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What does SDA belief number 18 mean? By saying that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested does in mean that we should test Ellen White line by line with the Bible and only accept the parts that can be tested as an authoritative source of truth; or is Ellen White supposed to be tested overall by the Bible and if she passes then everything she wrote is an authoritative source of truth?


The downside of the the first approach is that good counsel could be missed if the criteria is too tight; the downside of the second approach is that by giving Ellen White what is in effect Ex Cathedra authority it would be hard to maintain that the church is sola scriptura.


Is there room for both interpretations in Adventism, or is only one interpretation valid?

18. The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)

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I agree with you rush4hire. I don't believe the bible is talking about a singular prophet  I just think about talking about Jesus in general and also understanding the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation also.

 I do not believe that the Bible must absolutely prove everything that is in the writings of EGW. For instance the Bible says that the serpent crawled on his belly after he was cursed.  It goes without saying that before the serpent was cursed it had legs. Mrs. White said that it had wings as well. While the Bible does not say the serpent had wings it was obviously different. 

Event the best skeptics who were honest could find no contradictions with the Bible in EGW's work. Of course there will always be those that claim she was a fraud just like there will always be those that think the same of the Bible. In the SDA church there is a middle ground group who claim as false any truth that is not stated verbatim in the Bible and that  particularly those statements that go against their cherished sins.

The problem is when she is constantly misrepresented and misquoted and forced conclusions are made that she herself never made for someone to force a doctrine that does not exist.  That seems to be their most prized sin.

Okay Kevin, but if I for instance read Belief 18 and interpret it as calling for a line by line test of Ellen White's teachings with the Bible can I say that I support Belief 18?

Jill, as i said before, SDA leaders have already tested and proven Ellen White's gift just as men tested and proven the Bible.

As Adventists we are to accept the 28 fundamental beliefs. If we reject any, then we should not be Adventists!

If any of the fundamentals is wrong, then the SDA church is not God's true church. If the SDA church is not God's true church, then where is the true church?

I do accept belief 18, I just read it as calling for a line by line test; you read it differently.  If my reading is invalid then belief 18 needs to be changed to unambiguously support your interpretation.

How is the "Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested" ambiguous?  Belief 18 is internally inconsistent.  I don't support your interpretation of it in theory, but I admit now that the belief can be interrupted that way if you make the second have subservient to the first. 

I accept belief 18 if the 1st half is subservient to the second half. That would be consistent with sola scriptura.

Yes, belief 18 can be read to be ambiguous, I agree. But only where the "sola scriptura" principle is being taken too far. God never restricted His teaching or His communication to scripture. Unfortunately, this is what much of the modern day protestantism propagates - although it is unbiblical itself!

The Bible clearly references many prophets and even books of prophets that are not part of the cannon. And the Bible teaches very much about prophets, how to tell true ones from false ones, warns of the latter but encourages acceptance of this important work of God's Spirit.

If word by word testing and proving by scripture were necessary for every detail - then wouldn't a prophet's words be redundant? What about very practical instances, e.g. where a prophet gives the church advice what land to buy? By your sola scriptura approach this kind of statement can't be tested so we discard it?

Kevin, you are right. The Bible is the word of God but it does not give detailed accounts into every subject it discusses. The Bible says that Enoch lived for 365 years, but how much do we know about him!

The role of a prophet includes enhancing or building upon the work of other prophets, so that they complement each other but do not contradict each other. Ellen White adds details to Scripture but she does not contradict it. Her work magnifies what has already been written and she always points to the greater light

We also have to ask ourselves why people make such a big deal about having to accept White as a prophet. If someone is in doubt about her being a prophet but only uses their bible as their guide that is fine.

I am sure God would not make it and issue of salvation as to whether we accept White as a prophet therefore neither should we.

But Tim, how can we accept the Bible and reject the gift of prophets. The Bible is clear that the Spirit bestows the prophetic gift on those God has chosen. In fact, the Bible is a library of writings of prophets.

And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2Chron 20:20.

The verse clearly tells us to beleive in God and His prophets

Just a quick reply as I have to go to work. I think the bible when saying 'spirit of prophecy' is refering to speaking about Jesus and understanding the prophecies already in the bible of Daniel and Revelation.

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