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WHAT HAPPENED TO REVIVAL?

The question raised in the last issue of the Newsletter (Nov. 1986), "What Has Happened to Revival?" finds a revealing answer in 1888 Re-Examined:

The second outgrowth of this 1973-74 interest in 1888 was tragic. . . . Recognizing that the church needs "righteousness by faith," the General Conference convened the Palmdale Conference in 1976, where certain theologians dominated the discussions and won support for their "Reformationist," Calvinist views of "justification by faith." They claimed that their views were a true revival of the 1888 message content, when in fact they were a denial of every basic essential of that "most precious message."

Time soon demonstrated how these views are incompatible with the Adventist truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary. If the General Conference and our publishing houses had appreciated the unique content of the 1888 message itself and had faithfully published it, these views could never have taken root in North America, Europe, Africa, the Far East and the South Pacific. Misreading the history of the 1890’s resulted in repeating it with even more tragic consequences.

Rightly understood, the confusion engendered by the Calvinist views of righteousness by faith widely promulgated in Adventism in the 1970's-80's can be traced to General Conference insistence for decades that the 1888 message was only a re-emphasis of popular Protestant views. Our theologians were merely building upon the foundation laid for them in the 1920’s.