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Why the Investigative Judgment Doctrine Is Sound — 158 Comments

  1. Another casualty of Calvinism is that there is no Great Controversy, no battle between Christ and Satan for the souls of men and women. It's already decided who the elect are!

    In addition, I've seen it suggested that Christ created Satan to glorify Himself and that Satan is fulfilling Christ's purpose for the redeemed.

    Thank you for this clarifying post.

    • Yes, they are completely different paradigms. And, almost all the major misunderstandings about this Adventist doctrine stem from trying to evaluate Adventist theology through Calvinistic glasses.

  2. Why do you want to know GODS secretes ? God will never reveal his secretes to humans. Humans are all unfaithful. Those that want to know how GOD will judge the WORLD are stepping on sacred ground. You are being prompted by the EVIL. If any human knew just how GOD will Judge the world they would do just enough to pass the TEST. GOD knows everything. We should be gratefull we have life and death, nothing worse.

    • Boss, the authors are accepting God's invitation to reason with Him and to study His Word. They are not going outside the Word to speculate on what God has not revealed.

      There is no virtue in remaining ignorant regarding what God has revealed.

      God has made no "secret" of the fact that He judges all people. In fact, He has revealed quite a lot about the judgment, since He wants to be transparent in all His dealings with mankind.

      But I'm wondering if you actually read the blog post, because your comment does not address anything in the post. Please address things the authors said.

    • Sibiya, we do know how God judges the world. It is based on whether a person is in Christ or not. There is no way that someone can be just good enough to pass because salvation is not works based.

      • Mike Manea, I would like to bypass some of the rhetoric and "Protestant Reform", in favor of the subject of the Pre-Advent judgement or, Investigative Judgement. I have two texts that I view, as important as to when Judgment is completed. 2Timothy 4:1 and Hebrews 9:27. I see no need to expand or embellish either of these texts. From Sola Scriptura and lack of debate or Theological expertise, I will confine my other remarks.

        • I will bypass the rhetoric as well and, based on your two texts, does the judgment happen at death or at the second coming?

          • So, I do not believe in any kind of judgement done in the absence of the person on trial. Who needs investigation? God, the angels, Satan or the believer? Salvation is instantaneous and as long as you continue to believe in Him who saves, you are secured. To me Christ himself is the judgement, to believe in Him is to have eternal life (instant) and to reject Him is eternal damnation(instant.) What then is the relevance of investigative judgment to the Christian? Simply die hard theological jargon the complicates the simplicity of the good news.

          • Zegub, what does Jesus teach us on this matter. How do we "accept" Jesus if we don't understand and believe His teachings?

            See Matt 22:1-14.

          • At first glance, a judgment taking place in the absence of the person whose case is being examined may indeed seem problematic. However, I see a point here that needs to be considered:

            The investigative judgment decides only who will go to heaven with Jesus for 1,000 years. The final disposition of cases will not take place until the end of the thousand years. At that time -- at the Great White Throne judgment -- everyone who has ever lived will be living, breathing, and present. Furthermore, God has promised in the strongest possible terms that every knee shall bow, in effect acknowledging the justice of one's own sentencing.

            Zegub states:

            ... as long as you continue to believe in Him who saves, you are secured.

            I agree with this. To me, the relevance of the investigative judgment is to search out who has continued to believe in Him who saves, as a practical matter, and who has not.

          • R.G., each soul is "present" in the judgment in the living record of their works. Once pronounced to all, the results of these judgments(1st and 2nd) will be acknowledged as "just and true" by all, including Satan.

            As you say, the present judgment is simply to determine those who have received by faith the offered salvation, as demonstrated in their works of righteousness by faith. Who among the saved would argue with the results?! 🙂 Their only words will be "Thou are Worthy O Lord!"

            Isn't all this clearly shown in Lev 16? Such a wonderful truth, full of justice, grace and mercy. Sinners saved from sin!

          • Thank you, Robert. I believe the objection that was made to the Investigative Judgment has to do with the fact that those on trial are not themselves present during the proceedings, and therefore would seem not to have the opportunity to hear the charges against them and to respond. It seems to me that this apparent lack is more than made up at the end of the thousand years, when every lost soul will see exactly where he went wrong, and ultimately every knee shall bow.

          • One other thought that we must realize from Lev 16: we ARE to be present there, by faith. In meeting the conditions set forth in the type we exhibit our confidence in His work as our advocate before God, and the One who silences our accuser, whom we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony.

    • The Bible says Jesus is in charge of all judgment. He is life, righteousness, He saves, forgives, He is coming again. To be resurrected, I must die in Him. I will go up with Him. He is my only mediator. Bottom line, in Jesus, by my faith in Him, I have eternal life, He keeps me, guide me, protects me, and nothing can pluck me out of His hand.

    • Jesus, himself, said he does nothing in secret (John 18:20). The entire plan of salvation is laid out before us. To assume God keeps secrets from us is a bit repugnant.

    • I agree with you a hundred percent. This discussion and debate about a so-called Investigative judgement is all fruitless and nonsense. Just let Jesus reign in your heart and mind, that‘s all what counts.

      • That would be fine, except a certain few will not let the issue rest, and continue to demonize Seventh Day Adventists, saying we are hell bound, Ellen White was evil and a false prophet, etc., ad nausem, ad infinitum, thereby making us see a need to defend the accusations that we are not Christian.

  3. Thank you for the history of the different views. However, my question is why would God need more than a split second to make the judgement at that point in the future? Why does he need time to look st someone's life when he knows everything and is all-powerful? Why the need for years to do this? I would class myself as a classical Arminianist, and am an Adventist.

    • Sujoya,

      May I suggest that the Investigative Judgment is not to reveal anything to God, or to convince Him of anything. When the Pre-Advent judgment is described in Daniel 7, millions of angels are about His business (ministering to Him), and "ten thousand times ten thousand" are standing before Him. The judgement is being carried on for their sakes. They are the ones that need to see and understand. (Dan 7:10)

      • Hi, Stewart,
        Who labeled that judgement scene to be a pre-advent judgment? Which Bible writer interprets it to be a pre-advent judgement? Please explain scripturally.

        • Hi Zegub,

          To me it seems clear that the judgement scene described in Daniel 7:9-10 is set in heaven, before the Second Advent, because the evil "little horn" mentioned in verse 8 (prior to the opening of the judgement scene), is still active during the judgement (in Daniel 7:11).

          If Jesus had already come to receive His people from the earth, the brightness of His coming would have destroyed the "little horn". But no, the little horn is still actively speaking even after this "judgment [being described in Daniel 7] was set".

          I cannot see any reasonable alternative to this view. The coming of Jesus will be like Noah's flood, and it will sweep away every human devising that stands in opposition to Him. The "little horn" will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus.

    • I believe that God is taking the time to show the Universe how He makes His judgement.
      For instance what if Satan claims me as his and Jesus claims me as His - if God the judges declares that I belong to Jesus, then the world can claim He is biased, but if He can show them my heart they will have to agree.

      I believe the IJ is for the benefit of the Universe to prove God is just when He justifies those who are His.

    • As explained in the article, under the Calvinist view, God is sovereign and doesn't need to answer to anyone. Under the Arminian view, created beings have free will and therefore God seeks to win them over through a demonstration of His love and fairness instead of coercing them to obey. The IJ helps to show all created beings God's justice in dealing with humanity and the fact that Satan's accusations against God were unfounded.

      • Wow, Mike. Anything that makes me appreciate God more, statements like this do just that! This is one of the most appealing things about God to me. He can do anything He wishes, but condescends to my lowly estate and woos me with just how good he is. Makes me just Love Him. How can I not? Thanks for that statement. Really profound!

    • Good point. And God doesn't need more than a split second to show an investigation to the rest of the universe either. Have you ever had a dream that seemed to last for days? Yet REM sleep is measured in seconds. Our own mortal minds are capable of processing information much faster than how it comes to us in the world around us. Also when you consider Einstein's theory of relativity, the passage of time is dependent on gravitational forces. It can speed up, slow down, or even be reversed. Reversing time is impossible to us because going past the speed of light is impossible. But for God? That is a very real possibility.

      I think William Miller had it right that the judgement being announced had something to do with events on earth as opposed to events in heaven. Seventh Day Adventists believe that the United States plays a pivotal role in Bible prophecy. It both represents the wilderness that the woman ran to flee persecution, but it ultimately represents the lamb like beast that brings in the final persecution. In order for the Great Controversy to fully play out there must be, at least for a time, freedom of conscience. What moral blight existed in the United States in 1844 that prevented the full freedom of conscience? Slavery. Think about it. God created two institutions in Eden that He gave to man. One was the Sabbath. The other was marriage. Could a slave tell his master "Sorry. I'd like to obey you and not work on Saturday. But that's God's Sabbath." I guess he could but he would risk a beating or worse. Also a master could attack the marriage institution either by selling off family members including husbands or wives, or he could legally take a slave's wife into his own bed.

      Prior to the Great Disappointment of 1844, the Millerite movement was so heavenly minded it was no earthly good. The Millerites weren't interested in trying to change the world around it but rather they were simply preparing to leave it. Would a just God allow a final judgement during a time when a large group of people were not being given a full opportunity to make a choice? After the Great Disappointment, many Millerites became dedicated to the cause of the abolition of slavery. And less than 20 years later the United States was cleansed in blood. The U.S. Civil War was one of the most bloody wars in world history and the technology of death had increased faster than the military tactical response to it. As Ellen White predicted, the tide of the U.S. Civil War did not turn to the North's favor until Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation declaring freedom to all of the slaves in the rebellious states. Ultimately the defeat of the South opened the door to the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.

      As a result of the abolishment of slavery in America, and the initiation of what was then called the "colored work" in places like Oakwood College in Huntsville Alabama and Riverside Sanitarium in Nashville Tennessee, combined with the international missionary movement that grew out of the Great Disappointment, not only did the unique Adventist message spread throughout the South, but Christianity itself was taken deep into the heart of Africa and other places where no Christian missionary had been before. In fact there are still villages around the world where Christ has not been proclaimed.

      The pre 1844 Millerites had lost sight of the simple prophecy of Jesus that said "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations.,...and then shall the end come." 1844 represents the beginning of the final push to take the gospel to the entire world and it was a push that could only start once the United States was cleansed of slavery. Now the real question Seventh Day Adventists should be asking ourselves as individuals is how dedicated are we to that final push?

      • Surprisingly, I somewhat agreed with this... by the time I was done reading.

        I wouldn't say that the judgment was imprinted in angel's brains in a split second. Sure God can do that but it's not likely He did. That being said, neither does God need two centuries to complete the judgment and Jesus should have returned long ago were it not for the fact that we still have not taken God's message to the world. Wrote a short book on this some time ago:


      • John, thank you for this insight. I had never thought of tying freedom of choice so closely to the Sabbath, but it *is* related! The Sabbath represents both freedom and rest, and you are right that both of these were denied to slaves in the US.

        But more than freedom to choose anything in this world, the Sabbath represents freedom from sin by choosing Jesus as Lord, and it represents rest in Him - something which even Sabbath keepers don't always comprehend fully.

        Unfortunately, going back to slavery - there are probably more slaves in the world today than any time in the history of this planet, and I mean slaves in the real sense of the word - people who are denied both physical and liberty and rest as well as any real freedom of choice. Satan specializes in enslaving people, and as long as Satan rules, we will have slaves. But we are getting off the subject of the Investigative Judgment, aren't we?

        I believe that the Investigative Judgment is a demonstration of God's justice and love to the rest of the universe. It's also exceedingly Good News for believers, because anyone who is "in Christ" will never have to appear in judgment.

        I'm sure you're right that God doesn't need a lot of time to demonstrate His love and justice to the rest of the universe. But maybe there are other reasons why Jesus as not yet come again.

    • Sujoya, God would have completed the work quickly, but unbelief has delayed the Sealing of His Servants(Rev 7:3). The delay is ours, not God's. God will force no one to believe.

      Israel could have reached the Promised land from Egypt shortly, but because of unbelief, they wandered 40 years until the unfaithful had all died in the wilderness. We are living out that reality again and too many generations have passed away in unbelief. Not every individual, but the majority. What about our generation? Will we continue in unbelief or will this generation (the 144,000) fully surrender their will to the Lord and be sanctified by His grace? This is all God waits for, not willing that any should perish.

  4. Mike, I am definitely interested in the article (and have been reading further on Arminianism), but I must confess to finding it quite heavy going.

    In my mind Revelation 14:7 - "Fear God and give glory to Him; FOR THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGEMENT IS COME...", is a good foundation-stone / starting-point, from a Biblical perspective.

    In my view, the very fact that this verse exists, proves that a Pre-Advent judgment exists. Why? Because here we have an announcement regarding the beginning of a judgement-period BEFORE the Second Coming of Jesus (which is represented in Rev 14:14-16).

    • Yes. The passages in Daniel 7 are also very straight forward: after the little horn, the thrones are set, and the judgment begins.

      The critics however have found ways around all these passages. What their supporters don't realize however is that none of these passages are needed to prove the IJ since the idea is intrinsic in Arminianism which was around way before Adventists came on the scene.

  5. The Authors are presenting Calvinism and Arminianism as options of faith or doctrine. That is not the Word of God. Sis White cautions that our beliefs should be founded on the Bible alone, not even on the Spirit of Prophecy.
    Calvinism, Arminianism that’s not the Word of God. “I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Apollos,” and “I am of Cephas,” and “I am of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?... For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.... And I could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.... for you are still fleshy. For since there is jealousy and strife among you are you not fleshly and are you not walking according to man? For when one says, I am of Paul, and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?
    What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one.(1 Cor 1:11-17; 3:1-7)
    Seventh Day Adventism is founded on or grew out of Classical Arminianism? Does or did Sis White know that? What doe that mean? So our founders considered both options and chose Arminianism as the better foundation? Or is this a “theologian’s” construct?

    • Kenny, I believe when the authors talk about Calvinism and Arminianism it is a shorthand. It is assumed that if you want the Biblical basis for these beliefs there are many books providing how these groups come to their beliefs based on their interpretation of the Bible.

    • Calvinism and Arminianism are just labels, as Shirley mentioned. Basically, instead of saying each time that person 'A' is someone who believes that people are predestined to heaven or hell, that Jesus only died for some people, that the elect cannot lose their salvation, etc. it's much easier to say person 'A' is a Calvinist.

  6. For those who would like to know the Biblical basis for the Investigative Judgement, Clifford Goldstein wrote a book "1844 Made Simple" that gives a clear explanation of the doctrine. I was hoping that the article here would have included more citations from the Bible and less of the history and beliefs of those who oppose our teachings. steve

  7. Thanks to the writers for their insight. I believe the Bible is crystal clear that a person can be genuinely born again, and yet end up lost. This does indeed make an investigation necessary in order to make a distinction between professing Christians. Indeed, that is the very context of Daniel 7, where the pre-advent judgment is most clearly described. In that context, Christians are apparently being persecuted by Christians, and the investigation is for their benefit and deliverance.

    • R.G., how is the Bible to be considered "paradoxical" and frequently well beyond our understanding, when a child (such as the young Jesus) could understand it at a level beyond the greatest scholars of His day when only 12 years old? Jesus was human like us, and had no advantage in learning or understanding that is not available to us. God can bless any who live in faithful obedience, since we learn from scripture that disobedience blocks our progress to understanding the Word of God, given so men could find eternal life through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom He gave to the world He so loved. So we must expect this knowledge to be plain to see IF we do not impede the way for the Holy Spirit to lead us "into all truth" as promised. Jesus taught that if we obey God, we will "know the doctrine".

      From my own experience I have learned that obedience in all we have been given to follow greatly increases the ability to discern, understand, explain and memorize. So we could expect the opposite to be true as well, which I also experienced.

