By Roger DeLozier
(Originally printed in the Winter/Spring 2003 Issue of the MCOI Journal beginning on page 12)
Ellen White in her book Steps to Christ said “But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”1White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.42
Some evangelical Christians may be surprised to see a clear presentation of the Gospel from the pen of Ellen White—considered by many to be the founder of the Seventh-day Adventists. However, as we review the writings of Ellen G. White and those of other Adventist leaders, we often see presentations of the Gospel that are clear and to the point.
Unfortunately, there are other times where Ellen White’s statements concerning the Gospel are not so clear, and even times when Adventists seem to contradict the notion of salvation by grace through faith alone.
For example, on other occasions Ellen White said:
1) “Thus this question was forever settled in regard to every seeker after truth. God works; but man must co-operate with him in the great plan of salvation. The condition of eternal life is not merely to believe, but to do the words of God.”2White, Ellen G. The Home Missionary October 1, 1897 par.6
2) “God holds up before us as a high standard—perfect obedience to His law. Only through obedience, and faith in the Saviour, can we gain eternal life.”3White, Ellen G. Manuscript Releases Volume 5 Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990 MR No. 318 p.250
3) “The cross of Calvary represents what God has done for us. In the gift of his only begotten Son he has insured to us eternal life upon condition of our faith and obedience.”4White, Ellen G. The Signs of the Times May 6, 1889 par. 4
4) “Faith and works go together, believing and doing are blended. The Lord requires no less of the soul now, than he required of Adam in paradise before he fell,—perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement of God under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement he made in paradise,—harmony with his law, which is holy, and just, and good. The gospel [sic] does not weaken the claims of the law; it exalts the law and makes it honorable. Under the New Testament, no less is required than was required under the Old Testament. Let no one take up with the delusion so pleasant to the natural heart, that God will accept of sincerity, no matter what may be the faith, no matter how imperfect may be the life. God requires of his child perfect obedience.”5White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 1, 1892 par. 1
Because of this situation, many Adventists throughout the history of the church have been confused and have not fully embraced the Gospel. They view salvation as being contingent on obedience to the law. The problem is that many Adventist ministers present the plan of salvation in a way that obscures the Gospel. Ellen White saw this problem in her day. She explains “The ministers have not presented Christ in his fullness to the people, either in the churches or in new fields, and the people have not an intelligent faith. They have not been instructed as they should have been, that Christ is unto them both salvation and righteousness.”6White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par.18
The purpose of this article is to point to sources in Adventist literature that would be helpful in leading an Adventist (who has not fully embraced the Gospel) to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our focus should always be on the Scriptures when presenting the Gospel, but these quotations can be used to supplement our discussions on the relevant biblical texts.
The 1888 General Conference
SDA historian George Knight said, “One of the greatest theological ‘events’ in Seventh-day Adventist history took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during October and November 1888 at the annual meeting of the General Conference.”7Knight, George A User Friendly Guide to the 1888 Message (Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1998) p.19
What happened at this conference? Ellen White explains: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. … This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.”8White, Ellen G. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1962) pp.91-92
The 1888 conference is extremely important to Adventists. During this conference, two Elders—Waggoner and Jones—presented lectures on justification through faith and on the relation ship between law and Gospel. Therefore, the 1888 conference provides us with a wonderful means to initiate a discussion on the theme of righteousness through faith. Even more important is that Ellen White declared this to be the “third angel’s message.” Adventists see themselves as God’s special remnant church. They believe they have been given a special message by God to declare to the world in the end times. Understanding the “third angel’s message” is, accordingly, central to accomplishing the prophetic role they believe has been assigned to their church by God. Therefore, we can benefit by understanding what Ellen White and other Adventists said about the 1888 conference and about the third angel’s message. This information will be very helpful at initiating conversations with Adventists on the theme of justification through faith.
