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The Mini Great Controversy
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Submitted: Apr 25, 2013
By Stephen Foster



Bear with me on this one folks. In The Godfather II, the corrupt Senator Geary alerted Michael Corleone that he was about to speak to Corleone more bluntly than anyone in his position had probably ever spoken to the Don before. This blog, too, will perhaps be somewhat more frank than I have written in the past.
 
Certainly, we all know of or have heard of The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.
 
Our mini internal controversy is about the testimonies to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that have come from the pen of Ellen G. White, through the inspiration of God.
 
I confess that I hold an unusual view of Ellen White and her writings. While I believe her to have been a full blown prophet, I don’t hold everything she ever wrote or said, under any and all circumstances, to have been universally applicable or even necessarily divinely inspired. (That’s not to say that it wasn’t however. This is just my personal approach.) While I do not consider her writings to be canonical, I do believe what she wrote about God or the Bible or the Christian life to have been divinely inspired; and particularly for end-time believers.
 
This is one reason why I reject out of hand the notion that her counsel or testimony is for a specific culture and only/primarily useful to/for her contemporaries. Truth doesn’t change and is seldom/never popular (at least according to Elder C.D. Brooks).
 
The New Testament references to slaves and masters are occasionally cited as an example of changing, changeable, or limited inspiration or revelation.
 
Paul’s message about slavery was about allowing nothing, not even slavery/freedom, to detract or distract from our Christian testimony to others. It was simply a message of principle. Seriously, do any of us dispute this in the 21st century? Has this principle ever changed at all?
 
It makes about as much sense (to me) for a Seventh-day Adventist Christian to challenge the inspiration and authority of Ellen White as it does for a Calvinist to challenge the theological authority/bona fides of John Calvin, or a Lutheran of Luther. Yet some members of the voluntary Christian sect or denomination which was co-founded by White—whose commentary on the Bible and whose exegeses and interpretation of the Bible are the result of a prophetic gifting of God—routinely reject her messages (and/or reject the reality of her gifting).
 
Contradictorily and ironically, some of these individuals believe that they have been given the same or similar gifting; and that, since they live in the present, their gifting is representative of present truth—even though their “truth” may deny or contradict some of what White wrote in great detail.
 
I view all such claims as bogus at best; and, quite frankly, actually have a much stronger negative opinion of them.
 
More candidly in my opinion, the ultimate purpose of all efforts to discredit Ellen White is the purposeful destruction of the Advent movement generally, and of its interpretation of the Third Angel’s message in particular.
 
(Now, of course, I could be wrong; but I’d wager everything that I’m not.)
 
Basically SDA’s and those who are not SDA have differences with regard to interpretations—and implications resulting from interpretations—of the books of Genesis, Daniel, and The Revelation. This is no different at all than the differences between Adventist conservatives and liberals.
 
So what are we to do when we fundamentally disagree with what ‘we’ represents? Can those who fundamentally disagree remain together? Can a divided house somehow remain standing?
 
Inspiration provides the following guidance:
“Christ's servants are grieved as they see true and false believers mingled in the church. They long to do something to cleanse the church. Like the servants of the householder, they are ready to uproot the tares. But Christ says to them, ‘Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’
 
“Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive. He knows our nature too well to entrust this work to us. Should we try to uproot from the church those whom we suppose to be spurious Christians, we should be sure to make mistakes. Often we regard as hopeless subjects the very ones whom Christ is drawing to Himself. Were we to deal with these souls according to our imperfect judgment, it would perhaps extinguish their last hope. Many who think themselves Christians will at last be found wanting. Many will be in heaven who their neighbors supposed would never enter there. Man judges from appearance, but God judges the heart. The tares and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of probationary time.”
 
“There is in the Saviour's words another lesson, a lesson of wonderful forbearance and tender love. As the tares have their roots closely intertwined with those of the good grain, so false brethren in the church may be closely linked with true disciples. The real character of these pretended believers is not fully manifested. Were they to be separated from the church, others might be caused to stumble, who but for this would have remained steadfast.” COL 71, 72
 
Who now questions this counsel; or the source from which it comes?
 

André Reis
2013-04-25 11:34 PM

Stephen,

Before you are able to appropriately tackle Ellen White's "inspiration", you will need to articulate a viable view of "inspiration" in general as understood in Christianity. WARNING: This something scholars have struggled with from the dawn of time with little sign of a definitive definition.

For this reason, I'd suggest 99.9% of Adventists are confused about the role of Ellen White in theology. She is seen as non-canonical but fully authoritative. What does that mean? Well, it so happens that this was NEVER her own view of her writings. She used the word "testimonies" for a reason: they are pastoral in nature.

Now, I have profitted greatly from her testimonies, but I find the testimonies of Scriptures more forceful, more fulfilling and infinitely more "inspiring". And this is precisely Ellen White's view of the relationship between her writings and the Bible: insofar as she has received and gave "testimonies" supernaturally or by personal experience, they are, according to her, inferior in authority to those of Scriptures.

In other words, we can read Ellen White for their inspirational value but keep Scriptures for their authoritative value. There's obviously some overlap here but there's no reason to keep the tension at the forefront. By deciding to keep Scriptures above all else, we put everything else in its correct place.

That's one little controversy we shouldn't have to spend time on.
 

Elaine Nelson
2013-04-26 12:17 AM

It is the church's responsibility and problem for creating a larger-than-life saint in Ellen.  Had the church listened to her when the church grew, respecting that she was a major founder, there would no be no problem some 100 years later.  But the church has gradually developed and promoted her into an authoritative interpreter of Scripture, replacing the Holy spirit's ability to speak to each individual when the ystudy scripture.

Is it impossible at this stage to imagine a church that no longer promotes her as THE commentator speaking with authority on almost unlimited questions?  Her advice, perhaps appropriate 100 years ago, should be left to the history shelves; sadly, it is not.

As Andre writes, until there can be a definitive explanation of inspiration: how it works, when it should be used, and who decides its inspiration, we should move slowly in making claims that cannot be supported.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-26 7:06 AM

Elaine: ‘Her advice, perhaps appropriate 100 years ago, should be left to the history shelves; sadly, it is not.’
 
To me, the problem with how most people read Ellen White is the same problem most people have reading the Bible.  They suggest we should adopt just the plain, ordinary and literal meaning of the Bible, and only interpret the Bible through the Bible.  The problem is:
 
  1. They do precisely the opposite of that when it suits them.  They use all sorts of interesting theological arguments, contextual and cultural excuses, and other measures they condemn ‘liberals’ for using – when it suits them.
 
  1. They get so wrapped up in minutiae of the form of what was said, not the spirit of underlying principle.  As a result they end up focusing on what was said by the prophet then; not what they would say if they were alive today in our culture, time and place.  The real travesty is that in many religions, the founder’s words are so twisted by later generations, that the actually achieve the opposite of what the founder probably was hoping to achieve through their particular religious reforms.
 
  1. Reading Ellen White or a biblical prophet in a historical-cultural vacuum is not just stupid – I would say it is actually impossible.  Name a single Adventist doctrine that can be proven without any recourse whatsoever to an external formative factor? Even the Sabbath relies on Jewish tradition to tell us what day is the seventh day.  If you were raised on a deserted island you wouldn’t know that Sat is the seventh and Friday the six day would you? Our eschatology wouldn’t exist without history and archaeology – nor would Ellen White’s book the Great Controversy.
 
  1. They fail to recognize the peculiar context of her statements. To apply Ellen White’s writings literally would suggest we shouldn’t ride bicycles, but could buy an expensive car we couldn’t afford.  However, that would probably contradict the opposite of her underlying point.  Given her concern was men wasting money on luxury items they could ill afford, she would probably tell us to sell our car and buy a bicycle!  On the surface, that would seem a complete contradiction – a 180 on her counsel.  But when we scratch the surface, we realize that is probably what she would have said.
 
  1. They fail to recognize a prophet only has a limited revelation.  Ellen White was not God or a god, and didn’t know everything.  Her vision may have been from God, but she only used limited human language to explain something she would have only had a limited understanding of. 

William Noel
2013-04-26 9:35 AM

Stephen,

Excellent points.  I particularly appreciated #4 and #5. 

Point 4 is significant when you consider that a very large portion of her writings were specific counsels communicated by God to individuals and specific groups.  Very often we have only limited information about the situation being addressed.  So, how are we to know that the counsel sent to Brother X in 1894 is applicable to me in 2013?  This does not mean there is no value in the counsel or that the Holy Spirit is prevented from speaking to us through the counsel to give us a present application.  But it leaves a huge question about present applicability.  Considering the limited role most modern Christians give the Holy Spirit, the potential benefit from reading such counsels is limited even further, if not reduced to irrelevance.

That prophecy could be limited is a difficult concept to embrace when you esteem the writer for the breadth of her writings about spiritual history and end-time events.  Yet it is very real.  Even on the broad scale she was not given the full view at once, but in snippets as she needed to write the next chapters.  God is so much greater than us and we are so limited that it was simply impossible for God to reveal more than limited snippets and expect us to absorb and understand it.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-04-26 2:43 AM

I coudn't resist my two cents worth.

From what I have gathered, and that which amazes me the most, is the deliberate finesse employed nowadays by many post-modern Adventists who rather subtly, perhaps even done so unknowingly (?), will claim to have outgrown her counsel and who will often try and to downplay her work in terms of denying such counsel being of any real relevance and significance today.  The latter being the basis of this ‘mini controversy’ addressed by (Don☺) Foster in the blog and from the way I see it.

Whilst ‘claiming’ to have utmost respect and appreciation of her work and writings, they are rather forthright in restricting her work to just being only applicable to those of yesteryear, possibly in order to have carte blanche in their conforming to societal moods and norms, even it means holding views that are at variance with the Bible and in turn the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  

God has always sent prophets, intermittently and as and when necessary, throughout the ages.  The time of the end too, to me, would be no exception.  The fact that there are so many Protestant denominations, all of whom would readily claim sola scriptura, has often being cited by Catholics as proof of the fallacy of sola scriptura.  I don’t agree with them on that as it relates largely to interpretation - but the point they make should be noted. 

The God of heaven and earth has always sent his prophets with a distinct message.  Ellen White is a tried and tested Messenger of the Lord.  Her work is in harmony with the Bible ‘to the law and to the testimony’ [Ps 19:7; Isa 8:20] and a-l-w-a-y-s, yes I said always, point us to the Bible and persistently places much emphasis on its central theme found throughout its sacred pages, Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Ellen White’s counsel to the Seventh-day Adventist church and to a certain extent, the entire world, is but, again I say, a l-e-s-s-e-r light pointing wayfarers on this sinful planet to a meaningful understanding of God’s plan of salvation as revealed in the Holy Bible which is undoubtedly the basis of her life work.  Those who deny or undermine the relevance and significance of her work will enter into such a mini-controversy.  I think that this ‘mini-controversy’ is much greater than we would readily admit.  One last point for now is that supporters of Ellen White detractors are always at the centre of the fray.   Those who religiously follow the teachings of her detractors will often display an uncanny enthusiasm in their resentment of Ellen White.  Why?  Only God knows!

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-26 7:05 AM

Mr22: ‘Whilst ‘claiming’ to have utmost respect and appreciation of her work and writings, they are rather forthright in restricting her work to just being only applicable to those of yesteryear, possibly in order to have carte blanche in their conforming to societal moods and norms, even it means holding views that are at variance with the Bible and in turn the Seventh-day Adventist Church.’
 
I do actually agree.  Paul’s statement of slavery (as Stephen refers) might seem out-of-date as well.  However, there is an underlying eternal moral and theological principle there, if we are willing to take the time to understand the historical-cultural circumstances.  The same can be said for Ellen White, when we take the time to apply the same sophistication to interpreting her writings as we do the Bible. 
 
The problem isn’t Ellen White any more than the problems with what happened at Waco is the fault of the Bible.  Rather, it is how human beings have used (and abused) her counsel that is the problem. 

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 6:32 AM

Andre,
 
This is how I think “inspiration” works. As prophets are spokespersons for God, I liken them to modern press secretaries. They have spent enough time in communion/communication—through prayer, and whatever other means of revelation—with God, that they can convey to others what God would have others know of His mind and His intent.
 
As opposed to Q and A ‘pressers,’ they are primarily sent out with ‘statements.’
 
The "pastoral" piece for me is that I think it is conceivable and probable that those who are not necessarily prophets (in any classic sense) actually occasionally/often prophecy (verb); in that they are speaking for God. I think this happens with sermons/preaching.

William Noel
2013-04-26 10:10 AM

To "prophesy" simply means to "speak forth" for God.  If God could speak through Balaam's donkey, He can speak through whomever (or whatever) he wants any time He wants.  We don't have to be recognized as a prophet to prophesy. 

"Inspired" simply means "God-breathed."  Every believer in whom the Holy Spirit dwells and who is ministering in that power is to some degree inspired by God because they are doing God's work in His power.  So using terms like "the pen of inspiration" to imply by contrast that one is inspired while all who are gifted in other ways is false.  When I see how God has led in my ministry, the many ways we have seen Him work and the results produced, I have no doubt that what we witnessed was "God-breathed". 

How many ways can a person be inspired and prophesy?  Many more than the exclusive, EGW-only Adventist concept of prophecy allows.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 10:43 AM

There are a number of spiritual gifts. They all come from the same source. The gift of prophecy is clearly one; but one shouldn’t confuse one with another. 

William Noel
2013-04-26 2:28 PM

What confusion?  Are you suggesting that inspiration is exclusive to prophets?  That the same Holy Spirit does not also inspire the others whom He has gifted for ministry?  

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 3:28 PM

What I am saying is that there other spiritual gifts other than the gift of prophecy, and that while one may have one or more of these other gifts; that these other gifts should not be conflated or confused with the prophetic (though the Source is certainly the same).

William Noel
2013-04-26 8:10 PM

I am not confusing or conflating them, so I am not understanding your statement.  There is no question that the role of a prophet is a specific calling and role.  I was simply pointing out that inspiration extends to all spiritual gifts because all who minister in the power of the Holy Spirit are "god-breathed" in their ministry. 

We commonly think prophecy is the exclusive role of a prophet, but that is not what scripture tells us. 
*Numbers 11 speaks of 70 elders who prophesied when the Holy Spirit came on them. 
*In 1 Samuel we see that King Saul was not a prophet, but he is recorded as prophesying on at least three occasions, sometimes for several days and once while naked.  When David was hiding from Saul among the prophets, Saul sent three groups of messengers to capture him, but all three groups were overtaken by the Holy Spirit and began prophesying. 
*Nowhere in scripture do we find Enoch described as a prophet, but he prophesied. (Jude 1:14)
*In the parable of the judgement where God separates the sheep from the goats, the claimed believers list prophesying in God's name as one of their attributes and proofs of having worked for God. (Matthew 7:22)
*Prophecy can even come from non-human mouthpieces.  Even the law prophesied of Jesus (Matthew 11:13).
*Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest and is never described as a prophet, but he prophesied (Luke 1:67).
*Caiaphas, the high priest at the time of the crucifiction of Jesus, prophesied (John 11:48).
*At Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on the disciples and others gathered in the upper room, they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  Yet none of them is ever described as a prophet. 
*The new believers in Corinth prophesied after Paul laid hands on them so they would receive the Holy Spirit.  We have no record of any of them being a prophet.  (Acts 19:6). 

With those exceptions to the common concept of prophecy being limited to prophets it should be obvious that God the ability to prophesy is found in more who minister for God than just those we recognize as prophets.  Neither should we think being "god-breathed/inspired" is limited to only those who are prophets because it is the same Holy Spirit working in all who are gifted by Him and working in His power. 

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 9:32 PM

The spiritual gift of prophecy is one of the gifts which are enumerated (mainly by Paul) in the New Testament and are given for the edification and mission of the church. Obviously the gift of prophecy need not be limited to someone who is officially designated, recognized, or sanctioned as a prophet. I’ve never said/indicated/implied/hinted otherwise.
 
One can certainly be inspired by God to exercise or utilize one or more of the other spiritual gifts to glorify God, edify the church and help others.
 
I am saying that the Bible designates and distinguishes between the several spiritual gifts. The gift of prophecy is among them. It is a different gift than healing. 1 Corinthians 12: 4, 5 explains this. These gifts clearly all have the same Source but are not the same gifts

William Noel
2013-04-27 8:59 AM

We are in full agreement about what scripture says.  So I'm still puzzled by your earlier assertion that I was conflating things.  

Stephen Foster
2013-04-28 11:19 AM

The question, “How many ways can a person be inspired and prophesy?” is what caused me to conclude that you were conflating other spiritual gifts with that of the gift of prophecy. Perhaps I misunderstood.
 
I understood you to be suggesting that being inspired by God necessarily means that you are gifted or inspired to prophesy.

William Noel
2013-04-28 5:30 PM

I think you misunderstood.  No problem.

Stephen Foster
2013-05-01 4:00 AM

In re-reading the comments under my blog, I see that my misunderstanding was also a result of your statements that directly preceded and followed your earlier-cited question, William.
 
Every believer in whom the Holy Spirit dwells and who is ministering in that power is to some degree inspired by God because they are doing God's work in His power.  So using terms like "the pen of inspiration" to imply by contrast that one is inspired while all who are gifted in other ways is false.  When I see how God has led in my ministry, the many ways we have seen Him work and the results produced, I have no doubt that what we witnessed was "God-breathed". 

“How many ways can a person be inspired and prophesy?  Many more than the exclusive, EGW-only Adventist concept of prophecy allows.”
 
This does indeed sound to me like you are/were saying that anyone who is employing their spiritual gifts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is also gifted to prophesy. So do we in fact now both agree that this is not the case (since “we are in full agreement as to what scripture says” about spiritual gifts)?

William Noel
2013-05-02 9:22 AM

OK, let's clarify. Inspiration and prophecy are not exclusive to prophets. Rather, they are the actions of the Holy Spirit used to communicate God's messages to people. 

Inspiration is simply God speaking through someone.  Inspiration is the source of the messages delivered by a prophet under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is also the source of guidance given to and through individuals who are ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit.   

Ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit does not mean a person will also prophesy.  But the Bible tells of times when people under the influence or control of the Holy Spirit did prophesy and where prophecies were given by people who were not prophets. 

We point to visions and dreams as evidence of a person being a prophet.  Visions and dreams are not exclusive to prophets.  God can give a vision or dream to whomever He chooses and whenever He wants without the recipient being a prophet. What distinguishes a prophet are the frequency of the communications and the larger role those messages play in the building-up of the church. 

 

Stephen Foster
2013-05-02 12:41 PM

“What distinguishes a prophet are the frequency of the communications and the larger role those messages play in the building-up of the church.” 
 
“…the frequency of the communications”? Is this your opinion or perspective on things; or is this based on Scripture?
 
The gift of prophecy is one gift. It is not given to everyone who is inspired or endowed with spiritual gifts.
 
God can use anyone He chooses for whatever purposes He chooses, whenever He chooses. But He doesn’t endow all who He gifts (spiritually) with the gift of prophecy.
 
Someone having one or more spiritual gifts does not necessarily qualify them to prophesy. Inspiration is necessary for prophecy, but all inspiration is not necessarily prophecy or prophetic. 

Elaine Nelson
2013-04-26 11:54 AM

Anyone who claims that he or she is "inspired" is meaningless.  How is it possible for someone to make know, absolutely that he is inspired?

For others to claim someone is inspired, the same questions apply.  They are all SUBJECTIVE.  I may be inspired by listening to a Beethoven symphony or watching a sunset, but that is purely personal.  Inspiration is always subjective, and claims otherwise need more substantiaton than a mere "feeling."

William Noel
2013-04-27 9:02 AM

Elaine,

I agree.  The experience is subjective.  It is one person's experience with God as compared to another who has not had that experience.  The issue for believers is whether or not they compare the counsel or revelation with scripture to be certain they are consistent.  What is not subjective is the truthfulness of counsel that matches scripture.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we ignore the guidance God gives us.  That loss is also subjective because it is we who suffer the consequences and not another.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-26 7:05 AM

‘So what are we to do when we fundamentally disagree with what ‘we’ represents? Can those who fundamentally disagree remain together? Can a divided house somehow remain standing?... Who now questions this counsel; or the source from which it comes?
 
Stephen, forgive my idiocy, but I think I may not understand your punchline.  Are you saying we should or shouldn’t be judging others and trying to expel them when they don’t agree with what ‘we’ represent? Are you saying Ellen White is definitely a prophet because she said we shouldn’t judge others? Can you perhaps explain the bleating obvious to me? 
 
But what do you think ‘we’ fundamentally stand for Stephen?  That part is not clear to me? Are we to have lines, and if so – where should they be?  You seem to start a discussion on that point and then stopp.
 
Could I assume it would be to uphold all 28 FBs – or do you pick and choose like so many liberals?  If so, which one should we pick?  And if you say all, then what of the ones your brother Preston doesn’t seem to agree with – on say the Law of God and IJ? 
 
Your brother’s last couple of articles have been challenging a range of FBs, and the current one on the IJ seems a hot topic.  Have you raised any concerns with his apparent move to the ‘liberal’ side of the tent?  Is not his views the very kind of ‘purposeful destruction of the Advent movement’, which you seem so concerned about?
 
I am not saying any of this as an attack at all, and certainly not on Preston (as often I am more inclined to agree with his views than yours I suspect), but just trying to understand the motivations behind what you are trying to say.  It reminds me of SDA Pastors who are very anti-homosexual, and then they realise their own son or daughter is gay.  Suddenly their biblical view softens, not because of some new-found exegesis, but because of their own personal circumstances.
 
In all the debates of Christ vs culture, it is funny how often the love of a parent, sibling or friend, which I would argue is the essence of Christ, seems to trump theological ‘correctness’ in the end.  So what is your punchline – are those who discredit Ellen White in this ‘mini Great Controversy’ in or out in your view?

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 10:21 AM

It is the rich irony of Ellen White suggesting that non-believing (Adventists) not be excommunicated that non-believers, including her detractors, should carefully note. While I’m in a betting mood, I’d bet that White's Adventist detractors believe this counsel to be somehow inspired.
 
I would note that, as always, her counsel is but a reflection of Scripture; much as the moon merely reflects sunlight.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 2:36 PM

In my above response, I did not intend to ignore your other questions Stephen.
 
I am personally baffled by the mindset of one's remaining affiliated with an organization with which one is in fundamental disagreement. As such I would personally heartily recommend that non-believers and detractors of the co-founder of the denomination get a life elsewhere. I am however counseled in Scripture and by White’s testimony that it isn’t my responsibility to separate non-believers from our church.
 
 (I actually wrote a blog a few years ago, http://www.atoday.org/article/297/blogs/foster-stephen/2010/seventh-day-atheists, along these same lines.)
 
Clearly, I believe that lines should be drawn concerning Adventist doctrinal beliefs and teachings. It should also be clear that I believe the detractors of Ellen White to be enemies of Adventism. I thought that I was quite candid about that. I would think that you’d be happy with the ‘middle ground’ of not advocating excommunication for non-believers while vigorously defending doctrine.
 
As for Ellen White’s writings being for a past time, that is the most laughable of all possible assertions in my view. (Not that you, personally, have made it.) Ellen White was about 50 years older than my own grandmother. Since when has inspiration had such a short shelf life? This is a point that seemingly bears repeating because even 200 years is nothing.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 3:15 PM

Perhaps I should add that I agree with and believe what Ellen White wrote, even though I don’t like or prefer, or necessarily appreciate, everything that she wrote.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-26 7:13 AM

Stephen Foster: 'As prophets are spokespersons for God, I liken them to modern press secretaries. They have spent enough time in communion/communication—through prayer, and whatever other means of revelation—with God, that they can convey to others what God would have others know of His mind and His intent... As opposed to Q and A ‘pressers,’ they are primarily sent out with ‘statements.’

I think that is probably true Stephen.  I wonder if there is also an element of prophecy we overlook - the Divine Pathos.

The great 20th Century Jewish theologian Abraham Herschel liked to point out that prophets don't just communicate God's thoughts - they communicate God's feelings.  In fact, he observes prophets were hyper-sensitive to injustices in the world that the rest of we humans become desensitised to.  

Like the Presidents Press Secretary, after a while, with more time spent with the President each day, the Press Secretary doesn't just communicate an exact statement that the President endorses.  Rather, after a while, the Press Secretary beings to understand how the President feels on certain issues.  They develop a relationship so much so that even to a question the Press Secretary has received no formal instructions, the Press Secretary is likely to know what the President is likely to think and answer as to that question.

