Ellen G White – Refuted

Ellen-G_-White-pic

Below is the first post that I put together on Ellen White.  It is more of an overview of the reasons I rejected her as a false prophet when I was coming out of Adventism.  For the benefit of others I will keep it as is.  Since then I have compiled more comprehensive studies HERE.

I was never an avid EGW reader while I was SDA.  I knew a few handy EGW quotes and was familiar with the Church apologetics surrounding her.  If someone around me ever accused EGW of being a false prophet I usually knew what to say to stick up for her.

There are a range of SDA beliefs on Ellen G White. Some believe that she was a prophet in every sense that Isaiah or Jeremiah were and that every word she ever wrote was inspired by God.  Others will say that they believe her books were inspired but nothing else.  While still others only believe some of her writings were inspired but wont identify which.  Lastly, there are a few Adventists who don’t believe she is anything more than an author in a troubling time, that said they will not call her a false prophet.  I have met no current SDA who is willing to use those words on her.

The Bible says that we are to test prophets and prophecy.  The most objective means that we have to test a prophet is what the Bible has given us here:

 “And you may say in your heart, “How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?” When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deut 18:21-22 ESV

I think that this should be the verse that we use to test a prophet, its fair and objective. However, there are some that will assert that “when EGW was correct she was inspired and when she was incorrect it was just her own opinion”.  That is a fascinating assertion in and of itself and never one that I held, but lets look at what EGW said about her own inspiration so that we have a baseline.

“I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, It was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision-the precious rays of light shining from the throne.” (EGW, Selected Messages, bk. l, p. 27.)

It is therefore clear from her own pen that she taught all of her writings to be inspired. Logically that means I can test anything that she wrote down. This is a really big deal, as I remember many SDA would usually defend her by stating only the books were inspired but not her letters, this is because it is well known even in SDA that she contradicts herself many times in her letters.

That said, there are many failed prophecies that she wrote and many false teachings, however I am simply going to focus on the ones that convinced me personally that she was a false prophet.

She Prophesied that Old Jerusalem would never be built up

“I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. . . . I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing. . . . I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would bebuilt up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now, in the gathering time.” Early Writings, p. 75

Here is a picture of modern Jerusalem today in case you were not aware that it has been rebuilt:

Jerusalem-Temple-Mount

She Prophesied that the Door to Salvation and grace had been shut in 1844

For those of you who have never heard about the “Shut Door” vision please allow me to explain. It was the belief of the Millerites that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1844.  When this didn’t happen Ellen White had a vision where she was told that though the Second Coming had not transpired, the Door to Mercy and grace had been shut in 1844.  She was also told that the Second Coming would quickly follow.  However, as the years passed this vision became a point of embarrassment.    Ellen White even started flat out denying that she ever had such a vision and accused people of misquoting her.  When you read SDA apologetics those are the letters they will quote.

Below is a quote of a letter that she wrote in 1845, before the belief was unpopular, where EGW is clear about her position on the issue:

“At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had. . . . After I had the vision and God gave me light, he bade me deliver it to the band, but I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me. . . . The view about the Bridegroom’s coming I had about the middle of February, 1845, while in Exeter, Maine, in meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others. Many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand. . . . The Lord worked in mighty power, setting the truth home to their hearts. . . . Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut doorLetter B-3, 1847: Letter to Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847, White Estate.

The above prophecy is especially troubling because if true that would imply that all Christians today cannot be saved because the door to mercy and grace has been shut for ~160 years.

If you want to read more about the shut door prophecy please click HERE. There you will find copies of the original letters in her handwriting.  They can also explain more about this sorted issue if you desire to conduct further research on your own.

Disregarding the glaring Galatians 1:8 violation for just a brief moment, what we have here is a clear failed prophecy, there is no way to save this one. It wasn’t provisional at all, and it’s most telling that SDA apologists prefer to ignore it altogether.

Teachings on Geology and Volcanoes

“At this time immense forests were buried. These have since been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat, and causes earthquakes, volcanoes, and fiery issues. As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, there are heavy explosions underground, which sound like muffled thunder. The air is hot and suffocating. Volcanic eruptions follow; and these often failing to give sufficient vent to the heated elements, the earth itself is convulsed, the ground heaves and swells like the waves of the sea, great fissures appear, and sometimes cities, villages, and burning mountains are swallowed up.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 108-109

I am not a geologist, my entire education on such matters derives completely from a class I took in high school back in 2002.  But I seem to recall that volcanoes are due Lava rising to the surface of the Earth.  Ellen seems to think that the Lava is caused by coal mixing with oil and causing “fiery issues”.  Take this in conjunction with the fact that Ellen declared all of her writings to be inspired rays of light from the throne and you can see that SDA have a sticky situation here.

Amalgamation of Man and Beast

“But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p. 64.

“Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood, there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 4, p. 75.

When I mention the above to SDA today they generally are all over the map on what they think Ellen White meant by amalgamation of man and beast.  The problem is, SDA in her day interpreted this as the origination non-white races.  There is record of this in writing, Uriah Smith even attributed the amalgamation as explaining the existence of primitive races discovered in his day.  The fact is, Ellen White never corrected that racist interpretation of her words.  You be the judge.

