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Home/Articole/CONFESIONAL/Dispute/DISCLAIMER: Florin Lăiu is not a "Fordist"

DISCLAIMER: Florin Lăiu is not a "Fordist"

One of the foreign students involved in the Master’s program at RATI Cernica-Bucharest, after reading or just scanning some of my articles concluded that I must be a follower of Dr Ford. Now Dr Ford is a dynamic thinker, and most of you would support like me his theology of the years 70′.  I am not the only SDA intellectual to appreciate his scholarship and some helpful insights that have been developed around 1978. But it is unfair for someone to call me Fordist, for I am not. Certainly Dr Ford would not be so delighted with a disciple like me. In order to settle any misunderstanding or rumour, I will list below the main divergent points, following the list supplied by W H Dr Johns as “The ABCs of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Theology”:

1. The doctrine of the „Investigative Judgment” has no scriptural support.
The doctrine of the „Investigative Judgment” has a fair scriptural support, in spite of some technical flaws.
We are judged individually as we accept or reject Christ.
The pre-Advent (universal, open, final) Judgment cannot be invalidated by any preceding (particular, provisional, conditional, historical) judgment.
Only the wicked are judged, not the righteous.
The Bible is definite on the teaching that the saved will also be judged.
Judgment for the righteous is equated with justification by faith. Christ bears our judgment for us.
Though we have been judged in Christ at the Cross, and also after our repentance, the final judgment is necessary as a final and public justification, in the context of the great cosmic conflict.
2. Daniel 8:14 must be viewed on the basis of its inspired interpretation found in Mark 13.
2. Mark 13 is a partial contribution to the interpretation of Daniel 8-12 but the message of Daniel 8:14  is not in Mark 13. All relevant eschatological scriptures must be allowed to wittness for Daniel 8:14.
Christ’s reference to the „desolating sacrilege” in Mark 13:14 (cf. Matt 24:15) points to the fulfillment of the „transgression that makes desolate” in Daniel 8:13 and the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14.
Christ’s reference to Daniel’s prophecy in Mk 13 and Mat 24 may point to any or all instances where Daniel mentions „the desolating sacrilege” (8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). However, the last prophecy of Daniel (12:11) connects the event with the 1290/1335 days (parallel with the 1260 days), thus suggesting its applicability beyond AD 70, in close relationship with the wicked horn activity in Daniel 7 and 8.
This fulfillment took place in A.D. 70 when the Roman general Titus invaded and destroyed the Temple.
True, this fulfillment took place in A.D. 70, but as well as the first fulfillment of the prophecy was in the days of Antiochus (Da 11:31), so the AD 70 fulfullment was not the last one; it must include the unprecedented abominations of the Christian Rome.
The time aspect of Daniel 8:14 would be confined to the first century.
The time aspect of Daniel 8:14 cannot be confined to the Maccabean episode or to the first century AD, because the prophecy explicitely extends to the (established) time of the end (Da 8:17, 19).
3. Mark 13 limits all prophetic interpretation to the first century A.D.
3. Mark 13 is a conditional prophecy that should have been fulfilled completely in the first century A.D. However, God must have known the time of its real and /or modified, belated fufillment, and so being able to prophesy apocalyptic longtime terms. Conditional prophecies cannot limit the precognitive character of the apocalyptic prophecy.
Christ says, „This generation will not pass away before all these things take place,” which refers to the generation of the apostles.
The whole New Testament pictures Christ’s advent as being imminent and urgently close.
True (and Adventists must take the full lesson from this conditional prophecy).
The New Testament does not present a 2000-year gap
It is true that the NT does not present a 2000-year gap, however that gap is now history, and we must admit that God knew it before, and it is no wonder that He could disclose the real future in prophecy (though in a secretive manner).
4. The prophecies of Daniel must end by the first century A.D.
4. The prophecies of Daniel must end in the time specified by Daniel: the true time of the end, with the last victory of God’s people, the true time of trouble, the resurrection and the Second Advent (Da 12:1-4).
It would be inconsistent to have the prophecies of Daniel extend to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries if the prophecies of the New Testament (including those of Revelation) do not extend beyond the first century.
While the condtional prophecies of the NT (the time of the Advent, and probably other related prophecies, such as 2Thes 2; Rom 11) point to the first century, Daniel and Revelation are a different kind of prophecy. The Revelation’s warnings about the soon Advent are necessarily conditional. But apocalyptic, predictive, prophecies such as Rev 12-13 are in line with Daniel 7-8 and 12, pointing to prominent events in the Christian Era.