Ellen G. White
“Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity.’”9White, Ellen G. Review and Herald April 1, 1890 par. 8
“The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness. Some who greatly need the precious truth that was presented before them, we fear did not receive its benefit. They did not open the door of their hearts to welcome Jesus as a heavenly guest, and they have suffered great loss. There is indeed a narrow way in which we must walk; the cross is presented at every step. We must learn to live by faith; then the darkest hours will be brightened by the blessed beams of the Sun of Righteousness.”10White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par.10
Arthur G. Daniells11Arthur G. Daniells was an Adventist elder who was commissioned by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council to do a study “on the writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White’s on the subject of Justification by Faith,” This study was published in the classic work Christ Our Righteousness.
“The message of Righteousness by Faith came clearly and fully into the open at the General Conference held at Minneapolis, Minn., in November, 1888.”12Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.41
Rejection of the Message
Unfortunately, many Adventists were reluctant to accept the message preached in 1888 by Waggoner and Jones. Daniells explains,
“they feared that the emphasis placed upon this theme of righteousness by faith would cast a shadow upon the doctrines that had been given such prominence from the beginning of our denominational history; and since they looked upon the preaching of those distinctive doctrines as the secret of the power and growth of our movement, they were fearful that if these doctrines were overshadowed by any teaching or message whatsoever, our cause would lose its distinctive character and force.”13Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.42
Despite this, many Adventists assume they have a clear understanding of the Gospel. However, several Adventist leaders, including Ellen G. White, have accused the church of not fully embracing the Gospel. This information may help Adventists to come to a point where they are willing to question if they have truly embraced the Gospel.
Ellen G. White
“As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth.”14White, Ellen G. Review and Herald March 11, 1890 par. 13
“For nearly two years we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not. They are bound about with their own ideas. They do not let the Saviour in.”15White, Ellen G. Review and Herald March 11, 1890 par. 11
Arthur G. Daniells
“How sad, how deeply regrettable, it is that this message of righteousness in Christ should, at the time of its coming, have met with opposition on the part of earnest, well-meaning men in the cause of God! The message has never been received, nor proclaimed, nor given free course as it should have been in order to convey to the church the measureless blessings that were wrapped within it.”16Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.47
Robert S. Folkenberg17Robert S. Folkenberg was the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist at the time when the Adventist Review article quoted below was published.
“A few years ago a Seventh-day Adventist magazine published an article … The article argued that as a church we have been negligent in teaching our people the essence of the gospel, particularly justification by faith. Thus thousands—maybe even millions—of our members don’t understand this most basic truth of Christianity. … I heartily agree with this premise. Too many Seventh-day Adventists don’t understand or haven’t experienced the great news that Christ is our substitute and surety, who guarantees our salvation. For them, verses like ‘knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 2:16) or ‘therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’ (Rom. 3:28) are incomprehensible theological pronouncements.”18Folkenberg, Robert S. Adventist Review April 1997 p.16
Morris Vendon19Morris Vendon is a contemporary Adventist writer.
“At a camp meeting in the Northwest several years ago, the editor of the Adventist Review stood up and asked the audience some questions. He said, ‘How many of you believe that you are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone?’ A few hands went up and then quickly back down. Then he asked, ‘How many of you believe that you are saved on the basis of your works?’ A few other hands went up and then quickly back down. And he asked, ‘How many of you believe that you are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, plus your good works?’ And all the rest of the hands went up and stayed up and waved in the air! He said, ‘I hope by the time this morning’s sermon is over, you will have changed your minds!’ And he went on to prove that we are saved by faith in Christ alone. Period.”20Vendon, Morris L. 95 Thesis on Righteousness by Faith Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association 1987 p.24
Clear Gospel Presentations
Clear presentation of the Gospel can be found in many Adventist publications. Through these discussions of the Gospel, many who are members of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination have come to accept the true Gospel and enjoy a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should not assume an Adventist is not a born-again Christian.
However, other Adventists may be confused about the Gospel. They may be like those who Ellen White declared had “not let the Saviour in.” These quotations can be very useful in discussions of justification by faith with these Adventists, who need to understand the true Gospel and to establish a relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.
