In Counsels on Sabbath School Work, page 84, Ellen White wrote, "The Bible and the Bible alone, is our rule of faith."

Considering the history of the pioneers is necessary to understand how dedicated these people were to the Bible as the source of their doctrines.

They had wrestled with the issues concerning the Lord's coming, and found the temporal millennial view, which believed the millennium to be a period when sin would fade away and universal happiness would flourish upon earth (a doctrine quite universally accepted in those days— and reappearing in our day) was entirely unscriptural. Further study persuaded them that the second coming of Christ was to be personal, premillennial, and would put an abrupt end to earth's history as we know it.

They faced the creeds and traditions in the churches and found in them unscriptural ideas.

The Bible clearly designated the seventh day was the day set aside by God as Holy, yet they also saw all Christians observing Sunday and faced great opposition to the clear Bible truth of the sacredness of the true Sabbath.

There was also a rise in false prophets at this time. The self-appointed "prophet" Joseph Smith "discovered" what he claimed were lost books of the Bible, and working with ancient Egyptian sources, which were later shown to contain totally different words and messages, he "translated" these "lost scriptures" and circulated them as the "Pearl of Great Price" and "The book of Abraham", which he said contained the writings of the patriach himself, as well as of Joseph, son of Jacob, and a book of Moses. These were elevated as being the more pure scriptures while the Bible was lowered to "be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly." In spring of 1844 (take note of that date) Joseph Smith was shot while awaiting trial because of financial mismanagement and his strange beliefs on marriage.

This was not an opportune time for anyone to claim to have visions from God.

With traditions, creeds, contradicting religious beliefs, and disturbing teachings of self-appointed prophets, the pioneers were not about to accept ANYTHING without first studying it out solidly from the Bible for themselves. They knew that God would never send a prophet with messages which conflicted with truths presented by the prophets in the Bible.

"The Bible is a perfect, and complete revelation," declared James White, "It is our ONLY rule of faith and practice." WLF p.13

He continues:
"But this is no reason, why God may not show the past, present, and future fulfillment of his word, in these last days, by dreams and visions: according to Peter's testimony. True visions are given to lead us to God, and his written word; but those that are given for a new rule of faith and practice, separate from the Bible, cannot be from God and should be rejected." (ibid)

Ellen White agrees:
"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." EW p.78

Ellen White explains how truths were found:

"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 other who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of 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."

"During this 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."

"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, ...thus light was given that helped us to understand the Scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood." (Selected Messages, book 1, pp.206-7)

"A clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, this way the leading points of our faith as we hold them today were firmly established.. Point after point was clearly defined, and all the brethren came into harmony. ....
There were those who came in with strange doctrines, but we were never afraid to meet them. Our experience was wonderfully established. " (Manuscript 135)

Adventists have always upheld the scriptures as the test by which to test truth. So, what does a person who has been convicted that Ellen White is a true messenger from God do when someone comes up with an objection that her writings contradict scripture? Does one accept the so called scholar's words above the words of a prophet of God? Not so readily! There are many scholars with a wide variety of beliefs they claim to be scriptural. Each would declare their view Biblical, but yet, each is in contradiction with the other and often in contradiction with other parts of scripture. It is far safer to go to the scriptures and see for a surety what is really there—

The Bible and the Bible only has become the cry, yet how different that cry from what it was for the pioneers, how often that cry is simply used to say,
"We will interpret scripture as we see fit! God will not fulfil his promise to give visions in the last days to tell us how to distinguish between the false and genuine interpretations."

When we claim to stand on the Bible and the Bible alone, we bind ourselves to receive, unequivocally and fully, all that the Bible teaches. And the Bible tells us the spiritual gifts will be in effect in the last days. The Bible says in the last days there will be visions.

People will tell us, the Bible and the Bible only, yet when presented with Biblical truths they will turn around and say, that is not what such and such respected scholar or religious leader says! They would take the word of man above the word of God. Man is fallible, but God's Word is infallible. The opinions of learned men, the creeds, the ecclesiastical councils, the accepted religious modes of thinking; are these to be the guide to our understanding of scripture?

They are doing exactly what our pioneers fought against when they made the declaration of "The Bible and the Bible only, we will not take man made creeds and wisdom of man as our guide, we will look to the Bible alone."

But now, those who cry "The Bible and the Bible only" do not cry against scholars, creeds and doctrines of men, they raise their cry against God's prophet They are the ones who contradict the Bible! The Bible tells us "Despise not prophecying! Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.", (1 Thess. 5:21) but the people cry out, "We do not want a prophet to show us truth, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things." There are multitudes of false teachers in the world. The apostle declares that in the last days men will "heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears," because they desire to hear smooth things." (2 Tim. 4:3 )

Why did God send John the Baptist, before the first coming of Christ, to prepare the way and the hearts of the people? Did they not have the scriptures? There had been no prophet for 400 years, and they were not about to accept one then, after all, they had the scriptures! They rejected their last day prophet even though they had set up memorials to honor the former prophets which their nation had rejected in their lifetimes. Then we hear Christ's lament: "Oh Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone them which are sent to you...behold your house is left desolate." Matt. 23:37-38

