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EGW and inspiration


Stan

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BRAVUS--But you [John317] are setting up a hierarchy based on this: a prophet is higher than a pastor or teacher...

A prophet has a different kind of authority than the pastor and elder.

A prophet and a pastor of a congregation occupy two different, distinct positions or functions in the church.

Ellen White often received visions from God about the wrongs that pastors and even the president of the GC were doing. She didn't have the authority to take away their license or fire them from their positions, but she did have the authority to give them messages from God about their lives and their work, and she could make recommendations about what should be done. But pastors and other church officers were free to accept or reject such recommendations.

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TOM-- Precisely my point! And thus the inconsistency regarding the role and function of women in the church...

I don't see it as inconsistent to accept the prophetic ministry of Ellen White while believing that the NT teaches women should not be pastors and elders of local congregations. The NT churches had women prophets, yet the evidence is that they did not have women pastors and elders of the local congregations.

A second point is that God is free to choose who He wants as a prophet, and whether He chooses a man or women does not change the instructions which the Apostle Paul gave regarding the appointing of church officers.

Church officers are distinct in their work and responsibility from that of prophets. If they were the same, or very similar, in those ways, then I could see the inconsistency. It seems clear to me that Paul saw a significant difference between them.

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Praise God that someone has the nerve to speak the truth. 317's statements have no scriptural basis and are just a feeble attempt to elevate Ellen White and denegrate women and pastors in the church. I have no stomach for it.

I'm not attempting-- feebly or otherwise-- to denigrate women and pastors in the church.

My only point is that Ellen White's-- and other prophets'-- authority did not rest on any human but on God alone. No one is denying that God may be involved in all aspects of the church, including the calling of pastors and the work of women in various church ministries.

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One of the reasons for the confusion on the subject is understanding the time and purpose of each office.

All of the major prophets in the history of the Bible were man, in fact... the Bible was written by strictly men (even those of prophetic utterances made by women). So, I think that you kind of shoot your premise in the foot, as far as "going against the principles set before" goes. If we consider all of the writings of E.G.White to be equally inspired on the same level, opinions and advice alike, she would be the major prophets of the Bible, and we should include at least some of her writings as a part of it. After all, what is the Bible, but the history recorded by the Prophets (You can put apostles in the category of prophets because they had direct communication from Christ).

So, yes... there were MANY minor prophets and prophetesses, BUT there's a distinct reason we don't find their writings as a part of the Bible, but merely a mention of them. That reason is that the prophesy and God's word is the same thing.

I think it's important to point out that the canon was not decided by prophets, but by "pastors". When Paul sated that "All scripture is inspired and is useful..." what did he mean by the "all scripture"? The Bible was not put together then, and I doubt he was referring to his own letter.

I tend to deduce that "all scripture" does not merely refer to 66 books of the Bible (which obviously did not exists at the time Paul was writing these words). What he was referring to was all inspired writings by the people of God (in general, since he did not give a list). And, alas it was useful for "instruction, correction and training in righteousness". YET these were not to be confused with God's LAW.

Now, why do I make that distinction? For example, the book of Esther was excluded from the canon(by some and for a while) for being largely a parable (fiction) and containing no mention of God at all. Yet, it was decided to be "inspired" and thus useful for the purpose of "correction, reproof and training in righteousness". Yet, I don't think we can derive any absolutes from book of Esther, but mere principles, as historicity of the book is largely debatable... and the book to be interpreted more as a parable to derive principles, such as Song of Solomon is largely a parable.

Likewise, I find E.G.White's writings to be "Useful for correction, reproof and training in righteousness", but I don't put them on the same level of "inspiration" as Biblical writings, neither I make absolutes out of what she writes. When she writes the likes of "cheese and eggs should not be seen on the table", it's not an absolute that requires obedience. It's a principle. Just like when she writes that "people of God should stay away from cities while raising children"... is a principle, not an absolute.

The problem comes when some Adventists attempt at making her writings an absolute. And I think this is where many honest Christians will express their big "no-no".

As far as the women-pastors go, I think it's important to interpret the Bible in accordance with cultural beliefs and standards of the people it was originally written to. Otherwise, why shouldn't we tell our women to keep quiet in the church and be saved through child rearing?

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All of the major prophets in the history of the Bible were man, in fact... the Bible was written by strictly men (even those of prophetic utterances made by women). So, I think that you kind of shoot your premise in the foot, as far as "going against the principles set before" goes. If we consider all of the writings of E.G.White to be equally inspired on the same level, opinions and advice alike, she would be the major prophets of the Bible, and we should include at least some of her writings as a part of it. After all, what is the Bible, but the history recorded by the Prophets.

