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  1. Darrel Lindensmith
    06 June 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    Thank you Jack.  Again, another helpful and informative article.

  2. Stephen Foster
    06 June 2014 @ 11:55 pm

    It’s (almost) humorous how some SDA lifers (and mostly lifers) are insistent upon reinventing EGW as sort of a useful idiot; or as an elderly aunt, who is no longer quite with it, bless her heart. One natural question is how such folk position White when asked about this denomination. Another is how does it make any sense to voluntarily belong to and support a denomination co-founded by a messenger who occasionally, or regularly, got her signals crossed (if this is what one believes).
    Is it any wonder that within some circles, shall we say, the SDA church is effectively on its way to extinction? I just finished off a frozen pizza, yet have little doubt that the cheese on it was not optimal for anyone. Then again, Dr. Hoehn is the M.D., right? (OK, I know I shouldn’t eat cheese—but thankfully this isn’t about me.)
    What is the essential difference between some food not being optimal for humans and not being suitable/appropriate/fit for human consumption anyway? Most doctors have caught up to White and now tell us that there are much better ways to get Vitamin D. In fact, I have no doubt at all that Dr. Hoehn is among them.

    • Steve Ferguson
      07 June 2014 @ 12:41 am

      Stephen perhaps such folk need to reposition Ellen White into a lovely but slightly silly at times elderly aunt precisely because others, starting especially from 1919 but even before that as the Blue Book shows, have positioned her into some version of a goddess.  That is the in-joke I took from Jack description of some treating her as the "immaculate Ellen White" – like the immaculate heart of the Virgin Mary.  And don't say conservatives don't just that – we have all grown up with many in the Church with that exact attitude.

      I am reminded of the US founder Thomas Jefferson.  Wasn't he the one who secretly had black descendants?  Yet his white descendants wouldn't have any talk of what they saw as such nonsense, as it would undermine the whole nation.  And yet dispute Jefferson's fallibilty, and his hypocrisy, does anyone doubt the inspiration of many of his words?  Does it mean the US Constitution needed no further changes ever again? No, it just means we see the fallibility alongside the inspiration.

      It is the same with the Bible.  Ellen White herself talked about the fallibility of the Bible, which she said was not written in some grand supernatural language but in practical language.  

      • William Noel
        07 June 2014 @ 2:11 am

        I think such debates about Ellen White are but a symptom of our generalized disregard for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and our lack of experience with them.  God has many things He wants to teach us, but instead of being willing students of God, many people are supremely dedicated to argument and trying to prove themselves correct in facts about God.  Such people need to heed the counsel of scripture to "be still and know that I am God."

        • Steve Ferguson
          07 June 2014 @ 5:04 am

          William I think you might be onto something here.  The whole debate demonstrates an overintellecutalisation spiritual gifts, which are not given by the Spirit for acamdeic purposes but for pragmatic and experiential purposes.

    • Serge Agafonoff
      07 June 2014 @ 5:35 am

      Yes Jack, I agree with the others, a nicely written and informative piece.

      Stephen, since you raise the question of diet, allow me to suggest that this too is an example of the 'fallible' messenger, rather than the heavenly authority that EGW represents.  You feel that cheese is not fit for human consumption, possibly because Ellen said so, and modern medicine has declared it a source of cholesterol.

      Well, that tide is well and truly turning.  Next time you enjoy your pizza, simply remove all the toppings and sauce onto a plate, eat and enjoy them, and throw the pizza base into the trash.  For now we are learning that it is grains (starch/sugars) that are so much more problematic to our metabolism than fats such as cheese. The role of dietary cholesterol is being rapidly overturned.  As a bonus, matured cheeses contain healthy bugs which will contribute to your gut microbiome in a very positive way.
      For the doubters let me suggest you try it out.  Have your triglycerides and cholesterols measured.  Then for two to three months eat no grains, (bread/biscuits/cake etc) and radically reduce sugars and fruit (you want to avoid the fructose). Eat all the cheese, grass-fed meats, fish and oysters that you desire.  Above all, eat loads of 'above-ground' non-starchy vegetables.  Then have your TGs and cholesterol checked again.  If it hasn't come down a few points, I'll eat my straw hat. (Those with known familial hypercholesterolaemia need not try the experiment).
      The 'health message' is one of the last bastions where folks say that Ellen brought light to all.  Boiled down, her message was to stop self-pleasuring, replace meat/fish in the diet with grains, esp graham crackers, and to use hydrotherapy for healing when required.  Of course, fresh air, water and sunshine not to be forgotten.  Result? An SDA hospital system which has completely left off hydrotherapy, in favour of standard modern medicine (and rightly so, imho), and an over-reliance on grains which is not particularly healthy, over and above the option I have described.  (I can recommend Ron Numbers, 'Prophetess of Health' third edition recenlty released.  Also David Perlmutter MD, 'Grain Brain,' and 'Wheat Belly,' the author of which I don't recall jsut now).

      Just another example of the fallibility of this particular messenger.  

      • Ella M
        07 June 2014 @ 10:09 pm

            Diet may be an interesting subject for some, but not all this info is accurate or to be applied to everyone. It leaves out such things as food source and disease, despite the fad about wheat it applies only to some, and cheese as generally processed contains too much salt as does most processed food. Countries that use the most dairy have the most osteoarthritis.  There is no set formula for everyone other than lots of fruits and vegetables from good sources (mostly organic).
            Unfortunately, only specialized wellness centers seem to use preventive therapy.

  3. Steve Ferguson
    07 June 2014 @ 12:33 am

    Well done Jack.  Pretty much sums up how I have come to view Ellen White after many years of searching.  Usually it is either the baby or the bathwater in these discussions, so it is refreshing to have a defence of the middle ground, representing the silent majority whose voices are usually drowned out.

  4. Stephen Foster
    07 June 2014 @ 1:21 am

    I wouldn’t put the Declaration of Independence and the Bible (or even the writings of Ellen White) on a similar plane. Nor would I put Jefferson’s exploitive, adulterous extracurricular activities on a par with White.
    There is no doubt that some fanatics inappropriately use White to supplant the Bible; but my two (“natural”) questions above remain.

    Alas, ‘The Mini Great Controversy’ rages on.

    • Stephen Foster
      07 June 2014 @ 1:28 am

      Actually Thomas Jefferson is most generally credited with authoring the Declaration of Independence (which is not subject to any amendments).

    • Steve Ferguson
      07 June 2014 @ 5:17 am

      Actually I think the comparison is a good one.  Do you deny the Holy Spirit's influence in the Declaration of Independence?  I am not even an American and I do.  Is it not the foundation of the 'lamb-like' aspect of the USA, as Adventist eschatology teaches?  Does that not make Thomas Jefferson inspired by God, in a manner of speaking?

      Or to take another example, I am convinced that Handal and his fellow, in writing Handal's Messiah were inspired.  If you know the story behind its creation you'd be even more amazed.  And yet doesn't it come from Handal's mind, his imagination?  Or do we recognise the Spirit's influence there?

      Both Jerfferson and Handal illustrate to me at least what Ellen White herself said on multiple occassions about the limited and fallible nature of spiritual gifts, especially those we are sent as messangers (I'm not sure if she ever called herself a prophet) of God.  That is, the vision is from God, but the words are from a human.  

      God is with the penmen, not in the pen.  Inspiration is not verbal dictation.  It is not infallible.  It is not all encompassing, as Ellen White prophecised that future generations of the Church would learn things they didn't know, for truth is only present truth, and revelation progressive revelation.  

      In fact, Ellen White goes further than even that.  She says there are truths we hold today that will have to be unlearned – unlearned Stephen!

      • Serge Agafonoff
        07 June 2014 @ 9:43 am

        Steve: "Do you deny the Holy Spirit's influence in the Declaration of Independence?  I am not even an American and I do."  You seem to imply that you deny HS influence, then go on to suggest that TJ was inspired of the HS in his writing of it?  Might you please clarify?

        I am interested in your response because I would then like to ask what you make of the known history regarding the author(s) of the Dec'n of Independence and their high degree Freemsonic status.  Ben Franklin later spent considerable time in Paris and was head of a Lodge which is reputed to have played a large role in the French Revolution.  Question for you: Does the HS inspire Freemasons, whose aims at that time appear to have been the overthrow of established Church and State?  And to then institute Democracy in the wake?  Yes, a real double-edged question that one.

        I did a quick search of EGW Estate to see if Ellen had anything to say about Freemasonry.  And most curious were the results. Only one direct reference, in MS Release 16, 287.4, date not given.  This MS appears to be an admonishment of JH Kellogg for the way he had developed the medical staff at Battle Creek into a society whish she described as akin to Freemasonry.  The editors then add this: 
         [The Freemasons are a secret society based on the principles of brotherliness, charity and mutual aid. Apparently Ellen White saw a parallel between the spirit of the close-knit medical fraternity and that of the Freemasons.]  (A rather benign view, to be sure).

