What We Believe

2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

"Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" Psalm 94:16. 


The Testimony of Jesus has plainly counseled us that we are not to accept the opinions of commentators, but we should study the Bible for ourselves, making the Scripture its own expositor.

Gospel Workers, 1892 Edition, p. 126: - “We are not to accept the opinion of commentators as the voice of God; they were erring mortals like ourselves. God has given reasoning powers to us as well as to them. We should make the Bible its own expositor.”  {GW92 126.2} 

The practice of looking to pastors or professors of theology as our spiritual guides, instead of searching the Scriptures for ourselves, is the ploy and snare of Satan!

1884 Great Controversy, pp. 413 & 414: - “Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then by controlling the minds of these leaders he can influence the multitudes according to his will.”  {4SP 413.3}

"While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God's Word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light" (The Great Controversy, p. 527).

"The message from God to me for you is 'Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out' (John 6:37). If you have nothing else to plead before God but this one promise from your Lord and Saviour, you have the assurance that you will never, never be turned away. It may seem to you that you are hanging upon a single promise, but appropriate that one promise, and it will open to you the whole treasure house of the riches of the grace of Christ. Cling to that promise and you are safe. 'Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.' Present this assurance to Jesus, and you are as safe as though inside the city of God" (Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 175).

"Each one of you may know for yourself that you have a living Saviour, that He is your helper and your God. You need not stand where you say, 'I do not know whether I am saved.' Do you believe in Christ as your personal Saviour? If you do, then rejoice" (General Conference Bulletin, April 10, 1901).

“We don’t make the health reform an iron bedstead, cutting people off or stretching them out to fit it. One person cannot be a standard for everybody else. What we want is a little sprinkling of good common sense. Don’t be extremists. If you err, it would be better to err on the side of the people than on the side where you cannot reach them. Do not be peculiar for the sake of being peculiar. Away with cake. Persons may kill themselves with sweets. More harm is done to children by sweets than by anything else.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 12.

This video has a good explanation of the 2300 days - and the EVENT, not the dates were misunderstood:

  1. Prophesy Again: Time To Meet The Bridegroom - YouTube  -

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUk2JtRSnuY
    Nov 19, 2012 - Uploaded by ProphesyAgainTV
    Time To Meet The Bridegroom www.prophesyagain.com. ...Prophesy Again: Time To Meet The Bridegroom.ProphesyAgainTV.

THE CENTRALITY OF THE BIBLE

Parallel to Ellen White's emphasis of Christ, the living Word of God, was her concern with God's Written Word. In her first book (1851) she wrote: "I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice" (EW 78). And 58 years later she stood before the 1909 General Conference session with a Bible in her hands, saying, "Brethren and sisters, I commend unto you this Book." They were her last spoken words to a General Conference session of the church.

Ellen White exalted the Bible throughout her lifetime. To her [p. 116] it was the revealed will of God, and it provided the knowledge that led to a saving relationship with Jesus. "In His Word," she declared, "God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience" (GC vii).

She particularly emphasized the centrality of the Bible in times of theological conflict. For example, as the church moved toward the controversial General Conference session of 1888 at Minneapolis and some were seeking to use other authorities for doctrine and Bible interpretation, she repeatedly pointed her fellow church leaders back to Scripture. "We want Bible evidence for every point we advance," she told them in April 1887 (1888 Materials 36). In July 1888 she wrote that "the Bible is the only rule of faith and doctrine" (RH, July 17, 1888).

"Search the Scriptures carefully to see what is truth," she counseled Adventism's leading ministers a month later. "The truth can lose nothing by close investigation. Let the Word of God speak for itself, let it be its own interpreter.

"Our people," she continued, "individually must understand Bible truth more thoroughly, for they certainly will be called before councils; they will be criticized by keen and critical minds. It is one thing to give assent to the truth, and another thing, through close examination as Bible students, to know what is truth. . . . Many, many will be lost because they have not studied their Bibles upon their knees, with earnest prayer to God that the entrance of the Word of God might give light to their understanding. . . .

"The Word of God is the great detector of error; to it we believe everything must be brought. The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and practice. . . . We are to receive no one's opinion without comparing it with the Scriptures. Here is divine authority, which is supreme in matters of faith. It is the word of the living God that is to decide all controversies" (1888 Materials 38-40, 44, 45).

She claimed that "the Word of God is sufficient to enlighten [p. 117] the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it." She regarded her own writings as an instrument to bring people "back to the word that they have neglected to follow" (5T 663).

That last point is an important one. Ellen White always held that her function was to point people to the Bible. "The Spirit was not given," she wrote, "--nor can it ever be bestowed--to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested" (GC vii). Thus, she held, her own prophetic ministry needed to be tested by the Bible. She saw her writings not as a substitute for the Bible but as "a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light" (CM 125).

For Ellen White, personal Bible study was of the utmost importance for every Christian. And while that was true in a general way, it would be especially crucial in the closing days of earth's history. At the end of time, she asserts, "Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible" so that human beings will not be able to detect his own deceptions (GC 593). Thus Bible study becomes a part of the endtime struggle. And "none," she states, "but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict" (GC 593, 594).

http://www.scribd.com/doc/82525222/We-Believe-In

"The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of self-sufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God's word in a perverted light." TM 108:1 

"Every soul must look to God with contrition and humility, that He may guide and lead and bless. We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people" (GW 1913: p. 303).

"I have been shown that ministers and people are tempted more and more to trust in finite man for wisdom, and to make flesh their arm….I entreat of you to search the Scriptures as you have never yet searched them, that you may know the way and will of God. O that every soul might be impressed with this message, and put away the wrong" (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 10 (1909); found in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 480,481).

"Investigation of every point that has been received as truth will repay the searcher: He will find precious gems. And in closely investigating ever jot and tittle which we think is established truth, in comparing Scripture with Scripture, we may discover errors in our interpretation of Scripture. Christ would have the searcher of his word sink the shaft deeper into the mines of truth. If the search is properly conducted, jewels of inestimable value will be found. The word of God is the mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ" (RH, July 12, 1889; par.15).

"There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation" (RH, December 20, 1892; par. 1).

"We cannot hold that a position once taken, an idea once advocated, is not, under any circumstances, to be relinquished. There is but One Who is infallible -- He Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers; p. 105, par. 2,3).

"When God's people are at ease, and satisfied with their present enlightenment, we may be sure that He will not favour them. It is His will that they should be ever moving forward, to receive the increased and ever increasing light that is shining for them. The present attitude of the church is not pleasing to God. There has come in a self-confidence that has led them to feel no necessity for more truth and greater light" (5T: pp. 708, 709).

See New Light Quotes for additional New Light quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy (these will open up in a new window and are real eye-openers)!


"My work will not be hence forth to make any one believe but go forward, out of the atmosphere of unbelief and caviling and criticism. I have more freedom speaking to unbelievers than to those who hold responsible positions, and who have had so great light and great opportunities and have not responded to the light. I have placed my case as I have never before in the hands of my Advocate, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. I am sure that I cannot feel at liberty to converse as I have done with those to whom I have talked so freely." The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 799.1

The Necessity of Bible Study

In preparing for the last days, nothing can take the place of diligent and regular Bible study.

“Christians should be preparing for what is to soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts.” – Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, page 626.

“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 593, 594.

“Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, page 273.

“The time will come when many will be deprived of the written Word. But if this Word is printed in the memory, no one can take it from us.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, page 64.

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. If the Bible says it, we believe it. If the Bible does not say it, we do not believe it. Simple as that. You can search, read, and have read to you, for free, God's Holy Bible online right here. We prefer the King James Version.

It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth. As an educating power, the Bible is without a rival. In the word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. The Bible is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages. It lights up the far-distant past, where human research seeks vainly to penetrate. In God’s word we behold the power that laid the foundation of the earth and that stretched out the heavens. Here only can we find a history of our race, unsullied by human prejudice or human pride. Here are recorded the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of the greatest men this world has ever known. Here the great problems of duty and destiny are unfolded. The curtain that separates the visible from the invisible world is lifted, and we behold the conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil, from the first entrance of sin, to the final triumph of righteousness and truth; and all is but a revelation of the character of God.


Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God’s Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation have opened the way for spiritism to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of more than human power, he is lured on until he is controlled by the mysterious power of a will stronger than his own. The defenses of the soul are broken down. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.


He can overcome by the power of the Word. If we desire to know and to do God’s will, His promises are ours: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” “If any man’s will is to do His will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God.” John 8:32; 7:17, RSV. Through faith in these promises every man may be delivered from the snares of error and the control of sin.


God's Spirit has illuminated every page of Holy Writ, but there are those upon whom it makes little impression, because it is imperfectly understood. When the shaking comes, by the introduction of false theories, these surface readers, anchored nowhere, are like shifting sand. They slide into any position to suit the tenor of their feelings of bitterness. . . . Daniel and Revelation must be studied, as well as the other prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. Let there be light, yes, light, in your dwellings. For this we need to pray. The Holy Spirit, shining upon the sacred page, will open our understanding, that we may know what is truth. . . .  {TM 112.1}

The ministry is no place for idlers. God’s servants are to make full proof of their ministry. They will not be sluggards, but as expositors of His word they will put forth their utmost energies to be faithful. They should never cease to be learners. They are to keep their own souls alive to the sacredness of the work and to the great responsibilities of their calling, that they may at no time or place bring to God a maimed sacrifice, an offering which has cost them neither study nor prayer. GW 64.1

Here is E.G.White's own statement regarding her writings: "The Testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God's Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word of God. . . . Let us prove all our positions from Scripture and substantiate every point they claim from the revealed Word of God" (Evangelism, p. 256).

Ellen G. White claimed her writings to be the lesser light to lead us to the Bible, the greater light. "Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light." (Colporteur Evangelism, p. 37) When we fail in this objective and make the Spirit of Prophecy the final word, we do a great injustice to the church and Ellen G. White.

"But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms." (The Great Controversy, p. 595)

"The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit." (Prophets and Kings, p. 626).

"...Don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now." (Spaulding-Magan Collection, p. 174).

H.M.J. Richards' Discussion with E.G. White [after she had dropped in on a service at the West Denver Colorado church when he was a young pastor]: "Now Sister White, there's something else that I'd like to find out. How should I use your writings in preaching?" She replied: "Here's the way to use them. First, ask God to give you your subject. When you have the subject chosen, then go to the Bible until you know for sure what the Bible really teaches on that point. After that, turn to the writings and see what you can find on the same subject and read that. It may cast light on it or guide you into other Scripture, or make some point clearer. When you go to the people, however, preach to them out of the Bible." (Story by H.M.J. Richards's son, H.M.S. Richards, repeated in Ministry Magazine, October, 1976, pp. 6-7).

2 Chronicles 20:20: - “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”

2 Peter 1:19 "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

Hebrews 2:2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,
1 Peter 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,
Revelation 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." 

“By direct command, by 
the sacred writings, and by the spirit of prophecy has He made known 
unto them His will.” My Life Today, p. 40.

Matthew 23:34

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.



"God wants us to depend upon Him, and not upon man. He desires us to have a new heart; He would give us revealings of light from the throne of God." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 111 (RH, Feb. 18, 1890)

Download and print or read: The Atonment in the light of nature and the revelation JH Waggoner Please read, CHAPTER V. THE SON OF GOD DIED page 103. . . . . . . . 


Example of Quotes in this book by Elder J.H. Waggoner:

The writings of J. H. Waggoner, an Adventist pioneer, about the atonement helps to bring out the problem:

"No matter how exalted the pre-existent Son was; no matter how glorious, how powerful, or even eternal; if the manhood only died, the sacrifice was only human." (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pages 164, 165)

He is saying that if it was only a physical human that died, then there was only a human sacrifice. He goes on to say that, yes, the divine Son of God could die:

"The declaration, that the divine Son of God could not die, is as far from the teachings of the Bible as darkness is from light. And we would ask the Trinitarian, to which of the two natures are we indebted for redemption? The answer must, of course, be, To that one which died or shed his blood for us; for "we have redemption through his blood." Then it is evident that if only the human nature died, our Redeemer is only human, and that the divine Son of God took no part in the work of redemption, for he could neither suffer nor die." (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, page 173)


He is affirming that our Redeemer is both human and divine. He further says that Jesus did in fact die; He did not leave the human body to escape death. Jesus, the Son of God, did in fact die.

"It is often asserted that this exalted one came to earth and inhabited a human body, which he left in the hour of its death. But the Scriptures teach that this exalted one was the identical person that died on the cross; and in this consists the immense sacrifice made for man - the wondrous love of God and condescension of his only Son." (J. H. Waggoner, 1884, The Atonement In The Light Of Nature And Revelation, pages 152-154)

Ellen White never rebuked J. H. Waggoner for his position, in fact she wanted all the pioneers in the work to be published as truth for TODAY. This is definitely a non-trinitarian non-tritheistic doctrine - the truth about God and His Son = the pure Gospel = sin sick healing truth - truth that will make those who believe and are doers of it Holy/perfect like it's author. Truth is perpetual. It does not change or take on false traditions as hitchhikers to sooth the conscience.

Remember the 
Command?

“Let the aged men who were pioneers in our work speak plainly, and let those who are dead speak also, by the reprinting of their articles in our periodicals.”—Manuscript 62, 1905, cited in “The Integrity of the Sanctuary Message.”

“We are to REPEAT THE WORDS of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden 
treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. . . . The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced.”—Review and Herald, May 25, 1905.

"Satan has laid his plans to undermine our faith in the history of the cause and work of God. I am deeply in earnest as I write this. Satan is working with men in prominent positions to sweep away the foundation of our faith. Shall we allow this to be done, brethren?" E.G. White, Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1903.