Why do you think that we should include at least some of her writings as part of the Bible?

To me that is an impossibility because the canon was closed with the writings of the Apostle John. Ellen White is a non-canonical prophet, and her writings must be tested by the canon, the Bible. We do not test the Bible by the writings of Ellen White. (The Mormons, by the way, test the Bible by the writings of Joseph Smith. In fact, they believe that Smith corrected the Bible, and they call this version, The Inspired Translation.)

I don't accept Ellen White's "opinions" as inspired, nor does the SDA church. She categorically denied that she wrote her own ideas or opinions in the books and articles.

Here's how she put it:

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The statement which you quote from Testimony No. 31 [volume 5, page 67] is correct: "In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision --the precious rays of light shining from the throne." It is true concerning the articles in our papers and in the many volumes of my books. I have been instructed in accordance with the Word in the precepts of the law of God. I have been instructed in selecting from the lessons of Christ. Are not the positions taken in my writings in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ? Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 29, paragraph 3; A Letter to Dr. PaulsonSt. Helena, California,June 14, 1906

"When the Lord last presented your case before me, and made known to me that you had not regarded the light which had been given you, I was bidden to speak to you plainly in His name, for His anger was kindled against you. These words were spoken to me: 'Your work is appointed you of God. Many will not hear you, for they refused to hear the Great Teacher; many will not be corrected, for their ways are right in their own eyes. Yet bear to them the reproofs and warnings I shall give you, whether they will hear or forbear.'"...

Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 29, paragraph 1;A Letter to Dr. Paulson, St. Helena, California, June 14, 1906

When the Holy Spirit reveals anything regarding the institutions connected with the Lord's work, or concerning the work of God upon human hearts and minds, as He has revealed these things through me in the past, the message given is to be regarded as light given of God for those who need it. But for 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.

I gave myself, my whole being, to God, to obey His call in everything, and since that time my life has been spent in giving the message, with my pen and in speaking before large congregations. It is not I who controls my words and actions at such times.

But there are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered. We converse about houses and lands, trades to be made, and locations for our institutions, their advantages and disadvantages. Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 39, paragraph 3; A Letter to Dr. PaulsonSt. Helena, CaliforniaJune 14, 1906

I receive letters asking for advice on many strange subjects, and I advise according to the light that has been given me. Men have again and again opposed the counsel that I have been instructed to give because they did not want to receive the light given, and such experiences have led me to seek the Lord most earnestly.--Manuscript 107, 1909; Selected Messages Book 1 (1958), page 38, 39

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When Paul sated that "All scripture is inspired and is useful..." what did he mean by the "all scripture"? The Bible was not put together then, and I doubt he was referring to his own letter.

Paul wrote the books that he wrote, but we must remember that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write them. They're not simply human writings. The Holy Spirit knew what we would need. They were written for those of us living today.

Of course we know that even in those early times, Paul's writings were considered "scripture," or among the holy writings, because Peter referred to them as "Scriptures" (2 Peter 3: 15, 16).

Paul would have meant all the books in the Hebrew Scriptures, including the Septuagint translation. But as 2 Peter shows, already the early church was beginning to refer to at least some of Paul's letters as Holy Writings.

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Where do you get that canon was "closed" with writings of John?

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For I testify to every one hearing the words of the prophecy of this scroll, if any one may add unto these, God shall add to him the plagues that have been written in this scroll, and if any one may take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the scroll of the life, and out of the holy city, and the things that have been written in this scroll.

From the above verse talking about adding or taking away from the words of the prophecy? If not from the above, then where? The canon was decided based on tradition and availability and certain books were included and excluded as church history progressed.

The non-canonical Prophet is a Biblical contradiction. Canon literally means standard. So, if you hold E.G. White's teachings as standard, then they should be included as such. If you don't, then these are merely a commentary.

To merely prove my point ... I'd like you to consider if there are any agreed on prophetic writings that are not a part of the Canon? Why is the apocrypha prophets not part of the canon?

So, that's the whole point of the "prophetic inspiration" claim. You can't have both, especially with the claims you described above, much of which are extra-biblical (not directly stated in the Bible... i.e. Mark of the Beast is Sunday Law conformity). I'm not saying that these are not true, simply stating the fact that the origin of such claims are extra-Biblical, because prior to E.G.White you can not find such claims in the history of the church, and these were not understood as such.

