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Commentary on "Church Life (1 Thess. 5:12–28)"



Day 5: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - Relating to "New Light" (1 Thess. 5:19–22)


As I pointed out in the first lesson of the week, the author has assumed that discussions about prophecy are discussion about new light. Yet the new teachings, or new light, found in the apostolic writings is presented by way of prophets. While prophecy was certainly active in the time of the apostles, as evidenced by the instruction here, none of this prophecy contained new light that ended up in Scripture. Based on this Biblical evidence, one must question whether the role of prophecy in the New Testament was to present new light to the church.

Perhaps there is a different reason for prophecy in the New Testament. If we allow Scripture, instead of Sabbath School lesson authors, to guide our understanding we find that Scripture defines the purpose of NT prophecy:

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. (I Cor 14:3 ESV)

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (I Cor 14:24-25)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-12)

None of these involve introducing "new light". Seventh-day Adventists have been falsely programmed to accept that prophecy and new light are roughly synonymous. But a careful review of Scripture reveals that we were taught incorrectly. The role of the prophet is quite different than what we were taught, and quite different from what Ellen White did. Perhaps the role of the prophet was defined according to what Mrs. White did, rather than testing her acts against the New Testament Scriptural examples and teaching.

Rather than asking what ways Ellen White has impacted your life, perhaps a more important question is what ways have you followed the instruction of this passage and tested Ellen White's gifts? What are the bases for such a test? How many tests can a prophet of God fail?




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