André Reis
2013-04-26 12:43 PM

Stephen

Your definition of inspiration insofar as direct statements attributed to YHWH by prophets is self-evident. Things become more complex with texts which do not claim to be the direct words of YHWH such as the book of Esther for example.

How do we decide they have been "inspired"? Are they based in holy traditions whose authors were faithful to write down as accurate as possible?

More importantly, how would Ellen White's writings fit this category?

 

Stephen Foster
2013-04-26 3:13 PM

Forgive me but it seems to me that the burden of proof of inspiration is not on the Bible or Ellen White or Christian believers; including Seventh-day Adventists. Those who believe the Bible and/or Ellen White to be inspired do so willingly/voluntarily. Their reasons are likely to be found in reading, and experiencing, and through prayer.

The question is why do those who do not believe the Bible or Ellen White to have been inspired continue to affiliate with organizations or communities which are based on such belief or such conviction?

Elaine Nelson
2013-04-27 12:16 PM

Stephen Foster,

You ask:  "Why do those who do not believe the Bible or Ellen White continue to afiliate with organizaations of communities which are based on such belief or such conviction"?

Because the church has not yet declared these points to be used as a prod to remove members based on affirming these beliefs; beliefs that are not all held exactly the same, of which you are very aware.  There are many interpretations of belief in the Bible and EGW, so who should be the arbiter and take the position of rooting out what some define as "heresy"? 

Are you suggesting such a radical move?  Why?  Are you so very uncomfortable with people who do not agree with the positions you and some others may hold?  You should realize from even this site's comments that there are many Adventists who have many different views.

 

We should be able to discuss these issues without decreeing which are orthodox and which are heresy.  Are you willing to define those positions today?  Has someone appointed you for that position?


Elaine Nelson
2013-04-26 7:34 PM

Most of the Hebrew canon was oral until approx. 1,000 B.C. at the earliest.  All, largely depended on memory until that time, and none had been written prior to that can be substantiated.  It all depended on human memory, which is not infallible.

The Wisdom Books:  Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesistes, the Song of Solomon were listed this manner by the Jews.  While there may be good wisdom, they are not necessarily inspired. nor make such claims.

Your question, Stephen, why some who do not believe in the inspiration of either the Bible or EGW
continue affiliation with the church with such beliefs is because many consider the SDA church as family, the only religious family they know.  They do not disown the family because they do not all agree on matters, but because it is where they were raised and the only such family they know and they belong just as much as others who may believe differently.

When the day comes when all Adventists agree in complete unison, it will certain they have   apostasized; because no denomination, no Adventist has the complete truth, despite claims to the contrary.  If anyone make such claims, you can rest assured they are deceived.  Truth is not a thing that can be owned, but will always be a search that never ends here on this earth.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-27 9:43 PM

“Are you suggesting such a radical move?  Why?  Are you so very uncomfortable with people who do not agree with the positions you and some others may hold?  You should realize from even this site's comments that there are many Adventists who have many different views.”
 
Elaine, why would you answer your question to me for me? You have assumed/implied an affirmative answer to your question, and then wonder if my being “so very uncomfortable” with people who disagree with me is the reason.
 
Well, clearly Elaine I somewhat enjoy the company of people with whom I disagree.
 
The fact is that there is an orthodox position and a relatively less orthodox position for any denominational or religious entity. This certainly is not news to you.
 
I just don’t want the SDA doctrinal beliefs to become SDA non-beliefs; that’s all.
 
There are Adventists who do not believe the Bible and, as I have said before, use “interpretation” as a euphemism for simply not believing what the Bible says.
 
There are Adventists who do not appreciate the ministry of Ellen White and may even consider her to be a fraud. Others think that hers was a temporary ministry, only applicable for the 19th century.
 
That’s OK, such is their prerogative; and I shouldn’t judge them or their motives. I am clearly counseled that it is not my responsibility to seek their excommunication.
 
I remained baffled however as to why someone would want to remain affiliated with an entity with which they fundamentally disagree. Just because Mommy and Daddy, or Grandma and Grandpa were Adventists is certainly a silly and juvenile reason to remain one when/if you disagree with everything, or practically everything, that Seventh-day Adventists have historically espoused.
 
Do you actually disagree with this assessment?

Elaine Nelson
2013-04-27 11:26 PM

Stephen,

I apologize for reading your question as an inference that you are confused why those who do not accept all the Adventist doctrines would still continue to be Adventists.  Is this correct? 

You should also have read enough here to have somewhat of a clue.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-28 6:42 PM

“…Somewhat of a clue” about what, Elaine? I think I already understand “why those who do not accept all the Adventist doctrines would still continue to be Adventists.” I don’t understand why those who fundamentally disagree with most, if not all, of the historical Adventist doctrinal beliefs would continue to be Seventh-day Adventists.  I’m sorry but, for what it’s worth, the legacy (ancestral) thing is a reach in my opinion.
 
In other words, to disagree with a few doctrines is one thing, to disagree with the majority or all of the doctrines is something else entirely; isn’t it?

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-04-26 4:11 PM

In 1Chron 29:29 we find Nathan and Gad, who, although being true prophets of God, don't have their own books in the canon of Christian scripture.  This evidently shows that there were true noncanonical prophets whose writings, although authoritative and recognised as inspired, that weren't included in the Bible.  Ellen White would fall in this group of true noncanonical prophets.  Her work was inspired by God - it is authoritative and fulfils the role of a true Messenger of God.
  • (1Chr 29:29 [UKJV])
    Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,

André Reis
2013-04-26 5:39 PM

Stephen, I suggest that is precisely why people stop believing Ellen White, because Adventists throw on her a blanket of absolute inspiration = infallibility. In order to understand her role in Adventist theology, we need to listen to what she had to say about her own writings. 

But sadly, Adventists pay little attention to that. Our current belief in Ellen White's role in theology is the result of a reactionary fear of lowering her "authority"; it's much safer simpy to elevate her to a semi-canonical status.

 

The actual result? Adventists have become anemic in understanding the Bible. Our hermeneutical has an expiration date of July, 1915.


Stephen Foster
2013-04-27 2:22 AM

I would suggest that the precise reason “why people stop believing Ellen White” has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that some “Adventists throw on her a blanket of absolute inspiration=infallibility;” but instead has everything to do with the unpopularity of many of the things she wrote.
 
These things are unpopular for a variety of reasons to a variety of people. The truth is often inconvenient to hear/read/know; especially when you are fearful of its veracity and/or convicted by it.  Additionally, the truth is most unpopular to the father of lies; which practically goes without saying.

William Noel
2013-04-27 9:04 AM

Andre,

That has been my observation, too.  Now the church is suffering from the spiritual anemia Ellen White warned us would come when we failed to use the Bible and the Bible only.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-27 4:56 AM

Stephen Foster: 'I am personally baffled by the mindset of one's remaining affiliated with an organization with which one is in fundamental disagreement... Clearly, I believe that lines should be drawn concerning Adventist doctrinal beliefs and teachings.'

So what's view on Preston's latest articles then?  

And wouldn't that turn the 28 FBs into a creed?

Stephen Foster
2013-04-27 7:34 AM

Stephen Ferguson,
 
My brother is only trying to be consistently conservative in his approach. With soteriological issues, as with Creation issues, his approach “what does the Bible say?”
 
So, you tell me Stephen, how is that different than what I’ve been saying?
 
When you get an opportunity tell me what you think of this blog http://www.atoday.org/article/300/blogs/foster-stephen/2010/faith-communities-by-definition-must-believe-fundamentally.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-28 5:46 AM

Sorry I'm not following Stephen.  Didn't Preston teach the FBs re the Law are incorrect?  Hasn't he just written an article challenging the FB on the IJ, particularly the eschaoltogical date 1844?  Those would appear to be pretty non-consertative stances to take that breach the current beliefs and practices of the SDA Church.  I read your other post but didn't entirely understand what you were saying.  

Stephen Foster
2013-04-28 11:12 AM

Fundamental beliefs have to be based on what the Bible says, do they not?
 
Likewise, a theologically conservative approach should be based on what the Bible says; even for Seventh-day Adventists (believe it or not).
 
Conservative, ‘fundamentalist’ Adventists believe that the truth about God is found in the Bible. Preston, believes that this is where we should all start any search for truth.
 
You should perhaps ask him for more; but if the Bible had said that Sunday was the Sabbath, or that Jesus is the Lord of Sunday, or that the world was created in six thousand years, or six hundred thousand years, or six million or billion years, we should consider it true and thus reorient our doctrine accordingly. (Obviously, the Bible says none of this.)
  
Label that what you will; but I consider that to be conservative. Something tells me that you should consider reconsidering (expanding) your perception/understanding of these labels.
 
Perhaps I should’ve referred you to http://www.atoday.org/article/287/opinion/foster-stephen/2009/to-be-sure-or-not-to-be-is-that-the-question (although I’ve since reconsidered some of that).

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-29 10:18 AM

Stephen Foster: 'Likewise, a theologically conservative approach should be based on what the Bible says; even for Seventh-day Adventists (believe it or not).'

No doubt that is true of Christian conservatives - but Adventist conservatives - not sure.  And many Adventist conservatives would say the Bible says stuff that supports the doctrine of the IJ or the perpetuity of the Decalogue, which Preston seems to challenge.

'Label that what you will; but I consider that to be conservative.'

One aspect I do agree on is conservative focus on what the biblical prophet says; more liberal people focus on what the biblical prophet would say, if they were here today.

'Something tells me that you should consider reconsidering (expanding) your perception/understanding of these labels.'

I agree that labels are very problematic.  I only brought up because I was trying to understand your curious statement that:

'I am personally baffled by the mindset of one's remaining affiliated with an organization with which one is in fundamental disagreement... Clearly, I believe that lines should be drawn concerning Adventist doctrinal beliefs and teachings.'

It seemed to me that given you where classifying certain people, whether you brother would be included in that group of people who are affiliated with an organization with which one is in fundamental disagreement.


 

Stephen Foster
2013-04-29 3:58 PM

I must say, it is becoming more difficult to understand your point of reference. I thought I had a handle on it at one point, but apparently not.
 
If you believe Preston to be fundamental disagreement with Adventism, then you need to ask him if your perception is correct.
 
My perception is that those whose focus is on what the Bible actually says are not in fundamental disagreement with Adventism; and that such persons are theologically conservative.
 
Conservatives emphasize what the Bible and God’s prophets have said, and liberals speculate as to what the Bible and God’s prophets would say whenever they perceive it convenient/helpful/necessary. If that is what you are saying, I think we can agree on that.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-30 9:53 AM

Stephen perhaps we are talking about cross-purposes.  There is liberal vs conservative in turn of methodology for reading the Bible, compared with the actual beliefs and practices that one ends up with as a result of that reading of the Bible.

Re methodology, it would seem I am much more conservative than you and Preston.

As to actual beliefs and practices, it would seem Preston may be far more liberal than me, because he seems to reject FBs such as the IJ and the Law of God.  I might even be more conservative than you on that issue - who knows!

One could say have a very conservative way of reading the Bible, but end up with very unAdventist like beliefs and practices.  

Preston Foster
2013-04-30 10:48 AM

Stephen Ferguson,

I often say (and believe) that I am one of the most conservative people on this site (concerning religion, of course).  I think that both so-called traditional Adventists and so-called progressive and cultural Adventists are overly dependent on the writings of EGW and, respectively, the conventional "wisdom" of the world (i.e., current science, logic) to buttress their positions.  The end-in-mind seems (to me) more to "win" or beat the other "team" and less to find God's will, as outlined in the Bible.  For me, the Bible (as interpreted by the Holy Spirit) is the sole authority on spiritual matters.

Although my views regarding the law and grace have evolved (from tradition to a better understanding of the New Covenant), my reason for being and remaining Adventist is summarized in the first column I wrote on Adventists Today in 2011:

http://www.atoday.org/article/459/opinion/foster-preston/2011/have-we-lost-sight-of-our-mission 

This position tends to drive liberals or culturals Adventists mad.  My positions on FB 19 and my request that the IJ narrative be reconciled with Hebrews 9:11-26 have traditionalists calling me a heretic and implying that I should be struck down for questioning -- in the context of the Bible, the IJ narrative of EGW.

The "teams" are fairly well set.  I find myself in disagreement with both traditionalists and culturalists who, many times, find themselves digging in deeper into their entrenced positions rather than into The Bible.  I am more interested in shaping my beliefs to what the Bible says than to any established or conventional point-of-view.    

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-30 10:59 AM

Very interesting Preston.  The more I see the range of views here, the more I come to think I am a bit of a 'libertarian' rather than 'liberal'.  I actually have some very 'historic' views on a range of essential Adventist doctrines.  I probably seem very liberal at times because I am liberal on matters I view as 'non-essential'.  I guess labels are difficult all around.

But I must confess I still remain confused about your brother's original point:

'So what are we to do when we fundamentally disagree with what ‘we’ represents? Can those who fundamentally disagree remain together?'

Who is we?  And what do you 'fundamentally' agree on?  

Is it the 28 FBs, which you seem to have some problems with, which would seem to make you quite liberal, and me probably more conservative than you?  Or is to the methodology for interpreting scripture, which on that measure you are probably right in describing yourself a conservative, and me probably more liberal than you?

Method or outcome?

Stephen Foster
2013-04-30 1:05 PM

As I’ve said Stephen, I have lost touch with exactly what your question is.
 
The point of my blog was actually that which followed the quote you’ve excerpted. The point was that even though some of 'us' apparently don’t believe any of what others of 'us' believe, we are called to remain or ‘grow’ together, whether we are wheat or tares; and it’s not my responsibility or purview to determine which is which or who is what.
 
The further point is the irony that this counsel actually comes from Ellen White; reflecting the same counsel from the Bible.
 
I’ve explained how I view EGW; and I am probably (at least) as conservative as you are regarding the 'Fundamental Beliefs.'

Stephen Ferguson
2013-05-01 8:19 PM

Yes, Stephen if that is your point I agree, and I agree Mrs White is upehld as the archtype of supposed intolerance when she was actually the promoter of tolerance.  As I also said previously, there is also much irony in being called a called because of her, but the fact is she actually made us more 'orthodox' and less 'cultish.'  

Many of the 'innovations' in Adventism were not her ideas - contrary to what many think.  In some ways, God used her as the 'handbrake' to stop the Pioneers going too far.  She reigned the Church in re Arianism and Pantheism, promoting orthodox Trinity, as well as helped stopped the Church going too far with its notion of law-keeping by endorsing Jones and Wagner's affirmation of righteousness by faith.  When I look at the other 'prophets' of her time, see operate in much the reverse way they did,

Yes Stephen, you are probably more conservative than me re the FBs.  Your brother Preston - not so sure.  

But again, labels are difficult and relative, which only supports Ellen White's call for tolerance, which I believe is your main point.



 

Preston Foster
2013-08-28 3:16 PM

Stephen Ferguson,

Hello, My Friend.

Regarding the FBs, I believe my position to be, in the most literal sense, conservative (in contrast to "traditional") in that I test each FB (and all other beliefs) by the Bible only, as informed by the Holy Spirit.  In my view, sola scriptura is the most conservative (meaning "led by the original source and its intent") point of view regarding truth and testing prophecy.  

Traditionalists, in my view, defend an established SDA position, inclusive of other light, that is deemed to be "authoritative."  I continue to test all things, as instructed (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

I hope this clarifies my position, for what it is worth. 

Peace.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-04-27 4:58 AM

Stephen: 'It is the rich irony of Ellen White suggesting that non-believing (Adventists) not be excommunicated that non-believers, including her detractors, should carefully note. While I’m in a betting mood, I’d bet that White's Adventist detractors believe this counsel to be somehow inspired.'

Stephen I do agree.  Another huge irony is people think the SDA Church is a cult because we believe Ellen White is a prophet.  However, the reality is if we did have Ellen White, we probably would have been a cult.  Ellen White made us more 'orthodox' on a range of theological issues, from the Trinity to salvation by grace and not works. 

Ella M
2013-04-28 8:15 PM

      Again some focus on specifics relevant to the culture of EGW instead of the principle.  Today, instead of bicycles, I am sure it would be texting.  Every fad in extreme is harmful.  The lady did make the denomination more orthodox.  And I believe she was inspired in principle.  Certainly the writings are devotional in nature and it is irrelevant how they were put together; the meanings are what makes it valuable in every era.  But the terminology could be updated in some versions or explained.

      Actually in an age of mystics and postmodernism, the idea of such an "inspired" leader could be used to attract nonbelievers.  No matter what criticism are made, one cannot deny the theme of these writings are Christ and kindness.   The quotes some critics get excited over are amusing, as they have to do with how one should live or do (in that era).  Many are written to individuals.  The estate didn't do us any favors by putting subject compilations together out of context. 

There is so much common sense in the writings that I am sure even Elaine would agree with them if she read them.

 

William Noel
2013-04-29 9:55 AM

Ella,

I appreciated your observations.  Ellen White wrote often about the need to have a balanced life instead of chasing fads that drew their attention and priorities away from spreading the Gospel.  In the same way, I wonder what warnings she would give today about the obsession some have with debating particular doctrines and beliefs, including defending claims that her writings are authoritative for interpreting scripture.  Her point about bicycles and other fads was that such pursuits moved a person's life priorities to things other than spreading the Gospel.   Is the level of energy some put into debating not evidence their life priority is not spreading the Gospel?

Elaine Nelson
2013-04-28 8:52 PM

Ella,

I was raised on EGW with my mothers' milk--and 12 years of SDA schools.  No, I am not familiar with everything she wrote, but would not expect to find a gem that I've never heard about, and even so, it would not be additional help to all that I've read.

Stephen Foster
2013-04-30 8:51 AM

Elaine,
 
If you are "not familiar with everything she wrote," how can you conclude that you would not “find a gem that [you’ve] never heard about;” and how can you conclude that there is nothing she wrote that might “be additional help to all that [you’ve] read” (presumably) elsewhere?

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-01 3:09 PM

No one has to read every word or all the compilations to get a good idea of what HAS been written, and the chance of finding a "gem" by turning over all the rocks and gravel is not necessary.

Why is it not necessary for Christians to read the entire Book of Mormon or the Koran in hope of finding a gem?  Haven't most Christians formed opinions without ever reading those two books?

For those who believe there are "gems" hidden in her writing, why not write a few on a blog here for evaluation?  "Hidden gems" would be those that are very infrequently used, or perhaps no one else is familiar or aware.

Ella M
2013-05-15 3:56 PM

   I wasn't necessarily talking about "hidden gems" but the whole picture--overview of all the works--the theme.  I think that is what most critics miss.  It's the same with the Bible.  It's focusing on details and occasional misinformation or misunderstanding of the times that critics stumble over.

earl calahan
2013-05-01 2:38 PM

Very interesting. Would have thought Ellen White would have looked favorably on bicycles. It was a 
convenience, for all people to get from A to B, much more faster, therefore more industrious. In the 1920's, most everyone had access to bikes, including the clergy & Bible workers. It was a big deal for me as i had to get up at 4:30AM to get to my paper route to deliver 100 papers 7 days/week, more on Sunday, the big edition, then home for brecky, and then to school. The bicycle is still a big deal in most of the world.
To Preston, i also believe HEB. 9:11-26, is a scripture that we all should shout HALLELUJAH, for.  

Stephen Ferguson
2013-05-01 8:21 PM

I think it was the bike 'craze' that she was worried about - not bikes themselves.  No doubt she might warn today against soccor moms all driving SUVs, or the obsession with Facebook, or any other insane craze.

William Noel
2013-05-03 1:49 PM

If I were to take what I remember her writing about bicycles and apply it to today, I can see her asking why a soccer mom needs to be driving a $50,000 SUV when one half that price would be adequate and they could put some of the difference in the offering plate to support a mission project?  Or, why a person is paying a premium price for satellite TV service so they can spend hours watching sports events when they could put the time and money in ways that helped spread the Gospel?

Sarah
2013-05-03 4:37 AM

 To: Stephen Foster
Thank you for making clear some points regarding your beliefs about Ellen Gould White;
  • “I believe her to have been a full blown prophet”;
  • “I don’t hold everything she ever wrote or said, under any and all circumstances; to have been; universally applicable or even divinely inspired (that’s not to say that it wasn’t however)
  • “While I do not consider her writings to be canonical, I do believe what she wrote about God/the Bible/the Christian life to have been divinely inspired”
 
Brother Stephen, having grown up in the Adventist religion, I believe you may actually have some things in common with many of those individuals to whom you refer.
 
Some of those who, in your opinion, have “the ultimate purpose of” discrediting Ellen White, and the “purposeful destruction of the Advent movement generally,” like Donald McAdams, William S. Peterson, Ronald Numbers, and Walter Rea to name a few, were devoted Adventists and proponents of Mrs. White for a long time, just like you.
These theological scholars, historians, ministers, and devoted Seventh-day Adventists are among those individuals you describe.  
Have you considered what they discovered in the midst of their study, while working specifically in support of the “prophetic” writings of Mrs. White?  It might be an informative investigation to establish your judgment.
I agree that if a Seventh-day Adventist discovers that they do not believe in Ellen White as a prophet, they should reconsider calling themselves such.   She is foundational to this church, its’ doctrines and culture.    The tenants that separate the SDA church from other Protestant evangelical churches are grounded in Ms. White’s writings.
Because our understanding and introduction to God, prophets, and prophecy comes from scripture, let us consider the biblical description of who a true prophet is. Scripture is clear about detecting a true prophet. Their predations must come to pass;
 
Deuteronomy 18: 21- 22 “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.”
 
Ezekiel 33:33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.”
 
The truth is that there are several important predictions (prophesies) of Mrs. White that did not occur.
I will cite just three:
 
Speaking about the fate of individuals from a conference of believers in 1856 that was later published in Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 131, Mrs. White stated;
  1. “I was shown the company present at the conference.  Said the angel:  ‘Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.’” By the early 1900s all attendees to that conference had passed away.
  2. In spite of the “Great Disappointment” of 1844, Mrs. White again predicted that Christ would return.  On June 27, 1850 Mrs. White wrote:
“My accompanying angel said, ‘Time is almost finished.Get ready, get ready, get ready’…now time is almost finished … and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.” Obviously, Christ had not returned as predicted.
 
  1. An interesting prophecy of Mrs. White's was that "Old Jerusalem never would be built up". In Early Writings p 75, she said, "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 ... I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing ... 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" (emphasis added).
This prophecy did not come true. Since the nation of Israel's rebirth in 1948, "old Jerusalem" has been greatly built up.
 
 
Your opinions about Ellen White inspiration as a prophet, the scope and authenticity of her testimony, and the motivation of those who do not share you view,  begs an open minded examination of each from scripture.

Stephen Foster
2013-05-03 7:31 PM

Is it noteworthy that Ellen White did not ever once call herself a prophet?
 
I am also not sure that the passages you cite or the messages you question are not representative of something concrete; and as with anything, need to be read and understood in its entire context. In other words, in the first one is it reasonable to conclude “the company present” that she ‘was shown’ was representative of the church in the final days; with “the company” with which she was familiar being the one she was shown? In the third one is it reasonable to conclude that the building up of “Old Jerusalem”—something that some of her contemporaries believed was their prophetic duty or destiny to accomplish—had to do with some eschatological evangelistic duty or mission that they (apparently mistakenly) perceived as theirs to fulfill?
 
The second one, of course, is not a specific time prediction. Here is what I found on EW p.64: “In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said, “Time is almost finished. Do you reflect the lovely image of Jesus as you should?” Then I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the third angel’s message. Said the angel, “Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.” I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it.”
 
Clearly we perceive what we want. The same is true with the Bible. How many Biblical references can we find with reference to Jesus returning “quickly”?
 
Here’s the larger point, as with membership and/or association with Adventism, the perception of White’s authenticity is a voluntary decision. If someone perceives her to be fraudulent, why would they remain a Seventh-day Adventist? One answer, I believe, is that they are afraid that she may not be. In other words, they seem to lack the courage of their 'conviction' about that.

Searcher
2013-05-04 12:46 AM

May I suggest some working definitions that might be helpful to the discussion:

REVELATION is God making known His presence, power, attributes, character and will to intelligent created beings in order that they may enter into fellowship with Him

INSPIRATION is God through the Holy Spirit motivating those to whom He has entrusted revelation to proclaim that revelation to others and guiding them in doing so within the framework of their time, place, and circumstances

ILLUMINATION is God through the Holy Spirit progressively interpreting and applying the knowledge and principles made known through revelation and inspiration to intelligent beings in different times, places, and circumstances.