So you have a dilemma. On e hand you have a Prophetic claim that correctly interprets Biblical prophecy, and on other hand it's extra-Biblical (in a way described above).

Thus, how do you reconcile following it if you don't include these extra-Biblical writings as a part of the canon?

Now, concerning the what you've said above. You simply can't state that "none of what I write is from me, but what God reveal to me" and then turn around and say that "some of the things are from me". It's either one or another. If it's the former, then it is without any error (which is proven to be false), if it's latter then it would explain the situation a bit better. It can't be both.

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...I believe what Robert is saying is that our church relies upon the writings of EGW too much and not enough on the bible...

Do you mean the church or some individuals in the church?

I believe the church as a whole does not practice enough what God showed Ellen White in vision about His will. (This includes God's will that His people should spend time in personal Bible study and prayer every day.)

4 areas where we as a people are falling short---

1) The way our health institutions are run is largely contrary to Ellen White's counsels.

2) Ellen White wrote that all of our people need to have a good understanding for themselves of the Investigative Judgment and the work of our heavenly High Priest, but most SDAs do not understand it, and most of the congregations seldom teach it.

3) The Health Message is little practiced and seldom emphasized or taught in the church as a whole.

4) Too many not seeing the necessity of preparing for Christ to return by purifying the soul temple through obedience to the whole truth, and separating sin from us.

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Originally Posted By: fccool
When Paul sated that "All scripture is inspired and is useful..." what did he mean by the "all scripture"? The Bible was not put together then, and I doubt he was referring to his own letter.

Paul wrote the books that he wrote, but we must remember that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write them. They're not simply human writings. The Holy Spirit knew what we would need. They were written for those of us living today.

Of course we know that even in those early times, Paul's writings were considered "scripture," or among the holy writings, because Peter referred to them as "Scriptures" (2 Peter 3: 15, 16).

Paul would have meant all the books in the Hebrew Scriptures, including the Septuagint translation. But as 2 Peter shows, already the early church was beginning to refer to at least some of Paul's letters as Holy Writings.

I'm don't disagree. Yet, in that case I would argue that he refers to the "broader sense" scriptures. Remember, it's an instructional letter to Timothy. I doubt that he at the time would suspect it would be included as a part of the canon.

Therefore I don't think he was referring to the letter he was writing... that was my point.

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4 areas where we as a people are falling short---

1) The way our health institutions are run is largely contrary to Ellen White's counsels.

2) Ellen White wrote that all of our people need to have a good understanding for themselves of the Investigative Judgment and the work of our heavenly High Priest, but most SDAs do not understand it, and most of the congregations seldom teach it.

3) The Health Message is little practiced and seldom emphasized or taught in the church as a whole.

4) Too many not seeing the necessity of preparing for Christ to return by purifying the soul temple through obedience to the whole truth, and separating sin from us.

John, I hope you don't mind a personal question... and the purpose is not to simply seek fault in you. But I'd like to ask you how do you think you measure up to the standards that you set above?

The reason I'm saying is that if the above four is the goals to be achieved, what are the methods that we would use to do that? Especially in light of the discussion that we are having right now. If you can show Biblical truths about the Investigative judgment solely from the Bible, I'd be more than welcome to accept it as a relevant and important subject.

Yet, investigative judgment is not the focus of Jesus, neither it is focus of disciples. I think that #4 would be more in line with what they taught.

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Where do you get that canon was "closed" with writings of John?

The last NT book written was either the Gospel of John or the book of Revelation, both of which were by the Apostle John. I'm not saying the concept of "canon" for the NT was understood at that time.

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... If you can show Biblical truths about the Investigative judgment solely from the Bible, I'd be more than welcome to accept it as a relevant and important subject.

http://www.investigativejudgmentgospel.org/default.htm

That's a recently published book showing the Bible evidence for the Investigative Judgment. It's one of the best books of its kind. No mention of Ellen White or of what she wrote. There are other good studies of the topic that are based strictly on the Bible.

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Why would it "close" the cannon, especially in light of the new and up and coming prophets that reveal new truths? I don't disagree with the premise, just disagree with your logic for it.

Not sure what "it" has reference to.

What "new and up coming prophets" do you refer to?

The canon was closed at the death of the last disciples and apostles. All of the books of the NT were written by a disciple, apostle, or someone who knew them, such as Mark and Luke.

I believe that God guided which books were accepted into the canon. There were no more books inspired by the Holy Spirit for the universal church after death of Saint John.

