ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 202

BACCHIOCCHI RESPONDS TO FALSE ALLEGATIONS - Part 2

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

 

* EXCITING NEWS!!! The first printing of

         Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? sold out in one month.

              

* “BACCHIOCCHI RESPONDS TO FALSE

          ALLEGATIONS - Part 2”

         This is the essay of this newsletter

 

* UPCOMING SEMINARS  for the Month of June

 

* CRISTINA PICCARDI’S NEW DVD RECORDINGS done

         at Loma Linda. Special Package Offer on four albums.

 

* SPEAKING IN TONGUES by William Richardson, Ph. D.,

         is out!!!  We are processing all your orders.

 

* NEW DVD REVELATION SEMINAR by Prof. Jon Paulien.

         Four one hour live video lectures by a foremost Adventist scholar

 

* SPECIAL OFFER on 12 DVD and CD albums for only $150.00,

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* PROF. ROY GANE’S SANCTUARY SEMINAR:  only $19.99

         (Regular Price: $39.99) for four video lectures by an Adventist

               authority on sanctuary. Purchase at http://www.preludefilms.com

 

EXCITING NEWS!!!

THE FIRST PRINTING OF 10,000 COPIES OF

POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

WAS SOLD OUT IN ONE MONTH

 

The demand for Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? has surpassed my fondest expectations. The first printing of 10,000 copies came out on April 25 and was sold out in one month. The second printing will be delivered next week.

 

This has been an unprecedented experience for me. Usually it takes five years for me to sell 10,000 copies, not one month. Never before I received so many orders for a book not yet published. The secret is that I posted excerpts of each chapter in our biweekly Endtime Issues Newsletter that is emailed to over 35,000 subscribers.  Many readers were so impressed the timeliness and quality of this witnessing book, that they placed their orders long before the book came off the press.

 

Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? consists of 384 pages with a very attractive, laminated colorful cover, with pictures representing seven of the ten popular beliefs examined in the book. Take a look at the cover by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/pbcover.htm

 

The initial response to Popular Beliefs is very encouraging. I have received several orders from non-SDA church leaders and scholars. An Editor of an evangelical magazine ordered one case.  A pastor of a non-SDA congregation ordered first 65 copies and then an additional case of 30 copies. A non-SDA marketing analyst with a Ph. D. in Business, drove all the way from South Bend, Indiana to our home in Berrien Springs, Michigan to purchase 34 copies. He told me that he is eager to give Popular Beliefs to Christian friends who are sincerely seeking to learn Bible truths.

 

Many Adventist believers in different parts of the world have emailed me messages of appreciation for writing Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? They believe that this is a much needed witnessing book that they can give with confidence to friends who want to know why their popular beliefs are unbiblical and the Adventist beliefs are biblical correct.

 

Special Offer Extended to June 30, 2008

 

Several churches have asked me to extend the deadline until June 30, 2008 for the special introductory price of $5.00 per copy, because they are still in the process of collecting orders.  Thus, I have decided to extend the special introductory offer until June 30, 2008. After that date the price goes up to $7.00 per copy. This means that if you order a case now, you pay only $150.00 for case of 30 copies, but from July 1, the cost for a case of 30 copies goes up to $210.00.

 

If you or your church has not yet ordered a case of 30 copies Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? at the special price of $150.00, be sure to place your order before June 30 to take advantage of the introductory offer.  See details at the end.

 

I would like to keep indefinitely the current prices of $5.00 for 30 copies and $4.00 for 100 copies. The problem is that at these prices I am not able to recover what I have invested in researching, writing, and publishing the book. This means that I need to raise the price to $7.00 for 30 copies by July 1, in order to meet my financial obligations.  But, if the Lord impresses some donors to sponsor this project, the price will remain unchanged.

 

My Legacy to our Adventist Church

 

In many ways  Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? represents for me my legacy to our Seventh-day Adventist Church.  This may be my last and hopefully my most important contribution to the mission of our Adventist church. All my previous 17 books are making a contribution by helping truth-seekers to understand and accept fundamental Bible teachings held by our church.  But the impact of Popular Beliefs most likely will be greater than any of my previous books, because it examines, not one, but 10 popular beliefs, which are biblically wrong. 

 

When I was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer on February 2007, one of my deep regrets was the inability to complete Popular Beliefs during the remaining few months I was expected to live. I promised to the Lord that if He would extend my life, I would put forth my best efforts to complete Popular Beliefs, to express my gratitude for His providential healing.

 

The Lord answered my prayer in an unexpected way. He led me to Cancer Research Center in Goshen, Indiana, which is only one hour away from Andrews University where we live.  The Center is a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology and treated my liver cancer with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization - a treatment unavailable at other cancer centers. Within two months my cancer was reduced by 95%. Grateful to God for a new lease on life, I fulfilled my promise by devoting every spare moment of this past year to complete Popular Beliefs.

 

When Popular Beliefs came off the press on April 25, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude to God for restoring my health and for enabling me to complete this important research project. I felt that an appropriate way to express my gratitude to God, was to plan for a dedication service for the book and in a special way for a re-dedication  of my life to His service. About 30 fellow believers, including three medical doctors and a few teachers, attended the dedication service at our home.

 

A Most Effective Witnessing Publication

 

Fellow-believers often ask me this question: What book would you recommend for a neighbor or office worker who has questions about our Adventist beliefs?  Until now my answer has been: “Unfortunately we do not have a single book that answers questions about our fundamental beliefs in the context of what other Christians believe. Most of our Adventist books, including the ones that I have written, deal with one particular belief like the Sabbath, the Second Advent, the State of the Dead, Temperance, the Sanctuary, etc. But these books do not compares and contrasts our Adventist beliefs with the popular Christian beliefs of other Christians.

 

The Good News is that this much needed book is finally available. Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? is designed to meet this specific need. Adventists who have been looking for a book to give their friends with questions about our Adventist beliefs, will be glad to give to their friends this book, because it exposes false teachings and affirms biblical truths in a calm, dispassionate, and objective way.

 

My Sincere Hope

 

I have written this book with the earnest desire to help Christians of all persuasions to re-examine their popular beliefs in the light of the normative authority of the Bible. At a time when most Christians still hold to popular beliefs that derive from human traditions rather than from biblical revelation, it is imperative to recover those biblical truths that God has revealed for our eternal salvation.

                          

It is my fervent hope that this book, fruit of many months of dedicated research, will help Christians of all persuasions to “come out” of the Babylonian confusion of popular but unbiblical beliefs, and accept  God’s glorious plan for our present life and our future destiny.

 

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER UNTIL JUNE 30 ON

POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

Until June 30, 2008, we  offer  Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?  at the following introductory prices:

 

           1 copy of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $30.00 per copy. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination. The price will remain the same after June 30, 2008.

 

           10 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $10.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $30.00. ($100.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $40.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination. The price will remain the same after June 30, 2008.

 

           30 copies (one case) of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $5.00 per copy ($150.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $100.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination. Beginning on July 1, 2008, the price will go up to $7.00 per copy, that is, $210.00 for  case of 30 copies.  The airmailing cost remains the same.

 

           100 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $4.00 per copy, postage paid. ($400.00 for 100 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $300.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.  Beginning on July 1, 2008, the price will go up to $5.00 per copy, that is, $500.00 for 100 copies.  The airmailing expenses remain the same.

 

HOW TO ORDER POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

        You can order Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at the introductory prices given above, in four different ways:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. 

  

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order as soon as we receive it.

 

WOULD YOU LIKE US TO PRESENT AT YOUR CHURCH OUR POPULAR  SEMINARS WITH WORDS AND SONGS ?

 

Would you like us to present at your church one of our popular seminars on the SABBATH or SECOND ADVENT or CHRISTIAN LIFE with Words and Songs? These seminars have been greatly enhanced by the participation of Cristina Piccardi, an outstanding soprano from Brazil who joined my ministry eight months ago. She sings several times before and after each of my lectures. She also gives a sacred concert on Sabbath afternoon. Her powerful and passionate singing touches the hearts of people everywhere. Her singing has almost double the attendance at the seminars.

 

Our 2008 calendar is already filled for the next few months, but we still have a few openings in the latter part of the year. We will be glad to email you the list of the open weekends so that you can choose the weekend that best suits your church.

 

To make it possible for many churches to benefit from our seminars, we keep the cost of the seminar down by asking only for the refund of two airline tickets and two nights for two rooms in a reasonable hotel. We do not ask for any honorarium. Instead, we trust in the Lord to meet our financial obligations through the sale of our publications and recordings on Saturday night.

 

Who is Cristina Piccardi?

 

Cristina was born in Brazil 26 years ago and came to Andrews University two years ago to accompany her husband who is studying at the seminary. She has earned degrees in voice performance both in Brazil and at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received full scholarship during the two years of her studies, graduating in December of 2005 with a Master in Voice Performance.   In the same year she performed in a leading role with symphonic orchestras in the USA and overseas. At the annual 2005 International Competition for Opera Singers she won the first prize as the best soprano singer of the year.

 

Cristina left the opera world to dedicate her singing talents to sing sacred music. She is far the best soprano I have ever heard in the Adventist Church during the past 30 years of itinerant ministry around the world. You can enjoy a preview of Cristina’s outstanding singing by clicking at this link:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cristina/   You can see and hear her singing the first stanza of The Holy City.

 

If your church board wishes to preview one of our seminars, we will gladly mail you free of charge the DVD album with our SABBATH SEMINARS with Words and Songs, that was recorded in Loma Linda. The album contains 3 DVDs with 6 hours of live recording of my lectures and Cristina’s singing.

 

Feel free to contact us by email <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> or by phone (269) 471-2915.  We will gladly supply you with any additional information and reserve a weekend for your church.

 

 

BACCHIOCCHI RESPONDS TO FALSE ALLEGATIONS - Part 2

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,

Andrews University

 

The last newsletter (No. 201) on “Bacchiocchi Responds to False Allegations, Part 1,”  generated an unusual number of very encouraging responses. Many fellow believers who have known me through the years from my writings and lecturing, could not believe the outrageous false allegations that some concerned brethren have made against me.

 

Some advised me to ignore the false allegations, devoting my time instead to research and share biblical truths. Indeed, this has been my conviction and practice for several years. I have largely ignored false allegations, because I feel that the best response is provided by the fruits of my ministry.

 

The problem is that in recent months there has been an escalation of cancellation of invitations to present our seminars, due to the false allegations presented by some members of church boards. Were I to ignore  these allegations much longer, my future ministry could be in potential jeopardy.

 

The positive impact of my last newsletter became immediately evident.  During the first 24 hours after emailing my newsletter, I received an unprecedented number of orders and invitations to present our seminars. Some told me that my response dispelled lingering suspicion about my loyalty to our  Adventist  beliefs and thus they were eager to invite Cristina Piccardi and myself to present our new seminars with words and songs. If your church has not yet invited us, feel free to contact us at (269) 471-2915 or by email <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>. We will do our best to include your church in our calendar of speaking engagements.

 

A Summary of the Last Newsletter

 

In the last newsletter I responded to two false allegations. The first is that I am a “Jesuit Spy” who promotes Sunday as the biblical Sabbath. The second is that I have rejected the official Adventist interpretation of the Number  666 of the Beast as representing the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei, which is supposed to be inscribed in the papal tiara.

 

In my lengthy response I have shown that both allegations are false and absurd. Each of my four books on the Sabbath compelling shows that Sunday is not the Sabbath. The two days have a different origin, meaning, authority, and experience. If my Sabbath books promoted Sunday as the biblical Sabbath, they could hardly have influenced hundreds of ministers and lay Christians to accept the biblical seventh-day Sabbath!

 

Regarding the second allegation, it is a known fact that the application of the Number 666 of the Beast to the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei, supposedly inscribed in the papal tiara, has never been an official Adventist teachings. On the contrary, our church leaders have issued repeated warning against this interpretation, because the only papal tiara with this inscription ever found, is the one fabricated by an unscrupulous Adventist artist.

 

When the General Conference Leaders were informed about this fraudulently inscribed tiara, they ordered its immediate removal from Uriah Smith’s Daniel and the Revelation, and warned against its use in evangelistic meetings. Thus, the ones who are rejecting the Adventist interpretation of the Number 666 of the Beast are my detractors, not myself. What I have attempted to do is simply to explain and expand the symbolic interpretation of the Number of the Beast as presented  in the Sabbath School Lesson of June 1-7, 2002.

 

If you are interested in this amazing prophecy, I would urge you to view the DVD ALBUM entitled The Mark and the Number of the Beast. With the help of 195 slides, I show documents, popes, tiaras, Reformers, Adventist pioneers, authors, and significant books related to this study. Pastors, Bible teachers, evangelists, and Adventists who give Bible studies, will welcome this valuable resource. To receive your DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, simply click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BeastAD/ or call us at (269) 471-2915.

 

THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS NEWSLETTER

 

This newsletter continues my response to false allegations, by examining a third and most damaging false accusation, namely, that I am  no longer a faithful Adventist because I reject the prophetic gift of Ellen White. Two major reasons are generally given for this allegation. First, I have pointed out that there are inaccuracies in The Great Controversy that need to be corrected.  Second, I discredit that Ellen White’s divine inspiration by claiming that she sought the help of respected church leaders to gather information for some of her books and to make necessary corrections

 

These false allegations have been fabricated by some “Concerned Adventists” who believe that EGW’s writings are free from error, because she wrote under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of all her writing. For them Ellen White is the final authority on prophecy, history, diet, health, education, evangelism, etc. Thus, any biblical research should consist primarily of searching out what Ellen White has written on the subject being investigated. Somebody wrote to me saying that I could have saved many years of research if I had first checked what Ellen White wrote on the various subjects I investigated in my 18 books.

 

A Critical Issue Troubling our Adventist Church Today

 

This allegation deserves careful consideration, because it affects not only my reputation, but also the Adventist understanding of the authority of EGW’s writings and their relationship to the Scripture. We are dealing with a critical issue that is troubling our Adventist church today and threatens to undermine the credibility of her message.

 

It has been for me a most painful experience to read messages from former Adventists who have shared with me their disillusionment over Ellen White. Some of them used to be deeply devoted to Ellen White, living by the letter of her teachings. Today, however, they feel so disillusioned and bitter that they have designed websites to prove that Ellen White is a false prophet.  If you enter in GOOGLE “Ellen White A False Prophet,” you find over 90,700 entries, produced mostly by former Adventists. This saddens me because Ellen White has made and is still making today an inestimable contribution to the message and mission of our Adventist church, and to the spiritual life of millions of believers around the world.

 

QUESTIONS ADDRESSED IN THIS NEWSLETTER

 

In formulating a response to the above allegation, I will attempt to answer these questions:

 

1) What role do EGW’s writings play in my devotion and research?

 

2) Did Ellen White view her writings as the final authority for any prophetic, doctrinal, or historical interpretation of Scripture?

 

3) Did Ellen White engage experienced workers to gather information and to make needed corrections? Were the corrections made “peripheral,” as alleged by my detractors, or substantive? Are there still corrections that need to be made in EGW’s writings?

 

These are crucial questions examined in this newsletter. The lengthy nature of this newsletter reflect the importance of responding to these questions in a thorough way, not merely for the sake of my reputation, but primarily for the sake of the credibility of our church.

 

In preparing this response, I have relied heavily on Prof. Graeme Bradford’s book More than a Prophet. How we Lost and Found Again the Real Ellen White. The book was born out of the raging controversy over the credibility of Ellen White as an inspired writer.  To respond to the many attacks against Ellen White, Prof. Graeme Bradford spent twenty years of his life examining and digesting the writings of Ellen White in the light of the manifestation of the gift of prophecy in biblical prophets. By examining the human side of Bible prophets as revealed in scripture, Bradford shows that the problems they encountered, were not much different from the criticism brought against Ellen White.

 

This book has been warmly received by Adventist leaders in many parts of the world. Several Conferences have donated the book to all their workers. If you did not have the chance to order the book before, we will be glad to mail you a copy together with Prof. Bradford two-hours video lecture on Ellen White. To order More than a Prophet, click at this link:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BradfordOffer/offer.htm  or call us at (269) 471-2915.

 

WHAT ROLE DO EGW’S WRITINGS PLAY IN MY DEVOTION AND RESEARCH?

 

Through the years EGW’s writings have positively impacted both my devotional life and biblical research. During the past 25 years, my wife and I have faithfully read EGW’s writings every evening for our devotion. At the beginning of each year my wife purchases from the ABC the devotional book of the year, but after a few readings, we sense the need to go back to EGW’s writings. This we do by re-reading one of the previous Spirit of Prophecy’s devotional. For example, this year we are rereading Sons and Daughters of God. The reason is simple. Ellen White speaks to the spiritual needs of our souls better than other contemporary writers.

 

EGW’s writings have been the guiding light, not only for my devotional life, but also of my research. During the past 30 years of biblical research, time and again I have consulted EGW’s writings in the areas I have investigated. In many instances I found that Ellen White offers correct interpretations of Scripture and profound theological insights. In all my books I quote her writings, and in some books I devote a whole chapter to her teachings. But I have never used her writings as the final and authoritative interpretation of Scripture. I test her writings by Scripture, not vice versa.

 

The Use of EGW’s Writings in the book Wine in the Bible

 

To prove my point I will cite the example of my book Wine in the Bible where I devote the whole chapter 8 to “Ellen White and Alcoholic Beverages.”  The chapter shows that Ellen White correctly believed and taught that the Bible consistently prohibits the use of alcoholic beverages. God never made allowance for their use. In her book Temperance, she writes: “There are many solemn warnings in the Scriptures against the use of intoxicating liquors” (Temperance, p. 42).

 

She continues quoting in full Deuteronomy 29:6, Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-32, 31:4, Amos 6:6, and Ecclesiastes 10:17. Then, she closes saying, “The Lord has given special directions in His word in reference to the use of wine and strong drink. He has forbidden their use, and enforced His prohibitions with strong warnings and threatenings” (pp. 53-54). It is evident that Ellen White strongly believed that total abstinence is a biblical principle clearly taught by examples, warnings and threatening. Because of this conviction she became active in the Temperance Movement, where she was a sought out popular speaker.

 

During the year I spent researching Wine in the Bible, time and again I found that Ellen White’s “prohibitionist” position to be biblically correct. My method has been to establish first what the Bible teaches regarding the use of alcoholic beverages, and then to find out if Ellen White agrees with the Bible. There is no question that she does. The reason the chapter on Ellen White comes at the end of the book, is because I wanted to test her teachings by the Bible, and not vice versa. And I found her teachings to be biblically correct.

 

The Adventist Adoption of the “Concessionist” Position

 

It is unfortunate that about 30 years our Adventist church moved away from Ellen White’s “prohibitionist” teachings, adopting instead what I call “the concessionists” position. According to this new position, God allowed without endorsing the use of alcoholic beverages because of the hardness of human hearts. In other words, like in the case of divorce, God allowed the use of alcoholic beverages, without approving them.

 

An example of the new Adventist position can be found in the 1982 special Temperance Issue of Adventist Review, which affirms: “Total abstinence is but one of a number of areas where the Bible gives no explicit directives” (“Does the Bible Condemn ‘Moderate’ Drinking?” Adventist Review, February 22, 1982, p. 4). Note the difference between this statement and Ellen White’s emphatic position: “The Lord has given special directions in His word in reference to the use of wine and strong drink. He has forbidden their use, and enforced His prohibitions with strong warnings and threatenings.”

 

The concessionist view is found in official Adventist publications. For example, the book Seventh-day Adventist Believe, states: “In interpreting such Scriptural passages [about the use of wine and strong drinks], it is helpful to keep in mind that God does not necessarily endorse all what he permits.” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . .  1988, p. 282). The same view is presented in The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary (vol. 1, p. 1002).

 

A careful study of all the relevant biblical texts clearly shows that Ellen White is correct in affirming that God never allowed the use of alcoholic beverages. Much of the confusion stems from the failure to recognize that the Hebrew and Greek terms for “wine” used in the Bible (yayin and oinos), are generic terms used to describe the juice of the grapes, whether fermented or unfermented.

 

Is Abstinence a Medical or Moral Issue?

 

The adoption of the concessionist position that God allowed without endorsing the use of alcoholic beverages, has led our Adventist church to promote abstinence as a medical, rather than a moral issue, sickness rather than sin. In my view promoting abstinence on the basis of health reasons alone is not enough. Ellen White recognized that it takes more. It takes not merely biological ethics but primarily Biblical ethics.