        But EGW goes on to further criticise JHK for teaching the use of drugs and 'allopathic' cures, and not the proper medical 'science.' (which I take to mean hydrotherapy as this was the only method she ever endorsed.)   

        However, it seems JHK has finally won that debate, as virtually all SDA 'health' institutions practise allopathy and drug treatments, almost exclusively.  ie, standard western medicine.  Hydrotherapy is virtually non-existent now.  Even diet as therapy takes a back seat.  Drugs and surgery are the standard.  And in most cases and situations, I think, rightly so.  But it is not what EGW endorsed as 'God's way' back then.

        To continue with the Freemasonry aspect, Arthur White relates an account of a Freemason, 'Worshipful Master' and head of five lodges in Melbourne, a Mr Faulkhead, and how Ellen came to convince him that he ought part company with the Lodge.
        Mrs. White wrote of this experience: “None could reach him in regard to Freemasonry. He was fastening himself more and more firmly in the meshes of the enemy, and the only thing we could see to be done was to leave him to himself.”—Letter 46, 1892, quoted in BIO vol 4, p 50.4.

        So there you have it.  Is Freemasonry 'the enemy?' ie, inspired by Satan.  Is it simply a 'fraternal order' or is it able to be inspired by teh Holy Spirit as it lays the foundations for the Beast to build on?

        • Steve Ferguson
          08 June 2014 @ 6:41 am

          'You seem to imply that you deny HS influence, then go on to suggest that TJ was inspired of the HS in his writing of it?  Might you please clarify?'

          Sorry where do I deny HS influence?  My point is that someone like Jefferson seems inspired in writing the DoI, and yet he was a deeply flawed man.  And despite being clearly an inspired document, the US Constitution itself was still a flawed document – slavery being an obvious example.  

          I guess another way of saying this is I see inspiration like the work of an artist.  Di Vinci and Picasso would both paint the same woman or fruit platter very different, both would be limited and flawed in a manner of speaking, say compared with a photograph.  And he inspiration doesn't work like a photograph at all.  In fact, it seems God doesn't want inspiration to work like a photograph, unless you are a muslim and think God dictated word-for-word in the Koran.

        • Steve Ferguson
          08 June 2014 @ 6:44 am

          'Question for you: Does the HS inspire Freemasons, whose aims at that time appear to have been the overthrow of established Church and State?  And to then institute Democracy in the wake?  Yes, a real double-edged question that one.'

          If God can call a murders audulter a man after his own heart, I suppose he can use anybody.  Another person who comes to mind is Schindler, a Nazi, a profiteer of slave labor, a drunk and a womanizer, who nevertheless saved 6,000 Jews from the gas chambers when supposedly good Christians did nothing – or even worse, positively helped the Nazis.  

          Isn't that the whole point in Jesus' parable about the two sons working in the vinyard in Matt 21?

          On that basis, I don't deny God could clearly use Freemasons.  

        • Steve Ferguson
          08 June 2014 @ 6:47 am

          'The Freemasons are a secret society based on the principles of brotherliness, charity and mutual aid.'

          Yes, and American puts people holds people in indefinite detention, or kills its own citizens with drones, but the world as a whole is still better off with America.  

          And I wouldn't say no or denigrate one of the nuns who each evening run a soup kitchen in the square next to my work building either. 

  5. William Noel
    07 June 2014 @ 1:59 am


    Please accept my most appreciative thanks for sharing about Isabel Newbold.  She was one of several mission workers in Korea who took us young student missionaries under their wing as we learned to work in a different culture.  By doing that she gained a very special place in my heart and the hearts of many of my fellow student missionaries.  Your kind words about her and all she did are an appreciated understatement.  I also have special memories of some times shared with her husband. 

  6. Jim Hamstra
    07 June 2014 @ 4:46 am

    One of the interesting things about history is that most of it is written by the victors.  This is as true for Adventist history as for secular history.

    During the early 1940s Elder Elmer L Pingenot was pastor of the Battle Creek Tabernacle.  He knew John Harvey Kellogg and was one of the officiants at Dr Kellogg's funeral.  Many years later when Elder Pingenot was retired, I had the privilege of spending some quality time with him.  He told some very interesting stories about the relationship between Kellogg and the Adventist leaders in Battle Creek.

    Students of Adventist history have all heard about the "rise and fall" of Dr Kellogg.  His major clash with Ellen White was over his book The Living Temple.  Not as many realize that to Ellen, John Harvey was like a foster son, both before and after they locked horns over his book.  The series of monumental power struggles over control of the various Sanitariums continued until Kellog's death in 1943, long after Ellen herself had died.

    While doing "house cleaning" in the attic of the Battle Creek Tabernacle, Elder Pingenot found old boxes of records going back into the 1800s.  Among other things were notes taken at many meetings where Dr Kellogg was present or where he was the topic of discussion.  Also were some letters from Ellen to various leaders in Battle Creek regarding their dealings with Kellogg.  In some letters Ellen was pleading with the leaders who had disfellowshipped Kellogg to reach out to him and try to regain him for the cause.  She said in one letter that if those who had treated Kellogg so harshly would humble themselves before God and before Kellogg they might yet win-over the Doctor.

    This is not the picture that emerges in Adventist histoy.  In most of these accounts, once Kellogg and Ellen lock horns over his book he is the villain who is eased out of the plot.  The attempts of Ellen to get the leaders to soften their stance toward Kellogg and reach-out to him are not part of the official history.

    Whe Elder Pingenot found these boxes of records he tried to interest various Adventist institutions in preserving them for their historical value.  Neither the White Estate nor Emmanuel Missionary College were interested.  The subject of Kellogg was too big a hot potato for anyone to touch.  Pigenot believed that most if not all of these records were eventually discarded or destroyed. 

    The victors in a four-decade power struggle have largely controlled the history.  However Richard Schwartz in his Kellogg biography has pieced together much of the rest of the story from other sources.  I am not aware whether Schwartz interviewed any people who knew Kellogg or whether he worked solely from written records.

    • Ella M
      07 June 2014 @ 10:17 pm

          This is extremely interesting and worth your recording it in an article and doing more follow-up.  It's certainly not the story we have heard through the church or others.

      • Jim Hamstra
        09 June 2014 @ 10:22 am

        Unfortunately Elder Pingenot died over 20 years ago.  I could say that he took a lot of interesting information with him to the grave but semile dementia had robbed him of much if not all by the time of his passing.

        I look forward to renewing our acquaintance in heaven.

  7. Stephen Foster
    07 June 2014 @ 9:11 am

    EGW was fallible because she was human. Other messengers of God and/or other prophets have been fallible because they were humans.
    This however is not the same as saying that the messages and insight that they have received from God, and then conveyed, is therefore somewhat unreliable. It especially does not mean that the less popular or more discomforting messages are therefore erroneous.
    Steve, if you have concluded that inspiration for anything is the same thing as messages or directions from the Holy Spirit, then an inspired athletic performance or an inspired theatrical or acting performance are too. We are all entitled to our opinions; I simply have a somewhat different understanding. Because America was prophesied doesn’t require its founding documents to have been divinely inspired. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was depicted in prophecy too. That doesn’t mean his edicts were inspired. The Roman Empire was depicted in prophecy; but that doesn’t make Roman laws inspired.
    In any case, the largest ‘manuscript’ that hasn’t been published is “Ellen White said.”  When citing something that she wrote, if we could give the source of reference it would help folks like me tremendously. (The context and subject matter about which she was writing often sheds some ‘light;' so thanks for providing that link Steve.) I don’t think that new light or present truth nullifies any light or truth. Instead I think it simply further illuminates the light or truth that preceded it.
    Serge, I don’t know where to start. Perhaps rather than characterizing (or mischaracterizing or misquoting or misappropriating) you could provide some quotations as to what you've referenced in terms of diet and the other health principles that have proven to be harmful. A balanced diet that includes nuts, whole grains, and legumes along with fresh fruit and vegetables is appropriate for human consumption. Smoking and chewing tobacco really isn’t smart. Pure water, exercise, fresh air, rest, trusting God, and moderation are good things, mate. They help you live a long time.
    (I sure would be interested in answers to the questions that I have posed. Like I said, this is almost humorous.)

    • William Noel
      07 June 2014 @ 12:57 pm

      You wrote: "Because America was prophesied doesn’t require its founding documents to have been divinely inspired."

      How do you define "inspiration?"  What is the difference between that and the significant action of God to influence, guide and direct the affairs of a nation and the actions of specific people who are seeking His guidance?" 

      While modern revisionist historians would like us to believe most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were only moderately religious or even secularists, their preserved letters tell a very different story.  Those letters, even from the supposedly non-religious or secularist, describe spending great amounts of time, both alone and together, in prayer seeking God's guidance and then celebrating together what they saw as evidence of His influence and direction.  Several of them specifically describe feeling the inspiration of God and seeing His power at work in their debates and decisions.  Considering how different those documents were from the ruling documents of other nations, why would you doubt the work of inspiration in their creation and content?

      • Stephen Foster
        07 June 2014 @ 11:41 pm

        What I wrote only had the words “prophesied” and “require” in italics. Italics were used to place emphasis on those words.
        You might agree that inspiration acknowledges inspiration. That is to say that those who are inspired, in the prophetic, scriptural sense, openly acknowledge inspiration’s Source and inspiration’s reality. In other words, a non-believer isn’t inspired; at least not in the ‘messenger’ sense.
        If an individual is unintentionally and/or unwittingly influenced/guided/directed by God, or similarly used to carry out providence, he/she actually isn’t inspired; at least not like a willing vessel.
        Only revisionist historians can conclude that Thomas Jefferson was anything but a theistic materialist. For Jefferson to have as much influence as he clearly did, given his lack of spirituality, should tell you something historically.
        Jefferson was admittedly influenced by Christian morality; but wasn’t inspired in the scriptural sense.

        • William Noel
          08 June 2014 @ 12:50 am

          You still haven't defined "inspiration" so we can know what meaning(s) you attach to the word.  It also appears you are attempting to draw a distinction between divine inspiration, direction and influence.  What scripture-based criteria do you use to distinguish between them?

          • Stephen Foster
            08 June 2014 @ 3:02 am

            Some “scripture-based criteria” for distinguishing our uses of “inspiration” would be as in 2 Timothy 3:16 with inspiration meaning ‘God breathed,’ which is to say God provides it; or as especially in 2 Peter 1:19-21; (regarding “a more sure word of prophecy”) “…but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This is in contrast to human inspiration (whereby perhaps we get “private” prophetic interpretations?)—an Oscar winning acting performance for example—wherein someone other than a specially selected servant of God says or does something and not necessarily on behalf of God.

          • William Noel
            09 June 2014 @ 12:56 pm


            Yes, scripture is "god-greathed."  So are prophets.  What those texts do not say is that inspiration is limited to only the authors of scripture and prophets.  Yet your concept of inspiration is based on that imaginary limitation.  Thanks for giving me another item to add to my growing list of "Things Christians believe the Bible says, but it doesn't."

            Whether you call it divine inspiration, divine guidance or divine influence, what you're really doing is claiming there are differences in Divine action when the variance is entirely the result of human resistance to Divine calling. God has always wanted to communicate with the people He created and to guide them. He spoke face-to-face with Adam and Eve. Though He could no longer show His face to fallen humans, He has continually sought to speak to us to share His love for us and guide us. It is by our choices that we determine how much He will be able to speak to us and how much guidance we are willing to receive. Yes, we are all unfit vessels. But His love for us is so great, His desire to communicate with us and guide our lives so intense that He will communicate and guide wherever we allow it.

            What particular descriptive term we apply to God's action depends heavily on our point of view. James Madison and Ben Franklin each described Thomas Jefferson's prose in the Declaration of Independence as divinely inspired because such wording could not have come from mere human intelligence. Ben Franklin has a reputation for being a sacreligious curmudgeon, yet was faithful in his church attendance and a major supporter of projects like the first charity hospital in America, which he financed almost all by himself. James Madison was more refined and gentlemanly in the manner of high society, but was less faithful in his church attendance. Jefferson was somewhere in between the two. Though Jefferson struggled with issues related to faith in God through his life and went through highs and lows, he was far more religious than the "theistic materialist" that modern Liberal politicians would like you to believe.  Pick up a biography of Jefferson written more than 20 years ago and you are likely to find quotes from his letters to friends in which he plainly declared his faith in God and expresses his thanks to God for things like the harvests of good years after several years of drought.

          • Stephen Foster
            09 June 2014 @ 4:40 pm

            Something here suggests that this is another journey into nowhere land with you, brother. Obviously I like to engage when there is progress toward understanding to be made. Agreement is not necessary, but understanding is.
            I would ask you to provide some source material for your recitation of history, as I know that occasionally you’ve made mistakes in your recollection of documented information; but it’ll be OK if you don’t.
            I’ll try to find some common ground in the interest of some possible understanding.
            Yes, indeed I am “claiming that there are differences in Divine action when the variance is entirely the result of human resistance to Divine calling”—and especially when humans don’t believe in divine, supernatural intervention—as opposed to the voluntary willingness of other individuals to be used by God.
            Of course I never said or hinted that the texts I provided—which you requested as a basis for my use or definition of the concept of inspiration—“[limit inspiration] to only the authors or scripture and prophets;” because that isn’t true. There is no doubt that there have been parents, teachers, Bible workers, writers, and even church administrators, and maybe even preachers (gasp!) who have received inspiration from God.
            I would agree with you that God will communicate to us when we allow Him (and desire Him) to do so. But Hebrews 11:6 is true as well.
            As for the historical Thomas Jefferson, I read of his religious beliefs, and/or lack thereof, much further than 20 years ago (probably more like over 40 years ago). Only recent (revisionist) history has him nearly reinvented as practically a holy man. Jefferson was by no means an atheist, but in fact, he called himself a Materialist. (Franklin was all over the belief 'map.' I could provide you with some Franklin quotes, from letters, if you would like.)

          • William Noel
            09 June 2014 @ 11:07 pm

            Your dedication to argument puzzles me.  Your mention of Hebrews 11:6 seems to imply that my view is at variance with scripture.  That verse illustrates how willing God is to communicate with us and guide us.  Plus, it is scripture, so why would I disagree with it?

            You question my sources of historic information.  I read 5-8 thousand pages per year, and have been doing that for well over 30 years.  A good portion of my reading is about American history with particular focus on the Founding Fathers and World War II because they are my areas of interest.  I've spent time at the Library of Congress where I held in my gloved hands and read an actual copy of the Franklin broadside that he printed and circulated in August of 1776 to draw the attention of the people of Boston to the Declaration of Independence.  I've also been to the Jefferson Archives at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA where I read several dozen of his letters to friends.  In his own handwriting I saw his praises to God for things like sending the rains that were producing crops giving food to people who in prior years were starving because of drought.  So when I see you hinting that you are going to ask me to document my sources, I must ask if it is worth the effort of going back through all the sources I have read over the years when I've learned you can be depended on to dismiss any possibility of factuality just because they disagree with your views.  So don't expect any from me.

            Yes, Jefferson called himself a materialist.  I've probably read every time he wrote it.  I've held at least one of his original letters in my gloved hands and read his handwriting with my own eyes.  What you are overlooking is that "materialist" in his time had a very different meaning than it does to Liberals today.  In his time it had a very positive meaning.  It was a recognition of Divine blessing on him because he had been able to accumulate wealth through honest and ethical business dealings. (Don't go off about slavery because that was the law of the land at the time.  Plus, he had a reputation for fair and caring treatment instead of the violence for which other owners became infamous.)  Still, liberals want you to think earning a profit is evil, so they force a negative meaning onto Jefferson's use of the term.  Such twisting of meanings is pure falsehood and illustrates the fundamental dishonesty of the thought leaders to whom you are loyal. 

          • Stephen Foster
            10 June 2014 @ 2:00 am

            If you didn’t exist we’d have had to invent you to further our purposes. This is in a similar sense in which people are unwittingly used to facilitate providence.
            The latter part of Hebrews 11:6 simply says “…for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” I cited that verse to isolate the fact that someone “must believe that God [exists]” in order to come to Him; and that therefore those who doubt His existence are not likely (to put it mildly) to be intentionally/knowingly (on their part) used by Him.
            (For most readers, that will clarify my use and explanation/differentiation of the “inspiration” concept. (I realize this isn’t exactly brain surgery.)
            How you describe/define a materialist in Jefferson’s day would be exactly as a secular liberal would describe a (religious) materialist now. (In terms of the irony/hypocrisy of thanking God for wealth gained by exploitive means.) So you could hardly be more confused.
            Jefferson’s use of the term Materialist is not in an economic sense, but philosophical. This is what he said in a letter to William Short, dated April 13, 1820 (from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Ed. Andrew Lipscomb. Hershey: Pennsylvania State University, 1907, p. 244) "…it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being." (That is just a sample.)
            Jefferson happened not to believe that spiritual beings were devoid of matter, if that perhaps serves to shed any further light on why he considered himself a Materialist. It almost never hurts to provide references. (I never expected you to do so.) Doing so helps you avoid some misapprehension.
            Since you’ve mentioned it, I know you’re a white guy from Alabama and I’m a black guy from New York, (and some slave owners were worse than others) but profit that owed anything to slave labor was then, and is now, 100% evil under any and all conceivable circumstances.
            I don’t buy that oxymoronic baloney about benevolent slave masters (or about “fair and caring [slave] treatment”) for a millisecond, brother. But then, I’m a black New Yorker…

          • William Noel
            10 June 2014 @ 10:03 am

            Do you feel better now that you've vented more of your Liberal illusions?  OK, let's get back to the central topic: the difficulty people have believing that Ellen White's own statements refute their belief that she was authoritative.

