Adventist Idol


The title of the article is telling… Adventist Idols…and by definition of the title… Idols do exist in Adventist cultural-ized processes and worship norms. Given the premise that EGW is “the prism of NT thought” in SDA parlance… she could be totally and exactly correct on everything she wrote, and yet the deification of personality (especially in our post 2000 society) would be problematic… (without including historical difference and/or consideration of plagiarist assumptions)

The major mountain in true worship is source authority… Are you going to the source “God and his Word” in a vulnerable way? The answer “modeling wise” within SDA circles is “NO” … to wit… all your thoughts, desires, and interpretations are first viewed in light of EGW (primarily via the origin of evil/post 2nd coming chapter overlay of “the great controversy theme”. And secondly (which is odd given the fact that God’s word is pre-eminent), any “other” ideas/themes which “fit” into the GC “thematic overlay”

This includes external definitives…

  • Sabbath as a seal (not as a rest sabbatismos)
  • Non-SDA (remnants) receiving the MOTB… aka unclean frogs – membership has its privileges
  • multiple “time of trouble” experiences – are you sure you are ready?
  • and the one most detrimental to “assurance of salvation” - _has God reached your name during the IJ 1844

Strange as it may seem, these external definitives … are in actuality not “worship based”… and by definition are not relational and ultimately have no bearing on the “saved state” of an individual.

This is something I always sought as an SDA (before leaving when I found it conspicuously absent)… specifically the hope in a risen Lord, a finisher of our faith, someone who will never leave or forsake us…
Assurance is absent in SDA theology (at least for me, as i cannot speak for others)

Put in another vernacular… SDA in practice is about managing sin, not about seeking God. Which pulls us to the finishing thought. If God is lifted up, (we seek him each day). the more earnest and committed our seeking of him becomes, the more we reflect His desires, and plans in our life… and since we are on a journey with him. we see others as more valuable… not just sinners.

How can I instill and model hope in and for others, if I do not possess it myself and have no relational/experimental knowledge in my search for God. A healthy religion allows for discovery and/or growth and breadth of thought.

with kind regards,

(Frankmer7) #103

Beautifully stated! Thank you!!


(Beverley Joseph ) #104

You have missed the point that I was trying to convey. Something appears to be negative, which may not be with further clarification or discussion.

There is a story in the Bible about few of the tribes of Israel who erected an alter when they went off to settle in the region of the land allotted to them. The other tribes interpreted this to be an act of rebellion against God. However, after a discussion between both groups it became evident that no rebellion was intended.

Sister White is not here to offer an explanation why she “borrowed” from other writers without giving them credit for their work. Considering the time of her writtings, to call her a “thief” or a “liar” without having a discussion with her is not fair.

Due to a lack of understanding of the actions of the members of the Godhead, look at the names that are used to describe them–liar, imposter, bloodthirsty, winebibber, etc.

Interestingly enough, there is no problem that I am aware of with the content of the writings that she is said to have borrowed.

The Bible says that we shall know them by their fruits and her writings have been a blessing to the church.


If we were able to ask her right now what reasons she had for her plagiarism, I can’t think of a reason that I would find worthy. And, whether or not the content of the stolen material is a blessing is essentially immaterial to me. I try to be ethical and can’t justify giving credence to instruction from someone who did so much “borrowing.”

(Beverley Joseph ) #106

I understand your concern. I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article written by William Fagal, which is on the Internet.

"John Wesley, the 18th-century founder of Methodism (in which Ellen White grew up), described his own practice regarding documenting his sources. ‘It was a doubt with me for some time,’ Wesley wrote, ‘whether I should not subjoin to every note I received from them the name of the author from whom it was taken; especially considering I had transcribed some, and abridged many more, almost in the words of the author. But upon further consideration, I resolved to name none, that nothing might divert the mindof the reader from keeping close to the point of view, and receiving what was spoke[n] only according to its own intrinsic value.’

"Ellen G. White’s outlook seems similar to Wesley’s. Her primary interest was that people understand her message. She felt no need to cite other writers ‘as authority.’ What they had written might serve simply as ‘a ready and forcible presentation of the subject.’ To put it in Wesley’s words, she wanted nothing to ‘divert the mind of the reader from keeping close to the point of view.’ "

I hope that you find this helpful.

(Melissa W) #107

To me, the difference is that Wesley did not , nor do Methodists in general, (as far as I know, and I may be wrong) imply that every thing he wrote was given or “shown” to him directly by God. Nor have I heard it said that to reject Wesley is to reject God.


It’s interesting anyway, and I appreciate you sharing something that supports your viewpoint. However, I can’t help but believe that the Lord would choose only the most scrupulous individual to be a direct spokesperson. Maybe Ellen took her cue from Wesley, or maybe she didn’t even know about his methods.

Wesley “borrowed” heavily from a political pamphlet when he wrote an address in an attempt to calm the colonies regarding taxation on the eve of the American Revolution. He later admitted to it and recanted. Is there evidence that Wesley was a habitual, repeat offender? Did he borrow from others when writing on spiritual matters and pass it off as coming from God?

Just because Wesley did it, doesn’t make it ok.


Well said Kevin. I have only read a handful of articles and the comments on this website and I can already sense a strong hostility towards clearly biblical Adventist teachings.

(George Tichy) #110

Sure, it is very helpful indeed. It helps us all see that, no matter what, there are still people defending and justifying and trying to explain and minimizing the fact that EGW deliberately plagiarized a significant part of her writings.

Are you saying that she did it for the same reason Wesley apparently did it, i.e., so that readers wouldn’t be distracted from the message by the quotes of the sources? This is the most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard - and I heard plenty of them.

I wonder if the Church will ever become serious and mature about this issue of stealing writings from others and blame it all on God!