Invasion of England

In 1862 she predicted that England would declare war on the North during the civil war:

“when England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion.” The result will be that “this nation [the United States] will . . . be humbled into the dust.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 259

This simply never happened.  SDA I have brought this up with will tell me that I need to replace the word “when” with “if” at the beginning of the above passage.  That is seriously their argument, the problem is that Ellen White didn’t use the word “if”, she used the word “when”.  I simply refuse to read otherwise, a prophets prediction fails or succeeds on its on merits.

Partial Atonement

Ellen White says

“It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom thesins of the truly penitent will finally be placed.” The Great Controversy, p. 422.

“As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins uponSatan, the originator and instigator of sin.” TheGreat Controversy, p. 485.

“Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 475.

The Bible Says

 

. . . and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed 1 Peter 2:24 ESV

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!John 1:29 ESV

The Seal of God

Ellen White Says

“The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8, p. 117.

“Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God.” TheGreat Controversy, p. 640.

“The seal of the living God is placed upon those who conscientiously keep the Sabbath of the Lord.” 7A Bible Commentary, p. 980.

 

The Bible Says

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation –having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Eph 1:13 ESV

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph 4:30 ESV

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Cor 1:21-22 ESV

The Deity of Christ

Below Ellen White teaches that Jesus Christ was a created being, made by the Father.

“The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind.” EGW, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 07-09-1895, “The Duty of the Minister and the People,” Par. 14.

In addition to that Ellen White taught that Jesus Christ was exalted to equality with the Father at some time after the creation of angels but before the creation of the world.

“The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor.” EGW, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 37

She even goes so far as to speak of a meeting in which Christ was exalted in his pre-incarnate state with angels present as witnesses.  For a full breakdown of this heresy in context please click HERE.

Plagiarisms

What bothers me with this is less the issue of plagiarism and more the issue of credibility.  Many times she would say “I was shown….” and then quote a author of her day.  The implication being that an angel had shown her something either in vision or plenary inspiration.  To me that is unacceptable, we don’t see Paul credit his quotes of the Septuagint to an angelic dictation.   I can only assume that she believed she could get away with lying about being a prophet.

“Parents are also under obligation to teach and oblige their children to conform to physical law for their own sakes. . . . How strange and unaccountable that mothers should love their children so tenderly as to indulge them in what they have occasion to know may injure their constitutions and impair their happiness for life. May many children be delivered from such mothers, and from such cruel kindness! . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . .” Philosophy of Health: Natural Principles of Health and Cure, by L. B. Coles (Boston: William D. Ticknor & Company. 1849, 1851, 1853, pp. 144-145):

“I was shown that one great cause of the existing deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love and indulge their appetite when they know that it will injure their health and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness. . . . They have sinned against Heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable. . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . . Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 141, 1872.

Ellen Whites Eats Oysters after the health message

Keep in mind the health message was alleged to have been received by vision in the year 1863.  To keep things fair evidence of her eating meat before that date would be off limits, but I have no problem pointing out contradictions of her doing so after 1863.

“Mary, if you can get me agood box of herrings, fresh ones, please do so. These last ones that Willie got are bitter and old. If you can buy cans, say, half a dozen cans, of good tomatoes, please do so. We shall need them. If you can get a few cans of good oysters, get them.” —Letter 16, 1882

“I do not preach one thing and practice another. I do not present to my hearers rules of life for them to follow while I make an exception in my own case….” —Selected Messages Book 2, p. 302. Letter 12, 1888.

This rabbit hole of Ellen White and meat eating actually goes a fair bit deeper, if you want more information please click HERE.

Ellen Whites Warning

One final note from Ellen G White, after this I only ask that you make up your own mind about where her visions came from.

“God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no half-way work in the matter. The testimonies are of the Spirit of God or of the Devil.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 230.

“If the testimonies speak not according to this word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 691.

About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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17 Responses to Ellen G White – Refuted

  1. chris says:

    I heard various teachings from SDA’s about the prophecy in the book Isaiah, about Nabukadineza{such kind of name} and the interpretation the dream{statue}.

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  2. chris says:

    I heard various teachings from SDA’s about the prophecy in the book Isaiah, about Nabukadineza{such kind of name} and the interpretation the dream{statue}.do have any view about it

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    • nursingninja says:

      I’m not super dogmatic on eschatology. I think it’s fun to study but I try not to take positions on it that forces a systematic theological framework from which to interpret other texts in any given way. This is because eschatological passages are by their nature unclear. And we are to interpret unclear texts with clear ones.

      That’s not what you asked though.

      In my opinion the stone not made by human hands that destroys the statue is Christ. More specifically his church. It’s a kingdom that arrives after Rome and fills the whole earth and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.

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  3. Kelly Otieno says:

    The true prophets are the major and minor ones published in the Bible…a part from that, trust none’s writings and prophecies for what matters is that Christ died for us and repentance of sin is the way to Salvation

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    • nursingninja says:

      Amen!!!