As was suggested earlier with the illustration of bicycles and cars, it too often happens that people latch onto temporal applications of universal principles and insist on their universal application with little understanding of or regard for the principles on which they are based.  In so doing, they often judge those who do not agree with them and violate the basic principle involved in a hundred different ways.  

 

William Noel
2013-05-04 9:50 AM

Searcher,

While I applaud your desire to clarify the discussion by giving definition to words, I would offer that such an effort will be fruitless because it is theoretical instead of real.  It is when we experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, when we are empowered and guided in ministry that He wants us to do, that we discover there is too little difference between revelation, inspiration and illumination to draw value from the distinction.  Such discussion most often reveals we are perpetuating the illusion that we are doing God's work when we have failed to find the empowerment and guidance in ministry that every believer is supposed to be experincing in the Holy Spirit. 

earl calahan
2013-05-04 2:02 PM

True, William. As children, we are constantly reminded of no no's, uh uh's, don't do that!!! Children start rebellion early in life. Many escape parental influence as soon as possible. 50-60 years ago many young ladies would get married, just to get away. Today they just leave home. Unless the Holy Spirit is at home in your heart, it is so easy to follow contemporary life styles. Teach the children the love of  Jesus, and how the Holy Spirit is ours, until Jesus returns in Glory.

David Geelan
2013-05-16 3:30 AM

"More candidly in my opinion, the ultimate purpose of all efforts to discredit Ellen White is the purposeful destruction of the Advent movement generally, and of its interpretation of the Third Angel’s message in particular."

 

No. For some of us, it is purely and simply about truth. It's not even about discrediting Ellen White. It's about not being silent when things about which she was mistaken - you have acknowledged that there are some such - are claimed to be absolute truth, and defended, simply because she wrote them.

 

Truth. It's what's for dinner.


Darrel Lindensmith
2013-05-16 4:57 PM

 "She is foundational to this church, its’ doctrines and culture. The tenants that separate the SDA church from other Protestant evangelical churches are grounded in Ms. White’s writings."  Sarah, I am so glad that this is NOT true!  "Culture?" maybe; not doctrines!

Sarah
2013-05-17 12:20 AM

Brother Darrel,
Thank you for including me in the doctrinal reference.  Briefly, a basic description of doctrine  is: a principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group;

I would consider the principal co-founder, prophet, and pioneer of the Adventism, whose writings are described as, “a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.”- (Fundamental Belief # 18), as being doctrinally fundamental to the SDA Church. Unfortunately, this quote is nearly interchangeable to the biblical role of scripture given in, 2 Timothy 3:16:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Brother Stephen , I am again in agreement with your original assertion that one cannot claim to be a Seventh-Day Adventist and not believe that EGW to be, in your words, “a full blown prophet.”

As David Greelan suggests  earlier, there are those who are about truth, studying scripture, comparing doctrine, not  because they are interested in “the purposeful destruction of the Advent movement” , but because they a prayerfully seeking truth, and know …

It sets you free.
 
 

Stephen Foster
2013-05-17 11:35 AM

Sarah,
 
My original assertion was really that any and all attempts to discredit White are actually purposeful attempts to destroy the Advent movement generally; and the SDA interpretation of the Third Angel’s Message in particular.
 
Some things that White wrote, in my opinion, are not universally applicable, or necessarily inspired, or necessarily prophetic, or necessarily correct. This has no effect, in my view, on that which she did write which is universally applicable, inspired, prophetic, and accurate.
 
The context, purpose, and people to whom she wrote are the determiners of differentiation. Again, this is my view on White.
 
To your point, I do not pretend to comprehend why anyone who believes her to be fraudulent would be an Adventist.

Dennis Hokama
2013-05-22 4:11 PM

It is quite remarkable that this conversation can be carried on so long without any reference to Ellen Whites’s “shut door” visions. And I don’t mean the White Estate’s apologetics about them, but the visions themselves. Adventist Currents (Vol. 1, #4, July, 1984) devoted a whole issue to this subject.  Every problem regarding her writings discussed so far on this thread: child’s play. Until you have studied the shut door visions and how EW and the church handled them, I would venture to say nobody can make an “informed” judgement about Ellen White and her supposedly divinely inspired founding visions. (IOW, these were the visions that made her a prophet, and the obvious mistakes in them are salvation related.)  

Here is that issue online:

http://www.hacksplace.com/images/magazines/AC%20PDFs/AC%20B&W/AC%201-4%20BW%20300dpi.pdf

While IMO the whole issue needs to be read to become an informed SDA, read in particular:
1. Doug Hackleman, “Picking the Shut Door Lock”
2. Dennis Hokama, “The Great Controversy Over Deletions in the Vision of 1844"
3. Wes Ringer, “From Shut Door to Investigative Judgement: Legacy of Guilt”
4. Dennis Hokama, “The Shut Door Ellen White Never Abandoned”

Summarizing the problem of the shut door visions, Ellen White became established as a “true prophet” by having many false visions which repeatedly endorsed the idea that those who did not accept Miller’s 1844 message (the message that the Second Coming would happen on 10/22/1844) by that date, thereby forever “shut the door” on their chances for salvation. The shut door she never abandoned, refers to her belief that all those who rejected the Millerite message were eternally lost, even though it was historically proven false, and even though 1844 skeptics could use scripture to prove Miller was wrong. (By extension, this must also presumably apply to all those who subsequently find fault with William Miller’s reasoning.)

All of those who agree with Stephen, please explain how this established Ellen White as a “true prophet,” so Doug, Wes and I (and Erv) can see the light. Alas, nobody has been able to do that for the last 29 years. Nevertheless, we struggle on, doing the best we can, given the evidence.

JaNe
2013-07-26 4:40 AM

Why are any "Adventists"" making references to godfather movies? Seriously?

Stephen Foster
2013-07-26 8:39 AM

They’re my favorite movies JaNe. What’s yours?

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-22 4:37 PM

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings-- And why Adventists are making references here to Godfather movies.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-22 5:14 PM

Are you suggesting that we (Adventists) invent some more sins, my brother?
 
Granted, I should not enjoy that genre of film. You got me, man; ‘cause I do. Don’t look at me though, because I am not your example Dennis. I’m flawed, in case you hadn’t noticed.
 
I’m gratified that you are reading my stuff though!

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-26 8:20 PM

Not at all! I watched all of the Sopranos and thought that series was great too. You seem to have missed the point of that post completely. That poem is the classic case of stringing together non-sequiturs in desperate times.  

Perhaps I should have put the emphasis on "HERE" in the last sentence. Why here and now on this thread? EW apologists tend to break out the non-sequiturs when confronted with her shut door visions.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-26 9:32 PM

Dennis,
 
You may just want to read or re-read the original blog; or at least the very beginning of it. I used the ‘Godfather’ reference to start the blog and alert of its directness. Why would you say that I was “confronted” with anything—when I started everything (with the “Godfather’ reference you have questioned)?

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 12:01 AM

I did read it. The reference to the Godfather movies was just to borrow the line about speaking bluntly which you were then going to do about "the mini-controversy concerning the testimonies to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that have come from the pen of Ellen G. White, through the inspiration of God." So it was not really about the Godfather movies at all.

But it is your blog and you may turn it into a blog about Godfather movies now if you wish.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-27 3:07 AM

Since the blog wasn’t about a movie, please elaborate; because I don’t understand how I have turned my blog into something about anything other than what it’s about.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-27 3:49 AM

I see now Dennis, you wanted to continue to discuss the ‘Shut Door’ issue; so you saw my answer to JaNe as some sort of avoidance of it. (Re-reading does help after all, doesn’t it?)

I must admit to not being very interested in the intricacies of church history. So tell us, why is the apologetics of the White Estate on this issue not good enough for some of you?

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 8:26 AM

Well, Stephen, if you are not very interested in the intricacies of church history, then it seems very strange that you would be motivated to start a blog to speak bluntly about "the mini-controversy concerning the testimonies to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that have come from the pen of Ellen G. White, through the inspiration of God."


What motivated me to drop in on this thread was the irony of your title, in view of the paper I had written nearly 30 years ago, entitled, "The Great Controversy Over Deletions in the Vision of 1844," which is available online, as I have shown.


Anyone who wants to talk about controversy over the "testimonies to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that have come from the pen of Ellen G. White," needs to start there, at the very beginning of EW’s prophetic ministry, in 1844. There is no bigger controversy and scandal than that in the whole history of Adventism, and it is a real killer!


If you read that, then you would know why the apologetics of the White Estate is not "good enough" for anyone who really wants to know what actually happened. I was at the White Estate in Takoma Park, Maryland, in 2009, and they actually had a paper trying to refute me, and Adventist Currents, but it only made me shake my head and sigh. I actually sympathize with them. Their job is to cover up and sanitize that faith devastating history.


Having said that, I am still an active member of the SDA church today, and so is my entire family. Wes Ringer, however, who was an academy Bible teacher at the time he did his shut door research, found it necessary as a matter of conscience to exit the SDA church in order to remain a Christian. (He was of course fired for his findings) He is working as a missionary in Africa today. In December of 2012, I had him come to my Loma Linda SS class to make a presentation on his agonizing journey of faith, including his bible translating work in Africa.


Stephen Foster
2013-08-27 4:26 PM

Here is the deal with me Dennis; I have read enough of White’s writings to be personally convinced of her authenticity and authoritativeness (if that is a word).
 
I can’t fake it, a lot of SDA church history, actually most of it, simply bores me to death for some reason. But as for the ‘Shut Door’ thing, correct me (of course), but didn’t she say that her opinion on that preceded her first vision? (I don’t recall anyone claiming her to have been a congenital prophet, a la John the Baptist.) 

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 5:45 PM

1. "Here is the deal with me Dennis; I have read enough of White’s writings to be personally convinced of her authenticity and authoritativeness (if that is a word)."


Perhaps you haven’t read enough, or you might change your mind?


2. "I can’t fake it, a lot of SDA church history, actually most of it, simply bores me to death for some reason."


To me, the reason is obvious. You have been reading to much White Estate pablum. The original documents, and histories that interpret them in historical context are hair raising!


3. "But as for the ‘Shut Door’ thing, correct me (of course), but didn’t she say that her opinion on that preceded her first vision?"


Yes, she states that she had the opposite opinion (ie, that the door of salvation was NOT shut) before she received her first vision. It was her first vision that changed her mind: the door of salvation was indeed shut for all world who had rejected the Millerite message (even though it was false), and for any Millerite who gave up that opinion (that Miller was right ) even after the Great Disappointment.
 

Here is a quote from her letter to Bates, dated 7/13/47.
 

"At the time I had the vision, I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had."
 

IOW, these events were to happen in the future. James White agrees with this in A Word to the Little Flock, p. 22:


"When she received her first vision, Dec. 1844, she and all the band in Portland, Maine, had given up the midnight cry and shut door, as being in the past."


IOW, it was her supposedly divine visions that led them into the horribly embarrassing theology that declared the time for evangelism or even prayer for the conversion of souls was in the past, ie, the door of salvation for sinners was permanently shut, as of 10/22/1844. This is the shut door doctrine. And due to her repeated shut door visions, this remained the orthodox SDA position for nearly 7 years (until about 1851).


Now I don’t know about you, Stephen, but most people would find such founding visions incompatible with a divine origin. That is why my friend Wes Ringer, a conservative evangelical Christian to this day, found he could not refrain from concluding she was a false a prophet, nor stay in a church that endorsed her visions as having a divine origin.


People like Wes and Walter Rae can somehow draw an absolute line in the sand, and be historical-critical with respect to EW, and then tear her apart, but then refuse to analyze the Bible in the same way. I am an equal opportunity critic (being the fairminded person that I am) and apply the same historical-critical approach to the Bible. When that is done, the Bible fairs no better than EW (and may be worse off), so unlike Wes, I don’t see any greener pastures on the other side of the denominational fence.


Stephen Foster
2013-08-27 6:23 PM

Like I said, I can't fake it; so this is from the White Estate:

Concerning her own experience, Ellen White wrote:

Often representations are given me which at first I do not understand. But after a time they are made plain by a repeated presentation of those things that I did not at first comprehend, in ways that make their meaning clear and unmistakable.--Selected Messages, book 3, p. 56.

For 60 years I have been in communication with heavenly messengers, and I have been constantly learning in reference to divine things.--Letter 86, 1906; This Day With God, p. 76.

8. December 1844, Vision--The Full Explanation and More Correct Interpretation Came Later.

In 1891 Uriah Smith wrote:

In the midst of this evolution of new views, a few weeks after the passing of the time, and while many were making shipwreck of faith, Sister White had her first vision. In it she was shown that "the midnight cry," which they had just passed through, was a great light set up behind them, and was not to be rejected; that if kept in view, it would shed light on the pathway clear through to the end; but if rashly denied, darkness and ruin to such souls would follow. Now says the objector, "The visions taught the shut door, because the shut-door view was connected with that of the midnight cry; and the vision taught that the midnight cry was not to be given up." The conclusion does not follow. It is a false charge. The vision said nothing about the shut door. But the midnight cry was a vital pillar of truth, and was not to be surrendered, though some errors had been connected with it. To give up the midnight cry was to give up the whole work, and make utter shipwreck of faith. And any candid reader can judge whether it were better to give up that truth on account of an error which men had attached to it, and so wholly apostatize, rather than hold fast to the truth, and wait patiently till the Lord should remove the error which men had connected with it. Everyone will say the latter. And this they did; and the explanation and correction came in due time.--Review and Herald, January 6, 1891, p. 8.

[p. 7]

9. December, 1844, Vision--Ellen White in 1883 Explained the Meaning of Her First Vision.

Ellen White's explanation of the true meaning of her first vision ("the true position") is as follows:

For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position.

I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents.

There was a shut door in Noah's day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the Flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah:

"My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3).

There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven.

There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38).

Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John:

"These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Rev. 3:7).

I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.

Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan. These two classes are brought to view in the vision--those who declared the light which they had followed a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection.--Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 63-64.

I take it you have a problem with this.


Dennis Hokama
2013-08-28 8:11 PM

Stephen,

Like 22, you are only making matters worse. I read all of these documents while I was doing that research 30 years ago, and I address them all in my online paper that you refuse to read. There is not a single contemporary document here! These are all post hoc denials by EW and SDA apologists to cover up this horribly embarrassing episode (The shut door era).


Let me now comment about the Uriah Smith piece (1891). Note that the last paragraph is about EW ‘s first vision in December of 1844. Of that vision, he says, "The vision said nothing about the shut door."


This is apologetic nonsense that amounts to a lie, though it is theoretically possible that Smith was ignorant of this early history, as he came into the church after the coverup began in 1851. As I demonstrated in an earlier post, that first vision actually "says" a lot about the shut door, both in its actual content, as it was first expressed in A Word to the Little Flock, and in EW’s narrative about that vision in a letter to Bates in 1847.


First, the paragraph describing her first vision in A Word to the Little Flock, was as follows before the explicitly shut door sentence was snipped:


"Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters,c which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming."


So Smith doesn’t appear to even know that there were deletions in the account he is referencing, though perhaps he was faking ignorance for apologetic convenience. But in my opinion, he is a sincere, but lying apologist (a redundancy since all apologists seem willing to lie when necessary) that cannot be trusted in historical matters. However, as I previously showed, even without the shut door sentence, the model of the cosmos expressed in that first vision is inherently contrary to the notion that evangelism for the world is even possible.


In MS 4, 1983, EW does not deny that the offending sentence was there in AWLF, but tries to put an innocuous spin on it, claiming that it teaches nothing that the church does not continue to teach. But then, why the deletion? I have examined all of her changing excuses over the years, for the shut door deletions and they stink to high heaven from a historical critical perspective:


1. In 1851, she wrote that she was leaving out a portion to prevent repetition (Review and Herald Extra, 7/21/51) Note first that this coincides with the time when the SDA finally figured out that the Shut Door was a horrible and embarrassing mistake.

Secondly, note that the snipped sentence ("It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another") was hardly repetitious.


2. In MS4, 1883, she denied all responsibility for those same deletions, claiming she didn’t realize there were omissions, even though they (Early Writings manuscript) passed under her eye for approval. Assuming she wrote MS4, 1888 (which I doubt), then I am quite convinced that she (or whomever wrote this) told a lie here. The reason is that in 1882 Early Writings was only published to refute the accusation by A.C. Long of Iowa that the SDA church was now suppressing some of EW’s early visions.


So the accusation of suppression of shut door teachings were foremost in the minds of G.I. Butler, the G.C. President at the time, as well as Ellen White, whose shut door visions were the main issue, as EW was being prepared for publication. So I don’t believe it is possible that Ellen White could have reviewed the MS for publication and not noticed that her most blatant shut door statements had been removed, when the purpose of publishing EW was to refute the charged of A.C. Long that her shut door teachings were being suppressed.


Finally, "Ellen" makes the ridiculous claim in MS4, 1883, that since she was unaware of these deletions and omissions, she wants them restored in future editions. The fact that to this day (2013), EW has been reprinted without those omissions and deletions despite "Ellen’s" request to have them all restored, is mute testimony to the utter phoniness of MS4, 1883. So yes, I have problems with this document on many, many levels.


3. In 1906, she claims she remembers telling some critical members in 1851 that some omissions were unavailable due to shortage of funds (EW letter 225, 1906, SM I, p. 53). It seems that Ellen White can’t keep her stories straight, and none of them make any sense.


The most parsimonious theory is that she is making up these stories to avoid having to
admit the painful truth: She had many shut door visions of which she initially was proud. Then they became an acute embarrassment to the church and to her, so she desperately tried to lie her way out of it, and the church apologists tried to help her lie. But she could only fool true believers without critical thinking skills.


Finally, even if we take her final stand on the shut door at face value, I still have a problem with it, since it is a mockery of justice to have God shut the door of salvation on a whole generation because they rejected the Millerite Mistake. How can rejecting a Giant Mistake be the unpardonable sin?? It is more like desperate apologetics.


Elaine Nelson
2013-08-27 11:11 AM

The self-absorbtion with Adventism can become an obsessive time-draining occupation.  There is another life out there and we (I include mysef) need to spend less time over endless debates about trivia and go out and mingle with people who have interesting lives without obsessing over the Bible or church doctrines.  

Join a book club.  I have been a member for more than two years and have made some fascinating friends.  Discussing classic literature of all generes and topics, we all gradually reveal more about our beliefs, lives, and have so much to learn from those who have lived in quite different ways than we have.  That's only one suggestion:  get out of the SDA ghetto and spread your wings!
 

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 8:43 AM

Yes, it does held to have a fall back position.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-30 10:01 AM

Sorry!
"Yes, it does help to have a fall back position."

Darrel Lindensmith
2013-08-27 2:17 PM

I agree with Dennis, the White Estate has an impossible task.  Personally, I have shut the door on the shut door.   My experience in researching that and other things was very difficult, but healthy spiritually.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 5:55 PM

Wow! We are in agreement?? But how can you shut the door on the shut door? Does a true prophet get a free pass on her fallacious founding visions? When exactly did she start having divine visions if the first seven years get tossed out as invalid?

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-28 3:48 PM

Perhaps more importantly, what do we do with all the subsequent dishonest statements she made to cover up her leading role in teaching shut door theology to the Advent band, statements which both Stephen and 22oct1844 are now offering up as evidence that she never held those views?

(It is so much easier to remain traditionalist SDA when you are ignorant of these inconvenient historical facts!)     

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 5:56 PM


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-27 6:30 PM

Mr Hokama - your Ellen White vendetta is based on false assumptions and intentionally wresting her writings out of context. You are not the first to do this. There were those in her day (and later) too who attacked her on this issue. The charge that Mrs. White believed and taught for seven years following 1844 that there was no salvation for sinners is a false accusation. A study of the sources used to accuse her and the context of what she wrote reveals that she believed no such thing. You sir, have been taken for a ride by falling for some old juicy gossip. You can add your name in the accuser list of those who made similar charges as can be seen in the quote below:

 
  • “Dear Bro. Loughborough:
    “I hereby testify in the fear of God that the charges of Miles Grant, of Mrs. Burdick, and others published in the Crisis is not true. The statements in reference to my course in [eighteen] forty-four is false.
    “With my brethren and sisters, after the time passed in forty-four I did believe no more sinners would be converted. But I never had a vision that no more sinners would be converted. And am clear and free to state no one has ever heard me say or has read from my pen statements which will justify them in the charges they have made against me upon this point.
    “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 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.
    “I never have stated or written that the world was doomed or damned. I never have under any circumstances used this language to any one, however sinful. I have ever had messages of reproof for those who used these harsh expressions.”—Printed in Review and Herald, Jan. 14, 1932, p. 6, accompanied by photographic facsimile of this part of her letter.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-27 8:50 PM

22,

You are only digging yourself a deeper hole. What you are proving is that Ellen White herself participated in the dishonest coverup of her shut door activities, and Loughborough was a hard core apologist who tried mightily to help in this coverup. What you will always find, is that all of EW’s denials were written long after the shut door had become an embarrassment. IOW, she later told bald faced lies trying to cover up her embarrassing shut door teachings. These lies she told are even harder to defend that the shut door visions themselves.


By contrast, the quotes I provided from EW and James were contemporary documents written while the Whites were still believers in the shut door. The 1847 Bates letter is written in EW’s own handwriting, and is displayed online in the copy of Adventist Currents that I provided earlier in this thread. The historicity of contemporary letters written within the shut door period trump after the fact denials written long after the shut door became a horrible embarrassment.


I dare you to download these four documents and read them:

1. Doug Hackleman, "Picking the Shut Door Lock"
2. Dennis Hokama, "The Great Controversy Over Deletions in the Vision of 1844"
3. Wes Ringer, "From Shut Door to Investigative Judgement: Legacy of Guilt"
4. Dennis Hokama, "The Shut Door Ellen White Never Abandoned"


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-28 8:12 AM

Dear Mr Hokama
Sir, you may just be digging an even deeper hole for yourself because if Ellen White isn't lying - then you and your friends are!

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-28 9:12 AM

22oct1844, please read those documents and carefully examine the documentation we provide if you wish to know the truth. It is a slam dunk as to who is doing the lying, if you are open to historical reasoning that demands contemporary statements be given priority over statements on the same subject made many years later. EW was only human; which is to say that she lied in order to cover up her past mistakes, and the shut door is the the only case in which she did this. Sad but true.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-28 9:45 AM

So then, you are claiming that, based on the fact that an explanation followed –and any subsequent explanation cannot carry as much weight as the contemporaneous commentary—that EGW was lying when she wrote that “Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan.”
 
This you have concluded is a lie. Is this what we are to understand?

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-28 3:27 PM

Stephen, the fact that an "explanation" is offered chronologically subsequent (almost 40 years in this case) to some previous statement or action that has only subsequently become disastrously embarrassing must always be viewed suspiciously in view of human natures tendency to justify themselves whenever possible.


This is especially so when the supposed "explanation" seems to contradict the original statement as it would be normally understood within its historical context, and the "explainer’s" whole reputation is at stake unless the offered explanation is accepted.


Now let’s look at the specific text you offer for consideration:

"Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan. These two classes are brought to view in the vision--those who declared the light which they had followed a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection."--Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 63-64


My paper called "The Shut Door Ellen White Never Abandoned" was devoted to this particular manuscript, so I have examined it in detail. In the first place, I question EW’s authorship because it was never quoted, nor even alluded to by EW or her contemporaries until 1934. So even though there is a lot of intellectual dishonest in it, I wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to EW, but to whoever it was that composed it.


The whole point of this paragraph is to (retroactively?) restrict the shut door to mean only to those who specifically heard and rejected the Millerite Message (as opposed to the "whole world") prior to 10/22/1844, and those who once accepted it but subsequent to the Great Disappointment, came to consider the Millerite message a delusion in terms of date setting and abandoned the movement. (This included practically all the Millerites except for the few who stuck around to found the SDA church.)


The passage to which EW is alluding is the following passage from A Word to the Little Flock:

(This parallels p. 14, 15 in EW except for the deleted shut door sentence):

"While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them - when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path,a cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry.b This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe.


But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below.