      The Bible was given so the simplest mind could grasp it's truths, yet there are some things just not revealed that will remain a mystery until God opens them up to our understanding. Consider if you will Prov 22:20,21.

      • I think you have answered your own question, Robert, partly at least.

        The Bible was given so the simplest mind could grasp its truths, yet there are some things just not revealed that will remain a mystery until God opens them up to our understanding.

        I like the way Ellen White said it.

        They [the Scriptures] open to our understanding a simple yet sublime system of theology, presenting truths which a child may grasp, but which are yet so far-reaching as to baffle the powers of the strongest mind. {RH September 25, 1883, par. 1}


        The difficulties of Scripture have been urged by skeptics as an argument against the Bible; but so far from this, they constitute a strong evidence of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could easily comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not bear the unmistakable credentials of divine authority. The very grandeur and mystery of the themes presented should inspire faith in it as the Word of God. {CSA 46.4}

        I stand by my criticism of traditional theology as a tendency to oversimplify the truth, and thus corrupt it with our own human ideas.

      • Sure, Mike. We are all bound to make plenty of mistakes, yet I think it behooves us to do our best to stay in the "babes" category, rather than the "wise and prudent." (See Matthew 11:25)

      • R.G., for practical living, understanding and receiving the gospel, the word of God is simply understood as it reads. Many have found the way to life and peace by following it's Truth. The confusion is most likely to come when wrestling with those things beyond our need to understand, or when rejecting conviction. Disobedience closes the door of understanding just as obedience lights the way. Daniel said that God gives "wisdom to the wise". Jesus said those who heard and obeyed His words were "like a wise man who built on a rock". So we could quote Daniel by saying God "gives wisdom to the obedient". At the end of his book Daniel is told that "the wise will understand" while "none of the wicked shall understand".

        God's word will not confuse those who fear Him. When you say scripture is a paradox, I think of being confused, which is not God's purpose.

      • Well said, Robert, except for the part about a paradox meaning confusion. A paradox is something that looks like an outright contradiction on the surface, but the Holy Spirit can help us to see the underlying harmony even if we cannot fully understand or explain everything. No confusion need result from this, provided we are content with what God has seen fit to reveal to us.

        Bible truth often comes to us in this fashion, as this seems best calculated to stretch our minds, but too often we try to bring things down to our own level of understanding, denying one pole of truth or the other.

      • R.G., if I understand you correctly; WE create the paradox, not the Word. I have seen/heard many who are confounded by "scripture" where others see only clear truth. So it must be in the eye of the beholder, not in the object being beheld.

        Example: the disciples in Sunday's lesson wanted to know if Jesus was going to set up His earthly kingdom at that time. Yet that belief was never supported by scripture. The paradox was man-made. God will never throw us a curve ball when seeking to lead us to eternal life while lost in sin. Only the wicked will believe lies, while reading the very same word as the wise who understand it's truth. (Dan 12:10, 2 Thess 2:10-12)

      • Robert, I believe that our discussion of "paradoxical" truth will only progress when we are clear on what that means. I am using the word "paradox" in accordance with the following (#1) definition from dictionary.com:

        a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth

        Many teachings of the Bible appear contradictory on the surface. For instance, how can it be that God alone can bring about the "new birth" in an individual (there being nothing for which the person himself could ever take any credit), yet some people be converted while others are not, without God unfairly choosing one over the other?

        These kinds of questions will probably remain a mystery until the end of time, but we must never try to resolve them by polarizing into extreme theological positions that promote one truth while denying the other -- just so we can pretend that we have all the answers.

        You may be right that we create the paradox by our own preconceived ideas and misunderstandings, but this is not necessarily our fault, nor (of course) is it God's fault. The Holy Spirit can help us to largely resolve the paradox by helping us to see the underlying harmony in God's word without our having to deny either pole of truth. However, that doesn't mean we are going to able to understand all mysteries. We must be content with what God has seen fit to reveal, and to receive it as "babes."

        If we follow this course of action, and rely more heavily on divine enlightenment than on our own intellect, I believe this will help us to avoid many of the errors that we so commonly see in theological circles.

  8. Let me explain why we have taken the current approach. There are probably enough books defending the IJ from the Bible to fill an entire library. If anyone is interested, follow the link at the end of the article and there is a resource section in the appendix.

    The problem is that in spite of all these materials, the critics seem to still meet with some degree of success. And the reason for this is because they have managed to convince people that the important aspects of the doctrine are dependent on the peripheral aspects like various Greek/Hebrew words etc. The following comment I left for someone in a previous conversation might further clarify the rationale:

    I think that sometimes church critics get the best of us because we are not familiar with their debate tactics. For example, they might point to a passage in Daniel or Hebrews and claim that the particular Hebrew or Greek word used there is translated incorrectly by Adventists.

    Naturally, we feel the need to bring in our Greek and Hebrew experts in support of our position to which they of course respond with even more expert testimony. In the end, it's next to impossible for the lay person to determine who won the debate, and, that's actually the critics' goal:

    The lay person, recognizing that this doctrine is very unique in Christendom setting us apart against all other Protestants and, considering that it now seems to stand on a very shaky foundation, begins to feel that holding on to it is no longer a risk worth taking. Moreover, in most cases, such a person ends up abandoning not only the IJ but Arminianism altogether.

    Yes, overall, the Adventists who have done this have been in the minority. But, that hasn't been the critics' greatest triumph. Their greatest success has been the P.T.S.D.-like effect these debates have had on the denomination. It's as if the church has lost its mojo; sort of like a child who got roughed up on the playground and is now afraid of any and all confrontation. You hardly ever hear anyone preach about the IJ anymore even though this is the one doctrine that most clearly spells out our place and purpose. So it's no wonder our people are as if 'lost at sea, without chart or compass.'

    Instead of allowing the critics to portray the Investigative Judgment like an upside down theological pyramid balancing loosely on the correct translation of Greek and Hebrew terms, we should flip the pyramid around and place it on its proper foundation:

    1) We should first of all establish people firmly in the gospel of salvation by grace through faith.
    2) We should then help them understand the theological traditions that emerged from the reformation and why our Arminian (conditionalist) roots are overwhelmingly supported by the Scripture in its entirety.
    3) We should help them understand the implications of the Arminian perspective; that God judges openly in such a way so as to win over rather than coerce the allegiance of His creatures.
    4) And, we should help them tie all this with our view of the nature of man and his unconsciousness in death.

    In doing this, the foundations of the IJ are firmly established.

    We can then continue to build on this foundation by discussing not the exact dates for the IJ, but the fact that, even in absence of these dates, we still have certainty regarding the general timeframe.

    Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and returning for them, and many of the early Christians expected this to happen in their lifetime. Paul however made it abundantly clear that there was one thing that needed to happen before Christ's coming: the falling away and the rise of antichrist.

    The 1260 day period is repeated 7 times in Scripture putting our critics in a position where they can't just dismiss our views but must provide an alternative interpretation since the time period is clearly important. And this matters in a debate because it is much easier to demonstrate that one view is superior to another than to carry the entire burden of proof (we don't need to prove the exact dates 538/1798 at this point).

    All this places the IJ comfortably in recent history before we even get to the contested passages. So at this point, addressing the critics' specific objections about Dan. 8:14 or some Greek passage in Hebrews, is just icing on the cake.

    The irrational domino effect where people first begin to doubt minor aspects of the IJ, then the entire doctrine, then Ellen White, then our other doctrines, Arminianism itself, and sometimes even Christianity altogether, can be avoided when using the layered approach to the Investigative Judgment. This doctrine can once again become the supporting pillar it was intended to be rather than a point of vulnerability for the church. Objections against the IJ will begin to fall like flies hitting a windshield.

    • Thank you, Mike. Yes, I understand the rationale for your focus on the doctrine of free will as a foundation for teaching the need for an investigative judgment. I believe that you are onto something here. However, your essential point appears to be that a person can truly experience the new birth and yet end up being lost. This might have been unmistakably established, for instance, by citing Hebrews 6:4-6.

      One might say that our opponents would find some way around this Scripture passage as well, but I don't think there is anything to be gained by apparently abandoning the Scriptural approach in favour of citing traditional theology. Classical Arminianism, as described in your article, does not appear to be entirely free of error. I believe it is always wiser to agree with our opponents as far as possible, finding a balanced view in a kind of "middle ground," while at the same time taking an uncompromising stand for essential truth.

      I believe that we need to appreciate John 1:13 and other passages teaching that our new birth is the result of God's election of grace, and not the result of our ability to make good choices. This gives us a kind of middle ground between classical Calvinism and Arminianism, while at the same time we take an uncompromising stand for the capacity of free will to frustrate God's desire to save everyone, and for the need of an investigative judgment.

      Does this help?

      • The reason I did not try to defend Arminianism with the Bible is because church critics already acknowledge Arminianism as a legitimate expression of the protestant gospel. They then go on to build the IJ up as something altogether different; a gospel of salvation by works. And it is not. There is no difference between the Arminian and the IJ gospels.

        I disagree that there is a middle ground between Calvinism and Arminianism. The two positions were designed to be logical complements of one another. A versus non-A, if you're familiar with formal logic notation. Basically, if you reject one, you automatically have to accept the other.

        So in essence, do you believe human beings have the ability to resist God ever? If so, you're Arminian. How you build your theology from there is up to you and different Arminian denominations have taken different routes. But you still fall under the Arminian banner.

        • I agree about the balanced approach and also hold a middle ground view on the Nature of Christ.

          The problem here is that I am responding to the attacks of critics, not just sharing my point of view. And the problem with the critics is that on the one hand they acknowledge the Arminian view as legitimate (though they think it's wrong) but in the same time they reject the IJ. And this is not logically consistent.

          As far as Calvinism/Arminianism, whatever truth might be contained in Calvinism, Arminianism already agrees with it. Can you give me an example of something Calvinism affirms and Arminianism rejects that is still correct?

        • Yes, Mike, I could do that, but I think it might be beside the point for us to get into a deep discussion of the pros and cons of the two classical positions -- unless someone reading our comments should speak up and request us to go into that.

          I keep thinking about something you wrote:

          The reason I did not try to defend Arminianism with the Bible is because church critics already acknowledge Arminianism as a legitimate expression of the protestant gospel. They then go on to build the IJ up as something altogether different; a gospel of salvation by works. And it is not. There is no difference between the Arminian and the IJ gospels.

          However comfortable or uncomfortable we may be with what is termed "classical Arminiansim," Seventh-day Adventists (including you and me) pretty much all agree on a basic free-will position -- that God desires all men to be saved, but we are capable of destroying ourselves by the misuse of our God-given free will, even after we have experienced the new birth by the power of the Holy Spirit. Logically, this position necessitates an investigative judgment in order to distinguish the true believer from the hypocrite (the one who is only acting the part of a Christian).

          I find your logic irrefutable, Mike, yet we still have a problem. The investigative judgment may not be legalism (righteousness by works), yet far too many of us seem to be experiencing a deep discomfort with it nonetheless. We might all like to see those professed Christians who consigned John Huss to the flames undergo such a thorough investigation, and most of us would probably at least nod our approval if this judgment resulted in those murderers being condemned to the flames of Gehenna. Yet, when it comes to the idea that we ourselves are to be examined with a fine-toothed comb to see whether or not we are really in the faith, that seems to be another matter -- particularly when we read that the character of those acquitted in the IJ is found to be in harmony with God's law.

          Does this mean that we must somehow work ourselves up into some kind of perfectly sinless performance if we are to have any hope of passing the test? It can be tempting for us to cut the knot of difficulty by simply denying the IJ teaching altogether. Unfortunately, this approach only involves us in deeper difficulties. For one thing, it's doubtful that very many Seventh-day Adventists can be comfortable as antinomians (believing that God's law is done away with), which is what this IJ denial really amounts to. Furthermore, denying 1844 and the year/day principle means that we are no longer Adventists at all, from the standpoint of any historical definition of the term. So, in reality, we have now separated ourselves from the one true church. Is there a better solution to the problem? I believe there is.

          Firstly, there is the question of how we are justified before God. The Holy Spirit is ours for the asking, provided we are willing to give (and trust) ourselves entirely to God with wholehearted and glad consent. When He comes into our hearts, He will use the written Word to inspire in us simple faith in the atonement wrought out for us on the cross of Christ, and it will not be hard for us to believe that our sins are forgiven, and that we are accepted in the beloved notwithstanding our sinfulness.

          Secondly, there is the question of how we are sanctified, given that God's law is the standard in the investigative judgment. I believe we must take our eyes off our own sinfulness, and focus on the perfection of Christ, trusting entirely in His merits imputed to us. I perceive from the Bible that holiness is God's work in us, not something that we can produce in ourselves unaided by His Spirit. Is there any guaranteed that, if we trust fully in Christ, He will produce the necessary perfection in our character? After all, Christian perfection is a continual impulse to bless others, which is not something that an insecure Christian will ever be able to produce in order to get himself or herself into heaven.

          For me, the answer is Bible predestination. The language of predestination is very strong -- strong enough to warrant total reliance on it. I'm not talking about Calvinist predestination here. Many read a kind of predestination into Romans 9, but I'm not seeing that at all. Romans 9 deals with God's foreknowledge of the free choices that each of us will eventually make. It does not teach predestination of any kind.

          The only predestination I find in the Bible is found in Romans 8:29-30 and in Ephesians 1. To me, both passages are saying the same thing. Those whom God foreknew would willingly consent to receive Christ are predestined to end up being like Christ in character -- in harmony with God's law, in other words. You will notice that this predestination is conditional on the exercise of our free will, our ongoing consent, yet if we are willing to meet that condition, it is certain on the basis of God's sure word.

          So, to me the solution to the problem lies in taking God at His naked word, placing absolutely no reliance on any imagined righteousness of my own. And that's not legalism, is it?

          What do you think, Mike?

        • I agree. Totally. I used John‬ ‭15:4-6‬ earlier today to make the same point. If someone abides in the Vine, growth and fruit-bearing is inevitable.

          What removes all fear from the IJ for me is the idea that the IJ is nothing more than God respecting our free will. God will not force heaven on someone who dislikes the presence of Jesus even if that person at some point in their lives experienced a genuine new birth.

          You might find another article I've written helpful. I'll share it with Inge as well to see if it's ssnet.org material:


  9. Fantastic! Now I know that IJ is true, and easy to explain.
    We have free will, those who die now sleep until the 2nd coming, we all face the judgement, God demonstrates to the universe how He knows who are His, the IJ takes place before the 2nd coming because we receive our reward when He returns. All these statements are based solely on the Bible.

  10. I believe in the investigative judgment because:
    Dan 8:13Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" 14He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored. This is the prophecy that reveals the time ( Ezra 7:1-27 sets the start 457bc and ends 1844ad) for the judgment. Heb 8:2 tells us that Jesus is the high priest. Rev 11:18, 19 dictate the specifics of. The judgment. Rev 14:6,7 the hour of judgment is now.

  11. Steve, please click the link at the bottom that says, this article is a shortened version of... You will find the seven instances in the appendix as well as a resource section with recommended reads. If the article here had not been shortened, people would be complaining about the length instead.

    This article is not stating 'we have the truth' but is responding to critics who claim the IJ is error.

  12. Never heard of prevenient grace. Where is that found in the Bible? Sounds like convenient Grace to me; because it is applied without the consent of the recipients: i.e. imposed or forced upon every being; which contradicts the whole foundation of Adventism as regards freewill. This Prevenient Grace supposedly grants freewill to every being bringing every being back to Adam and Eve's status before God. So everyone is now personally responsible for his/her salvation since salvation-grace is now offered not imposed?!

    • The bible says that there is none that seeks after God and that all we like sheep have gone astray. In the same time it tells us that God has dealt to every man a measure of faith.

      This is what prevenient grace means: that God had to intervene for us to even have a desire to search for God. Otherwise, we would be perfectly content going our own way never thinking of God at all.

