by Carmen Holland

From literally the beginning of the Adventist tradition, varied understandings of the authority of Ellen White have been a constant source of controversy inside the small faith community she helped to establish. In the early years of this denomination, a series of schisms occurred primarily over whether individuals or groups accepted the "Testimonies" of Ellen White.

Please be assured that this blog is not going to address the topic of the authority of Ellen White in the contemporary Adventist Church. It's only point will be to suggest that Ellen White apologists often create more problems than they think they are solving while often seemly being totally oblivious to the ethical implications of some of the arguments brought forward to demonstrate that her opinions and views came directly from God.

As an example of this phenomenon, let us consider a book published in 1922 entitled "Divine Predictions of Mrs. Ellen G. White Fulfilled." The individual responsible for the book was F.C. Gilbert. He lists himself not as the author but as a "compiler" since most of the book consists of quotations from early Adventist leaders. (I will completely resist the intense temptation, obviously coming from the dark side of the force, to provide biographical information about Mr. Gilbert.)

The basic purpose of the book is stated in the title. In the introduction, it is stated that "The Lord promised that the remnant people of God [the Seventh-day Adventist Church] would have the gift of prophecy . . . He has surely fulfilled this promise beyond the possibility of question or shadow of doubt. He has affirmed that by ‘many infallible proofs' in the predictions [of Ellen White] which are so specifically and definitely fulfilled." (p. 20).

I would like only to note briefly one case of the many that Gilbert recites which, to him, illustrates "beyond the possibility of question or shadow of doubt" her fulfilled prophecies. The title of the chapter reciting the episode is entitled "He Disobeyed." Most of the text is a long quotation attributed to J.N. Loughborough.

The essential elements are as follows: The "He" in question was "a man who was a minister of the gospel." Along with other Adventists, he moved from the eastern region of the US to the Midwest. Ellen wrote that these individuals who moved should have done this "to advance God's cause" and not "lay up treasure on earth." This minister who moved to Illinois "disregarded this testimony" because he became involved in land investments. When questioned why he did that, he "laid the responsibility for his course upon his wife."

Let us now quote at length the following: "For the benefit of helping this brother [the minister], the Lord gave Sister White a vision for him, and she said: ‘If your wife is the cause of this course of yours, God will step over the threshold of your house.' Sister White and all the brethren who were familiar with this experience understood it to mean that his wife would be taken from him by death. Now as to this part of the man's experience, I [Loughborough here being quoted by Gilbert] will state that not very long after this, his wife was taken ill. It seemed that nothing could be done to save her and she died. With her taken away, the brother could certainly make no further claim that it was his wife who was continuing to hold him to this worldly course."

Did this event change the deportment of the minister? Not at all. He continued to hold on to his "earthly treasures." Ellen had another vision and "she told him that if he held on to his property and refused to use it for the advancement of God's work ‘God will scatter this property that you have withheld from the cause.'" Is that what happened? Well, the minister soon was taken ill with typhoid fever and died. The property was worth $10,000 [in 1856 dollars-a considerable sum] and it was willed to his daughter. But by this time, there had developed problems with the title to the land and the value was decreased to $4,000. The daughter invested the $4,000 in a flour mill which promptly burned down and "all that was left of the original wealth of the good brother was the ashes of the building."

What is the message that should be learned from this episode? Loughborough being quoted by Gilbert states that just as Ellen predicted "We see that the property was scattered, and what a sad result came in disobeying the testimony of God" meaning, of course, the testimony of, Ellen White.

The chapter concludes with the following quotation also from Loughborough: "Elder J. N. Andrews used to say, when referring to the case of this brother of Illinois who refused to follow the visions which were given to help his selfish disposition and to give him victory over his covetousness, that they were the great proofs of the divine origin of the predictions made by Sister White"

Reading this recitation extolling the "great proofs of the divine origin" of Ellen's predictions, one can only wonder about the absence of moral sensitivity of anyone who would actually suggest that the reason that the minister's wife died was because God wished it so that "the brother could certainly make no further claim that it was his wife who was continuing to hold him to this worldly course." But then the "brother" who held on to his property, promptly dies and his daughter lost the inheritance. All to show the "sad result [which] came in disobeying the testimony of God" as expressed through Ellen White.

This is moral confusion raised to absurd level. One might conceivably see the point if it was the minister who died, but the wife? The view of what God is like in this story is in line with what was believed by whoever wrote or edited the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. Jesus obviously was not impressed by that line of argument.

My point: With apologists using such reasoning, there is really no need for critics of Ellen White to come up with their own criticisms. They can just use the words of the apologists. Or am I missing something here?

Comments


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 3rd, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

Doesn't this sound strangely similar to the voodoo curses that have similar results? If so, could EGW be the cause of such misfortune by "predicting" it?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 3rd, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Someone in the days of ancient Israel could use the same logic with the prophet Elijah in his dealings with the royal Israelite family

"You should listen to the prophet Elijah and look what happens if you don't." List Ahab, Jezebel, a hundred soldiers, plus a good many others.

Not pretty stories, but nevertheless true. I think the point would be pretty valid too.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 pagophilus says:

Is it because some of what she says hits too close to home that you want to denigrate and diminish Ellen White's role as a prophet (ie God's mouthpiece or spokesperson)? That way, what she writes doesn't have to apply to you.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Hansen says:

Erv, This story reminds me of a story I heard from a health reformer graduate of a self supporting school: A relative of hers, diagnosed with cancer, went to an institution and was put on a strict vegetarian diet [nothing wrong with that]. His cancer went into or was in remission. One Thanksgiving, months later, he ate some turkey with his family. The cancer returned and he died shortly thereafter.

Nice God these people serve, eh?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

False assumption that these people were teaching: When bad things happen due to natural consequences, God is punishing them.

Better assumption: When we do things that harm us, bad things happen.

Even Better: God is trying to keep us from harm. When we go against His revealed will, we are placing ourselves in harm's way. Don't be surprised when bad things happen and especially don't blame Him for it.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

Truthfully, had people simply read the same works as Ellen they would have found the identical advice she was writing; but because her words became "annointed" from on high, it was more firmly believed. Has anyone shown that any thing about health was absolutely original with her and not taken directly from other various sources? "Prophetess of Health" shows that nothing she wrote about health was original with her. Who you gonna believe? The other doctors who wrote these things, are second-hand from her because it came (as she wrote) directly from God?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

What is remarkable about what she has in her health writings is what she wrote…and what she left out that promoted by her contemporaries.

I have a friend of mine who is an athiest and I challenged him to take any world religion and/or philosophy and compare it to Adventism. I also told him to make sure that in this exercise that he made each group was consistent with their profession (not necessarily with the group's actions).

Pick a world problem that affects the planet and/or humanity.

AIDs

Overpopulation

Pollution

Obesity

Cancer

Diabetes

Global warming

Poverty

Hunger

World Peace

The list goes on…

Which group by consistently following their profession would help all of these problems?

All other groups that I have found only help some problems, leave other problems unaffected and some problems are made worse.

Adventism, if consistently practiced according to their profession would make all of them better or solve them. Adventism's problem is that we profess but we don't believe. We talk, but we don't practice. We whitewash the tombs of the prophets, but we don't follow.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 pastor David says:

What can we do Elaine ? as you said her words have been "anointed " and she is above scripture in many Adventist churches I found some many examples of Ellen white contradicting scripture but my professors would never admit that .for example the bible says that God gave his his son because he loved the world , Ellen white says in one statement that Jesus had to plead with God , that the Father didn't want to . I read the story of Ballenger a minister who was disfellowshiped and treated so bad by our church only because he disagreed with Ellen white on the sanctuary doctrine . read his story " A F ballenger a seeker of new light " by Land . this man and his family with young children , even a 2 year son , he was fired and how much he struggled to feed his family . then , the greatest theologian of the church , Dr. Desmond Ford also was fired . The most respected theologian , fired for disagreeing with Ellen White .What did they give us instead ? Hazel ? Samuel Pipim ? New generations like me , never had the opportunity to sit in one of his classes just because a bunch of ignorants from the GC made that decision .Now fast forward to 2011 , Ted Wilson is taking this church backward , did you know that many leaders who served under the former GC president were fired . When Ted Wilson came to the seminary in an answer and question session I asked him , why he gave his list " to the Nominating Comitee ? his answers was that Ellen White says that the GC president has the right to choose those who he want to work with . There was a class of "spiritual formation " at the seminary and it was taken out by orders of the Ted Wilson .


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

David, as a pastor, you have my sympathy. As only a member, I decided more than 25 years ago I could not be part of such a deceptive and hypocritical organization as you most adequately describe.

The iconography of Ellen has so distorted the Gospel message with her non-biblical constructions that it cannot be restored. Only those who have not been wedded to her, or even know about her have been spared the disillusionment that comes, as you so acutely recognize, and have made worship of her and the institution replace what should be the one: Jesus Christ.

Recall she was wrong on so many things that have scientifically been shown to be erroneous: coffee and alcohol in moderation is very beneficial; the age of the earth is far older than she acknowledged, and no one has demonstrated that she ever had an original doctrinal position: all were first espoused by other SDA foundrers, and when she "approved" it because dogma.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Al Good says:

It does sound similar to a voodoo curse. To the extent that the story is accurate, the death of the wife, and later the husband, are both coincidences; they both would have died anyway, and neither was the result of Mrs White's 'pronouncement'.

It does come across, though, as a kind of thuggery – as in bullying.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

I think you may be referring to the following quotation. If it isn't it, then please let me know…

Sorrow filled heaven as it was realized that man was lost and that the world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and that there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I then saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, "He is in close converse with His Father." The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father we could see His person. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with a loveliness which words cannot describe. He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that He had been pleading with His Father, and had obtained permission to give His own life as a ransom for the race, to bear their sins, and take the sentence of death upon Himself, thus opening a way whereby they might, through the merits of His blood, find pardon for past transgressions, and by obedience be brought back to the garden from which they were driven. Then they could again have access to the glorious, immortal fruit of the tree of life to which they had now forfeited all right. {EW 126.1}

Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven, and the heavenly choir sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, because of the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels. Then praise and adoration was poured forth for the self-denial and sacrifice of Jesus, in consenting to leave the bosom of His Father, and choosing a life of suffering and anguish, and an ignominious death, that He might give life to others. {EW 126.2}

Said the angel, "Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no." It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them. Angels were so interested for man's salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man. "But," said my accompanying angel, "that would avail nothing." The transgression was so great that an angel's life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercession of God's Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery. {EW 127.1}

It is interesting that Jesus in Gethesemane also struggled three times as to whether He would make the sacrifice for mankind. Notice in this quote that there is no mention that Jesus had to talk the Father into the sacrifice. Just that it was a struggle. Later in Gethsemane we see Jesus having that same struggle. Jesus said "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father." I don't find the Father's struggle as unbiblical, but rather very biblical.

The struggle with Ballinger and Ford was not over Ellen White, (although it spilled over to that) but in the interpretation of the Bible. Ballenger and Ford did not/does not believe in the Adventist interpretation of the Bible, they believe their own interpretation of the Bible. So be it, but if they want to believe their own interpretation and not the Adventist interpretation then it is fitting that they should no longer be Adventist ministers. If a Coke execuative wants to work for Pepsi, so be it, just don't expect to receive a salary from Coca-cola corp any more. Poor guys! I find it amazing that a person wants his cake and to eat it too and finds it unfair if he can't.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

So would you say the same of Moses in dealing with Korah, Dathan and Abiram? Elijah with Ahaziah (2 Kings 1), Elisha (remember the bears?), how about Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)? Thuggery? Bullying?

I find the rebellious Israelites reaction to the deaths of Korah, Dathan and Abiram interesting. They didn't say that Moses and God were justified, they said:

Numbers 16:41 But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron saying, You have killed the people of Jehovah.

Ah, the blindness of rebellion. We love people that tell us what we want to hear and that encourage us to follow the evil of our hearts.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Dear pagophilus

I have to agree with your precise response on this blog regarding Dr Taylor's article, (and Elaine's expected response), of course. The article is clearly tailor-made for ‘children in a candy shop’, providing a field day for 'Ellen White bashers'. Also, we have been asked to respond with our hands tied behind our backs as he narrows down the debate to a corner by seeking to omit any argument that EGW writings are from Jesus Christ [God], as he clearly indicates that he is not addressing this, but rather makes assertion that this particular ‘Gilbert’ incident’ actually proves that Ellen White writings aren’t from God because they reveal such a ‘farfetched’ account, which can’t really be from God, as Dr Taylor purports to be an authority on what actually comes from God and bases his findings from a subjective human perspective. I have to credit him for his craftiness in this regard.

While the subject in discussion makes for juicy argument and debate it hardly reflects what ‘Adventists Today’ think and believe but sets out to merely discredit EGW as an inspired writer, that’s all. I think Dr Taylor is missing something here! Playing on people’s emotions on such subjective matter to argue that such an incident is farfetched in terms of these accounts been from God due to the ‘unnecessary’ death of the wife and ‘understandable’ death of the minister is just not credible evidence to discredit EGW. This makes his conclusions purely subjective and holds no water even to the extent of insinuating that he is some sort of spokesperson for God which I very much doubt.

Elaine’s reference to ‘Voodoo’ and her arriving at such a conclusion, even if tongue in cheek, reeks of a deep resentment from an antagonist in her quest to envisage her EGW smear campaign be fulfilled. No one can predict the untimely death of anyone who is living. Neither does the devil know the future. A weatherman makes a ‘prediction’ and suffice to say many times may not predict right weather patterns. And when they are right in their predictions does it indicate ‘Voodoo’ when someone dies in a flood or Tsunami or storm? Logic doesn’t necessarily guarantee truth. The majority go to church on Sunday, so Sunday observance must be the truth? No! Never is truth concluded so easily as it has to be in complete harmony with scriptures. Voodoo is known to be part of the occult and to insinuate such an absurd ‘farfetched’ fallacy by attributing this evil to EGW, leaves apologists not much to say concerning the true nature of her antagonists and those anti-EGW polemics we so often see on these blogs.

With that been said, firstly, the term 'apologist' doesn't actually fit Gilbert’s role as defender, supporter, champion, ally, protector of EGW writings or any doctrine as such. It’s just Gilberts compilation to inform readers and reaffirm the rather accurate evidence of EGW’s prophecies coming true, that’s all. Nothing more ,nothing less. He doesn’t champion any apologists postulation to prove doctrine or teaching of some sort but emphasises rather the accuracy of her prophecies been fulfilled irrespective of whether the story had a happy ending or not. His purpose was to compile accounts to highlight the accurate fulfilment of her messages . The argument against the accusation that EGW writings weren’t inspired by Jesus Christ is not in the context of Gilbert’s compilation and he doesn’t set out to prove this. The largely subjective blog article 'plays’ on the sympathy of emotions by sidetracking with regards ethical questionings and concludes that God wouldn’t ‘behave’ in this manner.

Remember the incident of Moses lying that his wife was his sister. God was not pleased. It nearly cost him his wife and his life. All of the following Bible incidents could also be classified in the same “absence of moral sensitivity” category. 1] Elisha curses the youth that mocked him and a bear came out from the forest and mauled them to death. 2] Uzzah who touched the Ark when trying to stop it from falling but died because he disobeyed. 3] Story of the flood. 4] Sodom and Gomorrah. 5] The death of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. 6] New Testament story of Ananias and Sapphira. If Dr Taylor’s “absence of moral sensitivity” test is used as a yardstick to measure what is from God then the Bible itself will be a much smaller book.

Because something was prophesied and came to pass irrespective of the absence of some moral sensitivity, based on this incident, doesn’t and can never obliterate the fact that the outcome came to pass and was true, which I might add, had to come from someone who knew the future, keeping in mind that only God knows the future and more than once He has revealed 'things' to His prophets, whether good or bad.

God Bless and Shabbat Shalom


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

" Dr Taylor purports to be an authority on what actually comes from God and bases his findings from a subjective human perspective."

Are you suggesting that we have the same perspective as God? Who among us was given that privilege? Each one us is limited to his humanity, and with that, a human perspective which God gave us in the ability to make judgments.

You mention Moses being cursed by God for lying about his wife being his sister. Yet, Abraham was recorded as twice playing this same trick and was blessed with great riches. Is God impartial in punishing and rewarding such sins?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

I was referring to Abraham. But I guess you didn't know that this didn't happen to Moses did you?! Maybe you're reading too much Ellen White rather than your Bible…?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

Trevor, this is what you wrote:

"Remember the incident of Moses lying that his wife was his sister. God was not pleased. It nearly cost him his wife and his life."

I didn't find Abraham mentioned in your post. If you meant Abraham, you, however, wrote Moses. The dissimilarity of God's treatment is less than expected for lying. But, at that time there were no Ten Commandments that had been given 😉


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Dear Elaine

Maybe some 'Voodoo' power changed the Abraham word to Moses? 😉


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 TXalchemist says:

Maybe some Voodoo power indeed. The Voodoo of "I'm a fundamentalist and can never admit to there being any mistakes in my interpretation of the Bible because if I ever did, then the whole thing would be shown to be nothing but a pack of lies."

Erv, I greatly enjoyed your dark impulse, though had to do a little research on Gilbert to understand. Born almost 100 years earlier, but several similarities! (For those of you too lazy to find Gilbert's biographical information, the Cliff Notes version is that Gilbert was born a Jew and converted to Adventism as a young man and became an Adventist departmental director, author and magazine editor of Shabat Shalom).


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:

I'm glad that someone brought up the cases of "Moses in dealing with Korah, Dathan and Abiram? Elijah with Ahaziah (2 Kings 1), Elisha (remember the bears?), how about Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)"

There is no question that whoever wrote these accounts attributed what happened to God. Given the world view of those living in the time and place where these were composed and to whom they were addressed, that would be a very normal thing to do.

It is interesting that acts that many humans would now find ethically suspect is attributed by many to God with no second thought.

The reaction to pointing this out seems to segregate along the typical lines of those who are Christian fundamentalists (every thing in the Bible is literally to be accepted without question) and Christians those who are not (every thing in the Bible should to be taken seriously, but not literally and must be understood in context of time and place. Sometimes what some human writer attributes to God is simply mistaken).

Because Adventism is a young form of Protestant Christianity still culturally attached to its sectarian roots, it will take us many, many more decades of continuing maturation in the First World before non-fundamentalist elements will decrease into a minority. There will be temporary setbacks along the way (e.g., the current GC President), but the course is set and the outcome inevitable. Unfortunately, many of us will not be around to see it come to pass.

