"CHEAP GRACE" is an old-fashioned term used by early Seventh-day Adventists.  It was used to separate themselves from what they called 'Nominal Christians', IE., those who called themselves Christians but did not follow Jesus Christ either in Seventh-day Sabbath observance or in other evidences of a changed life deemed important in those former days. Nowadays, Seventh-day Adventists have a list of doctrines quite similar to other Fundamentalist Trinitarians, but add to these keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath holy instead of Sunday, non-belief in a "Secret rapture", and an emphasis on vegetarianism and "Health reform' derived mainly from the writings of Ellen G. White.

Seventh-day Adventists



What they believed and taught before


And what they supposedly believe after the


      The present generation of Seventh-day Adventists (those born or brought up after the 1950s) have always been a part of a Trinitarian religious environment, and except for those few who are researchers, or just curious about  what their religious forefathers believed, have little or no interest in those long ago days when Adventists talked about "Cheap Grace" and "Probation" and an "INVESTIGATIVE  JUDGEMENT" going on in which heavenly beings were looking over our shoulders at all times marking down in unseen books everything Adventists were thinking and doing, and once your name is reached there will be "time no longer" for you to make the changes necessary to be acceptable to a God who demands absolute perfection in  thought, word, and deed from those He chooses to grant eternal life.  Besides this unknown and invisible deadline we all believed (before 1888) in another unknown and invisible deadline, a time in which Jesus Christ would cease being our High Priest, step down from that position in a Heavenly Sanctuary, and come back to earth to collect the righteous and destroy the wicked. These former times, and this former religious position and program of Seventh-day Adventists is well documented in the writings of Ellen White, and I intend to take you there, at least momentarily, if you keep on reading.
Ellen Harmon in her December 1844 vision account did not mention any of the subjects later connected in Adventism with "Cheap Grace", an "Investigative Judgment", "Probation" a "Close of Probation" or a period in which those waiting for Christ to return would have to live sinless lives for a period of time.   Instead the view was of an ascending pathway, with some falling off this pathway.  Those who stayed with the group on the path reached the Holy City (Heaven) as Jesus returned to greet them.

      Before the time Ellen Harmon had this vision, William Miller and his associates had to learn more about the Jewish feast days and their dates and symbolism because an earlier date for the Second Coming of Jesus had failed, and they either must abandon their prediction entirely, or come up with another date.   They looked closely at the symbolism connected with "The Day of Atonement" (Yom Kippur) and decided that this offered the symbolism they needed.   By then, the next Jewish "Day of Atonement" on their immediate horizon was October 22, 1844,  so that's how Adventists got that date as their final prediction.  After they were all again disappointed, three things happened.  Ellen White received her first important vision, and independently, several other disappointed Millerites including Hiram Edson, were impressed (perhaps a "vision" also) with the idea of a "Heavenly Sanctuary" into which Jesus had stepped as a Jewish High Priest, into the "most Holy Place" -- an event that only occurs once a year in Jewish theology -- on "The Day of Atonement" (Yom Kippur).  Edson and Crozier wrote and circulated a pamphlet on this subject among the relatively small group that had survived the "Great Disappointment" with any faith and interest in Bible prophecy.  So when Ellen White had another vision in Topsham, Maine, in 1847 in which she saw Jesus in this already imagined by others "Heavenly Sanctuary", it should not surprise us.   Also, during this period, Joseph Bates had researched  the Seventh-day Sabbath, introduced to him by Seventh-day Baptists, and written another pamphlet on this subject.   Also he convinced the Whites, Ellen and her new husband, James White, of the correctness of this view, so it should not surprise us that the Seventh-day Sabbath became a prominent part of Ellen White's second major vision.

       As a lot of time passed, and Jesus still failed to appear in the manner expected by Ellen White and her associates, the other elements of a Theology and Eschatology distinctly Adventist, and not shared with, or believed by anyone else besides the group named "Seventh-day Adventists" were debated and made a part of the religion of the pre-1888 Adventists.   These include, but are not limited to, the "INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT",  "PROBATION",  the "CLOSE OF PROBATION", a "TIME OF TROUBLE" for everyone, but particularly focused on Adventists, a national and international "SUNDAY LAW" with a connected "DEATH DECREE", and a period of time during which a relatively few Adventist survivors will be required to live sinless lives as they live in wilderness places waiting rescue by a returning Jesus prior to His destroying all unbelievers.   This will be followed by 1000 years of complete desolation of Earth, strewn (at least at first) by the dead bodies of all non-Sabbath-keepers, with the only living beings on earth the Devil and his angels.  during this 1000 years, the Sabbath-keepers will be in heaven judging all the dead sinners and determining the amount of punishment each of these dead sinners must receive before their lives are snuffed out forever.

