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  1. Leo H
    30 December 2014 @ 11:06 pm

    Erv, Adventists have already told the truth about these matters. You are suggesting that they haven’t. It is up to you to PROVE that this is the case. (Preferably citing authors who do not have an axe to grind. You seem to think that the authors of Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet are unbiased. Not so. They may be accomplished academics, but some of them do have an axe to grind. You have no reason to reject Adventist apologetic academics if you accept those who have axes to grind.)

    • Ervin Taylor
      31 December 2014 @ 12:50 pm

      I wonder if Mr. H would favor us with a couple of specific examples where one or more the authors in the Ellen Harmon White volume exhibit to a reader that they have “an axe to grind.”

      It is correct to state that many of the items included in the book have been available to interested readers including Adventists for some time. But, with few exceptions, it was not individuals within the Adventist establishment that “told the truth.” In almost all cases, it was someone outside and, in most cases, the “truth” was disputed from within corporate Adventism until the evidence became overwhelming and then, there was often a statement made, “we have known that for a long time.”

      • Leo H
        01 January 2015 @ 3:30 pm

        “I wonder if Mr. H would favor us with a couple of specific examples where one or more the authors in the Ellen Harmon White volume exhibit to a reader that they have “an axe to grind.”

        Would an academic ever exhibit to a reader that they have an axe to grind? They would do all they can to pass themselves off as completely neutral and unbiased. Ronald Numbers, for one, has a history with the church. Do you not think he would choose authors based on his agreement with their a priori positions?

        • Ervin Taylor
          01 January 2015 @ 4:19 pm

          As I suspected, Mr. H. has no specific evidence in the form of any statement in the book that he can cite which a objective, disinterested individual would say that this passage is an example of “an axe to grind.”

          Thus my request to Mr. H (and any other individual) still stands: if you think that any author in the book exhibits an obvious bias, please cite the passage, or admit that no such passage can be found.

        • George Tichy
          02 January 2015 @ 9:31 am

          Mere supposition. You are discrediting Numbers based on … mere supposition??

    • George Tichy
      02 January 2015 @ 9:29 am

      Really? Adventists know it all?
      Well, why don’t you approach tomorrow in your church at least 30 youth (if there are that many) and ask them ,

      1) Do you know what Glacier View was about?
      2) What is your personal position about the issues discussed at GV?

      Then come back and tell us how many “well informed” Adventist youth did you find.
      Can do it with adults too, most probably with the same results.

      • EM
        02 January 2015 @ 6:16 pm

        Why is this knowledge of such great importance other than to theologians, historians, and religious hobbiests? I don’t think it is necessary to understanding the Gospel and living God’s love. Maybe it’s merely a political issue to some.

      • Tom
        03 January 2015 @ 6:56 am

        George

        When I came back to SDA church in 1980, it was only because of my personal connection to a loving pastor and family in the church who won me to Jesus. I experienced a genuine conversion of my heart to Jesus as I never had in my youth growing up in SDA. All I remember growing up SDA was beasts, horns, Sunday Laws, angels with little black books spying on everything I did and writing all the bad down, gotta be perfect. UGH! I quit going to church after my mother died in 1973. I felt hopelessly destined for the lake of fire. Eventually I became an alcoholic trying to drown out all the guilt. To this day trying to read the book Great Controversy, is to me like being a Jew who lived in Europe during WW 2 visiting the ruins of a concentration camp of the holocaust.

        Sorry if I am being so descriptive, but I am being transparent here. Anyway, I was so caught up in the message of righteousness by faith in 1980, that when I heard words like Ford, Glacier View back then I was puzzled and wondered if “good Adventists” refused to drive Fords and I wasn’t intereted in Glacier View because I didn’t know how to ski. LOL now.

        Took me a long time to get over anti-EGW sentiments, but I finally did after reading Desire of Ages. A lot of water over the dam since then. I think it is a mistake to claim she is an authoritative source for truth, because I think she then becomes the acid test for interpreting the Bible.
        Big mistake!!

        All this back and forth debate over EGW generates more heat than light. She is not an oxegen tent for spiritual survival as some take her. But I refuse to throw the baby out with the bath water and reject all her writings outright. I have found a lot of gold nuggets among her writings, but like a minor with a dredge, I keep the nuggets and toss the tailings. I preach once inawhile and oftentimes I share a gold nugget or two, giving book and page where it can be read, to give a more balanced view to the oxegen tent folks. My messages are usually about 30 minutes, are grounded in the Bible narrative, with illustrations to make a point people can connect with. I personalize it as how it has benefitted me, and I always end with a moving conclusion that leave folks with something to think about. Folks across the spectrum, usually like what I say and tell me so. To me God’s love, the gospel, His power, His might, the assurance of salvation, must shine forth in brilliant colors or I’m just wasting folks time.

        • William Noel
          03 January 2015 @ 9:44 am

          Tom,

          Thank you for being so open with us. I sympathize with you because of all the ways I’ve seen Ellen White’s writings abused. I think you are taking a good approach by focusing primarily, if not exclusively, on God and growing your relationship with Him. Just as a wound must be covered with a bandage so it can be kept clean and heal, keep covering your old wounds with the greatness and love of God and in time you will find those old wounds becoming less painful and powerful.

        • Cheryl Andersen
          13 January 2015 @ 10:39 am

          One of the things driving a lot of us out of the church is the unrealistic pontifical attachment to the writings of EG White. She spoke for her time and some of what she says is applicable even today. However, unless she specifically says “I was shown”, her statements are based on her understanding of the Bible in the light of the world around her. She brought her own unique perspective to the things she wrote. The church has grown and so has knowledge within the church. We will destroy this church if we keep adhering to the principle that everything that came from her pen or speeches is “infallible’ and the word of God. Did God speak through her…yes, but not all she says is free of her own interpretations and experiences. We have to use our own minds to accept and pursue the course she has laid out…in many instances fit for her society but not ours. And we need to refrain beating people over the head with the Sabbath and minor issues such as wearing of rings, etc. Adherence to the forms of Adventism is destroying the appeal of the substance of this faith.

          • Elizabeth Wilson
            16 January 2015 @ 8:20 am

            Cheryl – “we need to refrain beating people over the head with the Sabbath and minor issues such as wearing of rings, etc. Adherence to the forms of Adventism is destroying the appeal of the substance of this faith.”
            True! As a pastor friend says: “Adventism is a message, not a subculture. I embrace the message; I reject the subculture.” There’s a good discussion about it GodLovesJewelry.com

          • Elizabeth Wilson
            16 January 2015 @ 8:23 am

            I meant to say: There’s a good discussion about it on http://www.GodLovesJewelry.com

        • Elizabeth Wilson
          16 January 2015 @ 8:17 am

          @Tom — “To me God’s love, the gospel, His power, His might, the assurance of salvation, must shine forth in brilliant colors or I’m just wasting folks time.” Good point, Tom. Some of these other debates are like the disputes of theologians in the dark ages about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus and His amazing grace.

      • Grammy
        06 January 2015 @ 11:26 am

        I was a third-generation SDA before leaving the church almost 20 years ago (I never left Jesus, I only left Adventism). Until a few months ago, I had NEVER heard of “Glacier View” meetings or the 1919 meetings discussing the veracity of Ellen White’s writings. Why do you think that is??? It seems much is hidden from the SDA laity!

  2. William Noel
    30 December 2014 @ 11:48 pm

    Erv,

    I think both you and Leo H make excellent points. We must tell the truth about Ellen White. We must not attribute to her the things that belong only to God. We must also recognize that, whether the authors of that book “have an ax to grind” (as we may reasonably attribute to Numbers) or whether they are merely approaching her in a very analytic manner, they are giving us some healthy skepticism which will be useful in pulling us away from some of the seriously overstated and elevated views about Ellen White that have been widely adopted in the church. Once we have stripped-away those illusions and elevations we will be able to rediscover the immense value a prophet delivers to God’s people. Perhaps then we will also become open to the wider outpouring of the gift of prophecy throughout the church so we may be far more richly blessed than we have imagined possible.

    • EM
      02 January 2015 @ 6:28 pm

      I don;t think “an ax to grind” is an appropriate or accurate way to describe the authors. That’s a judgment or speculation. I don’t think they (or any of us) enter a debate without bias or subjectivity, especially after being in a highly academic world for some time with its peer pressure and other motivations. It’s the same within a church; we’re subjective and none really have all the answers about truth. We will interpret EGW according to our belief. As far as accepting certain facts, integrity and character enter the picture. But the actual proven facts are few and far between, other than her own words according to fallibility and the setting and era. I did read Numbers first book where I feel he missed some minor points in going out of his way to make the lady look foolish. He didn’t always take time, setting, and language into consideration.

  3. RonCorson
    31 December 2014 @ 4:18 pm

    William, just out of curiosity what elevated view of EGW which are widely adopted in the church that she does not indicate for herself in her writings? If one is going to deal with the truth of EGW then one has to acknowledge her own statements. So lets begin with anything that is held widely by the church but not by EGW herself.

    • William Noel
      31 December 2014 @ 7:05 pm

      1. Claims of authority to be an interpreter of scripture.
      2. Use of her writings to attack and criticize others.
      3. That her writings should be used as the basis for any teaching or doctrine.
      4. That her writings should be used in the pulpit to illustrate sermons.

      I think those are the “big four.”

      • Ron Corson
        01 January 2015 @ 8:27 am

        Ok, can you think of one person who claimed to be a prophet or in her case “more than a prophet” who did not attribute to themselves the authority to interpret Scripture? In fact that kind of encompasses both your numbers 1 and 3. Seriously that would be a large portion of her writings. And of course her writings by her admission are the testimonies to the church and that as she is so often found of saying she was shown. She also would not claim that any doctrine came from her. But what does one class as doctrine. That Lucifer was the heavenly choir director probably did not originate with her but it was certainly taken into the Adventist Chruch because of her, but would one really consider it a doctrine? It ends up being a teaching with the rest of the Lucifer myths but to many teachings are not the same as a doctrine. And of course if you ever tried to tell an Adventist that Lucifer is not a reference to Satan…well you will quickly see the similarity between teaching and doctrine.

        NO. 2 would not be really fair, as no one would claim that anything they write be used to attack and criticize others. I would however assert that she was quite free with her attacks and criticism…again a good portion of her writings particularly Testimonies to the Church volumes. Still from her and likely the church who has adopted her practices they would not label it attack and criticize more as exhortation and correction.

        NO. 4 is about the only think that she specifically said not to do…well she said don’t quote her from the pulpit not use her writings to illustrate a sermon. I doubt she would approve of someone not using her writings as illustrations. That would be like saying don’t use anything she wrote in Desire of Ages when you preach on Jesus’ life. I doubt that would have been her intent.

        Somewhere I have the letter from J.H. Kellogg’s brother (merritt I think) about a campmeeting he attended and how EGW was used as an authority on doctrine, and interpretation by leaders of the Church. And it was a campmeeting that she herself spoke at and attended. We are not talking about something that occurred after her death where she could not have spoken against it.

        • William Noel
          02 January 2015 @ 5:53 am

          One of the marks of a false prophet is claiming the authority to interpret scripture. This is because there must be something to distinguish them from other prophets. For example, the Mormons teach that the Bible is correct “insofar as it is correctly translated” and that the writings of Joseph Smith were given to correct those “errors.” In contrast, Ellen White never made any such claim and on a number of occasions specificially denied any such authority. But this has not prevented many from attributing that authority to her.

          It is easy to say she was “quite free with her attacks and criticism” as you wrote. My searching of her writings and biographies of her paints quite a different picture. What I found was a person who was fearful of delivering God’s rebukes. On several occasions she was given very specific instruction to write in letters to people where repentance from sin was needed. Most of the time repentance was the result and healing took place. This stands in dramatic contrast to some situations I have seen where certain people seemed to be going about looking for ways to use her writings to “deliver God’s corrective messages” to them.

          • George Tichy
            02 January 2015 @ 9:37 am

            Adventists cannot talk about the Bible or even Religion without immediately resorting to quoting EGW. The principle of Sola Scriptura just does not exist in Adventism.

            Dr. Scriven is 100% right, it’s time to be transparent, honest, and truthful about EGW. Some people (most scholars) know the truth, but the Church in general doesn’t. They live an illusion , as taught by the Church since the beginning, and still supported by the upper management.

            Yes, time to tell the truth to everyone. Before they find it for themselves, which usually has catastrophic results.

      • Ervin K Thomsen
        02 January 2015 @ 10:09 am

        If Adventists would follow the principles of the Statement re Ellen G. White and her relationship to Scripture, first published in the Adventist Review in 1982, in the wake of the Glacier View and the Walter Ray situations, I believe that this significantly would minimize many the issues regarding EGW that still arise.

        Does the corporate church still subscribe to the principles of that statement?

        Here is a link to that statement —–
        http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/scripsda.html

        Here is portion of that statement:

        DENIALS –

        1. We do not believe that the quality or degree of inspiration in the writings of Ellen White is different from that of Scripture.
        2. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are an addition to the canon of Sacred Scripture.
        3. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White function as the foundation and final authority of Christian faith as does Scripture.
        4. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White may be used as the basis of doctrine.
        5. We do not believe that the study of the writings of Ellen White may be used to replace the study of Scripture.
        6. We do not believe that Scripture can be understood only through the writings of Ellen White.
        7. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White exhaust the meaning of Scripture.
        7. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are essential for the proclamation of the truths of Scripture to society at large.
        8. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are the product of mere Christian piety.
        9. We do not believe that Ellen White’s use of literary sources and assistants negates the inspiration of her writings.

        We conclude, therefore, that a correct understanding of the inspiration and authority of the writings of Ellen White will avoid two extremes: (1) regarding these writings as functioning on a canonical level identical with Scripture, or (2) considering them as ordinary Christian literature.

        • Jim Hamstra
          02 January 2015 @ 11:33 am

          Hi Ervin,

          This is a very good reminder and I heartily concur.

          Unfortunately we now have someone at the top who much prefers to quote Ellen rather than the Bible. And he has strong ties to a few well-heeled Adventist Oligarchs who take that same stance. When they pull the strings he dances to the tune.

          This reinforces the unfortunate impression that we are a cult.

          PS – I knew you in your earlier days as a pastor in Michigan.

        • William Noel
          02 January 2015 @ 3:04 pm

          Ervin,

          Thank you for that reminder.

          I would suggest that we still have two essential problems remaining, regardless of whether you are talking about Ellen White or one of the many unnamed prophets referenced in the Bible: 1) the nature of the prophetic gift, and 2) the role of a prophet among God’s people. These two have become so confused and misinterpreted that I doubt God’s people would recognize and accept a prophet if He sent another. Yet I look forward to Him doing just that because of the convicting power that would accompany a prophet. So the only way for the issues to be clarified may be for God to send new prophets.

          • Engel Yoder
            04 January 2015 @ 7:09 am

            God’s people would accept or reject another prophet just like they did [and still do] the first one. But why would God send another when the first still speaks through her writings?

        • Ole Olesen
          17 January 2016 @ 6:28 pm

          I have been very pleased that that statement has been reprinted in two places “recently”: In the Sabbath School Quarterly of Friday, February 20, 2009 – Further Study, in Lesson 8 – The Authority of the Prophets; and more recently in an “Elders’ Digest” whose date I do not remember (2012-2015). I was surprised, however, that very few commented on its presence or seemed to notice it. I have since then shared this many, many times with members. However, most often, the implications are not easy to absorb. Or are made me appear in their eyes as “anti-EGW”. We have a long way to go.

  4. Hansen
    01 January 2015 @ 1:51 am

    If Ron Numbers has an ax to grind with the White Estate, he should not be blamed. The White Estate took issue with Number’s assertions regarding White’s views on the frequency of sexual intercourse in marriage. They supposedly set Dr. Numbers straight by claiming that EGW said that intercourse should not be “excessive” but not saying what excessive constituted.

    “Excessive,” in the writings of Kellogg and other health reformers of the day, was intercourse which took place for any other reason than procreation.

    This is clearly stated in Kellogg’s “Plain Facts”

    • EM
      02 January 2015 @ 6:41 pm

      I will bet that is what most religious people in the 19th century believed!

  5. Hansen
    01 January 2015 @ 5:37 pm

    EGW books such as Ministry of Healing and Education are classics that should be widely read by people of faith and those without faith.

    EGW fails us in matters of Biblical interpretation. Even in her day, people disagreed when interpreting her. Two specific areas which illustrate this are disputes over the “daily” and the “schoolmaster.” If she is supposed to make difficult doctrines understandable, the ongoing controversy over the nature of Christ clearly indicates that she hasn’t been helpful in that regard. Any “gotcha” statement can be contradicted with another one.

    I was surprised when a group of ESL students almost unanimously rejected her writings as an aid to understanding Scripture. They found her “confusing” and “hard to understand”; on the other hand, when reading the NIV, the only book they found difficult was Hebrews, due to their lack of OT background.

    EGW used Scripture illustratively, without regard to context or the writer’s intent. Adventists have latched onto places where she does that and then tried to impose her unique use on Scriptural writers, to the confusion of others.

    Example: She quoted “taste not, touch not, handle not” with reference to alcohol abstention when that clearly was not the intent of the Bible writer. The same is true of “perfection.” She used the word numerous times when exhorting others to do their best at all times but she rarely used it in the same sense as the Biblical writers.

    The problem is that Adventists have stopped studying topics once an EGW pronouncement on meaning is perceived. In Galatians 4, for example, Scripture is clear that the term “law” is used by Paul in a general sense to refer to the entire OT, not specifically the Decalogue or the ceremonial law but that use is generally overlooked by SDA with a law based view of salvation.

    One might make a strong argument that SDA became legalists because of EGW but that’s another matter.

    • MCINTYRE
      02 January 2015 @ 10:26 am

      ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE “THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN”…..THE CHURCH STONED THE PROPHETS THEN AND IF EGW WAS ALIVE TODAY SHE WOULD DODGING THOSE SAME STONES!
      EGW DOES NOT CONTRADICT THE BIBLE! IF SHE DID THEN THE RAMIFICATIONS ARE GREAT..I.E. SHE WOULD NOT ONLY NOT BE A PROPHET BUT SHE WOULD BE A “FALSE PROPHET’. AND AS A RESULT THE SDA CHURCH WOULD NOT BE GOD’S REMNANT END-TIME CHURCH CALLED TO VINDICATE GOD SINCE WE WOULD NOT HAVE A PROPHET, WHICH IS ONE OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S REMNANT CHURCH
      COMMENTS SUCH AS YOURS ARE IN AND OF THEMSELVES A “FULLFILMENT” OF PROPHECY!

      • Jim Hamstra
        02 January 2015 @ 11:35 am

        Is your Caps Lock key stuck?

        Or do you habitually shout as you write?

      • George Tichy
        02 January 2015 @ 12:58 pm

        1) Are you a new convert to Adventism?
        2) If not, you need to study the history of your church in more detail, because it seems you don’t know what you are talking about.
        3) The use of capital letters like you did is not “talking” but “shouting,” in case you don’t know.

    • EM
      02 January 2015 @ 6:50 pm

      I understand what you are saying, and it has merit. The only problem is that it fits the Bible as well. We will have a lot to learn one day for we see through a glass darkly. We expect this person to be perfect and consistent in interpretation, but it’s impossible. We need a mature understanding of inspiration.

      I think God inspires all Christians at times, and we need discernment which comes through prayer and knowing God and growing in His character. Visions are another matter, and discernment comes through their portrayal of the character of God and similarity to Bible themes.

  6. Bill Garber
    01 January 2015 @ 8:10 pm

    The truth about Ellen White appears to be hiding in plain sight. One doesn’t have to read a word she wrote or hear a single story written about her experiences to understand her profound significance. From the lead up to the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, from her life spanning the first half century of the church’s existence and her continuing role since her death a century ago this year, Ellen White’s substance has not changed.

    Ellen White remains for members as well as onlooking observers the personified certification that God was and will forever continue to be directly participating in the enduring community of faith that is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    It is difficult to imagine where on the continuum from most engagingly progressive to most determinedly historical one would find a member disagreeing with this foundational vision of Ellen White as a Seventh-day Adventist.

