Larry Kirkpatrick

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What is the New Theology, part 12: Selective use of the Writings of EGW


Revelation by its nature marks off a boundary. It says, “This is truth and you cannot countermand.” It marks the dividing line between what God speaks by divine authority and what man says in his own authority. God’s information is pure, protected from error by the phenomenon of inspiration. Man’s material is a miserable tissue of speculations and nothingnesses.

Thus, inspired writings can be inconvenient. They get in the way of human ideas. Since Ellen G. White wrote over 100,000 pages it becomes tempting for advocates of error to bend the information. Selected bits of her writings are quoted to persuade the listener that a teaching is sound, while the preferred teaching of the teacher often directly contradicts the truth. Will we use the inspired writings given us by God only selectively, or will we let them speak to us more broadly with their full testimony? In some cases White's writings have been presented in such a manner that they appear to teach original sin.


What is the New Theology, part 11: Does the 1844 Investigative Judgment Really Matter?


The New Theology has no need for the Bible’s teachings of Jesus’ movement from the holy to the most holy place in heaven in 1844 at the end of the 2300 day/year prophecy. The New Theology-infected are willing to say that 1844 was necessary. They may even in some vague way believe it. And yet, the description of the investigative judgment shows it to be only an empty add-on which plays no effective part in their gospel.

Christ moving into the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary, an investigative judgment to see who “Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort” have become “conquerors in the battle with evil” (The Great Controversy, p. 425), is about the development of a people who follow Jesus into the zone where there is no sinning. But this is supremely unimportant in the New Theology.


What is the New Theology, part 10: Is the Gospel Justification Only?


The New Theology artificially limits the gospel to counted justification alone. It understands justification as effectively separate from the question of whether the one justified is experiencing an internal holiness. These hold sanctification, the making-holy of a believer, to be a fruit of the gospel, and not a necessary part of salvation. Now, a few quotations from the wild. First, from Desmond Ford:

Traditionally, Adventists have erroneously placed sanctification within the scope of the Pauline ‘righteousness by faith.’ It is now time for a clear change to be made to correct that error. We should follow the decision made at Palmdale Conference, which I attended in the 1970s and which was written up in the Review as concluding that righteousness by faith meant justification only, though sanctification was always its fruit. This will safeguard the precious doctrine of Christian assurance.1


What is the New Theology, part 9: Justification and Future Sin


Another earmark of the New Theology is its treatment of the longevity of a forensic declaration. In this line it is generally said that your being justified takes care of all sins you have committed, are committing, or will commit. One put it like this: “Justification occurs when one accepts Jesus as their only hope of salvation, and claims the merits of His blood. At that very moment all sin is cancelled forever, and future sin will not be held against the believer.”

However, the only way justification could cancel all sin forever is if it were a one-time, unconditional declaration. In the final analysis there is little unconditionality in the gospel and the plan of redemption. Conditions are strung through the New Testament. These are to be met through cooperation of the human with the divine agent. Man must exercise his free will to choose and must lay hold of the strength that only God can provide him in order that he be enabled actively to obey.


What is the New Theology, part 8: Obedience a Condition of Salvation?


Within the denominational fold today are many who through extended exposure to the idea have become concerned about what they call “legalism.” They condemn as unchristian our long-standing emphasis on operational faith, obedience and human cooperation with divinity. They seek to replace it with a virtually unconditional form of salvation.

Their view is emphasized in statements such as, “obedience is our response to the salvation that God gives.” Or, that “if victory and obedience were a condition of salvation, then salvation would be by works,” and “the condition of salvation is faith, not obedience.” The New Theology regards choosing to surrender to Jesus as one kind of (non)-obedience, even while that which comes after the initial moment of salvation arbitrarily is classed as another kind of obedience.

In contrast, here are just some sample statements from inspiration that go the other way:


What is the New Theology, part 7: What is Justification?


Justification is, in the New Theology, rigidly held to mean counting right, not making right. It is kept to an external declaration made about the individual, rather than to such external declaration along with a work done inside the individual. The error of this position is made more difficult to understand because in many minds, justification and sanctification are rigidly separated, a carry-over from Methodism. Justification was held to count right and sanctification to be an increasing internal growth in holiness. Although the differences were minutely defined, inspiration warns us:

Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification. Into the definitions of these two terms they often bring their own ideas and spe...


What is the New Theology, part 6: Jesus--Prefall, Postfall, or Synthetic?


The New Theology teaches that Jesus took human flesh but not necessarily that He became a whole, after-the-Fall human person. The New Theology Jesus lacks the most essential aspect. He has not taken a humanity which the great controversy war demands be in solidarity with our own.

In New Theology teachings, Jesus cannot condemn sin in sinful flesh (Romans 8:3, 4) because the flesh He takes is unlike our own right where it counts the most. The New Theology says that the humanity of Christ was “our nature in every sense—except in sinful propensities,” that the humanity He was born with, “was free from any sinful traits or propensities.”

The issue of propensities is whether Jesus experienced temptation like we do or not, whether He became one of us or not, whether He defeated sin in sinful flesh or not, whether He can be our legitimate Substitute and our high Priest and Example, or not.