Ellen G. White
“The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, seemed a precious thought.”21White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par. 12
“Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ’s perfect obedience instead of the sinner’s transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to his unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.”22White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 4, 1890 par.6
“Many are losing the right way, in consequence of thinking that they must climb to heaven, that they must do something to merit the favor of God. They seek to make themselves better by their own unaided efforts. This they can never accomplish. Christ has made the way by dying our sacrifice, by living our example, by becoming our great high-priest. He declares, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ If by any effort of our own we could advance one step toward the ladder, the words of Christ would not be true.”23White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 4, 1890 par. 9
“Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”24White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.42
Arthur G. Daniells
“It is through faith in the blood of Christ that all the sins of the believer are canceled and the righteousness of God is put in their place to the believer’s account.”25Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.15
“Abraham had found righteousness. But how—by what method? Paul tells us: ‘If Abraham were justified [accounted righteous] by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.’ Rom. 4:2. Made righteous by works is a suggestion, a proposal,—if such a thing could be. Is that the way by which to obtain righteousness? ‘What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it [his belief] was counted unto him for righteousness.’ Rom. 4:3. This statement settles forever the way by which Abraham obtained God’s righteousness. It was not by works; it was by faith. … Having settled the question as to how Abraham secured the righteousness of God, Paul proceeds to show that that is the only way any one else can obtain righteousness. ‘To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.’ Rom. 4:5.”26Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 pp. 15-16
The Bible is clear. We are not saved by our works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Many people who reject this concept are reluctant to directly contradict God’s Word. They teach the concept—that man is saved by his works—but they use other words to express this. For instance, they may say repentance is necessary for salvation and define repentance as forsaking your sins. This is a clever way of teaching salvation by works without using the phrase salvation by works.
Ellen White warns us, not to put this requirement before people, but to urge them to come to Christ as they are. However, repentance is part of the Christian life. As Christians we should forsake our sins. This is part of the sanctification process. We need to differentiate between the repentance that occurs before we can be saved and that which occurs as a result of our salvation. Ellen White’s comments can help Adventists to see the difference between the repentance that comes before salvation (which she explains involves feeling the need of a Savior) and that which occurs after you become a Christian.
Ellen G. White
“Just here is a point on which many may err, and hence they fail of receiving the help that Christ desires to give them. They think that they cannot come to Christ unless they first repent, and that repentance prepares for the forgiveness of their sins. It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins; for it is only the broken and contrite heart that will feel the need of a Saviour. But must the sinner wait till he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Saviour? The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.”27White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.14
“If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.’ Jeremiah 13:23. There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are.”28White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.18
“Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity.”29White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 pp. 34-35
Requiring obedience for salvation is another way of saying you are saved by works. Once again, we see the concept is the same, only the words are different. The concept of obedience to the law, more than any other theme, confuses the Gospel as it is understood by many Adventists. However, Ellen White was very clear that obedience to the law was the result of salvation, not the means by which it is attained.
Ellen G. White
“We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith.”30White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p. 41
“If the heart has been renewed by the Spirit of God, the life will bear witness to the fact. While we cannot do anything to change our hearts or to bring ourselves into harmony with God; while we must not trust at all to ourselves or our good works, our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us.”31White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.38
Ellen White said,
“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized.”32White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.42
Some Adventists understood this to mean one must achieve perfection in this life—coming to a point where they perfectly obey the commandments—in order to inherit eternal life.
However, when we look at this quote in context, we see Ellen White is talking about the need for salvation, not the means of our salvation. She goes on to say,
“Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.”33White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.42
So what is the solution to this problem according to Ellen G. White? She explains:
“But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”34White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. p.42
Her solution to this problem was to accept the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the only way we will survive the judgment of God and gain eternal life. White explains:
“Only those who are clothed in the garments of his righteousness will be able to endure the glory of his presence when he shall appear with ‘power and great glory.’”35White, Ellen G. Review and Herald July 9, 1908 par.18
In light of this, we must reject the idea that Ellen White meant men must achieve perfect obedience to the law in this life in order to gain salvation.
Of course, we cannot live in Heaven forever and continue to sin. Our sin nature must be eradicated. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 that we will be raised in the last days and “we shall all be changed.” At that time “this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality.” Christ will make us perfect! Ellen White explains:
“He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way.”36White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977, p.47
Christ will one day take away our sin nature, to make us fit to live forever with Him. However, we will not achieve perfection in this life.
