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Betrayed with a Kiss

Mark Howard

Hosting its seventh annual conference, GYC's 2008 theme this was "For This Purpose." How do we find this purpose? By listening to and studying God's Word. Featuring inspirational speakers such as Justin Kim, Randy Skeete, Radim Passer, Chelsy Jourdan, Alistair Huong, Doug Batchelor, and more, this conference leads us in studying how we can reflect Christ's character.

Presenter

Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

Conference

Recorded

  • December 19, 2008
    10:45 AM
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Heavenly Father, I just want to pray in this last session we have today that Your Spirit would guide us, and, Father, clarify in our minds how we should view and receive this gift of prophecy in the church for our guidance and for our admonition and encouragement. We ask and pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Okay, I want to share, while he’s doing that, very quickly, I received something from the Ellen White Estate who is here. They have a booth in the auditorium. Those who were here before heard this. They’re selling the Ellen White CD-ROMs, and there are a few different versions of them, but they’re selling them at half price here. And if you mention that you came to this seminar, they’ll give you another five dollars off. So keep that in mind; it’s a valuable resource if you don’t have it, or, I should say, invaluable. Well, the prices he gives me here is, you can get one for 20 dollars at the half-price price, one for 50 or the full version for 75, and then it’s five dollars off of that, too. So, the one that typically sells for 150, you can get for 70 dollars if you tell them you came to this seminar.

 

“Betrayed with a Kiss,” I’d had a question that’s come up, and I’ve had to keep some segments out of this. I didn’t go over in the series here, in our six sessions together, I didn’t go over the one that I do on “The Tests of a Prophet,” which is an important section; I just had to pick and choose out of the time periods that I had. I had six of them. The one I’m doing here, this last one, “Betrayed with a Kiss,” I think, is really important in light of some things that are happening in our church today. The question was asked me during the break, “How can we have confidence in Ellen White; I mean, like, how can we read every last thing she ever wrote and test it according to the Scripture? That would take forever.” And I get that question a lot.

 

How many of you have read every last part of the Bible? Okay, a lot of people have read through the Bible, but I run into a lot of people who have not. Incidentally, I would encourage you to get on a Bible reading plan and at least to have read through it once. But what happens is, you haven’t read the whole Bible, every last thing in the Bible, yet you accept it. There has to come a point where a prophet is accepted as a prophet of God, okay? You can test somebody for only so long. Now, some people like to just keep Ellen White in the testing zone and say, you know, kind of keep an open door so that when I disagree with her one day, I can take that door out.

 

There’s got to be a point where you’ve been able to go by…and I’ve said this to the group yesterday…I don’t care what it is in the Christian life, you will never have every bit of evidence. Ellen White herself states that there will always be a hook to hang your doubts on. If you’re looking for a place to doubt, the devil will give you a place to doubt. Christians have to go with the weight of evidence. In fact, I read a very powerful statement by Ellen White that said that in Noah’s day, Noah could not refute the arguments of the scientists when he was preaching his message.

 

Now, let me just throw something out here. For those, I know there’s a big thing today with everybody wanting to be able to give an answer for our faith, and we want to answer the postmodern mind and give an answer to every objection. You’re not going to find it. If Noah couldn’t find the answer to the scientists of his day, we’re not going to be answering all their objections. Now, we can find good answers; don’t get me wrong, but you’re not going to be able to have an answer for everything. There’s going to have to come a point where you can say like the Apostle Paul for example on the subject of creation, “I believe that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so the things which are created did not come from the things which do appear.”

 

There’s going to come a point where there’s faith, and faith says, “Listen, I know enough about the Word of God that I trust it.” And it has to be the case with Ellen White. And you need to put Ellen White to the test, but there’s got to come a point where you say, “You know, I’ve seen enough, and I can see that this is a prophet of God.”

 

Now, in the “Betrayed with a Kiss,” I want to address some of the attacks. The last class, we talked about some of the attacks that are coming from outside the church. I want to spend some time talking about the attacks that are coming inside the church, and specifically I’m really speaking kind of to a specific here. There’s a book that’s been published, and I’m only using this for example, kind of a foundation of what we’re talking about here because the book that I’m going to speak of promotes an idea that is held by a number of people, scholars and teachers in the Adventist Church. The book is called More than a Prophet by a man named Graeme Bradford. Graeme Bradford is an Adventist theologian from Australia, and when you get the book, and you look at the book, it looks very authoritative. It looks like, you know, the whole book says, the tenor of the book, the cover and everything says, “This is a defense of Ellen White.” And that’s what it purports to be.

 

The Ellen White Estate has issued a statement about that book on their website because there have been entire conferences that have passed that book out to their pastors to help them understand the gift of prophecy. And my take on the book, and again, Bradford’s ideas are not isolated to Bradford, my take on the book is an alleged defense of Ellen White that actually is a betrayal with a kiss. When Judas kissed Christ on the cheek, it looked like he was being friendly. It looked like he was being supportive, but he was doing everything but being supportive. And I’m not saying that Bradford is intending to tear down Ellen White, but his view of inspiration of Ellen White will totally strip her of the authority. In fact, I believe it will be a fulfillment of the prophecy.

 

You see on page one of the handout, down under Letter C: Satan’s very last deception. Ellen White says, “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.”

 

This is his last deception. He’s going to unsettle the confidence of God’s people in the gift of prophecy among us. And how? She says, “He’s going to make it of none effect.” The text right below that, Mark 7:9-13, this is when Jesus has an encounter with the religious leaders, and they had come up with this way of getting around supporting their parents. Instead of honoring their parents and supporting their parents in their old age, the temple had this system where you could pronounce Corban over your possessions, and what that meant is, when I die, all my possessions go to the temple. And once you pronounce that Corban over your possessions, that meant I can do whatever I want with all my stuff until I die, but because it’s dedicated to the temple, I can’t really give any of it to help anybody else because then it wouldn’t all go to the temple, and so I keep it myself.

 

And it was used as a little loophole for people to not have to help mom and dad. And Jesus said to those leaders, He said, “You make the counsel of God,” or “the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Now, what did He mean by that? Simply this: To make something of none effect, none of those religious leaders would have said, “We don’t believe in the Law of God.” What they said was this, “No, we believe in the Law of God, we just don’t believe it applies to us.” You follow that?

