Is Seventh-day Adventism Moving Away from the True Faith?
Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you’ve joined us tonight. We’re talking about Seventh-day Adventism. My guests are Dr. William Johnsson, the editor of the Adventist Review, the official magazine of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, as well as Dr. Walter Martin.
Gentlemen, I’m coming to you this week to ask a question. Namely, in 1957 when the denomination came out with the book Questions on Doctrine replying to many of the questions of Walter Martin, Harold Lindsell and other evangelicals outside of Adventism, and asked the denomination, when they were answered, if some of those things have changed now, what would have to change for Walter Martin to take the heat the other way? He took the heat in the sense that he said, “Seventh-day Adventism was not a cult.” There was enough Christian doctrine there on the main points, that they were not a cult. What would have to change, Walter, for you to call them a cult? And we might go on to the next step: Do you think it’s heading in that direction?
Martin: I think that from the material we are now seeing come out, from the changes which are taking place in terms of the ministers, workers, and people—I dispute Brother Johnsson’s claim of just a few; I’m familiar with over 200 now, and I think I can go back and dig up an awful lot more from our files—that were forcibly ejected from the denomination for holding Questions on Doctrine and quoting it when they were brought up to discuss it, I think that they are moving because of their view of Mrs. White, which is not changing, or not changed, or never changed.
I shudder to think about that, because I believe the men I dealt with are honest men. But I think what’s happening is that there are people, as I have quoted while I’ve been on this show, numerous sources, where men have specifically stated that she is the interpretive authority. And you involve yourself in circular reasoning, because if the Bible is supposed to be the judge of everything and there is someone who judges the Bible or interprets the Bible for you, that’s the final court of appeal for you, to quote Mr. Delafield of the Ellen White Estate and others, then you’re in a circle. There’s no way to ascertain truth. There’s no way to break out of that circle.
I think if they persist in that direction, the great fear that I have is that the evangelicals, and even some fundamentalists, who in the early 1950s considered the Adventists a non-Christian cult and wrote them off in effect as far as fellowship goes or anything else is concerned—they had a lot of bad blood as a result of it—that they will begin to re-evaluate and say, “You know, this stuff that we’re seeing now indicates that there never really was any change and that they have not told you the truth, and they didn’t tell Barnhouse the truth, and that you were misled, and you’ve got to set the record straight.”
Now, what I think the Adventists fail to recognize is that, using their own statistics since the year 1955 when they reached their first million—they have grown from 1955 to 1984 three million more than that—they could never have achieved this without the fellowship, open door, open hand, and cooperation of large segments of the Evangelical world, and I have been told that by top Adventists who thank God that Questions on Doctrine was published and that there was an open hand to Adventists at that time as, many of them, brothers and sisters in Christ.
I fear that what’s going to happen is that the work of godly men such as L. E. Froom, R. R. Figuhr, Toby Unruh, W. E. Read, and Roy L. Anderson, and all the effort done by Adventist leaders who love the Lord and worked very hard to see that this was a representative view of their denomination, is now being jeopardized by a group of people who apparently are very high placed, with great power and authority, and do influence their denomination so much so that there is no way to control the publishing houses in terms of what they print.
We’ve been sitting here with our brother and we have seen him quote a publication and me quote a publication. And they both came from Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses. We have seen that there are people out there talking on high levels of Adventism, even in the Sabbath Quarterly, things which themselves are the antithesis of Questions on Doctrine. I fear that if they continue to progress at this rate, that the classification of a cult can’t possibly missbeing re-applied to Seventh-day Adventism, because once you have an interpreter of scripture, a final court of appeal that tells you what scripture means, as soon as you judge scripture by that, as soon as you have someone who has made doctrinal errors in the past, even on the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the atonement and other things, and that person is raised to that position or authority, you have polarization around that person. I could give you twenty quotations right now from high Adventist sources and publications all stating these tremendously overblown views of Ellen White. Views, I might add, that she herself in certain sections repudiated.