It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another,1 until we heard the voice of God like many waters,c which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming.d The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.e When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.f) http://www.earlysda.com/flock/lflock-egwhite.html


Now in context, it is impossible to understand all of the phrases in this vision using "World" ("far above the dark world," "high above the world," "dark and wicked world below," "all the wicked world which God had rejected") as only the infinitesimally tiny percentage of humans on earth who had been unlucky enough to hear the Millerite message, as the author of this text would have us believe. This is a cosmic vision in which the whole world is characterized as being far beneath the Advent people who are on a narrow path high above it, marching to heaven.


So it is dishonest for the author to assert that "No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection." The visionary model of the cosmos does not allow for such a category of humans to exist. In fact, the existence of such a category would destroy the whole point being made by the vision.


Note that the Advent people are high above the world, and marching to heaven, quite rightly oblivious to what is happening to below. There is absolutely no provision in this visionary model of the cosmos for preaching or converting anyone not already on this high and narrow path. There is only the danger of falling off that path to join the lost and wicked world below.


So the notion that there is a vast multitude that must be evangelized ASAP is totally foreign to this model of the cosmos, even without the explicitly shut door sentence in A Word to the Little Flock ("It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected.") that was deleted before making it into Early Writings.


Dennis Hokama
2013-08-28 1:26 PM

Sorry!
Correction:

"EW was only human; which is to say that she lied in order to cover up her past mistakes, and the shut door is NOT the the only case in which she did this."

Ervin Taylor
2013-08-29 1:56 AM

It seems to me that Dennis has focused in on one of the most classic illustrations of where EGW seems to have “misremembered” the facts of what had transpired in the early history of the movement/denomination she helped to found.

Might I suggest that anyone who has read carefully the history of the “shut door” episode in Adventist history to find out what actually happened using the tools of historical scholarship (e.g., original sources written at the time or near to the time when the events occurred as opposed to much later apologetic rewriting of early denominational history) must come to the some version of one of the following conclusions: (1) that EGW either was deliberately lying about her role in it, or (2) she had really forgotten what had happened and had recreated in her memory the events based on later concerns and considerations,  or (3) her later concern that if she admitted to what really happened, it would severely compromise and perhaps destroy her role in keeping the small Adventist group together and united, or (4) some complex combination of elements of all 3 of these explanations.

Obviously, unless someone finds and publishes a letter where she herself later states the reasons for her "selective memory" about what happened, we really will never know for sure what her motivations were (perhaps she really was not consciously aware of them herself), but if explanation 3 above is the correct one or the more nearly correct one, it would mean that EGW put the need to keep “the little flock” united above a concern with strict historical accuracy.

For those who do not have to believe that a prophet is a perfect human being whose views about everything are absolutely true and who never makes mistakes, the events associated with the “shut door” is not a problem.  For those who, for some reason, need a prophet to be someone whose statements about everything are to be taken as only the truth and nothing but the truth, then any hint that that individual is a human being with human faults is something always to be ignored and/or strongly resisted.          

Stephen Ferguson
2013-08-29 5:25 AM

Dr Taylor: 'For those who do not have to believe that a prophet is a perfect human being whose views about everything are absolutely true and who never makes mistakes, the events associated with the “shut door” is not a problem'

Dr Taylor, I would much agree with your analysis.  I believe Ellen White was a prophet, in that her visions were from Divine origin.  However, I believe she was still very human.  The vision's origin was with God, but the filter of her brain and vocalbury was subject to very human limitations.

I would, however, appreciate if Dr Taylor could explain whether he too believes Ellen White's visions were of Divine origin, notwithstanding all his otherh points about her human condition that I wholly agree with?  Was she truly a prophet of the biblical model (which is to say Bible prophets were very human too) or merely a fraud (albeit probably a pious one), whose visions were not of Divine origin but a mental illness brought about by a rock to the head?

How does Ellen White differ as a prophetic candidate from any other prophet in the Bible?  Were those who claimed to see an empty tomb equally mad, and is Jesus' corpse historically-factually rotting out there somewhere?

Ervin Taylor
2013-08-30 7:53 PM

Mr. Ferguson asked whether I believe that "Ellen White's vision were of Divine origin."  I must say I am an agnostic on that subject.  I don't know for sure one way or another and I know of no objective way to determine that.  I don't think it is possible to separate the "divine impulse" and the "human condition."  That is. of course, true for any individual that claims to speak for God. Now, if anyone, knows of an objective way to determine that, I would appreciate it if they could share it with the rest of us.  I know that some would like to use predictive prophecy as the criteria.  If so, then that leaves out EGW.  She made the mistake of stating some rather specific  predictions that did not come to pass.  Some have been noted in this discussion, e.g., that Old Jerusalem would not be built up and the "some for worms" statement.  Of course, that's not a problem unless you think prophets are perfect and don't make mistakes.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 2:53 PM

Erv,
working within your framework, I think the overwhelming favorite is #3, and #2 is seemingly kind, but a total insult to her intelligence. However, I question the notion that #1 is somehow different from #3, in that #3 is still "deliberately lying about her role" in order to save a cause she thought was worth lying and dying for.
 

We accept the proverbial example of the German citizen hiding a Jewish refugee in his house lying to the Nazi soldier who knocks at his door looking for Jews. Of course some will say that it is not the same thing, but in EW’s mind it may have been, though her own ego was also inextricably linked to the cause. So that means her deliberate lying about the shut door and other things related to her prophetic status were like the rock that kills two birds: it saves the church and it saves her own prophetic career. I guess it’s like love and marriage: you can’t have one without the other.

I am not saying or implying she was therefore a bad person. Arguably it was a good thing that she lied to save the church. I am here only concerned about the historical question: Did EW have visions that she used to teach and spread the shut door doctrine? The overwhelming evidence, I propose, points to "Yes."

Even the former White Estate Secretary, and my former PUC Bible teacher, Robert Olsen would have no objection to my conclusion. His only quibble would be "Yes, but that is because EW misinterpreted her own visions due to her environmental influences."  (101 Questions)

My response would be to invoke the law of parsimony and ask why we should not suppose that the entire vision was a result of her environmental (both internal and external) influences.


Ervin Taylor
2013-08-30 11:27 AM

Dennis,

Might I suggest that Option (2), that EGW she had really forgotten what had happened and had recreated in her memory the events based on later concerns and considerations, is not so much an insult to her intelligence, it just means that she had a flexible memory of what happened which was influenced by what she later said happened and wanted to believe happened.  I'm told that our memories are subject to reworking in light of what we wanted to happen at the time a given event occurred, 

Again, although you have done those of us in the Adventist Church who would like to know what really happened with the Shut Door episode a great service (along with discomfort for those needing an oracle to quote), I'm again going to want to nuance a little the idea that EGW deliberately lied about what happened.  I would suggest that she was the victim of the story (myth) created around her by others that she, of course, helped to create.  They needed her to be an oracle and oracles can't be wrong about anything.  That's the whole point of creatfing an oracle. Once that happened, you can;t tell the absolute truth about what really happened during the shut door episode, so you have to create a story (myth) about what happened. I might go with that EGW "lied" for a good cause--that was to keep the little band of true believers together.  They needed EGW as much as EGW needed them to confirm that she was a prophet.  (If you are a "real" prophet and absolutely no one believes you are a prophet, are you a prophet?) 
 

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-30 10:13 PM

I completely agree with the impossible bind EW and the church found themselves in seven years into the shut door doctrine. They had hit a dead end, and they could not continue, but how could they reverse themselves without admitting that they had been deluded all along, and by their prophet who had supposedly rescued them from the Great Disappointment by providing divine validation for the shut door doctrine in the first place? Well, to paraphrase a line from Sam Neill in an old movie, "Religion found a way."


We do know that the Whites began destroying all the old copies of their shut door material, because by the time G.I. Butler and even Uriah Smith came along, they did not know that stuff even existed. Thus the total shock and confusion when they got such a backlash from A.C. Long after they had published Early Writings in 1882 to shut their mouths regarding a coverup.


With all of her correspondence records available to her, was EW really able to believe that she had actually taught the opposite of what she actually taught? Did EW suddenly flip a switch in her brain in 1852-54 (at the age of 27) such that she suddenly "remembered" that she taught the opposite of what her letters state she actually taught during the period 1844-1851?


I did my graduate work in clinical psychology, but am having a hard time resisting the law of parsimony on that one (Lying to save the movement and her own reputation as a prophet is a much simpler theory than all the subconscious mental contortions and backflips she has to do in order to flatly contradict her earlier writings without actually being dishonest). I see that mainly as a face saving compromise, more than a serious attempt at trying to figure out what most likely happened.


Perhaps someone can devise a method to differentiate between consciously faking it and truly being delusional as to what one actually thought and did in the past. I think that is theoretically possible, because EW left a lot of data behind. But I haven’t seen such an experimental design that has been proposed yet, and highly doubt the White Estate would cooperate even if such a study could be done, given that the best possible outcome would be that EW would be declared not guilty of lying by reason of being delusional about her past. But I can see how she could have begun by lying, and then by the time she was in her 80s, after doing that act for over 40 years, and practically senile, eventually came to believe it.


If an appeal to her character is going to be made as a defense against in lying in regards to the shut door (as 22oct1844 does), then that brings into play her notorious response to A. T. Jones’ report of her speech given in Battle Creek, October 2, 1904. This is known as the "I am not a prophet" controversy.


To make a long story short, A.T Jones quoted her as saying " I am not a prophet" in that meeting, and took that as her own admission that she was not a prophet, which vindicated his own conclusion. EW took issue with Jones’ version of her speech and denied it 4 times in 3 separate documents (RH 1/26/1905, EGW to O.A. Olsen, 1/30/1905, RH 7/26/1906, twice), claiming that she had said instead, "I did not claim to be a prophetess." She apparently went to her death without ever retracting this stance. This was a very hot topic and she had abundant access to many sources including probably her own secretary, so there is no question that she had access to many reports, independent and otherwise.


The SDA histories faithfully backed her version faithfully for 75 years until her grandson, Arthur White spilled the beans in 1981, on p. 354 of The Early Elmshaven Years. He quotes her as saying,


"I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet."


It cannot reasonably be argued here that so much time had passed, that she misremembered what she had actually said, or had no access to objective accounts. Only about 3 months had passed between her delivery of the speech and her first defense of it in the Review. And she stuck to her guns for the rest of her life, forcing SDA histories to follow her lead for 75 years. Now they all look like total fools, toads, really, since her own Grandson has now taken AT Jones side of the argument.


I wrote out a heavily documented analysis of this incident in my review of George Knight’s biography of A.T. Jones, that was entitled From 1888 to Apostasy, in a paper called, "Knight;’s Darkest Hour: Biography as Indictment." (It is online in volume 3, #1, at Hacksplace.com.)


The point is that when one wishes to argue that in the case of the shut door, EW wasn’t really lying intentionally, but was only misremembering due to wishful thinking, and group pressure, then one also has to consider the pattern of her life work, which includes the "I am not a prophet" episode.


I am not generally an admirer of Arthur White, but I suggest that his break with the denominational stonewall in 1981, is perhaps a model for what needs to be done with the shut door as well. It is only a matter of time before the shut door doctrine itself had to be given up, and then the coverup of the shut door will break down completely, just as the coverup of EW’s falsehoods regarding the "I am not a prophet" incident. Those apologists who hang onto the myth will be the laughing stock, as was John Robertson who authored The White Truth in 1981, and got it published by the Pacific Press, before he found out that A.L. White had spilled the beans. On page 55, he dutifully wrote,


"Notice the difference between what Elder Jones said, and what Mrs. White actually said...There is a world of difference between saying, ‘I am not,’ and saying, ‘I do not call myself a prophet.’"

 

If Robertson had only gone to the original documents, rather than depending on the toady White Estate, and had the integrity to base his book on what A.T. Jones wrote, then he could have saved himself the embarrassment. The White Truth indeed!


Now let me ask you this, Erv. Should EW’s conduct in regard to the "I am not a prophet" incident play into the decision regarding whether to concede that EW was deliberately lying about the shut door as well? I think we have a pattern here, and this is not the only other datum that might be cited in support of option #1.


Nevertheless, I readily admit that delusion memory is a pragmatic way to finesse the difference between believers who can’t accept that she lied, (and therefore want to commit jihad against those conclude she did lie) and historical analysis which makes it impossible to reconcile her contemporary letters and her retrospective claims. Being a pragmatist myself, I will accept your nuance as a possibility that sort of lets both sides get what they need. But when I am thinking historically, not so much.


Ervin Taylor
2013-08-31 10:47 AM

Dennis.  I certainly bow to your detailed knowledge of this episode.  As I said, I could go with EGW lied for what she thought was a "good cause." i.e., keeping her credibility in the little band from being fatally damaged.

I guess my bottom point is that the "real" motivation of someone with EGW's personality and the social context in which she was working may, in the end, not be accessible from such a distance. I agree that the most straight-forward explanation was that she was out-and-out lying. But I also suspect the most "obvious" explanations of human motivation. Also, what was her husband's role in all of this?  

As for her "I am not a prophet" statement-- Have you ever looked into what her concept of "prophet" was in the context of her time?  What was the popular understanding?  There is a little problem here in that, on one hand, "I'm not a prophet" and on the other, "What I see in vision directly comes from God."   Just a question and you are the best informed about how to address it.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-02 5:02 AM

Thanks, Erv. As I have readily admitted in other contexts, we have no direct access to ontological truth, or truth with a capital "T." Therefore, ontological certainty is impossible for all practical purposes. All we have are different truth games, or strategic logical systems by which we hope to capture this elusive thing called "truth." But each logical system that man can design necessarily needs to have some a priori presuppositions to make it work.

Those presuppositions build in a blind spot into that logic, analogous to the blind spot in the human eye. Inventing the doctrine of divine inspiration was one of the earliest attempts to solve the problem of uncertainty. But nobody including Carl Popper has yet figured out a way to get around this blind spot in any kind of logic.


So whether we are discussing the reliability of scientific findings in general, historical findings, or EW’s lying on this or that occasion, there can be no certainty in matters concerning the phenomenological world. The unsolvable problem of induction make that unattainable, even if we are to grant that there is an external world, and that public evidence is valid. All we can have are relative degrees of (Bayesian) probability that certain conclusions about it are true.


So when I say that this ball of lead on the end of my fishing line will sink when I dump it in the pond, I do not mean to assert that with 100% certainty, because history can never be an absolute guarantee of the future. In the same sense, when I conclude that EW lied when she wrote 4 times in 3 documents that she did not say "I am not a prophet," I am not claiming that I can know that for a certainty. Ditto for when I conclude that she lied about her past course when it came to the shut door issue. I only mean to say that judging from by most people’s criteria for what constitutes lying, EW’s behavior seems to meet that standard.


Ironically, most EW apologists will readily admit to conceding the she was fully human. But being human constitutes occasionally yielding to the temptation to sin. One of those sins is lying. EW would have been under more pressure to lie than most, because she identified with the cause that badly needed her to be their divinely inspired prophet. And she could not be their inspired prophet if she admitted to making these horrible, horrible blunders, especially when it came to the content of her "divine" visions that founded the very church that she loved and with which she identified strongly. So if she was human, then lying was the sin to which she was most vulnerable. Consider the alternatives. Adultery? Heavens no!!! What man would ever want to go in unto her?? If she was human, then lying would be her Achilles heel, and if she was a sinner, then it would be because she told lies.


You make a good point about the contemporary expectations of a prophet. It was quite evident that the battle over "I am not a prophet" in 1904 was fought on the battlefield of verbal inerrancy on both sides; not just A.T. Jones. In order to maintain her status as prophet, EW had to deny that she had said those damning words. So she did what she had to do to win: she was apparently a pragmatist. It made me wonder if her (and the church’s) retreat from verbal inerrancy was due to that embarrassing incident. But I have not followed up on that speculation.


Elaine Nelson
2013-08-30 11:10 PM

It is not unconceivable that anyone would remember all the volumes of information they had dispened over time, whether oral or written, and when pressured to remember it may very well have elude them.  Also, when there are those hanging on to your every word as from God, it is  very heavy burden to have laid upon a woman, especially in EGW's life.
 

I am not exempting her, however, as whether she misspoke, or had a memory lapse, it is her followers who created her position as prophet, and she must have, at some times, believed that she really was repeating the voice of God.

When humans elevate another human to a high pedestal, they, as well as their chosen prophet, will be very carefully scrutinized, something few of us could withstand if all our every word were recaptured.  The church "needed" a prophet to endorse their message and she was a willing, if less than perfect choice to fill that role.  It should be a lesson  for all believers:  if your beliefs need additional support not found in the Bible, perhaps you had rather rely on others to make such decisions for you than do the hard work of personally deciding what you believe.


Dennis Hokama
2013-09-02 5:11 AM

"Also, when there are those hanging on to your every word as from God, it is  very heavy burden to have laid upon a woman, especially in EGW's life."

So if she was human, then lying about her mistaken past messages would be the sin she would be most likely to commit. The overwhelming evidence is that she succombed repeatedly to this temptation, thus confirming her humanity.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-29 5:32 AM

Dennis,

 

If I have properly understood you, you are speculating on a conspiracy theory that White didn’t write the Selected Messages passage. Further, the fraudulent author is the liar. (Actually, fraudulent authors are liars by definition.)

 

I know that you have spent considerable time and energy on this, and are therefore heavily invested in it; but this is far from a "slam dunk." In fact it appears to me to be more of a half court heave. You are clearly entitled to your opinion; but it’s also possible that you’re wrong.


Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 2:02 PM

You write,


"If I have properly understood you, you are speculating on a conspiracy theory that White didn’t write the Selected Messages passage. Further, the fraudulent author is the liar. (Actually, fraudulent authors are liars by definition.)"


I am trying to spare EW some of the blame here, because I do have some doubts she actually penned MS4 1883, and I have stated some of my reasons, but if you wish to put all the blame on her, that is perfectly OK with me. Do you have a good theory as to why EW would have penned this in 1883 on such a crucial subject, but never let it see the light of day until 1934, long after she was dead? Don't you think that extremely odd, and therefore worth questioning? Or is it the case that "The White Estate says it. I believe it. That settles it!"


"I know that you have spent considerable time and energy on this, and are therefore heavily invested in it; but this is far from a "slam dunk."


By your reasoning, the less one knows about a subject, and the less one cares about it, the more reliable that person’s opinion is, because there is no "investment." It follows that we shouldn’t trust any person with a credential, especially a specialist in his area of expertise. Ignorance and apathy are ideal qualifications?


I would agree that when you are paid a salary to defend the church’s position, then you are certainly "invested," since your livelihood depends on the positions you publish. So if you are a man of principle, then don’t trust any of those highly credentialed apologists hired by the White Estate or the SDA church. They are the ones who are "heavily invested."


By contrast, nobody pays me for any of this research, and nobody rewards me one way or the other for my conclusions. I started out my EW research in the late 70s thinking that I would be the church’s greatest apologist, because I was very dissatisfied with the way they were defending EW. Becoming a church apologist would have made my minister father very happy and proud. When I got to the original documents in the archives, however, I was totally shocked and realized why church apologists seemed so stupid and helpless: The evidence was against them, and the critics were right!

 

"In fact it appears to me to be more of a half court heave."


On what basis does my slam dunk conclusion become a half court heave? You make this claim without providing a shred of historical evidence or basis for it. I am challenging you to produce it here and now. Why would you keep this apparently critical evidence or analysis from the world that would change everything in EW studies? Isn’t the spreading of truth important to you? Or is there some reason why you wish to keep this light under a bushel so the world can be ignorant and wrong? Is it just wishful thinking on your part, as I suspect? Prove me wrong.


"You are clearly entitled to your opinion; but it’s also possible that you’re wrong."


Of course everything is possible, including the possibility that there is no real world. If there is no real world, then I am clearly wrong because I am presupposing that, and a few other things. So yes, I admit that. But why am I more likely to be wrong about this than you, when you have done no research and are betting your faith on the words and stated opinions of people who have their whole lives invested in the SDA politically correct position? I thought you were the one who was suspicious of experts with heavy investments in their position?  


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-29 6:30 AM

Now Mr Hokama is saying that it may not have been Ellen White who wrote this but others? What proof does he have of this or is it just the usual speculative opinionated allegations?  It seems most likely to me that Mr Hokama did his digging post Glacier View and possibly a very upset and disgruntled Mr Hokama wanted some dirt to hit back at so he 'read' some documents and drew his own conclusions and now claims his 'research' is evidence.  Calling this witch hunt a good piece of quality historical research, is very ambitious I would say, and to think with all the unsubstantiated allegations based on private bias and out of context speculation, wants this to be taken seriously. 

There is one easily verifiable historical fact he has conveniently overlooked:  It is that Sr White was a woman of simplicity, humility and honesty – a Christian of impeccable character and conduct.  Even her most cunning detractors wouldn’t go this route unless of course to intentionally slander her good name.  Ellen White was not a liar.  That is a historical fact.  Her thousands of pages of written work provides evidence of this fact and therefore stands as exhibit number one in her defense. 

Misconstruing and mischaracterizing her work only exposes one thing for sure: the malicious ulterior motives of her detractors.  Her honesty and truthfulness of character was left for all to judge during her lifetime and her writings can be seeing by those today as attesting to her credibility and upright character.  I haven’t come across any substantial historical factual evidence of any sort proving that Ellen White was a pathological liar or a liar of any sort.  Nor can it be proven or shown that she was a fraud or even a plagiarizer.  Those who do - distort the facts.

Mr Hokama’s insistence that Ellen White said what he accuses her of saying has been refuted by Ellen White herself.  The detractors in her day made the same unsubstantiated false charges against her.  One can see that they cannot actually quote her saying these things in the context of her writings so they misinterpret and twist what she wrote to in order make their false accusations stick.  This is nothing new.

Reading something incorrectly thirty years ago doesn't automatically give it truth status. I think that is being overly ambitious. Mr Hokama rejects any and every attempt providing a rational explanation for the context of her writing regarding this issue and even Ellen White's reliable defense of the context of her work which Mr Hokama claims others wrote to cover up is disregarded.   His accusation that Ellen White lied is in itself a preposterous lie. 

Dr Taylor, using his usual diplomacy, makes the same accusations as Mr Hokama.  His fixation at leveling accusations at Ellen White regarding the ‘shut door’ can be seen on the boards every now and then.  From this I can draw that so-called progressives are anti-Ellen White and go for the jagular whenever opportunity arises even if it is outright lies. 

It is rather odd that these detractors have remained in the ranks of Adventism.  It is this type of unscrupulous underhanded modis operandi that I have found to be part and parcel of the progressive agenda. 

Although Mrs White may have had her human shortcomings, she was not a liar.  Mr Hokama can’t prove anything without putting words in her mouth or pen.

If there is anything 'good' that comes out of this, it is that Dr Hokama and friends provide fine examples of what constitutes 'Character Assasination.'  I'll give them full credit for that.
  • The position and work of Mrs. White and myself, for more than twenty years, have exposed us to the jealousies of the jealous, the rage of the passionate, and the slanders of the slanderer. Having consciences void of offense toward God and toward men, we have kept at our work. But from our almost utter silence in the line ofdefense, accusers have grown impudent and bold, so that it has been thought best, for the good of the cause with which we hold so intimate connections, to meet their slanders with a plain statement of facts, which will probably appear in pamphlet form for very extensive circulation.— 2BIO 278 (Ellen G. White: Volume 2—The Progressive Years: 1862-1876, By Arthur L. White, January 11, 1870)

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-29 4:58 PM

The following statements explain the shut door in terms of its initial understanding during the midnight cry and the subsequent inspired explanation given to Ellen White in vision.
  • “After the passing of the time when the Saviour was expected, they [the Advent believers] still believed His coming to be near; they held that they had reached an important crisis, and that the work of Christ as man’s intercessor before God, had ceased. It appeared to them to be taught in the Bible, that man’s probation would close a short time before the actual coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. This seemed evident from those scriptures which point to a time when men will seek, knock, and cry at the door of mercy, and it will not be opened. And it was a question with them whether the date to which they had looked for the coming of Christ might not rather mark the beginning of this period which was immediately to precede His coming. Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners, while the bold and blasphemous scoffing of the ungodly seemed to them another evidence that the spirit of God had been withdrawn from the rejecters of his mercy. All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they then expressed it, ‘the door of mercy was shut.’”—The Great Controversy, 429.
  • Then Mrs. White continues to show how light began to dawn on this question:{EW xxviii.1} “But clearer light came with the investigation of the sanctuary question. They now saw that they were correct in believing that the end of the 2300 days in 1844 marked an important crisis. But while it was true that that door of hope and mercy by which men had for eighteen hundred years found access to God, was closed, another door was opened, and forgiveness of sins was offered to men through the intercession of Christ in the most holy. One part of His ministration had closed, only to give place to another. There was still an ‘open door’ to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ was ministering in the sinner’s behalf.{EW xxviii.2}
  • Sabbath, March 24, 1849, we had a sweet and very interesting meeting with the brethren at Topsham, Maine. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God. Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God’s people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches.{EW 42.1}
  • I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Revelation 3:7, 8); and that since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question.{EW 42.2}
  • I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil; therefore Christians who fell asleep before the door was opened into the most holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month, 1844, and who had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light and the test on the Sabbath which we now have since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God’s people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about its being a test for us now.{EW 42.3}
  • The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place, that Jesus has shut, and to close the door of the most holy place, which He opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah.{EW 43.1}

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 8:15 PM

22oct1844, you write,

"The following statements explain the shut door in terms of its initial understanding during the midnight cry and the subsequent inspired explanation given to Ellen White in vision."


