3

Nit Picking

 

John, you have scoured the SOP for the minutiae, seeking Gods perfect will, and have decreed rules for the people to follow. These include rules on interpersonal relationships, personal hygiene, dress, diet, finances, holidays, haircuts, underwear, Sabbath keeping, music, suitable hymns, education, parenthood, social media, etcetera ,etcetera.

 

It is therefore only natural that the people, who see righteousness is afforded them in keeping these rules, would wish to scour the SOP themselves to find implied rules that you may have missed.

 

This is problematic for you as the people may, and do, try to raise laws that you don’t like. Take for example the beards. You have by tacit approval enforced a law upon the women that they must wear trousers under their skirts. You establish this rule both through historically contextual EGW quotes, and biblically by what God commanded the priests to wear in the sanctuary.

 

John Thiel: – “Exodus 28:42 ‘And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:’ What sort of covering was made for them?  As you look at the priest, can you see the covering?  Can you see anything of human form of that person? Just like the sanctuary, you couldn’t see in. That was for glory, beauty and holiness. These are all the ingredients of this dress the priest had. The nakedness was covered and breeches were made as underneath those coats the nakedness was still to be covered from the loins to the thighs. Why were they to be covered from underneath? Exodus 20:26 ‘Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.’ . . . In case there was an opportunity to see underneath the garment. If there was such an occasion but they were not even to

go up on steps to reveal the nakedness. God reveals here a fact that covering has to do with holiness. Everything was covered. It is to do with holiness and beauty.”

 

Having accepted this established as relevant to us in this time, a logical intelligent thinking person would look at these texts and try to establish what else God requires of his priest’s for ‘holiness and beauty’.

 

We find that God required, for holiness, that his priesthood wore beards.

Leviticus 19:27 and 21:1-5

 

And we find that God requires ‘Polling’ for holiness. ‘Polling’ referring to sheep, meaning ‘shorn’ leaving a ‘crew cut’.

 

And their head they do not shave, and the lock they do not send forth; they certainly poll their heads. Ezekiel 44:20

 

As we know this issue was raised, and you had to deal with it. Not because the premise was flawed, it wasn’t, beards were as much a requirement of God as were the breeches. But still, you dealt with it by means of a scathing sermon, simply because compulsory beards and crew cuts impeach upon your own personal vanities.

 

You answered the challenge to your authority with the most flimsy of flimsy SOP quotes, so flimsy you resorted to a barely relevant and obscure Uriah Smith quote. You came from the position that EGW and the pioneers had all light on this matter and all matters, and there is nothing God has yet to reveal about this or anything else. That is non-biblical and also goes against the teachings of EGW and the pioneers.

 

So, we have two categories of minutiae, the first is good and to be followed explicitly. The second being named by you as “Nit Picking”, both categories having equal validity in scripture but the latter is set aside under your decree. You are the only means by which the people can negotiate this legal minefield that is of your own making. You decide that which is good, and that which is laid aside. This isn’t Protestantism, It is Papal.

 

I go on. Not only do you ignore implied scriptural precepts when expedient, you also ignore SOP. Anything that is a personal idol of yours you simply ignore, even when it is an ‘I was shown’.

 

In the night season I was a witness to the performance that was carried on the school grounds. The students, who engaged in the grotesque mimicry that was seen, acted out the mind of the enemy, some in a very unbecoming manner. A view of things was presented before me in which the students were playing games of tennis and cricket. Then I was given instruction regarding the character of these amusements. They were presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations.  {PH145 44.1}

 

The public feeling is that manual labour is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as degraded. Satan is delighted when he sees human beings using their physical and mental powers in that which does not educate, which is not useful, which does not help them to be a blessing to those who need their help. While the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to others, 

 

O God; we want our own way; we want to follow our own wisdom.  {PH145 43.3} 

 

God ordained that the beings He created should work. Upon this their happiness depends. Healthy young men and women have no need of cricket, ball-playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self, to pass away the time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God's created intelligences. Someone needs from you something that will help him. No one in the Lord's great domain of creation was made to be a drone. Our happiness increases and our powers develop as we engage in useful employment.  {SpTB01 29.2} 

 

 

Apostolic Succession

 

John, you claim a sort of vicarious infallibility through being, as you see it, true to the pioneers, EGW and the apostolic church. You claim to be totally in line with their teachings and as it were one with them, holding the keys to heaven and hell. Matthew16:18-19

 

1 Timothy 3:1-5

1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

 

I would like to know John how it can be that you are in perfect harmony with the apostles, when according to what is written you do not qualify for the position of pastor within the apostolic church.

 

 

 

"Lay Sister White right to one side. Lay her to one side. Don't you ever quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible." UT 167

 

 

 

 

 

Infallibility of the pioneers

 

Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. Proverbs 15:22

 

You hold the position that through the pioneers all doctrine is established and inerrant.

They and EGW appear to hold a different view.

 

 

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ. The Lord designs that our opinions shall be put to the test, that we may see the necessity of closely examining the living oracles to see whether or not we are in the faith. Many who claim to believe the truth have settled down at their ease, saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” But Jesus says to these self-complacent ones, Thou “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Let us individually inquire; Do these words describe my case? If so, the True Witness counsels us, saying, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” RH December 20, 1892, par. 1

 

 

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.  Counsels to Writers and Editors, pages 33-42]

 

 

As we take up the study of God's word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside.  Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded. Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago. . . .

