Desmond Ford’s Presentation at Loma Linda. September 6, 2008

Desmond FordLoma Linda’s Hill Church on Sabbath, September 6, 2008, hosted Dr. Desmond Ford, the most significant theologian produced by the Adventist church. The hot topic of the afternoon was his presentation on the Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel.This was probably the first time D. Ford was given an opportunity to speak at an Adventist Church in North America since Glacier View.

The event was sponsored by the Adventist Today Foundation.

Desmond Ford was introduced by the executive director of the Adventist Today Foundation, Dr. Ervin Taylor:

Ervin Taylor, PhD“On behalf of the Adventist Today Foundation who is the publisher of the journal “Adventist Today” I would like to welcome you to this 2008 Richard Hammill Memorial lecture. This lecture series honors the late Richard Hammill, the scholar, who had a long and distinguished carrier as a Seventh-day Adventist educator, University administrator and a senior churchman. In the early and mid 1990-s in active retirement at Loma Linda Dr. Hammill became involved in discussions, which contributed greatly to the advancement of progressive approaches to various traditional Adventist theological understandings. Today, we honor the memory of Dr. Hammill by seeking through open dialog a better understanding and appreciation of the range of views on important theological and other issues that are currently being discussed by scholars both within the Adventist faith and within a larger Christian community.

This afternoon the Adventist Today Foundation with a kind collaboration of Loma Linda campus Hill church is proud to be able to sponsor this presentation by a scholar and evangelist who is one of the few individuals, about whom it could be truly says, “He needs no introduction to Adventist audience.”

Dr. Desmond Ford is not only well known internationally within the Adventist community, but also in a larger evangelical Christian community. A native of Australia, he earned his BA degree in theology at Avondale college in 1958. This was follower by a master’s degree in systematic theology in Andrews University in 1959, a PhD in rhetoric dealing with the Pauline epistles at Michigan State University in 1961 and PhD in Manchester University in England in 1972 with a dissertation dealing with a study of biblical eschatology.

His writings most scholarly and those intended for more general audience are more extensive and impressive. They are luminous and have been far reaching in their impact. His challenging and to some controversial theological Odyssey within the Adventist church community has been chronicled in a number of publications. The most complete summary of Dr. Ford’s life and the facts surrounding his personal and theological journey has recently appeared in a book “Desmond Ford – Reformist, Theologian, Gospel Revivalist” by fellow Australian Doctor Milton Hook. The Adventist Today Foundation is proud to be a publisher of that work.

Adventist Today believes that it is important to be clear on some things here, that Dr. Ford has not received and will not receive any personal remuneration from sale of neither his biography nor any other media including CD and DVD recordings been made of his lectures this afternoon.

Following Dr. Ford’s presentation a distinguished distinguished panel will provide opportunity for dialogue and discussion of various aspects of Dr. Ford’s lecture. In addition it will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions. Near the conclusion of the program there will be provided an opportunity for Dr. Ford to respond.

Distinguished panelOur distinguished panel this afternoon is composed of scholars from both La Sierra and Loma Linda Adventist communities. From La Sierra University School of religion we welcome Professor Kendra Haloviak and Professor Fritz Guy. And from the Loma Linda community Pastor Larry Christoffel of the Loma Linda campus Hill church and Professor Jon Paulien, Dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University, who will be the moderator of our discussion.

We wish to very much welcome Dr. Ford to this community. He undertook a very long airplane ride across the Pacific, just as he was recovering from a serious upper respiratory infection. So we doubly extend our appreciation for his willingness to be here with us this afternoon and later on this evening at 8 PM1.

I should mention that his remarks this afternoon and this evening and the subsequent panel discussion are being recorded on video and audio format and will be available in a few days.

It gives me a great pleasure to introduce Dr. Ford, who will speak on a topic “Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel.”

To watch a video segment of Dr. Ford’s presentation “Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel” use the link below:


Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel

By Dr. Desmond Ford

(text of video segment)

The greatest New Testament scholar Schrenk, in his most important NT reference work says, “in Paul’s usage the Greek word for justification is plain and indisputable. All scholars of worth are agreed, that the Greek word for justification means not “make righteous”, as though we were reformed, but “accepted as righteous”, “declared righteous.” That’s the glory of the Gospel!

At the end of the day despite of my failures and fumblings and bumblings I say, “Thank you, Lord” and go to sleep with the assurance of the eternal life knowing I’ve got the verdict of the last judgment right there. And if I’d fall into a deep pit, the same is true, “I am accepted in the beloved.”2 I am complete in Him, and there is no condemnation3.

The sins of the believer are not reckoned against the believer (Romans 4:8)4. God does not record them5.

When our Lord died as our representative, He took all our sins6.