No, they do not. These retrospective statements merely "claim" to explain "the shut door in terms of its initial understanding during the midnight cry and the subsequent inspired explanation given to Ellen White in vision." Claims are dirt cheap, and even the worst criminals initially claim to be "not guilty," unless some plea bargain is later worked out. The real task of truth finding begins after the "not guilty" claim.


But by your reasoning, if someone is accused of a misdeed, all they have to do to refute the charge is to deny it. Why even have any hearing or trial if all the accused needs to do is deny the charge? Now I know you put EW on this special pedestal and think the world is obligated to merely accept her pronouncements as the final word on what she meant 30 or so years ago. But in critical thinking, (or the criminal justice system) no special pedestals are allowed.


It has been obvious from a long time ago, that you are an EW fundamentalist who begins with a major premise that EW cannot tell a lie and then reasons deductively from there. From that major premise it logically follows that anyone who accuses her of lying is necessarily lying themselves. The merits of the accusation are irrelevant, because by deductive logic, no statement contradicting the major premise can possibly be true. Therefore, you may safely ignore all the supposed "evidence" since it cannot possibly invalidate the premise.


Let me illustrate how your mind works:
 

2 Examples of Deductive Logic:

Case #1

Major premise: All humans have 13 legs.

Minor premise: 22oct1844 is a human

Question: How many legs does 220ct1844 have?

Answer: 13 legs


Comment: even though the question seemingly asks for a number (22oct1844's number of legs), counting is totally unnecessary to answer the question because within deductive logic, the unnegotiable major premise already contains the answer. That is how deductive logic works.


Case #2


Major premise: Ellen White is an honest person who never told a a lie

Minor premise: Jesus claims that after about 1851, Ellen White began telling lies about her past conduct and beliefs regarding the "shut door" doctrine between 1844 and 1851, and claims to have 10 well documented cases of her lying.

Question: Is Jesus telling the truth, or is Jesus a damn liar?

Answer: Jesus is a damn liar.


Comment: even though the question seemingly asks for a decision to be made on the basis of the10 cases that Jesus claims to have, an examination of that evidence is made totally irrelevant to answer the question because the unnegotiable major premise already contains the answer. That is how deductive logic works.


A Final Comment and a Guarantee:

22oct1844, you can’t help the way your mind works. Your mind has been programmed to reason deductively from the premise that EW cannot tell a lie, and you cannot reboot your mind to reason inductively when it comes to EW, and who knows what else. That is not your fault. I am must thankful that you were lucky enough to be born in the US rather than in an Islamic country, where you would have been raised to be an Islamic fundamentalist, and I would be in fear of my life, like Salmon Rushdie.


I also love deductive logic when it comes to the universe of ideas, such as mathematics, or chess. But when it comes to the real world, then I use inductive logic, which is applicable in science and history. In inductive logic, "public evidence" matters, whereas in deductive logic it matters not at all, as I have just shown.


Rest assured that in all your life, it will necessarily be true that you will never encounter any fact that will make your major premise false. I guarantee it.


Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 8:18 PM

Sorry! Correction:

"I am just thankful that you were lucky enough to be born in the US rather than in an Islamic country, where you would have been raised to be an Islamic fundamentalist, and I would be in fear of my life, like Salmon Rushdie."

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-29 5:05 PM

Arthur Lacey White (1907–1991)

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-30 12:23 AM

James Springer White (1821-1881)

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-30 5:06 AM

"But from our almost utter silence in the line ofdefense, accusers have grown impudent and bold, so that it has been thought best, for the good of the cause with which we hold so intimate connections, to meet their slanders with a plain statement of facts, which will probably appear in pamphlet form for very extensive circulation.— 2BIO 278 (Ellen G. White: Volume 2—The Progressive Years: 1862-1876, By James S. White, January 11, 1870)"

In retrospect, this James White statement was obviously an empty bluff that backfired horribly, so I can’t imagine why you would bring this up as an EW apologist. The embarrassing scandal that erupted 12 years later (1882) when G.I. Butler, GC President attempted to make good on this threat by publishing Early Writings, is the main subject of my paper, "The Great Controversy over the Deletions in the Vision of 1844." If you had read it, then you could have avoided this humiliation of presenting some argument that only exposed shut door coverup that even Butler didn’t know about (because he came in after 1851).


As I said earlier, you are only digging a deeper hole for yourself, every time you post on this subject. To quote White Estate approved material is to beg for historical humiliation.


Try quoting from F.D. Nichol’s Ellen White and Her Critics, 1951, if you really want to be humiliated further. He writes a lot about the shut door. Go ahead, try it. I have read all the shut door materials (to my knowledge at least) and the church’s attempt to cover it up.
 

As Darrel reluctantly admitted, the White Estate has an impossible task. The church’s task in 2013, is not to engage in further shut door cover up, but give that strategy up and come to terms with historical reality, because the cat is out of the bag for anyone that can engage in historical reasoning, even though that category of humanity apparently doesn’t include you.


Stephen Foster
2013-08-30 9:05 AM

Dennis,
 
Granted, not all conspiracy theories are fallacious. Tell me if your conspiracy theory is rendered useless if in fact White actually wrote the passage from Selected Messages, and if in fact she wasn’t lying.
 
Since when does someone have to be monetarily compensated for something to be so interested in it as to be invested? Denying that you are personally invested in this neither strengthens your case nor credibility.
 
You may be right for sake of argument; but must admit that reasonable people can disagree as to whether the White Estate is fraudulent or White a liar.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-30 11:12 AM

1. "Granted, not all conspiracy theories are fallacious. Tell me if your conspiracy theory is rendered useless if in fact White actually wrote the passage from Selected Messages, and if in fact she wasn’t lying."


My sole purpose for disclosing that I had doubts EW wrote this was to avoid trying to put the blame on her for something she did not do. If she in fact wrote it, then it is on her, but the problems in it remain the same, no matter who wrote it. So no, the question of who wrote it does not affect its highly problematic character.


Whether this document contains lies or not is an entirely different question and should not be contained in one compound sentence.

 

Here is a contemporary quote (during the shut door period) from her letter to Bates, dated 7/13/47.


"At the time I had the vision, I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had."


IOW, these apocalyptic events were to happen in the future. James White agrees with this in A Word to the Little Flock, p. 22:


"When she received her first vision, Dec. 1844, she and all the band in Portland, Maine, had given up the midnight cry and shut door, as being in the past."


By contrast, here is her 1883 retrospective statement explaining her position before she received her 1844 vision:

 

"For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position."


On the one hand, we have both EW and James telling us (during a period in which they still believed in the shut door) that they had given up the shut door by the time she received the vision. It was the vision that turned them into believers in the shut door.


But in 1883, nearly 40 years later, she claims exactly the opposite. Furthermore, the contents of the vision itself, even as described now in EW, p. 14, 15 (which had deleted the explicit shut door sentence) could not logically lead a movement out of a shut door theology. This is a cosmic vision in which the whole world is characterized as being far beneath the Advent people who are on a narrow path high above it, marching to heaven.


How in the heck could such a vision teach them, "Hey you people marching on this narrow, high pathway into heaven, with some of you losing your faith and falling off the path to the wicked world below, there are still teaming masses of people that need to be saved!" And yet, that is what you must believe in order to claim that EW’s 1883 statement is true. Tell me you can believe that with a straight face.


2. "Since when does someone have to be monetarily compensated for something to be so interested in it as to be invested? Denying that you are personally invested in this neither strengthens your case nor credibility."


You were the one who implied that because I was invested in this (despite the fact that I had switched positions on this when confronted with the historical evidence), that my judgement was not to be trusted. Now that you realize it boomerangs against your own experts with a vengeance, you are reversing yourself, which is the principled thing to do. Good.


3. "You may be right for sake of argument; but must admit that reasonable people can disagree as to whether the White Estate is fraudulent or White a liar."


That depends on what you mean by reasonable. Reasoning deductively from the a priori premise that "EW cannot be a liar" is a way of being reasonable (as I demonstrated in the case of 22oct1844). Every religion is based on some a priori premise that is accepted on "faith," rather than on the basis of public evidence. I have no quarrel with anyone who admits that their stance on EW and 1844 is based on faith. I only will contest them if they say it is based on the best historical analysis of public evidence.


Finally, I do not call the White Estate "fraudulent" or EW "a liar" because that implies they are that, and nothing more. They are certainly more than that, though I think they did engage in those activities. To a certain extent, that is inevitable in any institution. It’s just that given the horribly rough beginning the SDA church had, they had to do a little more of that than other institutions. Christianity itself had a horrible beginning it had to overcome, and there are also residual problems due to that.


Stephen Foster
2013-08-30 9:41 PM

Dennis,
 
The bottom line, no matter what, is that if White wrote The Selected Messages explanation and was not lying, then you have no case other than the fact that you don’t buy the explanation.
 
This is, needless to say, your prerogative.
 
(BTW, I don’t follow your train of thought regarding your second point at all.)

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-31 8:09 AM

So now you wish to play the "If" game? OK, I’m game. Let’s see, ...if 1 + 1 = 3, then I could turn myself into a billionaire by repeatedly adding my $2 together over and over again. If I were 9 ft tall, then I would be the tallest man in the world. If I were born last year, then I would not be as old as I actually am. If I can travel back in time, and socially interact with my ancestors, then I could theoretically be my own ancestor. Wow! Kind of a fun game, but what kind of a "bottom line" is that??


May I ask why are you suddenly wish to play this "if" game instead of providing me with sound historical reasons why thoughtful people should just accept EW’s post hoc explanations at face value? Show me that you, unlike 22oct1844, are NOT an EW fundamentalist who simply reasons deductively from the a priori premise that EW can’t tell a lie. If you are, OTOH, then, poof, you are immediately off the hook anyway and don’t even need to bother with history at all. Damn history, and just continue believing whatever you already believe.


To her credit, at least EW finally gave in to the flow of history and let it force her to relinquish a deeply held theological point. Perhaps her courageous example is worth emulating on that point, though we may of course quibble about the exact circumstances of that theological about face.


Stephen Foster
2013-08-31 3:52 PM

The bottom line does not change Dennis. You are saying that either the Ellen White Estate is fraudulent or that White is a liar; or perhaps even both.
 
Of course you have no evidence of this other than that this ‘Shut Door’ explanation doesn’t pass your personal smell test. No one can begrudge or deny you your right to believe whatever you choose. I’m not “suddenly” playing the “if” game; that has been my point with you. You don’t accept certain documents as legitimate. If they are legitimate, this theory vanishes. If she wasn’t lying, there’s no issue. The whole thing is an “if” game. For that matter so is theological inquiry.
 
Like I say, you’re heavily invested in time, energy, and credibility on this topic. So you might empathize with the Estate. (Sorry, I couldn’t quite resist the needle.)
 
As to my take on Ellen White and her writings I would recommend that you carefully reread the blog, my brother.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-01 6:17 AM

1. “The bottom line does not change Dennis. You are saying that either the Ellen White Estate is fraudulent or that White is a liar; or perhaps even both.”

Oh, Brother! That is hardly “The bottom line.” It is only the bottom line for EW fundamentalists, just like a round world is the bottom line for flat earth fundamentalists, an open door is the bottom line for shut door fundamentalists, or a biblical contradiction is bottom line for Bible fundamentalists. By thinking such thoughts, it seems you are only declaring yourself to be an EW fundamentalist. (I reread your opening essay and that indeed seems to be the case.) 

So it is YOUR bottom line and people like 22oct1844. It is of course your prerogative to create bottom lines wherever you wish. But don’t project your personal bottom line onto the rest of the world, or even within Adventism. You should have written, “My bottom line does not change Dennis.” Without that statement I have no quarrel whatsoever.


2. “ Of course you have no evidence of this other than that this ‘Shut Door’ explanation doesn’t pass your personal smell test.”

Oh, Brother! So now what I consider to be “historical evidence” is just my idiosyncratic personal taste, like me preferring apple pie over mango on rice for desert, or Brute, over Old Spice for underarm deodorant? OK, let’s explore this game.

What is YOUR personal preference for a definition of historical “evidence” that would make you feel good? Do Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islamists, and Tasmanian Devil Worshippers get to have their own personal definitions of historical evidence to make them happy as well? Is there no universal standard for historical evidence?

What you should have written instead, was “Of course you have no evidence that I can accept for this because EW’s honesty and integrity is an unnegotiable  major premise for me, and this is my blog.”  That would have been intellectually honest, and I would not contest that.

3. “The whole thing is an “if” game. For that matter so is theological inquiry.”

OK, but what criterion do you use to decide between the various “ifs”?

4.  “Like I say, you’re heavily invested in time, energy, and credibility on this topic. So you might empathize with the Estate. (Sorry, I couldn’t quite resist the needle.)”

Actually, I have already expressed my empathy. No need to resist the needle. :-) But there is probably no such thing as any serious investigation without making an investment in time and energy, regardless of the conclusion reached. So it is totally pointless and circular to argue, “Aha, you have an investment! Therefore you concluded A, B, C, X, Y, or Z!!” Because that applies to everybody no matter what they conclude.

4. “As to my take on Ellen White and her writings I would recommend that you carefully reread the blog, my brother.”

I just did. You write, “Now, of course, I could be wrong; but I’d wager everything that I’m not.”

Tell me how and when you would know and admit you were wrong. Until you can tell me that, this seeming concession to fallibility is quite meaningless.

Stephen Foster
2013-09-01 7:26 PM

No, Dennis this is the paragraph I wrote that you somehow may have missed:
"I confess that I hold an unusual view of Ellen White and her writings. While I believe her to have been a full blown prophet, I don’t hold everything she ever wrote or said, under any and all circumstances, to have been universally applicable or even necessarily divinely inspired. (That’s not to say that it wasn’t however. This is just my personal approach.) While I do not consider her writings to be canonical, I do believe what she wrote about God or the Bible or the Christian life to have been divinely inspired; and particularly for end-time believers."
 
Now I’m not sure if that qualifies me as an "EGW fundamentalist" or not; but at least you know my view. Respectfully, your theory is simply not compelling.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-01 10:35 PM

"No, Dennis this is the paragraph I wrote that you somehow may have missed..."

Oh, Brother! Just because I didn’t quote it doesn’t mean I didn’t read it. I also puzzled over that mushy paragraph as well. But the important question with respect to fundamentalism is how you would know if you were wrong; Not the paragraph you think I should quote. If there is no evidence that would make you reconsider your stance on EW, then you are a fundamentalist.


Not one single time have you ever answered my repeated challenge to explain WHY you do not find the evidence compelling, or even evidence at all. You have been as evasive as a weasel on this question. I am quite confident that it is because if you reply honestly, it will be obvious to all that it is because of your presupposition that she is a full blown prophet. And if she is a full blown prophet revealing to us what God has given her in vision, then she just can’t be wrong; ergo, I must be lying or misinterpreting her. Are you ashamed to admit this? Why not be a proud believer instead, who scorns public evidence? What is wrong with being honest about your faith-based stance?


Stephen Foster
2013-09-02 3:39 AM

I just had you reread that I believe EGW to have been a prophet. Why would you ask if I am ashamed to admit that she was prophetic?
 
I have repeatedly told you that I don’t find your evidence to be compelling, or even evidence for that matter, because it is heavily dependent on conspiracy theory. Since the Selected Messages explanation is a reasoned explanation (as evidenced in part because you must refute its authenticity and/or veracity); I perceive no reason to discount it.
 
It’s not that I don’t think White could have written something that was incorrect. I'm not persuaded that she was duplicitous or that the White Estate is fraudulent.  

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-02 9:34 PM

1. "Why would you ask if I am ashamed to admit that she was prophetic?"


Oh, brother! Your persistence in twisting (or actually misunderstanding?) what I actually write is part of the reason I used the word "weasel" with regard to your apologetic antics. Did I ever ask if you were "...ashamed to admit that she was prophetic?" No! No!! No!!! No!!!! No!!!!!


Here is the hard proof that you are grotesquely twisting my words. This is what I actually wrote:


"I am quite confident that it is because if you reply honestly, it will be obvious to all that it is because of your PRESUPPOSITION that she is a full blown prophet. And if she is a full blown prophet revealing to us what God has given her in vision, then she just can’t be wrong; ergo, I must be lying or misinterpreting her. Are you ashamed to admit this?"


Can you not see the huge difference (a chasm, really) between making EW’s full prophetic stature an unnegotiable premise (because it is a priori), and reaching that same conclusion on the basis a posteriori (on the basis of empirical public evidence)?


It is one thing to arrive at the conclusion that X is a full blown prophet (or something akin to that) if that conclusion was reached a posteriori; that is, after observing first hand, X actually perform some fantastic, seemingly miraculous feats: like parting the Red Sea, resurrecting dead people; walking through walls, restoring amputated limbs out of thin air, levitating into thin air and vanishing into the sky above before a crowd of people including news cameras, etc. (None of which EW ever did, btw.)


But any conclusion reached a posteriori (via public evidence) can also be deconstructed or debunked a posteriori. That is, a closer examination of that evidence may reveal that sophisticated but entirely science based trickery was employed to create an illusion to fool people.


But if that same conclusion is determined a priori, (by faith and faith alone, on the basis of subjective "private evidence") then no amount of public evidence in the world can ever undermine that conclusion. A fundamentalist, by definition, sets forth some propositions that are declared to be unmovable and untouchable by any possible future historical development or scientific discovery. Being a fundamentalist is the ultimate case of being "closed minded."


Being "close minded," however, has acquired a negative connotation in modern times, and that label has come to be perceived as an insult. IOW, our culture has made closed mindedness something of which to be ashamed. Therefore, even people who are fundamentalists often try to put on the cloak of open mindedness, to hide their close mindedness. But they are exposed by their irrational immunity to evidence when it comes to defending their pet premises. In your case, it appears to be EW’s full blown prophetic stature. Your desperate objection to my evidence for EW’s dishonesty (and lying) regarding the shut door "...because it is heavily dependent on conspiracy theory" is quite preposterous.


First, I have already written the obvious: that the argument does not change one bit even if EW actually wrote every word of it; I was just being tentative about assigning responsibility to her, and yet you are trying desperately to twist that hesitancy on my part to blame EW into some kind of apologetic loophole. It is not. Such contrived reasoning is a symptom of close minded fundamentalism trying to look open minded with respect to public evidence.


Secondly, of all the sins, lying inevitably necessitates brings in others to help keep that lie a secret, and the minute anybody else is drawn in, it becomes a conspiracy, by definition. This is especially true when those lies are a matter of public record. Covering those up cannot be a one person campaign. Yet you are trying to use the word "conspiracy" as if that is some kind of automatic disqualifier of all the evidence against EW.


2. "Since the Selected Messages explanation is a reasoned explanation (as evidenced in part because you must refute its authenticity and/or veracity); I perceive no reason to discount it."


Every lie that has ever been told in the history of the world has been intentionally designed to seem like a "reasoned explanation" at least to naive, trusting, non-critical thinkers who take the speaker or writer at their word. Since you clearly appear to belong in the latter category, the fact that you claim you see no reason to discount anything EW swears to is totally meaningless.


You remind me of the victims of Nigerian scammers who keep arguing with me that I should not be so skeptical, and insist on putting more money into scheme to recover money already invested.


3. "It’s not that I don’t think White could have written something that was incorrect. I'm not persuaded that she was duplicitous or that the White Estate is fraudulent."


OK, let’s analyze your stance. I will assume that you will concede that EW was a sinner. But what makes you suppose that EW could commit every sin except lying, when lying would have been her biggest temptation if and when she realized that something she wrote was incorrect? Why should you assume she was above temptation on this issue if you will apparently concede that she could be a sinner otherwise? I propose that this special exemption she gets from lying makes absolutely no sense (and therefore very suspicious), when it would be her greatest temptation and exposes the logical inconsistency of your beliefs.


Stephen Foster
2013-09-03 3:00 AM

Dennis,
 
Oh brother! Perhaps if you had emphasized "PRESUPPOSITIONor said “And since [not if] she was a full blown prophet…” it would have been less likely that I would have “twisted” (or misunderstood) your question. I would prefer to say that you are mistaken than that you are lying.
 
You are personally persuaded of your conclusions and find it difficult, if not frustrating, to believe that some do not find your reasoning or your arguments compelling.
 
Accordingly, you do not find the reasons we give you for not having found your reasoning or your arguments compelling, compelling.
 
You (perhaps accurately) have consequently categorized some of us as fundamentalists; or “EGW fundamentalists.”
 
Where would you prefer this to go? I see this as a circular discussion. 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-03 3:13 AM

Actually Dennis, in rereading what you wrote, it was the questions that you ended the post with that had me thinking that you thought that I was ashamed to admit that EGW was a prophet. (“Why not be a proud believer instead, who scorns public evidence? What is wrong with being honest about your faith-based stance?”)

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-04 6:39 PM

You write,


"Actually Dennis, in rereading what you wrote, it was the questions that you ended the post with that had me thinking that you thought that I was ashamed to admit that EGW was a prophet. ("Why not be a proud believer instead, who scorns public evidence? What is wrong with being honest about your faith-based stance?")


Even in this short post, you still fundamentally misunderstand what I wrote. (Sigh...) I guess that is the way it will always be. Even in these two sentences, the issue is NOT AT ALL about being ashamed of believing EW to be a prophet. So even if you focused on these two sentences, you would still be up the proverbial (conceptual) creek without a paddle.


My sole concern here also is the BASIS of your belief in EW; NOT the belief in EW itself. Your belief is totally based on a priori private evidence (subjective thoughts and interpretations), without any weight given to public evidence, and yet you continue to posture as if your beliefs are based on public evidence. Why would you posture as something you are not (someone who actually cares about public evidence)?


I must conclude that it is because you are ashamed to be thought of as someone who bases his position on faith alone. Admitting this is honorable and intellectually honest. I can respect that, and we would be in agreement that this is another way to understand the world. It is only because you are a fundamentalist trying to posture as an evidence based thinker that we are constantly talking past each other.


There is, of course a pragmatic downside to being a fundamentalist, as I have mentioned in my previous post.


Dennis Hokama
2013-09-04 6:39 PM

You write,


"Actually Dennis, in rereading what you wrote, it was the questions that you ended the post with that had me thinking that you thought that I was ashamed to admit that EGW was a prophet. ("Why not be a proud believer instead, who scorns public evidence? What is wrong with being honest about your faith-based stance?")


Even in this short post, you still fundamentally misunderstand what I wrote. (Sigh...) I guess that is the way it will always be. Even in these two sentences, the issue is NOT AT ALL about being ashamed of believing EW to be a prophet. So even if you focused on these two sentences, you would still be up the proverbial (conceptual) creek without a paddle.


My sole concern here also is the BASIS of your belief in EW; NOT the belief in EW itself. Your belief is totally based on a priori private evidence (subjective thoughts and interpretations), without any weight given to public evidence, and yet you continue to posture as if your beliefs are based on public evidence. Why would you posture as something you are not (someone who actually cares about public evidence)?


I must conclude that it is because you are ashamed to be thought of as someone who bases his position on faith alone. Admitting this is honorable and intellectually honest. I can respect that, and we would be in agreement that this is another way to understand the world. It is only because you are a fundamentalist trying to posture as an evidence based thinker that we are constantly talking past each other.


There is, of course a pragmatic downside to being a fundamentalist, as I have mentioned in my previous post.


Dennis Hokama
2013-09-04 6:19 PM

OK, here we go:

1. "Oh brother! Perhaps if you had emphasized "PRESUPPOSITION" or said "And since [not if] she was a full blown prophet…" it would have been less likely that I would have "twisted" (or misunderstood) your question. I would prefer to say that you are mistaken than that you are lying."