 

 

On the subject of creeds, I agree with Brother Loughborough. I never weighed the points, which he has presented, as I have since I began to examine the subject myself. In Ephesians 4: 11-13, we read; And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets, et cetera. Here we have the gifts of the church presented. Now I take the ground that creeds stand in a direct opposition to the gifts. Let us suppose a case: We get up a creed, stating just what we shall believe on this point and the other, and just what we shall do in reference to this thing and that, and say that we will believe the gifts, too. {1BIO 454.1} But suppose the Lord, through the gifts, should give us some new light that did not harmonize with our creed; then, if we remain true to the gifts, it knocks our creed all over at once. Making a creed is setting the stakes, and barring up the way to all future advancement. God put the gifts into the church for a good and great object; but men who have got up their churches, have shut up the way or have marked out a course for the Almighty. They say virtually that the Lord must not do anything further than what has been marked out in the creed. {1BIO 454.2} A creed and the gifts thus stand in direct opposition to each other. Now what

 

 

is our position as a people? The Bible is our creed. We reject everything in the form of a human creed. We take the Bible and the gifts of the Spirit; embracing the faith that thus the Lord will teach us from time to time. And in this we take a position against the formation of a creed. We are not taking one step, in what we are doing, toward becoming Babylon. Ibid. {1BIO 454.3}

 

 

"Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus, because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth." TM 70.

 

 

"Sister White, do you think that the Lord has any new and increased light for us as a people?" I answered, "Most assuredly. I do not only think so, but can speak understandingly. I know that there is precious truth to be unfolded to us if we are the people that are to stand in the day of God's preparation (3 SM 174).

 

 

The infallibility of EGW

 

John, you hold the position that every word that proceeds out of the mouth or pen of EGW is infallible, inerrant, canonical scripture 2Timothy 3:16, Matthew 4:4

 

You say you don’t, differentiating between an “I was shown” and a statement, but you do, because you use statements to establish precepts.

There was none more familiar with EGW than her husband. He was a firm believer in the spiritual gifts; however he made distinctions between that which was given to her by God and that which was her opinion.

 

The following letter is extremely telling not just in what James writes, but in Ellen’s response, she does not rebuke James for unbelief, neither does accuse him of blasphemy against the holy spirit, (as Rose Childs accused me of on questioning an EGW statement). No she doesn’t, rather she rebukes herself.

 

James wrote

I shall use the good old head God gave me until He reveals that I am wrong. Your head won’t fit my shoulders. Keep it where it belongs, and I will try to honour God in using my own. I shall be glad to hear from you, but don’t waste your precious time and strength in lecturing me on matters of mere opinions.—Letter 66, 1876.

 

Ellen replies

It grieves me that I have said or written anything to grieve you. Forgive me and I will be cautious not to start any subject to annoy and distress you. We are living in a most solemn time and we cannot afford to have in our old age differences to separate our feelings. I may not view all things as you do, but I do not think it would be my place or duty to try to make you see as I see and feel as I feel. Wherein I have done this, I am sorry.

 I want a humble heart, a meek and quiet spirit. Wherein my feelings have been permitted to arise in any instance, it was wrong. Jesus said, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

I wish that self should be hid in Jesus. I wish self to be crucified. I do not claim infallibility, or even perfection of Christian character. I am not free from mistakes and errors in my life. Had I followed my Saviour more closely, I should not have to mourn so much my unlikeness to His dear image.

Time is short, very short. Life is uncertain. We know not when our probation may close. If we walk humbly before God, He will let us end our labours with joy. No more shall a line be traced by me or expression made in my letter to distress you. Again, I say, forgive me, every word or act that has grieved you.—Letter 27, 1876.

 

 

You hold the position that the matter is black or white, pushing the extreme view that EGW is ‘either of God or of the devil’. I would say to that, which was Balaam of?

 

Also I would direct you to the apostle Peter, a man who denied the Lord thrice, who the Lord rebuked as ‘Satan’. Matthew 16:23. Also a man who had visions, a prophet. Acts 10, 1st & 2nd Peter. Yet was severely rebuked by Paul for drifting into apostasy! Galatians 2:11-21

By your philosophy shouldn’t Peter have been incapable of error? Infallible because the Lord had ‘put words into his mouth’? Or isn’t it really the case that the only infallibility involved were the visions themselves, and everything else including interpretation was open to the error of fallible man.

 

You deify poor sister white. Implying that her every utterance is literally Jesus speaking, as though she were in a constant condition of vision her whole life and imbued with all the saviours divine wisdom and foresight. You allow by tacit approval the children’s Sabbath school teacher, every Sabbath, to present before the children pictures of EGW and Jesus side by side in equal prominence as though they are equals. This to my mind is the worse form of idolatry and blasphemy.

 

 

EGW makes a distinction between that given of God and that of her own volition.

"The information given concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanatorium was given, not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion.... In my words, when speaking upon these common subjects, there is nothing to lead minds to believe that I receive my knowledge in a vision from the Lord and am stating it as such.... [F]or one to mix the sacred with the common is a great mistake. In a tendency to do this we may see the working of the enemy to destroy souls.... [T]here are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. 1SM 38, 39.

 

 

 

EGW on infallibility

 

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed. 

Counsels to Writers and Editors,  pages 33-42]

 

"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 Book 1, p. 37]