The Weight of Evidence
So Shall Ye Prosper
Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2 Chronicles 20:20.
In the list of Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, the following declaration appears as No. 19: That God has placed in His church the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as enumerated in i Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. That these gifts operate in harmony with the divine principles of the Bible, and are given for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body of Christ. Revelation 12:17; 19:10; 1 Corinthians 1:5-7. That the gift of the spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church. 1 Corinthians 1:5, 7; 12:1, 28; Revelation 12:17; 19:10; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12:10, 13. They recognize that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White.*
Although it is the responsibility of each individual to apply the Bible tests of a prophet to the life and ministry of Ellen White in order to be assured of the validity of her claim to be the messenger of the Lord, we can be certain that the gift of prophecy in its modern manifestation is no longer on trial in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The inspiration of the messenger, the Scriptural nature of the instruction, the value and contribution of the messages, have been recognized and accepted since the beginnings of the church, even before there was denominational organization. Time has vindicated the confidence of the pioneers and the present believers and leaders of the advent cause in the guidance of God through the ministry and writings of Ellen White. The circulation of her books
* For a complete list of fundamental beliefs, see Seventh-day Adventist Year-book, or the baptismal certificate.
increases annually, and Seventh-day Adventists are turning to them with increasing frequency for help in the conduct of personal lives and the work of the denomination. Questions and challenges have been, and no doubt always will be, raised about the prophetic messages, as they have been regarding the Bible, but these messages will continue to stabilize, direct, and stimulate the church until the return of the Saviour.
In their acceptance of Ellen White as the messenger of the Lord, and of her writings as special messages for the remnant church, Seventh-day Adventists have recognized both the internal and external evidences that she was divinely inspired. The harmony, consistency, and Biblical nature of these writings constitute the internal evidences of inspiration. The earlier chapters of this book, and the independent studies carried on in connection with the projects suggested in chapter 24, have focused much attention on these internal evidences. More extensive study would multiply examples of the type of evidence already clearly seen. Those who have carried on far-reaching research in the Ellen White writings are most firmly convinced of their inspired origin and most clearly see their value to the church.
External evidences of inspiration come from observing the influence of the life and the writings of Mrs. White, and noting the fulfillment of her predictions. Again, both the chapters of this book and the study and observations of the individual offer multiplied instances that vindicate the confidence of the church. The beneficial effects that have come to the church through accepting and following the counsel given leave no room for question in the mind of one who knows the history of Seventh-day Adventists.
Not all that is found in these special messages is fully understood, even as we do not grasp the full significance of all the Bible. But the weight of evidence presented by the things that
can be understood heavily favors complete confidence in and acceptance of them.
Though Bible critics have undergone crushing defeats during recent years as a result of archaeological discoveries, Satan has by no means given up his attempts to destroy confidence in the Scriptures. Now that their historicity has been established, he is willing that men should accept them as authentic as long as they are not impressed that Bible principles apply today as they did in years past. The deceiver would as soon have men question the binding nature of the Ten Commandments as he would have them reject the stories of Abraham and Moses as folklore. Either method accomplishes his purpose.
Recognizing, as he does, what God intends to accomplish for the remnant church through the gift of prophecy, Satan is attempting and will continue to attempt to destroy confidence in that gift. In a letter written in 1890, Ellen White said, Satan is constantly pressing in the spuriousto lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. Where there is no vision, the people perish. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways, and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony.Ellen G. White Letter 12, 1890. If the enemy can achieve this objective he will turn men and women away from the last-day message to the church.
The vital place of the gift of prophecy in the remnant church is emphasized by the fact that the Bible mentions it as one of the two major marks of identification of the church. Revelation 12:17; 19:10. It is a matter of grave importance. It is to occupy a place of prominence in the thinking of the members of the church. As the end draws near and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more
important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel's message from its very rise.Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 654. In some cases, it will be a factor in determining one's attitude toward the teachings of the Bible. If you lose confidence in the Testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth.Ibid., p. 674. It is not the Testimonies that are in danger of succumbing to the attacks of Satan, but the individuals who have not been fortified by those Testimonies and Bible truth.
Spiritual prosperity results from taking advantage of every opportunity for spiritual growthusing every means God has provided to foster development. Fundamental in Christian growth is the acceptance of God's communications through His prophets: Believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2 Chronicles 20:20. Today, as in the days of Israel, rejection of the messages of the prophets leads to a condition for which there is no remedy. 2 Chronicles 36:16. However, we are admonished: In everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:5-7.
It is the dangerous situation in which the remnant church is placed and the unusual nature of the trials that come to the faithful members that have caused the Lord to bring the gift of prophecy into prominence once more. He knows our need and how these communications will help the remnant to meet present problems and prepare them for the more serious ones that lie ahead. In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He
instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.Testimonies, vol. 4, PP. 147, 148; also vol. 5, P. 661. To accept this instruction and allow it to shape the life so that God's people will be prepared to enter the kingdom of God is the privilege and responsibility of every member of the remnant Church.