            Having your beliefs challenged and refuted by reality is not a pleasant experience.  Those who believe Ellen White was infallible and authoritative have serious problems finding a foundation for their faith when the basis for the concepts they have built are pulled out from under them.  They feel threatened, so they yell and scream loudly.  They grab whatever statements and meanings they can and twist them in whatever ways they imagine will support what they do not want to admit is collapsing.  They add meanings that were not there and significance to the insignificant.  Yet in all this the real problem is not the question of whether or not Ellen White was authoritative, but whether they will have any faith in God left after accepting reality.  I have seen people lose all faith in God when they discovered she told us to spend more time studying our Bibles than her writings.  Yet recognizing that we must make the Bible our supreme guide and the words of prophets a distant second is essential if God is ever to rebuild our faith in a way that will endure.

          • Stephen Foster
            10 June 2014 @ 2:51 pm

            “Those who believe Ellen White was infallible and authoritative have serious problems finding a foundation for their faith when the basis for the concepts they have built are pulled out from under them.”
            I have stated that EGW was fallible because she was human; which is to say that all humans are fallible, practically by definition. Perhaps I should let it go now that you have at last said something that’s accurate: that besides God Himself “we must make the Bible our supreme guide.” (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant “besides God Himself.”)

            (I would imagine it’s annoying to be held accountable for accuracy when it is clearly not something to which you’re accustomed.)
            My questions are how do people distinguish between messages of light from a 'lesser light' that are from God (thus authoritative), and those messages from the same lesser light personage that can ostensibly be disregarded? And why do some say that her ministry is still useful, helpful, and relevant, but don’t consider her to be authoritative?
            I suppose I have a third question: why belong to a church co-founded by someone who claimed to be a messenger of God—and who wrote quite prolifically—if you don’t consider what she had to say about the Bible as authoritative? I’ve said this before, but the cognitive dissonance attendant with that position is undeniable; and I would think not exactly healthy.
            These are questions on the blog topic.

          • William Noel
            10 June 2014 @ 6:25 pm

            Since you reflexively disbelieve and argue with anything I say, I'll have to let you find answers those questions on your own.

          • Stephen Foster
            11 June 2014 @ 1:25 am

            Those particular questions were actually for anyone; but I don’t blame you for passing on them as I don’t believe there are any good answers to those questions.
            Frankly, I’d be pleased if you took this approach with everything that I post. As I’ve stated previously we are from parallel universes, and see nearly everything differently. (Surely you don’t deny that you “reflexively disbelieve and argue with anything I say.”)

        • Elaine Nelson
          08 June 2014 @ 8:56 pm

          Just because someone claims to be inspired, does not mean that God gave him words to write or speak.  It is the audience, the readers, who decide if someone is a true prophet.  A prophet must have a following of those who accept this authority.  Without it, they are shouting in the wind.  

          It wasn't EGW's claims to be a prophet that was conclusive, but the many who gave her authority to speak for God.  There have been many false prophets in the past and even recent history.  Jim Jones was proclaimed  prophet of God; David Koresh, also.  They both had followers.

          Looking at early Adventist history, there were a very few at the time who accepted EGW as a prophet, but as they begin to publicize her and her visions, people accepted this.  Were they able to judge?  Would any now accept someone who had very similar visions and writings as a prophet  inspired by God?  I seriously doubt it.  The cultural and education as well as naivite of people nearly 200 years ago is far different than today when there are skeptics who would have asked questions, as they should.  but those times are past.

  8. Ella M
    07 June 2014 @ 10:25 pm

          It may depend on how one defines "iinspration," but I can't imagine anyone reading a book like The Desire of Ages or other devotional books by EGW and not seeing that this is inspired. It is looking at spiritual meaning behind the words, principles, truth in living, and the fruits of the Spirit that we see the true nature of a writing.
          Many religious writers have been inspired on various levels.

  9. Anonymous
    08 June 2014 @ 4:17 am

    8 June 14
    Thanks for your account of the Newbolds, Stewarts, et al.
    Here's my favorite memory of Isabel Newbold:
    During our 1974 return from Malawi to the States, my wife and I visited Seoul, where Isabel Newbold was our gracious and energetic hostess.
    She was also our tour guide. But we were puzzled when she insisted that we ride a Korean bus. What could be special about riding a bus? Answer: it was a special cultural experience.
    When the bus arrived at our stop, it was obviously full. There were no empty seats, and standing passengers already filled the bus from front to back.
    I asserted that there was no room for the three of us, suggested that maybe we should wait for the next bus. But Isabel insisted that we push our way aboard, standing in the well as the door closed behind us.
    The driver revved the engine, popped the clutch, and everyone fell backward. Thus he created room for us to stand on the level of the other passengers. At the next stop he repeated his method. People got off from the back, as more were packed into the front.
    There was no danger of falling. In front of my wife an older gentleman stood, sound asleep, well secured on all sides by the press of other standing bodies.
    I don't recall how we filtered to the rear exit by the time we arrived at our destination, but the whole system worked fine.
    And we were forever grateful to Isabel Newbold for introducing us to this cultural event.
    Jack, thanks for prompting the memory.
    Bob Wresch

    • William Noel
      09 June 2014 @ 1:12 pm


      Yes, those busses were a cultural experience! 

      I was a student missionary at the language schools in Seoul and Pusan the year after your visit and rode busses everywhere, like Korean Union College when it was still some distance out in the country.  The route back into the city went through a military checkpoint where young soldiers, who looked like they couldn't have been a day over 18, would come on wearing very stern faces and gruffly demanding identification papers.  Once or twice I saw them take someone off the bus for questioning.  I remember one day I was standing in the aisle as the soldier, the top of whose helmet came only to the middle of my chest, squeezed down the aisle.  For a time the muzzle of his rifle was just under my nose where I could smell the lubricant, cleaning solution and burned gunpowder.  When he turned to face me, he had to look up steeply to see my face (I'm just over six feet tall).  I reached up, patted his helmet and said "Good boy!"  Instantly an icy silence fell over the bus as his glare cut through me and he said something I did not understand.  Someone translated, then everyone broke into gales of laughter.  Even the soldier was laughing.  Then one of the KUC students who was with me warned me to never, ever do that again.

      On some of the bus routes in Pusan they were using smaller busses that were shorter.  The ceiling was about shoulder height and I had to ride hunched-over.  But they had pop-up roof vents that could be pushed upward, which I sometimes did.  Let's just say the Koreans found the sight of this American standing with his shoulders hard against the ceiling and head sticking-out through the roof very funny. 

      About the only thing I couldn't stand on the busses was when someone came aboard with a rack or string of drying fish that weren't quite dried.  I can still remember that smell.

  10. alphameg
    08 June 2014 @ 7:49 pm

    Yes, Thomas Jefferson was inspired by the Holy Spirit. As was the whole setting of the DOI etc. God has used sinful man through out the ages. The afore mentioned David and Solomon. Yes God also used the brilliant, but profligate, Benjamin Franklin, in forming early insights for the mighty nation to be. Thomas Jefferson, had as the love of his life, a slave, a black woman, and children with her. Supossedly Jefferson was a benevolent man who thought he was providing a valuable benefit for the slaves in his keeping. Assuming incorrectly they would be unable to provide their own substance in the new world economy, without education, or would be dehumanized by most other slave owners. The Bible indicates slavery and poverty will always be a part of humanity. Jefferson knew his Bible.
    The Holy Spirit has only unclean vessels to inspire, but He uses everyone who encourages His presence.

    • Stephen Foster
      08 June 2014 @ 8:39 pm

      Unclean vessels are one thing. I’m talking about being willingly and consciously used. An unbeliever in spiritual things like Jefferson may have been unconsciously or unwittingly used; but that’s not the same a prophet who is consciously, purposefully speaking for God.

      • Stephen Foster
        08 June 2014 @ 8:49 pm

        Needless to say, all human vessels are unclean by virtue of our fallen/sinful nature. But being a willing vessel is not the same as being an unwitting one.