And I am in Him by faith. I was at Calvary, for I’ve been crucified with Christ, I’ve been buried with Him (Romans 6:4)7. I’ve been raised with Him (Colossians 3:1). I’ve now seated in heavenly places with Him8 in a merciful erecting of God.

You too, if you believe, if you receive. Same thing. Believing and receiving – same thing, same thing.

So here is Barabbas – your second name and mine – condemned to death, a very bad man. Nothing he could do. And Jesus takes his place. Barabbas goes up that lonely hill and wonders why that man in the central cross should have taken his place. Dear friends, we are Barabbas. Jesus has taken our place!

And there is the penitent thief, a rogue all his days. And Jesus says to him, “Paradise, paradise is yours.” What? Paradise with thieves? Yes. For adulterers? Yes! For murderers? Yes! For the spiritually slothful? Yes! Paradise for all who receive, paradise for all, who believe.

Here is a woman, taken in adultery. And Jesus says, “Nor do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more”. But how can He say that? Because soon He would be flogged, so that by His stripes her wounds would be healed. Soon He would be condemned so she would be justified. Soon He would be stripped, so she could be clothed. Soon He would be mocked, so she could be honored.

What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood.

Sealing my pardon with His blood.

What a Savior! What a Savior!

And so for you and for me justification is the open door in the temple beautiful of the Christian life, but a door we keep passing through again and again and again. It is more, than forgiveness, it’s acquittal. God says, “I’ll count you as though you’d never sinned.” So many translations use “acquittal”. It is more, then acquittal; it is the imputation of the merits of Christ. That’s better!

Christ was treated as I deserve that I might be treated as He deserves. He became what He was not, so I could be treated as being what I am not.

No wonder the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for whoever believeth, whoever receiveth. Whoever!

You don’t have to be good to be saved. You do have to be saved to be good.

It is not a matter of who you are but whose you are, who do you belong to – the devil or Christ.

We do have a part to play, not a striving to have faith but looking after the Faithful one.

Faith is God’s gift for all who hear the gospel, if they don’t reject it. And so salvation becomes a matter of grace. “By grace are you saved through faith, not of yourselves, it’s the gift of God.”9 “Where sin abounds grace does much more abound.”10 Because of grace justification is called a gift 5 times in Romans 5: “righteousness” a gift, a gift. Not only a gift, but a free gift!

Suppose I tell you that my wife says, “Des, I fixed my eye on a beautiful watch for you, for your birthday. It will cost you 160 dollars.” God knows that we are stupid, so He says, “a free gift”. Free gift. It’s true! It’s true for you!

You’ve all heard of Bertrand Russell, the skeptic, a British philosopher, lived in about to his 90-s. But you might not know that his daughter wrote about her parents that were brought up in a dry religion of morality without grace, where commands were many and impossible. And they were defeated and depressed. If only someone had told him what Karl Barth learned from Romans, that religion is grace, that ethics is gratitude, religion is grace, religion is gift!

God is better, then we have ever hoped, though we are worse, then we ever suspected.

Millions of Adventists have been like Bertrand Russell. At Minneapolis where justification by faith was first preached, Ellen White said, “It’s the first time I heard it in 45 years, except in conversations with James.”

What on earth were they preaching?

They were stabbing people with the mark of the beast. They had a hate tirade against their brothers and sisters from Catholic church, and most of all they talked of law, law, law, law. They had not read, that the New Testament says, “I through the law died to the law that I might live unto Christ”11

Until you die to the law as a method of salvation you are lost.

Dr. Desmond Ford

September 6, 2008. Loma Linda


The entire text of Dr. Ford’s presentation “Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel” is available here:

“We are not ready for the Second Advent unless we understand the First…”

“Until the guilt of sin is removed there is no power over sin.” (D. Ford. “Forensic Atonement Theory in Light of the Christian Gospel“)


After the presentation took place

The Distinguished Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement – 3.00-5.30:

Dr. John Paulien: “Growing up as a seventh day Adventist I was one of those weird children who spent a lot of time in the Bible. But there were two books of the Bible that always troubled me. They were not Daniel and Revelation; they were Romans and Galatians. It just seem to me, if somehow those could be left out of the Bible, the Adventism I knew could be perfectly defended.”

Dr. Kendra Haloviak: “Some of our friends left Adventism over the 7the Day Sabbath. They suggest that to demand a specific day of Sabbath keeping is to move from salvation by grace alone to some type of works. What you would say, Dr. Ford, to those friends of ours who had made that decision?”

Questions from the audience:

“What is the role of obedience in relation to justification?”

“What is the relevance and significance of human pain and suffering with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? What would you say to a dying person there in the medical center?”

“If the letters of Paul had never come to us, what could we know of the Gospel. Could we understand the Gospel from the Gospels alone?”

“Thank you for preaching the Gospel. It’s the first time I’ve heard it in a Seventh Day Adventist church in years. Has the Seventh Day Adventist church ever apologized for defrocking you?”