Ellen White taught that one sign of Christian maturity was to realize your own sinfulness. This directly contradicts the idea that mature Christians achieve perfection—coming to a point where they perfectly obey the law of God.
Ellen G. White
“There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, ‘These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’”37White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. pp.43-44
“The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature.”38White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. p. 44
“No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire His divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ.”39White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. p. 44
Eugene Lincoln40Eugene Lincoln is a contemporary Adventist writer.
“God doesn’t confront us with impossible tasks. Let’s just take a glimpse of a few Bible characters whom God counted as perfect, without fault, or some other adjective meaning the same thing. If they made the grade, so may we. ‘Noah was a righteous man, blameless [the KJV says ‘perfect’] among the people of his time.’ (Genesis 6:9) But after the flood Noah got soused from using the grapes in his vineyard for the wrong purpose. Is this ‘perfection’? Asa, Judah’s king following the evil Abijah, ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’ (1 Kings 15:11). ‘Asa’s heart was fully committed [‘Asa’s heart was perfect,’ KJV] to the Lord all his life’ (verse 14). But though he ‘got rid of all the idols his fathers had made’ (verse 12), he failed to ‘remove the high places’ (verse 14), areas of worship to false gods.”41Lincoln, Eugene How Good Is Good Enough for Heaven Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996 pp. 18-19
Seventh-day Adventist literature contains many clear presentations of the Gospel. Unfortunately, we also find many statements that obscure or apparently contradict the concept that salvation is based solely on faith. Many in the Seventh-day Adventist church have embraced the true Gospel and should be considered as brothers and sisters in Christ. Others have been confused by those statements that obscure or apparently contradict the clear Gospel message and have failed to fully embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When reaching out to those within Adventism, who have not fully embraced the true Gospel, we should concentrate on presenting the biblical truths contained in God’s Word. However, the writings of Ellen G. White and other Adventists can be very useful—helping those who are confused to see the light. Therefore, we urge Christians to become familiar with this material as an aid to witnessing to those Adventists who need to realize salvation is based on faith alone, and not on obedience to the law.Ω
Roger DeLozier recently went home to be with the Lord. Our prayers go out for his wife and family. He will be missed by many.
Roger has written a companion piece to this article entitled 1888: A Message That Demands Your Attention. This is a presentation of the Gospel specifically designed for Adventists. It uses not only the Scriptures, but also many of the quotations of Ellen G. White and other Adventists—to explain the Gospel as understood by the evangelical Christian church. This may serve as an illustration on how the quotes in this article can be used to present the Gospel to an Adventist in need of salvation. It also can serve as a supplement to be given to Adventists after discussing this material. Our hope is that this will be a blessing to those Adventists who have “not let the Saviour in.”
© 2016, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.
End Notes [ + ]
|1, 24, 32, 33.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.42|
|2.||↑||White, Ellen G. The Home Missionary October 1, 1897 par.6|
|3.||↑||White, Ellen G. Manuscript Releases Volume 5 Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990 MR No. 318 p.250|
|4.||↑||White, Ellen G. The Signs of the Times May 6, 1889 par. 4|
|5.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 1, 1892 par. 1|
|6.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par.18|
|7.||↑||Knight, George A User Friendly Guide to the 1888 Message (Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1998) p.19|
|8.||↑||White, Ellen G. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1962) pp.91-92|
|9.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald April 1, 1890 par. 8|
|10.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par.10|
|11.||↑||Arthur G. Daniells was an Adventist elder who was commissioned by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council to do a study “on the writings of Mrs. Ellen G. White’s on the subject of Justification by Faith,” This study was published in the classic work Christ Our Righteousness.|
|12.||↑||Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.41|
|13.||↑||Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.42|
|14.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald March 11, 1890 par. 13|
|15.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald March 11, 1890 par. 11|
|16.||↑||Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.47|
|17.||↑||Robert S. Folkenberg was the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist at the time when the Adventist Review article quoted below was published.|
|18.||↑||Folkenberg, Robert S. Adventist Review April 1997 p.16|
|19.||↑||Morris Vendon is a contemporary Adventist writer.|