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    • nursingninja says:

      One of these days I plan on making a post on cessationism. I wouldn’t do it any justice if I tried now though. If you want to look into it yourself though I would recommend starting by listening to a lecture by Phil Johnson on this topic here: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GraceLife/~5/I_TQ_JJcK-k/417151222372.mp3

      I found that very helpful. When I first wrote this post on Ellen White I was unaware of the teaching on cessationism. So I tested her by the means given in scripture to test prophets and she failed quite miserably.

      Since then I have found the teaching of Cessationism quite comforting to be honest. I don’t have to fear any self proclaimed prophets and their witchcraft, or spend all my time testing them as I did Ellen. Just walk by faith in the Word.

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  4. Bob says:

    “I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up; ….”

    The expression “built up” was used at that time to refer to things other than rebuilding. The fact of the matter is that Jerusalem still hasn’t been built up in the sense she meant, because it still hasn’t become a big center for God’s work today.

    The documentation for this explanation was provided by F. D. Nichol in a book published in 1951. That’s 70 years ago now. But these quibbles keep getting recycled anyway.

    “She Prophesied that the Door to Salvation and grace had been shut in 1844.”

    Where? When? After Oct. 22, 1844, she did think that probation had closed, like the rest of the Millerites did, but that position was soon abandoned, and that was before her first vision in Dec. 1844. If after her first vision she believed it again, that was corrected by another vision in Feb. or March 1845.

    But what does that really prove? Peter (and most of the church at that point) thought the door of salvation was closed to Gentiles, it would seem, years after the cross. It was a vision that corrected his misunderstanding in Acts 10. So if Ellen White possibly holding such a view for a few months or so proves she was a false prophet, then Peter and the early church believing the same sort of thing would mean ….

    My biggest problem with quibbles like these is it plants seeds of doubt in people’s minds that can undermine their faith in the Bible and Christianity. And yet when people repeat these fallacious arguments, no warnings to that effect are attached. No explanations are given as to why the same arguments must apply to Ellen White but can’t apply to the Bible.

    Same thing about the plagiarism quibble. 14 of the 25 verses in Jude contain words and thoughts from 2 Peter, and both contain words or thoughts from the uninspired book of Enoch. Obviously, then, an inspired writer can use the words of others when expressing the divine thoughts God has given.

    But for some reason, when it comes to Ellen White, suddenly that sort of thing proves she’s a false prophet.

    Quite some time ago, someone wrote me asking for dirt on Ellen White. I expressed the concern that the same weapons unsheathed against Ellen White have been used against the Bible for centuries. He agreed, and proceeded to explain to me how certain, specific Bible stories had been plagiarized from earlier sources. He and I were obviously on different wavelengths. I don’t buy that sort of reasoning. For me, the Bible is the Word of God, and the final authority.

    But on this plagiarism quibble, note the words above, “The managers and teachers of schools …” I checked both books, and the sentences are so different, it’s obvious why the critic had to omit the rest of both sentences. And that’s something I’ve found repeatedly. If the passages in question are left as is, and not condensed or altered, the charge of plagiarism becomes pretty difficult to maintain. And so critics feel compelled to make the passages seem more alike than they really are.

    I think if you try, you’ll be able to find places in the Bible where one writer heard or was shown something, and some of the words that writer used to record it all were actually borrowed from another writer. Rev. 11:15 seems to come from Ps. 2, and I think that’s just fine. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Since it wasn’t until 1909 in the USA that making a derivative work without permission from the original author became illegal, it’s difficult to imagine how the similarities in wording critics give was somehow unethical or illegal at the time.

    One more thought on the “shut door.” Damsteegt’s book thoroughly documents that different Millerites meant different things by that term, including other things than a shut door of mercy for all sinners. So when one delves into what Ellen White believed on that topic and when, one must first determine what she meant by the term “shut door” in the passage under consideration.

    The quote given above, when referring to the “shut door,” is referring to the belief that the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 had ended on Oct. 22, 1844. Ellen White gave up that belief before her first vision, believed it again after her first vision, and continued to believe it to the day she died, even though she actively labored for sinners throughout her life.

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    • ACTheologian says:

      Reducing build up to some sort of spiritual sense only is kind of convenient wouldn’t you say?  Why can’t she just be wrong? Why does she need you to artificially narrow her words? Couldn’t she have said only in a spiritual sense if that’s what she meant? 

      Chilaism was a common belief back then which involved the physical restoration of Jerusalem and the return of the Jews to that area. She was most likely rebuking that. Today you know this view as premillennialism. Even that aside your argument is still wrong.

      Countless christians pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year. They worship there, people get baptized there, they receive communion where Jesus rose from the dead. It’s an amazing thing and God is certainly using it for spiritual good. Alot of building up in a physical and spiritual sense had to happen for that to occur. If God meant to tell her all that wouldn’t you concede there are better words he could have used?

      Ellen White was very clear on her meaning of the shut door in a letter she wrote to elder bates that was hidden by the church for over 100 years. It doesn’t include the retroactive continuity modification that you’re employing now. 

      You can read about that here

      https://actheologian.com/2016/02/21/the-shut-door/

      Comparing her to Peter is ridiculous. Peter wasn’t wrong, he was directed to take the gospel to the gentiles when God chose to direct him to do so. It says many places to the Jews first and then to the gentiles. Ellen White said God closed the door to salvation and then later employed a retcon years later when that obviously wasn’t the case. Read the letter. 

