The Alpha of Apostasy

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. … Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 204, 205.

“Be not deceived; many shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this danger. The omega will be of a most startling nature.” Ibid., 197.

“When men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled? …

“Those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men who are spoiling the faith of the people of God, are guided by a delusive sentiment.” Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, 9, 11.

“Renewed energy is now needed. Vigilant action is called for. Indifference and sloth will result in the loss of personal religion and of heaven. … My message to you is: No longer consent to listen without protest to the perversion of truth. … We must firmly refuse to be drawn away from the platform of eternal truth, which since 1844 has stood the test.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 196, 199, 200.

“I hesitated and delayed about the sending out of that which the Spirit of the Lord impelled me to write. I did not want to be compelled to present the misleading influence of these sophistries. But in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met.” Ibid., 205.

“What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith—the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, ‘Meet it!’ ” Ibid., 207, 208.

The alpha of apostasy had to do with at least the following theological points:

  1. the publication of the book Living Temple by Dr. J. H. Kellogg in which the doctrine of pantheism was taught. Ellen White said that the ideas presented in this book would undermine the doctrine of the atonement made by Christ;
  2. the teaching by A. F. Ballenger that Christ went into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in 31 A.D. instead of 1844. Elder Ballenger used typology in the Old Testament to show that every text in the Old Testament that referred to “within the veil” had to do with the Most Holy Place and therefore Hebrews 6:19 said, according to him, that Jesus went directly into the Most Holy Place in 31 A.D.

Ellen White wrote about these matters as follows: “Satan is striving continually to bring in fanciful suppositions in regard to the sanctuary, degrading the wonderful representations of God and the ministry of Christ for our salvation into something that suits the carnal mind. He removes its presiding power from the hearts of believers, and supplies its place with fantastic theories invented to make void the truths of the atonement, and destroy our confidence in the doctrines which we have held sacred since the third angel’s message was first given. Thus he would rob us of our faith in the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work.” Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, 17.

“In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years?” Review and Herald, May 25, 1905.

“The theory that God is an essence pervading all nature is received by many who profess to believe the Scriptures; but, however beautifully clothed, this theory is a most dangerous deception. … If God is an essence pervading all nature, then He dwells in all men; and in order to attain holiness, man has only to develop the power within him. These theories [pantheism, etc.], followed to their logical conclusion, … do away with the necessity for the atonement and make man his own savior. … Those who accept them are in great danger of being led finally to look upon the whole Bible as a fiction.” The Faith I Live By, 40.

“Only through Christ can men sunken in sin and degradation be led to a higher life. Theories that do not recognize the atonement that has been made for sin, and the work that the Holy Spirit is to do in the hearts of human beings, are powerless to save.” Signs of the Times, June 14, 1905.

“There is in it [pantheism] the beginning of theories which, carried to their logical conclusion, would destroy faith in the sanctuary question and in the atonement. I do not think that Dr. Kellogg saw this clearly. I do not think that he realized that in laying his new foundation of faith, he was directing his steps toward infidelity.—Signs of the Times, Jun. 14, 1905.)”

“I have seen the results of these fanciful views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, and free-lovism. The free-love tendency of these teachings was so concealed that at first it was difficult to make plain its real character. Until the Lord presented it to me, I knew not what to call it, but I was instructed to call it unholy spiritual love.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 292.

Ellen White wrote several letters to Dr. J. H. Kellogg beginning in 1892, in an effort to help him see the path upon which he was entering. God was trying to help him understand the need of pointing people to Christ and His work in the heavenly sanctuary. God saw what was coming. Notice this clear testimony given to Dr. Kellogg almost ten years before the crisis erupted.

“I want you, my brother, to stand under the shadow of the cross. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine directly there. I have no time to write more now, but I do feel an intense interest for your soul. Talk less; exalt science less; let your Redeemer be the one exalted. The melody of heaven is praise to God and the Lamb. It sounds forth from the voices of ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands. Why does not praise flow from our lips? Why are we so dumb? The Lord is ready to disclose to His church more and more of His wonderful power, and to open new lines of thought in regard to the great plan of redemption—the love, the matchless love, that moved Him to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.—Letter 18, 1892, pp. 8, 9. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, April 15, 1892.) …

“The world is our field of missionary toil, and we are to go forth to our labor surrounded with the atmosphere of Gethsemane and Calvary. Those in our sanitariums are to take advantage of the opportunities given them to set before the sick and suffering the restoring efficacy [that] there is in Christ for the salvation of soul and body. How carefully should these precious opportunities be improved by nurses, matron, and physicians! They are to hold up the privilege which all have of becoming children of God by surrendering all they have and are to the keeping power of Christ. We have been bought with a price, and what a price!—even the blood of the only begotten Son of God. Shall we not, then, strive to bring our lives into conformity to His will?—Letter 122, 1901, pp. 6, 7. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Sept. 11, 1901.)

