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Why I Believe in the Gift of Prophecy and in the Inspiration of Ellen White

Posted by Walt Thompson on Monday, 25 April 2016 in Family of God 0 Comments

Why I Believe in the Gift of Prophecy

and in the Inspiration of Ellen White

Who is Ellen White?

            Ellen Gould Harmon, along with her twin sister, Elizabeth, was born to Robert and Eunice Harmon on a small family farm near Portland, Main in 1827. At age nine Ellen sustained a very serious injury to the face by a stone thrown by a school classmate. Unconscious for 3 weeks, and not expected to survive, long term disability interrupted her formal education.  At age 12 she attended a Methodist camp meeting with her parents where she gave her heart to the Lord, was baptized by emersion, and was accepted into membership of the Methodist Church.

In 1844 Ellen experienced the “Great Disappointment” along with her family and thousands of others when Jesus failed to appear on earth as had been predicted by William Miller--based upon his studies of the Bible Book, Daniel. Later in that year, as Ellen joined four other young women for family worship one morning, she witnessed in vision the travels of the Advent believers (those that had expected Jesus to come) to the City of God. Timid and reluctant, she and other youth traveled from place to place sharing this and subsequent similar visions to churches and companies of believers in the entire area.

At the age of 19, Ellen married James white. As together they studied a tract published by Joseph Bates entitled, the Seventh-day Sabbath, they became convinced that the biblical evidence supported the sacredness of the seventh day. Henceforth they began to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. Several months later Ellen White was shown a vision of the law of God in the heavenly sanctuary, with a halo of light around the fourth (Sabbath) commandment--indicating to her and her husband the importance of the Sabbath. 

During the ensuing years until her death in 1915 Ellen White received more than two thousand visions and dreams. They varied in length from a few seconds to four hours, and dealt with a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, health and nutrition, and others. Over the course of her lifetime and continuing even until today, Ellen White has impacted--and continues to impact--multiple millions of lives around the world by her writings and by the proven positive influence that she has made upon those that have tested and found her writings biblically sound--and have followed their inspired recommendations.

Seventh-day Adventists believe, as I do, that Ellen White fulfills all of the Biblical tests by which the followers of Jesus are admonished to determine the validity of the professed gifts of the Holy Spirit. Seventh-day Adventists do not believe the writings of Ellen White are a substitute of the Holy Scriptures, nor do I. I believe, however, that as in the more than 1500 years of the development of the Bible itself, knowledge and understanding of God and of His plan for His creation, was progressive over time. Just so, the understanding of those truths may continue to expand into our times. Though truth may ever increase in knowledge and understanding, it can never conflict with itself--wherever it is found or however it may be presented.  

Biblical instructions regarding the “gift” of prophecy:

            The following Scriptures admonish the faithful followers of God to pay attention to the messenger prophets through which He speaks.

            “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, “1 Corinthians 12:27, 28 NLT.

He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit,” I Corinthians 12:10 NLT.          

            “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT.

            “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you,” Romans 12:6, NLT.

            “… Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem’ Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper,” 2 Chronicles 20:20, KJV.

            “I have sent also unto you my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, ‘Return now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor harkened unto me,’” Jeremiah 35:15, KJV.

            “Surely the LORD God will do nothing, but he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets,” Amos 3:7 KJV.

            “Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts has sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 7:12, KJV.

            “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel,” Ephesians 3:5, 6 KJV.

            “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” Revelation 19:10 KJV. 

Warning of false prophets:

            “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,” Matthew 7:15, KJV.

            “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:24

Test all things:

            The following Bible texts admonish us to test all alleged Holy Spirit inspired claims.

            ”Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good,” 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 20 NLT.

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here,” 1 John 4:1-3, NLT.

“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods;-gods you have not known before,--do not listen to them. The LORD you God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him,” Deuteronomy 13:1-4, NLT.

“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the LORD?’ If the prophet speaks in the LORD’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the LORD did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared” Deuteronomy 18:21, 22 NLT.

“So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the LORD,” Jeremiah 28:9 NLT.

“Someone may say to you, ‘Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.’ But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark,” Isaiah 8:19, 20 NLT.

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions,” Matthew 7:15-20 NLT.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome,” I John 5:1-3 NLT.

“But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy,” 2 Chronicles 36:16, KJV

Truth, the ultimate test:

            God is Love. God is the source of all truth as He is the source of all love. These two are both absolute, yet infinite, meaning that they are beyond human comprehension. The Bible describes God’s love and truth in human terms, meaning that it describes only that measure of love and truth that may be meaningful to human understanding, for man is not God and has not the capacity to understand God in His infinity.

