Posts tagged Judgment
Troubling Statements of Ellen White



I have had some comments recently about contradictory statements that Ellen White makes concerning salvation. In order to shed more light on the issue I am re-posting an old blog-post that deals with that topic. This blog is really an excerpt from my paper on the Investigative Judgment doctrine taught by the SDA church. I am also adding some other quotes at the very bottom that help shed more light on the issue of salvation as Ellen White and SDA's understand it. Those same quotes along with official SDA statements concerning our understanding of salvation can be found in the post The SDA Gospel is Legalistic - Isn't It? Blessings!



Troubling Statements of Ellen White 

Even though Ellen White is not necessary for an understanding of the investigative judgment, a review of some of her statements is necessary. At first glance, it appears that many of Ellen Whites statements are inherently legalistic.

In her book, Christ Object Lessons, White says, “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”[1] Again she writes in Our High Calling, “Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us—the perfection of His character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads.”[2] In her highly esteemed book The Great Controversy, White once again deals a “devastating blow” to righteousness by faith when she says, “Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.”[3] A similar thought can be found in Early Writings when White writes, “I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.”[4] These statements appear to be the epitome of legalism, and rightly so. To summarize everything just quoted would be to say that in order to enter heaven we must be perfect. Teresa Beem points out the legalistic language in some of Whites statements with reference to the pre-Advent judgment when she says, “The time of Atonement is especially scary for the believer. It is a time to reach perfection.”[5] And indeed White says, “Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet he will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Every one must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”[6] With this in mind, it appears that Ellen White has completely undone everything said in the above section on righteousness by faith. However, what critics and Adventists who point out these statements fail to see is that any statement taken out of its context can be made to say anything.

Before concluding on Ellen White and the pre-Advent judgment let us turn to the Bible. Matthew records a story in which Jesus was approached by a young man and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” It is interesting to note that Jesus did not tell him, “accept me as your personal savior and you will be saved” but instead told him, “‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”[7] Jesus also said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”[8] Later on He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”[9] The apostle James writes, “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?”[10] And the apostle John wrote, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”[11] Each of these statements can be taken out of context to say that the Bible teaches righteousness by works. However, when we balance these statements with those on righteousness by faith we discover what these verses truly mean and that none of them advocate a performance based salvation.

The same is true of Ellen White. While the quoted statements may seem legalistic when viewed in light of other statements and her ministry as a whole it becomes apparent that Ellen White never promoted a works based salvation. In Selected Messages, White says, “We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. Ye are accepted in the Beloved.”[12] Again White wrote: “The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account.”[13] With quotes such as these in mind, it is clear that the same tension that exists in the Bible with regards to faith and works exist in Ellen Whites writings as well. The perfection that White says the sinner needs is not a self-fabricated perfection but the perfection of Christ’s sinless life covering our sinful lives. White spoke for herself when she said, “[W]hile we should realize our sinful condition, we are to rely upon Christ as our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. We cannot answer the charges of Satan against us. Christ alone can make an effectual plea in our behalf. He is able to silence the accuser with arguments founded not upon our merits, but on His own.”[14]
Further Reading: Facing Life's Record: An Analysis of the Great Controversies Scariest Chapter




[1] Ellen G White, Christ Object Lessons, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 69.
[2] ibid., Our High Calling, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 150.
[3] ibid., The Great Controversy, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 623.
[4] ibid., Early Writings, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 71.
[5] Teresa and Arthur Beem. It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 112.
[6] Ellen G White, The Great Controversy, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 489.
[7] Matt. 19:16, 21.
[8] Matt. 5:29.
[9] Matt. 5:48.
[10] Jam. 2:21.
[11] Rev. 22:14.
[12] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2,  EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 32.
[13] ibid., Selected Messages, book 1,  EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 32
[14] Ellen G White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012], 472.



A Few More Quotes

A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. Fasting or prayer that is actuated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.  {DA 280.2}


The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.  {DA 172.1} 


A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion… Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great Offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe. The love of Christ will animate the believer with new life. {1SM 388.1}


The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion, through striving to fulfill the claims of the law in our own strength. There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. The gospel preached to Abraham, through which he had hope, was the same gospel that is preached to us today, through which we have hope. Abraham looked unto Jesus, who is also the Author and the Finisher of our faith (YI Sept. 22, 1892).  {6BC 1077.7}


Legal religion will not answer for this age. We may perform all the outward acts of service and yet be as destitute of the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. We all need spiritual moisture, and we need also the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts. {6T 417.3} 


If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason.{FW 24.1}


Christ for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. And any works that man can render to God will be far less than nothingness. My requests are made acceptable only because they are laid upon Christ’s righteousness. The idea of doing anything to merit the grace of pardon is fallacy from beginning to end. “Lord, in my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” {FW 24.2}


When men learn they cannot earn righteousness by their own merit of works, and they look with firm and entire reliance upon Jesus Christ as their only hope, there will not be so much of self and so little of Jesus. Souls and bodies are defiled and polluted by sin, the heart is estranged from God, yet many are struggling in their own finite strength to win salvation by good works. Jesus, they think, will do some of the saving; they must do the rest. They need to see by faith the righteousness of Christ as their only hope for time and for eternity. {FW 25.3}


The cross of Calvary is a pledge to us of everlasting life. {EV 186.3}


We stand in favor before God, not because of any merit in ourselves, but because of our faith in "the Lord our righteousness" {ST 2:497} 
Penances, mortifications of the flesh, constant confession of sin, without sincere repentance; fasts, festivals, and outward observances, unaccompanied by true devotion—all these are of no value whatever. The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient; He made a whole, efficacious offering to God; and human effort without the merit of Christ, is worthless.... {EV 192.1}
You will meet with those who will say, “You are too much excited over this matter. You are too much in earnest. You should not be reaching for the righteousness of Christ, and making so much of that. You should preach the law.” As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth. {1888M 560.5}


Perfection through our own good works we can never attain. The soul who sees Jesus by faith, repudiates his own righteousness. He sees himself as incomplete, his repentance insufficient, his strongest faith but feebleness, his most costly sacrifice as meager, and he sinks in humility at the foot of the cross. But a voice speaks to him from the oracles of God's word. In amazement he hears the message, "Ye are complete in him." Now all is at rest in the soul. No longer must he strive to find some worthiness in himself, some meritorious deed by which to gain the favor of God {ST, 2:497; 7/04/92}. 
Why Does God Need to "Investigate?"


I've already posted quite a few blogs on the Investigative Judgment (IJ) doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist church and how I feel about it in light of the Bible but I thought I would re-visit the concept. One question that pops to mind when you study the IJ is, Why does God need to investigate? Doesn't He already know everything? My answer is: Yes! God knows everything and He does not need to investigate anything. So why the IJ doctrine? Allow me to share with you a few Bible stories. At the end of each of them I'm going to ask those same two questions: Why does God need to investigate? and, Doesn't He already know everything?

Story 1: Adam and Eve


In Genesis 3 we read the story of the fall of man. As soon as Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit the Bible says that, "the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" Adam answers by saying that they hid because they were naked to which God replies, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? Adam then blames Eve and turning to her God asks, "What is this you have done?" 

Four questions are present here. Now, if God is all-knowing, why did He ask these questions? Whats more, each of them is a question of "investigation." So my question is, Why does God need to investigate? Doesn't He already know everything?

Story 2: Tower of Babel

After the flood the people of earth decided to build a tower that would reach to heaven so that they would have a place to go in case of another flood. Genesis 11:5 says that, "the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building."

Why did God "come down"? If I am in my bedroom upstairs and I hear a strange sound downstairs I'm going to go down to investigate or find out what it is. So again I ask, Why did God come down? To make matters more interesting the Bible says He came down "to see". Here, once again, we see God investigating. But why does God need to investigate? Doesn't He already know everything?

Story 3: Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah were notorious for their wickedness. If these two cities were around today they would make Las Vegas look like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show.The cities became so bad that God had to destroy them. However, before He judged the cities He investigated first. The Bible says in Genesis 18: 20-21, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

Here we read that God has heard the cries of people who are fed up with the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah. Now instead of saying, "I know that already and now I'm going to judge them" God essentially says I'm going to go down there and check it out for myself to see if its as bad as they say it is. He then sends two angels into the city and after the men of Sodom tried to rape them He judged the cities and destroyed them.

Once again I ask, Why did God need to investigate? Didn't He already know everything?

Story 4: The Passover
God told Israel that He was about to judge Egypt. The Israelite s were to put blood on the door posts and that when He passed by a home He would look to see if the blood was there. If it was He would pass over and if it wasn't He would judge that household. 
Doesn't God know men's hearts? Didn't He already know who was His and who wasn't? Then why the blood? And further, once the blood was there why did He have to look to see if it was? Didn't He already know who put the blood on the door frame and who didn't? Again, Why does God need to investigate? Doesn't He already know everything?

Story 5: The Fall of Jerusalem

The Fall of Jerusalem also serves as an example of this. Even though Israel had become so wicked that it was impossible to hide it God investigated before He judged them through the Babylonians. God said in Zephaniah 1:12, "At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent..."

Search Jerusalem with lamps? Why? Isn't it obvious that they are evil? Don't you know all things Lord? Then why "investigate" to see who is wicked and who isn't? Why does God need to investigate? Doesn't He already know everything?

Conclusion

Whats evident about all of these stories is that God investigates before He judges. If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow then why would the final judgment be any different? Of course God doesn't "need" to investigate. He already knows everything! Then why does He? Because God cares about us. Investigating before judging is Gods way of speaking our language. Its His way of condescending to our finite level and meeting us where we are. It's His way of saying, "I don't demand that you trust me, I prove that you can." God is transparent. He has nothing to hide. The investigation is not for Gods benefit, its for ours. Its for all his creatures.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 13: Character of God


As noted earlier, the judgment also exonerates the character of God. Marvin Moore sums this aspect of the pre-Advent judgment well. Moore writes that the “doctrine of the investigative judgment tells us that we serve a very transparent God.”[1] Imagine that God were not transparent but that instead He hid everything from His creation. Would that not imply that He had something to hide? The judgment however, shows us that God has absolutely nothing to hide.

