“The Great Controversy” Shackles Adventist Theology

That is quite a statement. If I understand you, the HS is not going to guide us except through the writings of Ellen White, as she becomes the means of our salvation. Yeah, no. That’s not what my Bible says.


One of the problem we Christians have when we read the Bible is this –
By OUR TRAINING IN THE CHURCH [any church denomination] we are
PROGRAMMED to read Scripture in a certain way, and are PROGRAMMED
to listen to it read in a certain way. And so we ONLY UNDERSTAND it in
that manner.
THEN, when we least expect it, we hear the old familiar words, and suddenly!!
A New Light Bulb gets turned on, and we see a MORE COMPLETE message,
or maybe even a NEW THOUGHT shines out of the familiar words.
And we No Longer read and understand those familiar verses in the old way.

To me, THAT is New Light by the Holy Spirit for me personally. But then I CAN
share it with others.


Steve @niteguy2 , one of the most telling truth’s in your post is “we are PROGRAMMED to read Scripture in a certain way,” Vulnerability is the key word that I muse on after reading your post… specifically, how apt and willing the disciples were willing to be “taught”, (better yet willing to apply and learn from Jesus by hearing His words, and following the model of His behavior).

There is something that happens in a long time friendship. Bonds of trust, and understanding that are not easily broken. I used to find it odd that the disciples were so weak up to and during the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Yet, after this event, and some objective (reflection and soul searching), death, privation, never broke their dependence on the “living Christ”. @vandieman - quote - he won’t be giving us further enlightenment… , is a very scary proposition indeed.

One of the most telling damage, being objective (and there are probably others that can site their own experience in this regard)" pertains to how “I understand truth”… I’ve caught myself multiple times attempting to “project my understanding of the SOTD”, and how I understand the sabbath… to other people…

What woke me up to this very damaging behavior was… I was trying to “impute my understanding on them”… and not presenting what I thought as an optional way to consider the subject. I shudder to think of how many times I have parroted the 28 FB and EGW quotes to others (crossing spiritual, emotional, and relational boundaires) … just because I had the “truth” or thought I did and needed to “correct them”…

It’s very interesting that people can come into a hospital room and start quoting EGW without any context and think they are “doing the work of the Holy Spirit”… I very much do not think Jesus conducted Himself in this way with others… He, in His intercourse, had a way of speaking so that he conveyed to them that they were valuable human beings, unique and special.

Back to the programmed thing… The more contact time we have with Jesus, the more he programs us (writes His law into our minds and hearts – thru His grace…) It’s called proper modelling. It is NOT practiced in how the FB 28 beliefs are presented and/or sourced.

God is “redemption, and reclamation, and renewal” focused with each of us individually and corporately as a body of believers (not as a church)… the church concept is by default… based on the combined mission focused of the “group of believers”.

There is no condemnation… is the ground floor of understanding that God has made provisions for our walk with him. And He does want you to discover the supplies and methods He has supplied to get to “know him” better.

Blanket acceptance of a church creed, doesnt have a growth component to it, never has, never will. Only relational self discovery does. Otherwise you have no frame of reference and/or experience to see where God has led you in the past, which gives your life permanence and relevancy.

My ultimate goal is to understand and practice thankfulness for the opportunities and evidences of His provisions in my daily life. That way I can learn in grace…

with kind regards,


I had a conversation about this topic on the way home from school with my daughter when she was in primary school. I’ve just posted it on Medium. I think her conclusion will challenge you!

It’s titled “Two Dolls” but perhaps it should be tittle “Love each-other anyway.”

Have a read, clap and comment!

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if egw had the gift of prophecy, it isn’t her that’s the means of our salvation…she’s simply the channel through which the holy spirit is working…Eph 4 has a discussion of the purpose of the spiritual gifts in addition to the gift of prophecy…we grow in a community of faith, not as independent atoms…

From a previous Spectrum article, this explains the origination of Adventist bible “processing”…

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Actually, we grow in a process of self-discovery and awareness of truth. It’s not stagnate, neither is it “relative” to EGW as an absolute reference prism. However, your statement that we “grow in a community of faith” is correct… Just not the context in which you present the “gift of prophecy”…

To re-state – Jesus is the 'gift of prophecy" and/or “spirit of prophecy”. The wordsmithing of EGW as the NT sole give of prophecy… is not stated, it’s inferred by how its “worded” by referring to EGW as the “SOP”…

Thus the question is not … does the bible agree with EGW but rather… does EGW agreed with the bible.