     Since none of this will appear plausible, logical, or even familiar to a lot of modern Adventists who read this, and totally weird or strange to everyone else (but slightly familiar to the "Secret Rapture"--"Left Behind" group of Pentecostals and Evangelicals) I'll finish this first page of three with direct quotations from Ellen White's book "Early Writings".  This book was last edited in 1882, six years before Adventism started to change radically to get in line with the "Wonderful and Amazing Grace" people, and so reflects rather accurately the former beliefs of Adventists, when "Cheap Grace" was a delusion, and something to be shunned.




   "Sabbath, March 24, 1849 (2 years after Ellen White's Sabbath and Sanctuary Vision), we had a sweet and very interesting meeting with the brethren at Topsham, Me.  The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God.  Then I was shown that the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door, could not be seperated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God's people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments.   This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844.  Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place [that place in theology where "CHEAP GRACE" works, where every Christian can be "SAVED" in spite of their "works" (such as keeping Sunday as the Sabbath---Bob Holt] and opened the door into the most holy [that place in theology where "CHEAP GRACE" is a delusion, and where even Christians are to be judged by their behavior, such as keeping holy Sunday, a day never authorized by God or the ten commandments -- Bob Holt], and passed within the second vail, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches."

    "The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place [that place in theology where "CHEAP GRACE' works, where every Christian can be "SAVED" in spite of their "works" (such as keeping Sunday as the Sabbath --Bob Holtthat Jesus has shut, and close the door to the most holy place, [that place in theology where "CHEAP GRACE" --"Wonderful Grace", "Amazing Grace", "Grace that is Sufficient for ALL our Sins" --is a delusion, and where even Christians are to be judged by their behavior, such as keeping holy Sunday, a day never authorized by God or the ten commandments --Bob Holt], which He opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah."

    "Satan is using every device in this sealing time [last edited in 1882, indicating that Ellen White saw 1882 to be that "sealing time" --- which was before 1888, at which time "Satan" was able to achieve major success along these lines of endeavor] to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth, and to cause them to waver.  I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth [and decided against "CHEAP GRACE" -- Bob Holt] and was pure in heart, was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty."


    "I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven.  An angel with a writer's inkhorn by his side returned from the earth, and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed.  Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer.  He raised his hands, and with a loud voice said, "It is done."  And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still."


     "Every case had been decided for life or death.  While Jesus had been ministering in the Sanctuary, the judgment had been going on for the righteous dead, and then for the righteous living.  Christ had received His kingdom, having made the atonement for His people, and blotted out their sins.  The subjects of the kingdom were made up.  The marriage of the Lamb  was consummated.  And the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, was given to Jesus and the heirs of salvation, and Jesus was to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of lords."


     "As Jesus moved out of the most holy place [that place in theology where "CHEAP GRACE" --"Wonderful Grace", "Amazing Grace", "Grace that is Sufficient for ALL our Sins" --is a delusion, and where even Christians are to be judged by their behavior, such as keeping holy Sunday, a day never authorized by God or the ten commandments --Bob Holt], I heard the tinkling of the bells upon His garment [in Jewish theology and tradition, this indicated that their high priest was still alive, and that YHWH had granted His nation a release from guilt for all their sins, and that they need not worry about them for another year -- until time for the next Rosh Hashanna, days of awe  and repentance, and another Yom Kippur ceremony.] and as he left, a cloud of darkness [in Essene tradition -- Earth's business as usual -- Bob Holt ] covered the inhabitants of earth.  [in Adventism, it's now after the 1950s, and the now Trinitarian Adventists have only a distasetful corperate memory of those ancient times when they and their leaders might be held accountable for bad actions and bad decisions -- Bob Holt]. There was then no mediator between guilty man and an offended God.   While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man, a restraint was upon the people; but when he stepped out from between man and the Father, the restraint was removed, and Satan had entire control of the finally impenitent."  Including, logically and inevitably the Adventists who after the 1950s went back to Trinitarianism and a "CHEAP GRACE" theology.

NEXT: Page 2

"CHEAP GRACE" -- A Temporary


A few of the Forefathers of Seventh-day Adventism



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