The Bible tells us that the last remnant of the church will be identified by two main characteristics-they keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus Christ:
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17.
The enemy knows that his end is near; that is why his wrath is increasing to the point of capping the climax of his wickedness in these last days. The warning reads: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." Revelation 12:12. "The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of trouble." GC 623. The evils witnessed in the past bear no comparison with the terrors, the troubles, and the deceptions that are to involve the inhabitants of the earth in the near future. Satan will exercise his power more and more to produce natural calamities (earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, hail-storms, floods, droughts, etc.), famines, wars, pestilences, distress among the nations, etc. And he will be very active, also, in the religious world: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.". These manifestations are to become more and more frequent, powerful, and widespread. Those who are watching the events that are taking place in the world can see that Satan is working with increasing deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. In many cases, as he works miracles through his agents, in the sight of men, he claims that he is Christ Himself. "He [Satan] will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?" 6BC 1105, 1106. This will be the climax of all deceptions.
Mankind is being progressively ensnared in a fast-spreading delusion-Spiritualism. And, when the climax in the great drama of deception comes, when Satan himself personates Christ, the whole world will be prepared to fall prey to the masterpiece of Satan's trickeries. But a small remnant-those who keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus (which is the spirit of prophecy)-will not be misled. It was for the sake of safeguarding God's people against the great delusions of Satan in these last days that the testimony of Jesus was entrusted to them.
"The enemy is on our track. We must be wide-awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions." 8T 298.
But why should the wrath of the dragon be increased by this particular help which was given to the remnant? Simply because this help thwarts Satan's deceptions. Therefore: "There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded." 1SM 48.
I-ADDITIONAL HELP FOR THE LAST CONFLICT
Satan has had much success in perverting the truth through those who claim to be his representatives on earth. The greatest perversion of the truth is blamed on the religio-political combination represented by the beast of Revelation. This power set up the head of its organization, the antichrist, as the prophet of God. Instead of directing minds to the one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, as the source of all truth, this pseudo-prophet changed the law of God and lifted himself up as an object of adoration (2 Thess. , ).
The last message of mercy calling those that dwell on the earth to break away from this system of falsehood and worship Him who has made heaven and earth (Revelation, ), intensifies the conflict of the ages, because it is the closing of the age-lasting contention.
In the bitterness of this controversy, old disputes will be renewed, which were thought to have long ago been hushed, and new and subtle ones will spring to the front. "The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing." 5T 80. Many will be looking for saint or prophet to lead the way, and a spirit of discernment, which enables men to clearly see the difference between truth and error, will then be needed.
As every case must be brought to the scrutiny of the law and the prophets, it is important to read the Bible with the help of the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. Therefore, the message which was brought in the days of Jehoshaphat has a special application today: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." 2Chron..
1. Restoration of the Prophetic Gift
At this juncture the reader may ask, Does the Bible make provision for the spirit of prophecy to be restored in the time of the end? We answer, Yes, it does. Here are the evidences:
(1) Paul advises us to "covet the best gifts" (l Cor.). He says, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Cor. . In his epistle he is addressing not only the early Christians but also this last generation. See evidence in . The apostle refers specifically to these last days when he writes, "That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. . This is clear: We who are waiting for the second coming of the Lord should not lack any gift. In other words, all spiritual gifts, including the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy, are to be restored in our midst, that we may be confirmed and found blameless.
(2) Again, writing to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses this last generation of believers, who are preparing to meet the Lord at His second coming (l Thess., ). After giving an important sign of the imminence of the day of the Lord, he says, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." . Then he gives us a series of counsels calculated to preserve us "blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" ( ). Among other things he says, "Despise not prophesyings." . This means that the gift of prophecy is to play an important role among the true followers of Christ in these last days.
(3) Through the prophet Joel the Lord promised to send His Spirit in a special manifestation shortly before the great day of the Lord. (Read.) This promise is quoted in the New
Testament as follows: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.". This prophecy was partially fulfilled in the days of the apostles; it is to receive complete fulfillment in the closing work of the gospel.
(4) The Bible says that the last remnant of the church of God on earth would "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ," which is "the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation; ).
Great care must be exercised in the work of God when someone claims to have the gift of prophecy, because two dangers surround this claim: (l) that of rejecting a true prophet, and (2) that of welcoming a false prophet. Whoever follows the rule given in the Bible, which shows how a prophet is to be tested, need not err in this matter.