 

In her book Temperance, Ellen White shows that it is only when Christians recognize that drinking is not only a bad habit that can harm their health, but also a transgression of a God-given principle to ensure health and holiness, that they will feel compelled to abstain from intoxicating substances. I fully concur with Ellen White, and I am grateful for her theological insights. It is unfortunate that our Adventist Church has abandoned the strong Biblical basis for total abstinence taught by Ellen White. The result has been the weakening of the moral convictions and the concomitant escalation in the consumption of alcoholic beverages among Adventists.

 

For the sake of brevity I will omit several other examples of Ellen White’s doctrinal insights which I discuss in my books Divine Rest for Human Restlessness, Christian Dress and Adornment, The Christian and Rock Music, Women in the Church, The Marriage Covenant, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, and Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? Over the years I have been amazed at the profound theological insights of Ellen White into certain Bible texts or stories.

 

The foregoing examples suffice to show that I deeply value EGW’s writings both for my devotional life and for doctrinal investigation. But, true to Ellen White’s teachings and to the position of our Church, I have never used her writings to settle doctrinal, historical, or prophetic questions. Her writings must be tested by Scripture, not vice versa. I stand for the Protestant principle of “Sola Scriptura,” a principle upheld by our Adventist church.

 

DID ELLEN WHITE VIEW HER WRITINGS AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY FOR  ANY PROPHETIC, DOCTRINAL, OR HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE?

 

Some have accused me of rejecting the prophetic authority of Ellen White, because I question the accuracy of her statements regarding the fourth century origin of Sunday, Sabbath observance by the Waldenses, and the establishment of the papacy in A. D. 538 and her termination in 1798. The last statement will be examined in the next newsletter.

 

This allegation raises important questions: Does respect for the authority of Ellen White preclude any fresh investigation of Biblical or historical subjects discussed in her writings? Did Ellen White see herself as the final and infallible authority on prophetic, exegetical, theological, and historical interpretations? Did she expect Adventists to accept whatever she wrote without questioning?  The answer to these questions is “NO!” To prove my point, I will submit two lines of evidences:

 

(1) Ellen White’s own understanding of the relationship of her writings to Scripture.

 

(2) Ellen White never claimed to be an authority on history.

 

Ellen White’s Own Understanding of the Relationship of her Writings to Scripture

 

To my knowledge Ellen White never claimed that her writings have the same normative authority of Scripture for defining church beliefs and practices. She unequivocally stated: “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. Our own views and ideas must not control our efforts. Man is fallible, but God’s Word is infallible. . . . Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline” (Selected Messages I, p. 416).

 

What impresses me about Ellen White is her humbleness and respect for the normative authority of the Bible. She never claimed to be an infallible authority to be accepted without questioning. She wrote: “In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in him is no variableness, or shadow of turning” (Selected Messages I, p. 37).  A proof of the recognition of her fallibility and limitations, is provided by the 1911 revision of The Great Controversy. Shortly we shall see that in preparing this revision she asked responsible workers to help her correct disputed statements and historical inaccuracies.

 

We never read that Paul, Peter, or of any other Bible writer asked competent people to help them edit their manuscripts and remove inaccuracies. Ellen White saw no problem in correcting her manuscripts, or in changing her views (like in the case of the “Shut Door”), or in asking others to help her make necessary corrections to the first edition of The Great Controversy.

 

The most familiar statement of Ellen White’s understanding of the relationship of her writings to Scripture, is found in Colporteur Ministry p. 125: “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Again she wrote: “The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and to attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all” (Testimonies 5, p. 665).

 

The sampling of statements just cited, clearly indicates that Ellen White pointed to the Scripture as the final authority for defining church beliefs and practices. She wrote: “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” (Early Writings, p. 78). In this statement Ellen White clearly acknowledges that her writings (visions) are to serve, “not for a new rule of faith,” but to comfort and correct those “who err from Bible truth.”

 

Ellen White Never Claimed to be An Authority in History

 

Ellen White never claimed to be an authority in history and never intended her writings to be used to settle historical questions.  Her son, Willie White wrote to S. N. Haskell (in a letter she signed at the end with the comment, “I approve of the remarks made in this letter, [signed] Ellen White), saying: “Regarding Mother’s writings, she has never wished our brethren to treat them as authority on history. . . . When Controversy was written, Mother never thought that the readers would take it as an authority on historical dates and use it to settle controversies” (More than a Prophet, p. 100).

 

Ellen White was aware of her limitations and invited readers to point out any incorrect statement they found, not only in The Great Controversy, but in other writings as well. In a draft copy of the second volume of Spiritual Gifts, she makes this comment: “A special request is made that if any find incorrect statements in this book they will immediately inform me. The edition will be completed about the first of October; therefore send before that time” (Selected Messages, vol, 3, p. 58).

 

In spite of Ellen White’s disapproval of the use of her writings as “authority in history,” to this very day some Adventists appeal to them to condemn historians like me for pointing out historical inaccuracies in The Great Controversy.  For them, what Ellen White wrote, for example, about the fourth century origin of Sunday or about Sabbathkeeing among the Waldenses, is more trustworthy than any historical investigation done by competent scholars

 

Examples of Inaccurate Statements About the Origin of Sunday

 

In the newsletter no. 87 I discuss several inaccurate historical statements found in EGW’s writings. For the sake of brevity, in this newsletter I will limit my comments to her statements regarding the alleged origin of Sunday in the fourth century when Constantine promulgated the famous Sunday Law in 321.

 

This popular view is reflected in the question people often ask me during the questions/answers period of my Sabbath Seminar. “Dr. Bacchiocchi, you told us today that the change from Sabbath to Sunday began by A. D. 135 when the Roman Emperor Hadrian outlawed the practiced of Judaism in general and of the Sabbath in particular. But, doesn’t Ellen White teach that all Christians observed the Sabbath in the early centuries and that Sundaykeeping began in the fourth century with the promulgation of the Sunday Law by Constantine? How do you reconcile the difference between the conclusion of your research and the teachings of Ellen White?” This is a valid question that needs to be addressed

 

Before answering this question, let me quote the relevant statements which are found on pages 52-53 of The Great Controversy. She wrote: “In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts” (The Great Controversy, p. 52. Emphasis supplied).

 

Did Sunday Originate in the Fourth Century?

 

This statement poses some problems, because the term “centuries” in the plural suggests that for at least two or more centuries the Sabbath was observed by “all Christians.” Apparently Ellen White believed that all Christian observed the Sabbath until “the early part of the fourth century [when] the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire” (Ibid. p. 53).

 

According to Ellen White, Constantine was urged to promulgate a Sunday law by “the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church” (Ibid)

 

The reference to the promulgation of the first Sunday Law by Constantine in 321, is historically accurate. We also have reasons to believe that “the bishops of the church” influenced the emperor to promulgate the first Sunday Law, since we know that he favored the Catholic church in many ways, by financing the construction of Cathedrals and eventually donating his own imperial Lateran palace to the Pope when he moved the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople.

 

The problem is the statement that the Sabbath was observed “by all Christians . . . in the first centuries” until “the early part of the fourth century [when] the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public holiday” (Ibid., pp. 52-53). On the basis of these statements, many Adventists, including some evangelists, believe and teach that Sundaykeeping began in the early part of the fourth when church leaders urged Constantine to promulgate in 321 the famous Sunday Law.

 

This popular view has exposed our Adventist Church to much undesirable criticism. Non-SDA scholars and church leaders like TV Speaker, Dr. James Kennedy from Coral Ridge, Florida, have accused our church of plain ignorance, by teaching that Sundaykeeping began in the fourth century. They point to irrefutable historical evidences that Sunday observance was already widespread in the second centuries.

 

Adventist Scholars Do Not Support a Fourth Century Origin of Sunday Observance

 

I have spent countless hours explaining to our detractors that the popular view of the fourth century origin of Sundaykeeping, is reflective not of Adventist scholarship, but of unguarded Adventist preaching. To my knowledge no Adventist scholar has ever taught or written that Sunday observance began in the fourth century with Constantine.

 

A compelling proof is the symposium cited earlier The Sabbath in Scripture and History, written by 22 Adventist scholars and published by the Review and Herald in 1982. None of the Adventist scholars who contributed to this symposium ever suggest that Sundaykeeping began in the fourth century. The reason is that they are familiar with the documents, which show that Sunday worship was already well-established by the middle of the second century.

 

Some concerned Adventists accused me of rejecting the authority of Ellen White by promoting an earlier origin of Sunday in the second century. I am facing the same accusation for proposing a broader interpretation to the 1260 days prophecy – and interpretation which is not directly supported by Ellen White. I will discuss this question in the next newsletter.

 

For me the issue is not what Ellen White says about the origin of Sunday in the fourth century or about “the establishment of the papal supremacy in A. D. 538” and its termination in 1798” (The 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy. An Explanation of the Involvements of the 1911 Revision, p. 4) , but whether such statements are historically accurate. The historical data clearly show that these statements are inaccurate. Should this fact distress us? NO! Why? Simply because prophets are human and make mistakes.

 

Prophets Are Human and Make Mistakes

 

         In Appendix A of Prof. Graeme Bradford’s book More than a Prophet, you will find an informative article entitled “The Question of Inerrancy in Inspired Writings.” The article was written by Robert W. Olson, who served for many years as Director of the White Estate in Washington D. C.  The article begins with the question: “Are there discrepancies in the Holy Scriptures? The answer is, Yes” (More than a Prophet,  p. 237).”  He then proceeds giving a catalogue of contradictory statements found both in the Bible and in EGW’s writings.

 

Under the heading “Numerical and Chronological Problems,” Olson writes: “Did 24,000 die in the plague as in Numbers 25:9, or was it 23,000 as in 1 Cor. 10:8? Did Solomon have 40,000 stalls for his horses (1 Kings 4:25) or was it 4,000 (2 Chron. 9:25)? Was Jehoachin eighteen (2 Kings 24:8) or eight (2 Chron. 36:9) when he began to reign? Did Ahaziah come to the throne at the age of 22 ( 2 Kings 8:26) or 42 (2 Chron. 22:2)? Was David the eighth son of Jesse (1 Sam. 16:10,11) or the seventh son (1 Chron. 2:15)? Was the period of the judges 450 years in length (Acts 13:20) or about 350 years, as would be necessary if 1 Kings 6:1 is correct?” (More than a Prophet, pp. 237-238).

 

To these could be added the numerous discrepancies in the NT. For example, the Gospels do not agree even on the date of Christ’s crucifixion. The Synoptic (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) tell us that Jesus was crucified on Nisan 15, that is, the day after Passover, while John places the crucifixion of Nisan 14, that is, Passover day.

 

 In the second part of the article Olson turns to Ellen White, asking the same question: “Are there any discrepancies in her letters, articles, and books? The answer is, Yes. Mrs. White herself allowed for the possibility of mistakes when she wrote, ‘In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning’”  (l SM 31; More than a Prophet,  p. 243).

 

Robert Olson then proceeds to list several the errors in dates, description of Biblical events, and inaccurate historical statements found in Ellen White’s writings. Interested readers are urged to read the whole article which is found on pages 237-246 of More than a Prophet.  This book is a “must reading” for any Adventist interested in a balanced presentation of Ellen White’s prophetic ministry. This book will help you appreciate her divine revelations on the one hand and her human limitations on the other hand. To order a copy simply call us at (269) 471-2915 or click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/BradfordOffer/offer.htm

 

How should be deal with the inaccuracies found in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy?  The sensible answer that Olson gives is that it is not necessary for us to have an inerrant Bible or Spirit of Prophecy books, for God’s purpose to be accomplished. “While we today freely admit that the frailties of humanity have entered into the writing of the Bible and the books we lovingly label as the ‘Spirit of Prophecy,’ we should not use these imperfections as excuses for questioning or rejecting the counsels of the Lord to us. If we do, we are the losers” (More than a Prophet, p. 246).

 

“God has spoken. He has spoken through vessels of clay. The divine oracles bear the marks of the human channel through which they have come to us. But these messages, both ancient and modern, also bear within them compelling evidence of their heavenly source. Let us listen” (More than a Prophet, p. 246). I fully concur with Robert Olson. Let us read the Bible and the writings of Ellen White, not looking for inaccuracies, but to learn about God’s Plan for our present life and future destiny.

 

Ellen White’s Writings Should NOT be Used to Stifle Biblical Research

 

Over the years Adventist scholars (including myself) have faced the dilemma of harmonizing the findings of their research with the Ellen White’s writings. On a few occasions I have been criticized for presenting conclusions that cannot be supported by the Spirit of Prophecy. The question that Adventist scholars have often faced is: To what extend are we free to pursue our research? Are we bound to “tradition” like the Catholic Church?

 

This question was already addressed at the 1919 Bible Conference by A. G. Daniells – an outstanding General Conference President, who was deeply committed to both the authority of Scripture and to the prophetic gift of Ellen White.   He said: “The question is to what extent men are free to pursue an original investigation of the Scripture, and to follow the honest conclusions at which they arrive. I personally stand for liberty . . .  it looks to me as though we have another question to settle, and that is whether we are a free people, in the matter of biblical research, and in the matter of following the light that comes to us from such research” (Letter of A. G. Daniells to W. C. White, August 4, 1910, emphasis added).

 

Edward Heppenstall, a most influential Adventist theologian who served for many years as Seminary professor at Andrews University, indirectly replies to A. G. Daniells’ question, saying: “Ellen White calls upon us to make sure that all the truths we hold are firmly established upon the Scriptures. Therefore we deplore the idea that anything else should have prior authority over the Bible. Let her writings be our guide but not our jailer, our shield but not our straightjacket. The Scriptures comprise God’s final word to us” (“The Inspired Witness of Ellen White, by Edward Heppenstall. An unpublished paper without date. Emphasis mine.emphasis added).

 

Heppenstall’s eloquent words fittingly express my conviction that EGW’s writings should be “our guide but not our jailer, our shield but not our straightjacket.” It is unfortunate that often Ellen White’s writings have been used as a straightjacket to stifle new original research. This has caused inner struggles to many Adventist scholars like me. It is ironic to think the Seventh-day Adventist Church should ever use her writings to determine who is orthodox in their teaching, when she wrote, “The Spirit was not given–nor can it ever be bestowed–to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested” (GC vii).

 

An Unresolved Contradiction

 

There is an unresolved contradiction between the Adventist understanding of  the authority of EGW’s writings and that of Scripture.  In theory there should be no contradiction because our general consensus is that our doctrines and practices are derived exclusively from the normative authority of the Bible. Incidentally, this is the position Ellen White herself maintained: “The Testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word of God. . . . Let us prove all our positions from Scripture and substantiate every point they claim from the revealed Word of God” (Evangelism, p. 256).

 

In practice, however, Ellen White remains for many sincere Adventists the final interpreter of Scripture. This has been  evident whenever I attempt to expand our interpretation of such biblical texts as Colossians 2:14 on the bond that was nailed to the Cross, or Revelation 13:17-18 on The Mark and Number of the Beast. Some rejected a priori the findings of my investigation, not because they violated the meaning of the texts in their contexts, but because they could not be adequately supported by EGW writings.

 

For me the question is not: Does Ellen White offer valuable insights and interpretations of Bible texts and teachings?  My answer, as I have shown earlier, is: YES, ABSOLUTELY. I have devoted a whole chapter to her teachings in some of my books, because I found her teaching biblically sound. But,  Does my respect for the authority of Ellen White preclude any fresh investigation of Biblical or historical subjects discussed in her writings? My answer is NO! Why? Because as we have seen, Ellen White did not view her writings as the final and infallible authority on prophetic, exegetical, theological, and historical texts or teachings.  She did not expect Adventists to accept whatever she wrote as the final answer to any biblical question. This point becomes clear when you take time to read the documentation presented by Prof. Graeme Bradford in chapter 24 of his book More than a Prophet.

 

The Dilemma of Two Conflicting Adventist Beliefs

      

Our Adventist church faces the dilemma of two conflicting beliefs. As expressed in the 27 Fundamental beliefs, on the one hand we believe that “The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines” (Fundamental Beliefs, No. 1). But, on the other hand, we also believe that “As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provides for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction” (Fundamental Beliefs, No. 17).

 

This conflict between the Bible as “the authoritative revealer of doctrines” and EGW’s writings as “authoritative source of truth,” poses the problem of two conflicting “authoritative” sources. This problem is reflected in the statement prepared by an ad hoc committee of the General Conference, in response to requests for a clarification of the relationship between the Bible and EGW’s writings. The statement affirms that “The ministry and writings of Ellen White were a manifestation of the gift of prophecy, that her writings . . . are applicable and authoritative especially to Seventh-day Adventists.” But it also denies that “the writings of Ellen White function as the foundation and final authority of the Christian faith as does Scripture.” (“The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings,” Adventist Review 159, December 23, 1982, p. 9).

 

The dichotomy remains. EGW’s writings are not supposed to be normative for interpreting scripture or formulating doctrines, yet they are inspired and authoritative for interpreting Scripture.  It is easy to see how different Adventists can appeal to one or the other set of statements, to defend either the authority of Scripture or the authority of EGW’s writings.

 

The coexistence of these two positions in our Adventist church, make it impossible to offer a unanimous answer to the question: Should theological differences be resolved by appealing to EGW’s writings? In theory the answer in “NO!” but in practice the answer of many sincere Adventist is “YES!,” because for them Ellen White remains the final interpreter of Scripture.

 

DID ELLEN WHITE ENGAGE EXPERIENCED WORKERS TO GATHER INFORMATION FOR HER BOOKS AND TO MAKE NEEDED CORRECTIONS?

 

Some concerned brethren accuse me of rejecting the prophetic gift of Ellen White, because I have written that she sought the help of respected church leaders to gather information for some of her books and to correct inaccurate statement. Their accusation stems from the belief that Ellen White received all her messages from divine revelation, not from human agents. Unfortunately this accusation ignores the witness of those who worked closely with Ellen White in gathering information for her books and in making necessary corrections.

 

This question was addressed soon after Ellen White’s death at a meeting known as “The Bible and History Teachers Council,”  which took place immediately after the 1919 Bible Conference. The Council was attended by 22 prominent church leaders such as A. G. Daniells, president of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference; G. B. Thompson, field secretary of the General Conference;  F. M. Wilcox, editor of the Review and Herald, later Adventist Review; W. W. Prescott, former editor of Review and Herald and then a field secretary of the General Conference; H. C. Lacey, religion teacher at the Foreign Mission Seminary. Several other prominent church leaders were also present.

 

The verbatim report of the Council help us to see how Ellen White’s life and writings were perceived through the eyes of people who worked closely with her. An important question that was discussed at the Council was the need to explain to the church at large the help that Ellen White received in preparing her publications, the nature of her inspiration, and the legitimate use of her writings. Unknown to most Adventists even today, is the fact that Ellen White did seek the help of respected church leaders such as E. G. Daniells,  W. W. Prescott, Uriah Smith, and J. N. Andrews, when writing on chronology and history.

 

An Appeal to W. W. Prescott to Help Ellen White in Her Writings

 

An example is a letter written to W. W. Prescott from Ellen White’s Secretary, Clarence C. Crisler. “In this letter he appeals to Prescott to come to give some help to Ellen White in the work of Ezra (which must have been for writing the book Prophets and Kings). In this letter he makes a list of the problem areas they need help and then says at the end, ‘I am sure that Sister White would be specially pleased and cheered, if she could know that you were coming soon to help us over hard places.’” (More than a Prophet, p. 103).

 

Even in Ellen White’s day, not everyone knew about the assistance she received in writing her books. The result was that many Adventists believed her writings were verbally inspired and should be used as the final authority on any subject she wrote about. Some of the brethren who helped Ellen White in gathering information for her books, protested against this prevailing misconception and illegitimate use of her writings, but they protest was silenced by ultra-conservatives determined to glorify Ellen White.

 

In a letter written on the year Ellen White died, W. W. Prescott, the leading Adventist educator of the time, who helped Ellen White in gathering information for some of her books, wrote to Willie White these startling words:  “It seems to me that a large responsibility rests upon those of us who know that there are serious errors in our authorized books [Ellen White’s books] and yet make no special effort to correct them. The people and our average ministers trust us to furnish them with reliable statements, and they use them as sufficient authority in their sermons, but we let them go on year after year asserting things we know to be untrue. . . .

 

“The way your mother’s writings have been handled and the false impression concerning them, which is still fostered among the people, have brought great perplexity and trial to me. It seems to me that what amounts to deception, though probably not intentional, has been practiced in making some of her books, and that no serious effort has been made to disabuse the minds of the people of what was known to be their wrong view concerning her writings. But it is no use to go into these matters. I have talked to you for years about them, but it brings no change. I think however that we are drifting toward a crisis which will come sooner or later and perhaps sooner. A very strong reaction has already set in.” (More than a Prophet, p. 104; emphasis supplied). The warning of the last statement found fulfillment especially in the post-1970 period, when many Adventists left the church, claiming to have been deceived about Ellen White.