Ankerberg: Okay, let’s come to Bill because, Bill, I feel that you don’t want that to happen. As I hear you, in a sense, as I have already said in some of the other programs, for some of the views that you have said because of,... well, let’s name it. Your view in terms of the 1844 Investigative Judgment, from what I see of Ellen G. White, from the Encyclopedia, and from the book Great Controversy, differs with what she stated there. You’re saying that you as the editor of the organ of the denomination, you can say that. You have no fear. I fear for you. Let me come from this perspective. If you’re listening to Walter, and he’s starting to get scared now; I’m starting to get scared, what do you think folks inside of Adventism can do, should do, to alleviate, to disperse these fears?
Johnsson: John, first of all, I have to say that I don’t read the situation just the same as you do, the same as Walter does. I’m not afraid, and furthermore I’d rather be true to my own conscience. That’s more important than any job to me.
Ankerberg: That’s true.
Johnsson: You have to take into account that my views have been on record for years. I’ve written six books and probably 300 articles. They knew what they were getting when they offered me to be editor of the church paper. Now that surely says something. So, it’s not as if I’ve changed my views for tonight’s audience. My views are held quite widely.
Ankerberg: That’s why I love you. That’s why I really enjoy your fellowship. But what I have to say is that two years ago I sat with a guy who was also from Australia, who was also one of the top denominational writers. He wrote for the denomination. He wrote some of your main articles. He said the same thing and he’s no longer a part of the teaching crowd.
Johnsson: What he would say about 1844 and the judgment is not the same as I would say.
Ankerberg: But both of you are different than Ellen G. White.
Johnsson: Again, I would say look at the total context of Ellen White’s statements about the judgment. I read one. I could read many more. Over and over she comes back to the words “repentance,” “faith,” “Jesus is our only hope in the judgment.” Now there are some statements where she holds up sort of the goal of sanctification, the growing more and more like Jesus. Some of those if just read alone can come across in sort of a perfectionistic mode. You have to look at the total scope. I don’t think I’m out of harmony with the overall thrust, but you see a variety.
Ankerberg: I’m hoping that’s true. I’m hoping that you are the true representative of the leadership at the top. What I’m saying is when you have a fellow like Dr. Martin that has already stuck his neck out when some of the other evangelicals went the other direction— he says, “We need to continue fellowship; these folks are Christian brothers”—I hear him saying that he wants to continue doing that, but he is not having some of these things answered. And secondly when he has gone to the top, he has not gotten the courtesy that he did in 1957.
Johnsson: Let me just say a word about our relationship to the evangelicals, John.
Johnsson: I think we fit there better than anywhere else. If you take George Gallup Jr.’s characteristics of evangelicals—born again, centrality of Jesus, authority of the Word, and witnessing evangelism—all those apply right down the line. I think we fit among the evangelicals, but we also have our own distinctives. Frankly, I am not really interested in taking a position that would say, “Alright, in order to fit absolutely with the evangelicals, forget about the distinctives.” I think the distinctives of Adventism have something to say to the world, and I think something to say to other evangelicals. I think evangelicals would be the loser also if you consider that we’re no longer part of the pale.
Ankerberg: But if we’re all part of the same family as I read scripture here—let’s just quote scripture at this point—if you and I are brothers and you and I have disagreements on other things that we would say are not the essentials, although it gets real close to them, on those things we’ve got to have some dialogue. We’ve got to have some discussion and we’ve got to make the Bible central. At that point, it seems that when we bring up some of these discussions and we put it down on the biblical floor the people inside of Adventism that have been doing that with us, that we have appreciated their fellowship, those people on a practical level disappear.