      The Bible writers quoted many texts in the manner that was normal at the time. Any scholar of the septuagint would instantly recognize the quote. Even if those books they quote are uninspired the apostles use of a quote means at least that part of said book is true. Ellen White doesn’t use the norms for quotation in her day. I’m not claiming she committed a crime as the laws were different back then.  But nevertheless I think we would agree that it’s disingenuous for her to say “the angel showed me…” And the proceed to copy something off a book in her library. If she meant to say the angel took the book off her shelf, walked it over, and pointed to a paragraph she could have made that clear could she not? Why hide that it would actually make it more interesting. And then we might all want to go buy that book. No instead she lets it center on herself doesn’t she? I wonder why…..

      Usually when people claim the Bible was plagiarized they are referring to a hack egyptologist from the 19th century who argued that the story of Horus is basically the same as Jesus. Nobody has been able to repeat his work because his interpretation of egyptian writings were likely made up. Seems alot of crazy teachings came out of that century wouldn’t you agree? There must have been a living in doing that back then.

      I don’t know what your friend is referring to. I can give you a video that covers more topics on the same thread if he meant something else.

      Again, I’m I’m referring to her early view of shut door. I see you’re circling back there. I do acknowledge that she retconned her teachings later. It just doesn’t line up with what she said to elder bates. Read that letter yourself and see. Keep in mind she said every word written down in any letter or any book was a precious ray from the throne. That’s the standard you must judge her by. 

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    • ACTheologian says:

      Forgot to say this in my initial reply and if I go back and edit it’s gonna mess up my paragraph structure and give you a wall of text.

      I want to thank you for your thoughtful comment. I enjoyed responding to it and I think readers will appreciate the apologetic back and forth. I wish you a nice day friend.

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      • Bob says:

        Thank you for allowing my comment through. Not everyone out there wants to permit an open dialogue back and forth, and so it is much appreciated.

        Regarding Jerusalem not being built up, on p. 67 of the 1842 third volume of Miller’s Works, William Miller said, “Although our Judaizing teachers tell us the Jews are to be built up again, I believe them not.” There is no way that one can conclude that that means the Jews were going to be physically rebuilt.

        So my point isn’t just a convenient explanation that surfaced several years or so after 1844. It’s based on an indisputable use of the phrase published two years before 1844.

        “Why can’t she just be wrong?”

        Whether one is talking about the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, that to me seems like an easy way out that could hinder one from discovering the correct answer. For example, in one place in Acts it says that those with Paul on the Damascus road heard the voice that spoke to Paul, and in another place it says they didn’t. One could just conclude that Luke made a mistake. But that’s the wrong answer, and thinking it’s a mistake will prevent one from even looking for the right answer.

        The right answer on that one has to do with a nuance in Greek that doesn’t come across in the English. It has to do with the ending of the word for “voice,” which determines what the case of the word is. With the verb for heard or hearing, if the object is in one case, it means you heard a noise, and if it’s in another case, it means that you heard with understanding. So the men with Paul heard a noise, but didn’t hear with understanding.

        And thus there is no mistake and no contradiction.

        In the case at hand, Millerites very strongly took the position that prophecy did not call for a return of ethnic Jews to Palestine. The British phase of the Advent awakening was different in that regard. Here’s another statement from p. 233 of vol. 1 of Miller’s Works:

        “As it respects the Jews return, I say there is not a text, promise or prophecy, written or given of God, which was not given before their return from Babylon, and I believe was then literally fulfilled.”

        Encyclopædia Britannica says this in its article on Jerusalem: “By the mid-19th century half of the city’s population was Jewish, and it was expanding beyond the walls.”

        Now consider that the statement in question was printed in Experience and Views in 1851, and then republished in Early Writings in 1882. Since Jerusalem was indeed inhabited, inhabitable, and growing when the statement was written, the alternative meaning for “built up” is in order.

        I’ll consider and respond to your other thoughts in the morning.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        I don’t think your statement holds at all for William Miller, but even it it did I’m not interpreting him I’m interpreting Ellen White. Not in Greek either but in plain English.

        The plainest understanding of William Miller and Ellen White is that they meant built up in the premillennial sense. That essentially means a Jewish ethnic state in Jerusalem which is self evidently the case, and it’s even self evident William Miller is talking about just that. That is what was lost in 70 AD and that is what was restored following World War II. To read it any other way requires a special pleading on your part and with respect I categorically deny you of that privilege if you’re gonna try to shop it here.

        Let me explain how I interpret Ellen White, I have a hermeneutical approach to her works and I’ll break it down for you.

        “I wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, It was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision-the precious rays of light shining from the throne.” (EGW, Selected Messages, bk. l, p. 27.)

        By her own words anything she ever wrote pen to paper is the inspired word of God, I understand she doesn’t actually call herself a prophet. She does say every word she ever wrote book or letter ( in context ) was a precious ray from the throne of God. I’m going to be charitable and assume she only meant books or letters that were religious in nature and exclude things like cooking recipes and shopping lists.