PS. I see that "TXalchemist" discovered the nature of my dark impulse. The similarity of these two individuals is truly remarkable which really says something more about the nature of Adventism–then and now–than about these two.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Pickle says:

Erv, you write:

"The view of what God is like in this story is in line with what was believed by whoever wrote or edited the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. Jesus obviously was not impressed by that line of argument.

"My point: With apologists using such reasoning, there is really no need for critics of Ellen White to come up with their own criticisms. They can just use the words of the apologists. Or am I missing something here?"

Yes, I think so. First of all:

"They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:7, 8)

In the above text, Jesus clearly endorsed the view that Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, since the passage they were referring to was Deut. 24.

And, since Jesus was the Angel in the burning bush that met with Moses, and the Angel in the cloud that guided Israel through the wilderness, and the "Rock that followed them" in the wilderness according to 1 Cor. 10:4, and the one who inspired Moses to write what he wrote according to 1 Pet. 1:10-11, of course Jesus would not be unimpressed with the very line of argument He inspired Moses to write in Deuteronomy.

Second, I see others have already brought up the story of Ananias and Sapphira. How is what Acts says happened to them significantly different from the story you relate?

Third, more importantly, after locating the story at https://www.adventistarchives.org/search.asp?CatID=-99&CatName=Search+All+Categories&Search=%22original+wealth%22 it seems that some of the details Loughborough gives round out the story a bit. From the incident related on p. 159, does it not appear that this minister had a pretty serious problem? Would what he did not be considered theft, even if Loughborough made no objections?

And what about the $300 referred to on pp. 160-161? When he owned who knows how much land? P. 157 mentions buying 480 acres. How much land did the average farmer own back then? My guess is that back then this was an unusual amount, especially for a preacher.

Any idea who this was? Based on https://www.illinoisadventist.org/article.php?id=149 it looks to me like it might have been Elon Everts. According to https://www.adventistarchives.org/ Everts died on Feb. 25, 1858, of lung fever, being only 51 years of age.

From https://www.adventistarchives.org/ it appears that his wife died on October 25, 1856. So Loughborough's chronology seems accurate, since he says that the Whites were in Illinois in Dec. 1856 after the death of his wife.

From  it appears that maybe the tent meeting in southern Wisconsin at which the preacher exhibited such greed as to take all the money that had been collected for Loughborough, it appears that that tent meeting may have started on June 27, 1857. At any rate, it had to have occurred sometime between January 1857 and Evert's death in Feb. 1858.

Note also 1Bio 383 where it says that Loughborough took back to Waukon in 1857 $15 after 4 months of preaching. The following winter he got just $4 plus a lot of food (p. 384). So for wealthy Everts to take all of the $36 that had been collected for Loughborough was wrong.

Looking at Loughborough's account as a whole, I don't see a problem with it.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Pickle says:

Erv,

I'm glad that someone brought up the cases of "Moses in dealing with Korah, Dathan and Abiram? Elijah with Ahaziah (2 Kings 1), Elisha (remember the bears?), how about Peter in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)"

There is no question that whoever wrote these accounts attributed what happened to God. Given the world view of those living in the time and place where these were composed and to whom they were addressed, that would be a very normal thing to do.

Whoever wrote these accounts? Acts was written by Luke, and Numbers was written by Moses. Pretty basic stuff.

More importantly, since the authors were writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when they attributed things to God, they attributed them to God because God attributed them to God.

If your world view has a problem with what the inspired Bible writers wrote, then perhaps you should consider changing your world view so that it is more in line with Scripture.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

"Jesus clearly endorsed the view that Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, since the passage they were referring to was Deut. 24."

Often, Bible writers referred to "Moses" as a euphemism for the Law, or for the books written about Moses. There is no positive evidence that Moses wrote the entire Torah; in fact since his death is recorded therein, it would make it impossible.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Is the purpose, then, of this whole debate, to push Adventism to becoming more conformist, for whatever reason? Keeping in mind that God calls his people (all Christians) to be a peculiar people 1 Peter 2:9 and not just conformist. I sense a strong sense of dissatisfaction in not been more like older protestant Sunday churches of which many Adventists have 'Come Out' from. And Ellen White stands in the way of this? Also, our heritage links us all in this present day to the Apostolic Church of Laodicea albeit a lukewarm spiritual one which has been given much remedy to make right what is wrong and it doesn't indicate conformity, but on the contrary rebukes compromised religion and conformity. So while we may be historically a 'new' protestant church, we are attached to the mainstream apostolic church by prophecy.

Is it to insist that although Elisha cursed those youth that mocked him, the incident with the bear was coincidence and God may have not 'ordered' the ‘hit’ [to put it crudely for those who reduce it to such, by questioning God's ethics]? One has to take into account that God is Sovereign Ruler over all time space, and the creation of His hand as most would agree. He therefore knows all that occurs in the open and in secret including the recesses of our minds. His ways and dealings are very dissimilar to man's in terms of His righteousness and perfect character which may not be understood fully by man this side of eternity. Nothing passes through His hands that happen to man or anything else for that matter, because of His Sovereignty. Man therefore isn't qualified to 'judge' God's ethical principals when dealing with His subjects. In fact satan operates in this way by portraying himself as acting in the best interest of God, but we know he isn't. To disassociate God's actions based on these ethical arguments implies that either He orders 'hits' on sinners if the 'prophecy' is from Him, or He isn't the Sovereign our all creation, of which both accusations aren't surely true, especially in terms of His righteous dealings with man.

Job's case is an example of this even though it was allowed by God in contest to satan's accusations. What a terrible experience it was for Job yet he didn't question the ethical principals of God?

God Bless Shabbat Shalom


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

I note a reckless discarding of Deuteronomy and surmising regarding the Torah, and the fallacy that Jesus didn't sanction much of what was written in those pages. Isn't this conformist thinking more in line with Catholicism, where the Church usurps authority over God and dictates what is authoritative in the Bible? Talk about 'words against the most high' [Dan 7:25]. Is this what Dr Taylor is proposing Adventism evolve into? Is this really a maturing of Protestantism? To become Catholic? I beg to differ!

God Bless and Shabbat Shalom


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 Nathan Schilt says:

From the lofty heights of our 21st Century towers of Babel, Dr. Taylor finds the siren call to assert moral hegemony over Adventist history irresistible. It feels so good to impute our "enlightened" moral norms to God, superimpose them on history, and then presume to sit in judgment on the saints and prophets who spiritually dwarf us.

The truth is that historical distance does not give us keener moral vision. The changing landscape of history simply changes our moral blind spots.

I do not know whether there is any corroboration for the story attributed to J.N. Loughborough, or whether there is any verifiable historical referent for the tale. Nor can I tease out the extent to which this now obscure story is woven into the complex and diverse fabric that was transmitted to later generations. But in the words of Dan Rather, even if the facts are not accurate, the story is True. The perception of God that it reveals is thoroughly Biblical, whether one looks in the Old or New Testament. The fact that this Biblical view does not fit well within the grandeur of our postmodern ethical cathedrals should engender humility rather than moral vanity.

I am not an apologist for Ellen White. As heir to The Enlightenment, I am loathe to find a supernatural provenance at work in anecdotal evidence of the bizarre or paranormal that do not readily yield to naturalistic explanations. Nevertheless, as a Christian I humbly and gratefully acknowledge the sovereignty of the God whose ways are vastly beyond my powers of comprehension; the God who moves in dimensions outside space and time; and the God who speaks to me not so much to inform me as to evoke a response.

My mother passed away this week at the ripe old age of 95 1/2 – fully in possession of her ever sharp mental faculties to the end, peaceful and secure in the assurance of her destiny. The story Erv tells, assuming she was not already aware of it, would not have shaken my mother's faith or been a source of embarrassment. She was intimate with a God of infinite love and mercy; and she feared and reverenced the God of judgment and intolerance towards evil who peacefully coexisted with the God of love. Her faith was quite comfortable with the dichotomies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of a God who acts through humans in time and space, but is not answerable to them. She felt no need to confine The Great I Am to historically conditioned manmade moral boxes or ethical norms. Was she wrong?

Must we create God in our own image before we can worship Him? Must history bow to us and fit into the procrustean bed of our moral sensibilities? What incredible arrogance!


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 4th, 2011 RonCorson says:

In all of this Ellen White is just a side issue, as others pointed out we can find these kinds of stories in the Old Testament as well. I have no doubt that we could find such stories attributed to the prophecies of Joseph Smith or numerous others who claimed prophetic status.

The real question should be is this the way God would act? Is it reasonable to assume such things of God particularly in light of the New Testament.

What often happens is people defend their prophet…their authority and ignore the intense philosophical conceptions their defense makes against God. That will always be the larger problem because after all we don't serve any prophet we serve God and no prophet indispensable to bring us to God. After all if every Adventist suddenly and completely rejected Ellen White would that stop them from following Christ? Think about your answer to that question and you will know who your savior is.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Let's boil it down to this:

Erv, Elaine and others of similar persuasion:

Truly inspired writings are not accurate or trustworthy.

Human reason is trustworthy. Science is more trustworthy and accurate than inspired writings.

"Conservatives":

Truly inspired messages are both accurate and trustworthy (The medium may not be though).

Human reasoning separated from the inspiration is flawed. Science where it disagrees with inspiration is wrong.

Please choose you this day…


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Pickle says:

Elaine:

Often, Bible writers referred to "Moses" as a euphemism for the Law, or for the books written about Moses.

Consider:

Mark 12:19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
The law "wrote unto us"? The books about Moses "wrote unto us"? Such an explanation does not fit this reference to Deut. 25.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 hflynn says:

Nathan:

I am sorry for the loss of your mother. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman. Oh that we could all have the faith she had.

Let me commend you on the quality of this post. It is one of the finest examples of English composition that I have read in these blogs.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 hflynn says:

Trevor

Erv is baiting you people. I thiink that those responding should choose their arguments and expression of them very carefully. If they don't Erv will come across like the voice of reason while his readers will look like a bunch of red-necked reactionaries. This is exactly what he wants. My advice is to be cautious how you and others respond.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 RonCorson says:

Pickle wrote:

Elaine:

Often, Bible writers referred to "Moses" as a euphemism for the Law, or for the books written about Moses.

Consider:

Mark 12:19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
The law "wrote unto us"? The books about Moses "wrote unto us"? Such an explanation does not fit this reference to Deut. 25.

In fact that is not even what the text in Deut says. The plea to Moses is the plea to authority to attempt to attack Jesus. The text in Deut says that if brothers are living together, not just if a man's brother dies.

"Dt 25:5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her.

Dt 25:6 The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

Dt 25:7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.”

Dt 25:8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,”

Dt 25:9 his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.”

Dt 25:10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled."

But all this is an excellent example of people manipulating things because they don't want to rationally look at the information. Then when they use information inaccurately it becomes fodder for holding up their previously held inaccurate ideas.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Thanks Kindly for the advice hflynn. Point taken. (I hope Erv never sees it!);) Do you recommend I bow out?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Nathan Schilt says:

Thank you, hflynn, for your affirmation. Erv deserves some credit however. He has a gift for putting the contrast between the God of scripture and the gods of secular morality into sharp relief. His seemingly pathological obsession with what he perceives as the soft underbelly of traditional Adventism exposes the larger reality, observed by many other posts to this blog, that he is contemptuous of any religious claims which do not cleanly clear the rational hurdles his gods erect.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Pickle says:

Ron,

In fact that is not even what the text in Deut says. The plea to Moses is the plea to authority to attempt to attack Jesus. The text in Deut says that if brothers are living together, not just if a man's brother dies.

I think you are mistaken on this one. Just because the speakers in Mark didn't use every word that is found in the passage in Deut. 25 doesn't mean that they weren't citing Deut. 25.

For example, if I said, "The plea to Moses is the plea to authority to attack Jesus," it would be incorrect to say that I wasn't quoting you simply because I didn't also use the word "attempt."

But all this is an excellent example of people manipulating things because they don't want to rationally look at the information.

The problem with that logic is that it is the generally accepted view that the passage in Mark is referring to Deut. 25. So there isn't any manipulation going on.

The basic issue was who wrote Deuteronomy. We have texts in the NT that say that Moses wrote it. And that ought to settle the matter since the Bible is the ultimate authority for the Seventh-day Adventist Christian.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

Nathan,

I offer my condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother. Your post was profoundly insightful.

In answer to your question: no, she was not wrong. Would it have been possible for an intimate friend of God to have been wrong about Him? No.

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 5th, 2011 RonCorson says:

Pickle wrote:

I think you are mistaken on this one. Just because the speakers in Mark didn't use every word that is found in the passage in Deut. 25 doesn't mean that they weren't citing Deut. 25.

They weren't accurately quoting Deut and their purpose was to put their twisted version of Moses against Christ to which Christ replied:

Mk 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

But I imagine when one forgets things like context and culture it becomes easy to misuse texts such as this. No one is arguing that the first 5 books were traditionally thought and called to be the writings of Moses. That tradition however is clearly wrong since they include writing after Moses died and critically because the scholars can see the different writing styles. But citing tradition is not evidence it is merely tradition.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Hansen says:

Nathan, I join others in offering condolence.

All,

My post above, was, more or less, an affirmation of Erv's narrative; however, after scribbling it, I, too thought of Ananias and Sapphira, especially because of its presence in Acts.

I'm not exactly sure what to make of it. The idea that God is just waiting for us to stumble so he can zap us, doesn't fit with numerous biographic narratives in Scripture. Abraham, for example, the man chosen by Paul (and James) to illustrate justification by faith.

Abraham made lots of mistakes, some serious ones. Scripture never says he lost his salvation. He certainly wasn't killed by God for his mistakes. The NT mainly refers to the things Abraham did right, rather than wrong, to illustrate how men are saved by faith.

Ananias and Sapphira were different from the believers who were of one heart and mind. There was fraud involved. Peter said that the money was theirs even after the sale; nevertheless, they apparently indicated that this was the total of the price. Their motives come into question. God must have known something about these people that others did not, so he made an example of them.

I don't believe that this was simply a mistake, a moment of weakness on their part, which brought death upon them. In the OT, high handed sin ,i.e. rebellion, not momentary lapses, brought death.

I don't want to trifle with God in light of these things. Neither do I want to view God as just waiting for me to goof so he can slaughter me. This, like everything else in Scripture, needs to be understood in light of God's sacrifice for humanity on the Cross.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

The following insight might be helpful, at least it was helpful for me….

I have found that the first time God's people do something either good or bad, God reacts in a very strong demonstration. If the people do good, then God shows His approval in a very strong way: they are blessed financially, fire comes down from heaven, etc., etc. However, the first time God's people do something bad, God shows that this is not the way to go in also a very strong way. People die, plagues happen, etc., etc.

This all happens the FIRST time things happen. The second time? Not much happens. People do bad things and God doesn't seem to do much. Do good the second time, ditto. It is like God says, "Okay, you know what I think about this, now how are you going to react to that?"

I see that God wants His will to be clearly known, and then once it is known, then He doesn't want us to follow because of reward or fear, so He doesn't act. I can cheat on my church pledges and I am not going to get zapped. I can have a prophet stay at my house and not get more kids, etc.

God's actions are not for their immediate effect so much as for everyone's education. Physical danger illustrates the reality of spiritual danger. If God treats active disobedience with a slap on the wrist, then people will think it is no big deal, but when guys get drunk in the temple, Uzzah touches the ark and a couple cheat on their pledge, and it hasn't happened before then God shows that if you do this it is serious stuff with serious consequences down the road. Once demonstrated, it doesn't need to be demonstrated again. The lesson has been given. We know.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Below are some texts worth considering (like all other scripture, of course) in regards to why God does things that man can't comprehend. I think that we can only understand Him, at best, at the Cross! Seems the Apostle Paul acknowledged that finite man cannot fully understand the inner workings of God, let alone his ways and thoughts and I think we do too. Paul does not call this unknown mystery's of God 'farfetched' but accepts them for who God is.

  • Isaiah 55:9
  • Proverbs 14:12
  • Proverbs 21:2
  • 1Corinthians 3:19
  • 1Corinthians 1:20
  • 1Corinthians 1:19
  • 1Corinthians 1:26-30
  • 1Corinthians 2:13
  • Isaiah 55:8-9
  • Psalm 95:9

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Pickle says:

Ron,

They weren't accurately quoting Deut ….

I didn't say they were "quoting" Deut. I said they were "citing" Deut. The word "paraphrase" would be acceptable too.

No one is arguing that the first 5 books were traditionally thought and called to be the writings of Moses. That tradition however is clearly wrong since they include writing after Moses died and critically because the scholars can see the different writing styles. But citing tradition is not evidence it is merely tradition.

It's not just tradition. Jesus Himself acknowleged that Moses was the author of Deuteronomy. He has the final say over everyone else, no matter how smart they think they are.

The attachment at the end of Deuteronomy of a notice about Moses' death does not negate Moses being the author. Just because someone other than a book's author writes a prologue, foreward, preface, epilogue, or appendix and attaches it to that book written by someone else does not negate the fact that that someone else was the author of the book.

Years ago someone told me that a preacher told him that 1 Peter and 2 Peter were written by two different people, no question about it, because of a difference in styles. I replied, "Something you wrote awhile back and somehting you wite today could look like they were written by two different people too." The argument doesn't make much sense to me to demand that no one in the entire history of the world but modern authors ever wrote two works using different styles.

I wasn't citing tradition. The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, to my knowledge, has been the generally accepted view amongst scholarly believers for centuries. Of course, scholarly unbelievers would be a different matter.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Pickle says:

My condolences as well, Nathan. I appreciated your post about your mother.

There was a little more to Ananias and Sapphira's sin then is apparent at first glance. Somewhere I ran across the following thought in the SoP.

When you sold your possessions and laid the proceeds at the apostles' feet in order to help support those who had lost their jobs, families, and/or homes because of accepting Christ, you then ended up in the same sort of situation like those in need and were supported by the church. It seems to have been like a charitable gift annuity or some such today.

Ananias and Sapphira claimed to have put everything into the treasury and were then going to live off the church, while still having the benefit of their private stash of money that they had held onto.

So it was a clear case of intentional, premeditated fraud against God.

