By Spencer D Gear
Does the Seventh Day Adventist church represent an orthodox, evangelical church in its teaching on Christ’s atonement? Let’s check out the evidence.
This discussion began on Christian Fellowship Forum. Harold, a Seventh Day Adventist, commented to another poster, “If you can’t find any examples in your own Bible, don’t bother. I don’t read fiction”.
I (ozspen) responded: “But you do read Ellen White and promote the Investigative Judgment!” Harold’s response was, “Pick up your well used Bible, find the passages that disprove that and send them to me. She has never contradicted the Bible”.
My more lengthy response to Harold was as follows:
Concerning Ellen G. White’s false teaching, including the Investigative Judgment, you wrote: ‘Pick up your well used Bible, find the passages that disprove that and send them to me. She has never contradicted the Bible.’ I have done that and this is a glimpse of what I find.
Ellen White wrote this falsehood: “The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty” (Ellen G. White 1903, ms 150, SDA Commentary V, p. 1129). This is clearly false doctrine. Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30).
(Ellen G White 1899, courtesy Wikipedia)
Ellen White wrote in The Great Controversy (pp 6, 422):
“As in typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2,300 days ended (according to Mrs. White this was in the year 1844! Evidently the nineteenth century was more wonderful than we had imagined!-Ed.). At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our high priest entered the most holy to perform the last division, of his solemn work to cleanse the sanctuary … in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary … so the actual cleansing to cleanse the sanctuary… in the new covenant the sins of removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But, before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation–a work of judgment. Those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw that, instead of coming to earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844 (as Prophet William Miller had so dogmatically and widely proclaimed.—Ed.), Christ then entered in the most holy place of the heavenly, to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to his coming.”
The Investigative Judgment is a fantasy, a heresy. Of Jesus crucifixion, it is stated in Scripture:
“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:28-3- NIV).
In “What Adventists believe”, which is a statement of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, it states, “Through baptism we are truly born again in Jesus”. This is clearly false doctrine. The Scriptures state: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV). Baptism is a statement about discipleship and obedience (Matt. 28:18-20). It has NOTHING to do with entrance into the Kingdom of God by being born again. (Note: Mark 16:16, which is often used to support baptismal regeneration is not in the oldest MSS and is not considered to be part of Scripture but a later addition.)
I said to the person online: Your mind is not open to disproof, from the Bible, of Ellen White’s false doctrine. That’s why I don’t waste my time, generally, in replying to you. Your mind is so closed that no matter how often I refute your false doctrine, you continue to come back with the worn out phrase:
‘She has never contradicted the Bible’. She contradicts the Bible over and over, but Harold the indoctrinated SDA, doesn’t want to hear it.
‘Ellen White wrote this falsehood: “The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty” (Ellen G. White 1903, ms 150, SDA Commentary V, p. 1129). This is clearly false doctrine. Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30)’.
I don’t know what commentary you have, but the one on my lap right now says: “But although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did NOT cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. …. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the God head was still His own.” Page 1129 paragraph 3, on Matt 27:54 and 1 Tim. 3:16.
I went through all her writings with the phrases ‘the man Christ Jesus’ and Lord God Almighty and found nothing like you posted.
>>The Investigative Judgment is a fantasy, a heresy. Of Jesus crucifixion, it is stated [this is an excerpt from a statement I made]:>>
You can twist that one, too. I guess if you want to make the RCC [Roman Catholic Church] happy, you will.
When you are challenged about Ellen White’s false teaching, what do you do?
- She does not believe in the deity of Christ;
- Christ’s atonement is not enough; it needs an Investigative Judgment.
You come up with your standard line: ‘You can twist that one, too. I guess if you want to make the RCC happy, you will’.
I am a Protestant and will never ever be a Roman Catholic. When you are shown that the Investigative Judgment is fantasy, fiction, falsehood, you trot out your logical fallacies and create straw man arguments.
Enjoy your falsehood!
In my further investigation, I found, on the official Ellen G. White website, an electronic copy of Ellen White’s The Great Controversy:
In Ch 23 it reads:
“For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work–to cleanse the sanctuary.
“As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary (emphasis added). And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation–a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people (emphasis added); for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. Revelation 22:12.
“Thus those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw that, instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to His coming (emphasis added) (pp. 421-422).
This is an example of Ellen White’s fiction when compared with the Bible. When Christ died on the cross to obtain atonement for sin, it was not enough in Ellen White’s SDA teaching. Further work was needed to be performed in atonement prior to the second coming of Christ. This is the heresy of SDA teaching: Further “cleansing of the sanctuary” by way of an Investigative Judgment is needed after Christ’s death on the cross to “redeem His people”. This must be done “prior to the [second] coming of Christ”.
This is the false teaching of Ellen White. In At Issue, an SDA site, ‘Seventh-Day Adventists Believe. . .‘, it is stated what SDAs believe about Christ’s atoning sacrifice and its association with the peculiar SDA doctrine of Investigative Judgment:
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.—Fundamental Beliefs, 23
See here for a brief explanation of The Investigative Judgment by Ellen G. White.
This is the kind of false teaching that Ellen White and the SDAs promote: The atonement is not yet finished, they say. The atonement through Christ’s death on the cross was only a commencement and it needed an Investigative Judgment that began in 1844, according to false prophetess, Ellen G White.
What does the Bible teach?
1. When Christ had paid the full penalty in atonement for the sins of all people, he said from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
2. Because Christ had paid the full penalty for sin when he died on the cross, no further sacrifice or additional work was needed. Paul to the Romans was able to say, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1 ESV).
3. Absolutely nothing more was needed, in contrast to the SDA false teaching, to achieve atonement for sin. The Book of Hebrews confirms the finality of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and no Investigative Judgment of “atonement preparatory to His coming” (Ellen White).
Hebrews 9:25-28 states:
25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (NIV).
4. This is as clear as crystal: “[Christ] has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself”. There is no hint of an Investigative Judgment here. There is not a word about the blood shed on the cross as only the beginning and the atonement isn’t finished yet. John 19:30 clearly refutes such wavering with, “It is finished”.
The New Testament emphasis is that Christ’s once-for-all, one time sacrifice for sin was final. No Investigative Judgment was needed. No repetition or continuation of Christ’s sacrificial death is required. It is a heresy to emphasise any teaching that requires an addition to Christ’s one-time atonement for sin on the cross.
There is no need for anything else to be done to assure us that the penalty for sin has been paid. The penalty for all sin for all time has been paid by the once-only death of Christ on the cross. There is no need to fear condemnation for sin or further punishment for sin that had been redeemed – through Christ’s ONE death on the cross.
The SDA Investigative Judgment is a false doctrine that is condemned by the teaching of Scripture.
See, ‘Investigative judgment made simple‘, by Robert K Sanders.
 Christian Fellowship Forum, The Fellowship Hall, “Advent – Do you or don’t you?”, Harold, #22, available at: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=21&nav=messages&webtag=ws-fellowship&tid=120418 (Accessed 21 November 2010).
 Ellen G. White The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan. The Ellen G. White Estate Inc., 1999, available at: http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc.asp#23 (Accessed 21 November 2010). This is the 1911 edition.
 Ibid., ch. 23, “What is the sanctuary?”, available at: http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc23.html (Accessed 21 November 2010).
Copyright (c) 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 11 January 2016.