Believe His Prophets


Wrong Use of the Testimonies

While the larger part of our Seventh-day Adventist church members are found in the last class named—those who are helped by the messages as light comes to them correcting evils and pointing the way to life—yet there are some who may be found in one of the other classes. BHP 208.1

Mrs. E.G. White was fully aware of the situation regarding her and her work, and did her best to make clear what she was appointed by God to do, and why. She gave a number of cautions and suggestions to her contemporaries, and indirectly to us, so that we might not make unjustifiable claims for her and her writings, nor an unwise use of her words and her position in relation to God and the Holy Spirit. BHP 208.2

The reproduction of some of them here may help us find and maintain a sensible, balanced, middle-of-the-road attitude toward her and her work: BHP 208.3

1. Do not use the Testimonies as proof for unbelievers (Testimonies for the Church 1:119, 120; vol. 5, p. 669). BHP 208.4

2. Do not use them as a test of fellowship (Testimonies for the Church 1:327-329). BHP 208.5

3. Do not use the visions as a rule to measure all (Testimonies for the Church 1:382, 383). BHP 208.6

4. Do not use the Testimonies as an iron rule or club (Testimonies for the Church 1:369). BHP 208.7

5. Do not take the extreme meaning of what has been shown in the visions (Testimonies for the Church 1:166). BHP 208.8

6. Do not use the Testimonies to give force to certain subjects to impress them upon others (Manuscript 23, 1911). BHP 209.1

Each one of us should keep in mind that, first of all, the Spirit of prophecy counsels are messages to us personally. There is a growing tendency on the part of some among us to apply the counsels to someone else, and to use certain portions of the Ellen G. White writings as a sort of club over the heads of others. This is not a right or a proper use of the Testimonies. On the part of some, her words are used to give expression to harsh criticism of others. All of this brings to mind the following paragraph: BHP 209.2

“There are many whose religion consists in criticising habits of dress and manners. They want to bring every one to their own measure. They desire to lengthen out those who seem too short for their standard, and to cut down others who seem too long. They have lost the love of God out of their hearts; but they think they have a spirit of discernment. They think it is their prerogative to criticise, and pronounce judgment; but they should repent of their error, and turn away from their sins…. Let us love one another. Let us have harmony and union throughout our ranks. Let us have our hearts sanctified to God. Let us look upon the light that abides for us in Jesus. Let us remember how forbearing and patient He was with the erring children of men. We should be in a wretched state if the God of heaven were like one of us, and treated us as we are inclined to treat one another.” The Review and Herald, August 27, 1889, p. 530. BHP 209.3

Then, again, there are some who isolate a phrase or sentence and place the most extreme interpretation upon it, and then endeavor to persuade or drive everyone else to the same conclusion. Such have usually failed to study the full counsel, placing statement with statement in an endeavor to find the great underlying principles that should guide to right conclusions. BHP 210.1

Mrs. White maintained a very sensible, well-balanced, middle-of-the-road attitude in everything she taught and in everything she did. That may seem strange when we think of some people who have developed an attitude toward the writings of the Spirit of prophecy that is anything but sensible. The fault is not with Ellen G. White or with her writings. The fault must be somewhere else. BHP 210.2

I say again, the Testimonies were written for us individually, and not for us to use on someone else. Most certainly we misrepresent and frequently misinterpret the writings of the Spirit of prophecy when we take a sentence here and a sentence there, a little paragraph here and a little paragraph there, and then put them together out of their context. Thus they are made to teach what the Spirit of prophecy did not have in mind at all, but what somebody wants to use on his brethren. It is not the correct way to use the writings of Ellen G. White. BHP 210.3