    • EM
      02 January 2015 @ 7:09 pm

      Perhaps not dwelling on every word or comment of EGW would give us more insight into a human being. How did she live? She cared for children in her home, she helped the suffering and directed others to do so. She gave what she could. She was never wealthy and died poor. She portrayed the fruits of the Spirit. Critics seem to overlook her life.

  7. Bugs/Larry Boshell
    02 January 2015 @ 5:56 am

    The Ellen dilemma is a permanent fixture of the Adventist Church. Like it or leave it. It’s as simple as that. Ellen/Adventism are one and the same, conjoined, death upon separation. And that is not intended as indictment, judgment, just fact. Isn’t it time just to get over it, after a hundred and some years? The church has done quite well during that time. So, motor mouth on with more blah blah blah.

  8. Earl Calahan
    02 January 2015 @ 8:14 am

    zzzzzzoooommmm, CHUG CHUG CHUGGGG, Ok Larry. EGHW
    Had available to her, the same dimension of knowledge, wisdom, and truth, as does every CHRISTIAN on Earth, the ALMIGHTY power of the HOLY SPIRIT, communicating with her acceptance.
    I believe the Holy Spirit communicates with me.
    She being totally in love with Jesus Christ, then wrote what she believed was given to her by the Holy Spirit, along with many of her own thoughts of the day, not given to her, just as did every other scribe inclusive in the Holy Bible. She wrote of the knowledge that was privy to her exclusive of the 19th century. She recognized her short knowledge of what was to come in the future, and cautioned all that she should not be held accountable for future knowledge, expecting that GOD would continue to provide inspiration and knowledge to all who raise the Christian banner. God rest her soul of back biters.

    • EM
      02 January 2015 @ 7:14 pm

      Makes sense to me. Sometimes we think we are enlightened, but we find we weren’t. Maybe it was the same with her a few times.

      Remember an interesting quote: “Every flash of intellect comes from God.”

  9. Earl Calahan
    02 January 2015 @ 8:19 am

    If there is no HOLY SPIRIT of our CREATOR GOD, there is little hope for the future. Without the GOD of the HOLY BIBLE, ALL IS VANITY.

  10. Ole Olesen
    02 January 2015 @ 10:34 am

    In agreement with the appeals for greater transparency regarding EGW, I am grateful for two denominational efforts I have noted: Lesson 8 – The Authority of the Prophets, Friday, February 20, 2009, of the Adult SS Quarterly included “for further study” the 1982 ad hoc committee of the General Conference statement on the relationship between the Bible and Ellen G. White. Then in 2014, I found the same ad hoc committee statement reprinted in the Elders’ Digest that I distributed to the elders in my church district. But this I also noted: Whenever I, as a pastor, bring up these topics and use these denominational sources as a basis for sermon references, I have witnessed how deeply ingrained are our personal convictions re. EGW. Often these convictions of uncritical loyalty go back to church school curriculum and church school teachers. Or, on the other hand, “rejectionist” convictions are grounded on negative encounters with EGW’s writings in the hands and words of authoritarian parents, teachers, older members or pastors. I appreciated the appeal in one response that progressives could look for and openly celebrate the treasures found in EGW’s written and leadership legacy.

    • Jim Hamstra
      02 January 2015 @ 11:39 am

      Well it seems that many members of the SS Quarterly editing committee would do well to review and follow those same principles from the 1982 ad hoc GC committee.

      It is not just the members in the pew who are stuck in the time warp. So are some Very Influential Adventists.

    • William Noel
      02 January 2015 @ 3:11 pm

      Are you the same Ole Olesen who was associate pastor at the Thousand Oaks Church in the mid-80s?

      I have difficulty accepting the authority of a prophet for a couple reasons. First is that they are fallible. There is no question about the truth of the message God gives prophets to communicate, but those messages sometimes get garbled, or are misunderstood even when directly received. The prophecy of Agabus to Paul recorded in Acts 21:10-11 is a good example of this. Second is my own experience with God in gift-based ministry. On a number of occasions I have received direct instruction from God to go (or not go) somewhere on an errand for Him. What happens when I get there sometimes depends on how closely I was paying attention and what distractions I’ve allowed to get in the way. Since I’ve seen God do so many great things even when I misunderstood, I have great confidence in His authority. If I knew a person was gifted by God to be a prophet, I’m sure I would give any message they said came from God quite a bit of credibility, though I’m not sure I would give it total credibility until after I had considered the message and asked God for personal confirmation. So, I don’t think the issue is really the authority of a prophet, but the authority of God and the credibility we attribute to the prophet and their messages.

  11. RT1C
    02 January 2015 @ 11:05 am

    Erv, you quoted Scriven: “Her own statements such as ‘God and heaven alone are infallible’ could not be clearer . . . I don’t know what could be clearer, except that it’s still not clear to conventional Adventism.” The problem is that many SDAs believe God spoke directly to her (she herself seems to make the claim). Thus, if God spoke directly to her and she wrote it down, then those writings are God speaking, and thus infallible. Only if we reject the idea of direct inspiration can we start to come to grips with her fallibility.

  12. Bill Garber
    02 January 2015 @ 12:33 pm

    The only universal truth about Ellen White is the truth we all share. Everything else is anchored in personal need and therefore is personal truth. The challenge comes whenever we seek to make personal truth universal.

    The greater the need the greater the fear; the greater the fear the greater the impact of doubt; the greater the impact of doubt the greater the desire to separate ourselves from doubters by only allowing believers near us.

    Whether we try to annihilate the differences or those who differ with us, it is the same confirmation that we are coming up short in the non-condemnation core of loving one another, not because we have to but because we realize we are the object of such all-embracing-accepting love by God as confirmed by Jesus.

    What can we all as Seventh-day Adventists accept regarding Ellen White? Answering this question is our path forward it seems.

  13. BILL SORENSEN
    02 January 2015 @ 12:45 pm

    The fact is, those who struggle with an understanding of EGW are the same people who struggle with the authority of the bible. And this is obvious to anyone who has followed church history for the last several decades.

    It is true that EGW expanded the application of some scriptural concepts beyond the original intent of the bible author in its historical context. The law in Galatians is one of the most obvious to any careful bible student. The law in Galatians in its historical context is the ceremonial law and a moral law application is expanding the orginal intent of Paul. Paul would never deny that the moral law functions as a “schoolmaster to lead to Christ”. But he would also state plainly that this was not his basic intent in his letter.

    Here is the obvious context of Galatians. There is has been a law added that is now subtracted “since faith has come.” This can not apply to the moral law, but since EGW made her comment, the church feels the necessity to “force” some moral law application as the primary meaning of Paul’s letter. And now we have massive and ongoing confusion in the church that EGW is at least partly responsible for. But in her defense, she was not a “great” theologian and did not generally articulate in a very definitive way all the points she made in reference to the bible. Did she know that the law in Galatians was the ceremonial law in its historical context? Yes. If you doubt this, go read her chapter in Acts of the Apostles entitled “Apostacy in Galatia”. Not once does she claim or even imply that the law is the moral law.

    If she is to be blamed, it is for a lack of definition and a clear theological explanation of how the law in Galatians in a more comprehensive way included the moral law. But in its historical context, it was solely the ceremonial law. But she simply dropped the subject and didn’t ever define exactly what she meant and has left the church today in mass confusion on this issue.

    • darrel lindensmith
      02 January 2015 @ 5:42 pm

      Not true–“The fact is, those who struggle with an understanding of EGW are the same people who struggle with the authority of the bible.”

      Conradi and Ballenger

    • William Noel
      03 January 2015 @ 6:58 am

      It is easy to see things as you described. Still, I disagree with your statement about those who disagree with EGW being the same who are struggling with the authority of the Bible because the issues are interwoven and inextricable. I think it goes even deeper than that. The essential question I see is accepting the authority of God and recognizing our need of Him in our life. Our first and greatest spiritual challenge, the one we must make the highest focus of our spiritual experience, is accepting and following Him. Accepting the teachings of the Bible is a secondary and progressive issue after the first issue.

      I think the biggest issues with the writings of Ellen White arise from a person’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of the role of a prophet in the church. If we’re looking for the authoritative, knows-everything, quick-and-handy source of instruction we can turn to on every topic instead of searching scripture and seeking God’s revelations to us individually as we’ve been taught for so long, we’re going to have problems. Big problems, as we already see. I do not think the confusion surrounding us will be clarified to any degree until we get back to seeking the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who has promised to guide us into all truth. Our church gives only minimal and passing attention to the Holy Spirit, but He is who God told us to seek. Only when we seek Him will we find the clarity of understanding we need.

      • KetaV.
        05 January 2015 @ 2:36 pm

        Agree totally.

        I find that when we over-intellectualize all things “religious/doctrinal”, with the limited “human” insight that we are given, we then underestimate the spiritual…things we can only “see through a glass darkly” BUT THEN…shall we know even as we ARE known.

        In this truth, in this acceptance of our limitations, do we find peace, and acceptance of those things we cannot “know” within the confines of our own mortal understanding. It is only in the pursuit of God, and thru His great communicator, the Holy Spirit, that we can glimpse…just for a moment… brilliance…in Christ Jesus. There is the answer…”there” is where Mrs. White dwelt…for moments of brilliance in Christ, thru the Holy Spirit. There is no infallibility in the fallible, but there is trust in the truth of where He has led us.
        All else is folly.

  14. Hansen
    02 January 2015 @ 2:36 pm

    To resolve issues of EGW’s authority, we must be honest about the message of Scripture. EGW’s “ministry” is not the testimony of Jesus or the spirit of prophecy spoken of in Revelation.

    The testimony of Jesus, like the testimony of John, consists of Christ’s teachings. When Revelation says the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, it means that the teachings of Christ were inspired by God. Jesus said that the works he performed were his testimony i.e., a manifestation of God’s spirit (John 5:36).

    John said he was on Patmos because of the testimony of Jesus. He certainly wasn’t there because of what Sr. White said.

    • Ervin Taylor
      02 January 2015 @ 4:21 pm

      I wonder if we could all agree that whatever EGW’s “authority” (if any) might be, her ministry is, to quote the comment above, “not the testimony of Jesus or the spirit of prophecy spoken of in Revelation.” A consensus on that would get the “Truth telling” about EGW off to a good start.

      • George Tichy
        02 January 2015 @ 4:56 pm

        The case will be resolved and closed the day the Church decides to base it’s doctrines, ALL of them, on the Bible only. Sola Scriptura and nothing else.

        The question, however, is: Will spiritual pride allow a new beginning? I personally doubt.

        • Ervin Taylor
          02 January 2015 @ 7:05 pm

          I’m sure that many would like to agree with the suggestion that our church could solve many problems if (to paraphrase the comment above) we all would decide to base our doctrines, all of them, on the Bible only and use Sola Scriptura and nothing else.

          May I suggest that there is a question that would need to be addressed and answered before this suggestion would work: Who exactly gets to be the final authority in interpreting a given biblical text?

          Our Catholic friends have solved this problem by giving that authority to the Supreme Pontiff of their Church. As Protestant Christians, I would assume that we would have a lot of problems with that approach.

          So the issue remains, who and how are we going to decide what is the “correct” interpretation of a biblical text. Any suggestions?

          • Roy
            02 January 2015 @ 8:53 pm

            My dear brother…the only interpretor of the scriptures is the holy spirit….The day when the sermon was given in tounges..and everyone who spoke a different language somehow were able to hear and understand the same exact sermon……so it is today..the holy spirit would impressed upon you and give you understanding…..some people under a different spirit, other than the Holy spirit would try to steer you away from what the Holy spirit has impressed in your hart…(“if it were possible even the elect would be fooled”) We also have a guide on how to prove the teacher….I have not proven EW wrong nor found any contridictions…beside you can find issue with portion of the bible if you look hard enough….but would you through it out…..the Holy Spirit impressed on me the understanding.

          • George Tichy
            03 January 2015 @ 8:09 am

            1) Who did Jesus use to interpret for Him the Scriptures available in His days?

            2) Am I confused, or does the Bible actually say that it interprets itself?

            3) What part of the Gospel is so complicated that it need interpretation?

            4) When did the need for interpretation start?

            5) Is the whole Bible so obscure that it needs 100,000 pages of “interpretation ?”

            Maybe after having these questions answered, we will be more in favor of Sola Scriptura.

          • Hansen
            03 January 2015 @ 5:29 pm

            Erv, Many of Adventism’s doctrinal problems could be solved by giving the right weight to context. There are a lot of dimensions to context, i.e., the immediate literary context [verses surrounding the one/ones in question]. There is the broader literary context [writer, book], historical context [what was happening when it was written] and so forth.

            The context of Adventism’s central doctrine, the cleansing of the sanctuary, has been largely ignored. The immediate literary context was a source of controversy. Issues over the daily arose early in the denomination’s history and are still a subject of controversy. EGW’s pronouncements on the subject remain a large part of the problem.

            There remain numerous Biblical antecedents for the cleansing of the sanctuary [in Daniel]. It was cleansed during the days of Josiah, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and the Maccabees [subsequent to Daniel].

            The toxic doctrine of perfectionism is completely dependent on either EGW or passages jerked from their Biblical context. This is especially egregious when passages from Scripture are cited to support an illustrative use of Scripture by EGW.

            The basic issue is that many SDA don’t know how to read. We are more or less Biblically illiterate when it comes to determining meaning [comprehension].

          • Roger Metzger
            03 May 2015 @ 1:34 pm

            Ervin,

            If there is another way to solve the problem, I have yet to hear it.

            Step 1. Admit that the church consists of true believers.The church may be organized but an organization the church is not the church. Believers constitute the church.

            Step 2. Admit that the gospel of the kingdom is the glad tidings about the nature of the kingdom and the nature of the king. Every other doctrine is important to the extent that it helps people understand the nature of the kingdom.

            Step 3. Admit that no two people understand every aspect of the gospel exactly the same and that uniformity does not equal unity and vice versa.

            Step 4. Decide whether our denomination is truly protestant, ie. does it subscribe to the five solae? If it is/does, decide to emphasize some aspect of truth that is being under-emphasized by other denominations (the we-are-it syndrome doesn’t qualify) and get on with proclaiming whatever that emphasis is.

            Step 5. Fire all the clergy who think the “message” is about an organization.

      • BILL SORENSEN
        02 January 2015 @ 5:22 pm

        The testimony of Jesus and the spirit of prophecy are one and the same thing. Jesus said He was coming back, (the testimony of Jesus) and since it is a future event, those who agree and proclaim this future event all have “the spirit of prophecy.”

        • Stephen Foster
          02 January 2015 @ 7:01 pm

          Bill,

          I tend to agree with you that those who believe and teach what Jesus taught have the testimony of Jesus; and that the spirit of prophecy is therefore upon such teaching of His testimony—and that they are effectively the same. I believe the truth to be that EGW believed and taught the testimony of Jesus and that the spirit of prophecy remains with such teaching of His testimony.

          I don’t believe that her ministry alone is what is referenced in Revelation 19:10. While it is accurate to suggest that her ministry exemplified the spirit of prophecy; it is inaccurate and misleading to identify her ministry as the spirit of prophecy.

          • Roger Metzger
            03 May 2015 @ 1:50 pm

            I don’t think I have ever read a better way of explaining this. I’m guessing most of the people who comment on Adventist Today articles are aware of how the tradition developed of referring to Ellen White’s writings as the Spirit of Prophecy. She once published a series of books by that title and the same thing happened as with the “jeep” name. For a while, anyone who wanted to referred to any 4WD vehicle as a “jeep”. It wasn’t until someone went to court to claim “Jeep” as a brand name that that tradition changed.

        • Ervin Taylor
          02 January 2015 @ 10:06 pm

          With all due respect to Roy, may I ask what happens when two individuals insist that the Holy Spirit is telling them something but these two messages on the same point, as reported by these two individuals as being from the Holy Spirit, are totally contradictory? Are they both right? Or are they both wrong? Or are they both perhaps confused and misunderstand the source of what they are reporting?

      • William Noel
        03 January 2015 @ 7:00 am

        The only authority we need or should be seeking is the authority of God. The role of a prophet is to direct our attention to God so we will connect directly with Him. Any attribution of authority to a prophet is placing our trust in a fallible human instead of an infallible and trustworthy God.

  15. Dan Appel
    02 January 2015 @ 5:27 pm

    In reading the comments relating to Erv Taylor’s post, I am getting increasingly frustrated! I am going to be an equal-opportunity offender here and suggest that many if not most of the posts from both sides reveal more about their author’s insecurities and fears than they do about the issue. Or, as Mark Twain is said to have commented, “There is more thunder than lightning.”

    I have to say that I really appreciate the gracious tone of Erv’s comments on Chuck Scriven’s editorial in Spectrum. As someone who has a real interest in the subject (witness my past blog and a couple in the mill), the even-handed and gracious perspective to what to all of us is a very emotion-laden subject is refreshing.

    Why is it that most why respond seem more interested in proving their own erudition than they do listening and discussing with an open mind? Is all of the sarcasm and are all of the put-downs really indicative of an intimate walk with the meek and gentle Jesus? Has civil discourse really died on Adventist websites.

    C’mon folks, we can listen to each other and respond kindly. Or . . . maybe we can’t. I wonder what that tells us?

  16. Elaine Nelson
    02 January 2015 @ 9:17 pm

    If there were a much more open communion celebrating the Gospel: the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the free offer of grace, there would be far less confusion.

    The multiplicity of beliefs being added ever four years or so only compounds the difficulty of having everyone in agreement on what Adventism means.

    If the denominational loyalty could be surrendered simply to the original message Christ left us without all the extra man-made beliefs, it would eliminate nearly all of the problems of defining who is and who is not a “good Adventist.”

    Catholics can worship with the mass and never discuss doctrines, each one holding to his own beliefs about God without being interrogated or raising arguments over “correct” doctrine. If each member could worry less about “correct” beliefs and simply hold to his own interpretation plus the Holy Spirit, it would be much more like the early church.

    But what are the chances of that with so many theologians needed to “study” the nuances of every belief and advise the church what they should believe and then construct a new Fundamental Belief incorporating the proper wording?

    How many other denominations have this constant struggle over doctrines? Or is it unique to Adventism? Perhaps it is because the church began with “unique” and new doctrines never part of Christianity before.

    • George Tichy
      03 January 2015 @ 8:20 am

      Elaine,
      You certainly noticed that the major fuss among Adventists is not actually about the Bible, but always about EGW’s writings. In the eagerness to develop a creed for themselves (FB) Adventists have relied heavily on her writings.

      One can dispute some biblical verses and be left alone. But, oh boy, just try to dispute any of Her statements and hell breaks loose.

      What Adventism needs is to leave the members alone, letting them to understand the Bible their own way by studying the Bible. And those who want to base their faith on EGW should also be left alone to do it all their way.

      What has to stop is this idea that one has to submit his/her intelligence and ability to think to a group of people who will define what one can/cannot believe. Spiritual enslavement and intellectual manipulation will certainly have “grave consequences” for eternity.

    • Jim Hamstra
      03 January 2015 @ 5:30 pm

      “How many other denominations have this constant struggle over doctrines? Or is it unique to Adventism?”

      Many other denominations have struggled and continue to struggle over doctrines. Catholics may worship together, but if you are paying any attention to what has been happening in Rome there is a doctrinal tug-of-war going on right now. The same has happened to denominations within the Lutheran and Calvinist traditions.

      The various churches that arose out of the Congregational and Wesleyan traditions have basically punted on any attempt at doctrinal coherency. They are whole-hearted practitioners of the sort of “Kumbaya” religion Elaine describes above.

      • Ervin Taylor
        03 January 2015 @ 8:51 pm

        Might Mr. Hamstra indicate what is the problem with a religious tradition that does not invest any energy in trying to keep its believers walking in lock step (I have avoided using “goose step”)over various obscure points of theology? In other words, what’s the problem with a “Kumbaya” religion?

        • Jim Hamstra
          03 January 2015 @ 9:34 pm

          NO I might NOT, because you are trying to make me say something I neither said nor wrote.

          Any association that stands for almost nothing will fall for almost anything.

          Insinuating as you do that the only alternative is an association that forces all of its members to walk in lock step is a blatantly, absurdly false dichotomy.