Oh, good grief!! So I was perhaps "lying" or "mistaken" because I did not capitalize and embolden "PRESUPPOSITION" in my sentence while holding your hand to make sure you would notice it the first time??? I take it that you think you are entitled to be treated like a 6th grader with a learning disability, so its not really your fault that you skip over critical words in a sentence?


I was at one time a resource English teacher with LAUSD and used to teach a resource English class of 6th graders with learning disabilities. Some of them had dyslexia and couldn’t help skipping over words in a sentence. But I am totally astonished that you feel entitled to be treated like an elementary school student with a learning disability, rather than taking responsibility for your own reading blunders.


Presuppositions and logical premises (which are presuppositions) are not some trick word that I happened to slip into that sentence alone, but a concept that I have been referring to often in this thread before this. So if that word came as a surprise to you, then you have not understood anything I have been arguing on this thread.


2. "You are personally persuaded of your conclusions and find it difficult, if not frustrating, to believe that some do not find your reasoning or your arguments compelling."


Stephen, you are projecting onto me your own subjective standards (based on private evidence) for your beliefs. While I do find the public evidence persuasive that EW bought the shut door doctrine hook, line, and sinker, and used her visions to persuade others that the door of salvation was shut for the world after 10/22/1844, I followed standard historical reasoning that would be persuasive to virtually any person who does NOT begin to examine this question with a premise that forbids EW from being wrong about this theological point.


I am not frustrated or surprised at all that you are unmoved by the public evidence; after all, I have been around EW fundamentalists all my life. What I am frustrated about is that you lack the intellectual honesty and insight to admit why it is that you are unpersuaded: you obviously adopt the premise that EW simply cannot be dishonest in her post hoc declarations (EW fundamentalism). That would be a belief with honor and integrity. Instead, you insist on committing all these brazen intellectual backflips, somersaults and humiliating reading blunders instead.


3. "Accordingly, you do not find the reasons we give you for not having found your reasoning or your arguments compelling, compelling."


All of your stated "reasons" (getting any specific reason at all from you is like extracting a wisdom tooth) are contrived and incoherent, because they are all an attempt to paper over your faith-based rejection of all public evidence. You are like a color blind person trying to fake his way through drawing a colored picture with a set of color pencils and making a total mess of it. Those with normal color vision would be completely baffled and amused. The same thing is true for everybody who bases their belief in historical events at least to a great extent on public evidence, and reads your supposed reasons for preferring the traditional pat answers delivered by the White Estate.


(I don’t mean to single out the White Estate for putting out politically correct propaganda. The Papacy, the Presidential Press Secretary, and other institutional spokesman are all propagandists whose statements need to be analyzed very critically by intelligent observers, because it must be assumed there is an unstated manipulative agenda behind every release that colors whatever is being announced, or suppressed.)


4. "You (perhaps accurately) have consequently categorized some of us as fundamentalists; or "EGW fundamentalists."


This is actually a very helpful admission that can lead to a resolution or our tendency to talk past each other. The word "fundamentalist" means that whatever that fundament is, it cannot be overthrown by public evidence. If a belief is a construct based on public evidence, then it is vulnerable to future debunking by appeals to more sophisticated analysis of more public evidence, and therefore is not a belief about which one can be a fundamentalist.


5. "Where would you prefer this to go? I see this as a circular discussion."


It is only circular to the extent that you posture as an evidence-based believer when you clearly are not. Once you admit that you accept EW as your full blown latter day prophet on the basis of faith, and don’t give a hoot about whatever public evidence that might be heaped high against that proposition, then you can throw away all your phoney evidence-based arguments and become an honorable man, along with every other true fundamentalist.


Of course that also puts you in the same category as the suicide bomber who expects to get 72 panting virgins all to himself the second after he blows himself up in the market place and takes perhaps 100 women and children blown to bits with him. That is the downside to being a fundamentalist: there is no way out of that belief because all possible public evidence has been dismissed as totally irrelevant.


That is like locking that belief into your mind and then throwing the key into the ocean. But then, if you are sure you are right, then why would you ever worry about being able to access evidence that might change your mind? It is not as if any fundamentalist in the history of the world has ever been wrong, right?


Stephen Foster
2013-09-05 5:35 AM

No offense Dennis, but you are ‘a little’ over the top in your insistence that your evidence should be considered probative and conclusive; and that anyone who isn’t persuaded by it is, well…you name it.
 
Perhaps I should leave it at that.
 
You somehow consider the explanation in my blog of how I view EGW to be mushy or something to that effect. Whether it is or not, it was my view prior to hearing of you. It was an “honorable” explanation of opinion. Disagreeing with you doesn’t require lying, or posturing, or phoniness; believe it or not. 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-05 8:30 AM

And if she is a full blown prophet revealing to us what God has given her in vision, then she just can’t be wrong; ergo, I must be lying or misinterpreting her. Are you ashamed to admit this? Why not be a proud believer instead, who scorns public evidence? What is wrong with being honest about your faith-based stance?
 
When I said that I would prefer to say that you are mistaken than that you are lying, I was referring to this particular statement. You suggested, “…ergo, I must be lying or misinterpreting her.” Can you not see how it was easy to misinterpret you?
 
It is imminently possible to misinterpret someone, or to be misinterpreted, without anyone lying.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-06 2:58 AM

"When I said that I would prefer to say that you are mistaken than that you are lying, I was referring to this particular statement. You suggested, "…ergo, I must be lying or misinterpreting her." Can you not see how it was easy to misinterpret you?"


Yes, I do now understand that you were merely picking one of the two options I gave you; the least offensive one. :-) No offense taken.


However, you did accept my conditional premise ("And if she is a full blown prophet revealing to us what God has given her in vision, then she just can’t be wrong....") so I don’t know what other choices you had other than I provided. 22oct1844's fundamentalist reaction (ad hominem attack) is much more typical.


Dennis Hokama
2013-09-06 2:55 AM

1. "No offense Dennis, but you are ‘a little’ over the top in your insistence that your evidence should be considered probative and conclusive; and that anyone who isn’t persuaded by it is, well…you name it."


No offense taken! :-) But Stephen, how would you be in a position to be the final judge of the credibility of my claim (a little over the top or not), since you have a closed mind on this subject? I accept that you have a different opinion on this, and I think it natural that you project your own opinion on to others. But until there is a survey conducted on this issue, you have no objective basis for your differing opinion. In the meantime, I am quite sure I have a better perspective on how a neutral person would evaluate the historical data that you have. So you may disagree, but you don’t get to pronounce a final judgement on my statement.


2. "You somehow consider the explanation in my blog of how I view EGW to be mushy or something to that effect. Whether it is or not, it was my view prior to hearing of you. It was an "honorable" explanation of opinion. Disagreeing with you doesn’t require lying, or posturing, or phoniness; believe it or not."


You still misunderstand me. Your faith based opinion in your opening essay is perfectly honorable, and you don’t have to apologize to anyone about it! I am truly sorry if I gave you any other impression! :-(


Let me try yet again to explain why I take issue with your objections. Though your wording is "mushy" (unclear with respect to the exact basis for your belief) in your opening essay, you have effectively disclosed that your stance on EW is faith based. If it is faith based, then public evidence is thrown out the window and irrelevant.


(Now, if you object to my conclusion, then you are welcome to contest it by pointing to certain sentences or phrases that think hold out the possibility that you could change your mind upon receiving disconfirming public evidence. But I would say that your subsequent dialogue in defense of your beliefs on this subject have been consistent with that of a faith based believer who has locked his mind and thrown away the key.)


Once you have categorically dismissed public evidence, then it is phoney (or intellectually dishonest) to go back and pretend that your rejection of my conclusion is because of certain defects in this or that piece of public evidence. (If faith and private evidence trumps public evidence, then NO public evidence could possibly be good enough to overturn your belief).


Let me give you an analogy. Suppose you are an employer who wants to hire a competent but beautiful looking secretary. You administer a written test and interview 2 women for the job. The first scores significantly higher on the written test, but rather homely looking. The second candidate scores within the competent range, but more than meets your criterion of beauty and sensuality, so you hire her.

Now let us say the first candidate wants to know why she was not hired. The intellectually honest answer would be to say, "I did not hire you because you are ugly." But you don’t want to admit that because you want to be perceived as purely objective and don’t want to come across like a male Chauvinist pig, so you go over some of her mistakes in the written test and say those mistakes were the reason she was not hired. Your decision not to hire her remains the same, but you substitute a phony reason for the real one, because it makes you look better.


That is analogous to what you appear to be doing here, though maybe it is subconscious. You apparently don’t want to come across like a fundamentalist to me, so you try to speak as if your belief is based on public evidence, but your phoniness shows up in your ubiquituous evasiveness whenever I attempt to get to you articulate the specific nature of your objections. You simply can’t be pinned down as to what would satisfy your standard of public evidence required for changing your mind. Based on my experience, I conclude this is probably because there is no possible public evidence that would change your mind. Then there is the contrived nature of your arguments.


For example, you keep going back to my questioning the authenticity of MS4, 1883, trying to argue, "Aha, because you doubt its authenticity, and you can’t prove it, and your entire argument is based on it, then your entire case falls apart!!"


What incoherent nonsense! I have repeatedly said that I am willing to let EW be the author of it, but that only makes it worse for the defense of her honesty. First there is the claim made in the document stating that she believed in the shut door only before her first vision, whereas the 1847 Bates letter in her own handwriting makes it clear that she had given up on the shut door doctrine BEFORE her visions and that it was her vision that forced her and her associates to embrace the shut door. For example, of her Exeter vision in early 1945, she writes,


"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."(I will not quote the rest because I just did that for 22oct1844)


The only possible defense is to argue that the shut door meant something different then than it does now, and the White Estate dutifully tries to do that. But the internal logic of the Bates letter squashes that, when you consider the stated basis for Sister Durben’s reservations (" She had great sympathy (for lost sinners obviously), and could not believe the door was shut." ) about the shut door doctrine. So accepting the shut door meant she had to accept that salvation for sinners was no longer possible, and that made her very sad.


Even worse, is the absurdity of her revised shut door doctrine she carried to her death, according to this document, which was the subject of my paper to which I have previously referred. According to this "revised and improved" version of the shut door doctrine, everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls, even though the main component in it (exact date setting for the second coming) was obviously wrong in retrospect. (All the main Christian denominations retained a belief in the second coming; just not on 22oct1844). So even if one was a dedicated Christian who believed in the soon coming of Jesus, but rejected 22oct1844 as the date, too bad: God shut the door of salvation against you, according to EW’s final position. So sister Durben was justifiably sad.


From my perspective, this solution looks like the ultimate "face saving" rationalization to salvage the reputation of EW, but comes at the expense of leaving God holding the bag as an unjust, capricious monster. I cannot be made to believe that there can be such a sin, let alone an unforgivable sin that consists of correctly rejecting a theological mistake, and I am quite confident that I am not alone on this. (Where is there a precedent for such a monstrous divine decision in the Bible??)

Had Miller preached to you in the 1840s, would you have bought the 22oct1844 date for the second coming? If not, you would have been sent straight to hell forever, according to MS4 1883. Yet that is the monstrous theology that EW carried to her grave, if you accept her authorship of this document. If you want to put that into EW’s head with the full authority of a last day prophet, be my guest, but in my opinion, you are "cutting off your nose to spite your face."


Stephen Foster
2013-09-06 6:28 AM

Perhaps the only way to spin out of this circular discussion is to stop; but that would be unsatisfactory, wouldn’t it?
 
A ground rule or given should be that I personally take EGW’s “final stand on the shut door at face value.” I do not interpret it anywhere near the way that it appears you do. You have attempted to indicate that her position is, or was, that “God shut the door of salvation on a whole generation because they rejected the Millerite Mistake.”
 
You say that her position was that “everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls, even though the main component in it (exact date setting for the second coming) was obviously wrong in retrospect…So even if one was a dedicated Christian who believed in the soon coming of Jesus, but rejected 22oct1844 as the date, too bad: God shut the door of salvation against you, according to EW’s final position;” which it was not.
 
Her position was:
For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position.
I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents.
There was a shut door in Noah's day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the Flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah:
"My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3).
There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven.
There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38).
Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John:
"These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Rev. 3:7).
I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.
Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan. These two classes are brought to view in the vision--those who declared the light which they had followed a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection.--Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 63-64.

Now, then “all who saw the light of the first and second angels’ messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.”
 
The first and second angel’s messages (Revelation 14: 6-8) are not about the Second Advent; but the “Millerite Mistake” sure was. So, since White believed that the first and second angel’s messages were about God’s judgment and apostasy, or whatever; and the Millerite Mistake was about the date setting of the Second Advent—in full recognition that one is widely seen as the excuse for the other—where’s the connection? She is saying that those who rejected the light of the first and second angel’s message (God’s judgment and apostasy), were “left in darkness” having “rejected the Spirit of God;” whereas those who never saw the light could not have rejected it.
 
I understand that you believe the “final" position of EGW to have been either fraudulent or duplicitous; but since I don’t, in order to avoid repeating ourselves, we should perhaps start (and/or end?) with this.    

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-06 5:55 PM

1. “You say that her position was that “everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls, even though the main component in it (exact date setting for the second coming) was obviously wrong in retrospect…So even if one was a dedicated Christian who believed in the soon coming of Jesus, but rejected 22oct1844 as the date, too bad: God shut the door of salvation against you, according to EW’s final position;” which it was not.”
 
Oh, you are going to try to defend this? I accept your statement of my position. Good luck!   
 
2. “A ground rule or given should be that I personally take EGW’s ‘final stand on the shut door at face value.’ I do not interpret it anywhere near the way that it appears you do. You have attempted to indicate that her position is, or was, that ‘God shut the door of salvation on a whole generation because they rejected the Millerite Mistake’”
 
I accept your ground rules, with the understanding that you must accept clarifications by EW herself in her published books on points which are vaguely stated in MS4, 1883. 
 
After quoting MS4, 1883, where EW writes that “All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness” you begin your commentary on that passage: 
 
3. The first and second angel’s messages (Revelation 14: 6-8) are not about the Second Advent; but the “Millerite Mistake” sure was. So, since White believed that the first and second angel’s messages were about God’s judgment and apostasy, or whatever; and the Millerite Mistake was about the date setting of the Second Advent—in full recognition that one is widely seen as the excuse for the other—where’s the connection? She is saying that those who rejected the light of the first and second angel’s message (God’s judgment and apostasy), were “left in darkness” having “rejected the Spirit of God;” whereas those who never saw the light could not have rejected it.”
 
You are apparently quote uninformed about what EW meant by “the first and second angels' messages.” You cannot simply go back to Rev. 14:6-8 and appeal to that text apart from EW’s previous (inspired) interpretation of the meaning of those texts.
 
In Early Writings (p. 245) she spells out what “the first and second angels' messages” mean when she uses that phrase.
 
"I saw that the disappointment of those who believed in the coming of the Lord in 1844 was not equal to the disappointment of the first disciples. Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels’ messages. They were given at the right time and accomplished the work which God designed to accomplish by them.”

That is the connection for which you asked, delivered by EW herself. Although I will only quote this passage, if you read on to p. 246 and beyond, you will see that EW is alluding specifically to the mistaken date setting of Miller. So directly contrary to your uninformed opinion, “the first and second angels’ messages” are a reference to Miller’s great date setting mistake in 1844. This is basic Millerite/Adventist history.
 
Where do you go from here, Stephen? There is no way out except sola fide. All apologetics short of lying and ad hominem attacks fail. So, taking MS 4, 1883 as EW’s final stance was that, God shut the door of salvation on a whole generation because they rejected the Millerite Mistake’”
    
That is why Darrel said he just had to “shut the door on the shut door.” But if you can swallow this, then good for you, …I guess.     
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-06 6:27 PM

Hold your horses there, my dear brother! EGW is in no way, shape, or form saying that the first and second angel’s messages were the Second Advent, represented the Second Advent, or were related to a specific date for the Second Advent.
 
There is no connection other than that the prophecies represented in Revelation 14: 6-8 had been fulfilled prior to 22 October. 

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-08 3:31 AM

You write:

“EGW is in no way, shape, or form saying that the first and second angel’s messages were the Second Advent, represented the Second Advent, or were related to a specific date for the Second Advent.”


Oh brother, talk about digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself!!! Are you going only by the few sentences I quoted for you? Have you ever read Early Writings?? You apparently don’t even know what your full blown prophet teaches! Early Writings has a section entitled “The First Angels’ Message," p. 232-237. (From 237-240 is a section entitled The Second Angel’s Message.)

I am tempted to paste that entire section of EW right here, lest you accuse me of quoting EW out of context, but that would take up too much space on this blog and be an insult to the intelligence of others. So here are some excerpts from that chapter under that heading (The First Angels’ Message). I have bolded key words and phrases because of your tendency to be blind to any inconvenient words.  
  • “I saw that God was in THE PROCLAMATION OF THE TIME in 1843. It was His design to arouse the people and bring them to a testing point, where they should decide for or against the truth. Ministers were convinced of the correctness of the positions taken on the prophetic periods, and some renounced their pride, and left their salaries and their churches to go forth from place to place to give the message. But as the message from heaven could find a place in the hearts of but few of the professed ministers of Christ, the work was laid upon many who were not preachers. Some left their fields to sound the message, while others were called from their shops and their merchandise. And even some professional men were compelled to leave their professions to engage in the unpopular work of giving THE FIRST ANGEL’S MESSAGE.”
Note 1: “the proclamation of the time” (by the Millerites) is here equated by EGW with giving the first angel’s message.
  • “Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message.”
Note 2: Here William Miller is specifically named as the architect and face of this movement.
  • “And as the Spirit of God rested upon them, they helped to sound the cry, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come."
Note 3: EGW equates the Millerite movement with the proclamation of Rev. 14:7, which is the first angel’s message.
  • “The preaching of definite time called forth great opposition from all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless, heaven-daring sinner. "No man knoweth the day nor the hour," was heard from the hypocritical minister and the bold scoffer. Neither would be instructed and corrected by those who were pointing to the year when they believed the [p. 234] prophetic periods would run out, and to the signs which showed Christ near, even at the doors.”
Note 4: EGW is here in EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM saying EXACTLY that the first angel’s message was specifically referring to SETTING A SPECIFIC DATE for the Second Advent.
  • “The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that the prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844.”
Note 5: EGW justifies the initial date of 1843 set by Miller as a divinely inspired mistake and authorizes the switch to 1844, which would also prove to be wrong.
 
  • “Satan and his angels triumphed over them, and those who would not receive the message congratulated themselves upon their farseeing judgment and wisdom [p. 237] in not receiving the delusion, as they called it. They did not realize that they were rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, and were working in union with Satan and his angels to perplex God's people, who were living out the heaven-sent message.”Note 6: EGW is saying that those who correctly rejected the mistaken 1844 date were rejecting God’s (first angel’s) message.
Summary statement and challenge:
Your absolutist opinions in opposition to my thesis are based on sheer (if not willful) ignorance of the very words of EGW in one of her famous books.

“EGW is in no way, shape, or form saying that the first and second angel’s messages were the Second Advent, represented the Second Advent, or were related to a specific date for the Second Advent”??

How you can pontificate like this without knowing what EGW wrote about this, is something I find hard to imagine. Now that you are forced to eat your words, it seems that you must accept that in MS 4, 1883 EW’s final stance was that, “God shut the door of salvation on a whole generation because they correctly rejected the Millerite Mistake” just as I first proposed.

Can you stick to your guns and swallow such a soteriological absurdity just because you must accept whatever EGW proclaims is true?
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-08 9:39 AM

The first and second angel’s messages were clearly seen by the Millerite movement as markers by which to set the date. I concede that this is obviously true. The date set, in reality, had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages; which was obvious in retrospect.
 
Clearly, this was known by White in real time when she said that “all who saw the light of the first and second angel’s messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness.  And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.”
 
But again, you have claimed her position to have been that “everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls, even though the main component in it (exact date setting for the second coming) was obviously wrong in retrospect…So even if one was a dedicated Christian who believed in the soon coming of Jesus, but rejected 22oct1844 as the date, too bad: God shut the door of salvation against you, according to EW’s final position.”
 
The question, the point of contention, is when she wrote “I saw 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;” did she mean that the “dedicated” Christians to whom you refer, who did not agree with the Millerite (calculation of the) set date had gone “into darkness” on the basis of that disagreement, or something else.
 
Of course she adamantly maintained that she never wrote or said “that the world was doomed or damned;” or as you put it, that “everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls.” So “the light brought to the world by the message of the second angel,” and more specifically the rejection of it, is that to which she made reference. Is the light brought into the world by the Millerite message the same thing as the date which the Millerites set? The answer to that question is “No.”
 
In other words, in a similar sense in which Jesus says that “he who is not against you is for you,” or is quoted in Matthew 12:30 saying “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” or in the sense that David said (in 1 Chronicles 28:9) “…for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever;” White maintains those who became rejecters and ridiculers of the light were in darkness.

But just what was the rejected “light”?
 
“I was shown the interest which all heaven had taken in the work going on upon the earth. Jesus commissioned a mighty angel to descend and warn the inhabitants of the earth to prepare for His second appearing. As the angel left the presence of Jesus in heaven, an exceedingly bright and glorious light went before him. I was told that his mission was to lighten the earth with his glory and warn man of the coming wrath of God. Multitudes received the light. Some of these seemed to be very solemn, while others were joyful and enraptured. All who received the light turned their faces toward heaven and glorified God. Though it was shed upon all, some merely came under its influence, but did not heartily receive it. Many were filled with great wrath. Ministers and people united with the vile and stoutly resisted the [246]light shed by the mighty angel. But all who received it withdrew from the world and were closely united with one another.
Satan and his angels were busily engaged in seeking to attract the minds of as many as possible from the light. The company who rejected it were left in darkness. I saw the angel of God watching with the deepest interest His professed people, to record the character which they developed as the message of heavenly origin was presented to them. And as very many who professed love for Jesus turned from the heavenly message with scorn, derision, and hatred, an angel with a parchment in his hand made the shameful record. All heaven was filled with indignation that Jesus should be thus slighted by His professed followers.” Early Writings, 245, 246 

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 2:43 AM

I will respond in three parts to all of your objections. But because this thread is getting too narrow, I will start a new thread at the bottom of this blog so I can use the whole page.

One preliminary comment here: Stephen, merely pasting in long passages from EGW is not a substitute for an argument. Those passages need to be specifically relevant to the point you are making, or it is just clutter.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-30 12:39 PM

RE: Mr Hokama says: "In retrospect, this James White statement was obviously an empty bluff"
------
"Obviously an empty bluff"...????  On what grounds does one make such spurious allegations sir?  Where, tell me is your evidence?  All I have seen you do is say what you think Ellen White said in this matter.  You refuse to acknowledge that it is you who has got it all wrong.  You have also disregarded the fact that Mrs White was upright in character and an honest Christian without any evidence to the contrary.

You have not shown any direct statement of Ellen White saying what you say she said.  You have disregarded her actual statements and therefore  misrepresented what she has said regarding this issue.

About your perceived humiliation of me regarding my belief and position on this issue.  I've got nothing to lose here sir.  I only speak on behalf of an honest God-fearing Christian woman who lived an exemplary life and yet you accuse her without a shred of real evidence.  Trumping up charges based on hearsay then fabricating conspiracy theories in order to slander her good name only exposes what goes around in some circles.

I am not surprised though that this has been going around - but only saddened as to the extent of such malicious rumors as this.  May God deal mercifully with you and those from your camp.

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-30 2:34 PM

"Obviously an empty bluff"...????  On what grounds does one make such spurious allegations sir?"  

Lordy, lordy. James White threatened to put out this devastating pamphet that would make the critics eat crow:  

"...so that it has been thought best, for the good of the cause with which we hold so intimate connections, to meet their slanders with a plain statement of facts, which will probably appear in pamphlet form for very extensive circulation."

So, 143 years later, where is that devastating refutation by the church that would stop the slander? Where is it? Everything the church has put out in defense of the accusation of teaching the shut door has boomeraged against EW. Now the fact that EW taught shut door theology on the basis of her early visions is an established fact of history, except by the White Estate. And even the Robert Olsen, former White Estate secretary agrees (though he blames it on EW's misinterpretation of her visions).

