To say that the SDA rises and falls with Ellen G. White would not be an understatement. And yes, we’ll deal with her. But we need to analyze the doctrines of the SDA in detail, because eventually all cults and false religions it comes down to:
- Are they teaching Biblical doctrine, or heretical? There’s only two options.
- Are they preaching the Gospel, or another Gospel?
- Is their Jesus the Jesus of the Bible, or a different Jesus?
- Do they rely solely on the word of God, or upon extra-Biblical writings?
- Do they derive their doctrines solely from the word of God, or do the teachings of the organization/denomination/cult have equal weight to the Bible?
- Is there a central figure or group they owe a personal allegiance to?
- Do they regard their cult/denomination/group as the only true church?
- Do they add required actions or works to assist as a means of salvation?
As you can see, these are the hallmarks of many established cult. We use these to define for instance, the house of Yahweh (Abilene, Texas) as a cult. Any presence of 5 or more of these define them as a cult (although I’ll point out that just about all of these are damnable heresies, but Walter Martin defines the criteria of a cult as containing 5 or more).
Now, any SDA who’s reading this is would be the first to point out that the Roman Catholic church fits every one of these criteria.
The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses all have these.
Let’s be intellectually honest, and evaluate the Presbyterians by this.
- Are they teaching Biblical doctrine, or heretical? Many Presbyterians claim we are saved by predestination.
- Are they preaching the Gospel, or another Gospel? Another Gospel, actually.
- Is their Jesus the Jesus of the Bible, or a different Jesus? Their Jesus I think we’d all agree is the Jesus of the Bible.
- Do they rely solely on the word of God, or upon extra-Biblical writings? I think we could agree they rely on the Bible.
- Do they derive their doctrines solely from the word of God, or do the teachings of the organization/denomination/cult have equal weight to the Bible? THey rely upon the teachings of John Calvin and partially to Knox.
- Is there a central figure or group they owe a personal allegiance to? No.
- Do they regard their cult/denomination/group as the only true church? No.
- Do they add required actions or works to assist as a means of salvation? No.
The Presbyterians hold to four questionable doctrines, but this places them in the “Erroneous doctrine” category. While it does make them a cult, it almost makes it impossible to be a Presbyterian and be saved. However, I’ve read the writings of D. James Kennedy on salvation, and while being overly wordy… they were almost sound doctrine. So, yes, there are many Presbyterians who are saved, DESPITE Calvinism.
So, we do see (again, in the interest of intellectual honesty) that there is degrees of these criteria that must be examined. Are they holding to infant baptism? That’s an erroneous doctrine. While heretical, it’s lower on the scale than, say, “there is no hell.”
Just in case my readers are interested, I’ll point out that the current trend in Christianity of “Judge not” is actually a heresy as well, so don’t be too self-righteous as you read this! I refer the reader to David Cloud’s “Way of Life” website to read up on that subject.
So, before everyone begins to wonder where I’m going with all this, I’m stating this to establish that what the SDA teach goes WAAAAY over the line of “erroneous teaching” straight over into “cult like heresy”, and promptly bounces off the far wall, like a game of doctrinal handball.
HOW people can accept them as a group of orthodox Christians is FAR beyond me. I first did a cursory look at their doctrines, and my immediate reaction was, “um… this is a cult. Bottom line.” I still am in disbelief they were able to fool Walter Martin.
The fruit of their cultish teachings is such that when one leaves them, most of them promptly go the other way, and into an organization who almost mirrors them in weirdness and cultic teachings, the Roman Catholic church, which was why I brought them up earlier.
Reading through many of the writings of Ex-SDA who got into Bible believing churches, it takes QUITE a while to rid them of hold-over cultishness. One writer bitterly wrote of the SDA while contending he’d accepted all Christian doctrines except for the “secret” rapture. I wonder if he still believes that way? When your writings are spread all over the internet, it’s very hard to retract that.
So, what does the SDA teach? You almost get the feeling that to learn that requires a top security clearance of the kind that if you worked for NSA, that kind of clearance rates a car and someone to drive you places.
“In doctrine they differ radically from evangelical churches. The main points are these as taught in all their books: They hold to the materiality of all things; believe in the sonship of Christ; believe that they only have a correct understanding of the prophecies to which they give most of their attention; that the end of the world is to occur in this generation; that we are now in the Judgment which began in 1844; that the Seventh day, Saturday, must be kept; that keeping Sunday is the mark of the beast; that all should pay tithes; that Mrs. White is inspired as were the writers of the Bible; that the Bible must be interpreted to harmonize with her writings; that they are called of God to give the last warning to the World; that the dead are unconscious; that the wicked and the devil will be annihilated; that all churches but their own are Babylon and rejected of God; that everybody but themselves will soon become spiritualists; that when Christ comes only 144,000 out of all then living on the earth will be saved, and all these will be Seventh- day Adventists. Hence, they have no fellowship with other Christians; never work with them in any way, but zealously proselyte from all.”