 

What Ellen White says is that Satan’s last deception is not to make Adventists say, “We don’t believe in Ellen White is a prophet anymore,” but to so frame her ministry, to so address her ministry as to say, “We believe Ellen White is a prophet, but it really doesn’t apply to us today.” You hear what I’m saying?

 

Now I want you to see what’s happening here. Page two: More than a prophet or less? Bradford’s book should be called “Less than a Prophet” from my estimation. Bradford writes a smaller book entitled Prophets are Human, and that would probably be the best description…This is basically Bradford’s defense of Ellen White: “Yeah, Ellen White plagiarized, Ellen White made mistakes, she was a human being; what do you expect? We need to let prophets be human beings.” Well, that’s great. The problem is we no longer have a prophet when we get done with all that. We have a commentator. We have a person with opinions, that they share their religious opinions sometimes. We no longer have a voice of authority in the church. Notice the statement there on page two under “More than a prophet or less?”: The following statements are from a recently published book written by Australian theologian Graeme Bradford and published under Samuele Bacchiocchi’s Biblical Perspectives label. Bradford, who holds his master’s degree in religion from Andrew’s University, claims to be committed to reclaiming former Adventists. He is currently retired from his work as professor in the theology department of Avondale College. His emphasis is on the human side of prophets. He claims that through his efforts and those of his colleagues, Adventism has come full circle to a more biblical understanding of her gift, so he says. [His] book, ironically entitled More than a Prophet, is an alleged defense of Ellen White’s ministry, but in reality a betrayal of the most destructive kind.

 

Old Testament and New Testament prophets. I want to introduce you with some of his concepts here because you’re going to hear it, whether it comes from Bradford or somewhere else. You may even hear it, God forbid, from your pastors, okay, because pastors are reading this book. But this is not what the Bible says, and this is something else Bradford will say. Bradford will say, “Ellen White agrees. Ellen White would tell you the same thing about her gift that I’m telling you.” And people read the book, and they say, “Oh, I guess it’s true.” He won’t tell you what I’m going to tell you in this seminar.

 

Now, look at the first, under letter B: Old Testament and New Testament prophets. Bradford believes that a change has taken place in the prophetic ministry with the authoritative Old Testament prophet being replaced by a rather innocuous New Testament sort of spiritual advisor type prophet, and notice his wording. He quotes Acts 2:17-18 where Peter talks about the Spirit being poured out there, and the prophecy of Joel being fulfilled, and he says, “Peter is clearly saying that from now on God is going to pour out His Spirit upon all people, regardless of race, gender, age or social standing.”

 

Question: Did God do that before? God has never been a respecter of persons. I mean, the dispensational implication of that is, even that in and of itself, but that’s not what we’re talking about, though. The next sentence, “The Holy Spirit will now abide in every believer. Ministries of ancient prophets, priests and kings have now passed into the lives of ordinary people, but there are also differences between New Testament prophets and that of Old Testament and Judaism. Some New Testament prophets are given prominence, but fundamentally, however, prophecy is not restricted to a few men and women in primitive Christianity. All are filled with the prophetic Spirit, and according to Acts 2:16 and following, it is a specific mark of the age of fulfillment that the Spirit does not only lay hold of individuals, but that all members of the eschatological community without distinction are called to prophesy.”

 

Now, I want to give you a clear understanding of this word “prophesy.” “Prophesy” in the Bible is used two ways. Now, a prophet is a spokesperson for God. But a person can be said to prophesy who isn’t a prophet, okay? In the end of Revelation, chapter 10, it says, John hears the message, and it says, “Thou must prophesy again.” That is pointing out to the movement that went through the bittersweet book experience to go and give their message, okay? To prophesy the message God gave them.

 

What Bradford’s trying to say here, though, is that in the New Testament era, like in the Old Testament, you had prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., but in the New Testament we all have the prophetic gift to a degree, to one degree or the other, all of us do, okay? You’re going to see where he’s going with this in a moment. In other words, all are prophets, I say there in the handout.

 

Now, go to the next point, number three: Yet Ellen White spoke in regard to this very concept as follows. A.T. Jones had gotten into this thing, and Ellen White wrote to him. She says, “A sister, in a letter to her friends, speaks with much enthusiasm of a statement by Brother Jones that Sister White has seen that the time has come when, if we hold the right relation to God, all could have the gift of prophecy to the same extent as do those now having visions.” Ellen White says, “Where is the authority for this statement? I must believe that the sister failed to understand Brother Jones, for I cannot think that he made the statement.”

 

Now, I’m not going to read through the rest of that, but I simply shared what I did…Well, let’s go further down. There’s an ellipsis down there, top of page three, goes to the paragraph, then there’s an ellipsis followed by “These ideas.” You see that? “These ideas in relation to prophesying, I do not hesitate to say, might better never have been expressed.” She goes on to say, “Because some people now are going to think they’re prophets, and they’re going to get into all kinds of fanaticism. Okay?

 

Simple point is this. Now Bradford would make us think that Ellen White agrees with his viewpoint, but Ellen White very clearly is not in agreement with this idea that in the New Testament all are prophets. She goes on to A.T. Jones to write to him this counsel that you find in the next point. “You cannot be too careful how you talk of the gift of prophesying and state that I have said this and that in reference to the matter. Such statements, I well know, encourage men and women and children to imagine that they have had special revelations from God, when they have not received such light.” She goes on, “This, I have been shown, would be one of Satan’s masterpieces of deception.” Now, isn’t that interesting?

 

His last deception is going to make of no effect the gift of prophecy, and one of the ways, evidently, that he’s going to do that is make people think that the gift of prophecy in the New Testament is different than it used to be, and that everybody to some extent has this gift. Okay? This is what Bradford says. This is not what Ellen White says, and neither is it what the Bible says. And she did not allow for that idea.

 

Now, if you go to letter C on page three, developing it just a little bit further, and I’m not going to take the time to read those passages just because we don’t have time right now. Bradford claims that Bible writers were clear, that in evaluating the prophetic gift, we should realize that a true prophet may speak error mixed with truth. Now, look at what he says. He says, “In contrast to the authority given to the apostles in the New Testament, prophets are to have their prophecies evaluated.” So now he differentiates. He says the apostles, what they said, you could take it; it was trustworthy, but the prophets, you had to evaluate what they said.

