Commentary on "Walking in the Light:
Day 4: Tuesday, August 4, 2009
When it comes to testing the spirits, there have been many suggestions made by Christians and others in terms of how this is to be done. Of course, the easy answer is that any teaching must be in accordance with the Bible. This, of course, is the correct answer.
Scripture provides numerous examples of how to determine whether the individual with the teaching in question is from the Lord or not. Deuteronomy 18 is often cited as to whether a prophets prophecy comes to pass or not. If not, you are not to listen to him. Deut. 13 is imporant as well. Here God indicates that, although a prophet or dreamer may say something that actually does come to pass, you are still not to follow after him if he is leading you after other gods which you have not know.
Here is where we arrive at the crux of the matter. Any organization that has teachings about the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit that are ancient heresies that the Christian church has already dealt with in millennia past, or teachings that are entirely new, having never before been taught by Christians, is to be rejected as an antichrist.
According to Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:4, there is a different Jesus, Spirit and Gospel other than the one preached by the Apostles. He says, “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
Let's take a look at some specific examples that will help us understand what the Word of God is telling us about testing spirits.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, claim that they are Christians because they believe in Jesus Christ. Upon studying with them, one will find that there are some facts about the Jesus they are teaching you about that are not to be found in the Bible. Upon confronting them with this fact, you will quickly discover that, although they hold the Bible as one of their four standard scriptural works, the Bible must be correctly interpreted to be understood properly. And who better to interpret the Bible than one who has been given the authority (a very key concept in Mormonism) to interpret the Bible – the Mormon missionary who has come to your door, or the Mormon Bishop at the local Ward (Church.) One soon discovers when studying with Mormons that it is the teachings of their prophet Joseph Smith which overrides the teachings of the Bible. In some cases, many of these Mormons are very honest people and will tell you that the Bible is unreliable, therefore you must use their writings to understand what it is actually teaching.
The Jesus of the Mormons is the spirit-brother of Lucifer. He was a created being, equal to Lucifer and he came up with a better plan than Lucifer for the salvatin of Mankind, which the Father accepted, causing Lucifer to become jealous, resulting in the rebellino. The Jesus of the Mormons is an antichrist, and the Mormon leadership who know the truth about Christ, but promote these things are antichrists.
The First Church of Christ Scientist, known as the Christian Science Church, also holds to the Bible as the Word of God. If you were to attend services at a Christian Science Church, you may hear some unusual terminology. Upon taking some of their Bible courses, you eventually learn that all physical matter, the material universe, is simply an error in your thinking. You will learn that Jesus himself did not have a physical body, nor did a physical body rise from the grave on the third day.
Upon questioning one of the teachers, you will learn they teach, just like the Mormons, that the Bible has errors that have crept into the text. To get the correct understanding of the Biblical text, one must use the writings of their Prophetess, Mary Baker Eddy. Her text, Science and Health with Key to the Scritpures, is their primary scriptural reference in understanding what the Bible is teaching. Upon reading that text, you will discover that the “god” that created the physical world, was an evil being, because God would not create matter, which is inherently evil. Therefore, when you have a broken leg, you must not go to a doctor, you must go to a Christian Science Practitioner, who will pray with you so that you can overcome the error in thinking that you have a broken leg.
A “Jesus” who did not take on physical flesh, is specificially addressed in these letters of John. In 1st John, 4:1-2 we read: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.
Again, just like the Mormons, the Christian Scientists are teaching a false Christ, an antichrist. They deny he came in the flesh, and they claim that one must use the writings of Mary Baker Eddy to correctly understand what the Bible is actually teaching.
Likewise, the Jehovah's Witnesses of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, teach a false Jesus. It is interesting to note that it is the Jehovah's Witnesses who were heavinly influenced by Seventh-day Adventist teaching, and who's teachings mirror those of the SDA church in many, but not all, respects. When one studies the history of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, one will find that they were heavily influenced by a man named Charles Taze Russell. Unlike the Mormons and Christians Scientists, they will deny this influence, yet the influence is profound.
Russell wrote a six-volume work entitled Scritpure Studies. Although the Jehovah's Witnesses have their own translation of the Bible, the New World Translation, they have also claimed that one cannot understand the Bible properly without the teachings of Pastor Charles Taze Russell. This can be seen in a quote from the Watchtower printed in 1910. It says in part,
Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years—if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures. Charles T. Russell, The Watchtower, September 15, 1910, page 298
Again, we can see the similarities between these three groups and their view of the Bible. Mormons, Christians Scientists and Jehovah's Witnesses are teaching and believing in “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11.)
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Does the Seventh-day Adventist Church teach the Biblical Jesus or is there also a problem within the SDA church, perhaps a problem with which many members are not aware?
Let's take a look at a few statements by some of the founders and leaders of the SDA church to see whether the Bible is sufficient, or whether the writings of Ellen G. White are necessary to a correct understanding of Jesus and the Bible.
Of course, we are all familiar with Ellen White's statement “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is our rule of faith. “ -- Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, p. 32.
That is a clear statement. As one continues to read Ellen White however, one will find statements such as the following:
'Her writings were, 'to simplify the “great truths already given,” “that all may be left without excuse”' (Testimonies vol. 5, p. 665, and vol. 2 p. 605.) [As quoted in, Fascinating Facts About the Spirit of Prophecy, by Phyllis C. Bailey, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2006, p. 15.] Apparently, the Bible alone does not leave all without excuse.
Ellen White stressed the importance of reading and believing in the Testimonies to the Church, referred to as “testimonies” in her writings. She says,
Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Selected Messages, vol. 3
In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of the prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit. There never was such a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue. Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 147, 148.
This particular quote is in direct contradiction to the specific statement by God in Hebrews 1:1-3, which reads:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions 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. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
When Ellen White says that “there never was such a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now..” she is directly contradicting the fact that Jesus Christ is the fullest, most complete and final revelation of the nature of God to mankind.
According to God, in Hebrews, there are no more prophets in the Old Testament sense. Ellen White could not have been like an OT prophet, because that office had been done away with the coming of His Son, through whom he speaks to us in these last days.
Ellen White also said, “The Testimonies contain instruction which meets the case of all, both parents and children.” Sons and Daughters of God, p. 178.
There are numerous other statements that could be presented indicating Ellen White's understanding of the importance of her own writings. This writer understands that many statements can be presented that seem to indicate that Ellen White would have the believer only go the Bible as the final authority. Those statements are well and good. But given statements such as the next several statements to be quoted, this brings serious doubt to any belief that Ellen White is not an authoritative source of truth.
Ellen White said, “There is one straight chain of truth, without one heretical sentence, in that which I have written.” Ellen G. White, Letter 329-A, 1905.
Fundamental Belief 18 of the SDA Church is clear that EGW's writings are “a continuing and authoritative source of truth.”
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.
A statement from D. A. Delafield, a trustee of the EGW Estate has said, “Mrs. White's gift was canonical insofar as doctrinal interpretation is concerned.”
Stated in the Review and Herald, June 3, 1971 we find this fascinating statement:
The Bible is an infallible guide but it needs to infallibly interpreted, to avoid confusion and division. When will the people of God cease trusting their own wisdom? When will they come to the place where they will cease to measure, construe, and interpret by their own reason what God says to them thorough His appointed channel? When we come to the place where we place no trust in man or in the wisdom of man, but unquestionably accept and act upon what God says through this gift, then will the spirit of prophecy as set before us in the Bible and as witnessed in the present manifestation of this gift [Ellen White] be confirmed among us and become in fact a counsellor, guide and final court of appeal among God's people.”
According to the Review and Herald, as recently as 1971, Ellen G. White must become the “final court of appeal” among God's people.
Robert Olson referred to Ellen White as “an inspired interpreter.” That, and the following quotes are from the John Ankerberg Show, which aired in 1985 with William Johnsson, then Editor of the Adventist Review, and Walter Martin.
The Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles since it is Christ through this agency giving the real meaning of His own words.” Robert Olson
Seventh-day Adventists are uniquely fortunate. We are not left to find our way, drawing our conclusions from the writings of 2,000 years, and more, ago that have come down to us through varied transcriptions and translations. With us it is almost a contemporary matter. We have a prophet in our midst.” Arthur White
It is clear that this Investigative Judgment is the correct interpretation of Scripture, because Ellen White does endorse it. Robert Olson
There must be a renewal of personal Bible study and family worship, a re-emphasis on Biblical preaching and teaching supported and strengthened by enlightenment that comes from the study of the inspired and authoritative writings of Ellen White, which is necessary. Neal Wilson, former SDA General Conference President
The very leadership of the SDA Church has indicated the authoritative nature of the writings of Ellen G. White, the fact that they are “necessary,” the fact that we don't have to rely on “writings of 2,000 years, and more, ago,” and that the Spirit of Prophecy, working in Ellen White gives the “real meaning of His [Christ's] own words.”
Some readers of this commentary may be very successful finding numerous quotations that contradict those that have been presented here. That is a major problem. If a single organization, the SDA Church, cannot control the consistency of statements about such an important matter, then one must draw a disturbing conclusion: At least in some areas, including the leading Adventist paper, and the very leadership of the SDA Church, are promoting a view of the Bible and Jesus that is not in harmony with the Bible itself.
Finally, a test. This is as easy as remembering the four main mathematical symbols – Add, Subtract, Multiply and Divide.
Add: Cults add to Scripture. The revelation of God provided in the Bible is never sufficient for a cult. Thus they must add to the written revelation of Scripture, usually with additional scriptures or with their own translation of the Bible. In this way we have books such as The Pearl of Great Price of the Mormons and the New World Translation of the Bible produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Clear Word Bible of the Seventh-day Adventists.. Since the Bible claims exclusivity as the written revelation of God, we must see that other books, even if the followers of cults claim that they are equal to the Bible, must actually be over and above the Word of God.
Subtract: Cults subtract from the person of Christ. Cults cannot tolerate the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus and thus usually reduce Him to being a created being. In some cases they make Jesus only a manifestation or mode of God. In either case, the role of Jesus as revealed in Scripture is diminished. Ellen White taught that Jesus could not see through the portals of the tomb, that he didn't know if he would be successful or not. Jesus taught that he had the power to lay his life down and raise it up again. He told the Jews that if they were to tear down this temple (referring to the temple of his body) that he would raise it up again in three days. Jesus could see through the portals of the tomb, long before the time of the crucifixion.
Multiply: Cults multiply the requirements of salvation. Salvation, as it is presented in the Scriptures, is by God’s grace through faith alone. Cults continually add to the requirements of salvation, always adding human works as a necessary prerequisite to salvation. No cult teaches or endorses justification by faith alone. Thus all cults reject the very heart of the gospel. Within Adventism, at the end of time, the believer will be required to keep the Seventh-day Sabbath to be saved. Refusing to do so, will result in damnation.
Divide: Cults divide the loyalty of believers. Each cult believes that it has exclusive revelation and understanding of God that ensures its followers are either exclusively God’s people or are somehow more blessed than others. Cults always seek to divide believers against each other based on the previous three marks. Thus cults are, by their very nature, divisive. The SDA Church is guilty of calling itself “The Remnant” church of God, an exclusivity that it will not share with any other Christian body.
You must ask yourself an imporant question at this point: Is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, at least in some areas, promoting an antichrist?
Given the information provided above, along with your own research, you may find that, although you may be a Christian yourself, you are in an organization that allows antichrists to proliferate.
Copyright 2008 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised August 4, 2009. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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