        Here is her whole statement in greater context, by that standard lets weigh it.

        “Then I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. Such a view is calculated to take the mind and interest from the present work of the Lord, under the message of the third angel; for those who think that they are yet to go to Jerusalem will have their minds there, and their means will be withheld from the cause of present truth to get themselves and others there. I saw that such a mission would accomplish no real good, that it would take a long while to make a very few of the Jews believe even in the first advent of Christ, much more to believe in His second advent.”

        While I would personally challenge the weslian arminian underpinnings of this statement and the prophecies she is appealing to I wouldn’t target my challenge here. There could be many reasons that mission work might be weighed as unwise in a particular region at a particular time. I do of course take objection to her use of God’s name in vain by claiming it to be something he showed her. But that is my only big beef. The world is big enough to have arminians in it so I’m not gonna give her too hard a time about that part.

        “I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing and that souls all around them in this land could be helped by them and led to keep the commandments of God, but they were leaving them to perish. I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now, in the gathering time, to keep them from throwing their whole interest into the present work of the Lord, and to cause them to neglect the necessary preparation for the day of the Lord..” Early Writings, p. 75

        Never is a strong word. She said that Old Jerusalem would never be built up. In every conceivable way Old Jerusalem has been built up. There is no way spiritual, ethnic, or physical in which it hasn’t relevant to her time. This is evidenced by the fact that premillenialism is very popular right now. I don’t advocate for the view myself, but there is alot of things a premillenialist can point to in order to justify their beliefs and that’s because in every measurable sense it has been built up. To deny this just smacks of special pleading. We aren’t talking about nuance of one Greek word. We are talking about attributing any possibility at all to the notion that human languages can convey any objective meaning at all ever.

        There’s simply no defending this. Her words fail her own standard. If she is speaking the truth about the source of her words then that means God either can’t see the future or can’t communicate clearly through her in any objective sense. In either case what’s the point? Why should anyone waste their time with her words at all?

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      • Bob says:

        #2

        A short summary of my first reply would be that those who read what Ellen White wrote about Jerusalem knew what she meant, but for us today, so far removed from the societal context, it isn’t as clear.

        Rom. 14 would be a biblical example of the same sort of thing. Nowhere in that chapter does Paul clearly spell out what sort of food issue and day issue he’s talking about. But those who got the letter in Paul’s day would have known exactly what he was talking about.

        “Today you know this view as premillennialism.”

        No, I don’t know that. Pre-1844 Millerite premillennialism and Seventh-day Adventist premillennialism has never included the idea that ethnic Jews are going to return to Palestine as a fulfillment of prophecy. To the contrary, it has always been opposed to that idea. But like I said, the British phase of the pre-1844 Advent awakening, that brand of premillennialism, and futurist premillennialism too, that would be a different story.

        “If God meant to tell her all that wouldn’t you concede there are better words he could have used?”

        Or rather, weren’t there better words she could have used as she wrote down the thoughts God inspired her with? When I think of questions like that, I ask, How could you or I have worded it better?

        Do a little research on Clorinda S. Minor, someone whom Ellen White respected but who got entangled in fanatical views. Then note part of the quote you quoted that was omitted: “I saw that such a mission would accomplish no real good.”

        Did Clorinda’s mission to Palestine, which seems to have somehow been tied to spiritualistic views of the Second Advent, accomplish no real good? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hope,_Jaffa quotes Herman Melville as writing in 1857, “The agricultural school built by the Americans for the Jews failed, The Jews would come, pretend to be touched & all that, get clothing & then—vanished.”

        Then, in Jan. 1858, five Arabs attacked the settlement. John Steinbeck’s grandfather’s brother, Friedrich, was killed, and Friedrich’s wife and mother-in-law were raped.

        The fact of the matter is that if Clorinda Minor had heeded Ellen White’s counsel, then that horrible tragedy would have never occurred.

        If you want to get a better idea of Ellen White’s interactions with Clorinda S. Minor, go to https://egwwritings.org and search for (Sister Minor) | (C S Minor) | (Clorinda Minor). If you instead use the mobile version at https://m.egwwritings.org search for each of the three groups of words separately rather than all three all at once, separated by vertical bars.

        So it seems to me that instead of quibbling over whether Ellen White could have worded it differently, we ought to be chalking this one up as a prediction that came true. Herman Melville has never been recognized as a Seventh-day Adventist apologist, and yet he says Clorinda’s mission failed. And thus it accomplished no real good, just like Ellen White said.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        Regarding Romans 14 it would be rather absurd to assume Paul wasn’t referring to Old Covenant Jewish laws. At the time a normative percentage of Christians were former Jews. Even if you weren’t one you were probably a hellenized Jew first or had some contact with the Jewish diaspora. It would be absurd to assume Paul meant anything else at all. It would be irresponsible in fact for him not to clarify if he meant anything else and intended to leave out Jewish food laws. He was an educated man who was well aware of the culture as well as the Torah in greek and hebrew.