“They believe in the Bible, in conversion, in purity of life, in rigid temperance, in strict morality, and in other good things common to all churches. There are many excellent persons among them. In character they are not to be compared with the spiritualists, infidels, etc., as is sometimes unjustly done.” (Seventh Day Adventism Renounced, D. W. Canwright,c. 1889, pg.9)
Before we begin to examine their doctrines, let me remind my readers of one point I’d made during my answering of the Roman Catholic church… you cannot step into the realm of allegorical thought where the Bible is concerned. Once you do, you now have removed the primary tool for bible analysis… “the Bible means what it says.”
Like other cults, the SDA uses a combination of allegorical thought and non-allegorical (and like other cults, all the while insisting they are teaching literal interpretation…). The problem is, once you introduce allegorical thought into your doctrine and analysis of the Bible, you’ve opened the door for more allegorical thought. In other words, I can now challenge your interpretation of the verses you say are to be interpreted literally, and ask, “why can’t that be allegorical as well?” There’s no defense at that point.
Also, one becomes the slave to whatever group or person holds the key to interpreting that allegory! In the Roman Catholic church, the stated enemy of the SDA, the interpreting is done by the Magisterium, the writings of every Cardinal and Pope who claims to have the right to interpret the Bible, something they claim the average Christian does not have the right to do. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s the Organization and the Governing Body who have the final say on the interpretation of the Bible.
In the SDA, it’s Ellen G. White.
Here’s our first problem.
This is a doctrine, called Federal Headship. Federal Headship is of course a term not found in the Bible, but used in Seminaries to teach a concept found in the Bible. The concept is that God the Father is over all. Jesus Christ makes Himself voluntarily subordinate to the Father. Jesus is not lesser in some kind of heavenly rank, but makes Himself subordinate to teach us by example.
Christ is over the Local church. The Pastor and the church are under the headship of Christ. The family unit is part of that church, but God has placed the man over the family as head and leader of that family. For a woman to teach is to abrogate that headship. This is explained in several places in the Bible…
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 1 Corinthians 11:3-12 (KJV)
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:9-12 (KJV)
In addition, the Bible makes it clear that one who preaches or is the Pastor of a church must be a man.
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 1 Timothy 3:1-2 (KJV)
Notice the masculine tense, and the phrase “husband of one wife.”
1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (KJV)
6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Galatians 6:6 (KJV)
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 (KJV)
So, there is no Biblical authority for Ellen G. Harmon White to preach, or teach. We see that there were prophetesses in the days when the spirit of prophecy continued. Howeve,r we also see from 1 Tim. 5:2 that women were to teach other women. Combining that with all the other verses we’ve looked at today, it becomes clear that the prophetesses were supposed to teach other women.
“what about Deborah?” Just a quick reminder that Deborah was not teaching, she was urging the people of Israel to war against the Philistines. She did not even lead them into battle!
4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. Judges 4:4-9 (KJV)
Deborah did not teach doctrine, nor did she praech. She used her gift of prophecy to exhort. She reminded Barak that the Lord wished him to lead into battle. Barak insisted that Deborah go with him. As a result of his delaying, the head of Sisera was given unto a woman. Barak led Israel to victory, but it is forever tarnished, and the glory goes to Jael, who hammered a tent spike into Sisera’s head.
Our understanding on any subject on the Bible comes from the Bible alone. You must read ALL the passages on a subject in context before deriving doctrine om that subject. This is why so many Christians get sidetracked on midtrib or post trib, they’re reading chapters in the Bible for Israel on how to survive the Tribulation, instead of looking at all the passages on the Lord’s coming for the saved.
I just showed you all how that’s done. We looked at the passages on women preaching and teaching, and saw that the widows are to teach the younger women. We combined that by looking at prophetesses. Either we have contradictions in Scripture, or women may not teach and preach.
So, there’s no Biblical authority for Ellen G. White to preach and teach.
The SDA’s used to say, “her revelations must either be of God or Satan. If of Satan they would not teach such purity and holiness.” Seventh Day Adventism Renounced, D. W. Canwright, c. 1889, Pg. 68)
I’ve just proved conclusively it can’t be of God, as there’s no authority given in Scripture for her to lead the SDA. So, by the witness of the SDA themselves, we can only draw one conclusion – Ellen G. White was inspired by Satan.
tomorrow, we look at the history of the SDA, and we’re going to ask some pointed questions about that.