            This being the case, and man being created in the image of God, has the capacity to advance in the knowledge and experience of both love and truth. For example, one may experience the least expression of love according to the Ten Commandment moral law, but that expression of love may grow and expand without known upper limit—one may be faithful to the letter of the 7th commandment law of love with its attendant benefits, but there is no upper limit to the way a spouse may express that love to his/her mate when that love is full grown. Truth, too, may be faultless, but very limited, both in one’s understanding of it, and in its application, but we know of no upper limit of possible attainment of it. For example, there was a time when horseback was about the fasted mode of travel that we knew, whereas, today we have the knowledge of the laws of the sciences that are enabling men to travel into space at much greater than the speed of sound—undreamed of a hundred or so years ago.

            Biblical truth, too, represents the least description of man’s understanding and comprehension at the time that it was delivered to Moses and the other prophets. It DID NOT then reveal the infinite knowledge and understanding of God—but only those things comprehensible to man at that time in their experience. For example, though the writers of the Old Testament prophesied many truths about Jesus, the Messiah, those truths were often not recognized or understood until Jesus pointed them out to his disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. Many other examples might be cited, but the evidence is clear, revelation of truth is by its very nature a progressive process whereby one truth is able to build upon a previous one. As this truth is operative throughout the Bible, it is also the case with expansion of all knowledge and truth, whether referring to science or to divine inspiration of prophecy and revelation.

            It is equally true that by its very nature, revelation (inspiration) may expand or enlarge upon some former statement of truth, but it cannot contradict itself. An inspired message may explain or enlarge upon a particular Bible truth, but it cannot contradict that truth. In applying the tests of a prophet, this fact must ever be kept uppermost in our study and interpretation.

 

Features about Ellen White that convince me to believe in her as a true prophetess of God (the fruit)

 

Contributions to the SDA Church and to the World:

Health care, a pattern for the world: The inspiration and writings of Ellen White were, and continue to be, a foremost contributor of Bible-based, wholistic, health care in the world: A leader in temperance (avoidance, prevention, and therapy of tobacco, alcohol, and other addicting drugs and practices); Health education emphasizing the natural therapies provided by balanced exercise, sleep and rest periods, natural plant-based nutrition, value of sunlight, fresh air, ample use of water internally and externally, and the benefit and role of faith in supporting optimal physical, mental, and spiritual health from conception until old age—while de-emphasizing the role of “drugs,” chemicals, and man-made medications.

A premier medical science institution at Loma Linda, California, reflecting the above values, training and supporting professional health care personnel in hospitals, clinics and missions around the world.

Exemplary manufacture and distribution of plant-based health foods worldwide.

Epidemiological evidence that the above practices tend to extend length of useful life more than seven years as compared with their peers utilizing the health practices common around the globe.

Education: A worldwide system of educational facilitiesfrom kindergarten to post graduate education having its greatest impact in 3rd world nations.

Science: An active voice of creationism.

Prophecy: Promoting, preaching, and teaching Bible prophecy as it applies to our time in history.

Biblical truth:  Promoting and restoring Biblical truths for which martyrs through the ages died to defend, many of which have been lost since the Protestant Reformation.

The Great Controversy:

The entire Bible is an account of the war between good and evil, between God and Satan--beginning with the rebellion of Lucifer (Satan) in heaven, his conquest of Adam and Eve soon after earth creation, his defeat by Jesus at Calvary, and his final annihilation when the war is over.

In the visions and writings of Ellen White we may “look” behind the scenes of history and observe the wily, deceptive, movements and evil purposes of the devil and his evil angels and men in combat against the love and power of God as He has responded to the devils ire.

Finally, we are given a picture of events transpiring now and leading up to and through the final conflict during which the saints (faithful followers of Jesus), and the forces of evil, will be completely and eternally separated one from the other. In those same inspired pages we read cautions, warnings, and instructions preparing the faithful to be victorious during that final conflict described in the Bible as “like nothing ever before, and never to be experienced again (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21).

Few, even of men living today, appreciate the true reality of Satan and the evil powers of darkness, accepting the lethal deceptions of Satan as nothing more than the product of a vivid imagination, or of superstition.  Ellen White dispels these deceptions, exposing him as the real causative agent in everything evil and hurtful that we witness and experience in our world today.

The Moral Law of God:

Viewed by most of the people of the world as a law of legalistic restrictions applying to the Jews only, the Spirit of God through the pen of Ellen White, rather, adamantly supports the Biblical description of the Moral Law of God as the universal, unalterable (as is ALL natural law), and comprehensive Law of Love--codified into ten precepts designed to free people from the evils that naturally lead to pain, sorrow, illness and premature death. Nor does she, unlike most people living today, ignore the 4th, Sabbath Commandment, describing God as the Sovereign ruler of the universe who alone is worthy of our love, loyalty, time, and worship.

