Here's What Happened: The Final Generation Symposium in Sacramento

On March 22 and 23 of 2019, several hundred Seventh-day Adventists attended the first-ever symposium on Last Generation Theology (LGT) entitled “God’s Character and the Final Generation” at the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Attendees traveled from places as far away as Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Washington and Oregon, and from throughout California, to be present. Several hundred others watched from around the world on the livestream feed from the church’s website. Among the attendees were students of Weimar College who contributed with heavenly music for the program. Attendance peaked at over 700 for the church service, and there were 400 to 500 in regular attendance at the meetings throughout the weekend. The estimated total number of individuals attending over the weekend was over one thousand.

IMG_1805.jpg

Much has been written and said about this topic in recent years, and the purpose of this symposium was to show that Last Generation Theology is at the very heart of the Seventh-day Adventist message in light of the Great Controversy. The featured speakers included Pastor Dennis Priebe of Amazing Facts, Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick currently serving in Upper Columbia Conference, P. Gerard Damsteegt, ThD, Associate Professor of Church History (ret.) at Andrews Seminary, and Norman McNulty, M.D., a board-certified neurologist practicing in Lawrenceburg, TN.

On Sabbath afternoon, Dojcin Zivadinovic, PhD and Religion Professor at Weimar Institute, and Gerzon Gomez, MDiv and MA, chaplain and Bible teacher at Bakersfield Adventist Academy, and Pastor Fred Dana, associate pastor of Sacramento Central, joined the featured speakers on the panel which was moderated by Pastor Mike Thompson of the Sacramento Central Church.

Last Generation Theology has been at the very heart of Adventist theology for over a century, but it has been under attack for the past 60 years and continues to be the target of recent books that have mischaracterized the true message of LGT.

Why Jesus Waits

The weekend began with a message by Norman McNulty, M.D. entitled “Why Jesus Waits.” In this message, it was seen that Christ revealed that there would be a delay of His Second Coming in Matthew 25:5. The wait for Christ’s return has gone on much longer than any could have anticipated. However, Inspiration reveals in Mark 4:28, 29; James 5:7, 8; Jeremiah 3:1-3; and Revelation 14:14-16 that Christ will come immediately when the harvest is ripe. The 144,000 are the first fruits of this harvest and they, as described in Revelation 14:12, personify Jesus on the cross. 

God at Risk

As the weekend progressed, Pastor Dennis Priebe shared a powerful message for Sabbath morning entitled “God at Risk.” A clear picture was painted of the purpose of the Final Atonement in Heaven as well as the vindication of God in which God vindicates Himself through the last generation and answers the charges that Satan has leveled toward God. 

Book Review By Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick

Pastor Kirkpatrick holding the book under review, “God’s Character and the Last Generation” written by several Andrews University professors.

After lunch, Pastor Kirkpatrick started the afternoon meetings with an excellent review of several recent books that have been written attacking Last Generation Theology. It was clearly seen that there are a lot of misconceptions about LGT and the books are written in a way that would mislead those who read them.

In contrast, a book written by Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick, mentioned by the authors of those books, is titled "Cleanse and Close: Last Generation Theology in 14 Points."  This is available in PDF format along with other related materials at the website of Last Generation for Christ.org. This ministry helped organize the symposium. Go to: http://www.lastgenerationforchrist.org/documents


Living at The End

Dr. Damsteegt then followed with a timely presentation showing what it means for God’s people to live after the close of probation without a mediator. The message gave a clear picture of the totality of the Three Angels’ Messages in the setting of a last generation that will demonstrate the faith and character of Jesus.

Professor Gerard Damsteegt, “Living Without a Mediator”

Professor Gerard Damsteegt, “Living Without a Mediator”

There were two further presentations by Larry Kirkpatrick and Norman McNulty, respectively. Pastor Kirkpatrick discussed the relationship between God’s work and the response of man. Dr. McNulty presented on the importance of evangelism as the finishing touch to developing the completeness of Christian character.

Q&A Session

Dr. Damsteegt recounting his experience at Glacier View.

Dr. Damsteegt recounting his experience at Glacier View.

The weekend concluded with a lively Question and Answer session in which a variety of topics were discussed. One of the highlights was Dr. Damsteegt detailing his experience at Glacier View with Desmond Ford in which he showed the errors and heresies that Dr. Ford brought into the church. It was seen that Desmond Ford’s gospel theology led to his rejection of the investigative judgment, and that sadly his influence has continued to spread.

Last Generation Theology teaches a complete gospel that harmonizes with the sanctuary message, and this was emphasized throughout the weekend. Sin is our choice to transgress God’s law. Christ took human nature in its fallen condition but did not sin (see Hebrews 4:15; Desire of Ages, p. 49) to provide an example for us, by faith, to follow. Justification by faith includes both the forgiveness of sin and redemption from the power of sin. When we surrender our hearts and wills completely and constantly, we will be transformed day by day. By grace through faith we can walk as Jesus walked and have complete victory over sin.

“God's forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10.” Mount of Blessing, pg. 114

“But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” Faith and Works, pg. 100

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life.

“When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

"It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain." Christ’s Object Lessons pg. 68-69

“What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within—when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance.” Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 384

“And the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:23).

According to event organizer Danny Strever, this was the first such seminar to be held. Danny worked with the Sacramento Central SDA Church to organize this event. The cost of the symposium were subsidized from the offering that was taken during the seminar. The goal is to hold similar symposiums “on every continent, in every Union, and in every church district.”

Contact can be made at this link, or this textable number: 805-729-1754.

It is the prayer of those who organized and participated in this symposium that we as God’s people will cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that He may produce fruit in our lives. Thus the completeness of Christian character will be manifested to the world and the onlooking universe. May Christ come in our lifetimes and may it be soon!

The video presentations from this weekend symposium are available here.

****

“And the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:23).