Perspective: Can a Church Survive if It Gives Up Its Sectarian Identity?

(Elias Rowlandson) #183

Tichy, some of us have heard the conservative version (obviously not authorised) that the white estate updates and "changes various part of the boox to fit the church’s views (usually relating to nature of christ, godhead (trinity) etc.

(George Tichy) #184

I haven’t heard this one yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The boox are the best controlling tool that a denomination could ask for.

This is why it is good to detach emotionally from the denomination, from the WE and from others agencies outside one’s local church. We need absolutely nothing beyond a good local church and the Bible as the sole guide of our faith.

Anything else is completely superfluous. Just think of how irrelevant the “interpreters” of the Bible become when we make the “bible only” the only basis of our faith and belief.

(Elias Rowlandson) #185

when you thought you’ve heard everything. granted i heard remarks like them, (usually about the comments in DA that don’t fit the religion of the old early boox

(Elias Rowlandson) #186

About the article it is very informative and puts various controversies in perspective, what it hasn’t done is address the moderate denominations growing providing sanctuary for conservative’s exiles.

About this, such groups of churches, like United church of Christ there in USA, MCC churches and other ‘mainline’ churches may not have the excitement and fanfare of the latest beliefs on prophecies, old ones rediscovered, maybe in some way all they do provide is that space to worship God, provide interaction with other church style folks.

Maybe these are factors that aren’t indefinite in the group of reasonably conservative churches now, that as the article suggests will have the rough edges brushed off.
meanwhile, as long as churches like GCSDAs have a culture of avoiding differences in views, one of with lgbt things suggest (you can be christians) but somewhere more compatible, there will be a market, use need for the (in this case) “perceived” gay churches

(David Okamura) #187

The Adventist church and its message is unique. That is a given. Unfortunately it is not a credible Christian message. . Hence it will always remain a sect or a religion, for that matter. Religion is man made. Christianity is God made. They are not the same thing. Christ , His message and life has been obscured by churches preaching “another gospel” Sad.
D. Okamura


Give Wilson a break. I believe that we as a church would be far better off reading a lot more of the books of Ellen White. She undoubtedly was inspired by God, therefore reading her writings and getting back the “ancient faith” we as a church once had wouldn’t hurt anyone. Although it might hurt some people’s pride…


Without the writings of Ellen G. White, where would our church be? I would argue that we wouldn’t even exist! Farthermore I would say to anyone who doesn’t like it here: leave. Why stay in a church or “sect” that you don’t like and that doesn’t meet your standard of Christianity?

Thankfully Ellen White put all her writings in an “Estate” where nobody could touch them. If she wouldn’t they would have been disposed of long time ago.

(Aage Rendalen) #190

Neither would it have come into existence if the pioneers had been college-educated.

(Elaine Nelson) #191

Absolutely true. Paul, who established Christianity with his travels and many letters to the new churches was considered a rabbi and was well versed in the Law. Luther was doctor of the canon law in Catholicism; Wesley, from which many of the new Adventists began, was highly educated, traveled to Georgia and established Methodism both in England and the U.S.

But Adventist founders were neither highly educated and none knew the Biblical languages, yet introduced their decoding ideas and the OT laws given to Judaism which departed from Christianity, as part of the unique reasons for initiating a new movement.

(Robert Sonter) #192

Actually the real reason for the ongoing legacy, is because of the decisions made by A.G. Daniells and others at the 1919 Bible Conference.

Following the death of Ellen White, her estate was found to be hopelessly bankrupt (it turns out that whatever other gifts she may have had, financial stewardship/management was not one of them). The church had to effectively buy out the estate and assume responsibility for the debt. The figure was something like $76,000, which if inflation-adjusted from 1915 to the present, would probably represent an amount in excess of a million dollars.

But the upshot of this was that the church owned the writings. And the minutes of the 1919 Bible Conference make it perfectly clear that they were aware of the problems with her use of literary sources, as well as questions about some of the “sources” of information on which her testimonies were based. In short, they had reason to seriously question the idea that she was a prophet.