“We are in this world to lift the cross of Calvary. As we lift this cross, we shall find that it lifts us. Let every Christian stand in his lot and place, catching the inspiration of the work that Christ did for souls while in this world. We need the ardor of the Christian hero, who can endure the seeing of Him that is invisible. Our faith is to have a resurrection. The soldiers of the cross are to exert a positive influence for good. Christ says, ‘He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad’ (Matthew 12:30). Indifference in the Christian life is a manifest denial of Christ.—Letter 239, 1903, pp. 8,9. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Oct. 28, 1903.)…

“My heart aches as I see how faint a realization human beings have of what has been done for them. How I wish they could see as I see what is meant by the punishment of the guilty. The invitation comes to us, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Those who do not believe in Christ, receiving Him as a personal Saviour, must die in their sins. They must suffer the punishment of the second death. Those who remain in unbelief cannot appreciate the love that Christ has expressed for them, and they will never have an experimental knowledge of the suffering that Christ endured in order that their sins might be pardoned and they be received as children of God.—Letter 257, 1903, p. 5. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Nov. 26, 1903.)…

“ ‘It is Christ that died’ is an argument that cannot be refuted. To it nothing can be added. To the repentant soul it is Yea and Amen. Christ leads the penitent soul upward step by step, and gives to the mind His peace. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). Angels of God guard the penitent, believing soul, that evil angels may not intrude.—Letter 271, 1904, p. 3. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, July 29, 1904.)

“Christ died for us to make an atonement for our sins. He is now standing at His Father’s right hand, pleading for us. To all who receive Him, He will give power to become the sons of God. Had He not paid the redemption price for us, we could not be saved. But His intercessions prevail. He had power to take away our sins. He lives to make intercession, and because He lives, we shall live also if we are obedient to His will. He will keep us from falling.—Letter 368, 1904, p. 3. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Aug. 31, 1904.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 59–62.

In late 1904 and early 1905, A. F. Ballenger, who was working in England, began expounding views on the heavenly sanctuary that formed a direct attack on Christ’s ministry in the Most Holy Place. These views came to the attention of the leaders of the General Conference later that year. Ellen White, in the following statements, made it very clear that the views of Dr. Kellogg and A. F. Ballenger, if accepted, would remove the sanctuary message from the foundation of our faith.

These statements were excerpts from Manuscript Release 760 out of a pamphlet entitled, “The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth,” released by the Ellen G. White Estate in 1980, 1981.

“Brother Ballenger does not discern what he is doing any more than Dr. Kellogg discerned that the book Living Temple contained some of the most dangerous errors that could be presented to the people of God. The most specious errors lie concealed in these theories and suppositions, which, if received, would leave the people of God in a labyrinth of error. Those who cherish these theories are building upon the sand, and when the storm and tempest shall come the structure will be swept away.” Manuscript Release Number 760, 8.

“The men who have lost their hold on the truths of the sanctuary question as they have been presented by men who have been under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, had better pray more and talk less. I testify in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is led by satanic agencies and spiritualistic, invisible leaders. Those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will turn away from these seducing spirits.” Ibid., 5.

“I am bidden to say in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is following a false light. The Lord has not given him the message that he is bearing regarding the sanctuary service.” Ibid., 10.

“God never contradicts Himself. Scripture proofs are misapplied if forced to testify to that which is not true. Another and still another will arise and bring in supposedly great light, and make their assertions. But we stand by the old landmarks.”
[I John 1:1-10 quoted.]” Ibid., 19.

“So you see that it is impossible for us to have any agreement with the positions taken by Brother A. F. Ballenger, for no lie is of the truth. His proofs do not belong where he places them, and although he may lead minds to believe his theory in regard to the sanctuary, this is no evidence that his theory is true. We have had a plain and decided testimony to bear for half a century. The positions taken in my books are truth. The truth was revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and we know that Brother Ballenger’s position is not according to the Word of God. This theory is a deceiving theory and he misapplies Scriptures. Theories of the kind that he has been presenting, we have had to meet again and again.” Ibid., 23.

“I am instructed that we are not to enter into any controversy over the spiritualistic representations that are fast coming in from every quarter. Further than this, I am to give those in charge of our papers instruction not to publish in the columns of the Review and Herald, the Signs of the Times, or any other papers published by Seventh-day Adventists, articles attempting to explain these sophistries. We are in danger whenever we discuss the sophistries of the enemy. The publication of articles dealing with these sophistries is a snare for souls. Let these theories alone and warn all not to read them. Your explanations will amount to nothing. Let the theories alone. Do not try to show the inconsistency or fallacy of them. Let them alone.

“Do not perpetuate evil by talking of these theories in sermons or by publishing in our papers articles regarding them. The Lord says, Let them be unexplained. Present the affirmative of truth plainly, clearly, and decidedly. You cannot afford to study or combat these false theories. Present the truth, It is written.” Ibid., 24.

“The sanctuary question is the foundation of our faith.” Ibid., 26.

“There is a spirit of wickedness at work in the church that is striving at every opportunity to make void the law of God. While the Lord may not punish unto death those who have carried their rebellion to great lengths, the light will never again shine with such convincing power upon the stubborn opposers of truth.” Ibid., 29.

Satan is making a direct attack on the closing atonement ministry of Christ in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in heaven. We believe that the time has come in the great second advent movement for God’s faithful people to reaffirm their faith in the sanctuary truth which is the foundation of our faith.

[All emphasis supplied.]

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by e-mail at: