The Prophetic Career of Ernie Knoll

Back when I was much younger, I was given some letters (letters, children, being how we spread church gossip before the Internet came along) circulated by a Seventh-day Adventist woman who claimed God had selected her to be a new prophet to our church. Some of the messages were just encouragements to re-embrace our enculturated Adventist apocalyptic.

A few were a bit more “out there”—one of them, I remember, asserting that all the top officers of the denomination, including Neal Wilson, had been replaced by surgically altered Jesuit doppelgängers. I wanted to believe that God still speaks to humankind, but this messenger didn’t win my vote, especially when she revealed that she was suffering a brain tumor—physiological changes to which organ can have unpredictable behavioral consequences.

I learned then that there’s a small subculture of Adventists whose nonsense detectors don’t go off when they hear this kind of thing—who are, in fact, thrilled by it and who will bend their reality to believe it.

Lest you think this is all in the past, consider the contemporary prophetic career of a Seventh-day Adventist from California named Ernie Knoll. I knew about Ernie because among his worldwide following is a cluster of believers here in Ohio. Ernie had worked in hospital administration, but a few years back turned to publishing and speaking about his prophetic dreams.1

Ernie’s revelations weren’t necessarily controversial. Some were gentle and encouraging—glimpses of heaven, for instance, or encouragement to stand fast in the end times—and they are quite nicely written. Not surprisingly, most of the dreams concern Adventist eschatology: predications of Jesus’ imminent return, specific and dramatic descriptions of the Time of Trouble (with an emphasis on balls of fire falling from the sky), and affirmations of distinctive doctrines in anticipation of Jesus’ return.

It is usual—almost expected—that to those with new light God will at some point grant permission to receive tithes and offerings. Ernie had that revelation, too.

Eventually, some odder items showed up. One was the e-mail testimony of a prostitute named Candace who said she’d been picked up in a car by an angel and told to seek out Ernie Knoll, though she had no prior connection to him or our church.

Then there was an e-mail purporting to be from a panel of Adventist scholars and church leaders calling themselves the the Great Commission Council (the individual members wanting to remain incognito because some worked for the church) who’d met in a secret online forum to study Ernie’s dreams. The council, Ernie’s Web site said, went so far as to hire a private investigator to find ex-prostitute Candace, who, when without notice, council representatives came to her door, was able to welcome them by name because her angel had told her that they were coming. The council had largely accepted Ernie’s dreams as from God—to the point of suggesting that God was causing the ministry of one of Ernie’s critics to go broke because of his recalcitrance!

Then this week something new came up on the ministry’s Web site.

The 4 His People Ministry Board learned of some very disturbing information the week of July 15. This information has led us to believe that though the dreams appear to be of a supernatural source, we now believe that this source was of Satan. Along with the meetings being cancelled and no future meetings authorized by the board, please know that Ernie and Becky Knoll are suspended from any activity related to the 4 His People Ministry. Please cease contributing funds to this ministry.

For those of you who read the testimony and/or received emails from someone going by the name of “Candace,” we were able to determine through tracking email IP information that Ernie Knoll is “Candace,” When pressed, he admitted to this on July 21 at 2:43 PM in a phone call to two ministry board members. We have also determined that the “Great Commission Council” is also Ernie Knoll.

We urge everyone who has a “dream book” to throw it away, as we now understand that there are mind control elements in it. We sincerely apologize to all who have read and believed these messages.

I’m not happy to see anyone publicly exposed as a fraud, particularly someone who has been at least occasionally encouraging (which is more than you can say for a lot of us Adventists). But I’m glad the board members checked and balanced Ernie, even though those who believed Ernie and sent him money are disappointed.

Why are we Adventists such easy sells for this kind of thing? It is here expressed well by Linda Kirk, a friend of Ernie’s who’d already concluded he wasn’t a genuine prophet.

If Satan has a specific target in our world today, it would be the sincere, spiritually minded Seventh-day Adventist, who is sighing and crying for the abominations done in the land and in the church. They are open to prophecy because they believe in the Spirit of Prophecy. They are open to new light because Ellen White has said there will be new light. They are open to dreams and visions, because Ellen White had dreams and visions, and the Bible prophesies that this will take place in the last days. So, what deception could Satan use to reach this group?

Forgiving that note of grandiosity about us, Linda hits it on the noggin: we Adventists really want to hear the voice of God again. So much so that some will believe God is speaking even when the messenger seems a little fishy.

That may be why a few of Ernie’s followers were reluctant to give him up. One Web page (now removed) said, “We find it hard to give Satan the credit for the renewed love for God, the renewed expectation of the soon appearing of Jesus, and the sins that have been renounced and victory gained since reading the dreams.” That’s why I expect that despite the exposé, Ernie’s prophetic career might continue, even in the face of this disconfirmed expectancy.

It makes me wonder this: if God really were sending us prophetic messages, how would he get through to us? We are so very skeptical, far more than people in Ellen White’s time. In this era of microscopic scrutiny, could a real prophet survive debunking long enough to be heard?

Notes and References

1. This story is developing right now, so don’t be surprised if some links in this article aren’t active by the time you click on them. A number of documents have already been removed; I am linking to cached sites.