Antichrist:

There is within each of us (we were all born into sin) an element of rebellion against God and His governance instigated by the devil and his evil angels (demons). The natural tendency for each of us is to selfishly serve and care for ourselves first of all. This Antichrist tendency finds fulfillment in universal expression as Satan and his accomplices of angels and of men carry this rebellious element to its extreme limit, assuming man to the status of God and granting to him the allegiance, loyalty, time, and worship of which God alone is worthy—and who alone is able to give and sustain life. As the Seventh-day Sabbath identifies God, Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is within them, as the legitimate governor of His creation, so Sunday, the first day of the week from most ancient times, identifies Satan, the instigator and perpetrator of the rebellion—whose end is death from which there is no resurrection. The Holy Spirit inspired writings of Ellen White leave no questions regarding the identity and disposition of those that “buy into” the beliefs and practices of the Antichrist. (Note: In fact, during the past few months we have watched a man accepting adoration and worship around the world and of all classes of men, certainly fulfilling characteristics of such Antichrist.)

Righteousness by Faith:

Legalism is obedience to the law for the benefits one selfishly hopes to derive for the effort. Righteousness by faith is much different from legalism—it is obedience to the law, not for love and benefit of self, but for love of others, both God and man—irrespective of any anticipation of personal benefit. These terms, legalism and righteousness by faith are most commonly seen in relation to the perfect Ten Commandment moral law of God, and reflect the faith, or lack of faith, each of us choose to exercise in regards to the precepts of that law.

Being born in sin, legalism is the natural default mode for every one of us since the fall of Adam and Eve to the devil in Eden. We are all, by nature, selfish and self-serving. Righteousness by faith, on the other hand, is the product of a transformational work of the Holy Spirit, writing the law upon the mind and in the heart of one that truly believes and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives--all made possible by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the ages, legalism has been one of the devil’s most effective tools by which to snatch unwary people into his camp, often causing such confusion as to create division and disruption among the professing family of God. The Spirit of God working through the writings of Ellen white has served quite effectively in defending the truth regarding this sometimes contentious matter.

Justice in judgment:

The concept of justice and judgment taught by most of the religions of the world include some version of a heaven for the good and righteous, and eternally burning hell for the evil and unjust. These teachings, in turn, portray human life as physical body and spiritual soul.  Ellen White, in contrast, agrees with many devout students of the Bible that a human being is one entity created by God from the “dust of the earth” and brought to life by the breath of God. All sin, (deviation from the Law of God’s Love), naturally leads to death during which all bodily functions cease and the body decomposes to the dust of the earth once again. At the designated time of resurrection, of both the just and the unjust, each person will be essentially recreated, the righteous to heaven and the new earth, and the wicked to the “second death” from which there is no resurrection.

The promise of eternal life was first made to Adam and Eve after their fall. Many more details were given to the Jews (Israel) in the symbols associated with their Sanctuary and its related symbols, and rituals. In the centuries following the crucifixion of Jesus, the meaning of many of those symbols have been revealed to faithful Bible students, thus forming the foundation upon which the visions of Ellen White were established. Through divine inspiration we are now able to see a much clearer description of the entire plan of God to resolve the war between good and evil in such a way that sin will never arise again throughout eternity—intelligent life throughout the universe having had opportunity to understand the power and goodness of love, and the meanness and certain self-destructive nature of sin and rebellion against that love.

 

Effects of the inspiration of Ellen White to my personal life:

            Because of the influence of the inspired writings of Ellen White:

I have been blessed with a Bible-based education qualifying me for mission service at home and/or abroad as a physician and surgeon.

The Bible has become a “living” book to me as I have responded to White’s wise counsel to diligently study the Holy Scriptures and apply their principles to every aspect of my life.

By her inspired commentary on the Bible my understanding of the conflict between good and evil; of the identity of the Antichrist; the meaning of righteousness by faith and its relationship to the Law of God; the status of the judgment; the nature of death; and many other lessons of Scripture that are often variously understood by other faith groups, I have enjoyed a long and very satisfying life walking in step with my Lord. Together with Him I have had the pleasure of serving my hurting fellow men while sharing with them the truths that have meant so much to me.

Encouraged by her instructions about “natural remedies” I have enjoyed a long and productive life free of the negative consequences of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs and harmful practices—and the privilege of sharing those remedies with others.

The following texts may serve as examples of Biblical passages that have been most helpful to me in my personal walk with my Savior.

 “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:21. Commentary upon just this one text has expanded my understanding regarding the scope of its application beyond imagination—and it has positively affected my life practices and blessings.