This wordsmithing doublespeak is not lost on me. Not buying it.

with kind regards,


this is true, but no-one has a full spectrum of spiritual gifts…we need to be in a community of faith so that we can benefit from other people’s spiritual gifts…in addition, we benefit by sharing our spiritual gifts, which others may not have…

a true appreciation of egw, like the bible, is very far from stagnate…it is constantly unfolding, constantly deepening…the important thing is to be in the stream of that spiritual gift…the holy spirit is definitely using egw to prepare a people for christ’s second coming…her words will be with us until the end, even after the ministry of other prophets has begun…

jesus isn’t the gift of prophecy, anymore than he is the gift of teaching or miracles…clearly these gifts, when they are genuine, bring us into a closer appreciation and fellowship with him, but jesus, the son of god, cannot be reduced to a mere supernatural ability…you can have no basis for such a statement…

the spirit of prophecy is also known as the testimony of jesus…that testimony isn’t jesus, whom we worship…it’s merely the vehicle that brings us into a true communion with him…

Jeremy, @vandieman, Sorry to disappoint you, but yes Jesus IS the spirit of prophecy, EGW can be the outflowing of that truth… but to turn your phrase … Jesus does not have limited “gifts”, His birth, life, death, priestly ministry, and propitiation of Himself… declares in NT Hebrews that your statement is “blatantly false”. I have never said she wasn’t inspired. I have set she holds a position, ONLY Jesus holds as the source of truth,

Futhermore, I respect your statement of “a true appreciation of EGW”… Yes that’s what I am trying to biblically establish… not to prove that EGW is the SOP by using circular reasoning/wordsmithing … EGW (in context provides good commentary to help me understand how to “get to know Jesus”)…

I think sometimes we loose the fact that “God’s holiness” plays a factor in how Jesus is regarded. To me it’s sad that your commentary… “pigeon hole” concept… that Jesus is limited in His spiritual gifts holds water…

This actually happened to one of my friends (an elder) …at potluck one day it was discussed during the meal that Jesus at fish… one of the ladies stated… well it wont be held against Jesus because he didnt have the benefit of reading the SOP… on diet reform. While comical in it’s absurdity… it brings up the circular reference modality that is evident.

What I find “most alarming” about your response, is now you are telling me that EGW is the “testimony of Jesus” … yet another wordsmithing bait-n-switch… do you really think that people are going to buy that and believe that the message of Revelation (it’s of Jesus Christ as stated in the book itself) is now dependent to be understood by EGW…

… to me this is “perfect evidence” that the SDA is a cult.

with kind regards,


Christ didn’t come to save communities. I don’t have to be part of a group so as to qualify for God’s love and care. Salvation isn’t a group activity. But, there is a “community,” a spiritual church that’s made up of individuals, that spans time and space - a spiritual brotherhood/sisterhood that answers directly to God without any human intercessors. They can belong to any church or no church.

If you were born into the SDA scenario - or any other church, or even another religious group, you feel like God is your exclusive God, who possibly tolerates the rest; and you are the means by which God reaches out to them, not realizing that God loves them and died for them just as much as He loves you - and even communicates with them. This attitude produced Waco and many other groups that eventually become insular, exclusive, and intolerant, ending up treating others they way they wouldn’t want to be treated.

Whatever that means… We are still responsible for what we believe. We can’t get through the judgment quoting Ellen White.


jesus isn’t a spiritual gift, grace…he’s what spiritual gifts lead to…i think you’re confused on this point…

i don’t believe i said that jesus was or is limited in his spiritual gifts…remember that on earth, he was the one human to which the spirit was given without measure…my point is that jesus, and the spiritual gifts that lead to him, are not one and the same thing…

it doesn’t matter what people buy…the bible says the testimony of jesus is the spirit of prophecy…to date the only prophet in our church is egw…it’s as simple as that…when other prophets emerge, they will also be part of the testimony of jesus, or the spirit of prophecy…no-one is saying that egw will always be the only end-time prophet, and that the spirit of prophecy must always be limited to her…we can’t know that…personally, it think it would be foolish to maintain such a position…great things will be happening in our world, perhaps in our life time…it’s inconceivable that god will not use another prophet to guide us through those times…he doesn’t do anything without speaking to us about it through a prophet…that’s how god operates…

but he works through communities to save us individually…he has given us his holy spirit as a gift, and the holy spirit in turn gives gifts to members of the community that saves us individually…

by striking out on our own, we are following christ as closely as someone in ancient israel would have been by staying in egypt while the community exited…you are misunderstanding both the OT and the NT if you think the church is optional, or useless, and all we have to do is read our bibles by ourselves and receive some kind of vibe…this really is a recipe for disaster…

in ancient times, god worked through his chosen nation of israel, and today he works through his chosen church, which is the seventh-day adventist church…while it is true that the holy spirit has not yet given up on individuals outside the seventh-day adventist church, it is also true that the seventh-day adventist church is what he is using to bring truth to the world…he has gifted various church members with various spiritual gifts…by striking out on our own, we are placing ourselves out of reach of the influence of these gifts, and we’re also preventing others from benefitting from our spiritual gifts…

israel wasn’t a conglomerate of individualists, and neither was the apostolic church…

i don’t see this as a question of how any of us feel…it’s a question of what the bible is saying…the people of waco had no biblical evidence that god was with them, or leading them in any way…the seventh-day adventist church, on the other hand, has plenty of biblical evidence that god is leading us…we are the only denomination that teaches the sanctuary and IJ truths, which brings into focus the decalogue and especially the fourth commandment…moreover, we have the gift of prophecy guiding us…these two markers establish that we are the remnant church…no other church can make this claim…