   We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God's word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these last fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.--- Preach the Word, p.5(1905)  Selected Messages Vol 1, pg. 161 {CW 32}

"We should cling to the teaching of the Bible, and not follow the customs and traditions of the world, the sayings and doings of men. When errors arise and are taught as Bible truth, those who have a connection with Christ will not trust to what the minister says, but, like the noble Bereans, they will search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. When they discover what is the word of the Lord, they will take their stand on the side of truth. They will hear the voice of the true Shepherd saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." Thus you will be educated to make the Bible the man of your counsel, and the voice of a stranger you will neither hear nor follow."  {ST, May 19, 1890 par. 3} 

" Now let us see what Jesus will do for us if we let him. In his prayer for his disciples he said: "And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." Is it possible to have joy in obeying Christ? It is the only real joy that any soul can have. You may have what you call "a good time," and laugh and joke; but your joy will be only a foolish gratification of a mind that is not well balanced by the Spirit of God. Christ continued, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."Do you expect that the world will love you when you go contrary to the customs and traditions of the world? Do you expect to be treated better than was the Master of the house? "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." You have received the truth. Now do not feel that you must hide it under a bushel. Let it be known to others, let it shine forth, that others may be saved, may be sanctified through it. Be a living example, be under the control of the Spirit of Christ. Jesus says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." This tells you your duty. The word of those who believe is to be as seed sown in the hearts of others, that will spring forth and bear fruit unto life eternal." R.H. Sept. 3 1895

"Let those who would trust to human nature to act mercifully and compassionately when men are brought into strait place, read Old and New Testament history, especially the record of the trial, condemnation, and crucifixion of Christ. Let them learn from this whether human beings may be trusted to act mercifully when their false theories and religious customs or traditions are interfered with.  {RH, November 7, 1899 par. 18}  
     It makes every difference whose side we are on in the contest. Unless sinners come to Christ, seeking him with the whole heart, and asking for his grace, they will make no attempt to oppose the enemy of God, but to the end of their days will remain his willing captives. Every man who transgresses the law of God places himself on the wrong side. His nature changes, and he becomes evil. All such will assuredly oppress their fellow men. God's people will suffer persecution from those who, if they had the Spirit of the Master, would manifest the same pitying love. But they are moved by a power from beneath, and they teach for doctrine the commandments of men. They do battle against God in the person of his saints; but God would have us remember that we are not to retaliate under provocation."  {RH, November 7, 1899 par. 19} 


"I have been instructed that we should make prominent the testimony of some of the old workers who are now dead. Let them continue to speak through their articles as found in the early numbers of our papers. These articles should now be reprinted, that there may be a living voice from the Lord's witnesses." Letter 99, 1905

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45

     When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of scripture and the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for Spiritualism and theosophy--those modernized forms of ancient heathenism--to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.  {ST, May 9, 1906 par. 6}  

     Side by side with the preaching of the Gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He can not escape from its mysterious power.  {ST, May 9, 1906 par. 7}  

     In our day, as of old, the vital truths of God's Word are set aside for human theories and speculations. Many professed ministers of the Gospel do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired Word. One learned man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the Word, and the scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast; for the people become confusedand do not know what to believe. There are many beliefs that the mind has no right to entertain. In the days of Christ the rabbis put a forced, mystical construction upon many portions of the Scriptures. Because the plain teaching of God's Word condemned their practises, they tried to destroy its force. The same thing is done today. The Word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law. Christ rebuked these practises in His day. He taught that the Word of God was to be understood by all. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and the foundation of all faith.  {ST, May 9, 1906 par. 8} 

     The subject of Christ's teaching was the Word of God. He met questioners with a plain, "It is written;" "What saith the Scriptures?" "How readest thou?" At every opportunity, when an interest was awakened by either friend or foe, He sowed the seed of the Word. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Himself the living Word, points to the Scriptures, saying, "They are they which testify of Me."  {ST, May 9, 1906 par. 9}

"The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. Our own views and ideas must not control our efforts. Man is fallible, but God's Word is infallible. Instead of wrangling with one another, let men exalt the Lord. Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, "It is written." Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline." Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1885.

The agencies which will unite against truth and righteousness in this contest are now actively at work. Gods holy word, which has been handed down to us at such a cost of suffering and blood, is but little valued. The Bible is within the reach of all, but there are few who really accept it as the guide of life. . . .Great Controversy, 582-583.

God's Invisible Church [God's Truth & Spirit Filled People] worships the only living, King eternal, immortal, invisible, a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:7, all consuming fire & jealous GOD of HEAVEN, the God of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Paul, John the Revelator, Jesus & Ellen White.

In Matthew 4:10 (KJV) we read:”  Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’ Jesus says in John 20:17 (KJV) “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" John 17:3 KJV says, “And this is LIFE ETERNAL that they might KNOW thee the ONLY true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”

"Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." John 8:32 "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24. John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
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The following is the Statement of faith that was published in 1874, this statement was not changed until 1931, sixteen years after the death of Ellen White.

"1. That there is one God, a personal, spiritual Being, the Creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal; infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by His representative, the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:7.

2. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the One by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist...."- Signs of the Times, June 4, 1874 
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"The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that His life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man." (Ellen White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, page 9, also in Lift Him Up, page 24) 

We believe Ellen Gould White to be inspired of the living God of Heaven. She states that her writings are not to replace the Bible, but to help clarify various points of study.  The Bible says, "Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." - 1 Thessalonians 5:20,21:  

Ellen White's inspired pen writes, "But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority--not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith." GC 595   You can search and read all of Ellen White's writings and books online for free here.  

"If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies." Testimonies for the Church Volume 2, p. 605.1

Ellen White writes, "All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in in these last days."  {8MR 320.2} In RH October 8, 1867, she wrote: “Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation” (1SM 37; cf. 2SG 293). 

She understood herself as “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light [Bible].”10 She made it clear that her testimonies would not have been needed if people were studying earnestly to understand the Bible.11 She urged people to “cling” to their Bibles, and stated that none who believe and obey the Bible would be lost.12

“How can the Lord bless those who manifest a spirit of “I don’t care,” a spirit which leads them to walk contrary to the light which the Lord has given them? But I do not ask you to take my words. Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. When you make the Bible your food, your meat, and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God, and will be partakers of His divine nature. Let us all search the Scriptures, for in them you will find our Saviour a present help in every time of need. I exalt the precious Word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands. Christ said, “I must work the works of him that sent Me.” The Father and the Son are united. Will you [during this] morning address consecrate yourselves to God?

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit."  Selected Messages Book 1, p. 45.1

We are to follow the principles God has laid down in His Word in dealing with one another; for we are the purchase of the blood of Christ. Think of it!—the purchase of the blood of Christ, God’s dear Son!” Manuscript Releases Vol 13 pg 248

“Tell them to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Place His work before them. There will be those who will misinterpret and misrepresent. Their eyes have been blinded, and they set forth the figures and interpretations that Satan has worked out for them, and an entirely wrong meaning will be placed upon the words that Sister White has spoken. Satan is just as verily claiming to be Christ’s child as did Judas, who was on the accusing side. They have educated themselves in Satan’s school of misstating. A description of them is given in the third chapter of Zechariah. Nothing in the world is so dear to God as His church. Satan has worked upon human minds, and will continue to betray sacred trust in a spurious way.” The writing and Sending out of the testimonies to the church, pg 25A

“Many from among our own people are writing to me, asking with earnest determination the privilege of using my writings to give force to certain subjects that they wish to present to the people in such a way as to leave a deep impression upon them. It is true that there is a reason why some of their matters should be presented; but I would not venture to give my approval in using the testimonies in this way, or to sanction the placing of matter which is good in itself in the way which they propose. The persons who make these propositions, for aught I know, may be able to conduct the enterprise of which they write in a wise manner; but nevertheless, I dare not give the least license for using my writings in the manner which they propose. In taking account of such an enterprise, there are many things that must come into consideration, for in using the testimonies to bolster up some subject which may impress the mind of the author, the extracts may give a different impression than that which they would were they read in their original connection.”—Letter 49, 1894.

In 1902 she explained, “While I am writing out important matter, He [God] is beside me, helping me. He lays out my work before me, and when I am puzzled for a fit word with which to express my thought, He brings it clearly and distinctly to my mind. I feel that every time I ask, even while I am still speaking, He responds, ‘Here am I’” (Lt 127, 1902, in 2MR 156-157). “When, as I write, a new thought comes into my mind, I reverentially thank God for the appropriate word or sentence brought to my mind” (Lt 260, 1903, in 5MR 142). Her classic statement on inspiration was written in 1886: “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration 2 acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual [human] mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God” (1SM 21).
God gave concepts; but the words used to express them were her own words. God assisted her in choosing those words, especially when she was consciously “puzzled” about a word choice, “yet,” as she explained above, “the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own.”
“For the last forty-five years the Lord has been revealing to me the needs of His cause and the cases of individuals in every phase of experience, showing where and how they have failed to perfect Christian character. The history of hundreds of cases has been presented to me, and that which God approves, and that which He condemns, has been plainly set before me. God has shown me that a certain course, if followed, or certain traits of character, if indulged, would produce certain results. He has thus been training and disciplining me in order that I might see the dangers which threaten souls, and instruct and warn His people. . . .” 

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45

"Those who refuse the testimonies God has sent them are not eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. The character developed tells its history to the end. Through the refusal to receive correct principles, and the corruption of human nature, Satan works by his sophistry to deceive if possible the very elect. Through subtlety he steals away the influence of the words of life, and truth, precious truth, is not of half as much consequence to men as their ambitious purposes." Manuscript Releases Volume Thirteen [Nos. 1000-1080], p. 382.3

Gabriel telling John in Revelation 19:10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." 1 Corinthians 13:2 "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." Why was it necessary for her to put the message in her own words? Because she was a “scholar” in “Christ’s school” (5T 686) and putting the revealed material into her own words was part of the educational process. The process of articulating revealed concepts in her own words required her to wrestle with, digest, understand, and integrate those concepts into her own thinking. As she wrote regarding education: “Students should be led to think for themselves, to see the force of truth for themselves, and to speak every word from a heart full of love and tenderness. Urge upon their minds the vital truths of the Bible. Let them repeat these truths in their own language, that you may be sure that they clearly comprehend them. Be sure that every point is fastened upon the mind. This may be a slow process, but it is of ten times more value than rushing over important subjects without giving them due consideration. It is not enough that the student believe the truth for himself. He must be drawn out to state this truth clearly in his own words, that it may be evident that he sees the force of the lesson and makes its application” (CT 434).  

"My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. “Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you."  {1SM 32.2}
By every word of God we are to live. Nothing that God has spoken is to be lost. Not one word that concerns our eternal salvation are we to neglect. Not one word is to fall useless to the ground. {MH 48.1}

We believe the Ten Commandments are important to obey if we plan to be in Heaven, because the Bible says so. What God commands us to do, he also enables us to do, if we ask Him. The Bible says in Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon (the devil) was wroth with the woman (God's Spirit Filled People), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony (prophesyings) of Jesus Christ.

What Ellen White says about the ten commandments: "In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone, which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were Four and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious, a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for he never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh day to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws." ("Early Writings of Ellen G. White," page 33.) Again on page 65 of the same book Mrs. White says, "The pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day."

The Bible Says We Are To Be:
Holy—1 Peter 1:15, 16
Harmless—Philippians 2:15
Undefiled—Psalm 119:1
Separate from sinners—2 Corinthian


When You Become As A Little Child
"Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness."Review and Herald, April 25, 1893

"When you become as a little child, willing to be led, and when your understanding is sanctified and your will and prejudice surrendered, such a light will be shed abroad in your heart as will illumine the Scriptures and show you present truth in its beautiful harmony. It will appear like a golden chain, link joined to link in a perfect whole." 3 Testimonies, p. 448

"Christ will not undertake to teach the self-righteous, self-conceited, and self-willed. If such come to Him with the inquiry, What is truth? He gives them no answer. It is only the meek that He will guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way. Solomon was naturally endowed with good judgment and large reasoning powers, but he acknowledged himself before God as a little child… If you are searching the Scriptures and different authors that you may find doctrines which will coincide with your own preconceived opinions, and if you have already settled your faith, then you will be boastful, self-confident, and unyielding." 3 Test. p. 449

"No amount of evidence will convince men of the truth so long as they are unwilling to yield their pride, subdue their carnal nature, and become learners in the school of Christ. Self-will and pride of opinion lead many to reject the light of heaven. They cling to pet ideas, fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and dangerous heresies; and if a testimony is borne to correct these errors, they will, like many in Christ's day, go away displeased." 1 Selected Messages, p. 72

"We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said." TM, p. 105

"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45

"Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true--in harmony with God's word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 105,106

"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106,107

"Now, it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines." TM, p. 93

"The Jews perished as a nation because they were drawn from the truth of the Bible by their rulers, priests, and elders. Had they heeded the lessons of Jesus, and searched the Scriptures for themselves, they would not have perished. TM, p. 109

"God wants us to depend upon Him, and not upon man. He desires us to have a new heart; He would give us revealings of light from the throne of God." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 111 (RH, Feb. 18, 1890)


WE BELIEVE OUR DUTY TO GOD IS TO KEEP/OBEY GOD'S TEN COMMANDMENTS

Christianity revolves around the single most important event of human history, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Likewise, people's own lives as individuals revolve around the single most important event of their lives, their baptism.

Heaven is bought for us by the Loving Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This event changed history forever and is the only source of salvation. It is a sufficient payment to bring all persons to heaven through God's grace. Our beliefs and actions are to make us ONE with God's work in Jesus Christ, so that we can with ONE MOUTH glorify GOD the Father of Jesus. Jesus is our brother, we are adopted sons and daughters of GOD. Jesus is the literal one and only begotten Son of GOD. Begotten sometime in eternity before anything else was created. Jesus was the beginning and end of GOD's work. After Jesus was begotten/born in Heaven, Jesus has been GOD's agent performing GOD's will in everything. An obedient Son who has been exalted to a high position equal with GOD, by GOD the Father of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the WISDOM and POWER of GOD. Jesus is GOD's agent in every act. Because of Adam's sin, the human race lost the right to talk and walk face to face with GOD himself. Now Jesus is our mediator between GOD. Sin cannot abide in the presence of GOD's righteousness. Jesus filters our human frailties and puts our weaknesses clothed in Christ's righteousness. Jesus Christ covers our sins in front of GOD. God abhors sin and sin cannot abide in his PRESENCE.

When we die to SELF (our own WILL and say as Jesus did, Not MY will but THY WILL be done on earth as it is in Heaven)  as baptized Christians per Acts 2:38 in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, ONLY, we enter into the Presence of God. God & Jesus live INSIDE us...This is called the KINGDOM OF GOD. We then do HIS WORKS and not our own...each day, moment by moment we give up our will to the Father in the name of our Messiah Jesus Christ. Ask him to control our thoughts, our tongue, to put a guard over our tongue as David in the Bible did...

Pray, "take me Oh Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at thy feet. Use me today in thy service. Abide in me, and let ALL MY WORK be wrought in thee."

