A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church
by Bob Pickle
Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and Others
Discern Fact from Fiction
The Investigative Judgment and Shut Door, and Their Ramifications
< Prev T. of C. ... 52 53-54 55 56 57-61 62-63 64-65 66-68 69-73 ... Next >
|#57: "All doctrines were soon adjusted to
fit 1844 as the cleansing of the sanctuary and the beginning of
the investigative judgment. [#58:] The shut door had to be
opened to allow salvation for their own children
who had been born after 1844 and to evangelize others into Adventism. [#59:] Salvation for everyone, even
those who lived in Bible times, had to be conditional on this judgment, and so soul sleep was
[#60:] The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation had to be
reinterpreted to fit the investigative judgment.
[#61:] It was a time of turmoil and doctrinal reversal, but the
investigative judgment doctrine survived with
Ellen White's stamp of approval."—Dale Ratzlaff.|
#57: All doctrines were soon adjusted.
And what doctrines were these? The documentation package doesn't explain
or list any "adjusted" doctrines. What follows in Mr. Ratzlaff's list doesn't include any
doctrines "adjusted" to fit the cleansing of the sanctuary
or the investigative judgment.
#58: That shut door of mercy had to be opened. The shut
door was dealt with under #48-#54. We'll add another point here.
What made it so obvious to at least some of the apostolic Christians that the door of
mercy was not shut to Gentiles was the fact that the door
of access to reach them was now open. After Stephen's stoning in Acts 7, they could preach
to Samaritans, Ethiopian eunuchs, and Roman
centurions, something they had not been able to do before. So if Peter's vision of Acts 10
wasn't enough to correct their theology, the early
church also had the simple fact that now the "door" of access was "opened":
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed
. . . how [God] had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened
unto me. (1 Cor. 16:8, 9)
Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened
unto me of the Lord. (2 Cor. 2:12)
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak
the mystery of Christ. (Col. 4:3)
If Adventists holding shut-door-of-mercy beliefs allowed it to, Mrs. White's vision of
February 1845 corrected their theological
misunderstanding. Also, the sanctuary doctrine explained what doors were opened and shut
in 1844, and how there was still an open door of
mercy into the Most Holy Place. But even though the "door of mercy" was still open, the
"door of access" definitely was not. [p. 49]
At first the vast majority of non-Millerites, like the
Gentiles in the days of the apostles, had no interest in hearing Adventists preach. The door
indeed was shut. But at some point, like in the early church, a change came. The door was
opened, and people wanted to listen.
Such an opening of the door would not be an adjustment because of the cleansing of
the sanctuary and investigative judgment doctrines, but
rather the result of the providence of God and the workings of His Spirit. It was the result of
a change in the climate for evangelism, not an
"adjustment" of doctrine.
#59: Soul sleep was introduced because of the investigative
judgment. This is not true, and the context of a statement found
in the documentation package proves it.
Under "Point 33" is a selection from page 49 of Life Sketches
describing Mrs. White's hearing of a sermon on soul sleep some months after
a conversation between her and her mother on the same subject. Both the conversation and
the sermon took place before October 22, 1844, as
the context clearly shows.
Yet the doctrine of the investigative judgment, as understood today, did not come
along until after October 22. Thus soul sleep could not
have been introduced because of the investigative judgment doctrine.
The phrase "investigative judgment" was coined by Elon Everts in a letter dated
December 1856, which was published in the January 1, 1857,
issue of Review and Herald (p. 72). It was at this time that the doctrine of
the investigative judgment was crystallized, though hints of some
of its fundamental concepts had surfaced previously.
Prominent Millerite leader, Josiah Litch, suggested as early as 1840 that there had to
be a trial phase of judgment before an executive phase.
Occasionally, Sabbatarian Adventists would refer to Christ's wearing the "breastplate of
judgment" on the Day of Atonement or to judgment
beginning at the end of the 2300 years, but at other times they would declare that the Day of
Judgment could not begin before the second advent.
Not until 1857 was a solid understanding of the subject arrived at by Sabbatarian Adventists
(C. Mervyn Maxwell, "The Investigative Judgment:
Its Early Development," in The Sanctuary and the Atonement, pp.
So while soul sleep was introduced before October 22, 1844, the
doctrine of the investigative judgment was not crystallized and fully
formulated until over twelve years after.
Who introduced the concept of soul sleep or, as it is also known, conditional
immortality among the pre-1844 Millerites?
Deacon Henry Grew of Philadelphia became a believer in conditional immortality
while serving as a Baptist preacher. He later wrote a tract
on the subject which was read by George Storrs, a Methodist preacher, in 1837. Storrs then
wrote his own tract in 1841, and published six
sermons on the subject in 1842. Copies of his six sermons eventually amounted to 200,000,
and even reached England.
Just after their publication he heard of Miller's teachings and became a Millerite
preacher himself. He preached to thousands in New York,
Indiana, and Ohio. A number of Millerite ministers joined with him in his belief on
Miller, Josiah Litch, I. E. Jones, and the Signs of the Times all came
out against his views on conditional immortality, so his views were
anything but unanimously held. But the point is that the idea of conditional immortality was
definitely introduced before a consensus was
reached among Sabbatarian Adventists regarding the investigative judgment (Froom, vol. 4,
pp. 805-807; Conditionalist Faith of Our
Fathers, vol. 2, pp. 300-315).
As earlier mentioned, Joseph Bates, James White, and Ellen White are viewed as being
founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Both
Bates and James White were members of the Christian Connection, which "as a body
rejected the inherent-immortality-of-the-soul-position"
(Ibid., pp. 283, 672, 675). Bates and James were therefore acquainted with
the idea long before Storrs introduced the subject among Millerites.
The Bible says:
- We are to seek immortality (Rom. 2:7).
- We put on immortality at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:53, 54).
- Only God has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16).
If we must seek it, it must be something we do not yet have. And obviously we don't
yet have it. Immortality means "unable to die," and
we presently can and do die.
Only upon condition that we accept Jesus as our Savior do we
receive immortality at the resurrection. For this reason,
"soul sleep" is
called "conditional immortality."
#60: The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation were reinterpreted to fit
the investigative judgment. This accusation
doesn't really make sense. Once the doctrines of the cleansing of sanctuary and the
investigative judgment were formulated, what prophecies
needed to be reinterpreted to fit them?
The basic interpretations of Daniel and Revelation were already worked out before
October 22, 1844. This was before Edson and Crosier
published their [p. 50] study on the cleansing of the sanctuary in
1845 or 1846. It was definitely before Elon Everts helped crystallize the subject of
an investigative judgment in 1857.
The documentation package lists this as "Point 34." Under "Point
34" are two pages out of The Great Controversy, but nothing on
these two pages refers to a reinterpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation to fit
the investigative judgment.
#61: It was a time of doctrinal reversal. What doctrines
were reversed? The shut door? But Adventists were definitely actively
preaching to non-Millerites long before 1857, the "door of access" having opened a number
of years earlier. A change in the time to keep the
Sabbath (see #164-#174)?
Changing by minutes or an hour when to commence the Sabbath wouldn't constitute a
Like this book?
Save your printer and your ink!
Buy the entire 160-page book for
$9.95 + S/H.
Automatic discounts start
at 5 copies.
< Prev T. of C. ... 52 53-54 55 56 57-61 62-63 64-65 66-68 69-73 ... Next >