However we all know what happened: A.G. Daniells ordered the minutes of the meeting to be sealed for 50 years, and the church just carried on selling Ellen White’s books and otherwise supporting the belief that she embodied the Spirit of Prophecy in the remnant church. And there was certainly no mechanism to open and publish the minutes at the conclusion of the 50 years - it was only be accident that these were found in the 1970s.


Anyone can say an number of things to discredit and dismiss the writings and claims on Ellen G. White. The fact of the matter is this: if you read her books like I have you, will have no doubts left in you mind that they are not inspired books. The way she builds off of scripture and opens the Word like she does makes it very clear to me that she was not just an ordinary person pulling ideas off the top of her head; she had to have been totally and unequivocally lead of God.


Ellen G. White had grade 3 education. You can hardly call that “college-educated” She was taught of God, something too few people can say these days.


Interestingly Jesus did was not considered a rabbi, was ever in the schools of the rabbi’s or for all we know today knew any other languages except hebrew. Simply because these early founders were “uneducated” does not discredit their cause. Have you ever compared the doctrines of the SDA church with the Bible? Or those found in the books of Ellen White? Maybe you should then tell us about it.

(Elmer Cupino) #196

How many third graders do you know who can speak with the eloquence that EGW has in her books? Maybe this should be a clue for you to pursue.

(Robert Sonter) #197

I suspect you’ve inadvertently included the word “not” in a manner that changes the intent of your statement. That aside, it appears you’re prepared to judge the inspiration or otherwise of the material, based on your own assessment as a reader. I’ve by no means read all of Ellen White’s books, but I’ve read a good number. Based on a reading of the books alone, I could almost concur with your assessment.

But given what researchers have now found about the way in which these books were written, I’d ask you the following:

  1. Assuming Ellen White was indeed an inspired writer, does this mean that only the parts of those works published under her name that were actually written by her, are inspired?
  2. When reading her works, can you tell which bits were written by her, copied from other works by her, written by her literary assistants, or copied from other works by her literary assistants?
  3. Where her literary assistants also inspired?
  4. Where the other authors whose work Ellen White and her assistants copied from, also inspired?


There is something called “Time and Place”. “Time” meaning when it was written and “place” meaning where it was written. The time in which Ellen White lived was a time when it was a universal practice of contemporary writers to copy one another’s works in one’s own. This means you can’t apply 2015 copyright laws on a book wrote 125+ years ago.

As for your questions about “inspiration” I would say this. Ellen White was inspired. No question about it. I also believe that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17 This meaning that the writers she quoted and the secretaires with whom she worked were obviously inspired in some small or great way by God the author of all good things.


Maybe she was inspired and taught of God? Of course psychology wouldn’t allow God to do such things…

(Robert Sonter) #200

Well then, it seems that inspiration abounds much more than merely in Ellen White’s books. Perhaps on this basis, we should all read very widely, and weigh all of the knowledge we glean, against each other.

BTW, I know you’re new to this forum, but you should be aware that many of us who’ve participated here for some time have discussed Ellen White’s use of literary sources at great length. There is a difference between infringing a legal copyright, and honouring ethical conventions as regards quotes and footnotes.

The way Ellen White used her sources without acknowledgement wasn’t acceptable even in her own day, and she was repeatedly challenged over it. One of her books (Sketches from the Life of Paul) even had to be withdrawn after the first publication run, because she was threatened with a law suit by the authors of the book she copied from.


Really though this little conversation means very little because all the copyrights have all run out. But as Walter Pearson would say “Give her a break”. I never have gotten hung up on the copyright side of things, because anyone who reads enough of the arguments against her and her writings will inevitably be lead to doubt and reject both as being inspired. I would be careful in that respect if I were you.

Sufficient to say, enough time has gone by that all that has cleared itself up. I keep reading the books and I keep getting blessed by them.

(Robert Sonter) #202

Could this be because the arguments are indeed compelling, and lack any substantive response on the part of the church?