    • Anonymous
      09 June 2014 @ 3:59 pm

      Alphameg –

      I do believe that God guides the affairs of nations in ways that we cannot understand. But I certainly am not comfortable with the notion that America's "sacred" political texts were inspired by God – at least not as I sense the import of the word "inspired." Jesus made it pretty clear that His Kingdom is not of this world.

      Tangentially, I'm not sure you've got your interpretation of history quite right. I am aware of DNA tests indicating a genetic link between Sally Hemings' descendants and the Jefferson males. But the claim that Thomas Jefferson was that male is far from settled. Historians on both sides of the debate probably have an interest in the narrative that they advance. Certainly, DNA analysis is not dispositive, and the notion that Sally Hemings was "the love of [Jefferson's] life" is wildly speculative, at best.

  11. Steve Ferguson
    09 June 2014 @ 2:53 am

    What exactly is a prophet then?  And whey did Ellen White herself resist that term?

  12. alphameg
    09 June 2014 @ 6:22 pm

    William, Nathan, Stephen. God does work in mysterious ways. He is the KING of KINGS. God sets up kings, and he takes down the kings of the Earth. There has never been a National Constitution any where else in the world, except the USA Constitution, that provived for the Freedoms of Religion, individual Liberties, and the pursuit of happiness. God does inspire happenings by unclean vessels.
    People of most other nations envy the people born in the USA. People brave death to reach its shores to share in blessings manifested by God's grace. Martin Luther King gave his life to preach the message of FREEDOM, for all of God's children. Do we hear a voice in the world today lovingly pleading for FREEDOM for all of GOD'S CHILDREN?? The TRUTH will set you free, only the TRUTH,  the LIGHT, the WAY, can secure Freedom for "ALL GOD'S CHILDREN".
    i believe God inspired the Constitution of the USA. As a beacon to the people of the Earth that HIS Creation were to be FREE. Amazing, that this young nation in 200 years of its Constitution enactment became the richest strongest nation on Earth. This wasn't an accident. God planned it to be an object lesson to the world, that FREE men and women could taste the fruit that only Royalty of the past tasted. That it was GOD the Almighty who brougth this Shangrila out of a land of plenty, mostly uninhabited, by a few, seeking FREEDOM & OPPORTUNITY. MY, MY, what has "GOD WROUGHT". The founding Fathers of the Constitution were not perfect. They were all sinners. Some were scondrels, murderers, hedonists, narcisistic, but God worked with what he had, and breathed inspiration in this motley crew, to form a rule of FREEDOM unknown on Earth. As to Thomas Jefferson, his wisdom prevailed in much of this noble document. God used Thomas Jefferson, just as he can use unclean sinful mankind today. He was generally a private person. No one knew much of his private life. Was he a Christian?? Did he worship the God of all Creation??Did he study God's Holy Word habitually?? Only God knows.
    The tradgedy of it all is that CORRUPTION, GREED, and POWER of the ELITE has gotten to the power brokers of the USA, and the USA has a Potus, and a Attorney General, who are usurping the
    very Constitution that has provided this glimpse of the miracles that FREE mankind can achieve. And the whole country must bear the blame for letting it happen. From the Politicians that sit in the USA CAPITOL, who each have a piece of the action, to the individuals of the country who have let it slip away through negligence and apathy, taking for granted the goose laying the golden eggs would live forever. And also the approx 40% plus (including undocumented aliens) taking, but giving nothing. God will not be mocked. The kings of the Earth wiIl reap the whirlwind of fear, for fornicating with the ungodly. The late great USA was a great happening while it considered itself a Godly nation, but the party is over.

    • William Noel
      09 June 2014 @ 6:43 pm

      I hear you!  I'm a deep student of history and several times have had the opportunity to go into a library or document repository and examine old historic documents.   There is something magical, almost reverential about holding in my gloved hands a piece of rag paper on which one of the American Founding Fathers wrote with a quill pen.  In their own handwriting I have read their expressions of faith in God and seen how they prayed for God to give them wisdom in making decisions for the nation.  I have seen their appeals to the people for prayers that God would bless the country in times of challenge.  How I wish we could see our leaders doing that today!

      • Stephen Foster
        09 June 2014 @ 7:46 pm

        “I have seen their appeals to the people for prayers that God would bless the country in times of challenge.  How I wish we could see our leaders doing that today!”

        Not to worry; fret not you two. You will no doubt have the opportunity to see “appeals to the people for prayers that God [will] bless the country in times of challenge” coming from our political and other ‘leaders.’ You already have seen appeals to return the nation to God, and calls to win the United States for Jesus Christ.
        If such is what you long for, as a famous talk show host who would agree with you is fond of quoting, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (What’s the old saying? “Seeing is believing.”)

        • William Noel
          10 June 2014 @ 10:10 am

          That commentator (Paul Harvey) was quoting God's promise of salvation and reminding us that He will win in the end.  But I do fear for a nation whose leaders are not only godless, but actively fighting faith in God.  Difficult times are upon us and the reaping of what they are sowing will be devastating.  I believe we will soon be eyewitnesses to what was foretold in Revelation 18.

          • Stephen Foster
            10 June 2014 @ 2:59 pm

            I believe you are right about soon being eyewitnesses to what has been foretold in both Revelation 13 and Revelation 18.

  13. Steve Ferguson
    10 June 2014 @ 10:30 am

    Elaine: 'Just because someone claims to be inspired, does not mean that God gave him words to write or speak. It is the audience, the readers, who decide if someone is a true prophet. A prophet must have a following of those who accept this authority. Without it, they are shouting in the wind.'

    Raises some interesting questions. 

    There is an interesting parallel in the notion of biblical kingship.  Annointing (i.e. literally becoming a Messiah) didn't make someone a king, it technically only made them a prince or captain (Heb. “nagid”).[1]  It was only later, with the completion of the ceremony with endorsement of the people and elders, that one became fully king (Heb. “malek”).[2] 

    But then again, prophets seem to be called to do very unpopular things.  One can consider the OT prophets who railed against Israel's sins, or the modern-day prophets like Dietrich Bonhoeffer (some might not like to call him such but it is the title of the NY Times bestselling book about him) called for the repentence of his own nation. 

    As Jesus said Himself, it is true it seems a prophet is only a prophet if they are accepted, but accepted by outsiders and future generations.  The same was true for Moses, Jesus, David, Mohammed, Bahala and even Ellen White etc – all at first that is. 

    Maybe if humanity is made in the divine image, then a prophet is indeed a spiritual leader by virtue of a collective recognition of such.  And maybe prophets are like the Oracle in the movie The Matrix – they tell us what society needs to hear at a particular point in time, and to that extent their truth is only a relative "present truth" subject to "progressive revelation" – to use Adventist vernacular.

    And perhaps the fact they are not recognised as prophets by their own household, but only later by outsiders, is kind of the point. And perhaps the fact their teachings are then entrenched in orthodoxy, so following generations refuse the next prophetic relevation of "present truth", so it takes another future prophet, resulting in the cycle continuing all over again, is also another irony.

    I think a more interesting observation is the fact that humanity, across multiple generations, cultures and places, has produced these same sort of people.  Their teachings might seem very different, using different labels and concepts, but I suspect they might be more similar than we like to admit.  The question then is not who is a true prophet as much as why their are repeatedly prophets accepted by humanity at all? 

    That must say something underlining the human condition. Either it is sourced from God (whoever or whatever that is), like the same model being painted by different artists using different styles throughout history, or something about the fundamentals of human evolutionary psychology. 

    And what of Ellen White and the SDA Church?  I have often wondered if God raised the SDA Church up as a movement to help guide humanity into the industrialised age, just as history suggests the Jews were seminal in the transformation of society from a hunter-gathering to a sendtry civilisation following the Neolithic Revolution (which incidentally matches the timeframes Christian fundamentalists say was the creation of the world by Adam and Eve).  Our anti-Gnostic philosophy, including our health message, Sabbath, work ethic, educational emphasis, good works and even eschatology, seemed well-designed to assist humans in this modern 21st-century age.

    Just a thought out loud.  Not saying I accept such theories as definitive – just one line of musing.


    [1] 1 Sam. 9:16; Strong’s Concordance at [5057], also translated as ruler, leader or captain.
    [2] 1 Sam. 11:14-15; 2 Sam. 5:3-4; Strong’s Concordance at [4427]. Consider for example that during Saul’s reign, whilst there was only one functioning king, there were two legitimate princes, with David also concurrently being anointed.

