Justification and Righteousness by Faith: A Comparison of Three Contrasting Views
The Popular Evangelical View
Seventh-day Adventist View
The 1888 View


This document is a private thought-paper intended for special study by students and scholars interested in the on-going righteousness by faith discussions. Its conclusions are tentative, subject to further light. It is not for wide distribution nor for agitation on the local church level.

Robert J. Wieland


Since this document is a study paper it is not to be considered in any other way than tentative. I believe an attempt such as this should have been made long ago. These "comparisons" are not intended to be critical or condemnatory, but only to stimulate to further study. Surely we are mature enough to discuss and search together for a better understanding of vital truth!

My characterizations of the various views are of course only approximate:

  1. Some Evangelical authors may be cited whose positions will differ from my representations in column one. However, I believe that I have quite fairly represented their over-all, general views as held by the great mass of Evangelical Sunday-keeping church members and leaders, and as they are characterized by Ellen G. White.

  2. Likewise some of our current, contemporary Seventh-day Adventist writers and speakers may be cited whose individual views will differ from my characterization in column two. I suggest only that this column represents the generally prevailing views that most of our people and workers entertain or convey. Quite largely this is because we have unwittingly adopted the views of the popular churches on righteousness by faith, assuming that they are the same as the 1888 message, as Dr. Froom says in Movement of Destiny so forcefully. These are the views that have largely prevailed for many decades since 1888. Column two does not represent the Ellen G. White views, which would of course be the proper Seventh-day Adventist positions if we rightly appreciated the 1888 message. Neither does it take into account certain recent shifts of view the last three or four years as evidenced in some Review editorials and by other means. Hopefully, concepts in harmony with the 1888 message may soon filter down to the grassroots level of our general church membership and accomplish deep revival and reformation.

  3. Column three represents what Donald K. Short and I have come to understand is the main import of the 1888 message as brought by Jones and Waggoner and clearly endorsed by Ellen G. White. The Lords messenger endorsed their message some two hundred times, and identified it as the "beginning" of the Latter Rain and Loud Cry. The concepts expressed in this column have been derived from a study of Jones’ The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection (Pacific Press, 1905), his 1893 and 1895 General Conference Bulletin studies, and miscellaneous articles in the Signs and Review of the 1890’s; and from Waggoner’s The Gospel in Galatians (1887), Review articles and editorials.

Citations or references in this paper are to: Another Look at Seventh-day Adventism, by Norman F. Douty (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1962); Movement of Destiny, by L. E. Froom; Through Crisis to Victory 1888-1901, by A. V. Olson; By Faith Alone, by N. F. Pease; and the special Review on Righteousness by Faith.

Please do not use this paper to create discord on the local church level. It is intended for the attention only of mature, responsible, loyal students who wish to see theological problems solved the right way—by prayerful, humble searching for truth within a framework maintaining harmony and confidence within the church.

Robert J. Wieland
August 30, 1977

Three Contrasting Views  |  Section One  |  Section Two
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