        Yes you would know it as premillenialism today. The only way to avoid it is to live deep within an adventist bubble so I can understand if that has been the case. Premillenialism has existed throughout christian history. One of the strongest claims to support it is that there are church fathers very close to the time of the apostles that were premillenialist. There was a strong Jewish connection then which did involve Jerusalem being restored. Some of the church fathers even had theories of which tribe the antichrist would come from and other such things. In fact, one of the weaknesses of my own views is that they didn’t become popular until around Augustine. When I left adventism I found premillenialism appealing for a while and that little point right there was a hard one for me to overcome to change my views so that’s why I remember it.

        John Nelson Darby was heavily influenced by a young sick woman who claimed to have visions from God named Margaret MacDonald in the early 19th century. I know that sounds silly but keep in mind it was a popular thing to do in that century, she wasn’t the only one too there are a few notable examples I could give. This one though is where we get dispensationalist premillenialism from. If you’ve seen the left behind movies you know what I’m talking about. This is still premillenialism but it has a different flavor to it. They emphasize dispensations over covenants as it’s more subjective and easier to read into the text. They also read in a strong distinction between the church and israel.

        Patristic premillenialists focused more on the land promises to Abraham in their views, which even without a distinction between the church and israel is still going to have a jewish flavor and it did. Dispensationalism teaches that the dispensation of the eschaton has a Jewish focus. The build up of Jerusalem has been helpful to them for making their arguments. That was another obstacle for me to overcome when I changed my thoughts on things so I know a thing or two about it.

        Basically my point is that these ideas were what people were talking about when Miller and Ellen made their comments and they should be part of the context especially if we are assuming that Ellen White was not a prophet of God, and we should make that assumption based on evidence already covered.

        Simply put if Ellen White, or her presumably demonic source, did actually see the future we would expect a better statement than the one she made. That is fair and self evident. I’ll let the reader adjudicate your claims on this vs mine.

        As far as the unfortunate events concerning Clorinda Minor are concerned I fail to see your point. Like I said in my last point, I don’t challenge the wisdom issue in whether or not mission was called for. I’m willing to concede that Ellen White was correct in that, there are many reasons why not sending a mission could be a good idea subject to context. Maybe Ellen White guessed right, maybe she was smart, maybe her possible demonic influence called the right shot here. I don’t challenge this. What I challenge is the statement that Old Jerusalem would not be built up because, point of fact, it was.

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      • Bob says:

        #3.

        Regarding the shut door issue and the 1847 letter to Bates, could you explain why you think a vision depicting Jesus going to the Most Holy Place, which certainly implies a work of intercession by our great high priest, means that the door of mercy has been shut for all sinners?

        “It was on my first journey east to relate my visions that the precious light in regard to the heavenly sanctuary was opened before me and I was shown the open and shut door. We believed that the Lord was soon to come in the clouds of heaven. I was shown that there was a great work to be done in the world for those who had not had the light and rejected it. Our brethren could not understand this with our faith in the immediate appearing of Christ. Some accused me of saying that my Lord delayeth His coming, especially the fanatical ones. I saw that in ‘44 God had opened a door and no man could shut it, and shut a door and no man could open it. Those who rejected the light which was brought to the world by the message of the second angel went into darkness, and how great was that darkness.” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 74)

        It certainly sounds like she’s talking here about the same vision she is referring to in that letter to Bates, the vision at Exeter in Feb. 1845.

        “Comparing her to Peter is ridiculous. Peter wasn’t wrong, ….”

        Sure he was. He flat out told Cornelius it was unlawful (illegal) for him to associate with a Gentile (Acts 10:28). You honestly believe Peter wasn’t wrong when he said that?

        “Read the letter.”

        Where does the letter make crystal clear that by “shut door” she meant a shut door of mercy for all sinners? Have you read Damsteegt’s documentation as to the varied meanings Millerites gave that phrase after Oct. 22? The task is to show how Ellen White must have meant that particular one of the varied meanings. If you think you can prove that she meant that one specific meaning, I’d like to see your evidence. But assuming she meant that, that’s good enough.

        Re: plagiarism, give the entire quotes instead of replacing words with ellipses, and I doubt your argument will have as much force.

        I took your words, “actually make it more interesting,” and searched in Google for those words as a phrase. Got 702,000 results. Which site did you plagiarize them from? Why didn’t you give credit? Of course, such questions are absurd. So some similarities aren’t an indicator of plagiarism at all.

        “And then we might all want to go buy that book. No instead she lets it center on herself doesn’t she? I wonder why…..”

        The statement in question first came out in the Health Reformer in Nov. 1872, and then became part of Testimony # 22 the next year, 1873. Back in April 1868, she wrote in the Review and Herald where she differed from Cole’s book, the same book you quote from, in how many times one should feed an infant a day. She said:

        “I am often told that in How to Live, I stated that infants should be nursed but three times a day. This is a mistake. But it is true that in the second number of that work, page 52, the following expression is found: “Babes should be nursed but three times a day.” These are neither my words, nor my sentiments. The article containing them was extracted from Cole’s Philosophy of Health. The printer failing to give the proper credit, the following statement was given on the first page of No. 3: ‘The article in No. 2, headed, Particular directions to Parents and Guardians, should have been credited to this excellent work, The Philosophy of Health.'”