I found the statement:

"This couple had noted the fact that those who had parted with their possessions to supply the wants of their poorer brethren were held in high esteem among the believers. They therefore, upon consulting together, decided to sell their property, and affect to give all the proceeds into the general fund, but really to retain a large share for themselves. They thus designed to receive their living, which they intended to estimate much higher than it really was, from the common stock, and to secure the high esteem of their brethren." (3SP 284)

It's worse than I remembered. They even overestimated what they needed to receive from the church in order to survive, and were hoping to score political points via the fraud.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 RonCorson says:

Yes Pickle you were citing tradition. After all Jesus said a seed dies before it sprouts, he clearly used the knowledge and beliefs of the people at his time. Most of the evidence that Moses wrote the Pentateuch is because of verses about him writing down the law etc. But of course there is nothing in those statements to indicate that the Pentateuch was what he wrote down.

From Religioustolerance website here is some good explanations why the Moses wrote it all view does not work:

Some clues that Moses didn't write the Pentateuch, according to liberal theologians:
As mentioned elsewhere in this website, many Christian and Jewish conservatives believe that Moses is the sole author of the Pentateuch and that he was inspired directly by God to write text that is free of error. Other theologians have claimed that there is some internal evidences in the Bible that these conclusions are invalid:

  • Theologians were prompted to develop the Documentary Hypothesis as a result of observing the presence of doublets in the Pentateuch. These are pairs of stories which occur in two separate locations in the text. The doublets generally do not agree fully; there are usually minor differences between the stories. R.E. Friedman, in his 1997 book "Who Wrote the Bible?" lists a number of them:

    • Two creation stories in Genesis.
    • Two descriptions of the Abrahamic covenant.
    • Two stories of the naming of Isaac.
    • Two instances where Abraham deceived a king by introducing his wife Sarah as his sister.
    • Two stories of Jacob traveling to Mesopotamia
    • Two stories of a revelation at Beth-el to Jacob.
    • Two accounts of God changing Jacob's name to Israel
    • Two instances where Moses extracted water from two different rocks at two different locations called Meribah.
 
It is difficult to account for so many doublets — most containing slight discrepancies — if all five books were written over a short interval of time by Moses or by any other single individual. Liberal theologians reasoned that a much more logical explanation is that the books were written by multiple authors who lived long after the events described. That would have allowed the oral tradition to be passed from generation to generation in different areas of the land so that they had a chance to deviate from each other before being written down. In a few cases, triplets have been found in the Pentateuch where the same accounts appears three times. 10
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:

I too wish to express my public condolences to Nate's loss. As is usual with Nate and reflecting his training and experience as a distinguished member of the legal profession (an alumni of the UCLA Law School), he raises important issues in his comments, as does several others who have commented.


I take the centerpiece of Nate's concern to be the following: "The perception of God that it reveals [the story attributed to J. N. Loughborough that Gilbert quoted] is thoroughly Biblical, whether one looks in the Old or New Testament." There is no question that it reflects the majority view of the Old Testament. And there also appears to be several statements in the New that reflect that view.
 
The Bible also reveals, if I may be permitted to quote Nate's wording, "the dichotomies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of a God who acts through humans in time and space." Precisely! In my view, Nate has expressed an important point correctly, and from Nate's statement, his late mother had it absolutely right as well.
 
The Bible says that God acted in ways that our moral sensibilities today may find, at best, strange and, in some cases, outrageous. In this case, whether He did or not do what is attributed to Him is not the important question (except for our fundamentalist friends). The people of that period thought He did and given their world view, what might we expect? Some people today expect him to act that way as well, reflecting their world view. Some of these people have posted on this thread.
 
However, there are also materials included in the Bible that say "wait a minute, something here is not quite right." The genius who wrote the original version of the book of Job took direct aim at the Deuteronomy version of the way God was portrayed as acting. (Someone later had to soften it for the ordinary folk, but the genii was out of the bottle.)
 
It seems that the Bible does not present a single image of God. (It is sincerely with great regret that I must take issue on this point in contrast to the usually very helpful views of the late distinguished Adventist scholar Graham Maxwell). May I submit that God is represented as acting in many ways.
 
What is going on? Regretfully, apparently for some reason, he must act through humans, and when that occurs, all kinds of "dichotomies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies" occur. The Bible reports these. Perhaps that is the price that must be paid for us to assume that we have free moral choices, i.e., free will. But it is obviously much more complex than that.
 
Incidentally, I will seek to resist the temptation (again obviously from the dark side of the force) to continue to occupy the "lofty heights of [the] 21st Century tower of Babel . . . [and the] grandeur of . . . postmodern ethical cathedrals." I wish I could write like that!
 
Also, I must say I don't know what to do with Nate's later suggestion that I have a "pathological obsession with . . . the soft underbelly of traditional Adventism." May I object to the use of the word "pathological"? How about, "reasonable" or "appropriate obsession?" I also wish to thank Nate for the phrase "soft underbelly of traditional Adventism." Again, I wish I could write like that!
 
Also, might I just briefly comment on Pastor Howard's suggestion that I am "baiting" certain people on this and other threads. May I say that I normally do not need to put any "bait" on the lines that I throw out. I don't usually need to do that (There are, in a small number of cases, exceptions made.) In the vast majority of cases, certain individuals will simply make statements which reveal the perspectives they have and I will not have to point them out. Any reasonable individual will be able to see these arguments for what they truly are.
 
For example, I don't know what the rest of us would do without Mr. Pickle's theological insights: "Since the authors [of the Bible] were writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when they attributed things to God, they attributed them to God because God attributed them to God." Why didn't someone earlier think of that!

 

 Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
The statement made that most scholars believe Moses wrote the Pentateuch cannot be substantiated. The most prominent all recognize that it was impossible, for many of the reasons Ron posted, for any single author to have made such glaring discrepancies. Tradition and reality often collide, and when reality is thoroughly documented, tradition is left without validity, only tradition is relied upon.
 
If tradition is to be the guide, all the Christian churches, SDA included, would be worshiping the Pope and on Sunday–for that is the oldest Christian tradition. Beware of following fables.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
The apparent inability for many readers of the Bible to recognize that while all the authors were human, they were not given prescience to see thousands of years beyond their time. The god they perceived was the one they described; just as many early religious believers in multiple gods: the gods were in charge of everything–both good and evil. This is illustrated in the early portions of the Torah where God is given the credit for all that happens.
 
The stoning of sabbath breakers, adulterers, rebellious sons, is still followed by many in the Middle East, and if the Bible were followed today (and legalized), no doubt many sincere religious believers would condone that punishment. After all, it was ordered in those times and recorded in the sacred scriptures and was not rescinded. That most Christians do not obey thos laws is a good indication that there is a selective process that is followed.
 
Yet, the question continues to arise: "If Jesus is God, and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever," how can there be such a distinctively different description of His actions recorded in the OT and in the NT?
 
Many have tried, as the late Graham Maxwell, and Alden Thompson, to answer these cognitive dissonant questions, but have found them insufficient and lacking in the best exegetical traditions.
 
Until individuals are able to accept that these differences are real, and not imaginary, there will continue to be these questions, and who is able to answer?
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:
 
Since Elaine is such a reasonable and informed individual, I'm sure that there was an unintentional slip of her keyboard when she hinted that anyone, and especially our Roman Catholic friends, might "worship the Pope." We all know that this is not true and Roman Catholics would be the first to take issue with this, and I'm sure we would agree with them on this point..
 
I hope that we also would agree that the current pope and many of his prececessors were fine Christians, even if we might take issue with some of the theological positions they espoused and cultural forms that they supported. (My understanding is that Catholic scholars agree that some popes were more political than religious leaders in the MIddle Ages and did some very regretable things. There are a number of Protestant leaders including Adventist leaders who also have behaved in very regretable ways becauses of ethnic, cultural, and pollitical pressure.)

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 6th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
Yes, Erv, my intention was that if we followed tradition, the pope would be recognized as the head of the Christian church, which is the position held until the Reformation when Luther instigated the psychological deposition of the pope as head of the Christian church. Of course, no one "worships" the Pope, but he is still considered the church spokesman for the largest group of Christians in the world.

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 pagophilus says:
 
You guys have been arguing for years and will continue to argue until the cows come home, so I won't bother adding to the discussion. I will simply ask a few questions of Erv.
 
Erv, why do you even bother to call yourself an Adventist? You don't believe in the inspiration of the Bible, you don't believe in the inspiration of Ellen White? You don't believe in a recent creation of around 6000 years ago. You don't believe in half the doctrines of the church. What do you think exactly makes you a Seventh-Day Adventist? That you keep the sabbath and await the return of Jesus? How do you even know who Jesus is if you don't believe the Bible?
 
The only reason people debate you, Erv, is because the name "Adventist" is on these forums and people are seeking to protect the name from being muddied by you, by Elaine and others. But why keep posting on here? Why not visit the Belief-o-matic, find a religion that you match up with the closes, or even create your own, and post on a new website?
 
I can see this post receiving the ire of the moderator(s), however it needs to be said. Erv, YOU ARE NOT AN ADVENTIST, stop pretending you are one. You are a wolf in sheep's clothing, but the disguise in't working. Sheep have neither the teeth nor the howl of a wolf.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 David C. Read says:
 
Pagophilus, you're right, obviously, that Ervin doesn't have traditionally Adventist beliefs, but he would argue that he is an Adventist because his membership is on the books at a local church in the Southeastern California Conference, and that membership is what defines an Adventist, not beliefs.
 
We are in a war for the soul of the Adventist Church. It is very difficult for Adventists in smaller churches in the middle of country, away from Adventist "ghettos", to comprehend what is happening, because these places have very few cultural, non-believing Adventists. But cultural, non-believing Adventists have reached critical mass in some areas, and are militant about insisting that Adventism is about shared cultural heritage, not shared belief, and that the (non) beliefs of a cultural Adventist are just as normative and just as Adventist as traditional Adventist beliefs.
 
Traditional Adventists still control the official church organs like the Review and the Sabbath School Quarterly, and still basically control the Seminary at Andrews, but cultural Adventists are now in control of LaSierra, the Pacific Union and most of the Pacific Union conferences, and are close to being in control of several others of the colleges. Cultural Adventism is largely a phenomenon of North America and to a lesser extent Europe and Australia, not of the Third World, where almost all Church growth of the last 50 years has taken place.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
There is institutional religion, and there is personal religion. They are not necessarily the same, nor should they be. Just as there are millions of Catholics who do not obey the Pope nor much of their doctrine, just so there are Adventists who do not agree with the institutions definitions of doctrines–which are never static and change constantly. Remember: Christ said to let the tares and wheat grow together until the harvest–which has not yet come.
 
Since the Adventist's have no pope, it is up to each individual church to decide who is, and is not a member. No member has the right or prerogative to define who is, or is not an Adventist.
 
All the arguing about who should be an Adventist is simply hot air–good for blowing balloons, and nothing more. Until one is placed in an authoritative position to make decisions regarding membership, it is meaningless blather.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
So politically, a group of cultural Adventists could give membership to nominal Adventists or non-Adventists in large enough numbers so that a quiet hostile take-over could happen and nothing could be done to stop them because only the local church can disfellowship and being Adventist is about membership and not beliefs. The statement of beliefs at baptism means nothing. Then they could institute any changes that they wanted within their Conference (Local or Union) as long as they had Local and Union Conference support; changes would especially be important within the colleges of their Conference.
 
By affecting (or infecting) the students within their colleges, they could affect (infect) other Conferences (usually within their Union) as well that hire their students/graduates as employees. Thus whole divisions could be affected/infected.
 
Is this scenario scary or what? It's a wonder the devil hasn't thought of it yet…
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
Why scary? Isn't autonomy and local freedom always better than centralization? Or, maybe there are some who like the hierarchy to tell us what to think and believe, and decide on each individual's membership.
 
To do so, would take a drastic change in the present structure where individual churches are the only arbiter of membership: IOW, a judgment by your peers, not someone in Silver Springs.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 klriley says:
 
Of course, fundamentalist/ultra-conservative Adventists could also organise to take over churches, conferences, etc. Given the relative levels of organisation and zeal of the far left and the far right, which is most likely? I still have faith that over time the centre, which tends not to be given to hysteria but occasionally gets stampeded into a knee-jerk reaction, will keep both extremes under control. If nothing else, the inertia of the SDA organisation argues against any sudden lurching to either side.
 
Investing the authority to control membership in the local church virtually guarantees diversity, but in practice it also buffers us from the worst effects of polarisation. To gain complete control of the church, any group needs to convince not just a central committee to go its way, but a large number of (semi-)independent conference committees, church boards and business meetings. There has never been a time when we did not have liberals and fundamentalists – nor a time when they did not annoy each other and the church at large. It is probably when their voices are loudest that we are least at risk of failure as a church. When dissenting voices are quiet, it has almost always been because the church was asleep.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
A number of individuals, and I would consider pagophilus and David as possible examples, are understandably frustrated and bemused by Erv and Elaine. It is regrettable that I can be numbered among them from time to time.
 
My frustration is that the logical incoherence of their observing religious traditions and/or valuing church association and affiliation which clearly have provenance from a Bible that they don’t find credible, and from doctrines that they believe to be thoroughly specious, seems silly.
 
Silliness would not be frustrating to me if I didn’t perceive that that those who appear to practice the silliness were not very mature or intelligent.
 
It’s not that you have to believe what I do to avoid engaging in silliness. It’s just that if you don’t believe at all, it seems silly to practice and/or affiliate with those who do. It appears especially curious to devote so much time and intellectual energy in the pursuit of debunking mythology, while simultaneously observing the rituals derived from the mythology; or being a member in good standing of a group devoted to the perpetuation and promulgation of the mythology.
 
Since such seemingly senseless association is possibly/probably prompted and permitted by the Holy Spirit for the good of the ostensibly silly and the testing of the professed saintly, we should perhaps bear with each other to some extent.
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger
 
 

 Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 David C. Read says:
 
klriley, the "centre" is a relative concept. It is a statistical concept.
 
If the Left are functionally atheists, and the right have left the church to form independent organizations, where does that leave the center? The center needs to be re-positioned from time to time. I'm not interested iin a "center" of Adventism that has abandoned its core beliefs.

 

 Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Seminary student says:
 
I wonder what happened to these people when they were little that they hate the beliefs of the church .Was it " messages to young people " ? or was it "on becoming a man " or "on becoming a woman "maybe we need to listen more to people like Elaine and Ervin and learn from their lessons .And change some of the ways we do things , I know that there are many like them in our churches , and many who left the chruch and will never comeback .We need to recognize that we have failed and learn from our mistakes. I have been thinking lately that there is not a easy answer for everything , but there are things that we will wrestle for many years even for our whole life and we will never be able to get .I think we need to be more loving and more open to people with different views and create a community where they are taken seriously . I am not saying accept their ideas , but let's listen to them and dialogue with them and I am sure that we will both benefic from that .I am tired of people impossing their views and the rest of us just submitting to them .I am afraid of people who want to control our church and rule over us , What happened to the priesthood of all believers ?

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
Ah, SS, now you're beginning to sound like a mature individual who could be a good pastor! If one is unable to listen to all sides, he should take up another vocation, as pastoring is one that most consistently demanding of listening. If all the parishoners felt alike they wouldn't need, or listen to a pastor. We need to have our doubts answered, even welcomed, rather than a pew of "Amen" members.
 
No religion is perfect and above questioning. When there are no doubts, there is raw certitude which is antithetical to new truths. To act or claim to have the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is to deify man's dogma, as all religions are man-made: they pick and choose which are priorities in their particular packet of doctrines.
 
If a teacher has silent, nodding pupils, and never a question, how will they learn? Some of us were treated this way in SDA schools: simply listen and regurgitate, no questions, please. Evidently, by some who post here, they were the compliant ones who never doubted, never questioned what was taught, but simply continue to parrot their teachers or pastors.
 
As life-long students, some of us will never be content that "That's all there is" and go on the journey of discovery which is most fascinating and filled with wonder at the possibilities. Remember: those who stepped out with new theological ideas are those held up today as saints and founders of Christianity–and even Adventism!
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 klriley says:
 
Perhaps we should start by not calling people who still believe in God and many (if not most) of the things we do "unbelievers". There was a time when anyone who could say "I believe God created everything there is" was a "believer" in creation. Now it seems we have to say "I believe God created everything in 6 contiguous, 24-hour [add the latest 'necessary' words] days approximately 6,000 years ago, as clearly stated by the Bible and Ellen White" before we are truely a "Believer" in creation. It all started when we decided only people who believe that the Bible was divinely inspired – officially only the thoughts, but in practice the very words – and to be interpreted literally (except when we don't because doing so would lead to the wrong conclusions) could be called "Bible-believing Christians". So people who believe God inspired the Bible and read their Bibles daily and put more effort into following what they find there than many "Bible-believing" SDAs became "unbelievers" because they believed (from reading the Bible) that some passages should not or need not be read literally when we thought they should.
 
I believe God created everything. By faith (despite a lack of evidence) I cling to the belief that God created this world in 6 days. I doubt that it was 6,000 years ago, but would not be disappointed if that was true. I find the theory of evolution to be a grubby theory of creation. I believe God can do much better. I would really like to discover that Tolkien got it right in his Ainulindalie. Well, I believe he got the theology right, I would like to discover it is factual also. But I don't expect it was.
 
I would hate to see us become so fixated on doctrinal purity that we waste all our time closely defining our doctrines to exclude everyone who is not a "true believer". More often than not the attempt just seems to turn people into mean and vindictive detectives, which is not what God wants his church to be. If people want to join our church, take part in discussion, etc, why not let them? If they believe they are honest in saying yes to the baptismal vows, then that is between them and God. If they show by word and act that they are serious in trying to follow God (even if we disagree with their beliefs or practices) then I am not willing to call them "unbelievers".
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 David C. Read says:
 
I disagree with Dr. Pitman that the origins debate is fundamentally about science rather than faith. But I have much more appreciation now for why he approaches the issue as he does. He has been dealing with the "I believe notwithstanding all the evidence points the other direction" argument of liberal Adventists for a long time, much longer than I have.
 
All the evidence does not point toward Darwinism. This is a profoundly subsversive and ultimately destructive position, such that I've concluded that it is probably consciously transitional, intended as temporary stop on the way toward full acceptance and incorporation of Darwinism into our faith.
 