|20.||↑||Vendon, Morris L. 95 Thesis on Righteousness by Faith Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association 1987 p.24|
|21.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald September 3, 1889 par. 12|
|22.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 4, 1890 par.6|
|23.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald November 4, 1890 par. 9|
|25.||↑||Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 p.15|
|26.||↑||Daniells, Arthur G. Christ Our Righteousness Silver Spring, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1941 pp. 15-16|
|27.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.14|
|28.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.18|
|29.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 pp. 34-35|
|30.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p. 41|
|31.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977 p.38|
|34.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. p.42|
|35.||↑||White, Ellen G. Review and Herald July 9, 1908 par.18|
|36.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977, p.47|
|37.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. pp.43-44|
|38, 39.||↑||White, Ellen G. Steps to Christ Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. p. 44|
|40.||↑||Eugene Lincoln is a contemporary Adventist writer.|
|41.||↑||Lincoln, Eugene How Good Is Good Enough for Heaven Hagarstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996 pp. 18-19|
Ellen White got it right sometimes because she plagiarized. She took the popular issues of the day and found writings that fit what she thought were good explanations. What she thought of black people, the planets, what people should eat or wear all came out in her writings, many represented as “words from God” or prophecy. There were many times when these “prophecies” contradicted each other. So yes, you can find the actual word of God in her writings, as there were so many but then you find a lot on nonsense. The main belief of the SDA is that you are saved by Jesus BUT you must follow the OT laws (The Jews failed and were thrown out) especially keeping the Sabbath. An ex- SDA came out with a website that details the life and lies of Ellen White and where she misinterprets scripture. Just like many “Christian” leaders today, she lived good, allowing into her life things she said were sin for her followers (Christmas trees and eating unclean foods).
What is interesting is that the gay church first came out of the SDA.
It’s weird, but Second Day Adventism came on the radar for me when I started watching some testimonies online of people coming out of the occult and Freemasonry to Christ. A disproportionate number of those seemed to be entering either SDA or the “Hebrew Roots” cults, rather than more mainstream church traditions. I did some reading, and the claim was made Ellen White was involved in occult practices. Have you done any research on this aspect of SDA or on the so-called “Hebrew Roots” movement? I also read testimonies of former SDA members on a web site for people recovering from the apparently often abusive legalistic culture of the SDA. I don’t like to look only at doctrinal statements in a group’s literature when I am evaluating a sect like this because the overall culture (beliefs united with actions) tells us more reliably whether what is being taught can rightly be called gospel than a few selected paragraphs or statements from the literature it seems to me.
When I was researching Freemasonry and its m.o., I discovered it is alleged many modern American-born pseudo-Christian sects were planted by Freemasons. In this vein, I have already read there is a strong connection between Freemasonry and Joseph Smith’s Mormonism. According to the http://www.nonsda.org web site for ex-Adventists, Mrs. White borrowed many of her ideas from Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, and then passed them off as absolutes revealed to her by God. There is an obelisk (not a cross) marking her and her husband’s grave site. (The obelisk is famous as a Masonic symbol and as symbolic in ancient Egyptian religion.) I was more surprised to discover allegedly William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, was a Freemason (see here: http://www.ezekielgrandlodge.com/Ezekiel/FamousMasons.html). So, allegedly, was Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, was also strongly influenced by Freemason, Charles Olcott, founder of the deeply occultic Theosophical Society. Since so many of our nation’s influencers and founders (including our first U.S. President) have been high-ranking Freemasons, (consider the very street plan layout of the center of our nation’s Capitol and the form of the Washington monument!), is it any wonder that American religion in general is so heavily influenced by this kind of Freemasonic occultism, its Gnostic-style elitism and works-based moralistic philosophy? It seems evident this occult philosophy, “New Thought” thinly disguised in Christian language, flows also into supposedly Christian institutions like Guideposts, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and other Positive Thinking and Word of Faith churches and institutions. More surprising perhaps is the level of apparent Freemasonic influence among Southern Baptists (though it might go some length in explaining the racism and support of slavery in that denomination’s history). See here for an article discussing this SBC connection: http://www.watch.pair.com/sbc.html.
