Interesting Converstation on the Investigative Judgment

I recently posted several articles about the Investigative Judgment on ssnet.org. The author of a Spectrum article on the same topic, Harold McGregor, engage me in conversation. I am duplicating that conversation here as well, as it progresses. Some of the comments have been edited or deleted on ssnet.org but I am posting the original version here.

The conversation initially began here:

http://ssnet.org/blog/judgment-living-close-probation/

It was later moved by the moderators here:

http://ssnet.org/blog/why-the-investigative-judgment-doctrine-is-sound/

Also, its possible that some of the conversation will take place here as well:

http://ssnet.org/blog/how-to-present-the-investigative-judgment/

The Spectrum article written by Harold can be found here:

http://spectrummagazine.org/article/harold-mcgregor-jr/2013/12/06/investigative-judgment-has-three-main-problems

 

9 comments
  1. Thanks, Mike Manea, for your work.

    Please:

    At the outset of your essay, you seem to say that its factuality is based on the certainty of two probabilities, each preceded by the word “if”: “If there is a judgment going on in heaven right now and if, when Jesus comes, His reward is with Him….”

    The second probability is certified by Rev. 22:12, from which you, clearly, took your wording.

    The first probability, above, digitally links back to another essay, by you. This essay makes contentions which are, as you seem to admit, highly debated. It forwards conclusions which are not unambiguous, despite the fact that many other SDAs declare a clear victory in this area.

    So, if your essay sails, or sinks, based on the verity of those two probabilities, my first question is, 1) does your essay make sense if your second probability is certain, but your first is unclear, uncertain, or untrue?

    Also, you say:

    “Probation closes before the Second Coming and not at the Second Coming because 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. Some period of time passes where, as much reason as God gives people to repent, no one does any more. And then, heavenly beings all agree that there is no point in waiting any further, and it’s time for Jesus to return to take His people home.”

    Please:

    2) How are these ideas supported Biblically? Specifically, I mean the timing of probation, and the direct responses of beings, other than God, to these matters; e.g., “And then, heavenly beings all agree that there is no point in waiting any further, and it’s time for Jesus to return to take His people home”? Where does the Bible say this?

    3) When you say “before the Second Coming and not at the Second Coming,” how is this framed, temporally? For example, when does the Second Coming, temporally, begin; i.e., at the commencement of what action?

    When you say “before” it, could that mean, say, an attosecond before it? If not, by how much time must the close of probation precede the Second Coming?

    4) When 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,” how do you support this from the Bible?

    Also, who are these unfallen beings, and what does the Bible say about them that allows us to verify what you’ve written, please?

    Thank you for your ideas. I look forward to your kind and generous responses.

    HA

    • Harold, those are very good questions. Maybe one day I’ll write an entire volume on Adventist systematic theology and address all the potential issues that might come up. Most people however don’t read more than a few paragraphs at a time so that is very limiting. 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 and I was only trying to correct a common misunderstanding. Moreover, last week I posted an article on the Sanctuary and the assurance of salvation and that article did not deal with what would happen to the people still alive when Jesus came.

      Many people tend to think that if someone believes something they should be able to provide a list of proof texts to support that position. In reality, Bible doctrines build on one another and some doctrines are more foundational than others. The proof texts that support a doctrine for me might not make sense to you because you hold a different position on doctrines that are prerequisite.

      I don’t know if you’re familiar with California geography but let’s say we were both in Los Angeles and we were following the same set of directions except, at the very beginning of the trip you got on the 5 Freeway and I accidentally got on the 10. So now, even though we both take a right where the directions say to go right and a left when supposed to go left, we end up in completely different places because we took different turns early on.

      So to explain to you why Adventists hold this position on the close of probation I would need to know if you’re pre-millennial, post-millenial or a-millenial, if you’re pre-trib or post-trib, if you’re a Calvinist, an Arminian or Once Saved Always Saved. Adventists are pre-millennial, post-trib, non-OSAS Arminians. If we disagree in any of these areas then we should probably discuss those topics first. Otherwise, I can share with you the texts on which we base our beliefs on the Close of Probation but I can already tell you that you will interpret those texts completely differently than we do.

    • And please don’t take this to imply that we feel there is a high degree of uncertainty regarding our views. I’m just saying that, depending on where the wrong turn was taken, we might need to get back on the freeway and go back several miles, take the right turn and then begin driving in the correct direction once again.

  2. Thanks, Mike.

    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.”

    But, as I noted in the Investigative Judgment essay I was blessed to write for Spectrum, bit.ly/1TjzFdN “[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:

    bit.ly/1pkyg9S

    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:

    bit.ly/2516foK

    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.

