Does What We Believe Save Us?


I think you may have missed my point.

Last year in response to an article on Spectrum lamenting the fact that Adventism had no Martin Luther to proclaim the gospel, a well-known Adventist writer/spokesman responded by linking us to an article he had recently written about Adventist doctrines and why he believed they form the true body of belief. IIRC, he never mentioned Jesus Christ by name (but only almost in passing as the ‘Son’, a member of the Godhead.)

Another Adventist pastor/writer well-known to Spectrum readers told me that there is no difference between the conditions necessary for salvation between the old and new covenants. Both require obedience to the law. The only difference is that in the new covenant the Holy Spirit has been sent to help us obey.

So, I’m speculating that what you wrote in a way corresponds to what you have been taught. Your replacement of the word ‘life’ with ‘light’ implied to me that at some level you see the primary purpose of Christ as being a teacher - a rabbi illuminating or reinterpreting or shining new light on doctrines (e.g., the beatitudes or His ‘but I say’ statements about the law) to help us understand how to follow them.
That seems to me to be the main idea advanced by the two Adventist writers I mentioned.

So, I hope you will answer this question: I am interested in knowing, in your opinion, what is the gospel?

(Allen Shepherd) #22

Well, glad to be of service! But does not your assertion that I am pretending cast a more firm conviction of my thinking than you can know?

There are folk here that are utterly convinced that WO is the correct position. They are so sure of themselves that they cast aspersions on those who disagree, calling them bigots, misogynists, and discriminators. Why do you not go after these utterly convinced folk? I don’t cast aspersions on them. I disagree, but don’t get into name calling and moral judgements.

Why not criticize their irreverent pride?

(Allen Shepherd) #23

You read too much into my misquotation.

I will quote from Ellen’s book, Faith and Works, a compilation of some of her articles. I am reading it for devotional:

pg 36 We must learn in the school of Christ. Nothing but His righteousness can entitle us to one of the blessings fo the covenant of grace… We should not despond and fear that we have no Savior ro that He has no thoughts of mercy toward us. At this very time He is carrying on His work in our behalf, inviting us to come to Him in our helplessness and be saved. We dishonor Him by our unbelief.

But there is this as well:

pg 29 No commandment breaker can be permitted to enter heaven… man cannot meet the demands of that holy law without exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

pg 30 it is the sophistry of Satan that the death of Christ brought in grace to take the place of the law…The doctrine which teaches freedom, through grace, to break the law is a fatal delusion. Every transgressor of God’s law is a sinner, and none can be sanctified while living in known sin.

pg 31 The sinner is not saved in his sins, but from his sins.

So, We have no standing in heaven accept as we stand in Jesus. Faith in his grace is our only hope. We cannot fulfill the law. But clinging to sin will keep us form heaven. That is how I see it.


You mean something like:
"Shame on you who believe that God created men and women equal in the sight of God, who look to scriptures for guidance and use Galatians as a guide? You are misrepresenting our church. You know that women are to be seen and not heard, never on the platform to speak to a congregation or to be treated as one who has received Spiritual blessings or gifts to speak. Let her teach the little ones only. If a woman would perchance preach or speak, it should be merely a temporary or rare event.

"And furthermore, women in Adventist congregations are to be discriminated against at every level, treated with the respect they deserve as the ones who first sinned–just as if they are Eve. Remember how the Old Testament teaches us that women are second class, not part of the Levite priesthood, nor do they, in their separate roles, need to be found in any leadership roles in Adventist churches. Let them cook, serve potluck, clean the house of the Lord, visit the sick and do all they can, unpaid, to bring others to Christ in their own separate roles.

"Remember, authorization of pastors and ministers of the Gospel is reserved only for our males. Our males have a special role of Divinely authorized authority above others. Our seminaries should only be populated by men, and women should be confined to their own domestic roles. Those Adventist women who are deemed called by God are greatly deceived and those who support them; they are deceived by culture and confuse it with God’s calling. Furthermore, they are practicing Type 2 Spiritualism and dabbling in feminist lies about equal treatment and equal pay for both genders.

“Our church will find unity when we all agree to these principles. Those who oppose, should leave for they contaminate and show pride and selfishness when they preach that the Holy Spirit can bless women and call them to the ministry.”

I hear ya, @ajshep

(Allen Shepherd) #25

Nice come back, Harpa!

Those folks, too, are demonstrating the mind set Timo was criticizing. Each side in the debate on WO has folk that are utterly convinced, and see their side as totally right, and the other as abjectly wrong.

So, I am not surprised at your examples from the side opposite yours. But, your side demonstrates the same characteristic.

No side has a corner on pride and close-mindedness.


Thank you for your response to my question about the gospel.
I appreciate you taking the time to answer it.

I am largely ignorant of the writings of Ellen White (I did not study her works much when I was an Adventist) but here are two other quotes from the book you mentioned:

‘It is the righteousness of Christ that makes the penitent sinner acceptable to God and works his justification. However sinful has been his life, if he believes in Jesus as his personal Saviour, he stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ’s imputed righteousness.’ (Faith and Works, p. 106).

‘We cannot have the assurance and perfect confiding trust in Christ as our Saviour until we acknowledge Him as our King and are obedient to His commandments.’ (Faith and Works, p.16).

In the first she speaks of belief or faith that Christ’s perfect righteousness has been credited to us as being all that is required, in the second she adds works (obedience), both viewpoints from the same book.