     
If James White couldn't deliver on that threat in his lifetime, nor the church in the 143 years since that time, then wouldn't that be fairly called an empty bluff?

Please provide the book or pamphlet that fulfilled that threat by James White, or admit that it was an empty bluff. Please prove me wrong.

What is malicious about doing history, as opposed to hagiagraphy? What is malicious about quoting EW and JW during their shut door period and interpreting them in their historical context?


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-08-30 3:38 PM

It is malicious to misinterpret them in their historical context...

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-31 6:40 AM

A million loud amens to that!! Finally, we are in 100% agreement on something! Maybe we should celebrate? 

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-31 7:01 AM

But please, 22oct1844, don't forget to produce the pamphlet/book that James White (or the church) subsequenlty delivered to make good on his promise to shut the mouths of thier critics. Otherwise you are forcing me to be right in calling this statement an empty bluff. Please let me be wrong about this. 

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-06 6:07 PM

Please, 22oct1844, the world is still waiting anxiously but wearily for you to finally produce the document that will turn JW's empty bluff into a reality. Hasn't 143 years been long enough? Please  hurry!

Stephen Foster
2013-08-30 8:56 PM

“Advances in biblical interpretation…”! Now, that is perhaps the consummate summary (if that’s not redundant) of the differences between historic/traditional Adventist interpretations of current events, and trends, and movements, and ideas, and proposals; and 'others'.'
 
I’ve said this before Ed, only a very, very, very few individuals have ever had any clue whatsoever as to what Adventists have historically taught regarding eschatological doctrine; and arguably most of them are dead. Why on earth would the enemy have any need to call an audible on what inspiration has predicted he will do? Most of the 'educated' and affluent so-called First World “elect” don’t believe it anyway!
 
@Nathan, in all my time and in all the volumes I have written in opinion and commentary on this site I don’t recall ever having defended President Obama. Sometimes I think you are baiting me to do so for some strange reason. Understandably, you seem to have reasoned that since I don’t seem to be against him then I must be for him. Endorsing him would disturb and distract many. You obviously have unfettered license to rail against him, and liberals, in this venue. (I am accused of being obsessed with politics without having defended him and having seldom identified any others via ideological labels.) I fully understand the unwritten ground rules; and that this is a 'road game.'
 
As has been long ago established on these boards, the paradigm from which I operate in reference to what will happen and what is happening in Revelation 13 is nearly diametrically different than yours is. I find it difficult to accept this, because I think you should know better. But that is an unmistakably arrogant thought. I apologize for having this arrogant attitude.

Stephen Foster
2013-08-30 9:01 PM

Ooops! So sorry. The above post was intended for The Beauty of Adventism thread (intended for Nathan Schilt and Ed Dickerson).

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-31 10:11 PM

I thought it was funny, but my attitude might not be shared by others. :-)

Darrel Lindensmith
2013-08-31 4:24 PM

Dennis, I have discovered a way out of our shut door problem.  What if we can explain the early shut door statements by Methodological Naturalism?  This rule would prohibit any of this information being associated with any intelligence?   :-)  I am funning with you Dennis; don't be offended.
 

Dennis Hokama
2013-08-31 10:12 PM

Sorry! See above.

Elaine Nelson
2013-08-31 6:03 PM

What if we could simply close the lid on old books that should stay closed?  Oops, we can't because they continue to be re-introduced.  This is what happens when a fiction or myth is created:  some ingenuous folk will have recorded events surrounding what actually happened, and then it is recounted for the many doubters.  Remember:  Secrets are never truly buried with the dead.  It's like the archaeologists who sift through ancient coprolite to determine the diet of long dead humans; or exhuming the dead for an autopsy, which is done when the death is questioned.
Now, it's an old story that cannot die; there are always old records somewhere.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-03 10:02 AM

Apart from the usual cheap shots taken at Ellen White, (just like the detractors in her day - right until now), Mr. Hokama, Dr. Taylor and Mrs. Elaine Nelson can't furnish a shred of evidence, to prove their false accusations and distorted views regarding anything Ellen White said or wrote. All they can do is make unsubstantiated assertions and fabricate malicious untruths about her. What Mr Hokama calls 'public evidence' isn’t evidence at all but hearsay – especially since his farfetched assumptions based on his own subjective take on Ellen White intentionally twists the actual events out of their proper historical context and extravagantly extrapolates it to suite his own anti-Ellen White agenda.

Any explanation from Ellen White herself, her contemporaries, the White Estate or anyone else for that matter is called a cover-up.  Mr Hokama ignores the fact that thousands of her published pages which include her personal life experiences and ministry have been available and accessible to all for scrutiny and study for many years yet nowhere in her writings can it be concluded that she was a liar or a fraud.  Mr Hokama’s vendetta doesn’t stop here .  He then goes even further with his fictitious claims by also saying that Ellen White’s weakness was the sin of lies - of which he must be an expert at this it seems. 

All this is ‘public evidence’ he says; but it is probably invisible and nonexistent evidence because not even he can produce it.  He talks about it and did a paper on it but where is it?  Where is this public evidence? Of course, its comes as no surprise that Dr Taylor and his close ally, Mrs Elaine Nelson, will jump at any and every opportunity to quench their thirst with the diluted kool-aid Mr Hokama has been generously pouring out – as long as it’s their favourite flavour – the anti-Ellen White concoction.  At best, Mr Hokama’s views would qualify as a mediocre conspiracy theory for the anti-Ellen White fan club.  I don't buy it of course.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-05 2:19 AM

22oct1844 writes:


"Apart from the usual cheap shots taken at Ellen White, (just like the detractors in her day - right until now), Mr. Hokama, Dr. Taylor and Mrs. Elaine Nelson can't furnish a shred of evidence, to prove their false accusations and distorted views regarding anything Ellen White said or wrote. All they can do is make unsubstantiated assertions and fabricate malicious untruths about her. What Mr Hokama calls 'public evidence' isn’t evidence at all but hearsay..."


I know, I know! Don’t you just hate it when critics quote from EW herself, out of a letter she personally wrote, and have copies of it in her own hand writing, and then have the audacity to call that "evidence" of what she actually believed??


Like this excerpt for instance from the July 13, 1847 Bates letter:


"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. 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."


You can read this in her own handwriting at: http://www.hacksplace.com/images/magazines/AC%20PDFs/AC%20B&W/AC%201-4%20BW%20300dpi.pdf
which I have disclosed earlier on this thread.


Isn’t it just outrageous that some people think that quoting EW from her own letter is evidence of EW’s beliefs at the time she wrote the letter?? How wacky and desperate is that??


2. "All this is ‘public evidence’ he says; but it is probably invisible and nonexistent evidence because not even he can produce it. He talks about it and did a paper on it but where is it?"


You can read all of it online and check my documentation at the above named website which I disclosed at the beginning of the discussion on the shut door.


Ervin Taylor
2013-09-04 6:16 PM

A disinterested non-Adventist or even non-Christian  reader coming across the back-and-forth comments on this topic on the AT web site might wonder what kind of individual EGW was that almost 100 years after her death, there are such strongly held, and strongly expressed positive and negative expressions of opinion about her and what she wrote.  I guess one question that such a person might ask is why, on one hand, there are those who reverance her and, on the other hand, those that think she is responsible for a lot of problems that Adventists have not been able to solve in the century following her death.  Does anyone really know and understand the "real" EGW?

Stephen Foster
2013-09-04 7:50 PM

Not believing EGW to have been a liar is not the same as “reverence.”

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-05 2:21 AM

But how did you arrive at that belief that EW did not lie?

David
2013-09-05 10:00 AM

Very provocative question: "Does anyone really know and understand the "real" EGW?

What about, does anyone really know and understand the "real" Erwin Taylor? 

Elaine Nelson
2013-09-04 6:58 PM

It would be the same as seven blind men describing an elephant.

David
2013-09-05 10:01 AM

Very provocative question: Does anyone really know and understand the "real" EGW?
What about, does anyone really know and understand the "real" Ervin Taylor? 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-06 7:23 PM

RE: Mrs Nelson said "It would be the same as seven blind men describing an elephant."
(In response [I think] to Dr Taylor's question: "Does anyone really know and understand the "real" EGW?")
----------
Here are a few lines from me on this (in rhyme this time):

Seven blind men (ambitiously progressive)
Said they knew it all and were not one bit regressive
They came across an 'elephant' which kept the Seventh-day
Each one of these came forward to holler out his say

The evolutionist grabbed the tail
He then began to rail
This certainly's a snake
My faith makes no mistake

The humanist then came near
And grabbed upon the rear
It's a wall of segregation
Let's get rid of it from here

The  third blind man was adamant
The trunk was but a pipe
With all his fine assumptions
He assumed that he was right
 
The fourth, a skeptic, touched the leg
And said it was a ploy
Without a shadow of a doubt
This is a Chinese toy
 
A scientist then came next
Yelling Darwin did know best
This tusk I presuppose
Must be a million year old nose
 
An Atheist then came by
And touched upon the eye
No God could make this complex thing
It must have fallen from the sky
 
A detractor then came in
And touched upon the skin
He claimed the rest had told a lie
With much ad hominem
 
So off they went all seven of them
It was now quite evident
All thinking they knew better
That it was not an elephant…
 

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-06 7:56 PM

Hmm.  How did we get from did EGW lie to evolution and Darwin?  The thought processes of  Mr/Ms October are indeed mysterious.  On the other hand, assuming that Mr/Ms October  is the author of this poem, there certainly is a certain amont of creativity illustrated.  

The story of the elephant and the blind men has always been a favorate of mine.  I think it illustrates very well that none of us know "The Truth." At best, we have the capacity to "feel" a very, very small piece of it. Now I realiize that our conservative friends think they know "The Truth" which is how classical Adventism used to refer to itself, as in "Are you in The Truth" meaning are you a member of the Adventist Church.  Fortunately, I have not heard or read that expression recently which is one illustration that some things change for the better even in the institutional Adventist Church.  

By the way, as mentioned several weeks ago, we will soon have some additional historical  data and some new insights on the topic of status and role of EGW in American religious history when the new book from Oxford University Press is published which I believe is to be entitled "Ellen G. White: American Prophetess."  This web site and /or perhaps Adventist Today, the magazine, will have a summary and review of this book as soon as it appears. It will be the most scholarly discussion of EGW by a number of Ameican historians and others since the appearance of the book Prophetess of Health.written by the distinguished Amerian historian of science, Ronald Numbers.  This new book will be edited by him as well..   

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-08 4:34 PM

RE: Dr Taylor asks..."How did we get from did EGW lie to evolution and Darwin?"
----------
From the way I see things, EGW is most definitely a thorn in the side of 'Christian evolutionists' (if these two words can even rightfully be placed side by side in the first place) and evolution per se. Various special interest groups (such as evolutionists) attack EGW in order to dismiss her inspired work and in so doing make a feeble attempt to strengthen their own positions. Those who align themselves with so-called progressive Adventism are initiated into the clan by avowing abhorrence in various degrees towards her work and making her public enemy number one. This is in essence what so-called progressive Adventism is about: anti-Ellen White. They may spin it any which way they like, even with their regular patronizing - but this is what it all boils down to: EGW.  She stands between them and a total onslaught on Adventism from within.   Dr Taylor (who teaches evolution for a living), Dr Numbers (who studied his way out of Adventism into Atheism) and a host of others will twist what she wrote or said in order to portray her work in bad light.  Take her prophetic ministry for example. Dr Numbers calls her a Prophetess of Health when he as a learned scholar blatantly overlooks the fact that whilst her work included prophecy and visions, she was not one to call herself a prophet or prophetess. He uses this term only to ridicule and belittle her. Guess who is going to 'edit' the new 'scholarly' book which Dr Taylor looks forward too?  Dr Numbers. How do they expect us to take them seriously when they clearly hold biased assumptions and worldviews which they rework into her work in order to misrepresent and denigrate this humble servant of the Lord?  How can Dr Numbers blatantly ignore the fact that EGW preferred to be called a “Messenger of God” and not prophetess - and for good reason - yet her detractors seem oblivious of this fact and intentionally seek to distort her work.  This is what she says:
 
  • Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord’s messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. “Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you.{1SM 32.2}
  • “Be not afraid of man, for My shield shall protect you. It is not you that speaketh: it is the Lord that giveth the messages of warning and reproof. Never deviate from the truth under any circumstances. Give the light I shall give you. The messages for these last days shall be written in books, and shall stand immortalized, to testify against those who have once rejoiced in the light, but who have been led to give it up because of the seductive influences of evil.”{1SM 32.3} Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?—Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word “prophet” signifies.{1SM 32.4}
  • I am “only waiting till the shadows are a little longer grown.” But my books will testify when my voice shall no longer be heard. The truths committed to me, as the Lord’s messenger, stand immortalized, either to convict and to convert souls, or to condemn those who have departed from the faith and have given heed to seducing spirits.—Letter 350, 1906.{PM 359.1}
  • One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the testimonies of God’s Spirit.—Letter 156, 1903.{PM 360.1}
  • There are some who think they are able to measure the character and to estimate the importance of the work the Lord has given me to do. Their own mind and judgment is the standard by which they would weigh the testimonies.{PM 361.2} My Instructor said to me, Tell these men that God has not committed to them the work of measuring, classifying, and defining the character of the testimonies. Those who attempt this are sure to err in their conclusions. The Lord would have men adhere to their appointed work. If they will keep the way of the Lord, they will be able to discern clearly that the work which He has appointed me to do is not a work of human devising.{PM 361.3}
Regarding evolution EGW says:
 
  • Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God. Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation. Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years.{Ed 128.2}
  • Such a conclusion is wholly uncalled for. The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Of the first day employed in the work of creation is given the record, “The evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5.   And the same in substance is said of each of the first six days of creation week. Each of these periods Inspiration declares to have been a day consisting of evening and morning, like every other day since that time. In regard to the work of creation itself the divine testimony is, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9. With Him who could thus call into existence unnumbered worlds, how long a time would be required for the evolution of the earth from chaos? In order to account for His works, must we do violence to His word?{Ed 129.1}

 

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 3:14 AM


As I posted earlier on this thread, EGW also said,  "I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet." (this implies she denied being a prophet on two consecutive days before huge audiences in Battle Creek (Oct 1 &2, 1904)
 
Arthur White, 1981, on p. 354 of The Early Elmshaven Years

A.T. Jones, for one, thought we should take her twice repeated denial seriously.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 8:13 AM

Last night, I was in too much haste to look up the source of your quote for the EGW statement, "I have made no claim to this title," but in the middle of the night, it occurred to me that this statement was probably from one of the articles I cited as examples of EGW lying to cover up an inconvenient earlier statement she had made in Battle Creek.
 

Sure enough! You quoted from her RH 7/26/1906 article, (which is in 1SM32.2) which I previously cited in my response to Erv in connection with our discussion about EGW and her habit of lying to cover up her mistakes. Here is part of that previous post again:

If an appeal to her character is going to be made as a defense against in lying in regards to the shut door (as 22oct1844 does), then that brings into play her notorious response to A. T. Jones’ report of her speech given in Battle Creek, October 2, 1904. This is known as the "I am not a prophet" controversy.

To make a long story short, A.T Jones quoted her as saying " I am not a prophet" in that meeting, and took that as her own admission that she was not a prophet, which vindicated his own conclusion. EW took issue with Jones’ version of her speech and denied it 4 times in 3 separate documents (RH 1/26/1905, EGW to O.A. Olsen, 1/30/1905, RH 7/26/1906, twice), claiming that she had said instead, "I did not claim to be a prophetess." She apparently went to her death without ever retracting this stance. This was a very hot topic and she had abundant access to many sources including probably her own secretary, so there is no question that she had access to many reports, independent and otherwise.


So, 22oct1844, why would you quote one of her infamous "lies" that I have already cited on this very thread as evidence against what Erv and Ron Numbers conclude about EGW? Does it not instead bolster their case? I think you need to be a much smarter apologist and beware of what you quote.


P.S.

Don’t even bother to cite the note at the bottom of page 32, which says, "Reference is made to a discourse given in Battle Creek, October 2, 1904, in which she said, ‘I do not claim to be a prophetess.’ compilers." That too is a mistake-lie that is exposed in the previously cited admission by Arthur White in 1981.


Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 8:19 AM

Sorry! The formatting did not hold up in the final post, making it confusing. The following should have been indented:
 
  • If an appeal to her character is going to be made as a defense against in lying in regards to the shut door (as 22oct1844 does), then that brings into play her notorious response to A. T. Jones’ report of her speech given in Battle Creek, October 2, 1904. This is known as the "I am not a prophet" controversy.
  •  
  • To make a long story short, A.T Jones quoted her as saying " I am not a prophet" in that meeting, and took that as her own admission that she was not a prophet, which vindicated his own conclusion. EW took issue with Jones’ version of her speech and denied it 4 times in 3 separate documents (RH 1/26/1905, EGW to O.A. Olsen, 1/30/1905, RH 7/26/1906, twice), claiming that she had said instead, "I did not claim to be a prophetess." She apparently went to her death without ever retracting this stance. This was a very hot topic and she had abundant access to many sources including probably her own secretary, so there is no question that she had access to many reports, independent and otherwise.

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-10 6:23 PM

Mr/Ms Oct quotations from EGW just demonstrates that even prophets can be wrong.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 2:47 AM

Response to Stephen, part 1
(Sigh…) Oh, brother! You obviously wish to keep digging deeper into the pit you are in, instead of reversing direction.    
 
  1. “The first and second angel’s messages were clearly seen by the Millerite movement as markers by which to set the date. I concede that this is obviously true. The date set, in reality, had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages; which was obvious in retrospect.”
Oh, brother! If you are conceding that in retrospect, the 1843-1844 date obviously had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages, then the game is over and you are in total agreement with me. The perversity of EGW is that precisely that she would NOT concede this to her dying day, as per MS4, 1883. But then you would be violating your own rule, which was that you accept at face value her last stand as expressed in MS4, 1883. You need to make up our mind.   
 
  1. “Clearly, this was known by White in real time when she said that “all who saw the light of the first and second angel’s messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness.  And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.”
Oh, brother! How outrageous! Merely asserting (by fiat) that EGW was “clearly” meaning to say X does not make that so. I could just as well assert that EGW was clearly meaning to endorse the Satan worship, but that would be completely meaningless unless I could produce an indisputable quote from her that articulated that view according to a standard interpretation of those words in the context of that time and place. Your assertion is just as meaningless because the words you quote to prove your assertion do not mean what you claim it means any more than the hypothetical assertion that EGW endorses Satan worship.

I just proved to you from Early Writings exactly what EGW meant by “the first angels’ message.” She meant nothing other than the Millerite movement which set 1843, and then 1844 as the date for the second coming. EGW approved the publication of Early Writings in 1882, nearly 40 years after the Great Disappointment, and she does NOT distance herself at all from the divine sanctioning of the two obviously wrong dates for the second coming, nor does she retract her linking of the wrong date setting from the first angels’ message.

Look at these words you quote:

“all who saw the light of the first and second angel’s messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness.  And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.”      

Does she even hint that whereas she used to think that the angels messages delivered in Rev. 14:6-8 were fulfilled by the Millerite movement, she now thinks that connection was an obvious mistake and that the Millerite movement has nothing to do with Rev. 14? No, there is no hint of any retreat from that position. Her argument is exactly the opposite; to affirm that she still believes it.    

In fact, the whole point of publishing Early Writings in 1882 was to prove to her critics (such as A.C. Long in Marion, Iowa) that what she wrote in the 1840s was still believed by the church in that day (1882). (Documented in my paper, “The Great Controversy over Deletions in the Vision of 1844”) So for you to assert that her words in MS4 1883 meant that by then (let alone in “real time”) she knew that her earlier equation of the first angel’s message in Rev. 14 with the Millerite movement was utter baloney, would have defeated the very purpose of publishing the book in the first place. Stephen, no offense, but you are only digging a deeper hole for yourself with every attempt you make to defend your ignorant and historically irresponsible opinions.
 
To be continued…

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 2:50 AM

Response to Stephen, part 2
 
  1. “The question, the point of contention, is when she wrote “I saw 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;” did she mean that the “dedicated” Christians to whom you refer, who did not agree with the Millerite (calculation of the) set date had gone “into darkness” on the basis of that disagreement, or something else.”
First, the open and shut door talk is nothing but more double talk to disguise the shut door embarrassment. The “open” door is the door into the Most Holy Place where SDAs maintain Jesus entered for the first time in 1844. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with any equivocation on the shut door to the Holy Place which shut its doors to the world that had rejected the mistaken Millerite date setting for the second coming.
 
Secondly, instead of second guessing EGW on this point, why don’t you just accept what she says in this case, as I thought your own ground rules specified? The meaning of the second angel’s message (Rev. 14:8: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”) according to EGW is described in EW, p. 136-140: Here is the opening paragraph, which sums it up:  
 
The Second Angel’s Message
As the churches refused to receive the first angel’s message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God. They trusted to their own strength, and by opposing the first message placed themselves where they could not see the light of the second angel’s message. But the beloved of God, who were oppressed, accepted the message, “Babylon is fallen,” and left the churches.” [237]
 
EGW’s logic of the relationship between the first and second angels’ messages is quite simple:
The first angel’s message is the false date setting with regard to the Second Coming by William Miller. The second angel’s message was the announcement that those churches that refused to accept Miller’s false date setting (all of Protestant Christianity as well as Catholics of course) had “fallen” and thus become “Babylon.” All those who accepted the second angel’s message would indicate their acceptance of it by leaving these “fallen” churches that had refused to accept Miller’s misguided date setting.
 
EGW indicated in Early Writings the hopelessly wicked state of these fallen churches which those who heed the second angel’s message must leave:
 
“I saw that since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ's followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world. …Satan has taken full possession of the churches as a body. [p. 274] …They are Satan's faithful servants, notwithstanding they have assumed another name.
 
I saw that since Jesus left the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and entered within the second veil, the churches have been filling up with every unclean and hateful bird. I saw great iniquity and vileness in the churches; yet their members profess to be Christians. Their profession, their prayers, and their exhortations are an abomination in the sight of God. …Selfishness, fraud, and deceit are practiced by them without the reprovings of conscience. And over all these evil traits they throw the cloak of religion." I was shown the pride of the nominal churches. God is not in their thoughts; their carnal minds dwell upon themselves; they decorate their poor mortal bodies, and then look upon themselves with satisfaction and pleasure. Jesus and the angels look upon them in anger. Said the angel, "Their sins and pride have reached unto heaven. Their portion is prepared. Justice and judgment have slumbered long, but will soon awake. Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." The fearful threatenings of the third angel are to be realized, and all the wicked are to drink of the wrath of God. An innumerable host of evil angels are spreading over the whole land and crowding the churches. These agents of Satan look upon the religious bodies [p. 275] with exultation, for the cloak of religion covers the greatest crime and iniquity.”  
     
Yuck!! If you trust EGW’s account of the true nature of the fallen churches of Christianity, then they were totally unredeemable Satanic organizations, so of course they were beyond redemption, as well as anyone who remained in them after having been duly warned. But obviously, in order to recognize that “ Babylon” had fallen on account of its rejection of the Millerite message, one first had to accept as true the Millerite message itself with its false date setting premise. So one could not logically accept the second angel’s message without having first accepted the first angel’s message.
 
Based on EGW’s reasoning, in MS4, 1883, and clarified by Early Writings, that (rejection or acceptance with regard to Miller’s false date setting ) is the final basis upon which the destiny of all souls exposed to the Millerite message was decided. Why do you insist on looking for “Something else”? Isn’t what EGW says good enough for you anymore?
 
 
To be continued….

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 2:55 AM

Response to Stephen, part 3
 
 4. “Of course she adamantly maintained that she never wrote or said “that the world was doomed or damned;” or as you put it, that “everyone in Miller’s generation who rejected his message lost their souls.” So “the light brought to the world by the message of the second angel,” and more specifically the rejection of it, is that to which she made reference. Is the light brought into the world by the Millerite message the same thing as the date which the Millerites set? The answer to that question is “No.” 

What EGW “adamantly maintained” long after the fact, is completely irrelevant to the truth of what she actually wrote or said according to contemporary documents. The contemporary documents, interpreted according to their historical context, speak for themselves. Also, the choice between “doomed” or “damned” is a false dichotomy. Who cares what specific words EGW used in consigning a whole generation to eternal death for the “sin” of correctly rejecting a mistake?      
 