2. The Bible, and the Bible Only
The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the foundation of our faith. We do not overlook the following instruction:
"God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority-not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain 'Thus saith the Lord' in its support." GC 595.
The maxim, "The Bible, and the Bible only," does not carry one and the same meaning with all Adventists. It has one specific meaning when used by those who accept the Spirit of Prophecy; but when repeated by those who reject the writings of E. G. White, it has a completely different meaning.
The right idea: When we say, "The Bible, and the Bible only," we understand that the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy are in perfect harmony with the Bible, that they make it easier for us to understand the Bible, and that they show our way back to the Bible.
"The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who desire to understand it. But, notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives them plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word they have neglected to follow." "The Testimonies are not to belittle the Word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all."-Life and Teachings of Ellen G. White, p. 124.
"I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the 'last days'; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth." 3SM 29.
The wrong idea: When the opponents of the Spirit of Prophecy say, "The Bible and the Bible only," they mean that the writings of E. G. White are in conflict with the Bible. But, as a matter of fact, they put her writings aside, not because there is a discrepancy as they say, but because they want to be free to interpret the Bible to suit their unholy inclinations. Through their carnal eyes they try to read their own ideas into the word of God. Thus, while professing to be followers of the Holy Writ, they are actually drifting away from it.
II-PROPHETS-TRUE AND FALSE
When the Lord called Moses to be a prophet, entrusting him with an important mission, He assured him that certain evidences would make the people of Israel believe him. By the power of God, Moses would work miracles. If the first miracle would not convince them that the Lord had sent him, then he would use a second miracle. And if in spite of the two miracles they would still refuse to listen to him, then he would perform a third miracle. (Read Ex..) Something that would impress human eyes was needed; and, initially, it served its purpose.
Moses was a miracle worker. But it has never occurred to us that we should measure his prophetic claim by his power to convert his rod into a serpent, etc. We consider his life, his character, his ministry, his writings, and the benefits that the people of Israel received from his wise leadership over a period of forty years, and we believe that God was with him and spoke through him.
We adopt a similar method to validate the claims of Sister E. G. White. The singular events which took place in connection with her early visions-such as holding an 18-pound Bible at arm's length for about thirty minutes in the presence of onlookers who later testified to the fact-served an important purpose at the beginning of her ministry. Human beings need something to spark their faith initially. But then the real evidences followed. Her seventy years of self-denying labor for the Lord still carry unmistakable credentials.
Every honest searcher after truth will guard against two dangers-the danger of being deceived by false prophets and the danger of rejecting true teachers and their God-given messages and instructions. Failure to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit will keep souls out of the kingdom of heaven. Honest Christians, who actually want to be saved, should therefore consider the evidences of divine guidance and the manifestation of the gift of prophecy in the advent movement.
In the Bible we are instructed how to test those who profess to have been sent by the Lord. Jesus said: "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.". A life of self-sacrificing dedication to the cause of God, reserved and unpretended demeanor, sober pronouncements in connection with a variety of situations, deep insight into human character and into men's intricate problems and innermost secrets, good judgment and timely warnings concerning many difficulties and dangers faced by the church, unflinching opposition to fanaticism, sound counsels on organization and administration, advanced light on true education and on healthful living-these cannot be the fruits of a disturbed or unbalanced mind often subject to hallucinations or epileptic fits.
1. Sufficient Evidences
The life, the work, and the teachings of Sister E. G. White are open for examination. Many sober-minded Christians have scrutinized her writings and have come to favorable conclusions. She said:
"Let the Testimonies be judged by their fruits. What is the spirit of their teaching? What has been the result of their influence? . . .
"God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.
"As the Lord has manifested Himself through the spirit of prophecy, 'past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward I knew them when I saw them. I have been aroused from my sleep with a vivid sense of subjects previously presented to my mind; and I have written, at midnight, letters that have gone across the continent and, arriving at a crisis, have saved great disaster to the cause of God. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work . . . from above or from beneath?' . . . Those who really desire to know the truth will find sufficient evidence for belief." 5T 671, 672.
2. Testimonies of Close Associates
Some of those who were associated with Sister White over a period of many years used their mature convictions to testify on behalf of her work, her visions, and her writings. Consider, for example, the testimony of a close associate, Elder Uriah Smith:
"Seventh-day Adventists do believe in the gifts of the Spirit. . . . They believe that they have in their midst . . . at least one of these gifts.... This is found in the visions of Mrs. E. G. White, as published in her works.