Further Reading: Why The Critics of the Investigative Judgment Have Failed




[1] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 337
The Pre-Advent Judgment 12: Benefit for Man


The benefit of the pre-Advent judgment is not just for the angels but for man also. “The primary purpose of the investigative pre-Advent judgment is the final confirmation of salvation and vindication of God’s people.”[1] During the judgment, God shows the angels that those of us who have truly accepted Christ are “worthy” of salvation, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done in our place. The judgment then, calls each of us to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”[2] What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that we should spend all of our days anxiously worrying about whether or not we truly have accepted Christ?

No, for that goes contrary to righteousness by faith. What this does is it simply invites us to honestly access whether or not we are hypocrites claiming Christ as savior. I once met a young man who did drugs and slept with different women all the time, yet according to him he was “saved” and therefore he didn’t worry about his eternal destiny. The judgment is a benefit for those with such a mindset because it shows us that only those who have accepted Christ as savior and Lord will be counted worthy. This young man was under a delusion of hope but the judgment breaks that delusion because it calls us to ask the question, Have I truly accepted Christ? Even today I still meet Adventists who are legalists and live as though their many good deeds can save them. Some think they are “worthy” because they are vegans, or because of their dress reform, or some other work, however, the investigative judgment destroys that delusion of false security by showing us that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.[3] The pre-advent judgment then reminds us that we are to come to the cross with the deepest and most complete dependence upon the merits of Christ and Christ alone. One benefit of the judgment then is that it presents the cross before us in such power that it protects us from licentiousness and legalism at the same time.



Further Reading: The Urgent Implications of the Pre-Advent Judgment


[1] ibid.
[2] 2 Cor. 13:5.
[3] Isa. 64:6.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 9: What Does it Mean to be Judged?


Nonetheless, doesn’t the very concept of being judged imply that God is looking for something wrong by which to accuse us? The Bible’s answer is no, for the title of “accuser” is one that is reserved for Satan “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night.”[1] God on the other hand, is shown throughout the Bible to be the savior, not the accuser.[2] In his book More Adventist Hot Potatoes Martin Weber notes that:

…the ancient Hebrew meaning of judgment… was quite different from our Western legal system. Our society requires judges and juries to be strictly neutral. If they harbor a bias either in favor or against the accused, our law demands that they disqualify themselves. Not so in Bible times. Back then, the legal code required judges to abandon neutrality and take the side of the defendant. The defense of the accused was a duty so sacred that the judge refused to delegate it to a defense attorney. Instead, he himself served as the defender of the accused.[3]
This understanding paints a completely different picture of the pre-Advent judgment. Though many have twisted this doctrine and turned it into the icon for legalism, a biblical approach does just the opposite, for it teaches that right now, God is in heaven doing everything He can to save as many as possible. Thus, George Knight can say, “It is crucial to understand that God as our Judge is on our side. He is not against us or even neutral. He sent His son because He loves us and wants to save as many people as possible. And He will save all of those who will be happy in His kingdom. Thus judgment is not a fearful thing to a Christian.”[4]


Further Reading: 

Facing Life's Record (An Analysis of the Great Controversy's Scariest Chapter)

The Pre-Advent Judgment 6: The IJ and Assurance of Salvation


[1] Rev. 12:10.
[2] John 3:16-17.
[3] Martin Weber, More Adventist Hot Potatoes [Boise: Pacific Press, 1992], 81.
[4] George R. Knight, I Used To Be Perfect: A Study of Sin and Salvation [Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2001], 54.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 8: Troubling Ellen G. White Statements


Even though Ellen White is not necessary for an understanding of the investigative judgment, a review of some of her statements is necessary. At first glance, it appears that many of Ellen Whites statements are inherently legalistic.


In her book, Christ Object Lessons, White says, “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”[1] Again she writes in Our High Calling, “Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us—the perfection of His character? When the Lord’s people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads.”[2] In her highly esteemed book The Great Controversy, White once again deals a “devastating blow” to righteousness by faith when she says, “Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.”[3] A similar thought can be found in Early Writings when White writes, “I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.”[4] These statements appear to be the epitome of legalism, and rightly so. To summarize everything just quoted would be to say that in order to enter heaven we must be perfect. Teresa Beem points out the legalistic language in some of Whites statements with reference to the pre-Advent judgment when she says, “The time of Atonement is especially scary for the believer. It is a time to reach perfection.”[5] And indeed White says, “Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet he will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Every one must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”[6] With this in mind, it appears that Ellen White has completely undone everything said in the above section on righteousness by faith. However, what critics and Adventists who point out these statements fail to see is that any statement taken out of its context can be made to say anything.

Before concluding on Ellen White and the pre-Advent judgment let us turn to the Bible. Matthew records a story in which Jesus was approached by a young man and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” It is interesting to note that Jesus did not tell him, “accept me as your personal savior and you will be saved” but instead told him, “‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”[7] Jesus also said, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”[8] Later on He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”[9] The apostle James writes, “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?”[10] And the apostle John wrote, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”[11] Each of these statements can be taken out of context to say that the Bible teaches righteousness by works. However, when we balance these statements with those on righteousness by faith we discover what these verses truly mean and that none of them advocate a performance based salvation.