        The 6 Health or How to Live pamphlets were published in 1865. Thus, seven years before the statement in question, James White was actively promoting Cole’s book. So no, there was no attempt to publish Cole’s material without giving him credit. Instead, within the same year credit for an article was omitted by the printer, a correction was issued in the very next number.

        And lest you wonder if James White intentionally left out credits in pamphlet # 2, that pamphlet still gives credit to works authored by Jackson and Austin, and even says where you can buy Dr. Jackson’s work.

        As to my “friend,” he was just someone who wrote me. I don’t know him at all. I could look for the email, but one story I remember him saying was plagiarized was baby Moses in the basket. But my question there would be at least, How do you know the other story was written first?

        Another question I might ask is, How do the two writings differ? Regarding another plagiarism allegation involving Ellen White, I noted that she contradicted the alleged source’s conclusions at times, making that particular allegation more difficult to swallow than it already was. Regarding Dr. Cole, she said she disagreed with his advice on the feeding of infants. One would expect such differences to be minimal if there was indeed genuine plagiarism going on.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        You said:

        “Regarding the shut door issue and the 1847 letter to Bates, could you explain why you think a vision depicting Jesus going to the Most Holy Place, which certainly implies a work of intercession by our great high priest, means that the door of mercy has been shut for all sinners?”

        I agree with you that her vision is vague. I’m not the one interpreting it though she is. In a letter to Elder Bates she details the story about how the Band came to believe in the shut door after she details her vision.

        “While in Exeter, Maine in meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others, many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand. There was one sister there that was called very spiritual. She had traveled and been a powerful preacher the most of the time for twenty years. She had been truly a mother in Israel. But a division had risen in the band on the shut door. She had great sympathy, and could not believe the door was shut. (I had known nothing of their differences.) Sister Durben got up to talk. I felt very, very sad. At length my soul seemed to be in an agony, and while she was talking I fell from my chair to the floor. It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. They were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. The Lord worked in mighty power setting the truth home to their hearts. Sister Durben knew what the power of the Lord was, for she had felt it many times; and a short time after I fell she was struck down, and fell to the floor, crying to God to have mercy on her. When I came out of vision, my ears were saluted with Sister Durben’s singing and shouting with a loud voice. Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut door. Previous to this I had no light on the coming of the Bridegroom, but had expected him to this earth to deliver His people on the tenth day of the seventh month. I did not hear a lecture or a word in any way relating to the Bridegroom’s going to the holiest…..”

        She does clarify in a later retcon that she saw this as confirmation of the shut door, see below:

        “I did hold in common with the advent body that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world.” Ellen White, {Ms4-1883, par. 20}

        Yes in context this is a retrospect that she retcons as an error in her interpretation of the vision. I get that. I just weigh her words by the standard she gave.

        By her standard the letter to Elder Bates to convince him Shut Door was true was precious rays from the throne of God, teaching and reinforcing something that she later believed to be false.

        By her standard she is a false prophet.

        Maybe you want to accept the retcon as canonical. And that’s your choice, I’m just saying you have to pick and choose because now you can’t have her definition of the nature of her claimed prophetic gift as canonical at the same time. To do so you would have to adopt a view of prophecy so loose that you would need to consider the TV preachers who claim to be prophets to be true as well. You can’t have it both ways friend.

        The fact of the matter is she taught shut door to elder bates in that letter, she said all her letters were inspired, then later she wrote letters saying she was wrong about the shut door.

        With Peter, like I said, to the Jews first and then to the gentiles. Peter wasn’t wrong. Both were true.

        You found 72000 cases of “actually make it more interesting,”!! Fascinating, a sentence fragment with no details and it shows up alot. Seriously?

        The plagarisms in Ellen White are admitted by adventists to be plagarisms by todays standards. They simply argue as you did initially that they weren’t illegal in her time. I don’t know that claim to be true but I don’t dispute it because it’s not relevant. It’s like saying that both Hitler and Joe Biden drank water therefore our President is evil. It’s not relevant.

        Here once again is the same quote we are speaking of and I’m gonna point out exactly what you’re missing…..

        “Parents are also under obligation to teach and oblige their children to conform to physical law for their own sakes. . . . How strange and unaccountable that mothers should love their children so tenderly as to indulge them in what they have occasion to know may injure their constitutions and impair their happiness for life. May many children be delivered from such mothers, and from such cruel kindness! . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . .” Philosophy of Health: Natural Principles of Health and Cure, by L. B. Coles (Boston: William D. Ticknor & Company. 1849, 1851, 1853, pp. 144-145):

        Here is a quote from Ellen White…..

        “I was shown that one great cause of the existing deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love and indulge their appetite when they know that it will injure their health and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness. . . . They have sinned against Heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable. . . . The managers and teachers of schools . . . Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 141, 1872.

        You know what? I don’t care how similar they are. I don’t care if it was illegal or not, I don’t care about James White promoting his work. I’ll cede that to you on the grounds of irrelevance because it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.