"Every test which can be brought to bear upon such manifestations, proves these genuine. The evidence which supports them, internal and external, is conclusive. They agree with the word of God, and with themselves. They are given, unless those best qualified to judge are invariably deceived, when the Spirit of God is especially present.... Calm, dignified, impressive, they commend themselves to every beholder as the very opposite of that which is false or fanatical....
"They are not the effect of disease.... Their fruit is such as to show that the source from which they spring is the opposite of evil.
"They tend to the purest morality. They discountenance every vice, and exhort to the practise of every virtue. They point out the perils through which we are to pass to the kingdom. They reveal the devices of Satan. They warn us against his snares. They have nipped in the bud scheme after scheme of fanaticism which the enemy has tried to foist into our midst. They have exposed hidden iniquity, brought to light concealed wrongs, and laid bare the evil motives of the false-hearted. They have warded off dangers from the cause of truth upon every hand. They have aroused and rearoused us to greater consecration to God, more zealous efforts for holiness of heart, and greater diligence in the cause and service of our Master.
"They lead us to Christ. Like the Bible, they set Him forth as the only hope and only Saviour of mankind. They portray before us in living characters His holy life and His godly example, and with irresistible appeals they urge us to follow in His steps.
"They lead us to the Bible. They set forth that book as the inspired and unaltered word of God. They exhort us to take that word as the man of our counsel, and the rule of our faith and practise. And with a compelling power, they entreat us to study long and diligently its pages, and become familiar with its teaching, for it is to judge us in the last day.
"They have brought comfort and consolation to many hearts. They have strengthened the weak, encouraged the feeble, raised up the despondent. They have brought order out of confusion, made crooked places straight, and thrown light on what was dark and obscure. And no person with an unprejudiced mind can read their stirring appeals for a pure and lofty morality, their exaltation of God and the Saviour, their denunciations of every evil, and their exhortations to every thing that is holy and of good report, without being compelled to say, 'These are not the words of him that hath a devil."' Uriah Smith, The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White, pp. 3-8.
Messages which consistently exalt Christ as the divine Son of God and our only Saviour and magnify His ministration in our behalf; messages which vindicate the authority of the Bible and lead us into all biblical truth; messages which uphold the holy law of God and enjoin obedience to all its commandments-such messages cannot come through an agent of Satan.
3. Christ Exalted
The apostle Paul wrote: "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 1 Cor.. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. ) was the central subject of his teachings. While true teachers work to bring souls to Christ, false teachers deny the Lord ( ) and try to convert souls to themselves ( ). Instead of rebuking sinners and calling sin by its right name, they seek to please people by flattering their carnal hearts. "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." .
Sister White always exalted Christ as our only hope. Here is an example of the tenor of her teachings:
"Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended into the heavens, Christ coming again, should so soften, gladden, and fill the mind of the minister that he will present these truths to the people in love and deep earnestness. The minister will then be lost sight of and Jesus will be made manifest. Lift up Jesus, you that teach the people, lift Him up in sermon, in song, in prayer. Let all your powers be directed to pointing souls, confused, bewildered, lost, to the 'Lamb of God."' GW 159, 160.
4. The Bible Vindicated
Christ said: "Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.". And Paul wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim. . Then he added a warning about false teachers: "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.... They shall turn
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Tim., .
In vain have some tried to find discrepancies between the Bible and the writings of Sister White. Seeming contradictions can be detected even within the Scriptures. But, so far, no one has ever been able to show us an example of real disagreement t between the Word of God and the Testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Sister White never indicated that we should regard her writings as an addition to the Bible. Her consistent advice was as follows: "I am fully in harmony with you in your work when you present the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the foundation of our faith." 2SM 85.
"In the golden censer of truth, as presented in Christ's teachings, we have that which will convict and convert souls. Pro claim, in the simplicity of Christ, the truths that He came to this world to proclaim, and the power of your message will make it self felt. Do not advocate theories or tests that Christ has never mentioned, and that have no foundation in the Bible. We have grand, solemn truths for the people. 'It is written' is the test that must be brought home to every soul." GW 309.
5. The Law of God Upheld
When men ignore the will of God as it is revealed in His holy law, we are not to regard the miraculous manifestations which may be connected with their work as a proof that they have been sent by God. (Read.) False prophets do not render or teach obedience to all the commandments of the Decalogue. Therefore, we are told to test the genuineness of their claims by considering their attitude toward the law. (Read Isa. ; 1 John 24.)