John the Baptist was sent to the Jewish nation with a startling messages of warning. He was God's prophet sent to waken the people from worldly delusions. Through him God called backsliding Israel to repentance. In contrast with the false theories of his time, truth in his teaching stood out as an eternal certainty. "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" This was John's message. Matthew 3:2. This same message is to be sounded in the last days to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. (Malachi 4)

Do we as Adventists see Ellen White's writings as another Bible? No!
The writings of Ellen White are not a substitute for Scripture. In response to people who considered her writings on the same level as the Bible she wrote:
"I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God...You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God's word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God's inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings." T5 p. 664

Do we see them as God's messages? Yes!
They are messages to guide to a clearer understanding of the Bible.

"The Word of God", EGW writes, "is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any 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 plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow." 5T 663

Are all Ellen Whites writings inspired? That depends on what you mean by all her writings. She wrote personal things as any normal woman would write on a merely personal basis, these were not inspired, but when she wrote messages from the Lord, YES, they were inspired.

Ellen White's writings were fully guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit:
"After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom. Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that he is pleased to have me relate or write them."2SP p. 292

Ellen White describes her writings as:
"the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light."

What is the greatest light? Jesus says "I am the light of the world." He is the great light-- all prophets are lesser lights. In the beginning we read that God made two great lights one the greater light the other the lesser light. This of course refers to the sun and moon. The lesser light (moon) was simply reflecting the light of the greater (sun). So it is with prophets, their messages are reflectors of the great light of truth which is Christ! It is the light from Christ that dispells darkness.

It is interesting to read how the Bible describes John the Baptist--
John 1: 4-5 In him (Christ) was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
1:6-9 There was a man sent from God, whose name (was) John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light that all (people) through him might believe. He was not that Light, but (was sent) to bear witness of that Light. (That) was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John was the witness of the greater light-- His light. He was a refector of that greater Light which was the true light.
John 5:33-35 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light."

That is exactly what all prophets are-- they are not the great light, they are all lesser lights by which God shines His great light of truth upon the people.

Prov. 4.18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

God's light has always shone upon the world.
First it was by word of mouth.
Then Moses wrote the first five books.
Prophet after prophet added their books to the collection.
Then came Christ, in person -- and the light shone with brilliance!
Apostles wrote letters and John added the Revelation.
The Bible was written over a period of about 2000 years.
More and more light shone forth from the Light of heaven, and was added to the Bible over that time period.

The light shineth more and more.
Like candles -- five candles give light, then ten give more light, 20 even more, 66 even more! (The Bible has 66 books) But we are now at the end of earth's history, and God gives even more light to help us see the twisted paths and deceptions the devil will try to trip us up on.

We need all the light!

And soon the true light will once again shine in full splender, as Christ descends from heaven in the clouds of glory. For all the light reflected in the Bible points to this event-- with the full restoration of the light of truth and the elimination of the darkness of sin.

Many have a hard time understanding the relationship of a lesser light (one prophet) to a greater light in reference to the Bible (many prophets). If the same God inspired both, how can one be greater and one lesser? We know the Bible is the established Word of God. It is many reflector lights brought together which, in complimentary fashion to each other, reflect light from God. Thus we see that the Bible is comprised of many proven reflector lights; many lights making one big light reflecting the messages from God, shining together, revealing the will of God. Anything that does not harmonize with this light, received it's source from elsewhere. Yet we see another light shining brightly and discover the same source of "electrical" power (Divine revelation) causes it to shine. All true prophets are lights from the same source. The Source is one. The divine inspiration employed by God in giving to us the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy is One and the same. The more recent light does not lead us to itself, it leads us to the greater light-- revealed in the Bible. It does not in anyway contradict or replace the Bible, it helps open our understanding to it's truths. This is the test: does it speak according to the law and the prophets of the Bible-- if it does it is true, if it doesn't there is NO LIGHT in it. (See Isaiah 8:20)

The Bible receives great honor, but the Spirit of prophecy has its place, too. The same Spirit that inspired Paul, Moses, Jeremiah and John also inspired Ellen White. There is no difference — it is ONE Holy Spirit. Yet Ellen White was given the position of one whose great effort and work was to guide people, through her writings, to the great Book— the Bible, to find God's great truths within it's pages.

Yes the Bible tells us that God will give His church:
"Apostles, prophets; evangelists, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ; to bring them into unity of faith; and knowledge of God that we be no more children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Eph. 4:11-14

"The dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ...which is the Spirit of Prophecy." Rev. 12:17, 19:10

What is the testimony of Jesus? Revelation 1:1-3 shows us it is receiving visions from God...for an angel was sent unto John who bear record of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ of things which must shortly come to pass.

The dragon, Satan, has always sought the destruction of the church of God. His wrath is particularly against the remnant, or last group of true believers who have taken their stand in obedience to the commandments of God, and have manifested among them the Spirit of Prophecy to guard them from being tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine.

Ellen G. White Page

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