Martin: We also should take into consideration another thing that I think is neglected. If Adventists are recognized as members of the body of Christ, then as they explained it in Questions on Doctrine, their remnant church idea is not to make them independent of the body of Christ but is something that they understand uniquely for themselves. In Questions on Doctrine they said Mrs. White spoke authoritatively to the Adventist Church. It was for them inspired counsel from the Lord. But 1 Corinthians 14—since Bill quoted 1 Corinthians 12 before, 1 Corinthians chapter 14 follows that—it says that the prophet who exercises a spiritual gift is to be tested. How do you test that prophet? You have to test that prophet by the authority of the Word of God. When you find that Mrs. White is inconsistent with the Word of God, when you prove it from the Greek and from the Hebrew, when you give good, solid exegetical arguments and in love as a lifelong member of a denomination, you take a stand saying, “This is wrong. This is what scripture says,” then the Spirit of Prophecy is invoked against you and you’re down the tubes.
That’s what I’m protesting against. If we’re members of the body of Christ, then we have to have concern for each other. We have to love each other and care for each other. I don’t find the current leadership of the Adventist denomination caring for or having love for the people that it summarily dismissed. I find some of their best people disappearing for doing nothing more than quoting Questions on Doctrine. I really couldn’t care less about the opinion of the editor of the Review and Herald. That’s one man’s opinion by his own statement. I want to know all about these hundreds of people who come up with the same material and the same arguments and the same facts and quote Questions on Doctrine and they’re gone. I want to know, is that showing them love? Is that showing compassion? I don’t think so.
Ankerberg: Bill, are we in the same spot that we were at in 1957 before Questions on Doctrine?
Johnsson: No, we are not in the same spot.
Johnsson: I have to tell you I think you two men read the church differently from the way I read it.
Ankerberg: I guess what I’m saying is, I hear you saying that and I need help. And I guess Walter needs help. How can you help us?
Martin: Yes. We’d like to know where we’re reading it wrong.
Johnsson: I would say go to our statement of beliefs. Look at the way we are working as we are wrestling with doctrinal problems, the publications that are coming out of the top level committees of the church.
Ankerberg: Okay, Bill, let me come back to you in all love and simply say that I’ve done that, and I hear Walter saying that. Then I pick out some of the top leadership. We’re not taking people that are nobodies; we’re taking the leadership of the church up there—Ellen G. White Estate, some of the people that are presidents of the conferences, I mean, right straight across the board—and these people are making the statements that we object to.
Johnsson: I think Walter told you that the reply to his letter, by the way, came from a Vice President of the General Conference—it wasn’t a nobody—Dr. Lesher, who is the director of the Biblical Research Institute. He wasn’t a nobody. He said straight out, “We have not repudiated Questions on Doctrine.
Martin: He did not answer my question: “Do you believe that Ellen White is the infallible interpreter of Holy scripture for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination?” Draw the blank; refer to the sheet of paper that you had in your hand, but no answer.
Ankerberg: Can we get some help on that?
Martin: Why the question wasn’t answered?
Johnsson: Well, he drew attention to a statement about the relationship of Ellen White’s authority to the scriptures. I guess he simply said, “Brother Walter, here is a statement that we produced.”
Martin: Why not just say, “Brother Walter, no. Brother Walter, yes. Brother Walter, yes or no. Here is the reason why or why not.”
Johnsson: I could read you the statement, or parts of it: “We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are in addition to the canon of sacred scripture. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White function as the foundation and final authority of Christian faith as does scripture. We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White may be used as the basis of doctrine. We do not believe that the study of the writings of Ellen White may be used to replace the study of scripture. We do not believe that scripture can be understood only through the writings of Ellen White.”
Martin: “We do not believe that Ellen White is the infallible interpreter of scripture for the Seventh-day Adventists.” Why isn’t that there? Because, in fact, she is, and if you cross her, you are not there. I guarantee you, as editor of the Review, if you start writing articles using scripture to call into question specific teachings of Mrs. White, you won’t be there either.