          There is a lot of middle ground between insisting that Adventists must agree on everything and expecting that we cannot agree on anything whatsoever other than the appellation which itself might be up for debate, since if we cannot agree whether there is a God then whatever does an Advent mean anyway?

          Archie Bunker called us Seven-Day Adventurers. Do you think that would be a better name for your Kumbaya church? Or would we have trouble agreeing on what or who is desinated as the “my Lord” that follow “Kumbaya”?

          “Come by here my Lord” seems rather like a prayer for an Advent to me. So best stick with “Kumbaya” and hope nobody translates this African word into English lest you be embarrassed.

          Kumbaya whome’er
          Perchance hear,
          But need not be near
          Nor appear.

          These lyrics would seem to be philosophically more inclusive, and you can sing them to the original melody.

  17. Tom
    03 January 2015 @ 5:11 am

    Wow, where does one even begin to comment on this matter. EGW and her writings have been pulled every which way but loose. Who do you believe has it right in their claims? Transparency/ You bet. But who is being transparent in their claims and who is trying to grind an axe, either pro or con. Much to ponder.

    To me she was human and we need to look at her writings through the lens of time in which she wrote. Time does not stand still, nor can any single human lay claim to knowing what is truth including EGW or those who claim they have a handle on interpreting her writing through their particular lens. Everything ends up all over the map using tunnel vision. I see too many SDA with tunnel vision when it comes to EGW. They refuse to look at the entire big picture, so they really paint themselves into a corner and refuse to budge an inch even when they are proven wrong.

  18. Bugs/Larry Boshell
    03 January 2015 @ 7:32 am

    People covet a connection with God. My Assembly of God relatives, several of whom are retired ministers, cherished speaking in tongues as their experiential evidence of Him. In a collective sense in Adventism, Ellen plays the visible connection role. I recall, as a child, one of the White family bringing the big multi-pound Bible Ellen miraculously held in her outstretched hand during her visions for minutes at a time and being convinced that she was indeed awarded heavenly power for those moments of visions. The Spirit of Prophecy, the gift of God.

    There is a natural progression, a development of necessary myth, to produce and enhance hope in the religious world. It is the search for meaning amidst the profound absence of God. There is only interpretation of data and events as evidence of God, nothing more. Nothing at all. Every “evidence” of God is arguable.

    Is speaking in tongues really a connection to God thing? No, in my opinion. Was Ellen’s work a connection to God thing? No, in my opinion.

    Was she a special lady? Absolutely. Did she make awesome contributions to a religious system? Absolutely. Is she to be admired? Absolutely.

    She was only a talented person. History is full of talented people whose valuable contributions are unexplainably brilliant, virtually all of whom also left behind now either forgotten, or at best amusing debris of intellectual garbage. Isaac Newton, writer of one of the most profound works ever conceived, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,” also left behind a body of work in alchemy so bad it was determined: “Though he wrote over a million words on the subject, after his death in 1727, the Royal Society deemed that they were “not fit to be printed.” (alchemylab.com/isaac_newton.htm).

    The never ending great controversy surrounding her, partly enabled by her claims as “I saw,” or “I was shown,” started when her “visions” started and was promoted by, and still is, by those who want desperately to keep her as evidence of special connection to God.

    The Adventist church is a safe harbor for Ellen mythologizer, God seekers, who are determined to keep her what she wasn’t so they can preserve the church in the special role they think it is.

    Looking for God in all the wrong places. Try Love, Christ’s recommendation.

    • William Noel
      03 January 2015 @ 9:38 am

      You’ve hit the proverbial “nail on the head” when you say people want experiential evidence of a relationship with God. So it is ironic that both those who seek evidence of this by speaking in tongues and those who seek it in the writings of Ellen White have something very much in common: they’ve both got it wrong.

      Those who focus heavily on speaking in tongues ignore the weight of evidence in scripture that it is but one gift among many and but one evidence of the dramatic outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They also overlook that the Pentecost experience was a greater giving of the Holy Spirit only on those who were already well-empowered by God. Those who seek confirmation in Ellen White are largely looking for a connection to God that makes no demands on them other than being part of something larger. It is a connection that requires no continual spiritual growth or nurturing a connection with God. It is usually seeking evidence of being right so that others may be proven wrong instead of uplifting God because of His great love for us.

      A true connection with God gives us daily evidence that we are connected. Sometimes the evidence is subtle and sometimes it is dramatic. It comes in a host of ways as immense as the greatness of God and the diversity of our circumstances. The primary evidence of it is found in seeing God working through us to share His love and build the Kingdom of God.

  19. Arthur Klym
    03 January 2015 @ 11:58 am

    Dan makes a good point about the tenor of the conversation. I view these discussions as an outsider having left the church in 1986. (My children would have been 6th generation Adventists had I stayed. I find the discussions of Ellen White fascinating, though I disagree with much of what is said.

    I read Ronald Numbers’ book, “Prophetess of Health,” when it was first released. The reaction and overreaction of church leadership, extending to dishonesty, provided a good deal of impetus to the journey which took me out of the church. I recently read portions of the book again. Numbers wrote it with great restraint. It is very mild stuff compared to what we know now.

    It appears to me that many in her defense depart from notions of charity and love by ascribing base motives to those with whom they disagree. While not completely on point, Blaise Pascal’s statement seems apropo here:

    “Men never do evil so completely or cheerfully
    As when they do it from religious conviction.”

  20. Jeremy vanDieman
    03 January 2015 @ 12:34 pm

    on the subject of egw, there’s no denying that a different interpretation of scripture will emerge without her, than with her…one primary function of her early visions was in fact to point out which competing biblical interpretation was correct…

    perhaps this is the crux of the significance of the identity of the remnant church, in revelation 12:17, resting not in those who keep the commandments of god and have the bible, but in those who keep the commandments of god and have the testimony of jesus…and yes, i think a case can still be made that the testimony of jesus is the spirit of prophecy, and that egw is the extent of the spirit of prophecy at the moment…

    • Bill Garber
      03 January 2015 @ 1:30 pm

      Baldly boxing up Ellen White as something of a case is to do her, and the choice of words is explicit, a grave injustice it feels like. Please try harder. And include the reality that she didn’t need a church to be who she was, it seems. If we can’t think about Ellen White outside the church, the church made her, which may be more the truth about us than about Ellen White.

    • bugs-Larry Boshell
      03 January 2015 @ 4:31 pm

      Your belief is harbored in the little sound proof chamber of Adventism, unknown to the entire world. Why are you so lucky to be the recipient of this remarkably obscure brain treasure? How does it help you?

  21. Bob Sands
    03 January 2015 @ 2:06 pm

    Here are a couple of articles that show, humorously, but sometime starkly, what happens to some that have passed through Adventism as an employee and Pastor:

    http://barelyadventist.com/adventists-cancel-welcome-back-party-for-year-without-god-ex-pastor-ryan-bell/

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/2014/12/31/an-end-and-a-new-beginning/

    At least this guy is telling the truth about his journey, waiting on bated breath for others to chime in.

  22. Carroll
    03 January 2015 @ 2:42 pm

    First, a disclaimer: I’m not a theological, intellectual authority, — just an ordinary SDA redeemed sinner. So please excuse a lack of theological acuity, but I woul like to inject a few thoughts that have become apparent to mee after reading all the comments above. (Not in an order of importance or logical progression )
    –as some have brought out, Ellen made it clear that the Bible alone is infallible, and that she and therefore her writings were not.
    –That being the case, what is the point of all the discussion, notwithstanding the unfortunate fact that a large segment of SDAs don’t take her at her word.
    –It has occurred to me that perhaps some of us are a bit lazy and find it easier to take Ellen’s word for our theological conclusions than to study the Word sufficiently to form our own beliefs. (This not to infer that Ellen’s writings may not be correct)
    –I have had the privilege and blessings of being part of mission projects in 30 plus countries, and at times I envy some of the people that we have served in India, Nepal, Guatamala, Peru, Mozambique, Zambia, etc because we just give them the Gospel, ie; God created us, He loves us and though we are sinners, because of His great love He sent His Son to die for us and is coming to take us to heaven to live with Him forever. To me that is the Plan of Salvation. Many of the things that we argue about have no real bearing on our Salvation.
    — I hope that the impression that some of us think that God is finished with us is incorrect. At 84 I’m convinced and very thankful that He isn’t finished with me.
    –in the words of Paul “now we see through a glass, darkly”. If that was true in the 1st century why not in the19th. ( or 21st). So come on folks, let’s cut Ellen some slack and get on with spreading the news of God’s great love.
    God bless.

    • Jim Hamstra
      03 January 2015 @ 5:34 pm

      Amen from one who is 20 years your junior!

    • Edwin A. Schwisow
      04 January 2015 @ 6:38 am

      In our family’s involvement with outreach and medical ministry in Latin America, we found that the translated writings of Ellen White were not pivotal to the people who became Adventists during the 1950s through 1990s. For one the new converts often were not able to read fluently, and if they were, buying Ellen White’s books was never a strong financial priority, at least among the mainstream membership. Pastors and those with strong compulsive tendencies toward perfectionism did immerse themselves in EGW materials, particularly on health, and in fact spun off into a new denomination more than 100 years ago, a denomination that still exists but has never exploded with any kind of adolescent growth-spurt, and remains at about the same level of development as it was back in the early 1900s.

      Ellen G. White’s name is well known and quotes from her pen appear regularly in the Sabbath school quarterlies worldwide. But for various reasons deep pondering of her works does not seem to correlate positively with church growth or retention anywhere I have lived. Beyond a certain point, delving deeply into the Spirit of Prophecy seems to become an end unto itself and seems to attract like-minded professional students of her genre…..

      • Elaine Nelson
        04 January 2015 @ 1:48 pm

        The impression about EGW seems to be that it is only in the U.S. and Australia that seems to be so devoted to her and quoting her. The Europeans and Latin countries never seemed to need her. That’s probably why they haven’t had the agitated discussions about her that have occuured in the U.S. and Oz.

        • Edwin A. Schwisow
          05 January 2015 @ 1:23 pm

          I think the observation you make has validity based on our personal experience in South America, where the Church continues to grow very rapidly. By and large the divisions and schisms in the church down there have come because of disagreements on how far to carry requirements in health reform as expressed in the writings of Ellen White. The process seems to go something like this: “Since Ellen White said so, we don’t have to get a general buy-in on these matters from the rest of the congregation(s). Sufficient that Ellen White said so. Those who do not agree with/choose to implement her views on health reform are second-class Adventists, unworthy to be included in the remnant.”

          If this assessment sounds brutally cut-and-dried, it is purposely expressed in just those terms because the use of her counsels as required practice have often been implemented in a harsh and accusative way. In my opinion, this attitude on the part of the pro-Ellen White Advent secessionists is a primary reason their numbers are stagnant.

    • Stephen Foster
      04 January 2015 @ 8:09 am

      Your “binocular” perspective is quite refreshing Carroll. (That term is courtesy of Jim Hamstra.) It is true that many of us are “lazy” and use EGW as a crutch and substitute for focused Bible study; and that this reality doesn’t necessarily mean that she was in error in hers—but that we should allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our beliefs.

      What is disingenuous about this discussion is that someone will always interpret the Bible. It will be us individually, or with the aid of some study aid commentary. The fact is that those who disparagingly discourage the inclusion of EGW as such, do so because they either do not like or agree with things she believed about what the Bible itself informs us.

      However instead of making their case for what the Bible is expressly saying, many who disagree with White’s interpretations of it would rather we just simply dismiss her.

    • KetaV.
      09 January 2015 @ 11:39 pm

      Amen!!!

  23. koot van wyk
    04 January 2015 @ 6:47 am

    I searched the new volume from cover to cover but failed to find the very interesting and profound witness of Elder M.L.Andreasen as reported in his own words at the Texas campmeeting of 1955? He was a doctoral student on the eternal statements of Shakespear and happen to open DA of EGW. He met her and tested her. She really wrote it, he said. We are talking about sources but the Holy Spirit ditected Moses to one of his recipes of his wife for the book of Numbers, lists of various kinds, sensus lists, diary e tries, war reports, etc. to compile the book.This modus operandi was common with the learned and unlearned prophets.Examples can be cited of both types like Amos the farmer and Isaiah the palace history professor who probably wrote great parts of 1 Kings and 2nd Kings.The Holy Spirit navigates them.One extraordinary case is DA in John 8.”and He bent down and write their sins in the sand”. It is not in Farrar and not in the other sources. But it is in a dusty Greek in Metzger 414 “ground each and everyone of their sins”. Codex Nanianus in the Marciana Library in Venice dates to the 10th century (Metzger’sU) and not in English but in Greek. Also in the 12th century Codex in the British Museum (Metzger’s 700) also not in English but in Greek. EGW could not read Greek so did the Holy Spirit direct her to an understanding of language that she did not know in a manuscript thousands of miles away, locked up in a building unaccessable to ordinary public, dating to centuries before her own time?

    • RonCorson
      04 January 2015 @ 9:43 am

      Well, that is hardly evidence for the simple reason that it was commonly thought that was what was written in the sand. Look at all the Bible Commentaries many of which predate Ellen White’s writing and you will see it. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/8-6.htm

      • koot van wyk
        04 January 2015 @ 5:06 pm

        That I consider your turn. I couldn’t find anything. Your link commentary said nothing also.What Spectrum of the late 70’s did not point out, is that closer comparisons of socalled plagiarisms revealed simulations with many gaps in between and a different Thesaurus at times. The same as the Holy Spirit let Paul change Deuteronomy 32:43 from the Greek Septuagint with an extra insertion of “angels” from Psalm 96:7 instead of the rendering “sons of God” (Septuagint) or the correct original MT Hebrew reading appropriatly “nations” or instead of another false twist from Qumran 4QDeut reading “heavens”. “Angels” = “Messengers” which means Paul interprets the original Hebrew as God’s remnant and not heavenly beings as both Qumran scribes and the corrupt survived Septuagints translated. Koot van wyk (DLitt et Phil; Thd) Visiting Professor Kyungpook National University, Sangju Campus, South Korea, Conjoint lecturer of Avondale College, Australia.

        • Ron Corson
          05 January 2015 @ 10:14 am

          I am sorry apparently you need the specific reference. Here is is from Matthew Henry’s Complete Comentary published in 1711:

          ” Some Greek copies here read, He wrote on the ground, enos hekastou auton tas hamartias —the sins of every one of them; this he could do, for he sets our iniquities before him; and this he will do, for he will set them in order before us too; he seals up our transgressions, Job. 14:17 . But he does not write men’s sins in the sand; no, they are written as with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond (Jer. 17:1 ), never to be forgotten till they are forgiven.[4.] The scribes and Pharisees were so strangely thunderstruck with the words of Christ that they let fall their persecution of Christ, whom they durst no further tempt, and their prosecution of the woman, whom they durst no longer accuse (v. 9):” http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/8.html

          I said nothing about plagiarism. though I can assume that if you thought she was the first since certain early manuscripts to write of writing in the sand you might think that. But the fact is it was commonly assumed in Christianity and not something novel that EGW divinely arrived at contrary to what other Christians were writing.

    • Elaine Nelson
      04 January 2015 @ 6:16 pm

      Those who naively believe that every word in the Bible was written by God should read about how the Bible came to us today and that for millennia it was only transmitted orally, later written by those who had to rely only oral traditions.

      The Scriptures were edited, rewritten, redacted and changes made by scribes who copied from old portions of manuscripts that were earlier written from old manuscripts, etc.

      The belief that everything we have is the “original” text leads to Bibliolatry–placing the Bible on a pedestal of inerrancy and infallibility.
      It was ALL written by humans and while we have thousands of manuscripts of the NT, there are NO original manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible.

      • koot van wyk
        05 January 2015 @ 7:16 am

        Sister, with all due respect, I have two degrees from a Dutch Reform Calvinist University from professors of the seminary who talked exactly like you. I did not since I finished my first degree from a Seventh-day Adventist theological college of which none of the professors talked like you did now. Moses did not collect oral traditions as the Enlightenment scholars whipped up from the time of the “Deadly wound” (see Catholic article on ‘Higher Criticism’) and later, but he used a Book of Adam (Genesis 5:1) to make extracts from for his first five chapters. He used another book that Noah preserved in the ark in that global event of 2683 BCE and since Noah died in 2333 BCE and Abraham father Terag was born in 2361 BCE, Terag could have taken possession of a copy of the Book of Adam and of the Book of Noah (Genesis 6:9) which Moses excerpt from until Genesis 11:9 and which starts with the Book of Shem (probably prepared by Terag and Abraham) in Genesis 11:10. The Bible does not have errors, does not contradict itself, does not do anything that normal famous novelists like Shakespeare, Goethe, Vondel, etc. did not do in their own works and slips of the hand, eye, ear, tongue and memory that we find with human frailty trying to copy (xerox the ANE way) for future generations. The Bible was standardized in the pre-Persian periods and there is a standard MT Hebrew text towards which all hybrids, parabiblical texts citations, biblical commentaries [Habbakuk] and even the Greek translations 4QLXXNum [Greek] and 4QLXXLev [Greek] are all conforming to the Word of God in paleo-hebrew writing of those days almost 99.9% exactly in form as Codex Aleppo of the 10th century AD. Let us test the accuracy of the Hebrew Old Testament of Codex Aleppo. Qumran is nearly 1200 years before that and 4QDana is almost 99.9% the same! God really preserved His Word. If His Word is preserved over such a long period, you can rely on it for another 1200 years earlier than that! It will bring you straight into the 1460 BCE Midian writer Moses of the book of Genesis. The chronology is exact. In the Hebrew. The versions are all derivatives and secondary sources. There was a good Septuagint (the original) and a corrupt one originating during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and Qumran Greek biblical texts are the good Septuagint. Christ and the disciples used the good one. It is the Byzantine period Septuagint Greek that is corrupt (those copies made by Constantine decree in 350 CE “quick as possible” like Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus). Sister, always read these Calvinist books from the footnote to the text and from the back of the book to the front. It takes longer, but one is not mesmerized by their eloquence into dark allies away from the Word of God.

        • Jim Hamstra
          05 January 2015 @ 7:43 am

          The so-called Books of Adam and Noah (aka Enoch) are of highly dubious provenance. I would be very reluctant to assert that they existed during the time of Moses.

        • Hansen
          05 January 2015 @ 3:55 pm

          Koot, Interesting idea that Noah took some books or a book written before the flood with him into the ark. Although it can’t be proved, it is definitely true that according to the chronology of Genesis, Abraham and Shem were contemporaries. Th entirety of pre flood history could have easily been transmitted by Shem to any number of people.

          If the “dirty” edition of the LXX is represented by Aleph and B, what edition represents the clean one used by Jesus and the NT writers?

        • Elaine Nelson
          05 January 2015 @ 4:15 pm

          This sister would not dare to dispute the knowledge imparted to to you through your two degrees.

          Your knowledge of Moses and Noah’s writing is not worth dispute as you apparently have every evidence. But perhaps for our own information you would be happy to enlighten us by giving us the sources so we can read from the internet what you have discovered through your studies. Just supply the web sites for our benefit. Thank you.

  24. BILL SORENSEN
    04 January 2015 @ 7:27 am

    The SDA church has never really dealt with several phrases that are less than definitive in themselves. Such as “final atonement, moral perfection or character perfection, and Rev. 22:11 has no definitive meaning in Adventism, past, present, or future.

    Along with the sealing of the saints, latter rain and close of probation. There are several theories that have different implications and how people view the above issues is determined by their view of sin, atonement, nature of Christ and what this means in light of a “final atonement.”

    When Bob Brinsmead discovered the historic biblical doctrine of original sin, he realized that all of the above issues must be resolved in light of this basic fundmental bible doctrine. He never did and never could and simply abandon Adventism and eventually Christanity. Dr. Ford is right behind him.

    Unless these issues are resolved in a biblical context and explainable format, Adventism is doomed to on going confusion with no possible unity in the church. Today, the church is “hell bent” to try to preserve some type of unity based on ambiguity and no definitive concise doctrinal base. We simply hope the Sabbath and state of the dead will be sufficient to accomplish this goal. But as we see, it won’t.

    The principle of sin and motive must be first defined before acts of sin can be dealt with and resolved ultimately. To date, it has not been done and because of this, no unity will be secured on superficial doctrine concerning sin and atonement.