 

Now the Apostle Paul didn’t take that position. He didn’t say that…Paul commended the Bereans, why? Because they evaluated what he said. So this is just a stretch, this whole thing, but look what he goes on to say, “By contrast with Old Testament prophets…” By contrast, notice, Old Testament prophets were one way, and New Testament prophets are another way. That is not what the Scripture teaches, that they are different, but this is how he’s presenting it. “New Testament prophets are to have their oracles carefully weighed,” which is true. All prophets were to have their oracles carefully weighed; we are to test the prophets.

 

Then he quotes 1 Corinthians 14:29, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, and a word used in there talking about judging the prophetic gift or testing the prophets is the word diakrino, and this is what he says, “The word diakrino, the Greek word translated “judge” in 1 Corinthians 14:29 suggests that the prophecy be evaluated, not simply accepted as totally true or totally false. The presupposition is that any one New Testament prophetic oracle is,” (what?), “expected to be mixed in quality, and the wheat must be separated from the chaff.” (Now, please do this for me, 2 Selected Messages…That is NOT the reference. This is a reference from Graeme Bradford not from Ellen White, okay? So I really want you to make sure – Scratch that out. I don’t want you reading later, “Wow, Ellen White said that?” No, she didn’t.) Bradford is saying here that contrary to Old Testament prophets, the New Testament prophet may say a prophecy, and in the prophecy, part of it may be true, and part of it may be false, and we have to evaluate and determine which part was true and which part was false. Do you see that?

 

Okay, now that’s his claim, and there are people in the church today that are claiming such. But look at Ellen White’s understanding of her gift. Bottom of page three, “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 for the past 30 years 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.”

 

Now, you read Bradford’s book, and Bradford says, “No, no no. Ellen White understands that this is how her gift…that some is true and some is false.” He’ll make you think that she agreed with him, but when we read what she says, she does not agree with that idea of the gift of prophecy, whether it’s herself or the Old Testament or New Testament prophets. All the prophets had to be evaluated, but the true prophet did not speak truth with…the wheat was not mixed with the chaff in the prophecy. You follow that?

 

Top of page four, top of page four, this is really Bradford’s underlying theme: “Prophets are human, and as such, we should expect no more from them…,” (it should say more not “mare”; we’re not talking about horses here)…”should expect no more from them than common human frailty.” Look at his language. (And again, I don’t know what happened here with these statements. These are not Selected Messages, and I’ve got something that I’ve got to correct here, but I want you to note these are Bradford’s statements, not Ellen White’s statements.)

 

[Audience member asks a question.] I don’t know; I can’t verify that. I’ve got it right in another handout. I’ll post that handout on my website. Again, go to the ARISE booth, and you can get the website; it’s www.arisemichigan.org and look for them there, and I’ll correct it because I want you to have that accurately.

 

These are Bradford’s words. Now notice what he says in the first one there, subpoint A: “All of us are on a journey. We grow in our understanding. Ellen White was no different. We must allow Ellen White to be a normal human. She was no superwoman.” Now, it almost sounds like he’s just...”Poor, Ellen. We’ve been so unkind to her. We need to allow for Ellen.” It makes it sound like he’s being so defensive of her. “We must allow her to be…” Now, listen, Ellen White did grow in her understanding, but we’re going to let her speak to how that growth was reflected in her writings.

 

He goes on to say, “As a woman in her 80s, she acted as other elderly women and needed to rely on others more. The aging Mrs. White was not in good health. One does get the impression from the letters of Prescott and Crisler, however, that there was an attempt by her helpers to assist and not give any impression of,” (what?), “mental deterioration.” So now he’s implying that she was a little senile, okay? And this is all in a book as a defense of Ellen White. Incidentally, Ellen White was not senile. Subpoint there: The claim is that Ellen White needs help being understood and likely was mentally imbalanced. She always knew her limits, like Willie, A.G. Daniells, Prescott, etc., and he’ll say this. “A.G. Daniells and W.W. Prescott and others, they understood this about Ellen White, but they were afraid to tell the church back in her day,” and he makes this big argument that the people who were in the know, including Ellen White herself, would support everything that he says.

I mean, you read through the book, and you’re starting to think, “Wow, I’m being enlightened.” There’s some spiritual direction there, I can tell you that, but it’s not from the Spirit of God.

Now, one of the things, I’m just going to touch on this briefly. You have the handout, and I’d encourage you to look at it: Ellen White changed after 1888. Now, I hear this by a lot of people. They say, “After the 1888 General Conference, Ellen White had a revelation, and instead of becoming hard core and disciplinary, she became Christ-centered after 1888.” This is a total perversion of the gift of prophecy. Ellen White would never have supported that. And I have a response. I have a couple of statements plus a response that I received from the White Estate when I asked them about this. I said, “Give me some background on this.” And you can read that in the response there.

 

The idea, again, is Ellen White grew, he said, in her understanding. She did grow in her understanding, but growing in her understanding doesn’t mean she used to write error and now she writes truth. That’s where we have to be careful. To say that she had a better understanding of certain subjects, sure, she did, but to allow that to say, for example, when people say, “Ellen White changed after 1888,” here’s the bulk of what I get out of that when people tell me: Most of the Testimonies for the church were written prior to 1888, and so, if I can say she changed afterwards, then I can say, “Well, the Testimonies are kind of unreliable. Let’s read something like Desire of Ages.” Well, I’d encourage you to read Desire of Ages, but to say the Testimonies are not reliable because she changed, that would be perversion of the idea of her spiritual growth. Sure, she grew, but that doesn’t turn error into truth or truth into error. You understand what I’m saying there?

 

Look at subpoint two: She says, “I understand that some were anxious to know if Mrs. White still held the same views that she did years ago when they heard her speak in the sanitarium grove, in the Tabernacle, and at the camp meetings held in the suburbs of Battle Creek. I assured them that the message she bears today is the same that she has born during the 60 years of her public ministry.” That was written in 1905. So, Ellen White doesn’t allow for this idea that she’s changed her theology. You follow that? And you can read more of that one, okay?

 

I want you to go to page five, still looking at Bradford, and then I want to move into Ellen White’s clarification of what…and to me, this is the core, right here, this is the core of the whole argument: Aren’t we free? Notice the language here now. And you have to read a lot of Bradford’s book to get to this part. You’ve got to be conditioned to get to this part. Once you get to this part, you can kind of see this is all…Here it is: He asks this question, “Are Seventh-day Adventists truly Protestant as they claim? If so, then we are to have no other authority in doctrine outside the Bible. The church’s first baptismal vow states, ‘Do you believe that the Bible is the full, sufficient and only basic rule of faith and practice for the Christian?’” And then he says, “Do new converts have to give assent to this, only to be told later that they must bow their judgment to Ellen White?”