"For the one who enters God's rest has himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his.” ISV Hebrews 4:4

When You Become As A Little Child (See Mt. 18:3,4)
"Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In His sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision made for willful blindness." Review and Herald, April 25, 1893
"When you become as a little child, willing to be led, and when your understanding is sanctified and your will and prejudice surrendered, such a light will be shed abroad in your heart as will illumine the Scriptures and show you present truth in its beautiful harmony. It will appear like a golden chain, link joined to link in a perfect whole." 3 Testimonies, p. 448
"Christ will not undertake to teach the self-righteous, self-conceited, and self-willed. If such come to Him with the inquiry, What is truth? He gives them no answer. It is only the meek that He will guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way. Solomon was naturally endowed with good judgment and large reasoning powers, but he acknowledged himself before God as a little child… If you are searching the Scriptures and different authors that you may find doctrines which will coincide with your own preconceived opinions, and if you have already settled your faith, then you will be boastful, self-confident, and unyielding." 3 Test. p. 449
"No amount of evidence will convince men of the truth so long as they are unwilling to yield their pride, subdue their carnal nature, and become learners in the school of Christ. Self-will and pride of opinion lead many to reject the light of heaven. They cling to pet ideas, fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and dangerous heresies; and if a testimony is borne to correct these errors, they will, like many in Christ's day, go away displeased." 1 Selected Messages, p. 72
"We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said." TM, p. 105
"When you find men questioning the testimonies, finding fault with them, and seeking to draw away the people from their influence, be assured that God is not at work through them. It is another spirit." 1 Selected Messages, p. 45
"Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true--in harmony with God's word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices." Test. to Ministers, pp. 105,106
"But beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106,107
"Now, it has been Satan's determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines." TM, p. 93
"The Jews perished as a nation because they were drawn from the truth of the Bible by their rulers, priests, and elders. Had they heeded the lessons of Jesus, and searched the Scriptures for themselves, they would not have perished. TM, p. 109
"God wants us to depend upon Him, and not upon man. He desires us to have a new heart; He would give us revealings of light from the throne of God." Testimonies to Ministers, p. 111 (RH, Feb. 18, 1890)

The Ten Commandments and the Sabbath in the New Testament

Is there any evidence in the New Testament before or after the cross that even one of the Ten Commandments was abolished? The most commonly attacked Commandment is one that defines it is God we love and worship and yet we find Paul keeping the Sabbath day, as his custom was since childhood, in a Jewish Synagogue. A custom is something you do religiously and without failure. What was Paul's CUSTOM and EXAMPLE while establishing the early Christian Church? Notice in the following verse that this is a Jewish synagogue and that Jews have all through history, without change, worshipped on Saturday as they still do today. Acts 17:1-2. The Jews and Pharisees which Paul was since CHILDHOOD, have ALWAYS kept Saturday as the Sabbath. Acts 26:4-5. This is proof conclusive of Saturday Sabbath keeping AFTER the cross. It was not only Paul's custom and example but that of Jesus also and He is our perfect example. Luke 4:16. The following New Testament scriptures listed after each of the Ten Commandments, confirm either explicitly or by example, that Jesus and the apostles viewed all the Ten Commandments as a necessary part of Christian living. You can also use the table further below if you prefer an easier way to compare the Old and the New Testaments using just a one scripture example. Note also that all the Ten Commandments, which of course includes the Sabbath, can be found in the New Testament after the cross. Read New Testament Sabbath keeping for very detailed information on the fourth Commandment.

The Ten Commandments in the New Testament Comparison Table

Comparison table of the Ten Commandments as found in the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments in the New Testament giving just one of the many examples that could be given as seen above. Note also James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” God inspired James to write that EVERY point of the law is essential. Not only do we find all Ten Commandments in the New Testament but we also find all the Ten Commandments covered in this one verse without quoting them individually, because according to the book of James, if someone breaks any one of them, he is guilty of breaking them all.

Ten Commandments in the Old Testament Ten Commandments in the New Testament
1. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 1. “You shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10
2. “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6 2. “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14
3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7 3. “That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1 Timothy 6:1
4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11 4. “For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day as follows: On the seventh day God rested from all his works, There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who enters God's rest has himself rested from his own works, just as God did from his.” ISV Hebrews 4:4, 9-10. See solid New Testament basis for Sabbath Keeping below.
5. “Honour your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God giveth you.” Exodus 20:12 5. “Honour your father and your mother.” Matthew 19:19
6. “You shall not kill.” Exodus 20:13 6. “You shall not kill.” Romans 13:9
7. “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 7. “You shall not commit adultery.” Matthew 19:18
8. “You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15 8. “You shall not steal.” Romans 13:9
9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” Exodus 20:16 9. “You shall not bear false witness.” Romans 13:9
10. “You shall not covet your neighbour's house, you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbour's.” Exodus 20:17 10. “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7

So is the evidence conclusive that all Ten Commandments still stand or does the Bible indicate that we can now live in wilful deliberate sin? We are indeed saved by the Grace of God through faith in Christ, but is this a license to continue in sin? Did Jesus die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin or so we could go on living in sin? What does the only source of truth that we can fully trust have to say on this very important topic that nailed our loving Saviour to the cross? The above scriptures should leave no doubt as to the answers to these questions, but just for extra clarity, here are the answers put simply and again by scripture alone while covering the main areas of confusion and deception.

First we need to know what the Bible definition of sin is. 1 John 3:4. So where there is sin, there has to be a law. Romans 4:15. If there is no law then there can be no sin and if there is no sin then there is no need for a Saviour.

Did Paul say we can sin now that we are under Grace which would therefore prove the law was abolished? Romans 6:1-2, Romans 6:14-15.

Paul demonstrated in Galatians chapters 2, 3 and 4 and Romans 3 that no flesh is justified by the law and that righteousness comes by FAITH. Does this therefore mean that the Ten Commandments are now made null and void because of FAITH? Romans 3:31. So who is justified before God? Romans 2:13.

Did Jesus say he came to do away with the law? Matthew 5:17. Did Jesus say He was going to change the law by even so much as a single letter? Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17. Did Jesus say we have to teach the law as well as obey it? Matthew 5:19.

Does Jesus say that those who practise lawlessness, i.e., break the Ten Commandments will enter the kingdom? Matthew 7:21-23, 1 John 2:4. So what does Jesus say that one has to do to inherit eternal life? Matthew 19:16-19.

Can we keep just nine of the Ten Commandments and are we judged by obedience to the law? James 2:10-12, Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17.

So what are the consequences for wilful sin, i.e., wilfully disobeying even ONE of the Ten Commandments? Hebrews 10:26-29, Ephesians 5:3, 5.

What are the blessings for not living in wilful sin, i.e., obeying the Ten Commandments in loving obedience? Revelation 22:14.

The answers are indisputable and any other arguments would be in total contradiction to the words of Jesus, Paul and James just to name a few. I think Solomon summed it up well with his final conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

The Ten Commandments in the New Testament – Jesus versus Paul

In the table below we have a comparison of the last six of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament related to loving your neighbour as yourself as quoted by Jesus and Paul. They both quote five out of the last six Commandments with Jesus not mentioning the tenth Commandment on coveting while Paul did. And Paul on the other hand did not mention the fifth Commandment on honouring your Mother and Father while Jesus did. Jesus and Paul have covered all of the last six Commandments related to loving your neighbour. So you will note that what Paul had to say on the Commandments 30 years after the cross was basically no different to Jesus.

Ten Commandments in the New Testament - Jesus Ten Commandments in the New Testament - Paul
Matthew 19:16-19 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest you me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honour your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbour as thyself. Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Notice how both Jesus and Paul say that loving your neighbour as yourself is obeying the last six Commandments which are related to loving your fellow man. Note also that Paul further clarifies this fact by saying “and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as thyself.” Loving your neighbour as yourself is just a saying and a way of briefly summing up the last six Commandments and in no way abolishes any of them. Remember that Jesus and Paul are also both quoting the Old Testament. See Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Note also that Deuteronomy 6:5 summed up all the Ten Commandments as this verse is quoted 17 verses after the second reading of the Ten Commandments! See also misunderstandings on Jesus fulfilling the law and FAQ 6.

New Testament Sabbath Keeping Proof

We have already seen that Paul and the Apostles undoubtedly kept the Seventh Day Sabbath but some ask is there any specific reference to keeping the Sabbath after the cross, and the answer is yes. Here are just a couple. In reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Jesus states in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Why would Jesus say pray that you don't have to flee on the Sabbath if we are not keeping it anymore? There is no way Jesus would say this unless the Sabbath was still going to be kept subsequent to His death. This is solid proof of Sabbath keeping after the cross on its own. The gospel of Luke states in Luke 23:56 that when the body of Christ was being prepared by His followers, “they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the Commandment.” Luke's gospel was written 30 to 50 years after the cross and there is no way he would make a statement like this without telling us of a change on something as important as the Ten Commandments. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Luke to say something but he still clearly states they kept it “according to the Commandment.” But on the weight of Hebrews 4:8-11, there is no doubt that the Sabbath does remain a Christian Holy Day. See also New Testament Sabbath keeping.

While an extremely clear directive is given for Sabbath keeping in Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the next closest passage to a command for Sabbath-keeping in the New Testament is found in Hebrews 4:9. In this verse we find the Greek word “sabbatismos”. The King James and New King James Version and a few other Bibles render the word as “rest” while the Amplified Bible the ASV, NASB, NIV, RSV and NRSV and several other translations somewhat more correctly render that word as “Sabbath rest”. A few Bibles such as the Darby translation transliterate the word as “Sabbatism”. Its literal translation however, is “Sabbath observance” and “The Scriptures” translated by The Institute for Scripture Research render it as such while the Thayer dictionary and the Bible in Basic English give the equally literal phrase “Sabbath keeping”. So how does the excuse “the Sabbath is now just resting in Jesus” constitute “Sabbath observance” or “Sabbath keeping” as some claim? And why would you have to be concerned with physically fleeing persecution on the Sabbath day as Jesus stated when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. (Matthew 24:20) if the Sabbath was just resting in Jesus? Those who are deceived or against the Ten Commandment law of God had to justify this passage somehow and I guess that was the best explanation they could come up with.

Here are just a few points that prove the Sabbath remains a physically rest.

  1. The Greek word for rest in Hebrews 4:9 indisputably refers to a PHYSICAL rest as we have just seen.
  2. Isaiah 66:22-23 proves we PHYSICALLY keep the Sabbath in the New Heaven and Earth.
  3. The words of Jesus show that everyone was still PHYSICALLY keeping the Sabbath in 70 A.D. (Matthew 24:20)
  4. The Sabbath cannot be a spiritual rest if one had to worry about PHYSICALLY fleeing on this day.
  5. God and His law changes not. Hebrews 13:8, Psalms 111:7-8, Luke 16:17. See also the Ten Commandments and God's Character.

In regard to taking “Sabbatismos” literally, Professor Andrew T. Lincoln, on page 213 in his symposium From Sabbath To The Lord's Day states, “The use of sabbatismos elsewhere in extant Greek literature gives an indication of its more exact shade of meaning. It is used in Plutarch, De Superstitione 3 (Moralia166A) of Sabbath observance. There are also four occurrences in post canonical literature that are independent of Hebrews 4:9. They are Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 23:3; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses 30:2:2; Martyrium Petri et Pauli 1; Apostolic Constitutions 2:36:2. In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath. This usage corresponds to the Septuagint usage of the cognate verb sabbatizo (cf. Exodus 16:30; Leviticus. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chronicles. 36:21). Thus the writer to the Hebrews is saying that since the time of Joshua an observance of the Sabbath rest has been outstanding.” The literal translation then of Hebrews 4:9 is, “Therefore a Sabbath observance has been left behind for the people of God.” The internal evidence of the preceding verses would also indicate that the Sabbath observance mentioned in this verse has to be the Seventh day Sabbath and not Sunday, which did not take on the name the Lord's Day until the fourth century. In verse 8, the author of Hebrews states, “For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.” On first glance in our English translations, the word “another” might give the appearance of a different day. However, in the Greek, there are two words for “another”. “Heteros” means “another of a different kind”, while “allos” means “another of the same kind”. The word used in Hebrews 4:8 is “allos”, indicating a Sabbath day of the same kind as referred to in Hebrews 4:5-8, that is, the seventh-day Sabbath. In verse 7, the author of Hebrews uses the term “certain day”. The Greek word for “certain” is “tis”. It is undoubtedly referencing a specific day and not the general thought of an eternal rest. The force of Hebrews 3:11-4:11 then must be saying that because Christians look toward the eternal rest of heaven, the type or shadow of the earthly Sabbath rest still remains or is “left behind”, literally for Christians to observe. This is very significant in light of the greater context of the book of Hebrews which deals with the entire Aaronic priesthood and its methods of worship as found in the Old Covenant being supplanted by the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus Christ. As the author states in Hebrews 12:27, “And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things which have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

The Fourth Commandment from creation to eternity

There are now over 500 Sabbath keeping denominations in the world that keep the true Sabbath which equates to more than 20 million people. This count has grown by about 100 denominations from the first Ten Commandments day to the second and the count continues to grow as the truth is rediscovered by those who truly love God with all their heart, soul and might.

The Sabbath has existed since creation when God added the Seventh day to the week with the one and only purpose of a Sabbath rest. This is the only reason we have a seven day week today. God also blessed and sanctified this day for Holy use. This was done before sin had entered the World and was part of God's perfect plan. Most Christians do not know that the word translated “rested” in our English Bibles in Genesis 2:3 is actually “shabath” in the Hebrew and means Sabbath. Here is the word Sabbath right at creation. Saturday is also called the Sabbath in over 105 languages just as it was named at creation. This dates right back to Babel in Genesis 11, where Saturday was recognized as the Sabbath day and was incorporated into the very name of the day. In English we have the Pagan name Saturday. In reference to the future destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus states in Matthew 24:20, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” Jesus is therefore saying that the Sabbath will be kept subsequent to His death. The gospel of Luke states in Luke 23:56 that when the body of Christ was being prepared, “they rested the Sabbath day according to the Commandment.” Luke's gospel was written 30 to 50 years after the cross and Luke still shows that the Commandment is unchanged. If it were changed, Luke would have told us since it is one of the Ten Commandments. Isaiah also prophesied in Isaiah 66:22-23 that, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make … and from one Sabbath to another, shall ALL flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” We should of course expect nothing less than this solid evidence since Jesus said that not a letter of the law is going to pass as long as heaven and earth are still here. See misunderstandings on Jesus fulfilling the law or the purpose and meaning of the Ten Commandments for more on this passage in Matthew chapter five.

The Bible says where there is no law there is no transgression (Romans 4:15) so the Ten Commandments had to exist from the very beginning or Cain could not have been guilty of murder, and since the Sabbath was sanctified and made Holy before sin at creation and the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments, it had to be kept by Adam and Eve. It was also kept by Abraham, it was kept in the exodus from Egypt before the Ten Commandments were given, when God tested to see if His children would keep all the Ten Commandments by seeing if they would keep THE Seventh day as per the Commandment. It was kept by the Jews, it was kept by Jesus, it was kept by Paul, it was kept by the Apostles, it was kept by the early Church by both Jews and Gentiles, and this is also verified by Jesus who showed it would be kept in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed. History also further proves this by the fact that reliable unbiased history sources show that it was still being kept around 90-120 AD where some Christians first changed to Sunday to avoid persecution for Judaism. History shows the final change of the day began with Constantine in 321 AD in favour of Sun worship. See did Constantine change the Sabbath to Sunday for detailed information. The Sabbath was almost murdered out of existence through the dark ages when the Roman Catholic Church ruled as Church and state for those terrible 1260 dark years, and Revelation 12:17 speaks of a remnant of God's original Church that would arise after these dark ages that Satan would hate and make war with because it would start keeping all of the Ten Commandments once again. So who is the antichrist today since John said antichrist came from the Church? To top this all off, God showed Isaiah that we will still be keeping the Sabbath in the new Heaven and the New Earth. Here is the Sabbath being kept from the beginning and throughout all eternity which includes now. Select Catholic Ten Commandments for more on how Satan deceived most Churches into accepting Sunday as the Sabbath. See also who is the antichrist?