    • William Noel
      10 June 2014 @ 2:11 pm


      That is a thought-provoking musing.  While you may not have considered it, my first reaction is that your mention of various prophets (or variations on the theme) in different cultures challenges any concept we may hold that a prophet must teach a specific body of doctrines and believe as we do in order to be used by God and be His voice in that time and place.  After all, He is trying to redeem fallen humanity.  Not every culture on this planet is confronted by the same challenges and where there are common issues they may be viewed in very different ways, so it is necessary for God to deliver his messages in culture-relevant ways that do not exceed the conceptual boundaries of the receivers.  The bottom-line in all this is that God is much bigger than we've ever considered and doesn't fit inside our conceptual boxes. 

      Keep thinking out loud!  Voicing our thoughts helps us organize them and is a primary step on the path to discovery.  Who better is there for us to discover more about than God?

  14. Serge Agafonoff
    11 June 2014 @ 12:21 am

    Yes, Steve, interesting musings indeed.  You have a very 'generous' view of 'prophecy' here…… and its one with which I can identify.  But to me you are describing elements of 'world soul,' 'cosmic consciousness,' even 'Christ consciousness' type of thinking.  Its very Jungian in nature.  Joseph Campbell would also tend to agree.  I think if such enlightened folks are born into more 'religious' societies, they will manifest a more religious/moralistic message.  EGW being an exemplar here.  ANd of course, OT prophets.  But dare I say that this view of prophecy is more likely to be pro-gnostic in outlook than the kind of anti-gnosticism you prefer.
    On the question of SDAism being brought into being to help the world enter the industrial age is a bit horse and cartish for mine.  It could be equally possible/likely that SDAism is more a product of Industrial Age materialist (philosophical sense) thinking than a counterpoint to it.

    And in similar vein, I don't think the Hebrews led the world into 'civilisation.'  They left one fully civilised theocracy, Egypt, to found their own.  As Stephen, the martyr, noted in his last sermon, 'Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.'  (As was Thomas Jefferson in all likelihood but I digress).  In other words, Hebrew theocracy is more likley to be modelled on that of Egypt than the other way around.

    Re Matrix.  A friend of mine, who has made a 'study' of the multitude of symbolic references in those movies, has pondered teh significance, if any, of a character in Matrix II (I think it is), who sits on the board of management of the ship, ('Zion' was its name?).  This woman's name was Harmon.  She had a rather curious role, but my memory of it is poor.  You may have noted any relevance already.

    • Serge Agafonoff
      11 June 2014 @ 1:42 am

      Apologies: Harmon in the Matrix is a male, who seems to be general manager of the ship, Zion.  He takes Neo to see the mechanics of the ship, stating that these are the essential factors in its existence and role.  At some time in the conversation, Harmon states that he had a 'wake up' experience at the age of eight.

      Make of that what you will.

  15. Truth Seeker
    14 June 2014 @ 11:57 pm

    The last I knew there is *no* concluxive proof that Jefferson fathered children thru a slave woman. If there is *absolute* proof I would very much like to be informed about it.

    I do not accept a literal six day creation because EGW said it; it's clear in Scripture that such is the case. The current tendency to exalt fallible science above the Bible has given rise to doubts about the authenticity of Genesis 1. I accept the Bible on faith; maybe those who doubt the Bible accept some other version of Creation. In the latter instance that, too, must be on faith.

    • Steve Ferguson
      16 June 2014 @ 2:23 am

      Wasn't it proven with DNA?

  16. milton hook
    15 June 2014 @ 7:48 am

    I grew up in the Bickley valley in the hills behind Perth, Western Australia. The twin villages of Bickley and Carmel, with its SDA elementary school, SDA college and SDA heath factory, were populated almost exclusively by SDAs. We were there because Ellen White had written that we should get out of the cities. I had my cave for the Time of Trouble reserved in the bush near where the Perth Observatory stands today. We read from Ellen's writings in prayer meetings. They were quoted in almost every sermon and my parents read them to us in family worship. I assumed they and Scripture were of equal authority for theology and ethics. My baptismal vows, however, made no mention of them.
    Years later, I found myself doing doctoral research at the EGW Centre in Washington, DC. I asked Arthur White for permission to quote from some manuscripts that had never before been released to the public. He said, "Milton, we are happy to release anything provided it doesn't detract from Ellen White's good public image."
    Arthur's gracious response seemed to me to betray a concern that some things had to remain hidden from public view. I was standing at the door, as it were, asking for freedom of information but I wasn't invited in. I had to wait at the door until he returned with the censored information. It was a complete surprise to me. I had just completed a university unit in Historical Research Methods where objectivity was drilled into me. Arthur's response smacked of subjectivity.
    Dr Stewart's 'blue book' strikes me as an equally gracious response. But the episode raises questions in my mind. Why didn't EGW follow the biblical injunction of going in person to those who she contended with? Why didn't she walk down the Battle Creek street, perhaps taking a church elder with her, as scripture advises, and discuss the contentious issues in a Christian manner with the likes of Kellogg and Henry and Stewart? Instead, she sat at home writing scathing letters to many. She followed the same practice at Cooranbong in Australia when she could have hopped in her buggy and driven a kilometer across to the Avondale School to resolve a number of differences she had with the staff members. It seems she regarded her so-called spiritual gift as something above the biblical injunction? And she would not tolerate any other individual in the SDA church laying claim to angel visitations that bore heavenly messages. Her conduct suggests she regarded her 'calling' as something more than a writer of religious homilies. She acted as a prophetess, i.e., one claiming to receive direct messages from God via angels, and one who assumed the right to correct the morals of others on the basis of her perceived standard for moral conduct. (Alleged angel visitations were common among the Brethren, Seekers and other sects scattered away from the city in the isolated countryside of  New England). So I must assess her on the basis of her own conduct, not church spin. Personally, these days I use Scripture alone. My baptismal vow is in harmony with that position.
    Serge (I always appreciate your discussion), I just wanted to make a further comment to your reference to Faulkhead. Arthur White felt that Faulkhead gave up his Masonic links in response to a letter from EGW. I don't think so. I think that's a gloss. If Faulkhead had severed his ties to the Masons then the Bible Echo Publishing House would probably have gone out of business. It was because of Faulkhead that Melbourne Masons continued for years to give substantial printing contracts to the Echo publishing house. And Faulkhead's funeral was with full Masonic honours. It is most likely he learned to be more discreet about his Masonic activities.    

    • Steve Ferguson
      16 June 2014 @ 2:33 am

      And the irony of running to the country side of Bickley and Carmel is that they are well and truly part of the Perth Metropolitan City area now.  They are a short 20-30 min drive from the City centre. More and more development is occuring in those hills. As is the Conference office in Gosnells.  Hardly places to hide for the Time of Trouble.

  17. Elaine Nelson
    15 June 2014 @ 5:09 pm

    Was there anything that EGW wasn't "against"?  She wrote far more often of what was wrong in other people's lives, but far less gracious in acknowledging those with good character.  She has been the Adventist "scourge" and is still used that way.  Her "predictions" were so general that she could always be claimed to be right.

  18. Yudelis
    16 June 2014 @ 12:43 am

    Elaine, with all due respect: You don't know what you're talking about. Your last comment only served to demonstrate that you never in your life, ever, have read all 9 volumes of the Testimonies for the Church, let alone the Manuscript Releases.  Her words of affirmation, approval and encouragement directed to countless brethren of good character are all recorded in the aforementioned writings. If you ever say that you have read all 9 volumes of the Testimonies for the Church and all Manuscript Releases, I will find that very hard to believe.  Am I "judging" you? Well, to that I answer Luke 6:45, and Matthew 7:16.  We reveal ourselves through our words, the intent of our hearts is revealed through either our words or lack there of.  

    Your last comment is inconsistent with the fruit you could have and can produce through a thorough and balanced study of God's Word, coupled with earnest prayer.  Had you studied all of God's Word, both the OT and NT, with a yearning to know God, with humility and sincerity and earnest prayer, then you would have realized that EGW's writings are divinely inspired. You would have realized that every vision and inspired witting of hers is easily traceable to God's Word. But you already have your pre-conceived notions of both Biblical doctrine and EGW.  It is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can possibly break through your skewed human wisdom.  And I say possibly with cautious optimism, because it will be a real miracle if you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the entire Bible, if you allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate your current understanding.

    I can give at least dozens of references, on the spot, of chapters where EGW lovingly addresses individuals of good character.  But I will not, as it will be useless; your mind is already made up about her.  Had you really wanted to find out the truth for yourself about EGW, you would have studied her writings. Had you studied her writings, all of them, with prayer and a sincere heart, you would have found it impossible to write your last comment, for it simply isn't true.  Could it be that you pick and choose and modify Bible doctrine and also reject EGW's inspiration because what you reject from both sources speaks directly against any cherished sins you might have and are not willing to part with?  Could it be that the reason you call EGW a scourge is because the truths she wrote are so direct and poignant against your cherished sins that you resent divine inspiration for telling you the truth about yourself? This comment goes for me as well, Elaine. I too, in my walk with God, have struggled with Biblical doctrines that I felt as scourging.  But when I laid it all at the altar and sincerely surrendered before God, and sought understanding from Him, when I finally stopped lying to myself, it was clear as day that all my fuss and kicking and screaming was because what I was rejecting was showing me the truth about myself.  