Ankerberg: And we don’t want to see that, Bill. We would like to hear what you’re saying. I guess we’re saying that we respect you for saying this, we love you for showing up tonight to say this, because the last time when we had Des here and when we had Walter and Time magazine was coming out that very night that we did the program with an article right across the nation, we asked Neal Wilson and fourteen other people to come and to say some things. You have come. I love you for doing that, and I fear for what you’re saying because you are saying that we are not rightly judging the church.
Johnsson: Right. Absolutely.
Ankerberg: But, on the other hand, if we are, then you’re in jeopardy.
Johnsson: John, a major reason that I came tonight was that I felt the church was not fairly represented in the previous telecast. Now, you were so gracious as to invite me a couple of years ago. I was away on vacation that week. I couldn’t make it. This time I was able to come and I’m glad to.
Ankerberg: I’m glad that you are here, really.
Johnsson: You are representing an important perspective on the church. Walter is reminding us of a real danger and I appreciate that, just as I appreciate very much the work you did for us back in the 50s, very much indeed.
Martin: For the body of Christ, brother. I’m still out there trying to help the body of Christ realize that we’ve got to work together. We can’t work together if there’s going to be people in Washington talking out of both sides of their mouths to us. And that’s what they’re doing to us. I didn’t believe it at first, until I started compiling the information myself. I have letters from conference presidents. I have letters from people all over the world, letters from the White Estate, letters you wouldn’t believe, boxes full of them, confidential letters that aren’t supposed to be circulated, which were sent to me unsolicited. All of which I consider to be filled with duplicity, evasion, deliberate and willful attempts not to tell the public exactly what Mrs. White’s role is, but to read statements such as you’re reading here. It scares me because I’m concerned for my fellow Christians. If I weren’t concerned, I certainly wouldn’t be flying halfway across the United States and sitting here under these hot lights, despite John’s magnetic personality. I’m concerned.
Johnsson: John, I’m concerned also. I repeat, I think you are misreading the church. The total perspective is quite different from what you have suggested.
Ankerberg: I hope so, and I hope so for the body of Christ, as Walter was saying, and I hope so for your sake after this night because, actually, we are not Adventists; you are the one who does the writing. As I interviewed other people that have said the same thing to me that you are saying and watched them disappear, my heart went out to them. When we did this program last time, there were teachers right from the college over here that were being investigated on the very things that we are talking about—the 1844 Investigative Judgment, just preaching the gospel. And before we aired the program those fellows knew that they would not have teaching positions at the school. I’m saying that it’s not because we haven’t felt this from people and that we haven’t asked, it’s that we’re concerned. Walter, I think we need to ask the question here or give a statement from our side of the tracks, of what we would need for reassurance on what Bill is saying and what his life is on the line for, how we can have reassurance for the denomination so that when he goes back...
Johnsson: John, my life is not on the line. You mentioned teachers who did not believe in the 1844 Investigative Judgment. They were out of harmony with one of the statements of faith of the church and they should not be teaching and being paid by church members. Until the church changes its statement of faith, a man who cannot support those statements really has no job. If I was also out of harmony, if I rejected that, my conscience would say, “Bill, go out and do something else.” There’s plenty of other things I could do.
Ankerberg: But your statement said that those people that disagreed with Ellen G. White, that was not a matter for disfellowship.
Johnsson: I came back to 1844 and the Investigative Judgment...
Martin: It was her confirmation of the vision—according to at least ten or fifteen statements from your own publication—it was her confirmation of it that gave it the authority that carried it in the church. Without her word behind it, it would have been nothing, it would have just died right there.
Ankerberg: I thought that you said before that that was not a matter for fellowship within the church, or breaking a fellowship.
Johnsson: The Judgment; this is one of the 27 Fundamentals of faith. It is a point, you see.
Ankerberg: So if you disagree with that, you can be gone from the Adventist Church?
Johnsson: If you felt that you were not merely having questions about it and searching, but if you felt that you had to repudiate it...
Ankerberg: That the scripture did not support the 1844 Investigative Judgment, then you could not be an Adventist?