The exact same "evidence" means one thing to a Darwinist and something else to a creationist, is interpreted one way by a Darwinist and another way by a creationist. If you view the evidence in the same way a Darwinist does, and interpret it the same way a Darwinist does, you are not a believer. Unbelief is the matrix through which you view the world, when it really counts.
 
Mainstream science approaches all the evidence pursuant to the assumption that God, if God exists, has never intervened in the material universe. To say, "I am a believer" and then interpret the evidence on origins according to functionally atheisitic assumptions is nonsense and self-delusion.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 7th, 2011 klriley says:
 
I know of no evidence that God created the world in 6 days. If you do know of such evidence, particularly if it lines up with the 6 days of creation in Genesis 1, I would really like to know of it. If you can move so easily from lack of evidence to unbelief, then I can see why you seem to see so many people as 'unbelievers'. Evidence for the origin of life in the recent (less than millions of years) past is not the same as evidence for creation in 6 days.
 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
@Elaine,
 
I totally agree with you that no church is above questioning, just like no science is above questioning.
 
But just like I question science and not nature, so I will question the church, its theology, its pastors, and its teachers but not the revelation, no more than I will question nature.
 
Both science and theology are based on man's thoughts, man's interpretation. Both nature and revelation are based on God's thoughts and data.
 
I hate it when people find theology wrong but then question revelation. Just question the theology!
 
Nature and revelation are in harmony because they have the same Author. Now science and theology are totally different! They have many different human authors.

 

 Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Al Good says:
 
Biblical literalists can dig their heads into the sand but it doesn't change reality. One can take the Bible seriously – as the most influential literary work ever – without taking it literally. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand?
 
Many in traditional adventism would be easily disabused of the notion of biblical literalism if they took the time to read widely into ancient history and the classics to see the origin of various myths: creation myths, flood myths, the warlike deity myths, virgin birth myths, resurrection myths, etc. We can admire the inventiveness of the various Sumerian or Greco-Roman myths without taking them as rational explanations for the way our planet works. As an example, it is not by accident, to me, that the book of Genesis is dated after the myth of Prometheus first appeared. (Prometheus, according to Greek mythology, gave fire to the mortals for which his punishment consisted of being bound to a rock where eagles ate his liver, only to have them regrow -he was immortal – to be eaten the next day). These myths predate the Biblical text. The myths we recognize in the Biblical text are interwoven there as the various authors created a narrative that for them gave meaning to life. It also allowed them to create an explanation for that which they did not understand. We should not ridicule them; that's just how they made sense of the world. In so doing, they projected their beliefs unto God. He favors them; He will part the waters for them; He will authorize genocide and land-grabbing on their behalf, etc.
 
When I point out to some of my friends the similarities between these ancient myths from other cultures and some of those stories in the Bible, I usually get something like: "well, see, the devil created all these things in advance so that people will try to discredit the Bible. It's all Satan's doing. He took a preemptive strike at the Bible." This is all summed rather eloquently – and ingenuously, if not amusingly – in the phrase "plagiarism by anticipation." This bit of 'creativity' has taken apologetics to new heights. I would nominate the author of that phase for the Spin Doctor of the Millenium Award.

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
This attribution to the Devil of all similarities to the Bible and mythology is very old. It was called "diaboloical mimicry" and was the final excuse when there was no other.
 
That the six-day Creation story is in nearly every day's acitivity exactly as the Gilgamesh Epic is excused as the Devil's manipulation. The Devil is the answer to everything not rationally explained. Ignoring the commonalities of most ancient origins of beginnings is to believe that the Bible story is independent of any thing but inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No culture lives in isolation and historically, we know that even before the Jews, they mingled and worshiped idols just as their fellow travelers; even for most of the Jewish history, also.
 
Also ignored, is the greater influence of the Persians during the Jewish Exile. The good-evil dichotomy seemed a perfect answer to the previous belief that everything: both good and evil–came directly from God. Discovering Satan, the evil protagonist in Zororastrianism was instantly adopted, which is how the whole theme of the Great Controversy began.
 
Santanya was right: "Those who do not know history are bound to repeat it."
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:
 
Mr. Holland has suggested that ". . . a group of cultural Adventists could give membership to nominal Adventists or non-Adventists in large enough numbers so that a quiet hostile take-over could happen and nothing could be done to stop them because only the local church can disfellowship and being Adventist is about membership and not beliefs. . . .Then they could institute any changes that they wanted within their Conference (Local or Union) as long as they had Local and Union Conference support; changes would especially be important within the colleges of their Conference. By affecting . . . students within their colleges, they could affect . . .other Conferences (usually within their Union) as well that hire their students/graduates as employees."
Remarkable! Why didn't I think of that! Hmm. We could give membership . . . and then institute any changes we wanted . . . and then. Let's all think about the great possibilities!
 
Thank you Mr. Holland.
 
PS The only problem is that our fundamentalist co-religionists have already have been using the same plan for more than two decades. They have taken over several conferences, the most notable being the Michigan Conference. The organized the Adventist Theological Society. They allied with 3ABN and Amazing Facts. They co-opted the GYC. They set their sights on the GC and got their man elected as GC President. I would suggest the Mr. Holland's suggestions have already been executed except it was not progressive Adventists who pulled it off.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 David C. Read says:
 
The problem with the scenario suggested by Mr. Holland is that no one is going to join the Adventist Church unless they are attracted by its beliefs. (I guess I should not be categorical, because it is possible to imagine someone joining a large, wealthy church like the Loma Linda University Church for the networking and social opportunities. But 98% of our churches simply do not afford those types of economic and social advantages, and it is hard to imagine anyone joining who was not primarily drawn in by the beliefs.)
 
Cultural, non-believing Adventists are almost always 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Adventists who have been aculturated into the Adventist subculture by family background and Adventist education, but who have ceased to believe in Adventist doctrines. They cannot preponderate except where the growth of the church is overwhelmingly by reproduction rather than by proselytization. This explains why the typical blogger here and at Spectrum is so hostile to evangelism, and to evangelists who actually teach and preach Adventist doctrines. They don't want new believers being brought into the church, because they dilute the power of the non-believing cultural Adventists.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
Hahahaha…
 
Except it isn't too funny! Erv, you make it sound like cultural Adventism is the norm and fundamentalist Adventism is a new phenomena that is taking over. May I suggest that the reverse is true? Cultural Adventism is the new phenomena and "fundamentalist Adventism" is merely resisting the takeover? I know that in certain circles with a high affirmative population it may feel differently. Adventism until the last hmmm… 30 -40 years? has always been squarely "fundamentalist" and it remains so almost entirely except in N. America, Australia and Western Europe.
 
Actually the strategy I described with tongue-in-cheek has already been tried and was nearly successful by John Harvey Kellogg and crew in the early 1900's through the attempted takeover of the Dime Tabernacle and the takeovers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and Battle Creek College. This was close to the exact strategy that was attempting to be used. It was only through the intervention of Ellen White along with the cooperation of key people that the attempt failed. It was a close call.
 
There is nothing new under the sun and that which has been tried in the past will be tried again.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Al Good says:
 
Maybe 'cultural adventists' don't find "fundamentalist adventism" – or Christian fundamentalism for that matter – something to hooray! about.

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 David C. Read says:
 
klriley, I disagree that there is no evidence in support of the creation account in Genesis stating that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh-day. The seven-day week is now nearly universally observed, but it has no astronomical basis. The day is the earth's revolution on its own axis, the month is a cycle of the moon, and the year is the earth's orbit around the sun, but the week has no basis in nature.
 
Although the 7-day week has existed since the beginning of recorded history, it has had many competitors. "Weeks' of lesser and greater duration have been tried in different cultures at different times. The Romans had an 8 day cycle that existed for over five hundred years, but eventually lost out to the seven-day week. Some northern European tribes apparently observed a nine-day week, but again it soon lost out to the seven-day cycle.
 
The Biblical basis for the 7-day week has led explicitly atheistic regimes to try to replace it. French revolutionaries substituted a 10-day week, but it lasted less than a decade. Russian revolutionaries experimented with a five-day week for several years, but it too did not last.
 
The fact that humans have almost universally opted for the seven-day weekly cycle is powerful evidence that we were, in fact, created to operate on a seven-day cycle, just as the Bible so clearly teaches. Moreover, everyone needs to rest one day in seven, and the failure to do so over long periods leads to problems with burnout, fatigue, illness, etc. This is further evidence that we were created to operate on a 7-day weekly cycle, taking one day of rest per week.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 8th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
Elaine,
 
It is impossible to conduct a discussion about the Bible when the Bible is used to support positions on some occasions; but on other occasions, the authority, and authenticity, not to mention the entire premise and narrative of the Bible (the good supernatural Creator God challenged by a supernatural evil creature who in time influences natural creation to likewise disobey the Creator, who nevertheless loves and ultimately saves His creation by any means necessary) is disputed—by the same individual.
 
The existence of God cannot be proven; but it also cannot be rationally claimed and denied simultaneously.
 
Stephen Foster 
Adventist Today blogger
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
“With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need Any Critics Posted February 3rd, 2011 by Ervin Taylor”
 I pose this hypothesis and subsequent hypothetical questions based on the above argument for the non-EGW apologists (and Gilbert-bashers), and the regular EGW-bashers.
 
Suppose similarly to Gilbert’s story, Daniel and the Apostle John recorded the prophecy of the Woman who was persecuted and escaped to the wilderness for 1260 years during severe persecution undertaken by satan (via some ‘unmentionables’- Rev 12:6, Daniel 7.25, Daniel 12.7, Rev. 11.2, Rev. 12.14). If, in the fulfilment of this prophecy, the wilderness that is represented, is primarily North America, which is a known Protestant haven, then cannot the same be said, that it is “farfetched” and shows a bad reflection of God: as we all know that many thousands of Native Americans were literally massacred during this time? Aren’t Daniel and John painting a bad ethical picture of God if they wrote this prophecy on His behalf? Is this hypothetical prophetic fulfilment ‘far- fetched’?
 
Furthermore, can argument like this not also accuse Jesus of painting a bad ethical picture of God (which we all know isn’t the case), when he predicted the destruction of the wicked and confirmed the fulfilment of the Flood and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the unrepentant? Luke 17:27, Luke 11:50-51, Matthew 11:20-24
 
Wouldn’t the same argument be used against all Bible writers who predicted doom or judgements on people and individuals? (“With apologetics like these, who needs God critics”?) Is that fair argument or just plain side tracking for excuses not to accept the gift of prophecy in the life and ministry of Ellen White by trying to discredit her through subtle innuendo?

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
God is consistent through all time and space. He is perfect and has immutable character and law. He is not subject to man and is Sovereign over all Creation. His dealings are not the ways of man and His thoughts are not ours. Isaiah 55:9, Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 21:2, 1Corinthians 3:19, 1Corinthians 1:20, 1Corinthians 1:19, 1Corinthians 1:26-30, 1Corinthians 2:13, Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 95:9. How He chooses to reveal Himself may not be our expected norm. When David was anointed by Samuel, he was the least they would have expected to be used for this purpose yet it was him who fought Goliath.
 
God chose Ellen White after a few others had refused this calling of “messenger of the Lord”. She was young, physically not in very good health, with very little formal education, but you know that “when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a King”. Critics of Ellen White have criticized almost everything she said and wrote but have very little, if any, to criticize of her character and Christianity. I wonder if Dr Taylor would find Ellen White as a “fine Christian” as he has good reason to believe that many of the popes were. I not sure what criteria Dr Taylor uses for identifying “fine christians” and what would his take be on Ellen White as a Christian. I have always found that human beings are usually very poor judges of character [1Samuel 16:7].
 
I have reason to believe that based on the way humans generally relate to those they are ashamed of, like the poor, or not so well educated, or physically weak and those who come from humble beginnings, that the ‘least of these’ are despised and warrant harsh criticism for the perceived embarrassment they may cause to the enlightened pompous critics who from their sand castles look down on the workings of God through these ‘least of these' people. I would rather hang around someone like Ellen White anytime and learn true Christianity by her example than learn from the greatest on this planet that has no Jesus in his heart.
 
So what if Adventism has a soft “underbelly”? As long as it rests on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, He will protect and care for His Church. This includes those of his children He is calling out of apostate Christendom. In fact Adventism “came out” from the Sunday Protestant churches. It was started and built by faithful Sunday Church Christians who had a deep respect for God and his word. Adventism therefore continues calling out God’s people out of the confusion of apostasy and the drunkenness of false doctrines into a remnant church of God in final preparation before Jesus comes. It was organized for service to accomplish this and God empowered this church with the gift of prophecy through the humble pen of Ellen White. Her writings have indeed been a tremendous blessing to the Church.
 
The best intellectuals, academics and theologians all fade in comparison to the truth that came forth from this humble servant of God. This is real truth that meets the human heart and sets it free from sin. Ellen White writings are much more convincing and uplifting and soul inspiring than most of what we see on this blog. Truth, by its nature, has to be always constant and can only come from God. It is God who is the source of it, and who, and when, and how, he chooses to reveal it, even though harshly criticized, will still stand as truth. Ellen White testifies of this truth. Her critics don't.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

"(My understanding is that Catholic scholars agree that some popes were more political than religious leaders in the MIddle Ages and did some very regretable things. There are a number of Protestant leaders including Adventist leaders who also have behaved in very regretable ways becauses of ethnic, cultural, and pollitical pressure.)"

 
The gross atrocities committed by the Catholic Church in its official capacity as a Church and religious organisation over the ages including the middle ages cannot be compared with individuals acting in their own sinful capacity like the two Adventists convicted for inciting genocide in Rwanda which I think many have already referred to. This was not the Adventist Church carrying this out! There were pastors from other churches too, catholic nuns, church members and many others from all different walks of life involved in these massacres.

The Catholic Church was not under any ethic, cultural and political pressure during the bloodbath they were directly reponsible for. They did it in the name of religion and operated similarly to organised genocide. There can be no excuses for such atrocities and shameful acts against other human beings, from anyone who commits them, period. This should not be watered down and made to look insignificant as done in the comment.

The comparison made in this comment is clearly a tactic to paint a false picture of the Adventist Church by trying to reduce it to the level of a persecuting church which it really isn't. Many Adventists, Pastors and their families, and members were killed by people they trusted and even worshipped together with. Yet the unspeakable happened, brother turned on brother, including the conference President and his doctor son, evil seemed to have consumed them. This does not, although as horrific as it was, decrease the vileness of the persecution of the Protestants by the Church of Rome.

The sexual abuse cases brought against Priests of the Catholic church has been going on for years without much been done about it. That is a current atrocity which even after Rwanda still continues without their church even batting an eyelid.

The deciding factor that will decide the real dichotomy at the end of the age just before Jesus comes will not be a debate on some blog about traditionalists and culturalists and whether EGW was a prophet or not; it will be those who choose to obey God and keep the fourth commandment and honour the true Sabbath and those who will accept and honour a spurious manmade decree to keep Sunday holy of which the church of Rome guards closely. It is their 'trump' card and sign of its power! All Protestants should therefore keep the true Seventh-day Sabbath that Jesus himself kept as a sign of obedience to God. Remember the Sabbath Day? Ellen White kept it too. But do her critics?

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
On a lighter but serious note, when thoughts of this particular blog cross my mind during the course of the day, I almost always think of "apostates today" first rather than "adventists today". Sorry, guilty as charged. Just the vibe that I get when reading some of the stuff, well hmmm, lots of the stuff! Interesting stuff though, pity it won't be able to take anyone to heaven. There's only one way … maybe someone may know? Will it be the traditional-Adventists or the neo-Adventists or the non-Adventists who can tell me how to get to heaven and be saved from sin and be made holy and become a child of God? I know Ellen White can!

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:
 
May I say to Mr. Hammond that I honor and celebrate his right to his opinions and the openness of the Adventist Today web site to provide a place where these opinions can have a voice. It would take much too long to respond to his very problematical points one by one.
 
His view of the Roman Catholic faith tradition was, of course, shared by many of the founders of the Adventist Church including Ellen White, as it was a common view of many 19th Century Protestants. In many ways, her statements were moderate by comparison.
 
As Adventism matured in the late 20th century, these views have slowly evolved so that official Adventist publications, at least in the First World, no longer employ the extremeist 19th century conservatrive Protestant rhetoric. Regretably, there are still pockets within Adventism, as illustrated by Mr. Hammond, which has not, as yet, matured.

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Stan Ermshar says:
 
Brian Holland posted this quote from EGW in Early Writings:
  
Sorrow filled heaven as it was realized that man was lost and that the world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and that there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die. I then saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow upon His countenance. Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father. Said my accompanying angel, "He is in close converse with His Father." The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father we could see His person. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with a loveliness which words cannot describe. He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that He had been pleading with His Father, and had obtained permission to give His own life as a ransom for the race, to bear their sins, and take the sentence of death upon Himself, thus opening a way whereby they might, through the merits of His blood, find pardon for past transgressions, and by obedience be brought back to the garden from which they were driven. Then they could again have access to the glorious, immortal fruit of the tree of life to which they had now forfeited all right. {EW 126.1}

Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven, and the heavenly choir sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, because of the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels. Then praise and adoration was poured forth for the self-denial and sacrifice of Jesus, in consenting to leave the bosom of His Father, and choosing a life of suffering and anguish, and an ignominious death, that He might give life to others. {EW 126.2}

Said the angel, "Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no." It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them. Angels were so interested for man's salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man. "But," said my accompanying angel, "that would avail nothing." The transgression was so great that an angel's life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercession of God's Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery. {EW 127.1}
 
————————
 
How can anyone offer a defense of the above quotation and believe that a statement like this was inspired of God?
  
The above statements regarding Jesus pleading with the Father are absolutely ludicrous and contradict the Bible directly. The plan of salvation was planned in eternity past and according to Peter, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. To think that Adam sinning caught God by surprise is unthinkable. The statement implies that Jesus was not really God, or co-equal with God.
  
I would like to see the EGW apologists on here try to defend this statement as inspired by God. A true prophet of God could not write such heresy as stated above.
  
Stan
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 9th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
Indeed the plan of salvation was set up from before the fall and the fall of man did not take God by surprise, but it is one thing to have a plan and an entire different item to actually put it into play. The carrying out the concept was the struggle, not the making of the plan itself.
 
Why is the idea that this sacrifice was truly a sacrifice such a hard concept to swallow? Why is the idea that this was hard difficult? Why do you find the idea that God has emotions unbiblical?
 