The same is true of Ellen White. While the quoted statements may seem legalistic when viewed in light of other statements and her ministry as a whole it becomes apparent that Ellen White never promoted a works based salvation. In Selected Messages, White says, “We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. Ye are accepted in the Beloved.”[12] Again White wrote: “The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account.”[13] With quotes such as these in mind, it is clear that the same tension that exists in the Bible with regards to faith and works exist in Ellen Whites writings as well. The perfection that White says the sinner needs is not a self-fabricated perfection but the perfection of Christ’s sinless life covering our sinful lives. White spoke for herself when she said, “[W]hile we should realize our sinful condition, we are to rely upon Christ as our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. We cannot answer the charges of Satan against us. Christ alone can make an effectual plea in our behalf. He is able to silence the accuser with arguments founded not upon our merits, but on His own.”[14]






[1] Ellen G White, Christ Object Lessons, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 69.
[2] ibid., Our High Calling, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 150.
[3] ibid., The Great Controversy, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 623.
[4] ibid., Early Writings, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 71.
[5] Teresa and Arthur Beem. It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 112.
[6] Ellen G White, The Great Controversy, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 489.
[7] Matt. 19:16, 21.
[8] Matt. 5:29.
[9] Matt. 5:48.
[10] Jam. 2:21.
[11] Rev. 22:14.
[12] Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2,  EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 32.
[13] ibid., Selected Messages, book 1,  EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012]. 32
[14] Ellen G White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, EGW Writings, https://egwwritings.org [accessed Apr. 1, 2012], 472.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 7: Ellen G. White and the Investigative Judgment

Up to this point I have avoided all reference to Ellen G. White. The reason why is because many challengers have accused Seventh-day Adventists on basing their pre-Advent judgment doctrine on Ellen White and not on the Bible. However, Jud Lake, an Adventist minister who ardently defends the ministry of Ellen White boldly asserts that “[n]o doctrine of the SDA church is based on [Ellen G. White].”[1] However, although sola scriptura is the official Adventist position, not all Adventist’s think this way.

Clifford Goldstein confesses that at one point in his early Christian walk he, “had seen charts, had read about 1844, and believed it because Ellen White believed it, and [he] believed in what she believed.”[2] Although Goldstein eventually came to base all of his beliefs (including the pre-Advent judgment) on the Bible and the Bible alone, (along with countless others) many still accuse the Seventh-day Adventist church of basing their pre-Advent judgment doctrine on Ellen G. White. Nonetheless, such a claim need not be taken seriously. As we have seen, a Biblical basis can be established for the belief in a pre-Advent judgment apart from the ministry of Ellen White. In other words, Ellen White is not needed in order to come to a knowledge of the investigative judgment. If she were, then how is it that Lutheran Joseph A. Seiss, Catholic F. Dusterwald, and Protestant T. Robinson all arrived at the same conclusion when none of them used Ellen White? Marvin Moore summarizes it well when he states, “Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen White received the gift of prophecy in the same sense that the Bible writers did, that the Holy Spirit inspired her in the same way He inspired them. However, we also affirm that the Bible is the foundation of our faith and that our major teachings are based on Scripture, not on what Ellen White said.”[3]




[1] Jud Lake, e-mail to author, January 31, 2012.
[2] Clifford Goldstein, 1844 Made Simple [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1988], 7.
[3] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 317.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 6: The IJ and Assurance of Salvation


The pre-Advent judgment is biblical. That much is clearly seen. However, one of the greatest attacks against the pre-Advent judgment doctrine is that anyone who believes it cannot have assurance of salvation. Marvin Moore once met a man who told him that, “…with a doctrine like that, no one can ever have assurance of salvation.”[1] The reason for this is that the pre-Advent judgment teaches that in 1844 Jesus began the work of investigating and judging both the saved and the lost. Therefore, many have come to teach and believe that unless you are living a perfect life by the time your name comes up in the judgment you will be eternally lost. Thus, former Adventist’s Teresa and Arthur Beem can say, “In the investigative judgment you will not be judged by your belief in Christ but by how well you kept the Ten Commandments.”[2]

Such a teaching is damaging to the Christian faith because it completely undermines the doctrine of righteousness by faith in Christ alone. Growing up, my wife was taught that she did not know when her name would come up in the judgment. If it did and she was found not “worthy” of eternal life because she was sinning at the moment (or some other reason), then she would be lost forever and not know it. She could continue to strive to follow Jesus for the rest of her life, but this would be in vain since she was already lost. Clifford Goldstein’s wife was taught a similar version of the pre-Advent judgment. Goldstein writes:
My wife [was taught]… ‘that the judgment is going on in heaven right now, and that our names may come up at any time. We can’t know when that happens, but when it does, our names are blotted out of the book of life if we are not absolutely perfect. We are lost. We won’t know it, and we may keep on struggling to be perfect, even though probation has closed for us and we have no hope.’ Cliff went on to say, ‘Such a teaching is not good news…[3]
Not only is such a teaching “not good news” it is also a vile distortion of what the investigative judgment is all about. Jud Lake, professor of theology at Southern Adventist University reminds us that according to Daniel 7, “The judgment was rendered ‘in favor’ of the saints. Jesus is our advocate and in the judgment [sic] we are acquitted [sic] because of His merits, not our own.”[4] Unfortunately, as George Knight pointed out in his book, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism, “The tragedy of Adventism is that we made the pre-Advent judgment a fearful thing…. Spiritual insecurity and lack of biblical assurance was the result. ‘God is out to get you’ was the message…”[5] However, Knight goes on to establish that, “[t]he purpose of the judgment in the Bible is not to keep people out of heaven, but to get as many in as possible.”[6] Therefore, the accusation that the pre-Advent judgment is inherently legalistic and that it is impossible to have assurance of salvation and believe in the investigative judgment simultaneously is true but only part way. The accusation is true if one believes the distortions of the investigative judgment. But if one bases the investigative judgment on the Bible then the accusation no longer stands. Scripture is clear that, “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”[7] Paul warns “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”[8] Therefore, to interpret the pre-Advent judgment to mean that believers must be absolutely “perfect” at every moment or else they are at risk of losing their salvation goes contrary to the truth that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”[9] Once again, Moore offers a helpful insight when he writes, “…the judgment depends on whether we’re asleep in Jesus (if we’ve died before the judgment) or abiding in Christ (if we’re still living). It depends on whether we believe in Jesus, not on how well we’ve lived – that is, on our good behavior.”[10]