There has been a shift in the SDA's Godhead doctrine over the years.

To the Surprise of some Adventists, the pioneers of the SDA Church, including their prophetess Ellen White, rejected these views and upheld a more Biblical view of the Godhead. They taught that Christ was the Son of GOD, that by some Divine Act Christ was brought forth from the Father before creation. And they taught that the Spirit proceeded from the Father, through the Son, making them both every-where present. This teaching was upheld until after the year 1900, which is seen by the following publications from the SDA Church during that time period. 

Ellen White clearly denied the Deomonic doctrine of role playing which is promoted by the Modern Adventist Church, when she wrote that Christ was the eternal Son of GOD, begotten before he came to earth: 

Ellen White: “But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding his pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. From everlasting he was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if thy accepted him, were to be blessed."  {
Selected Messages Book 1, p. 247.2, RH April 5, 1906, par. 5}


Ellen White: “He gave His only begotten Son— not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.  
ST May 30, 1895, par. 3

Ellen White: "The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind."
RH July 9, 1895, par. 13

Ellen White: "This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, ‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ It is a wrath which is created by false doctrines, and when kings and presidents drink this wine of the wrath of her fornication, they are stirred with anger against those who will not come into harmony with the false and satanic heresies which exalt the false sabbath, and lead men to trample underfoot God’s memorial.

“Fallen angels upon earth form confederations with evil men. In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world. Rebellion against God’s holy law will be fully ripe. But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him. But Omnipotence will interpose, and to the apostate churches that unite in the exaltation of Satan, the sentence will go forth, ‘Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.’”  {Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 61.3 Evangelism, p. 365.1 Testimony Treasures Volume 2, p. 362.3, RH September 12, 1893, par. 20Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library Vol. 1, p. 52.2} 

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

"That law of ten precepts of the greatest love that can be presented to man is the voice of God from heaven speaking to the soul in promise, "This do, and you will not come under the dominion and control of Satan." There is not a negative in that law, although it may appear thus. It is DO and Live." EGW God's Amazing Grace - Page 132

James 1:22 KJV "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." 
Philippians 4:13 (King James Version) "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Is God’s Law Still Binding?

No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine, so rapidly gaining ground, that God’s law is no longer binding upon men. Every nation has its laws, which command respect and obedience; no government could exist without them; and can it be conceived that the Creator of the heavens and the earth has no law to govern the beings He has made? Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not obligatory—that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit? But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of all government?

The Great Controversy, pp. 582-584

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO GO TO HEAVEN ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE?

In Revelation 14:12 we read, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, 
and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon (the devil) was wroth with the woman (God's Spirit Filled People), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony (prophesyings) of Jesus Christ."


logologo


Basic Rules of Interpretation--External
http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/herm-ext.html

[Excerpt from Herbert E. Douglass, Messenger of the Lord: the Prophetic Ministry of Ellen G. White (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1998), pp. 394-407. Notes, indicated in brackets, are numbered as in the original text.]

"Many men take the testimonies the Lord has given, and apply them as they suppose they should be applied, picking out a sentence here and there, taking it from its proper connection, and applying it according to their idea. Thus poor souls become bewildered, when could they read in order all that has been given, they would see the true application, and would not become confused."[1]

Eight basic rules of interpretation that embrace a document's wider context would include:

¤ Rule One: Include all that the prophet has said on the subject under discussion before coming to a conclusion.[2]

This rule seems obvious; yet, it probably is the first reason why confusion reigns when people disagree. The reason: most people see only what they want to see. This simple fact influences most all research, whether in astrophysics, medicine, politics, or theology. Unfortunately, few people will admit it. We call this phenomenon, the paradigm fixation or the problem of presuppositions.[3] Especially in studying the Bible, nothing seems more difficult for most people than to look at all the facts! This difficulty is not because a person's capability to think is deficient. The difficulty that separates thinkers looking at the same information is that their presuppositions are different, presuppositions not only of the head but of the heart.

Presuppositions most often steer students only to "see" what they want to see, thus they overlook the total range of what a writer has written on a particular subject. These paradigms control the mind in what it wants to see, and the heart in what it wants to believe. Earlier[4] we called this phenomenon "attitude." These deep, often unverbalized, attitudes most often determine one's conclusions.[5]

After recognizing this hovering cloud of presuppositions (paradigms or world-views) that every student should recognize, the next challenge is to examine all that a person has said or written on the subject under discussion. Only in this way can the writer (or speaker) be treated fairly.

Many Biblical scholars through the centuries have accepted Isaiah's principle: "But the word of the Lord was to them, 'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little'" (28:13). Accepting this principle assumes that the Bible contains a unified, harmonious unfolding of God's messages to human beings. But this principle does not teach that all texts are equally clear, or that the meaning of a verse can be understood apart from that verse's context. The over-arching message of the Bible (or any other book or author) provides the final context for the meaning of any particular "precept" or "line."

The same principle applies to the writings of Ellen White. She wrote often: "The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture."[6]

She believed her writings to be consistent and harmonious from beginning to end, revealing "one straight line of truth, without one heretical sentence."[7] That is a [p. 395] remarkable statement for any author to make, especially one who had been writing for more than sixty years.[8]

On some subjects that many consider important today, Mrs. White wrote nothing. Movies, television and radio programs, abortion, cremation, organ transplants, etc., were not current topics in her day.

Little Said on Some Subjects

On some subjects she said very little. We have relatively few statements on life insurance,[9] and only one on the wedding ring.[10] Her comments on two "special resurrections" are brief--she mentions a special resurrection of some on Christ's resurrection morning[11] and another immediately prior to Christ's second coming.[12]

On some subjects she wrote abundantly--topics such as Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, and divine-human cooperation.

Certain subjects have frequently caused unnecessary disagreements within the church because students did not apply this first rule of hermeneutics. For example, statements such as "eggs should not be placed upon your table" should be balanced, according to other statements Ellen White has written concerning eggs and her principle of "step-by-step" understanding of truth (see pp. 282, 310, 311).[13]

Other subjects in the writings of Ellen White that profit from a fair use of this first hermeneutical rule include appropriate clothing, Sabbath observance, and counseling. Theologically, one is wise to follow this first rule when studying such topics as the atonement, the nature of Christ, the nature of sin, how sin is punished, and the relation of the "latter rain" to the Second Coming. Several of these subjects have polarized Adventists because some put more weight on expressions in a private letter than on the general instruction of a book, or on a paragraph lifted out of context that seems to fly in the face of full chapters in a published book.[14]

¤ Rule Two: Every statement must be understood within its historical context. Time, place, and circumstances under which that statement was made must be studied in order to understand its meaning.

Although this rule seems obvious, it lies at the root of many deep disagreements. In the day of selective media bites, most anyone in the public eye has been misunderstood by having his/her statements taken out of context. How often a misquoted person is heard saying, "But that is not what I meant!" Or, "I said that, but they didn't include everything I said!"

If living today, Ellen White could often say, "But that is not what I meant!" "Yes, I said that, but they didn't include everything I said!" Let us note three times that she emphasized the importance of this second rule of hermeneutics.

In 1875 she pointed out that that "which may be said in truth of individuals at one time may not correctly be said of them at another time."[15] Why did she say this? Because she was being criticized for her endorsement of certain leaders who later fell from grace or apostatized.

In 1904 she appealed to the fact that God "wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things."[16]

In 1911 she emphasized that "regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered."[17]

Here we have three fundamental categories: time, place, and circumstances--all of which must be considered when one seeks to understand the meaning of any statement. These categories are not synonymous.

Time. Some Ellen White statements need to be understood in terms of when she made them. For instance, on January 16, 1898, she wrote: "We are still in probationary [p. 396] time."[18] Will these words always be true? Obviously not. The time will come when probation will cease (Dan. 12:1; Rev. 22:11). At present we know that certain events still lie in the future, e.g., creation of the image to the beast (Rev. 13), Sunday-law enforcement, the great final earthquake, etc. Thus, at the moment, "we are still in probationary time."

What about the following statements? "The voice from Battle Creek, which has been regarded as authority in counseling how the work should be done, is no longer the voice of God."[19] "It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God."[20]

But in 1875 Ellen White wrote concerning the General Conference in session: "When the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered."[21]

Why the difference in her position? During the late 1880s and 1890s, as the record shows in her letters and sermons, some of the policies of the General Conference officers were not ones that Ellen White could endorse. On April 1, 1901, the day before the General Conference session opened, she spoke these words: "It is working upon wrong principles that has brought the cause of God into its present embarrassment. The people have lost confidence in those who have the management of the work. Yet we hear that the voice of the conference is the voice of God. Every time I have heard this, I have thought that it was almost blasphemy. The voice of the conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not."[22] Obviously, times had changed and her observations changed accordingly.

But that 1901 General Conference session made significant changes in policies and personnel. Ellen White was pleased. Only two months after the changes, she became aware that her son Edson was quoting some of her pre-1901-session statements and applying them in the new, post-1901-session period. Times had changed--the statements of the 1890s no longer applied. She wrote to Edson: "Your course would have been the course to be pursued, if no changes had been made in the General Conference [1901]. But a change has been made, and many more changes will be made [in 1903, many more were made] and great developments will [yet] be seen. No issues are to be forced. . . . It hurts me to think that you are using words which I wrote prior to the Conference."[23]

In 1909 Ellen White was clearly in the post-1901 mode when she wrote: "God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference [session], shall have authority."[24] In summary, when we speak of the authority of the General Conference and Ellen White's several statements, we should immediately determine when the statements were made, and under what conditions.

Place. Some statements may be true for one person or group while at the same time they may not be true for another person or group. James White spoke to this difficulty when two groups, in different places, would read his wife's admonitions: "She works to this disadvantage . . . she makes strong appeals to the people, which a few feel deeply, and take strong positions, and go to extremes. Then to save the cause from ruin in consequence of these extremes, she is obliged to come out with reproofs for extremists in a public manner. This is better than to have things go to pieces; but the influence of both the extremes and the reproofs are terrible on the cause, and brings upon Mrs. W. a three-fold burden. Here is the difficulty: What she may say to urge the tardy, is taken by the prompt to urge them over the mark. And what she may say to caution the prompt, zealous, incautious [p. 397] ones, is taken by the tardy as an excuse to remain too far behind."[25]

The "place" consideration will help those who have been confused about whether Ellen White's writings should be quoted in public. On one occasion Mrs. White wrote that "the words of the Bible, and the Bible alone should be heard from the pulpit."[26] On two other occasions she wrote: "In public labor do not make prominent, and quote that which Sister White has written."[27] "The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God's word is the unerring standard."[28]

Do these statements prohibit ministers from quoting the writings of Ellen White publicly, especially in a church service? The first quotation speaks to the Christian world generally, comparing "an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms," with the "words of the Bible and the Bible alone [which] should be heard from the pulpit." The whole page (context) is emphasizing that "those who have heard only tradition and human theories and maxims [should] hear the voice of Him who can renew the soul unto eternal life."

The next two quotations speak to Seventh-day Adventist evangelists. Adventist evangelists should prove their doctrines from the Bible, not from the writings of Mrs. White. The second reason for this caution is obvious: those who are not acquainted with the authority of Ellen White would not be persuaded by her statements, and might react negatively.[29] In summary, Mrs. White never said that her writings should not be quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist church pulpit.

The place test is especially important when compilations are made of Ellen White's thoughts on selected subjects. An incident in the early 1890s demonstrates the problem of misapplying testimonies given to one person for a particular purpose. Mrs. White, writing from Australia, addressed a letter to A. W. Stanton in Battle Creek, a man who had taken the position that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Babylon. She included that letter in articles printed in the church paper.[30]

In his fifty-page pamphlet, "The Loud Cry of the Third Angel's Message," Stanton quoted freely from Ellen White's reproofs to the church, concluding that these testimonies constituted God's rejection of the organized church. He stated that those who finish up God's work on earth must separate from the Adventist Church which had become Babylon. He made his case by stringing together misapplied Ellen White comments and by including a letter to a private party that was used out of context.

Mrs. White replied that Stanton had "misapplied [a private letter sent to another for a particular purpose], as many do the Scriptures, to the injury of his own soul and the souls of others. . . . In the use of a private letter sent to another, Brother S. has abused the kindly efforts of one who desired to help him."

Further, she acknowledged that her misapplied statements might "appear" to support Stanton's conclusions. However, "those who take them in parts, simply to support some theory or idea of their own, to vindicate themselves in a course of error, will not be blessed and benefited by what they teach."[31]

This Stanton incident and Ellen White's response (which settled the matter for church members) provides us with a historical example of how damaging and deceptive a compilation of worthy writings can be when time and place are not considered.[32]

¤ Rule Three: The principle underlying each statement of counsel or instruction must be recognized in order to understand its relevance for those in different times or places.

Whenever prophets speak they are either conveying truth as a principle or as a policy. Principles are universal, in the sense that they apply to men and women [p. 398] everywhere; they are eternal, in the sense that they are always relevant, always applicable.

Policies, however, are the timely applications of eternal, universal principles. Principles never change but policies do, depending on circumstances. Thus policies may apply a principle in a way that the prophet never envisioned.[33]

Ellen White was well aware of the difference between universal principles and policies that are determined by changing circumstances: "That which can be said of men under certain circumstances, cannot be said of them under other circumstances."[34] Her contemporaries recognized that Mrs. White appealed to the intelligence of her readers more often by citing principles than by spelling out the answers to local issues.[35]

Understanding the basic difference between principles and policies will help one avoid misusing either the Bible or the writings of Ellen White. The following topics illustrate the need to place Mrs. White's counsel in the context of time, place, and circumstances.

Teaching girls to harness and drive horses. In outlining a school curriculum, Ellen White wrote that "if girls . . . could learn to harness and drive a horse, and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life."[36] Is this a principle or a policy? Obviously, the principle is clear: girls should be "fitted to meet the emergencies of life."

When this counsel was given in the early years of the twentieth century, most Americans still lived on farms. For many practical reasons, including safety, this principle could be best applied by girls learning how to "harness and drive a horse" and not leave such things for boys only. Today, the principle would be best served in high school or college with courses in auto mechanics and driver's education.

School-entrance age. In 1872 Ellen White wrote her first major treatise on Christian education.[37] Regarding the age when students should begin school, she said: "Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age. . . . The only schoolroom for children from eight to ten years of age should be in the open air amidst the opening flowers and nature's beautiful scenery."[38]

For thirty years this counsel was the rule for Adventist elementary schools generally. In 1904 the local school board of the St. Helena, California, church met, with Ellen White present, to discuss the issue of school-entrance age.[39] The principles quickly emerged: (1) children differ in their development; (2) ideally, parents should be their children's teachers for the early years, until they are 8-10 years old (thus recognizing differences in child development); (3) if parents are not able to teach and control their children properly, it would be better for the children to learn under a teacher who would teach discipline as well as the appropriate studies; (4) if both parents are employed outside the home, it would be better for their children to be placed in the controlled environment of the classroom rather than left in an empty house; (5) for the sake of the St. Helena Sanitarium's reputation, it would be beneficial to all if children were not observed throughout the day "wandering about, with nothing to do, getting into mischief, and all these things."

