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
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& #68: "This central Adventist doctrine, which states that
the judgment of believers' works will
determine their salvation, is blatantly unbiblical, and is not taught by any legitimate Christian
#66: They teach that the judgment of
believers' works determines their salvation. Technically, using the way
popularly use the term "saved," this charge is not true.
A lot depends on how we define the term "salvation." The plan of redemption includes
a number of aspects:
- Justification: pardon and conversion.
- Sanctification: the believer's daily growth in Christ.
- Glorification: the "redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:23), when
we receive bodies that will never die.
Each of these three is a miracle of divine grace and is based on the finished work of
Christ on Calvary's cross, not on our own works. Each
is likewise made possible today through the intercession of Christ.
Some use the word "salvation" to mean only justification, while others use it to mean
both justification and sanctification, while still others
use it to mean all three. Later on, the video explicitly uses the term "saved" to mean only
justification (see #143). But that cannot be the meaning
here, for this statement mentions "believers' works." If they are already believers, then they
must be already justified and converted, as well
as daily growing in grace. So the video itself is using more than one definition of the word
"saved," and the viewer should take note of this fact.
A major problem is that most evangelicals who hear the above statement from the
video will think of justification when the video is really
referring to glorification.
Adventists do not believe that works determine justification for the simple reason that
individuals cannot perform good works (in the New
Testament sense) until they are justified and converted. Until that point, all works are tainted
by selfishness and are essentially "works of the
flesh" (see Gal. 5:16-25).
They do believe, however, that justification occurs on condition of
repentance and confession, and most nearly everyone agrees. Repentance
and confession do not buy justification and conversion, but they are
conditions for receiving this free gift of God.
Adventists also believe that glorification, and the retaining forever of justification and
sanctification, are conditional. The investigative
judgment determines who has complied with the conditions and who has not. What those
conditions are is dealt with under the next point.
Many evangelicals disagree with the concept that glorification is conditional, since
many believe that justification cannot be lost. We respect
those who disagree, and we hope they will likewise respect us, for this Adventist belief is by
no means uncommon in Christianity.
Does one have to accept Christ in order to have one's name written in the book of
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see life. (John 3:36)
He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1 Jn.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned
already. (John 3:18)
These texts indicate that the answer is yes. Only the names of believers are written
there. Once written, can they ever be blotted out?
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy
book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto
Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Ex. 32:32,
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the
righteous. (Ps. 69:28)
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out
his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his
name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev. 3:5)
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the
holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev. 22:19)
So it is possible to have one's name blotted out of the book of life. And where do
those whose names do not appear there end up? "And
whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into [p. 56] the lake of fire" (Rev.
It is apparent, then, that an individual can be justified, and then later turn away from
God and be lost. This concept explains the following
Scripture, which is difficult to explain otherwise:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath
trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood
of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto
the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29)
So someone can be sanctified by the blood of Christ, and then be lost. This is why
Peter says, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence
to make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:10). Just being called and chosen isn't
enough. We have to "make" them "sure."
And yet we have Jesus saying:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any
man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no
man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Notice that it is those that the Father gives to Jesus who can't be taken out of His
hand. Now consider the following: "While I was with them
in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of
them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture
might be fulfilled" (John 17:12). The Father gave the disciples to Jesus, and "no man" could
take them out of Jesus's hand. Yet one was lost,
Judas Iscariot. It would appear, then, that "no man" does not include the one who is in the
hand. While no one can take us out of Jesus's hand,
we can take ourselves out!
#67: This is blatantly unbiblical. Not so. The Bible
clearly says that obedience and holiness are conditions for the retention of
justification and the reception of glorification:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the
resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John
And from the same book in which Paul is so adamant about our not being able to work
our way to heaven:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before,
as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21)
Clearly, while we cannot work our way to heaven and we are not saved by works,
glorification and the retention of justification are
conditional upon obedience and holiness.
#68: The investigative judgment is not taught by any legitimate Christian
denomination. Obviously, this begs the question.
If the Adventist Church is a Christian denomination, then this statement cannot be
Besides, Dan Snyder says under #232, "The last three
years have been the most spiritually rewarding of my thirty-one years as a Christian."
Will the narrator please take note: Mr. Snyder testifies that he was a Christian for
twenty-eight years before leaving the Adventist Church.
Therefore, according to the video itself, the Seventh-day Adventist Church must be a
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