    Christ will never ever save anyone in their sin, especially those of us, you included, who have had ample light.  He will save us from our sins, not in them.  To think God will never give us victory over sin is diabolical and totally anti-christ.  That belief most certainly makes Satan more powerful than the very God whose law we are called to obey, as it makes our God seem impotent to grant us the victory we need to keep His very law.  It also makes the cross pointless.  If sin is not eradicated from our lives before Christ's return, what assurance do we have that sin won't rise up again in heaven?  Why such strong emphasis is found throughout the Bible beseeching us not to sin?  Why does the Bible say that Jesus, through His connection with the Father while on earth was perfect, blameless, and never sinned?  Why, then, does the Bible entreat us to be like Jesus?  That is because there were times during Solomon's and Herod's temple in which the priests did not officiate and a cloud bearing the presence of the Almighty rested on both temples.  It was a most solemn time for the people of God, a time that if, they did sin, they would stand without a priest, as during both occasions Christ had yet to die on the cross and the earthly officiating priests who accepted the sin offerings for the people were without the temple…. Why? Because God Almighty Himself rested His presence above the Temple…. He came down…  Look it up and study it!  That is a most solemn thought!  Likewise, soon the earth will be left without an intercessor to forgive sins for a period of time.  Elaine, I am not perfect, but I have made it my most important life goal to behold Christ and to study His Word, all of it, over and over over. My yearning is that He may change me from glory to glory, until He dwells in me to such a point that I perfectly reflect His loving character,  like Job and Enoch and Jesus Himself did while on earth.  Elaine, If you haven't already done so, I entreat you to do the same. Time is very short.  Peradventure, by the time you realize your negative notions will cost you your eternal life, it might be too late.  Seek Him while He may still be found.

    This will be the last comment I will ever post on AToday, by God's grace and with His help.  I have been convicted against argumentative discourses, nothing is gained by such conversations.  

    Lastly, praise God that, regardless of how many of you bash EGW, regardless how many pillars of Biblical truth are watered down and rejected, truth is still truth, it has always been truth and it has stood the test of time, and it will always continue to remain truth! Amen! "Truth is not truth to those who will not practice it and reject it". Truth has always been cherished by a remnant few, never by the majority. The messages of  Prophecy, the entire Word of God, the inspired writings of EGW and the sanctuary message, righteousness by faith and victory over sin will continue to prevail.  I am saddened and rejoiced at the same time. Saddened because the majority have been deceived by Satan and neglect to understand that today we are living in the antitypical day of atonement and are neglecting their work of preparation.  But ultimately, I am rejoiced because this very sad state of affairs proves prophecy right yet agin, therefore things are going just as prophesied, things are right on schedule!

    Come soon Lord Jesus!

  19. Steve Ferguson
    16 June 2014 @ 2:30 am

    Milton: 'Instead, she sat at home writing scathing letters to many. She followed the same practice at Cooranbong in Australia when she could have hopped in her buggy and driven a kilometer across to the Avondale School to resolve a number of differences she had with the staff members. It seems she regarded her so-called spiritual gift as something above the biblical injunction?'

    I am reminded of Gal 2, where Paul calls Peter a hypocrite to his face.  And then what does Paul do about it – he ruddy well writes it in a letter to the Church in Galatians, and now 2,000 years later we've still got it?  Paul, how about a quite discreet word to Peter in accordance with Matt 18?

    Prophets are human.  They make mistakes.  They have failings in their theology.  They get confused.  They need to be corrected.  They grow as people and as theologians.

    However, as the NT period showed, you usually need 2 or more prophets at the same time to show this.  Alas, Ellen White had no such person to tell her she was a hypocrite to her face, which like Peter (or Paul), I am sure she was from time-to-time.

    • William Noel
      16 June 2014 @ 12:29 pm


      As you have illustrated, prophets are human and make mistakes.  I've seen the observation made several times that Ellen White was as much sent to Australia as she was sent away from America for a time.  Imagine being in her shoes under those circumstances.  Wouldn't you perhaps have to deal with emotions of frustration, anger and even bitterness?  Add that we're often not told more than a limited amount about the person to whom she was writing and, if she had a personal relationship with them, what that was like.  So it seems easy to attribute attitudes to a communication that may or may not have been accurate.

  20. Steve Ferguson
    17 June 2014 @ 10:06 am

    Serge: 'But to me you are describing elements of 'world soul,' 'cosmic consciousness,' even 'Christ consciousness' type of thinking. Its very Jungian in nature. Joseph Campbell would also tend to agree. I think if such enlightened folks are born into more 'religious' societies, they will manifest a more religious/moralistic message. EGW being an exemplar here.'

    Serge, I've spent the last few days looking at Joseph Campbell and Jung.  Very interesting.  Quite enjoyed Campbell's 1980's programme about myth and mythical architypes.

    I have to admit, that in moments of doubt, the only thing that seems 'proof' of anything, is that these same stories keep coming up, over and again. It is like Campbell's description of plants facing the sun as a moment of 'collective consciousness'.  The plants don't have eyes, or have nerves that feel warmth, yet they all face towards the sun.  Maybe God is a little like that – we don't quite have the senses to see Him (or if you'd rather She or It), but funny how humanity collectively, throughout time and culture, keeps coming up with the same ideas. 

    It seems rather odd to me?  Even the almost religious fascination with Star Wars, Comic Super Heros or Harry Potter seems to indicate something deep down in the human consciousness – even amongst professed secularlists. 

    Also, I believe you have previously suggested you don't really belong to any particular Church or group.  But looking at Campbell and some of his stuff, I was wondering if you had ever explored Universal Unitarianism?  And that probably goes for Elaine Nelson, Dr Ervin Taylor and a range of other people from an Adventist background who clearly find the traditional Christian answers no longer satisfactory?  If you had checked Unitarianism out but rejected it, I'd be interested to know why?

    • Serge Agafonoff
      18 June 2014 @ 4:11 pm

      Yes Steve, it seemed rather odd to me at first too.  Now, it would seem odd if it weren't that way.  God is no respector of persons, and He/She/It does not go with 'specialness,' 'separateness,' or any other ness we try to impose on the One in Whom we all live and move and have our Being-ness.

      Not having the need to belong to a club for my own identity, I haven't expolored Universal Unitarianism, but now that you mention it, I shall make the effort.  If you wish to continue exploring Campbell, might I offer some suggested readings of his, some compiled posthumously.  'Thou art That,' 'Myths to Live By,' Pathways to Bliss,' being but a few.  Also highly recommended are anythign by Robert A Johnson, but 'Balancing Heaven and Earth' is one I am sure you will enjoy.  RJ was a practising Jungian psychologist, and he tells of the circumstances under which he met Jung, and his diagnosing Schnauzer! (I have one of thsoe wonderful puppies so it was great to read that anecdote).  

      Alvin Boyd Kuhn is another prolific author along these lines. (I feel sure that Kuhn, Johnson and Campbell all knew each other).  In particular, Kuhn's 'In the Shadow of teh Third Century' is jsut brilliant writing.  Google A B Kuhn and you will find a website which enables you to download all of his material as pdf.  Another author from that era, Manly P Hall wrote 'The Secret Teachings of All Ages,' which is along hte lines you describe, ie, how humanity always seems to come up with the same essential idea generation after generation.  (Hall was a Masonic Grand Master.  You may find his material of interest, given your stated thoughts re Jefferson.  And to remove any doubt, I do not disagree with your earlier statements regarding him).

      I have heard it described in this way.  Imagine a wheel of spokes.  At the circumference, they are quite separate and distinct.  As they go deeper to the centre, they begin to merge, until they are all seen to be one.  It is apparent to me that all religions have an outer form and also an inner, much more 'mystical' aspect.  Sufism, Jewish Qabala and Christian mysticism being but three examples of how the 'deep, ineffable truths' are, in truth, shared.

      Re modern movies.  George Lucas said that without Joseph Campbell's 'Hero with a Thousand Faces' there would never have been a Star Wars.  Most movies are now judged (by potential producers) by the presence of the overarching motif called loosely, 'the hero's journey.'  Which comprises the three elements of 'separation, initiation and return.'  These are all variations of the Prodigal Son story, over and over. 

