THE AUTHORITY OF THE PROPHETS Lesson 8 – February 21, 2009
All the prophets came up with snags when they were called: Moses “ O Lord, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue… O Lord, please send someone else to do it ” (Exodus 4:10, 13)
Jeremiah “ Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.… I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name ” (Jeremiah 1:6; 20: 9) All the prophets came up with snags when they were called:
Ellen G. White “ For several days, and far into the night, I prayed that this burden might be removed from me, and laid upon some one more capable of bearing it. But the light of duty did not change, and the words of the angel sounded continually in my ears, «Make known to others what I have revealed to you» ” ( Life Sketches of Ellen G. White , p. 69 ) All the prophets came up with snags when they were called:
Why didn’t these prophets want to be used as Lord’s messengers?
Why didn’t they accept divine authority?
Why did they feel that they weren’t ready for that ?
Why did they have other plans which they considered more important ?
THE MAXIMUM AUTHORITY “ All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth ” Matthew 28:18 JESUS CHRIST
While He was on the Earth, his authority came from the Father (John 5:19) . Once resurrected, all the authority was given to Him . Every God’s messenger receives His authority from Him: “Therefore I write these things… according to the authority which the Lord has given me ” (2 Corinthians 13:10)
“ We are determined, by divine grace, to keep the pure and exclusive preaching of only the Word of God, as the biblical books of the Old and New Testament contain, without alterations of any kind. This Word is the only truth; It is a secure rule to every doctrine and life , and It cannot be missing nor deceive us ”. The Reformation princes expressed their selves like this, about the foundation of their doctrines: Where does the authority of the Bible come to convert It in the only valid rule of every doctrine?
Jesus pointed out the Scriptures as authority for doctrinal matters: “ Jesus answered and said to them, «You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God» ” (Matthew 22:29) The apostles used Them to confirm their doctrines: “ Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, «This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ» ” (Acts 17:2-3)
Jesus and the apostles used the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Peter places Paul’s epistles on a par with the Old Testament: “ And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, s also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures ” (2 Peter 3:15-16)
“ He [Christ] pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and the foundation of all faith ” E.G.W. ( Christ’s Object Lessons , pp. 39-40 )
“ For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart ” Hebrews 4:12
Reactions to the written or spoken message from God: The king Jehoiakim tore and burned the book written by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:22-31) The king Josiah read carefully the book of the law which was found in the Temple and he tore his robes as a repentance symbol (2 Kings 22:10-13) The princes in the time of Zedekiah asked for the death of Jeremiah after listening to his message (Jeremiah 38:1-4) The jailer of Philippi gave his life to God after listening the prayers and songs of praise of the apostles (Acts 16:25-34) ACCEPTANCE REJECTION
Oral and written testimonies given through Ellen G. White were accepted or rejected for those who received them: “ I was informed that you intended to institute a suit against me, on the ground that you had been wronged by the testimonies given in your case. A letter came to me, threatening that if I did not acknowledge that I had wronged you, the suit would be entered upon. Now, I could hardly believe that you had gone so decidedly on the enemy's ground, knowing my lifework as well as you do ” ( Selected Messages , vol. 3, chapter 37, page 301) ACCEPTANCE REJECTION The church listened to Ellen White’s pieces of advice and benefited from them. The day before the General Conference session in 1901, Ellen White met the leaders of the church and encouraged them to make drastic changes in the administration of the church. According to that, the Committee of the General Conference was expanded; the various conferences became departments of the General Conference .
Messages given by divine authority can be rejected or accepted, but they will never leave us indifferent . Those who reject the divine message, are rejecting God’s authority. Those who accept divine messages, are accepting God’s authority .
Non-canonical messages are those which are given by divine authority, but can’t be found in the Bible . Between them, we can find the books written by Nathan, Gad and other prophets, or Paul’s letters that were not kept in the biblical canon (the 66 books that constitute the Old an the New Testaments )
This suggests several questions: If some lost books of Paul or other prophets were found, should we add them to the biblical canon ? Should the authorized writings of Ellen G. White be added to the biblical canon ? Have the Bible and Ellen G. White’s writings the same authority ? Were the Bible and Ellen G. White’s writings inspired by the same source of authority (Jesus Christ )?
According to the relation between the Bible and Ellen G. White, the Adventist church teaches this: Affirmations Denials
We believe that Scripture is the divinely revealed Word of God and is inspired by the Holy Spirit .
We believe that the canon of Scripture is composed only of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments .
We believe that Scripture is the foundation of faith and the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice .
We believe that Scripture is the Word of God in human language .
We do not believe that the quality or degree of inspiration in the writings of Ellen White is different from that of Scripture .
We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are an 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 believe that the purposes of the Ellen White writings include guidance in understanding the teaching of Scripture and application of these teachings, with prophetic urgency, to the spiritual and moral life .
We believe that the acceptance of the prophetic gift of Ellen White is important to the nurture and unity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church .
We believe that Ellen White’s use of literary sources and assistants finds parallels in some of the writings of the Bible .
We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are essential for the proclamation of the truths of Scripture to society at large .
We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White are the product of mere Christian piety .
We do not believe that Ellen White’s use of literary sources and assistants negates the inspiration of her writings .
“ You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me ” John 5:39