 

In other words, he’s saying, “Do we believe in the Bible and the Bible only, or do we believe in the Bible and Ellen White?” That’s word-smithing, and I’ll tell you why, because the only reason we believe in Ellen White is because the Bible tells us to believe in Ellen White. We didn’t manufacture this. The Bible says there are prophets in the church; the Bible says there are going to be prophets in the church until the end of time; and the Bible says the remnant church will have the gift of prophecy. That’s why we look for a prophet in the first place. He makes it sound like, to accept Ellen White would be denying the Bible and the Bible only.

 

And then he says this. Now, at first it’s the new converts. Now he’s defending the new converts. Now here we get to the heart of it after the ellipsis there, he says, “The question must be asked, ‘Are we a free people? Free to grow in our understandings of the Bible? Free to,’” (what?), “‘disagree.’” Ah! There it is, “‘Free to disagree with what she has written?’ In the areas of science, health, history, prophecy, and education, etc., what should a person do if they find they have come to some other conclusion than what she has written? Do they surrender their private judgment?”

 

Yes! That’s what the prophet…I mean, if God sent the prophet Ezekiel, if God sent Jonah to Nineveh, and Jonah said something that disagreed with the way that they thought, were they supposed to surrender their private judgment to Jonah? Were they supposed to say, “Well, Jonah, that’s an interesting message you have, but we’re not going to repent”? When Nathan came to David and said, “Thou art the man,” was David supposed to surrender his personal judgment to the prophet or no? When Elijah came to Ahab, was Ahab to surrender his personal judgment to the prophet or say, “Well, it’s an interesting take you have on things, Elijah.” No, the prophetic ministry is for the purpose of giving some authority to the Word of God in the church, right? And upholding, because, let’s face it, private judgment gets us into trouble sometimes. I’ve experienced that in my own life, and I know many of you can relate to that.

 

Notice subpoint A there: This seems to strike at the heart of the issue. The real rub with Ellen White is that her counsel restricts some from promoting their own varied opinions and viewpoints. It’s as if some are crying, “We want our own way, and the prophet won’t let us have it.”

 

Next point: Are we a free people? Free to do what? To promote our own opinions? To disagree with prophetic counsel? Certainly, we are. The Lord didn’t say we weren’t free, and we’re free to leave the Adventist Church if we don’t agree with what the Adventist Church teaches. Nobody twisted anybody’s arm to become a Seventh-day Adventist. Nobody twisted somebody’s arm to be baptized. If you don’t agree with it, go ahead and go. But for Bradford, what he’s trying to do is allow for people to be an Adventist member in good and regular standing and yet ignore the gift of prophecy among them or refuse to fall in line.

 

I mean, listen, if God sends a prophet, and I only agree with what the prophet says on the things that I already agree with, what good is that gift going to do in my life? I mean, the benefit and the blessing that I have found in my own personal life is when I’m confronted, whether it’s through the Bible prophets or through Ellen White, when I’m confronted to look at something in my life that’s not in harmony with God’s will, and I have to wrestle with that and surrender it. That’s when I grow spiritually, isn’t that right? So, if I only have to listen to the prophet when it’s something I already believe and agree with, where’s the growth? Where’s the challenge?

 

Now look at the bottom of page five: No trained scholars. This is another point that he makes. He says, “F.M. Wilcox, during his Review and Herald editorship of 33 years wrote, ‘Her writings constitute a spiritual commentary upon the Scripture, a divine illumination of the Word of God.’ Despite the protests against equating Mrs. White’s writings with the Bible, many statements implied otherwise or said otherwise straight out. Roscoe Porter wrote that ‘the Testimonies that are sent are God’s word.’” Now, Bradford’s commenting on this and obviously disagreeing with this. “Many published statements admonished church members,” quote, “‘to study the written word and the Spirit of prophecy.’ Although these writers probably did not realize it, they implied by their arguments that the Bible alone is insufficient to guide the believer into all truth.” He does it again there. He puts the Bible and the gift of prophecy at odds.

 

Now, somebody asked me this yesterday; now think about this for a minute. If God sends a prophet, and the prophet is a biblical prophet, then they agree with the Bible, right? So why argue about whether you believe in the Bible or the Spirit of prophecy? Who cares? I mean, they all say the same thing, right? If it’s a true prophet, what’s this whole issue with? “Well, can’t we follow the Bible and the Bible only?” Why do you want to get away from the prophet? Because the person has a disagreement with what the prophet’s saying, you know, and we find this throughout the Scripture.

 

Now he makes it sound like they’re at odds. He says that these people implied that the Bible wasn’t sufficient. That’s not what’s being implied at all. If the Bible is sufficient, that Bible that you believe and I believe, has told you and told me to receive the spiritual gifts, including the gift of prophecy. Is that right? And so, far from the Bible not being sufficient, a belief in the Spirit of prophecy is accepting the Bible’s sufficiency.

 

So go to top of page six, letter B, Bradford again from his book. (Now these pages are right, and all the ibids there are Bradford’s book and the page numbers.) Letter B: “The inspiration of Ellen White is not so much under question as the nature and function of her,” (what?), “authority.” Exactly. It’s an authority issue. If I can disagree with her and think my own way, then I’m okay with it. That’s kind of what he’s saying. “Is Seventh-day Adventism truly a Protestant church that recognizes the Bible?” He keeps coming back to this as if Protestantism and the Bible and the Bible only excludes the gift of prophecy that the Bible tells us to believe. He keeps using that.

 

Now, I want you to jump to the next – letter C: He says, “When I look at the founding of Adventism, there were mostly young people. There was not one professionally trained Bible scholar among them. About all that they had were their Bibles and a concordance.” Now, what is he saying? Is he saying, is he trying to make it sound positive? No, he’s saying basically that the founders of Adventism were feeble-minded people, but they did the best they could.

 

Now, look what he goes on to say, “Sometimes they were naïve. We are better educated than they were. We have trained scholars. We need to expect that some new thoughts will be arriving on the scene but to have this is still to have the essential essence of what Adventism was always meant to be.” We have trained scholars. We’re better educated. In essence, what he’s saying is, “The reason that we don’t need the gift of prophecy to take the place that it once did is because now we’re smart.”