Johnsson: Well, you could no longer be a worker in the church, at least, supported by denominational employ. Someone mentioned disfellowship earlier in our programs, John, but actually very, very few people have been disfellowshipped. Some people have been fired for various reasons, and I dispute the number here. There’s a whole spectrum here. I don’t think it’s just Questions on Doctrine down the line. I think that is not right at all. I dispute that categorically. It comes down to the fundamentals of faith. Can I support that in conscience? Can I even keep silence or do I feel I have to stand up from the pulpit or in the classroom and say, “The church is wrong on this”? Until a church is ready to change, then that person really cannot be employed in the church.
Ankerberg: Alright, Walter.
Martin: I’m really concerned with the fact that we keep hearing in the official publications that you are not going to be disfellowshipped or not put out of the church if you disagree with Mrs. White. Yet, all of the people that have major disagreements, have disagreed with Mrs. White, made that their point, and they were removed for that reason. I find that to be quite inconsistent.
Ankerberg: Gentlemen, I really appreciate this conversation. Bill, thank you for coming tonight. I think that on behalf of many of the Evangelicals that are listening in tonight we want to say thank you for being here to express your views, to stand up for the views of the denomination. At the same time, I hope that you will take back with you our love and our concern, and the fact that we would like to continue to have fellowship and dialogue on matters of scripture. Dr. Martin, I don’t know what you’re going to write in the days ahead, but thank you for coming tonight, and again being on the hot-seat to give us your views on this matter. Thank you for being with us.
The following material was part of the Question and Answer time and was not included in the televised programs due to lack of time. It is included here for your information, just the way it was stated.
Audience: I would like to ask the question to Dr. William Johnsson concerning Questions on Doctrine that Dr. Walter Martin has mentioned. I would like to know, how can I get a copy of this book and who publishes it.
Johnsson: The book is published by Review and Herald Publishing Association. It is now out of print. You would have to go to a library. It’s quite widely distributed in libraries. If you went to an Adventist college they would certainly have many copies of it.
Ankerberg: What’s the possibilities of getting that thing reprinted?
Johnsson: Well, I don’t know frankly. As I said, we have a new volume in progress and this is going to be volume eleven of the commentary. That book is a selected book. It is simply answers to questions. This is going to be a book written by Adventist scholars. You know, a lot has happened in the last 30 years. We have now many highly qualified people and I think we can present Adventism in a much more complete way.
Ankerberg: Walter, let me ask you a question here. When you asked a couple of the questions to the denomination and one guy gave you to another guy, and another guy, and finally the guy that answered, that I saw in one of the magazines, basically said they weren’t going to republish Questions on Doctrine because it was kind of passé.
Martin: I would like to correct our brother here, lovingly. The men who did that work were Adventist scholars, first rate scholars. You’d go a long way today to match them. Ted Heppenstall, a fine scholar; Murdoch was a fine scholar; Roy Anderson on prophecy; W. E. Read on the Old Testament; L. E. Froom is your number one church historian and author of The Prophetic Faith of Your Fathers and Movement of Destiny and the Conditionless Faith of Our Fathers. Nobody has written more on the subject than Froom has.
To imply that this commentary is an improvement on the scholarship of Questions on Doctrine is scholastic arrogance I will not sit still for, on the basis of the men I worked with. They were excellent scholars. Your commentary is not addressed to the evangelical public. It is addressed to the Seventh-day Adventists. Questions on Doctrine was directed to the evangelicals as a means of communicating your sincerity in evangelical theology. Now, nothing exists right now in print that communicates to the evangelicals or the fundamentalists or the Charismatics exactly where you stand, except one sheet of paper which is, as we have seen tonight, subject to multiple interpretations.