No one can deny that Sister White has firmly upheld, before the church and the world, the sacred requirements of God's moral law.
6. Predictions Fulfilled
In addition to the test mentioned before, the Lord said that those who claim to be prophets should be tested also on the accurate fulfillment of their predictions. (Read Deut., ; Isa. .)
In the writings of Sister White there are many undeniable examples of prophetic foresight. This is the theme of a book entitled Divine Predictions of Mrs. Ellen G. White Fulfilled, by F. C. Gilbert. And there are other publications, too, dealing with this subject. The fulfillment of her predictions belonging to events which are now behind us inspires us with confidence that her prophetic utterances concerning events that are still before us will likewise be fulfilled.
We share Elder S. N. Haskell's conclusion:
"After over sixty years' study of Mrs. White's writings with the Bible, we can truthfully say that we know not of one Bible test of a true prophet but has been most literally fulfilled in her writings and in her character."
III-RIGHT AND WRONG ATTITUDES
We are not ignorant of the objections that have been made against the writings of Sister White. The arguments(1) that her visions were the product of nervous disorders; (2) that she made false claims and predictions; (3) that her writings do not always agree with the Bible; (4) that in some cases she contradicted herself; (5) that she was influenced by those around her; (6) that she copied extensively from other authors without giving credit to them; (7) that she used literary assistants who doctored her writings as they saw fit; etc. such arguments have already been answered successfully in SDA publications.
From our standpoint, however, we must clarify a few points in connection with inspiration. I
1. The Question of Infallibility
Men called to be prophets are not restricted to thinking, speaking, and acting only under divine inspiration. Their human frailties often come to the front when they speak their own words. Abraham used deception (Gen.), Jacob uttered and maintained a wrong personal conclusion (Gen. ), Moses dishonored the Lord by speaking hasty and wrong words (Num. ), David gave murderous instructions to Joab (2 Sam. , ), Nathan encouraged David to go ahead with his plans to build the temple and then had to reverse his instructions (1 Chron. ). All these men of God were prophets, but they did not always speak the words given them by the Lord.
The fact that Sister White was called to the prophetic office did not hinder her from maintaining and/or uttering some personal opinions. At the very beginning, for example, she had wrong ideas about the close of probation (lSM 741, the use of swine's flesh (lT 206, 207), Sabbathkeeping (1T 116), and possibly other points. But what happened? Under the influence of the Holy Spirit she gave up those ideas as she was guided, step by step, "into all truth" ().
Sister White declared: "In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible." 1SM 37. "The Bible is the only infallible authority in religion." GC 238.
In 1906 a brother wanted to know if every word spoken or written by Sister White was directly inspired. This was her answer:
"In your letter, you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the Testimonies, and say, 'I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the ten commandments.' (Italics hers.)
"My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims." RH Aug. 30, 1906.
In 1909 a worker in Southern California began to doubt the inspiration of the Testimonies because Sister White had stated in a letter that the Paradise Valley Sanitarium had forty rooms, when in reality it had only thirty-eight. The fact was, as she explained, that she had obtained information about the sanitarium, not from the Lord, but from a brother. So she stated that information, "not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion." In the same writing she added this warning:
"There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God." 1SM 39.
In the preface to Spiritual Gifts, volume 2, Sister White wrote concerning the biographical information contained in that volume:
"In preparing the following pages, I have labored under great disadvantages, as I have had to depend in many instances, on memory, having kept no journal till within a few years. In several instances I have sent the manuscripts to friends who were present when the circumstances related occurred, for their examination before they were put in print. I have taken great care, and have spent much time, in endeavoring to state the simple facts as correctly as possible."
As can be seen, there is no claim that her words were unerringly dictated to her by the Holy Spirit.
2. The Concept of Inspiration
Although many members have been inclined to believe in a verbal inspiration of the Bible and the Testimonies, the SDA Church as a denomination has never held that view. On this point Sister White says:
"It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God." 7BC 945, 946.
"The Creator of all ideas may impress different minds with the same thought, but each may express it in a different way, yet without contradiction." 1SM 22.
3. Unwarranted Flexibility
a) Arbitrary Selections
Many believers have questions about the unpublished manuscripts from which selections are gathered, put together, and published in the form of books under the name of B. G. White. If these manuscripts were published in full, exactly as they appear in their original form, this would make it easier to understand the original idea conveyed. Furthermore, when a writing is taken to pieces, and its segments are scattered and included in different chapters or books, some confusion may result. Isolated portions, read out of their context, can easily be misinterpreted.