 

The 1919 Bible Conference After-Meeting

 

Prescott’s concern was discussed at The Bible and History Teachers Council, that convened immediately after the 1919 Bible Conference. It is surprising to read some of the statements of respected church leaders and scholars. A transcription of their conversations has survived and was discovered on December 6, 1974, “when Donald Yost, the senior archivist at the General Conference headquarters in Washington, D.C. was setting up the newly formed archives. He accidently discovered two packets of papers containing some 2400 pages of typewritten stenographic notes taken at the July 19, 1919 Bible Conference held in Takoma Park, Maryland” (More than a Prophet,  p. 152). This discovery has had an enormous impact in re-evaluating Ellen White’s writings. Unfortunately my detractors are unaware of this important discovery.

 

The records of the discussions on the Spirit of Prophecy that took place on July 30 and August 1, 1919, reveals an the open and frank discussion of three major sensitive issues we still face today:

 

(1) How to deal with the historical inaccuracies found in EGW’s writings

 

 (2) Should theological or exegetical differences be resolved by appealing to EGW’s writings?

 

(3) Should the laity be informed about the production of EGW’S writings and the inaccuracies found in them?

 

The discussions suggest that most Adventists believed in the verbal inspiration of Ellen White’s writings.  Church leaders feared that anything less than an inerrant view of Ellen White’s writings, would bring protests. Thus, they chose to withold from church members the truth about Ellen White’s writings. For example, J. N. Anderson asks the question, “Is it well to let our people in general to go on holding to the verbal inspiration of the Testimonies? When we do that, aren’t we preparing for a crisis that will be very serious some day?” (More than a Prophet,  pp. 104-105).

 

Similar views were expressed by other church leaders attending the Council. For example, A. G. Daniells, who had worked closely with Ellen White for over 30 years, first in Australia and then in America and who was serving at that time as President of the General Conference, said: “Well, now, as I understand it, Sister White never claimed to be an authority on history, and never claimed to be a dogmatic teacher on theology, like Mrs Eddy’s book on teaching. She never claimed to be an authority on history . . . she was ready to correct in revision such statements as she thought should be corrected. I have never gone to her writings, and taken the history that I found in her writings, as the positive statement of history regarding the fulfillment of prophecy.” (More than a Prophet, pp. 153; Emphasis supplied).

 

Spiritual Value of Ellen White’s Writings

 

H. C. Lacey, a Religion Teacher at the Foreign Mission Seminary that later became Columbia Union College, expanded on A. G. Daniells’ comments, saying: “In our estimate of the spirit of prophecy, isn’t its value to us more in the spiritual light it throws into our own hearts and lives than in the intellectual accuracy in historical and theological matters? Ought we not take those writings as the voice of the Spirit to our hearts, instead of the voice of the teacher to our heads? And isn’t the final proof of the spirit of prophecy its spiritual value rather that its historical accuracy?” (More than a Prophet, p. 153).

 

W. C. Wirth, a Religion Teacher at Pacific Union College, proposed publishing a statement designed to refute the misconception of the verbal inspiration of Ellen White.  He said: “I shall certainly be discredited if I go back and give this view. I would like to see some published statement given out by those who lead this work, so that if that thing should come up, there would be some authority back of it, because I am in for a lot of trouble on that thing. I would like to see something done, because that education is going right on, and our students are being sent out with the idea that the Testimonies are verbally inspired, and woe be to the man out there where I am that does not line up to that. . . .” (More than a Prophet, p. 153).

 

G. B. Thompson, Field Secretary of the General Conference, admitted that “If we had always taught the truth on this question, we would not have any trouble or shock in the denomination now. But the shock is because we have not taught the truth, and have put the Testimonies on a plane where she says they do not stand. We have claimed more for them than she did” (More than a Prophet, p. 154).

 

Statements such as these reveal that the process of glorification of Ellen White had set in. Most Adventists believed that Ellen White was verbally inspired and consequently inerrant in all what she wrote. To counteract this prevailing misconception, our church leaders and Bible teachers present at the Council, strongly felt that it was imperative to inform church members regarding the production and inspiration of Ellen White’s writings. With almost prophetic foresight they predicted that failure to meet this challenge would set the church “drifting toward a crisis” (More than a Prophet,  p. 104). But unfortunately they were reluctant to act, fearing possible negative reactions. 

 

The opponents of the Council, capitalized on the reluctance of our leading brethren, to launch a concerted attack against them. Their goal was the glorification of Ellen White as an infallible guide for the Adventist Church. Two of them stand out in particular: J. S. Washburn, a well-known preacher; and C. E. Holmes who was the Washington correspondent for the denomination’s Southern Watchman magazine.

 

Washburn labeled the Council as the “Council of Darkness” and “Diet of Doubts.” In a 36-page open letter, Washburn accused Daniells of seeking to destroy confidence in Ellen White’s inspiration. This accusation is totally false, because Daniells reaffirmed his commitment to the prophetic gift of Ellen White to the end of his life, as evidenced by his the book The Abiding Gift of Prophecy, which was published in 1936, just before he died.

 

Washburn also claimed that the views expressed at the Council were part of the Omega apostasy predicted by Ellen White. His “Open Letter,” which was widely circulated before the 1922 General Conference, was largely instrumental in defeating Daniells’ bid for reelection to the General Conference presidency.

 

The Policy of Concealment Adopted After the 1919 Bible Conference

 

A. G. Daniells was so upset by the negative reactions of the ultra conservatives, that he did not even dare to circulate the minutes of the 1919 Bible Conference. They remained buried in the archives of the General Conference for the next 55 years. It appears that all the participants to the Bible Conference were also so intimidated by the extreme conservatives, that they chose to keep quiet.

 

The policy of concealment adopted after the 1919 Bible Conference, remained in effect for the next 55 years until the minutes of the Conference were rediscovered in 1974. During this period the glorification of Ellen White as the supreme authority for faith and practice, continued unabated.  She became the definitive encyclopedia to define the beliefs and the lifestyle for faithful church members. Her writings covered a full spectrum of issues of Adventist interest: diet, dress, education, health, sexuality, geology, chronology, stewardship, church organization, canvassing, and so on. The words “Sister White says” could guarantee the effective termination of most discussions. For some Adventists the same is true even today, as indicated by the false allegations made against me.

 

The wall of defence built around Ellen White in the 1950s, began to crumble in the 1970s, as  respected Adventist scholars began an objective investigation of her writings. For example, Ron Graybill, a research assistant in the White Estate, was asked to investigate the charge that Ellen White’s account of the French Revolution in  The Great Controversy, was based on unreliable sources which she used carelessly.

 

In studying the notes left by Clarence Crisler, Ellen White’s secretary, Graybill found that Ellen White was not misusing sources at all. Instead, the problem was that she took the history of the French Revolution straight out of Uriah Smith’s Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. She followed the lead of Uriah Smith who was a very poor historian.

 

The 1911 Revision of The Great Controversy

 

The 1911 revision of The Great Controversy provides a helpful case study to understand Ellen White’s recognition of her limitations and of the need to make corrections to her writings. My comments are based on a 14 pages document supplied to me by the E. G. White Estate office of Andrews University. The document is entitled “The 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy. An Explanation of the Involvements of the 1911 Revision.” This document, which is readily available to any interested person, contains a statement read by W. C. White (Ellen White’s son) before the General Conference Council on October 30. 1911. Ellen White approved the statement of her son in a statement signed on July 27, 1911.

 

The need for a revision of The Great Controversy was precipitated by two factors: (1) The old plates for reprinting the book were worn out and new plates were urgently needed (2) Some people challenged the accuracy of certain historical statements and they wanted references for them.

 

W. C. White offers us an instructive account of how the revision was done. Essentially the process was carried out in two steps. First, they asked anyone who questioned the accuracy of statements found in The Great Controversy, to submit their objections in writings. Second, Ellen White instructed competent workers in Europe and America to search in libraries for the books needed “to verify the quotations and to correct inaccuracies found” (“The 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy. An Explanation of the Involvements of the 1911 Revision,” p. 2).  She thanked the brethren who devoted countless hours in libraries searching the needed material.

 

Willingness of Ellen White to Make Corrections

 

What amazes me is the willingness of Ellen White to make the necessary corrections – a fact that seems to be unknown by my detractors. She went as far as to ask the various publishing departments and canvassing agents, both in America and overseas, to submit in writing their request for any correction to be done. To me this shows that Ellen White recognized that in her writings there were inaccuracies that needed to be corrected.

 

When reading the account of the participation of European and American researchers in locating documents needed to correct some of the historical statements that “were questioned and challenged,” one gets the impression that Ellen White welcomed the participation of those who could help in making the necessary corrections in the new edition of The Great Controversy. She expressly stated: “I am thankful that my life has been spared, and that I have strength and clearness of mind for this and other literary work” (Ibid., p. 13).

 

If Ellen White was alive today, she would welcome the service of competent scholars willing to correct the remaining inaccuracies found in The Great Controversy and other publications.  She was a humble and open-minded woman, fully ware of her limitations.  On my part I would be glad to offer my services to her, because I can never stop thanking God for the inestimable contributions she has made to my spiritual life and to the message and mission of our Adventist church.

 

A Look at Some Changes

 

A look at some of the changes that were made in the 1911 revision of The Great Controversy, will help us determine whether the changes were substantive or “peripheral,” as my detractors contend. W. C. White provides us with a few examples. For the sake of brevity we shall consider only those statements relative to the 1260 days prophecy, since I have been attacked for proposing a broader interpretation of this prophecy. We shall see that the changes made are substantive, but not adequate. In the next newsletter I will respond to the allegations regarding my broader interpretation of this prophecy.

 

On page 266 of the Old Edition of The Great Controversy, Ellen White wrote: “The 1260 years of papal supremacy began with the establishment of the papacy in A. D. 538, and would therefore terminate on 1798  The statement is modified in the New Edition to read: “The 1260 years of papal supremacy began in A. D. 538, and would terminate in 1798.”

 

The key phrase that was removed is “the establishment of the papacy.” It is evident that the editors were made aware of the fact that “the establishment of the papacy” did not begin in 538. In my dissertation From Sabbath to Sunday, I have shown that the development of the papal primacy was already in progress in the second century, when the Pope exercised his ecumenical authority by imposing on Christian churches at large Easter-Sunday, weekly Sunday, besides condemning various movements like the Marcionists andMontanists.

 

The same phrase is found in page 439 of the Old Edition which reads: “This period began with the establishment of the papacy A. D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time, when the papacy was abolished and the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.”

 

A significant correction was made to the New Edition which reads: “This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, A. D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time, the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled,’ He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.’”

 

Significant But Inadequate Corrections

 

The correction that was made in the New Edition is by no means “peripheral.” The editors recognized the glaring mistake that Ellen White made in the Old Edition, when she wrote that the papacy was established in 538 and abolished in 1798. Unfortunately she repeats the same mistake on page 579 of the Old Edition: “The infliction of the deadly wound points to the abolition of the papacy in 1798.”  The statement was corrected in the New Edition to read: “The infliction of the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798.”

 

The historical reality is that the papacy was not established in 538, nor was it abolished in 1798. The corrected reading of the New Edition is a noticeable improvement, but it is still inaccurate. The reason is that 538 hardly marks the beginning of the “supremacy of the papacy,” nor does 1798 signals “the downfall of the papacy.” It is evident that the editorial workers who helped Ellen White to make the necessary corrections, knew little about the history of the papacy.

 

The development of the “supremacy of the papacy” began long before 538. During the fourth and fifth centuries there were influential popes like Damasus (366-384), Innocent I (402-417), and Leo I, called “the Great” (440-461), who greatly advanced both the spiritual and temporal power of the papacy.

 

The Year A. D. 538 Marks the Humiliation, not the Establishment of the Papacy

 

In many ways A. D. 538 marks, not the establishment, but the humiliation of the papacy.  In theory Emperor Justinian affirmed and expanded the authority of the papacy, but in practice he forced three popes to promote his political agenda.  Through the influence of Justinian’s wife, Empress Theodora, general Belisarius selected Pope Vigilius in 537 while the previous Pope Silverius was still alive. The pontificate of Vigilius (537-555) is characterized by repeated doctrinal compromises made under the pressure of Emperor Justinian who kidnapped him, brought him to Constantinople and humiliated him. The outcome was that Vigilius was excommunicated by some Western bishops, and his papal authority was rejected in several western provinces. These historical facts hardly support the claim that year 538 marks the establishment or beginning of the supremacy of the papacy.

 

The Year 1798 Marks a Temporary Humiliation, not the Downfall of the Papacy.

 

What is true for 538 is also true for 1798. In both instances the corrections made to the new edition of The Great Controversy are inadequate. The change in the 1911 edition  from “the abolishment” to “the downfall of the papacy,” is a noticeable improvement, but it is still inadequate. Why? Simply because 1798 does not signal “the downfall of the papacy.” The taking of Pope Pius VI, as a prisoner by the French General Berthier, marked a temporary humiliation of the papacy, but not its downfall. When Pius VI left Rome on February 20, 1798, he was an old, dying man who still functioned as Pope, though in a limited scale. He found refuge first in Siena and then near Florence, where a small Curia was organized to administer the church. In fact, before his death he planned for the election of his successor.

 

The imprisonment of Pope Paul VI was condemned by Russia and Austria. Both nations decided to join forces to restore the Pope to his Pontifical throne in Rome. When the French government was confronted with this new coalition and with popular uprisings, it decided to transfer the Pope to Valence, in France, where he died 40 days later, on August 29, 1799.

 

The death of Pius VI can hardly be seen as the “abolishment” or “the downfall of the Papacy.” It was simply a temporary humiliation of the prestige of the Papacy. In fact, Pius VI was able to give directives for the election of his successor. Few months after his death, the Cardinals met in Venice on December 8, 1799, and elected Barnaba Chiaramonti, who took the name of Pious VII, in deference to his predecessor.

 

The new Pope was able to negotiate with Napoleon the Concordat in 1801 and the Organic Articles in 1802. These treatises restored to the Pope some of the territories of the States of the Church and regulated the extent of the Papal authority in France.

 

The Resurgence of the Papacy under Pius IX

 

The following years marked, not the downfall, but the resurgence of papal authority, especially under the Pontificate of Pius IX (1846-1878). In 1854, Pius IX promulgated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In 1864 he issued the famous Syllabus of Errors, known also as “INDEX,” which for many years listed all the political ideologies, religious beliefs, and publications to be rejected by Catholics (Even our Adventist books were listed in the INDEX. I learned this fact the hard way while working as a literature evangelist in Italy for six Summers).

 

The crowning event of Pius IX’s pontificate was the convening of the First Vatican Council on December 8, 1869. It had a remarkable large attendance from all over the Roman world and on July 18, 1870, the Council promulgated the dogma of Papal Infallibility. This dogma has greatly enhanced the authority of the Pope, and discredits any attempt to attribute to 1798 the downfall of the papacy.

 

This brief outline of events suffices to show that it is inaccurate to speak of the “abolishment” or “downfall” of the Papacy in 1798. The historical reality is that the Papacy was still very much alive and soon regained her prestige and power after a temporary humiliation of a few months.

 

The Need for Further Corrections

 

It is unfortunate that Ellen White has passed away, because the revision that was done to The Great Controversy in 1911 did not eliminate all the historical inaccuracies. There is still much work that needs to be done, but without her presence and approval, the E. G. White Estate has no authority to undertake this project. If a mechanism were to be set up in the future to make the necessary corrections to EGW’s writings, we can anticipate a storm of controversies.

 

It is unfortunate that over the years the limitations of Ellen White on historical and doctrinal matters were largely concealed in order to make her writings the final authority to settle controversies. Ellen White herself rejected this concept. She was aware of her limitations and invited readers to point out any incorrect statement they found, not only in The Great Controversy, but in other writings as well. We noted earlier that in her appendix to a draft copy of the second volume of Spiritual Gifts, she makes this comment: “A special request is made that if any find incorrect statements in this book they will immediately inform me. The edition will be completed about the first of October; therefore send before that time” (Selected Messages, vol, 3, p. 58).

 

The Need to Correct Inaccuracies

 

When I proposed in a newsletter the need to correct the inaccuracies found in EGW’s writings, my detractors condemned the plan as an outrightly rejection of Ellen White’s inspiration and a denial of the Adventist faith. It is reassuring to know that our leading brethren who worked closely with Ellen White for many years, did not feel that way. They openly spoke about the need for revisions at the 1919 Bible Conference. The reason for their openness is their knowledge of how the information was gathered and of how Ellen White called for help to identify and correct the inaccuracies found in the old edition of The Great Controversy. She never claimed to be an authority on historical or doctrinal matters.

 

For the sake of brevity I will cite in closing only the testimony of A. G. Daniel at the Bible Conference. He said: “Sister White never claimed to be an authority on history, and never claimed to be a dogmatic teacher on theology. She never outlined a course of theology, like Mrs. Eddy’s book on teaching [Christian Science] . . . She never claimed to be an authority on history . . . she was ready to correct in revision such statements as she thought should be corrected. I have never gone to her writings, and taken the history that I found in her writings, as the positive statement of history regarding the fulfillment of prophecy” (“The Use of the Spirit of Prophecy, July 30, 1919, Spectrum vol 10, 1, 1979, p. 34; Emphasis supplied).

 

The reason Daniells believed that Ellen White would authorize corrections in her writings, is because, as he puts it: “We talked with her about that when The Great Controversy was being revised, and I have letters in my file in the vault there where we were warned against using Ellen White as a historian. She never claimed to be that. We were warned against setting up statements found in her writings against the various history that there is on a fact. That is where I stand” (Ibid., p. 36).  Daniells saw no problem in correcting inaccuracies in EGW’s writings, because he knew first hand that “she was ready to correct in revision such statements as she thought should be corrected” (Ibid., p. 34).

 

CONCLUSION

 

In this newsletter I have attempted to respond to the false allegation that I am no longer a faithful Adventist because I have pointed out that there are inaccuracies in The Great Controversy that need to be corrected. Furthermore, I have written that Ellen White sought the help of respected church leaders to gather information for some of her books. This factual information is used  by some concerned brethren as proof that I am drifting away from the Adventist Church

 

In my response I have submitted three major lines of evidence that discredit the false allegation.

 

First, I have shown  that I greatly value EGW’s writings both for my devotional life and for doctrinal investigation. In some of my books I have devoted a whole chapter to Ellen White’s teachings on the subject. But, true to Ellen White’s instructions and to the position of our Church, I have never used her writings to settle doctrinal, historical, or prophetic questions. Her writings must be tested by Scripture, not vice versa. I stand for the Protestant principle of “Sola Scriptura,” a principle upheld by our Adventist church.

 

Second, I have argued that respect for the authority of Ellen White does preclude any fresh investigation of Biblical or historical subjects discussed in her writings. The reason is that Ellen White did not view herself as the final and infallible authority on prophetic, exegetical, theological, and historical interpretations. She did not expect Adventists to accept whatever she wrote without questioning.

 

Third, contrary to the belief of concerned brethren that Ellen White received all her messages from divine revelation, and not from human agents, there is ample evidence that she sought the help of respected church leaders such as E. G. Daniells,  W. W. Prescott, Uriah Smith, and J. N. Andrews, when writing on chronology and history.

 

Ellen White recognized the presence of inaccuracies in her writings and engaged competent workers in Europe and America to help her make the necessary corrections to the new edition of The Great Controversy. We have found that the corrections were not “peripheral,” but significant. There are still glaring mistakes that need to be corrected. In the light of these facts, my detractors should commend the efforts of scholars like myself, who are committed to correct existing inaccuracies, and thus place our Adventist beliefs on a more solid biblical and historical basis.

 

My ultimate goal is not to weaken Ellen White’s authority, but to make her prophetic witness more credible and defensible. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to a false allegation that, if unanswered, could discredit not only my reputation but also the credibility of our Adventist Message.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS

 

UPCOMING SEMINARS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE

 

As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the seminars scheduled for the month of June 2008.  We wish to extend a warm welcome to those of you who live close to the location of our seminars. Our new seminars with Words and Songs will touch your heart and expand your mind.

 

JUNE 6-7: CHICAGO: BOLINGBROOK SDA CHURCH

Location: 301 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, Illinois 60440.

For directions and information call Elder Karl Watson at (630) 771-0394.

 

JUNE 13-14: HONOLULU CENTRAL SDA CHURCH

Location: 2313 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96817

For directions and information call Pastor Walter Nelson at (808) 524-1352

 

JUNE 18: HAWAII: KAILUA SDA CHURCH

Location: 160 Mookua Street, Kailua, Hawaii 96734

For directions and information call Pastor Robert Lloyd at (808) 261-5442

 

JUNE 20-21: HONOLULU - JAPANESE SDA CHURCH

Location: 2655 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822

For directions and information call Pastor Koji Nishikawa at (808) 988-4343

 

CRISTINA PICCARDI’S NEW DVD RECORDINGS

 

A new recording of Cristina Piccardi’s SACRED CONCERT and of our SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS was made in Loma Linda few weeks ago. The recording was done with state-of-the-art high definition cameras that provide an exceptional clear and crispy video images.

 

We felt the need to make a high quality recording to share our new ministry with fellow believers in different parts of the world. We are happy that at this time we can offer a professional recording both of Cristina’s SACRED CONCERT and of our SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS.

 

You can enjoy a preview of Cristina’s outstanding singing by clicking at this link:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cristina/   She sings the first stanza of THE HOLY CITY.

 

The SACRED CONCERT consists of 16 sacred familiar songs that cover the major themes of God’s creative and redemptive love. Her marvellous singing will touch your heart and inspire you to devote your life more fully to the Savior. You can see the picture of this new album by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/pic.htm

 

The SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS consists of 3 DVD disks containing a total of 6 hours of recording, that is, the Cristina singing and my preaching done on Friday evening, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath afternoon.  Cristina sings a few songs before and after each of my lectures. You  can enjoy this informative and inspiring 6 hours seminar in the privacy of your home or church, without having to travel long distances or investing money to fly us in.  You can see the picture of this new album by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/sabbathandsong/index.htm

 

Who is Cristina Piccardi?

 

In my view Cristina is by far the best Adventist soprano I have heard in my life. Surprisingly she is a slim, only 118 pounds, 5.6 feet high – not the typical heavy-set soprano. When my wife asked her: “How can you project such a powerful voice when you are so slim?”  She replied: “It is God’s gift.”

 

Cristina was born in Brazil 26 years ago and came to Andrews University two years ago to accompany her husband who is studying at the seminary. She has earned degrees in voice performance both in Brazil and at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received full scholarship during the two years of her studies, graduating in December of 2005.

 

She has performed in a leading role with symphonic orchestras in the USA and overseas. In the year 2005 she won the first price at an International Competition for Opera Singers.

 

Special Package Offer of Cristina’s Recordings.

 

At this time we wish to offer the complete package of Cristina’s three albums, together with the newly recorded SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS for only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $230.00. The package included the following four albums:

 

 1) THE CD ALBUM REJOICE IN THE LORD which consists of 11 sacred songs recorded with Marcelo Caceres, Professor of piano at Andrews University. The regular price of the album is $30.00.

 

2) THE DVD ALBUM SING UNTO THE LORD which consists of 10 sacred songs recorded at the Andrews University Pioneer Memorial SDA Church.  The regular price of the DVD album is $50.00.

 

3) THE DVD ALBUM BY HIS GRACE which consists of 16 sacred songs recorded in Loma Linda with four high-definition cameras.  The regular price of the DVD is $50.00.

 

4) THE DVD ALBUM OF THE SABBATH WITH WORDS AND SONGS which consists of three DVD disks with 6 hours of recordings of Cristina singing and my preaching done on Friday evening, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath afternoon. The regular price is $100.00.

 

The special offer on the above package of 4 albums is only $50.00, mailing expenses included even overseas, instead of the regular price of $230.00. This special offer is extended until May 31, 2008.

 

How to Order Cristina’s Package of Four Albums

 

        You can order the package of the four albums containing Cristina’s Sacred Concerts and the SABBATH SEMINAR in WORDS AND SONGS in four different ways:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=122

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

  

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

 

INTRODUCTORY OFFER ON WILLIAM RICHARDSON’S BOOK SPEAKING IN TONGUES: IS IT STILL A GIFT OF THE SPIRIT?

 

William Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues: Is It Still the Gift of the Spirit? has just been reprinted.  You can view the cover of the book and read a brief description by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/tongues.htm

 

The book was originally printed in 1994 by the Review and Herald but it has been out of print for several years. Before proceeding with the reprint, I decided to find out how many of our readers would be interested to purchase a copy of this timely book.  The response surpassed my fondest expectations. I received pledges for orders from different parts of the world, including from some Division offices.  In the light of the overwhelming interest, I hastily delivered the book to my printer who reprinted the book in a record time of two weeks.

 

As a rule I do not publish or reprint books of other authors, because my hands are full with promoting and distributing the 18 books that I have authored.  The only other book of another author that I have published, is More than a Prophet: How We Lost and Found Again the Real Ellen White,  by Prof. Graeme S. Bradford.

 

I published More than a Prophet because I believe that this book  has been long overdue and will do a lot to restore confidence in the validity of the gift of prophecy, manifested in the writings, preaching, and teachings of Ellen White.  The response has been most gratifying. About 20 conferences in the USA and a few oversea,  have donated the book to their workers. If you did not have a chance before to order this timely book before, we still have a small supply left of the second printing. We will be glad to mail you copies immediately.  To place an order call us at (269) 471-2915 or click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_28

 

William Richardson, Ph. D., the author of Speaking in Tongues, has served with distinction our Adventist church for over 35 years as Professor of NT, Chairman of the Religion Department (my chairman for many years), and finally as the Dean of the School of Art and Sciences. He has written numerous articles and books.

 

Let me explain why I decided to reprint Richardson’s Speaking in Tongues.  After reading a dozen of books and scores of articles in preparation for chapter 8 “Speaking in Tongues” of my book Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?, I came to appreciate Richardson’s Speaking In Tongues for his clarity and objectivity.

 

Most Adventist authors and literature have tried to prove that the gift of speaking in tongues described in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14, are identical, namely, the ability of speaking foreign languages.  This position has been used to refute all charismatic tongues-speakers as impostors, because they do not speak foreign languages, but unintelligible, ecstatic utterances.

 

Through a painstaking analysis of Acts 2 and  1 Corinthians 12-14, presented in his doctoral dissertation at Andrews University, Richardson shows that there is a difference between the speaking in tongues in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14.  For one thing, the tongues in Acts 2 are known as languages (dialektos) clearly understood by the Jews from different countries present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. By contrast, the tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14 are characterized as “sound-phonon” (1 Cor 14:10) that needed to be interpreted. No interpretation was needed for tongue-speakers in Acts 2.

       

Ultimately Richardson shows that a careful study of the restrictions Paul places on tongues-speaking during the worship service, disqualifies much of the Pentecostal speaking in tongues today as an unbiblical, illicit activity. The confusion caused by several people speaking in tongues at the same time without any translation, is an illicit activity clearly condemned by Scripture.

 

But Richardson’s concern, however, is to let Scripture speak for itself, rather than twisting Scripture to make the gift of tongues something we want it to be. His research shows that there can be instances when a believer is impressed by the Spirit to pray or praise God with sounds too deep for words. Spiritual realities are experienced in different ways by different people

 

I believe that Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues is a most timely, witnessing book, at a time when the Pentecostal/charismatic movements are growing 10 times faster than our Adventist church, that is, at the rate of over 20 millions a year, and thus becoming the second largest religious body in the world after the Catholic Church.  Their membership today is already over 550 million and within 10 years it is expected to reach 750 million.

 

Your encouraging responses gave me the incentive that I needed to proceed immediately with the reprint of Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues: Is It Still the Gift of the Spirit?  My Adventist printer, Greg Patterson, who has served me with speed and efficiency for many years, delivered the book to us a month ago. We are now processing all your orders.

 

INTRODUCTORY OFFER ON DR. RICHARDSON’S BOOK SPEAKING IN TONGUES: IS IT STILL A GIFT OF THE SPIRIT?

           

1 copy of Speaking in Tongues at $25.00 per copy. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

10 copies of Speaking in Tongues at $7.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $25.00. ($70.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $40.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

30 copies (one case) of Speaking in Tongues at $5.00 per copy, postage paid.  ($150.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $80.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

100 copies of  Speaking in Tongues at $4.00 per copy, postage paid. ($400.00 for 100 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $160.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

HOW TO ORDER SPEAKING IN TONGUES:

 

You can order William Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues until May 31, 2008, in four different ways:

 

(1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_36

 

(2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.    

 

(4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

           

PROF. JON PAULIEN’S VIDEO SEMINAR ON SIMPLY REVELATION

 

The  2008 Daily Devotional Book The Gospel from Patmos, is authored by Prof. Jon Paulien. He has done a masterful job in expanding each verse of the Revelation into a daily devotional thought.   

                                  

To help you appreciate more fully  Paulien’s Daily Devotional, we offer you his DVD album on Simply Revelation that was released few months ago.  We have been airmailing the DVD album to church leaders, pastors, and lay Adventists in different part of the world. Several pastors have already shown the lectures to their congregations.  They wrote to me saying that viewing the lectures were truly an enlightening experience for their members.

 

My wife and I viewed Simply Revelation on our TV on a Sabbath afternoon. Though I had already watched Prof. Paulien’s lectures during the taping session which I paid for, I was spellbound to hear him again offering so many refreshing insights into the most difficult book of the Bible. For me it is a thrilling experience listening to a scholar like Prof. Paulien, who knows what he is talking about.

 

Prof. Paulien is rightly regarded as a leading Adventist authority on the book of Revelation which he has taught at the Seminary for the past 25 years. His doctoral dissertation as well as several of his books deal specifically with the Book of Revelation.

 

The constant demand for Prof. Paulien’s CD album with his publications and articles, led me to discuss with him the possibility of producing a live video recording of a mini Revelation Seminar, which he chose to call Simply Revelation. As suggested by its title,  Simply Revelation aims to present simply the message of Revelation-not to read into Revelation sensational, but senseless views.

 

The preparation of this video recording took several months. The Simply Revelation Seminar consists of four one-hour live video lectures, which have just been recorded in the studio of Andrews University. An impressive virtual studio provides the background of the lectures. Each lecture is delivered with about 50 powerpoint slides. This mini Revelation seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Be sure to inform your pastor about the newly released Simply Revelation, if he is not aware of it.