      This is also illustrated in the parable of the lost coin and sheep where God is the one seeking.

      • Our people have been mis-applying Rom 12:3 which says "For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith."
        That faith is obviously alloted to the members of the body of Christ, not to anyone else. It's for the building up and edification of the church and for the magnification of the gifts of the Spirit. That Faith is of Christ. The world cannot be in possession of that faith!

        • Depending on what translation you use.

          The concept of prevenient grace does show up repeatedly in scripture and is a logical necessity if you accept man's fallen condition and yet reject predestination. John 1:9, John 12:32 (contrast with John 6:44), John 16:8-11, Rom 2:4, Titus 2:11 etc.

          • Grace offered is different than grace received. Air is free for the taking, but if one refused to breathe, God would not force air into their lungs, but will give each "the desire of your heart".

            "The grace of God that brings salvation" is freely offered to the world, but few will receive it.

            Example: the ark would save anyone who was on board. Only 8 from all who were on the earth were saved by the ark. So for those who were lost, it is as if the ark had never been constructed. Grace is the same.

        • Kenny, the word "prevenient" comes from the Latin literally means to "come or go before." (Believe it or not, I studied Latin in high school, and I remember this much without looking it up. ;)) It is the grace that is extended to every human being even before conversion - the grace that draws people to Christ. It is used as a theological term to explain what makes it even possible for us to repent. Most of us just think of "grace" without distinguishing between grace offered to every human and the grace that allows believers to grow in Jesus.

          The Bible tells us that it is only God that gives us repentance (through His grace). We cannot produce it on our own. Mike cited some of the texts that indicate that God's grace is extended to all sinners (prevenient grace) to draw them to Himself: John 1:9, John 12:32 (contrast with John 6:44), John 16:8-11, Rom 2:4, Titus 2:11

          • Inge, God says that He would be gracious to whom He will be gracious, and merciful to whom he will be merciful etc. If it's prevenient grace that "draws people to Christ" why are not ALL drawn to Christ. This is the preliminary grace you say! You say that must be presented first. It does not accomplish it's mission since ALL must first be drawn to Christ before another grace is extended. But GOD has declared "So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding for which I sent it."(Isa 55:11) Remember He is the Omnipotent Creator and who alone can give life. He keeps reminding us of that fact! Jesus "None can come to Me except the Father draws Him. ALL that the Father gives ME WILL come to me."
            If any of those fail to come to Christ it is a failure on the Father's part; because His word failed. Isa 55:11 is a lie and God is not God.

          • Kenny, Jesus said:

            And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. John 12:32 (ESV)

            So the fact is that ALL are drawn to Christ (by His prevenient grace), but too many resist His love.

            I am afraid that you may have misunderstood Jesus' words. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. But being given to Jesus by the Father seems to be something more than just being drawn. We must yield to that drawing, as God has foreseen we would. Only then do we belong to Jesus.

          • Kenny, you make my point when you write:

            Remember He is the Omnipotent Creator and who alone can give life. He keeps reminding us of that fact! Jesus "None can come to Me except the Father draws Him.

            In that statement you are demonstrating what is known as "prevenient grace" - that is, grace extended to every sinner to enable sinners to repent, since repentance itself is a gift of God.

            However, what you failed to consider in your comment is that God has given every one of His created beings freedom of choice. So sinners are free to reject this grace, and, in fact, the majority do. Nevertheless, God's purpose is accomplished in demonstrating the condition of the heart. Sinners who reject prevenient grace thereby reject salvation through Christ, and this can be clearly seen by the universe.

            The text that "ALL that the Father gives ME WILL come to me." does not negate freedom of choice. If it were in harmony with God's character to negate freedom of choice, Christ need not have died. God could have just coerced people into "salvation" without such a costly endeavor. The very fact that Christ came to this planet to demonstrate the Father's love and thus draw His created beings to Himself is strong evidence that God values freedom of choice so much that He will never negate it. And there's good reason for that: Love is not possible without freedom of choice. And the Omnipotent God whose character is best described as "love" desires our love above all else.

  13. I always find the arguments against God's "investigative Judgement" rather interesting given the fact that this is how God has always dealt with sinners since the very beginning of sin. Let's review some of the prime examples:

    When God came to visit Adam and Eve and found them hiding in their naked guilt, what did God do? He investigated the situation as one who wanted information, giving them opportunity to either acquit or condemn themselves. Once having investigated the matter, He then issued His just sentence mixed with mercy.

    God came and "inquired" of Cain the whereabouts of his slain brother, allowing Cain to acquit or condemn himself, THEN God executed His fair and even merciful judgment.

    God "saw" (raah: inquire/consider/make inspection) the wickedness of the earth was accurate to what He had heard BEFORE bringing the flood.

    God came down to "see" (raah) if the reports of the tower(built in unbelief) were true before passing His sentence of confounding and scattering the people in mercy, to save them from themselves and each other.

    God came to "see" (raah) if the cities of the plain were as corrupt as the reports BEFORE executing judgment upon them.

    Do we see the pattern?

    When Jesus returns in glory, the sentence is already pronounced on every soul, and His reward is with Him to give each according to their works (which reveal faith or unbelief).

    God is consistent, since Truth never varies or even hints of change. This investigation is just and fair and thus required before passing a judgment or executing a sentence. Notice that with the wicked, they will face another judgment since the pre-advent judgment is to determine only who is saved(justified and sanctified as revealed in their works of righteousness). The post-advent judgment is to deal with those who have clung to their sins and now must face the sentence for their works, which reveal unbelief. Their judgment and sentence was delivered before their execution, which they will receive after Jesus' 3rd and final return to earth.

    God is seen to always investigate with utmost fairness before passing His judgment and executing His sentence. The guilty always condemn themselves, while the justified ones are acquitted by their righteous Judge in whom they have exercised genuine faith.

    The last sentence upon the unrepentant will be without mercy, since it was refused by them in unbelief.

    I understand the terms Arminianism and Calvinism, but again, who are they?

    It's either Biblical or unbiblical. Faith or unbelief.

    • I agree with you in principle, Robert, but even Peter counseled that we are always to be ready to give an answer to any who ask us the reason for our faith. (1 Peter 3:15) Unless we do not understand the Investigative Judgment to be "Good News" (I think it is), that would apply to this teaching as well.

      • Yes Inge, but never did Peter intend his counsel for those who wish only to argue. Those asking sincerely are wanting to understand how to find the peace God's people enjoy in this life. They want to understand the means of gaining the victory over the world(sin) while still surrounded by it's ways. I believe Peter is speaking of the sincere, honest seeker for truth, not the careless, indifferent individual who only seeks to criticize what he refuses to accept.

      • Robert, since we cannot read the heart, we do not know whether people "only want to argue," or whether they have sincere doubts that need to be resolved. And even those who "only want to argue" are sometimes converted. We should be ready to give an answer to all those who ask in as non-confrontational way as possible.

      • Jesus, our Example, could read the intent of the questioner and I believe when we ask for wisdom we can discern the honest seeker vs the combative debater. One will demand "proof" and continue to argue against it, while another desires to know the reason for the "hope that is within you". I'm sure everyone here has met both types. Are there any of our fundamental beliefs that cannot be adequately answered in a simple presentation of related Bible verses on the subject? Notice how brief Jesus' answers are with His questioners.

        Those trying to win an argument have a different approach than the humble soul seeking truth to fasten their faith upon. For those who are confused but seeking, we show how to find truth in scripture, the foundation for every belief that leads to genuine faith.

    • I think you did miss something, Robert. Mike and Marcos do not appear to be trying to convince the critics. They seem to be encouraging the rest of us to be unashamed of the doctrine of the investigative judgment, and not to listen to the critics.

      • By the way White, no where in Scripture does God predestined anyone to hell. He predestines always to Glory. It's our Father, Adam, who destined us to hell. God delivers His people from that destiny. Remember there are 2 types living - those who are perishing and those who are being saved; those who are OF GOD, and those are OF THE DEVIL. Scripture gives us at least 2 of the Devil - Cain and Judas!
        Since Christ's seed are " being saved" it is guaranteed. Phil 1:6.

      • R.G., I would like to think that isn't needed. Our confidence in God's Word should not be troubled by the critics. To be honest, this article seems to make a simple truth complicated in trying to satisfy the critic's arguments.

        As for not addressing the critics, how then do you interpret the last 3 points of the article with the preceding paragraph?

      • Can you cite any Scripture, Kenny, where God predestines anyone unconditionally to Glory? The only predestination I can find anywhere in the Bible is Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1. In those passages, God predestines the true believer to Christian perfection (i.e. glory), but that predestination is conditional on our ongoing consent.

      • Robert, this article was originally written as a response to an article written by a supposed Adventist theologian in a supposed Adventist magazine (Inge felt it needed to be adapted for ssnet.org). So let me ask you this:

        Are we supposed to just sit by and let church critics from within the denomination confuse our people without saying anything?

    • Apologetics has never been about the critics.

      The critic's arguments often confuse ernest seekers and these people want to hear a defense of the topics to resolve the confusion in their own mind. It is for this reason that, from the time of the apostles, through Christian history, during the reformation and early Adventism all the way to our time, apologetics has been an important part of the work.

  14. The pre advent Judgment is against false professors who have taken the name of God in vain. The true Christian has no reason to fear, only to reverence the God of his Salvation. God himself is on trial as well as the Church in this hour. God will cleanse his people (bring them to an at-one-ment in heart with himself), and vindicate His own Holy name, which false Christians have dragged in the mud with their Augustinian/Thomas Aquinas etc misrepresentations of His character.

  15. To me it is quite interesting [and encouraging] to see this many comments coming through on the subject. I'm glad that the Investigative Judgment issue is not being ignored or side-lined by our people.

  16. Another thought on the Judgments if I may.

    In the future, when the saints judge the world (1Cor 6:2), that judgment will be a kind of "investigative" judgment too.

    Paul writes, "...do not go on passing judgement BEFORE THE TIME, but wait until the Lord comes, Who will both bring to light the hidden things in darkness and disclose the MOTIVES of men's hearts..." (1Cor 4:5 NASB).

    The people that DO NOT rise up in the first resurrection will be judged by the saints in their absence ("in absentia"). This happens, not for God's sake, but for the sake of the Redeemed. The result will be a deep vindication of what has happened. The process ensures that no doubts will ever arise among the Redeemed about the goodness of God [and about the power of man to limit God (Ps 78:41 KJV)] - the universe will be eternally secure.

    The Pre-Advent judgement is done [at least in part] for the satisfaction of the minds of the angels and other intelligences. Nothing is ever hidden form God's eyes of course, but the hearts and the motives of mankind ARE HIDDEN from angel's eyes [and from ours]. They can't read our minds.

    But in both judgements (Pre-Advent and Post-Advent) the hidden motives will be manifest and understood. This brings huge clarification, firstly to angels, and secondarily, to the Redeemed.

    • Very good points. It is also possible that the pre-Advent judgment is also a time that will help the angels prepare themselves to help us sort through these same questions throughout the millennium. I have no doubt that they will be helping answer our questions but to do this they might need time to sort through things for themselves. Don't know. But definitely a possibility.

      • Yes, definitely a possibility. Comments such as the following one from Mrs. White suggests to me that the Redeemed will have open communication with the angels on such matters.

        "Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angel who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning--what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly co-operation in every work for humanity!"

        (Maranatha p.315)

  17. Do not forget that in the typical Old Testament Day of Atonement (and Judgement), it was only the Church (Israel, not the Canaan-ites) who were being judged, if they failed to participate, or else cleansed if they participated by "afflicting their souls (fasting) and praying, believing the blood sacrifice would cleanse them. So in the New Testament anti-typical Day of At-one-ment (literal meaning of the English word atonement), it is those who have professed Christ who are being examined to see if their profession lines up with their lives (whether they are wearing a wedding garment provided by the host at the wedding that is happening now, or just street clothes in disrespect of the host). There are practical end time results of this judgment which will be seen when the seven last plagues of Revelation are poured out on the false Christians who threaten to destroy all of God's people, while those who reverence their creator/redeemer will be protected.

  18. The reason it is only the professors of Christ who are involved in the judgment is that the non believers will be judged already by their non belief.

    • Lawrence,

      I must agree that the non-believers will effectively be judged "already", and yet they will still be judged by the saints after Jesus' return, won't they? (1Cor 6:2)

      • Yes, definitely. But the pre-advent Day of At-one-ment and investigative judgment deals with the professed Christians,true ones and false, and how they've represented God to the world. The typical OT service shows this (and EG white agrees in

        GC 480: "In the typical service only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. “Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?” 1 Peter 4:17.

        • "The Judgment of the wicked is a separate act" is misleading terminology however, because the most wicked people in history have been professed Christians, who had the Word (albeit in Latin) and lived contrary to it, all in the good name of God. This type is the VERY class the pre-advent judgment is against. But for God's faithful it is a Day of At-one-ment with Him, where He draws us closer to Himself by His Spirit.

          Not that all the false professors used (misused) the Word of God in Latin, but hopefully you get the point. Some wolves disguised as sheep misuse the Word in English etc. today

  19. Hey guys! Thank you for all of the comments, challenges and questions. While Mike has responded to many of them allow me to take a moment to clarify a common misunderstanding that many have raised against our article above.

    Many seem to be bothered by the fact that Mike and I appeal to Classical Arminianism as our defense instead of going to the Bible. The argument suggests that we are relying on human tradition, or theology, rather than on scripture itself. Allow me to take a few moments to refute this.

    1) Firstly, Mike and I do not base our argument on human tradition or theology. When we argue for a Classical Arminian foundation we are simply summarizing what many Adventists already believe to be Biblical. For example:
    a) Adventists already believe that a person has free will and we believe that this is scriptural.
    b) Adventists already believe that a person's salvation is not predetermined by God but that it depends on their free choice to either accept or reject Gods gift of salvation. This position is biblical.
    c) Adventists already believe that once a person freely chooses salvation they remain free to walk away whenever they choose (we reject once saved always saved). This position is also biblical.
    2) Anyone who believes in the 3 points above is a Classical Arminian. If someone here does not agree with these 3 points then they are not a Classical Arminian. This article is not written to argue for Classical Arminianism so if you want to debate that issue there are other forums that focus on that all over the internet. This article is written to demonstrate that the Investigative Judgment finds its foundation in these 3 basic Classical Arminian points. Thus, it is not fair to say we are arguing based on human tradition or theology because all Adventists believe that each of these 3 points are 100% scriptural, therefore, in order to avoid going over what many of us already agree on we simply summarize it by speaking of the validity of Classical Arminianism.
    3) Just because Mike and I appeal to the foundation of Classical Arminianism does not mean we agree with every single aspect of Jacobus Arminius' or John Wesley's theology. However, anyone who affirms the 3 points made above is a Classical Arminian regardless of whether they embrace the other minor theological points that Classical Arminians may hold.

    In conclusion, I maintain that it is not fair to accuse us of relying on human tradition or theology. Our appeal to Classical Arminianism is done as a way of summarizing the basic teachings of Classical Arminianism that all Adventists already believe to be scriptural teachings. Therefore, Mike and I saw no need to repeat or defend concepts we already embrace. If anyone in this thread disagrees with these concepts then their problem is not with the Investigative Judgment but with Classical Arminianism at which point we suggest you explore and debate that issue in other forums that exist to clarify those particular issues. However, this article was written with 2 audiences in mind. 1) Those who already embrace the validity of Classical Arminianism and 2) Those who accept Classical Arminianism as a valid interpretation of the gospel even if they disagree with it. However, those who entirely deny its biblical basis and validity will find themselves debating issues that this article is not intended to address. It is at this juncture that we recommend such people find an alternate forum to explore those particulars.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit!