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The biggest Biblical problem that I see with this view is not that there's a Judgment going on in heaven (there's plenty of Biblical evidence that there is), but the ramifications as stated by the founders of this doctrine.

As Uriah Smith himself stated in Looking unto Jesus: "Christ did not make the atonement when he shed his blood upon the cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in the mind"

Which kind of goes in line with a statement from GC "before Christ's work for the redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended."

This is a problem, both logically and Biblically. You see, sin is not something that accumulates in sanctuary. The earthly model was merely a symbol (a shadow) of the work of Christ on earth. Sin is a transgression that may be recorded in the books, but can you explain to me a supposed need for Christ to go through ritualistic performance of the above described?

Not only that, but this view puts men efforts at the forefront... as E.G. White writes: "Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil."

or... "In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor."

Not to mention the statement that follows shortly after:

"Jesus tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary, and the sins which had been confessed while he was in the Most Holy place, he placed back upon the originator of sin, the Devil."

Can you please present me with at least a shred of Biblical base for the above???? I can see how it can be misconstrued with the idea that the scape goat represents Devil. But it did not.

I think that it directly contradicts Biblical view on subject... "...And if any (covered) man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

So, you see, the problem is not the idea of Investigative Judgment in heaven. I think most evangelicals would agree with the concept to some extend or another. The problem is all of the extra-Biblical things that are attached to this doctrine (as I have demonstrated above)

Either way, I don't think that understanding this doctrine is essential to one's salvation, in light of understanding that we will eventually be judged is sufficient enough.

Lastly, the biggest problem with it is Christ promise that:

`Verily, verily, I say to you -- He who is hearing my word, and is believing Him who sent me, hath life age-during, and to judgment he doth not come, but hath passed out of the death to the life.

While I believe that there's scriptural indication for judgment of believers, the Investigative Judgment doctrine does not make such distinction... (I.e. believers will be judged and rewarded based on their works).

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Originally Posted By: Robert

You are no different than the Catholic who depends upon the Pope. You are going outside the Bible to develop your doctrines and truths.

heheh, thanks friend. I have come to expect such sweeping generalizations from you, and now I must patiently counsel you to get another broom.

love in Christ,

og

Sorry, it is a fact! Ask the Traditional Catholic about their church teachings and they will bring up the Pope. Ask a Traditional SDA and they will bring up EGW.

Rob

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Who are the so called "traditional SDAs" you are talking about? I for one am a 5th generation SDA and what I beleive comes from the Bible including the belief that there will be modern day prophets.

A few on this forum feel that they know exactly what all or most SDAs beleive but go on to explain that they are either not an SDA or are an " ex SDA." Interesting!!!!

I certainly feel that all should be welcome here to explain their own beliefs, but it is after all the unOFFICIAL ADVENTIST Forum. Is it not more than rude to constantly try to make those who do beleive look like they are somehow either unintelligent or being duped.??

Why do some few feel it necessary to come here and constantly try to prove that EGW is either not a prophet at all or not relevant today? It seems that some are stuck on the same subject that have been discussed over and over again. Has anyone changed their opinion because of these discussions? Or---is it getting more disgusting than discussion?????

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No man or church selected Ellen White to be a prophet.

Quite the opposite is true. EACH person has to decide if Ellen White is a prophet. One can't have that imposed upon him. She herself refused to call herself a prophet.

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We need both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

This is simply not true.

Ellen White stated that if we studied our Bibles as we should ... that we would not need her writings. Her purpose is to point us to scripture. So, if we just kept to the Bible as we should ... we would not need her and could throw away all her books as Robert suggested.

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That's not my belief, Tom. You're putting words in my mouth, which is against the rules of the board.

Oh give me a break. Unless you are wearing your Moderator hat ... this statement is against the rules.

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Originally Posted By: Tom Wetmore
The truth is that the Church doesn't hold to John317's opinion. It consistently, in reliance on Scripture and statements by EGW, understand ministers to be "called by God".

Of course ministers and all other church officers may be "called of God." I'm not denying that at all.

That's why I said a little earlier that "none of this means that God is not involved in the work of a pastor or teacher or any other church officer. What it does mean, though, is that God directly calls a prophet, without any selection being made or verified by any other person. For instance, when Ellen White was selected by Jesus Christ as his messenger, no one was asked to verify her work by ordaining her or voting for her. See Early Writings. This is not the case with pastors, elders, teachers, and other church officers."

I think we should learn from God's selection of a woman ... perhaps he was telling us something here.

