An Open Letter to Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Desmond Ford, Geoffrey Paxton, A. Leroy Moore and Like Minded New Theology Advocates

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There are great problems with the theories of Billy Graham, Desmond Ford, Geoffrey Paxton, and most mainline Christian “scholars,” and now inclusive of an ever increasing number of Seventh-day Adventist “scholars” and their unsuspecting layman “sheep” followers.  The problems are relative to the teaching that we are saved by forensic justification ONLY, and that sanctification—even that wrought in and through us by the Holy Spirit, does not merit our salvation.


There are at least twelve verses in Scripture that wreak havoc with your theories and interpretations of Scripture regarding the conditions and requisites for salvation.  The problem(s) I refer to involve a commonly held view which an SDA layman, Karl Wagner, quotes from an Adventist “conservative” by the name of Carlyle B. Haynes.    The theory goes like this: 


"True Christians do not keep the law in order to obtain salvation. They keep it because they have received salvation by receiving Christ.  Obedience is not the agency of salvation. It is the result." Carlyle B. Haynes, "Survival and Obedience" p. 15. 


Haynes is correct in one regard.  Our own obedience is not the agency of salvation.  Christ's obedience in and for us is the agency of salvation along with His death for our disobedience.  Christ's other purpose for His Incarnation was to reproduce Himself, His character, His works, in and through man.


Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.


The first listed below, making works a condition or requisite for salvation, is by Christ Himself.  I would consider the following verses as more than "proof-texting," especially in light of the author of  the first and second texts, Jesus and Paul respectively.  The second is by your favorite author from whom you all seem to SELECT PARTS to support your aberrant theology.  They are as follows:


1.   Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.


The clear implication is that one must keep the commandments in order to enter eternal life.


2.   Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law [are] just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

3.   Jam 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

4.   Jam 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

5.   Jam 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?


The clarion inference is that one must be BOTH a hearer AND a DOER of the law to be justified (saved). 


1.   Rev 22:14 Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.


The plain implication is that one must do His commandments in order to have a right to the tree of life and enter through the gates into the city.


2.   Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.


The clear message of the verse says that no one will enter heaven who violates any commandment.


8.   1Cr 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


The obvious implication is that one is washed and sanctified WHEN, AT THE SAME TIME, one is justified, so that one does not accrue without the other.  This makes Carlyle, you, and all who hold your personal opinion theory, wrong, and guilty of the serious act of misleading others in a wrong course.


The following verses manifestly imply that works that offend will prevent one from being justified and saved:


9.   Mat 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast [them] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

10. Mat 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

11. Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

12. Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  


It seems that our sanctification was all as much important to Christ’s purpose as was His death on the cross according to Paul and Peter:


2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:


1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.


It seems clear from the above verses that we are chosen to salvation THROUGH sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience AND belief of the truth BOTH.


Gentlemen, please keep in mind that I am fully aware of all the other verses in Scripture that say that we are not justified by works, but by faith and grace.  I do GET IT!  And because I do GET IT-- (I FULLY COMPREHEND—UNDERSTAND YOUR VIEW AND HOW YOU ARRIVE AT IT) including all the verses you base your theology on. 


However, I find that there is only ONE WAY to harmonize Scripture so that none contradicts the other.  That simple but flawless solution is to reckon that when Paul said that we are not justified by works he meant works of our own generation—done on our own steam—like the Jews tried to do in an effort to earn salvation.  Paul was addressing that weakness in the Jews he was teaching when he said that we are not saved by works but grace, he meant not works of our own but the grace works of Christ working in and through us.  He meant that we are not saved by our own works.  When he said we are saved by faith alone, he meant a faith that embraces every word in all of the above texts of Scripture interpreted so that nothing contradicts, lest we serve a self-contradictory God.


What you gentlemen and others of your persuasion do not seem TO GET, is that your theology contradicts all of the above scriptures.  My mission has been to interpret so that NOTHING contradicts.  That is the plan Ellen White advocated.  Seems like a wise plan to me, else we must indict God as being self-contradictory.


 The basis of our differences are related to your rejection of the following formula originated by William Miller and embraced by Ellen G. White:


 Weight of Evidence Formula: "1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, [interpreter] since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible." E.G. White, Second Advent Review and Herald, 11-25-34, pr. 24.


Carlyle's "guessing," along with personal desire is the personal creed of all such advocates.  I do not operate by my personal desire.  Personally, my carnal nature would desire your teaching gentlemen, the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, ONLY BELIEVE, as far as meritorious salvation is concerned.  But I cannot honestly and conscientiously believe that doctrine which God especially hates:


Rev 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


Rev 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.


The SDA Bible Commentary defines the doctrine of the Nicolaitans thusly:

"The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism (see SDA Bible Commentary, 7:957). Nicolaitans of the 2d cent. seem to have continued and extended the views of the 1st-cent. adherents, holding to the freedom of the flesh, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh had no effect upon the health of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation." SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 8, p. 771.