So, on the basis of principle, from the standpoint of what is best for children and for their influence on the reputation of the sanitarium, policy was changed and arrangements were made to accept younger students at the St. Helena church school.

The bicycle craze. At the beginning of the twentieth century, "the American people were swept with a consuming passion which left them with little time or money for anything else. . . . What was this big, new distraction? For an answer the merchants had only to look out the window [p. 399] and watch their erstwhile customers go whizzing by. America had discovered the bicycle, and everybody was making the most of the new freedom it brought. . . . The bicycle began as a rich man's toy. . . . The best early bicycle cost $150, an investment comparable to the cost of an automobile today. . . . Every member of the family wanted a 'wheel,' and entire family savings often were used up in supplying the demand."[40]

With that background we may be better able to understand Ellen White's counsel at that time when she wrote that "money expended in bicycles and dress and other needless things must be accounted for."[41] She went further than the principle of exorbitant cost; she cautioned regarding the spirit of "bewitching" competition and the desire to "be the greatest."[42]

Thus, her policy on bicycles (which, if placed within today's context, may seem odd, even ridiculous) was based on clear-cut Biblical principles. The wise and balanced expenditure of funds and the avoidance of the competitive spirit are principles that should impact on decisions in all ages. If Mrs. White were alive today, she might apply the principle of accountability to the way people spend money on luxury items, automobiles, sports equipment, electronic gadgets, or clothing.

Sports. Unfortunately some have excerpted some of Ellen White's statements on sports without maintaining her sense of balance. In 1895 she warned students that in "plunging into amusements, match games, pugilistic performances," they were declaring "to the world that Christ was not their leader. All this called forth the warning from God." However, the next sentence, often not quoted, reveals her common sense: "Now that which burdens me is the danger of going into extremes on the other side."[43]

For example, to rule out sports altogether would be missing Mrs. White's point. In the early 1870s she counseled parents and teachers that they should come close to their children and pupils and if they would "manifest an interest in all their efforts, and even in their sports, sometimes even being a child among children, they would make the children very happy, and would gain their love and win their confidence."[44]

On another occasion Ellen White wrote that she did not "condemn the simple exercise of playing ball." What did concern her was that ball-playing, and sports in general, "may be overdone." She followed this statement by explaining what she meant by being overdone.[45]

The lesson to be learned here, as in other subjects that often polarize readers of Ellen White's writings, is that the full range of her thoughts on a particular subject should be read in order to get her perspective.

Flesh food. Earlier we studied Ellen White's health principles and her application of these principles.[46] Here we will emphasize again how she, a dying consumptive at 17, went on to outlive her contemporaries after a remarkably rigorous life. One of her open secrets was to distinguish between principle and policy.

Out of the many examples available, let us note again how she related to flesh foods--the part of her diet in her younger years that she enjoyed most! In chapter 27 we saw how she embraced the health message as it came to her in 1863, some of which cut straight across her personal habits and delights. We also noted how she occasionally departed from her habitual practice of abstaining from flesh food. Yet, in 1870 she claimed that she had acted according to principle ever since receiving the health vision in 1863: "I have not changed my course a particle since I adopted the health reform. I have not taken one step back since the light from heaven upon this subject first shone upon my pathway. . . . I left off these things from principle. And since that time, brethren, you have not heard me advance an extreme view of health reform that I had to take back. I have [p. 400] advocated nothing but what I stand to today."[47]

What were the basic principles of health reform that Ellen White believed she had faithfully followed? (1) Do the best one can under circumstances that may be beyond one's control; (2) Avoid everything hurtful, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; (3) Use judiciously that which is healthful--use self-control; (4) Do not mark out any precise line in diet that everyone must follow, because not everyone has the same physical needs or opportunities to find the best food; (5) Follow health practices to improve one's mind for spiritual purposes, not to earn God's acceptance (legalism); and (6) Reason from cause to effect.

Health reform policies are choices that flow from those principles. If vegetarianism were a principle, then we would have a problem with God's command for the Israelites to eat the Passover lamb. We also would wonder why He distinguished between clean and unclean meats. And what would we do with our Lord's practice of eating the Passover lamb, as well as fresh fish, with His disciples?

Vegetarianism is a policy, a wise policy, that is being reaffirmed constantly in the scientific laboratories of the world, as well as in the epidemiological studies showing the awesome difference in the incidence of disease between vegetarians and consumers of flesh foods.[48] The Christian's duty is to "eat that food which is most nourishing," leaving each person to apply this principle by making choices on the basis of "known duty."[49] Sometimes emergency situations arise and one is forced to choose the good rather than the best, or even a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil. Although the principle remains, the policy or application may change with circumstances.

Courting in school. Some people misunderstand Ellen White's counsel regarding dating or courting during the school years. They fail to note the age of the students involved. Part of the instruction was given especially for the Avondale campus where many of the students were still in high school: "We have labored hard to keep in check everything in the school like favoritism, attachment, and courting. We have told the students that we would not allow the first thread of this to be interwoven with their school work. On this point we are as firm as a rock."[50]

Some of her concern was directed to students at Battle Creek College, where also there was a mix of high-school and college students: "Students are not sent here to form attachments, to indulge in flirtation or courting, but to obtain an education. Should they be allowed to follow their own inclinations in this respect, the college would soon become demoralized. Several have used their precious school days in slyly flirting and courting, notwithstanding the vigilance of professors and teachers."[51]

Would Ellen White have given the same counsel regarding older, more mature students? Where would Christian young people find their life mates if not in the environment of a Christian campus committed to Adventist goals? On several occasions she set forth the principles that should guide young people and the school program in the area of Christian courtship. For example: "In all our dealings with students, age and character must be taken into account. We cannot treat the young and old just alike. There are circumstances under which men and women of sound experience and good standing may be granted some privileges not given to younger students. The age, the conditions, and the turn of mind must be taken into consideration. We must be wisely considerate in all our work. But we must not lessen our firmness and vigilance in dealing with students of all ages, nor our strictness in forbidding the unprofitable and unwise association of young and immature students."[52]

¤ Rule Four: We must use common sense and sanctified reason as we analyze [p. 401] the difference between principles and policies.

During Ellen White's comments at the St. Helena school board meeting in 1904, she again emphasized a principle of hermeneutics that would help them and others when trying to apply principle to policy. She noted that church members were taking her words legalistically, unthinkingly: "Why, Sister White has said so and so, and Sister White has said so and so; and therefore we are going right up to it."

Her response: "God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things."[53]

Christianity is a reasonable religion. God implanted within men and women not only the ability to respond to His grace (and the ability not to respond) but also the capacity to reason from cause to effect. On many occasions Ellen White said, "God has given us powers to be used, to be developed and strengthened by education. We should reason and reflect, carefully marking the relation between cause and effect. When this is practiced . . . they may fully answer the purpose of God in their creation."[54]

She did not make reason the final arbiter of right and wrong. Reason, for her, is the capacity to understand the reasonableness of God's counsel and the ability to reflect on the results of obeying or disobeying that counsel. She described this relationship between God's will and human reasoning powers: "We are to be guided by true theology and common sense."[55] For her, sanctified reason and common sense are virtually synonymous.

Reason and extremes. Every subject, whether it be in theology, law, ethics, music, graphic art, or constitutional law, is beset with those who tend to go to extremes. We call those groups Pharisees or Sadducees, conservatives or liberals, literalists or symbolists, indifferent (cool) or fanatics (hot), etc. In philosophy and religion, we call the one group objectivists, the other, subjectivists.[56]

Truth (as principle) is not some kind of balance between two errors. Truth transcends errors of both extremes by recognizing the truths that each extreme wants to guard.[57] But truth does not incorporate the spirit or the errors that each extreme holds to. When people recognize the element of truth in their opposition, a remarkable event happens--peace prevails, conciliation happens, and real unity develops. Real unity is not the result of administrative appeal or a committee vote; unity rests on commonly accepted principles of interpretation.

At the same time, matters dealing with policy (not principle) require a different approach. For example, dealing with dress Ellen White wrote: "There is a medium position in these things. Oh, that we all might wisely find that position and keep it." Speaking of diet, she counseled: "Take the middle path, avoiding all extremes."[58]

But avoiding extremes is more than an intellectual matter. Some people may understand intellectually the correct linkage between principle and policy, but emotionally they tend to extremes. Even when they promote correct policy, they may be either extremely hot or cold. Ellen White put her finger on their problem, even when their policy is correct: "We have found in our experience that if Satan cannot keep souls bound in the ice of indifference, he will try to push them into the fire of fanaticism."[59]

A respected Adventist theologian of an earlier generation recalls how he unintentionally exercised "the fire of fanaticism" in applying one of Ellen White's health principles. While selling religious books in his youth, M. L. Andreasen lived on granola. He carried it with him, mixed it with water, and ate it twice daily.

Then someone read from one of Ellen White's books that people "eat too much." He looked around and found sufficient verification of that statement. So, [p. 402] to be faithful to new light, he cut his daily ration in half. Some time later he read the statement himself in Testimonies, volume 2, page 374: "You eat too much." That caused him to think again. Should he cut his daily ration in half again?

Then it dawned on him. He was honest and wanted to do right but he now thanked God for "a little good sense."[60]

Because Ellen White said on several occasions that "two meals [daily] are better than three,"[61] some families made it a rule for everyone, including those in the sanitariums. In reference to sanitariums she showed how to link principle with policy and circumstances: "If, after dispensing with the third meal in the sanitarium, you see by the results that this is keeping people away from the institution, your duty is plain. We must remember that while there are some who are better for eating only two meals, there are others who eat lightly at each meal, and who feel that they need something in the evening. . . . [Eliminating the third meal may] do more harm than good."[62]

In 1867 Mrs. White answered some prevalent questions regarding health reform. One of the questions was: "Is there not danger of brethren and sisters taking extreme views of the health reform?" She answered: "This may be expected in all stirring reforms. . . . It is God's plan that persons who are suited to the work should prudently and earnestly set forth the health reform, then leave the people to settle the matter with God and their own souls. It is the duty of those every way qualified to teach it to make people believe and obey, and all others should be silent and be taught."[63]

In summary, this fourth principle of hermeneutics appeals to common sense in linking principle with policy. This requires both soundness in thought and emotional evenness. Ellen White well said: "There is a class of people who are always ready to go off on some tangent, who want to catch up something strange and wonderful and new; but God would have all move calmly, considerately, choosing our words in harmony with the solid truth for this time, which requires to be presented to the mind as free from that which is emotional as possible, while still bearing the intensity and solemnity that it is proper it should bear. We must guard against creating extremes, guard against encouraging those who would either be in the fire or in the water."[64]

¤ Rule Five: We must be certain that supposed quotations are indeed written by the author to whom they are attributed.

Every public figure has had the problem of facing people who were adamant about what they "know" the speaker or author had said. The "belief" may be as wild as one's imagination, but still the speaker or author must try to defend himself against the error or distortion. Obviously, the contending person does not have the reference for what he is "quoting." Most of the time he/she got his information from a third or fourth party. We often call these distorted memories and flat errors "apocryphal statements."

This problem plagued Ellen White from the beginning of her early ministry, and even today. Included in statements that have been incorrectly attributed to her are topics such as: (1) Inhabitants of other planets are now gathering fruit for a Sabbath stopover of the redeemed on the way to heaven; (2) She saw an angel standing by Uriah Smith inspiring him as he wrote Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation; (3) The Holy Spirit is, or was, Melchizedek; (4) She designated certain mountain spots as safe hideouts in the time of trouble; (5) She named specific cities, etc., that would be destroyed by coming earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.; (6) Christ will return at midnight; (7) Eggs should never be eaten (forgetting the immediate context and many other statements regarding varying circumstances); (8) She would be a member of the 144,000; (9) Literal darkness will cover the earth as a signal that probation [p. 403] has closed; (10) Christ's last mediatorial work before probation closes will be for children who have wandered away from the church; (11) We should live as though we had 1,000 years to live, and as we would if we were to die tomorrow; (12) Entire churches and conferences will apostatize, etc.[65]

¤ Rule Six: Though not contradicting themselves, we must allow for the maturing experience of authors, even prophets, in that truth is unfolded to them only as fast as they are able to understand it.

This rule helps students who are concerned about certain portions of a prophet's life or writings that fall into a category other than "time, place, and circumstances," addressed in Rule Three above.

Ellen White clearly taught that God leads His people along as fast as they are able to receive further truth. The history of Israel is a splendid example of how He works with people where they are, not where they will be in the future.[66] The prophets were also part of this divine plan to unfold truth as fast as people are ready for it. They themselves experienced the process. Paul not only knew more about the plan of salvation than did Joel or David, he experienced the "unfolding" in his own life.[67]

Some call this process "progressive truth." The term is helpful if it is describing a person's progressive awareness of spiritual truths. But it misses the mark if it is used in the context of an evolutionary development that proceeds out of the evolving of human understanding through trial and error, through thesis and antithesis into synthesis. God's method of teaching the human race involves both the recovery of lost truth and the unfolding of further truth, as fast as people are ready to receive it. Evolutionary progression is understood as humanity's growth from ignorance to knowledge, without any absolutes that would put universal value on knowledge.[68]

This process happens to individuals as well as to groups of people. Most people know how this process has been working in their own lives. If we have been growing in grace, what we knew about God's will for us individually ten years ago was much less than what each of us knows today. No doubt all of us wish we could adjust what we said to others ten years ago, even though we thought it wise at the time![69]

But some may say, "A prophet should be different. What prophets said when they were twenty years old should not need 'clarification' or 'expansion' when they are fifty-five!" This view arises out of a verbal-inspiration framework. We must not forget that God speaks to men and women who "differ widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments."[70] This "wide" spread of individual differences includes the "wide" spread of a person's grasp of truth between his/her youth and the mature years. Though the core of truth remains the same, one's insights are enlarged. Maturing skills of insight and communicating skills may express the core message differently in later years. In 1906 Ellen White reflected on her learning experience: "For sixty years I have been in communication with heavenly messengers, and I have been constantly learning in reference to divine things, and in reference to the way in which God is constantly working to bring souls from the error of their ways to the light in God's light."[71] Prophets are humble people who have seen, to some degree, the glory of the Lord. Humble prophets easily recognize indebtedness to God for their fresh perspective, "like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18).[72]

The growth principle pervades all creation. It explains Paul's appeal to the Corinthians: "We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the [p. 404] Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). This text lies behind the rule: "It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed."[73] Thus, the more young Ellen Harmon studied her Bible and prayed for divine guidance as she faced life's choices, she became "transformed," and "changed"--she grew in knowledge of God's character and His ways.[74]

Consequently, letting the growth principle inform our study of Ellen White (or the Bible) we should expect deepening insights as she conveys God's messages to others. We can see the growth of her ability to convey deeper insights, especially when we compare her earliest descriptions of the origin of the great controversy in heaven with that in Patriarchs and Prophets.[75]

Thus, when readers sense a broader perspective in Patriarchs and Prophets (1890) than is found in Spiritual Gifts (1858), they are recognizing the hermeneutical rule that a prophet will grow, as anyone else, in spiritual perception. This increase in spiritual perception will help the prophet to state more clearly the message that God wants conveyed. This is the principle that best describes the experience of Jesus on earth. Luke described His growth and maturing ability to share spiritual things with others: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).[76]

¤ Rule Seven: In some instances, a person must understand the experience of an event, either directly or vicariously, before understanding the truth of the event.