I did some follow up with our friends at Life Assurance Ministries/Proclamation! Magazine and received this response:
Thanks for writing!
We know of no actual written “proof” that Adventism is Masonic at the core, but there is some rather convincing “evidence” that Ellen and James White may have been associated with masonry.
As for Mormonism, we do find it striking that Ellen White’s first vision is almost identical with one of Joseph Smith’s visions published in the Book of Mormon, and the similarities between Mormonism’s and Adventism’s prehistory scenarios with Jesus and Lucifer seem significant, although we cannot “prove” Ellen’s borrowing. Also, there seems to be historic evidence that one of Ellen White’s second cousins, Ana, was Joseph Smith’s sixth wife, and there is also evidence that Ellen’s mother and a sister died in Nauvoo…also a coincidence that seems more than “passing strange”.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the movie produced by former Masons entitled “Seventh Day Abomination” or not. It actually is quite a compelling movie in many ways and is available on YouTube here:
“Seventh Day Abomination”
This movie contains some photographs, some of which I have seen before and some which I hadn’t, of the Whites and some others of the founding Adventists. Both James, Ellen, and the White’s sons are shown with their hands in a Masonic position inside their jackets. There is also some photographic evidence as well as some quotes which definitely confirm that Brother Faulkland was a Mason while he was an Adventist. Within Adventism Ellen White’s interactions with Faulkand are legendary. When he was introduced to her (Adventist literature confirms this claim), Ellen supposedly gave Faulkland a “secret handshake” only a Mason could have known. As the story goes, this secret handshake convinced Faulkland that Ellen was a true prophet, because she could not have known the handshake unless it had been revealed to her by an angel. It was, after all, secret, and no one but Masons could know it.
The story also goes that Ellen chided Faulkland for his membership in Masonry and let it be known that he could not remain a Mason and be an Adventist. The story we heard as Adventists was that Faulkland abandoned his Masonic involvement. According to newspaper clips and dates and printed things reproduced in this movie, Faulkland was a Mason living in Australia as an Adventist, and he received a Masonic funeral when he died. In fact, these things were known to the Adventist leadership back home in the USA.
All this is to say that we do not personally have incontrovertible “proof” that there was Masonic involvement in the founding of Adventism, but we have seen some very compelling circumstantial evidence that the Whites were Masons, and so were other founding and early Adventists.
Thanks again for writing, Don!
Freemasons and secret societies are allegedly engage in what is known as the “Hegelian Dialectic” as their means of manipulating public perception, politics and culture. In the U.K., they have been implicated in pedophile rings abusing parentless children (mainly boys) in the foster care system there for decades (only lower level operatives have been prosecuted and the evidence points to many high ranking people–mainly men–in the British aristocracy and legal system involved). Freemasons in politics will frequently take opposite positions on the issues and join opposite parties, but secretly their aims are identical. They also allegedly deliberately disseminate disinformation along with factual information (rather like the devil always mixes truth into his lies so they are more easily swallowed), so it is very difficult to get solid “proof” about a lot of this stuff. The more you study it, the more some extremely disturbing recurring patterns emerge. Jesus is sovereign over even all that, though, so I have chosen not to dwell on it.
At College of DuPage last year, my son was approached by a member of a Korean cult that turned out to be an offshoot of SDA and has some similar doctrines (re: Sabbath and OT Feasts, etc.). Since they were claiming to be Christian, my son (who attends Evangelical churches, but who, like many Evangelicals I’ve met who grew up in an Evangelical church, has never had an interest in the fine details of doctrine nor of the history of the Church) was cautiously open to him at first (but clearly off-balance because he came home and started telling me all this guy was telling him). My inner “cult detector” went off big time at the things my son was recounting. Sure enough, I got him to get more info. from the guy and then I looked them up online. Their “Messiah” is a Korean woman, claiming to be Christ come again! Thankfully, my son trusts my judgment and knew enough when he heard the details I uncovered not to get sucked in.
I really would love it if MCO would consider doing some research and an article on the “Hebrew Roots” movement (I believe I read there are a couple of similar groups). It is all over the Internet, and it is also a dangerous legalistic group very like SDA in certain respects.