Brother Thomas and TRO:
Ah! It is a good thing to know that we have an 'Elder Brother' who is both our 'High Priest' and our 'Friend'!
As a relatively new Christian, these 'thoughts' of mine are really questions which have been in my mind [I think some of them for years] and, ever since I began studying for baptism. Two years ago, if you had told me that I would become a Christian, I would have laughed you out of town; but to be participating in a discussion group of this calibre is really more than I would have ever anticipated!
However, before I commit heiracy, or as you put it construct 'abberant theology'; let me say that although I do believe that the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church
teaches the 'Truth as found in the Bible'; I approach much of this 'doctrine' from some-
what less of a SDA 'point of view'; and, more of a 'relationship' perspective. Theology and Biblical Prespective are necessary in their place. Yet, the majority of people (IMO) never get beyond the 'milk and soup' stage of their christian experience...That is why a forum like this is particularly inter-
esting to me as I do not accept 'God says so' kind of theology...God 'does say so'; but, He expects us, with the intelligence He has given us to 'reason these things out', and to survey the 'evidence'. It is at that point we are able to decide 'for ourselves' as to what is 'so', so-to-speak...This really is not an 'agenda' on my part. However, it may explain why I express things in the parculiar way in which I do...I also have the greatest of pleasures of being both retired and close to an Adventist University where, I spend hours upon hours each week studying these things out for myself; that I may give an account to all men what it is, and why it is that I believe in this Gospel.
Well! With all that said, perhaps I should get on with the subject at hand:
First of all, I would like to point you towards three separate books which I began with; and which, have been the base from which I proceeded in this venture. Dr. Arnold
V. Wallenkampf has written: 'Justified';
'Perfect in Christ'; and, 'Salvation Unlimited'...He himself calls these three books a 'Perspective in Righteousness by Faith'. I would agree. And, I will use short excerpts from a couple of chapters.
Perhaps this will also give somewhat of a 'solid SDA platform' so-to-speak, that all may find acceptable? By-the-way (BTY), if you cannot find or borrow copies of these books please tell me and I will point you to a sda.net sight which provides these books in their entirity...
> Your question that: "Is justification a one time event; or, somehow an ongoing 'event' in our lives? [I like that!]
In my previous post I stated that in my opinion (IMO), justification came both at the cross and at the moment we 'repent'; and as Sister White says, [repentance is:] "a turn-
ing away from our sinful past"...Can this be a one time thing? I don't think so by the very definition. Do you? We are constantly brought into a face to face recognition of our faults by observance of the Ten Commandment, and the fact that is these 'show' us how we 'measure' up to the Character of God...Wouldn't you agree? Mrs.
White also says that, "the closer we get to an experience of total commitment to Christ, the more abhorant and sinfull our own character's will appear!"
I also occurs to me that in a discussion like this we need to at least cover a sort of definition about sin, and the sin problem...
I personally prescribe to the idea that sin is more than mere rebelliousness or lawlessness...Sin 'damages' the sinner! Sin, with all of it's destructiveness is what hurts God so much, and makes it so grevious to Him as our creator...An illistration: Suppose there is a 'rule' in your house that no one is to kill any living creature on you property. Sabbath afternoon, after coming home from church, you look out your window and find that your next door neighbor is beating your cats brains out against the side walk...Are you 'angry' about the fact that this individual is 'breaking the rules'; or, are you horribly distruaght at the fact that your poor cat is being killed?
Likewise, the problem with sin that the plan of salvation was devised to fix is not the matter of appeasing an angry God who's 'rules we have brooken'. No! God's attitude toward us has not changed. We have changed. We are 'damaged' by sin...Let's use this example as being that satan is the neighbor, and we, the poor cat...Make any sense?
In his book "Justified", Dr. Wallenkampf makes the following observation(s). "The term 'sanctification' is not a felicitous expression when used in contradistinction to justification by faith. In post-Reformation theological thinking, it denotes a process of character development, or the result of this experience culminating in the ultimate attainment in Christian maturity..."
Simply, why do you think that 'Rahab' is in the "Faith, Hall of Fame"? She was a whore. She, along with her people had 'heard all the stories about the "God of the Isrealite's" and was, in her own mind convincened that He alone was the one and true God of this universe as she understood it...Do you think that while she hid the spies in the flax, that they were praying: "Oh God, please have Rahab 'tell the truth' in regard to where we are!" I don't think so! No! They were HOPING that she would not 'give them up'! Was she 'saved' because she knew all about the doctrine's? The Seventh day Sabbath; the State of the Dead; or even the Sanctuary? I don't think so...
Dr. Wallenkampf further states in his book (By the way: [BTW], I'm in chapter 13, "Justification and Sanctification - Distinct, but never separate"): "That when a person 'accepts salvation' through Christ's grace, he chooses to live a life devoted to God and His service. He is dedicated or consecrated to God. Thus he is HOLY."
In the OT [and here we go again, back to the sanctuary and atonement], on the three previous days to the day of atonement, the people of Israel were to "Sanctify themselves 'Holy and Apart' from their transgressions; and to prepare for the 'cleansing of the Temple of God'!" Here, if I am not mistaken, is an example of both 'justification and sanctification' at work. What do you think?
Dr. Wallenkampf: "Though we often prefer to separate them in our thinking [justification and sanctification] because it makes it easier for us to understand these two experiences in the salvation process, it would be well for us as Christian's to follow the example of the apostle Paul and not separate justification by faith from theological sanctification..."
Dr. Norval F Pease, and who's Seminary thesis was extensive research on the "History of the Doctrine of Salvation by Faith in the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church". Wrote, in 1962 a wonderful book called: "By Faith Alone"...You may have this book in your personal library; or, some 'older' member may have it. Either way, it also has helped me to 'get a handle' so-to-speak on this subject.
I find it interesting that in it's Foreword, by Elder R.R. Figuhr; he states that even then: "There was suggested by a few - that the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church has gone astray in failing to grasp this great and fundamental Christian teaching..."
In Chapter 11; "Twentieth-Century Adventism and Justification by Faith", pp.177-224. Dr. Pease makes the following comments:
(BTW) "The terms 'justification and righteousness by faith were seldom used by Mrs. White after 1900..."
"Thus, it is evident that Seventh-Day-Adventist leaders on the whole, in speaking of justification and righteousness by faith, stressed that justification must be accompanied by a change of heart and the surrender of the will so that Christ may dwell in the heart throught the Holy Spirit and work out righteousness in the daily life..." Justification and Sanctification mixed into one? I think so...
Interestingly enough however, I'm not so quick to 'buy' the concept that God wishes to 'control' man's Will...We are not subject to a God who merely wishes 'puppets'. On the contrary! God's government is based on FREEDOM...Freedom includes the right to say either YES or NO...Therefore, we may be justified at the moment of 'repentence and confession'; and not 'saved'; 'safe'; or even 'trusted'...We must accordingly say YES to God, His way of doing or running His government, and the 'Holiness of His Law'...What do you think?
I really could go on, and on, and on...This is a most interesting subject, and one in which I thoroughly enjoy discussing with other's of like-minded-faith...Time and space do not permit my continued 'thesis'...And, I am working on several web-pages which will cover this and a multitude of other subjects included in the Great Controversy Theme...
Until the next time...
Your brother in Christ Jesus