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Registered user
Username: Schasc

Post Number: 64
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 5:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Has anyone read the book "95 theses on righteousness by faith" by Morris Venden? My father gave the book to me and asked if I would read it. Just wondered how Vendens view differs if at all with evengelical chrisitianity. If it is different could anyone point me to some texts that I could refer to as compare Venden's viewpoint with the apostle Paul............
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Username: Ric_b

Post Number: 554
Registered: 7-2004

Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 8:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Venden's book may present ideas that are common in evangelical churches today, but I find it disgusting that Venden would rely on a reference to Luther (95 Theses) in order to teach many doctrines directly opposed to the central core of the reformation. Throughout the book Venden teaches that righteousness comes through the combined efforts of man and God. This was, and is, the Roman Catholic view that Luther, Calvin and others fought so strongly against. Catholicism has always believed that salvation come by faith. The question of the reformation was whether salvation came by faith /b{alone}. Venden follows in the SDA tradition by repeatedly pointing out our efforts in salvation. Yes, he has softened this by making it into our efforts to establish and maintain a relationship with God, but it is still all about our efforts.

But the real clincher in this for me is how Venden is speaking of "righteousness". For Venden, this righteousness is something we become inside that impacts what we do on the outside (see theses 4, 5 and 7). Instead of focusing on the righteousness of Christ that is freely and totally credited to us (see Romans 4), Venden promotes the idea that we become righteous.

Venden, like most of SDAism denies original sin (Thesis 9). He does not believe that God holds us accountable for this (compare that against Romans 5:12-19).

For Venden (Thesis 15) faith "comes as a result of spending time in communion and fellowship and relationship with Him. If you will come to Him, He will give you the genuine faith the you need." Again this view is directly aligned with Catholicism against Luther. We don't come to Him that He might give us faith. We come to Him because He has given us faith. We can't do anything towards salvation in and of ourselves. We are born Spiritually dead. A dead man can not make himself alive (look at Eph 2:1-10).

Venden teaches (thesis 92) that humanity and Divinity can be combined in our lives in the same way that they were combined in Jesus. We can become gods, just like Jesus! This can only be the result of a very weak view of the Divinity of Jesus!!!!

Venden may sound more grace-oriented than the historical SDA message. But his message is not one of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. It is simply a repackaged works religion where our work at "relationship" replaces our work on good behaviors. But it is still focused on our works. And as any quick look at the pages will indicate, it is still based more on Ellen White than on the Bible.

Venden's writings reflect a common problem even in the most grace-focused SDA chuches. The grace that they focus on is still not completely 100% a "gift".
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Username: Riverfonz

Post Number: 1783
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 10:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have never understood how Venden has been interpreted as being an SDA evangelical. His teachings are c/w Roman Catholicism. On the other hand, teachers out of the mold of Des Ford and Smuts Van Rooyen are totally different, and believe in the imputed righteousness of Christ. At least, I can certify that for Ford and Van Rooyen, that they do preach Luther's gospel of justification by faith alone. But, they are still in the Arminian free-will camp that denies as Rick said that salvation is 100% a "gift".

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Username: Jeremy

Post Number: 1348
Registered: 10-2004

Posted on Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 12:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Although Venden does preach an outright works "gospel" (working at a relationship)--from what I've heard about Venden, I believe he also is saying that things such as "keeping the commandments" will "come naturally" to a person who is "working at a relationship" and that keeping the commandments is also part of gaining ultimate salvation.


What you said about Venden's teaching about humanity and divinity being combined in us in the same way that it was in Jesus does not surprise me. This is standard SDA teaching--it comes straight from the writings of Ellen G. White. And not only does this deny that the man Jesus was actually fully God--it also denies that the Word actually became flesh, which is Gnostic antichrist doctrine (1 John 4:1-3, 2 John 1:7). This teaching separates Jesus' humanity and divinity--basically making Him into two persons. In other words, God just indwelt a man (like He does us)--He didn't actually become human. And that is exactly what the Gnostics taught.

For some of EGW's quotes on this subject, see my webpage at this link.


(Message edited by Jeremy on June 17, 2006)

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