End-Time Events and the Last Generation: An Interview with Dr. George Knight

(Kevin Paulson) #224

No, this isn’t the “big issue” with Ellen White, any more than Jeff Sessions’ distortion of the Bible to support the tearing of babies from their mothers’ arms presents a “big issue” so far as understanding the Bible is concerned.

Both Scripture and Ellen White are self-explanatory, and when we view passages from either source in context and within the larger consensus, their true meaning emerges.

The problem is that your understanding of “works” having nothing to do with justification or salvation is not the understanding of “works” that we find in either the Bible or Ellen White. In both sources it is self-generated, superficial human activity that has nothing to do with being saved (e.g. Rom. 2:17-23), not the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the believer, which the New Testament quite clearly states is an integral part of the saving process (II Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5).

Using your logic, Jesus Himself should be rejected as a theological authority, as He stated very clearly in more than one passage that obedience to the law is a condition for being saved (Matt. 7:21; 19:16-26; Luke 10:25-28). Of course Jesus also makes it plain that we cannot render this obedience in our own strength (Matt. 19:25-26; John 15:5). Through His strength we can do all things (Phil. 4:13); without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

The righteousness of Christ indeed covers us as if we have never sinned (SC 62), but this only happens for the penitent who have surrendered all to the Lord (II Chron. 7:13; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; Matt. 6:14-15). Ellen White is clear in another statement that “God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place, and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul” (1SM 366).

There is no conflict at all between any of the Biblical or Ellen White statements we have cited in this dialogue, once we understand that the “works” that have nothing to do with our salvation are the self-generated kind, not the Spirit-generated kind—the latter clearly being salvific so far as both Scripture and Ellen White are concerned.

And I wouldn’t bring up Martin Luther, frankly, a beer-drinking anti-Semite whose hatred of Jews would later be celebrated by the Nazis (see William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Reich, pp. 91,236). God certainly used Luther in his day, but the standard of holiness he preached and practiced is in no way good enough for Christians today. I doubt seriously, considering his views, that Luther would be welcome as a speaker at any Seventh-day Adventist gathering in our time, from the most conservative to the most liberal.

As I say so often on this forum, objective witnesses to this conversation can judge for themselves who is quoting the inspired sources faithfully and in context, and who is not. As you have yourself declared in this discussion that hypocrisy is inevitable for anyone who follows the counsel of Ellen White, it makes little sense for any thoughtful observer to take seriously any reference you might make to writings for which you obviously have very little respect.

(Kevin Paulson) #225

In case you’ve forgotten, Jesus saw theology in black and white too. Just ask the rich young ruler. Not to mention His own parting declaration to His followers, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

And let’s not forget His declaration that “narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matt. 7:14). Not much warm, fuzzy, ambiguous, postmodern inclusiveness there! Or anywhere else in our Lord’s teachings, for that matter.

(Kade Wilkinson) #226

If Scripture is self-explanatory, why are there 20,000+ protestant denominations that all claim the Scripture is clear, but cannot agree on what it says?

And what do you mean by “the larger consensus?” I’m guessing you aren’t referring to Patristic consensus, but I’m not sure what you actually do mean.

(Kevin Paulson) #227

You might just as well ask why so many in our country choose to believe so many obvious falsehoods in our present societal and political context. What some are calling the “post-truth” era in our political life has in fact existed in religious circles for thousands of years, in fact since the Garden of Eden.


Delaying the Second Coming is not even scriptural.

Hebrews 10:37 is clear that there is no delaying for a generation to become perfect: “For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.”

(Kade Wilkinson) #229

SDAs: The Bible is clear, and interprets itself. Anyone who prayerfully studies it with an open mind will be led to the right interpretation.

Also SDAs: No one interpreted Scripture correctly until circa 1840.


Speaking of “support the tearing of babies from their mother"s arms”, care to post a comment of what the head of the harlot church said today about those, including those from your remnant church that support the tearing from the womb?

(George Tichy) #231

I am speechless Kevin. How do you dare to say this? We have seen you “interpreting” every single verse from the Bible to “adjust” it to your views, and also doing the same when using EGW.

If you really believe what you just said, practice it! At least from now on, please, do not ever “interpret” texts again. I will copy and paste your declaration above, to remind you of what you just said. If they are self-explanatory, well then you don’t have to “help people to understand,” right?

I know…, now you will probably try to “explain” to us what you just said, in an effort to prove that what you just said is actually not what you just said. This has been the pattern of your rhetorics, and I do not expect it to change any time soon! :nauseated_face:

(Tim Teichman) #232

Then why do so many disagree as to what that meaning is? What’s “the larger consensus”? Larger than what? Consensus from who?

My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!

Oh la la.

(Frankmer7) #233

The bible still needs to be interpreted by human beings. We are all engaged in that work, and we all bring our limitations and subjective experiences to the task… whether we admit it or not. Including Kevin who keeps trumpeting his total objectivity. It is why we need to do just this, discuss and argue together… without demonizing one another.

Additionally, unless you were being sarcastic, the idea that the bible wasn’t correctly interpreted until the 1840’s borders on nonsensical to me. Have you ever read William Miller’s time prophecies? They are a hermeneutical nightmare and an interpretive mess. This was the grounds for the sensationalism and simply wrong predictions that Adventism sprang from. They picked one prediction out of fifteen, tried to re explain it because of a totally unverifiable vision in a cornfield, and here we are.

I wouldn’t make such absolute claims on such a flimsy interpretive platform. One that has engendered much controversy as the denomination has grown.




This was the grounds for the sensationalism and simply wrong predictions that Adventism sprang from. They picked one prediction out of fifteen, tried to re explain it because of a totally unverifiable vision in a cornfield, and here we are.

I wouldn’t make such absolute claims on such a flimsy interpretive platform. One that has engendered much controversy as the denomination has grown.

Those agreeing with this yet still club members still invite your neighbor to check out your club?

(Kade Wilkinson) #235

Frank, the idea is nonsensical to me as well, but it seems to be the actual belief behind the SDA denomination’s existence. Certainly the Christians who walked with the Apostles and suffered martyrdom in the first two centuries did not interpret the Bible in the way that the SDA church does. This is easily verified by comparing the epistles of Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp to SDA doctrinal publications. Thus, if the SDA church is right, those holy martyrs who learned the gospel at the feet of the apostles must have been wrong.

(Tim Teichman) #236

Yes, of course. Many individuals who argue otherwise appear to not understand that the very act of reading is interpretation.

Building a thought from a string of written words is interpretation. You have to figure out what the words mean when strung together into a sentence. Similarly, sentences are arranged in groups to form paragraphs, from which more knowledge can be extracted than is evident when examining each sentence alone.

Make sense of this:
I saw a ship shipping ship shipping ships.

Or, try making sense of this long and complex passage without interpreting it:
“For Heaven only knows why one loves it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most deject of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can’t be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason; they love life. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and jingle and strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.” —Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

Or, from the bible:
”But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” - Mark 13:32

So explain how Jesus does not know and will not (?) know when he will return? He is God, right? And God knows everything. Seems this requires interpretation to figure that puzzle out.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #237

The issue has its source in a misunderstanding of the human nature of Christ. He took the human frailty of man post garden but without the original sin of Adam. Brinsmeatriedtomake a new soul temple at the Judgment— He was rejected rightly so but the Nichols et al but kept the perfection at the end time. Now Ted would make t so. The problem is those whowalktake the road. Of Dawkins rather than Paul.

(Cfowler) #238

How would you fix the mess? That’s the 64,000 dollar question, isn’t it?

It’s akin to fixing the LDS church, IMO. Seems impossible. But, do you have any ideas on how to really change things, in some meaningful way, for the SDA church?

(Frankmer7) #239

I could only see this happening over time from the grassroots… that these things just get relegated to the dustbin of history, as the gospel continues to move front and center. However, I don’t hold such high hopes for that, considering the conservatism of the southern hemisphere and the developing world.

That would leave things to leaders with theological integrity and training to move Adventism from such aberrations to the gospel that is seen in the NT. The leaders of the WWCofG traveled this road. There was good that came from it, but many people were also disillusioned and hurt.

Those are two possibilities, but in the end, I don’t think that there are any easy answers.



(Frankmer7) #240

We have incredible ignorance within the rank and file in Adventism, concerning the history of biblical interpretation. Specifically, as if no one read, interpreted, applied, or understood Daniel or Revelation until we came along. Or, as if the thought of the end of all things didn’t truly begin until 1844. It’s embedded in the gospel message, preached by the apostles and recorded in the NT.

But, this has been the way we have been indoctrinated from the start.



(Frank Peacham) #241

In case you forgot, no one the Adventist church follows the advice of Jesus to the Rich Young Ruler–sell everything you own and come and follow me. Yes this is black and white–makes no difference we all ignore it. This is very common we ignore a lot of NT teachings not to our liking. Not alway so black and white, for today’s believers.

24“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Lk 6
Most Adventists love wealth

30“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Lk 6
If our car or bike is stolen–we want the thief punished and the item returned.


Respectfully, Frank, I do know Adventists who have given up/sold/given away their everything to follow Jesus.

If this were true, Frank, few Adventists called to teach in our educational system or work in many other fields as a calling, would not be there. Many could be much more wealthy. They have followed God’s calling in their life without thought for wealth.

While many of us have pursued stolen property, many have had reputation, jobs, goods, wealth, and other treasure stolen without pursuit. They have forgiven and moved on, not taking the thief to court or to authorities.

Your tribe of Adventists must be different from those I know. It’s easy to make generalities, but only God knows the heart.

(Kevin Paulson) #243

You’re very wrong, once again. When we look at the Bible in its totality, even simply the teachings of Jesus, it becomes clear that all wealthy people are not required to do what the young ruler was told by our Lord to do.

Think about Nicodemus. He too was a rich man. Did Jesus tell him to go sell everything and give to the poor? Did Jesus tell every rich person He encountered to do this? Certainly not. And the reason why is simple. Not every rich person idolizes wealth the way the young ruler did. Jesus knew the young man’s heart, and knew this was his problem. Hence the counsel Jesus gave him.

The Bible tells the stories of any number of wealthy persons who were not divinely commanded to sell everything and give it away. Job and Abraham are two examples, among others we could mention. Wealth obviously wasn’t a spiritual problem in Job’s life, as the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before once the enemy was permitted to test him through the destruction of all he had (Job 42:10).

Again we are confronted with the reality that the key to understanding inspired counsel is to consider it collectively, not just one or two passages. When the entire body of inspired instruction is considered relative to any topic, the balance and infinite good sense behind it become apparent.