      For me, however, the genius of the NT authors is that they tell a story which manages to become so utterly 'personal' that it compels a response.  And a positive response, to the deeper truths of that story, imparts such a profound understanding of one's true Self, that one's journey of return immediately reaches its destination.  I am in Istanbul as I write this, and tomorrow I look forward to visiting the 'Hagia Sophia,' Holy Wisdom, church.  'Wisdom' was and remains, for the initiated, the means by which one can 'let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,' who IS the wisdom of God.  This wisdom cannot be achieved by 'rationality' but by enlightenment/initiation/baptism of the divine Spirit.  It IS a mystical, not a rational, process.  Here is a great definition of mysticism I read on the plane coming over.  In a little book by Evelyn Underhill, 'Practical Mysticism,' she quotes Walt Whitman: 'Mysticism is the art of union with Reality.'  Of course, just what constitutes Reality becomes the question.  One more quote re such reality, William Blake, mystic and poet (Tiger Tiger etc):  If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.  For man has closed himself up, til he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern.'

      • Steve Ferguson
        19 June 2014 @ 2:12 am

        Wow Serge – Istandbul – great city.  In fact, one of my favourite cities in the whole world!  Was there a couple of years ago.

        Thanks Serge, I'll likewise make an effort to check out that further those books you mention. 

        I had an inkling of Universial Unitarianism before, but I note they were also the first group to really embrace Campbell, inviting him as a regular annual speaker.  And I think Universial Unitarianism is probably the closest group that I can see to embrace what seems to be Campbell's main point, which is to look at the similarities of all faiths, rather than seek to focus on the differences.

        Christian science might also appeal.  However, I know it is somewhat out of vogue these days.

        The only aspect I probably don't like, which seems a modern push from liberal Christians and generous theologians, from Karen Armstrong to John Shelby Spong, is the over emphasis on the transcendance of God. I think that is certainly true to a certain extent, however, I think to worship only a transcendant God one cannot truly have a relationship with creates its own theological and philosophical problems as well.

  21. Jim Hamstra
    17 June 2014 @ 1:13 pm

    Well I have only been to Australia once.  I have no direct knowledge of Adventist history there.

    I did grow up in Michigan in the midst of the Ellen "cult" that pre-dated the Australian variant by half a century.  For my first 5 years I went to church in the historic building that was the first home of Battle Creek College after it was moved to Berrien Springs.  My father's first pulpit as a pastor was a relic from the Ellen era.  She had preached from that very pulpit.  The pews were still divided into the men's side and the women's side, though gender segregation was no longer enforced.  There were plenty of people in Michigan who had actually heard Ellen speak at camp meetings.  And people who had known John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will.  And some who had worked for them.

    One church school I attended was in an orchard that Ellen had blessed.  I knew the family that owned the wood-lot where the first SDA camp meeting was held.  I had visited Battle Creek several times before Adventist Historic properties moved in.  There were plenty of people there eager to share their Ellen stories and their Kellogg stories.  The Kelloggs cereal factory still gave tours. 

    (I think you get the picture 😎

    Our own family were "in the cult but not of the cult".  We certainly had Ellen books in our house, but we mostly read from the Bible.  Likewise my father preached from the Bible rather than from Ellen.  But many of the Adventists around us were definitely "in the cult".

    So what am I saying?

    To our Australian friends – Ellen may well have been able to simply drive 1 Km to speak face to face.  In the US of A she lived hundreds or thousands of miles from most of those who received her letters.  Sometimes if you are a prominent person in a small community seeing you visit somebody will fan the rumor mill.  Hers was very much an era where it was considered polite to write things that today we would say over the phone and not prefer to write.  Whether it is fair to publish those letters later (or excerpt them out-of-context for publication) is an interesting question.

    Previously on this thread I have given an example of folklore (and my specific source) regarding how Ellen also sought to bring peace among the various warring factions in the early 1900s.  The founders of our church had strong minds and in some cases stronger egos.  They raised-up a movement by the grace of God but also their own determination.  When they clashed the shock waves reverberated.  James and Ellen were cut from this cloth, as were Uriah Smith, George Butler, the Kellogg brothers and many others.  These people did not always get along with one another.  Is this really any surprise?

    To Elaine – You are right that Ellen has been used as a "scourge" to whip Adventist young people into shape.  When I graduated from Academy one of my former teachers gave me the book Messages to Young People.  If you read that book by itself you will probably conclude that there is no hope for you personally.  You are almost certainly among the 90% who are destined for hell because of all your evil desires and practices.  Oh well, you might as well relax and enjoy the ride 8-). 

    But as a teen-ager I also worked in the ABC and got the chance to read from the newly published re-prints of many orginal Ellen articles.  Comparing her own articles with the compilations, I saw two different people – Ellen and the Ellen of the compilers.  The compilations (like some Ellen quoters here) were chock-full of the criticisms and instructions, with little or none of the encouragement and uplifting of Jesus that predominated in her Review and Youths Instructor articles that they had excerpted.  Two very different Ellens indeed – was she the crotchety old auntie always complaining about something or someone, or the kindly smiling grandmother who was your biggest fan, who sneaked you cookies or candy when your mother wasn't looking?

    To Yudelis – I can understand your frustration.  But if voices for reason simply walk away, we abandon this forum to the fanatics at both extremes.  We may never convince these people of anything.  Remember that there are a lot of other readers who choose not to write.  Someone needs to speak for the middle, difficult and at times painful as it may be.

  22. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    19 June 2014 @ 1:02 am

    One good reason Dr Hoehn has to attack Ellen White is to discredit her position on the worldwide flood for starters.  Those subscribing to evolution theory belief need long ages by default, and a worldwide flood just kinda cramps their style somewhat I would say.  Of course, he believes that life couldn't have evolved without God, which the Bible doesn't teach as such; yet he doesn't believe in a worldwide flood which the Bible does teach.  Go figure!

    Ellen White writings also poses a problem in that she accepts a literal understanding of the Creation week and supports the position that death came as a result of sin.  The doctrine of death before sin and a denial of a literal Creation week, both of which aren't taught in the Bible, are additional good reasons for Dr Hoehn (and others of course) to attack Ellen White and remove her out of the equation.  Her inspired writings stand in the way of their attempt to reinterpret the Bible itself: therein lies the great danger of their position – even at their own peril.

  23. Jack Hoehn
    19 June 2014 @ 3:11 am

    The 10 commandments tell me to not worship anything or anyone.  I am attacking idolatry of Ellen White.  I also attack the idolatry of Mary the mother of Christ.  But I would love and revere Mary, and I do love and revere Ellen.  But I am seriously attacking the immaculate-and error-free-blasphemous-worship-in-disguise of my human older sisters.    It is your beliefs about Ellen I am attacking, not Ellen White.  To say that David was wrong, wrong, wrong, to kill Uriah and take Bathsheba, is not attacking David, it is saving David.  To say that Peter was wrong, wrong, wrong to withdraw socially from Gentile Christians, is not discrediting Peter, it is saving Peter.  To say that Ellen was wrong on the age of the earth and the length of creation, is not discrediting Ellen, it is editing and improving Ellen, and will result in her writings being of continued use to this generation, instead of ending up on the trash-heap of uselessness.  Being wrong, as she occasionaly was is not a sin, it is an error.  But holding to a sweet error when the evidence has long since shows it is wrong, is the sin, perhaps unforgivable, of idolizing the writer, instead of loving and obeying the truth. 

    Please Adventists, back off on the adoration, glorification, veneration; idealization, romanticization; and near deification of Sister Ellen.   "Let God be true, though EVERY man a liar."  Romans 3:4.  Let her be wrong when she was wrong, and respect her when she was right as she so often is.  Sister White never claimed inerrancy nor infallibility.  Please read carefully the new Ellen White Encyclopedia article on Revelation and Inspiration, and note her own words, "Everything that is human is imperfect."  (EGW Encyclopedia, page 1100).  And for even clearer illustrations of that in her own life, please buy and read "Ellen Harmon White" from the Oxford University Press.  Even though Dr. C.E. Stewart saw some of her errors, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren still use and value her ministry, and remain faithful Seventh-day Adventists.  Those who idolize her instead of valuing her may live to regret it.

    • Stephen Foster
      19 June 2014 @ 10:24 am

      Your focus on Ellen White is interesting. Ellen White didn’t write Genesis 1 and 2; nor did she write Exodus 20:11. She did not get it wrong; if it’s wrong, then Moses got it wrong. If Moses got it wrong, then whomever He got it from got it wrong.
      At some point you may place the ‘blame’/responsibility where it belongs; and then what?

      • Steve Ferguson
        19 June 2014 @ 10:26 am

        Is there a difference between something being 'wrong' and something being 'limited'?  Paul gives the distinct impression that the Second Coming is near, very near, so near that virgins shouldn't marry.  Was he wrong, or was he limited?  Is time a bit of a limited concept, as Peter himself observes?