Adventist authors have emphasized over the years again and again that our standing in the judgment is not based on our works but Christ’s perfect work. Unfortunately many Seventh-day Adventist’s have had their faith damaged by the errors of their parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders who have taken a legalistic stance on the judgment. Leslie Hardinge, author of With Jesus In His Sanctuary tells us that “[i]n preparing for the judgment the important thing is not to think of what we have done wrong, or anything we might contribute, but on Whom we know.”[11] And in his little book The Great Judgment Day Adventist author John L. Shuler writes: “Our only hope in the judgment is to be hid in Christ (Col. 3: 3), clothed with His righteousness. His life alone will meet the requirements of the law by which we shall be judged…. Thus through the work of Christ in our hearts… we shall be accounted worthy in the judgment….”[12] Shuler goes on to say that “[i]f we are abiding in Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to face the judgment with perfect confidence.”[13] This is good news for many Adventists who have misunderstood the pre-Advent judgment, however, what a shame that God’s people would for one moment forget such a beautiful truth that “God’s justice was satisfied in Christ, who endured the death penalty instead of the sinner.”[14] Without it, our faith is no different than all of the other world religions that claim to know the path to salvation – a path that is always marked by works. Christ’s perfect atonement must forever be our theme and song, for it is the “power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”[15] Clifford Goldstein put it well when he wrote, “This is the essence of the gospel, the good news. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, Jesus Christ can forgive everything and allow us to stand in the sight of God as perfect and as accepted by the Father as He was, because He will freely credit to us, as undeserving as we are, His perfect righteousness.”[16]





Just As I Am Without One Plea 
(The Truth About the Investigative Judgment)



Note: While the IJ does not contradict the gospel there are certain teachings that have been embraced by some Adventists that certainly do inspire a legalistic interpretation and application of the IJ. However, such teachings are not orthodox Adventism as the following article demonstrates:
REclaiming Adventism (A Response to the Testimony of former Adventist Eliana Matthews)



[1] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 19.
[2] Teresa and Arthur Beem, It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 114.
[3] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 20.
[4] Jud Lake, e-mail message to author, January 31, 2012.
[5] George R. Knight, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism: Are We Erasing Our Relevancy? [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2008], 70.
[6] ibid.
[7] Eph. 2:8.
[8] Gal. 5:4.
[9] Rom. 3:24.
[10] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 32.
[11] Leslie Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary: A Walk Through the Tabernacle Along His Way [Harrisburg: American Cassette Ministries, 1991], 543.
[12] John L Shuler, The Great Judgment Day: In the Light of the Sanctuary Service, [Washington: Review and Herald, 1923], 117. Italics mine.
[13] Ibid., Italics mine.
[14] Alberto R Treiyer, The Day of Atonement and the Heavenly Judgment: From the Pentateuch to Revelation, [Siloam Springs: Creation Enterprises International, 1992], 221.
[15] Rom. 1:16.
[16] Clifford Goldstein, False Balances [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1992], 147.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 5: The IJ is Not Entirely Unique to Adventism

The third aspect of the pre-Advent judgment I would like to explore is the allegation that it is an attempt “[i]n trying to defend 1844 after the failure of Christ's return.”[1] This critique presupposes that “the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the pre-Advent investigative judgment… [is a] unique Adventist contribution to biblical theology.”[2] However, “…it is misleading to say that the doctrine of a pre-Advent judgment in Daniel is unique to Seventh-day Adventism.

After all, many others have found a pre-Advent judgment in Daniel 7.”[3] If this is so, then the allegation that the investigative judgment is simply a “new way of explaining the Great Disappointment”[4] is not true. Indeed, Seventh-day Adventists are far from the only ones to ever discover the doctrine of the pre-Advent judgment. Gerhard Pfandl, author of Daniel: The Seer of Babylon identifies several non-Adventist theologians who have taught the pre-Advent judgment. “Lutheran Joseph A. Seiss, for example, wrote: ‘The resurrection, and the changes which pass… upon the living, are themselves the fruits and embodiments of antecedent judgment…. Strictly speaking, men are neither raised nor translated, in order to come to judgment. Resurrections and translations are products of judgment previously passed.”[5] In addition, Pfandl quotes Catholic author F. Dusterwald and Protestant interpreter T. Robinson as having understood the book of Daniel to teach a pre-Advent judgment.