The doctrine of the imminent second coming of Jesus is at least as old as the New Testament itself, and has been accepted by virtually all of Christianity including the Roman Catholic in some form or another. So what “light” does that leave for the Millerite movement to contribute to Christianity except the false date setting?     
 
If you say “No! No!! It was something else!” then you it seems you are departing from the light given by EGW, so you are breaking your own ground rule.
 
One Final Note on MS4, 1883
What is often not appreciated is that it was obviously written in response to the uproar of negative feedback from the publication of Early Writings in 1882. And Early Writings itself was published in an attempt to fight the claim by critics such as A.C. Long that EGW and the SDAs were suppressing embarrassing EGW visions that the church no longer wished to defend.
 
(The uproar was caused by the fact that Early Writings, despite claiming to be EGW’s earliest writings, still made some convenient deletions of EGW sentences from earlier published versions that more explicitly taught shut door teachings.)
 
The burden of MS4, 1883 was therefore to show how Early Writings (supposedly containing the earliest published EGW visions during the shut door period) actually taught nothing different than the church believed in 1883. Thus the tortured explanation of how there were “shut doors” in every period of history, etc. In “her” contorted attempt to justify the shut door in 1844, however, she steps over the line of all common sense by having God condemn all those who correctly rejected the false date setting of Miller.  

Don’t say “No!” Stephen. Follow your own rules, remember? But if you are going to break them by not being able to take whatever EGW (your full blown latter day prophet) says at face value, then at least back up that “No!” with some sound historical reasoning, and make history. The White Estate would greatly appreciate that, because after over 100 years of trying, they still can’t manage to accomplish that feat, and therefore have to settle for mental somersaults and backflips to this day.
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-11 6:55 AM

Dennis,
 
This is becoming more like golf than anything; in that you have made this more difficult than it need be.
 
It is becoming abundantly clear why you have had to resort to claiming that what she wrote is a lie or that she possibly did not write it. I copied and pasted what she wrote because she wrote it (and explains everything).
 
I can’t/won't make an argument that she did not make, or provide another reason other, or better, than what she provided.
 
Her vision and contemporaneous commentary, if Early Writings represent them, are not in contradiction; unless of course you don’t believe her.
 
You have determined that “…she steps over the line of all common sense by having God condemn all those who correctly rejected the false date setting of Miller.”
 
I can only repeat what I have said, or emphasize it by saying that, by October 23, 1844, everyone knew Revelation 14: 6-8 was not the correct marker for the time/date of Christ’s second advent. So when she later wrote that “all who saw the light of the first and second angel’s messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness.  And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them;” she certainly had to know it too. After all everyone “clearly” knew that Christ did not return on October 22, 1844. How can you say that she did not concede that which was self-evident on the day following the predicted second advent?
 
This is why she and you cannot be talking about the same thing and why I copied and pasted what she wrote in Early Writings about “the light.”
 
Now do you understand that I believe what she wrote about “the light,” Dennis? On the other hand, you do not believe what she wrote about the light. For sake of clarity (for those attempting to follow this), here it is again:
“I was shown the interest which all heaven had taken in the work going on upon the earth. Jesus commissioned a mighty angel to descend and warn the inhabitants of the earth to prepare for His second appearing. As the angel left the presence of Jesus in heaven, an exceedingly bright and glorious light went before him. I was told that his mission was to lighten the earth with his glory and warn man of the coming wrath of God. Multitudes received the light. Some of these seemed to be very solemn, while others were joyful and enraptured. All who received the light turned their faces toward heaven and glorified God. Though it was shed upon all, some merely came under its influence, but did not heartily receive it. Many were filled with great wrath. Ministers and people united with the vile and stoutly resisted the [246] light shed by the mighty angel. But all who received it withdrew from the world and were closely united with one another.
Satan and his angels were busily engaged in seeking to attract the minds of as many as possible from the light. The company who rejected it were left in darkness. I saw the angel of God watching with the deepest interest His professed people, to record the character which they developed as the message of heavenly origin was presented to them. And as very many who professed love for Jesus turned from the heavenly message with scorn, derision, and hatred, an angel with a parchment in his hand made the shameful record. All heaven was filled with indignation that Jesus should be thus slighted by His professed followers.” Early Writings, 245, 246
 
You are maintaining that the light is wholly/entirely/exclusively one and the same with the incorrect date set by the Millerites. I am saying that she is explaining that the light was the sense of urgency concerning Christ’s judgment and return and that “as very many who professed love for Jesus turned from the heavenly message with scorn, derision, and hatred, an angel with a parchment in his hand made the shameful record;” recording “the character which they developed as the message of heavenly origin [the light] was presented to them.”
 
Only God truly knows who these “very many” were in the same sense as in 1 Chronicles 28:9 and Matthew 12:30.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 8:53 AM

After all everyone “clearly” knew that Christ did not return on October 22, 1844. How can you say that she did not concede that which was self-evident on the day following the predicted second advent?”

Oh, brother, brother, brother, brother, brother!!! When will you ever start to actually read what I actually wrote, instead of fantasizing about what I did NOT write??? When did I ever deny that EGW conceded that the second coming did not happen on 10/22/1944?

I dare you to quote for me the statement that I made that gives you a justification for that absurd conclusion! In fact, from now on please quote me before you comment on anything I write, just the way I quote you before responding. It seems to me that you preserve your beliefs by misunderstanding what you read.     
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-11 8:56 AM

I should have added/said “her vision, contemporaneous, and subsequent commentary are not in contradiction.”

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 3:17 PM

I repeat my challenge:

Quote for me the statement that I made that gives you a justification for that absurd conclusion!

I am going to stay on this and nothing else until I get a reply, and ignore everything else, though your jaw dropping intellectual gaffes throughout this exchange makes me feel like a mosquito at a nudist colony: I don't know where to start!! 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-11 4:14 PM

Dude,
 
You take two or three days between comments, but I can’t step out of the house for a few hours?
 
Here’s what you said that had me draw the conclusion that you believed that she never conceded that the first and/or second angel’s message was the date set by the Millerites in 1844:
“Note 4: EGW is here in EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM saying EXACTLY that the first angel’s message was specifically referring to SETTING A SPECIFIC DATE for the Second Advent…”

“If you are conceding that in retrospect, the 1843-1844 date obviously had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages, then the game is over and you are in total agreement with me. The perversity of EGW is that precisely that she would NOT concede this to her dying day, as per MS4, 1883.”
 
Now, those are your words (oh) brother. This had me conclude that you believed EGW never conceded that the 1844 date was the first angel’s message; to which I responded that by the next day she had to know that it wasn’t; and why I suggested that you had to be talking about two different things.
 
Anyway, I would suggest if you mean(t) something else you should write something else; and perhaps should now reread my post.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 9:13 PM

Aha, it is just as I thought. You present as evidence for your ridiculous conclusion:  

“Note 4: EGW is here in EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM saying EXACTLY that the first angel’s message was specifically referring to SETTING A SPECIFIC DATE for the Second Advent…”

“If you are conceding that in retrospect, the 1843-1844 date obviously had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages, then the game is over and you are in total agreement with me. The perversity of EGW is that precisely that she would NOT concede this to her dying day, as per MS4, 1883.”


Oh, brother! Your reading comprehension is just abysmal! There is NOTHING in what you quote that justifies your ridiculous statement that: “After all everyone “clearly” knew that Christ did not return on October 22, 1844. How can you say that she did not concede that which was self-evident on the day following the predicted second advent?”

What I claimed in those statements of mine is that EGW NEVER gave up on the idea that the Millerite campaign fulfilled “the first angel’s message” despite its mistaken date setting.

Your mental problem is obviously that you have made an absolute mental equation between “the first angel’s message” and the actual second coming, such that when you hear the phrase “the first angel’s message,” you automatically substitute “the second coming” itself, much like Pavlov’s dog that heard a bell ring and automatically salivated because it paired the ringing bell with the appearance of food.

You need to extinguish that conditioned animal reflex and learn a new mental association after re-reading what EGW actually wrote about the meaning of the first angel’s message in the Early Writings passage from which I have already quoted. If you can accomplish that mental feat, then you might actually understand what she meant, and therefore learn for the first time what you need to believe in order to agree with her. Then you will see the problem for the very first time. Good luck!            
 

David
2013-09-11 11:13 PM

WOW…
“your ridiculous conclusion”
“Your reading comprehension is just abysmal”
“your ridiculous statement”
“Your mental problem”
“you automatically substitute “the second coming” itself, much like Pavlov’s dog that heard a bell ring and automatically salivated because it paired the ringing bell with the appearance of food”
“You need to extinguish that conditioned animal reflex and learn a new mental association”
“If you can accomplish that mental feat”
 
Dennis there is not need for this language against Stephen, your arguments they don’t became more eloquent using that kind of expressions.  “Calmate con padre” (take it easy my friend) your blood pressure could rise up and have a nosebleed o something worse 

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-12 3:42 AM

You make a good point. I should have found more subtle ways to make the same arguments.

Sorry, Stephen :(

Stephen Foster
2013-09-12 3:00 AM

Aha (oh) brother, now you (double) dared me to quote you, and when I do you go ad hominem on me.
 
Is that all? Are you kidding me? If she didn’t intend to directly associate the first/second angel’s message with the Millerite date, just tell us what she did mean. (Remember, I don’t see how it’s possible that as of 10/23/44 she intended such.)
 
I’m not associating the first angel’s message to the second coming; just the DATE. Actually I am saying that this was the Millerite association (in agreement with you?).
 
Do you not see how you have been on both sides of this point? I conceded that the first/second angel’s message were markers used by the Millerite 'daters.' So, after the fact of the ‘Disappointment,’ what did she mean when referencing it?
 
This is a distraction/sideshow. The issue salient issue is what she meant by “the light,” and particularly the rejection of it, and its relation to the “shut door.” I believe she said what she meant, and that it is practically self-explanatory.

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-13 12:59 AM

(This is my rewrite of my previous post. If I could delete my previous post, I would. Please direct all future references to this version.)
 
Ah, it is just as I thought! You present this as evidence for your challenge: 

“Note 4: EGW is here in EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM saying EXACTLY that the first angel’s message was specifically referring to SETTING A SPECIFIC DATE for the Second Advent…”

“If you are conceding that in retrospect, the 1843-1844 date obviously had nothing to do with the first and second angel’s messages, then the game is over and you are in total agreement with me. The perversity of EGW is that precisely that she would NOT
 concede this to her dying day, as per MS4, 1883.”

Oh, brother! Your reading comprehension has betrayed you.  There is NOTHING in what you quote that justifies your statement that: ““After all everyone “clearly” knew that Christ did not return on October 22, 1844. How can you say that she did not concede that which was self-evident on the day following the predicted second advent?”
 
What I claimed in those statements of mine is that EGW NEVER gave up on the idea that the Millerite campaign fulfilled “the first angel’s message” despite its mistaken date setting.
 
The only way you can make my statement mean what you claim it means is to mentally equate the second coming with the “the first angel’s message,” and then argue that because I assert (based on Early Writings, p. 232-237 ) that she did not give up on the Millerite date setting message as being first angel’s message, then I must mean she did not give up on the second coming of Jesus happening on 10/22/1844 either.
 
But that conclusion does not follow because EGW (in the Early Writings passages I quoted earlier) clearly divorces the actual second coming event from the Millerite (mistaken) date setting message and the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. So EGW can concede that Jesus did not appear on the Millerite date of 10/22/1844, and thus be “Greatly Disappointed,” and yet swear that the Millerites had God’s blessing for their mistaken date setting for the second coming. 
 
This is the paradox that you refuse to accept, despite your own rule that you must believe whatever EGW says.  I suggest that you either follow your rule, or toss it out. But don’t claim you follow it, and then refuse to follow it when you find it inconvenient or illogical to your mind.

At least I am honest in saying that when EGW doesn’t make sense, then I don’t believe her. Since it makes no sense to me that God would endorse a wrong prophetic date for the second coming, and then condemn people for rejecting that mistaken message, I reject the MS4 1883 statement and all other EGW statements that endorse the idea that God endorsed a “shut door” against anybody who correctly rejected such nonsense.
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-13 4:45 AM

You may not be shocked at this point to hear that this is getting boring. What I found/find “illogical to [my] mind” is what I interpreted you as suggesting with regard to what she didn’t give up; since I understood (or misunderstood) you to have been insisting that she and/or the Millerites associated the first angel’s message to the date, date, of the second coming, and never gave that up.
 
“What I claimed in those statements of mine is that EGW NEVER gave up on the idea that the Millerite campaign fulfilled “the first angel’s message” despite its mistaken date setting.”
 
Thanks, I guess, for the clarification in the rewrite; but this is not the main thing as I’d think you’d agree.
 
“At least I am honest in saying that when EGW doesn’t make sense, then I don’t believe her. Since it makes no sense to me that God would endorse a wrong prophetic date for the second coming, and then condemn people for rejecting that mistaken message, I reject the MS4 1883 statement and all other EGW statements that endorse the idea that God endorsed a “shut door” against anybody who correctly rejected such nonsense”.
 
But this is. The vision referenced on pages 245-246 of Early Writings explains what “the light” is that is/was rejected. You characterize and perceive it as the date set for the second coming. I cannot improve upon her contemporaneous characterization of it; so I would suggest that you reread it, and take our ability to misunderstand each other (or our inability to understand each other) on these boards into consideration. (If we can misinterpret each other in contemporaneous dialogue, it may be easier to do so otherwise; including after 150+ years.)
 
A key may be “…the character which they developed as the message of heavenly origin [the light] was presented to them.” It seems obvious this would not necessarily apply to everyone who disagreed with the date or the interpretation of the prophecy; but to many who “…turned from the heavenly message with scorn, derision, and hatred.” (Again, only God truly knows who these “many” were in the same sense as in 1 Chronicles 28:9 and Mark 9:40.)
 
But you have to come to that conclusion on your own. (One can lead to water but one can’t make another drink. Sadly, you apparently consider it Kool-Aid.)

earl calahan
2013-09-11 4:02 PM

i do not believe that God has ever "shut the door", leaving without His beloved creation; If mankind is shut out because of lack of knowledge of truth or untruths,about the known or unknown, then all of mankind is lost and abandoned because we see through a dark glass. When the Bible speaks in metaphors and allegories, along with "thus sayeth the Lord", it would be trying to chart a path through a maze or labyrinth. How many are talented cryptographers that could blaze a trail through the unknown??
Thank God for the direct statements of Jesus, "I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens the door, I will come in, and share your bread". It is Jesus who is locked out of the hearts of mankind, not mankind having the door closed by God.
"Jesus said, when I go away, I will give you a comforter, the Holy Spirit, He will convict of sin, lead to repentance, understanding, knowledge, wisdom and truth, I will never leave you or forsake you".

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-11 9:21 PM

I am in agreement with that.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-11 5:18 PM

In this quotation below (as I have previously quoted), Ellen White, as usual, being the humble truthful person she was, explains why she refrained from calling herself a prophet even though her work included "much more than the word “prophet” signifies." Here, Mrs White is not denying receiving the gift of prophecy but elaborating on the extent and nature of her work.  She is wise in exercising caution by not bragging the title of prophet as many who claim such are a "reproach" to the name.  This again shows that Mrs White could stand her ground and wasn't a wishy washy individual whom others could have easily manipulated and pushed around in order to pursue their own course of action as claimed by her detractors.  She spoke (and wrote) with distinct humility, simplicity and yet with undenying authority.  Adventist 'believers' didn't make Ellen White what she was: she was there already as an authoritative figure as called by God right from her early years until the day she was called to rest.  Now her detractors like blisters show up after the work is done claiming that their 'assumptions' know better.  Again I say those who claim that the church made her who she is are quite unfamiliar with this woman of God and the writings of inspiration.
  • Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?—Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word “prophet” signifies.{1SM 32.4}
Then there is this other quotation of Ellen White which clarifies what her work entailed.  There is no hidden agenda or cover up as falsely asserted by Mr Hokama and friends.  It is in harmony with her many years (and umpteen pages) of Christian ministry.

Mr Hokama has put together a nice piece of fabricated conspiracy theory but has yet to show one statement of hers where Ellen White contradicts the two quotes above or those below.  He has again clearly wrested her words out of context in order to trump up false allegations fit into his own anti-Ellen White construct.Yet another quote clarifying her position and her trademark humility which includes her saying she has no "controversy" with those who do call her a by that name.  The fact that Ellen White explaind this a number of times shows her firm unwavering position on this.  She did not lie.  She did not change her position on this throughout her life.  Mr Hokama's accusations fall flat on its face. 

Mosquitoes shouldn't get too happy too quickly when at a nudist colony - there may just be some 'truth' bug spray at hand.  Ellen White herself will take Mr Hokama's thirty year old house of cards to the cleaners.
  • To claim to be a prophetess is something that I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them. But my work has covered so many lines that I cannot call myself other than a messenger sent to bear a message from the Lord to His people, and to take up work in any line that He points out.  {5BIO 357.7}
  • I am now instructed that I am not to be hindered in my work by those who engage in suppositions regarding its nature, whose minds are struggling with so many intricate problems connected with the supposed work of a prophet. My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there. It embraces much more than the minds of those who have been sowing the seeds of unbelief can comprehend.—Letter 244, 1906. (Addressed to elders of Battle Creek church.){1SM 36.2}

Dennis Hokama
2013-09-12 3:22 AM

22oct1844, I am actually quite sympathetic to EGW, and defend her against those who would make her out to be a bad person. She appears to have lied when she needed to do so in order to save the reputation of the church, but at least she did not demand we commit genocide like another Biblical prophet did. She also did not make her living by robbing caravans, as another post biblical prophet did. But you and other EGW fundamentalists are going way too far in your intellectually dishonest apologetics, and making a fool of yourself in the process.

In all the quotes cited here, she is trying to do damage control for a disastrous speech she made in Battle Creek on 10/2/1904. I admit A.T. Jones exploited her blunder, but he was accurate in his quotes from her speech, and he is vindicated by Arthur White in 1981. All of the Battle Creek intellectuals got ahold of Jones’ account, so all her efforts to deny what she had obviously said only made her look worse, and the fact that the GC backed her false version guaranteed that the church would lose Battle Creek entirely.             
 
  1. “Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?—Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word ‘prophet’ signifies.”{1SM 32.4}
This is another quote from the same 7/26/1906 RH article that I have previously listed in which she is trying to misstate what she previously said (“I am not …a prophet”) during her 10/2/04 lecture. If she had come clean, she would have written something like,

“I know I denied being a prophet on 10/2/04, but I misspoke. What I wish I had said was ‘I do not claim to be a prophetess,’ and I so wish I had just admitted I made that mistake, but my pride made me deny it for nearly two years. But better late than never.”     
 
 
  1. To claim to be a prophetess is something that I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them. But my work has covered so many lines that I cannot call myself other than a messenger sent to bear a message from the Lord to His people, and to take up work in any line that He points out.”  {5BIO 357.7}
This is another quote from the same 7/26/1906 RH article that I have previously listed in which she tried mightily to mislead people about her 10/2/04 lecture.  
 
 
  1. “I am now instructed that I am not to be hindered in my work by those who engage in suppositions regarding its nature, whose minds are struggling with so many intricate problems connected with the supposed work of a prophet. My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there. It embraces much more than the minds of those who have been sowing the seeds of unbelief can comprehend.—Letter 244, 1906. (Addressed to elders of Battle Creek church.){1SM 36.2}”
This is another letter in which EGW tries to undo the damage she did in Battle Creek on 10/2/04 and her attempt to cover it up with misleading statements. You can’t win this argument, so why don’t you change the subject. Please read Arthur White’s refutation of his grandmother’s repeated denials on p. 354 of 5BIO which is available online:

http://egwtext.whiteestate.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=5BIO&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=354

Then let’s be done with this.
 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-12 7:13 PM

Done with what sir? Ballenger and Jones apostasy? Kellog? The false accusations made against Ellen White which you have eagerly jumped on the bandwagon of her bitter detractors who sowed the seeds of unbelief - of which you and some others continue with today? You make bold claims but have shown nor proven nothing, just the same old lines her accusers used back then. The only cover up here is that you cover up for their apostasy and seek to draw sympathy towards their subsequent eventual removal from church membership. You're not the first and surely won't be the last to make such false allegations.  In addition to this you and other detractors have the audacity to portray yourselves as her vanguards yet blindly deny any explanation from her as credible or truthful even to the extent of calling her an outright liar based on hearsay. Like I've said before: "If Ellen White isn't lying (and I believe she isn't) - then you sir and your friends - are lying big time."


 

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-17 1:21 PM

Again "22Oct" proves his indispensible value on these blogs to provide others with the perspective of the classic "True Believer" mind set that dominated so much of Adventist up until relatively recently. To any distinterested reader, Dennis has supported the main thrust of his views in an overwheling manner.  The objections of "22Oct" are reflective of the kind of apologetics that was once so effective.  No longer is that true, but "22Oct" appears to exist in a 1930s-1940s time warp.

As noted earlier, some might prefer that we not refer to EGW's "selective memory" of past events as lying per se.  I don't see the evidence that she did it deliberately. It is true that she made statements which were factually incorrect, but to call that lying I supose is a semantic question.  .    

Darrel Lindensmith
2013-09-17 9:47 PM

Indeed, Dennis has supported his views factually and logically.
 

Stephen Foster
2013-09-17 10:08 PM

Clearly, the description “overwheling” [sic] is subjective.
 
Why engage in drive by pejoratives (“True Believer” mindset, and “time warp) Dr. Taylor? Why not  just directly engage 22Oct’s views?

Ervin Taylor
2013-09-18 9:34 PM

 Mr. Foster suggests that I should not have used what he views as “drive by pejoratives” (hmm.  “drive by”?)
 
Instead of stating that the views of Mr/Ms 22Oct were those of a “True Believer” I could have written that “Mr/Ms 22Oct’s statements appear to me to reflect a total commitment to the entire system of traditional Adventist theology as stated in the 28 Fundamentals and  who believes that this theological system reflects absolute truth.”   And instead of stating that Mr/Ms 22Oct “appears to exist in a 1930’s-1940s time warp” I could have written that “Mr/Ms 22Oct views appears to reflect theological perspectives which were dominant in traditional Adventism in the 1930s and 1940s as reflected in articles published in the Adventist Review during that period.” 

My question to Mr. Foster is what is the difference between the first and second ways of stating an opinion about the nature of Mr/Ms 22Oct’s views?  (By the way, Mr. Foster may notice that I am not offering an opinion about Mr/Ms 22Oct per se, but am commenting on Mr/Ms 22Oct opinions.  I wouldn’t want Mr. Foster to think that I used ad hominim arguments.)  

PS.  I thank Mr. Foster for pointing out a typo:  "Overwheling" should be "overwhelming."

Stephen Foster
2013-09-19 12:20 AM

“My question to Mr. Foster is what is the difference between the first and second ways of stating an opinion about the nature of Mr/Ms 22Oct’s views?  (By the way, Mr. Foster may notice that I am not offering an opinion about Mr/Ms 22Oct per se, but am commenting on Mr/Ms 22Oct opinions.  I wouldn’t want Mr. Foster to think that I used ad hominim arguments.)”
 
There is a significant difference in tone between the two versions. The rewrite or revised assessment is respectful. The initial version simply sounded somewhat dismissive. Which brings me to why Dr. Taylor would offer an assessment of 22Oct’s views without engaging or challenging those views individually?
 
Dismissively characterizing those views as those from a “’True Believer’ mindset” in an 80-year time warp instead of specifically isolating particular opinions for challenge is not an argument.
 
Oh, and “overwhelming” is a subjective opinion:)

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-09-21 12:09 AM

Someone once said to me that the height of diplomacy is being able to say to someone "go to hell" - (which I wouldn't and don't advocate saying to anyone) - but say it in such a way that the person would eagerly look forward to the trip.

Dr Taylor has a diplomatic way with words when he wants to of course as can be seeing.  Can I say that he is a 'gifted’ Adventist?  A master craftsman indeed.  I'll give him full credit for that.

What Dr Taylor may have perhaps overlooked in his 'overwhelming' enthusiasm to point out my perceived shortcomings, is that much of his post modernist views are really old concepts, philosophies and theories even predating the "True Believer" Age of Adventism. His faith in rationalism, evolution and secularism (for example) which he clings to for dear life are much older than Adventism itself. Two of these perhaps having roots older than Christianity. But of course I won't call that a "time warp" but see it rather as just old school stuff in new wrappings.

Mr 22oct1844
 

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