Here are some more of her quotes about the necessity of lawful works:
‘When souls are converted, their salvation is not yet accomplished. They then have the race to run. An arduous struggle is before them.’
(My Life Today, p. 313)

‘We are saved by climbing round after round of the ladder, looking to Christ, clinging to Christ, mounting step by step to the height of Christ, so that He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly-kindness, and charity are the rounds of this ladder’ (Testimonies, vol.6, p.147).

Jesus said this when asked about what works of God we are to do. ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ (John 6:29)

I think you and Mrs. White disagree with the Protestant reformers and Paul who said that salvation is a gift or free gift based on the love of God for us (manifested in His grace or mercy toward us).

For example, we have the most famous statement of Paul on this topic:
‘For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God’; (Eph 2:8-9), but also,
‘a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law’ (Rom 3:28)
‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace’ (Rom 3:23-24)
‘…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace…’ (2Tim 1:9).

Faith is the channel through which we can claim this salvation:
’ …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved’ (Rom 10:9)

Paul says in Gal 2:21, ‘I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law [i.e., obedience to it], then Christ died needlessly.’

In your explanation of the gospel neither you, nor Mrs. White in the quotes you have used, ever mention the incarnation, death or resurrection of Christ. I have another question if you don’t mind:

What, if anything, do you believe Christ’s death and resurrection have to do with the gospel?

Correction: Sorry, in one of your quotes she did mention the death of Christ having to do with grace but it not taking the place of the law.
I hope you will still consider my question.

(Allen Shepherd) #27

The issue is not what it takes to be saved. EGW and me and you all agree that we are saved only by grace through faith.

She says, my quote:

So the issue is not how we are saved. It is by grace through faith. We all agree

But then there is the life after we are saved. Can you keep sinning? Is that acceptable?

My view is this: we will keep sinning after we are saved. We do not all of a sudden become righteous and perfect. But grace covers us there. We may sin every day, but may come to him daily for forgiveness.

But what about overcoming? Can we overcome sin?

Paul said, in Romans 6:11-14

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (that seems to be an act of faith. What does it mean to “count yourself?” ) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (that seems an act of will, the use of the will that God gives to us.). Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness (this seems and act of surrender). For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace (this is a bit confusing, but sin is not to be our master. Does that mean that we keep on sinning because we are not under law? I don’t think so. Whatever Paul means here, it does not mean we keep sinning).

Obedience is the fruit of faith. We have no power to overcome, but Jesus has the power to give to us that we might overcome. It is not me keeping the law for salvation, but me surrendering my will to him, and he works through me to do his good pleasure.

Christ died that we might be made perfect. He gives us his perfection at the beginning of our Christian life. We are perfect before him. But we stumble often. He, over time, works in us his will so that we become perfect in reality. Sanctification.

But to believe that we can keep sinning, clinging to it and be saved is a delusion. Unless we are surrendering daily, we will not make it.

it is interesting that Jesus asked us to memorialize his death, but did not mention the resurrection at the last supper. Why?
Because his death was the most significant act in history, when the Lord of life took death to himself that we might be saved. The gospel is based on the death of Christ, and could not have become reality without it.

His resurrection is the hope of our lives, for he was raised as a man as we shall be.

(Johnny Carson) #28

In the end, when the judgement has been set, the books have been opened, and Jesus is separating the sheep from the goats he will not be asking how well we defended right belief. Instead he will be asking how well did we love. Pretty simple stuff, really. It rather boggles me how frequently we revert to upholding right belief over right loving.

(Allen Shepherd) #29

Even right belief about WO will not do it.

(Johnny Carson) #30

@ajshep - I believe that is a qualifier you added, not me. My words were pretty clear.

(Allen Shepherd) #31

So, right belief about WO will do it? is that so?

By the way, I agree with you about loving he youth. But to stand on an unsure foundation, will only lead to disaster. Even our love can be used by the Devil.

(Johnny Carson) #32

Allen, you’re the one that brought the WO topic into the conversation between the two of us, so you tell me…

(Allen Shepherd) #33

Well, you asserted that right belief will not save the youth, but loving will.

The author asserted that

It seems that there are quite a few here that hold WO pretty rigidly.

So, does that belief make a difference? Your ball…

(Johnny Carson) #34

Allen, as I said, my statement did not leave any room for ambiguity. Figure it out.

(Allen Shepherd) #35

Ok, so right belief about WO will not save the youth either. i didn’t think it would. I am glad you are on my side…

(Johnny Carson) #36

Sides? really? Wow! :smiley:

(Allen Shepherd) #37

Well, when you are in my position, having someone on your side means something. Gives a bit of hope.

I do sense that you are not wiling to say that correct belief on WO does not lead to some sort of “salvation”.

But if you are going to be so general about it, then that is the assumption that has to be made.

(Johnny Carson) #38

The whole concept of a “side” in this seems rather juvenile, don’t you think?

(Allen Shepherd) #39

Of course it does, but you and the others here make assertions that are in a sense as ridiculous as my comments on you being on my side.

Do right beliefs make a difference? Of course they do! Believing rightly is very important. VERY! To believe a lie is to be basing your life on a false premise, and this has always led to disaster. The assertion that one has to choose correct belief or love is silly. DO BOTH! And be carful about your belief. Very careful. And love deeply.

Chamberlin believed Hitler would act in a certain way and appeased him. He had incorrect belief, and it lead to the death of millions. Correct belief is really important.

(Cfowler) #40

I find it interesting that a Christian pastor would use Ellen White to describe the Gospel. Is that what you would tell a person who was inquiring about the Gospel? :disappointed_relieved: