Notice of constituency meeting of the NCC

Source: Pacific Union Recorder

Notice is hereby given that a regular session of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is called to convene at the Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, California, on Sunday, May 16, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.

The purpose of this meeting is to receive from the officers and department directors of the Conference reports pertaining to the work carried on within its territory since the last conference session; to elect for the ensuing session officers, department directors, the Bylaws Committee, and the Conference Executive Committee; and to transact any other business that may properly come before the delegates in session.

Each church is entitled to one delegate for the organization and one additional delegate for each one hundred members or major fraction thereof.

James E. Pedersen, President
Marc Woodson, Executive Secretary

According to Spectrum Magazine, the Oroville Seventh-day Adventist Church has recommended the NCC “vote a request that the General Conference Church Manual Committee rewrite Fundamental Belief #6”:

Creation is a topic of concern to the Oroville Church. It placed two agenda items concerning this topic on the agenda, including a recommendation that the NCC vote a request that the General Conference Church Manual Committee rewrite Fundamental Belief #6 to reflect the more specific language found in “An Affirmation of Creation Report” and “Response to An Affirmation of Creation.” In the second motion on this topic, Oroville suggests that NCC “institute structures for accountability that will ensure that the pastors in our churches, and the faculty in our educational institutions adhere in their teachings and lives to the Biblical principles expressed in the “Church Manual” especially:

  • A literal Creation in 6 days. . .
  • The prophetic authority of the Spirit of Prophecy, and
  • Biblically appropriate sexual relationships.
  • And the motion requires that the conference report back to the constituency on what action is taken.

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    26 thoughts on “Notice of constituency meeting of the NCC

    1. This is an example of what individual church members working through their churches ought to be doing. Until we see revival in the local churches, we will not see revival and reformation in the conferences. The local churches through the constituency meetings elect the conference officers who then elect the union officers. Reformation begins with me and my family. Let it begin today.




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    2. The only way to get revival is to preach and practise “Christ Our Righteousness”. And if creation is denied by people who have adequate access to the truth, they deny Christ’s work and words and can never get revival.

      So I foresee a great split coming soon.




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    3. I have always been troubled by the ways in which Adventists sometimes refer to Mrs White and/or her writings.

      For example, the “Spirit of Prophecy” (and I ask that you note the capitalisation used in that phrase) cannot ever refer to a human person, for that spirit is THE holy spirit, i.e. God.

      To thus refer to a human in those terms strikes me as blasphemy.

      Many devout Christian people in many churches where I have been a member or visitor, have referred to her as “The Servant of the Lord”. I find this also problematic, in that God tells us that if WE are not His servants then we are servants of the Devil.

      Does God have, or has He had, only ONE servant?

      No.

      Christ Himself, the scriptures tell us, humbled Himself, and became as a servant.

      I agree that the point on creation in the 27 fundamentals is problematic in a number of ways, but I cannot agree that making it or any or all of the fundamentals conform to a narrow (and possibly blasphemous) view of inspiration, is or can be an improvement.

      Mrs White herself, ironically, wrote on the manifest failure of the various creeds, and she referred to their constant multiplying as the visual historic evidence of their failure. She strongly advised us to retain “the bible, and the bible only” as our creed.

      What we are seeing today is the fruit of having ignored her inspired advice on this point.

      Strange that this fruit is so often borne by those who claim to most ardently adhere to her writings as having divine authority, is it not?

      While I have no doubt she would have strong words for those who preach a Godless salvation by the “miracle” of death (i.e. evolution), I also have no doubt that the strongest condemnations would be reserved for those who claim to be God’s servants, but ignore His instructions. Is this not always the case in scripture also?

      It is not time to “perfect” the 27 fundamentals, it is time to admit that they were a mistake from their inception, and that mistake is only becoming more apparent as more factions arise to squabble over what should be in them.

      Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura.

      It is only by grace, it is only through faith, there is only the Word.

      All else is, for me, a distant second.

      Regards
      Denver




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    4. @Denver Fletcher:

      I agree that the point on creation in the 27 fundamentals is problematic in a number of ways, but I cannot agree that making it or any or all of the fundamentals conform to a narrow (and possibly blasphemous) view of inspiration, is or can be an improvement.

      Mrs White herself, ironically, wrote on the manifest failure of the various creeds, and she referred to their constant multiplying as the visual historic evidence of their failure. She strongly advised us to retain “the bible, and the bible only” as our creed.

      What we are seeing today is the fruit of having ignored her inspired advice on this point.

      On the contrary – Ellen White strongly affirmed the concept of not budging on our established fundamental beliefs and warns against efforts to change them coming from outside the church and also inside the church.

      Ellen White –

      Diverting Minds from Present Duty

      The enemy is seeking to divert the minds of our brethren and sisters from the work of preparing a people to stand in these last days. His sophistries are designed to lead minds away from the perils and duties of the hour. They estimate as nothing the light that Christ came from heaven to give John for his people. They teach that the scenes just before us are not of sufficient importance to receive special attention. They make of no effect the truth of heavenly origin, and rob the people of God of their past experience, giving them instead a false science. {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 11}

      “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.” {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 12}

      Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid. {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 13}

      In the past many have undertaken the building of a new faith, the establishment of new principles. But how long did their building stand?–It soon fell; for it was not founded upon the Rock. {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 14}

      Did not the first disciples have to meet the sayings of men? Did they not have to listen to false theories, and then, having done all, to stand firm, saying, “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid”? {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 15}

      So we are to hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Words of power have been sent by God and by Christ to this people, bringing them out from the world, point by point, into the clear light of present truth. With lips touched with holy fire, God’s servants have proclaimed the message. The divine utterance has set its seal to the genuineness of the truth proclaimed.

      {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 16}

      The 28 FB ARE established “sola scriptura” and in fact the LSU biologist opposition to them is distinctly “anything but scriptura” in fact it is a “scripture is not trustworthy” argument.

      When addressing that specific point (Theistic Evolutionism) Ellen White calls it “the worst form of infidelity” 3SG 90-91.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    5. Bob,

      I agree with your conclusion, wholeheartedly, but not with the way you reached it.

      Just as with the Word (which is what she was urging us to stick to) we have to read all of what she wrote, and not only those bits that please us.

      ALL of those quotes are about the SCRIPTURES; they are not about the 27 fundamentals, which are merely commentaries on scripture, however correct and/or well-intentioned they might be.

      They are, in sum, a creed.

      I also agree that we ought not to be paying teachers to teach our children contrary to the word of God.

      That doesn’t require that we compose and publish a creed, only that we exercise good stewardship and have a decent understanding of the laws governing employment. These are things that every person charged with running a college or university ought to have mastered.

      Again, my regards
      Denver




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    6. She is not talking about “editing the Bible” as if people inside our church were offering to come up with new Bible translations – she is talking about our own church fundamental positions that had been around “for fifty years” as opposed to the Bible completed for “2000 years”.

      Context shows that she is talking about our own accepted doctrinal statements

      “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.” {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 12}

      Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid. {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 13}

      Maranatha 189

      After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation, and minds will be confused by many voices crying, “Lo, here is Christ, Lo, He is there. This is the truth, I have the message from God, He has sent me with great light.” Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified. This false sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. . . . But while Satan works with his lying wonders, the time will be fulfilled foretold in the Revelation, and the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, will proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon God’s people to forsake her. {Mar 189.3}

      But Ellen White herself stated that the “voice of God” is heard when the church meets in session and affirms a doctrinal position.

      Creeds that do not allow for advancement in new light – was the focuse. Tearing down the foundation that had already been built was not the focus of those statements against “Creeds” by Ellen White.

      We are told that God wants us to take those voted statements as authorotative.

      At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise
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      plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. {9T 260.2

      Thus the importance of the 28 FB.

      Thus the downfall of the LSU all-for-evolutionism argument that would pretend to exault itself higher than the appointed means God has set up.

      As FOR WHY we even HAVE Beliefs as a Church that we unite upon – glad you asked.

      Paul says in Gal 1:6-11 that we ARE to stand on the foundations that have been established – rather than tossing them out the window.

      Ellen White appears to agree with Paul –

      Our first conference was at Volney in Bro. Arnold’s barn. There were about thirty-five present, all that could be collected in that part of the State. There were hardly two agreed. Each was strenuous for his views, declaring that they were according to the Bible. All were anxious for an opportunity to advance their sentiments, or to preach to us.

      They were told that we had not come so great a distance to hear them, but had come to teach them the truth.

      Then she gives a list of wild crackpot errors.

      1. Bro. Arnold held that the 1000 years of Rev. xx were in the past;
      and

      2. that the 144,000 were those raised at Christ’s resurrection.

      3. And as we had the emblem of our dying Lord before us, and was about to commemorate his sufferings, Bro. A. arose and said he had no faith in what we were about to do; that the Sacrament was a continuation of the Passover, to be observed but once a year. {2SG 97.2}

      These strange differences of opinion rolled a heavy weight upon me, especially as

      4. Bro. A. spoke of the 1000 years being in the past. I knew that he was in error, and great grief pressed my spirits; for it seemed to me that God was dishonored.

      Thank God we are not left in that “every wind of doctrine quagmire”

      I fainted under the burden. Brethren Bates, Chamberlain, Gurney, Edson, and my husband, prayed for me. Some feared I was dying. But the Lord heard the prayers of his servants, and I revived. The light of Heaven rested upon me. I was soon lost to earthly things. My accompanying angel presented before me some of the errors of those present, and also the truth in contrast with their errors. That these discordant views, which they claimed to be according to the Bible, were only according to their opinion of the
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      Bible, and that their errors must be yielded, and they unite upon the third angel’s message. Our meeting ended victoriously. Truth gained the victory. {2SG 98.1}
      From Volney we went to Port Gibson. The meeting there was held in Bro Edson’s barn. There were those present who loved the truth, and those who were listening to and cherishing error, and were opposed to the truth. But the Lord wrought for us in power before the close of that meeting. I was again shown in vision the importance of brethren in Western New York laying their differences aside, and uniting upon Bible truth…. {2SG 99.1}

      In that example we are shown that unity in a common faith – is critical to the success of the church. HENCE the “existence” of the 28 FB – voted statements by the denomination.

      But it started with dissarray and disunity where everyone “claimed” that every idea was from the bible – but in fact it was a thousand discordant notes, that according to Ellen White, displeased God.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    7. The Oroville church is to be commended for suggesting that the NCC recommend to the General Conference that the GC Church Manual Commmittee rewrite Belief 6 to reflect the biblical truths in “A Response to an Affirmation of Creation” and in “An Affirmation of Creaiton.” It is my belief that this will honor God in the Church’s witness to the world about Creation, and will help church members, students, teachers, school administrators, and church leaders to understand and present more clearly what the Church understands to be God’s teaching about Creation presented in His Word. The Holy Spirit is moving persons and churches in this positive direction. It would be well for sister churches and conferences to join with the Oroville recommendation (and hopefully, the NCC) to the GC. This is the appropriate and supportive way of working with and through our Church structure.




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    8. Dear Bob,

      And if God Himself said that the heathen exercise authority over each other but that it is not to be so among you, well, what then?

      Is Mrs White wrong, or has somebody, somewhere, misunderstood something?

      “Having authority” is not quite the same thing as having divine authority, is it?

      The general conference surely does have some authority, but to imply that it is inerrant – that it has divine authority – is decidedly NOT a foundation of Adventist faith. It is, indeed, a tearing down of the very foundations of our faith.

      I am not trying to tear down the foundations of our faith, I am trying to establish them. Once does this by following the light one has been given, on all matters on which light has been given.

      So, are we to unite upon Bible truth, or be divided by human commentary on it?

      Having said what I think and believe I will stop now, before this goes further than it should.

      Regards
      Denver




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    9. At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise
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      plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God.

      The context is — who has authority. Ellen White is saying that a small group of leaders at the top of the administration does not have the level of authority that she used to attribute to them when she had more confidence in them.

      by contrast –

      But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. {9T 260.2

      This is in direct contras to the authority that she deemed the leaders to have at one time – but no longer considered them to have as a matter of having lost confidence in them to that degree.

      So the point is that the GC session does have authority – at the same time we continue to test all doctrine “sola scriptura”.

      Lest we forget the context of our own discussion here –

      In the case of the Evolution vs Creation debate – Evolutionist don’t make a “I have a better exegetical position on scripture” argument — rather they make a “scripture is not trustworthy as compared to the science of guessing about origins” argument.

      BTW – I am not accusing you of trying to tear down the fundamentals of the faith – I think your questions are legit in regard to creed vs FB and a lot of people have asked about that.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    10. This is an example of what individual church members working through their churches ought to be doing. Until we see revival in the local churches, we will not see revival and reformation in the conferences. The local churches through the constituency meetings elect the conference officers who then elect the union officers. Reformation begins with me and my family. Let it begin today.  Richard Myers

      It is? Not from where I stand. Let us not fall under the delusion that more rhetoric, more explication of belief # 6 will change anyones mind towards the literal 7 day week. Why continue to beat a dead horse? That will solve nothing.

      Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

      This is very plain, a day is 24 hours and by no stretch of the imagination can it possibly be anything else.

      6. Creation:
      God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

      How can this be any more plain? 6 “days” is 6 24 hour periods. The 7th “day” is one more 24 hour period. There is no possible way to misinterpret this except by those who are filled with unbelief. Then, no amount of additional expounding and amplification will change their minds. What’s next? Beat them over the head with a 20lb. Bible?

      The Oroville church may be better served in doing the real work of God and not doing what has already been done.

      The prophetic authority of Ellen White is already expressed quite well in #18. If you want to know which gender to marry, read the Bible, study nature itself. None of these proposals will do anything positive.

      While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light…. {DD 11.3}

      There is but one course for those to pursue who honestly desire to be freed from doubts. Instead of questioning and caviling concerning that which they do not understand, let them give heed to the
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      light which already shines upon them, and they will receive greater light. Let them do every duty which has been made plain to their understanding, and they will be enabled to understand and perform those of which they are now in doubt. {DD 11.4}

      Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those who are willing to be deceived, who desire to shun the self-denial and sacrifice demanded by the truth; but it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honestly desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth. Christ is the truth and the “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. The Spirit of truth has been sent to guide men into all truth. And upon the authority of the Son of God it is declared: “Seek, and ye shall find.” “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” Matthew 7:7; John 7:17. {DD 12.1}




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    11. Keep in mind that the “fundementals” back in the day, the old paths as it were, were not 28 long, there just a handful of expected doctrines such as the sanctuary, the sabbath, and the state of the dead, unclean foods etc; but many of our exegetical positions have never been fully flushed out such as Dan 11-12 and many aspects of Rev. Evolution and it’s enlightenment based philIsophical counterparts are obviously based in the French revolution and not in Protestantism, this issue truly is the egyptian counterpart of Babylon, it is the fruit of the king of the south, an aspect of the many parts of the omega apostacy.




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    12. Steve says,

      How can this be any more plain? 6 “days” is 6 24 hour periods. The 7th “day” is one more 24 hour period. There is no possible way to misinterpret this except by those who are filled with unbelief.

      It is very plain already, I agree. FB6 says,

      Creation: God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,”declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

      Unless otherwise stated, a day is per a dictionary: 24 hours. Truth is a right not stipulated.
      God bless,

      Rich




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    13. @Steve Billiter:
      I kinda agree with you here. The reason the Pharisees became legalists is NOT because they doubted the word of God but instead they enacted writings to support the laws until their writings replaced the laws. For example, they had over 300 regulations on not bearing a burden on the Sabbath (in addition to their other Sabbath regulations).

      Laws do not make people better. We may constrain them ad infinitum and if their hearts are evil their works will always be evil. Out of the treasure of the heart the mouth speaks (finger writes).

      So when we see the bad fruit and people are not deceived but rebellious, the only solution is to remove them.

      Let us not be afraid of action and think other types of action will solve the problem. At some time the Achans in the camp must be taken out.




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    14. Now is time for action; how can all our churches have access to this detail in order to send the same message to the GC session personnel? I have two churches in my care and will get on the ball immediately. It is time we clean our house up from the grassroots’ level if the top have a problem with hearing and understanding. After all, must members send their funds to assist the church in tearing itself apart with false teachings? won’t happen on my watch with God’s help.




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    15. @Shayne:

      Keep in mind that the “fundementals” back in the day, the old paths as it were, were not 28 long, there just a handful of expected doctrines such as the sanctuary, the sabbath, and the state of the dead, unclean foods etc; but many of our exegetical positions have never been fully flushed out such as Dan 11-12 and many aspects of Rev.

      You are right that the “list” was smaller back then – and it is grown over the years. But given the “GC session shall have authority even when GC Administrators do not have authority” position even in the 1800’s, we have a basis for indicating church approval for doctrines that have been validated “sola scriptura”, and continue to be validated by that method.

      As for Dan 11-12. I don’t find that listed in our 28 FB voted doctrinal statements. Thus we have a lot of speculation on what they might be – and there is no problem with that. Let each one study it out for themselves.

      Evolution and it’s enlightenment based philIsophical counterparts are obviously based in the French revolution and not in Protestantism, this issue truly is the egyptian counterpart of Babylon, it is the fruit of the king of the south, an aspect of the many parts of the omega apostacy.

      Be that as it may – the clash between the atheist-centric doctrines on origins found in evolutionism – vs the doctrines on origins found in the Bible are easily apparent to the objective unbiased reader. Thus it is no surprise that 3SG 90-91 described TE as “the worst kind of infidelity”.

      The question is whether or not church administration will be content to “be neutral in a spiritual crisis” vs taking immediate and decided action.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    16. To demand faithfulness to the written counsel of God, as set forth both in Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, is not creedalism. Never did our pioneers object to an incontrovertible standard of truth by which ideas and actions were to be measured. Rather, it was humanly-contrived standards to which they objected and denounced as “creeds.” It is imperative that godly Adventists rise up and demand accountability at all services and meetings of the church. If those who have departed from our message refuse to demonstrate integrity by leaving on their own, they must be constrained to do so by action of the body of Christ.

      Pastor Kevin Paulson




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    17. Dear Kevin

      The writings of E G White are the writings of E G White. To date, there is no evidence of the “Spirit of Prophecy” – i.e. God – having ever written anything down beyond the Ten Commandments and the writing on the wall at Babylon. (Even those were written by the finger of Christ, not of the Holy Spirit.)

      To call her by such a title, for an Adventist pastor to call her by such a title, with all that implies, is quite startling.

      And if the totality of Mrs White’s writings, plus the Bible, (which comes first?) are the standard by which present faith and practice are to be judged, then only one single statement would be required to say so, would it not?

      But that’s not the case, is it? We had 27, we now have 28, “fundamental beliefs”. How many more will we have before Mrs White’s inspired commentary on their multiplication being the most graphic evidence of their failure, is taken seriously by Adventists?

      Protestants generally, and Adventists very emphatically and explicitly, used to be “people of THE book.

      Now it seems we have become a people of MANY books.

      But of the writing of books, just as with the multiplication of creeds, there is literally no end.

      You are making a grievous error. I urge you to reconsider.

      Regards
      Denver




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    18. Denver, I agree whole hartedly with you. The process of coming up with our beliefs that Mrs. White referred to was messy, and it was never dogmatic or coersive. A major theme in The Great Controversy is the destructiveness of coersion of belief and teaching.

      Bob, I am amazed and mystified at the way you can take statements from Mrs. White that explicity state her belief in the illegitimacy of central church authority and turn them into statements of support.

      To argue “The Bible and the Bible only”, and then appeal to Mrs. White for support is irrational. Those are mutually exclusive positions. (Mrs. White agrees with that by the way.)

      I cannot remember of any instance where Mrs. White tried to expell anyone from the church. It seems to me that she always used logic and persuasion. I can’t imagine her ever threatening anyone. She didn’t advocate firing Dr. Kellogg who advocated pantheism and she didn’t do it with Elder Butler when he rejected Righteousness by Faith.

      Kevin Paulson, every creed is a statement of belief as understood by the majority at the time, and at the time it seems right. Every change in every creed over history represents progression in the minority’s understanding of truth. Our’s is no different.
      The genius of Adventism was supposed to be openess to the Holy Spirit in the progression of Present Truth. Mrs. White specifically counselled against establishing a creed because we were supposed to be open to truth from any and every source of truth with the understanding that all truth comes from Christ.

      Ron Henderson, Mrs. White said there would be a split in the church. Maybe this is the time? Only it seems to me that Mrs. White indicated that the majority would fall away and join Babylon. I wonder which part of the church that would be? Is it going to be the majority that follows Babylon in creating a creed and enforcing it against the minority who don’t agree?
      or is it going to be the minority who are studying their Bibles with an open and inquireing mind and are forced out of the church because they no longer believe according to the creed?
      Who is it that Christ will lead? Those that are certain in thier belief, or those who are wondering and confused?

      Who truely has faith? Those who stick to what they know is right though the heavens fall, or those who, like Abraham and Isaac follow Christ even when is seems everthing he is teaching them contradicts everything he has ever told them in the past, and seems completely contradictory to his character?

      I guess you can kick me out of the church if you want to, but I am not terribly threatened. Assuming Mrs. White’s escatology is still applicable, I have never been able to figure out how the organized church could survive a universal Sunday law anyway, so I guess I have always thought I would eventually have to leave anyway.

      Finally, If you really want to follow the Bible and the Bible only, then I suggest you follow the advice of Acts 5:33-39.




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    19. The prophetic voice is the prophetic voice, whether in the 66 books of the canon or otherwise. The Bible is full of non-canonical prophets, some of whom even wrote prophetic books (see I Chron. 29:29; II Chron. 12:15). Therefore it makes no sense to say “the Bible and the Bible only” as a means of excluding the very prophetic gift affirmed in the Bible itself. The only writings or testimonies excluded by the sola scriptura principle are those out of harmony with prior revelation. That is how we know such as Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and all the others are false. But so long as the writings of a prophetic claimant harmonize with Scripture and other inspired and authoritative writings, they remain the transcendent measure of faith and practice.

      God bless!

      Pastor Kevin Paulson




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    20. @Ron:

      Bob, I am amazed and mystified at the way you can take statements from Mrs. White that explicity state her belief in the illegitimacy of central church authority and turn them into statements of support.

      To argue “The Bible and the Bible only”, and then appeal to Mrs. White for support is irrational. Those are mutually exclusive positions. (Mrs. White agrees with that by the way.)

      I suppose you are referring to my comments here

      @BobRyan:

      And here –

      @BobRyan:

      It is left as an exercise for the reader to see if those comments are faithful to the text – I have given the references and so far it appears that the “point remains”.

      As for “the bible alone” — when you take the Bible alone – you find that in 1Thess 5 we are instructed to listen closely to prophetic statements – and Ellen White comments on that same chapter saying that we “quench the Spirit” when we ignore messages that God gives through His Prophets.

      Our sola scriptura position is in regard to testing our doctrine. As I already pointed out – there is NO evolutionist arguement here appealing to scripture as the source for the doctrine on evolutionism. Contrast that to the stated of the dead, or the law, or the Gospel or the nature of God or any other doctrine that we hold. In all of those cases we are ALSO making “sola scriptura” arguments but those who oppose them at least “try” to counter with a Bible argument. Not so with the false doctrines on origins found in evolutionism.

      in that case – those who oppose the SDA doctrine go after BOTH the Bible AND Ellen White trying to make their case.

      Ron said –
      I cannot remember of any instance where Mrs. White tried to expell anyone from the church. It seems to me that she always used logic and persuasion. I can’t imagine her ever threatening anyone. She didn’t advocate firing Dr. Kellogg who advocated pantheism and she didn’t do it with Elder Butler when he rejected Righteousness by Faith.

      Very little of what I have said here deals with removing anyone from church membership. I have focused almost exclusively on not paying people to teach Bible destroying doctrines in our schools or pulpits.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    21. Dear Kevin,

      I haven’t questioned the authority of Mrs White’s writings. Indeed, I have repeatedly APPEALED to them on the subject at hand: the writing – and inevitable multiplying – of an Adventist creed.

      I HAVE pointed out that those who most ardently claim to follow her writings as being authoritative – as having **DIVINE** authority – are also those who strangely wnat to ignore her advice on this point. This indicates that something, somwere, has gone wrong.

      I have ALSO pointed out that those who call her “THE Spirit of Prophecy” and/or “THE Servant of the Lord” are breaching every commandment of God by so doing (since, if you break the first one, you’ve broken them all). Again, the idea that they are subservient to God’s will, as expressed in His word, by so doing, is one that I cannot “harmonise”.

      So, the notion of harmony seems to have no power to bind anyone who is actually appealing to it.

      I have already made my opinion clear on the question of the teaching of evolution in our Adventist schools, colleges, and universities. In case you missed it, I agree that it is entirely dishonest and completely unacceptable for a teacher to take employment in any of those places when what they believe and teach are contrary to the biblical teaching.

      I further hold that the fact that we HAVE teachers actively denying the Word of God in our employ, is a failure of stewardship on our part, every bit as much as it is a failure of basic honesty on their part. Nobody charged with running one of our places of learning should be deficient in either the principles of good stewardship or the practices of employment law. “Wise as serpents, harmless as doves”.

      I hope this corrects any misunderstanding you might have on that question.

      Regards
      Denver




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    22. @Kevin Paulson:

      The prophetic voice is the prophetic voice, whether in the 66 books of the canon or otherwise. The Bible is full of non-canonical prophets, some of whom even wrote prophetic books (see I Chron. 29:29; II Chron. 12:15). Therefore it makes no sense to say “the Bible and the Bible only” as a means of excluding the very prophetic gift affirmed in the Bible itself. The only writings or testimonies excluded by the sola scriptura principle are those out of harmony with prior revelation.

      Though I agree with much of what you say – in this case there is a detail that needs to be stressed.

      The “Sola Scriptura” principle that we endorse and that Ellen White strongly promoted is literally limiting ourselves to the “Bible alone” in terms of testing BOTH doctrine and the writings of Ellen White. If either one fails – then they are in error. In the case of our doctrines – our 28FB – we point all to the Bible test and support of them.

      In the case of Ellen White – it means that anything she wrote on doctrine is up for placing under the magnifying lense of scripture to see if it is affirmed or condemned by scripture. But more than that – anything she wrote with the associated claim “God showed me” or “told me” etc – also places her ministry under the lense of scripture such that she is either being confirmed as a true prophet or is being condemned as a false prophet.

      Clearly in the case of 3SG 90-91 matching perfectly with Ex 20:8-11 and Genesis 1-2:3 we have a wonderful example of perfect harmony. We also have an example of inspired writing that evolutionists are very motivated to undermine/bend/wrench so that the plain reading of the text will not so directly controvert the doctrines on origins found in evolutionism.

      And when we look at the “sola scriptura” teaching in scripture on the subject of prophets in general – we find 1Cor 14 and 1Thess 5 telling us to listen carefully to genuine prophets so as not to quench the Spirit. After all – that IS a work of the Holy Spirit according to 1Cor 12 and Numbers 12.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    23. Denver, I have been generally impressed with your comments, especially your post of April 6 in another thread. However, having grown up in an Adventist home and having worked for the church for forty years in the U.S., Africa, and the South Pacific, and having served in a variety of capacities, including the teaching for many years of a college class on spiritual gifts, I was very surprised to see you suggesting that Adventists refer to Ellen White as “the Spirit of Prophecy.”

      Personally, I have never for a moment thought that the term “Spirit of Prophecy” applied to her personally, but rather to the spiritual gift of prophecy bestowed upon all true prophets–including Ellen White–by the Holy Spirit, and, by extension, to the messages that they spoke or wrote under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit. With specific regard to Ellen White, that would include the many Spirit-inspired messages that have been published for the edification of the church as a result of her 70 years of Spirit-directed ministry.

      After reading your comments, I thought maybe I should check with the SDA Bible Dictionary to see if I have missed something. Here is the entry in its entirety.

      ———–
      “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. An expression in Rev. 19:10 used by Seventh-day Adventists with several meanings. The text declares, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This means that Jesus is witnessing to the church through the medium of prophecy. James White interpreted this verse as follows in his Life Sketches: ‘The spirit, soul, and substance of prophecy, is the testimony of Jesus Christ. Or, the voice of the prophets relative to the plan and work of human redemption, is the voice of the Redeemer. Christ undertook the work of redemption, and who should inspire a book upon the subject but the Redeemer Himself?’ (1880 ed., pp. 335, 336).

      “By extension of meaning, G. I. Butler, longtime president of the General Conference, defined the term spirit of prophecy as ‘that spirit which causes certain persons to prophesy.’ ‘This Spirit,’ he wrote, ‘comes upon certain ones. They speak as they are moved upon by this Spirit. Future events or things necessary for the well-being of the church to know are thus revealed'(Review and Herald 43:193, June 2, 1874; cf. 3SG 56).

      “By still further extension, Seventh-day Adventists apply the term spirit of prophecy to the operation of the gift of prophecy, one of the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit (see 1 Cor. 12:4, 7–11, 28; Eph. 4:11–13), and thus to the literary productions of Ellen G. White, a cofounder of the church and one whom Seventh-day Adventists regard as having been the recipient of the gift of prophecy in the Bible sense of a duly accredited and authoritative spokesperson for God.

      “Definition of ‘the testimony of Jesus’ as ‘the spirit of prophecy’ in Rev. 19:10 characterizes possession of the gift as one of two specific marks for identifying ‘the remnant’ church brought to view in Rev. 12:17: ‘And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ The gift of prophecy, which came to Ellen Harmon (White) in 1844, confirmed the faith of Seventh-day Adventist pioneers in their movement as the one portrayed in this Bible prophecy, as the remnant of the seed of the woman in earth’s last days, a church that keeps ‘the Commandments of God’ and in which was manifested ‘the testimony of Jesus Christ,’ or the ‘spirit of prophecy’ (James White, in the Review and Herald 7:172, Feb. 28, 1856). SDA pioneers similarly recognized the prophecy of Joel 2:28–32, with its reference to the last days, to ‘the remnant,’ and to the manifestation of the gift of prophecy, as an appropriate inspired description of their own experience (R. F. Cottrell, in Review and Herald 11:126, Feb. 25, 1858).

      “The Spirit of Prophecy is the name of four volumes in which Mrs. White presented a sequence of Bible biographies (1870–1884). This set was the forerunner of her present five-volume Conflict of the Ages Series (see White, Ellen G., Writings of).