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 January 2015 @ 12:25 pm

      Ah, do I discern here the Ghost of Brinsmead Past?

      In my student days I read both Brinsmead (version 1) and Heppenstall and was not convinced that either was entirely correct, though I found Heppenstall far more convincing than Brinsmead.

      I concluded that if God wants perfect humans that will have to be God’s workmanship and not ours.

      Our focus needs to be on Jesus Christ and not upon ourselves in any way. Jesus was a psychologically centered and balanced person. Why? Because He focused on His Father not on Himself. We need to do likewise. Focusing on ourselves breeds the kind of narcissistic, compulsive, neurotic fixations that Bugs-Larry has aptly criticized below.

      Let us look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 January 2015 @ 8:29 am

      “The SDA church has never really dealt with several phrases that are less than definitive in themselves.”

      Phrases like “final atonement”, “moral perfection”, “character perfection”, “close of probation” and “original sin” do not appear anywhere in the Bible. They have come into common use in various eras of the history of post-Apostolic Christian thought.

      I agree that these phrases have no definitive meaning in Adventism, past, present, or future. I would also claim that since none of them appear in the Bible, they have no definitive meaning for those who believe in Sola Scriptura.

      We would be better served to focus on what the Bible itself teaches rather than arguing about about theological constructs of human devising.

  25. Bugs/Larry Boshell
    04 January 2015 @ 11:06 am

    The manufactured religious precepts such as original sin, atonement, nature of Christ, final atonement, moral perfection, character perfection, probation, three angels messages, spirit of prophecy, et. al, are so far removed from Christ and his teachings as east is from west. Please show me even one place where Christ substituted intellectual inanities for simple faith. I can’t imagine why anyone want to be SDA with this kind of legalist baggage (some of which is requisitioned form Catholicism and/or Judaism) requiring indoctrination in mind numbing language and convenient or fictitious ideas.

    And it seems to me there is celebration of neurotic guilt, a kind of masochism, endemic in the concept of perfection. The presupposition is that a deviation in mankind from perfection accounts for “evil.” We are all “sinners.” Disgusting trash because of it, in need of purification, reclamation. Show me where Christ taught such.

    Mankind is what it always was. And what it will always be. Yes, depressing to the perfectionist, I know. We are not worms, garbage, sinners, impure. Just people. Evil is the definition of some our behaviors. We cope by developing definitions, morals, ethics, for which we apply degrees of negative rewards and punishment for violations.

    Christ’s simplification, his simplistic replacement for religious baloney, was his pronouncement that experiencing love is to experience God. He taught it, he lived it, he did it. He died because of it. The complex, corrupt system, Judaism and its defenders who couldn’t bear the threat of his simple teachings, maneuvered his death.

    I’m aware that my lonely voice is in the wilderness surrounded by countless addicts to complex theologies, lovers of religious minutiae, investors in malleable Superguy, and in general, the theologicrats (yes, not a real word).

    Simplify, simplify, simplify. Belief is complicated, but only if you want it to be.

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 January 2015 @ 12:27 pm

      You are not as far from the Kingdom as you sometimes profess to be.

    • Earl Calahan
      04 January 2015 @ 2:21 pm

      Yes Larry, you are absolutely correct. Also I like your new word “theologicrats”, you have the right to coin a new word.

    • Ervin Taylor
      04 January 2015 @ 4:35 pm

      “Theologicrats” First clsss! Jolly Good! Please provide a formal definition and use it in a sentence, os we can add it to a book of Adventisms.

      • Bugs/Larry Boshell
        05 January 2015 @ 5:07 am

        Ervin, it is in the same vein as a less than positive connotation as “bureaucrat.” [crat, cracy, root in Greek kratos, power, strength] It applies to mindless misapplicator of theology as a feint or a bludgeon to score a perceived advantage. “Theologicrat, A, warns that believing in love is dangerous since the cunning devil can be kind and loving in deceit.” Or “Theologicrats seek the purification of the church by the acceptance of the new order proposed in San Antonio.” As for “Adventisms,” I’m sure you can identify your own!

        • Jim Hamstra
          13 January 2015 @ 8:32 am

          So in the same vein we could have Adventicrats who are a particluar (peculiar?) blend of Bureaucrats and Theologicrats?

          Not to mention the Whiticrats who are presumably the target of the Opinion article that triggered this discussion?

  26. William Noel
    04 January 2015 @ 11:32 am

    If the diversity of opinions being expressed here indicate anything it is the need for each of us to be seeking the Holy Spirit and the clarification He would give us to the issues being raised and debated. Since it appears far more effort is being expended in doing anything but seeking Him, it would appear the probability of any resolution of anything in the near future is highly unlikely. So we will continue “wandering in the wilderness” and the church trending toward decline in North America as we wonder why we’re not going into the kingdom. Or, is anybody asking that question any more?

    • Bugs/Larry Boshell
      04 January 2015 @ 12:15 pm

      Noel, It isn’t quite clear to me just what the Holy Spirit is up to (every theologicrat claims influence, even if in contradiction), but the desire to “Hope” outside of oneself, hasn’t diminished at all, I think. The confusion over the variant claims, the conflict of developed dogmas, the growing skepticism of some religious presuppositions, the incorporation of religion, the theological dissecting down into the atomic-level molecule of religious precepts, all are producing a new generation of skeptics, not just among the young.

      Faith, grounded in hope and love, has a bright future for the neo-skeptics. I’ve seen some evidence in your posts that we share that view. When I was a student years ago at the Methodist Seminary in Denver, the Iliff School of Theology, I saw a long shelf filled with Methodist books from the Wesley Boys and others spelling out methodical religion. Just looking at it gave me a head ache. Could probably say the same about Ellen’s works in my own library then. Too many words.

      At the risk of redundancy, I repeat a story from my teaching days at Sunnydale Academy in Missouri. It became so quiet in a junior Bible class I could hear nothing, strangely, but the wind streaming across the exterior sill, and then a whisper of a barely audible female voice “I could almost love a God like that.” I had been talking about the God of love who loved and cared for us and wanted us to be with him. I’m not eloquent. Love is.

      • William Noel
        05 January 2015 @ 5:32 am

        Oh, the truth that is in such a simple statement as that about God’s love! So many believe people must be taught to obey God before they can learn to love Him. But if the ministry God has given me teaches me one thing it is that God wants us to experience His love so we will want to obey Him. Many times I have heard someone say they have seen God’s love in what we have done to help them, so they want to know God better, that the God they have seen working through us is not the same God they were taught about before.

        One question I sometimes as that makes a lot of Adventists very uncomfortable is: Why would I want to spend hours reading the works of Ellen White and fill my head with information when I can spend even minutes with God and fill my soul with an eternal relationship that transforms me? Given a choice between the two, I’ll take the latter because it leaves me hungry for more.

    • Bill Garber
      04 January 2015 @ 12:35 pm

      Bill, you always go deep and we all are the better for it. I’m thinking maybe a little deeper may be helpful.

      We are bound together by humility rather than by understanding, by knowing without understanding … So what we know dare not be literal or we have chosen self over worship.

      The purist and most utterly unified form of pre- and subsequent Seventh-day Adventist worship was the morning of October 23, 1844. Zero doctrines. Zero understanding. Pure knowledge. Unmitigated certainty.

      It is no wonder that almost 50 years later the memory of that morning called to Ellen White and in turn she called to the church community to once again embrace the reality of that time as the community intensified its endless struggled with learning and unlearning doctrines.

      Spiritually, faith is rock solid while literalism crafted by defining mere words seems ephemeral.

      We are unified already. Let’s look for how the Holy Spirit continues to unify us. Unity was never a do-it-ourself project from inside the church as far as I can see … So how do we maintain unity where we may differ on or in most cases be oblivious to doctrines, Bill? Or does doctrine of necessity simply trump unity … I’m hoping not …

      • BILL SORENSEN
        04 January 2015 @ 1:05 pm

        Mr. Garber, we can “glory in our ignorance” as many do as though it was some higher level of virtue to simply say, “I don’t know, and I don’t want to know or need to know.”

        As the college professor asked his class, “What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?” And one student responded, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
        “Exactly” replied his teacher.

        So I will say this, and I don’t exactly know who all it applies to, when the “gospel” is used to create lazy non-thinking so-called Christians, it is in no way the bible gospel that continually stimulates thinking and the ongoing challenge “What must I do to be saved?” When this question becomes a non-dynamic question it creates a static community of so-called believers who scorn knowledge and doctrine in the name of “higher enlightenment” that raises them above challenge and fear of damnation. And perhaps Paul would say to this class, “Let the ignorant remain ignorant.”

        You asked, “Does doctrine trump unity?” Absolutely. Any unity that is not founded on sound doctrine is a false unity that has no foundation. And will always create a superficial experience at best and heretical experience at worst.

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          04 January 2015 @ 3:06 pm

          What would Jesus say? Doctrine? Dream on!

          • BILL SORENSEN
            04 January 2015 @ 4:39 pm

            “What would Jesus say? Doctrine? Dream on!”

            That’s right, “dream on” if you think truth is not based on doctrine. The atonement of Christ is pure doctrine. How would you know what it meant if it were not for doctrine.

            But I admit, your theory of truth is more than typical of many who profess a “higher enlightenment” based on some non-definable concept of “love” as Elaine does.

            At any rate “He that hath an ear, let him hear.”

        • Bill Garber
          04 January 2015 @ 7:16 pm

          So Bill, how is it that you are in unity here with us in the midst of the unmistakable differences in what impresses us about ‘building up the church’? I’m really glad you are embracing us all here. And I think that you are embracing us has profound potential for the church. Describing in personal, practical terms what you experience here again and again sure feels like it has greater unifying potential than coming to a uniform description of sin, say.

          Elaborate as you are able to.

      • Jim Hamstra
        04 January 2015 @ 3:21 pm

        Bill G,

        While I agree with much of what you have written on this page, I must differ with you regarding what Ellen called for in 1892. Ellen did NOT call for a return to the era from 1844 to 1851. In this era the remaining Millerites were mostly in the denial phase of their grieving process, with Joseph Bates setting dates all the way out to October 1851.

        After October 1851 they finally admitted they were mistaken about setting dates for the return of Christ, the Shut Door and other artifacts of that era. They turned their attention to reaching-out to the world beyond their own borders, a world they had largely ignored for 7 years. And they built what is now the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

        Ellen was calling for a return to the attitude of 1852, not 1844.

        Not only do we need to be truthful about Ellen, we need to be truthful about a dark and confusing chapter in the history of the Millerite movement.

        • Bill Garber
          04 January 2015 @ 6:49 pm

          Jim, my sense is that the substance underlying the unspeakable unity experienced October 23, 1844, is exactly the substance that held the community together during the tumultuous period you described. It sure feels to me that this is what Ellen White was pointing the church to reclaim in the midst of an experience she believed would and did indeed result in much learning and much, much unlearning.

          My point of course is that it is not and has never been doctrine, that is, what we learn, that binds us; it is a common experience of God’s certain presence through the shared experiences with those with which we have spiritually journeyed so far. Ellen White’s spiritual experiences profoundly bound the community with which she journeyed. She still can have that influence, so long as we seek what binds rather than reduce our interest to her mere words which drift ever more toward unintelligibility along with the language of her day, a language foreign to the vast majority of church members around the world today.

          • Jim Hamstra
            04 January 2015 @ 7:27 pm

            Actually if you study the history of the late 1840s (not just the sanitized version) you will see that the Millerite movement fragmented, that there was a lot of dissension and disagreement. We know this from the different tracts published by different factions. James and Ellen and a few others strove to promote unity and harmony and avoid excesses of fanaticism, with limited success. And Joseph Bates was the dominant authority figure during this period. Those who differed with him did not fare well.

          • Ervin Taylor
            04 January 2015 @ 9:01 pm

            Immediately below, Mr. Hamstra suggests that “if you study the history of the late 1840s . . . James and Ellen [White] and a few others strove to promote unity and harmony and avoid excesses of fanaticism, with limited success.”

            That is certainly what Ellen White later said, i.e., that she was fighting the excesses of fanaticism, but her participation with Israel Dammon in 1845 certainly calls her memory of what she was actually doing into question. If there is anyone who has not read the contemporary record of her behavior at a meeting of former Millerites in March of 1845 as recorded in a newspaper of the time, the Piscataguis Farmer of Dover, Maine, you can find a transcript of newspaper report of the trial of Israel Dammon on the web. It is instructive to read what came out in the trial as reported in the newspaper and then go the EGW White Estate website and read the short statement entitled “Ellen G. White and Isreal Dammon.” To quote one sentence: “It should be noted that none of the witnesses in the record of Israel Dammon’s trial allege any fanatical activity by 17-year-old Ellen Harmon.” Just read the newspaper account and decide for yourself if Ellen was or was not involved in “fanatical activity.”

          • Jim Hamstra
            04 January 2015 @ 10:05 pm

            I have actually read this. It does not in any way contradict what I wrote. My comments were about the motives and purposes of James and Ellen during that era. I did not write that she was infallible nor that she never made any mistakes. I also wrote that this was an era of considerable religious confusion.

            If those of us who have never done anything in our youth that we would later regret, would stop writing on this web site, it would suddenly become a very lonely place.

            Jesus Christ is the only person who never made a single mistake during His entire life upon this earth.

          • Bill Garber
            05 January 2015 @ 5:59 pm

            Jim and Erv

            My sense is that in 1892 Ellen White was urging those leading the church who had experienced the organizing of the original church fourty years before to use that as inspiration in dealing with the uncertainties of the present in 1892.

            What in reality happened was they formed a church without a creed. Pretty amazing. They refused to let differences in Bible understanding separate them.

            The Millerite dissolution, which she certainly had first hand experience with, was quite another story. Millerites let differences in how they held bible passages separate them, unlike those who formed the Seventh-day Adventist Church …

      • William Noel
        05 January 2015 @ 5:34 am

        The answer to your question is simple: by seeking the Holy Spirit. He is not the God who was here and departed, but the God who Is here and who has promised to LIVE IN US to empower and guide us. It is impossible to get any closer. So the issue we each need to be considering is how we really feel about having God so close to us.

    • Elaine Nelson
      04 January 2015 @ 2:05 pm

      We should be far less concerned for the future of the church than our duty and love for others. We all have the ability to give love and respect for others: a.k.a. the Golden Rule. What need is there for more when few are demonstrating it now?

      • BILL SORENSEN
        04 January 2015 @ 4:41 pm

        No one can be more “loving and kind” than the devil, Elaine, when it suits his purpose.

        • Bugs/Larry Boshell
          04 January 2015 @ 6:15 pm

          And Bill, the “truth” you value has thousands, nay, tens of thousands of definitions, all different, all opinions. Could you please spell out, in a list the exact truthful ones for me? It appears you know which is which.

        • Bugs/Larry Boshell
          04 January 2015 @ 6:27 pm

          That darn devil, he probably put it in Christ’s mouth that “He who loves not knows not God, for God is love.” He is a clever devil. Sure had me fooled. Sorry Elaine, for the interruption. Now that I am straightened out, I just had to let Bill know.

        • Jim Hamstra
          04 January 2015 @ 7:24 pm

          All men shall know you are My disciples by your love for one another.

        • William Noel
          05 January 2015 @ 5:37 am

          Remember how Jesus summarized the Law? Love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself. I used to fear Satan’s deceptions until I discovered the amazing, incredible, fabulous, overflowing love and power of God. As a result I’m far more focused on living in His love than being concerned about anything the devil might do.

          • Bugs/Larry Boshell
            05 January 2015 @ 5:45 am

            Right on!

          • BILL SORENSEN
            05 January 2015 @ 10:17 am

            You would not have a clue of what “love” is unless you are taught bible doctrine. The Holy Spirit has no way of communicating the mind of God except by way of doctrine.

            All your quotes and comments about “love” are meaningless. Nothing in the bible is written in a vacuum. But you wrest some comment by Christ or other bible text out of its basic meaning and then claim you know all about love when apart from scripture love has no viable definitiion. Thus, you leave yourself open to spiritual delusions and attack bible doctrine as being incidental or useless as the means of defining and communicating the true meaning of love and how it is applied and practiced.

            You may think you are the “highly enlightened” but you are deluded in theory and your experience will reflect the same at some point now, or in the future.

          • Jim Hamstra
            13 January 2015 @ 8:42 am

            “The Holy Spirit has no way of communicating the mind of God except by way of doctrine.”

            Really?

            God who in various ways and times spoke to us through Prophets has now given us the most clear manifestation by sending Jesus Christ the God-man to show us who God really is.

            Jesus did not only teach Truth, Jesus WAS Truth personified. Truth is a Person, not a Doctrine. To know the Truth is to know Him.

            Doctrines are merely human attempts to explain God. Doctrines are the cage that theologians build to house their God.

            “God, we don’t know very much about you but we have built you a nice little cage.” Thus spake Homer Simpson, and he was right.

            Disclaimer – I affirm that without the Bible we would know very little about God, be this Yahweh of the OT or Christ of the NT.

  27. Bugs/Larry Boshell
    05 January 2015 @ 10:56 am

    Bill, you have just illustrated the best imaginable definition of my word theologicrat! Thanks!

    • Elaine Nelson
      05 January 2015 @ 4:00 pm

      A hearty amen!

    • Hansen
      05 January 2015 @ 4:17 pm

      Bugs, Great story about the classroom experience. I wonder why it was in your class instead of at home that she learned of a God she could love. That’s the sad part of your story.

      Bill, You should have lived during the Crusades.

      • Bugs/Larry Boshell
        05 January 2015 @ 6:14 pm

        Hansen, as to the class room, the girl whispered, but the loud silence indicated a shared experience. I’m guessing their parents didn’t communicate it because a loving God wasn’t part of their experience, either. I also grew up SDA with a sense of judgment as my primary religious emotion, so I had a sense of where they were. As a side note, I have about 25 of those students still as “friends” on Facebook. Most of them are still SDA and they are aware I’m not. I have never encouraged anyone to part with their faith.

    • Ervin Taylor
      05 January 2015 @ 5:51 pm

      I think we should give Bill “a second mile”. i.e.,a chance to explain himself. “The Holy Spirit has no way of communicating the mind of God except by way of doctrine.” He can’t have meant that literally. Perhaps he has a unique definition of “doctrine.” Perhaps, he was in a hurry and typed it too fast, leaving out some words of explanation. Bill, I hope you will take time to explain more fully your position.

      • Bugs/Larry Boshell
        05 January 2015 @ 6:30 pm

        I agree, Ervin. Writing in absentia is not the same as speaking in person. I couldn’t see Bill’s face or hear his tone or meter as if he had said those things to me. So, though I stand by my label of theologicrat (neither could he see my demeanor as I wrote it), I would encourage a more thorough exegesis on his part. And should he maintain that he meant exactly what he said, it is fine with me. His opinion is another in a kaleidoscope of religious speculation that colors the faith firmament. Amusement activated.

        • Stephen Foster
          06 January 2015 @ 7:54 am

          Bugs,

          For the record, it wasn’t actually Jesus who said that “He who loves not knows not God, for God is love.”

          ‘More’ than believing that God is not real or not personal or unintentional, your adversary the devil would have you think that he isn’t your mortal enemy, and that he is not a deceiver. ‘Better’ yet, that you don’t believe either.

          Calling someone a “theologicrat” may be clever sounding; but Bill Sorensen’s point remains unanswered. If there is no actual doctrinal truth, then spirituality has no application or meaning— including Jesus’ teachings, and even your theories.

          Another point, a summary of the commandments—a summary of anything—doesn’t change it. Summarizing something is much like abbreviating it. It doesn’t change it in the least.

          • Bugs/Larry Boshell
            06 January 2015 @ 11:05 am

            Religious doctrines are opinions. They are ideas, unrelated to facts. One is as good as another. Theologicrats hold, without foundation, that they have the “true” ones. It is their opinion, yours, too, Stephen. Bill’s point is therefore a trick point since it isn’t based in the substance he assumes. Few people in the world know your or his “doctrines.” Fewer of them have ever known. But as theologicrats you dismiss them by necessity, because they don’t know your exact “doctrines” and are doomed, apparently. Their version of spirituality is now and ever has been, null and void, in your estimation. So, you have, in your mind, captured the high ground, quite a solitary spot, it appears. Spirituality outside your definition is useless. Superguy, the human created version of God, the god of gloom, doom, judgment, doctrines, religious correctness, happy destroyer of those without correct doctrines cannot be anything but version of the evil one.

