Pickle Publishing Critique: #21-#80
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A Critique of the Jeremiah Films Video:

Seventh-day Adventism - The Spirit Behind the Church

Points #21-#80

by Bob Pickle

     "Absolute Authority Figure"    
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#21: "Because she claimed to have the spirit of prophecy, she came to be the visible, absolute authority figure for the initially small group of Adventist believers."
(David Snyder)

Ellen White became the absolute authority figure. Sad to say, more often than not, generally speaking, over the last 155 years, what she has written and said has not been followed. Anyone acquainted with her writings would agree, and toward the end of the video, this is even admitted by Sydney Cleveland (see #231) It is also admitted in Walter Rea's White Lie, which is one of the primary exhibits used in the video against Ellen White (see #196). But what about the early days? Her husband James published the following in the Review of 10/16/1855:

What has the REVIEW to do with Mrs. W.'s views? The sentiments published in its columns are all drawn from the Holy Scriptures. No writer of the REVIEW has ever referred to them as authority on any point. The REVIEW for five years has not published one of them. [Present Truth and Advent Review started in July 1849. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald started in November 1850. Thus James White is saying that almost for the paper's entire existence, Ellen White's visions have not been published in it.] Its motto has been, "The Bible, and the Bible alone, the only rule of faith and duty." Then why should these men charge the REVIEW with being a supporter of Mrs. W.'s views?

Again, How has the Editor of the REVIEW regarded Visions, and the gifts of the Gospel Church for more than eight years past? His uniform statements in print on this subject will satisfactorily answer this question. The following is from a Tract he published in 1847:

"The Bible is a perfect and complete revelation. It is our only rule of faith and practice. But this is no reason why God may not show the past, present, and future fulfillment of his word, in these last days, by dreams and visions, according to Peter's testimony. True visions are given to lead us to God, and to his written word; but those that are given for a new rule of faith and practice, separate from the Bible, cannot be from God, and should be rejected."

Again, four years since, he wrote on the Gifts of the Gospel Church, re-published in the REVIEW for Oct. 3d, 1854, from which is taken the following:

"Every Christian is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position."

Now if these paragraphs were not in print, his enemies might accuse him of changing his position; but as one was printed eight years since, and the other four, and re-printed one year since, they are nails driven in right places. Slanderous reports must fall powerless before facts of this character. . . .

But what deserves especial attention here, is the unrighteous use some are making of the Visions. They take the advantage of the common prejudices against Visions, misrepresent them, and those who are not ready to join them in anathematizing them as the work of Satan, then brand any view held by the body of Sabbath-keepers as the "Vision view," and not the Bible view of the subject. In this way an unhallowed prejudice can be excited in the minds of some against any view, and even all the views held by that body of Christians called Advent Sabbath-keepers. This course has been, and is being pursued on the subjects of the Two-horned beast, Sanctuary, Time to commence the Sabbath and period of the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth. It should be here understood that all these views as held by the body of Sabbath-keepers, were brought out from the Scriptures before Mrs. W. had any view in regard to them. These sentiments are founded upon the Scriptures as their only basis.

The last paragraph above describes precisely what this video is doing.

No documentation whatsoever is given for this point in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video.

       "So Many Writings"    
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#22: "Her writings grew to be seventeen times as large as the entire Bible."
(Ibid.)

Seventeen times larger. John Wesley, Martin Luther, Spurgeon, and others wrote a lot too. So what?

The video apparently endeavors to show that Adventists are supplanting the Bible with the writings of Ellen White. That she wrote more words than what can be found in the Bible, like other religious leaders have, is supposed to somehow bolster this claim, but the amount she wrote is irrelevant to the point.

    "As Inspired as the Bible"  
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This document contains points #81 through #130 of the critique of Jeremiah Film's poorly-put-together video on Adventism. The video features a possibly record-breaking number of disputed points: an average of 1 every 10 to 15 seconds.

#23: "Her followers were to reference these 5000 articles, 49 books, plus 55,000 manuscript pages she claimed to write and regard them as being as inspired as the Bible through Ellen Whiteís pen of inspiration." (Ibid.)

As inspired as the Bible. This statement is revealing. To believe that Ellen White's writings are as inspired as the Bible is somehow wrong? It really doesn't make sense.

Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in degrees of inspiration. Someone's writings are either inspired or they are not. The first eleven chapters of Genesis are either inspired or not. They are neither less inspired nor more inspired than the Gospel of Matthew.

Since we believe that the Bible teaches that the gifts of the Spirit did not end in the first century, and that the Bible teaches that the gift of prophecy would be manifested in the last days, we believe that someone in the last days would deliver inspired messages like the Bible prophets did.

Yet we have always maintained that the Bible must be the final authority. Any last day prophet that contradicts the Bible must be a false prophet.

This was true in the first century as well. If Agabus or Phillip's four daughters (Acts11:28; 21:9, 10), in their inspired messages, had contradicted the Word of God, they would have had to be declared false prophets. As Paul said, "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32).

Agabus and Phillip's four daughters were just as inspired as Moses or Matthew, Mark or Jeremiah, Isaiah or Luke, John or Jonah. But the authority of Agabus and Phillip's four daughters' messages was always subordinate to Scripture.

    "Last Word on Doctrine"  
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#24: "To this day official publications of the church have used her writings as the last word on doctrine."
(Ibid.)

Last word on doctrine. This is simply not true. Again we quote from James White in the Review of 10/16/1855 regarding what it was like in the early days:

What has the REVIEW to do with Mrs. W.'s views? The sentiments published in its columns are all drawn from the Holy Scriptures. No writer of the REVIEW has ever referred to them as authority on any point. The REVIEW for five years has not published one of them. Its motto has been, "The Bible, and the Bible alone, the only rule of faith and duty." Then why should these men charge the REVIEW with being a supporter of Mrs. W.'s views?

The Bible is our "last word on doctrine," not Ellen White.

After the Bible, who has the next-to-the-last word? Some super-smart scholar with seven Ph.D.'s who can quote the Bible from memory in the original languages backwards, or a divinely inspired prophet? The answer ought to be obvious to every Bible-believing Christian.

Having grown up in the wilderness, John the Baptist was considered inferior in education to the rabbis and scholars of his day, yet Jesus declared that there was no greater prophet than John (Mat. 11:11). In the journals of that day, who should have had the next to last word: the inspired prophet John the Baptist, or Dr. Nicodemus, Ph.D.?

What is really at issue here are two theological points:

  1. Were the gifts of the Holy Spirit really to remain in the church till the end of time as Ephesians 4:11-14 and Joel 2:28-31 indicate?
  2. Are the writings of one true prophet more inspired than the writings of another true prophet? Was the apostle Paul more inspired than the apostle James or the prophet Micah?
Seventh-day Adventists should not be faulted for taking the biblical position on these points.

No documentation whatsoever is given for this point in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video. Perhaps "Point 17" was meant to do so, but the index does not identify it this way. "Point 17" is a page from a Ministry magazine article dated October 1981. The first paragraph says:

For Seventh-day Adventists the one standard, rule, and ultimate authority for doctrine is the Bible. All other doctrinal authorities are subordinate. "God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms," Ellen White wrote (The Great Controversy, p. 595). "The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union. . . . Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline." - Selected Messages, book 1, p. 416.

Well would it be if those responsible for the content of this video read their own documentation.

    "Sources of Authority and Truth"  
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#25 & #26: "In the twenty-seven points of fundamental beliefs, they state that the Bible is a source of authority. But they also say that her writings are a continuing and an authoritative source of truth." (Ibid.)

#25: A source of authority, not the source of authority. This is simply not true.

In the twenty-seven fundamental beliefs, the belief about the Bible comes first. It says:

The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history.

Please notice how it states that the Bible is the standard, the test, and the authoritative revealer. Please notice also under the following point that while we do believe in the biblical doctrine of spiritual gifts, we definitely believe that the Bible is still the standard by which all prophets and preachers must be tested.

No documentation whatsoever is given for this point in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video.

#26: Ellen White's writings an authoritative source of truth. This is another straw-man argument. The simple reason is that if one believes that the biblical gift of prophecy will be manifested in the last days, then one must also believe that the writings or talks of the person genuinely having that gift must have some degree of authority, with the Bible having the ultimate authority.

Number 17 of the twenty-seven fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists deals with the gift of prophecy:

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives the quotation above under both "Point 13" and "Point 94." Thus the documentation proves that Adventists believe, and Ellen White taught, that the Bible is to be the standard by which all are to be tested, including Ellen White herself!

    "In the Vault"  
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#27 & #28: "They have, however, made her more embarrassing writings unavailable, locking them securely away in the White Estate vault."
(Ibid.)

#27: Unavailable, locked away in the vault. This is not true.

The vault protects her writings against theft, vandalism, and fire, but all her writings are available and are not "locked away," unless, of course, it is after hours.

All her published writings have been available on CD-ROM for a decade. There is an ongoing project of putting all her unpublished writings on CD-ROM as well. Until this project is completed, those interested in reading her unpublished writings can find them at the White Estate's main office in Silver Spring, Maryland; three branch offices located at Andrews University, Loma Linda University, and Oakwood College; or one of eleven Research Centers operated throughout the world.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video lists "The White Estate Vault" as "Point 14." However, turning to "Point 14," we find but two selections that provide no evidence for the accusation. In fact, the two selections do not even once contain the word "vault."

#28: Her more embarrassing writings are unavailable. This is another straw man, which utilizes a misunderstanding of what "more embarrassing" means.

What "more embarrassing" really means is this: Sometimes Ellen White was shown personal matters in vision. Sometimes she was called upon to rebuke adultery, for example. Some of these matters were not common knowledge then or now. It would be "embarrassing" to the family members of the person(s) involved if such communications were free to circulate around with the name(s) of the offenders attached.

Out of Christian courtesy, these writings were not published, or if they were, the name(s) of the offender(s) were most often omitted. The original documents and letters were kept in the vault for safekeeping.

Enough time has passed so that the possibility of embarrassing someone no longer exists, for the offenders have all died, and there are typically a few generations between them and now. Therefore the White Estate is working on putting every last thing on CD-ROM.

    "An Angel Stood by Her"  
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#29: "She claimed an angel stood by her bed near this chair in her bedroom." (Ibid.)

Visited by an angel. Seems that I have read in the Bible how an angel woke up Peter and came to visit Daniel (Acts 12:7; Dan. 9:21). All this straw-man point shows is that one of three possibilities is the case:

  1. Ellen White or Peter or Daniel was lying.
  2. Ellen White or Peter or Daniel was really visited by an angel of God.
  3. Ellen White or Peter or Daniel was actually visited by an evil angel in disguise.

    "Prophecies Didn't Come True"  
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#30: "Itís a matter of historical record that the following prophecies of Ellen G. White did not come true as she foretold." (Sydney Cleveland)

Prophecies did not come true. Not one clear-cut example is given in the list that follows.

    "Jerusalem Built Up"  
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#31: "'Then I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think that they have work to do there before the Lord comes... I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing... I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up...' Early Writings p. 75. The exact opposite of Ellen Whiteís prediction has happened. Old Jerusalem has been greatly built up in the years since 1948 when Israel became a nation. She was absolutely wrong." (Ibid.)

Prediction of Jerusalem not being built up failed. This is not true, for Ellen White's words are being misinterpreted.

A similar statement by Ellen White found on page 136 of the book Maranatha has this modern-day note attached: "Written in the early 1850's when 'the age-to-come' advocates taught that old Jerusalem would be built up as a center of Christian witness fulfilling certain prophecies of the O.T."

Support for this meaning of the phrase "built up" can be found in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 2/28/1856. It gives the following statement which it goes on to refute:

ISA.liv,1-10. The expressions in this chapter cannot refer to the New Jerusalem; the same that has been forsaken, desolate, &c., is to be built up in the future age. (See Age to Come, by J. Marsh, pp. 66,67.)

In the 5/7/1857 issue, Alvarez Pierce wrote:

There is no one that regards the Sabbath here, yet there is one family right on the immortality question, but otherwise they are on the "Age-to-Come" doctrine, and that I cannot endorse. I believe that when Christ comes it will not be to restore the carnal Jew, and to build up old Jerusalem, but it will be to take vengeance on his enemies.

In the 1842 third volume of Millerís Works, Miller says:

Although our Judaizing teachers tell us the Jews are to be built up again, I believe them not.

This statement doesnít say Jerusalem will be built up. It says the Jews will be built up. Itís not talking about the number of buildings. Rather, it is talking about the Jews and Old Jerusalem occupying an extraordinarily special place in Godís workings in the last days or during the millennium.

The phrase is found in Psalms 147:

The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. (vs. 2)

As pointed out under #17, the Millerites firmly believed in the Pauline teaching that those who accept Christ are grafted into spiritual Israel:

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. (Rom. 11:17-20).

Hence, this verse from Psalm 147 would have been seen by Millerites as a prophecy of the gathering together of all the redeemed, both Jew and Gentile, into the New Jerusalem, not the Old.

Old Testament prophecies concerning literal Israel's return to Palestine were generally seen to be fulfilled when the Jews returned from Babylon in the sixth century BC. As Miller put it,

As it respects the Jews return, I say there is not a text, promise or prophecy, written or given of God, which was not given before their return from Babylon, and I believe was then literally fulfilled. (Ibid. 1:233)

Many feel that Jerusalem will be a center for Godís activities in the last days, and so will disagree with Ellen Whiteís statement. But then it becomes an issue of a difference in theology instead of a false prophecy.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says:

The 16th century was a period of great urban development. In addition to the new walls, which still encompass the Old City, and the repaired water supply, new madrasahs, waqfs, and charity institutions multiplied.

Also:

By the mid-19th century half of the cityís population was Jewish, and it was expanding beyond the walls.

Since Jerusalem was indeed inhabited, inhabitable, and growing when Ellen White wrote the statement in question, the alternative meaning of the words "built up" is in order. The fact is that Jerusalem is still not "built up" in the sense she was using the words. Until it has been, this statement by Ellen White cannot be proven to be a false prophecy.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives no evidence whatsoever that Ellen White meant an increase of buildings and population by the phrase "built up." It only provides, under "Point 18," the quotation from Early Writings that the video quoted from.

    "Alive When Christ Returns"  
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#32: "Again, Mrs. White foretold in Early Writings that she would be among the living saints when Jesus returned. 'Soon our eyes were drawn to the East, for a small black cloud had appeared, about half as large as a man's hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of Man... the graves opened... and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.' The Day-Star January 24, 1846. Mrs. White was not among the living saints seen in her vision. This event did not occur in her lifetime. We are still looking for the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than being caught up with the living saints at Jesusís return, Mrs. White died on July 16, 1915, and was buried beside her husband James. Another one of her prophecies failed."
(Ibid.)

Mrs. White said she would be among the living saints. She never said she would be among the living saints. The making of this point destroys the credibility of the Scriptures, for it in essence declares the apostle Paul to be a false prophet.

The reader will notice that the quotation from Ellen White is very close in wording to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, where the apostle Paul says essentially the same thing:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The portions of the quotation from The Day-Star that the video left out make the parallels with 1 Thessalonians 4 even more striking.

Then Jesus' silver trumpet sounded, as he descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints then raised his eyes and hands to heaven & cried out, Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise. Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, Hallelujah! as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

If Paul can say, "We which are alive and remain shall be caught up," and not be a false prophet, then Ellen White can too.

In the Bible, God chose to reveal events in vision to a prophet as if he were alive at the time the event was taking place, and sometimes even participating in that event. The books of Daniel and Revelation give a number of examples of this phenomena.

A prophet who while in vision saw future events as if he were participating in those events is not necessarily a false prophet.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives no evidence that Ellen White ever prophesied that she would definitely be alive when Jesus came. It only provides, under "Point 19," the quotation from Early Writings that the video quoted from.

    "In a Few Months"  
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#33: "Like others of her time, Mrs. White taught the imminent end of the world to spur on her workers. In Early Writings in the 1850's she urged the new converts on, telling them they had only a few months to wait. '...But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.' A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White p. 55."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White said in a few months Christ would return. She said no such thing. The careful reader will note that Ellen White's statement merely says that believers would be learning much quicker than previously.

Ellen White attached the date of June 27, 1850, to the above statement. In 1854 she wrote basically the same thing:

Truths that we have been years learning must be learned in a few months by those who now embrace the Third Angel's Message. We had to search and wait the opening of truth, receiving a ray of light here and a ray there, laboring and pleading for God to reveal truth to us. But now the truth is plain; its rays are brought together. The blazing light of truth when it is presented as it should be can be now seen and brought to bear upon the heart. There is no need of milk after souls are convinced of the truth. As soon as the conviction of truth is yielded to and the heart willing the truth should have its effect, the truth will work like leaven, and purify and purge away the passions of the natural heart. It is a disgrace for those who have been in the truth for years to talk of feeding souls who have been months in the truth, upon milk. It shows they know little of the leadings of the Spirit of the Lord, and realize not the time we are living in. (Manuscript Releases 1:33)

Notice the similarities in thought of this passage and Hebrews 5:11-6:3. According to Ellen White, it is disgraceful to think that new believers must spend years learning the basics, the milk. Paul likewise urged that believers move on from the "milk" to the "strong meat."

Generally speaking, the new believer learns today in a few months the truths of God's word that took years back then to hammer out. Ellen White's words are literally true.

Besides, if she were predicting a date for Christ's return, she would be contradicting the statements she made during the same time frame that condemned setting dates for Christ's return (see #17)!

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives no evidence that Ellen White ever said there was only a few more months to wait. It only provides, under "Point 20," the quotation from Experience and Views that the video quoted from.

    "Food for Worms"  
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#34: "These were not isolated prophecies, but restated over and over again. In May 1856 at a church meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan, Mrs. White boldly stated, 'I saw that some of those present would be food for worms, some subjects for the seven last plagues, and some would be translated to heaven at the second coming of Christ, without seeing death.' Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2 p. 208."
(Ibid.)

"Food for worms" vision did not come true. Will the reader please note the sentences immediately following the portion quoted:

Sr. [Clarissa] Bonfoey remarked to a sister as we left the meeting-house, "I feel impressed that I am one that will soon be food for worms." The conference closed Monday. Thursday Sr. B. sat at the table with us apparently well. She then went to the Office as usual, to help get off the paper. In about two hours I was sent for. Sr. B. had been suddenly taken very ill. My health had been very poor, yet I hastened to suffering Clara. In a few hours she seemed some better. The next morning we had her brought home in a large chair, and she was laid upon her own bed from which she was never to rise. Her symptoms became alarming, and we had fears that a tumor, which had troubled her for nearly ten years, had broken inwardly. It was so, and mortification was doing its work.

Friday about seven o'clock she fell asleep. (Ibid. 208, 209)

Within days of Ellen White's statement, a lady who thought she would be one of those who would be "food for worms" was. Thus a remarkable fulfillment of the prophecy took place.

What about the part of the vision that said some would still be alive when Jesus came? The next point will address this question.

    "Stone Her"  
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#35: "In biblical times she would have been stoned to death for being a false prophet."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White a false prophet for believing Christ would come in her day. This same idea is used by some theologians to undermine the authority of Scripture. The apostles, they say, believed and taught Christ would come in their day. They were wrong, they say. Therefore, they say, the Bible at times contains erroneous teachings.

There are some verses in the New Testament which seem to support this attack on Scripture, such as 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Paul in this passage appears to say that some believers alive in his day would be alive when Jesus returned. Yet this interpretation of his words must be wrong, for Paul makes it crystal clear in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 that Christ's return was not imminent in his day.

Should Jonah have been stoned because he said Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days, but it wasn't (Jonah 3:4, 10)? Should Huldah have been stoned because she said Josiah would die in peace but he didn't (2 Chr. 34:22-28; 35:20-24)? Is this what Mr. Cleveland is saying?

Jonah and Huldah were not false prophets because what they said didnít come to pass, for those prophecies were conditional on Ninevehís continued unrepentance and Josiahís continued obedience. Since Nineveh repented, it was not destroyed. Since Josiah disobeyed, the promised blessing of dying in peace could not be fulfilled.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. (Jer. 18:7-10)

Some prophecies are therefore conditional.

The Bible clearly says that the gospel must be preached in all the world before Christ returns (Mat. 24:14). If His people are lax in reaching the lost, then Christís coming would be delayed.

In 1883 Ellen White explained that Christís coming had been delayed for this very reason (Evangelism 695), and she made similar statements over the years. This 1883 statement was just twenty-seven years after the May 1856 statement Mr. Cleveland is quoting. In 1883 no one would have thought to call the latter statement a false prophecy, since a good portion of those who were present at the May 1856 conference were still strong and healthy.

       "Downfall of USA"    
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This document contains points #81 through #130 of the critique of Jeremiah Film's poorly-put-together video on Adventism. The video features a possibly record-breaking number of disputed points: an average of 1 every 10 to 15 seconds.

#36: "Mrs. White did not confine her prophesying to the events surrounding the coming of the Lord, but prophesied how foreign governments would act against the United States. In 1862 Ellen White predicted the downfall of the United States following a great war involving many nations." (Ibid.)

Ellen White predicted downfall of United States. Technically, she predicted that if our nation remained divided, then it would fall:

England is acquainted with the diversity of feeling among those who are seeking to quell the rebellion. She well knows the perplexed condition of our Government; she has looked with astonishment at the prosecution of this war--the slow, inefficient moves, the inactivity of our armies, and the ruinous expenses of our nation. The weakness of our Government is fully open before other nations, and they now conclude that it is because it was not a monarchial government, and they admire their own government, and look down, some with pity, others with contempt, upon our nation, which they have regarded as the most powerful upon the globe. Had our nation remained united it would have had strength, but divided it must fall. (Testimonies for the Church 1:259, 260)

It would be hard to refute such an assessment.

But Ellen White did not say that our nation would definitely remain divided.

In the same chapter, Ellen White wrote at length about how the North had often mistreated escaped slaves and returned them to their southern masters, in direct violation of the Word of God. Yet the Government, rather than righting these wrongs, declared a day of fasting and prayer to ask God's blessing on the war effort!

And yet a national fast is proclaimed! Saith the Lord: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" When our nation observes the fast which God has chosen, then will He accept their prayers as far as the war is concerned; but now they enter not into His ear. He turns from them, they are disgusting to Him. It is so managed that those who would undo the heavy burdens and break every yoke are placed under censure, or removed from responsible stations, or their lives are planned away by those who "fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness." (Ibid. 258)

Clearly, this is a conditional prophecy. (See #35 for the Bible's teaching regarding conditional prophecies.) When the North would seek to break every yoke, then God would hear their prayers and bless. But if the North remained divided over the slavery question, then it would fall.

A lot of the problems raised by the video were answered long ago in F. D. Nichol's 1951 book Ellen G. White and Her Critics. We would strongly recommend that those responsible for the content of this video read his book.

    "England and the Civil War"  
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#37: "During the Civil War she prophesied that England would declare war on the northern states, and humble them into the dust. 'Said the angel... when England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion... this nation will yet be humbled in the dust...' Testimonies for the Church vol. 1 p. 259"
(Ibid.)

Ellen White predicted the United States' humbling by England. Actually, this quotation has been rearranged. It does not read this way in the original. "This nation will yet be humbled in the dust. . ." is a separate sentence standing on its own. It is the sixth sentence preceding the sentence "When England does declare war," not the first sentence after "this nation will yet be humbled in the dust." The intervening five sentences neutralize the point being made, as clearly shown under #38.

One thing she did predict was the demise of the South, six months before their fortunes started sinking at Gettysburg:

I saw that both the South and the North were being punished. In regard to the South, I was referred to Deuteronomy 32:35-37: "To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the Lord shall judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants, when He seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. And He shall say, Where are their Gods, their rock in whom they trusted?" (Testimonies for the Church 1:368)

Who told her that the "foot" of the South would "slide in due time" while they were still doing quite well?

There are reports of other visions predicting events connected with the Civil War that did come to pass. For example, at Parkville, Michigan, on January 12, 1861, Ellen White had a vision after which she is reported to have said:

"Men are making light of the secession ordinance that has been passed by South Carolina. They have little idea of the trouble that is coming on our land. No one in this house has even dreamed of the trouble that is coming.

"I have just been shown in vision that a number of States are going to join South Carolina in this secession, and a terrible war will be the result. In the vision I saw large armies raised by both the North and the South. I was shown the battle raging. I heard the booming of the cannon, and saw the dead and wounded falling on every side. I was then taken to hospitals, and saw the sufferings of the sick and wounded prisoners. I was taken in the vision to the homes of those who had lost sons, brothers, or husbands in the war. There was distress and mourning all over the land." . . .

"There are men in this house who will lose sons in that war." (Ellen G. White: The Early Years 463)

Only one state had seceded, and she was already having a vision about a terrible civil war! It sounded absurd at the time, but it happened.

    "No World War"  
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#38 & #39: "History proves the utter error of this prophecy. England did not declare war on the northern states. Other nations did not join in."
(Ibid.)

#38: Ellen White predicted England would declare war. This is not true. Ellen White never said that England would definitely declare war on the North. Notice the intervening five sentences Mr. Cleveland omitted when he (or the author of whatever secondary source he is quoting) rearranged the paragraph:

England is studying whether it is best to take advantage of the present weak condition of our nation, and venture to make war upon her. She is weighing the matter, and trying to sound other nations. She fears, if she should commence war abroad, that she would be weak at home, and that other nations would take advantage of her weakness. Other nations are making quiet yet active preparations for war, and are hoping that England will make war with our nation, for then they would improve the opportunity to be revenged on her for the advantage she has taken of them in the past and the injustice done them. A portion of the queen's subjects are waiting a favorable opportunity to break their yoke; but if England thinks it will pay, she will not hesitate a moment to improve her opportunities to exercise her power and humble our nation. (emphasis supplied)

Clearly, Ellen White's prediction was what would happen if England declared war, not that England would declare war.

The honest reader who peruses the context of this passage may be surprised at how much solid information is there. Many today assume that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Historians declare, as Mrs. White has written, that this was not the initial motivation for the war. Rather, it was fought to maintain the Union.

Many enlistees thought they were fighting to abolish slavery. But those in charge of the war had no such intention.

Once Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation during the year after Mrs. White wrote these things, and the North became united in its goal of abolishing slavery, then the tide began to turn in favor of the North. We can thank the Lord that the North did unite in their opposition to slavery so that our nation did not fall.

I was shown that if the object of this war had been to exterminate slavery, then, if desired, England would have helped the North. But England fully understands the existing feelings in the Government, and that the war is not to do away slavery, but merely to preserve the Union; and it is not for her interest to have it preserved. (Ibid. 258)

As the World Book Encyclopedia says under "Emancipation Proclamation,"

As a result, it greatly influenced the North's victory in the war. . . .

As the abolitionists had predicted, the Emancipation Proclamation strengthened the North's war effort and weakened the South's. . . .

The Emancipation Proclamation also hurt the South by discouraging Britain and France from entering the war. Both of those nations depended on the South to supply them with cotton, and the Confederacy hoped that they would fight on its side. But the proclamation made the war a fight against slavery. Most British and French citizens opposed slavery, and so they gave their support to the Union.

So World Book makes it crystal clear that England was considering entering the war. It was the North's uniting against slavery that prevented England from doing so, and this is precisely how Ellen White described the political situation of those times.

#39: Ellen White predicted that there would be world war. The same points brought out under #38 apply here as well. Ellen White did indeed connect the possibility of world war with the possibility of England declaring war. Yet though these two thoughts are certainly connected, it is clear that she never said there would definitely be world war at that time.

The "general war" and "general confusion" in the passage under scrutiny, and the "active preparations for war" of "other nations" in the five omitted sentences quoted under #38 bring to mind pp. 268 and 269 of the same book. On those pages is a prediction of two times of world war separated by a little time of peace:

Other nations are intently watching this nation, for what purpose I was not informed, and are making great preparations for some event. . . .

I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land.

My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me; and again everything was in the utmost confusion. Strife, war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this war and confusion. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men's hearts failed them for fear, "and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth."

Interestingly, out of the 28 nations or more that fought in WWI, England was the fifth or sixth to declare war. First Austria-Hungary and Serbia declared war on 7/28/1914, then Germany and Russia on 8/1, then France on 8/3, and then England and Belgium on 8/4.

And in WWII, after a little time of peace, England was among the first six nations to declare war out of at least 58. France, England, India, and New Zealand (the latter two having strong ties to England) all declared war on 9/3/1939, preceded only by Germany and Poland on 9/1.

So there was world war when England did declare war.

England ruled about a fourth of the worldís land and people, and then lost it all as her colonies sought their independence about the time of the World Wars. How interesting that Ellen White had connected England declaring war and general war with this very thing: "A portion of the queen's subjects are waiting a favorable opportunity to break their yoke. . . ." (Testimonies for the Church 1:259)

She never said, "When England does declare war on the United States. . . ." She said, "When England does declare war. . . ." There is a difference.

    "USA Not Humbled"  
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#40: "The United States of America was not humbled into the dust in defeat. Mrs. White again clearly to the objective mind prophesied falsely."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White predicted the United States' being humbled into the dust in defeat. She said no such thing.

The facts are these:

  1. Our nation had been proud.
  2. Other nations were disgusted at how we were conducting the Civil War.
  3. We were humbled into the dust.
  4. While Ellen White said we would be humbled, she did not say we would be humbled in defeat.

Consider the following:

This war is a most singular and at the same time a most horrible and heartsickening conflict. Other nations are looking on with disgust at the transactions of the armies of both North and South. They see such a determined effort to protract the war at an enormous sacrifice of life and money, while at the same time nothing is really gained, that it looks to them like a strife to see which can kill the most men. They are indignant. (Testimonies for the Church 1:367)

On January 20, 1863, the London Times reported the words of an American preacher who in prayer had "blessed the name of God for having so humbled the nation that it was compelled as a military necessity to ask the aid of the negro."

On July 4th of the same year, the Times described that year's American Independence Day as "this day of festivity, now converted into a day of humiliation."

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video merely gives under "Point 22" a copy of Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 259, 260. This copy adequately documents the fact that the quotation as it appears on the video isn't genuine (see #37), and that the context of the quotation neutralizes the point being made by the video (see #38).

    "Enoch and Golden Passes"  
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#41: "Mrs. White in a vision also claimed to have traveled complete with wings to various planets which were full of inhabitants. She reported meeting Enoch on a distant planet during one of her journeys. Other times she saw angels using golden gate passes to go in and out of heaven."
(Narrator)

Ellen White went in vision to other planets. So? What difference does this make?

Does this make Ellen White a false prophet? Was John the Revelator a false prophet because he claimed that, in vision, he went to heaven and heard angels talking there (Rev. 4:1, 2; 5:11)? Was Ezekiel a false prophet because he claimed that in vision he was carried by a lock of his hair to another country (Ezek. 8:3)? Or was the apostle Paul a false prophet because he said he went to heaven, but whether he went there only in vision or actually with his body, he could not tell (2 Cor. 12:2-4, 7)?

Or is the problem the fact that Ellen White said there were other inhabited worlds? Does such a claim make her a false prophet? The Bible says that Christ made the "worlds," plural, using the Greek word aion, a word that does not mean uninhabited planets (Heb. 1:2. Cf. 11:3). And Job says that the sons of God came for a special meeting. Satan got to be included because he claimed to be a representative from Earth, implying that the other participants in the meeting were also representatives from inhabited planets (1:6, 7; 2:1, 2).

Though one might disagree with these interpretations of Scripture, the matter cannot be construed into a clear-cut case for declaring someone to be a false prophet.

Under "Point 23" and "Point 24," the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video shows four quotations from two books proving that Ellen White saw these things in vision. However, no evidence is offered to show why Ellen White seeing these things in vision is unscriptural, as claimed a few moments later (see #44).

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#42 & #43: "Some of her so-called visions reflected her own racist views. For example, she believed that certain races of people [blacks are shown in the picture] were the result of sexual relations between man and animal, which she referred to as an amalgamation. 'Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.' Spiritual Gifts vol. 3 p. 75"
(Ibid.)

#42: Ellen White said that animals and people crossed sexually. She said no such thing. She never said that the amalgamation was through sexual relations.

Scientists today routinely mix the genes of various species, even putting animal genes into plants through genetic engineering. Since the Bible portrays man becoming more degenerate over time instead of more advanced, why could not ancient man have had such technology? It is evolution, not the Bible, that says that man is smarter today than he was back then.

Ellen White, to my knowledge, never said who performed the amalgamation after the flood, but elsewhere she does speak of Satan altering plants through some sort of process: "All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares" (Selected Messages 2:288) So it is possible that it was Satan doing the amalgamation instead of man.

As F. D. Nichol pointed out in his book Ellen G. White and Her Critics, she did not specifically say "amalgamation of man with beast." Thus there is room for his idea of there being amalgamation of man with man and beast with beast.

What does this mean? Many interpret Genesis 6:2, which speaks of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men, to mean the same as what Ellen White writes of in Review and Herald 8/23/1892: "Those who profess to be followers of Christ, should be living agencies, co-operating with heavenly intelligences; but by union with the world, the character of God's people becomes tarnished, and through amalgamation with the corrupt, the fine gold becomes dim." So amalgamation of man after the flood could possibly mean intermarriage of believers with unbelievers.

Under "Point 25" the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives the identical quotation found on the video. It presents no evidence at all that Ellen White said the amalgamation occurred sexually.

#43: As the picture illustrates, Ellen White, with "her own racist views," believed that amalgamation produced the black race. Regardless of what she meant by "amalgamation" (see above), whether genetic engineering or intermarriage with unbelievers, Ellen White never said what races of men she was talking about. She never said "amalgamation" produced the black race. Why didn't Jeremiah Films use a picture of whites or Asians instead? Is it because a picture of whites would not have been as inflammatory as a picture of blacks?

Under "Point 25," the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video gives no reasons at all why the picture shown should be of blacks instead of Asians or whites, and offers no evidence to prove that Ellen White thought amalgamation produced the black race.

    "Unbiblical Visions"  
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#44 & #45: "Despite the unbiblical nature of her visions, her followers continue to accept her as Godís messenger and her writings as inspired as the Bible."
(Ibid.)

#44: Ellen White's visions are unbiblical. The video is begging the question here. So far not one aspect of her visions has been proven to be unbiblical. Visited by angels? Transported to heaven? So were the Bible writers.

One aspect of Ellen White's visions that the video does not mention at all is the physical phenomena that occurred during her visions. Consider what Daniel wrote regarding a physical phenomena that occurred during the last vision recorded in his book:

For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. (Dan. 10:17)

Daniel while in vision did not breathe. Likewise, Ellen White while in vision did not breathe. These visions would last from fifteen minutes to three hours, She was examined by physicians on several occasions while in vision, and their opinion was that she was not breathing. Consider these eyewitness accounts compiled by John Loughborough:

The first is from M. G. Kellogg, M. D., who refers to the first vision given in Michigan, May 29, 1853, at a meeting held in the barn of Wm. Dawson, in Tyrone, Livingston Co. He says:-

"Sister White was in vision about twenty minutes or half an hour. . . . Brother White arose and informed the audience that his wife was in vision. After stating the manner of her visions, and that she did not breathe while in vision, he invited any one who wished to do so to come forward and examine her. Dr. Drummond, a physician, who was also a First-day Adventist preacher, who [before he saw her in vision] had declared her visions to be of mesmeric origin, and that he could give her a vision, stepped forward, and after a thorough examination, turned very pale, and remarked, 'She doesn't breathe!'

"I am quite certain that she did not breathe at that time while in vision, nor in any of several others which she had when I was present. The coming out of vision was as marked as her going into it. The first indication we had that the vision was ended, was in her again beginning to breathe. She drew her first breath deep, long, and full, in a manner showing that her lungs had been entirely empty of air. After drawing the first breath, several minutes passed before she drew the second, which filled the lungs precisely as did the first: then a pause of two minutes, and a third inhalation, after which the breathing became natural." Signed, "M. G. Kellogg, M. D., Battle Creek, Mich., Dec. 28, 1890." (General Conference Daily Bulletin vol. 5. no. 3. pp. 59, 60)

This aspect of her visions was very biblical.

It should be pointed out that such physical phenomena do not prove that a prophet or a vision is from God. They merely prove the supernatural character of those visions. The Bible tests of a prophet must then be applied to determine whether the supernatural source of the visions is God or Satan.

#45: Adventists claim her writings are as inspired as the Bible. The fallacy of using this straw man was pointed out in #23. Adventists do not believe in degrees of inspiration. An individual is either inspired or not inspired. But Adventists do believe in degrees of authority. The Bible is the ultimate authority, and all subsequent prophets are subordinate to it.

Under "Point 26" the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video has an article from the December 23, 1982, issue of the Review to prove that Adventists believe Ellen White was as inspired as the Bible. But the article actually negates what the video is trying to prove. Consider carefully the article's ten affirmations and ten denials:

Affirmations

  1. We believe that Scripture is the divinely revealed Word of God and is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  2. We believe that the canon of Scripture is composed only of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.
  3. We believe that Scripture is the foundation of faith and the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice.
  4. We believe that Scripture is the Word of God in human language.
  5. We believe that Scripture teaches that the gift of prophecy will be manifest in the Christian church after New Testament times.
  6. We believe that the ministry and writings of Ellen White were a manifestation of the gift of prophecy.
  7. We believe that Ellen White was inspired by the Holy Spirit and that her writings, the product of that inspiration, are applicable and authoritative especially to Seventh-day Adventists.
  8. We believe that the purposes of the Ellen White writings include guidance in understanding the teaching of Scripture and application of these teachings, with prophetic urgency, to the spiritual life.
  9. We believe that the acceptance of the prophetic gift of Ellen White is important to the nurture and unity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  10. We believe that Ellen White's use of literary sources and assistants finds parallels in some of the writings of the Bible.

Denials

  1. We do not believe that the quality or degree of inspiration in the writings of Ellen White is different from that of Scripture.
  2. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are an addition to the canon of Sacred Scripture.
  3. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White function as the foundation and final authority of Christian faith as does Scripture.
  4. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White may be used as the basis of doctrine.
  5. We do not believe that the study of the writings of Ellen White may be used to replace the study of Scripture.
  6. We do not believe that Scripture can be understood only through the writings of Ellen White.
  7. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White exhaust the meaning of Scripture.
  8. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are essential for the proclamation of the truths of Scripture to society at large.
  9. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are the product of mere Christian piety.
  10. We do not believe that Ellen White's use of literary sources and assistants negates the inspiration of her writings.

Pretty clear, isn't it? The contributors to the material in the video really ought to read this part of the Documentation Package. It would answer a lot of their questions.

    "Reinterpretation of Miller's Failed Prophecy"  
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#46 & #47: The investigative judgment doctrine that Seventh-day Adventists still cling to came from a reinterpretation of William Millerís failed prophecy that Christ would come to the earth on October 22, 1844.
(Dale Ratzlaff)

#46: The investigative judgment doctrine is a reinterpretation. Not quite. The whole Millerite movement was predicting that the Day of Judgment would occur soon. It was felt that the Day of Judgment took place or began at the second coming.

As early as 1822, William Miller let it be known that he believed that the second coming and the judgment would take place at the same time:

"ART. XVII. I believe in the resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust, - the just, or believers, at Christ's second coming, and the unjust one thousand years afterwards, - when the judgment of each will take place in their order, at their several resurrections; when the just will receive everlasting life, and the unjust eternal condemnation." (Memoirs of William Miller 79)

From his "Lecture 1" printed in 1842, he clearly predicted the beginning of the judgment to take place in 1843. Included also is a bit of his appeal to sinners to give their hearts to Jesus:

And now, my impenitent friends, what say you? . . . And are there no signs of the near approach of the Judgment Day? . . . "We say, 'You were very unwise to fix on the year 1843, or sooner, for this day to come; for it will not come; and then you will be ashamed." And I hope I may be able, by the grace of God, to repent. But what if it does come? You cannot with any propriety say positively it will not come, for you make no pretence to divination. But I say, what if it does come? Where will you be? No space then for repentance. No, no--too late, too late; the harvest is over and past, the summer is gone, the door is shut, and your soul is not saved. Therefore it can do you no harm to hear, and believe, and do those things which God requires of you, and which you think you would do, if you knew he would appear. First, I ask you to repent of your sins. Would this be right? Yes. Next, I ask you to believe in God. Is this right? Yes. And I ask you to be reconciled to his will, love his law, forsake sin, love holiness, practice his precepts, obey his commands. Would these things be right? Yes, yes. And last of all, and not least, I ask you to "look for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." (Miller's Works 2:26, 27)

That the judgment must begin before the second coming is clear from Revelation 22:12 which says:

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Since Jesus will have his rewards with Him when He comes, the judgment which determines what those rewards will be must have already taken place before He comes.

So the investigative doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism came from a realization (not from a reinterpretation) that the judgment did begin after all on October 22 as predicted, but that the second coming was yet future. In Acts 17:31, Paul said:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.

Paul said that God had appointed a day. Before October 22, 1844, the end of the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 was believed to pinpoint the day God had "appointed" for His judgment and the second coming. After October 22, the Millerites who became Seventh-day Adventists felt that the judgment had begun after all on the "appointed" day, but the second coming was yet future.

#47: William Miller's failed prediction of October 22. As pointed out in #6, William Miller did not make the prediction, did not teach it, and did not accept it as the certain date when Christ would come, as far as the extant evidence indicates.

But let's take a look at the whole question of the "failed prediction." Over and over again the video asks us to believe that the whole calculation of the 2300 days was in error. We have already looked at this question under #20, but let us look at it again.

Miller and the Millerites merely drew conclusions based on the teachings of some of the greatest scholars of several centuries. The general dates he arrived at could not be faulted. Consider the comments of one of Miller's most learned opponents, Dr. George Bush of New York City University, from a letter to William Miller:

I do not conceive your errors on the subject of chronology to be at all of a serious nature, or in fact to be very wide of the truth. In taking a day as the prophetical time for a year, I believe you are sustained by the soundest exegesis, as well as fortified by the high names of Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Faber, Scott, Keith, and a host of others, who have long since come to substantially your conclusions on this head. They all agree that the leading periods mentioned by Daniel and John do actually expire about this age of the world; and it would be strange logic that would convict you of heresy for holding in effect the same views which stand forth so prominently in the notices of these eminent divines. . . .

Your results in this field of inquiry do not strike me as so far out of the way as to affect any of the great interests of truth or duty. . . .

This opponent of Miller freely admits that the famous scholars mentioned all thought that the prophetic periods of the prophecies would end in Miller's day! What problem, then, did Dr. Bush see with Miller's interpretation? Why did he not become a Millerite if he thought Miller's calculations were correct?

Your error, as I apprehend, lies in another direction than your chronology. . . .

You have entirely mistaken the nature of the events which are to occur when those periods have expired. This is the head and front of your expository offending. . . .

The great event before the world is not its physical conflagration, but its moral regeneration. Although there is doubtless a sense in which Christ may be said to come in connection with the passing away of the fourth empire and of the ottoman power, and his kingdom to be illustriously established, yet that will be found to be a spiritual coming in the power of His gospel, in the ample outpouring of His spirit, and the glorious administration of His providence. (Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter 3/6/1844 and 3/13/1844)

Dr. Bush did not believe that Christ would literally come. He believed that the Scriptures that speak of Christ's coming should be taken symbolically, not literally. We cannot fault Miller for believing that Christ would personally come like the Bible says, instead of in a spiritual manner like Dr. Bush believed.

Thus William Miller had a firm biblical footing for his teachings, though they were not free from error. The date of October 22, 1844, however, was correct. Or at least, no solid evidence to the contrary was presented by his opponents either back then or now.

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#48 & #49: "At first Adventists believed that the door of mercy was shut on that date."
(Ibid.)

#48: Adventists believed that the door of mercy was shut. It's not hard to see why Millerites and First-day Adventists "were for a short time united in the belief that the door of mercy was shut. This position was soon abandoned" (Spirit of Prophecy 4:271). When one understands what was happening in those days, this argument becomes a straw man.

America has been called a Christian nation, yet we haven't acted very Christ-like at times. We used to own slaves. After we freed them, we had lynchings and cross burnings. Blacks couldn't eat in the same restaurants, use the same restrooms, or drink at the same water fountains.

As the expected time for Christ to come approached and passed, a spirit seemed to take hold of those who did not believe in Miller's views. Reports include: meetings were broken up by mobs; stones, eggs, snowballs, and spikes were thrown at the speakers at meetings; some believers were publicly whipped; and a minister with a mob attempted to tar and feather a lecturer.

Albert Barnes, the noted Presbyterian author of Barne's Commentary, told of the spiritual declension of those times:

At a recent meeting of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, Rev. Mr. Barnes, pastor of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, whose notes are so extensively used in our families and Sabbath-schools, stated that he had been in the ministry for twenty years, and never till the last communion had he administered the ordinance without receiving more or less to the church. But now there are no awakenings, no conversions, not much apparent growth in grace in professors, and none come to his study to converse about the salvation of their souls. With the increase of business, and the brightening prospects of commerce and manufactures, there is an increase of worldly-mindedness. Thus it is with all denominations. (Congregational Journal 5/23/1844)

The spiritual condition of the nation as a whole and the churches in particular had reached a low ebb. Consider also the words of Charles Finney and an unknown author:

In the month of February of the same year, Professor Finney of Oberlin College said: "We have had the fact before our minds, that, in general, the Protestant churches of our country, as such, were either apathetic or hostile to nearly all the moral reforms of the age. There are partial exceptions, yet not enough to render the fact otherwise than general. We have also another corroborated fact: the almost universal absence of revival influence in the churches. The spiritual apathy is almost all-pervading, and is fearfully deep; so the religious press of the whole land testifies. . . . Very extensively, church members are becoming devotees of fashion, --join hands with the ungodly in parties of pleasure, in dancing, in festivities, etc. . . . But we need not expand this painful subject. Suffice it that the evidence thickens and rolls heavily upon us, to show that the churches generally are becoming sadly degenerate. They have gone very far from the Lord, and He has withdrawn Himself from them."

And a writer in the Religious Telescope testified: "We have never witnessed such a general declension of religion as at the present. Truly, the church should awake, and search into the cause of this affliction; for as an affliction everyone that loves Zion must view it. When we call to mind how 'few and far between' cases of true conversion are, and the almost unparalleled impertinence and hardness of sinners, we almost involuntarily exclaim, 'Has God forgotten to be gracious? or, Is the door of mercy closed?'" (Great Controversy 377)

Where does the term "shut door" come from? It comes from coupling Matthew 25:1-13 and Luke 13:25 with the time prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9:

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Mat. 25:10-13)

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are. (Luke 13:25)

At some point, as the parable shows, the bridegroom who is Christ will come, and the door to the wedding feast will be shut. Then the five foolish virgins will try to get in and will not be able to.

Since the Millerites had all been teaching that Christ would come and that probation would then close (i.e. the door of mercy would be shut), it was only natural for them to think that the door of mercy had indeed closed on October 22. Especially would they have thought this way given the fact that they were continually being harassed by mobs, as already mentioned. No more sinners wanted to hear their preaching, so why should they think they still had a mission to preach to sinners?

#49: Adventists believed that the door of mercy was shut. Raising this objection is actually an inadvertent attack on the New Testament.

Those who have read through the book of Acts will remember that the early church was of the opinion that no Gentile could be saved. Before the door of mercy could be opened for a Gentile, that Gentile had to become a Jew.

To convince them otherwise, God sent Peter a vision which is recorded in Acts 10. The vision corrected Peter's misunderstanding that the door of mercy was shut to the Gentiles, and he went and preached to Cornelius, the Roman centurion.

When he got back to Jerusalem, the elders met with him to reprimand him. He recounted the vision and his experience at Cornelius's house, after which the record says:

When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)

It was a vision that corrected Peter and the apostolic church's false idea that the door of mercy was shut for Gentiles.

To be consistent, if we must automatically reject Ellen White and First-day Adventism for their misunderstanding, we must reject the apostles and Christianity as well, for they made the same error.

Besides Peter and the apostles believing such, many Christians believe something similar today. Calvinists teach that everyone is already predestinated to be saved or lost, and there really isn't anything anyone can do about it. The door of mercy for the strict Calvinist is shut to all those who have been predestinated to damnation.

I don't agree with such a teaching, but I'm not going to call all the Calvinist churches cults because they teach this.

       "Ellen White Supported It"    
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This document contains points #81 through #130 of the critique of Jeremiah Film's poorly-put-together video on Adventism. The video features a possibly record-breaking number of disputed points: an average of 1 every 10 to 15 seconds.

#50: "Ellen G. White with prophetic authority supported both this date and the shut door belief."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White with prophetic authority supported the shut-door-of-mercy doctrine. While Ellen White did support the date of October 22, she never had a vision supporting the shut-door-of-mercy belief:

With my brethren and sisters, after the time passed in forty-four I did believe no more sinners would be converted. But I never had a vision that no more sinners would be converted. And am clear and free to state no one has ever heard me say or has read from my pen statements which will justify them in the charges they have made against me upon this point.

It was on my first journey east [February 1845] to relate my visions that the precious lights in regard to the heavenly sanctuary was opened before me and I was shown the open and shut door. We believed that the Lord was soon to come in the clouds of heaven. I was shown that there was a great work to be done in the world for those who had not had the light and rejected it. Our brethren could not understand this with our faith in the immediate appearing of Christ. Some accused me of saying that my Lord delayeth His coming, especially the fanatical ones. I saw that in '44 God had opened a door and no man could shut it, and shut a door and no man could open it. Those who rejected the light which was brought to the world by the message of the second angel went into darkness, and how great was that darkness. (Selected Messages 1:74)

From this quotation it appears that Ellen White believed in no more mercy for sinners for a period of time between October 1844 and February 1845.

As pointed out under #49, it was a vision that corrected the apostolic church and Peter's false idea that the door of mercy was shut for Gentiles. Likewise, it was a vision that corrected the false understanding of the First-day Adventists who later became Seventh-day Adventists.

One difference though: Ellen White was mistaken for a few months. Peter and the apostles, it would appear, were mistaken for a few years. The apostles were mistaken for a longer period of time than Ellen White.

As pointed out in #49, if we must automatically reject Ellen White and First-day Adventism because of their mistaken view on this subject, then to be consistent we should reject Peter and Christianity as well.

Under "Point 27" in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video, the quotation under #51 is given, but neither in it nor in its full context does Ellen White once mention a "door of mercy," whether open or shut. No proof is given that Ellen White ever had a vision endorsing the idea that there was no more mercy for sinners.

    "Her First Vision Taught It"  
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#51: "Her first vision contained a fearful judgment on Adventists who had given up the 1844 message called the midnight cry. She said they had fallen off the path to heaven. 'It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the city as all the wicked world which God had rejected...' The Day-Star January 24, 1846."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White's first vision taught the shut-door-of-mercy doctrine. This is not true.

The first published account of her vision in The Day-Star is taken from a letter written by Ellen White to Eli Curtis, the editor of that journal. The last sentence of her letter says, "This was not written for publication; but for the encouragement of all who may see it, and be encouraged by it." We may therefore expect that the wording is not perfect.

Ellen White testified:

These two classes are brought to view in the vision--those who declared the light which they had followed a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection. (Selected Messages 1:64)

Therefore, her first vision was not teaching that there was no more mercy for sinners. The statement in question is only dealing with those who had rejected light, not those who had never yet received the light.

Quite the contrary, her first vision taught that there was more mercy for sinners. In that vision she saw "the living saints, 144,000 in number" who were alive at the second coming. She mentions the 144,000 a total of six times. However, there were only 50,000 Millerites in 1844, and her vision pictured many of these falling off the path.

Obviously, since there would have to be a lot of evangelism to get the number up to a literal 144,000, the door of mercy could not be shut.

However, like the Jewish leaders of Jesus's day who had rejected light and hardened their hearts to the point that they could no longer be reached with the gospel, those who had rejected light to that point in 1844 likewise could no longer be reached.

    "The Missing Words in the Reprint"  
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#52: "Years later, when her first vision was reprinted, even though the preface stated that no changes were made in idea or sentiment, the portion of her vision which taught the shut door to salvation was just left out. [Picture of the 7/21/1851 issue of Review and Herald shown.]"
(Ibid.)

Preface said there was no change. The entire preface to the reprinted vision can be read, and one will fail to find any such statement saying that there are no changes in word or sentiment. Instead, one will read, "Here I will give the view that was first published in 1846. In this view I saw only a very few of the events of the future. More recent views have been more full. I shall therefore leave out a portion and prevent repetition."

I leave it with the reader to determine whether a statement in the preface saying that a portion was left out should be used to prove that the preface stated that there were no changes in idea or sentiment.

Under "Point 28" in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video, the only substantiation for this charge is a secondary source which quotes in part from the 7/21/1851 issue of Review and Herald: ". . . 'more recent views have been more full. I shall therefore leave out a portion and prevent repetition.'"

On January 4, 2000, Dale Ratzlaff, the speaker of this portion of the video, emailed me a few answers to my questions regarding parts of the video. He said:

A few quick answers but first a note or two: I was not the one to edit this video. I would have done it much differently. I feel that some of the material would have been better left out or changed.

Would Mr. Ratzlaff have left out his own referral to a statement that does not exist?

The vision in question was first published in the January 24, 1846 issue of Day-Star. Then it was printed in a broadside on April 6 of that year. Then it was printed in A Word to the Little Flock which came out in May 1847. All these printings included the statement later left out.

The next printing, in which the statement in question was first left out, was not done by James and Ellen White but by Eli Curtis in his Girdle of Truth, and Advent Review, Extra, of Jan. 20, 1848. Eli Curtis at times printed Ellen White's visions without her consent (Present Truth and Advent Review 5/1/1850, p. 80). He apparently altered this vision when he printed it.

It is possible that when the time came in 1851 to reprint Ellen White's first vision, that the only copy the Whites had available was Eli Curtis's. If this were so, they would not necessarily have noticed that the statement in question was left out. That this possibility exists can readily be seen from the fact that in 1883, Ellen White did not have copies of her earliest visions, and asked others to send them to her so she could make a copy of them (Selected Messages 1:60). The Whites in the early days did not always keep copies of what they had written or records of what they had done. Ellen White did not have a copy of A Word to the Little Flock in 1882 (Ibid.).

    "The Other Shut Door Passages"  
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#53 & #54: "After 1851 the other shut door passages were either dropped or reinterpreted."
(Ibid.)

#53: Other passages dropped. There are no other passages.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video does not mention any other alleged shut-door passages in Ellen White's writings.

#54: Other passages reinterpreted after 1851. Besides the fact that there are no other alleged shut door passages in Mrs. White's writings, it should be pointed out that the "reinterpretations" referred to surfaced long before 1851.

The idea of passages being "reinterpreted" refers to the fact that the term "shut door" can mean one of several things:

  1. A shut door of mercy for all sinners.
  2. A shut door of mercy for those who have persistently rejected light.
  3. A shut door of access to the people to present God's message.
  4. The cessation of the ministry in, or shutting of the door of, the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.

The context may or may not tell us which of the several meanings was intended by the writer. Further explanations of these four usages follow, taken in part from P. Gerard Damsteegt's Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, pp. 106ff.

  1. The term might mean a shut "door of mercy" for all sinners. According to John Loughborough's Great Second Advent Movement, it was Joseph Turner who came up with the extreme shut-door theory which said that the "door of mercy" was shut (p. 220ff.). He cites Joshua V. Himes's eye-witness account of Turner's views as of the spring of 1845.

    Joseph Turner and Apollos Hale published a view along these lines in the January 1845 issue of Advent Mirror. Yet even this article only excluded "from all farther access to saving mercy, those who have rejected its offers during their time of probation." Regarding those who had not rejected truth, Hale and Turner said that these were a class "for whom we should labor" (pp. 3, 4). It is possible that Turner's views on the shut door had become more extreme between January and the spring, since he was getting into a number of fanatical views during that time, which views Ellen White was called upon to oppose.

  2. The term might mean a shut "door of mercy" for those only who had rejected truth. J. B. Cook came out strongly for this view in the January 30, 1845, issue of Western Midnight Cry, p.46. Cook denied the idea that Christ had ceased his mediatorial work, as did Crosier.

    As mentioned before, this was the position that Ellen White took, and it is biblical. The Bible contains a number of examples of people who rejected truth to the point that they could no longer be reached with the gospel. As Paul said, "It is impossible . . . to renew them again unto repentance (Heb. 6:4-6).

  3. The term might mean a shut "door of access" to preach the gospel. Enoch Jacobs opposed the view that the "shut door" was a "door of mercy" as early as November 1844, and went to preach to a congregation composed of others than Adventists the following spring. By June he and others were using the term "door of access" (Day-Star 6/24/1845, p. 28; 8/27/1845, p. 32; J. B. Cook in Day-Star 7/8/1845, p. 36; J. D. Pickands in Day-Star 9/20/1845, p. 25).

    Joseph Bates in his 1847 Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps says the same while using different words (109, 110). He refuses to refer to a shut "door of mercy," since "There is no such language in the Bible."

    Scriptures from the New Testament supporting this meaning of "shut door" are found under #58.

  4. The term might mean a shut door to the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. Ellen White described her vision of March 24, 1849, using language like this (Early Writings 42, 86). This vision was written out by March 30, 1849 (Manuscript Releases 5:200). By January 1849 Joseph Bates was also using language like this (A Seal of the Living God 20), derived from Jesus's message to Philadelphia:

"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name" (Rev. 3:7, 8).

While the door to the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary was shut in 1844, the door to the Most Holy Place was opened.

Revelation further alludes to these two doors in 4:1 and 11:19. In 4:1, John sees "a door" "opened in heaven." After going up to heaven he sees seven lamps of fire in 4:5 and a golden altar of incense in 8:3, 4. Since the seven lamps and the golden altar were pieces of furniture in the Holy Place (Ex. 40:24, 26), the first door opened must have been the door to the Holy Place. When the temple is "opened" in Revelation 11:19, John sees the ark, a piece of furniture from the Most Holy Place (Ex. 40:21). This "opening" would therefore be of the second door, the door to the Most Holy Place.

The strong possibility also exists that a Millerite's use of the term "shut door" might refer to the validity of the date October 22, 1844, without necessarily knowing for sure what sort of door was shut. In other words, some Millerites undoubtedly had a conviction that something was shut on that date, but were not sure what was shut.

It is a fact that not believing in a shut door of some sort was seen at the time as being a repudiation of the idea that October 22, 1844, was a fulfillment of prophecy in any sense. Therefore, belief in a shut door was synonymous with belief in the 2300 days ending in 1844, but not necessarily synonymous with a shut door of mercy.

Any mention of a shut door by a Millerite must be examined closely to see which definition of the term is the most appropriate. If the context does not indicate which meaning is intended, it may not be possible to know for sure what the speaker or writer meant.

    "Didn't Admit Their Error"  
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#55: "An explanation for the 1844 disappointment had to be found. Two Millerites, Hiram Edson and Mr. Crosier, introduced a new sanctuary theology which taught that instead of Christ coming visibly to earth in 1844, he entered for the first time the Most Holy Place in heaven. This new teaching gave them a way out of their dilemma without actually admitting their error."
(Ibid.)

They never admitted their error. This is not true. They did admit their error.

Daniel 8:14 said that at the end of the 2300 days the sanctuary would be cleansed. The Millerites taught that on October 22, 1844, Christ would return. Something obviously went wrong.

There were primarily two possible alternatives: 1) Admit that there was an error in the predicted date of the event of Christ's return. 2) Admit that there was an error in the predicted event for the date of 1844.

Edson and Crosier chose alternative number 2. They freely admitted their error in thinking that the predicted cleansing of the sanctuary was the second coming.

That alternative number 1, admitting that the date was wrong, was not really plausible, please see #20 and #47.

    "Ellen White's Immediate Endorsement"  
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#56: "Ellen G. White immediately put Godís endorsement on this new explanation for the date October 22nd, 1844. 'The Lord shew me in vision more than one year ago that Brother Crosier had the true light of the cleansing of the sanctuary.' A Word to the Little Flock p. 12."
(Ibid.)

Ellen White immediately put God's endorsement on their explanation. Actually, Ellen White put God's endorsement on Edson and Crosier's explanation before she heard that they had found an explanation, and even before they had had time to publish it.

Edson and Crosier's findings were printed in the 2/7/1846 issue of the Day-Star Extra, published in Cincinnati. Their findings may have also appeared in an issue of the Canandaigua, New York, Day Dawn around March of 1845, though we cannot be certain about this. However, in February of 1845, Ellen White had a vision, the same one referred to under #50. This was at Exeter, Maine, during her first journey east:

While in Exeter, Maine. . . . It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the Holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. They were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. . . . Previous to this I had no light on the coming of the Bridegroom, but had expected Him to [come to] this earth to deliver His people on the tenth day of the seventh month. I did not hear a lecture or a word in any way relating to the Bridegroom's going to the Holiest. (Manuscript Releases 5:97, 98)

There was no way she could have heard of Edson and Crosier's study at the time she had the vision.

Typically someone else found a doctrine in the Bible, and then her visions endorsed it. In this case her visions endorsed the doctrine before she heard of it.

  "Adjusted Doctrines, Shut Door, and Soul Sleep"  
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#57: "All doctrines were soon adjusted to fit 1844 as the cleansing of the sanctuary and the beginning of the investigative judgment." (Ibid.) [#58:] The shut door had to be opened to allow salvation for their own children who had been born after 1844 and to evangelize others into Adventism. [#59:] Salvation for everyone, even those who lived in Bible times, had to be conditional on this judgment, and so soul sleep was introduced. [#60:] The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation had to be reinterpreted to fit the investigative judgment. [#61:] It was a time of turmoil and doctrinal reversal, but the investigative judgment doctrine survived with Ellen White's stamp of approval."
(Ibid.)

#57: All doctrines were soon adjusted. I can't figure out what doctrines are supposed to have been adjusted. The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video doesn't explain this statement or list any "adjusted" doctrines. What follows in Mr. Ratzlaff's list doesn't include any doctrines "adjusted" to fit 1844.

#58: Shut door of mercy had to be opened. We've already dealt with this under #48-#49, #50, #51, #52, and #53-#54. I'll repeat one point here and add another.

Peter and the apostles thought the door of mercy was shut to the Gentiles. They were corrected by a vision from God. Likewise, those of the Millerites who thought the door of mercy was shut were corrected, if they wanted to be, by a vision.

What made it so obvious to at least some of the apostolic Christians that they were mistaken was the fact that a door to reach the Gentiles suddenly did open. All of a sudden, after Stephen's stoning in Acts 7, they could preach to Samaritans, Ethiopian eunuchs, and Roman centurions, something they had not been able to do before. A "door" was "opened":

And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. Acts 14:27)

But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. (1 Cor. 16:8, 9)

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christís gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord. (2 Cor. 2:12)

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds. (Col. 4:3)

A similar thing happened among some of the Adventists. Ellen White's vision of February 1845 corrected, if they allowed it to, their theological misunderstanding. The sanctuary doctrine provided a theological understanding of what door was opened and what door was shut in 1844, as noted under point 4 under #54. But the "door of access" still was not open, even though the "door of mercy" was (see #54 regarding the difference between these terms).

At first the vast majority of non-Millerites, like the Gentiles, had no interest in hearing Adventists preach. The door indeed was shut. But at some point, like in the early church, a change came. The door was opened, and people wanted to listen.

Such an opening of the door would not be an adjustment because of the cleansing of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment, but rather the result of the providence of God and the workings of His Spirit.

Ellen White's vision of February 1845 caused, for those who held such a view, the "adjustment" of the doctrine of a shut door of mercy for sinners. The later opening of the shut door of access was not an "adjustment" of a doctrine, but rather a change of the climate for evangelism.

#59: Soul sleep introduced because of the investigative judgment. This is not true, and the context of the statement found in the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video proves it.

Under "Point 33" is a selection from Life Sketches describing Ellen White's hearing of a sermon on soul sleep some months after a conversation between Ellen White and her mother on the same subject. Both the conversation and the sermon took place before the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844, as the context clearly shows.

Yet the doctrine of the investigative judgment, as understood today, did not come along until after October 22. Thus soul sleep was not introduced because of the investigative judgment, but rather the introduction of soul sleep preceded the doctrine of the investigative judgment.

The phrase "investigative judgment" was coined by Elon Everts in a letter dated December 1856. This letter appeared in the January 1, 1857, issue of Advent Review. It was at this time that the doctrine of the investigative judgment was crystallized, though hints of some of its fundamental concepts had surfaced previously. (See Ellen G. White: The Early Years 353, 354.)

Prominent Millerite Josiah Litch had suggested as early as 1840 that there had to be a trial phase of judgment before an executive phase. Occasionally Sabbatarian Adventists would refer to Christ's wearing the "breastplate of judgment" on the Day of Atonement or to judgment beginning at the end of the 2300 years, but at other times they would declare that the Day of Judgment could not begin before the second advent. (See chapter 24 of The Sanctuary and the Atonement - Biblical, Historical, and Theological Studies). Not until 1857 was a solid understanding of the subject arrived at by Sabbatarian Adventists.

So while soul sleep was introduced before October 22, 1844, the doctrine of the investigative judgment was not crystallized and fully formulated until over twelve years after October 22, 1844.

Who introduced the concept of soul sleep, or as it is also called, conditional immortality, among the pre-1844 Millerites?

A preacher named George Storrs, of Methodist persuasion, was first convicted on the subject of conditional immortality in 1837 after reading a tract by Deacon Henry Grew of Philadelphia. (Grew had arrived at his conclusions while serving as a Baptist preacher.) Storrs wrote his own tract in 1841, and then published six sermons on the subject in 1842. Copies of his six sermons eventually amounted to 200,000, even reaching England.

Just after their publication he heard of Miller's teachings and became a Millerite preacher himself. He preached to thousands in New York, Indiana, and Ohio. A number of Millerite ministers joined with him in his belief on conditional immortality.

Miller, Josiah Litch, I. E. Jones, and the Signs of the Times all came out against his views on conditional immortality, so his views were anything but unanimously held. But the point is that the idea of conditional immortality was definitely introduced before a consensus was reached among Sabbatarian Adventists regarding the investigative judgment.

We mentioned before that Joseph Bates, James White, and Ellen White are viewed as being founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Both Joseph Bates and James White were members of the Christian Connection. Since conditional immortality was a popular doctrine among many in the Christian Connection, Joseph Bates and James White may have believed that immortality was conditional even before Storrs introduced the subject among Millerites.

The reason why it is called conditional immortality is because the Bible says:

  1. We are to seek immortality (Rom. 2:7).
  2. We put on immortality at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:53, 54).
  3. Only God has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16).

Only upon condition that we accept Jesus as our Savior do we receive immortality.

#60: Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation reinterpreted to fit the investigative judgment. This accusation doesn't even make sense to me. Once these two doctrines were arrived at, what prophecies would need to be reinterpreted to fit them?

The basic interpretations of Daniel and Revelation were already worked out before October 22, 1844, which was before Edson and Crosier published their study on the cleansing of the sanctuary in 1845 or 1846, and definitely before Elon Everts helped crystallize the subject of an investigative judgment in 1857.

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video lists this as "Point 34." Under "Point 34" are two pages out of Great Controversy, but nothing on these two pages refers to a reinterpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation to fit the investigative judgment.

#61: It was a time of turmoil and doctrinal reversal. What doctrines were reversed? The shut door? But Adventists were definitely actively preaching to non-Millerites long before 1857, the "door of access" having opened a number of years earlier. A change in the time to keep the Sabbath (see #164, #165-#167, #168-#169, and #170-#174)? Changing by minutes or an hour when to commence the Sabbath wouldn't constitute a doctrinal reversal.

To substantiate the charge that that time period was characterized by "doctrinal reversal," one would expect the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video to list a number of reversed doctrines. Yet it doesn't deal with this point at all. Hence we must conclude that this charge likewise is just not true.

    "Harsh Teaching and Leisure Time"  
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#62 & #63: "The terms of this new investigative judgment doctrine, or sanctuary doctrine as it came to be known, were harsh. It taught that a recording angel now kept track of every move, even to the extent of recording wasted moments, where one might want some leisure time. 'Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of Heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs, neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or evil, with its far reaching results; all are chronicled by the recording angel.' Great Controversy 482." (Ibid.)

#62: Idea of angel recording everything is harsh. In essence, this statement is asserting that the Bible is harsh for teaching that an angel records everything, and that Christ is harsh for teaching that we will be judged by everything we have ever spoken.

That there are books of record in heaven is clearly taught by the following verses:

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:10)

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened , which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev. 20:12)

That these books of record used in the judgment must contain everything we have ever done can be seen from the fact that we will be judged by everything we have ever done:

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. (Eccl. 12:14)

Jesus took it one step further by declaring that we would be judged by everything we have ever said as well. So every word we have ever said must be recorded as well:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mat. 12:36, 37)

So, according to the Bible, the fact that the video declares that this basic Bible teaching is harsh has been recorded in the books of record in heaven. According to Jesus, the makers of this video will have to "give account thereof in the day of judgment" for this very statement.

#63: Wasted moments and leisure time. There is a typographical error in the above quotation that makes it less understandable. The video mistakenly added a comma. "Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs, neglected. . . ." should be "Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected. . . ."

As far as wasted moments and leisure time go, technically, the question is how we should spend our leisure time, not whether or not we should have any. Ellen White was not against people having leisure time. That this must be the case is clear from the following statement written by Ellen White in 1867:

I was shown that Sabbathkeepers as a people labor too hard without allowing themselves change or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation, nor for the glory of God, to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes. (Testimonies for the Church 1:514)

Consistently, she advocated using one's leisure time in activities that were beneficial and useful:

As a rule, the exercise most beneficial to the youth will be found in useful employment. The little child finds both diversion and development in play; and his sports should be such as to promote not only physical, but mental and spiritual growth. As he gains strength and intelligence, the best recreation will be found in some line of effort that is useful. That which trains the hand to helpfulness, and teaches the young to bear their share of life's burdens, is most effective in promoting the growth of mind and character. (Education 215)

Who would argue with this?

Notice her concern for children:

Give some of your leisure hours to your children; become acquainted with them; associate with them in their work and in their sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate friendship with them. In this way you will be a strong influence for good. (Review and Herald 5/26/10)

And her concern for ministers:

If a minister, during his leisure time, engages in labor in his orchard or garden, shall he deduct that time from his salary? Certainly not, any more than he should put in his time when he is called to work over hours in ministerial labor. Some ministers spend many hours in apparent ease, and it is right that they should rest when they can; for the system could not endure the heavy strain were there no time for letting up. There are hours in the day that call for severe taxation, for which the minister receives no extra salary, and if he chooses to chop wood several hours a day, or work in his garden, it is as much his privilege to do this as to preach. A minister cannot always be preaching and visiting, for this
is exhaustive work. (Evangelism 660)

While Ellen White was all for people having leisure time, she was against wasting time. Yet she was not the first Christian leader to call upon believers not to waste time, even moments of time. Consider this selection from Charles Spurgeon, who called wasting time a sin:

I need not stop to mention the various sins of which ye have been guilty. Ye have sinned, I am sure, enough to give good ground for self-suspicion, if ye did not still hang on this; that his love to you, not your love to him, is the seal of your discipleship. Oh, do you not think within yourselves, ďIf I had loved him more, should I have sinned so much? And oh, can I love him when I have broken so many of his commandments! Have I reflected his glorious image to the world as I should have done? Have I not wasted many hours within this week that I might have spent in winning souls to him? Have I not thrown away many precious moments in light and frivolous conversation which I might have spent in earnest prayer? Oh! how many words have I uttered, which if they have not been filthy, (as I trust they have not) yet have not been such as have ministered grace to the hearers? Oh, how many follies have I indulged in? How many sins have I winked at? How many crimes have I covered over? How have I made my Saviorís heart to bleed? How have I done dishonor to his cause? How have I in some degree disgraced my heartís profession of love to him?Ē Oh, ask these questions of thyself, beloved, and say, ďIs this thy kindness to thy Friend?Ē (The Spurgeon Sermon Collection 1:1027)

And the revivalist Charles Finney called upon the members of the church to use their leisure time in soul winning:

Now there is no certainty that a Church is selfish because its members hold protracted meetings only at those seasons of the year when their duty to God, to their country, and to their families, does not call them to other departments of labor. Whenever they can be spared from other departments of Godís work, let them lay their hands to this. If they have any leisure time, let them then make extraordinary efforts for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of the Church. This is reasonable, this is right, and I see not how this can be neglected without sin. (Letters on Revival, or Revival Fire 66, 67)

Would not the world be a better place if every Christian utilized their leisure time in such a way, or in helping the poor, teaching their children Bible truths, meditating upon the Word of God, etc.? However, the time many professed Christians spend in certain activities of pleasure is worse than wasted.

    "Investigative Judgment Is Unique and Unbiblical"  
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#64 & #65: "Truly this doctrine of investigative judgment, unique to Seventh-day Adventists, has colored every other doctrine in the Movement. There has been much controversy and debate since it cannot be supported from the Scriptures."
(Ibid.)

#64: The doctrine of investigative judgment is unique to Seventh-day Adventists. Since this point is debatable, I'll call it an oversimplification instead of an inaccuracy. Actually, most of the basic elements of the doctrine of the investigative judgment have been taught by various people who were not Seventh-day Adventists or even Millerites:

  1. The work of judgment includes an investigation. It seems pretty obvious that the judgment the Bible talks about must include an investigation, or else it really wouldn't be a judgment. The word "investigation" was used by Lactantius (d. 330 AD) in his description of the judgment in Divine Institutes:

    Nor, however, let any one imagine that souls are immediately judged after death. For all are detained in one and a common place of confinement, until the arrival of the time in which the great Judge shall make an investigation of their deserts. Then they whose piety shall have been approved of will receive the reward of immortality; but they whose sins and crimes shall have been brought to light will not rise again, but will be hidden in the same darkness with the wicked, being destined to certain punishment. (Ante-Nicene Fathers 7:445, 446)

  2. The righteous and wicked receive their rewards after the judgment, not before. Adam Clarke, a prominent Wesleyan commentator, said as much in the articles of faith he wrote out not too long after 1783:

    XXIX. There will be a general judgment; after which all shall be punished or rewarded, according to the deeds done in the body; and the wicked shall be sent to hell, and the righteous taken to heaven. (J. W. Etheridge's The Life of Rev. Adam Clark, LL.D. 68)

  3. The Day of Atonement was a day of judgment. The Puritan writer John Owen back in 1680 listed three tasks that the high priest was to do on the Day of Atonement, one of which was a work of judgment:

    1. To offer sacrifices to God for the people. 2. To bless the people in the name of God. 3. To judge them. (A Continuation of the Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews 303)

  4. Judgment begins with the professed people of God, and the judgment of the wicked takes place later. Barton W. Johnson was a Disciples of Christ commentator. In his 1891 People's New Testament, in a comment on 1 Peter 4:17, he wrote:

    The time for judgment is come. It begins at the house of God, the church. In Matt., chapter 25, the righteous are judged first.

  5. The 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 are 2300 years. The list on this point would get a bit long if it included everyone. Here is a sample of individuals who held this view: the writer of the anonymous pamphlet De Semine in 1205 AD; Villanova in the 1290's; Nicholas of Cusa in 1440; Sir Isaac Newton in 1727; Judge John Bacon, a Congregational clergyman from Massachusetts, in 1799; and Adam Clarke, Wesleyan Commentator from Ireland, in 1810. Jewish expositors who held the same view include: Nahawendi in the 8th or 9th century; Bar Hiyya about the 11th century; and Abravanel about the 15th century.

  6. The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are part of the 2300 years.The notes found in the Berlenburg Bible, which was finished in 1739, state the same. It was a Bible popular among German Baptists as well as the first Bible printed in America in 1743.

  7. The 70 weeks and the 2300 days begin at the same time. (This sounds similar to point 6. However, while the Berlenburg Bible taught point 6, it did not teach this point.) This view was held by: Johann Petri, Reformed pastor in Germany, in 1768; William C. Davis, Presbyterian minister from South Carolina, in 1811; Dr. Joshua L. Wilson, Presbyterian minister and General Assembly moderator from Ohio, in a sermon first preached in 1828; Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples of Christ, in an 1829 debate in Ohio; and Samuel M. M'Corkle, a Disciples of Christ layman from Tennessee, in 1830.

  8. The 70 weeks begin with the seventh year of Artaxerxes. This view was held by: Samuel Osgood, American soldier, legislator, and Postmaster General, in 1794; George Stanley Faber, prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral, in 1811; and Thomas Scott, Church of England commentator, in 1812.

  9. The 70 weeks begin in 457 BC. This view was held by: Robert Reid, Reformed Presbyterian minister of Pennsylvania and president of Erie Academy, in 1828; and Miss Harriet Livermore, "first woman ever to speak publicly within the walls of the U.S. Congress," in 1839.

  10. The first 69 weeks of the 70 end with Christ's baptism. The footnote for Daniel 9:25 found in the 1599 Geneva Bible plainly teaches this.

  11. The 2300 days end around 1843. This view was held by: John A. Brown of England in 1811; Archibald Mason, Reformed Presbyterian minister in Scotland, in 1820; and William Cuninghame, Esquire of Lainshaw in Scotland, in 1826.

    Many expositors could be added who felt that the 2300 days would end in 1843, 1844, or 1847. The difference between the 1843 and 1844 dates was due to not taking into account the fact that there is no zero year. Thus 2300 years from 457 BC ends in 1844 AD, not 1843.

    The difference between the 1843 and 1847 dates was that those arriving at 1847 thought Christ was born in the year 0 instead of in 4 BC. They would then calculate backwards from Christ's time to determine when they supposed Artaxerxes's seventh year was in which he gave his decree, or 453 BC. Those arriving at 1843 started with what they thought was the proper date for Artaxerxes decree (457 BC) and calculated forward to determine when Christ's ministry occurred.

    Thus all three dates, 1843, 1844, and 1847, were essentially the same.

  12. Dan. 8:14 is talking about a) the antitypical Day of Atonement services in b) the heavenly sanctuary. Of all the basic aspects of the investigative judgment doctrine taught among Seventh-day Adventists, these two may be the only aspects that have truly been unique to Seventh-day Adventists. Yet they are very natural conclusions if one already believes the other aspects.

I am indebted to Leroy Edwin Froom's four-volume Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers for the above information.

#65: The doctrine of the investigative judgment cannot be supported by the Scriptures. This is not true. Below are two of the thirty-two points found in a paper on this subject that I wrote around 1995. If you want to read the entire paper, click here.

1. Before God either hands down a sentence or executes judgment, He always investigates the facts of the case, even though He already knows everything. First He searches hearts, then He rewards.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (Gen. 3:9-11)

And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? (Gen. 4:9)

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. (Gen. 11:5)

And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. (Gen. 18:20, 21)

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Rev. 2:23)

2. True to the way God operates, we would expect Him to investigate before He separates the wheat and the tares, the good fish from the bad. An investigation of professed believers does in fact take place just prior to Christ's wedding.

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat. 22:10-14)

The first point above is that God always investigates before passing judgment. This is illustrated by the fact that he investigated the situation and sins of Adam, Cain, Babel, and Sodom before handing down the punishment.

The second point is that Christ's parable foretold an investigation of believers before His wedding at the end of time.

Again, if you want to read all 32 points, supported by 128 different Bible verses, click here.

    "No Legitimate Christian Denomination"  
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#66, #67, & #68: "This central Adventist doctrine, which states that the judgment of believers' works will determine their salvation, is blatantly unbiblical, and is not taught by any legitimate Christian denomination." (Narrator)

#66: This investigative judgment doctrine states that a believer's works determines their salvation. Technically, using the way evangelicals popularly use the term "saved," this is not true.

A lot depends on how we define the term "salvation." The plan of redemption includes a number of aspects:

  1. Justification and conversion.
  2. Sanctification, the daily growth in Christ that a believer experiences.
  3. Glorification, the "redemption of our body" that Paul spoke of in Rom. 8:23.

Each of these three is a miracle of divine grace and is based on the finished work of Christ on Calvary's cross and not on our own works. Each is likewise made possible today through the intercession of Christ.

Some today use the word "salvation" to mean justification. Some use it to mean both justification and sanctification. Some use it to mean all three: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Later on, the video explicitly uses the term "saved" to mean only justification (see #143). But that cannot be the meaning here, for this statement mentions "believers' works." If they are already believers, then they must be already justified and converted, as well as daily growing in grace. So the video itself is using more than one definition of the word "saved," and the viewer should take note of this fact.

A major problem is that most evangelicals who hear the above statement from the video will think of justification when the video is really referring to glorification.

Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that works determine justification or conversion for the simple reason that individuals cannot perform good works (in the New Testament sense) until they are justified and converted. Until that point, all works are tainted by selfishness and are essentially "works of the flesh."

We do, however, believe that justification and conversion occur on condition of repentance and confession, as I would think nearly every Christian denomination does. Repentance and confession do not buy justification and conversion, but they are conditions for receiving this free gift of God.

Seventh-day Adventists also believe that glorification, and the retaining throughout eternity both of justification and the results of sanctification, are conditional. The investigative judgment determines who has complied with the conditions and who has not. What those conditions are is dealt with in the next point.

Many evangelicals will disagree with this, since many believe that justification cannot be lost. We respect those who disagree, and we hope they will likewise respect us, for our belief is a belief held by many denominations and is based on a number of Scriptures. These Scriptures, with a few comments, appear immediately below:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1 Jn. 5:12)

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

The above texts indicate that in order to have our names written in the Book of Life, a book which Revelation talks about, we must accept Christ. The only question left is whether once our names are registered in the book of life, they can be blotted out.

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Ex. 32:32, 33)

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. (Ps. 69:28)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev. 3:5)

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev. 22:19)

So it is possible to have one's name blotted out of the book of life. And those whose names do not appear there will be cast into the lake of fire:

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)

It is apparent, then, that an individual can be justified and converted, and then later turn away from God and be lost.

