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First Love

   “But I have against you that you left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4). Christ declared this to the Ephesus church. He didn't reveal their first love, but I’m guessing He was referring to the truth of the correct gospel. I’m concerned about my church (SDA) in this same way and I see that our first love, after “the disappointment” was the Bible, judging from accounts of the early years, our church forefathers sat down together, first to find out where they went wrong with the end time prediction, and secondly to establish doctrine for the soon to become, Seventh Day Adventist church. They together searched the scriptures, comparing what they found, ironing out variations in opinions, conforming to what the Bible says and developing a unity of truth for the new church to be united in. Starting in 1854 and refining it in 1872 settling on a doctrinal list, Fundamental Principles that remained consistent until 1931, when it was changed, rewriting our original description of God to a Trinty. This is an important issue unto itself but this is not the purpose of this paper. The point I'm addressing is that our founding fathers used only the Bible to determine this list of Fundamental Beliefs, which remained constant for 77 years.

    Through her years, Ellen White wrote many books, approximately 40 during her lifetime but over 100 more have been written using articles, letters and other writings. I’ve read about 30 and find them all inspiring and worthy of reading. There does seem to be a downside to all this writing, (including the additional book), which refers back to the verse I used to open this paper, since Ellen White has written so much and with such detail, especially the four books that step along with the Bible, many consider reading these four books as reading the Bible itself and consequently many use the Bible, only to look up verses they are directed to review from hearing sermons, reading books written about the Bible or the SDA Quarterly. Few SDAs, that I have found, have not read the Bible, completely and even fewer, more then once. My evaluation is that we have left our first love, the Bible only, which is stated in the first line (before the actual list) in the Fundamental Beliefs of 1872 through 1914 "...Seventh Day Adventist have no creed but the Bible..." (F.B. of 1889).

   Moving forward to 1931, when the description of God in our Fundamental Beliefs was changed by the church officials, from a God of one, the Father, to a God of three, a trinity, this would not have been allow by the SDA congregation if they had maintained their original love and dependency on the God's word only. We have now become too dependent other writers, especially Ellen White, to where many consider that her "every" word was inspired by Christ, hence they call her body of writing “The Spirit of Prophecy” using the verse “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10). From my understanding of the Bible, all men are imperfect and the only true source of God’s word is "God's word", a collection of books, compiled to make one Book, the Bible in its original text form. We must consider that every book written by man about the Bible is flawed, in varying degrees, not that they shouldn’t be read, but first and foremost, we, every one of us, those wanting to know God, would need to read God's word, and know it well, then we can spot the imperfections in all the other books and writings and discard what is contrary and keep what is consistent with the God's word. This I've judged from the original Hebrew and Greek text, not from the variety of available versions of translations.

    God’s inspired word does not change from time to time. The term "present truth" is often used so we accept changes, implying we have been given more truth. But the change made in the 1931 Fundamental Beliefs wasn't an addition, it was a complete change, a very different description of God Almighty. If our forefathers, including Ellen White, were directed by Christ's Spirit, in searching God's word for a list of doctrine, then because a change was made after 80 some years, then one or both were not Christ inspired, we know most certainly God does not change, "For I am Jehovah, I change not..." (Malachi 3:6) and neither does His Son. To prove this point even further, our current Fundamental Beliefs, the description of God has changed again, from our 1931 Fundamental Beliefs, proving to me that we (SDA) have lost our first love and a solid footing on the Rock, we even have forgotten that the Bible was our first love, and our anchor to the truth. Is there hope for this church?

   If you are an SDA then look at what Ellen White says in The Great Controversy, "But God will have a people on earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only as a standard of all doctrine and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority-not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support." (GC 594.2). And by her own description, she must be included in this list. I consider that the up lifting of Ellen White as a prophet was the work of the congregation, including the SDA officers, as they lost touch with God's word and clung to the easier to read and understand writings of one of their own. How can we logically consider that every word from a human to be pure and perfect, considering everything to be inspired by Christ? The Ellen G. White Estate has made this assumption because they use everything she wrote and spoke into 60 additional books after her death. I question how much was tested with God's word?

   As I understand Rev. 19:10, the testimony of Jesus spans from Genesis to Revelation, Christ being the Word of God, the author of the Bible. The entire Bible contains examples, history, warnings and guidelines for those interested in arriving at New Jerusalem. This collection of inspiration from Christ is the "spirit of prophecy" because it is His testimony of the information that His Father, God Almighty, Jehovah gave to Him. "A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show to His slaves things which must occur quickly..." (Rev. 1:1).

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