  20. I post an unbiased statement of the so-called Calvinist TULIP
    This I googled so it's in the public domain.
    [Editor's Note: Just for clarification, Kenny, just because you can find it through Google, does not mean something is in the public domain. If you copy something from another website, you must give proper credit. Correct me if I'm wrong (provide the correct address), but I believe you copied this from http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm ]

    Basically, Calvinism is known by an acronym: T.U.L.I.P.

    Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
    Unconditional Election
    Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
    Irresistible Grace
    Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

    These five categories do not comprise Calvinism in totality. They simply represent some of its main points.

    Total Depravity:

    Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.

    The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore God must predestine."

    Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).

    Unconditional Election:
    God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).

    Limited Atonement:
    Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

    Irresistible Grace:
    When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.
    “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out," (John 6:37).

    Perseverance of the Saints:
    You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return

    • Kenny,

      I object to the use of the phrase 'unbiased statement.' The chart we posted is from a Calvinistic website as can be seen in the credits.

      But this information is very useful as well.

    • I also totally disagree with "God must predestine". This is the problem with man's evaluations, and conclusions concerning the Word of God. How can man assume the umbrage to declare what God must do. They are saying that in their view, if they were God, that is what must occur. And that is what Church doctrines and creeds are - man's conclusions and analyses of God's Word. You're gonna find error and gross error sometimes.
      With respect to Foreknowledge: God's fore-KNOWLEDGE is not man's foreknowledge. He gave us some insight though. Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I KNEW you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." God says he had an intimate relationship with Jeremiah before He formed him in the womb. God further says that all those who are His are known by Him that way 2 Tim 2:19. We know that is so because he pronounced damnation, "I NEVER KNEW YOU", to a people working miracles "in His name".(Matt 7:23) The 5 foolish virgins heard the same pronouncement: "Truly I say to you, I do not know you".
      So don't project human foreknowledge into Rom 8. Apply God's foreknowledge and you will see that God is talking about those who are His from before the foundation of the world. Who can deny God's claim!

      • Who can deny God's claim? God's claim is only upon those whom He foreknew would be willing to yield to it. He forces His will on no one.

    • By the word 'total' in total depravity calvinists mean that humans are incapable of choosing God if that choice is extended to them. Unless God makes the choice for us we will never make it ourselves. Arminians agree with Total Depravity in every other respect but this.

  21. It's encouraging to see some of the comments here by Adventists and the general agreement in belief in an Investigative judgement. It only makes sense that if one accepts the fact that there will be a separation between the good and the evil, the sheep and the goats as Jesus describes in Matthew 25:32,33, that there be some kind of decision making process involved. Outsiders may question the doctrine, but they have no good alternative as to how those decisions might be made. If there is a decision being made, then it would be expected that the decisions be made before the separation, not a thousand years after as most non SDAs proclaim. That there is a judgement is attested by dozens of Bible texts. To deny the fact of the judgement would be to deny multiple references in both Old and New Testaments and calls into question whether one believes that the Bible is the basis for any belief. That "God knows those who are His" is undeniable, but that doesn't mean that there was no decision making process involved, and also doesn't mean that the rest of the individuals in His universe know who those might be. A judgement process where the records are examined as described in Daniel 7 and proclaimed in Revelation 14 is necessary to show to the intelligences of the universe the reasons for, and the justice of, God's decisions. Without this, questions regarding the process would surely produce doubt and distrust. The same is true here in the USA where court proceedings are open and anyone can watch to ensure that the process is fair and just. The same principle is no less applicable in the heavenly courts. Again, that the process takes place before the rewards are given and the punishment meted out, only makes sense and to have it occur a thousand years later is illogical. Hopefully this is helpful. steve.

    • Very good synopsis. Thanks. This is why the only real reason someone would take issue with the IJ is because they have been bitten by the Calvinism/OSAS bug.

      • Yes. If one knows nothing of Christianity but the thought that God would arbitrarily choose those who are saved and those who He keeps supernaturally alive to burn forever, then it's no wonder that Atheism is on the rise. We have a lovely message of a God who is much different than that. Thanks again for the thoughtful discussion. steve

      • Mike, perhaps that *should* be the only reason for anyone to take issue with the concept of an investigative judgment.

        In actual practice, I believe there is a lack of understanding of the logical foundations of the Investigative Judgment, and that is why your post is useful. I hope it clarifies things for a lot of people.

      • When defending the Investigative Judgement, I point out that most Calvinists and OSAS believe in a Rapture. I then ask: "So how can Jesus take some to heaven with him and not others if there is not some sort of IJ going on first?" Obviously, they believe in an IJ as well, just not the way Seventh Day Adventists do.

        I love to do that 😀

  22. This is a googled statement on Arminianism, by bible-researcher.com

    What is Arminianism?

    ARMINIANISM is a teaching regarding salvation associated with the Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius (1560-1609). The fundamental principle in Arminianism is the rejection of predestination, and a corresponding affirmation of the freedom of the human will. Shortly after his death, the followers of Arminius (later called Arminians) presented a statement to the governing authorities of Holland in which they set forth five articles of doctrine. These were: (1) that the divine decree of predestination is conditional, not absolute; (2) that the Atonement is in intention universal; (3) that man cannot of himself exercise a saving faith, but requires God's help to attain this faith; (4) that though the grace of God is a necessary condition of human effort it does not act irresistibly in man; (5) that believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace. In essence, the Arminians maintained that God gives indispensible help in salvation, but that ultimately it is the free will of man which decides the issue. After a period of sharp theological controversy the Dutch government convened a National Synod of leading churchmen, which met in Dordrecht in the years 1618-19. At this "Synod of Dort" the members adopted five articles in direct opposition to the five articles of the Arminians. The articles of Dort have come to be known as the "five points of Calvinism."
    The following paragraphs (taken from Romans: An Interpretive Outline, by David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas) give a particularly clear and concise summary of the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism.

    Free-will or human ability. Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe but does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists in his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.
    Conditional election. God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the Gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw, and upon which He based His choice, was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ—not God’s choice of the sinner—is the ultimate cause of salvation.
    Universal redemption or general atonement. Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone’s sins. Christ’s redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.
    The Holy Spirit can be effectually resisted. The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation. He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit’s call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man’s contribution) precedes and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God’s grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be— and often is—resisted and thwarted by man.
    Falling from grace. Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc. All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ, that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost.
    According to Arminianism, salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond); man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, choose to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

  23. I posted as a reply to Stewart, but would like to repost this synopsis of the reply to enter into the ongoing discussion. Perhaps a small turn of words in the GC has made some folks fearful that the pre advent judgment is for those who ate ice cream between meals:

    GC 480 "So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. “Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?” 1 Peter 4:17.

    The Judgment of the wicked is a separate act" is misleading terminology however, because the most wicked people in history have been professed Christians, who had the Word (albeit in Latin) and lived contrary to it, all in the good name of God. This type is the VERY class the pre-advent judgment is against. But for God's faithful it is a Day of At-one-ment with Him, where He draws us closer to Himself by His Spirit.
    Not that all the false professors used (misused) the Word of God in Latin, but hopefully you get the point. Some wolves disguised as sheep misuse the Word in English etc. today.

  24. At the moment I am not certain if the investigative judgment looks at all professed Christians or just those who have experienced a genuine new birth at some point.

  25. Inge: I have found this article & the discussion both interesting & informative. I would like to to see, from time to time, more articles that cause such an active response.

  26. You guys are giant in your knowledge of salvation so I admire you for that. You have reached that pinnacle through thorough studying. I'm nothing compared to your understanding of several religious movement centuries ago. I believe in John 3:16 and that's good enough for me. Holding to that promise makes my life and my personal relationship with God less complicated.
    Thank you to the author who explained IJ in much easier version of it and thank you to several responders who shed more lights and sometimes argument over it. May you all be blessed.

  27. Virtually every aspect of Christianity has been debated not for 170 years but for 2000 years: the trinity, the inspiration of the Bible, the gospel, etc. No reason to expect any different the past 170 years.

  28. This has certainly been a very interesting to- and fro of opinions! I refer especially to a comment by Paul Blank in which he gives two references which refer to the judgment after death. I had the dubious privilege of working for advocates and lawyers but it gave me a wonderful insight and better understanding of the term 'judgment". There can be no judgment before there is a hearing. Before I understood this I also was confused between INVESTIGATIVE judgment and JUDGMENT. When Jesus comes the hearing or IJ has been completed and He comes to deliver judgment. The IJ has to be completed BEFORE He comes - and as we as Adventists understand, the hearing of the dead is taking place as we speak. What is so hard to believe. AND NO - I am no theologian, but blessed with years of Sabbath School studies.

  29. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. —Isaiah 12:2

    My prayer for today is in this song:
    Make me a servant
    Humble and meek
    Lord, help me lift up
    Those who are weak
    Then may the prayer of my heart always be
    Make me a servant
    Make me a servant
    Make me a servant, today.

    I would like to thank Mike Manea for a well documentary and thorough investigation you did on "IJ". Also Mike avoid getting into arguments with people on what you wrote. Let your article speak for itself. Your arguments are counter productive to your article. I would like to invite all the Adventist to Read our Three Angels Message in Rev. 14:6-9, but zero on verse 7.

  30. Steve, the point of the article was to demonstrate that two of our fundamental doctrines - freedom of choice and soul sleep demand some sort of "investigative judgment" - something that is hard to deny.

    The specifics of the Adventist teaching of the Investigative Judgment are beyond the scope of this post. As Mike mentioned in the post, before going on to consider specifics, we need a foundation, and I believe that this post establishes the foundation. Do you not agree?

  31. Inge, are you saying that the Father draws ALL (everybody in this world) to His Son. That’s not according to Scripture. Christ says “ALL (no more, no less) THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME WILL COME TO ME.” These are the SEED, the CHILDREN PROMISED to CHRIST from before the foundation of the world.(Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28). “Not one will be missing”.(Jer 23:4) You don’t accept that that there are those “who are of God” and those”of the Devil”; and “those who are being saved, and those who are perishing”.
    What is “prevenient grace”? This has not been clearly defined or described. Mike says it was evident in “as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”; but that is given to the body of believers, the Church. Apparently this “prevenient grace” does not affect the heart, because you say some reject the salvation grace because of the condition of their heart. Aren’t their hearts in the same condition? What is the purpose of the PG? God sends forth His word, His grace and it does not return to Him empty, for it MUST accomplish the very purpose for which it is sent. (Isa 55:11)
    You say PG is “grace extended to every sinner to enable sinners to repent”. You say “I failed to consider ... that God has given every one of his created beings freedom of choice”. If God equipped every one with freedom of choice, why would that one need “prevenient grace” to repent? They are free to choose to repent , aren’t they?
    By the way, please google Calvinism and see if that website doesn’t come up!

    • Thank you for asking questions that allow me to clarify.

      God initially gave humanity freedom of choice, but by choosing to distrust God and trust the deceiver instead, our parents forfeited their freedom and became slaves of Satan. This would have then humanity's fate except for God's prevenient grace brought to us through the Son of God.
      It is only through this grace offered to every human being that we have freedom of choice.
      Christ was and is the light that enlightens every human being that comes into the world and thus offers freedom of choice.See John 1:9-12)
      Also in light of the subject of this post see (John3:18-19)

      Jesus said He would draw all to Him when He is lifted up. John 12:32 Some will refuse to be drawn but others will come to Him.

      You appear to believe that God has predestined people without allowing them freedom of choice. (IOW you appear to believe in a form of Calvinism.)

      Why then did Jesus have to die? If salvation does not involve our choice, could God not just have chosen to save people without taking the risk of the cross?

    • Kenny, as I read the Scriptures, they clearly present two very different aspects of the salvation/damnation process which are happening simultaneously. To fully reconcile these two aspects can be very difficult, if not impossible, for our finite minds. The obvious reason for this difficulty is that it involves analysis of the attributes of the infinite God. If our minds could fully grasp His ways, then either He would not be infinite or we'd not be finite.

      One of these aspects is described in 2 Peter 3:9 and similar passages. Please note the following language from the New King James Version:

      The Lord is... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

      Here we get a glimpse into the heart of God. He earnestly desires everyone to be saved, and it follows that He makes every sincere effort toward this end. This does not imply that the sinner has the ability to repent at will, but it does suggest that all who are lost will have perversely refused ample opportunity to do so. Jesus did say that, if the Son of Man were lifted up, He would draw all to Himself. Thus, in the end, God will not be responsible for having destroyed anyone. The finally impenitent will have destroyed themselves, having hardened their hearts against His persistent and infinite love until there was no remedy.

      The other aspect, equally undeniable to those who humbly receive the Scriptures as they read, is perhaps best described in Romans 9. Here it is accepted that God creates each human soul individually. Furthermore, even though our destiny for weal or woe will ultimately be decided by our own choices, it is acknowledged that God knows what those choices (and their outcome) will be even before we ever come into existence. Therefore -- and the logic of this is inescapable -- in deciding to go ahead and create someone who He sees will ultimately benefit from the Plan of Redemption, God is creating a "vessel of honour," a recipient of His grace and mercy, bound for Glory. These are the ones whom He "foreknows" in the most intimate sense, as you have so kindly pointed out.

      On the other hand, in deciding to proceed with the creation of someone who will ultimately refuse to have "this Man" (Jesus) rule over him, God is essentially making a "vessel of dishonour," who will serve only a temporary purpose in the grand scheme of things and will finally be destroyed.

      How God can know in advance that He is dealing with what will ultimately turn out to be a hopeless case, and yet make every loving and sincere effort to save even that individual, will probably always remain a mystery to mortals. Yet we apparently see exactly this dynamic in the way Jesus relates to Judas. One year into His public ministry, Jesus calls Judas "a devil." Yet He still gives Judas a part in the public ministry of the apostles, and He even washes Judas' feet in a final appeal for repentance -- and He very nearly succeeds. The case of Judas only becomes hopeless when he leaves the upper room, and even after that Jesus is kind to Judas, calling him "friend." This is all described in the "Desire of Ages" chapter simply called "Judas."

      Seeing that we have these two paradoxical aspects both unmistakably taught in the Scriptures, I think it is necessary in meditating on any particular Bible passage that we correctly discern which aspect is being described. That God's word always accomplishes its intended purpose (not returning to Him void) clearly fits into the second aspect (in which the vessels of honour are all saved, and not one is missing), if I am understanding the concept correctly.

    • Kenny, let me share an example of what some might be trying to say.

      Who did God command Noah to build the ark for? Who was invited to find refuge from the coming judgments of God?

      The offer of grace can be rejected and for most on this earth, it has been. Sin is more attractive than repentance to most, and most didn't want to leave behind what could not be taken onto the ark, and so they chose to remain with those things in unbelief. They became "believers" 7 days after the door was shut, and would then be willing, but the heart's desire had already been shown. They were not repentant for sinfulness, but for the death that resulted from the unbelief which still remained.

      We can repent because we're sinful or repent that our sin caused our ruin, without being sorry for the sin. Those who accept the offered grace do so by being sorry for being sinners and desiring the righteousness of God. Grace will supply the need when received by faith which is manifest in genuine repentance of the heart. This is grace accepted.

      "For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son(the GIFT of GRACE), that whosoever believeth in Him(the ACCEPTANCE of GRACE) might not perish...".

  32. Do we associate RISK with the Sovereign, Omnipotent God? God is not a man. Human reasoning leads us into heretical territory. Let us lay hold for dear life on the Word of God only.

    • Most of the language we use to describe God and his relationship to us is limited because of the limits of our experience and understanding. We use those words because they are the best that we have, but know that they fall short.

      For example (yes I know it is a poor example but it gives a bit of an idea): when most people look at the stars all they see are pin-points of light. They describe them as pretty. However, a scientist sees the light as spectra loaded with information about where those lights are and how they produce the light. A scientist has a whole language to describe the stars that ordinary people do not have. The word "pretty" is a very shallow word to describe the stars but for a lot of people it is the only word they have.

      Likewise, "risk" is a very shallow word in describing evil and God's plan for handling it, but for many of us it is the best we can do in the circumstances.

