Before reading this post I would recommend that one read the Two Natures of Christ, Deity of Christ, and the Holiness Wrath and Love of God. Those are some fundamental Christological doctrines presented from scripture that the reader will need to understand for this post. Summarized, the incarnate Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He is not a demi-god or a super-man. Both natures are true, yet he is one Christ.
If someone is teaching a Jesus different than that they are teaching what is called a false Christ.
What about Ellen White? Does she teach a false Christ? To be fair, I’ll present a few quotes from her writings on each topic.
A False Christ of No Wrath
“Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes.” – The Desire of Ages, Pg 353, Ellen G. White
My problem with the quote above is that it leaves out the authority, power, and wrath of God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the love of God either. Both are true, as I presented in an older post which you can find HERE the Holiness, Wrath, and Love of God are connected to each other. If you pull one out you lose the others. Instead of presenting the authority and wrath of Christ accurately Ellen White has scaled it back for us.
To demonstrate this I will compare how Ellen White presents his “scathing rebukes” with the way the Bible does.
Instead of something closer to the Biblical text Ellen White gives us imagery of a voice cracking in tears. I think it’s fair to say that Ellen White and I are not thinking about the same person.
|Wrath and Authority||
Tears in voice
This theme continues beyond aesthetics though. The Jesus that Ellen White talks about doesn’t hold to the “heresy” of eternal torment.
“Untold evil has come from the heresy of eternal torment. It takes the religion of the Bible, so full of love and goodness, darkens it by superstition and clothes it with terror. Satan has painted the character of God in false colors, making people fear, dread, and even hate our merciful Creator. The repulsive views of God that have spread over the world from the teachings of the pulpit have made millions of people skeptics and unbelievers.” –The Great Hope, Pg 28, Ellen G. White
Notice that she pits love against wrath as if one abrogates the other. The expression of the Love of God is found in the cross in which God himself dies and in doing so satisfies the Wrath of God. Only an infinite love can quench an infinite wrath. Ellen White however pits the two against each other deleting wrath altogether.
The topic of Hell is something that I break down Biblically in an older post which you can find HERE. The quote she has given is just silly though, one must assert that the passages below teach heresy.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11 KJV
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10 KJV
I realize that there are other ways of interpreting these passages above, and that some people read them very differently. While I disagree with those interpretations and went into length as to why in my post on hell, keep in mind Ellen White is saying that it’s a heresy to read them plainly. The average Annihilationist would not call me a heretic for believing in eternal conscious torment, nor I they. Clearly to go out on that limb she is teaching a very different God entirely than the one we get a picture of when we take the Bible at face value.
A False Christ Who Could Sin
I argue in an older post that Ellen White taught that Jesus Christ did in fact sin, you can find that HERE. In addition to that though she also plainly teaches that Jesus was susceptible to sin. This is either a denial of the Holiness of God or the Deity of Christ. You can’t have both if you have a moral susceptibility to sin.
“The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent He was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God.” EGW, Selected Messages, Bk. 3, p. 131.
“For a period of time Christ was on probation. He took humanity on Himself, to stand the test and trial which the first Adam failed to endure. Had He failed in His test and trial, He would have been disobedient to the voice of God, and the world would have been lost.” EGW, Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899.
The above passages are clear enough, in them we see that in Ellen White’s Jesus there is a possibility of Christ failing entirely. He might just not pull it off but he is gonna try really hard.
Below it get’s even worse as she entertains the idea of the possibility of Christ refusing to fulfill the will of God. It would be fair for her to point out perhaps that we are seeing the weakness of the human nature in Christ at Gethsemane. We know that Christ also tired and hungered and things like that. But to extend that to a chance that he might fail crosses the line into the territory of a false Christ by denying the divine nature.
Am I supposed to be happy that the SDA false Christ barely pulls through in the end? Really??
“The awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father… He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood… He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’ ” – The Desire of Ages, Pg 690, Ellen G. White
A False Christ With No Atonement
Ellen White teaches us about a False Christ that rather than providing a vicarious penal substitutionary atonement, dies to give you the power not to sin in this life so that you can pass probation without a mediator.
“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” The Great Controversy, Pg. 425 Ellen White
To be clear, instead of teaching about a Christ that will be with us “always” she gives us a false Christ that leaves us hanging at probation.
All we get from the SDA False Christ is a shot in the arm to help us be perfect on our own during probation. Notice below that instead of Christ taking God’s wrath on our behalf he is simply empowering us. This is what Martin Luther calls a “theology of glory” rather than a “theology of the cross”, something I may blog more on later.
“When Christ gave His life for you, it was that He might place you on vantage ground and impart to you moral power.” EGW, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 74.
“The glory of Christ is his character, and his character is an expression of the law of God. He fulfilled the law in its every specification, and gave to the world in his life a perfect pattern of what it is possible for humanity to attain unto by cooperation with divinity.” EGW, Signs of the Times, Dec. 12, 1895.
The Jesus Christ in the Bible came to save us from death and hell not to make us special. It’s obvious to me that Ellen White is talking about someone else. Just read the passages below and see what the Bible says Jesus died for.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2: 24 KJV
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.; All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6 KJV
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” 1 Cor 15:3 KJV
“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Rom 4:25 KJV
Why would you want to turn this into a story of how awesome you are? That doesn’t even make sense. This is about Jesus and what he has done for you and me. This is the real Jesus.
A False Christ That was Created
Ellen White teaches that Jesus was “made” by the Father at some point before creation. This is a holdout of her arianism. I have explored it at length in older blog posts which you can find HERE and HERE.
“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
“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
“The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty” EGW, Letter 32, 1899, quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129
This isn’t the Jesus Christ that the Bible teaches us though. In the Bible we see that Christ created “all” things. If he were created then one would have to also believe that Christ created himself.
Also, Jesus speaks of the Glory that he had with the Father before the world was. Since time itself is part of creation one would have to place a sequence of events in time to place the creation of Christ outside of time. It’s not Biblically or intellectually tenable. This is just a sample, for more on the Deity of Christ please click HERE.
It is obvious above that Ellen White is teaching a false Christ , one that she made up, instead of the one that is in the Bible.
- No wrath and no authority.
- Who could have sinned and probably entertained the idea once or twice.
- Didn’t die for our sins in any meaningful way and leaves us to fend for ourselves at the close of probation.
- Was created and or formed rather than eternal.
Essentially, she gives us no Christ at all. Ellen White isn’t the only one who has done this, like Jesus warned us, many false Christ’s have gone out into the world. She just gives us one of them. To the reader I urge you to study the scriptures and what they teach about the real Jesus Christ.