“Are you a universalist?”

“What about the heavenly sanctuary?”

(Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement)

Upcoming post:

“This I believe” – 8.00-9.30:

“The only people who can move the world are those whom the world cannot move. …

To what kind of Christian, to what kind of church does the future belongs?

Not to a church that is lazy, shallow, indifferent, timid and weak in its faith;

Not to a church that expects blind obedience and fanatical party loyalty; Not to a church that is the slave of its own history,

Always putting on the brakes, suspiciously defensive and yet, in the end, forced into agreement;

Not to a church that is anti-critical, practically anti-intellectual and dilettantish;

Not to a church that is blind to problems, suspicious of empirical knowledge, yet claiming competent authority for everyone and everything;

Not to a church that is quarrelsome, impatient, and unfair in dialogue;

Not to a church that is closed to the real world.

In short, the future does not belong to a church that is dishonest!

No, the future belongs:

To a church that knows what it does not know;

To a church that relies upon God’s grace and wisdom and has in its weakness and ignorance a radical confidence in God;

To a church that is strong in faith, joyous and certain, yet self-critical;

To a church filled with intellectual desire, spontaneity, animation and fruitfulness;

To a church that has the courage of initiative, and the courage to take risks;

To a church that is altogether open to the real world;

In short, the future belongs to a thoroughly truthful church.”
(D. Ford. “This I believe”).

You can watch Desmond Ford preaching on regularly

* * *

Sources used:

Russian language analogue of this message (русскоязычный аналог данного постинга) – Выступление Дезмонда Форда в Лома Линда 6 сентября 2008

Richard and Tatyana Noel © Copyright 2008

© Permission is granted to copy for evangelism purposes on the condition that it is distributed free of charge and has an online active link to

Related materials:


About Desmond Ford , PhD

was born in Queensland, Australia, lived and worked in the USA for 20 years. He has been a teacher and minister of the Gospel for 50 years. Dr. Ford is well known internationally. He completed a BA Theology at Avondale College in Australia in 1958; a Master’s in Systematic Theology at Andrews University in 1959; a PhD in Rhetoric about the Pauline Epistles, at Michigan State University, USA, in 1961; and another PhD in eschatology at Manchester University, England, in 1972.

He has written 20 books and numerous articles. His writings most scholarly and those intended for more general audience are extensive and impressive. They are luminous and have been far reaching in their impact. His major books are: Right With God Right Now,  Daniel 8:14 – The Day of Atonement & the Investigative Judgment, For The Sake Of The Gospel, Crisis (on the book of Revelation), The Forgotten Day.

Dr. Ford worked as a pastor in local churches for a number of years before being asked to finish his degree and take up college teaching. His main expertise and the focus of his education has been apocalyptic (the study of the literature and symbolism of certain Biblical books – Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation – and eschatology (the study of the end or last times, as taught in Scripture).

Ford was head of the religion department at Avondale College in Australia for over 16 years. He was a member of the Biblical Research Committee (SDA) in both Australia and the USA.

In 1977, Ford and his family were invited to come to the US where he taught in the religion department at Pacific Union College for 3 years. Subjects he taught over the years included Public Speaking, Homiletics, Evangelism, Life and Teachings of Christ, the Pauline Epistles, Christian Apologetics, Creation, Daniel and Revelation, the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, Introduction to Theology, and Biblical Theology.

In 1979, while still at Pacific Union College, Dr. Ford was asked by the SDA Forum (a network of SDA professionals) to speak on the ramifications of Hebrews chapter 9 and their impact on the Adventist doctrine of 1844 and the Investigative Judgment. Though he was promised immunity, this talk led to Dr. Ford’s being summoned to the General Conference of SDA church, where he was given 6 months to write up his position. This was eventually circulated in a 900-page manuscript Daniel 8:14 – The Day of Atonement & the Investigative Judgment.

In August, 1980, 111 chief administrators and scholars of the SDA church met for a week to consider Dr. Ford’s paper and decide his future. This took place at Glacier View Ranch, near Denver, Colorado. The group produced a consensus statement that moved towards Dr. Ford’s conclusions in 7 out of 10 of his major positions. Yet, at the conclusion of the meeting, the official church reverted to their former traditional positions and removed Dr. Ford’s ministerial credentials for moving away from traditional Adventist belief on this doctrine. This event created quite a stir in Adventist circles because D. Ford had been a well-known speaker, teacher, scholar, and evangelist for several decades. Articles about his disciplining appeared in Newsweek, Time, and Christianity Today.

For 20 years since, Dr. Ford has worked independently through a nonprofit ministry Good News Unlimited. He has had a daily and weekly radio program for 20 years, and a TV program on health and preventive medicine, called Worth More Than a Million, for 10 years. He has spoken in many countries, including England, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Russia, South Africa, the Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, and Canada, plus extensive travel within the US.