5. The apotelesmatic principle bridges the gap between the first century and the twentieth century and provides for multiple fulfillments.
5. There is no proof that all prophecies must have multiple fulfillments. If it were true, this would only weaken the credibility of prophecy. I resort to double or multiple applications when no other sound exegesis is possible.
6. The year-day principle is not a biblically-derived principle, but merely a tool of prophetic research developed providentially by human thought long after New Testament times.
6. I definitely support the year-day principle, as you may read in the forum The Year-Day Principle Reexamined. While its systematic use (sometimes wrong) was providentially and gradually discovered, the year-day principle has both its roots and primary applications in the ancient Jewish and proto-Christian theology.
The usual „proof texts” for the year-day principle, Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, do not state this in the form of a principle, nor do they state that „each day for a year” should apply to biblical prophecies in general.
True, Nu 14:34 and Ez 4:6 do not state it in a form of a principle, nor do they state that this equation must be applied to Biblical prophecy in general. However, because apocalyptic prophecy expresses time periods in coded language, and because in Daniel and Revelation the year-day equation is reflected (week → septennate; 3 ½ years → 3 ½ days), it follows that the hermeneutic key to the apocalyptic time is the same year-day equation which is present in Nu 14:34; Ez 4:6 and in some Levitical festival correspondences (7 day → 7 years; 7×7 days → 7×7 years).
There is no explicit statement on the year-day principle elsewhere in Scripture, setting forth the manner in which biblical time prophecies should be interpreted.
The Biblical truth is expressed in implicit ways, not only in explicit terms. Christ used to speak in parables, that is in covered, implicit speech, for protective reasons. Since the apocalyptic time prophecies point to very long periods, God protected His believers against the true knowledge of the time length, until the proper time (Da 8:26; 12:4,9; Rv 10:2-11).
7. The abolishment of the year-day principle necessitates a change in the usual interpretation of the 70 weeks’ prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.
7. I see no reason why the year-day principle should be abolished. It is the spine of Daniel and Revelation prophecies. Without this principle, the apocalyptic times become trivial. Since the most spectacular time prophecy (the chronomessianic revelation of Daniel 9) contains implicitly the year-day principle and its messianic interpretation is the earliest case of year-day application. I cannot agree that because someone abolished the year-day principle we should find another explanation for the weeks of Daniel 9.
If these are viewed in the usual way as literal weeks, then this time prophecy cannot be pointing to Christ without the aid of the year-day principle.
It is obvious that this prophecy does indeed point to Christ, since it mentions Him as the Messiah (literally, „the anointed one”) and mentions His atoning sacrifice that puts an end to all sin.
Therefore, a novel interpretation must be derived for Daniel 9:24, which suggests that the word „seven” and not the word „week” is meant. Also, the word „years” should be added to the original meaning, so that it is now translated as „seventy sevens of years,” or in other words 490 years. With this novel translation, the year-day principle is not needed in Daniel 9:24-27, and the KJV translation of „seventy weeks” is considered outmoded.
There is no evidence (except Daniel 9, which begs the question), that the Hebrew term šābûᶜa means “seven”. It means “week”, and it is used there as a coded, symbolic language. There is no need of translating as “sevens of years” or weeks of years”, as well as we do not need to translate “beast – kings” or “idol abominaton.” There are many modern Bible translations that have preserved the meaning “week” in English (RWB 1833, YLT 1862, DBY 1884, NAS 1960, NAB 1970, NJB 1985, TNK 1985, NRS 1989, CJB 1998, CSB 1999, ESV 2001, NET 2004 ), French (LSG 1910, FBJ 1973, NEG 1975 ), Spanish (R60 1960, R95 1995, NVI 1999 ), Italian (NRV 1994 ), Dutch (LEI 1912 ), and even German (MEN 1926, EIN 1980, ELB 1993, SCL 2000).
8. The 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 find their first important fulfillment in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king who desecrated the Temple in the 2nd century B.C.
8. The 2300 days (and the other apocalyptic periods) have no historical fulfillment in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, even though admittedly some prophetic details had a primary fulfillment in him.
Without the year-day principle the 2300 days must be interpreted literally.
The 2300 days are not the time of persecution, but a special time, the longest apocalyptic period until the end-time (Da 8:17,19), when the Christ’s (heavenly) sanctuary had to be vindicated.
The 2300 days are said to cover the period from 171 to 165 B.C. when Antiochus was invading Palestine.