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Hmm, I disagree that ridiculing is happening. One may find "All of the churches outside of the SDA are Babylon" statement to be likewise a strong statement, but you have to attest to veracity of things. Truth is not always comfortable.

We've had a couple long engaging non-members who were shocked to find out what the church believed about E.G. White. And they left after they have been confronted by members about the questions that they asked. One of those people was an old lady who I used to talk to during the potlucks. And she was telling me how excited she was about learning about Sabbath, and about God's last day message through recent seminar offered.

I have not talked to her since, but my mother in law did, and she said that when she hear things statements from members about E.G.White, and that they stated on numerous occasions that people who do not believe that she was a prophet should not be baptized... she left. Now she does not attend any church.

So, it is important issue to be clarified to both members and non-members. I remember having a long conversation with my pastor about it, and we came to the conclusion that I could not honestly state that I believed for sure that E.G.White was a prophet at moment of my baptism. And it was made clear to me by the pastor that although church does hold that position, it does not require people to believe so... because God does not require it.

Please, understand that this is not an issue to be swept under the rug due to its nature. You can't have your cake and eat it too. We should make our beliefs to people clearly, both as a reminder and for those who come and visit. I believe our believes should be in bulletins and readily available for those who ask. Otherwise it will look like a "skeleton" climbing out of a closed once in a while. We should not treat it as such, and we should welcome both criticism, and uncomfortable doctrine.

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Originally Posted By: Robert

How many rules do you break, John? He that is without sin...

Here's the rule about what members may do if they feel that moderators are themselves breaking rules:

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If it is believed that any moderator is not abiding by the rules, the issue may be taken up in the moderators forum where all moderators can discuss the issue and come to a resolution. Any moderator may introduce a question or issue to the moderator's forum for a general discussion.

If members believe a moderator has treated them unfairly, they may appeal to a moderator by means of PM, and if a moderator decides that the appeal has merit and should be heard by all the moderators, he may bring the appeal to the attention of a second moderator. If both moderators agree that it is an issue deserving of the attention of all the moderators, they should then move the issue to the moderator's forum for all the moderators to discuss and resolve.

While it will not be necessary for all the moderators to take part in the discussion, yet in order to ensure fairness and objectivity, there should be no less than 4 moderators and 1 administrator who understand the issue and agree as to a solution.

The issue should be resolved within 3 days of the time that it is introduced on the moderator's Forum.

No one should lose their posting privileges, or moderator's privileges, until the issue is decided on the moderator's forum. [/quote']

If you are going to speak as a moderator ... please identify yourself as such.

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Originally Posted By: Robert

How many rules do you break, John? He that is without sin...

Here's the rule about what members may do if they feel that moderators are themselves breaking rules:

Quote:
If it is believed that any moderator is not abiding by the rules, the issue may be taken up in the moderators forum where all moderators can discuss the issue and come to a resolution. Any moderator may introduce a question or issue to the moderator's forum for a general discussion.

If members believe a moderator has treated them unfairly, they may appeal to a moderator by means of PM, and if a moderator decides that the appeal has merit and should be heard by all the moderators, he may bring the appeal to the attention of a second moderator. If both moderators agree that it is an issue deserving of the attention of all the moderators, they should then move the issue to the moderator's forum for all the moderators to discuss and resolve.

While it will not be necessary for all the moderators to take part in the discussion, yet in order to ensure fairness and objectivity, there should be no less than 4 moderators and 1 administrator who understand the issue and agree as to a solution.

The issue should be resolved within 3 days of the time that it is introduced on the moderator's Forum.

No one should lose their posting privileges, or moderator's privileges, until the issue is decided on the moderator's forum. [/quote']

Another 'Oh Brother'. I knew this would happen.

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Originally Posted By: olger
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." [/quote']

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I believe what Robert is saying is that our church relies upon the writings of EGW too much and not enough on the bible.....Which is not a bad position to be in, don'tcha think, Olger?

But I also see the other side of the coin....EGW does say a lot of things that are good and profitable for the church.....and she says something much simpler and without any imagination...

Which I believe is the very polint that Robert is attempting to point out....perhaps a bit too crass, but his point is valid...

Yes Neil. Well said ...

thumbsup

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Originally Posted By: Robert

You are no different than the Catholic who depends upon the Pope. You are going outside the Bible to develop your doctrines and truths.

heheh, thanks friend. I have come to expect such sweeping generalizations from you, and now I must patiently counsel you to get another broom.

love in Christ,

og

Personally ... I don't think the forum needs comments like this.

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