        You want to know what I care about? The first three words “I was shown”. When Ellen White was shown something I knew growing up in adventism that was meant to be something from God or an angel. She is very consistent with that. I could statistically analyze that phrase next to heavenly visions and things out of this world in her writings but I don’t need to because I know for a fact that any former or questioning adventist is going to see the SAME three little words I saw. So what this tells me is that she was lying about her very visions themselves by copying out of a book, legal or otherwise, and claiming it as a prophetic word. That is a very reasonable way to read it and I hope other former and questioning adventists take notice of how you’re dodging this friend. Even if you won’t listen it’s something they deserve to see.

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      • Bob says:

        Errata for #3:

        Of course, “But assuming she meant that, that’s good enough” should have been “But assuming she meant that, that’s not good enough.”

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  5. Bob says:

    ACTheologian,
    Re: your thoughts on Jerusalem being built up, here’s part of what you said:
    “That essentially means a Jewish ethnic state in Jerusalem which is self evidently the case, and it’s even self evident William Miller is talking about just that. That is what was lost in 70 AD and that is what was restored following World War II. To read it any other way requires a special pleading on your part and with respect I categorically deny you of that privilege if you’re gonna try to shop it here.”
    “Never is a strong word. She said that Old Jerusalem would never be built up. In every conceivable way Old Jerusalem has been built up. There is no way spiritual, ethnic, or physical in which it hasn’t relevant to her time.”
    I think you should research the history of it all. Specifically, look into why the Orthodox Jews opposed Zionism prior to the atrocities of WWII, and why some Orthodox even today still oppose it, and call for the dismantling of the State of Israel. And then ask yourself if the objections of the Orthodox were valid, and if those objections still are valid.
    For this next thought I’m going to have to interpret your response a little, and thus could be wrong, and would need you to correct me. Since you emphasize after WWII, I will conclude at this point that you don’t see EGW’s comment as being negated by anything that was happening prior to WWII. Thus, the fact that Jews lived at Jerusalem and that the city was expanding beyond its walls long before WWII does not contradict her statement. Therefore, I think you and I may have common ground on the meaning of “built up.”
    Thus, what you see as the real problem is the State of Israel. You see that as a contradiction of what she said, because, presumably, you see that as a fulfillment of prophecy in some way.
    I do not see it as a fulfillment of prophecy, and I think the old Orthodox objections to Zionism are valid. Before there can be a prophetic return, there must be repentance. That’s the whole point of Daniel’s prayer in ch. 9. He was praying the very prayer Lev. 26 said he had to pray, before God would allow a return. Zionism wanted a return without repentance.
    Let’s zero in on your phrase “Jewish ethnic state.” Well put. Since David Ben-Gurion was the “primary national founder” and the first prime minister of the State of Israel, and since he was an atheist, we certainly aren’t talking about a state composed of followers of the Jewish faith.
    But that raises the question of whether it is really appropriate to say that that modern state is in any way associated with Bible prophecy.
    Romans 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
    By that Pauline standard, Ben-Gurion wasn’t even Jewish in God’s sight. How then could the state he created and headed be a fulfillment of prophecy?
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-how-israel-went-from-atheist-zionism-to-jewish-state-1.5488653 is a 2017 Jewish article that states, “Zionism as a national movement that rebelled against historical Judaism was mainly atheistic. … The rabbis knew that, and were terrified – and, therefore, almost all of them became avowed anti-Zionists.”
    And then there are the accusations that observant Jewish children were kidnapped, their parents were told that their children had died, and non-observant Jewish couples adopted those children and raised them without a Torah education … in the State of Israel in its early years. Perhaps the issue was never as bad as some Jews claim, but an official inquiry resulting in all the evidence being sealed for decades to come certainly doesn’t smell right.
    How would one ever prove that Ben-Gurion really was literally descended from Jacob, and not instead descended from someone who was grafted in? I don’t think it’s possible to prove who really is an ethnic Jew whose lineage goes all the way back.
    So back to the point at hand: Despite your use of the word “physical,” your emphasis on post-WWII Israel seems to indicate that physical construction prior to WWII is not what contradicts EGW in your mind. Rather, it is the modern State of Israel. But then, if you accept Rom. 9:8 as being true, Ben-Gurion and his Zionist state weren’t really Jewish in God’s sight.
    So where exactly is the contradiction?
    You said “spiritual, ethnic, or physical.” Physical is out if we conclude that construction prior to WWII doesn’t contradict what EGW wrote (construction that was already going on when she wrote what she wrote). Ethnic is out unless we reject the clear Pauline teaching of Rom. 9:8.
    Thus, we are left with this question: In what way has the modern State of Israel become a fulfillment of prophecy spiritually, even though it was founded by atheists, people who had overtly repudiated Judaism?
    One needs to find a prophecy that isn’t conditional, wasn’t fulfilled when the Jews returned from Babylon, and is not symbolically referring to the second coming.
    To illustrate the challenge: Mat. 24 says that at the second coming He will send His angels to gather His elect from the four winds of heaven. That’s a predicted gathering of His dispersed people from everywhere … at the second coming, not at some point in time prior to His coming.
    I don’t know of any unconditional prophecy about a return or gathering that wasn’t fulfilled when they returned from Babylon and won’t be fulfilled at the second coming. If you do know of one, please share it.

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