Loren Seibold is senior pastor of the Worthington, Ohio, Seventh-day Adventist Church. He also edits a newsletter for pastors for the North American Division Church Resource Center, called Best Practices for Adventist Ministry


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1765

Where is the editor? This is HARD to read.

Trust The Process.

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I remember this story some time ago…

Not sure…but I am positive that it would not have anything to do with surviving "debunking’. It’s more likely that it would have more to do with people not be spiritually “tuned” to hearing God’s voice.

Apparently there have been, and still are, Adventists that are quite open in accepting someone like Ernie Knoll and unfortunately he most likely won’t be the last of his kind. I think a better question to answer is: Why are some in Adventism is so susceptible to these types of people? I have my theories and would love to hear others.

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In my opinion the major problem is that Adventism rejects Sola Sciptura and this is what has crated tens of problems. When people cannot speak/write without mentioning what prophet A said, it’s a clear clue that they can no longer base their faith and thinking on the Bible only. And soon the “prophet’s word” becomes the supreme word. And other prophets start infiltrating the crowd. It could, at the end, become a profitable business indeed.
Aaahhh, the “boox” …

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Aaaahhhh the parakeets!

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I think that you have hit upon the “highlights” (a.k.a. “lowlights”) George. Thank-you for commenting.

No, all the beliefs are not sola scriptura- which I wouldn’t have an issue with if they would just admit that they have extra canonical books. However, it is hard to be the “People of the Bible” if one does have these.

Having a prophet is problematic and since the belief (at least in theory) is that there could possibly more revelation…then it does open up the the doors for many other people to put up their own brand of apocalyptic “shingle”. Of course there can be money made in these “endeavors” and lots and lots of ego stroking as well. It additionally makes it much easier for those with unbalanced minds (who have come from Adventist backgrounds) to take control of others of which we have seen several examples of in the past several decades.

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I wonder how many people have read ALL the enfo from the website Formypeople.org. or have they just heard what someone said and believed them. Ernie Knoll did confess he had lied, even went to the Lord with what he had done and as God always does with each one of us forgave Ernie. Does that mean God can not use us because we messed up? How would God ever get the work done here on earth if he couldn’t use people who messed up. In the bible we have story after story that tell of Gods people who lied killed ect… But God forgave them and kept using them. Is God different today? No! I would suggest everyone read all the dreams and the truth books before passing judgment. If we truely trust God then he will lead you to what is right and wrong. We should not take someone’s word for it. Search for yourself.

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Preface: Jesus was called a false prophet by jealous church leadership, as he pointed out truths and their faults were exposed- one by one. Moses did signs and wonders for God in Egypt, then He did the sacrilegious act of hitting that Rick when he wasn’t to do it. He was punished. But, he repented. He’s in heaven right now as a result of his reverence for shod and his meekness. Saul, the anointed prophet and king, did great things for God and then went on a path of disobedience. His pride kept him from humbling himself in true repentance in the end. David, the anointed prophet and king, strayed for a moment from God’s will, lusted, stole, lied and had a man killed in cold blood. He humbly repented and was restored. God always has a messenger in every age. If you think that Ellen White was the only prophet in her time you need to look back in the annals of the churches history, because you are absolutely wrong. William Miller was a prophet and there were others. Did they make mistakes along the way- those of which they were ignorant and those of which they were not- yes.

Body:
God is still speaking through prophets who have dreams and visions. Without a vision the people perish Proverbs 29:18. Joel 2 speaks of Gods people having dreams and visions and hundreds of years later, it was still heralded and proven in the book of Acts, but also in the gospels and all of the way to John the Revelators “Revelation of Jesus Christ. I have met Ernie (and Becky)in person. God has moved my heart to colabor with them before this controversy. He gave me dreams showing that key points Ernie made are consistent with His word, with the exception of the error of discussion in the Candence storyline- which was like an anomaly and so much on the sideline in my mind when encountered. I just couldn’t figure this out because she did not travel with them when they went from state to state sharing the message…Also, before this controversy unfolded, Gid gave me a dark dream of trouble concerning Ernie. I prayed for him and then found the announcement from the Board if Directors… I personally contacted him and gave words of encouragement. He had been rejected by many and made embellishments so he could try to feel better, which we all know is him walking in flesh and not by faith. God has forgiven him, just as David was forgiven. Just as Peter was forgiven and restored to discipleship. So, before you “cast the first stone,” examine yourself. God is finishing His work on the Earth and needs the church, with prophetic zeal, to herald the last warning of the 3 angels messages. If you do this and are walking in Jesus’ light, you are a true prophet (messenger- like John the Baptist…) of God. By the way, Ernie, in his other discourses did not present new light. If we are supporting conferences that are placing funds in the stock market and sit on the sidelines and say nothing, We are in the wrong and are in deep trouble. This behaviir is underway by the GC and subsidiaries. It’s a known fact. One of our church founders, Ellen White, warns against this practice. The GC is not owning up to what the founders taught in this regard, and it’s a major problem. We better work out our own salvation in the fear of the Lord God and trembling in these last perilous days. Watch and Pray!!!

I like Ernie Knoll and his work. May God bless him.