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Is Ellen White the only prophet the SDA church accepts in 2000 years?
The writers that Ellen White plagiarised are mostly Anglicans such as Milton and Conifer are they also prophets?
What about the church fathers such as Justin or Irenaeus or Martin Luther would they qualify?
What about the many prophets that regularly appear in the Adventist church do they qualify they don’t do they?
The question is who decides if a person is a prophet it appears only the SDA church can.
The sanctuary and the IJ as taught by the SDA church can’t be found in the bible and that’s why no other church teaches it. Barn house and Martin called the IJ doctrine ‘the most elaborate face saving device in history’. Read Hebrews.
The SDAs are christian but do have some errors. No church is perfect but it’s important to be honest in our study of scripture.


**God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many ports and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. ** Heb. 1:1,2.

The God who made heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Acts 17;24
The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands. Acts 7:48

HISTORY LESSON: The printing press made it possible for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, (and Sirje) to be able to read the Bible - (God’s Word) on their own; and Jesus promised us (individually) the HS to “lead us into all truth.” The days when only two people in the village were able to read and write are over. Anyone, with the HS to guide them can read the Scriptures, and rely on the HS to guide them. Otherwise why bother to pray at all if we can’t depend on God to answer us? Anything else is indoctrination.

If we depended on the church community to be our only source for the HS, you would not be a Seventh-day Adventist.


Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

All right. Why?

You said:

In response:

First, this statement presumes that there is a year-day principle to “side-step.”

But where is it? It has to exist, and/or be affirmed, before one applies it.

Second, Strong’s defines the term under discussion, here, shabua, as being:

"a period of seven (days, years), heptad, week"

(Shabua also has the root sheba or shibah [שְׁבֻעַ], meaning “seven.”)

The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance defines this word the same way. Are you saying both Strong’s and the NAS are incorrect?

Admittedly, most of the time, when shabua is used, it is translated as “weeks.” But this is in line with the definition, because, then, as now, people more often talk about sevens of days than they do sevens of years. “Sevens” and “week” may have come to mostly mean the same thing, in the Jewish mind, due to frequent, mutual use. (We already see, above, that the terms “seven” and “week” are deeply, semantically linked.)

In other words, what appears to be at play, here, is an idiomatic form of ancient Jewish speech. It’s hard to say without knowing more about how Jews of this era spoke. If so, one would still need a year-day principle, first, given the idiomaticity of this expression.

You said:

In response:

See above.

You said:

In response:

These are not arguments for a year-day principle. These are arguments for the traditional SDA approach to understanding and interpreting prophecy.

You said:

In response:

At issue is not God’s foreknowledge. At issue is what do these texts mean, and how do we know?

People’s faces light up when they hear that their deceased relatives are in heaven, playing harps, also. A positive emotional response to a purportedly biblical idea is not a measure of its veracity.

Jon Paulien recognizes this. What’s amazing is that scholar of his stature is honest enough to say, “The data is not there.” Hopefully, laypersons will soon do so, also.



The year/day principle does exist as interpretive principle. Just because it may not be accepted by some does not mean it is not out there to side step.

Here are the reasons I accept it:

  1. It has a place in the Bible, other texts do mention a year for a day in various contexts
  2. The book of Daniel is full of symbolism. It is natural to think of the time periods as symbolic as well. To have beasts and horns symbolize things point to the time periods as being symbolic as well.
  3. Utilitarianism. it works. The 69 weeks from 456 BC to 27 AD exactly fit 483 years. No mean coincidence, and no other method fits so well. And the others can fit as well.

Yes, they are wrong. The idea that the horn of Dan 8 is Antiochus is destroyed by the year/day principle, so the interpreters try to get around it in various ways. Folks have motives for what they do.

I mentioned the simplicity of the year/day principle. You answered:

OK. How do you interpret the texts? What do you do with the periods?

Like the “teeny” number of young people who came to New Hampshire in 1968 to ring doorbells for Eugene McCarthy, thus bringing him within a whisker of defeating an incumbent president and thus forcing the latter not to seek re-election.