            It appears to me, Bill, Stephen, and likeminded, you do live thrive in a sound proof chamber, theologicrats, all. No one hears you. Sadly, you have nothing worth hearing, in my estimation.

          • Bugs/Larry Boshell
            08 January 2015 @ 6:01 am

            I acknowledge my error in putting words in Christ’s mouth! And I’ve been at it for a while! I normally check references before insertion, but usually trust memory on scriptural quotes. Thanks, Stephen, for noting this in a kindly fashion. My blushing face is properly hidden behind a computer screen. Some modern conveniences work out well!

  28. Earl Calahan
    05 January 2015 @ 6:52 pm

    Bill, i have to disagree with your concept that the written doctrine is the only avenue the Holy Spirit utilizes to influence the individual Christian. i have been abiding the Holy Spirit’s presence, daily, for several years. He has never opposed Scriptural truth. He is my constant companion. He continually leads me into my love relationship with Christ and my neighbors. You must have love in your heart 24/7. Just reading of doctrine doesn’t cut it. God love you brother.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      05 January 2015 @ 8:53 pm

      “i have been abiding the Holy Spirit’s presence, daily, for several years. He has never opposed Scriptural truth.”

      And just how would you know that, Earl, if you did not know scripture? Certainly the Holy Spirit works through many means of grace such as a mother’s love, but even then the mother learned “love” by some objective instruction in her own life time. The Holy Spirit must have some form of objective truth or all you have is some “hocus pocus” religion with no foundation based on human speculation and/or experience.

      The war in heaven was on this very point. Why would sinless beings need any objective revelation of truth to determine right and wrong as long as they had “love”?

      Love in the bible is never seperated from objective truth. As an obvious example, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And how would anyone know what the commands of Jesus were if He did not tell them?

      Neither did He say, “If you love me, do as you please.” (Sorry Augustine, you are out to lunch on that one.) Neither did I suggest that knowing doctrine without a spiritual experience with Christ is all anyone needs. You may know doctrine and not be a Christian, but you can not be a Christian and not know doctrine. Neither did I suggest that everyone knows all doctrine. But for a Christian, there is a certain basic teaching and doctrine that is imperative to “know” Christ.

      And neither is there any place you can arrive at and state, “I know all I need to know either to be saved, or remain saved.” So the question “What must I do to be saved?” is never static, but always dynamic.

      Probation never closes for a believer, only an unbeliever. Noah was still on probation even though the door was shut and all unbelievers were destroyed. All the sinless angels are on probation, sinless Adam and Eve were on probation, Jesus on this earth as a man was on probation, and the saints during the time of trouble are still on probation. The door is shut only to the wicked who have refused to repent. They all believe in “once saved, always saved.” The mother of Universalism.

      • Jim Hamstra
        07 January 2015 @ 1:09 am

        “Probation never closes for a believer, only an unbeliever. Noah was still on probation even though the door was shut and all unbelievers were destroyed. All the sinless angels are on probation, sinless Adam and Eve were on probation, Jesus on this earth as a man was on probation, and the saints during the time of trouble are still on probation. The door is shut only to the wicked who have refused to repent. They all believe in “once saved, always saved.” The mother of Universalism.”

        This is what I call the notion of Adventist Purgatory that some Performance Adventists espouse. Unlike the Catholics who may go to Purgatory after they die, Performance Adventists live in Purgatory until either they die or the Lord returns. There is no joy in the Lord in this form of Christianity (according to a good friend who lived there for many years before finally escaping). If my hope depends upon my own performance in any way then either I will become delusional or I will become despondent or both. Witness the spiritual journey of Brinsmead.

        Ellen White lived in this mode in her early years and according to her own and other biographies she did at times become delusional and/or despondent. The 1888 message was meant to free Adventist from this mode of belief once and for all. Some still reject that message even today.

        Witness also the experience described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. He desires to be good but he is chained to the dead body of his sins (if he were unconverted it would not be a dead body that he drags around on his back). See how things change in Romans 8 when he looks to Christ rather than to himself. It is only by looking to Christ rather than self that we can ever be free from our own dead bodies of sin. It is the robe of Christ that is the only thing that can cover our filthy rags. This robe is like Teflon. While we are wearing it, even when we fall we do not get dirty because Christ keeps us clean. This is what it means to wear Christ like a garment.

        Brother Bill, I must now ask you when this period of “probation” will end for sinless angels? And for saved humans? “Probation” implies a defined period of “proving” ourselves. The only one who needs to prove anything for our salvation is Jesus Christ, and through His substitutionary baptism, His substitutionary life, His substitutionary death and His victorious resurrection He has completed that mission.

        The only human works that are of any value are the works wrought by Christ in us and through us. And the value of these works is NOT to save ourselves or prove ourselves, but to bless others. This is one of the important lessons of the parables of the Vine. The branches do NOT partake of their own fruit, they partake of the life-giving nourishment from the Root of the Vine who is Jesus Christ. It is others who partake of the blessings yielded by the fruit of the believers.

        • BILL SORENSEN
          07 January 2015 @ 10:52 am

          “Brother Bill, I must now ask you when this period of “probation” will end for sinless angels? And for saved humans?”

          In a generic sense, never. God has created moral beings with the ability to rebel anytime. And the restoration of a sinner is to self government under God’s rule and authority.

      • Jim Hamstra
        07 January 2015 @ 1:18 am

        The only door that I can find in the Bible that is open and shut is NOT a door of Probation for the saved, but rather a door of Mercy for the Lost. Jesus does not knock gently at the door of our hearts so that when we open He can “out” all of our filthiness. He knocks so that when we open He can come in and abide with us and in us. This is a very intimate and personal description of the door of mercy. Even the desire and ability to open this door is a gift of God.

        So I conclude that Probation may exist for the lost (ie there comes a point at which Jesus will no longer knock), but not for the saved. Jesus does not enter and then give us a deadline where either we must get our act together or he will leave. The New Covenant is not predicated in any way upon our fallible performance but upon the promises of God who cannot fail.

        When or how the door of God’s mercy closed for fallen angels we do not know, but it appears to have closed before the creation of humans.

      • Jim Hamstra
        07 January 2015 @ 1:31 am

        “Love in the bible is never seperated from objective truth. As an obvious example, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And how would anyone know what the commands of Jesus were if He did not tell them?”

        There are two great commandments given by God through Moses and reiterated by Jesus Christ:
        1) Love God with all of your heart.
        2) Love your neighbor as yourself.

        “Neither did I suggest that knowing doctrine without a spiritual experience with Christ is all anyone needs.”

        Jesus explained that we cannot love God and hate Jesus (God’s son), nor can we love God and hate our fellow humans (God’s other children). He also explained that to love God is to believe in the Son.

        This is not objective propositional Truth, but rather relational Truth. Even a child can have a loving and trusting relationship with his/her parents and with God. This is a relationship based upon accepting dependence.

        “You may know doctrine and not be a Christian, but you can not be a Christian and not know doctrine. Neither did I suggest that everyone knows all doctrine. But for a Christian, there is a certain basic teaching and doctrine that is imperative to “know” Christ.”

        I believe there will be people in heaven who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, nor any other “doctrine” you can propose. But in their own manner they have responded to the gentle knocking at their heart’s door by opening up to Him.

        “And neither is there any place you can arrive at and state, “I know all I need to know either to be saved, or remain saved.” So the question “What must I do to be saved?” is never static, but always dynamic.”

        Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

        • Hansen
          07 January 2015 @ 2:45 am

          Jim, In the writings of John, “commandments” refer to the teachings of Christ. A lot of SDA legalisitic nonsense evolves from the misunderstanding that the “commandments” refer to for example, the Decalogue, the Two Great Commandments, and so forth.

          EGW furthered this myth by interpreting 1 John 3:4 as a reference to the Decalogue, which it is not. It was wrong of her to say that, an evidence of her fallibility or her illustrative use of Scripture. Her “illustrative” use of Scripture has also evinced itself as a terrible mistake.

          It’s difficult, if not impossible, to show any passage in John’s writings where “commandments” refer to the Decalogue. Context clearly demonstrates again and again that the “commandments” are the teachings of Christ.

          • Stephen Foster
            07 January 2015 @ 3:16 am

            You can’t have it both ways Hansen. Suggesting that there are basic differences between two same things attempts to do so; and again represents yet another false choice. “The Two Great Commandments” both summarize the Decalogue—and are “the teachings of Christ.”

          • Hansen
            07 January 2015 @ 3:29 am

            Double talk, Stephen. Show me one passage in the writings of John that equates “commandments” with the Decalogue.

          • Stephen Foster
            07 January 2015 @ 4:14 am

            How is this double talk my brother? Do you deny that “The Two Great Commandments” are a summation of the Decalogue; or that they represent what Christ taught? If both are true—and they are—what John refers to as sin includes that which is enumerated in the Decalogue. What else could 1 John 3:15 mean?

          • Hansen
            07 January 2015 @ 5:37 am

            Like I said, show me the passage which equates the commandments in John with the Decalogue. Plenty of passages equate the commandments with the teachings of Christ.

            John 14:15 says “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

            Verse 21 says: “he who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and will disclose myself to him.”

            Verses 23, 24 then explain what the commandments are:

            23 Jesus answered and said to him, “if anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.
            24 “he who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the father’s who sent me.

            The “commandments” and “words” of Christ are the same i.e., the teachings of Christ.

            Now, I’ll sit back and watch you chase your tail saying it isn’t so because Sr. White said such and such. There is no text which equates the Commandments with the Decalogue in the writings of John. Show me one text.

          • Stephen Foster
            07 January 2015 @ 12:59 pm

            This is rather amusing at this point. I’m playing this game on your terms—as if the writings of John constitute the entire New Testament or entire Bible—but not even that seems to satisfy. I’ve cited 1 John 3:15 as contextual reference to one of the Decalogue’s prohibitions; and I’ve asked you to either confirm or deny whether or not “The Two Great Commandments” are representative of Jesus’ teaching; and I’ve asked you whether Jesus’ teachings regarding the (same) “The Two Great Commandments have summarized the Ten Commandments or not—and I haven’t quoted or cited EGW. (And have gotten nothing in return…except chirping crickets.)

            Explain to me how a text, written by the apostle John (James’ brother), that concludes “…and we know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” is not an acknowledgement of the Decalogue; especially in context with other ‘commandment’ references and in context with references to “sin.”

          • Hansen
            07 January 2015 @ 8:02 pm

            Stephen, “Murder” in 1 John 3:15 is not a reference to a commandment of the Decalogue. It’s talking about Cain and Abel, if you notice the, well, context.

            “Commandment” isn’t even mentioned in the text. Various other ancient codes proscribed murder as well. We don’t assume that because murder was not allowed in Greek or Roman society or various ANE societies, that they all subscribed to the Decalogue as a way of life.

            For you to assume that commandments in John or anywhere else, refers to the Decalogue, without contextual evidence to support that conclusion, is plain old legalism

            John is quite clear what the commandments are:

            “beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before god;
            and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.
            this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us” (1 John 3:21-23).

            Two commandments i.e., Believe in Jesus Christ and love our fellow man. Those are the two great commandments in John’s writings. While they certainly encompass the entirety of the Decalogue, you will notice that faith in Christ eclipses love God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength. Faith is the only way to do that.

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 January 2015 @ 8:26 am

            Well I do not see how this lengthy and not terribly coherent dialogue relates to what I wrote above about the teachings of Jesus and Object vs Relational Truth. But hey, what do I know?

            Stephen, James the brother of John was killed by Herod’s orders long before the Epistle of James was penned. Traditionally the author of that Epistle is thought to have been the Lord’s brother named elsewhere in the Gospels.

            Hansen, I agree with you that the Decalogue is not specifically mentioned by John. John is more concerned with the morality of our relationships with God and each other than with theological propositions. So I cannot figure-out why you are arguing the latter topic in your reply to me?

            Looking beyond John to the other Gospels, it is clear that Jesus had a very expansive view of the Law that went well beyond the Decalogue. Re-read the Sermon on the Mount.

  29. Hansen
    05 January 2015 @ 9:42 pm

    Interesing EGW comments to some of the brethren recorded in the “Manuscripts and Memories of Minneapolis” document. Basically she said that he didn’t care about their doctrines. Their attitudes and demeanor convinced her that she wanted nothing to do with their doctrines, whatever they might be. Lot of gems in that collection.

    I commend the White Estate for assembling it. Kellogg thought that the 1888 message was essentially what had been previously recorded in the testimonies and taught by …Wesley. Kellogg had intimate acquaintance with many of the principals of that conference and attended numerous “cottage” type meetings in the sanitarium. He was in an excellent position to comment on what was being taught.

    A eulogy on Advindicate lionizes Herb Douglass, a promoter of LGT, as a great Christian man, evinced by his courtesy and charitable attitude. Adventism contains numerous “great Christian men” from from all over the theological spectrum, men whose theological views were/are as diverse as bolognas hanging in a delicatessen. Is our very own Erv Taylor any less a gentleman online than Herb Douglass, Graham or Mervyn Maxwell, Dr. Ford or Erwin Gane? Not from what I have seen. God doesn’t measure men by their personalities or doctrines, from what I can tell.

  30. Earl Calahan
    06 January 2015 @ 9:12 am

    The 19th Psalm “The heavens declare the glory of God”.

  31. Grammy
    06 January 2015 @ 11:40 am

    We have God’s own Holy Word, the Bible. Why isn’t His Word enough for us? There is NO need for Ellen White’s writings. During my 5 decades in Adventism, I found her writings only discouraging and confusing, a condition which only the Bible and the Holy Spirit were able to ultimately dispel. And George Tichy is correct – There is no such thing as “sola scriptura” in Adventism. (Spoken by this third-generation Adventist who left the church, NOT Jesus, almost 20 years ago).

  32. BILL SORENSEN
    06 January 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    Grammy, you are not dealing with people on this thread who do not believe in EGW. You are dealing with people who don’t believe the bible. Isn’t that obvious?

    • Ervin Taylor
      06 January 2015 @ 3:17 pm

      Perhaps Mr. Sorensen yet again was not as clear as he would like to be.

      Perhaps what he meant to say is that there are people posting on this site who take the bible seriously but not literally.

      Also, just speaking for myself, I certainly take EGW seriously in the same manner that I take seriously what Augustine and Martin Luther wrote. But certainly, just as one may not agree with everything that they wrote, one may not agree with everything EGW wrote, since, like them, she was a fallible human being.

      • BILL SORENSEN
        06 January 2015 @ 5:24 pm

        Dr. Taylor, what you have suggested is bringing the issue to a different level. Is the bible to be taken literally, or do we use a different method to interpret and understand scripture? And are there objective non-negotiable givens, or do we simply try to find some workable example that we can use in our situation? So, do we opt for a “spirit ethic” as the spirit helps us come to a viable solution even if it is not the precise declarations for the past?

        As a classic example, the early church opted out for Sabbath keeping on the 7th day, and felt justfied in worshiping on Sunday, so long as it was “resting in Christ” and not some other motive. Not to mention that it would patronize those who already worshiped on Sunday their false gods. They reasoned that all they needed to do was convince a “Sunday keeper” was to “rest in Christ” and continue all the other religious forms they were accustom to. The “objective given”, namely the 7th day was negotiable.

        And isn’t this a major argument for women’s ordination and other issues facing Adventism today? The leading of the spirit transcends objective givens?

        So, “how we take the bible” is as important as simply claiming validity for the bible itself. And in fact, this is the major issue in Adventism today, and all the other issues are simply the product of “how” we understand and use the bible. Since my understanding of the bible is based on non-negotiable objective givens, then you are right, I would consider other interpretations as abandoning the bible itself.

        I think the future conflicts will eventually boil down to this basic difference and disagreements. And everything else will become a side issue. In many ways, it already is.

        • RonCorson
          06 January 2015 @ 5:46 pm

          Worshipped their false gods on Sunday? Sunday had no particular importance to Pagans, it was not a worship day.
          So they were not Sunday Keepers in any sense. http://www.ralphwoodrow.org/articles/sunday-worship.pdf

          So here is the question. How much of your understanding of the Bible is colored by incorrect historical information. If that can happen with the understanding of the Bible or your doctrines are they really objective?

          • BILL SORENSEN
            06 January 2015 @ 8:06 pm

            Ron, it is not whether my information is flawless. The issue is whether the bible is the ultimate test of all conclusions. The new “principle based theology” is nothing more than a “spirit ethic” with no objective foundation to determine right and/or wrong.

            Protestantism teaches us that God has preserved His word and we can trust it as the final rule of faith and practice. Also Protestantism teaches us that the bible is sufficiently clear in a consistent revelation of truth so that none need be deceived because it can not be understood. If such were the case, then God could not judge anyone by the biblical mandates and all could claim it is beyond comprehension.

            And I believe this is one major reason, if not the only final reason, people seek to avoid the bible and its authority.

          • Stephen Foster
            07 January 2015 @ 4:00 am

            This is classically misleading, thus cleaver, misinformation. “The regular stoppage of secular work” had no religious significance, and the so-called “venerable day of the Sun” was not necessarily or universally a weekly Pagan rest day; but the coincidence of these traditions with the reality of the Resurrection on the first day (after Sabbath) of the week, along with attempts to distinguish from Judaism, coincided to establish a codified religious tradition that was institutionalized by the Roman church. It became a substitute for the Sabbath and is now erroneously regarded as such—that is to say, “the Christian Sabbath”—an institutional change in time and laws.

            (When did astrology cease ‘qualifying’ as paganism?)

          • Ron Corson
            07 January 2015 @ 1:30 pm

            I don’t understand how this system works. But I can’t reply to you Bill, so I will reply to myself and in reference to what you say below “Ron, it is not whether my information is flawless” I said nothing of flawless I said objective. The point is that there is far more involved to objective truth then simply words in a book. So much more is needed. Interpretation is a pretty complex thing and it is made even more complex when vast time and vastly different cultures and language become involved. Objective truth may not be what you think it is.

  33. Stephen Foster
    07 January 2015 @ 2:01 am

    Bugs,

    You are still avoiding the point. No matter what anyone’s doctrinal teachings are; if there is no doctrine of spirituality, the whole spirituality concept loses its/any meaning.

    So without regard to what Bill or I think, or whatever you call us, the basic fact remains undisputed that doctrinal teaching or doctrinal belief is essentially indispensable. Particular doctrines themselves will inevitably be disputed, but the fact of doctrine is indisputable. You’d simply prefer to call them opinions; and I would grant you they are. But some opinions are right, aren’t they?

    • Bugs/Larry Boshell
      08 January 2015 @ 5:41 am

      Stephen, you have done a beautiful job of summarizing this discussion.

      Avoiding the point is not my intent. I just don’t accept your premise. You say there is a doctrine of spirituality dependent on doctrinal teachings. I reply, the road to spirituality doesn’t pass through the land of doctrines. A doctrine of spirituality is a contradiction in terms. Spirituality by its nature isn’t codified. Doctrines, also identified as: attitude, axiom, belief, concept, creed, dogma, precept, proposition, regulation, rule, statement, teaching, tenet, tradition, article, basic, canon, (http://www.thesaurus.com) are codification, an attempt to identify, rationalize and order a mental structure of some sort. It is opinion driven (sources aren’t “factual”) and conclusions reached are belief, opinions. None of which is “bad.” It just doesn’t, can’t, rise to spirituality, that isn’t its function anyway.

      As I see it, spirituality is the wild universe of the heart where hope, faith and love (credit Mr. Paul) rule. That is where the crux of life, that is, death itself, its’ contradiction to us is permanently embedded in our psyche, where the point of religion is focused. Doctrine dances around this point. Spirituality encounters it. It is the venue and operation where we employ the challenges to it, and apply the bandages, in the form of myth, metaphor, hyperbole, and hope, all the basis of religion. Yes, this is ultimate opinion. But it is all we have and the best we have. And it is the private domain of every human. There is no incorrect or misguided spirituality. No one has the means or the right to attempt to control (or even the power to achieve it) over the internal coping mechanism of an individual’s interior private struggle with death.

      You suggest some opinions are right. It doesn’t matter, except on a personal level. They are right if you “like” them. Otherwise by their nature they are speculation. And there is nothing wrong with doctrines. They are useful as structures for the mind but can validated only by consensus, at best, collective opinion.

      • Stephen Foster
        08 January 2015 @ 7:34 am

        The problem with your philosophy is that it does matter if someone is right—and it also matters when those who are wrong, or evil, insist on imposing their “opinions” on the rest of society. Your opinion doesn’t take evil into account. The opinion or doctrine of Christianity does; and it is as much about self sacrifice as it is about anything else.

        Just because you or anyone may have been traumatized by perversions of Christian doctrine does not mean that Jesus was wrong—and if He was right, you’re wrong. (There is a factual basis for Christianity, if nothing other than the reality of the individual life of Jesus the Christ.)

        Spirituality IS in most cases about death. But Christian doctrine is about loving others as we naturally (perhaps involuntarily) love ourselves. Yes, there’s the promise of eternal life; but since (doctrinally) we can’t earn it, how then is it all about death? And even if it is, if it is right, then that is what matters.

        Again, there have been perversions of Christianity, and other “opinions,” which doesn’t change truth. Recent events in Paris are an example of how all spirituality is not ‘equal.’

    • Jim Hamstra
      10 January 2015 @ 8:33 am

      I don’t think spirituality is about doctrines. True spirituality is about relationships. I can show you this from the OT prophets, from Jesus, from the Gospels and Epistles.

      Doctrines should be valued (or de-valued) in direct proportion to how clearly they teach us about Jesus (or don’t).

      Go and search the Doctrines, for in them you think you have life. These testify of Me. If you are not looking for Jesus in the Bible or in the Doctrines then you are majoring in minors.

      • Stephen Foster
        10 January 2015 @ 11:02 pm

        Spirituality is not ABOUT doctrine, but has no meaning without an acknowledgment of doctrine. If spirituality—in whatever form or iteration—cannot be defined, described or otherwise explained, then no one is ever going to know what, or even if, it is. For example, if it is about relationships as you say, that is a doctrine.

        By the way, I’m not disputing and fully agree that if it isn’t about Jesus then it really isn’t about anything.

  34. Elaine Nelson
    07 January 2015 @ 10:24 am

    While Christians began calling the first day on which they worshiped, “Sabbath,” the only Sabbath has always been Jewish. In Judaism prior to Christ, it had become the distinguishing mark of Judaism and the topic of many laws written by the priests.

    Christians began meeting on the first day of the week celebrating Christ’s Resurrection and gradually became their “sacred day” for worship. By the time Constantine issued the edict for the first day of the week to be a day free from work, it had long been the regular meeting day for Christians so he changed nothing, but legally recognized what had been practiced.

  35. BILL SORENSEN
    07 January 2015 @ 11:16 am

    On this particular thread it is clear and obvious that many play off love and the gospel against the ten commandment law. We could ask, “What law did Jesus claim to support when He said, “I came not to destroy the law and the prophets…….”? Matt. 5

    It could only be the ten commandments. For it was the only “law and the prophets” that were refered to in the OT. But you make a false dilemma about love vs. the law of love. And would have us believe that somehow love removes any objective instruction on how love should act. So it must be assumed that you believe love has some inherent self instruction that goes beyond the necessity for God’s revelation. And isn’t this the mind of Satan as he suggested “Ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

    This is simply an attack on God’s authority to rule His kingdom by way of law. And if it is by law, as some assume wrongly, it can not be by love. But as Horatius Bonar has well said in his book “God’s Way of Holiness”, “Love is not a law, love is the motive to do it.” So God’s law is based on the motive of love, but in no way does love do away with the necessity for objective law to instruct and guide love in a proper form.
    “This goody-goody religion that makes light of sin and that is forever dwelling upon the love of God to the sinner, encourages the sinner to believe that God will save him while he continues in sin and he knows it to be sin. This is the way that many are doing who profess to believe present truth. The truth is kept apart from their life, and that is the reason it has no more power to convict and convert the soul. There must be a straining of every nerve and spirit and muscle to leave the world, its customs, its practices, and its fashions. . . . {3SM 155.1}”

    To equate the law with ipso facto legalism is a delusion that more than a few embrace to their final destruction. A false motive can equate to legalism. But the moral law by its proper use is not legalism. The moral law is not even a legal code. It is the family law of heaven, and no one in heaven merits the favor of God. All approach God by way of Jesus Christ who is our legal right to heaven. The moral law gives us a moral fitness to be there.

    • Jim Hamstra
      07 January 2015 @ 6:27 pm

      Actually the phrase “law and prophets” is a generic reference to the Torah (books of Law) and to the OT books of the Prophets. There were also the books of Poetry etc in the OT.

      But Law and Prophets was the common way of referring to ALL of the teachings of the OT, not just the Ten Commandments.

      Jesus (or His chroniclers) in other places used Moses and the Prophets interchangeably with the Law and the Prophets.

      Jesus fulfilled ALL of the OT laws and prophecies concerning Himself. This does NOT mean that ALL laws have been abolished. Heaven and earth have not yet passed away.

      • Elaine Nelson
        07 January 2015 @ 7:00 pm

        Matthew records Christ’s saying: “Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them (other translations is “fulfill”)
        “I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved.”

        Paul, writing at least a decade or two earlier, explains the purpose of the law for Christians. “The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian.”

        Paul explains in many different places that the Law was given to Israel as part of their covenant, but we all are now under the New Covenant and the Christ is or guide and far superior to the Law.

        Returning to the Law, Paul compare this to the burden our forefathers were unable to bear. Why take on burdens that Christ rolled away?

        • Bugs/Larry Boshell
          08 January 2015 @ 5:54 am

          The degree to which Christ ignored the laws of Judaism seems to be the most ignored part of his activity.

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 January 2015 @ 8:34 am

            He upheld those laws of Judaism which were supported by the OT and spurned and in some cases openly condemned those which were not.

    • Ervin Taylor
      07 January 2015 @ 7:33 pm

      EGW used the term “goody-goody”?

      I really hope so. It can be checked easily at the nearest ABC or major Adventist institutional library. This should be interesting.

    • Bugs/Larry Boshell
      08 January 2015 @ 6:21 am

      If the Adventist concept of death is wrong (and who knows?) Ellen is up there in heaven either looking down and having a good laugh, amused at the paper missiles created from pages of her books or is shedding paradise tears about the quoted RPWGs (rocket propelled word grenades) fired in every direction by the religious zealots whose funny, hidden agenda, unclear to themselves but obvious to everyone else, is for self-elevation. It is worth a chuckle or two. Religious humor is where you find it.

      • Jim Hamstra
        10 January 2015 @ 8:16 am

        Not all of those RPWGs are harmless. Some of them inflict serious damage.

  36. Ron Corson
    07 January 2015 @ 12:17 pm

    “This goody-goody religion that makes light of sin…”

    I never knew EGW use the term goody-goody! That is interesting, I will have to check that out. But then like much that EGW says I would disagree with her assertion. But I do acknowledge since Puritan times at least in America there has been a strong desire in some to strain every nerve to acheive salvation and yes that really is at odds with a God of love.

    • Bugs/Larry Boshell
      08 January 2015 @ 5:51 am

      Ron, I think there may be a remnant ready for a reissue of some of the old Jonathan Edwards fire, brimstone, and us evil sinners hanging over hell by a thin spider web sermons! Scared of hell and scared as hell may just be the ticket to satiate the earn heaven appetite!

  37. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    07 January 2015 @ 3:26 pm

    The truth is that Mrs. Ellen White warned about those who would seek to cast doubt on her work as can be seen in the quotations below:

    I am “only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown.” But my books will testify when my voice shall no longer be heard. The truths committed to me, as the Lord’s messenger, stand immortalized, either to convict and to convert souls, or to condemn those who have departed from the faith and have given heed to seducing spirits.—Letter 350, 1906.

    There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded.—Selected Messages 1:48

    God will not be trifled with, and those who despise His work will receive according to their deeds…But those who seek to make my labor doubly hard by their misrepresentations, jealous suspicions, and unbelief, thus creating prejudice in the minds of others against the Testimonies God has given me, and limiting my work, have the matter to settle with God, while I shall go forward as Providence and my brethren may open the way before me.[Testimonies for the Church 4:231, 232 (1876).]

    If God has given me a message to bear to His people, those who would hinder me in the work and lessen the faith of the people in its truth are not fighting against the instrument, but against God. “It is not the instrument whom you slight and insult, but God, who has spoken to you in these warnings and reproofs.” “It is hardly possible for men to offer a greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities that He has appointed to lead them.” [Testimonies for the Church 5:235; Testimonies for the Church 3:355.]

    • Hansen
      07 January 2015 @ 8:07 pm

      Talk about cultic fanaticism. Anyone who challenges the infallibility of EGW as the final arbiter of Scriptural interpretation is denounced because Sr. White said such people would arise.

      This is classic Joseph Smith type nonsense. Do you stand next to a wall, raise your right hand, and testify that Sr. White is a prophet because you can feel her spirit in your bones? Take your act to a comedy club, Trevor.

      • Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
        07 January 2015 @ 9:05 pm

        Comedy club? Hardly. But here’s one:

        A deacon decides to test the big mouths at his church so he dresses up as the devil with pitch fork and all, jumps in through a window and says to them “I am the devil and I’ve come to get you.” The members bolt out of the church running for their lives except for a few shivering and shaking ones huddled in a corner. One terrified individual plucks up the courage and says: “devil please don’t harm us – we were on your side all the time.”

        • Bugs/Larry Boshell
          08 January 2015 @ 5:45 am

          Trevor your angry side is much funnier than your humorous side!

          • Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
            10 January 2015 @ 9:23 am

            Dear Mr. Boshell, sir your ‘side’comments are beside the point.

      • Stephen Foster
        08 January 2015 @ 8:17 am

        This is interesting Hansen because in not one of the passages quoted by Trevor Hammond does it say anything at all about accepting the “the infallibility of EGW as the final arbiter of Scriptural interpretation.”

        She said things about hindrances, and hatred, and “misrepresentations, jealous suspicions, and unbelief, thus creating prejudice in the minds of others against the Testimonies God [had] given [her],” but she is not hereby claiming infallibility. She’s claiming God gave her some things; and those who try to hinder or misrepresent her ministry (in relaying those things) were in effect working for the enemy.

    • Ron Corson
      08 January 2015 @ 10:17 am

      Thanks Trevor you make an important point. This necessity of accepting EGW as an authority/prophet was not something new that happened after her death. This was her attitude while she was alive. If we are going to speak the truth we have to acknowledge that, the church did not in general misuse EGW but has tried to enforce the same authority that EGW saw in herself. The church must decide if they accept her as an authority or reject her as an authority. The attempt to find some middle ground and pretend that the authority was developed by some 20th century Adventist leaders is not speaking the truth about EGW. Of course the affect of holding to EGW as prophet has caused the church to remain in 19th century theology, there is really no way around that as long as her authority remains. It seems to me that is the truth of the situation. The only way out of that situation is to redefine the prophet and their authority. Which allows for the prophet to say things that they thought were right but we have since found to be wrong or believe to be wrong. Such as disbelief in EGW is not fighting against God. It was not even at the time of the writing either. To do that would mean we have to acknowldge that perhaps we need to do that with some of the statements in the Bible as well. Thus religion becomes more relational and practical an less of a written authority. But really do you think the church wants to go there…even if it is really the only obvious choice, at least in my opinion.

    • Hansen
      08 January 2015 @ 3:18 pm

      Stephen, I’m still waiting for the passages from John which equate commandments with the Decalogue. Your first try, referencing murder in 1 John 3:15 failed because the writer himself was drawing his lesson from Cain and Abel, not the Decalogue. John plainly tells us what the “commandments” refer to in his epistles–faith in Christ and love for our fellow man.

      Trevor said this, Stephen:
      “The truth is that Mrs. Ellen White warned about those who would seek to cast doubt on her work as can be seen in the quotations below:”

      In the context of my remarks on this thread, which are aimed at EGW’s mistaken [now] emphasis and interpretation of Scripture, her “work” refers to interpreting Scripture. Of course, in actual her practice she claimed to not do that. She referred people back to Scripture. Unfortunately, if you came up with something with which she disagreed, you were a rebel, apostate, burden, subject of her travails in the night season, and so forth. Ask Ballenger how he fared when contradicting EGW.

      Bert Haloviak discovered communication between Neal Wilson and Robert Pierson in which Neal Wilson said that the Glacier View controversy was about EGW’s doctrinal authority.

      You’ve done a fine job of illustrating my earlier comment to Erv i.e., SDAs are largely Biblical illiterates. Your appeal to 1 John 3:15 as a reference to the Decalogue is perfect. You ignored, overlooked, forgot about–context. Verse 12 specifically mentions Cain’s murder of Abel, not the Decalogue. Perhaps you don’t need context. After all, you’ve got Sr. White.

      • Stephen Foster
        08 January 2015 @ 10:25 pm

        Hansen,

        Likewise I’m still waiting for an answer as to whether or not the Two Great Commandments summarize the Decalogue, AND whether this represents the teachings of Jesus. Why is it that you think you can ignore these questions? Actually, I know: answering these questions would of course answer why 1 John 3:15 addresses/answers your question!

        Yes, John is relating hate or a lack of brotherly love, with murder; and cites the example of Cain and Able. But we know that murder is wrong and is not an act of love BECAUSE murder violates Jesus’ teachings and commandments.

        Dude, this is essentially just common sense—and has nothing to do with EGW.

        (Once again, are you an Adventist; and what’s up with John? John is profoundly important—as is the rest of Scripture.)

        • Hansen
          08 January 2015 @ 10:56 pm

          Stephen, If I’m ignoring your question it is because it is irrelevant to “commandments” in John. “Commandments” in John’s writings do not refer to the Decalogue. The passage you quote is not found in John’s writings. The two great commandments John lists are believe in Christ and love your fellow man.

          Once you admit that “commandments” in John’s writings do not refer to the Decalogue, many of he “spooftexts” used by Adventists to foster legalism are no longer relevant to the discussion.

          Closely related to the subject is “sin is transgression of the law.” The word “transgression” is not in the OL. It’s an added word. What most translations accurately convey is the sense of the text “sin is lawlessness.”

          The word normally translated as “commandment” is not in the text, either. Lawlessness is an accurate translation of a different word which means “without law.” THE LXX uses the word to describe the Sodomites, long before the Decalogue, as we know it, existed.

          I try to limit online discussion to something manageable. The subject of the Decalogue throughout Scripture is too unwieldy. Commandments probably isn’t [unwieldy].

          • Stephen Foster
            09 January 2015 @ 3:58 am

            It’s obvious that you’re ignoring my question—and it’s obvious why you’re doing so. The Two Great Commandments given by Jesus do indeed summarize the entire moral code. This is what Jesus taught (Matthew 22). (Of course the “first” great commandment He was reciting was given in Deuteronomy 6:1-6.)

            Do you seriously believe that Matthew 22:37-40 and 1 John 3:23 are different; or are referring to two differing disparate things? Do you seriously believe that loving God and believing in Christ are different things? Oh yeah, it is laughably obvious Hansen.

            Hansen, are you an Adventist or not?

          • Stephen Foster
            09 January 2015 @ 4:00 am

            What on earth could you possibly mean when you say that “The passage [I] quote is not found in John’s writings”? What passage have I quoted, and when? I cited a passage from 1 John!

          • RonCorson
            09 January 2015 @ 4:24 am

            You can’t win with obscufationists. Stephen demands that you admit that the subjective summation of the 10 commandments is Love God and love your neighbor. Well that might be how some would summarize the 10, but then that might be the way some would summarize the first five books of the Bible. Or maybe even the whole Bible. It is still a subjective opinion calling for any individuals opinion…as such not indicative of anything objective. Objectively you would want to find out how a particular writer uses a term. In the case of John, commandments/commands are all the teachings of Jesus. In fact John even sums up those commands as believe on Jesus! 1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.

          • Stephen Foster
            09 January 2015 @ 1:18 pm

            Maybe your response was authored before you saw my question to Hansen about whether 1 John 3:23 and Matthew 22:37-40 are talking about two disparate teachings or things. So, I’ll pose the question to you.

            Regarding your point about what specifically it was to which Matthew 22: 37-40 referred, we should remember that Jesus had been asked a specific question in verse 36—and (unlike Hansen) He answered the question.

          • Hansen
            09 January 2015 @ 5:10 pm

            Ron, Thanks for your input here. We understand each other on this point. Stephen does seem to be shucking and jiving here. My original comments were regarding the writngs of John only. The numerous use of the word commandments in his writings do not refer to the Decalogue; consequently, the use of those passages to enforce obedience to the Decalogue on people are misdirected. EGW often used John’s writings to emphasize the importance of obedience to the Decalogue.

            Maybe she did so as a matter of convenience or perhaps she misunderstood the text. What has been described as her illustrative use of Scripture i.e., disregard of context and original writers intent, has resulted in an SDA theological fairy tale. The right sense of Scripture does not support many views cherished by the denomination.

            John states his position regarding Christ’s teachings very clearly “The law came through Moses but grace and truth through Jesus Christ. John’s writings affirm this truth.

            Stephen. There is a huge difference between loving God with all your heart,soul, mind, and strength and believing in Christs death and resurrection. One is impossible, the other, as God’s gift, is not.

          • Stephen Foster
            09 January 2015 @ 7:08 pm

            From the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous; Hansen, think about what you are saying! It is also impossible to love each other as Christ has loved us, right? (Or do you think THAT is possible?) Since in this game of yours we are limited to something written by ‘John,’ Jesus literally commands us to “love one another, even as [He] has loved [us]…”

            Now, the last thing I had heard is that He came down from heaven to suffer, bleed, and die for us. He did this because of His love (which is inclusive of His Father’s love) for people who can barely love Him. We’re commanded by Jesus to do this…to love each other to such an extent, because that is “as [He] loved [us]…”

            It’s no more possible to do this than it is to love God with all that we are and have; yet we’re commanded—by Jesus—to do so. (If we could do it we’d boast.) Since when is salvation based on what it is possible for us to do? Jesus commands things that we cannot do. He empowers us by His Holy Spirit.

            We are saved by grace through faith; so God grants the grace to love AND God grants the grace to believe, AND God grants the grace to obey. The commandments that Jesus gave, and to which John (either John) refers, aren’t different. The commandments which Jesus gave and to which John (either John) refers are summations of the Ten Commandments that God gave.

            We are saved from the penalty and the power of sin by grace through faith in and made possible, or as they say in the advertising game,”brought to us by” the blood of the Lamb.

          • Hansen
            09 January 2015 @ 10:48 pm

            Stephen, This thread pertains to telling the truth about EGW. I offered a “truth” i.e., she uses Biblical terms from John e.g., “commandments” without regard to context or writer’s intent. I then provided examples to support my view. I also challenged EGW’s use of 1 John 3:4 to brow beat people into Decalogue obedience. I disagree that the passage was intended or should be used that way.

            There is no direct link between the Decalogue and commandments in John’s writings. You erroneously referred to the Decalogue from 1 John 3:15 when the context connects the passage to the slaying of Abel.

            If you have some comments directed to the issue of “commandments” and “Decalogue” in John’s writings, that’s fine. Your views on a wider range of topics are of no interest to me.

          • Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
            10 January 2015 @ 8:02 am

            Mr. Hansen should note that legalism and spooftexts aren’t addressed in the context 1John 3:1-24.

          • Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
            10 January 2015 @ 8:30 am

            Both legalism and spooftexts have no direct link to the commandments mentioned in the context of this passage of 1John 3:1-24. I’m guessing they aren’t in the OL too.

          • Stephen Foster
            10 January 2015 @ 8:48 am

            The point is your premise is faulty. You seemingly aren’t coming to grips with what Jesus’ commandments and teachings are; or that they don’t differ from, but serve to summarize, the Ten Commandments. They are effectively indistinguishable from God’s moral law. Loving God with everything, trusting/believing Him for everything, and loving each other as we love ourselves, and as, in John 13:34, Jesus specifically COMMANDED (that we love each other as He has loved us)—along with pointing out how/where we fall short—are the purposes served by the Ten Commandments.

            The Ten Commandments, and the commandments that Jesus identifies as the greatest, and those that (either) John identifies, are effectively interchangeable. From any of these examples of God’s commandments, we know that murder (Cain and Able) is wrong, and NOT from LOVE.

            Therefore, in my view, to the extent that EGW used 1 John 3:4 to refer to the breaking of God’s commandments, she was absolutely right to do so; otherwise John 14: 15-31 makes no sense, since verses 24-31 reference the Godhead. In other words, these are all God’s commandments.

  38. Earl Calahan
    07 January 2015 @ 7:37 pm

    My my, ye who know the mind of God. There is not a single soul ever to live on Earth who was able to keep the 10 Commandments. Yes man’s works are
    as acceptable as was Cain’s. It is Christ only, who is able to do in each of our lives works that are acceptable. We each are of such a lowly nature of earthly sinful flesh; we are as filthy rags. Flesh will never inherit the Kingdom of God. Mankind only has life because of Jesus Christ. We are His own, bought and paid for in the most precious commodity the Earth has ever known, His Almighty Blood. No works we would do can pay the price or earn brownie points. We all know what sin is. The condemnation of the Ten Commandments (10 C’s)points out our sin, it demands our death. But Jesus Christ overcame the 10 C’S for all living souls of all time by paying the ransom with His own BLOOD. By our accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our stead, by faith in His grace, We are fully accepted in His communion. There is nothing, nothing we can do to merit His free gift of life
    everlasting, it is ours, by accepting Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior. Believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and you are saved for eternal life. You will put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, with your eternal soul restored.
    Praise our ALMIGHTY GOD.

    • Elaine Nelson
      09 January 2015 @ 10:33 am

      Did Christ die to redeem “filthy rags” Or worms?

      Does God create old junky filthy rags. We are either worthy in God’s eyes or not.
      Which is it?

      • Earl Calahan
        09 January 2015 @ 2:00 pm

        Elaine, should I have suggested maggot filled flesh instead? Neither rags or worms, or even dust of flesh will be resurrected. The person will be raised a spiritual entity with restored soul.

  39. BILL SORENSEN
    08 January 2015 @ 8:42 am

    Mass confusion by those who attack EGW and the bible. There may well be a saturation point in the context of both truth and error. And we may not know exactly what that point is for anyone else, or even ourselves, but there is one none the less. For the righteous EGW has said,

    “Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads–it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved–just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, . . . that we may know what is coming.
    288
    {FLB 287.7}

    And Paul says of the wicked,

    “…they received not the love of the truth….And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion……that they all might be damned…….” II Thes. 2:10-12

    Now we are all going to be in one group or the other. And without a doubt, some people are deluded or in the process of becoming thus. And we best know which is which. Of course, in the end, both sides think they are right. But only one is scriptural.

    • Ervin Taylor
      08 January 2015 @ 1:11 pm

      “Some people are deluded or in the process of becoming thus.” That certainly is probably correct.

      “We best know which is which.” Really? Who, pray tell, is the “We” in that sentence?

      “[I]n the end, both sides think they are right.” What “end” and who are the “sides”?

      “But only one is scriptural?” Doubtful. Who gets to determine who and what is scriptural?

  40. BILL SORENSEN
    08 January 2015 @ 1:56 pm

    “We best know which is which.” Really? Who, pray tell, is the “We” in that sentence?

    The whole human family.

    ““[I]n the end, both sides think they are right.” What “end” and who are the “sides”?

    The close of probation.

    ““But only one is scriptural?” Doubtful. Who gets to determine who and what is scriptural?”

    God will.

    One of the major purposes of the Reformation was to force those who oppose scripture to eventually admit it.
    So Rome at first claimed the right to interpet scripture, but in the end, also claimed the right to change it. So they freely admit church authority over the bible. It would seem reasonable that what God did by way of the Reformation, He can and will do again before the end.

    The confession, “The bible is our only rule of faith and practice” has no dynamic until and unless those who oppose it eventually admit it. And thus the process continues. It would also seem reasonable to assume that those who claim the bible is not understandable are the ones who will also eventually admit it is not valid to determine the Christian experience.

    I guess we will have to wait and see.

  41. Ervin Taylor
    08 January 2015 @ 9:06 pm

    We will be waiting a long, long time, so long that none of us reading this now will be around to say if we were right or wrong.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      09 January 2015 @ 10:27 am

      Of course you don’t know that Dr. Taylor. And neither do I. But I suspect that this reality will happen far sooner than you think. After all, there are more than a few even now who claim the bible is not comprehensive enough to be understood on many levels. And to defend scripture as “the final rule of faith and practice” is not viable if it can not be understood. This then prepares for the final conflict between those who claim the bible is clear and understandable vs. those who claim a “spirit ethic” of Holy Spirit guidance is the mandate for determining truth. What is now called by some a “priciple based theology” for determining and understanding and administrating doctrine.

      It might be considered to be a parallel to “outcome based education” where there are no objective givens only past situations of how people related to God and their response to what they thought God may have wanted and/or required.

      In Rome’s theology, God has abandon His final authority to the church and even subjects Himself to Rome’s decisions. And since Rome claims it is the Holy Spirit that directs and guides the church over and above the bible, God could not deny Himself and disagree with any decision the church made under the influence of the Holy Spirit. A rather tricky way to claim infallibility for the church and church authority.

      • Bugs/Larry Boshell
        10 January 2015 @ 5:17 am

        And yet there are aspects of “common” Christian dogma developed by that despicable papacy that Adventism dances with happily in two-step! Go figure!

        • John McCaull
          24 January 2015 @ 10:44 am

          Did someone say the papacy truth? None of the gospel still surviving? IS IT A UNIQUELY OBTUSE DECEPTION THAT CONTAINS ONLY ERROR AND NO TRUTH? Really? So it is no better than Scientology, for instance?

          C’mon now, don’t be silly. Adventists like all Christians share some of the basic gospel truth with the Roman Church? What exactly does that prove? NOTHING.

          After all, the best deception is the one that contains the most truth. (We see that illustrated on these threads regularly.) The Roman Church still retains some basic elements of the gospel that, if not shared with them, would be to entertain heresies on those points.

    • Jim Hamstra
      10 January 2015 @ 8:49 am

      Serving God is not about whether we are right or wrong. I do not think the saved will be saying “I told you so” to the lost.

      Serving God is about whether God is right or wrong. We can choose to go along for the ride or not, but it is not our credibility nor our correct knowledge nor our correct understanding nor our correct behavior that is on the line.

      Serving God is admitting that our credibility and our knowledge and our understanding and our behavior, are tragically and fatally flawed. We need God to sort-out our mess, not merely to help us sort-out our mess.

      I t is far more popular to talk about God in terms of intellectual propositions than to let God take control of our own individual and collective messes.

      • BILL SORENSEN
        10 January 2015 @ 12:37 pm

        “Serving God is about whether God is right or wrong. We can choose to go along for the ride or not, but it is not our credibility nor our correct knowledge nor our correct understanding nor our correct behavior that is on the line.”

        And they allow you to teach a bible class in a SDA church? I am not surprised.

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          10 January 2015 @ 3:35 pm

          I’m totally serious about his. How do you qualify for the authoritative position you appear to have as judge and jury? Does executioner come next? That’s intended as a joke! But you seem to have a crystal clear the truth. How did you get so smart?

  42. Earl Calahan
    10 January 2015 @ 6:46 pm

    i agree Larry. We don’t know the mind of God. Was not creating Lucifer so dramatically different than all the other heavenly beings a mistake?? At least in terms of the annihilated human creatures for millions or billions of years, of Lucifer/Satan godship of Earth?? Judging others is a deadly business.

    Steven, i believe there is a difference between the 10 Commandments, and the new covenant law of “LOVE GOD, and Love your neighbor. Serve God, and serve your neighbor, FIRST.
    The 10 C’s point out sin and sentences you to death, whereas the LOVE GOD/neighbor Commandment offers Eternal life to the sinner. IF the 10 Commandments were the only law for man, not a single one would be saved in Christ Jesus. Quite a contrast wouldn’t you say??

    • Stephen Foster
      11 January 2015 @ 1:00 am

      Earl,

      There’s nothing wrong with the Decalogue. Yes, it does point out our sin and sentences all of us to death. But we’re the problem, not the law.

      The Two Great Commandments aren’t any different. When we reject/hate God and hate or don’t love our neighbor, the same thing. Isn’t the only difference the grace that is afforded by blood of the Lamb? This grace saves us from the penalty of transgression, in that Jesus paid it. This grace empowers us by His Spirit to love God and our fellow man. What am I missing here, my brother?

  43. KetaV.
    11 January 2015 @ 12:05 am

    Love
    1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,1 Cor13:1-4

    Lots of sounding brass…and tinkling cymbals…The Word of God is plain…we do not need to improve on it, interpret it, debate it…just proclaim it! It is sharper than any two-edged sword, and is the living embodiment of the Living God! Jesus ministry was to the poor, to those who were downtrodden, sinful, and marginalized…in a society full of pontificators, and pharisaical busy-bodies, without an ounce of love…except for themselves. Can you imagine it if those whom Jesus came to save, could only understand if they were Theologicrats, Theologicans, or otherwise supremely endowed with a sense of “knowing God’s mind”? His sheep were..and are..the simplest of people, willing to open the door as He knocks, and “only believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. We can pontificate ourselves right up to the gate, only to be told,”…depart from me, I never knew you”..[.because you never knew me]…

    …8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.Ephe.2:9

    Let’s just make sure…we aren’t too complicated…sophisticated…or educated… to make it in…via the narrow gate.

  44. Hansen
    11 January 2015 @ 4:46 am

    The word “commandments” is used 9 times in the gospel of John. Once it refers to the command of the Pharisees to Seize Jesus (John 11:57)

    John 10:18 refers to the commandment Christ received from the Father to lay down his life and take it up again [death and resurrection].

    John 12:49,50 refer to the Commandment Christ received from the Father regarding his teachings. The context is clearly about faith in Christ as the Messiah and belief in his teachings.

    John 13:12; 15:34 are commands to love one another.

    John 14:15,21; 15 10 are various forms of the “If you love me, keep my commandments” formula. The context of these passages indicate that he is referring to his teachings, not the Decalogue as “his commandments.

    That’s it, the entirety of “commandments” in John’s gospel. Not a single passage refers to the Decalogue.

    • Jim Hamstra
      11 January 2015 @ 9:07 am

      Hansen,

      You seem to be claiming that Jesus used “commandments” in John to refer to something different that in the Synoptic Gospels?

      If all four gospels are describing the same person, then cannot one use one account to help elaborate the other three? Are they mutually supportive or mututally contradictory?

      • Stephen Foster
        11 January 2015 @ 2:08 pm

        Hansen’s premise is faulty for no other reason than his ‘logical’ need for a faulty premise; what else can be concluded?

        He cannot deny that the commandments of Jesus—love for God and for each other—represent the framework/basis/foundation of the Decalogue; so instead he must ignore that reality. This is not an either, or. There’s no contest/contrast between love and obedience. Love according to Jesus is, or yields, obedience. There’s no contest/contrast between what Jesus taught and the Decalogue because God gave both. His premise is that they are disparate. It is faulty, as it must be; otherwise there’s no point to his contention.

        My argument is that Jesus’ commandments and God’s commandments are effectively the same thing. Jesus and God are not in contention.

        Hansen posits the mother of false choices—birthed by the grandmother of faulty premises.

  45. BILL SORENSEN
    11 January 2015 @ 8:22 am

    “John 14:15,21; 15 10 are various forms of the “If you love me, keep my commandments” formula. The context of these passages indicate that he is referring to his teachings, not the Decalogue as “his commandments.”

    Apparently Jesus Himself did not agree with your conclusion because Jesus stated some of the ten commandments to the rich young ruler as a necessity to “enter into life.” And then pointed out his coveteousness as a reason he was unfit for the kingdom.

    Not to mention James who also stated several commandments and then states that to break one is to break them all. To draw a circle around love and divorce it from the ten commandments will find no harmony in the new testament nor any affirmation by Jesus or His apostles and followers.

    • Hansen
      11 January 2015 @ 10:04 pm

      Seriously, Bill. Adventist spooftexting again? Aren’t you a bit long in the tooth for that? Try looking at the context of the passages in John. All of them easily resolve into the sayings/words/teachings of Christ:

      John 14:15 says “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

      Verse 21 says: “he who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and will disclose myself to him.”

      Verses 23, 24 then explain what the commandments are:

      23 Jesus answered and said to him, “if anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.
      24 “he who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the father’s who sent me.

      The “commandments” and “words” of Christ are the same i.e., the teachings of Christ.

  46. Earl Calahan
    11 January 2015 @ 10:52 am

    Well, Bill, I have to differ with you, in a sense, also Steven (unless i misunderstand him, as some of his offerings i find a bit cryptic).
    To clarify my view of the Commandments. Yes, if the 10 C’s were capable of being kept by humans, it would be as a result of LOVE. Jesus kept the 10 (TEN), because Jesus was and is LOVE. But the 10C’s given by Moses to the escapees from EGYPT, were an abominable disaster. When Jesus came to Earth He restated the essence of LOVE in language not to be misunderstood by man. He cited the “Greatest Commandment” of LOVE. Which of course was His intent before His Earthly creation began.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      11 January 2015 @ 2:46 pm

      Earl, you will find more than a few in the SDA church who will agree with, people like Elaine, as an example. But you will also find many who disagree, and in fact, this difference is simply the “whole ball of wax” concerning differences in the church today. If love has no objective stated form in which it must act, then all you have is some “spirit ethic” that determines and guides your decisions and actions.

      Of course, you could steal your neighbor’s car and call it love. Or, like Robin Hood, steal from the rich and give to the poor all in the name of love. In brief, you can commit any act defined as sin in the bible and call it love, and many do just that.

      But the bible present love as the motive and the moral law as the actions love must take. So, the ten commandment law is called, “the law of love”. Love is not a law in and of itself. It is the motive to do the law as a child of God.

    • Stephen Foster
      11 January 2015 @ 9:17 pm

      Earl,

      Moses did not write the Decalogue. Moses was merely the proverbial middle man. If you believe that Moses wrote/gave them, then it’s understandable why this sounds cryptic. It is even then understandable why you would perhaps consider them an “abominable disaster.”

      Since the Decalogue was written by God, how should one then interpret Psalm 19:7-8?

      • Earl Calahan
        12 January 2015 @ 6:55 pm

        Steven, yes the 10C’s were written in stone plates by God. As i stated Moses presented them to the people of Israel when he came down from the mount.
        David, speaking of the times when the 10 C’s were his connection to God. The statements, verses 7 & 8, were true & righteous, in the view of God, but were deadly to the people of Israel, unable because of the flesh to have the power to keep them. That is the only reason Jesus Christ had to come to the Earth, to personally by Grace, reveal to mankind that He would purchase their pardon from the 10 C’s.

        • Stephen Foster
          13 January 2015 @ 12:10 am

          Earl,

          I wanted to let this go. Now I see why I should not.

          “That is the only reason Jesus Christ had to come to the Earth, to personally by Grace, reveal to mankind that He would purchase their pardon from the 10 C’s.”

          With respect, this is erroneous. Jesus came to purchase our pardon from the penalty of disobedience to His commandments—not “from the 10 C’s” themselves, Earl.

          This is why this conversation is important. There is nothing wrong with the Decalogue. The problem is and was with us. I know some of this sounds cryptic, but this is the great controversy’s essence. God sent His Son to save us—not because there is, or was, something wrong with His commandments as you suggest—but because we, His children, are/were wrong. He didn’t save us from the law; but from the penalty of our lawlessness. (Psalm 19: 7-8 is still true today.)

          Jesus’ commandments, words, and teachings were not at variance with the law of God; they represented the framework for God’s law. Jesus’ words/commandments/teachings ‘cut to the chase scene.’ They didn’t change the plot at all.

          • Jim Hamstra
            13 January 2015 @ 7:58 am

            “With respect, this is erroneous. Jesus came to purchase our pardon from the penalty of disobedience to His commandments—not “from the 10 C’s” themselves, Earl.”

            With respect, this is erroneous. Jesus came to save us from the inevitable Consequences (not Penalty) of our rebellion against God.

            God is the only source of our existence. Seeking to take control away from God is seeking to exist apart from God. Seeking to exist apart from God is seeking to NOT exist. From Genesis 3 onwards it is only by the Grace of God that sinful humans continue to exist at all. That is the message of Yahweh in the Garden.

            If Yahweh had not immediately come to that Garden then Adam and Eve would have ceased to exist. They hid because they thought Yahweh was coming to impose the Penalty. They did not understand that Yahweh came to shield them from the Consequences of their own actions.

            Failure to keep the Commandments, whether that be the Big One (believe on Him whom God has sent), the Big Two (love God supremely and your fellow humans as yourself) or the Big Ten, are all symptoms of the fatal congenital disease called Sin.

            The Gospel of John focuses on the Big One because that is the most fatal symptom of all – rejecting the Only Cure for the Fatal Disease.

            It is only by the Grace of God that we can embrace the Big One or any of the others.

  47. Hansen
    11 January 2015 @ 3:27 pm

    Jim, Jesus/gospel writers referred to the Decalogue in other gospels. No dispute about that. So did other writers in other books. Context is what defines “commandments.” John 11:57 clearly illustrates that.

    Certainly my opponents would like to have a broader, unmanageable discussion about the Decalogue in the NT. Stephen resorts to ridicule and mockery because he is incapable of making an intelligent defense of his position. “Commandment/s” appears 9 times in the gospel of John. I listed every text. It’s easy to see that the “Commandments” do not refer to the Decalogue.

    I brought this up on this thread because SDA, including EGW, have long browbeaten people with passages from John, when they have nothing to do with the Decalogue. It’s a good place to start telling the truth about EGW.

    • Stephen Foster
      11 January 2015 @ 10:21 pm

      Hansen,

      No one ridiculed or mocked you. I criticized the premise of your argument; and then contrasted it with my argument.

      Since Jesus is the Person quoted by John, the proper context for whatever Jesus meant by His references to “commandments” should be everything that He said about commandments; which would then include the Synoptic Gospels. Your premise was wrong in part because you failed to acknowledge or accept that.

      “…here a little, and there a little.”

      • Hansen
        11 January 2015 @ 11:28 pm

        So your position is that instead of the immediate context, we should look at another author and book to determine meaning when the immediate context by the same author in the same book explains it?

        Actually, I recently read a dissertation written in Australia about exactly what you advocate. It was described as a faulty prooftexting hermeneutic Adventism inherited from the Millerites.

        • Hansen
          12 January 2015 @ 12:12 am

          Stephen, It’s precisely because of what you are advocating that your fellow travelers are denounced as lunatic fringe cultists. I doubt that anyone who ever took a course in literary interpretation beyond freshman English would agree that the first line of interpretation should not be the immediate context.

          What Jesus said at other times about the commandments, to different hearers under different conditions is actually not context. Note the American Heritage dictionary (4th ed.)definition of context:”The part of a text or statement that surrounds a particular word or passage and determines its meaning.” Neither does Merriam-Webster doesn’t support your use of the term “context.”

          What Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 has nothing to do with the context of the “commandment/s statements in John. For you to use “context” as a defense betrays either ignorance of the meaning of “context” or obfuscation on your part.

          • Stephen Foster
            12 January 2015 @ 3:29 am

            Hansen,

            I ‘hate’ to be the one to break this to you (not really), but the Synoptic Gospels contain three perspectives/accounts of many of the exact same events/incidents—many of which are also in John. All four gospels contain narratives of Jesus’ life and teachings to the same people, at the same time (thus providing historical/biographical context—“the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event”).

            Earlier Jim Hamstra asked you some questions that you (of course) failed to address:
            “You seem to be claiming that Jesus used “commandments” in John to refer to something different that in the Synoptic Gospels?”
            “If all four gospels are describing the same person, then cannot one use one account to help elaborate the other three? Are they mutually supportive or mutually contradictory?”

            This would address the point I’m making. I was willing to use “John” alone to discuss this but why would you? It would be SOMEWHAT like analyzing what one of the American founding fathers thought about some particular aspect of the U.S. constitution, with only one certain biographer’s perspective, when there are at least a few other biographical or historical perspectives which we’ve agreed are to be considered equally as credible and expert—and are not contradictory.

            I’m trying to be charitable with you Hansen; I’m not trying to ridicule you. Jesus indicated that the two Great Commandments are the framework for the entire code. But you’ve declined to even acknowledge/confirm this. Maybe you can answer Jim Hamstra’s questions, since you’ve decided not to answer mine.

            You HAVE seemingly acknowledged that Jesus did indeed reference the Decalogue at some point. Perhaps you can analyze those instances to see if “commandments” were used ‘in context.’

            (Should we conclude from your “fellow travelers” remark that you are not an Adventist?)

          • Hansen
            12 January 2015 @ 4:11 am

            The synoptic gospels are just that. John is different. Doesn’t the style of the narrative itself, on it’s face, tell you that?

            In the opening remarks of John, it tells us that Moses came to reveal law. Jesus came to reveal grace and truth. As I’ve said before, context determines the meaning of the word “commandments.” I’ll be more specific–literary context determines meaning. This is a basic principle of Biblical interpretation.

            When the Pharisees gave a commandment regarding the seizure of Christ, the literary context excludes the understanding of “commandments” in that passage, to refer to the Decalogue.

            Take the word “law” as another example in John. Many people think “law” refers to the torah or the ceremonial law. In some cases it does, however, in John, it may refer to the OT in its entirety, as is evinced by the literary context of passages such as John 10:34 and 15:25. Jesus refers to the law and then he quotes passages from Psalms, so he obviously isn’t referring to the torah or the ceremonial law.

            There are examples similar to this in other NT books but in the interest of manageability, I’ll limit my discussion to John’s writings.

            I’ve made my point here, more or less. If you disagree, not much more I can do about it.

          • Stephen Foster
            13 January 2015 @ 12:20 am

            You’ve made your point, less than more; as your point is invalidated since you haven’t demonstrated that Jesus intended some demarcation between those commandments of His (which He said God gave Him) and the commandments which God had previously given; nor have you demonstrated that Jesus in any way nullified the Decalogue in emphasizing His commandments—because you haven’t demonstrated how love for God and others differs from the Decalogue.

            In other words—whether the context is literary or historical—you haven’t demonstrated how or why your premise is not faulty.

          • Jim Hamstra
            13 January 2015 @ 8:05 am

            “Take the word “law” as another example in John. Many people think “law” refers to the torah or the ceremonial law. In some cases it does, however, in John, it may refer to the OT in its entirety, as is evinced by the literary context of passages such as John 10:34 and 15:25. Jesus refers to the law and then he quotes passages from Psalms, so he obviously isn’t referring to the torah or the ceremonial law.”

            This is absolutely correct. Jesus clearly regarded the OT as authoritative, not just certain commandments from the Torah which He quoted elsewhere in the Synoptics.

            See my comments above regarding the focus of John which is certainly different (though not in conflict with) the focus of Matthew. Matthew wrote for a Jewish audience that was much concerned with the Law, so he describes what Jesus taught regarding specific commandments from the Torah. As I explain above, John largely ignores the Big Ten and the Big Two and focuses almost exclusively on the Big One.

  48. Ervin Taylor
    11 January 2015 @ 5:11 pm

    Some readers may have noticed an article that was posted on January 6, 2015 on the Christianity Today website entitled “The Season of Adventists” It carried a subtitle of “Ellen G. White’s denomination gains one million new followers each year.” (It has gained in new converts that number each year over the last decade or so, but the more relevant number is how many has it lost during each 12 month period and thus what is the net increase. In North America, that is a very small number.)

    EGW’s denomination? Well, she was clearly a co-founder. But without her husband, who served as her editor and business manager for the first 40 years (with some periods where he and Ellen did not quite see eye to eye on how to deal with her writings), there would be no Adventist Church and EGW would, at best, be a minor footnote as one of many “visionary cult leaders” known to have come and gone in northeastern United States in the early to mid 19th Century, Also, without the financial support of Joseph Bates, there perhaps would have been no Adventist Church organized.

    • John McCaull
      24 January 2015 @ 11:01 am

      Attrition is only significant if it reaches mass departure. In a world of sin, anything that requires a higher moral and spiritual tone will attract many more than it will retain. That is not an indication one way or the other about the particular sect and its teachings, good, bad or both.

      A sower went out to sow. Some of the seed fell on stony ground and got absolutely no response. Some seed fell among thorns and were stifled, some fell into fertile soil and grew up to produce fruits a hundredfold.

      But the attrition group is a group where the seed at first grew up but then was choked off by those weeds. “The cares of this life” the Savior said, prevented continued growth. So he himself illustrated that no gospel call will fail to meet with total indifference, initial response followed by attrition, or permanent growth and reproduction of others into the Kingdom.

      The bottom line for a group as splintered as modern Adventism is the 18.1 million still mostly attending. Unlike Mormons, say, who count every Mormon baby as a Mormon and don’t remove names until the 110th anniversary of that birth, of JWs who leave names on the books, one demographer pointed out that in countries where cenci are taken that ask for religious affiliation (several Central American ones, for instance) the numbers for Assemblies of God and SDAs hold up.

      Not that I’m cheering on a mixed theology that has not followed EGW’s direction that much more truth was to be revealed from Scripture before the end of time. It is a perfect advanced-light message for 1780-1831, the years of the Powerscourt Conferences, from whence its basic doctrines were drawn.

      Getting back to the point, if using the same methodology as the Assemblies of God, and counting children and unbaptized SS members as in Africa, the SDAs have about 25 million bottom line apples to apples. The Aseembles are 150 separate organizations with similar doctrines and approximately the same charismatic teachings. None are as large as the SDAs, but taken together they are a whopping 65 million, which is why they follow the Roman, Orthodox, Episcopal groups. (While the Orthodox and Episcopal are also a multi-grouping, in those cases the separate entities still are arranged around a central doctrinal authority, the Orthodox pope, for instance.

  49. Elaine Nelson
    13 January 2015 @ 10:59 am

    Jim, there is no division in the law between ceremonial and moral. Christ fulfilled the Law by his life and death, the Law and Prophets have accomplished the plan.
    The Law has been replaced by Christ (Gal 4). No longer does the Law have claim on us are is our guide; faith in Christ rather than fidelity to the Law is what justified us and no one can be justified by keeping Law.

    • Stephen Foster
      14 January 2015 @ 8:25 am

      It just might help to clear up things if you would answer this question: What’s the difference between replacing and eradicating/destroying?

      • Elaine Nelson
        14 January 2015 @ 2:13 pm

        Replacing means to put something in the place of what is no longer useful, needed, or outdated by something newer.

        Eradication/destroying is no different than totally eliminating.

        • Stephen Foster
          15 January 2015 @ 2:12 pm

          Well, so much for clearing things up.

          If eradication/destruction represents the same as elimination, what is done with something that has supposedly been “replaced” but hasn’t been destroyed/eradicated/eliminated?

          Since we know that whatever Jesus meant would NOT “pass” “till heaven and earth pass” cannot pass before 1) “heaven and earth pass,” and 2) “all be fulfilled;” we know that all hasn’t been fulfilled because heaven and earth haven’t passed away. I’m sure this is why that which you considered “replaced” is still in existence.

          Jesus fulfilled all the laws and prophecies that foreshadowed His earthly mission and ministry. Heaven and earth have not passed and every prophecy has not yet been accomplished.

          • John McCaull
            24 January 2015 @ 11:18 am

            I find it amazing that this far into history folks still cannot read the Book of Galatians with a simple exegetical understanding of what Paul is talking about!

            “The Law” in Galatians is the same as “The Law of Mose” as the New Testament in its entirety illustrates, not to mention the huge number of documents that define this term explicitly among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the developing Rabbinic Judaism.

            THE LAW IN GALATIANS REFERS TO JUST WHAT ALL JEWS SAID IT REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST CENTURY. It was neither THE ENTIRE OLD TESTAMENT nor some alleged “ceremonial” law that somehow existed separate from the moral law.

            1. First, let me deal (again) with the distinction between moral and ceremonial, which is entirely wrong. A simple reading of the early Old Testament shows that no such distinction is ever made or even exists. The Whole Burnt Offering, the Sin Offering, the Peace Offring, The Feast of Booths, (for instance) all had exactly the same moral purpose as telling the fresh-from-slavery group to take a stick and go do their defecating outside the camp, something so basic even my dog knows about it.

            In the same way the moral law is illustrated by such things as putting a fence around a pit when you dig it so you don’t kill someone else or their animals. And so forth. Every health law was also a moral law. Every warning in the several lawcodes not to practice any of the Canaanite religion is also moral.

            Not one ceremony had any basic purpose but to teach the gospel and nature of God beforehand!

            I have married folks (to each other), baptized some, given eulogies over others. Broken the unleavened wafers, handed out unfermented wine, washed the feet of others and they mine. These are all CEREMONIES, and each and every one of them had a MORAL purpose. To make a distinction where none exists is nonsense.

            2. What then, is “The Law” or “The Law of Moses”? It is the entirety of all the laws in all the lawcodes of the first five books of the canon, our Pentateuch. These books were assumed to have been written entirely by Moses.

            The entire Old Testament has much much more than this. Another section had already become “canon” before the time of Christ, This was “the Prophets” where we find the “major” (SIC!) prophets.

            Some works such as Daniel had become virtually accepted by the time of Christ, as both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament show clearly. But it is found in the late section, “The Writings” that were not officially Scripture in Jesus’ day.

            Only after the AD 70 destruction, in the beginning of the “rebuilding rabbinic Judaism” by the Pharisee rabbis at Yavneh (Jamnia) did an “official” listing of sorts clarify what was to be included in “The Writings,” the third and final section of the Old Tesament.

  50. KetaV.
    13 January 2015 @ 2:40 pm

    Hmmm…

    This has been Satan’s special work, with great success, ever since the fall–to lead men to pry into the secrets of the Almighty and not be satisfied with what God has revealed, and not careful to obey that which He has commanded. …make them believe that they are entering a wonderful field of knowledge. This is purely supposition, and a miserable deception. …charmed with their own vain philosophy… ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth (Story of Redemption, 32-37).

    Shall we disembowel the substance of this message as well…as being untimely, uninspired, unclear…plagiarized? Au contraire…Lord, help us…your people… to not be the incarnation of her prophecy.

  51. Hansen
    13 January 2015 @ 3:44 pm

    Jim, I completely agree that the “big one” is faith. As John said, the holy spirit will “convince the world of sin because they believe not on me.” This is what Paul describes as the “obedience of faith.” God counts our faith in Christ as obedience to all his requirements. That’s how we are justified.

    We developed some nonsense about keeping the law perfectly by the power of the indwelling Spirit and called that the obedience of faith, totally contrary to the NT message.

    Although there are numerous NT passages which attest to the obedience of faith, this passage clearly and concisely affirms it: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” Rom. 10:16.

    “Obeying the gospel” and “believing the report” are the same. It can hardly be more plain than that.

    30 for just as you once were disobedient to god, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
    31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
    32 for {A} god has shut up all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all. Rom.11

    The context of these verses indicates that the discussion is about faith in Christ. The obedient and disobedient are those who believe in or don’t believe in Christ. It really has nothing to do with the Decalogue.

    • Hansen
      13 January 2015 @ 3:52 pm

      Incidentally, Anyone with a superficial Bible knowledge, untainted by EGW and SDA theology, could have seen this right here:

      “he who BELIEVES in the son has eternal life; but he who does not OBEY the son will not see life, but the wrath of god abides on him.” (John 3:36).

  52. Stephen Foster
    13 January 2015 @ 10:58 pm

    Jim,

    Yes, we are talking about rebellion; and that is indeed “the Big One.”

    Part of the point that I’m making may however be that there is no difference between “purchasing the pardon for the penalty of our disobedience to His commandments” and “saving us from the inevitable Consequences [i.e. death] of our rebellion against God.”

    The Genesis 3:15 prophecy/promise—plan of redemption—was necessitated by Adam’s disobedience to God. Breaking His commandments IS rebellion against God; even if the commandment(s) were “don’t eat of the fruit of one particular tree.” Disobedience to God, breaking His commandments, rebellion against God is all the same thing; whether it’s “One” or ”Two” or “Ten.” Jesus and God are not “commandment” competitors. Jesus is and was God with us. Jesus’ commandments and teachings are not in conflict with that which God has commanded; but are the basis for God’s commandments.

    As you know, once this is understood, then it becomes abundantly clear that Jesus’ references to “commandments” in John (or anywhere else in any other place in Scripture) refer to what God/He said to do. If/when it is not understood or acknowledged then the faulty premise that Jesus’ commandments and the Decalogue are disparate, differing expectations—and that one nullifies the other—ensues/persists.

  53. John McCaull
    22 January 2015 @ 1:17 pm

    Taking a proof text apart from the whole, as seen so frequently even on this thread, is not exegetically sound and does not lead to Biblical conclusions. Obedience to the gospel meant much more than a mental assent, but in Paul always results in attitudes and actions that reflect the character of Christ.

    That Paul considers that genuine faith always INEVITABLY produces a change in character is obvious even in Romans and Galatians, not to mention Corinthians or any other of his writings. To miss what Paul means by “works” or to make Paul ague with himself is not exegesis, it is EISegesis, reading into Scripture what it does not say and does not mean.

    The easiest way to do this is to use proof-texts. One person in another thread tried to use a verse in Romans 5 in a way that contradicted the verse before it! That doesn’t pass the smell test.

    The list of conclusions given by Erv is still very much to the point, and if some of those conclusion statements were fleshed out with an explanation to those not there of what exactly was meant, most of these arguments one way or another would disappear.

  54. John McCaull
    22 January 2015 @ 1:24 pm

    On another matter: The Law in Galatians is not the entire Old Testament. It is not a ceremonial law as opposed to moral law either. (Where on earth did such a spurious distinction arise? It is not the end-position of Ellen White either. The purpose of the Passover, the Firstfruits, the Sin Offering, the Peace offering, etc. WERE ENTIRELY MORAL.)

    However, to the Jews of the first century “The Law” was the corporate inclusion of all the laws within the Pentateuch, hence “The Law of Moses” in its complete titled reference. It is never the entire Old Testament, because that was “The Law AND The Prophets,” that which had been canonized by the time of Christ

    While some books such as Daniel were already virtually considered canonical in Jesus day (as witnessed by the DSS) the formal adoption of these books into “The Writings” does not really come until the rabbinism of Yavneh (Jamnia) reached that authoritative (for post-destruction Judaism) position.

    To miss the meaning of “The Law” in Galatians (though Paul sometimes is speaking of just “law” as a principle by which one cannot be saved in Galatians, a distinction that does not come through in many translations) is to miss the whole point of the argument at the Jerusalem Council in AD 49. The Pharisee party (specifically) argued that Gentiles (and therefore all Christians) must keep “The Law of Moses” which includes, of course, the Decalogue.

    But take a look at the three “rules” imposed by James (who says he is apeaking by revelation of the Holy Spirit) and you will see that it is three elements that are drawn from the Covenant with Noah.

    “The Law” or “The Law of Moses,” it doesn’t matter. It contains laws for daily life (put a fence around it if you dig a pit) and health (don’t eat the carrion animals, whose specific purpose is in itself wonderful, but serving as food isn’t one of them) etc. All these laws are moral in nature.

  55. John McCaull
    22 January 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    OK on a minor matter and then I’ll shut up.

    And on a minor matter, “Lucifer” comes through a long tortured history from a reference in Isaiah 14 to the myth of The Revolt of the Stars in the Ancient Near East. (See R Clifford, “The Cosmic Mountain in the Ancient Near East on this point.)

    “MYTH” in this context does not mean something untrue, in the modern commonplace usage. For the Ancient Near East, myths were their scientific/logical explanations for observed phenomenon. The forces of nature inter-acted, obviously, and how that interaction took place, and why was described as the forces of nature were personified.

    Why is there a dry season and a wet season? Who or what saves and preserves life by bringing the two rainy seasons that produce the two harvests, the vintage harvest in the fall and the cereal harvest in the spring? Why it was Ba’al, of course, but that action involved the WHOLE story of Ba’al’s fight with Mot, death, the leviathan of the underworld. You have to read the whole story (mostly preserved) from Ugarit to see the genius (and danger!) of how the science and pagan theology are brought together in the Ba’al Epic.

    Now, in parallel, there is this myth of The Revolt of the Stars. It explained why the Morning Star (Venus, and yes I know Venus is not a star, but it would be many centuries before stars and planets were figured out and separated) … there is this myth about The Revolt of the Stars.

    You and I know about it probably ONLY because it is referenced in Revelation, where the great red serpent, who is called “the devil and Satan” rebels but is cast down to earth with a third of the stars. Details drawn from the said myth!

    The myth explains why Venus only appears briefly and way too brightly on the horizon. How did such a POWERFUL “star” end up sitting on the edge of the earth, way down at the bottom of where stars should be?

    That was “his” punishment for leading the revolt.

    And as you see, despite the names of specific ancient gods in Isaiah 14, they are referencing a myth that is without doubt the most ancient form we know of about the origin of the rebellion in heaven, the origin of something we often reference as “The Great Controversy.”

    Revelation unites the myths. “Lucifer,” drawn as I said, tortuously from the names in Isaiah 14 and dragged finally though Latin, is equated with “the Shatan,” the court prosecutor who is always against God’s people in the heavenly court.

  56. Elaine Nelson
    24 January 2015 @ 4:20 pm

    Each and every time “Law” is used in both the Old and New Testaments it refers to the five books of the Hebrew Bible, often called the Pentateuch. Often referred to a “Moses” or “Moses’ Law” it was always those five books.

    There was no “moral” or “ceremonial” law, but a much later term in Christianity and used largely by Adventists to differentiate in the permanence of the Law, A.K.A. “Moses’ Law” given to the Israelites and no others, at Sinai.

    Christians are no living under the Old Covenant as it was abolished when Christ was crucified, taking all the sins upon himself and removing the need for the Law. He said of Himself that the Law would stand “until it all be fulfilled” and He fufilled the Law at His death, taking the penalty of all men upon Himself.

    Galatians so clearly explains the reason for and the abolishing of the Law, that it is amazing that so few
    choose to read it without reflecting on what they have been always taught. Reading with new, objective eyes makes it very clear.

    The book of Hebrews most explicitly explains the New Covenant and that we are childen of the New Covenant in an analogy of Hagar and Ishmael as slaves but we are no longer slaves but children of the covenant, like Isaac.

  57. Earl Calahan
    25 January 2015 @ 12:44 pm

    TRUE, YES.

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  60. S.G. West
    21 April 2015 @ 4:01 am

    The one thing that is always forgotten in these discussions is that we cannot make EGW any different than the previous prophets and try act as though God superintended the other prophets perfectly and accurately as a safe source, but then uncharacteristically became quite permissive when He used her as a messenger. This was never done in the past, although each generation has tried to say that of their own prophet (Christ tried to drive this point home to the Pharisees but it His words had as much impact back then as they do now). It is always interesting to see all of the arguing over this point when God is simply consistent in His use of the Gift of Prophecy and expects us to know this. EGW had over a dozen statements about the error of claiming her writings were a mixture of inspired messages and just her opinion (one even says demons will “decide for you” when you start down this path) which places her in a very unique position: With such claims she is either to be believed or COMPLETELY rejected. No true Christian would tell lies like that. I choose to believe her and I have more respect for those who reject her (being consistent, at least) than with those who claim she was “used by God” or “inspired to some degree” but who wrote much error. This is an impossible position and a little bit of study would show that. God says “come let us reason together.” The conclusion that a good Christian, inspired woman would lie like that is clearly unreasonable. Pray for truth, brothers and sisters and you will find it (John 16:13).

  61. pam clevenger
    08 August 2015 @ 8:22 am

    Dr. Scriven,
    My mother’s maiden name is Scriven. Horace M. Scriven was her father, from Wales. Is there a chance you are related?