  33. All the doctrines come together to make a composite whole. I have no problem accepting the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment even without hearing about Calvinism and Arminianism (Classical or otherwise), because, to me, the doctrine makes plain sense.

    The Bible talks about:
    The Books that keep record
    The Sleep of Death (Jesus Himself called death a sleep)
    The dead in Christ being raised at His second coming
    The living in Christ, who are sealed, will be caught up with the dead
    The wicked dead, and the wicked who are alive at Jesus' coming (who will be killed by the brightness of his coming)

    This leaves everybody accounted for - the righteous dead and living, and the wicked dead.

    It is my understanding that when Jesus makes His pronouncement in Revelation 22:11 "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy; let him be holy still", everybody's fate would have been decided, that means a judgment would have already taken place - the Pre-Advent or Investigative Judgment.

    If we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, and carry out His mandate to take the Gospel to the world, we won't have to be dwelling on the Investigative Judgment or whether we accept or reject it. When we have Jesus, we will be kind, compassionate, be attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and have the fruit of the Spirit. This might sound cliche, but the Christian experience is a journey, not a destination. It's an everyday experience with Jesus. When we have Jesus, and keep Him at the center of our lives, He will keep us from falling. When take our eyes off Jesus, we fall, but His grace is sufficient for us when we are truly sorry for our sins and repent. He is also our Advocate with the Father, and our Intercessor. We are fully covered. If we reject Jesus' offer of Salvation, that's on us. Why would He want to save us? We will be miserable in Heaven, anyway.

    I have been a Seventh-Day Adventist for over 40 years, and I have yet to see a doctrine that I am ashamed of. Some things might not be easy to understand, but the bottom line for me is my relationship with Jesus. We can work out the small details when I get to heaven. I will have 1000 years to review the records

  34. I re-read the Investigative Judgment of GC 1888 and found these statements: “When the work of the Investigative Judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death.” GC88 491. 1
    Those who in the Judgment are “accounted worthy”, will have a part of the resurrection of the just.” GC88 482.2
    “So in the great day of final atonement and investigative Judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The *judgment of the wicked* is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period.” GC88 480.1
    “Both the *living and the dead* are to be judged “out of those things written in the books, according to their works.” GC88 486. 1

    I am understanding from the statements that it is through the IG that our destiny is decided; that all professed believers, living and dead, are to appear before this court. I have some objections because Christ addressed this subject forthrightly when He revealed to the Jews His oneness with His Father:
    “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all Judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father... Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, *has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of Death into Life*. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has Life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have Life in Himself; and He gave him authority to execute Judgment, because He is Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming,in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good to a Resurrection of Life, those who committed the evil to a Resurrection of Judgment.”(John 5:21-29)
    “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. but he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:17-21)
    “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”(Eph 5:11)
    “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has One who judges him, *the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day*. (John 12:47-49)
    According to Christ the believers have eternal life and do not come into judgment. Only the *dead* come into judgment - those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Those who don’t believe are already judged by not believing. They are *dead*. They haven’t passed into life. So this death is the spiritual death that we are all born into, which some of us refuse to believe. The LIVING (Spiritual) do not come into judgment! The opened scrolls are the Words of Christ (John 12:47-49), the Light, that exposes the works of the *dead*. The second resurrection brings up the dead dead for the lake of fire. The first resurrection, salvation, gives eternal life to believers.

    • Thank you, Kenny, for all those texts that indicate that when we are in Christ, we do not have to appear in the judgment. It fits with the understanding that Christ is our Advocate and appears in our place so that we do not have to appear in the judgment.

      The quotations from GC appear to be saying something different, taken alone. But then, last night I was reading Peter's letter, and he also wrote that the Father will judge us according to our work. (1 Peter 1:17)

      So are there contradictions in these statements?

      I think not.

      Peter starts out his letter by assuring his readers of salvation in Christ. Then he goes on to say, "wherefore" act in accordance with our calling. Be holy ... etc. And James tells us that faith without works is dead. We are saved by grace through faith alone, and our "works" demonstrate whether or not we have genuine faith. Thus, even though we are saved by being "in Christ," in a way we are judged by our "works" because they demonstrate whether or not we are in Christ.

      The Bible and Ellen White also refer to "books" used in the judgment. That's human language for some sort of record. One of these books is called the "Book of Life." In this are inscribed the names of all who have at some time or other professed the name of Christ. Some have followed through on their profession and lived in genuine faith. Others were like the shallow ground where the seed sprouted and then died, and they turned their backs on Christ. Still others lived among God's people until the end of their days, but they were really "tares" (weeds that only *looked* like wheat). Thus the Book of Life alone (i.e. the profession of Christ alone) is not sufficient to judge the final destiny of each soul. Another record needs to be examined as well, and that's the record of how each person lived: Does it demonstrate that the person remained in Christ or turned his/her back on Him. The ones who remained in Christ do not appear in the judgment. All the texts you cited are applicable here.

      I see the "Investigative Judgment" like an investigative hearing in the western world. And investigative hearing determines whether or note there is sufficient evidence to make a case against the accused. If there is not sufficient evidence, no trial is held. In the same manner, the investigative judgment determines whether there is sufficient evidence against the accused - i.e. those who have claimed the name of Christ. If they remained in Christ, there is no evidence against them. Case dismissed. They do not enter into judgment.

      I'm sure, as you are, that God Himself does not need a period of time to judge, but the onlooking universe does. God is transparent with His created beings and lets them in on His decision-making process. And that's also the reason for the millennium - to allow the saved to see why their loved ones are not with them. They will see that those they loved would not be happy in the atmosphere of heaven because of the character they developed during their time on this planet.

      I trust this helps a little?

      • Inge, according to our doctrine, Investigative Judgment, our salvation is determined by it: “Those who in the Judgment are “accounted worthy”, will have a part in the resurrection of the just.” And “When the work of the IJ closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for LIFE or DEATH.”
        The Scriptures indicate that those who believe on the Lord Jesus have Eternal Life - they have passed out of death, the natural condition, into Life, Eternal Life. They are resurrected to Life. Those who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus remain *dead* and have thus been already judged.(John 3:16-21; 5:21-30)
        It is not the IJ that has determined these.
        What we have called the IJ of Rev 20 is just one phase, apparently, the final phase, of Christ’s general reign or judgment given to Him and His brethren in Dan 7; Rev 4,5. This last *Judgment* is about confirmation of decisions or judgments already made; that God’s righteousness may be vindicated; and especially the apportioning of *rewards*. “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”(Rev 11:18; 19:5) These bond-servants, saints etc are already saved! They are being rewarded according to their works. They have already been pardoned, justified, sanctified... (Rom 5:1) They will not be condemned on Judgment Day (John 5:24; Rom 8:1, but God will still judge their works (Matt 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom 14:10-12; 2 Cor 5:10; ) and reward them accordingly (Matt 6:1-6,16,18; 10:41-42).
        “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, the gift of God; *not out of works*, so that no one may boast.”(Eph 2:5-8; Acts 15:11)
        This *Judgment* is according to (not by) works out of things written in “books”- books of God’s Remembrance (Ps 56:8; Ps 139:4; Mal 3:16): the word of Christ(John 12:48), the Law(Gal 3:10); God’s eternal counsel(Ps 139:16); Book of Life(Luke 10:20; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 21:27; Ex 32:32,33; Ps 69:28; Dan 12:1; Phil 4:3)
        Christ said to the 70 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, ... but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”Luke 10:20 These are the elect, the chosen from before the foundation of the world; those whom God *knows* from eternity. It is not names of *professed* believers. Those folk from the unprepared soil, their names are not in the book of Life. They are not of God. If they had been of God they would have remained.(1 John 2:19) The sower didn’t prepare the soil. They *heard* the word, the seed that spilled over into their soil. They are those who are *unknown* to God.
        The rewards - to the Redeemed, those who are possessed of eternal life:Everlasting Life in the New Heavens and New Earth; to the Dead, the lost: the Second Death in the Lake of Fire.

        • Kenny, Adventists don't believe that salvation is determined by the IJ. Salvation is by grace through faith. The IJ determines if a person remained in Christ or not. It's a necessity once a person recognizes that both predestination and once saved always saved are not Biblical.

          I believe that in your case, talking about the IJ is premature. 1/3 to 1/2 of the Protestant world rejects both predestination and OSAS so this is not an Adventist issue. You will have the same problem talking to Methodists and Free-will Baptists and Pentecostals and many other Christian groups.

          Please identify if you believe in Predestination or in Once Saved - Always Saved. There is no point in us trying to guess at it and wasting our time responding to beliefs you don't actually hold. And, once you do clarify your position we will be discussing that and not the IJ.

    • Hey Kenny,

      My article is mostly intended for Adventists who already agree with the IJ doctrine but might misunderstand certain aspects of that doctrine. You evidently don't agree with this Adventist doctrine and therefore you will naturally disagree with my article since I was writing for a different audience.

      Let's say two people are having a discussion about Algebra and you have a disagreement with basic math. The fact that you disagree with basic math will inevitably cause you to disagree with Algebra as well since Algebra is built on basic math. It does not makes sense therefore to jump into the middle of the Algebra discussion until your issues with math are addressed first.

      However, I cannot discuss the Investigative Judgment with you until I understand where you are coming from. Are you Catholic or Protestant - do you believe in the Reformation principles of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia?

      If protestant, are you a Calvinist or an Arminian - do you believe in Predestination or Free Will?

      If Arminian, do you believe that people continue to have free will AFTER they accept Christ or do you believe in Once Saved Always Saved?

      Until you clarify where you stand on these points, your posting of Bible text is not helping the conversation any. We believe in the same texts, but it's apparent that we interpret them differently because of our presuppositions.

      As far as your passages above regarding Christians not coming into judgment, I am pretty sure that your concerns have already been addressed. Not that the word JUDGMENT is used in two different ways in the Bible: The Investigative sense and the Executive sense. Take a look at Rev. 20:11-15.

      The Investigative component takes place in verse 12:

      'And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.'

      This is similar to a person being on trial in a court of law.

      The Executive component happens in verse 15:

      'Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.'

      This is similar to a person who has already stood trial and is now sent to jail or to capital punishment.

      The passages in John that you quote are referring to the Executive part of the Judgment not to the Investigative part.

  35. "When he comes his reward is with him" (Is 40:10, repeated in 62:11). We might ask what is that reward, and what is the work before Him. I propose we as humans have always been the work of heaven, the Apple of his eye, etc. Since before Adam fell, Jesus took the responsibility of our salvation upon himself. He declared we would be His before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4, Matt 25:34, etc.). It is no surprise to him who watches every hair on our head and feels our hearts what our thoughts have cherished. He knows our frame(Psalm 103:14). For Him to declare a person righteous or not so is easy. But that is not enough. There are angels who have seen things differently (Lucifer and the third of heaven). There are humans who want to know why their loved ones are not present in heaven. These must be resolved if there will be no more tears or crying (Rev 21:4).
    Rev 20 shows two groups for judgment. Those in the first Resurrection live with him 1000 years. They learn the reasons for their friends' absences. The judgment is finished on the books, but the application in the hearts of those who will live with him for eternity has some sorrow to resolve. Now we see through a dark glass, then face to face. Without pain or prejudice we will understand all His work was for His Glory.
    Those who are not with Jesus at that time are those who never choose him. Their names are not in the book of life. Their deeds must speak for their character, and they are found "wanting". Jesus died for them, but they did not receive Him. They were stony ground that grew only weeds/tares. They go with Satan to the bottomless pit, or as related in Leviticus 16, to a place unknown, literally a "void" just as in Gen 1 the world was dark. Their memory perishes (Is 26:14).
    Every Christian denomination believes in some form of investigative judgment. They simply call it by another name.

  36. The disappointment of 1844 parallels the experience of two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-53). The combination of Scripture's revelations along with our observed history can inform present followers' walk with their Creator. We can, and should, learn from each other's life experiences (Rm 15:4) but Scripture warns us of potential pitfalls (2 Cor 10:12).
    The two on the Emmaus road, like the fellowship of 1844, were engaged in a religious discourse (Lk 24:19-20). That discourse was a product of their unfulfilled desire (Lk 24:21), which caused them observable distress (Lk 24:17). But had Jesus been in actuality Israel's Redeemer? Jesus comes to them providentially (God's grace) in the midst of their distress, and connects their distress to a "heart" problem involving their REASONING (Lk 24:15,25). Jesus diagnosed these good followers to be in possession of unsound doctrine. Doctrine, secular and religious (Mk 8:15; Mt 16:6,12), is the product of the human mind and has REAL life-consequences (Mt 23:13). Jesus' timely appearance and ministry of kindness (Lk 24:27,32) to these two disciples completely changed their disposition (Lk 24:52), all because "HE OPENED their UNDERSTANDING, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."(Lk 24:45).
    While God has sent many in the service of the church, among which I would list John, Paul, Apollos, Martin Luther and Ellen White to name a few, absolutely none of these servants exceeds or replaces Christ's MINISTRY...regardless of how profound God's revelation to them has been, is, or will be. While it may be convenient and necessary to label each servant's contribution, we must realize that OUR allure for all "ism" is a symptom of the ONE thing that ails ALL of us (1 Cor 3:4; Jer 17:9). It is that state of carnality, in all its myriad manifestations, that places us in opposition to our Creator (2 Cor 10:5; Rm 8:7), each other (1 Kings 12:26,33; 14:16) and even our own well-being (2 Kings 5:11-13). It is from this distressing state of carnality that Scripture reveals our ONLY escape route (1 Pt 2:24; 1 Cor 10:13). EVERYTHING about the individual that has and will ever offend God, others and even our own selves has a single SOURCE (Mt 15:18-19) and a single ORIGIN (Jn 8:44). As innocent as it may appear, partial and lack of knowledge is part of the spectrum of our diagnosed carnality (1 Cor 13:9-11; Hos 4:6).
    Like William Miller and the two on the Emmaus road before him, good present day Seventh-Day Adventists are in distress because we may be unaware that we have inherited some doctrinal concepts that might now have become the very tool to teach us to move away from a reliance on human intellect and embrace instead a humble walk with God (Mt 11:29; Jn 16:7,13). Only Jesus alone can save us from the consequences of what we all do, as naturally as breathing, which is think.

  37. One of your respondents ends his posts by saying, "Every Christian denomination believes in some form of investigative judgment. They simply call it by another name.”

    While I can’t speak for every Christian, I can speak for Adventists, generally, having been one all of my life. Obviously, I can also speak for myself, as I did.

    But even more, though I can’t certify it, I’m inclined to think that your speaker’s correct, at least when it comes to varieties of SDAs.

    For example, in your response to me, you said, "This particular post was intended for Adventists who already believe there is an Investigative Judgment, a judgment of the living and a Close of Probation."

    Well, I *am* one of those Adventists. I believe in all of those. Without these three events—let’s call them the Triad—heaven becomes a porous mess, and sin arises a potentially infinite number of times. In fact, it never ceases.

    The issue, at center, though, and which I was trying to have you address, deductively, is this: Is the traditional SDA narrative of these events correct, or is it incorrect?

    That is, is there another way that the Triad plays out? If overseen by an all-powerful God, it could be completed in a Pauline twinkling of an eye; an attosecond. One wouldn’t need 172+ Earth years for just the first part.

    Well, no, not quite, SDAs say. God needs to slow things down a bit because, "Heavenly beings need to be sure that the saints are safe to save." Those words, by Dr. Martin Pröbstle, appear in the 2013 fourth quarter Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide—which he authored—on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

    You may know him, or of him. You’ve certainly noted that his words are very similar to yours, above, where you say, "God wants to allow time to pass so that it is evident to angels and unfallen beings that people have made up their minds and are no longer going to change.”

    Pröbstle offers no Biblical evidence or support for his point. He just says it. As do you.