 

Now this reminds me of a story that I heard. You ever hear the story of the boy scout, the president of the United States and the smartest man in the world? There are four people on a plane; there’s the pilot, and then there’s a boy scout, there’s the president of the United States, and the smartest man in the world. They’re on this airplane, and the plane’s going down. There are four people, and there are three parachutes. So the smartest man in the world gets up and he’s like, “Look, I know there are only three parachutes, but I’m the smartest man in the world; the world cannot do without me. I have to take the first parachute.” He takes it and he jumps. Well, the president stands up, and he says, “I’m the president of the United States.” The pilot says, “Yeah, you need to go; you’re the president, and the country needs you.” And so he takes the second parachute and jumps. And the pilot takes the boy scout, and he says, “Listen, young man,” He says, “I’ve lived much of my life. You have a lot of your life ahead of you. Why don’t you go ahead and take that last parachute?” He says, “Listen, mister. Don’t worry. The smartest man in the world just jumped out with my backpack.”

 

You know, there’s a thing about people trying to be too smart for God. Sometimes when men think they’re smart, they’re not being smart at all, right? When you start depending so much on your own smarts, you get into trouble, and what Bradford is in essence saying here is, “We’re smarter than God. We’re smarter than these early Adventists, naïve Adventist pioneers.” This is not the case, and we’re going to see that as we continue on.

 

I want you to look at Ellen White’s answers to some of these things. Page seven, top of the page: Ellen White answers the objections. Look at letter C, look at letter C at the bottom of that page. She says, “We are to be established in the faith in the light of the truth given us in our early experience. At that time, one error after another pressed in upon us. Ministers and doctors,” these are not medical doctors, these are trained ministers, these are doctors of theology, these are trained theologians. You remember what Bradford just said? In the early days of our movement, we as Adventists didn’t have any trained scholars. What does Ellen White say?

 

She says, “Ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines.” The trained scholars of these other churches were bringing in…Of course, the Adventist Church hadn’t been founded. They were the ones bringing in the error. She said, trained scholars, well, “Ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scripture with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our mind. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error.”

 

That’s how she says our doctrines were established. Now they weren’t established. We already covered this the other day; they weren’t established from the visions. They were established from Scripture, but as men studied Scripture, and one person said, “I see the passage this way,” and another said, “I see the passage this way. I think Paul means this.” “I think Paul means this.” Then God, through His Spirit, said, “This is what Paul intended. This is what I intended when I impressed Paul.” And thus, the Spirit of prophecy was used to bring clarity of understanding just as it was in the Scripture. We looked at that one yesterday.

 

Top of page eight: Counsel from God or Ellen White’s opinion. This is what Bradford was kind of talking about, sometimes Ellen White speaks truth and error mixed; some of it is prophetic; some of it is inspired, but some of it is her opinion. I don’t think I have the statement here. She says that in regard to the Word of God, but Ellen White made this statement once. She said, “In reading…,” and there are biblical scholars that try to do this today. They try to differentiate…In the Bible, they say, “Well, some of the Bible is inspired, and some of the Bible is not inspired.” Ellen White said, “I would rather have both arms torn off at the shoulders than to speak as to what’s inspired and what’s uninspired in the Scripture.” Whew!

 

Here’s what she says about this idea of people saying it’s her opinion. She writes this letter and says, “After I wrote you the long letter, which has been belittled by Elder H as merely an expression of my own opinion, while at the Southern California Camp Meeting, the Lord partially,” notice, “The Lord partially removed the restriction and,” (what?), “and I write what I do. I dare not say more now, lest I,” (what?), “go beyond what the Spirit of the Lord has permitted me.” Here, in essence she’s saying this, “I don’t speak out of turn,” which is really something to think about, as she’s giving counsel, that is. And we’ll flesh that out as we go. “Had Elder H and those uniting with him had been standing in the light, they would have recognized the voice of warning and reproof, but he calls it a human work and casts it aside. The work he is doing, he will wish done erelong. He is weaving a net around himself that he cannot easily break. This is not my opinion.”

 

You know, the guy has accused her of stating her opinions, so she makes it very plain, “Just in case you’re going to say that, I want to make it very clear.” See, here’s what was happening. This Elder H was reading what Sister White said and said, “Well, Sister White is a prophet; I believe she is a prophet, but his part here, this is just her opinion. She was just giving her opinion here.” And he was deciding what was opinion and what was inspired. So, lest he do that to this particular letter she’s writing, she states it: This is not my opinion.

 

“In the testimonies sent to Battle Creek, I have given you the light God has given me. In no case have I given my own judgment or opinion. I have enough to write of what has been shown me without falling back on my own opinions. You are doing as the children of Israel did again and again. Instead of repenting before God, you reject His words, and attribute all the warnings and reproof to the messenger whom the Lord sends.” That’s the heart of what’s happening with this particular guy here.

 

And notice now, “How to help the devil,” she goes on (letter E), “I have my work to do, to meet the misconceptions of those who suppose themselves able to say what is testimony from God and what is human production. If those who have done this work continue in this course, satanic agencies will choose for them.” In other words, if they’re going to choose what’s inspired and what’s not inspired, the devil will help them choose what’s uninspired, so to speak. “Those who have helped souls to feel at liberty to specify what is of God in the Testimonies and what are the uninspired words of Sister White, will find that they were helping the devil in his work of deception.” Now, that’s powerful.

 

So notice the subpoint there. If Ellen White, as a prophet of God…Now remember what Graeme Bradford said, “We all, in the New Testament era, have this gift of prophecy,” at the same level, “and the prophecies themselves are expected to contain some truth and some error, and we have to sift the truth from the error.” We have to decide what’s inspired and what’s not inspired. Here’s my question: Who’s going to decide? And notice the comment here, if Ellen White as a prophet of God can’t clearly define truth and error, what makes Graeme Bradford or anyone else think that they have the ability? If God can’t keep His own prophet from speaking error, how can we assume that He is able to enable scholars to discern the error? And who’s going to test the scholars?

 

You see, all Bradford’s done is, he’s taken the gift that God has placed in the church’s authority…you see, the scholar is supposed to be submissive to the prophet, but the scholars don’t like that; they say, “Well, we have different opinions, so what we want to do is we want to put the prophet down here and put the scholar up here. So now the prophet is testifying by the scholar instead of the scholar by the prophet. Now that’s real convenient, but it’s not biblical. It’s not what Ellen White would agree with.

