Hymn)
- Faith of our fathers, living still, In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword; Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!
- Refrain: Faith of our fathers, holy faith! We will be true to thee till death.
- Faith of our fathers, we will strive To win all nations unto thee; And through the truth that comes from God, We all shall then be truly free.
- Faith of our fathers, we will love Both friend and foe in all our strife; And preach thee, too, as love knows how By kindly words and virtuous life.
Excerpts from confessions and creeds which support sola fide
Of the Justification of Man
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
However, certain Anglican and Episcopal theologiansespecially Anglo-Catholics) argue for a faith characterized by faithfulness, where good works and the Sacraments play an important role in the life of the Christian believer. (See New Perspective on Paul.)
Article IV Of Justification
Our churches by common consent…teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.
Augsburg Confession, 1530
Baptist Faith and Message – 2000 Article IV, sub-article B.
Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
That those which have union with Christ, are justified from all their sins, past, present, and to come, by the blood of Christ; which justification we conceive to be a gracious and free acquittance of a guilty, sinful creature, from all sin by God, through the satisfaction that Christ hath made by his death; and this applied in the manifestation of it through faith.
‘First’ London Baptist Confession (1644)
Chapter XI of the London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 is the same as the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective (1995) – copyrighted Summary: A typical Anabaptist confession of faith.
Salvation is variously expressed, sometimes as ‘justification by faith’, in which case it means that the just person has accepted the offer of a covenantal relationship, and lives according to that covenant.
Article 23: The Justification of Sinners
We believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus Christ, and that in it our righteousness before God is contained, as David and Paul teach us when they declare that man blessed to whom God grants righteousness apart from works.
And the same apostle says that we are justified “freely” or “by grace” through redemption in Jesus Christ. And therefore we cling to this foundation, which is firm forever, giving all glory to God, humbling ourselves, and recognizing ourselves as we are; not claiming a thing for ourselves or our merits and leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified, which is ours when we believe in him.
That is enough to cover all our sins and to make us confident, freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God’s approach, without doing what our first father, Adam, did, who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves.
In fact, if we had to appear before God relying– no matter how little– on ourselves or some other creature, then, alas, we would be swallowed up.
Therefore everyone must say with David: “Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for before you no living person shall be justified.”
Belgic Confession 1561 (French revision, 1619)
Question 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?
Answer: Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, and that he may be praised by us; also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ.
Question 87. Cannot they then be saved, who, continuing in their wicked and ungrateful lives, are not converted to God?
Answer: By no means; for the holy scripture declares that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Heidelberg Catechism 1563
I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
Chapter XI. Of Justification — Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)
We believe we are never accounted righteous before God through our works or merit, but that penitent sinners are justified or accounted righteous before God only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
-Article IX–Justification and Regeneration (The Discipline of The Evangelical United Brethren Church 1963)
We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.
-Article IX–Of the Justification of Man (The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Discipline of 1808)
The justification of the sinner solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
British Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith
We believe in…The Salvation of lost and sinful man through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith apart from works, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit…
World Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith
Unofficial Ecumenical statements
The New Testament makes it clear that the gift of salvation is received through faith. “By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). By faith, which is also the gift of God, we repent of our sins and freely adhere to the gospel, the good news of God’s saving work for us in Christ. By our response of faith to Christ, we enter into the blessings promised by the gospel. Faith is not merely intellectual assent but an act of the whole persons involving the mind, the will, and the affections, issuing in a changed life. We understand that what we here affirm is in agreement with what the Reformation traditions have meant by justification by faith alone (sola fide).
The Gift of Salvation (1997)
Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church
4.3 Justification by Faith and through Grace
25. We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it.
Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission
5…. Regarding the way in which salvation is appropriated by the believers, Lutherans, by teaching that justification and salvation are by grace alone through faith (sola gratia, sola fide), stress the absolute priority of divine grace in salvation. When they speak about saving faith they do not think of the dead faith which even the demons have (cf. James 2:19), but the faith which Abraham showed and which was reckoned to him as righteousness (cf. Gen. 15:6, Rom. 4:3,9). The Orthodox also affirm the absolute priority of divine grace. They underline that it is God’s grace which enables our human will to conform to the divine will (cf. Phil 2:13) in the steps of Jesus praying, “not as I will but as You will” (Matthew 26:39), so that we may work out our salvation in fear and trembling (cf. Phil. 2:12). This is what the Orthodox mean by “synergy” (working together) of divine grace and the human will of the believer in the appropriation of the divine life in Christ. The understanding of synergy in salvation is helped by the fact that the human will in the one person of Christ was not abolished when the human nature was united in Him with the divine nature, according to the Christological decisions of the Ecumenical Councils. While Lutherans do not use the concept of synergy, they recognize the personal responsibility of the human being in the acceptance or refusal of divine grace through faith, and in the growth of faith and obedience to God. Lutherans and Orthodox both understand good works as the fruits and manifestations of the believer’s faith and not as a means of salvation.
Passages used to defend ‘sola fide’
“And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
“Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
“And when he saw their faith, he said unto them, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men —robbers, evildoers, adulterers— or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.”
“But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
“Then they said unto him, ‘What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.'”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.”
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
“…that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me…”
“Therefore the just shall live by faith. The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
Galatians 3:1-3; 9-14; 21-25:
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Receive ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? … So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture harh concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith…”
1 Timothy 1:16:
“However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
There is no middle road. You are now faced with a very important decision. Either you agree with Martin Luther, and by default disagree with Ellen White; or you agree with Ellen White and by default disagree with Martin Luther. The answer is a matter of eternal importance.
I have come to fully agree with Martin Luther, initially without even being aware than I had done so. May 22, 2010 I began a journey that led me out of the Seventh-day Adventist church. During all those months, all I had was a Bible in my hands, and an urgent desire to know the truth. It was a long while before I had come to realize that what I had come to believe was in fact the very same gospel that Martin Luther taught. During that time I was convinced by the Bible alone, unaware than anyone of importance agreed with me.
Since that time, I learned I was in good company standing shoulder to shoulder with all the Protestant Reformers, the earliest church fathers, and all of mainstream Christianity. What started out as a journey that appeared to be very solitary and lonely, actually was the Lord’s invitation to join a much larger family in Christ than I had ever previously imagined with a very proud heritage.
I did not change my faith to join popular opinion, rather I began my journey feeling I was the only one out there, and later discovered I was standing in the best possible company, with men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Tyndale and Charles Spurgeon, just to name a few, all of which had greater minds than my own.
Today your journey begins on a much easier footing than mine did. You are handed all this information right up front at the very beginning.
The question now is laid at your own feet… whose gospel will you embrace and trust your eternal destiny with. Martin Luther or Ellen White? In times of ignorance God winked, but once the truth is fully understood it is necessary to make a decision!
Its not a preference, its the gospel. What you believe does matter!
Aside from Jesus Himself, the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther are the most powerful and influential people in all of Christian history. I promise you have never read anything so bold and decisive as LUTHER’S COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS.
There is no common ground between Ellen White and Martin Luther, when we actually look at what Martin taught in his own words.He left no room for compromise. He did not straddle a fence, rather he took a bold stand, and laid it all on the line.
Imagine you are a judge at the Diet of Worms. Read this commentary, and decide whether what he wrote was Biblical or Heretical.
“Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!” – Martin Luther – Diet of Worms (1521)
Martin Luther knew exactly what he believed about the law and grace. He believed we were saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, and that the law had absolutely nothing to do with it. He defines the law as including all parts judicial, moral and ceremonial. He left nothing to guess work. Nothing to speculation.
What I have been discovering the last 20 months through my own Bible study and research, has aligned me with the gospel taught by Martin Luther, and has improved every area of my well being spiritually, emotionally, morally, etc.
This commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther is a very powerful document. Mainstream Christianity views it as a cornerstone to their faith and practice, whereas Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Seventh-day Adventists will initially view it as heretical. You owe it to your self, to read this commentary for yourself, and see with your own eyes the teachings that were the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation.
With that said, I will lay it at your feet, so to speak. I believe this will be one of the most powerful Christian documents that you have ever read.
Download > > > MARTIN LUTHER’S COMMENTARY ON GALATIANS
Blessings in the Lord!!!
David M. Curtis
Director / Speaker of The Loud Cry Ministry
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Once the promise that God will not impute sin” against him is accepted by the sinner, God begins to keep His promise, by ceasing to “take an inventory” of his sins. That truly is good news!
In a judicial sense “sanctification” happens the moment the repentant sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Judicially “sanctification” & “perfection” is a finished work of the Cross, and has nothing to do with our own good behavior. We are judicially Sanctification and Perfected in the sight of God once and for all through faith in Jesus broken body and spilled blood, not by the individuals own good works performed over a lifetime!
By the which will we are (present tense) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL! But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (This emphasizes His FINISHED work.) For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:10,12,14
From what the Bible does say we can be certain as born again Christians we have it! It is not a future happening exclusively, since in the first century Paul was telling the churches they already had the seal.
YE ARE (present tense) SEALED unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
Before the world was made God predestined men to be saved. He wrote our names in the Book of Life. The Book of Life demonstrates God knew each of us by name before we were born.
Throughout this worlds history all of mankind has been given the choice to either accept their Creator, or to reject Him. God “is not willing that any should perish but that all men should repentance.” When men reject His invitation to accept His mercy, they compel their Loving Father in Heaven to blot their names from this Book of Life. God has predestined us to eternal life, but he has given us the choice whether we will decide follow Jesus and keep our names in the Book of Life or choose our own ways and have our names removed..
Christ gives us complete assurance of salvation. In Jesus, we can rest from all fear of ever being lost. We may completely trust in Christ’s merits to be sufficient on our behalf. Placing confidence in Him will not leave us ashamed in the day men’s deeds come into Judgment.