    Again, I’m an Adventist who believes in the Triad. But do these events look the way SDAs say?

    In the 1990s, mathematicians were trying to prove an answer to the following question: What two given shapes have the most volume, while taking up the least space?

    The answer, which was, in part, finally proven by Joel Hass and Roger Schlafly, is this: Two covalent spheres, joined at a 120-degree angle, like this one:


    Now, as it turns out, there is a 2nd answer that will also work. It’s called a torus bubble, and it looks like this:


    But as the *Scientific American* article, in which I first saw this apparition, soberly notes, “Torus bubbles do not exist in nature.”

    So, regarding the Triad—what does the Bible tell us about them?

    This is not a question of proof-texting. It’s asking: Does the SDA view on this matter exist in the Bible? Does it affirm that just one part of the Triad requires nearly 200 years? Or should SDAs, if they want to do what the Word says, get used to speaking the five words I most wished we made part of our repertoire: “The Bible does not say”?

    I think it’s the latter. I think the traditional SDA model of the Triad makes sense, kinda sorta, but, yet, it doesn’t at all. That is, not when you’re basing it on what the Bible actually says.

    Put another way, the traditional SDA model is the torus bubble of prophecy. And I think it’s time that SDAs—ones who care more about what the Bible says than they do the doctrinal track record of the church—stick a pin in it.


    • I will start with the IJ itself and hold off on the Close of Probation aspect till later. Also, I want to leave something else aside until later even though it's highly pertinent: the fact that 170+ years have passed since 1844.
      To begin, let's pretend we're having this conversation back in the 1850's and we're trying to determine if the IJ is solid Biblically. Once we do this, we can come back and re-ask the question of whether that reasoning still makes sense a century and a half later.
      One of the biggest problems with this doctrine in the SDA church is that we make our case for the doctrine backwards. We start with the prophecies of Daniel, we use Hebrews to link back to the OT sanctuary and then derive the Investigative Judgment from there. Moreover, as many critics of the doctrine have pointed out, we rely on this doctrine to inform our soteriology (doctrine of salvation). Picture for a second a pyramid standing on its tip; the slightest push would tip it over. Instead, we need to flip this pyramid around and place it on its proper base. And to do this, we have to start with the Soteriology.
      Now as far as our doctrine of salvation goes, we are first and foremost Protestants: we believe in salvation by grace through faith. I will assume that you fully agree that this reformation principle is overwhelmingly Biblical and will continue to the next point.
      Within Protestantism however, three major schools of thought developed regarding salvation by grace through faith revolving around the question of free will. Calvinism - no free will, Once Saved Always Saved Arminianism - free will to accept Christ but no free will thereafter to again reject Him and, Classical Arminianism - free will to both accept Christ and to later reject Him. These three schools of thought are all represented by major protestant denominations and about 1/3 of all Protestants in the world hold each of these view.
      Now I don't know which of these 3 views you most resonate with but the Adventist church believes that the Classical Arminian view is the one most supported by Scripture. In fact, any biblical support that can be offered for either OSAS or Calvinism is at most about 5% of the Bible as a whole vs. 95% for Arminianism.
      And, having arrived here, we have a situation where God has to differentiate between two types of saved people, which is the essence of the IJ. Thus, the SDA view of soteriology is already established before even looking at the IJ. This is the foundation of the pyramid.
      I will pause here to see if there are any comments.

  38. As my posted response to Inge might suggest:


    based on your description, I fall into the camp of Classical Arminianism: We have free will to both accept Christ and to later reject Him.

    God is not an abusive boyfriend, with whom one will commit ritual suicide if we stop seeing each other. ("If I can't have you, nobody will!!")

    So, that being a given, what say you?


    • I believe the essence of our IJ doctrine is held by more than just SDAs. Protestants believe God sorts the dead into "saved" and "lost" piles, which necessitates books and some kind of determination. I have outlined texts to support that.

      The fact that people disagree does not make the truth invalid. It may make some of them ignorant, certainly stubborn.

      Let's review.

      Lev 16 has three main animals presented on that day. The daily which preceded that service is a lamb. The bull follows. The pair of goats finishes (the close of the day offerings repeat, as daily offerings). Each represents an aspect of the ministry of our Savior. They overlap. They do not designate a spacial location. The lamb service continues despite the bull service changes. The bull service ends when the goats blood is applied. All represent aspects of Jesus ministry, divided for our clarification.

      Lamb service is justification, the doing and dying of our Lord is the basis and the impetus of our names in the book of life. We maintain His good works by the Holy Spirit and these are written in the books of record. Note that the offerings are taken into the Holy place by the blood of the lamb and offered with the smoke of incense. Your contribution is taken to heaven, but you remain here on Earth.

      The bull moves those offerings, the blood, from the Holy to the most holy. This began in 1844. It was not completed in one day. It was not an instant conversion of the whole world. Dan 7:13. Jesus came to the place where the ancient of days did sit. The bull brought the records of his blood to the Most Holy for inspection. There the father reviews, then gives the judgment to the Son (in favor of the Son) as he had done by the resurrection and by the blood in favor of all who believe and receive him. The place where this happens is irrelevant. The action is what is important. As mentioned, the bull service began in 1844, just as at the cross the way of salvation was opened to heaven. A single event opened a door, but the application of that event continues today. Because the IJ began we now live in the day of atonement. We are the example to the world, not at some future date, it is today.

      The goat service is future. It begins when all are gathered to read the books. The goats blood is applied first in the Most Holy place. It is applied to clean heaven, and us who stand there have all tears wiped away. We understand and receive the cleansing. He then comes back to earth and cleans that. The second Resurrection has those persons revive but remain on Earth. Their books are read to them to validate their choices. They slept 1000 years of the finish of the bull service. They awake at the end of the goat service.

      • Michael, I would agree except in one or two thoughts on your sum of Lev 16.

        The Bull was to reveal the priest as worthy, the goat to propitiate for sinners who have repented. Both were applied in 1844. The goat's blood is offered for every sinner being investigated at the close of their probation, begining with the souls under the altar(Rev 6:10,11).

        The first lamb was to show HOW we are justified, the Lord's goat is the WHY of our justification. Without the law being propitiated by the Lord's goat, the morning and evening lamb would have no efficacy for sinners. There are no sins confessed on the Lord's goat, thus the sinless offering propitiates the Law, reveals God as just in justifying, answers satan's false charges and I would say convinces the unfallen worlds as well. Only a pure, sinless sacrifice could appease the law of Jehovah.

        Jesus' one-time sacrifice is understood in all the sacrifices which reveal facets of the whole. This is how earthly realities teach heavenly truth. No one sacrifice can reveal the full measure of the love of Christ. Even all the types cannot reveal the full "length and breadth and depth and height" of His sacrifice for sinners. Don't we also learn from the red heifer of Num 19, which is just one more facet of the great salvation given through Him who was "slain from the foundation of the world"? Without the Lord's Goat on the day of Atonement, even the red heifer would be worthless to sinners.

        • I should know better than to try to explain the sanctuary in anything less than 10,000 words is a mistake. However, your synopsis confuses me.

          "The first lamb was to show HOW we are justified, the Lord's goat is the WHY of our justification. Without the law being propitiated by the Lord's goat, the morning and evening lamb would have no efficacy for sinners"

          I see the process of justification coming from my acceptance of Christ's doing and dying. It is not a simple substitution, one man's good deeds for my evil ones. It is my acceptance that as the Creator he is the only one who could ever redeem me. He does not excuse my life, he kills the sinful life and paid the second death for my sins. Only the recreated resurrected life is available to me. My life and all my deeds counted for zero towards my sanctification or glorification. I accepted His perfect life for my Sanctification. I accept his resurrected body and character as my eternal life. I am dead.

          If I was a priest and took blood to the Holy place altar and sprinkled it on the curtain, I would need to be accepted in the courtyard first. That is the daily offering, it covers the actions of the whole day. My fellow priests have to dress me because I cannot provide righteousness (symbolized by garments). Thus the bull cannot symbolize that Jesus needed further acceptance. His resurrection proved his acceptance. 1844 was the shift in the paradigm from priesthood to judge. Jesus added his ministry of defending us to pleading for our forgiveness and adding power to our desire to live our his life. Lamb=forgive, then the whole business of examining the books starts afterwards. Forgiven people have an empty slate, nothing to judge. They are covered by the blood of Jesus, and contribute His righteousness as their defense.

          Note that the bull and the goats only happen once a year. Daily we are forgiven, daily we walk out justified, but the stain of our sin still sits upon the altar in Heaven. Jesus accepted our case in Heaven by dying for us. ROM 6:7 His dying for the world bought all the creation. My offerings make it applicable for me.

          What does the bull do? You propose that our Advocate needs further acceptance with the Father to enter the phase of judge. Why? His perfect life could not be improved. The books he presents to the Father are names of forgiven saints. Their deeds were wiped clean by His own blood. Lev 16 the blood of the bull is mixed with the daily lamb (a year's worth) and sprinkled over the ark in the MHP. Lev 17:11 Tells us it is His life.

          Getting long, if this much makes sense I can continue.

    • Alright. So we're agreed that salvation is by grace through faith but that there's freedom of will both to accept and to later reject Christ. A person can experience the new birth and initially have just as genuine a conversion and Christian experience as the next guy but, in the end, still turn from Christ and be lost.

      What this implies is that at some point, God will have to separate between two groups of Once Saved people and send some to heaven and some to hell. And, at its core, this is all the IJ is.

      I am mentioning this because the majority of high profile attacks against the IJ doctrine are actually roundabout attacks on IJ soteriology. They attack our views of Dan. 8 and question our translation of Greek terms in the book of Hebrews as a way to show us that the IJ is wrong and therefore that the Adventist IJ soteriology is necessarily wrong as well. The reason for this is that if Adventists are just wrong about how we interpret certain prophetic passages or how we translate certain terms, it doesn’t really matter. But if we’re wrong about soteriology, we’re more than wrong, we’re a cult, and people need to stay away from us. What most such critics fail or are purposely unwilling to see is that they are judging this Adventist doctrine through Calvinistic glasses and, by that same logic, that all classical non-OSAS Arminians should be classified as a cult as well since our views of soteriology are identical.

      The reason no other Calvinist and OSAS-Arminian denomination has accepted this doctrine is because such groups naturally disagree with a doctrine based in classical Arminianism. The reason no other Arminian group has adopted our doctrine is because the majority of them believe that people go to heaven or hell right after death and therefore any such judgment would need to take place then. A judgment starting this late in history makes little sense.

      When it comes to attacks against the IJ from inside the church, they are typically also led by people who come from a Calvinist/OSAS perspective, although this is not something they usually mention upfront since most Adventists instantly dismiss anything labeled Calvinist/OSAS. They attack instead the same peripheral issues that outside critics attack although it is evident that their main concern is with IJ soteriology. Their followers however don’t always pick up on the Calvinist/OSAS perspective behind the attacks.

      I should also mention that around the first part of the 20th century, a variant theology of the IJ was introduced by certain influential figures which is in fact heretical. And, another reason for the divisiveness is because some people mistake this variant theology with Adventist theology.

      Finally, in all Arminian denominations, unless a person comes to clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith, the natural, default tendency is to fall into some form of Pelagianism/Semipelagianism (essentially salvation by works). Adventists are not immune to this but in our church this leads to a faulty view of the IJ and often, when this is rejected so is the IJ. So this is another reason for the divisiveness of the doctrine.

      I still need to address the question of why a judgment is needed as opposed to simply separating the saved from the lost, but this is already too long so I’ll come back to it.

      • Mike This is very old but I stumbled on to a question by an Arminian lady that I have two texts that were lost in a reply 5/13 / 16. I am sorry that is missing because I believe she was mislead regarding judgment time periods. I depend on Biblical proof not on other sources.

  39. I stumbled on this article and I am glad I read it.

    If you think that the presidential race of 2016 has been interesting, the 1800's in the USA must have been really interesting.

    It was during the 1800s that JW, LDS, and SDA were founded (probably with many other groups). Each group mentioned had its own Prophet(s) and somewhat obscure teachings, claiming exclusivity and tying that in with being a remnant church.

    This being an Adventist forum, my guess is that those reading would say "yes there are those other groups, but we are the true church". But JWs and LDS would be equally dogmatic.

    Not so many years ago the field of apologetics was found only in Evangelical circles. Now one will find defenders in not only the groups mentioned, a plethora of other Christian groups, and even Hindus and Muslims now defend their faith by attempting a logical and scholarly path.

    Obviously we need to search the scriptures, and listen to the Spirit. Not just the masticated words of what we have been told.

    Lastly, I have found it not only informative, but also exciting to talk with those that have departed from groups, cults, or isms. They have a story to tell of Gods kindness.

    All glory to God.

    • This sounds interesting but was there a point?

      Yes, many strange groups have risen out of the 1800's and many more since. Adventists do sound weird to many Christians but that's mostly because they have not bothered to actually figure out what we teach. One of the few people who has taken the time to understand Adventist theology was Walter Martin. He wrote his assessment in the Appendix of his book Kingdom of the Cults:


      There are several areas where the Adventist theologians that talked with him could have done a better job explaining our position but overall, it wasn't bad.

      • Yes Walter Martin concluded that Adventism is part of Evangelical Christianity after the book question on doctrines, though he claimed the investigative judgment and Ellen White as a biblical interpreter are simply wrong.

        Curious though that on the John Ankerberg show he stated that he thinks the Adventists lied to him in questions on doctrines, and he was afraid that he would of labeled them a cult again....this happened after the expulsion of Desmond Ford.

        I disagree with Martin though, I think he and Barnhouse where to accepting, I personally believe the Adventist denomination is no different than Jehovah Witnesses, considering the Arian foundation of Adventism, it isn't difficult to see why I and others would make that comparison.

        • Actually it IS pretty difficult to see.

          Even assuming for a second that Adventists did have an Arian foundation (if by foundation you mean beginning), it is not sensible to judge a modern denomination on beliefs it hasn't held for a century now.

          But even the accusation that Adventists had an Arian beginning is nonsensical. Most Arian denominations have formed because a group broke off from a Trinitarian denomination for the very reason that they rejected the trinity.

          The first Adventists that came together were former Millerites who had gathered from every denomination around the belief that Jesus was coming. When Adventists first began to organize as a group, they had differences of opinion on almost every topic but they determined that they could unite as a body on the following essentials: the sanctuary understanding of 1844, the Law/Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the spirit of prophecy. They did not take a position on the trinity at all. Some of the leaders, like Ellen White, came from a Methodist background and were Trinitarian. Others like James White were semi-arian and still others, fully Arian. They chose not to split over the issue of the trinity but unite on the things they held in common. When the denomination finally did take an official stance on the subject, it was fully Trinitarian.

          As far as Walter Martin goes, what I appreciate about him is that he was the first to take a fair and systematic approach to the question. Not that as Adventists we particularly care what evangelicals think of us (since, at least in today's world, evangelicalism has nearly sunk into irrelevance). But the issues that Martin was concerned with were issues that we also viewed as consequential and by which we judged other denominations. So it only made sense that others should understand our position on those issues.

          Regarding why Martin began to have second thoughts later on, the story is more complex and not worth getting into unless you're really interested. But it was not that Martin was somehow tricked by the SDA church.

          • Arianism is still a serious issue within adventism.
            My former church made great use of the Clear Word in there bible study, and that paraphrase takes an Arain position.
            So why does the church still market this book? Its also intresting to me that James White died a strict opponent to the doctrine of the trinity, believing fully that Jesus was not God.
            If this is true according to the records, it brings me to question if he himself believed Ellen White to be a prophet. Surely she would of taught her husband the truth of the divinity of Christ, and as a prophet her words should of held authority in this matter.....yet her husband died a Arian....I find that very troublesome.

            Walter Martin is unfortunately with the Lord now(we may disagree on his state), so we can never know his final thoughts on Adventism, but his dialogue with William Johnson on the John Ankerberg show expressed his concerns with the adventist church.

            As for the sanctuary doctrine, it's foundation in Daniel 8 cannot be what adventism teaches it to be.

            How is it possible that with thorough exegesis of Daniel 8 the 1844 doctrine
            can be supported by honest Adventist theologians.
            I mean no offense, but I would like to understand how Rome can be the little horn of Daniel 8?
            I just don't see it friend, even as an Adventist I couldn't see it.

            If the daniel 8 foundation is in error how can we believe the 1844 doctrine?

          • Like I said, I can get into more details about Walter Martin if you're interested.

            Arianism is not at all a problem in the SDA church today although there are many offshoot groups still agitating the topic.

            The Clear Word has nothing to do with Adventism. It was written by some guy for his personal devotion and then he decided to publish it. The ABC store is not under GC oversight. I have found books at the ABC that claim the Adventist church is a Cult. Moreover, I'd be interested to see what exactly about the Clear Word led you to think it is promoting Arianism.

            Regarding James White, he was never Arian but semi-Arian, meaning he did not believe Jesus was created but that He was born of the Father. He believed Jesus was just as divine as the Father but that He did not exist from eternity but proceeded forth from the Father a long time ago before anything else was created. This was obviously wrong but not as problematic as pure Arianism. And, I've already explained that the pioneers had other priorities than debating Arianism.

            Regarding Daniel 8, your first mistake is thinking that this is the Foundation of the 1844 doctrine. If you've read my article above you should have understood that it is not. The foundation is Arminianism.

            Second, the reason you cannot interpret Dan 8 correctly is because you don't have any concrete methodology of interpretation. You interpret the chapter by first looking into history to see what happened and then adjusting your interpretation accordingly. You're basically interpreting Bible prophecy the way people interpret psychics or the horoscope.

            Say a psychic claims that in the future a very traumatic event will happen that will cause many nations to change their global policies. Well, all we have to do is wait until something major happens and then we can claim the prophecy was fulfilled. Such a process has zero value. It impresses no one. Its tantamount to saying, 'in the future something will happen.'

            For Biblical prophecy to have predictive value, we have to first derive a set of keys of interpretation from Scripture and then show that we are applying these keys consistently everywhere. We can then apply this keys to the specific prophecy and, only once we have derived our interpretation, can we then consult with history to see if the interpretation fits. If it does, then the Bible actually has credentials. It has something that makes it superior to the Koran or other 'holy books' because it is independently verifiable.

  40. Hey Mike I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    I agree most adventist fully accept the doctrine of the trinity, in fact most Christian's don't even know what Arianism is unless your oneness.

    Though the claim I made about Arianism stems from the many discussions and debates I had with Adventists who assist that the trinity is a man made ideology and that Jesus is not God, or that he became God.
    The thing most of these individuals had in common was that they used the clear word as a study tool.

    George R Knight in Question in Doctrines said "the denomination in the closing year of the twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first has witnessed a resurgence of anti-Trinitarianism and semi-Arianism on the basis that the earliest founders of the denomination held those views."

    You say the clear word has nothing to do with adventism....well I appreciate you distancing yourself from it, but does the General Conference take that same approach?
    On the official Adventist website under the heading "choosing a bible translation" the clear word is referenced As one of the most popular free paraphrase, similiar to the living bible and the message.
    Not to mention that this book was published by the Review and Herald, it seems to me that the General Conference endorses this book, considering that it's recomended on the official website.

    As for the clear words promotion of Arianism I find these texts suspect
    John 10:30
    John 14:8-11
    John 8:58....where's ego eimi

    There are others but I leave you with these three.

    As for James White...yeah it can be said he was a semi Arian, but as you said, he was still in error, and the question asked was why didn't he come to accept the truth of his wife as a prophet who taught the trinity?

    The trinity which he called an absurdity truely couldn't of been taught be a prophet of God of it truely was an absurdity...this is why I question of James really believed his wife's prophethood.Hope I explained my though well enough.

    I've read your post thoroughly...but it doesn't mean I agree with it. I don't believe the earliest Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8 had anything to do with Arminianism, you bring up good points in your post, but I do not believe the early Adventist pioneers where focused on the dealbate between Calvanism and Arminianism, also yes I am reformed...probably should if said that earlier.

    You also stated that I do not have a concrete method of interpretation, well my friend I never revealed my exegetical methods in light of Daniel 8, so I think it unfair to claim that my foundation isn't concrete.

    Now you claim we must "derive a set of keys of interpretation from scripture", this sounds like proof texting,for instance the day to a year principle is simply proof texting.

    This method doesn't present itself into Daniel 8 yet it's used universally by Adventists to substantiate this doctrine.

    When textual criticism is applied to Daniel 8 we have to look into the historical origin, and my claim is that when we do I cannot get the Adventist interpretation. I'm not even focusing on the fulfillment of this prophecy, I'm focusing on the method of interpretation, primarily the identity of the little horn.

    I believe that the early Adventists who formed this doctrine(yes I believe it was a coverup) did not have the historical information of Daniel 8 and that they further used this doctrine to push anti Roman Catholicism beliefs, commandments keeping, and salvation by faith and works.
    Thanks for allowing me to comment, but I do realise this is a old post....you do not have to respond or publish this if you don't feel in necessary to.
    God Bless

  41. Regarding Arianism, what I've said so far is sufficient. Responding further to you objections would only grant them undeserved legitimacy.  Here is a link I found addressing some of your concerns. If you have any further issues you could take it up with them. http://www.ellenwhiteanswers.org/media/pdf/Clear-Word-Pich.pdf

    Coming back to the topic at hand, first of all, my article does not claim that Adventists discovered 1844 because of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate. What I have written is an explanation of the MATURE Adventist understanding of the topic. Theology takes years, even decades to develop fully and moves beyond the pathway through which the concepts were first discovered. The question I addressed first of all was, whether the gospel as understood through the lens of the Investigative Judgment is heretical. And, I have demonstrated that the IJ gospel is no different than the generic Arminian gospel except that it takes into account the doctrine of soul sleep. Second, I have demonstrated that the only thing needed to arrive at the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment IS Arminianism and Soul Sleep. This is not to imply that Adventists originally arrived at the IJ this way but that, reflecting back on the doctrine now with mature understanding, even if we discarded every other doctrinal element, we would still have an Investigative Judgment as long as we kept Arminianism and Soul Sleep. This completely debunks the common accusation of critics that the IJ is built on top of a house of cards where, if any individual element is proven false (ex. day-year principle, Dan. 8:14, Jesus entering the first apartment of the sanctuary in Hebrews, etc.), the entire structure collapses. 

    Regarding your interpretation of Daniel 8, I want you to pretend that you don't know anything about world history and then show me how you interpret that passage. What concrete predictions can you pull out from the text alone? When you do this I will explain to you why your method of interpretation offers no predictive value, just like the prophecies of common psychics. I will then show you why the Adventist hermeneutics offers something meaningful that provides independent verification for the authenticity of the Bible.

  42. Thank you so much for this explanation. This explains it so simple and the psychology of people. What an eye opener. Even though I believe in the Investigative Judgement, this just simplifies it to it\'s core. I also like the examples and illustrations used. Keep up God\'s works. Thanks again.

    • You are correct, of course. The "saints" are not judged because Christ takes their place. But please read the articles on the subject and subsequent comments, because it seems that in the rest of your comment [which was redacted] you replied to ideas that were not in the post but possibly part of your preconceptions.

      The "judgment" of the wicked is an executive judgment - as in the "destruction" of the wicked.

      Before that occurs there has to be a determination of who the wicked are and who the righteous are, and Christ gave us a glimpse of this in the parable of the sheep and the goats. See Matthew 25:32-34. This investigation into the actual character of those professing to be followers of Christ is thus clearly taught by Jesus Christ Himself.

      Another way of looking at the rightly named "Investigative Judgment" is to see it as a parallel to an "investigative hearing" in the British and American justice systems. And investigative hearing determines whether or not there is a genuine case against the accused. In the heavenly investigative hearing, Jesus is the Advocate of the righteous, and their cases are dismissed for lack of evidence.

      The Investigative Judgment teaching is thus soundly based both on logic (the necessity of distinguishing between the wicked and the righteous before the Second Coming) and the teachings of Jesus. There is more, but that requires an understanding of the Hebrew sanctuary services and the Day of Atonement. Since few are familiar with these, it is much easier to understand the necessity of an investigative judgment on the basis of what I just presented.

      (By the way, as an aside - the judgment of the wicked is *not* the only judgment presented in the Bible. According to the testimony of David and Paul, God is also judged. That ties in with the Investigative Judgment as well.)

  43. Dan. 7:22 says that judgement will be passed in favor of the saints. I don't understand how that could happen unless a judgement is made and there is some question as to whether they deserve God's favor or not. Rev. 14:12 says that the saints of God, keep the commandments of God. Again, I fail to see how that could be said of them unless someone is making a judgement as to whether or not they actually are keeping the commandments. These verses are also consistent with multiple Bible texts such as James 2:12 "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged according to the law that gives freedom" and 2 Cor.5:10 "We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ".
    My own bias on the judgement is that we can do nothing w/o Christ John 15:5, and given that this is so, the only question to be resolved is whether or not we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. There will be many consequences to that basic decision, but the real question in the judgement is: will we allow Christ to be the Guide and Ruler of our lives? To argue that there is no judgement of who is saved and who is not is nonsensical to me and inconsistent with a multitude of Bible verses that clearly state otherwise.

  44. Where will I find in the Bible the term, "Investigative judgement"? I can't find this anywhere. Some one told me that I won't know when my name comes up in the above.

    • You won't find it. It's a term we use to summarize a big theme in the bible. Kind of like the Trinity. You won't find that word either. The real question is, does this theme exist in scripture? And I believe the above article shows that yes, it does.

      Now to what someone told you, it's true. None of us know. But at the same time, we have nothing to fear if we have believed in Jesus. The judgment is good news for the believer.

    • Hello, Carol !
      You are correct, when you write, you can`t find the term Investigative judgement in the Bible, because there is no investigative judgement at all. Why would GOD need such a thing.
      The only judgement that will take place (and you can find that in the book of revelation),
      will take place, when Jesus returns. That is a fact. The big judgement will take place at the end of all times, everything else is not biblical. When you give your heart to Jesus you are saved. Period !
      Jesus will set you free from all wrong conceptions, because He is the only truth, the only way, and the only life, that leads to eternity. Stay close to the Bible and the Bible alone. GOD bless you ! Kind regards: Ewald

  45. Hi Carol;
    The word investigative is not in the Bible. Adventists have used the term "Investigative Judgement" to describe the scene depicted in Daniel 7:26,27. notice that this judgment occurs before the saints are given the kingdom.

    ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

    ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

    Much has been made by some that we will not know when our names come up. That is likely true, but the usually unstated corollary to the thought is that we will have no chance to change our minds if the judgment occurs at a point in our lives when we are out of God's will. Ellen White is often used to support this idea that there will come a time when there will be no chance to change our minds. She does talk of probation closing, but I see this as a description of the event described in Revelation 22:11.

    “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

    God does not say He would not have them back should they change their minds, but instead let them be what they will be. Their decisions are made and nothing God can do or say will change them.

    “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
    Judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?" Isaiah 5:4,5.

    God has done all that it is possible to do for them and they will not change, so He sadly allows those who are lost to be what they have chosen to be and to face the consequences of their choice. The good news is that the saved also have made their choice and will forever be saved. The investigative judgment is an opportunity for God to show what the decisions have been and to explain why the lost are lost and the saved are saved. I hope you find this helpful. steve

    • In Dan 7:25,26 the Horn, - whose dominion was of the Lord, the ‘people’ having been “given into his hands” for three and a half times (Dan 7:25; 2:38), - thought to assume God’s position and authority to “change times and laws”(Dan 2:21;4:17,26). His time was up but he wanted to hold on to his dominion and refused to cede to Christ and His saints. But even heathen Nebuchadnezzar had lifted God up as the only one qualified to establish kings and remove kings, “change times and seasons”(Dan 4:17,35; 2:21).
      The TIME for Christ’s Judgment, Rulership had come (1 King 3:9,10; Ps 72:1-4; 9:7,8; Jer 23:3-7; Ezk 34:17-20). The book of Daniel is wholly about changes and successions of empires or kingdoms. Christ’s kingdom and Judgment is the last and eternal one. The Father set it up in its ‘time’ according to His eternal Counsel and Plan. It is “written” in His Book (Ps 139:16; Acts 17:26,31), the books that were opened in Court (Dan 7:10). Before the universe God’s fair and transparent Judgment was made with respect to whom the kingdom rulership belongs. “When I select an appointed TIME, it is I who JUDGE with equity.” Ps 75:2. The kingdom, power, and authority was given by God’s righteous judgment to Christ and His saints (Dan 7:13,14,18,22. Christ then began His eternal Messianic kingship.
      I don’t believe this was as much an investigative judgment as we apply it.

      • Christ's saints will still have to identified, and many of His professed followers rejected. (See Matthew 7:21-23.)

      • Hi Kenny;
        I'm having a little trouble following you're message.. I will say that Daniel is about more than just empires and kingdoms. It's also about God's intervention in the lives of individuals who choose to obey him, who are faced with being burned alive or eaten alive. Who meet unhappy kings with messages of reprimand and doom. Who arrive in a heavenly court where books are opened and an investigation of the content of the books is made. Finally, the Highest Authority in the universe decides in their favor and they no longer are aliens and strangers in an alien land, but possess the kingdom (Daniel 7:22). I would agree that too much of our discussion has centered on the prospect of eternal loss, but the message is clear that we will not be lost. God is on our side and judges in our favor that we are worthy to inherit the kingdom. It's a beautiful message that should give hope and courage. God bless. steve.

  46. Hello,
    I know this is an older post, I hope you see this are able to reply because you seem well educated on the matter.

    I grew up SDA. Honestly I have struggled with this topic as well.

    I think your explaining of things is probably the best I have heard on the topic. However, there is one area that I am not sure I agree or understand.
    When you say that Armenian views think we can "loose" or other wise have our salvation "taken away" I do not understand where this comes from. My understadning was that the view held that humans could reject the gift of Grace.
    In fact, in the outline you share comparing both sides I did not see where it said the Arminain view thinks we can "loose"our grace that was given.....

    They think it can be rejected. I think this is a big difference that you did not cover. "loose" implies that it can be taken away, or taken back. This is much different than the person altogether rejecting it? wouldn't you agree?

    Further more you did not lay out the areas we are to be judged on as far as how we stop from loosing our salvation? Do the Arminian views hold that we can not sin at all? Not even a little? What sins cause our salvation to be lost?

    I bring these up because I feel the bible is clear that our salvation is not dependent on works. To my knowledge the bible does not say anything about "keeping" our salvation.

    It talks about works and being judged for sure, but this is in regards to rewards. I might be wrong and not know my passages well enough. I am curios as how we keep from "loosing" our salvation?

    I also look back on the Bible talking about ALL sin being equal. So I would find it odd if your reply says one sin will cause us to loose our salvation, while other sins are ok.

    This also seems to come off as if one we are truly saved by Salvation then we will no longer ever have anymore sin in our life?

    I have noticed in my church alone there is differences on this topic. Some people seem to think a "true" believer has the Lords salvation and thus will not sin... AT ALL, with Gods Grace... Others seem to think sinning is still a thing when you have Gods salvation, they just make it a note to repent and do better....of course these are all wonderful people. By sin I am meaning "wasted moments" or being angry on the road with traffic, or being grumpy with a wife, or saying a bad word, ect....

    That is probably my biggest question. Do we keep our salvation if we sin??
    OR is our salvation lost the moment we sin? And by sin I mean any sin, as the Bible is clear that sin is sin, and sin equals death regardless of size...

    I just want to make sure I understand. I also do not want to "loose" salvation. But honestly I have not been taught the proper ways to keep it?
    Side note, I kinda fall into the camp that thinks you can keep your salvation even with little sins. Of course one must accept and truly repent for those sins.... But I worry when some SDA say true salvation means that I would have no sin in my life AT ALL.... Jesus himself said " there is no one good but the father" So how can I even come close to having no sin?

    • Hi Aaron, this is a good comment. In the article, we did not clarify the difference between losing salvation and rejecting salvation because we were simply differentiating between the Arminian view and the OSAS view. The OSAS view claims that once you are saved your eternal destiny is forever sealed, while the Arminian view claims that a person can still turn away from Christ. We did not explain under what circumstance that can happen because it wasn't the scope of the article.

      Regarding sinless perfection being necessary to be saved, this is not an Adventist teaching but belongs to a group known as LGT (Last Generation Theology) that holds a different view than the Adventist position.

      Finally, regarding whether a person will lose their salvation every time they sin, I wonder if you'd be willing to read another one of my articles on this wesite. Search for my name, Mike Manea, in the search bar above. An article should come up called, How Adventism Ended the Gospel Wars that I believe addresses your question. Let me know if you have any other questions on this.


      • Thank you for the very quick reply. I am happy to hear back from you as I believe I could learn a lot from you on this topic. As you said it is a topic that brings a lot of debate and questions. I do not want to debate by any means, but I am eager to ask some questions and can more understanding on the topic, as you seem very well versed on the subject.

        Big question to start. Adventist believe that we are being Jesus is judging our Works and that this judgment is necessary in order to complete the Atonement of the Lamb and thus in order to determine if we are allowed to keep the gift of Salvation? Is this correct?

        Arminia views hold that we are to be judged, but they differ because they do not think works are judged with regards to salvation. They believe that salvation is a gift, and this can be rejected by the person based on free will.... But they also hold that the gift is for everyone, and that the gift is not taken away or "lost" based on being judged on works? Is this correct on their views as well?

        I think this is the main difference. Both surely believe we are to be judged at some point point he future. That is not the area of disagreement. The area of disagreement and why people are turned off, or argue the IVJ is because it teaches that our works will be judged by God, and based on this Judgment of works, we will either be allowed to keep our gift of salvation, or have this gift taken away forever. Or have it lost from us.

        This is a big difference. Is it possible to address this and explain why Adventist view of the possibility of salvation being taken away is the correct view? Do you you have an article that talks about this difference?

        First, it makes sense that you did not go in depth with regards differences to rejecting vs. loosing salvation.
        I know you have a limited space to put a lot of information.
        Are you able to help me understand more on the topic though?

        I guess my main confusion comes with understanding how we loose our salvation. I know what it means to turn away from God or reject God. From my understanding and studying the topic, the Arminian view holds that we can Only reject God. and that is the means that we loose our salvation.

        I also learned that this view holds that God does not take away our salvation based on works. The issue arises when people bring up faithfulness. Because if I understand correct, are you saying our salvation can be lost or taken away based on our faithfulness?
        This seems reasonable. However, confusion comes when we ask our self how this faithfulness is to be judged?
        The answer most people give is God judges ones faithfulness by their Works.... I think this is where the discussion becomes harder, because this is somewhat circular reasoning. Something like this:

        "Our salvation is not based on works"
        "Our salvation CAN be lost or taken back based on our faithfulness to God"
        "Our faithfulness to God is judged by God right now based on our works or good deeds"

        See the confusion? I Think my main question in this response is can you clear up this confusion with this circular reasoning?
        From my understanding Armininan views do not believe that our salvation will be lost or taken from us based on the works we do? I might be wrong in this understanding? Please help clear this up if I am wrong.

        Most Arminian viewed Churches I have gone to are very focused on Grace. Saying that we are saved as long as we accept Jesus and do not reject Him. They do not beehive that Once we are saved than God chose us and we can no longer physically reject God. They make it clear that we can reject God.... But every Arminian View I have ever been taught made it clear that salvation was given with our meriet. There is no strings attached. The idea the Armianian view holds that our salvation can be lost or taken back based on God judging us is a very very new thing to me. I have never heard this message taught, and i struggle to find any information online.

        In this article you tied Classical Arminain views and Adventist views together. And rightly so, I think they do hold a lot of the same beliefs. However, when it comes to Judgment, I see that the Arminian view holds that we are Judged with regards to us rejecting God or not. This is much different than being judged on works. Furthermore they also teach that the judging of works is for rewards and NOT salvation.

        On the other side, My Adventist church teaches that the Judgment going on right now by God is judging our works, our merit, our good deeds. Not with regards to reward. But with regards to salvation.

        With that said, I would say that this article is very much correct in saying that Armiania and Adventist believe in Judgement. I think this is very clear on both sides. What is not so clear is what exactly the two views think is being Judged, and more importantly what standard?

        My last Big MAIN question is this is how would you say we are to reconcile the two differences on the views of judgment? More important than that question. AS an Adventist, are we to believe that the judgment going on right now is indeed in regards to our salvation? Is God judging us to either be saved or not saved?

        1. Adventist believe we are being Judged right now. God is looking over our works with regards to SALVATION, going line by line and name by name. Judging our works, and if we are truly faithful. Adventist teach that we can loose salvation by, either rejecting God, or by not being holding up Gods law, and not sinning. (or at least this was the old teaching of the previous generation)

        2. Arminina seem to believe and preach that, yes, we are to be judged at some point. BUT, they preach that this is in regards to rewards and NOT with regard to our salvation.They teach that salvation is indeed secure, as long as the receiver does not reject that salvation....

        This is a huge difference in teaching and in belief. The arguments for or against the investigative judgement go much deeper than just admitting that God will judge us.... Most Christians do beleive that we are to be judged one day.....

        The key point is WHAT is being Judged and with regards to what.
        Our works being judged? Is it with regards to our salvation?
        Sadly, I think this is the bigger issue people outside the Adventist church have. Because the Adventist view is the opposite of what they think we are being judged by.

        We believe that our works will be judged, and it is with regards to our salvation.

        This is the reason why people take issue with the INJ
        not because we are to be judged.

        Also thank you, I will look for that article and be sure to read it. Hopefully I will have a chance to read it before you reply.
        Thank you again, I look forward to gaining more understanding from you

    • Aaron, I am quite certain that you and I have never met. I don't know anything about you. Yet I'm going to tell you the most important thing about yourself...you are a sinner. I hasten to add that you are not alone! That declaration is the result of my own belief of what Scripture says (Rm 3:9-12,23; Eccl 7:20), combined with a God-given knowledge of my own self. You and I, Cain and Abel, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, Ellen White and Adolf Hitler, Saul of Tarsus and Mother Theresa, all share one common identity...that of sinner. This list would stand at about 7.5 billion names at present...and I don't know how many billions more--minus One--from the past, or into the future. Your salvation and mine is a gift of God's loving interest in your welfare and mine (Jn 3:17).

      Although there is a relationship, you and I won't be lost or saved because we are Arminian, Calvinist, Adventist or atheist. You and I will be lost because we are the offspring of beings who chose to disobey their loving Creator (Rm 5:12; 7:14). Their choice introduced and locked us into an unavoidable reality in the way you and I actually THINK and, as a result, live (Gen 6:5-6; Rm 8:6-8). It is the present characteristic functioning of the human mind that makes you and I a problem for God, ourselves and each other. Adam and Eve began the cycle (Gen 3:6) in direct contradiction to their Creator's truthful and clearly communicated knowledge (Gen 2:16-17). That cycle, without the Creator's intervention, only produces individuals with deceived minds (Jer 17:9; Isaiah 53:6). Deceived minds (Isaiah 44:20), now intent on staying away from its Creator (Gen 3:8; Col 1:21), ironically seals its fate by its own attempts to care for itself (Gen 3:7,21; Isaiah 31:7; Act 14:11-15). It produces and consumes its own productions in repeated cycles, until we meet our own demise--much like two persons locked in a sealed space with no fresh supply of air.

      Conversely, the good news of the Gospel is that as unavoidable as the heredity of our deceptive, duplicitous minds in Adam, so is the hope of restoration to singleness of mind in Christ (Rm 5:14,18; 1 Cor 15:21-22). Aaron, you, me and all of our billions of fellow-descendants in Adam are depicted in the object lesson of Jesus' dead, decaying friend Lazarus. This man doesn't know or care that he is dead and decaying (a deceived mind, effectively blocks one's access to truthful knowledge), or that he has a compassionate Friend (Jn 11:35-36,38) with the benevolent DESIRE and ABILITY to reverse death and decay--in the present! Jesus made it completely clear that His ability was NOT some future reality (Jn 11:23,25,40,42), as Martha believed (Jn 11:21,24,39). The good news of our salvation is that without our choice, our minds come on to this Earth, unavoidably deceptive and duplicitous--but unavoidable doesn't mean inescapable.

      Saul of Tarsus, whose destructive mind (Gal 1:13) God transformed into the Apostle Paul, considered himself devoted to God (Php 3:5-6). His fallen and deceived mind, becomes triggered by erroneous religious concepts (Act 15:5). This deceptively benign but potent concoction of a "dragon" (Rev 12:3-4,9), resulted in the life history of Saul of Tarsus (Act 9:4-5; Jn 8:44). Thanks only to God's benevolent intervention operating outside of Saul's choice (Gal 1:15-16), we have an apostle's significant contribution to the NT portion of Scripture (Col 1:25-29). Through this transformed man's ministry, we have received very important revelation regarding human salvation (Rm 5:18; 1 Cor 15:22). Yes, Paul taught that humanity's unavoidable exposure to sin in Adam, mirrors the same unavoidable exposure to salvation in Christ. I become concerned when our concepts and discussions regarding human sin and God's solution for it, becomes so highly theoretical that it loses its practical application for our living. Jesus expresses similar concern that the relevance of His people's witness not be lost (Mt 5:13) due to a compromised mind (Mt 13:15-16; 1 Jn 5:13,20).

  47. I stumbled on this great article and since the discussion has continued, I'd like to cast my two cents in. I was educated exclusively in Adventist schools for my 17 years of academic work. For some of us, I think the problem with the IJ is the way it was taught in academy bible class. It went something like this: God is working His way through the books, with the dead being reviewed first and then the living. When your name comes up, if you do not pass the trial, it's over right then and there. Toast at 18? I believe this Adventist mythology rises to the level of spiritual malpractice or abuse.
    This concept colored my response to Adventism for four decades, although I never officially left the church. A personal crisis of faith in my 50's led me to Isaiah 53, the four gospels, and Ephesians 2. I was liberated from the shackles of misguided theology by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very picture of God. I learned of a truly loving God who wishes for all to come to a true knowledge of Him and be saved. And that His imparted and imputed righteousness is the basis for my salvation and security in Christ. I praise God for the godly teachers He brought into my life. It's all about Jesus. Theology must be grounded in the gospel or it risks distortion and error.

  48. Thank you both for some insightful comments.

    Before addressing Aaron's questions, I need to make several disclaimers.

    First, every theology has adherents that, while claiming to follow that particular theology, don't have an academic-level understanding of that theology, and are liable to misrepresent it in some way. I'm only going to concern myself with the academic version here.

    Second, chances are that someone might disagree with something I say and point to something Ellen White has written to the contrary. However, Adventist theology is accountable only to Scripture so I will not entertain EGW-based arguments.

    With that said, the claim that we're going to be judged by works is not an Adventist problem but a scriptural problem. Parts of Scripture make it abundantly clear that salvation is by grace through faith while others speak of a works-based judgment, whether explicitly or via parables (ex. the sheep and the goats, Matt. 25).

    Because of this, the three protestant traditions, Calvinists, Arminians and OSAS, have each developed ways to harmonize this. Moreover, all three make room for what we might as well call a 'Rewards Judgment,' i.e. a judgment that does not affect salvation but gives different types of rewards to those who already are saved.

    Calvinists harmonize the two elements by saying that both justification and sanctification are predestined. We are not saved by works, because God is the one who decreed that we should accept Christ. Yet he also decreed that the elect will grow in Christ and persevere, so that in the judgement, they can be judged by their works.

    Arminians, including Adventists, argue that salvation is by grace through faith, but that human beings have free will both to accept and to later turn away from Christ. Those who remain in Christ however WILL experience sanctification (if the branch abides in the vine, it will grow - John 15), and therefore, can be judged by their works. In this case, neither Calvinists not Arminians assume that the judgment expects perfection; rather, the judgment is there to demonstrate that the person has in fact chosen to remain in Christ, as this can be seen in the way they live their lives.

    The third group, OSAS, is the only one that has a theological conflict with the idea of a works-based judgment and therefore applies this judgment entirely to Rewards, as having nothing to do with salvation.

    So while I might have used the word 'lose' in the article to differentiate between those who claim OSAS and those who don't, losing vs. rejecting salvation is not something that differentiates Adventists from Arminians. If salvation is lost, it is because the individual has chosen to turn away from Christ. Only he who has the Son has life. This is true for all Arminians.

  49. I think the first thing is to identify and use the bible to discourse at lent the following questions

    1. What is \"judgement\"?

    2. what is \"judgement day\" and when will it be?

    3. Is there two types of judgements?

    4. what scriptural bases Is there (use the scripture alone with no mention of past denominations) to believe that that there is a judgement going on now?

    6. What is the bases for the \"now\" judgment and the bases for the future judgement?

    7. Will those judge now be raised to be judged again on judgement day?

    None of you have done so.

    However let me quickly say this. The bible do not teach \"investigative judgement\" as thought by E G While and Seventh day Adventist from the scriptural backings of Daniel, Liviticus and Hebrew used,

    However the bible does teach that (1) there is a sort of judgement going on today. (2)There is a sort that will come during the second coming of Christ (the destruction of the wicked at Armagedon),(3) The judgement during the judgement day (involving both the resurrected unrighteous ones), (4) The final judgement of Satan and his host at the final test (end of 1000 years reign)

    (1). This judgement is not the future judgement that will be on the judgement day (1000 years reign of Christ), neither is it any sort of investigative as the SDA teach, but it is also a final judgement for the wicked who died before armagedon or second coming of Jesus.

    This judgement is decided now at the death of a person and the bases of this judgement is the \"word\", the good news being preached today.

    \" Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.  Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked\" John 3:18, 19. NWT

    Noticed the phrase \"bases for judgement\", \"judged already\", and \"wicked\".

    Today any who continues in willful sin after hearing and knowing what the bible says and dies in it, the bible says \"have been judged already\" because such a person is wicked.

    And the bible says about such a person \", there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left\" Heb 10:26.

    The person could no longer repent at death, and there for have paid for all his sin with his life and therefore will not be resurrected to be judged again.

    Roman,6:7 says that \"one who has died has been acquitted 9pardoned) from his sin\". That is the principle of God\'s justices, \"for the wages sin pays is death\" verse 23.

    There is no investigative judgement as long as a person is still alive, the person can change, and at death, there is nothing like investigative, the person receives ultimate judgement as a wicked with no hope of resurrection.

    Read Ezikiel 18:24, and at death says Eccles 5:9 \'they do not have any farther reward\' no farther charge or judgement on a dead person because the person has attuned for his sin with his life and that\'s all for a wicked person.

    When the bible uses the word \"judgement\" it should be understood according to its context and a reader should find out which judgement among the four listed at the onset is meant.

    Let us stop being confused.

  50. I don't know if the 1844 investigative judgment teaching we have is right. One thing I know from the Bible is that God chooses to investigate things happening in our lives. Examples of this are: Genesis 3 (if God knows everything, why does he pose all those questions to Adam?) Genesis 11:5 (If God knows everything, why does he come to see?) (Genesis 18:20-21 Why did God send two angels to investigate before destroying those cities?) these are only a few of the Biblical examples that God checks of stuff going in human terms and languages written to us.


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