      “Relation to the Bible. In accord with the historic Protestant position, Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible and the Bible only as the Christian’s rule of faith and practice, and believe it to be in its entirety the true, reliable, and authoritative word of God in human language (see Bible; Inspiration of Scriptures). Seventh-day Adventists acknowledge the prophetic gift apart from the Sacred Canon as having operated prior to, during, and since the composition of the Bible, but affirm that the canonical Scriptures constitute the norm by which all other prophetic messages are to be tested. They believe that this gift has never been permanently withdrawn, but has been manifested now and again throughout history, and belongs to the church today. The canon of Scripture is God’s message to all people of all ages; extracanonical revelation belongs to those to whom it is originally addressed.

      “Seventh-day Adventists accept Ellen White’s writings as representing the work of the prophetic gift, but not as taking the place of the Bible or as constituting an addition to it. That is the view that she herself maintained: ‘Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of His people to His word to give them a clearer understanding of it’ 4T 246).

      “’The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. . . . To leave men and women without excuse God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected’ (2T 454, 455).

      “’The written testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed’ (ibid. 605).

      “Ellen White referred to her counsels as ‘a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light’ (Review and Herald 80:15, Jan. 20, 1903).

      “’The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested’ (GC vii).

      “In a foreword to volume 1 of Ellen White’s Spiritual Gifts (1858), Roswell F. Cottrell stated the substance of what has ever since been the denominational position with respect to the gift of prophecy as manifested in Mrs. White. Cottrell recognized the unique position of the Bible as the criterion by which all claims to prophesying must be evaluated. By various texts (Mark 16:15–18; Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 12:28; 13:8–13; Eph. 4:11–13; 1 Thess. 5:19–21; Joel 2:28–32; Rev. 12:17; cf. 19:10; 22:9; 1 Cor. 1:4–7) he demonstrated that the Bible itself points to a continuing divine-human channel of communication, and particularly to a renewal of the gifts of the Spirit preceding the promised return of Christ to this earth.”

      ———

      After carefully reviewing the above, I then went to the SDA Bible Commentary for Revelation 19:10 and the Additional note at the end of the chapter. Here is what I found:

      ———-
      Spirit of prophecy. For the word “prophecy,” compare the word “prophet” in Matt. 11:9. The Holy Spirit was sent to bear testimony to Jesus (John 15:26), and His witness is equivalent to that of Jesus in person. The Spirit of prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit (see on 1 Cor. 12:10; Eph. 4:11). For the manifestation of this gift among the people of God in the last days see Additional Note at end of chapter; see on ch. 12:17.

      ———–
      ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CHAPTER 19

      In ch. 12:17 John speaks of “the testimony of Jesus” which is “the spirit of prophecy” as one of the identifying marks of the “remnant” (see comment there).
      The word “prophecy” describes any inspired message communicated by God through a prophet (see on Matt. 11:9). Prophecy may be a prediction of future events, though more commonly it is not. The expression “spirit of prophecy” refers specifically to the “manifestation of the Spirit” in the form of a special gift of the Holy Spirit that inspires the recipient and enables him to speak authoritatively as a representative of God (1 Cor. 12:7–10). when “moved by the Holy Ghost” to do so (2 Peter 1:21). The context of the expression in Rev. 19:10 defines “the testimony of Jesus” and “the spirit of prophecy” in this sense. In view of the fact that the “remnant” of ch. 12:17 specifically refers to the church after the close of the 1260 prophetic days of vs. 6 and 14, that is, after 1798 (see on Dan. 7:25), ch. 12:17 stands as a clear prediction of the special manifestation of the “spirit,” or “gift,” of prophecy in the church in our day. Seventh-day Adventists believe the ministry of Ellen G. White meets the specifications of Rev. 12:17 in a unique way.

      The Bible writers refer to more than 20 of their contemporaries who exercised the gift of prophecy, though their messages were not incorporated into the canon. Such were Nathan, Gad, Iddo, Agabus, and others (2 Sam. 7:2; 1 Chron. 29:9; 2 Chron. 9:29; Acts 11:27, 28; 21:10). It is evident, furthermore, that the gift of prophecy was not limited to men, either in OT or in NT times, for there were prophetesses such as Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Chron. 34:22), and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

      New Testament writers nowhere suggest that the gift of prophecy was to end with the apostolic church. On the contrary, Paul declares that, with the other gifts of the Spirit he lists in Eph. 4:11, it was to continue “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). All of the other special gifts mentioned in v. 11 are still needed in the church, and men and women are still qualified by the Holy Spirit to fill these offices. Why should the office of prophet be considered an exception?

      There have ever been counterfeit manifestations of the prophetic gift. Not only was this so in OT times (see Chron. 18; Jer. 27–29), but our Lord warned that the Christian church would be troubled by false prophets, particularly as the time for His second advent should draw near (Matt. 24:11, 24). The deceptive power of these false prophets was to be so great that if it were possible they would “deceive the very elect.” The fact that Christ warned against a false manifestation of the prophetic gift prior to His second coming argues strongly that there would also be a genuine manifestation of this gift, as otherwise He could simply have warned against any and all prophets who might arise.