Even if the 2300 days were interpreted literally, the multiple and contradictory attempts to identify a period of 2300 consecutive days (6 years + 7 months) in the Antiochus conflicts with the Jews, disprove the preterist claims.
The 2300 days of literal time do not fit the period when the Romans invaded Jerusalem in 66 to 70 A.D. climaxing in the destruction of the temple.
9. The 1260 days of Daniel 7:25 find their first important fulfillment also in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes starting with the destruction of the temple in 168 B.C. and ending with its restoration in 165 B. C.
9. The little horn of Daniel 7 is the Roman Papacy only, and “the 3 ½ times” do not equate the 3 years lapse between December 168 and December 165 B.C.
According to the preterist school of interpretation, the „little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, a view substantiated by the books of I and II Maccabees.
I cannot accept such reasoning. Each prophecy must stand first on its own exegesis. There is a close parallelism and ressemblance between the Antichrist (Papacy) horn of Daniel 7 and the Antiochus-Rome-Antichrist horn of Daniel 8, but their only element in common is Antichrist, not Antiochus.
10. The major fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 is that of the antitypical Day of Atonement beginning at the cross according to Daniel 9:24-27.
10. The only fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 is that of the vindication of the Sanctuary (Investigative Judgment) beginning at the the end of 2300 years in 1844, an eschatological pre-Advent event which is also typified by the yearly Day of Atonement (Lev 16).
Daniel 9:24-27 is seen as an exact parallel of Daniel 8:14 and provides the inspired interpretation of Daniel 8:14.
The parallel between Daniel 9:24-27 and Daniel 8:14 is thematic, indicating an essential connection between our vicarious Judgment in Christ at the Cross and our own Judgment by Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary; but it is not the same event.
Daniel 9:24 is packed with Day of Atonement language, using five Hebrew words are also found in Leviticus 16.
The Hebrew words in Da 9:24 that are noted in common with Lev 16 are also common with other Biblical chapters.
Daniel 8:14 likewise must refer to the antitypical Day of Atonement and thus finds fulfillment in 1st century A.D.
The theological relationship between Da 8:14 and Lev 16 does not lead to the conclusion that both have to be fulfilled in the first century A.D.
The time aspect of 2300-day prophecy has no fulfillment in the life of Christ on earth; therefore, only the cleansing of the sanctuary finds fulfillment then.
True, the time aspect of 2300-day prophecy has no fulfillment in the life of Christ on earth; therefore, only the Investigative Judgment (the vindication of the sanctuary, typified by the sanctuary cleansing in Lev 16) finds fulfillment then.
11. The Book of Hebrews teaches that the antitypical Day of Atonement was fulfilled at the Cross.
11. Hebrews seems to apply the Day of Atonement theme, among others, to the great Messianic events in the 1st century. But this special application in Hebrews does not preclude the eschatologic-forensic valencies of Lev 16.
Hebrews portrays Christ as being in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in the 1st century A.D.
Hebrews portrays Christ as being in the Most Holy Place (which is THE heavenly sanctuary), in the 1st century A.D. Hebrews does not describe the heavenly sanctuary as a dual-room structure. However, the eschatological judgment of the believers is repeatedly affirmed in Hebrews in explicit and implicit ways (2:1-4; 6:2, 4-12; 9:27-28; 10:26-31; 12:22-24), apart from any debate on the exact heavenly architecture.
Hebrews does not explicitly mention the heavenly sanctuary as having two apartments; therefore, there cannot be two phases to Christ’s work as our high priest in heaven.
Yes, Hebrews does not mention two apartments in the heavenly sanctuary; but it does not follow that there are not two phases of Christ’s pontifical work in heaven. Does Christ need a special appartment for each phase? In the type, there were two appartments, for didactic-liturgical purposes, but the antitype does not need two rooms and separating curtain / wall, more than it needs animal blood, incense, censer, altar, candles and loaves of bread.
The book of Hebrews abounds with Day of Atonement language and imagery, and thus describes the fulfillment of the antitypical Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement language and imagery in Hebrews does not exhaust the typological significance of that ceremony. Where is the goat for Azazel?
12. The Book of Revelation supports a 1st century fulfillment for the Day of Atonement.
12. The Book of Revelation does NOT support a 1st century fulfillment for the Day of Atonement.
The opening verse of Revelation states that this book is a revelation (literally, „unveiling”) of „what must soon take place.” The word „soon” denotes the 1st century A.D.