It is true that the scenario doesn't fit your viewpoint and interpretation, but that is still your interpretation and viewpoint.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Stan Ermshar says:
 
Brian,
 
The point is that the vision she had does not match the Biblical view of the Trinity.
 
Of course it was painful to the Father and the Son to carry out the plan of salvation. To portray the situation where Jesus is pleading with the Father to let Him be sacrificed to save humanity is not biblical. If the Lamb was truly slain before the foundation of the world, then a vision such as EGW claimed to have as from God is false.
 
Jesus and the Father are co-equals. They made a covenant promise together to save the human race. That promise or Covenant was irrevocable.
 
When I read the account of that vision there is nothing about it that supports the true Biblical view of God.
 
Stan
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
I seek not to engage in any argument or create a hostile atmosphere for discussion. I also thank Adventist Today and Dr Taylor for allowing some of our views on this platform even though they may go against the grain of First World Adventism and current thinking trends…
 
Neo-Adventism or more precisely Pseudo-Adventism seems to be regarded by some fragments within Adventism as new light or the “maturing” of Adventism which has imperceptibly crept in by taking full opportunistic advantage of the lukewarm condition of the Church today, more especially influencing those in the First world who have embraced a rather secular and cultural form of Adventism, which actually really isn’t Adventism in the first place but a pseudo version of it. A form of godliness is you please [2Timothy 3:5].
 
In order to make this legitimate they seek to initiate intense propaganda to discredit Ellen White and the spirit of prophecy which will be in their best advantage, if they can rid her from traditional Adventism and thereby weaken the cause of the Church. The question is, is God leading such secularist Christianity or if not, who is? Furthermore this trend in the First world may not have big numbers but seem to jump into the lukewarm majority bandwagon to incite sympathy and win support.
 
The lukewarm church of Rev 3:14-21 is the only other position that the Church can take, period. In fact this is the position the entire church is in now. Pseudo-Adventism therefore stands in contrast with ‘Traditional Adventism’, by subtly apostatizing, and through propagation of innuendoes, resulted in its radical shift towards universalism en route to Catholicism. The claim that this embraces the ‘maturing of Adventism’ is more an image of Catholicism rather than the progressive modern day version of Christianity they assert. Sadly though, many within Adventism have embraced and sympathise with it, even though this is a fallacy for which there is no Biblical basis.
 
Using twenty first century Sunday/Catholic rhetoric to label and discredit Adventism (which they call traditional), with secular agendas’ in which they seek to attack the church, they seek to undermine the very pillars of Adventism which are based on sound Biblical teaching and consensus.
 
Pseudo- Adventism appeals to the secular “cultural” Adventists within the Church and from what I have gathered are more numerous than previously expected. The fact that they renounce, ridicule and discredit Ellen White, with the usual Ellen White rhetoric, which was previously reserved for non-Adventists, speaks volumes with regards to their destructive agenda. The first world is not the custodians of religious oracles or belief systems and only God decides what is best through the teachings of the Bible and through special revelation.
 
The attacks on Ellen White, the Sabbath, Christian standards, individualistic biased Bible interpretation and the political agenda it denotes (to name a few), reflect the modus operandi of an Apostate religion rather than the emerging of “new light” or “maturing” of Adventism. Anyway who decides on this “maturing”? Who decides when it starts and where it goes? If God decides this, then to whom, or how, has he revealed this? Just asking…

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
"Anyway who decides on this “maturing”? Who decides when it starts and where it goes? If God decides this, then to whom, or how, has he revealed this? Just asking..
 
It's called individual responsibility and individual thinking, not merely following the herd. We were given consciences, not robotic actions..

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 laffal says:
 
Elaine,
 
I do not believe you addressed the questions: "Anyway who decides on this “maturing”? Who decides when it starts and where it goes?
 
Yes we have a conscience and an individual responsibility to grow spiritually, but how is it that it is up to the individual to determine one's own maturity? The Bible speaks of unity as being the object of heaven for those who follow Christ, and it is possible to have a diverse group of people to experience said unity, and yet not have a following the herd mentality. This unity that Jesus is praying for, John 17, is the identifying marks of heaven's designed maturity for the children of God.
 
Your insistence on fighting for your individual right to not follow the herd might be a sign / indication of one's own immaturity.
 
Peace

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 RonCorson says:

 
If God decides this, then to whom, or how, has he revealed this? Just asking
 
 
As we can readily see from the writers post his answer is traditional Adventism based upon Ellen White.
 
So what does Adventism do when Ellen White is wrong, Some of us can point out large amounts of where she is wrong, science history theology etc. But the traditionalists say no she is not wrong if we interperet the Bible through the statements of Ellen White even where she adds things like the conference Stan mentioned they will say it is perfectily Biblical.
 
Well that of course is not Biblical and just saying it is does not make it so but what is more how do we in the church react to those who have views different from the traditionalists. That is where the problem comes. The traditionalists say just accept our tradition and ignore everything else you know. The progressives which are defined by the traditionalists as the posts above defines them as psuedo Adventists or cultural adventists or apostates don't feel it is appropriate to ignore reason knowledge and history just to cling to tradition.
 
Is there a way to get along when one side says this is what you must believe and the other side says I can't believe that for various reasons? No in fact there is not any way to get along with that kind of mind set when you tell people how they must believe you deny them their ability to think and question and come to their own conclusions. Yet that appears to be the only value the Traditionalists have. They are in effect destroying the Adventist church from inside while blaming the Progressives for destroying the church. Because what kind of church could they have if people thought and debated and came to the conclusions about God that made sense to themselves?
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
Stan Ermshar,
 
The vision purportedly detailing the celestial deliberative process of "the plan of salvation" either at the time of its inception (from the foundation of the world) or prior to its execution does not provide evidence of a false prophetic utterance.
 
The vision as detailed is simply illustrative of the weight and eternal significance of the deliberations. Those inclined to believe it will come to one conclusion. Those inclined to disbelieve it will unsurprisingly come to another. The reason for one's inclination, whatever it may be, could be revelatory.
 
As for the fall of man, we have no idea what was revealed in heaven in advance, nor when. Nor do we know the level of specificity. We also do not know the interpersonal relations or dynamics among The Godhead. We do not, and cannot, for that matter, comprehend the Godhead.
 
However, regarding the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation, I will quote/paraphrase the great Dr. Calvin B. Rock, to wit: if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls.
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
"if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls."
 
What a Sophie's Choice! And a threat! Either sacrifice your mind or you soul. That has been the threat held over Christians for most of its history. The "faithful" were commanded only to believe, because they were illiterate it was believed they were unable to think. Today we realize that God wants ALL of us–we cannot be separated between mind and soul (where is the soul located, anyway? Who wishes to define "soul"?

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 RonCorson says:

 
However, regarding the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation, I will quote/paraphrase the great Dr. Calvin B. Rock, to wit: if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls.
 
  
Yes and EGW could have said that the Father Son and Lucifer and a jabberwocky all got to together to play a football game to decide the plan of salvation and who would come and die. We could not question it and we could not say it was not Biblical because Calvin Rock said that we can't understand anything about it but we darn well better believe what his church says about it or your soul is lost for sure.
 
With thinking like that the Adventist church must have already lost it's soul if not it certainly lost it's mind!
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
Was not Jesus part of the Trinity? Yet He struggled with the carrying out of the decision. Did He have to go through with it? Was He forced? I think not. Could He have said, "No." I think so.
 
I find that the quote disagrees with your premises, but not with the Bible. One's premises and the Bible are not one and the same.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
RonCorson,
 
Once again, my friend, you impose your own predisposition into what I write, and then proceed to argue with yourself. It is sort of endearing.
 
If you re-read the very words that I wrote prefacing my quote/paraphrase of Dr. Rock, it is with regard to the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation—not what Adventists or Ellen G. White have to say about either.
 
In other words, finite human minds cannot fully comprehend The Godhead concept, nor The Plan formulated from the foundation of the world. However if we do not believe there is a Father, and deny the Son, or ignore the Holy Spirit, or do not accept and appropriate The Plan, we imperil our souls. Is that at all in question?
 
What Christian denomination does not teach/believe this? There is nothing exclusively or peculiarly Adventist about this.
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Seminary student says:
 
I don't believe that there is a human being who can explain the trinity . I choose to believe in a Triune God at the same time with all honesty , I don't know if Ellen White understood the Trinity .For once she never mentions the word " trinity " And if she believed in the Trinity how come she never opposed her husband , who openly denied the doctrine of the trinity . I wonder what do we get from commenting in this blog . NO one is going to change his/her mind , people are settled in what they believe .truth or error everybody think they are ok in their view . Ron Corson , you seem to be against everything Ellen White wrote ,I think that you need to make your case , just saying that she is wrong doesn't make it so . So present a case , in you expect people to take you serious present your view . I like to see facts not opinions . Here in this blog is more about opinions than about reason and about evidence .I won't defend Ellen White , we should not spend our energies in that . We need to defend what the bible says . My question to people like Ervin is , have you spent the time reading all the arguments ? or are you basing your conclusions only on people who agree with you ?

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
It is universally agreed that no one can explain the Trinity. Yet, it is a commanded doctrine of the Christian church.
 
The Eastern, or Greek church adopted this concept but explained it as an "experiential" belief in God that could not be explained. Explanations fall flat as an impossibility. Demanding assent to an unexplainable belief is what religions are all about: "we can't explain, just simply believe as we tell you."
 
For some, this is sufficient. For those who choose to use their mind rather than their impulses to "belong" it is like snake oil: believe what I tell you, no questions asked.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 10th, 2011 Wayne L says:
 
We need to relinquish our preceived ideas about what a prophet is and what a prophet is not. The Bible acknowledges that we are free moral beings. A prophet is not excluded from that category. James 5;17 "Elijah was a man subject to pasions as we are,.."
 
A prophet has the freedom to form opinions, thoughts that may or may not be God's will. The Bible have numerous examples that even a prophet has "learning curves". They grow in understanding just as our understanding in God does.
 
Jesus announced in Matt. 11:11 "there is not prophet born of a woman greater than John the Baptist yet John failed to recognized Jesus ministry as the "suffering messiah". Samuel whose ministry brought Israel back from the brink of apostasy thought that God wanted him to anointed David's eldest brother as King. Jonah was sure that repentance was beyond Nineveh's reach. The Apostles had at one time thought Christ would return in their lifetime. God mercifully allowed Daniel 60 years to receive and understand the 2300 day prophecy and even then God didn't reveal all to him. These human error didn't disqualify them from God's appointed office.
 
A Prophet is not infallible only God is. If we would just admit that fact which is anchor in solidly biblically ground, others would be more acceptive of her prophetic gift.
 
I believe that Sis. White is a prophet , I believe that same spirit that was in her also inspired the men to write the scriptures but there is a difference …in level of authority which Sis. White herself recognized.
 
In regards to the Trinity or Godhead her initial understanding as well as the other adventist pioneers was limited but it is duly recorded that after much prayer and bible studies their understanding became clearer.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
Elaine,
 
Again, the point is not a matter of believing a specific sectarian view of the Trinity or the Godhead, or a specific sectarian view of The Plan of salvation, or not even that a particular non canonical individual is actually a prophet. Christians nevertheless believe that God exists and that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection represent the means of salvation. (Belief in this context and knowledge are the same thing.)
 
Finite minds cannot fully comprehend an infinite God, but that fact does not change anything. We have enough information for Him save to us; like it or not.
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
In order to isolate the problems arising in this debate/debacle regarding the doctrinal dispute between so called “traditional” First World Adventism and “mature” First World Adventism, one has to first investigate from whom and where all this school of thought is coming from? I leave traditional Adventism where it stands (as placebo) and look at the source or authority where “mature” Adventism finds its root. This has to be established in order to determine the basis, validity and authority that these assertions and line of thought come from.
 
Furthermore, what level of expertise or knowledge base needs to be attained to reach this plane of enlightenment which the masses in Adventism have missed and/or are unable to grasp? In other words, what degree of expertise or knowledge is required in order to be able to discern truth from error? What do the critics of Ellen White and traditional Adventism have, that the rest of the ‘herded masses’ from traditional Adventism over its 150 years, don’t? Is there some platform of higher learning that one reaches where Biblical truth can be discerned into 1] what is literal, 2] what is figurative, 3] what is prophetic and applicable to Adventism, if any, 4] the ability to confirm that the spirit of prophecy is NOT an identifying mark, 5] that Ellen White is a false prophet 6] traditional Adventism always was and is wrong 7] that traditional Adventism needs a “maturing”.
 
Through all of this, one point stands out and that is “education” in terms of the "free thinking" it offers. This is a very subjective position as we all know that if we write the wrong answers, our "free thinking" capacity won't help us pass. The common line that is used against traditionalists is that they don’t have enough education or ‘free thinking capacity’ to see the error of their ways, whilst “maturists” (had to coin this word) have this level of education which allows them to be “free thinkers” which is the key element to progressive First World discernment of truth and error. (How outrageous is this?)
 
Ah! We all know that this is not true. Many thousands of traditionalists in Adventism have a wealth of educational achievements in a diverse cross section of academics including theology, with many achieving their qualifications in secular institutions where Adventism has no platform of influence. In fact throughout the history of Adventism there have been great scholars, historians, theologians and high achievers who by free thinking together with the Spirit of God accepted the truths of Adventism after much study and prayer.
 
So, if “maturists” (beginning to like this word) have achieved this status of higher spiritual discernment by virtue of academics and the ‘free thinking’ of modern progressive man, then is God not unfair to the rest of the masses who prayerfully and diligently search for truth but still arrive at the point of traditional views? After all, not all in this world are privileged to study at these fine institutions where free thinkers find their roots? Is man’s understanding of spiritual things left only to the ‘free thinking maturists”? I beg to differ again. In Rev 3:18, God, in response to the condition of spiritual blindness offers ‘eye salve’ as a remedy and NOT any manmade ‘wind of doctrine’. Only God provides the tools for spiritual discernment. Traditional Adventism, therefore, has always relied on God’s providence for direction, teaching and leading in this His dynamic remnant church. Come out of Babylon He calls, come out of her My people!

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
Very true that prophets are fallible. They do have a learning curve. John the Baptist didn't understand Jesus' mission. John the Baptist was the medium. The medium can be very, very flawed.
 
Which is separate from John's message. John's message was not subject to his own flawed understanding. His message was always straight on, accurate and reliable. It was not affected in its accuracy and reliablity by his own flawed understanding.
 
We often confuse the message and the medium. "Conservatives" often try to make the medium like the message. "Liberals" often try to make the message like the medium. Both of these are wrong.

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
"is God not unfair to the rest of the masses who prayerfully and diligently search for truth but still arrive at the point of traditional views?
 
Is God unfair when he allows millions to be born, live and die in pagan cultures? Or is He unfair to the million born in abusive and almost intolerable conditions, are into starvation? Under what conditions can the "masses prayerfully and diligently search for truth" when there are co many conflicting descriptions of "truth"? Such a premise presupposes that all those masses have the ability to discern the various types of "truth" and choose only one of the conflicting ones? Most of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Adventists in first world countries inherited their religion from birth. This is a fact since there are few new conversions compared to those who are already Adventist (possibly second, third, or fourth generation).
 
Yes, God is unfair, otherwise we would all have the critical thinking skills required to lead us naturally into the Adventist faith. If you believe that, where are the critical thinking skills required to postaulate such a theory?

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 RonCorson says:
Stephen writes:
 
 
If you re-read the very words that I wrote prefacing my quote/paraphrase of Dr. Rock, it is with regard to the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation—not what Adventists or Ellen G. White have to say about either.
 
 
So we can't understand because Rock puts the plan of salvation in the same category as the nature of God. So I guess we can't complain about the LDS tradition that Lucifer and Jesus argued about which one would come to earth to save mankind.
 
You present such foolish ideas and then act as if they are not foolish because you don't think past your own assumptions. You don't see what your assumptions create when carried to logical conclusions.
  
In fact if we could not understand the plan of salvation why are you and other Traditional Adventists so fixated upon the penal/substitutionary theory. Why not be like the Greek Orthodox and hold to no explanation other then the atonement is complete. You should in fact have no problem with those of us who hold to the Moral Influence Theory or Maxwell's larger view, or Ireanus's Recaptiulation theory.
 
It amazes me the kind of illogical thinking that so many Christians hold and the views like Rock which are in fact completely counterproductive.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
That's what I love about Adventist theology over other theologies! For Adventists it isn't so much about that people know and believe Adventism, but that they act on the truth that they know and that they want to know more truth. Thus a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Catholic, etc can all be saved even if ignorant as long as they are living all of the truth they know and are searching for more truth. As long as they are following all of the truth that they know and understand, even though they are in greivous error, then they are following Christ, who is The Truth. This is why we cannot judge. We really don't know a person's understanding as to what is truth. When Jesus comes, the heart is right and all He needs to do is to give them information.
 
Satan muddies the water so much that truth is unable to be seen for many people. God understands this and compensates for our distorted understanding by accepting the heart even though the behavior and beliefs are far from ideal.
 
In Adventist understanding though, eventually the distortions will be swept away. People will be able to see truth clearly for what it is. Adventists that stay will have a God-like character and those who don't want that character will leave. Non-Adventists who want the truth will be able to see it, those who want error will be without excuse. The choice will be clear. There will be only one fold and one Shepherd. Matthew 24:14 will be fully fulfilled.
 
Our process here is to develop that character which is tough for our understanding. This is the essence of Adventist theology. It is the Day of Atonement experience. It is revealing Jesus. It isn't just a matter of having "good doctrine" as important as that is or "the Truth". It is understanding what love and being loving is! Our selfishness is so deep, our pride so engrained! We don't see ourselves, and that must be revealed to ourselves, and that is not pleasant. I can acknowledge that I am not perfect, but woe to you who point out specific imperfections! We hate it when situations draw out from us a manifestion of our faults! But it is necessary to the process. Disbelievers (notice that I didn't say "unbelievers." There is a difference) use those manifestations, which are necessary, against God and His truth. These manifestations do no good for us though and only harm when we don't act on the knowledge of our defects. Even worse when we defend them!

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
Elaine
 
One of the major weaknesses of 'logic' among all its strengths is that very often it leads to the wrong conclusion or assumption, even to the extent of placing blame on God just because He allows the effects of sin to unfold its true nature.
 
