What was the 1888 Message?

The Essentials of the Jones-Waggoner Message

  1. Seen in this light, justification by faith is the dynamic of the 1888 message. We must not take an extreme view and try to work out an artificially minute "balance" between justification and sanctification,57 implying that the Reformation taught justification by faith, and the 1888 messengers merely added sanctification. Jones and Waggoner perceived deeper dimensions to justification by faith than did the 16th century Reformers. Not only must we "come out of Babylon"; genuine justification by faith will take us out of Babylon. The distinctive truths of the "third angelís message" invested justification by faith with a "verity" beyond what previous generations had been able to perceive. It was "the beginning" of "great truths that have lain unheeded and unseen since the day of Pentecost."58

It is true, according to The Great Controversy, that "the great doctrine of justification by faith [was] so clearly taught by Luther."59 But this does not mean that it was fully taught by him. Ellen White did not say that Luther in his day taught the "third angelís message in verity,"60 as Conradi mistakenly asserted. She specifically said Luther did not teach it; there were aspects of "the message of salvation" in "the gospel" that he "did not proclaim."61

And Lutherís and Calvinís followers soon departed further from what clarity there was in the Reformersí understanding. The famous Formula of Concord of 1580, years after Lutherís death, fixed the so called "Reformation" view of justification by faith in a retrograded mold that failed to recognize its true effective nature.62

The 1888 message of righteousness by faith was parallel to and consistent with the
unique Seventh-day Adventist truth of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.



  1. 6 BC 1072; see Waggoner, GCB 1891, Studies on Romans, p. 4. [return to text]
  2. See Jones, GCB 1893, pp. 242-246, 257-266, 342-347; GCB 1895, p. 365; FE 473 (RH June 3, 1890). [return to text]
  3. GC 253. [return to text]
  4. 60 RH April 1,1890 (1 SM 372). [return to text]
  5. GC 355, 356 ["This message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days … The Reformers did not proclaim it."] [return to text]
  6. See Hans LaRondelle, Spectrum, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 48-57. [return to text]
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