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Questions On Doctrine


IV. Questions on the Law and Legalism


Christ the Heart of the Advent Message



Are not the spiritual content and evangelical emphasis of your "Voice of Prophecy" radio program and "Faith for Today" telecast a rather far cry from the doctrinal and legal core of Adventism? Are they not rather a bid for good will, and a subtle attempt to draw those who enroll in your proffered Bible courses to gradually accept the doctrinal and legal heart of Adventism? Is this doctrinal and legalistic emphasis a reflection of the counsels of Ellen G. White?


In the evangelistic activities of Seventh-day Adventists, whether by means of radio programs, public services, or literature, there is no attempt at subtlety or effort to deceive. The heart of the Advent message is Christ and Him crucified.

May we say in simple sincerity that Seventh-day Adventists hold that Christianity is not merely an intellectual assent to a body of doctrines, no matter how true or orthodox. We believe that Christianity is a real experience with Christ. Christianity is a relationship to a Person—our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is possible to know a thousand things about Christ, and yet never know Him. Such a situation, of course leaves the professing Christian as far from God as is the lost sinner.


We, as Adventists, definitely believe in doctrine. We hold a unified body of Biblical truth. But that which saves is grace alone, through faith in the living Christ. And similarly, that which justifies is His free and blessed grace. We likewise believe in works, and in full obedience to the will and commandments of God. But the works in which we believe, and that we seek to perform, are the result, or fruitage, of salvation, not a means to salvation, in whole or in part. And the obedience that we render is the loving response of a life that is saved by grace. Salvation is never earned; it is a gift from God through Jesus Christ. Otherwise, however sincere the effort may be, works frustrate the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). 

We also believe that a specific message is due the world today, and that we were called into being to have a part in proclaiming it. But again, that message is simply the everlasting gospel in the setting of God's great judgment hour, the imminent second coming of our Lord, and the preparation of men to meet God. But that which prepares people to meet God is not merely a warning message, but the saving gospel. This great fundamental truth is ever before us, and in our hearts and our endeavors.

We repeat, this emphasis is not something subtle, as suggested in the question. It is not a lure, or trick, or bait. It is, instead, a serious endeavor to put first things definitely first in our public presentations, and to let the world see and hear and know that the heart burden of Adventism is Christ, and His salvation.


As to Ellen G. White's counsels on these matters, her messages for more than half a century have consistently called for an uplifting of Christ and for primary emphasis upon full salvation in Him. Here are a few excerpts from her writings:

Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. . . . The great center of attraction, Christ Jesus, must not be left out. It is at the cross of Christ that mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other.—Gospel Workers, p. 156.

Lift up Jesus, you that teach the people, lift Him up in sermon, in song, in prayer. Let all your powers be directed to pointing souls, confused, bewildered, lost, to "the Lamb of God." . . . Let the science of salvation be the burden of every sermon, the theme of every song. Let it be poured forth in every supplication. Bring nothing into your preaching to supplement Christ, the wisdom and power of God.—Ibid., p. 160.

Present the truth as it is in Jesus, making plain the requirements of the law and the gospel. Present Christ, the way, the truth and the life, and tell of His power to save all who come to Him.—Ibid., p. 154. 

Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ ascended on high, is the science of salvation that we are to learn and to teach. . . . It is through the gift of Christ that we receive every blessing.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 287, 288.

No discourse should ever be preached without presenting Christ and Him crucified as the foundation of the gospel. Ministers would reach more hearts if they would dwell more upon practical godliness.—Gospel Workers, pp. 158, 159. 

Christ and His righteousness, let this be our platform, the very life of our faith.—The Review and Herald, Aug. 31, 1905. 

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary.—Gospel Workers, p. 315.

The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no


longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ.—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 92.

From these typical quotations it is evident that Adventists do not and could not logically derive any legalistic emphasis from Ellen G. White.

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