#67: This is blatantly unbiblical. Not so. The Bible clearly says that obedience and holiness are conditions for the retention of justification and the reception of glorification:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28, 29)

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev. 21:7, 8)

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. . . . And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev. 21:24, 27)

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Rev. 22:14, 15 KJV)

Lastly, from the same book in which Paul is so adamant that we cannot work our way to heaven:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21)

Clearly, while we cannot work our way heaven, and we are not saved by works, glorification and the retention of justification are conditional upon obedience and holiness.

#68: The investigative judgment is not taught by any legitimate Christian denomination. Obviously, this begs the question. If the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Christian denomination, then this statement is not true. In order to be a true statement, one must assume the very point attempting to be proven.

Besides, according to Dan Snyder under #232, he was a Christian for 28 years before leaving the Adventist Church. Therefore, according to the video itself, the Seventh-day Adventist Church must be a Christian denomination. The narrator should take careful note of Mr. Snyder's statement:

The last three years have been the most spiritually rewarding of my thirty-one years as a Christian.

    "Forgotten Sins, 4th Commandment, Gospel of Grace"  
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#69, #70, #71, #72, & #73: "This doctrine teaches at some point in time between 1844 and the second coming of Christ, every believer's name will come up in judgment. At that point in time, if one has any unconfessed sins, even forgotten sins, or if one does not demonstrate perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments, especially the fourth, he will be lost. This teaching is diametrically opposed to the New Testament gospel of grace."
(Dale Ratzlaff)

#69: Believers will be lost if they have unconfessed sins.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn. 1:9)

How can an individual be forgiven if he has not confessed his sins? How can an individual be taken to heaven who has not confessed his sins, and has therefore not been forgiven? Does not the idea that people can be saved without confessing their sins strike at the very heart of the New Testament gospel of grace?

#70: Even forgotten sins. One will fail to find the phrase "forgotten sins" either in Mrs. White's published and released writings or on the Words of the Pioneers CD-ROM (except for one reference to Catholic theology).

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video lists this point as "Point 37." Under "Point 37" is only a single paragraph from volume 4 of Spirit of Prophecy which contains the phrase "forgetfulness of the Saviour's claims," a far cry from "forgotten sins." In my opinion, this Documentation Package is pretty pathetic.

If there are forgotten sins that the sincere believer needs to confess, surely God will bring these sins back to the believer's remembrance. But again, neither Ellen White nor the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church ever said that sincere believers who had never confessed forgotten sins would be lost.

#71: Perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. That the Ten Commandments are the standard in the judgment is clear:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:10-12)

The word "perfect" is a bit scary because of its present-day connotations. One might use the word "complete" in its place. If the word "perfect" bothers you, just ask yourself which commandment you plan to break. Are you going to hate or kill today? Are you going to covet or steal? Are you going to lust or run around on your spouse? (If you think the last one is alright to do, ask your spouse what he/she thinks.) Which commandment do you plan on not "completely" keeping, on breaking just a little bit?

When people say that we cannot keep the Commandments even if God helps us, they are dishonoring the Lord and calling the Bible a lie:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 Jn. 5:3)

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat. 11:30)

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 Jn. 2:3, 4)

Under "Point 38" in the Documentation Package, the substantiation for this charge is a single paragraph from an October 26, 1897, issue of the Advent Review. Of the 193 words of this paragraph, 112 words are direct quotes from New Testament Bible verses!

#72: Especially the fourth. This is not true. Notice two points from James:

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (2:10)

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (4:17)

Clearly, while breaking one commandment is like breaking them all, if we do not know what God has said about the Sabbath, we are not held accountable for it. This is what Seventh-day Adventists consistently teach.

Other Scriptures on this include:

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (Jn. 9:41)

For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (Rom. 5:13)

And Ellen White herself testified:

The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement [synonym for the term "final intercession" used in the previous sentence] is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God's commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts. (Early Writings 254)

Many believers in ages past did not know of the claims of the fourth commandment. Both Seventh-day Adventists and the Bible teach that they will not be held accountable for their violations of this commandment. In fact, it is not hard to imagine that most believers who will be vindicated in the judgment will be believers who knew nothing about the claims of the fourth commandment.

#73: This teaching is diametrically opposed to the gospel of grace. The reader may judge for himself from the points under this section, as well as the Scriptures given under #67, whether this statement is true or not.

Let us remember what the gospel of grace and the New Covenant really are:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Rom. 1:16)

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Mat. 1:21)

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 Jn. 3:4)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 Jn. 1:7)

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. (Heb. 10:16)

The gospel of grace is a beautiful message about the power of God which can both forgive sin and transform the life. As Jesus said, "Sin no more" (Jn. 5:14; 8:11). Simply put, this means, "Break the commandments no more."

To say that a person may continue to knowingly practice sin and still go to heaven, or to say that a person may still go to heaven even though he has never had the law written in his heart and mind, this is what is diametrically opposed to the gospel of grace.

    "Man-Made Religion and The Clear Word"  
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#74, #75, #76, & #77: "In all man-made religions the authority of God's Scripture and unchanging word is challenged. The Seventh-day Adventists are no exception. They have their own version of the Bible, known as The Clear Word Bible, which inserts the words and ideas of Ellen G. White directly into the biblical text." (Narrator)

#74: Seventh-day Adventism is a man-made religion. This is another point that begs the question, that assumes what is supposed to be proven. It also shows that the narrator does not understand our history very well, for a knowledge of the providences that brought us into existence would make it hard to call us "man made."

#75: Seventh-day Adventists have their own version of the Bible. Not so. Jack Blanco's paraphrase is not in any sense an official Seventh-day Adventist version. As the Documentation Package under "Point 49a" proves, The Clear Word's copyright is held by Jack Blanco, not by the denomination or one of its presses. "Blanco" appears on the spine. No other entity is listed on the spine as the publisher, since Blanco is both the author and the publisher. Thus while it can truly be said that Jack Blanco has his own paraphrase, it cannot be truly said that Seventh-day Adventism has its own version.

I have never heard of an Adventist preacher using it in the pulpit. Some probably have, but I have yet to hear of it. I do not own a copy and have no present intention to get one.

Under "Point 39" in the Documentation Package are two pages of the three-page preface to The Clear Word, but the first page is missing. The first page of the preface begins with these two sentences:

This is not a new translation but a paraphrase of the Scriptures. It is not intended for in-depth study or for public reading in churches.

The second edition reads almost the same:

This is not a new translation but an interpretive paraphrase of the Scriptures. It is not intended for in-depth study or for public reading in churches.

The Clear Word is crystal clear. Why didn't the contributors to the video read the very first sentences of the preface? Or did they?

#76: It's known as The Clear Word Bible. Not any more. Quite a few quickly realized that something like this might come up one day, so the second edition carries only the title, The Clear Word.

Did the contributors to the video know about the second edition? The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video shows a photocopy of the cover of the second edition under "Point 49a".

Also, Mr. Ratzlaff quotes from the cover of the second edition when he later calls Dr. Blanco's paraphrase "An Expanded Paraphrase to Nurture Faith and Growth." The video's footage shows a picture of the first edition. On its cover can be seen, "A Paraphrase to Nurture Faith and Growth." While Mr. Ratzlaff is holding the copy of the first edition, he quotes from the cover of the second edition by calling it "An Expanded Paraphrase. . . ."

#77: Words and ideas of Ellen White inserted into the biblical text. Actually, it's the words and ideas of theologian and college professor Jack Blanco, not Ellen White. Anyone comparing Jack Blanco's paraphrase with the writings of Ellen White can clearly see that Blanco is inserting his own words, not Ellen White's words.

Under "Point 39," the Documentation Package offered at the end of the video shows pages viii and ix of the preface to The Clear Word. On these two pages, Dr. Blanco uses the word "paraphrase" six times. Twice he says that he interpreted and once that he "inserted information." Not once does he refer to Ellen White.

Is interpreting and inserting information sinister? Not at all. That's what paraphrases are all about, for they are not true to the biblical text. The paraphraser weaves in his understanding into the passage.

Dr. Blanco did this as a devotional exercise. The end result appeared worthy of publishing, and so it was.

When some raised concerns that objections like what are on the video might be raised, Dr. Blanco changed the subtitle from "paraphrase" to "expanded paraphrase," as Mr. Ratzlaff admits (see #81). Since Dr. Blanco's paraphrase is more than just the average paraphrase, it is clearly identified as an "expanded paraphrase." One might call it a running commentary rather than a simple paraphrase.

    "Daniel 9 in The Clear Word"  
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#78: "For example in the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel 9, 300 words have been added to the Holy Scriptures."
(Ibid.)

300 words added. Mr. Ratzlaff said it was an "expanded paraphrase" (see #81), so the addition of 300 words is understandable in this paraphrase that Dr. Blanco did for his daily devotions.

If the reader will peruse Daniel 9 in The Clear Word, he will see that Dr. Blanco's additions are not the words of Ellen White. He will also see that the additions are in harmony with the method of interpreting Daniel 8 and 9 that has been popular for centuries (see #64).

The Documentation Package offered at the end of the video lists this as "Point 40 & 40a." Under these points is a research paper by a minister. The first page quotes Great Controversy p. 446 where it says that "The second commandment forbidding image worship has been dropped from the law. . ." by the Catholic Church. Then it goes on to say how this is wrong because the Catholic Church claims that it hasn't changed the second commandment, and that the so-called second commandment is really part of the first.

But the very next sentences in Great Controversy after the one quoted say:

But papists urge, as a reason for omitting the second commandment, that it is unnecessary, being included in the first, and that they are giving the law exactly as God designed it to be understood. This cannot be the change foretold by the prophet. An intentional, deliberate change is presented: "He shall think to change the times and the law." The change in the fourth commandment exactly fulfills the prophecy.

So the author of the research paper says a sentence in Great Controversy is wrong, and to prove it he gives points that the very next sentences in Great Controversy acknowledge to be so!

Have these folk ever heard of honesty?

But back to the original point: There is nothing sinister about an addition of 300 words to an admitted expanded paraphrase of a 27-verse Bible chapter.

    "Daniel 8:14 in The Clear Word"  
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#79 & #80: "A blatant example of this type of alteration can be seen in Daniel chapter 8 verse 14 which in the King James Version simply reads, 'Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed.' However in the Adventist Clear Word Version 'After two thousand, three hundred prophetic days (or two thousand, three hundred years), God will step in, proclaim the truth about Himself, and restore the ministry of the Sanctuary in heaven to its rightful place. This is when the judgment will begin, of which the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary was a type. Daniel 8:14 The Clear Word Version." (Ibid.)

#79: Alterations in Daniel 8:14. Again, as can be seen from #64, Jack Blanco's paraphrase is in harmony with the views of many prominent expositors of many denominations. The fact that so many today do not know what their spiritual forefathers taught on prophecy, so that these views sound totally new, is no fault of Dr. Blanco.

Again, this is an expanded paraphrase, not a translation, and is clearly identified as such. As already stated under #75, the first page of the preface begins with these two sentences:

This is not a new translation but a paraphrase of the Scriptures. It is not intended for in-depth study or for public reading in churches.

The second edition adds but one word:

This is not a new translation but an interpretive paraphrase of the Scriptures. It is not intended for in-depth study or for public reading in churches.

#80: The Adventist Clear Word Version. The makers of the video seem to have taken it upon themselves to change the title of Dr. Blanco's paraphrase from The Clear Word to The Clear Word Version. Can the makers of the video produce any advertising for this paraphrase, or any documentation whatsoever, which shows that the title is not The Clear Word, but rather, The Clear Word Version?

To be sure, by calling Jack Blanco's paraphrase The Clear Word Version, a better case against Seventh-day Adventists can be made. But it simply is not true. It isn't an Adventist version, and it is never called The Clear Word Version, except by critics and those who don't know better.

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