This is true, the soon Advent refrain is repeated in the Book of Revelation, because the ideal plan of Christ’s coming in the first Christian generation must be always kept prominent, and the more so as time passes. But this conditional aspect does not transform the apocalyptic time (e. g. “1260 days”) in a short literal period (“3 years + 7 months”).
Revelation has several prophecies which utilize Day of Atonement imagery; therefore, the antitypical Day of Atonement was fulfilled in the 1st century.
It is true, Revelation has some prophecies which utilize Day of Atonement imagery; but such images immediately preceed the time of the plagues and Christ’s coming (Rev 11:19; 15:5-8; 20:1). If one destroys the year-day principle, the apocalyptic time collapses and most prophecies are speculatively applied to the first century. But even in this case, there are some prophecies that cannot be twisted to mean that they have been fulfilled in the first century or “soon”: The coming of Christ, the last plagues of God’s wrath etc.
13.  The Main Support for the Apotelesmatic Principle is Found in the Writings of Ellen G. White.
13. If Ellen White interpreted some prophecies in different wayswe must distinguish between a hermeneutic double application and an illustrative double application.
Dr Ford suggests that Ellen White has two or more interpretations for some Biblical prophecies (Lev 16; Joel 2:28, Mal 4:5, 6, Da 8:14; Mt 24:2; Mt 25: 1-13; Thes 2; Rev 7:1-4 etc).
Anyway, Ellen White’s opinion on various issues, according to Dr Ford, is not the last word to arbitrate theological debates. Occasional different (or double) applications cannot compell us to adopt the apotelesmatic “principle”.
14. The Authority of Ellen G. White is Pastoral, Not Doctrinal.
14. I agree that E G White’s authority is naturally limited: first by the human imperfection in every messenger, including the canonic writers (cf. 1SM 1:21 etc); and second, by the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures. However, the authority of Ellen G. White is more than pastoral. While she is not infallible or inerrant, her teachings and counsels (as a message) are prompted by God’s Spirit.
If it can be said that the writings of Ellen White are not to be used in settling doctrinal disputes and discussions, then it follows that what she says about a doctrinal matter, namely, the investigative judgment, has little or no relevance for us today.
Certainly her secondary role in settling doctrinal discussions does not mean that her divine inspiration has no weight of authority. She may be limited, as every person (including prophets), in technical aspects, or professional theological precision; but no matter her human frailty, which was proven in various cases, her message is from God, the doctrine itself (if not each detail) must be form God. Therefore we cannot treat lightly her message about the investigative judgment.
Dr. Ford views her prophetic role on the basis of 1 Corinthians 14:3: „He who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (RSV). No mention of the establishing of doctrine is made here.
Probably Dr. Ford is right in his observation that Ellen White’s prophetic role is portraited in 1 Cor 14:3. Actually, Ellen White did not originate our distinctive doctrines, including the doctrine of Daniel 8:14. It was originated by Crosier and his friends and in some aspects it looked (and probably still lookes) like a developing doctrine. We have a progressive understanding, and in spite of our imperfect perception and expression, God led our pioneers (including E G White, who confirmed their study) to sound conclusions.
15. The conclusion is that an investigative judgment beginning in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 is a non-event, and that nowhere does Scripture teach an Investigative Judgment of the saints.
15. According to my statements above, Dr Ford’s conclusion is not acceptable.
By eliminating the year-day principle, by installing the apotelesmatic principle, and by limiting Ellen White’s authority to non-doctrinal matters only, Dr. Ford has come to the conclusion that no celestial event occurred in 1844 and that the traditional SDA teaching on the „investigative judgment” is non-historical as well as nonbiblical.
I do not eliminate the year-day principle; I do not install the apotelesmatic principle instead (though I use double applications in rare cases, only there, where it is the only viable solution.
Finally, I would say that the key of Dr Ford’s theology is in his soteriology. His Christ-centered and Gospel-oriented message is attractive and candid, as I perceived. However, some Evangelical emphasis of his Gospel causes him to reject the doctrine of the investigative judgment, and related Adventist beliefs.
I am also Gospel-oriented in my understanding of soteriology and eschatology. However, I give the first place to Biblical studies (with rigor and fairness in doing exegesis). Dr Ford interprets the whole Scripturest through his perception of the Gospel (which is a rather dogmatic approach, I think), whereas I interpret the Gospel in the light of the whole Scripture. I believe in the Gospel, because it is Biblical; Dr Ford believes in the Biblical teachings, as much as they contain his Evangelical Gospel.

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  1. […] One may see also an English parallel table on the same topic at the article: “Florin Lăiu is not a Fordist”. […]

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