    HA

    **** Mike Edit ****

    There is one more of my comments here that I can no longer find which basically summarizes my paper on the Investigative Judgment linked to at the top. I then ask Harold which of the Calvinism/Arminianism/OSAS camps he identifies with to which he responded:

    **** End Edit ****

    As my posted response to Inge might suggest:

    http://ssnet.org/blog/judgment-living-close-probation/comment-page-1/#comment-78396

    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?

    HA

    • 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.

      So to answer your first point in the Spectrum article, 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, to answer your second point, 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.

  3. Thanks, Mike.

    I’ve responded to your thoughts, below, in a YOU SAID: and IN RESPONSE: format.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    Correct: As a free agent, one may freely accept Christ. Then, later, one may freely reject Him.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    That's only somewhat correct, Mike.

    At its core, this is all **an** investigative judgment—lower-case ij—would be: God determining which people will live with Him eternally, and which will not.

    However, if by "Investigative Judgment"—upper-case IJ—one means, "The doctrine of how God apportions rewards and punishments, as traditionally taught by Seventh-day Adventists," then the matter is wholly different.

    So, one can say, "At its core, this is all the IJ is." But that's like saying, "At its core, all planet Earth is is a 760-mile wide ball of iron and nickel with a temperature of 9,800 °F, held under a pressure of 330 to 360 gigapascals." Such a statement, while accurate, has done little to explain the details about the Earth that those who live on it find most compelling: Details like weather, oceans, zebras, and rush hour.

    In other words, yours is a reduction, but one that most observers would little recognize. It's like going up to someone at a bus stop one morning and saying, "Boy: I'm really feeling those 330 to 360 gigapascals today. How about you?"

    Even if you repeat yourself—"You know: The gigapascals"—there is almost a 100% certainty anyone to whom you say this will look at you like you're absolutely crazy.

    So, imagine: It’s the summer of 2020. We're in Indianapolis. Elder Wilson walks up to the mic, gives a rousing opening statement to thunderous "Amen!!"s, turns to go back to his seat, then, remembering something, heads back to the mic.

    "By the way," he notes. "I forgot to mention: The Biblical Research Institute has done a lot of study on this over the last decade. They've concluded that all we know about the Investigative Judgment is that God will have to separate between two groups of Once Saved people and send some to heaven and some to hell. Everything else is a wash."

    He heads back to his seat.

    Two things are sure:

    1) Huge segments of Adventism—especially the most entrenched and solvent part—will subsequently respond with stunned silence, then erupt into riots.

    2) At that moment, a FedEx envelope, containing an effusive, signed apology—and forty years of back pay with interest—had better already be arriving in Australia, and at the home of one Dr. Desmond Ford.

    YOU SAID:
    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.<<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    There's an even bigger problem: If we're wrong about soteriology, then **we** need to stay away from us.

    Why? Because—like Conan O'Brien doing a "Fan Correktions" segment—Seventh-day Adventists are never wrong, and we never make mistakes. The last time we did, it was 1844, and we weren't even a denomination yet. Plus: Look how that turned out!!

    One of the perks of being an Adventist is you're part of a denomination that's got every part of its doctrine right. That is, this is the way we actually conduct ourselves. You've never heard an Adventist minister, or maybe even a lay member, state, on any doctrine, "We were wrong about that."

    I promise you: The verse SDAs understand **least** is 1 Corinthians 13:9: "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part." All you have to do is listen to the way we read it from the pulpit, or in groups. It's a blip; a cipher floating in the middle of a chapter about the soaring wonders of love. But knowledge and prophecy are the whole Adventist schtick; our calling card. Love is not.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    This is possibly written too densely for most Adventists to be *that* outraged.

    Also, there are a significant number who might disagree with your point, for the reasons I gave earlier.

    YOU SAID:
    So to answer your first point in the Spectrum article, 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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    An even bigger reason other denominations would reject the IJ is that it puts SDAs, to use your word, at the core of the Christian universe.

    The IJ connects to our unique prophetic understanding, which connects to remnancy, which connects to the ministry of Ellen G. White, which connects to phenomena as earth-shattering as the role of the world's greatest religious powers during Earth's final hours…and as mundane as theater attendance, bicycles, hot showers, and cheese.

    YOU SAID:
    When it comes to attacks against the IJ from inside the church, to answer your second point, 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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    Respectfully, one could argue that the issues which make the IJ sound crazy are not really being addressed here. Another one might say that the author is repeatedly committing the Genetic Fallacy: Making objections to others's conclusions based on how they came to hold them.

    Dr. Ford isn't a Calvinist. When he says why he objects to the IJ, he lists 22 details that must be true in order for the doctrine to make sense, none of which, he argues, are accurate.

    The first, necessarily, is the day-year principle. So, try this: During the next group Sabbath School, or Sabbath afternoon Bible study, mention that nowhere does the Bible support the day-for-a-year metric which SDAs (and Jehovah's Witnesses) use.

