Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adventists Changing Beliefs

Recently Desmond Ford recently published a few chapters from his book Daniel 8:14 The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgement. Chapter one has a section which is entitled: New Sanctuary Positions Assumed by Adventist Scholars. What is most useful about this chapter is that it shows the progression of modern Adventists. The official church rarely admits to the changes which we as members have seen throughout our lives. The following is an abbreviated version of the positions laid out in the chapter without the majority of source quotes.

The Atonement

Old Position: "Christ did not make the atonement when He shed His blood upon the cross. Let this fact be forever fixed in the mind." U. Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, pg. 237.

New Position: (52) See Questions on Doctrine for representative statements, particularly noticing the Ellen C. White appendix on the topic. In essence, the Atonement was made at the cross, and let that fact be forever fixed in the mind. According to Questions on Doctrine, Adventists "fully agree with those who stress a completed atonement on the cross in the sense of an all-sufficient, once-for-all, atoning sacrifice for sin. They believe that nothing less than this took place at Calvary" (pp. 342-343).

Literal Apartments in Heavenly Sanctuary

Old Position: Christ from AD 31 to Oct. 22, 1844, was in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and then at the latter day entered a flaming chariot to enter the second apartment.

New Position: From 1931 our Yearbook official statement of Fundamental Beliefs speaks of "phases" of ministry, not "apartments." In an article written in the mid-sixties I

Did Blood From The Offerings Of The Common People Go Daily Into The First Apartment?

Old Position: Yes. See Smith's The Sanctuary. 203.

New Position: No. See Leviticus. 4:27-30 and note comments of Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. See also Andreasen's The Sanctuary Service, 137.

Does Blood Defile?

Old Position: Yes. (All our old writers so affirm).

New Position: No. Blood cleanses. See Heppenstall's Our High Priest, 82-83.

What Sins Were Recorded By The Blood?

Old Position: Transgressions of the Ten Commandments.

New Position: Only accidental or ceremonial errors never the deliberate transgression of any one of the Ten Commandments. See Andreasen's The Sanctuary Service. (55)

Within the Veil Heb. 6:19

Old Position: Can only mean "within the first veil" See works by Smith, Watson, Andreasen, etc.

New Position: It means "within the second veil" Said Andross:

Moses passed "within the veil" and poured the holy anointing oil upon the ark of the testament, and also sprinkled the blood of consecration upon it before the regular service in the sanctuary began. In like manner, Christ, after making His offering on Calvary, passed "within the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary and anointed the ark of the testament, and with His own blood performed the service of consecration. (56)

Nature of the Judgment

Old Position: Since 1844 God has been examining the books to find whom He has the right to save.

New Position:"... not to be conceived as God's poring over the record books. (61)

Old Position: The Father judges, and Christ is the mediator.

New Position: The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son. John 5:22.

Daniel 7:9.13

Old Position: This passage pictures an examination of the sins of the believers in Christ. (All Seventh-day Adventist comments on this chapter before 1950 so affirm.)

New Position: This passage pictures an examination of the sins of the little horn, judgment upon that power for the sake of the saints.

Revelation 14:7

Old Position: This judgment is the investigative judgment of the saints.

New Position: This judgment concerns the wicked world as well. (64)

Daniel 8:14

Old Position: Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed the investigative judgment will cleanse the heavenly sanctuary records.

On the basis of the KJV rendering (which is a mistranslation), Dan. 8:14 was linked with Leviticus. 16, and explained as the investigative judgment.

New Position: But in the twentieth century, an endeavor has been made to link the answer of 8:14 to the question of 8:13. Evangelists had had great difficulty in this area, and therefore the new view of the "daily" found enthusiastic acceptance, as well as energetic opposition of some such as S. N. Haskell, Leon Smith (the son of Uriah), J. S. Washburn, C. B. Starr, F. C. Gilbert and others who held extreme views on the nature of the inspiration of Ellen C. White. Such was the verdict of W. C. White as he surveyed the controversy.

Terminus for Dan. 8:14

Old Position: The cleansing reaches to the end of the investigative judgment at the close of probation.

New Position: The "cleansing" involves the whole work of judgment and extends to the setting up of the earth made new. See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 4:845, and note the words of L. E. Froom in Prophetic Faith 4:1159-1160.

Just so, the Sabbatarians came to understand, the final cleansing of the antitypical sanctuary, accompanied by a heart cleansing among the people of God, not only is to end in the judgment of all men, and in the redemption of the saints, but is finally to eventuate in a clean universe, through the ultimate banishment of all sin and perversion and the total eradication of all of its effects forever. (Rev. 20:9.11)

Little Horn of Daniel 8

Old Position: Cannot be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes.