 

Notice the next point there: The reality is that everything is a matter of interpretation. Since we didn’t write the Bible, for example, we are all left with the necessity of interpreting it. We may choose to disagree with Ellen White’s interpretation of the text, but whose interpretation are we left with? Our own. Whose message? Notice what Ellen White says, “Permit me to express my mind and yet not my mind but,” (what?), “the word of the Lord.” Okay, so this is the idea of thought inspiration. “God gave me a vision. I have expressed it in my best words, but understand that God is in this work. I’m not expressing just my mind but the word of the Lord.”

 

What about where there is no special light? You know, Ellen White didn’t receive a specific vision on this. (Bottom of page eight.) She says, “I am not at liberty to write to our brethren concerning your future work. I have,” (what?), “received no instruction regarding the place where you should locate. If the Lord gives me definite instruction concerning you, I will give it, but I cannot take upon myself responsibilities that the Lord does not give me to bear.”

 

Now let me explain to you how this works. It’s not to say that Ellen White never said anything that [didn’t] came from a direct vision. Here’s how some people do it. They say, “If Ellen White had a vision, then it could be true, but if it wasn’t from a vision, it’s false.” There were times when Ellen White would give spiritual counsel based on something she’s seen in regard to somebody else. That didn’t make that spiritual counsel false because she didn’t have a direct vision. What she’s saying here is, in essence, “If I had enough spiritual understanding from the Lord about something to comment on it, I would comment, but if I felt that there was a situation where I didn’t have light on it,” in essence she says, “I cannot take upon myself responsibilities the Lord doesn’t give me to bear.”

 

If Ellen White felt she didn’t have light on something, then she wouldn’t say it. And if she came up with an argument over the daily and what the daily meant, and the brethren went to Ellen White, and she says, “Look, I don’t have specific information at this time on what you’re asking me about. I’m not going to solve this situation.” An issue came up with the law in Galatians during the 1888 General Conference session and afterwards, the aftermath, and she said, “I don’t have light on this situation to speak to it.” Later on she did speak to it and say that the law in Galatians was primarily the moral law that spoke both moral and ceremonial – later on. But when she didn’t have light where she felt that her…because she knew as a prophet that people would…You know, I tell people, when I’m training people to preach and things like that, I always tell people that you’re not only responsible for what you say, but you’re also responsible for what people hear.

 

Ellen White knew that more than anybody. She knew, as a prophet of God, people would take what she said as authoritative, and she was very careful not to say something that somebody would take the ball and run with. Not to say that people never have done that, but the point is, she didn’t just freely mix in opinions with counsel from the Lord. This is her own, you know, these are her own claims.

 

Look at the next one there, top of page 9: As indelible as God’s Law. She says, “How many have read carefully Patriarchs and Prophets, The Great Controversy, and The Desire of Ages. I wish all to understand that my confidence in the light God has given stands firm because I know that the Holy Spirit’s power magnified the truth and made it honorable, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ In my books, the truth is stated, barricaded by a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the Law was traced by the finger of God upon the tables of stone.” She has a confidence here in her gift. Okay, what she’s saying is, regardless of any other claims, she understands, as you would understand if you were the prophet, that the message she’s giving came from God.

 

Look at the next one, letter I: It’s inspired in the Scripture. She says, “The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and the Spirit of prophecy.” Of course! It’s all through the Scripture. Of course, He’s the author of the Scripture and the Spirit of prophecy. The Holy Ghost is the One who gave the inspiration to both gifts.

 

Letter J: Not one heretical sentence. She says, “I’m now looking over my diaries and copies of letters written for several years back. I have the most precious matter to reproduce and place before the people in testimony form. While I am able to do this work, the people must have things to revive past history, that they may see that there is one straight chain of truth without,” (what?), “one heretical sentence, in that which I have written.” You know, this is just combating this idea that over time, because Ellen White’s understanding grew, which it did, we talked about that, that her theology changed. What this speaks to is the fact that Ellen White’s theology didn’t change from truth to error, error to truth, okay? She saying, “The message I gave was a consistent message, that God has been in this message.”

 

Now, letter K. Ellen White was asked, and people have asked me this, “Well, how do I know? I mean, all of this authority she’s speaking with, all my books are, you know, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ They are barricaded with a ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ traced indelibly, you know, on the mind, as the finger of God traced on the tables of stone, etc., etc. So does that mean every last stitch of everything she wrote was counsel from God?” No, it doesn’t. No, it doesn’t. And here is now Ellen White herself says it. First Selected Messages, page 39, she says, “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.”

 

Now, an example of this the other day, we looked at, you know, the critics were pointing out a discrepancy where, for example, Ellen White dated one of her letters as Monday (I forget what it was), Monday, July 8 or something when somebody went back in that particular year and found out that Monday was July 5, not July 8. And they’re like well, “She’s got to be a false prophet,” you know, holding to this idea of verbal inspiration. This is a common thing. I mean, there are common things, grocery lists, certain conversations and even letters to individuals included common things.

 

She goes on to say, “Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered.” Now the common response is, “Well, how are we to know, then?” if there were common things. And keep this in mind, this is not where Bradford’s going with Ellen White mingling opinions in her writing, okay, but she saying that obviously in her lifetime she had to speak to people on things that were not counsel. Everything she said was not counsel.

 

So the question is, “How do we know?” “What do we do?” “How do we differentiate?” If you go to the book Selected Messages, and this is where the reference is from, and I would encourage you to read the whole section, Volume 3 of Selected Messages, page 60, the note there in the book is a very good one. It says, “Except for that which is in the nature of everyday matters or biographical, that which Mrs. White set before the people was based upon the visions given her, whether or not she used the term “I saw.” She, in her day, and we today, draw the line, not between books and letters…” See, some people say, “The books are inspired, but if you read the personal letters, they were uninspired,” or something to that effect. “We draw the line, not between the books and letters, et cetera, but between the sacred and the common. No one need be confused.”

 

When Ellen White gave spiritual counsel, she was not giving her opinion because, as we looked at already, she knew how people would receive it. Now, you have to consider, like we went over this in the rules of interpretation, you’ve got to consider time and place, you’ve got to consider the context and these types of things. More people get tripped up on that than they do on whether it’s inspired or uninspired. And some people want to believe something was uninspired because they’ve read a statement, and they’ve not looked at it in its proper context or something like that.