The complaint has often been heard that those responsible for E. G. White's publications have taken upon their shoulders the responsibility of making unauthorized deletions, additions, and corrections in her writings. Evidences show that changes have been made, and concerned believers wonder how far these alterations were sanctioned by Sister White. We stand with those who are opposed to this tampering with the inspired writings. What faith would Christians have in the New Testament books if each succeeding generation had taken the liberty of changing them?
c) Forming the Adventist Doctrine
We believe, with all faithful Adventists, that we must and can prove all our doctrines from the Bible and the Bible alone. But we do not agree with the statement that E. G. White played absolutely no role in the Adventist interpretation of the Bible. We therefore object to the following declaration:
"No doctrinal truth or prophetic interpretation ever came to this people initially through the Spirit of Prophecy not in a single case."-Ministry, February 1957.
The Spirit of Prophecy had a definite part in helping the Advent believers find in the Bible the present truth for today. We read:
"Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, 'We can do nothing more,' the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.
"During the whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given."Sp T, Series B, No. 2, pp. 56, 57.
d) Not a Test of Fellowship
In the SDA Church belief in, or acceptance of, the writings of E. G. White is not a test of Christian fellowship. (Questions on Doctrine, pp. 96, 97.) This means that whether you do or do not believe in the Spirit of Prophecy, you can still be a church member in good and regular standing. We must take exception especially to the fact that even opponents of the Spirit of Prophecy can hold high offices in the church. Example: L. Conradi was the president of the European Division and vice-president of the General Conference (Movement of Destiny, p. 677) for years while being openly opposed to the Testimonies.
4. Important Warning
We are warned, not only about those who reject the Testimonies, but also about those who profess to accept them and actually misuse them. One of the warnings seems to refer to those who have access to the archives where the original writings of E. G. White are kept. The servant of the Lord says:
"Soon every possible effort will be made to discount and pervert the truth of the testimonies of God's Spirit. We must have in readiness the clear, straight messages that since 1846 have been coming to God's people.
"There will be those once united with us in the faith who will search for new, strange doctrines, for something odd and sensational to present to the people. They will bring in all conceivable fallacies, and will present them as coming from Mrs. White, that they may beguile souls....
"Those who have treated the light that the Lord has given as a common thing will not be benefited by the instruction presented.
"There are those who will misinterpret the message that God has given, in accordance with their spiritual blindness.
"Some will yield their faith, and will deny the truth of the messages, pointing to them as falsehoods.
"Some will hold them up to ridicule, working against the light that God has been giving for years, and some who are weak in the faith will thus be led astray. But others will be greatly helped by the messages." 1SM 41, 42.
Through the rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy by a large proportion of Seventh-day Adventists, heresies are streaming into the church, because the floodgate is open. The fulfillment of the following predictions has already begun:
"Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly; for he knows what truth is.
"Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan." TM 409, 410.
"The enemy has made his masterly efforts to unsettle the faith of our own people in the Testimonies, and when these errors come in they claim to prove all the positions by the Bible, but they misinterpret the Scriptures. They make bold assertions, as did Elder Canright, and misapply the prophecies and the Scriptures to prove falsehood. And, after men have done their work in weakening the confidence of our churches in the Testimonies, they have torn away the barrier, that unbelief in the truth shall become widespread, and there is no voice to be lifted up to stay the force of error.
"This is just as Satan designed it should be, and those who have been preparing the way for the people to pay no heed to the warnings and reproofs of the Testimonies of the Spirit of God will see that a tide of errors of all kinds will spring into life. They will claim Scripture as their evidence, and deceptions of Satan in every form will prevail." 3SM 83.
"One thing is certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan's banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs contained in the Testimonies of God's Spirit." 3SM 84.
"As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third message, but have not been sanctified through it, abandon their position, and take refuge under the banner of the powers of darkness. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren." 4SP 426.
Many are waiting, in vain, for all the deceivers, together with the backslidden majority, to be shaken out of the church, but prophecy does not say that they will leave the apostatized mother church. On the contrary, the prophetic picture shows that these evildoers, and the evils for which they are responsible, remain in the mother church to the very end. Read 3T 266, 267; ST 209-214, 524; etc. A large proportion will fall prey to the delusions that will come in these last days, but a small remnant-those that keep the commandments of God and uphold the testimony of Jesus Christ-will not be deceived.