God is not responsible for all the bad in this world and is not also the cause. All the chaos and sadness and misery we see even in the first world are a direct result of sin after the fall of man. Actually it was satan's crafty logic that duped Adam and Eve into sin. What defies logic though is that God sent his Son to die on the cross for the sins of mankind in order to redeem and make atonement for man, and this is what the Christian Church was organized for: to carry this message of Love and Hope and Salvation to a dying "illogical" world marred by sin.
 
Human effort to remedy the worlds bleak situation isn't enough, hence divine intervention, the Bible way. God takes assertive action as Sovereign Ruler and provides a real solution, but on His terms and conditions and this is where man, even though in dire need, arrogantly denies the Creator of this world, who gives Life and Redeems man, the rightful honor and place in the human heart. This crass arrogance on the part of man defies all logic.
 
What would God have to do to prove to someone like you that He is for real?
 
Trevor
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
RonCorson,
 
While it is certainly our privilege to know and understand the meaning of the plan of salvation, redemption, reconciliation, and atonement—we cannot fully comprehend and appreciate it.
 
While it is certainly our privilege to know and understand the nature of the Godhead— we certainly cannot fully comprehend and appreciate infinite and un-derived wisdom, power, and love; nor the concept of a triune God.
 
Nevertheless, it is certainly incumbent upon us to believe that God exists, that He is Truth; and that the plan of salvation is for us. This is what Dr. Rock was saying.
 
I’m sorry that this is foolishness to you.
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
Regarding RonCorson's – Why not be like the Greek Orthodox and hold to no explanation other then the atonement is complete.
 
The first reason not to be like the Greek Orthodox and the other Eastern Orthodox churches is that they pray to the dead and the 'relics' of the dead are used as intercessory charms to act on behalf of sinners: much similar to Roman Catholicism. Secondly imagine how much more attacks would come from EGW critics for not having adequate explanations and documented doctrinal beliefs. In the simplicity of the plan of salvation can be seen the complexity of God. All true religion is that which comes from God and is revealed by Him to man. It's always on His terms not ours. This concept is foreign to modern first world man it seems as they want to be in charge and call the shots: but God says to them, "How 'bout no"! This they can't handle and then start their attack on His church.
 
I see this whole argument as a 'catch 22' for Adventists who believe in the special revelation found in the spirit of prophecy writings. They have a strong belief system and sound biblical teachings which as a result attract disbelievers who need a crutch to defend their rebellion against God. No man can and has ever been able to disprove God. There’s just not enough logic in the pool of logic to do this: the finite cannot logically comprehend the workings of One who is infinite, and who transcends time and space but still found the time to die on the cross to pay the ransom for all of us. That is the only true freedom that will satisfy man.
 
Maybe critics should start asking God for the answers instead of a church they discredit and disbelieve. Why on earth would the search for answers be in a church perceived as false by critics? Go and ask God! That's what we all have done and God has touched our lives and hearts and given us forgiveness and strength to overcome sin through His righteousness which we receive by faith. If one looks for a religion that excludes any element of faith then there would be no religion found.
 
What I do find though as a signature left behind by critics is that in their effort to discredit Ellen White and real Adventism, they slowly attack and erode the very teachings of the Bible with individualistic popular easy on the ears of sinners theories. This is where God will step in and remove those stumbling blocks that stand in the path of sinners coming to God.
 
I wonder what answers you would get from God.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
Do these sound like the same ideas:
 
 
However, regarding the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation, I will quote/paraphrase the great Dr. Calvin B. Rock, to wit: if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls.
 
 
 
While it is certainly our privilege to know and understand the meaning of the plan of salvation, redemption, reconciliation, and atonement—we cannot fully comprehend and appreciate it.
 
While it is certainly our privilege to know and understand the nature of the Godhead— we certainly cannot fully comprehend and appreciate infinite and un-derived wisdom, power, and love; nor the concept of a triune God.
 
 
I suppose if it sounds good at one time it does not matter what you say the next time. the first one "if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds;"
 
Challened then it become we can understand it but not fully comprehend and appreciate. As if fully comprehend is the same as understand.
 
The sad thing is this is how TSDA's work always changing the meaning. If EGW has a wrong prophecy such as the food for worms prophecy they simply change the meaning, ignore the context. Just as we see here the first time we can't even try to understand or we lose our mind then it becomes we can't fully comprehend. But yet to the TSDA they both someone are the same. Though of course to anyone looking objectively they are completely different.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
RonCorson,
 
Does knowing and understanding that your eyes are made for seeing, or that your ears are made for hearing, or that your heart is made to pump blood, or that your kidneys serve a purifying function, necessarily make you as capable of explaining how any of these body parts function as would an ophthalmologist, an otolaryngology specialist, a cardiologist, or a nephrology specialist? Would knowing that your brain is used for thinking and autonomic bodily functions make you a neurologist? Does knowing and understanding that a BMW is “The Ultimate Driving Machine” qualify you to work on one? Knowing and understanding that a much heavier than air jet can fly is not the same as comprehending how it is aerodynamically possible for it to do so.
 
Knowing and understanding that something is a reality or has functional capacity is not the same as comprehending (or fully comprehending) the details of how it works.
 
Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 laffal says:
 
Ron,
 
Just a point of clarification in regards to your assessing EGW erring about the "food for worms." Notice:
 
I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: "Some food for worms, [SISTER CLARISSA M. BONFOEY, WHO FELL ASLEEP IN JESUS ONLY THREE DAYS AFTER THIS VISION WAS GIVEN, WAS PRESENT IN USUAL HEALTH, AND WAS DEEPLY IMPRESSED THAT SHE WAS ONE WHO WOULD GO INTO THE GRAVE, AND STATED HER CONVICTIONS TO OTHERS.] some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus." {1T 131.3}
 
If you read the quote carefully, EGW is reporting what the angel said. Now I realize that's opening another can of worms. We would have to conclude / consider that angels are not infallable. Next.
 
Peace

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
laffal said:
 
 
We would have to conclude / consider that angels are not infallable
 
 
LOL, yes we can't trust angels after all they are messengers of God and Ellen White is a messenger of God and she is often wrong so why not have angels that are often wrong as well.
 
Brilliant!
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
I wonder if Jonah had similar problems with his wrong prophecies. Did the Jews just change his meaning or did they ignore his context?
 
"Jonah is a false prophet! Jonah is a false prophet!"
 
No wonder he just wanted Ninevah to burn!
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 laffal says:
 
Ron,
 
Wasn't seeking brilliance. The question is, what EGW records as an angel spoke to her, leaves us with one of two possibilities. 1) EGW was mistaken when it comes to being spoken to by an angel, or 2), she actually wrote that which was spoken by an angel. Many would line up to emphatically choose #1 as the only option to consider. While option #2 takes a little more thought to consider, because if in fact she reported what an angel said, did the angel make a mistake, or was there some very good reason to come to the conclusion so stated? It's easy to take pot shots and EGW, but can we be sure that we understand, and know what we can to determine what actually took place that led to the "food for worms" statement? Or are we speaking to those things that we really don't understand?
 
I'm amazed at how easily / freely we impugn folks integrity.
 
If anyone thinks he knows something, he has not yet learned it as he ought to know it. (1 Corinthians 8:2)
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:
 
When any human makes a prediction that does not come true, we do not claim that an angel told them wrong; but she or he alone is in error. Forget someone who claims God or an angel, or even the Devil told them something. The individual alone is responsible for a prediction to have been in error. Don't blame an angel, but the individual who alone made a claim, a claim that can never be substantiated.
 
It is the people who truly believed her that were gullible. "Fool me once….."

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 laffal says:
 
Elaine,
 
Can you say without equivication that EGW did not hear the angel tell her what she wrote? Are you saying that EGW resorted to fables and fiction? I'm interested to know why it is you think that I should choose to follow your line of reasoning over hers? Or are you just bashing that which you yourself really don't understand?
 
Peace
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
What is so funny about this is that if we use Laffal's system we could say well an angel told the author of the book of Daniel the 2300 evening and mornings. So why not just assume that the angel got the numbers wrong. That would explain the 1844 disappointment. And through all of this we Progressive Adventists are accused of devaluing the Bible. When here is Laffal telling us that not only is it possible for the human messenger to be wrong but we have to worry about the angel who gives the messenger the wrong information.
 
The Bible tells us to test the prophets not the angels, because of course you can't possibly test an angel.
 
So let's ask Laffal a question. Was the angel that gave EGW this wrong information from God or was it an evil angel? Since we seem to not be allowed to say that the human messenger could be wrong then lets ask was she simply deceived and if she was deceived whether knowingly or unknowingly would she not in fact end up being a prophet of satan rather then a prophet of God?
 
You seem to have the same short sighted view as Stephen in not thinking about the logical consequences of your theory.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 11th, 2011 laffal says:
 
Ron,
 
Shortsighted? My only point is this, you nor I, muchless anybody else can emphatically say that EGW got it wrong when she reported, "the angel said", and therefore elicited a false prophecy. In my mind, logic determines that I reserve judgment upon that which I can not clearly understand because I was not there, nor was I apart of the situation / circumstances in which the statement was made. Logic dictates that it is never safe to assume a conclusion based on incomplete information. Logic also will lead me to be humble enough to be lead to see / know what the truth is that I may be blessed by it.
 
Anybody can take crackpot shots at EGW, and anybody else they don't agree with, for whatever the reason, she's not here to defend her self. Not that she would anyway. There's more then enough written by her to understand the issues that surrounded the "food for worms" statement, but when one has closed their minds to hear someone out completely, all one is left with is their assumptions.
 
My question back to you is, do angels have minds that are free to think, assess, and conclude reasonably?
 
Peace

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Tom says:
 
Erv
 
Your point in your original posting about the length some EGW apologists will go is well taken, and has stirred up the usual hornets nests of point-counter-point controversy among participating commenters that have followed. Perhaps that was the intent of your launching this particular blog.
 
I have refrained till now on jumping into this fray because I have already stated where I am at with EGW, so anything I would add would only be redundant. I am neither a blind apologist nor an unabashed critic like yourself.
 
The question that begs to be asked is this, what is the profit in all this sword fencing going on here? At the end of the day have we advanced the kingdom of God or just added another chapter in the saga of being an ecclesiastical debating society to onlookers?
 
Erv, you are a smart man, but altogether too pradictable. A critic can find some chink in the halo of an fallible human being, including Bible writers, and make hay out of it. My challenge to you right now is to find something of substance in the works of EGW that you can comment on in a very favorable light, and switch side for a change on the EGW debate on at least something. Now that would really blow everyone away! Right now my money is betting on the other horse in the race with the jockey who thinks you can't do it. Prove me wrong.
 
Regards,
 
Tom
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:
 
RonCorson,
 
Is there now a discernible difference, to your way of thinking, between acknowledging the reality or understanding the meaning or purpose for something (like the plan of salvation or the Godhead), and understanding or comprehending everything there is to know about that reality (like the plan of salvation or the Godhead)?
 
If the examples/analogies that I presented do not convey the difference between knowing or understanding the meaning or purpose of a given thing and comprehending the entire functioning processes of that same thing, perhaps, in your mind, there is no difference.
 
If this is the case, can you say that you fully comprehend (understand) everything there is to know/understand about the plan of redemption and the Godhead? If not, do you know of anyone who does? If so, why are you wasting your time with us mere mortals?
 
Stephen Foster
 Adventist Today blogger
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Jude3trustee says:
 
Alethia One would think, that with examples such as have been cited in this discussion (e.g. Elisha, the disrespectful children and the bears: BTW were they roughed up or killed?) some would be a bit more reticent to cast aspersions upon the recent late messenger of the Lord.

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
Stephen there was nothing in the quote/paraphrase that said understand in the totality of everything. That is your fiction used to make the quote seem reasonable. Good Grief there is not one thing in this world we understand everything in the totality about. Have a little sense man, stop playing grade school games.

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
Laffal asks:
 
 
My question back to you is, do angels have minds that are free to think, assess, and conclude reasonably?
 
 
In fact we know next to nothing about angels. all we have is what the Bible references, holy, messengers. If your understanding of a human prophets is built upon understanding of angels which we have not seen and are not part of the known world you are logically flawed. Because supernatural beings and human beings are completely different that is why one is called supernatural the other is mortal, human just like us.
 
Though I do understand your question because when you read Ellen White she has the angels in heaven as a pretty blood thirsty bunch hoping that God is going to kill everyone in the flood etc. Her angels did not know the Son was even equal to the Father, or as the Bible puts it One. So you assume angels to be temperamental and rather foolish creatures that might come down on their own to tell EGW a message which is untrue but who at least one of her listeners things is true and referring to herself. But of course if God lets stuff like that happen we are pretty much screwed because we would never really know if a message was really from God or not if there was even a remote chance that an angel was involved in delivering the message. But one thing for sure is you could never again test a human prophet because all they would have to say is the angel told me wrong.
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Jude3trustee says:
 
Alethia
 
So often we preach from a limited persepctive, as is evidenced in the discussion regarding "God's hit" on the children who disrespected Elisha. (Some would question if God would really have instructed the Israeli theocracy that incorribible children should be stoned. Where does one stop or end up once he or she takes it upon self to discard large parts of Scripture as uninspired? Unbelief leading to perdition is the route often traced–a dear loved one recently said, "I would be willing to believe Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world, if I didn't have to believe everything in the Bible." Those who would undermine others' faith in the Scriptures will one day face a bitter harvest–Matt. 18:6.) That being said, take a moment to read Ellen White's take on what happened and what was at stake with the perverse children and the bears:
 
The idea that we must submit to ways of perverse children is a mistake. Elisha, at the very commencement of his work, was mocked and derided by the youth of Bethel. He was a man of great mildness, but the Spirit of God impelled him to pronounce a curse upon those railers. They had heard of Elijah's ascension, and they made this solemn event the subject of jeers. Elisha evinced that he was not to be trifled with, by old or young, in his sacred calling. When they told him he had better go up, as Elijah had done before him, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. The awful judgment that came upon them was of God. After this, Elisha had no further trouble in his mission. For fifty years he passed in and out of the gate of Bethel, and went to and fro from city to city, passing through crowds of the worst and rudest of idle, dissolute youth, but no one ever mocked him or made light of his qualifications as the prophet of the Most High. This one instance of terrible severity in the commencement of his career was sufficient to command respect through his whole life. Had he allowed the mockery to pass unnoticed, he might have been ridiculed, reviled, and even murdered by the rabble, and his mission to instruct and save the nation in its great peril would have been defeated.  {5T 44.2}   

I for one am grateful for the amplification, magnification, and application of the Scriptures provided by the Spirit of Prophecy; so that in a world where skepticism and every wind of doctrine abound, and where apparently some have adopted a life's mission of undermiing and destroying in others, especially SDA's, any semblance of faith in the Scriptures or an immanent God, we have such a "power boost" with which to maintain, and better understand, the faith once delivered to the saints.

 


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:
 
I have noted that no one has actually disputed the fact that these remarkable prophetic occurrences predicted by EGW in Gilbert's compilation "did occur and were fulfilled", however distasteful the unfolding of it was to some. The outcome of these predictions did come true after all.
 
No man or woman can foretell the future unless God reveals it to them.

 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 RonCorson says:
 
Now take the time to compare what an LDS believer believes about his prophet. Interestingly there are probably more predictions they see as fulfilled then EGW had. But in any case when you are dealing with prophets you can't ignore the other churches and their prophets. Do your objections against their prophet also work against your prophet. Do you apply the tests objectively to both of them.
  
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Brian Holland says:
 
The question is, what tests do you use?
 
There are lots of Bible tests that people use for prophets. I have seen lists with up to 9 different qualifications but I find that they boil down to the following four criteria:
 
1. A True prophet must have supernatural phenomena that is independently verifiable. I don't have to take the prophet's word for things. (Like who saw Joseph Smith's Golden Plates?) God gives the prophet their credentials. This can take many forms: Very clear fulfilled predictions, physical phenomena like Moses had, physical phenomena like Daniel did, birth phenomena like John the Baptist did, etc. The variations on this theme are endless. If the supposed prophet has no phenomena, then you can stop right here and not move to test #2. The prophet is either a fraud or is deluded. (Remember, Satan can do very real supernatural phenomena too! All you know if they pass this test is that there is a real supernatural event happening, but you still don't know it's source. Think Pharaoh's magicians here.)
 
2. A true prophet must go along with previous prophets. If you get a message of "I am better than the previous prophets (ie the Bible). My messages are more reliable, etc." then run away fast. Joseph Smith and Muhammad fail this test. This test can take awhile to verify. Often false prophets can start out sounding good and then move farther and farther from previous revelations. (Ever heard about Margaret Rowen?) A true prophet will point to the previous prophets and direct the readers to trust the previous prophets. Isaiah 8:20
 
3. A true prophet's message will produce only good fruit in the consistent follower, although a true prophet's life may be personally very faulty (think Abraham and David here). Good fruit is: Loving God more, trusting God more, trusting the Bible more, more obedient to God and His Word, loving others more. A false prophet will yield bad fruit: It will give one or more of the following results: Mistrust of God's Word, disobedience to the Word, a drawing to oneself. One common theme of false prophets is: Give me your money, your allegiance and/or your women!
 
4. A true prophet cannot choose to be a prophet or to have a message. It isn't voluntary. In fact, many prophets didn't want to be prophets. (think Moses and Jeremiah here) However, a true prophet can ask God a question in prayer and God can choose to respond in a prophetic way (think Habakkuk).
 
I have seen many false tests set up by people that the Bible doesn't endorse:
 
False tests:
 
1. Moral perfection and consistency in the prophet's life.
 
2. Being male
 
3. Originality of material
 
4. Technical perfection of the prophet's material
 
5. Doctrinal or Biblical agreement with the critic.
 
6. Poverty
 
I hope that this is helpful!
 
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 klriley says:
 
One of the problems with prophetic tests is that, if you simply list the ones the Bible gives and tick each off for prophets in the Bible, no one actually passes all the tests. I don't know that they would fare any better under your list.
 

Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 aklym says:
 
Art
  
Brian Holland wrote:
 

"What is remarkable about what she has in her health writings is what she wrote…and what she left out that promoted by her contemporaries."