[1] Martin Weber, “Never Before Published Desmond Ford Dialogues About the 1844 Judgment, Ford And Weber Dialogue, Section II: Ford’s Critique Of Weber,” Scribd, http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/17458843 [accessed Mar 31, 2012]. Note: The Millerites originally thought that 1844 marked the date for the return of Jesus. After Jesus did not come back many went back to their Bibles to discover what had gone wrong. In the process they discovered that Christ was not meant to return but that he was engaging in the second phase of His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary on that date. Thus, many critics have taken the pre-Advent judgment to be an attempt to “explain away” why Christ did not return.
[2] Gerhard Pfandl, Daniel: The Seer of Babylon [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2004], 68.
[3] George R. Knight, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism: Are We Erasing Our Relevancy? [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2008], 70.
[4] Teresa and Arthur Beem. It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 107.
[5] Gerhard Pfandl, Daniel: The Seer of Babylon [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2004], 70.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 4: Did Christ's Ministry End at the Cross?

The second aspect that must be considered is that the pre-Advent judgment teaches that when the judgment began Jesus began a special work in heaven. That special work is the work of “cleansing the sanctuary.” During this time not only the wicked but also the righteous are said to be judged.[1] This judgment then is said to determine the fate of everyone who has ever lived. Opponents of the pre-Advent judgment often critique this doctrine by saying that it teaches that Christ work was not completed on the cross.

“We believe that the Bible teaches that the work of Christ is a finished work—finished on the cross”[2] they say. They then quote Jesus’ words just before His death when He says, “It is finished.”[3] According to this critique, the death of Christ marked the end of Christ’s ministry. Everything was fulfilled at the cross, therefore, how can we say that Christ began another phase of His ministry in 1844? 


While I agree that Christ’s work of salvation was finished at the cross and that nothing more is needed for the salvation of man, several texts can help us see that Christ’s ministry did not, as is often asserted, end at the cross. For starters, Paul tells us that “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”[4] Therefore, it was not sufficient that Christ died for us, but He had to be raised again. Had Christ not risen, His work of redemption would have been incomplete and we are “still in [our] sins” and thus, “of all people most to be pitied.”[5] Evangelical Christian evangelist Billy Graham also agrees that Christ’s ministry did not end at the cross. In his book, The Holy Spirit, Graham says, “Quite clearly Jesus did not say that His death on the cross would mark the cessation of His ministry. The night before His death He repeatedly told the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit.”[6] Christ not only sent us the Holy Spirit, He also “help[s] those who are being tempted” and “rescues the godly from trials.”[7] In addition to all of this, the ministry of Jesus would also be incomplete without the second coming. With this evidence in mind, I suggest that although Christ’s sacrifice is all-sufficient for man’s salvation, it is not unbiblical to teach that His ministry was not completed at the cross.[8]


Further Reading: Did Jesus Complete the Atonement on the Cross?



[1] “For thousands of years, from the times of the tabernacle in the wilderness until today, the Jews celebrated the cleansing of the sanctuary (Yom Kippur) – the Day of Atonement – as the great judgment day.” Clifford Goldstein, 1844 Made Simple [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1988], 39. Thus, the cleansing of the sanctuary and the judgment are the same event.
[2] James E. Bear, “Bible and Modern Religions, Part 1 :The Seventh-Day Adventists,” ATLA Religion Database [1956]: 11, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.southern.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=18fbeee8-6294-4b74-8d94-1d0a16d2b8f9%40sessionmgr10&vid=4&hid=24 [accessed April 1, 2012].
[3] John 19:30.
[4] 1 Cor. 15:14.
[5] 1 Cor. 15:17, 19.
[6] Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life [W Publishing Group, 1988], 71.
[7] Heb. 2:18., 2 Pet. 2:9.
[8] It is however, unbiblical and heretical to teach that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough and that He needs to “do more” in order to save us. Hebrews is clear “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Heb. 7:27. Italics mine.
The Pre Advent Judgment 3: The Pre-Advent Judgment and 1844



There are yet other aspects of the pre-Advent judgment that must be considered. The first is that Seventh-day Adventists believe and teach that the pre-Advent judgment began in the year A.D. 1844. Due to space limitations I will not seek to explain that here. Suffice it to say that if the judgment could have begun at any point between A.D. 31 and the second coming of Jesus then the year 1844 does not seem as ridiculous as it might first appear. For a more detailed and thorough explanation on the validity of 1844 I recommend The Case for the Investigative Judgment by Marvin Moore and 1844 Made Simple by Clifford Goldstein. 

Further Reading: Why 1844 is Perfectly Logical

See also 1844madesimple.org


The Pre-Advent Judgment 2: Will There Be a Pre-Advent Judgment?