Youthful revolutionaries have been discounted in every age by the doubters and naysayers. But it hasn’t stopped them from altering the course of history. GYC stands in that proud tradition.

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Thank you Matthew Quartey! “Present Truth” had real meaning to our church founders who encouraged each other and found camaraderie in the “seeking” of gems of truth that were meaningful and made a difference in a practical way to improve peoples lives and provide perspective on the “Good news” about God. The larger view of the Great Controversy did advance the ball down the field of understanding. Unfortunately, much of our church is caught in codifying the “good news about us” and we have forgotten that the best in our formation was the imperative to break with old views and find new perspectives on the “Good News about God.” The beauty of science is the journey and process of constant re-examination and assimilation of all relevant information. Look at what we have learned and how it has changed out lives in the last 20 years! Do we really think theology and our understanding of God is has nothing to learn, grow, advance? I vote YES! Let’s revise and rewrite GC and invite all those future generations to do the same. Truth has nothing to fear in the journey accept in the assumption that it will end.


I have no doubt I that you view GYC in those idealistic and “revolutionary” terms, Kevin. But the fact still remains that over the course of many years the number of participants is miniscule considering the overall number of NAD youth. One would also think that the number of attendees would have grown much larger if this was truly a ground swell.


This is the generation of “remakes”. There doesn’t seem to be much originality coming out of any sector of society - films are remade,TV sitcoms are recast, books are revised, history is replayed - why not the GC - because it wouldn’t be the GC with all its quirkiness and its contemporary phobias. We have a right to see the foundations of the religion we have espoused. If the shoe no longer fits, we need to get a pair that does. Let’s write new books. Let’s get some vision. Jesus would approve - “can’t put new wine into old bottles”.

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sirje, let me ask you this: why do you think paul spent so much time and effort in delineating how a church should be run, and who should run it…wouldn’t it have been easier for him to simply say to each gentile he met, “read the bible, and christ will come to you, wherever you are…hopefully what you end up believing will match what i’m teaching, and what others who are reading the bible end up believing…but if not, oh well”…

i think you’re twisting this amazing text in Hebrews into a powerless pretzel…obviously this preamble was written for the benefit of people who believed they could access god only through animal sacrifices and an earthly priesthood…obviously it was meant to open their minds to the fact that christ was both their sacrifice and high priest, and that he was now their access to god the father…obviously it was never meant to unravel the apostles’ careful efforts to build and maintain churches riveted on a common set of doctrines, arrived at through the dreams and visions and judgement of the various apostles, in addition to the bibles they had at that time…

why was the council of jerusalem described in Acts 15 so critical…what was the point of the entire church through its leadership assembling to decide the circumcision question if everybody could have been impressed with the proper course on their own…why were letters of that decision sent to the various churches if the object wasn’t to advance as a community of faith…i just get the feeling that you aren’t thinking through some of the implications of what you’re saying…

tell that to paul, who risked his life over several yrs to set up churches throughout western asia and portions of europe…but wait, isn’t it paul who made the first of these statements…what a hypocrite he must have been, to be saying one thing to the men of athens, but another thing to timothy and titus, and to all the churches he had set up and had written to…as for stephen in your Acts 7 reference…well, the man ended up being killed…but not before he allowed himself to be chosen by an organized church to straighten out the mess about the neglected greek widows…everything about his trajectory indicates he would have continued serving in the organized church of that time had he continued to live…

if the holy spirit is truly guiding someone, that someone - as was the case with paul, who was guided to ananias and the church he was part of - will be guided ultimately to a seventh-day adventist church, where he can share in the gifts that are there, and share his gifts with the people who are there…

of course, many of our churches are dead…but churches aren’t merely places where we take what’s there in order to get…they are also places where we can share in order to give…if our local church is dead, it’s an indication that god wants to use us to bring life to it…and no-one’s saying this is easy…but it could very well be the case that we have the gifts god wants to use to bring life to our local church…

and let’s not overlook the fact that spectrum is an online seventh-day adventist church…just from the fact that you’re contributing here belies your pretension to be striking out on your own…the point is that god will always be guiding people together into a community of faith of some kind, in order to be part of the fabric of the whole…ultimately we are saved as individuals, true, but god isn’t leading us away from others whom he’s leading - this was in fact the error of the people of waco…they mistakenly believed that god was leading them away from people of faith…

well, if we’re really going to thumb our noses at god’s church, which is the seventh-day adventist church, after having had life-long opportunities to be part of it and contribute to it, then i agree that there’s no point in bothering to pray…we’re on our own…the big wide world is ours to live and do in, as we please…until our probation finally ends, or we die, whichever comes first - and whatever we think - we’re only progressively severing ourselves from god and eternal life…sad…