This rule may sound contrary to sound reasoning. But such was the situation when the apostles faced the unbelieving world after Christ's resurrection. Who would believe them unless the apostles had seen the empty tomb or had seen Jesus during the next forty days before His ascension? In a similar sense, early Adventists in the late 1840s and early 1850s "experienced" the growing connection between the supernatural visions of Ellen Harmon-White and the voice of authority for their growing community.[77]

In late 1896 while in Australia, Mrs. White had to respond to John Bell who was promoting a divisive message regarding the time when the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 would be fulfilled. In essence, he was placing it in the future. She wrote insightfully, in terms of this seventh rule of interpretation: "The peculiar views he holds are a mixture of truth and error. If he had passed through the experience of God's people as He has led them for the last forty years, he would be better prepared to make the correct application of Scripture. The great waymarks of truth, showing us our bearings in prophetic history, are to be carefully guarded, lest they be torn down, and replaced with theories that would bring confusion rather than genuine light."

She ended her five-page response by noting this seventh rule: "Many theories were advanced, bearing a semblance of truth, but so mingled with Scriptures misinterpreted and misapplied that they led to dangerous errors. Very well do we know how every point of truth was established, and the seal set upon it by the Holy Spirit of God. . . . The leadings of the Lord were marked, and most wonderful were His revelations of what is truth. Point after point was established by the Lord God of heaven. That which was truththen, is truth today."[78]

Later Ellen White wrote out a more extended response on this "futurism" that was being taught in Australia. Again she emphasized the role of experience that should be respected by Adventists: "The Lord will not lead minds now to set aside the truth that the Holy Spirit has moved upon His servants in the past to proclaim. . . . The Lord does not lay upon those who have not had an experience in His work the burden of making a new exposition of those prophecies which He has, by His Holy Spirit, moved upon His chosen servants to explain."[79] [p. 405]

Living through the experience when truth is revealed becomes a rock-solid foundation not only for those who first experience it but also for those who later want to "re-experience" it in their own truth system. Truth, whenever found, "fits" previous truth as a tree limb "fits" its trunk. Truth is coherent.

¤ Rule Eight: Not everything in the Bible or in the writings of Ellen White can be understood at first glance, or even after years of study.

This thought may sound strange to the inquiring mind. But think of astronomers and neurosurgeons (or genetic-code researchers, microchip specialists, etc.) who spend their entire lives expanding their knowledge--but feeling increasingly awed at what opens before them.

True Christians practice the principle of suspended judgment[80] when they and their colleagues reach the limit of understanding. Especially when they ponder the Biblical story (and Ellen White's writings) on such subjects as the nature of God (not His character, of which much has been revealed), why sin developed, how Christ could become a human being, how regeneration works--they acknowledge that these "are mysteries too deep for the human mind." They remember that we are not "to doubt His Word because we cannot understand all the mysteries of His providence."[81]

To force an interpretation because one feels everything must be understood is surely to lead to a misinterpretation. Or to dismiss or disregard any portion of the Bible or the writings of Ellen White simply because some passages are not easily understood also damages one's understanding of truth.

Notes

[1] Selected Messages, book 1, p. 44.

[2] See T. Housel Jemison, A Prophet Among You (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1955), pp. 438-450.

[3] Note the kind of scientific thinking that prevailed before Copernicus changed the worldview of astronomers (and everyone else) with his paradigm shift, placing the sun instead of the earth at the center of the solar system. Consider the physicians who bled George Washington, America's first president, to death because their medical paradigm did not understand the germ theory nor even the strong possibility that hydrotherapy treatments might have reversed his chest infection. One of the chief responsibilities of those searching for truth is to examine the lens through which the researcher searches for truth. The lens (the paradigm or worldview) by which we look at information determines how we evaluate so-called "facts." Alfred North Whitehead said it well: "When you are criticizing [or, one may add, interpreting] the philosophy of an epoch, do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which its exponents feel it necessary explicitly to defend. There will be some fundamental assumptions which adherents of all the variant systems within the epoch unconsciously presuppose. Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them. With these assumptions a certain limited number of types of philosophic systems are possible."--Science and the Modern World (New York: Mentor Editions, 1952), pp. 49, 50.

[4] See p. 373.

[5] Attitude determined how first-century Jews looked at Jesus as recorded in Matthew 16: If this young Galilean teacher did not fit their paradigm of what they thought the Messiah should be, they would look elsewhere--and they did. If one does not believe in miracles because of some kind of scientific paradigm, the Biblical story becomes folklore. If one does not believe that God speaks through men and women through visions, he/she then searches for reasons to explain away the vision phenomenon. And on it goes.

[6] Selected Messages, book 1, p. 42.

[7] Selected Messages, book 3, p. 52.

[8] "The light that I have received, I have written out, and much of it is now shining forth from the printed page. There is, throughout my printed works, a harmony with my present teaching."--Review and Herald, June 14, 1906.

[9] Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 549-551 (1867). To understand this statement we must also employ "hermeneutic rule number two."

[10] Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 180, 181 (1892).

[11] The Desire of Ages, pp. 785-787, 833, 834; Early Writings, pp. 184, 185, 208; The Great Controversy, pp. 18, 667; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 304-308.

[12] Early Writings, p. 285; The Great Controversy, p. 637.

[13] Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 362, 400. Note some helpful statements in Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 135; vol. 9, p. 162; The Ministry of Healing, p. 320.

[14] "If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works."--Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 696. See George Knight, Reading Ellen White, pp. 121-123.

[15] Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 471.

[16] Selected Messages, book 3, p. 217. See p. 345.

[17] Ibid., book 1, p. 57.

[18] The Upward Look, p. 30.

[19] Letter 4, 1896, cited in Manuscript Releases (MR), vol. 17, pp. 185, 186 (1896).

[20] Letter 77, 1898, cited in Ibid., p. 216 (1898).

[21] Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 492.

[22] Ms 37, 1901, cited in Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, pp. 159, 160. See also George E. Rice, "The Church: Voice of God?" Ministry, Dec., 1987, pp. 4-6.

[23] Letter 54, 1901, cited in MR, vol. 19, pp. 146-148.

[24] Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 261.

[25] Review and Herald, Mar. 17, 1868.

[26] Prophets and Kings, p. 626.

[27] Selected Messages, book 3, p. 29.

[28] Evangelism, p. 256.

[29] In Ellen White's first testimony to the church, she wrote: "Some have taken an injudicious course; when they have talked their faith to unbelievers, and the proof has been asked for, they have read a vision, instead of going to the Bible for proof. I saw that this course was inconsistent, and prejudiced unbelievers against the truth. The visions can have no weight with those who have never seen them and know nothing of their spirit. They should not be referred to in such cases."--Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 119, 120. See also Ibid., vol. 5, p. 669.

[30] Review and Herald, Aug. 22 to Sept. 12, 1893. See p. 231.

[31] Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 32-62.

[32] "I know that many men take the testimonies the Lord has given, and apply them as they suppose they should be applied, picking out a sentence here and there, taking it from its proper connection, and applying it according to their idea. Thus poor souls become bewildered, when could they read in order all that has been given, they would see the true application, and would not become confused. . . . Reports fly from one to another regarding what Sister White has said. Each time the report is repeated, it grows larger. If Sister White has anything to say, leave her to say it. No one is called upon to be a mouthpiece for Sister White. . . . Please let Sister White bear her own message."--Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 44, 45. "Those who are not walking in the light of the message, may gather up statements from my writings that happen to please them, and that agree with their human judgment, and, by separating these statements from their connection, and placing them beside human reasonings, make it appear that my writings uphold that which they condemn."--Letter 208, 1906, cited in Arthur White, Ellen G. White: Messenger to the Remnant, p. 86.

[33] See p. 34.

[34] Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 470.

[35] In a private letter W. C. White reported to A. O. Tait on a union committee meeting to which his mother was invited. White noted how they hurried the discussion along in order to listen to Ellen White: "As you are well aware, Mother seldom answers such questions directly; but she endeavors to lay down principles and bring forward facts which have been presented to her that will aid us in giving intelligent study to the subject, and in arriving at a correct conclusion."--Cited in Arthur White, The Ellen G. White Writings, pp. 165, 166.

[36] Education, pp. 216, 217.

[37] Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 131-160; Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 15-46.

[38] Ibid., p. 137.

[39] A verbatim report of Ellen White's participation in the school board discussion is found in Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 214-226.

[40] Reader's Digest, Dec. 1951. See George Knight, Reading Ellen White, pp. 100-102.

[41] Testimonies to Ministers, p. 398.

[42] Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 51, 52.

[43] Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 378.

[44] Ibid., p. 18. See also Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 134, 135.

[45] The Adventist Home, pp. 498, 499.

[46] See pp. 310, 311.

[47] Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 371, 372. "I present these matters before the people, dwelling upon general principles."--Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 493 (1897). In 1904, at the age of 76, she said that she was healthier than "in my younger days," attributing her improvement to the "principles of health reform."--Ibid., p. 482. In 1908 she reacted to those who were stating that she had not been following the principles of health reform as she had "advocated them with my pen." Forthrightly she wrote: "As far as my knowledge goes, I have not departed from those principles."--Ibid., pp. 491, 492, 494. See Review and Herald, Mar. 17, 1868, for an editorial by James White where he addressed those who were more rigid than they should have been with health principles. One of the problems that called forth the editorial was the virtual verbal-inspiration paradigm that drove some readers to their super-critical positions.

[48] See pp. 322-324.

[49] Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 163; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 396.

[50] MR, vol. 8, p. 256.

[51] Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 432; see also Ibid., vol. 5, p. 109.

[52] Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 101. See Jerry Allen Moon, W. C. White and Ellen G. White, p. 359.

[53] Selected Messages, book 3, p. 217. See p. 395.

[54] Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 436.

[55] Ibid., vol. 1, p. 148.

[56] Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 425.

[57] See pp. 260, 261.

[58] Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 211. The ancient Greeks often spoke of moderation ("nothing in excess") as the search for the "golden mean."

[59] Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 644.

[60] Virginia Steinweg, Without Fear or Favor (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1979), pp. 53, 54.

[61] Counsels on Diet and Foods, pp. 141, 173; Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 416, 417.

[62] Ibid., p. 283. "The practice of eating but two meals a day is generally found a benefit to health; yet under some circumstances persons may require a third meal. This should, however, if taken at all, be very light, and of food most easily digested."--The Ministry of Healing, p. 321.

[63] Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867.

[64] Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 227, 228.

[65] For further study of these and other illustrations of the Ellen White "apocrypha," see Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, vol. 3, pp. 3189-3192.

[66] For further study of the principle of accommodation, see pp. 34, 282, 304, 311, 422.

[67] "The fact needs to be emphasized, and often repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth. The limitation is not in its purpose, but in our capacity."--Signs of the Times, Apr. 25, 1906.

[68] "In all ages, through the medium of communion with heaven, God has worked out His purpose for His children, by unfolding gradually to their minds the doctrines of grace. . . . He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday."--The Acts of the Apostles, p. 564.

[69] "God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His Word shall be ever unfolding."--Signs of the Times, Apr. 25, 1906; "He [Christ] promised that the Holy Spirit should enlighten the disciples, that the word of God should be ever unfolding to them. They would be able to present its truths in new beauty."--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 127.

[70] The Great Controversy, p. vi.

[71] This Day With God, p. 76.

[72] "Whoever examines her written words--going from the childlike composition of her girlhood writings through the strenuous period of her young maturity to the gracious, eloquent, and deeply moving works of her later years--will perceive the steady progress in vision and expression, and may remember that she gained these abilities, under God's hand, not by supinely waiting for the outpouring of the Spirit, but by moving under the impulse of that Spirit in the exercise of every power of her being."--A. W. Spalding,Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 76.

[73] Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91.

[74] "Looking unto Jesus we obtain brighter and more distinct views of God, and by beholding we become changed. Goodness, love for our fellow men, becomes our natural instinct."--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 355.

[75] See Alden Thompson, "The Theology of Ellen White: The Great Controversy Story," Adventist Review, Dec. 31, 1981.

[76] Ellen White spoke reverently about the development of Christ's spiritual and mental endowments: "The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood. . . . Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God's word. . . . Thus to Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God was unfolded, as He was trying to understand the reason of things. . . . From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth. . . . Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things."--The Desire of Ages, pp. 69-71.

[77] "Thus the process by which the mystical proclivities of a teenage girl were recognized as the revelations of an authoritative prophet was aided at every step by the underlying philosophical assumptions of the Adventist community. Unlike the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Ellen White did not proclaim her revelation and gather a following; rather, she had a particular kind of religious experience that came to be accepted as authoritative within an existing group. The prophetic ministry of Ellen White was an aspect of Adventist social experience, not just the psychological experience of a single individual."--Bull and Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary, p. 25.

[78] Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 101-104.

[79] Ibid., pp. 110, 112; see Ibid., book 1, p. 161.

[80] See George Reid, "Is the Bible Our Final Authority?" Ministry, Nov. 1991.

[81] Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 699. "The Bible is but dimly understood. A lifelong, prayerful study of its sacred revealings will leave much unexplained."--Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 82; "Both in divine revelation and in nature, God has given to men mysteries to command their faith. This must be so. We may be ever searching, ever inquiring, ever learning, and yet there is an infinity beyond."--Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 261; "We can understand as much of His purposes as it is for our good to know; and beyond this we must still trust the might of the Omnipotent, the love and wisdom of the Father and Sovereign of all."--Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 699.

“The Spirit of God rests upon me with power, and I cannot but speak the words given me. I dare not withhold one word of the testimony. . . . I speak the words given me by a power higher than human power, and I cannot, if I would, recall [retract] one sentence. In the night season the Lord gives me instruction in symbols, and then explains their meaning. He gives me the word, and I dare not refuse to give it to the people.”1

Seventh-day Adventists have believed for more than a century that Ellen White was inspired in the same manner and to the same degree as Biblical prophets. At the same time, they do not make her writings another Bible—her writings differ in function and scope, not in authority.