Ankerberg: Gentlemen, what is our conflict here, and is there a solution in either one of your minds as to squelching the doubts that many evangelicals have in hearing statements from people inside of Seventh-day Adventism, that are apparently well-placed in high positions, and yet saying things that the doctrinal statement does not say? We have a problem. We have some high people in authority who supposedly should know that doctrinal statement saying exactly something,… well, maybe it’s not exactly contradictory; that’s the problem. They can take that and they can say those statements. That’s what it seems to mean to them. And if it does, from our perspective, that’s not biblical. There’s much evidence to prove that those statements are wrong. Bill, start us off. What is the solution? How can we resolve this, in your mind?
Johnsson: Well, I think, first of all, our church leaders need to speak more carefully, carefully in the sense of being precise.
Ankerberg: Can that be done?
Johnsson: Well, I think when we get into especially these sensitive areas we need to stop and think, even if we are writing a letter, and we had better just go back and even check it with someone and say, “Did I say that right?” You know that administrators are busy. Often they’re not very much into theology, at least in terms of their advanced training and so on. It’s easy for them to write something that could be misinterpreted.
Ankerberg: That was a kind of crazy question to say, “can they do better in terms of watching what they say?” I was particularly thinking, can there somehow be a guard against the fact of in the writings from these men that we’re getting conflicting statements in the writings, in the Sabbath Quarterlies, in some of the magazine articles, in some of the letters, that the conference presidents are saying. We’re getting these conflicting,… I think you know this. Neal Wilson admits it freely in his statements. He says, “We’ve got a problem here.” How do we solve that problem?
Johnsson: Well, I think some of the segments Walter raised and read, and they’re very important and some are quite alarming. In all honesty, they do go back some years. Like, he read one from 1971. These issues are sort of on the front burner today. Because we are more attuned, I think we can be more careful and we ought to be more careful. I think that’s a start.
Ankerberg: Let me give you one. Neal Wilson apparently is aware of all that we’re saying. I mean, just to show that we’re all in the same ballgame here. At Pacific Union College campus in the Chronicle in 1982 he said, “When we come to the point as to whether one has to believe in Ellen White to some degree or another or accept her visions as real or simply an imagination or parroting what somebody else said”—referring back to all the disclosures of plagiarism, borrowing, etc., from other writers that seems to be the case concerning Ellen White right now—he says, “That one has to believe that these things were real visions in order to be a Seventh-day Adventist or to experience salvation, this church has never taken that position. I hope it never does.” He’s aware that there’s conflict. He’s aware that people are making those kinds of statements. He says he hopes they never get to that spot but I heard you say not too long ago, now, that there are things you do have to hold, the articles of faith.
Johnsson: All the 27 Fundamentals, yes.
Ankerberg: Okay. Isn’t one of those the Spirit of Prophecy?
Johnsson: That’s right.
Ankerberg: And the fact that she is a continuing authority…?
Johnsson: Yes, this is so.
Ankerberg: …in instruction, and doctrine and so on? Now, if the writings show that she has plagiarized and she has taken vast amounts of material away and that breaks that down, will the denomination take that article out?
Johnsson: They may, but again, it would have to be a General Conference session to do it.
Ankerberg: Okay, let’s suggest that that’s the goal, that that is going to be taken out. Now aren’t there going to be some people that are going to come, like Walter Rea and Des Ford, and put their hand on the sacred cow, if you want, and say it was wrong, and we’re going to have hold on to those guys and say they were right, and change that article?
Johnsson: Again, it’s back to the 1844 Investigative Judgment. And again you see, John, the whole perspective on Ellen White, you see, her influence, the overall thrust of her writings—as I said there is a diversity—25 million words. But what is the overall thrust? What are the great themes?
Martin: But “if a prophet speaks not in accordance with what God says,” what God says judges Ellen White. Deuteronomy 18, Deuteronomy 13. The concept of judging her as a person, as a prophet, her spirit, her spirit of prophecy, as a prophet. I mean, I’m not going to 1971. This is very current material.
