Day 29 Devotional Before United Prayer:  (about 2:33 minute reading) 

Righteousness by Faith and the Third Angel’s Message

When the message of righteousness by faith was presented at the 1888 General Conference Session by Jones and Waggoner, many in leadership believed its acceptance and emphasis would lead our denomination away from fulfilling the mission God had given us and preaching the third angel’s message. The Seventh-day Adventist Church had been raised up by the Lord to give the last-warning message to the world. We were called to uplift God’s Ten Commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This commission involved warning the world of Satan’s plan to lead men and women away from God’s commandments and to accept his counterfeit day of worship (Revelation 13).

Responses to the Message

The denominational leadership took this mission very seriously. Many had been in the work for many years and thought they knew well what this mission involved. When Jones and Waggoner presented their messages on righteousness by faith, the denominational leadership didn’t see where this teaching fit into the mission the Lord had given us. They even deemed it to be dangerous.

A well-known denominational leader and General Conference president, Arthur G. Daniels, was asked by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council in 1924 to “arrange for a compilation of the writings of Mrs. E. G. White on the subject of justification by faith.” (Christ Our Righteousness, 5)  The result of Daniel’s work was the book, Christ Our Righteousness. In that book, he wrote what he believed took place when Jones and Waggoner presented the message of righteousness by faith. He divided the response into three classes.

Class 1—Those who saw great light in it and gladly accepted it; who believed it to be a most essential phase of the gospel, and felt that it should be given great emphasis in all efforts to save the lost. To this class the message appeared to be the real secret of a victorious life in the conflict with sin, and that the great truth of being made righteous by faith in the Son of God was the most pressing need of the remnant church in preparing for translation at the second advent.

Class 2—There were some, however, who felt uncertain about the “new teaching,” as they termed it. They seemed unable to grasp it. They could not reach a conclusion. As a result, their minds were thrown into a state of perplexity and confusion. They neither accepted nor rejected the message at the time.

Class 3—But there were others who were decidedly opposed to the presentation of the message. They claimed that the truth of righteousness by faith had been recognized by our people from the very first, and this was true theoretically. For this reason, they saw no occasion for placing such great stress and emphasis upon the subject as was being done by its advocates. Furthermore, they feared that the emphasis placed upon this theme of righteousness by faith would cast a shadow upon the doctrines that had been given such prominence from the beginning of our denominational history; and since they looked upon the preaching of those distinctive doctrines as the secret of the power and growth of the movement, they were fearful that if these doctrines were overshadowed by any teaching or message whatsoever, our cause would lose its distinctive character and force. Because of these fears, they felt in duty bound to safeguard both cause and people by decided opposition. (Christ Our Righteousness, 41-42)

Day 29 Prayer Focus:  Pray for

  • The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • Revival for yourself and the church 
  • God to lead you and the church to understand and experience righteousness by faith in preparation for God’s last-day message to be given in the “loud cry” accompanied by the latter rain of the Spirit 
  • Those on your prayer list

Day 29 Going Deeper Discussion Questions: (based on pages 99 to 101 of “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith [pages 119 to 121 of the PDF version])

Righteousness by Faith and the Third Angel’s Message

  1. Why do you think the 1888 General assembly feared the message of righteousness by faith?
  2. What do you think the church would have looked like if they had accepted this message?
  3. Why do we have a fear as Adventist’s about a message that does not seem to strongly emphasize the Law?
  4. How is the law still a part of righteousness by faith?
  5. Are you fearful of “letting go” and become like other denominations who preach that there is no need to keep the law? Why is that not what will happen if you truly manifest Christ’s Character?
  6. What active steps can you take to seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and therefore the manifestation of Christ in you?

Responses to the Message

  1. Summarize each class of the church that heard Waggoner and Jones’ message.
  2. Which class do you fall into?
  3. The second class never accepted or rejected the message, does this remind you have any biblical statements about ‘sitting on the fence”?
  4. The class that accepted the message with joy and saw its value in having a victorious life, what do you think was different from them and the other 2 classes? (see the parable of the soils in Luke 8:4-15
  5. The class that was against the message had a number of reasons why they rejected it. Why are those reasons listed technically sound reasons?
  6. Which of the reasons listed as to why to reject the message resonated the most with you?
  7. Form a rebuttal for each reason, in the end do you think those who rejected the message would have accepted it through debate and argument? Why is this an ineffective way of changing people’s minds about religious matters?


Day 29 Heart preparation/challenge:

  1. Throughout the day ask God to remind you what He is speaking to you in today’s reading and going deeper discussions and to help you to apply them in your life.
  2. Read “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith pages 101 to 104 (pages 121 to 124 of the PDF file) in preparation for Day 30.
  3. Prayerfully answer Day 30 discussion questions in preparation to share on Day 30 Going Deeper segment of united prayer.