      In harmony with Christ’s warning John counsels the church to test those who claim to have been entrusted with spiritual gifts (1 John 4:1), to determine whether these gifts are genuine. The Scriptures specify certain standards by which those who profess to speak for God are to be measured: (1) The personal life of the prophet will be in harmony with the teachings of Scripture (Matt. 7:15–20). (2) His messages will likewise accord with Scripture. (3) His ministry will exalt Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of men (1 John 4:2). (4) His ministry will be confirmed by fulfilled predictions (Jer. 28:9; cf. 1 Sam. 3:19). It is reasonable also to expect that the messages he bears will be of practical benefit to the church, that they will be timely and appropriate, that they will be free from human influence, and that when he is in open vision his experience will be similar to that of the Bible prophets. The life, ministry, and writings of Ellen G. White fully meet these various requirements.
      Seventh-day Adventists do not consider the writings of Ellen G. White as either a substitute for or an addition to the Sacred Canon. For Adventists, the Bible stands unique and supreme as the test of Christian faith and practice (see EW 78), while the writings of Ellen G. White serve, in her own words, as “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light” (EGW RH Jan. 20, 1903). The writings of the Spirit of prophecy do not present a new way of salvation, but are designed to lead men to understand and appreciate the Bible, and to avail themselves of the fount of salvation therein revealed.

      Some have speculated that there are degrees of inspiration. Accordingly, they consider such prophets, for example, as Deborah, Nathan, and Agabus, as possessing a lower, or inferior, kind of inspiration than the canonical writers. On the same premises they would consider Ellen G. White as possessing a lower, or inferior, kind of inspiration. But the Bible says nothing about degrees of inspiration, nor does it lend any support to the idea. Adventists believe that all such speculation is not only idle but dangerous. How can finite minds hope to understand the mystery of how God, through the Spirit, uniquely illumines the minds of His chosen spokesmen?

      For a discussion of certain questions raised regarding Mrs. White see F. D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics.

      Nichol, Francis D., The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1978.
      ———–

      While I suppose that it might be possible to read into these statements more then they actually say, a careful reading does not suggest to me that the editors of the SDA Dictionary/Commentary are using the term differently from the way I have used it for sixty years. I certainly did not find anything that would suggest to me the idea that Seventh-day Adventists believe or teach that Ellen White IS the Spirit of Prophecy.

      Having said that, I should hasten to add that through the years I have often found individuals who have given evidence of confusion on one or more of the teachings of the church–indeed, at times some have made some really strange sounding statements–and I do not question the possibility that you may have encountered some member(s) who said, or seemed to say, that Ellen White is the Spirit of prophecy. To the extent that such statements may have been made, whether intentionally or as an inadvertent misstatement, they do not reflect the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church that I know and love.

      Your brother in Christ,

      Harold




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    24. Dear Harold

      Thanks very much for that excellent comment. I have no problem with any of that, at all.

      My original comment was not about church doctrine – the “official” teaching of the church – with respect to the spirit of prophecy, but about how many Adventists use the term (as well as the other I mentioned, “THE Servant of the Lord”) as referring to the woman herself. Many of them use this term to refer to BOTH her and her writings, which does add some confusion to the matter, as you pointed out.

      I am certain that many people who do this have the best of intentions, and many have never considered the implications of it as being in any way blasphemous.

      Nevertheless, it bothers me.

      I hold that Mrs White was a true prophet of the true God. I see no reason to add titles or other honorifics to her name because of this. Do we do this for any other prophets? Mary, when visited by an angel, responded: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.”

      We criticise the Catholic church severely for its promotion of Mary above and beyond other women and other believers, but we come perilously close ourselves to doing the same thing to Mrs White.

      On the other hand, are we instructed not be a “respecter of persons”?

      My initial point in this particular thread was that so many who lay claim to holding Mrs White’s writings as being authoritative due to their divine inspiration, conveniently overlook parts of her writings that would call into question their ideas.

      The Bible, according to Mrs White, is the standard of both our faith AND our practice. I would urge those who hold her writings as authoritative to demonstrate this in their practice by not elevating her beyond the place she gave herself: simply one servant of the Lord among many.

      Regards
      Denver




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    25. A search of Ellen White’s writings lists 50 uses of the phrase “servant of the Lord”. The term is used in reference to Enoch, Moses, William Miller, David, Elder Haskell, Elisha, Daniel, and pastors; and, in the EGW biography and a letter from church leaders to EGW, the term was used to refer to Ellen White. Ellen White used the term “messenger of the Lord” similarly.

      And yes, upon occasion she–and others–prefaced the terms “messenger of the Lord” and “servant of the Lord” with the article “the”. A perusal (not exhaustive) of these occasions suggests that when the words “Messenger” and “Servant” are used to refer to deity they are capitalized and either the context clearly shows it is referring to God or it contains the modifying adjective “heavenly”.

      It is interesting that while EGW had no issue with people referring to her as a prophet, she chose to refer to herself as a messenger of the Lord, saying that the heavenly Messenger who spoke to her referred to her in that way.

      She writes, “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'” (1 SM 32).

      I greatly appreciate the spirit of humility with which Ellen White approached her God-given assignment. At no time does she use titles or terms to build herself up. Rather, her writings consistently lift up Jesus, our Creator, our Redeemer, our High Priest, our Coming King. If only we would always emulate her in this regard!




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