This is part of our problem right here: “It is clear that this Investigative Judgment is the correct interpretation of scripture because Ellen White does endorse it.” I’m thinking of the Spirit of Prophecy: “Ellen White speaks with authority to us when she interprets the Bible.” Both of those quotes are 1980. Again: “Some Protestant critics object to the fact that Seventh-day Adventists accept Ellen G. White as an inspired interpreter of the Bible.” That’s the Adventist Review, 11/20/80. That’s your publication, which clearly states “an inspired interpreter of the Bible.” “My topic this afternoon is on Ellen White, an inspired interpreter,” Arthur White, stating that you have a living prophet in your midst right now, you don’t have to rely upon just the Bible writings. Mrs. White interprets them for you.
I mean, I could go on quoting page after page. “The quality of inspiration of Ellen White is equal to that of the Bible.” “She was inspired by God, as were the biblical writers.” Now, look, if she’s “inspired by God, as were the biblical writers,” I want to know what biblical writer ever copied somebody else’s vision and passed it off as their own? Mrs. White copied Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E. G. White. She said that the Lord gave her this vision.
In 1851 she borrowed page, quote, let me give it to you: “They were all clothed with a glorious white mantle. Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass. Before entering the city, the saints were arranged in a perfect square,” Ellen G. White. William E. Foy (1842): “I saw in the midst of the place an innumerable multitude arrayed in white raiment, standing in a perfect square, having crowns of unfading glory upon their heads. And millions of angels stood with crowns of righteousness upon their heads.”
Mrs. White: “On one side of the river was the trunk of a tree and a trunk on the one side of the river both pure and transparent gold.” Foy: “I saw in this boundless place a tree, the body of which was like a transparent glass. The limbs were like transparent gold extending over this boundless place.”
Mrs. White: “I asked Jesus to let me eat of the fruit. He said, ‘Not now. Those who eat of the fruit of this land go back to earth no more’.” “This is Jesus Christ,” says Mrs. White. Mr. Foy said, “Those that eat of the fruit of this tree return to earth no more.”
She copied Mr. Foy, chapter and verse. There are the facts. No biblical prophets do that. That is duplicity. That is dishonest. That is wrong. That is false doctrine. You cannot be speaking under the inspiration of a Spirit of Prophecy and do that. If you say you can, then you must explain it. And it’s word for word. I therefore rest the case.
The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists should openly face up to the fact that Mrs. White was guilty of these things; that she was a sinner saved by grace just like everybody else; that she made remarkable contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and some of her own writings, not plagiarized, are very beautiful and have helped a lot of people. But, that’s a long way from making her an interpreter inspired by God, when you have to borrow your inspiration. And when her own husband says: “One instance, one instance, of proving this invalidates her.” There’s your instance. I would be happy to produce about a dozen more.
Ankerberg: Bill, what would you say back to that?
Johnsson: I would say that Walter’s made a number of points. I don’t know just how many to pick up on. One, in terms of inspired writers, scripture, they do on occasion take other statements from, say, the Greek poets, non-inspired sources, verses, full verses....
Martin: A phrase, a phrase.
Johnsson: ....sometimes with acknowledgements; sometimes without. Walter, your case is not as watertight as you as suspect, as you suggest.
Martin: But God said this to her, she said. God said this; God showed her this vision. God didn’t show her this vision! Foy showed her this vision. Now, let’s be honest! You’re an honest guy. “God showed me this.” No, God didn’t! Mr. Foy showed it to her, and he wrote about it four years before she did.
Johnsson: The full vision as set forth by Ellen White has points that are clearly taken from Foy and some that are clearly different from Foy. And when Ellen White recounted this vision, Foy stood up and said, “Isn’t it marvelous that God has given the same vision to someone else?” That also is part of the record.
Martin: Run that by me again closely, will you? Mr. Foy said that what Mrs. White did was not taken from him, but God gave them both the same vision?
Johnsson: This was his reaction.
Martin: Where did you get the quote from?
Johnsson: I can get it for you.
Martin: I look forward to that with great joy, because Mr. Foy was quite surprised to see in print under her name what he had previously printed himself.