 

But we don’t need to be sitting here scratching our heads and saying, “Well, I’m afraid to read Ellen White; I don’t know what’s inspired and what’s not inspired.” You read The Conflict Through the Ages series, it’s inspired. She says right here. You read the Testimonies for the Church, they’re counsels given to the church. Now, obviously, when you’re reading the Testimonies for the Church, there was a letter that was written here and there to an individual at a specific time and a specific place that may not directly apply to your case. But what you’re to do is look for the principle in the counsel given. As I’ve said before, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and say, “Well, I’m not in the exact place that this person is,” so look for the principle, what’s she addressing.

 

We talked about the bicycle craze yesterday, you know. Well, what was the issue there? Was it owning a bicycle? No, it wasn’t owning a bicycle. The issue was people being extravagant with their spending, people wanting to be like the world and keep up with the Joneses and this sort of thing. Is that still good counsel, that a Christian should avoid those things? Sure, it is.  And so, when you read that counsel, you want to apply that to the setting today and say, “Look, where’s the principle. Let’s apply that principle.”

 

It’s not a matter of her opinion because she wrote something about bicycles that doesn’t apply today in the same way as it did then. You don’t look at it and say, “Oh, well, it must have been her opinion.” No, it was divine counsel, but the counsel was in the principle. You understand what’s being said there? There’s no need for confusion.

 

Look at the bottom of page 9, and I think this comes, kind of, at the heart again of where I believe Bradford finds issues and others find issues, and we ourselves find issues. Notice what she says. The more self is exalted: She says, “The more self is exalted, the more will faith in the testimonies of the Spirit of God be lessened…Those who trust wholly in themselves will see less and less of God in the testimonies of His Spirit.” This has happened with the gift of prophecy in all ages. This is why Jesus had to say in Luke 13, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets.” Because as self is exalted, as we want to have our own way, we don’t want to be corrected.

 

That’s human nature, but listen, brothers and sisters, human nature has to die. Self has to die and be crucified on the cross of Christ, and we’ve got to let Jesus live in our hearts, and that’s not a one-time thing. That’s a daily thing. The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” And if a person dies daily, if they’re going to live, they also have to be what? Born again daily, being born again is not a one-time thing for the Christian; it’s a continual process. Every day we must give ourselves to Christ. Every decision, you come to decisions in your life where God will challenge you, where God will challenge me, and then I’ve got to say, I’m going to yield my will to the will of God.

 

Jesus Himself in His humanity was there in the Garden of Gethsemane and wrestled. “Father, if there’s any other way I can avoid this,” but what did He say, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” But when we exalt self…Had Jesus exalted self, we’d all be lost. And if we exalt self, not only will we be lost, but somebody else may be lost that God could use us to reach. We’ll find ourselves fighting against God.

 

Top of page 10, an interesting statement from the pen of Ellen White on this idea of what she calls genuine sanctification. She says, in Testimonies 4, page 299, “On another occasion, I spoke in reference to genuine sanctification, which is nothing less than a daily dying to self and a daily conformity of the will to God.” Powerful. Continual Christian growth. But people want to fight against that daily death.

 

Prostrated in the dust: The next statement, she says, “I was shown that many had so little spirituality that they did not understand the value of the Testimonies or their real object. They talked flippantly of the Testimonies given by God for the benefit of His people.” For the what? For the benefit. You know, brothers and sisters, sometimes God gives us direction in our lives that doesn’t seem beneficial at the time. Have you ever had God convict you of something in your life that you didn’t appreciate? Like, “Lord, why don’t you tell me that later?” or, “Why don’t you not tell me that at all?” You ever had a time when you didn’t appreciate it, but what happens when you follow the counsel of the Lord? You see the light in it later on. You find out the whole reason for the counsel was His compassion, was His desire for our salvation.

 

She says, “They didn’t recognize, they talked flippantly of the Testimonies given by God for the benefit of His people.” And, incidentally, the Testimonies are called the Testimonies for the church not testimonies against the church, you ever notice that? “They talked flippantly…and passed judgment upon them, giving their opinion and criticizing this and that, when they would better have placed their hands upon their lips, and prostrated themselves in the dust.” Why? You imagine…I’m thinking, I’m trying to put myself in Ellen White’s place and thinking, “If God gave me a message that I gave to the people, knowing it was God’s message, and then they belittled it, and I knew that they’re not belittling me but they’re belittling God, even though they think they’re following Him?” That’s what she’s saying, and she’s just, “They would be better off to put their hands on their mouth and prostrated themselves in the dust.” Humble themselves before the God of Heaven, “…for they could not appreciate the spirit of the Testimonies, because they knew so little of the Spirit of God.”

 

It’s the desire to exalt self that leads so many to find issue and find fault with the counsel with God. That’s the reality. When we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll realize that’s what oftentimes the fight is. It’s something that we don’t want…You know, I have people come to me when they have issues with Ellen White, “Well, I read this on the internet, and I think she’s a false prophet.” If you press the issue home, what you generally find is there’s something else going on. Like, they’re having an issue with conforming to the Sabbath because they’re worried they’re going to lose their job. Or they have an issue somewhere else, and they’re not wanting to yield it, and so what do they do? “Oh, it’s Ellen White. It’s Ellen White.”

 

Mark Finley tells the story of a couple that had been coming to the Adventist Church for two or three years. They had been to several evangelistic meetings. They came to the church every Sabbath, but they wouldn’t become members. And he said, “I went and visited them with two seminary students, trainees that were with me. And I sat down with them in their living room, and I said, ‘So, you guys have been coming around for a long time. You’re not members yet. Have you thought about becoming members?’” And he said the husband spoke up, and he said, “Well, you know, there’s this whole issue with the Sabbath. I mean, Colossians 2 said the Law was nailed to the cross.” He said, “My two seminary students were chomping at the bit. They were just like, they’re all ready, you know, both barrels loaded. ‘We’re going to get him with Colossians 2; we know how to defend Colossians 2.’”

 

But he said, “They kind of waited for my lead,” and he said, “I looked at him, and I said to him, ‘Is there anything else you’re struggling with? Maybe some sin in your life that’s holding you back?’” He said, “As soon as I said it, the husband’s eyes dropped, and the wife looked at me, and she said, ‘We’re struggling with smoking, and we can’t quit.’” And Finley makes this point, and he said, “The issue was not Colossians.” He said, “Those two seminary students could have unloaded them for four hours, unloaded on them on Colossians 2, and gotten nowhere because Colossians 2 was the smoke screen to get around dealing with that issue of sin that they couldn’t get out of their life.”

 

That’s how it is a lot of times with these issues with Ellen White. That’s why I say we need to give answers for it, but a lot of times the objections people give, even in the Adventist Church, it’s not Ellen White, it’s not about Ellen White. It’s me wanting to keep self on the throne.

 

Look at bottom of page 10: Tearing away the barrier. This is a powerful statement. Now the text there in New King James Version, I like the way the New King James reads Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision,” the King James says what? “The people perish.” But notice how the New King James words it, “Where there is no [revelation], the people,” (do what?), “cast off restraint.”

 

That is, this is prophetic vision. Where there is no prophetic revelation, where there’s no guidance of a prophet, the people cast off restraint. Well, there’s no prophet to correct us. There’s no prophet to guide. See, if we can get the prophet out of the picture, we can cast off restraint. We have more freedom. Isn’t that what Bradford said? “Aren’t we free?” Free to do what? Free to disagree with what God’s counsel has told us.

 

Now notice Ellen White’s statement here below that. “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 positions by the Bible, but they misinterpret the Scriptures. They make bold assertions…and misapply the prophecies and the Scriptures to prove falsehood.” Notice, “And, after men have done their work of weakening the confidence of our churches in the Testimonies, they have,” (what?), “torn away the barrier, that unbelief in the truth shall become widespread, and there is,” (what?), “no voice to be lifted up to stay the tide of error.” This is incredible. What Ellen White is saying is, “If the devil can get us to distrust and lose confidence in the gift of prophecy as an authority in our midst, that the voice God has given to protect us from error is no longer there, and the error comes in like a flood.

 

The barrier’s gone, and there’s no other voice. God has no other way. That’s the method that He’s used throughout the ages to speak to His people, to guide His people. By a prophet God led Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet, Israel was preserved. And by a prophet God has led modern Israel, and He’s leading us into the Promised Land, and He’s preserving us as a people by a prophet. But when the gift of prophecy has been removed, there’s no barrier, and the enemy comes in.

 

And we’ve been seeing results of it. We’ve been seeing results of it because those spiritual gifts, including the gift of prophecy, according to Ephesians 4, are given to lead us to the unity of the faith, to that oneness. And we lose the oneness when the gifts are disregarded.

 

Look at the bottom of page 10: When the Testimonies are given up. Ellen White says, “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.” If you find yourself losing faith in the Testimonies, reevaluate your position, please. Go before the Lord, and just ask Him in all earnestness of heart, and I mean, when we ask the Lord for truth, Jesus said, in John, chapter 7, “He who wills to do His will, will know of the doctrine.” You’ve got to be willing to follow what God shows you, and if you want to know God’s truth and be clear on something, go on your knees before the Lord and say, “Lord, I’m willing to follow wherever You lead, even if it’s a difficult position.”

 

My brother just preached a series of evangelistic meetings in Alpena, Michigan, had a pastor from another denomination come. And this guy told him at the end of his meeting, he gave him a transcript of a sermon that he went and preached back at his other church. This is a non-Adventist pastor. He got up in his church, and he basically told them about truth and gave them basically a Bible study in the progression of truth. And he told them at the end of that sermon, “Wherever God’s truth leads me, I’m going to follow it, even if it’s out that door.” The man gave his church a sermon the next Sunday on the Sabbath. He went to his board, and he asked his board to consider changing the day of worship. They didn’t, and he was dismissed.

 

You’ve got to be willing, brothers and sisters, to follow where God leads, and it’s not always an easy path. I say “easy” in the world’s eyes, but it’s always the best path. And it will bring you the peace that passes understanding.

 

The last statement I want to share today, at the bottom of the page. Ellen White makes this statement; I think we need to treasure this up in our hearts. You know, this is a time when Jesus said the very elect will be deceived, that’s why God has given us added light in these days. “Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to subdue souls from the truth, but,” (what?), “all who believe that,” (what?), “the Lord has spoken through Sister White and has given her a message will be saved from the many delusions that will come in these last days.” It’s not a human message; it’s a divine message to God’s people.

 

And my desire and prayer for each one of us here is that we will commit ourselves to heeding the counsel God’s given through His prophet. And, listen, again, if you’re not clear on it, apply yourself. We have a danger today in our church of not applying ourselves to understanding Scripture and the Spirit of prophecy. We just want everything to come to us real easy. We just want to go to a presentation like this and hear about it. Apply yourself. If it’s not something that’s clear, know for yourself in your heart why you believe what you believe.

 

I’ll recommend again the one book I recommended that I think is a very valuable resource is a book by Herbert Douglass called Messenger of the Lord, very comprehensive on the subject of Spirit of prophecy, will cover a lot of what we’ve covered here. And go before the Lord on your knees. If you have questions about this, and you’re going over these in your mind, just say, “Lord, give me clarity on this subject. Help me to be confident in the gift you’ve placed among us to guide me into all truth.” Amen? [Audience: Amen!]

 

Why don’t you bow your heads with me. Father in Heaven, Father in Heaven, I want to pray for each one of us here who have come, not just for this seminar, Lord, we’ve come to GYC for spiritual revival. We really see Your hand in the things that are happening in the world today. We see your movement moving, and, Father, we wish that it would move faster. We want to see the day of the Lord Jesus hasten, and we want to be part of that. We know friends, we know loved ones, Father, that are not in the truth, and, Father, we want to be the kind of lights that would illuminate the path for them and make their decisions for the truth easier.

 

Father, we want to be confident in what we believe so that others can see that confidence and want what we have, but, Lord, we need the guidance of Your Spirit. We need Your Spirit to help us to yield our personal opinions, to yield self, and, Father to allow You to sit on the throne of our hearts. And I ask, Father, that each one of us here, as we continue through this weekend, will leave this GYC with a confidence in our faith and decisions, Father, that will continue us on that spiritual path towards the heavenly Canaan. Lord, help us to be a part of this movement. Help us to not be a hindrance. And I ask for Your blessing upon each one here. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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