Is this meant to imply that she was given insight by god as to what to leave out from the materials promoted by contemporary health reformers? Perhaps god might have known enough to lead her away from phrenology, to realize that tea is a healthy drink instead of a poison as she claimed, that coffee is for many people a healthy drink in moderation, and that masturbation does not cause insanity (that is unless you are foolish enough to believe a supposed prophet who claims it does.)


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 12th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

RonCorson,

I’m sorry that this is childish, or nonsensical, or foolish to you; but it is quite a serious matter in my opinion. There are a number of things about which there is a total understanding. These things of course are generally, if not always, man-made. If man invented or manufactured a thing, it CAN be TOTALLY understood by the designer or fabricator. I’m sure the designers and manufacturers of my car have a complete understanding of it, and how/why it works.

The paraphrase/quote obviously presupposes that those who hear it or read it have awareness and basic understanding of what the plan of redemption is and what it's designed to accomplish. How can you believe something (which the latter part of the paraphrase/quote suggests you must) about which you have heard nothing or of which you have no basis for knowledge or familiarity? The paraphrase/quote directly and simply implies that the process of comprehending it is literally mind boggling (as in “lose our minds”); whereas not believing it is literally not a viable option.

You have implied that this is somehow a peculiarly Adventist opinion; perhaps because Rock is an Adventist, or because I am an Adventist, or perhaps Adventism has frustrated or angered you—or maybe because you did not read the original post carefully; who knows? You have also indicated that I have tried to change the meaning from your original interpretation, when all I have done was define “understanding” as more than a knowledge and awareness of the existence and purpose of a thing, in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to provide clarity to what seemed self-evident.

For what it’s worth, looking back on the posts, I suppose I could have emphasized the words “meaning” and “nature,” as in “know and understand the MEANING of the plan of salvation” and “know and understand the NATURE…;” but not even this was sure to have been effective, as you were determined to interpret the paraphrase/quote in the narrowest possible context, when in a sermon to Christians—the context from which it was actually extracted—it was obvious that the audience knew and understood what the plan of redemption and the Godhead were, from a definitional standpoint, from the very outset.

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

kriley:

"One of the problems with prophetic tests is that, if you simply list the ones the Bible gives and tick each off for prophets in the Bible, no one actually passes all the tests. I don't know that they would fare any better under your list."

Sir, that is an assertion that simply doesn't stand up to the data. John the Baptist doesn't stand up to these tests? John the Revelator? Come on man! Which tests do they not pass?

There are some prophets especially in the OT that their passing test #1 is simply not listed in the biblical record, but it is evident that their calling was clear enough for the people of that time to see them as valid.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Yes, He did lead her away from phrenology (she condemned it — RH Feb. 18, 1862, MR 666) although personally she experimented with it with her boys earlier on her own.

Tea and coffee are addictive and could I say, enslaving, substances. Caffeine is endorsed by some researchers as fine and by others as harmful. Personally I will go with the "Little Lady" with the good track record. If you like tea and coffee then I imagine you will go with the data you like.

Ahhh… masturbation! I really wonder why something so morally corrupt and so addictive is constantly defended by the attackers of Ellen White…

How can her critics say with such all-knowing authority that the cause/effect relationship between masturbation and mental illness is non-existent? How long and how difficult was it to "prove" that something as straight forward as lung cancer was caused by smoking? If that was the case with something so clear, how difficult would it be that a masturbation/mental illness link would be established scientifically? Especially when she says that the effect of masturbation is not the same on all minds! Evidently it doesn't cause evident mental illness in all minds.

Again, this is a poor attack. The jury is still out at the most for their case. And this is the best that they can do attacking her health record? How about taking where she was over a hundred years ahead of the scientific realm in her recommendations? (Could this be the same with masturbation? Tea? Coffee? I find that where there is a strong financial or desire interest the data is often skewed.)


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Scientists have always been divided regarding the harmful effects of caffeine laced beverages like tea, coffee and coca cola etc. This would include green tea which also contains caffeine. Second to water, tea is the most common drink on the planet so you know who will keep funding research to protect their interests. Here's a link with some information regarding the effects of caffeine allergy and research references: https://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html

So, does the use of tea, coffee, tabacco, alcohol and caffeine laced beverages make the difference between traditional Adventism and the matured neo-psuedo Adventists? Is that what it boils down to? Is that the reason for a total onslaught on Ellen White? To allow the use and practice of these.

Self sex or self abuse was included as a destructive practice that Ellen White warned about and also admonished many married men about. With all the crazies in this world one wonders where it all starts. Immorality almost always produces some sort of madness.

With critics like these, Ellen White doesn't need any apologetics!


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 aklym says:

Art

Trevor, do a search of EGW's writings and read all that she said about tea. Set aside your preconceived notions about her alleged inspiration. Weigh what EGW said against we know about tea today. A fair reading leads to the inescapable conclusion that she was simply wrong.

Of course, any drink or food can be harmful if overused. As can any practice. I suggest that the total and complete fixation on thoughts of god, as demonstrated in the brain-injured prophet, is also harmful leading to a life devoid of balance and joy.

It appears that nothing Ellen White said, no matter how absurd, can change the views of the SOP apologists.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Hahaha… if not drinking tea takes all of the joy out of life, then you need to get a life! 🙂

Excuse me, but if you read all of the literature on caffeine, I come to a different conclusion.

Yes, tea has some good things, but it also has some bad things. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil had some good with the evil.

Do you remember that EGW used tea for medicinal purposes, just not as a dietary beverage?

Take away your hostility towards EGW and you will have a richer, better, healthier life!


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

aklym

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. The 'tea-attack' strategy to discredit her writings is an old argument that basically holds no water. Modern science even today is still inconclusive and hasn't really proven her wrong. Ellen White critics will always back the science that says tea is healthy yet knowing full well that caffeine is a harmful substance affecting one physically and spiritually.

Ellen White was spot on with regards to tobacco, alcohol and tea abuse, to name a few…

Your derogatory remarks regarding Ellen White is forgiven if you are on a caffeine high! We understand what mind-altering drugs can do.

Trevor


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

It appears that nothing EGW says, no information given, no support no matter how reasonable, can assuage the critics…

Satan is . . . constantly pressing in the spurious–to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony.– Letter 12, 1890. {1SM 48.3}

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.– Letter 40, 1890. {1SM 48.4}

What is it like to be a fulfillment of prophecy?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 RonCorson says:

I am only responding again to this because it shows how your understanding is so limited. You write:

I’m sorry that this is childish, or nonsensical, or foolish to you; but it is quite a serious matter in my opinion. There are a number of things about which there is a total understanding. These things of course are generally, if not always, man-made. If man invented or manufactured a thing, it CAN be TOTALLY understood by the designer or fabricator. I’m sure the designers and manufacturers of my car have a complete understanding of it, and how/why it works.

This to your mind shows that man has total understanding of something. Your example that the aggregate of a multitudes of manufacturing people in all kinds of different specialties indicates that a single "finite mind" can also understand the total of something is just silly. It is also completely wrong when you consider that even if there was something invented by a single person he would necessarily understand all the totality of ways it could be used or misused.

I do think I see the problem when you say "I'm sure" you don't take the time to actually think about what you are sure about. Very likely you have equally misunderstood the alleged quote/paraphrase. But that you try to defend this so hard tells me a lot about your thinking.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 RonCorson says:

I could not find the quote on a internet search but did find this:

I heard a highly skillfull preacher, the former President of the then Oakwood College, Dr. Calvin Rock say, “if you try to explain it, you'll lose your mind and if you don't believe it, you'll lose your soul.” I hope I have done justice to the quotation. https://pentecostwo.com/THE_C.I.A.html

Here is Stephens version:

However, regarding the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation, I will quote/paraphrase the great Dr. Calvin B. Rock, to wit: if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls.

It could well be that neither one of them knows what they are saying or has the quote or paraphrase correct. Either way the statement is poor because it juxtaposes the idea of trying to explain and/or understand something with the loss of ones mind. Which is pretty clearly a hyperbole. Then it moves to if you don't believe it you lose your soul. With it appears that the loss of the soul is not meant to be compared to the hyperbole of losing ones mind.

Trying to explain it to a dim mind or someone so sure of themselves could figuratively drive one crazy. in the common metaphor we use of crazy today as something really annoying and frustrating.

But that is all I will say on the subject unless someone actually shows me the accurate quote. For now we can take it as a lesson in the confusion of the minds of those who don't think to critically.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Ervin Taylor says:

It is a continuing source of wonder to me how one simple blog on one subject can spawn such a plethora of reactions going into so many directions. But I guess that is the genius of the human brain/mind.

For example, a blog about the strange antics of EGW apologists got us to a discussion of the Christian Trinity. Is the connection that EGW and her husband started out as Arians and then she changed her mind?

I wanted to respond to Tom about never having anything good to say about EGW. That is simply incorrect.

In my view, Ellen (can I call her Ellen?) was absolutely sincere in what she said and did. For example, she obviously had what she, but more importantly the people around her, called "visions" and she believed that they came directly from God. From whereever they came, they were vivid and she remembered a lot of what she had viewed and felt and heard (and she reported also things she remembered smelling) while in these out-of-body experiences. (It seems to me that there is absolutely no evidence of her being a conscious fraud. Let's take that off the table as completely untenable. However, may I suggest that we still need to known more about the role of her early brain injury in all of this.)

Ellen seems to have had a very emotionally sensitive, perhaps neurotic, but certainly a histrionic personality. (I wish someone who knows well the personality profile literature would write a straightforward description of her personality characteristics–perhaps using the Myers-Briggs taxonomy or some other well-regarded typology.)

Regretfully, there were people around Ellen who turned her into an oracle. Since she was human (obviously!), she usually went along with that especially in her younger years. What insecure teenager or young woman in 19th century America could resist being the center of attention with adults hanging on your every word?

Since she was human, she held to and expressed some opinions and adopted positions that were simply wrong from a factual perspective. She held and advocated some ideas that need to be forgotten, or quoting a recently deceased General Conference president referring to some another point of view, "put [some of Ellen's views] into the dust bin of [Adventist] history".

However, may I submit that she did come to hold and advocate some ideas that contributed to creating a faith community with some very helpful concepts that merit continued support and advocacy if we could ever disentangle them from a fixation on sectarian and apocalyptic themes. None of them are original, but that's not the point.

For example, her "God is Love" theme has much that has been and can be expanded upon. Her view that physical and emotional or psychological (Ellen called it "spiritual") health are directly related has great merit. "Her rejection of the idea of the eternal burning Hell should be more appreciated. Also, her rejection of the idea that humans have separate eternal "souls" should certainly be celebrated.

I continue to suggest that the problem with Ellen is primarily how her apologists have used her. At the same time, this does not let her off the hook for some unfortunate things that she said and did. But, in my view, they pale into relative insignificance when we see the uses to which her words have been put by those whose motives were not as pure as Ellen's–at least most of the time. Also, we need to compare how she expressed certain ideas in comparison how these same ideas were being expressed by contemporaries.

All of these kinds of comments are obviously premature and tentative until we get a thoroughly scholarly, non-apologetic, comprehensive biography of Ellen. We don't have that as yet. There are some excellent major scholarly works (e.g., Numbers "Prophetess of Health" and the Bull and Lockhart "Seeking a Sanctuary") but they don't pretend to be a comprehensive treatment of Ellen's religious career.

The forthcoming volume on her containing chapters by both Adventist and non-Adventist scholars is being edited by distinguished American religious historians and should provide some additional data from a number of perspectives that will allow us to be able to put her much better into the theological, historical, and cultural contexts of her place and time. We should then be able to ground our views about her on a more nuanced and objective basis.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

"Trying to explain it to a dim mind or someone so sure of themselves could figuratively drive one crazy."

Perhaps we have finally stumbled into partial agreement, or at least the reason for the disagreement. Personally, I might substitute “figuratively” with “literally,” and I would prefer not to classify any minds as “dim.” Other than that, I believe we’re onto something.

Thank you for actually taking the time to try to find this online. It may be that you can’t really explain something that isn't, or can’t be, understood; in which case the two versions are not far apart. I defend it because it is an important statement from an important individual.

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 klriley says:

@ Brian Holland

Take any list of specific 'tests' that a prophet must pass compiled from the Bible (you will find such lists in numerous SDA publications), and then 'test' the Bible prophets by it. By insisting on taking into account 'conditional' prophesies, etc, you can gain a passing mark for each, but if applied literally, then the major prophets almost all fail on the issue of "if what the prophet prophesies does not come to pass, they were not sent by God". We change the rules because we know they made it into the Bible, but what was there to tell the contemporaries of Ezekiel, for example, that his failed prohecies would be picked up and reinterpreted 500+ years later to apply to the end of the world? Prophecy is a much messier and complicated business than we want to believe. That is true of modern as well as ancient prophets.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 RonCorson says:

Stephen wrote:

"Trying to explain it to a dim mind or someone so sure of themselves could figuratively drive one crazy."

Perhaps we have finally stumbled into partial agreement, or at least the reason for the disagreement. Personally, I might substitute “figuratively” with “literally,” and I would prefer not to classify any minds as “dim.” Other than that, I believe we’re onto something.

No we are not anywhere close to partial agreement because you want to put literally drive one crazy instead of figuratively drive one crazy. Because I have never heard or read any reports of anyone being driven crazy by trying to explain something to anyone no matter how dim, bright or self righteous that person may be. So if there are not occurrences of something it is really poor reasoning to say that something like explaining something to someone can or will drive a person literally crazy.

I mean really, do you think about what you write?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

One premise of higher criticism of the Bible is that the supernatural is taken off of the table – the only explanations that are allow are the natural. Thus the miracles of the Bible are either myths or have a natural explanation that was merely exaggerated.

I find the same type of thing among some when it comes to "Ellen". Even though very clear supernatural phenomena was demonstrated and tested in front of many types of people — supporters, critics, enemies and skeptics, in many different locations and venues, that evidence is discounted as seizures, brain injury, mercury poisoning, you name it.

How can the following be these mental dysfunctions?

Not breathing for hours, yet maintaining normal skin color, bodily function, heart rate, etc.

Not blinking for hours, yet having no eye disability afterwards.

Being able to speak while in vision without exhaling

The joints being held so strongly so that the strongest men in the congregation cannot move them, yet at the same time the movements are free and graceful.

Her movements cannot be impeded by others yet it seems like it is without effort on her part.

Being able to point to and quote texts from the Bible which is held by her for hours outside of her range of vision.

These kinds of thing happened not just once or twice, but over and over!

Then after the open visions ceased, testimonies arriving that were sent months earlier arriving in the perfect moment.

Secret society signs given of which she had no knowledge.

John 20:27-29 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Jeremiah 18:5-10
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (6) O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (7) At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; (8) If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (9) And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; (10) If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

Local prophecies are always conditional. These apply to local Israel and Judah, specific people, etc. There are local prophecies that Ellen White makes as well. The "food for worms" prophecy is one of these. It applied to local people in that room.

Then there are apocalyptic prophecies that are unconditional. These apply to the first, second and third comings of Christ. There are clear differences between these two types of prophecies.

Daniel and Revelation (except for Daniel chapter 4) are examples of apocalyptic prophecies. The Great Controversy is also an example of an apocalyptic prophecy.

Testing local prophecies should always look for the conditional element to be fulfilled as to test the prophecy. If the conditional element is not fulfilled, then having the prophecy fulfilled would be a false fulfillment. Jeremiah 28:1-17 is a classic example of this.

Ezekiel's prophecy is local to Israel, although it may have an apocalyptic typology aspect to it as well. The local aspect would definitely be conditional on Israel's faithfulness. The apocalyptic typology, if present, would be unconditional.

This is not trying to get a prophet out of a hard place, it is common sense, unless one believes in predestination and the idea that God's sovereignty removes free choice and will. A false prophet would make a prophecy of blessing, and the people were disobedient and the blessing happened anyway, or a false prophet makes a prophecy of a curse, and the people repent and are obedient and the curse comes anyway.

Thus a prophet makes a prophecy that certain people will live to see Jesus come, but the people do not do what is necessary for Jesus to come, then for Jesus to come anyway would be the sign of a false prophet, not a true one. It is a fulfillment of the Jeremiah 18 principle.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

It is amazing that because of "reports" made more than 100 years ago and never substantiated, in fact some clearly reputed, only shows that what one desperately wants to believe, he will believe. There should be more proof than what "someone said." Who, when, what, and where were such events documented?

It might be good to read Ron Numbers "Prophetess of Health" to find the truth about "holding a heavy Bible for "hours" and pointing to texts. Of such myths true believers are convinced. For belief in such, how about a raffle for Golden Gate—real cheap!


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

RonCorson,

I guess it’s safe to assume that you didn’t “get it”?! By the way, are you angry, or have I offended you; or do I not “get it” and misread you?

Again, and perhaps finally, if anyone has the plan of redemption and/or the Godhead figured out, we should congratulate them and hope that they are sharing their unique knowledge and wisdom; and call it a day.

Peace, brother.

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

To Ron and Stephen, "Cool Hand Luke's famous message:

"What we have here is a failure to communicate."


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

I got out my copy of Prophetess of Health and searched for his comments about the Bible holding episodes. I couldn't find anything in the book. Maybe somebody could give me the page?

In searching I did find the following. Sometimes you need to read both sides and not just the critics. What account has be reputed? How would we have an account that wasn't over 100 years old? With Jesus the accounts are over 2000 years old. Never substantiated? There is plenty of evidence to support the claim. How much substantiation does one need? If one is determined not to believe, then no amount is enough.

Today it has become fashionable among the critics of Ellen White to call for a “demythologizing” of Adventists’ historic prophet. One critic in particular recently called for the burying of legendary tales involving “magic.”

Concerning stories of Mrs. White holding a large Bible for an extended period of time on her outstretched, upraised hand while in vision, this critic alleges that at the 1919 Bible Conference it was declared emphatically that the event never really happened, that no one had ever seen it; indeed, no one was even there to witness it! 48

If, however, we go to the transcript of the 1919 Bible Conference, 49 we notice, first of all, that the record has been substantially misquoted by the critic. We find General Conference President Arthur G. Daniells discussing the use of physical phenomena as “proof or evidence of the genuineness of the gift.” And he opposes such use as proof of legitimacy—a position the White Estate continues to hold today!

Instead, said Daniells, “I believe that the strongest proof is found in the fruits of this gift to the church, not in physical and outward demonstrations.”