    Better yet, say this during the upcoming Revelation Seminar that one's local church holds, and that members are expected to support with their bodies and spirited singing. It'd be like you dropped a stink bomb in the sanctuary. Or, even better, just ask fellow members this: If the Bible uses this scale for prophetic time, why, in Rev. 20:2, isn't the devil chained for "a thousand days"?

    You may be correct, to whatever degree, about the religio-philosophical machinations that operate on what arguably seems a rather meta level of discourse; e.g., why we even emphasize *sola scriptura* over other ideals, say. For example, I'd urge that sola scriptura can be supported by the biblical text, better than its contradictions can be. And maybe you—the generic you—would urge that its just the tradition I hold that even decides if such a discussion is meaningful. Well, O.K.

    But if you're saying there's a principle that makes invoking **aliens** cool, when discussing the Bible's ideas—as proof of them—and that this principle is outside of the Bible—as are aliens—but applies to what's in it, then tell me why, please.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    Again, you may be correct.

    However, the way it seems like it was discussed at Glacier View had little to do with the merits of the counterargument. Desmond Ford has said that his sole regret was not asking for a show of hands as to who had read his 991-page manuscript, and who had not. The reason why is because the informal poll suggested that most had not done so, and, as these things go, "the ones who knew the least said the most."

    If you collapse the IJ down to the femtosecond it takes God to complete the aforementioned Triad—and to also, on His lunch zeptosecond, calculate and implement all the known and unknown physical and mathematical laws of the inflaton multiverse, from scratch—a lot of SDA exceptionalism and pre-eminence starts to vanish. It begins to look like that stub they give you at the movies, after they tear off your ticket: like a memento. (I’m sure this metaphor is unclear to most SDAs, but, ride with me, here.)

    For Adventists, this have started out as a battle between Calvinism and Arminianism. But like most battles, they acquire their own momentum, eventually.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    I appreciate this.

    However, I still hold that, today, most Adventists probably hold on to the IJ, first, because, if our church says it's true, it must be, because we are A Special People. Also, if you throw it away, a lot of attached SDA theology has to go, also, as already noted.

    YOU SAID:
    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. <<<

    IN RESPONSE:
    A judgment is needed to factually qualify someone as "saved" or "lost." It precedes this qualification, and is implied by it.

    At the Olympics, someone gets gold, someone gets silver, and someone gets bronze. This means judgment has taken place. I've never—nor has any Calvinist—in any sport, at any Olympics, in any host country, seen officials attempt to place medals and wreaths on athletes before they compete in their event.

    If God is true, that He says someone is "saved" or "lost" means they have been judged.

    So this is uncontroversial.

    However, imagine if, this year, a long-time, high-ranking executive from Bulova called a news conference, the day after closing ceremonies in Rio, and said this:

    “Over the last fifty years, I, and a number of my corporate colleagues, have been personally involved in a conspiracy: one to imperceptibly speed up, or slow down, our Olympic timekeeping pieces, in many instances for up to half a second, as part of a global, organized crime, betting/money-laundering enterprise, worth an estimated $2.2 trillion dollars during the past half-century.

    “I, my colleagues, members of organized crime, and a breadth of national leaders—some living, some now dead—on all continents, in dozens of countries, have financially benefited directly from this scheme.

    “However, most of all, as a result of our actions, the validity of, literally, tens of thousands of awarded medals is utterly compromised and in doubt."

    This would invalidate every award you've ever seen given; for example, all of Michael Phelps's eight gold ones for swimming. Nadia Comeneci’s gymnastics wins. The 1980 miracle on the ice. The USA’s basketball team, led by Michael Jordan, in 1992 and 1984.

    Now: Who are you saying is playing such a role as this executive in the Divine Order? Satan?

    If so, how, and why, at this point, would he be credible to holy angels?

    One Sabbath morning, our congregation’s good, late Bible teacher, Elder DeLissa, gave the same answer you, and Dr. Pröbstle, did: Angels need to know that God is just.

    I was incredulous. "Really? Gabriel said, 'I stand in the presence of God.' You're telling me that Gabriel has doubts?"

    "Maybe not Gabriel, but some of the other lesser angels do," he cautioned.

    Right.

    In 1 Cor. 4:6, we are counseled by Paul, "'Do not go beyond what is written.'" This is truly sobering advice that our church, as it should the rest of the Word, needs to heed.

    HA

    • Very well said Harold, thanks.

      As we continue this conversation I am slowly adapting my responses to your actual concerns, since, until I get a feel for exactly where you are coming from, the best I can do is guess, which, of course, is not very accurate.