What exactly is the pre-Advent judgment? To put it simply, the pre-advent judgment (also known as the investigative judgment) teaches that the final judgment will take place before the second coming of Christ. During this judgment the lives of every person, both believers and unbelievers alike, will be investigated. Marvin Moore, author of The Case for the Investigative Judgment put it well when he wrote:
The idea that God will conduct an investigative judgment someday is very biblical. In Ecclesiastes 12:14, Solomon said, ‘God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil’…. Thus, our works, our words, and even our thoughts (the secret things) will be examined in God’s final judgment. That’s investigative judgment.[1]
The Bible itself has much to say on the topic of judgment and without a doubt it should. “Looking around at the world, we shouldn’t have a problem understanding the idea of judgment and condemnation. One doesn’t have to be a believing Christian to realize that something is radically wrong with humanity. Who can’t see what a royal mess, even disaster, we’ve made of things?... Who hasn’t been the victim of just how greedy, selfish, and mean people can be? Or who hasn’t at some point been the greedy, selfish, and mean one?”[2] Victims of crime cry out for justice, families of those who have been murdered do likewise. Judgment seems to be a natural and intimate human desire. With this in mind, judgment becomes “the fulfillment of humanity’s hopes and yearnings”[3] for it is where the wounded find closure and the broken healing. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”[4] David wrote in the Psalms, “Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness”[5] In the New Testament, Jesus reaffirms the concept of a final judgment when he says, “…I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”[6] Paul also reiterates the concept of a final judgment when he wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”[7] However, while it is clear that there will be a judgment through these verses, they say nothing about the judgment taking place before the second coming of Jesus. According to these verses the day of judgment can just as easily be on the day of Christ’s return as they could before his return. Desmond Ford, former Adventist minister, writes: “…‘Why must [I] reject the two-phased ministry of Christ and the [pre-Advent] judgment?’ my answer is ‘Because it is nowhere taught in the New Testament or, indeed, in the Old Testament.’”[8] Hence, based on Fords statement and the question posed beforehand, How is it that the Seventh-day Adventist church can be so sure that the judgment is a pre-Advent judgment? Adventist minister Martin Weber has a simple way of explaining it. “When Jesus comes again” Weber says, “He will separate the sheep (His true believers) from the goats (unbelievers and pseudo-disciples). See Matt. 25:31-46. Obviously He will have already decided by that time who are the sheep and who are the goats, so there has to be a pre-Advent judgment.”[9] In addition, Paul’s verse quoted above states that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us.” Thus, according to Paul, when we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, we appear not to be judged but to receive our reward. Therefore, it is implied that the judgment has taken place already. Jesus also said, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”[10] Once again, the implication is that a decision has been made as to who will receive life and who will not, therefore, it is safe to deduce that a judgment has taken place before the resurrection (which takes place at the second coming of Christ). In connection with the second coming, Jesus also said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”[11] Once again, the words of Jesus infer that a judgment has already taken place, or else how could He already have the reward?

In addition, there is also evidence in the book of Daniel of a pre-Advent judgment that is to take place before the second coming of Jesus. Why the book of Daniel? Because the book of Daniel is the only book in the Old Testament that contains predictions that span all the way across history to our present day.[12] For this reason the book of Daniel is said to contain “apocalyptic literature,” which is literature “concerned with the future and often reveal God’s eschatological judgment.”[13] Because “Daniel is a primary source for Old Testament eschatology”[14] it is only logical to presume that Daniel would have something to say about an event that occurs at the end of time. Indeed, Daniel has much to say about the pre-Advent judgment.


Daniel chapter seven makes the first reference to a judgment taking place during earth’s history. In this chapter Daniel has seen a vision that spans from his day (the time of the Babylonian reign) to the end of time. Four beasts are present in the chapter which according to verse 17 are also “four kings which arise out of the earth.”[15] After these “four kings” Daniel says “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat… The court was seated, and the books were opened.”[16] This scenario clearly depicts a judgment scene. Then, when the judgment scene is complete Daniel goes on to say “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.”[17] According to Daniels vision, the judgment takes place before the second coming of Jesus.

Based on this evidence I propose that even if one is to reject the concept of an investigative judgment, one cannot pretend it has no biblical basis whatsoever. It is clear from the Bible and the Bible alone that a judgment will take place before the second coming of Christ. In addition to texts that support this position, stories in the Bible do likewise. When Adam and Eve sinned, Gods first action was one of investigation. Instead of God entering Eden with judgment for His rebellious creation, He entered with the question “Where are you?”[18] From there God proceeded to ask many other questions which are typical of investigation. John T. Anderson, author of Investigating the Judgment points this out along with many other examples in which God “investigated” before He acted such as in the story of the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Passover, the Fall of Jerusalem, Babylon and others. Anderson states that “[o]ne would have a hard time finding an example in the biblical record in which God executed judgment in a significant way before first taking that extra step of investigating.”[19] Therefore, not only can we find texts that show an investigative judgment taking place before Christ’s second coming, but we can also find examples of God investigating events throughout the Bible before He implements His final decision. “No doubt you might be saying right now to yourself: ‘But God doesn’t need to inquire – He already knows everything.’ And you’re right! But as we shall see, it isn’t for God’s direct benefit that He does this.”[20]


In summary, in the Old Testament a judgment was said to come in the future. Some would suggest that that judgment was completed at the cross, however, New Testament references to a future judgment show us that the judgment day spoken of throughout the Bible was not fulfilled at the cross.[21] “New Testament writers are unanimous that the judgment is a future event [sic] which takes place at the end of the age (John 5:28, 29; 12:48).”[22] Therefore, the judgment takes place after the death of Christ (A.D. 31) but before the second coming of Jesus as we have seen.[23] Hence, the judgment could have begun at any point between A.D. 31 and the second coming of Jesus. For that reason, based on both textual and exemplary evidence it is clear that the concept of a pre-Advent investigative judgment is one-hundred percent biblical.





[1] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 21.
[2] Jo Ann Davidson, Principal Contributor. Glimpses Of Our God: Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2012], 35.
[3] Jacques B Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel: Wisdom and Dreams of a Jewish Prince in Exile [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2000], 112.
[4] Ecc. 11:9 [NIV].
[5] Psa. 96:13.
[6] Matt. 12:36.
[7] 2 Cor. 5:10.
[8] Martin Weber, “Never Before Published Desmond Ford Dialogues About the 1844 Judgment, Ford And Weber Dialogue, Section II: Ford’s Critique Of Weber,” Scribd, http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/17458843 [accessed Feb 1, 2012].
[9] Martin Weber, “Pre-Advent Judgment,” SDA For Me, http://www.sdaforme.com/issues/judgement/judgment.html [accessed January 31, 2012].
[10] John 5:28-29.
[11] Rev. 22:12
[12] The book of Isaiah contains what is referred to as the “Little Apocalypse.” However, the book of Daniel is the main source of Apocalyptic literature in the Old Testament.
[13] Bill T. Arnold and Brian E. Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey, 2nd ed. [Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2008], 428.
[14] ibid., 433.
[15] Dan. 7:17.
[16] Dan. 7:9-10.
[17] Dan. 7:13.
[18] Gen. 3:9.
[19] John T. Anderson, Investigating the Judgment: A Revolutionary Look At God’s Total Fairness And Relentless Effort To Save Us, [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2003], 105.
[20] ibid., 23.
[21] Mat. 7:22, 10:15, 12:41; Luk. 11:31; Act. 25:6; 1 Co. 4:5; Heb. 10:27; 1 Jn. 4:17.
[22] Leslie Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary: A Walk Through the Tabernacle Along His Way [Harrisburg: American Cassette Ministries, 1991], 538.
[23] For a study on the date of Christ’s crucifixion see: Nichols, Francis, D., eds. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary: A Basis For New Testament Chronology. Vol. 5 Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 1976. 251-254. The commonly accepted date by many scholars ranges from A.D. 30 – 31.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 1: My Struggle with The Pre-Advent Judgment


Welcome to Pomopastor.com. In this blog I share, among many other things, thoughts, ideas, articles and papers I have written on my personal experience with Jesus through the lens of Seventh-day Adventism. I am going to start it all off by sharing a paper I wrote on Adventisms most unique doctrine (the Investigative Judgment) and what it has come to mean for me. Feel free to comment, share, link, and redistribute any of this work. All I ask is that you do not alter any of the materials and that you give proper attribution. With that said, here is part 1.

The Pre-Advent Judgment

“The uniqueness of the sanctuary doctrine helps make it a prime target for attack.”[1] Although many of our doctrines are shared in other denominations the pre-Advent judgment “‘being uniquely our own, has also laid us open as a church to more opprobrium, ridicule, and scorn from other Christian churches than any other doctrine.’”[2] If this wasn’t bad in and of itself, “writing in Christianity Today, former Adventist David Neff has said that ‘few contemporary Adventists can explain it [the investigative judgment] and few Adventist theologians still teach it.’”[3] Neff’s statement has in fact been a reality in my own life. Therefore, as I prepared to write this paper, I told my wife that the outcome of my research would determine whether or not I remained a Seventh-day Adventist.

Like the vast majority of Seventh-day Adventists, the pre-Advent judgment was a doctrine that I knew little about. Had I been required to defend it or simply to teach it, I would have been entirely incapable of performing the task. This is a sad reality considering the fact that the understanding and embrace of the pre-Advent judgment doctrine is rather unique to Adventism (though not fully as we will later see). After weeks of study on the topic from both proponents and antagonists to this teaching, I have come to realize that the doctrine of the pre-Advent judgment is the simplest, and most logical conclusion to be derived from the Bible. In the pages that follow, I will attempt to retrace some of the steps of my journey to this discovery. In the process I will demonstrate that the Bible truly supports the idea of a pre-Advent judgment, that the pre-Advent judgment correlates perfectly to righteousness by faith, and that Ellen G. White is not necessary to believe in the pre-Advent judgment. I will then conclude at last by exploring some of Ellen G. Whites “legalistic” statements with relation to the pre-Advent judgment and the difference that such a doctrine would make in the life of a born-again Christian.

Before I begin I must make a few qualifications. Number one, this is not an exhaustive resource on the topic of the pre-Advent judgment. There are many aspects of the pre-Advent judgment that I will not cover in this paper such as the prophecies of Daniel 7-9, the validity of Adventism’s understanding of the prophetic timeline, and the sanctuary service, its differing components, and how they each relate to the pre-Advent judgment. Number two, in presenting the doctrine of pre-Advent judgment I will use the Bible and the Bible alone. Ellen White will only be mentioned in a section designated specifically for an analysis of her relationship to the doctrine, but will not be used in any way as a basis, supplement, or substitute for the Bible. Likewise, Adventist’s have been accused of basing the doctrine of the pre-Advent judgment on Daniel 8:14: “He said to me, ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.’”[4] Therefore, I will establish the validity of a pre-Advent judgment without any mention to this text.



Note: To download this entire paper in PDF format click here.
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[1] Clifford Goldstein, False Balances [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1992], 24.
[2] ibid.
[3] ibid., 23.
[4] Dan. 8:14.