 

The file with the powerpoint slides is placed on Prof. Paulien’s CD album containing all his publications and articles.  The reason is that there was no memory left on the DVD disks.  In spite of my pleas, Prof. Paulien was so full of the subject that he used the full 60 minutes of each lecture, leaving no space for the slides’ file.

 

This has been a very expensive project, both in time and money. I sponsored it financially because I believe that many will be blessed by Paulien’s fresh insights into Revelation.  The regular price of the DVD album is $100.00, but you can order it at the SPECIAL PRICE for only $50.00.  The price includes the airmailing expenses to any overseas destination.

 

If you have not ordered before the CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, we will be glad to add it to your DVD order for only $20.00, instead of the regular price of $60.00. This means that you can order both the DVD album with Prof. Paulien’s four live video lectures on Simply Revelation and his CD album with all his publications and the powerpoint slides of Simply Revelation, for only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00.

 

As an additional incentive, I am offering you together with Prof. Paulien’s DVD/CD albums, also my own popular DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for an additional $10.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. This means that you can order the DVD and CD albums by Prof, Paulien, together with my DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00.

 

This research on The Mark and Number of the Beast, was commissioned by Prof. Paulien himself. He asked me to trace historically the origin and use of the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei and of the number 666. I spent five months conducting this investigation which was professionally taped at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium. I use 195 powerpoint slides to deliver this informative two hours lecture which has been warmly received by Adventist church leaders and pastors in many parts of the world. For a detailed description of this DVD album click: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Beast/BeastPromo

 

Special Offer on Prof. Paulien and Prof. Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

 

* ONE DVD Album of Prof. Paulien’s four video lectures on Simply Revelation at the introductory price of $50.00, instead of $100.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation and ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation,  ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, and ONE DVD Album with Bacchiocchi’s two hours video lecture on The Mark and Number of the Beast for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

Four Ways to Order Prof. Paulien and Prof. Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/revelation/

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

    

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

SPECIAL OFFER ON 12 DVD/CD ALBUMS FOR ONLY $150.00,

INSTEAD OF THE REGULAR PRICE OF $1150.00

 

        This offer may sound too good to be true. At this time we are offering together as a package all the 12 DVD/CD albums we have recorded, for only $150.00, instead of $1150.00. Until now these recordings were sold separately, costing considerably more.  To make it possible for many to benefit from all these timely messages, I have decided to offer them together as a package for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $1150.00.

 

The Package Includes the Following 12 Albums:

 

1) DVD Album with Sabbath Seminar with Words and Songs recorded at the Avon Park SDA Church on November 16-17, 2007. The album contains three DVD disks with 6 hours of recordings.

 

2) DVD and CD Album containing Cristina Piccardi’s sacred songs. The CD Album “Rejoice in the Lord” contains 11 songs. The DVD Album “Sing Unto the Lord” contains 10 songs.

 

3) Prof. Jon Paulien’s newly released DVD ALBUM video seminar on Simply Revelation.

 

4) Prof. Jon Paulien’s CD ALBUM with a dozen of his books, and all his articles.

 

5) Prof. Graeme Bradford’s DVD ALBUM with a two hours video lecture on Ellen White. He shares the highlights of his book More than a Prophet. The album contains also Prof. Bradford’s the publications and articles.

 

6) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s newly recorded DVD ALBUM called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR.  The album contains 2 video powerpoint lectures: The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages and How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. These two lectures summarize the highlights of Bacchiocchi’s two books Wine in the Bible and The Marriage Covenant. Two separate files with 225 powerpoint slides are included.

 

7) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM containing 10 video powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent.  Some of the lectures show the documents Prof. Bacchiocchi found in Vatican libraries on the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. This album contains the popular powerpoint SABBATH/ADVENT seminars Prof. Bacchiocchi presents in many countries.

 

8) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM on Cracking the Da Vinci Code. The album contains a two hours video lecture, professionally taped with a virtual studio as a background. A separate file with 200 powerpoint slides is included.

 

9) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM on The Mark and the Number of the Beast. The album contains the two hours video lecture and a separate powerpoint file with the 200 slides used for the lecture.

 

10) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s  CD ALBUM with all his books and powerpoint lectures. The album consists of two disks. The first disk has all his 18 books and over 200 articles. The second disk has the slides and script of 25 of Prof. Bacchiocchi’s popular PowerPoint presentations.

 

11) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s  DVD ALBUM on The Passion of Christ.  The album contains the 2 hours live interview conducted by 3ABN on Prof. Bacchiocchi’s book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History.

 

12) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s MP3 AUDIO ALBUM which contains 2 disks with 22 AUDIO lectures on vital biblical beliefs and practices. Ideal for listening in your car while driving.

 

You can see the picture of all the 12 ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

How to Order the Package of the 12 Albums:

 

You can order the complete package of 12 DVD/CD Albums for only $150.00,  instead of the regular price of $1150.00, in four different ways:

 

(1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

(2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

(3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.     

 

(4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

HOW TO CONTACT THE CENTER FOR CANCER CARE

IN GOSHEN, INDIANA THAT TREATED MY CANCER

 

Two days following my 69th birthday, I learned that I had advanced-stage colon cancer requiring immediate surgery. Later I was told that the cancer had spread to the liver, infesting 90% of the organ and making its prognosis bleak. Several oncologists that I consulted, confirmed that I had Stage 4 terminal liver cancer, with only a few months to live. All what they could do was to prolong my life with chemotherapy for a few months or a year at best. No Cancer Center, including Loma Linda Cancer Center, had a clinical trial program for liver cancer. The impression I received is that nothing could be done to heal my cancer: I was doomed to die in a few months, at most a year.

 

Driven by my faith in God and optimistic attitude, I sought another opinion at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana, which is located only one hour away from Andrews University, where I live. Following a two-hour consultation with Dr. Seza Gulec (see the picture at my website by clicking http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen), a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology, I learned that my cancer was terminal but treatable with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization - a treatment unavailable at most cancer centers. Within one month, the innovative treatment reduced the presence of liver cancer by almost 80% and decreased total tumor volume from 2435cc to 680cc. Within two months, two more treatments reduced my cancer by 95%.

 

Today I feel like a new man with a new lease on life. I feel like an old car with a decent looking body and a brand new motor. I have more energy than I have had earlier in my life. I can only thank God for His providential leading to the right place and for using the latest research to restore my health.

 

Click here to see the pictures of the various stages of my cancer: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen

 

The Goshen Center for Cancer Care is one of the few treatment facilities in the world to offer this breakthrough technology primarily due to the commitment of Dr. Gulec. A world-renowned physician, Dr. Gulec has dedicated years to research and develop the combination therapy, which greatly increases survival rates in those with advanced types of cancer. He has also authored landmark publications in lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy, radioguided surgery and radionuclide therapy. Dr. Gulec currently leads the endocrine surgery, hepatic oncology, molecular imaging and positron emission tomography programs at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care.  To learn more about Dr. Seza Gulec click:  http://www.cancermidwest.com/main.asp?id=217

 

Truly I can say that I believe that the Lord providentially placed me in contact with Dr. Gulec, who has done for me what appeared to be impossible.  The Lord has used Dr. Gulec to give me a new lease on life. He is so proud of my recovery that he uses me as a show case at international nuclear oncological conferences. Now I feel like a new man energized to serve the Lord in a greater way in the sunset years of my life.  Somehow I feel that I have more energy now than I had at 25 years of age.

 

You can contact the CENTER FOR CANCER CARE in Goshen, Indiana in the following ways:

 

1) PHONE: (888) 491-4673

 

2) EMAIL: sgulec@goshenhealth.com

 

3) WEBSITES: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen  or  http://www.cancermidwest.com/

 

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

 

HITACHI has released the new CP-X400 3000 lumens projector, which  has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1395.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries. The price includes a three years replacement warranty.

 

This is the special offer on the following two models:

 

CP-X400 HIGH RESOLUTION 3000 LUMENS - Only $1395.00

          This is the lowest price for an HITACHI 3000 lumens projector.

 

CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS Only $3795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00

 

WARRANTY: The above prices include a 3 years 24/7 replacement warranty worth about $285.00.

 

 You can order the HITACHI projectors online by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=24  If you have a problem ordering online, call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone and process it immediately.

 

THE SMALLEST AND MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

 

If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

 

The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

 

You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

 

If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

 

If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.

 

The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that best suits your church, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

NEW VIDEO RECORDING ON THE SANCTUARY BY PROF. ROY GANE

 

Few days ago Roy Gane, Ph. D., Prof. of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages at Andrews University Theological Seminary, made a video recording of four of his popular lectures on the sanctuary. You can see a preview of the recording on line by clicking at this link: http://www.preludefilms.com/preview.html

 

The DVD is distributed through a personal website that Roy Gane has set up. I was unable to sponsor the recording and distribution of this informative and timely DVD, simply because I do not have the time to take on additional responsibilities. But I promised that I would do my best to promote this timely recording. The title of the DVD album is Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation.

 

Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation

 

Altar Call is about God’s plan to rescue us, as revealed in the services of His sanctuary. These fascinating services demonstrate His character of love, which includes both justice and mercy. They give us hope by revealing that God wants to dwell with us. They teach us how to interact with Him in order to receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. They show us how to get in touch with Jesus where He is working for us right now during the final phase of His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

 

To many Christians, Christ’s prolonged absence since He ascended to heaven is a mystery. But the Bible reveals that He is continuing to save us, and it invites us to get in touch with Him where He is now - in His sanctuary in heaven. By becoming acquainted with what He is doing in the control center of the universe, we can enjoy closer interaction with Him, more fully experience His transforming grace, and have confidence that we are at peace with God.

 

The DVD contains four 1 hour lectures by Roy E. Gane, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Director of the Ph.D./Th.D. and M.Th. programs at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Born in Sydney, Australia, he graduated from Pacific Union College in 1977 with a B.A. in theology and a B.Mus. in piano performance. He completed his M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1992) in Hebrew language and literature at the University of California and taught in the Religion Department of Pacific Union College from 1992-94 before moving to Andrews University.

 

How to Order Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation

 

Simply click: http://preludefilms.com

 

At a time when the sanctuary doctrine is being challenged within and without the Adventist Church, it is refreshing to see an outstanding Adventist scholar showing the biblical validity and relevance of this doctrine. I strongly encourage you to order this DVD album, simply by clicking at this link: http://www.preludefilms.com/store.html