(George Tichy) #111

Please clarify the difference between what are “clearly Biblical teachings” and what you called “clearly biblical Adventist teachings.”

It’s interesting that you capitalized Adventist, but not biblical. WOW!..

(reliquum) #112

Well, at least it’s not bibliolatry, right George?

But it does seem we make an idol of our institution, it’s “leaders”, even of our own adherence to our often tortuitously contorted distinctives.


I understand your concern with my comment. Let me rephrase it to "Adventist teachings which are clearly Biblical. Do the majority of the people commenting on here consider themselves to be Seventh Day Adventist? It’s just confusing to me why people would choose to belong to a church that they have so many issues with. Everybody can make up their own mind if E.G.W was a prophet or not etc. But for me, if I doubted any of the major teachings of the SDA church I would probably just leave the church and try and find a church that teaches the truth. I do not care for arguing, I just stumbled across this website and noticed the negativity towards the SDA church. Maybe i’m naive, but I don’t understand it. God bless. .

(George Tichy) #114

It may appear that simple. It’s not. In my journey of 60+ years in Adventism, and even carrying a SDA college degree in Theology (class of 1972, in Brazil) I became convinced that Churches do not teach “the truth.” People learn the truth from their own studying of the Bible as their main source, and of course there are some external influences (people, writers) that help to shape our beliefs throughout the years.

I also learned, very painfully, that the Church may not disclose to the members ALL aspects of some of its doctrines. Only when I was 30 did I learn about many of those issues brought up by Walter Rea, Desmond Ford, Numbers, and many others at that time. The Church would fight them all, instead of admitting to the obvious. And then, also, the 1919 Conference case… Let alone the politicking…

I can only speak for myself. Why don’t I leave? I don’t have to. This is one Church I am very well acquainted with and I already master the “navigation process” to be able to cope with all those issues. Another Church? Would have to learn their own idiosyncrasies all over again! Besides, in my case, I live in an area where those disturbing issues do not disturb the congregations because they are not forced on the members. If I lived in another region, this cluld be very different, as @tjzwemer could tell you.

Therefore, I have the perfect conditions to attend a church where I can congregate with other Christians and practice the “truth” as I understand it from the Bible only, since I am a Sola Scriptura Christian. So far so good, excellent.

(Tim Teichman) #115

The issue with this is that in many cases it is not clear to people. Given that there is a lot of discussion and argument and different positions on that the correct interpretations of the bible are, and also what correct Adventist teachings are.

By the way, what are the “Adventist teachings” you refer to? Is there an agreed upon list of the teachings, so they can be not only known, but also evaluated for correctness?

As I recall, the only tests of faith for an Adventist are the seventh day sabbath and the soon return of Jesus. Presumably any other teachings are secondary, are not tests of faith, and so are optional.

(Anne Marbury) #116

Stuart, have you ever questioned the laws of your country or municipality? Maybe you found a law unfair or unjust. Perhaps your county rezoned a parcel of protected land for the benefit of a county official. If something like this happened would you consider moving from the county you lived in? Would you consider giving up your citizenship because of unjust federal laws? Some have probably done both, but not many.

If I thought I could find a church that practiced what Christ intended for his followers while we waited for him to return I would try to leave the SDA church. But I don’t think there is such a church, even though there are parts of other denominations which I very much prefer and which seem to be more focused on the tasks Jesus gave us such as caring for the oppressed and powerless. However, knowing and accepting this imperfection of the Christian churches is not the same as being willing to accept what has happened in our own church with regards to venerating EGW. This is an ongoing error which has become understood over time, especially since the discovery of the 1919 Bible Conference material in 1974. Why should we continue to perpetuate it?

(Steve Mga) #117

Tim –
In my SDA church, prior to the baptism of a candidate on the day of their
baptism, the candidate or candidates HAVE TO SAY YES to a list of 17
statements that one finds on the back of the Church Bulletin each Sabbath.
Only then is the person baptized and welcomed into church fellowship.

(Tim Teichman) #118

And that is a shame. And it is not following the biblical example.

(George Tichy) #119

So the Eunuch, baptized by Phillip, would have had absolutely no chance, uh?
It seems that this Christian thing is being reduced to a business-like operation in Churches with self-assigned power and authority to legislate on spiritual issues.

(Beverley Joseph ) #120

Sister White has been called a thief and a liar without having her day in court. She is not here to defend herself and it is certainly not fair for us as Christians to vilify her.

She has lived a godly life and her writtings and counsels have been very helpful to millions of people.

It is a distraction of the devil to have us spend so much time on this issue that will not be fully resolved because the only person that can help us do so is dead.

If you have not yet done so, spend some time reading the “Conflict of the Ages” series and “Steps to Christ” . I can assure you that you will be blessed.

(George Tichy) #121

Yes, I read ALL her books that were available when I was young in my twenties or so. Many of them were requirements in the School of Theology that I attended to.
The point is NOT if her books contain inspirational writings and counsel. The point is, Did SHE write all of them herself or did she copy portions from other authors.
And the shocking answer is, YES, she not only copied from others but she never gave proper credit to the original authors. A practice called PLAGIARISM.

There is no “distraction of the Devil” just because there are people who are zealous for what is right. Plagiarism is wrong no matter who does it. EGW didn’t have the liberty to just do it because it was she who was dojng it. Plagiarism is fraud in itself. Period.

There is no need for any “resolution” of the problem. This problem does not have a resolution, with her dead or alive. The only thing that is missing is the Church admitting to it and then reviewing the real role of her writings in terms of being a source of doctrine. But I know this is NOT going to happen. It’s easier for the Church to keep hiding the facts and the truth from the members, especially in the world church regions.