But how did Ellen White understand her authority? From her teenage years to her final days, she was clear about her divine assignment. Hundreds of times she prefaced her messages with “I was shown,” or “The Lord showed me.” She reflected on those early moments: “When the Lord first gave me messages to deliver to His people, it was hard for me to declare them, and I often softened them down and made them as mild as possible for fear of grieving some. It was a great trial to declare the messages as the Lord gave them to me.”2

The usual response to all prophets, even to Jesus Himself, has been to ask several basic questions: “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”3 What is your work? Who sent you?

Ellen White answered these questions often. The Lord sent her “for the comfort of His people and to correct those who err from Bible truth.”4

Mrs. White often felt rejected. During the dark hours of Dr. Kellogg’s 1902 confusion in theology, she wrote to her brother-in-law, S. T. Belden: “I am not to be depressed, but am to speak the words of the Lord with authority, and leave with Him all the consequences. I am instructed by the Great Physician to speak the word that the Lord gives me, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.”5

To her son, W. C. White, she wrote: “The awful sense of my responsibility takes such possession of me that I am weighted as a cart beneath sheaves. I do not desire to feel less keenly my obligation to the Higher Power. The Presence is ever with me, asserting supreme authority and taking account of the service that I render or withhold.”6

During the Ballenger confrontation in the early 1900s, she reflected: “The question is asked, How does Sister White know in regard to the matters of which she speaks so decidedly, as if she had authority to say these things? I speak thus because they flash upon my mind when in perplexity like lightning out of a dark cloud in the fury of a storm. Some scenes presented before me years ago have not been retained in my memory, but when the instruction then given is needed, sometimes even when I am standing before the people, the remembrance comes sharp and clear, like a flash of lightning, bringing to mind distinctly that particular instruction. At such times I cannot refrain from saying the things that flash into my mind, not because I have had a new vision, but because that which was presented to me perhaps years in the past, has been recalled to my mind forcibly.”7

To Evangelist W. W. Simpson, serving in southern California in 1906, she wrote: “I am thankful that the instruction contained in my books established present truth for this time. These books were written under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit.”8


Ellen White’s Relation to the Bible and to Bible Study

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We have elsewhere noted Ellen White’s undeniable submission to the Bible as the test of faith and practice.9 She understood herself as “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light [Bible].”10 She made it clear that her testimonies would not have been needed if people were studying earnestly to understand the Bible.11 She urged people to “cling” to their Bibles, and stated that none who believe and obey the Bible would be lost.12

Not another Bible. Neither Ellen White nor the pioneers of the Advent movement ever considered her writings another Bible. No one made that clearer than she herself. No writer ever exalted the Bible more!13

Bible study precedes inspired confirmation. A real life incident occurred in 1888 when thoughtful leaders were in conflict over the law in Galatians. Some remembered a position that Ellen White was supposed to have taken some years before—and they wanted to find that manuscript! Ellen White indeed tried to find the manuscript, but with all her many moves it could not be located. She was troubled by its absence.14

But in her last spoken message to the 1888 General Conference session she referred to the incident: “Why was it that I lost the manuscript [on the law in Galatians 3] and for two years could not find it? God has a purpose in this. He wants us to go to the Bible and get the Scripture evidence. . . .This investigation must go forward. All the object I had was that the light should be gathered up, and let the Saviour come in.”15

In other words, even as in 1848 when Adventist Bible students grappled with salient Biblical teachings, Ellen White emphasized the Adventist principle of Bible study first, and then, when needed, the confirmation of prophetic revelation. In that order!16 No prophet since Enoch and Moses has had a complete understanding of truth. All prophets have had to wait for the Lord to reveal His mind, not only through visions but also through Bible study. When God wants truth confirmed, He makes His mind known to His messengers.


Biblical Principles Worthless Unless Internalized

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Attitudes. One of the most important lessons to be learned from the 1888 experience is that Ellen White was more concerned with living the truth than in discussing it. She made that clear on many occasions. If an unChristlike spirit motivated a Bible student, that suggested for her that there might be something wrong with his/her theology!17

Another emotionally laden event occurred the day before the 1901 General Conference session in Battle Creek. Many were the challenges that the delegates faced, but probably the greatest was the need to reorganize the General Conference which, for many years, involved only a few leaders with too much authority. Ellen White called it “a king-like, kingly ruling power.”18 Close to this root problem, the leaders had to face the enormous denominational debt, the amount and kind of commercial printing being done at the Review and Herald publishing house, and the growing contention with Dr. Kellogg.

Yet, underneath all these visible problems flowed a stream of inertia to change. This inertia not only resisted improved policies of church governance, it also resisted openness to present truth and to a deepening of spiritual attitudes. Ellen White reminded the leaders of her counsel she had been giving them for years: “Enough has been said, over and over and over again, but it did not make any difference. The light shone upon them, just the same, professedly accepting it, but they did not make any change. That is what frightens me.” The root of this spiritual problem was that Mrs. White’s counsel, though often used, was misapplied to suit one’s point of view, and the principles were ignored: “He [God] wants you to eat His principles: to live His principles;—but those that are there now [present church leaders] never will appreciate it. They have had their test, . . . they have had their warnings, and now there must be a change.”19

Ellen White wanted no more lip service to her counsel: “Lay Sister White right to one side. . . . Do not you ever quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. When you take the Bible and make that your food . . . and make that the elements [sic] of your character, when you can do that you will know better how to receive some counsel from God. But here is the Word, exalted before you today. And do not you give a rap any more what ‘Sister White said’—‘Sister White said this,’ and ‘Sister White said that,’ and ‘Sister White said the other thing.’ But say, ‘Thus saith the Lord God of Israel,’ and then you do just what the Lord God of Israel does, and what He says.”20

She wanted the church leaders to live out the principles of the gospel—not to hide behind quotations from her as if meeting some of her counsel on church work could make up for their lack of Christian character. Her many testimonies regarding the seamless union of medical missionary work with the ministry had been generally ignored. Her counsel regarding the relationship of the mind and a healthy body had also been largely disregarded.21

In this 1901 setting at Battle Creek, Ellen White was not discussing the relationship of her writings in the development of doctrine when she said further: “Do not you quote Sister White. I do not want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat. . . . Carry it out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. . . . And I ask you to put on the armor, every piece of it, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel.”22 She was simply telling these church leaders that appeals to her writings for whatever purpose was missing the mark when they were not, generally speaking, internalizing the principles of the gospel found either in the Bible or in her writings. Living the gospel was more important than “playing church” no matter how many quotations about the gospel were in their heads.


“Gifts” Tested by the Bible, Not the Bible by the “Gifts”

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In 1883 George I. Butler, president of the General Conference, spoke for his generation and for Adventists to this day: “We do not hold them [Ellen White’s writings] to be superior to the Bible, or in one sense equal to it. The Scriptures are our rule to test everything by, the visions as well as all other things. That rule, therefore, is of the highest authority; the standard is higher than the thing tested by it. If the Bible should show the visions were not in harmony with it, the Bible would stand, and the visions would be given up. This shows plainly that we hold the Bible the highest, our enemies to the contrary, notwithstanding.”23

Ellen White never swerved in her submission to the Bible: “The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.”24


Primarily a Commentator, Not an Exegete

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Early in her ministry Mrs. White understood her role as “the Lord’s messenger” and was told: “Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the Word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be a strange language.”25

Throughout her writings, but primarily in her Conflict of the Ages series, Ellen White “commented” on the Biblical story from the entrance of sin in heaven to its final removal from the universe after the millennium. Her Great Controversy Theme is the integrating thread that ties all her thoughts together in a straight line of truth.26 She opens the Word to her readers through typologies,27 moralisms,28 and character sketches.29 The space she devotes to Biblical events and persons is not always proportional to the space given in the Bible. Her emphasis on certain events or persons depends on how she believes those events and persons contribute to the unfolding of the Great Controversy Theme.30

Many have discovered Ellen White to be a helpful commentator on Bible texts. W. W. Prescott recalled how, after studying the eighth chapter of Daniel for several years, he still felt the need for more clarity. He made his concern a matter of special prayer. Then the strong impression came to him, “Read what it says in Patriarchs and Prophets.” He reached for the book, turned to the appropriate chapter, and found it to be “exactly the thing I wanted to clarify my mind on that subject. It greatly helped me.”31

Mrs. White quoted Bible verses thousands of times. In her sermons as well as letters, testimonies, and books she speaks to young and old by focusing the Biblical texts on human situations. This type of ministry is more pastoral and devotional than what we often think of as Biblical exegesis. Millions of readers have learned to appreciate the Biblical narrative by reading her commentary.

On other occasions Ellen White speaks with doctrinal emphasis. She gives a double application to Matthew 24:4-14 as New Testament writers did for Old Testament prophecies.32 In tracing the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, she makes specific applications, especially in reference to Daniel 7-9 and Revelation 6-17.

Mrs. White did not attempt to comment on every verse in the Bible. She focused only on those passages that had special significance in unfolding the working out of the Great Controversy Theme. On some passages she expressly said she had no special light, such as on the meaning of the “daily” in Daniel 8:11-13. Her only comment regarding the “daily” referred to the timing of that prophecy, not to the application of the “daily” itself.33

She did not identify the composition of the 144,000 (Rev. 14:1-5). Nor did she provide definite instruction regarding many other Biblical questions that are still discussed by sincere Bible students. She wrote on those texts that seemed to be most salient in the unfolding of the Great Controversy Theme.

When she commented on the Bible, how reliable was she? Understanding the limitations of finite human nature, one would expect some discrepancies.34 Not to have made a few mistakes would have been a first for prophets! For that reason, she never expected anyone to consider her the Bible’s infallible commentator or interpreter.35

Further, she wanted to wean Christians away from leaning on her for quick, mistake-free decisions regarding their personal lives. She encouraged her contemporaries to become secure in their relation to God as He spoke to them individually.36

On rare occasions Ellen White commented on a Bible text in a manner that may seem to be out of harmony with its context. Such was done also by Biblical writers.37

An interesting occasion developed at times when Ellen White would comment on a text in two ways—in harmony with the context, and then in a manner that would seem to be contrary to context but for a homiletical purpose. For example, commenting on John 5:39 in The Desire of Ages she focused on Jesus’ accusers as rejecting the Word of God because they were rejecting Him, as the context would suggest.38 But in a 1900 letter she made a homiletical point by using that text to encourage serious Bible study. It is interesting to note that the King James Version favors the homiletical approach but later versions translate the passage with the alternate meaning, “Ye search the scriptures,” which seems to be in harmony with the context.


Additional Details to the Biblical Story

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Every reader of the Conflict set, for example, knows the stimulation of reading further details of many Bible stories furnished by Ellen White. However, she wrote that her writings “are not to give new light,” and that “additional truth is not brought out.”39 What should we make of these statements?

A big difference exists between “new light—additional truth” and additional details. If prophets do not provide additional details, what would be their purpose? “New light,” in Ellen White’s vocabulary, refers to the truths of salvation. “Additional truth” intimates that which is needed for a person’s salvation. One of the prophet’s functions throughout the Bible, and surely in the endtime, has been to give additional details about salvation truths and the character of God. In other words, Mrs. White does not introduce doctrines that are not already in the Bible. But she does add details and insights so that those truths are seen in greater clarity, with deeper understanding—such as we find in her understanding of the Great Controversy Theme.40


Practical Purpose of Bible Study

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In her writings, Ellen White stated that the “Bible was given for practical purposes.”41 She urged her readers to join her in taking “the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word” and that in “obey[ing] the Word . . . not one of you will be lost.”42

And what are those “practical purposes”? Mrs. White’s ministry, from start to finish, continually focused on the place of the Bible in bringing salvation to its readers. Studying the Bible is not primarily an academic, intellectual venture; the Bible is a rich mine from which honest people discover the truth about God and how best to relate to Him. In respect to “higher education,” she wrote: “The true higher education is gained by studying and obeying the Word of God. But when God’s Word is laid aside for books that do not lead to God and the kingdom of heaven, the education acquired is a perversion of the name.”43

The purpose of the Bible, in Ellen White’s thinking, is to help honest seekers relate to the cosmic conflict in such a way that God’s purpose to restore sinners will be achieved. For her, Bible study and character development are inseparable.

This conceptual consistency, this linkage between the Bible, character development, and the Great Controversy Theme, is one of the primary characteristics of Ellen White’s writings. This threefold linkage defines the way her writings should be understood in relation to her use of the Bible. She never saw herself as an exegete. Or as a historical scholar. Thus her readers should not look to her, primarily, as an exegete or historian. Part of her job description was to serve as God’s messenger in these last days to help prepare a people to meet the Lord. The Bible was her textbook in defining what that preparation means. It was her personal guide for her close walk with God. In her hands it became the textbook for others as she exhorted them to join her in this life-changing relationship.


Ellen White’s Understanding of How Inspiration Works

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No half-way inspiration. Ellen White was forthright: “God is either teaching His church . . . or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. . . . There is no half-way work in the matter. The testimonies are of the Spirit of God or of the Devil.”44 Other than the obvious distinction between the common and the sacred, Mrs. White’s work cannot be divided between the inspired and the less inspired: “The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy [a metonym for the writings of Ellen White]. . . . These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean.”45

This sense of divine direction kept Ellen White from commenting on matters on which she had no special light. In 1909 a minister felt he needed counsel. Mrs. White answered him, in part: “If the Lord gives me definite instruction concerning you, I will give it you; but I cannot take upon myself responsibilities that the Lord does not give me to bear.”46

Often divinely helped in writing and speaking. In the oft-quoted introduction to The Great Controversy, Ellen White wrote regarding revelation: “One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all.”47

Ellen White recognized that the Holy Spirit “guided” her in the writing process even as He was “impressing” her in the revealing process, although in a different way. She explained: “Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.”48

Sometimes she struggled for the appropriate words. In a 1901 letter she shared her gratitude for her Lord’s help: “He works at my right hand and at my left. While I am writing out important matter, He is beside me, helping me. He lays out my work before me, and when I am puzzled for a fit word with which to express my thought, He brings it clearly and distinctly to my mind. I feel that every time I ask, even while I am speaking, He responds, ‘Here am I.’”49

The time to present the message is not always under the prophet’s control. Ellen White wrote: “I cannot call [the vision] to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that He is pleased to have me relate or write them.”50

Interpreting symbols. The Bible frequently employs symbols to teach lessons that otherwise would not have been understood or remembered. The prophet usually explained the symbols in some literal fashion.51

Ellen White recalled how “in the night season the Lord gives me instruction in symbols, and then explains their meaning.”52 In describing the future of the publishing work (1894), she wrote that “the work has been presented to me as, at its beginning, a small, very small rivulet. The representation was given to the prophet Ezekiel of waters issuing ‘from under the threshold of the house eastward . . . at the south side of the altar.’ . . . This work was represented to me as extending to . . . all parts of the world.”53 The symbol conveyed the meaning that otherwise would have required many words.