“I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock,” Matthew 7:24. What is this rock? What does it mean to build upon it? Ellen White expounds beautifully upon the matter of building one’s life upon Jesus Christ, the rock.

“Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus,” Revelation 14:12 KJV. From time immemorial religious people have struggled to understand the true relationship between the Moral Law of God and His redeeming grace. In the inspired writings of Ellen White this sometimes difficult topic is made easy to understand.

  “When you shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the holy place, whoever reads, let him understand …” Matthew 24:15. A number of the Protestant Reformers understood the basics of this sign of the end times, greatly enhanced by the visions of Ellen White, and significantly affecting my response to the events going on in the world even as I am now writing. Surely this is an important sign of the times in which we are now living and of the events immediately before us.

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,…” 1 Peter 2:9. What does it mean to be a member of the royal priesthood? To be called out of darkness into marvelous light? One of the beauties of truth is that its extent need not be limited by imagination. Compared to divine revelation, even the most florid imagination fails to begin to measure up.

This list could be extended many pages, but this should be sufficient to grasp the importance of her inspiration to the individual lives of those of us living today.

 

Opposition to EGW by SDA Church:

            There is no shortage of disillusioned SDA’s and no shortage of accusations leveled against EGW—including such things as mental illness, plagiarism, etc. etc. So was Jesus and all of the prophets through the age falsely accused. Not by accusation, but by careful testing, ought wise men to seek to discover the truth about every professed prophetic messenger of the Lord, including Ellen White.

Opposition by the Christian Church:

I suspect the majority of criticism by the larger Christian Church arises from the statements and writings of disillusioned Adventists. Armed with such ammunition, it is not difficult to pick away at minutia, insignificant apparent inconsistencies, or even facts taken out of context.

It is true that Ellen White’s writings contain the understanding of her times about certain health practices and issues of her day that have subsequently been challenged—though seldom disproven (dangers of masturbation and amalgamation of species, as examples).

Depending upon one’s understanding of how the Spirit works, it may be easy to make a case about plagiarism. If, on the other hand, one will permit the Holy Spirit to reference other sources so as to impress upon a point, much of the accusation of plagiarism may be ameliorated.

Interestingly the Bible itself is frequently maligned by similar arguments.

Other non-Christian Religions:

While non-Christian religions may quite naturally ignore Christian publications, teachings, etc. It is not unusual for those individuals that will give study to Ellen White’s writings to become rapidly engrossed in the material, even to the accepting of the Jesus she so faithfully presents in her comments. In fact, the book, The Great Controversy, is highly prized by some prominent leaders of certain non-Christian searchers for truth.

The World at large:

The writings of Ellen White, staunchly encouraging faithfulness to end-time biblical predictions may be expected to invite ever increasing accusations of radical fundamentalism and its challenge to world unity.

Summary:

The prophetic ministry of Ellen White has too often been suppressed, viciously attacked, maligned, avoided, and ignored, not only during her life time, but in the intervening century since her death—all to the serious detriment of society, in America and around the world—both by her fellow Adventist professed believers and the Christian world at large. And it is a real shame—not realizing what a terrible loss society is suffering as a result. In many ways, Christians are following in the footsteps of Israel, and missing the blessings God desired to give to the world through them—until ultimately, they put the Savior of the world to death—never receiving the full benefit (the “rest”) God pledged to give to them in exchange for faithfulness.

Today, we stand at an even more crucial point in history, even on the very precipus of eternity. The predictions of Ellen White, like the prophecies of Israel’s prophets are now coming to fulfillment right in order before our very eyes—still, we refuse to open them just as did ancient Israel.

I have studied the Bible and the writings of Ellen White for a life time. I am aware of most of the objections that have been made about her. Yet, aware of these things, the benefits to be realized by accepting her as a true messenger of Jesus to the world of the end times, it is my conviction that the benefits of her writings far exceed any possible faults leveled against her.

No one will be saved by accepting the divine inspiration of Ellen White, but it is my assessment that many will be saved by accepting the benefits to be realized by knowing and applying the truths I believe God has delivered to the world through her. Listen to the words of Jesus His challengers.

To them Jesus had this to say, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Matthew 23:37-39 NLT.

What might one think Jesus is saying today? Could it be these words? “Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, ‘Come away from her my people, do not take part I her sins, or you will be punished with her. For her sins are piled as high as heaven, and God remembers her evil deeds.” Revelation 18:4, 5 NLT.

I believe it is! The TIME is near!

 

For those interested in the facts, this reference is an excellent resource.

(http://whiteestate.org/about/egwbio.asp#message)

 

 

 

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