Ford’s special preaching emphasis is the Pauline doctrine of Justification by Faith, made famous by Martin Luther but still too often missing from modern preaching. It is the good news that Christ, by his life and death redeemed the world 2000 years ago, so that now, “whosoever will may come” to God. He is an expert on eschatology. This subject looms in importance. Ford excels at expository preaching and practical admonition on how to live a sanctified, Christ-filled life.

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  1. Desmond Ford’s evening presentation is “This I believe”. We plan to post its text later. [-]
  2. Ephesians 1:6: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” [-]
  3. NIV Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” [-]
  4. Romans 4:8 “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” [-]
  5. 25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” – Isaiah 43:25, 44:22. [-]
  6. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses“ [-]
  7. Romans 6:4: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [-]
  8. Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [-]
  9. Ephesians 2:8 [-]
  10. Romans 5:20: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” [-]
  11. Galatians 2:19: For I through the law am dead to the law? that I might live unto God. [-]

6 thoughts on “Desmond Ford’s Presentation at Loma Linda. September 6, 2008”

  1. Dear brother,

    Thank you for asking a permission. I visited your website,read your copyright disclaimer and all that made me think about distribution and copyright, and I added a copyright disclaimer at the end of the post.

    Спасибо, что спросили разрешение. Я посетила ваш сайт, прочитала ваше изложение авторских прав, и все это побудило меня задуматься над вопросами распространения наших материалов, так что я добавила информацию об авторских правах и условиях, разрешающих копирование в конце постинга.

    I am curious, what was interesting to you about D. Ford? I was not sure if people knew anything about him in Russian speaking world.

    Мне интересно, чем Вас заинтересовал Д. Форд? Я не уверена в том, известно ли о нем что-либо в русскоязычном мире.

    Thank you for your answer,

    Спасибо за ответ.

    P.S. Russian translation is posted as a separate post.
    Перевод на русский выставлен отдельным постингом.

  2. Очень интересно почитать, жду продолжения, кстати я могу разместить эту статью на своем ресурсе?

  3. I was surprised and inspired to find part of Dr. Ford’s presentation on YouTube. His spirit, as always, is one of a true believer in the Word of God and in the God of the Word. I pray for the day to come when that is more important than the petty prejudices of a portion of the church.

  4. A friend sent me this email after the second meeting. I took out the identifying marks to protect the innocent! It is nice to be posting when everyone else is asleep in America.

    Hi, Gill, We just walked in the door! It was an incredibly full day and Des was awesome! I’ll tell you all about it.

    [We went to church this morning] and then we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to Loma Linda to try to get good seats. We got there more than half an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin and already the church was filling up. But we managed center seats about four rows back, so were satisfied we had prime seats.

    The meeting began a little late; seemed they were waiting for the church to fill up, which it did. The La Sierra church was represented by maybe 25-30 people. Des was introduced by Larry Christophel and Erwin Taylor from Adventists Today; glowing, positive introductions that would have made you proud.

    Des preached for almost 1 1/2 hours, and yes, he did speak more slowly. His message was very strong, completely grace oriented, and not at all controversial. There were lots of amens, plenty of tears, and much applause. Most of the time the church was very quiet; people seemed riveted and respectful. Des’ voice held up remarkably well for about an hour and 15 minutes. He coughed a few times after that and it was obvious that he was getting tired. But he persevered. A panel with Larry, Fritz Guy, and Kendra Holoviak was moderated by John Paulien, who had prepared questions. Fritz was a little mischievous, by his own admission, but Des answered every question with grace, displaying considerable biblical knowledge, and persistence.

    Then questions came from the audience and this time there were a few questions that seemed to have a little barb in them, mostly about Glacier View, or the Investigative Judgment. Des stayed calm, referred a few answers to the evening meeting, and gave short, to the point answers that were both full and cryptic at the same time.

    A couple of hours passed. [We] went out to eat, but got back in time to sit a couple of rows closer. The format was similar; Des first, questions later. His voice had recovered and was very strong. His message seemed to me to be a distillation of your last couple of books (thank you again for having those sent). This time Des broached a few of the more controversial topics, but, again, he spoke of those things in words few people there could have disagreed with.

    I was able to speak to Des for just a few seconds before the afternoon meeting and after the evening one. Tonight I told him I was going to email you and let you know how it went. He said, “Oh, good. Please tell her that I’m well.”

    It was a very inspiring afternoon and evening. So many people there were hearing just what they needed to hear and you could tell how blessed they were. The only thing that could have made it better was if you could have been here as well. But thanks, at least, for sharing him with us for these few hours. I’ll take whatever greeting you send to him on Tuesday. Hope that sufficiently catches you and the cats up to the minute. Talk to you again soon.

    Posted by: Gillian Ford 07 September 2008


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