On another occasion, she wrote to Dr. Kellogg during his crisis years that he was represented in a vision as “trying to push a long car up a steep ascent. But this car, instead of going up the hill, kept running down. This car represented the food business as a commercial enterprise.”54 Very graphic, saving her many words that otherwise would have been needed.

Most symbols were given, not to create mysteries, but to convey truth in a graphic manner, using an economy of words. To try to interpret most symbols literally would falsify or mystify truth. Some symbols in the Bible pointed to reality, to literal events or places. The sanctuary service given by God to Moses is an example of the literal symbol pointing to a literal place. Regarding the sanctuary lessons, Mrs. White wrote: “We all need to keep the subject of the sanctuary in mind. God forbid that the clatter of words coming from human lips should lessen the belief of our people in the truth that there is a sanctuary in heaven, and that a pattern of this sanctuary was once built on this earth. God desires His people to become familiar with this pattern, keeping ever before their minds the heavenly sanctuary, where God is all and in all.”55

Harmony in a straight line of truth. In looking back over the years in 1905, Ellen White encouraged her readers to note that “there is one straight line of truth, without one heretical sentence” in her many pages of instruction.56 The key to this harmony is the unfolding of the Great Controversy Theme, especially as developed in the sanctuary doctrine. She said that “the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great Advent Movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.”57


Unfolding, or Progressive Revelation

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On pp. 34, 282, 304, and 311 we noted that truth comes to prophets and others only as fast as it can be understood or desired.58 Further, truth comes to prophets and others only as fast as it is obeyed.59 These are fundamental facts of God’s communication system.

Because of God’s plan to unfold truth as fast as His people are able to understand it, each generation is blessed with additional truth. Thus, we know more today about God’s will than did earlier generations. Not that truth is evolving in some kind of evolutionary scheme, but our perception of truth is continually progressing.60

Within the Bible story we find a built-in “capacity for self-correction of understanding.” The Old Testament understanding of God’s plan for this world and how He will intervene and create a “new world” was clarified in later revelations, in the New Testament. This is a practical example of how God always “meets people where they are, yet knows all along where He is going!”61

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a forward-looking church. Its members and leaders have not let the past be the measure for the future. The primary value of the past has been in its unique ability to reveal the leading of God and His “big picture” that He is constantly unfolding.62

Through the years Ellen White “was consistently ahead of the leaders. She had the ideas and the energy to set them before the people.” What was the reason? She understood by concept and experience that God is always leading His people into greater light, as fast as they are able to receive it, as fast as they are willing to obey it.63

Mrs. White was opposed to a creedal approach to Adventist doctrine. During the 1888 General Conference, resolutions were proposed that “nothing should be taught in the college contrary to what has been taught.” She noted that she “felt deeply, for I knew whoever framed that resolution was not aware of what he was doing.”64 Such a resolution would not only perpetuate errors then taught (for example, verbal inspiration of the Bible), but would also slam the door against the Spirit of God who might have further light for honest truth-seekers.

In another letter Ellen White wrote: “I could not let the resolution pass, [that nothing should be “taught in the college but that which had been taught during the past year”], that there was to be special light for God’s people as they neared the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Another angel was to come from heaven with a message and the whole earth was to be lightened with his glory. It would be impossible for us to state just how this additional light would come. It might come in a very unexpected manner, in a way that would not agree with the ideas that many have conceived. It is not at all unlikely, or contrary to the ways and works of God to send light to His people in unexpected ways. Would it be right that every avenue should be closed in our school so that the students could not have the benefit of this light? The resolution was not called for.”65

For Ellen White, “the best way to deal with error is to present the truth.”66 To paper over discussion with resolutions that often conceal opposition to truth and serious discord was not her way.

She spoke also to the present generation when she addressed the 1888 General Conference session: “No one must be permitted to close the avenues whereby the light of truth shall come to the people. As soon as this shall be attempted, God’s Spirit will be quenched, for that Spirit is constantly at work to give fresh and increased light to His people through His Word.”67 Christians until the end of time, and throughout eternity, will be listening to the Spirit as He continues to build on the tree of truth with new branches that extend the broad outlines understood in the past.


Endnotes

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1. The 1888 Materials, pp. 578, 579.

2. Early Writings, p. 76.

3. Matt. 21:23; Mark 11, Luke 20.

4. Early Writings, p. 78. See pp. 170, 171.

5. The Upward Look, p. 279.

6. Letter 197, 1902, cited in MR, vol. 5, p. 142.

7. Manuscript 33, 1911, cited in Arthur White, Messenger to the Remnant, p. 14.

8. Letter 50, 1906, cited in “The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth,” a shelf document available from the Ellen G. White Estate, March 12, 1981; “In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue. But will they profit by His teachings?”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 148.

9. See pp. 170, 175.

10. See pp. 408, 409.

11. Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 605.

12. Selected Messages, book 1, p. 18.

13. “However much one may advance in spiritual life, he will never come to a point where he will not need diligently to search the Scriptures; for therein are found the evidences of our faith. All points of doctrine, even though they have been accepted as truth, should be brought to the law and to the testimony; if they cannot stand this test, ‘there is no light in them.’”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 575.

14. Bio., vol. 3, p. 388. See p. 197.

15. Manuscript 9, 1888, cited in A V. Olson, Thirteen Crisis Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1981), pp. 300-303.

16. See pp. 170, 171.

17. “I am forced, by the attitude my brethren have taken and the spirit evidenced, to say, ‘God deliver me from your ideas of the law in Galatians, if the receiving of these ideas would make me so unchristian in my spirit, words, and works as many who ought to know better have been.’. . . The constant dwelling upon the law in Galatians, and not presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ in distinct lines, is misleading souls. The preaching of Christ crucified has been strangely neglected by our people. Many who claim to believe the truth have no knowledge of faith in Christ by experience.”—Manuscript 55, 1890, in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 841, 843. In a gathering of church leaders at her request in March 1890, she again pleaded: “If your views on the law in Galatians, and the fruits, are of the character I have seen in Minneapolis and ever since up to this time, my prayer is that I may be as far from your understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures as it is possible for me to be. I am afraid of any application of Scripture that needs such a spirit and bears such fruit as you have manifested. One thing is certain, I shall never come into harmony with such spirit as long as God gives me reason.”—Letter 83, 1890, Ibid., p. 632. See pp. 373, 374.

18. Verbatim report of remarks by Ellen White at a meeting held in Battle Creek College library, on April 1, the day before the Conference officially opened—Manuscript 41, 1901, cited in Spalding and Magan’s Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of Ellen White (Graham, Wash.: Corner Stone Publishing, 1992), pp. 165-177.

19. Ibid., p. 171.

20. Ibid., p. 170.

21. In this same talk to the 1901 leaders, she said: “What you want is this: You have a body here, wonderfully made, and you want that body should be, oh, so carefully dealt with. . . . God did not make these precious organs to be swelled like a balloon. He never made them for that, and He wants every living soul to deal with this machinery as God’s machinery; they must keep in perfect order to keep the brain power all right. The brain must work, and every burden you put upon your stomach will just becloud the brain. You go into a conference like this—you sit down and eat hearty meals and neglect to exercise, and then come into the conference meeting, and you are all sleepy; your ideas are not good for anything, and you really do not know what you are consenting to.”—Spalding and Magan,Unpublished Manuscript Testimonies of E. G. White, p. 172.

22. Ibid., pp. 176, 177.

23. Review and Herald Supplement, Aug. 14, 1883.

24. Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 663, 664.

25. Selected Messages, book 1, p. 32.

26. “I believe that Ellen White’s genius—that is, her divine inspiration—is revealed in her understanding and presentation of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Here lies the uniqueness of her work. . . . It constitutes the basic perspective from which she interprets the Bible.”—Joseph Battistone, “Ellen White’s Authority as Bible Commentator,” Spectrum, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 37, 38. See pp. 256-263.

27. For example, Ellen White draws a typological significance between the prophet Elijah’s experiences and the experiences of God’s people in the last days.

28. Study Ellen White’s comments on most any Bible character in Patriarchs and Prophets.

29. Note Ellen White’s character sketch of Daniel in Prophets and Kings, pp. 479-548.

30. Joseph Battistone, Great Controversy Theme, provides an excellent review of how Ellen White commented on the Biblical story of the great controversy in her writings.

31. “The Bible Conference of 1919,” Spectrum, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 32. Similar experiences of A. G. Daniells and W. E. Howell were also reported.

32. The Desire of Ages, p. 633.

33. Early Writings, pp. 74, 75; Moon, W. C. White and E. G. White, pp. 415-427; Schwarz, Light Bearers, pp. 397-399.

34. See pp. 379, 387 for a discussion on Ellen White’s role as a historian and the possibility of occasional errors in dates or chronology. Compare Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 449, 450.

35. “In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible.”—Letter 10, 1895, 1888 Materials, vol. 4, p. 1393.

36. Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 118, 119.

37. Compare Matt. 1:21-23 (where Matthew stated that Isa. 7:14 predicted the virgin birth of Christ) with Isaiah’s context wherein the prophet told the Judean king that “the Lord Himself shall give you [Ahaz] a sign.” The word that Isaiah used was not bethulah (virgin) but almah (young woman of marriageable age). Also compare Hosea 11:1 with Matt. 2:15—two different contexts. Or compare Paul’s interesting use of Deut. 25:4 in 1 Cor. 9:9, 10. These rare instances that, at first glance, seem to misapply Scripture, do not invalidate the inspired writer’s messages.

38. The Desire of Ages, p. 211.

39. Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 665.

40. Two examples among many wherein Ellen White expands the details and relationships between texts are the special resurrection that occurred simultaneously with our Lord’s (Matt. 27:51-53 and Eph. 4:8), and the special resurrection prior to Christ’s second coming (Dan. 12:1, 2; Matt. 26:64; Rev. 1:7; 14:13.)—Roger W. Coon, “Inspiration/Revelation: What It Is and How It Works,” The Journal of Adventist Education, Feb-Mar. 1982, pp. 24, 25.

41. Selected Messages, book 1, p. 20.

42. Ibid., pp. 17, 18.

43. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 107.

44. Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 230; p. 691. See p. 409 for a discussion of degrees of inspiration.

45. Letter 92, 1900, to J. H. Kellogg, in MR, vol. 2, p. 189.

46. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 51.

47. The Great Controversy, p. vi. See pp. 16, 120, 173, 375, 376 for a further study on thought inspiration versus verbal inspiration.

48. Selected Messages, book 1, p. 37.

49. Letter 201, 1902, cited MR, vol. 2, pp. 156, 157. This is not a reference to verbal inspiration. God used the words in Ellen White’s vocabulary, not in someone else’s. Everyone doing work for God has experienced that gracious touch of the Spirit while seeking right words for the occasion, whether speaking or writing.

50. Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 36, 37.

51. “The Infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the minds and hearts of His servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus revealed, have themselves embodied the thought in human language.”—Selected Messages, book 1, p. 25.

52. Ms 22, 1890, cited in 1888 Materials, p. 578.

53. The Publishing Work, p. 157.

54. Letter 239, 1903, cited in MR, vol. 1, p. 26.

55. Letter 233, 1904, cited in MR, vol. 14, p. 217. See Spalding, Origin and History, vol. 1, pp. 108-111 for thoughts on how an earthly “diagrammatic pattern” interprets the truth of the heavenly sanctuary.

56. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 52. “There is, throughout my printed works, a harmony with my present teaching.”—Ibid., p. 38.

57. The Great Controversy, p. 423.

58. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). “Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His Word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 463.

59. See pp. 273, 274, 310.

60. “Greater light shines upon us than shone upon our fathers. We cannot be accepted or honored of God in rendering the same service, or doing the same works, that our fathers did. In order to be accepted and blessed of God as they were, we must imitate their faithfulness and zeal—improve our light as they improved theirs—and do as they would have done had they lived in our day.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 262. “Our responsibility is greater than was that of our ancestors. We are accountable for the light which they received, and which was handed down as an inheritance for us, and we are accountable also for the additional light which is now shining upon us from the Word of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 164. “The Word of God presents special truths for every age. The dealings of God with His people in the past should receive our careful attention. We should learn the lessons which they are designed to teach us. But we are not to rest content with them. God is leading out His people step by step. Truth is progressive. The earnest seeker will be constantly receiving light from heaven. What is truth? should ever be our inquiry.”—SDABC, vol. 11, p. 1000.

61. Paulien, What the Bible Says About the End-Time, pp. 57, 58.

62. “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”—Life Sketches, p. 196. See P. Geraard Damsteegt, “Seventh-day Adventist Doctrines and Progressive Revelation,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, Spring, 1991.

63. Graham, E. G. White, Co-founder, pp. 414, 415.

64. Manuscript 16, 1889, cited in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 258.

65. Letter 22, 1889, Ibid., p. 239.

66. Testimonies to Ministers, p. 165.

67. 1888 Materials, p. 171.


Study Questions

[Top of Document]

1. How do you set forth the truth that Ellen White was inspired as Biblical prophets were inspired, without making her writings another Bible?

2. What was Ellen White’s understanding of her authority as God’s messenger? How did she express that authority in her writings?

3. How did Ellen White urge her ministerial colleagues to use the Bible as well as her own counsel? What differences would there be?

4. How do you explain the phrase, “the ‘gifts’ are to be tested by the Bible, not the Bible by the ‘gifts’”?

5. What was the open secret that kept Ellen White’s message unfolding in a “straight line of truth” for so many decades?

6. Note some illustrations of how Ellen White related to the Bible both personally and in her public ministry.

7. Give examples of how the Bible is given for “practical purposes.”

8. Summarize how Ellen White understood that inspiration works.


"I do not claim to be a prophetess."

Why does the Seventh-day Adventist church believe that Ellen G. White received the gift of prophecy when she said that she did not claim to be a prophetess? The misuse often made of this Ellen White statement is an illustration of the importance of proper context. Here, in her own words, is what Ellen White did and did not mean by her statement:

"Some have stumbled over the fact that I said I did not claim to be a prophet; and they have asked, Why is this?

"I have had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.

"Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord's messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. 'Your work,' He instructed me, 'is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you.' . . .

"Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies. . . .

"To claim to be a prophetess is something that I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them. But my work has covered so many lines that I cannot call myself other than a messenger, sent to bear a message from the Lord to His people, and to take up work in any line that He points out.

"When I was last in Battle Creek, I said before a large congregation that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Twice I referred to this matter, intending each time to make the statement, 'I do not claim to be a prophetess.' If I spoke otherwise than this, let all now understand that what I had in mind to say was that I do not claim the title of prophet or prophetess" (Review and Herald,July 26, 1906, reprinted in Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 31-35).

"During the discourse, I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Some were surprised at this statement, and as much is being said in regard to it, I will make an explanation. Others have called me a prophetess, but I have never assumed that title. I have not felt that it was my duty thus to designate myself. Those who boldly assume that they are prophets in this our day are often a reproach to the cause of Christ.

"My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people" (Letter 55, 1905; quoted in Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 35, 36).



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