Then, addressing more directly the question of the stories about Ellen White holding a large, heavy Bible on an outstretched hand while in vision, looking away from the pages, and yet quoting the texts to which a finger of the opposite hand pointed, Elder Daniells declared: “I do not know whether that was ever done or not. I am not sure. I did not see it, and I do not know that I ever talked with anybody that did see it.” 50

One does not need to look far to discover why Daniells had not witnessed such an event. This writer has uncovered four instances thus far where Ellen White held a Bible in vision: three times in 1845 and once in 1847. 51 Arthur Daniells was not born until 1858, at least 11 years after the latest recorded Bible-holding incident took place.

Research shows that physical phenomena was more characteristic of the earlier days of Mrs. White’s experience. Indeed, the last “open vision” of record took place at a camp meeting in Portland, Oregon, in 1884, only six years after Daniells entered the gospel ministry. 52

We should not be surprised, then, that Daniells never witnessed Mrs. White holding a large Bible in vision. He probably saw very few other manifestations of physical phenomena, which ceased shortly after he entered the ministry. Nor is it surprising that he had not met any contemporaries who had observed such phenomena—they were probably too young, too!

Some critics hold that the evidence behind at least two of the Bible-holding stories is not reliable because the stories were not recorded until 45 years after the events took place; and because they were written down by one denominational writer who was not a trained historian. While there may be some validity to this concern, the fact remains that the White Estate still holds in its vault an eyewitness account of the event, known to have been written sometime between 1847 and 1860. The observer was Otis Nichols, and the incident he reported took place during what was probably Ellen White’s longest vision, at Randolph, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1845.

During this vision, which lasted approximately four hours, Ellen Harmon (who was unmarried at the time) picked up “a heavy large quarto family Bible” and lifted it up “as high as she could reach.” The Bible was “open in one hand,” and she then proceeded “to turn over the leaves with the other hand and place her finger upon certain passages and correctly utter their words”—all this with her head facing in another direction! In this activity “she continued for a long time.” 53

Ellen White believed this account to be an accurate record of a genuine experience, because she quoted three paragraphs from it in an autobiographical account published in 1860. 54

Arthur G. Daniells never said that the event did not happen, as the critic alleges. Instead, he simply said that he didn’t see it and didn’t know anyone who had. However, had Elder Daniells (who was a member of the White Estate board of trustees) taken the effort to go to the vault and examine the documentary evidence that still is preserved there, he would have had no doubt about whether Ellen White ever held a Bible in vision, or about whether she breathed while in her open visions of the day. 55

We must emphasize at this point that the position of the Seventh-day Adventist church today is the same as it has always been. Physical phenomena are an evidence of supernatural activity, but it should never be used as a proof because Satan can counterfeit much of the work of the Holy Spirit. — Inspiration/Revelation: What It Is and How It Works pp. 49, 50

Early in 1845, while in vision at her parents' home in Portland, Maine, 17-year-old Ellen Harmon (later White) picked up their large family Bible and held it on her outstretched left arm for 20 to 30 minutes. The story was documented by J. N. Loughborough who interviewed those who witnessed the vision, including Ellen's father, mother, and sister. The Bible (on display at the Ellen G. White Estate) weighs 18½ pounds (8 kilos) and was printed by Joseph Teal in 1822. W. C. White, Ellen White's son, also reported hearing of the incident from his parents. There are other reports of Ellen White holding large Bibles while in vision, including an eye-witness account printed in Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, pp. 77-79.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Martin Schratt says:

Trevor Hammond asserts:

"No man or woman can foretell the future unless God reveals it to them"

Nonsense!

People in Las Vegas collect lots of money doing just that.

I, myself, can assure you that although Melakwa lake is currently completely frozen over today, by the end of August there will not remain so much as an individual ice cube anywhere on this lake.

I find that predicting the future is a tricky business which often involves some creative communications. The whole 2300 day prophesy is a great example. Does anyone really know with 100% certainty that 1844 was the end of the 2300 days? Of course not! And that is just the first of a long list of uncertainties. This means that the prophesy can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways. In fact when studing the NT one can see some rather novel interpretations of prophecy. Finding a detail in the story of the shepherd in Zec 11 to be a prophecy of the price for betrayal. Yet there is no similar interpretation of the prophecy that "three sheperds were 'cut off' in one month"

Even assuming that all that Loughborough's story is completely correct, what does that mean for us today? Does it guarentee that everything else she wrote is 100% reliable? That would be a strange conclusion indeed.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Eyewitness accounts even 150 years ago have always been an important factor that historians have had to use when documenting an account. Elaine, unless you and Dr Taylor invent a 'time travel machine' to go and see for yourselves, then we will have to deal with these faithful eyewitnesses.

Remember too that the way things were done then (150 years ago) in terms of studies, writing practices and eyewitness testimony were not the same as they are done today. But they were done nonetheless!

I guess now, as Dr Taylor suggests, we have to wait for the the modern day 'scholars' to make the decision regarding whether Ellen White is for real or a fake. Those Adventist historians, involved in the new study with some non-Adventist religious historians, are they from the "maturist Adventist" school of thought, or from the "19th century protestant rhetoric crowd"? Seems it may very well just boil down to the 'tea and masturbation' debate to determine whether God's gift of prophecy to the remnant church is authentic.

Ellen White writings have no credible peer even after her death yet Dr Taylor suggests that nothing in her work is original. I beg to differ! The accusation that because apologists are perceived to use her writings for the wrong reasons, Ellen White loses credibility, which to me, is not a plausible reason. I still think it is a matter of good old fashioned rebellion: but that's my opinion, I cannot judge the critics as they do Ellen White. So we put her on a judiciary platform to make a case against her and pass judgement on the counsels brought forth through her writings through the workings of the Holy Spirit?

Is that the "maturist" Adventist school of thought? Guilty, until proven innocent: then we believe? This debacle reeks of Desmond Ford school of thinking, who, I might add, may very well have been the founder of modern "maturist" Adventism. Scholars are important in the role they play in the devlopment and study of doctrine but must they first decide what God or his church should believe or do they provide the documented theology of this religious belief? While they have an important role to play in religion, are they the custodians of Truth? Should we believe only what they say? That is just absurd!


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 13th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

Elaine,

(You’ll appreciate this) I’m with you when you’re right, and you may never have been more right than now! LOL

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

Mr Martin Schratt

Were any of those LA fortune-tellers able to predict the recent US/Global economic crash and recession? That would have been a significant prophecy, don't you think? Even the Economic and Actuarial Science experts got caught off-guard on this one.

With regards to your 'ice melting' prophetic powers, I think it would have come in handy during the "Ice Age" that evolutionists speak of, a few million years ago? 😉

You refer to the 100% maxim on a number of issues: prophecy, certainty of dates, reliability and accuracy which demands a 100% answer. That I can't provide.

My faith in God and His word, the prophecies, and the edifying messages given to Ellen White, starts, for me, at the cross, where Jesus took 100% of my sins and redeemed me with His 100% precious blood; and I received His 100% pardon and His 100% righteousness by faith. Now for a chief of sinners, that’s 100% good enough for me. Now where’s my bible to check up on that Zechariah 11 problem you mentioned…


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Trevor Hammond says:

I must complement Dr Taylor on such a bold attempt to speak some ‘words’ on behalf of Ellen White after Tom seemed to have twisted his arm a bit. I must further complement him with regards to him been moderate in his ‘adding insult to injury’ words which I think for a die-hard critic is commendable.

He does however throw the baby out with the bathwater when blaming apologists for bringing disrepute to her writings. I know of occasions when her writings have been used incorrectly to attack others but this is uncommon and hardly valid grounds to remove her from the Adventism equation. I think the loathing of her writings has a more sinister plot to it…


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 RonCorson says:

Elaine, I am confused where is there a failure to communicate? Stephen declares: “regarding the Godhead and The Plan of Salvation, I will quote/paraphrase the great Dr. Calvin B. Rock, to wit: if we try to understand it, we will lose our minds; but if we don’t believe it, we will lose our souls.”

He then defends “try to understand it to mean”:

“In other words, finite human minds cannot fully comprehend The Godhead concept, nor The Plan formulated from the foundation of the world.”

Try to understand it now has become fully comprehend.

I then produced someone else’s version of the quote which instead of saying try to understand it, it was try to explain it. Stephen then responded that the lose you mind portion was not figurative but was literal. When I said:

"Trying to explain it to a dim mind or someone so sure of themselves could figuratively drive one crazy."

Stephen responded with:

“Perhaps we have finally stumbled into partial agreement, or at least the reason for the disagreement. Personally, I might substitute “figuratively” with “literally,” and I would prefer not to classify any minds as “dim.” Other than that, I believe we’re onto something.”

Which means Stephen personally would prefer to say: Trying to explain it to someone so sure of themselves could literally drive one crazy

So no, there is not a failure on my part to communicate, nor on Stephen’s part, I know what he is saying, I quoted what he was saying. The failure is that he makes no sense and uses some of the worst logic I have seen in Adventism and that is saying something, because as you know Elaine I have dealt with Eugene Schubert.

Simply put trying to understand is not the same as full or total comprehension and there are no instances of people literally going crazy from trying to explain things or trying to understand things.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Seminary student says:

Do so called "progresives " have a revelant message that I need to hear and help the church to understand ? Well , I think people like Ron Corson misuse and abbuse the word "progressive "I thik Seventh day Adventist should be progressives , and I beleive to a certain exent we have come a long ways .In the beginning of the movement , we did not accept the doctrine of the trinity .and some other areas that we have changed our views based on the "testimony of scripture ".And some others that we need to change , in some areas we have gone "backwards ". Seventh day Adventist was a youth led movement but nowadays the church is led by older people , women in the Adventist church were highly regarded , some even give evidence that we had " ordained Women " " conservatives " long for those years when the church was about 50 years and they say we need to go back , I don't think so . We are in the 21st century and there are certain things that won't work in our culture anymore . I believe that we need " biblical progressives " in the church so they can help us move our church forward . My point is , are " so called progressives " like Ron Corson going to help us move forward , as I said before we need "biblical progressives " but people like Ron wants to start a " revolution in the church " but not based on the bible but on Opinions . So I will ask again , Do progressives have a relevant message ? I don't think so . First of all , we need to move beyond the " irrelevant arguments " . If you don't agree with something , give me something better . If not then , I don't want it.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Stephen Foster says:

RonCorson,

Knowing how Elaine likes to comment on provocative issues under discussion, and knowing that she has monitored this particular “conversation” without really commenting, is somewhat intriguing, isn’t it?

In order to demonstrate that you have "fully comprehended" what I have attempted to communicate to you, you have chosen to distill our colloquy down to a few basic points; which is fine and understandable, except that it demonstrates that Elaine is right—we have not communicated very well— in that you are (permanently) convinced that 1) (trying to) "understand” means the same exact thing as “know(ing) what it is,” and that 2) you didn’t “get” (as in missed) that the remark having to do with “personally” substituting “figuratively” with “literally” when it comes to “EXPLAINING” either to “someone so sure of themselves” was part of a tongue-in-cheek poke at you.

The fact that you took that, uhm…literally, and ran with it was the straw that broke it for me (and perhaps Elaine) in convincing me (and possibly her) that we are not communicating effectively.

If you don’t “buy” or “accept” the premise or logic behind the paraphrase/quote, or if you don’t think that there is logic behind the quote, fine. We all don’t agree on everything. I can certainly accept that much.

Suffice it to say, that the plan of salvation and the Godhead/Trinity are both topics which have been grappled with by many for millennia. Rock and I contend that attempts to fully grasp and/or explain (try explaining something you don’t fully understand) either one will figuratively (if you prefer) drive one crazy. Whether you accept that or not is not important. What is important however is, if you don’t believe there is a Godhead or do not believe and personally appropriate the plan of salvation, you will imperil your soul. This is not traditional EGW/Adventism, it is basic “fundamental” Christian theology.

Call it what you will, take it or leave it; paraphrasing Bobby Brown, it’s your prerogative.

Stephen Foster
Adventist Today blogger


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 RonCorson says:

SS writes:

Do so called "progresives " have a revelant message that I need to hear and help the church to understand ? Well , I think people like Ron Corson misuse and abbuse the word "progressive "I thik Seventh day Adventist should be progressives , and I beleive to a certain exent we have come a long ways

I think I have a relevant message but I suspect people like you have never looked into it and so you often speak out of your own ignorance. So maybe you should inform yourself a little. Read my article on Progressive and Traditional Adventist.

And if you think I have no Biblical backing for my positions look at the other articles on my webpage or my blog.

It seems that you think that because I don't agree with your limited understanding that I have no Biblical reason for my understanding. There must be something about TSDA's that really pushes them to make completely foolish assumptions. Perhaps it is because they think they alone can be right even though they have no evidence or history of being proven right, but perhaps their standards of reason are so low that it is pointless to try and educate them, that at least is the way I am feeling now having read the contributions on this blog.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

Ron,

The first time I read Stephen's quotation of Dr. Rock, I thought it was both dumb and stupid, and still do. The fact that there was seemingly no comprehension of the meaning of this, and continued to use it was both astrounding and aggravating.

Your explanation was getting nowhere with him, which is why I said it was a "failure to communicate" meaning that unless one understands the reasoning, it is incompletely communicated. You were very precise, but it seemed that Stephen kept pushing the point. Maybe he is (or was) a fan of Calvin Rock?


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Elaine Nelson says:

Stephen, your insistence that the Godhead, or Trinity MUST be believed is one is to accept Christianity, has historically been the premise and major doctrine of the fhurch.

If even the Greeks, who were known for their excellent philosophical backgrounds were able to accept this on an experiential basis, and not by words written at Nicea, they wre on the right track, IMHO.

Such acceptance of doctrines: Hell, purgatory, even Heaven, have been major church doctrines with absolutely no evidence that they either exist or that they will be, at some future time.

This is why the old saying: "Park your brains outside the church door" as there will be many things taught that one should never question: "simply believe as we tell you what to believe.' This worked for most of the history of the Christian church. Since the Enlightenment and questions often proved that the church had made errors, questioners were either executed or excommunicated. When questions cease, no new knowledge is ever discovered.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 RonCorson says:

SS thanks for your Pastoral concern and wise judgments. I can see they have taught you well at Andrews University. (that is sarcasm Stephen, just so you are not confused).

What I have I done in my home churches? many things, in one church i instituted adult Sabbath school classes as that was an academy church when I got there they did not have adult ss class for some reason. Other places I have been involved in starting additional SS classes, I have been a co facilitator of classes. I started an evening soup and salad discussion group at one church. I have taught Junior SS classes and helped institute a Children's Church service program as well as served on nominating committees and chaired nominating committees and served on Adventist School board.Why I even submitted to various Pastors a plan for evangelistic services based upon the idea of introducing people to Christianity, called Christianity 101. Where you teach people the history and the various ways of understanding rather then the assumption that one particular church has it all figured out, let people see the ideas and feel confident that reason can best lead one to Christ rather then the certainty that one church has it all figured out.

By the way how can I hide in a blog which expresses my thoughts and uses my name? My blog does get about 1500 hits a month so hopefully it does stimulate some dialog somewhere but I grant it is not enough, I do wish Adventists were more reasoned and open to dialog but if you are any indication it is not something they teach at our Seminary.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 14th, 2011 Brian Holland says:

Incivility is unhelpful for scoring points for one's side.


Re: With Apologetics Like This, Ellen White Doesn’t Need …
On February 18th, 2011 Tom says:

Thanks Erv for your response to my challenge. I would have responded earlier but have been off line for several days. Like you I have problems with the way some apologists have used her writings, to push blind sided agendas. I have always been put off by the fanatics who fashion her into a battering ram in their zeal to flush out "heresy", what they see as "creeping compromise" and anything else that doesn't fit into their narrow antiquated paradigm. On that I believe you and I will find common ground.

But often I see you as picking EGW to pieces, or "Ellen" as your graciously called her in your response to me. Thanks for sparing me the outdated reference of calling her "Sister White". Ever notice how some of the fiercest Catholic bashers among us use a term that makes unsuspecting onlookers think she might be a nun? Enough of that.

I take my hat off to you. You can toss a bouquet once in awhile her way amidst all the usual brickbats.

As for your scratching your head as to how a simple statement as your blog started out can lead so far afield into other totally nonrelated subjects only goes to substantiate my claim that at times SDA act more like an ecclesiastifcal debating society. Come on Erv, you're loving every bit of it and you know it.

As for the super human manifestations of her standing breathless, holding an 18 lb. Bible in hand with arm outstretched, and quoting scripture as she pointed them out with the other hand, while looking straight ahead makes for good legend. Some claim Davy Cricket was the last man standing at the Alamo. Hmm, since all those inside that garrison were slain, but for exception of one woman and a black slave, who is to prove that was true.

My point is that to stake such claim that this proves she was a prophet from God makes for a weak leg to stand on. Magicians make it look like they can make someone float on air but that doesn't make it so.

If it's plagiarism that one has a problem with, look no further than the writers of the four gospels. Talk about word for word copying!!!

I also try to keep in mind what was going on at the time she penned some of her writings. Was it ever an eye opener to me to find out that at the time she wrote Great Controversy and much of her dire predictions about Sunday laws and persecution of untold magnitude that lie just beyond the horizon, there was a national campaign going on to enact a Sunday law at the federal level of the US government. The Blair Amendment, as it was called, was repeatedly introduced in congress by Senator Blaire, and lobbied for for much of the last part of the nineteenth century. Sabbath keepers were indeed arrested for violating Sunday laws that were enforced at more local levels during this time.

Now don't jump to the conclusion that I don't think the Sabbath will not be an important part of last day events and the fulfilling of prophecy. I just don't happen to think that SDA have it altogether in total on how everything will all play out in the end. Throughout human history man has tried in vain to put God in some kind of box of their own devising, only to find that the way of the Infinate is altogether beyond our ability to totally grasp with our finite minds. That is why we must have faith, which Paul begins the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11 by describing it as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. God gives us enough evidence of Himself for us to believe, which we in turn must have faith that if we follow His leading more will be revealed as we progress. As when one enters a train tunnel, if you walk on the tracks as you proceed, even though it may be dark inside, the substance you hope for is an opening leading out at the other end. The train tracks you are walking on is the evidence that there must be an opposite opening to this tunnel. Perhaps this is too simplistic an illustration, but to me one can either walk forward and stay on the track or step off it and wander around in circles in the dark and get nowhere.