It teaches that Jesus Christ was not only the Substitute for man but the Example for man, insists that Christians will have to cease from sin after the close of probation just before the Second Coming, and confesses that the close of the age has been delayed by unconsecration in Christians but can be accelerated through their living of holy lives.
"Historic Adventism" formed a large portion of the church in the early 1900s. LGT has been denied by mainstream and progressive members of the church since at least the publishing of the book Questions on Doctrine by the church in 1957. Although exceptions exist, most Adventist resources published since the late 1970s have opposed the concepts identified as LGT.
Andreasen was recognized as a leading denominational scholar in the early 1900s. In his book, The Sanctuary Service, Andreasen presented his views regarding the atonement and related topics in the closing chapter, "The Final Generation".
Priebe, in turn, influenced Larry Kirkpatrick. Certain persistent issues led to the publication by the church of its second (QOD had been the first) authors-not-named publication: Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries. The book provoked Kirkpatrick to study, concluding he disagreed with it. He entered the pastoral ministry in 1994. By 1997 he was publishing on the internet and has been active since. In 2005 he published a summary of his view of LGT in a book entitled Cleanse and Close: Last Generation Theology in 14 Points.
The morning speaker for the 2002 meeting of what what is now Generation of Youth For Christ (GYC) included several advocates of LGT, such as the morning devotional speaker, Peter Gregory. Kirkpatrick also supported the 2002 meeting.
The Last Generation Theology understanding is best seen in light of the doctrinal development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Seventh-day Adventists have had four generally recognized statements of belief, prepared in 1872, 1931, 1980, and 2005 The 1872 and 1931 statements of belief were prepared for use at the informational level, for those outside the movement who desired to understand what Seventh-day Adventists stood for. Adventism is rooted in Reformationism and Restorationism.
In the 1950s, a handful of church leaders published the book Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (which came to be known simply as "QOD"). This volume, in key areas such as Christology, Atonement, and Soteriology, was felt by many Adventists to have introduced radical changes in Seventh-day Adventist belief. The book is widely acknowledged as the most controversial book in the history of the Adventist church. Many held that it introduced a "New Theology" incompatible with the last generation aspects of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Others insisted that it merely reflected a maturation of the group as it moved from sect to mainline denomination.
The denomination's 1980 statement of belief came into being at the same time the crisis introduced by the teachings of Desmond Ford had peaked. The 2005 statement added a 28th belief not impacting upon LGT aspects.
Various theologians and writers within the Seventh-day Adventist Church regularly published works in which they defined and then opposed the teachings of Last Generation Theology. Since no explicit statement of what the LGT concepts existed, rendering both criticism or promotion of LGT difficult, in 2005 certain ordained, credentialed Seventh-day Adventist workers and proponents of LGT combined their energies through the spring to prepare an LGT Statement of Belief, seven couplets completing 14 points that distinctly mark out an agreed definition for Last Generation Theology.
Advocates of the concepts of LGT felt that those teachings were often mischaracterized by denominational writers. Kirkpatrick consulted with others and the result was the LGT14, a doctrinal list of 14 points presented as a consensus statement. In 2005 Kirkpatrick's book, Cleanse and Close: Last Generation Theology in 14 Points packaged the concepts that had been developing since the mid 19th century, and identified them as LGT.
The LGT14 represent a consensus statement developed by current and retired ordained denominational workers and other Seventh-day Adventists. According to its advocates, LGT14 is intended as a reinforcement of the church's official 28 Fundamental Beliefs, an emphasis on neglected ideas related to that list, and not as a replacement statement.
Since the mid 1950s, a steady opposition to the concepts of LGT is found in books and articles by notable authors and workers including LeRoy Froom, Norman Gulley, George R. Knight, William Johnsson, Roy Adams, Clifford Goldstein, Roy Naden, Woodrow Whidden III, and others. Different aspects of LGT have drawn opposition from the various individuals. Opponents also believe that a balanced reading of Ellen White does not support LGT.
This is related to character perfection, which has also been a central point of contention. Whereas advocates of LGT urge that as a result of the gospel men and women will stop sinning before Jesus returns, those opposed to LGT hold that because of the fallen nature, people will continue to sin, at least in nature, until Jesus' Second Coming. It is urged that focus on perfection distracts from Christ. LGT advocates counter that they actually are focused on following Christ as they seek to please Him by ceasing from sin.
Some have especially focused their attention at the meaning and relationship of justification and sanctification to obedience. Writers opposing LGT tend to emphasize justification and understand sanctification as a following fruit of the gospel, not part of the salvation equation. Like the previous point about the atonement, these concerns arise from the foundational understanding of whether the gospel is predominantly concerned with salvation for man as a legal matter (the satisfaction view of the atonement), or is best understood as a restoration of man to the divine image, a therapeutic motif (see also the moral influence view of the atonement).
The existence and significance of a large group of Seventh-day Adventist believers in LGT is attested by the wide range of Adventist scholars, the publishing of books like QOD and Issues which seek to counter their ideas, the counter-publishing of the 1973 and 1974 Appeals, and the persistent historical presence of its advocates in significant church positions (M. L. Andreasen, Robert H. Pierson, C. Mervyn Maxwell, Kenneth Wood, Herbert E. Douglass, Joe Crews of Amazing Facts, Dennis Priebe, J. R. Zurcher, etc.) point to a train of thought within the larger church.
The beliefs of a church are often defined on the basis of formally voted policy statements. However, this is but one element in the development of a meaningful understanding of the identity of a religious group. The historical-theological development of a group is also very meaningful in defining the beliefs of a Church. Last Generation Theology and the discussion surrounding it offers a window to contributory streams of thought that inform the identity of Seventh-day Adventism.