Cast Out for the Cross of Christ

By Albion F. Ballenger

Published in 1909


BIOGRAPHY

Ballenger, Albion Fox (1861-1921) was born on a farm near Winslow, Illinois. He was the son of John Fox Ballenger, an SDA minister. He was a teacher for four years before he was granted a ministerial license and sent out to preach. He became an effective preacher and writer. After he began preaching, he attended Battle Creek College for parts of two years.

In 1890 he was elected as secretary of the National Religious Liberty Association. Three years later he was invited to serve as assistant editor of the American Sentinel magazine who focused upon religious liberty issues. He resigned his editorial post after about a year to return to preaching. His most memorable sermon was entitled, "Receive Ye the Holy Ghost". During this time, he wrote the book, Power for Witnessing, which is still in print almost 100 years later.

About the turn of the century, he was invited to do evangelistic work in Great Britain. During this time, he began to re-examine the Seventh-day Adventist denomination's doctrine of the sanctuary. He came to the conclusion that the Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary needed to be revised to conform to the biblical types and the teaching of the book of Hebrews.

Ballenger suggested several revisions of the doctrine regarding the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, stating that the book of Hebrews taught that Christ had entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension rather than 1844. He submitted a document of nine theses which outlined the main points of his views on the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary to a committee at the 1905 General Conference Session and answered their questions. The committee, composed of W.A. Colcord, W.W. Prescott and M.C. Wilcox, rejected Ballenger's views and warned him not to print the manuscript or promote his views.

Later that same day, Ellen White, whom Seventh-day Adventists consider to be a prophet, issued a letter in which she charged that "Brother Ballenger is presenting theories which can not be substantiated by the Word of God" and "I testify in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is led by satanic agencies and spiritualistic, invisible leaders" (MS 59, 20 May 1905).

Four days later, Ellen White issued another letter in which she said, "Brother Ballenger has been allowing his mind to receive and believe specious error. He has been misinterpreting and misapplying the scriptures upon which he has fastened his mind... I am bidden to say in the name of the Lord that Elder Ballenger is following a false light. The Lord has not given him the message that he is bearing regarding the sanctuary service... I have a warning for those who suppose that they have been given the work of revealing Scripture in a new light. This work means substituting human interpretation for the interpretation that God has given. - Thus did the heavenly messengers pronounce upon the effort into which Brother Ballenger has entered." (MS 62, 24 May 1905). When he refused to recant his views, he was terminated from denominational employment.

Over the next two years, Ellen White would issue seven more testimonies condemning Ballenger and his views on the sanctuary, making such statements as "the Lord has instructed me that he has misapplied texts of Scripture, and given them a wrong application" (MS 145, 31 October 1905), "I know that the sanctuary question stands in righteousness and truth just as we have held it for so many years" (S50, 30 January 1906), "the correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary, is the foundation of our faith" (T208, 29 June 1906) and "Any man who seeks to present theories which would lead us from the light that has come to us on the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary, should not be accepted as a teacher" (MS 125, 4 July 1907).

In 1909, Ballenger published his views in the book, Cast Out for the Cross of Christ. In 1914, he began publishing a magazine called The Gathering Call to bring his views before the Seventh-day Adventist people.

The central focus of Ballenger's views, that Christ entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension rather than 1844, has been revived many times since Ballenger's death in 1921.

W.W. Fletcher, a prominent administrator and Bible teacher for more than 25 years, was separated from denominational employment over this issue in 1930.

L.R. Conradi, a prominent evangelist and administrator for 50 years, separated from the Seventh-day Adventist denomination over this issue in 1932.

W.W. Prescott, veteran educator, president of four Adventist colleges, administrator and editor of the Review and Herald for seven years, had been present at the trials of Ballenger and Conradi. After serving the Adventist denomination for almost 50 years, he was terminated from employment as a Bible teacher at Emmanuel Missionary College in 1934 because of questions about his beliefs on the doctrine of the sanctuary.

Desmond Ford, veteran Bible teacher at Avondale College and Pacific Union College, was terminated from denominational employment in 1980 because he stated his belief that Christ had entered the Most Holy Place at His ascension rather than 1844.

The problematic content of the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary remains unresolved. There is little reason to believe those problems will be resolved as long as Seventh-day Adventists believe Ellen White to be the most reliable, divinely-inspired interpreter of the Bible.

The majority of Seventh-day Adventists are not aware that Ellen White incorporated large amounts of material from other authors, sometimes including what should have been obvious errors, into her writings. Ellen White's endorsement of the traditional Adventist doctrine which teaches that Christ did not enter the Most Holy Place until 1844 will remain a stumbling-block against the acceptance of any other viewpoints within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

Ellen White's condemnation of Ballenger and his views have provided the basis for condemning anyone who raises questions about the Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary.

For further study: On Trial for Heresy: The A.F. Ballenger Story