      I’ve spent quite a bit of time in conversations with Evangelicals regarding whether or not Adventists are a cult. This is an important question because, while all 50,000 Christian denominations disagree with each other in some way, cults are dangerous and to be accused of this is a serious accusation. Among those who think we are, the IJ is one of the first doctrines mentioned and the reason they take issue with it is that they think it promotes faulty views of salvation. Whenever I talk about the IJ with any critic, including Adventists, I always assume they share this sentiment until it is shown otherwise.

      So when I say that the core of the IJ is Arminianism + Soul Sleep I am responding to this concern (which you might not actually have but I needed to be sure). I am saying that yes, the IJ does hold implications regarding Soteriology and, yes, Soteriology is the central, most important aspect of Christian theology and therefore, the core or most essential element of the IJ, but no, IJ soteriology is not heretical. Not unless all Arminian soteriologies are heretical.

      So again, this might not be your particular concern, but, just in case it is, I want to make it clear that the understanding of the gospel produced by the IJ ads nothing to the gospel that isn’t already there because of Arminianism. This is especially important because there is a significant section within Adventism (as previously mentioned) that does hold a version of the IJ which adds to the gospel and I want to make it clear that I am not defending this variant IJ but mainstream Adventist theology.

      Let me also briefly clarify why I say Arminianism + Soul Sleep is the core of the IJ.

      1) Arminian soteriology: grace through faith + free will to accept and later reject Christ

      2) Arminian theodicy: Unlike Calvinism where God does what He pleases, in Arminianism God is trying to win over rather than coerce. Therefore He does everything ‘by the book.’ He follows a strict protocol that leaves no questions or doubts unaddressed. He has an open, three part judgment: pre-advent – for good & bad angels (and possibly other created beings), millennial – for the saved, and post-millennial – for the lost. At the end of it all, ‘every knee shall bow’ because, like with Daniel, no fault will be found with God as the data is examined by all created beings. Sin and Satan will be seen in their true colors. The universe will be eternally secured against sin because free-willed beings will never choose that path again. (this is probably the part you are most concerned with so we’ll come back to it)

      3) Soul Sleep – because someone might still ask, why then don’t other Arminians accept an 1844 IJ? This just points out that the end-time factor doesn’t affect the soteriology; 1844 is not adding anything to the Arminian gospel but is the result of belief in soul sleep.

      Now coming back to internal critics, here is something I found regarding Ford’s new book after a quick search on Spectrum:

      “For reasons of context, biblical linguistics, and historical evidence, the Investigative Judgement can therefore be declared bankrupt. Ford insisted that such a theory downgraded the finished atonement at Calvary (John 12:31; 16:8-11; Heb. 9:12, 26-28; 10:10, 12-14) and left people in doubt about the surety of their personal salvation. http://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/02/09/ford-still-runs-desmond-ford-speaks-morisset

      Now imagine for a second that someone at church came up to you and asked if they could talk to you for a bit. They mention that even though they had been church members for several years, they still occasionally fell into temptation and smoked a few cigarettes, drank a few beers etc. So you assure them that this is not anything they couldn’t work with and you offer to help them as best you can. But they go on to tell you that, besides this, they sometimes go over to the local colleges late at night and sexually assault girls walking to their cars. And suddenly, this is no longer about a few bad habits but something for the police to handle.

      So if Ford thinks that there are 22 problems with the IJ and that, because of ‘context, biblical linguistics, and historical evidence’ the doctrine is ‘bankrupt,’ we can definitely discuss this. But when he goes on to say that ‘such a theory [downgrades] the finished atonement at Calvary’ and leaves people ‘in doubt about the surety of their personal salvation,’ we’re dealing with a whole other ballgame.

      Basically, if the IJ soteriology is identical to Arminian soteriology, the only way Ford could make such a statement is if he is a Calvinist/OSAS and disagrees with Arminianism in general or if he is debunking a straw man, most likely the variant IJ already mentioned. Otherwise the onus is on him to show how IJ soteriology is different than classical Arminianism and bringing up 22 objections about anything else at this point serves to only muddy the waters.

      So I hope by now it is clear why I have persisted with this aspect of the conversation. If you disagree with Ford on this point and don’t think there are any soteriological problems with the IJ we can move on to your actual concerns.

  4. Mike, no doubt the Devil has fulfilled another one of his plans by introducing this doctrine called the “Investigative Judgment”–distracting Christians from spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How many countless hours and words have been wasted among Christians, if that is who some of you really are, in disputing over this false doctrine?

    Why have some made the Gospel of Jesus Christ so complicated? “3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3).

    Without a doubt your efforts are directed toward glorifying and justifying the Adventist faith–a faith which is not according to the Faith of Jesus Christ.

    • You must be very unfamiliar with Christian theology Daniel. The only reason anything Adventists have to say sounds complicated is because we have to untangle 2000 years of convoluted Christian theology.

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