Definition of antinomian: a believer in the doctrine that faith alone, not obedience to the moral law, is necessary for salvation." Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary.

Karl Wagner, an SDA layman preacher and Bible teacher in his church in Arizona, teaches that faith alone, not obedience to the moral law—even works of obedience empowered by the Holy Spirit, ARE NOT meritoriously essential for salvation.  Clearly, this is a doctrine of the Nicolaitans and it is taught by nearly all of mainstream Christianity, and now New Movement Seventh-day Adventism. 

What is the evil of the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans?  It turns grace into lasciviousness—because if one believes he/she is saved by faith (belief) ALONE, he/she tend to imbibe lasciviousness while thinking he/she is saved imperviously by belief (faith) alone.

Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

It NEVER HAS BEEN the case that I do not understand your position--that it is beyond me, as some have demeaningly stated in a dishonest effort to discredit my ability to understand.  I have always understood your position.  I have MET that position in others for over 40 years of my life. 


I must interpret, not as my carnal nature wishes, but in a way that does not cause God to contradict Himself.  I pray that this letter will enable you to better understand those whom you would condemningly dismiss as legalists of the wrong type—those who think that they can earn salvation by their own works—minus the Divine Nature Holy Spirit of Christ indwelling the heart where He has planted His law under the New Covenant of Grace.


I believe that even Christ’s grace involves an element of legalism since He planted His law in the heart (mind) of men.  Further, He said that grace may be received for obedience to the faith.  It would seem to me that such grace is just as much a free gift as is pardon for sin.  Where sin abounds, such grace much more abounds.


Rom 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:


Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:


Who is the legalist here?  Who was the legalist when He said:


Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.


Who was the legalist when He said:  Hbr 8:10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:


Hbr 10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;


What could be more legalistic than the Lord putting His laws into our hearts and minds?  Is this a God honored legalism, versus a man oriented legalism whereby he strives to earn salvation by his own works, versus Christ working His works in and through man?

Who was the legalist when He said:  Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I recognize that all you gentlemen combined represent a mine of thought and study in the Word.  If any one of you can interpret all related Scripture so that none contradict and still retain your teaching on salvation, I will readily embrace your findings.  I would consider this a fair and just proposal.

I have dialoged upwards of four years now with Karl Wagner, the SDA layman referred to above, and he has not been able to interpret all the applicable scripture so that non contradict.  Therefore, I am seeking aid elsewhere. 


I recently put the question to Karl Wagner this way:




The order of gifts is: 

  • A measure of faith is given to all men.
  • Some choose to exercise the free unmerited grace gifts of faith to buy gold tried in the fired, Christ's faith, love, eyesalve, white raiment.
  • Acceptance of the above gifts works repentance.
  • The born again experience is the reception of the Divine Nature of Christ and His law planted in the mind of man.
  • Laodicea is not saved without accepting all the above free gifts of grace.
  • The white raiment robe of Christ's righteousness.
  • Hot works (character) as the character of the indwelling Christ Jesus--His works worked in and through us.
  • The Oil that the foolish virgins lack is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
  • Christ died to give us His Divine Nature Holy Spirit to overcome the lust of the world. 
  • Christ died to pay our penalty for sin.
  • All of the above free, unmerited gifts of Christ are meritorious toward our salvation, for without any ONE of the above free gifts, no one will be saved.
  • Salvation is not of our works.  Salvation is Christ working in and through us His good pleasure will.
  • Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  • All of the above is meritorious toward one's salvation because it is all of God's gifts to man.  No man will be saved without any one of the above free grace gifts.  That makes them all meritorious.
  • It is not a matter of which comes first.  This entire package of gifts must be accepted at the born again experience or one is not saved.
  • True faith will accept all of the free grace gifts as a package.  Abraham did not refuse one of the above gifts.  His acceptance of the above gifts was imputed (accounted) unto him for righteousness.
  • Any denial that the above gifts of Christ's Holy Spirit are meritorious toward our salvation is the worst type of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--unpardonable sin if persisted in.


Rev 3:18

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire [faith and love], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment [Christ's white robe of righteousness], that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve [Holy Spirit Spiritual discernment], that thou mayest see.


Rev 3:15

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.


Rev 3:16

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Rev 3:19

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.



Ron Beaulieu


P.S.  My quest is indeed sincere.  Please do not mistake my conviction at this stage as any modicum of unwillingness to be proven wrong!  I would greatly appreciate any input from any Seventh-day Adventist leader who teaches that we are saved by faith alone without works—even the works empowered by the Holy Spirit working in and through us—and that such works are not meritorious toward salvation.

As a child of God, am I worth the guidance I seek?