New Position: Can be applied to Antiochus, though he does not exhaust it. This is believed by S. Horn, R. Cottrell, D. Neufeld, Ford, etc. At the 1919 Bible Conference, Lacey, Wirth, M. Wilcox and others saw the prominence of Antiochus in Daniel

Hebrews 9

Old Position: A basis for our sanctuary doctrine. (All our early books so affirm.)

New Position: No basis for our sanctuary doctrine. From Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 7:468, we quote:

This commentary believes unqualifiedly that Christ's heavenly ministry is carried on in "two great divisions," or to borrow the symbolism of Scripture, in the "holy" and then the "most holy place" of the heavenly sanctuary (see especially on Ex. 25:9; Dan. 8:14); but that the book of Hebrews is hardly the place to find a definitive presentation on the matter.

"Holies" in Hebrews 9

Old Position: The plural form in such verses as 8:2; 9:8,12,24,25; 10:19; 13:11 proves a reference to two apartments.

New Position: Inasmuch as the plural form is applied to each apartment separately it can never be used to prove plurality of apartments. The plural form may simply be an intensive plural with a singular application. In our next chapter we quote the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary and others to this end.

Texts Such as Acts 3:19; I Peter 4:17, I Timothy 5:23, Prove the Investigative Judgment

Old Position: Yes.

New Position: No. Acts 3:19 means the same as 2:38, and I Peter 4:17 applied when Peter wrote. No text is known that directly teaches the investigative judgment.

The Year-Day Principle is a Biblical Datum

Old Position: Yes.

New Position: No. We quote the Review, April 5,1979, "This Generation Shall Not Pass," by Don F. Neufeld.

If the events of Matt. 24 are supposed to apply both to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and to the events preceding Christ's second advent, why does Jesus say specifically, addressing the disciples who asked Him about end events, "I tell you this: the present generation will live to see it all" (verse 34, NEB)? Obviously He knew that the 2300-day prophecy needed to be fulfilled before His return.

Verse 34 in the King James Version reads, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

It seems obvious that if we had been one of the disciples who had asked the question, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (verse 3) we would have interpreted Jesus response as The New English Bible states it. The "you" we would have applied to ourselves and the "this generation" we would have thought as designating the generation in which we were living.

Second Advent Could Not Come Till After 1844

Old Position: Affirmed.

New Position: Denied. See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 7:728-728. (This has important implications for the investigative judgment doctrine. Where would it have fitted if Christ had come in the first century?)

Prophecies of the End

1844 As Beginning of the End Supported by Such Prophecies as Rev. 11 on the French Revolution, Rev. 9 on the Ottoman Power, Dan. 11 on the French Revolution and the Ottoman Power, Rev. 16 on the Euphrates and Armageddon, Ma ft. 24:34 "This Generation Shall Not Pass ..," The Earthquake of Lisbon, The Dark Day, and the 1844 Meteoric Showers, and Dan. 12:4 Increase of Scientific Knowledge.

Old Position: Asserted that the atheistic revolution of France supported the "time of the end" beginning in 1798; the fulfillment of Litch's interpretation regarding Aug. 11, 1840, indicated that the seventh trumpet began in 1844; the current deterioration of Turkey showed that the scroll of prophecy was almost completely unrolled; and the few still alive since the falling of the stars proved Christ must come within a few years.

New Position: None of these prophetic positions are reliable. All are based on erroneous exegesis, and history supports none of them.


The Historic Adventist said...

Hello Ron! It's been a while, but when I saw this post I just had to comment ;-).

It is interesting that you bring up Des Ford to highlight these changes. I see where some of these have been refuted but there are some on your list here that are still vehemently taught at Daniel and Revelation seminars (just think Amazing Facts, It Is Written, Discover Prophecy (Asscherick), etc.).

In light of the continuance of these mainstream tithe-paying ministries to uplift some of these previously held yet modernly "refuted" doctrines, what is our recourse of action?

If you truly believe the church is right and the old doctrines are wrong, perhaps we should join the Seventh-day Baptists, or the Church of God Seventh-day? After all, what is the point of remaining as an "SDA" if 1844, the IJ, EGW, etc. are all errors?

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD said...

The SDA church cannot change any of its doctrines because they have been authenticated by Ellen White. They are in a mental lock-down and only pretend to be scholars.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis, Dr. Kelly. In a major address to SDA leaders, the current GC president proclaimed that absolutely nothing has changed in Adventism theologically. He further added that if he were to leave Adventism, his salvation would be at stake.

Dennis Fischer