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DOES THE ROD CONTRADICT MRS. WHITE?

  We have reached one of the most critical points of our precursory discussion.  Some who have studied the Shepherd’s Rod message notice that some of its teachings are not found in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy and the chronological order of events appear to be different.  So before we can objectively and biblically approach the doctrines of the Shepherd’s Rod, we must, yes, must understand how Divine inspiration works.  In short, we must understand how God uses humankind to reveal his Will or Word.  Only then can we truly understand the Rod’s position in reference to Mrs.  White’s writings.    At this juncture, we may have to do some unlearning.   Remember we have been told that, “we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn.”   But, be assured that what we are about to discuss is totally biblical.  You will need some patience and an objective mind. Ready?

   We have been told over and over again that a true prophet will not contradict a former one.  Of course, that is true.  But what does that mean?  Does it mean that the latter messenger will not ever teach a particular doctrine from a different perspective?  Does it mean that he will not apply one or several doctrines differently?  The answer is actually no!  Surprised!?  Skeptical?  But if this was not  the case we would have much difficulty when explaining the Bible!  After all, the Bible is filled with prophets who approached some subjects in a modified or dissimilar light;  yet we do not think much about these so-called inconsistencies.  Serious Bible students recognize that the Scriptures must be viewed as a whole.  They also realize that once we carefully and reverently study the Bible, there is perfect harmony even with the apparent contradictions.  In fact, as one pastor put it, “if you find a contradiction in the Scriptures, celebrate it!”

The Rod’s Position

   The Shepherd’s Rod’s position is that all claimants to truth must meet the test of Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and the Testimony.”   That is, if they are true messengers of God, their teachings will be in harmony with the Word of God.   Second, they will be in harmony with all true previous messengers on the principal or fundamental doctrines of faith.  Paul declared that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”(1 Corinthians 14:32)   But to “agree” or “harmonize” does not preclude that one interpreter cannot teach peripheral, non-fundamental or incidental doctrines from a different perspective.  This is crucial to understand.  It does not conclude that a latter messenger cannot modify or expand on a previous message while in perfect harmony on the fundamentals.  What we mean by peripheral teachings are: traditional, borrowed, or standard interpretations that are common but not necessarily established beyond doubt. We will be looking at several of them in later chapters.  Now before you condemn this as nonsense and gobbledygook, please give it a fair hearing because it will be clearly proven from the Bible.

     The truth is that The Shepherd’s Rod is in perfect harmony with the Bible, and  does not contradict the message of Mrs. White, but is an EXPANSION or further revelation of  it.  That is, it does not countermand the established doctrines of the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, the State of the Dead, etc., etc..  On the contrary it establishes them! 

The Cause of Confusion

   As stated earlier, most contradictions are not contradictions at all, but only apparent contradictions, owing to misunderstanding, misapplications of Scripture or of the Inspired writings. They could be grouped in four main categories.

 

            1. Taking statements out of context—not taking into account, background, time, place, and                  circumstances.

 

            2.  Misunderstanding of what is written..

 

            3. Not realizing that former prophets taught some things according to the common                  understanding of their day—not having yet been shown greater light on the subject.

 

            4.  Improper scholarship—unreliable documentation.

Out of Context

   There are numerous examples of the importance of context.  However, knowing that the reader may be familiar with the idea set forth, we will refer only to a few.

   Satan tried to deceive Christ and tempt Him by misquoting Scripture.  “If thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up lest at any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone.”  (Matt. 4:6)

   We all know, of course, that Satan left out a very important part of the text. He left out, “to keep thee in all thy ways.”

   Did not Paul say “whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake?  (1 Corinthians 10:25) “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving?” (1 Timothy 4:4).  Obviously, if these passages are taken out of context we would understand that  Paul was advocating that we eat ham, crab, lobster, dog, monkey, mouse, etc.?

   Here are more self-explanatory examples:

 

   “His name shall be called . . .The Prince of peace,”  (Isa. 9:6,7) but Jesus also said:  “suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, nay, but rather division.”  (Luke 12: )

 

   “And they asked him [John the Baptist], Art thou Elias?  And he saith, I am not: art thou that prophet?  And he answered, no.”  (John 1:21)   “But I [Jesus] say unto you, that Elias is come already and they knew him not. . . .then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”  (Matt. 17:12,13)

 

Misunderstandings or lack of Knowledge   

   A common example of misunderstanding the Scriptures is found in Genesis 6:1,2: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth. . .that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”

   A thorough study of this passage reveals that it is not referring to angels mating with women, but a simple reference to men from the line of Seth who replaced Abel.  They referred to themselves as “sons of God.” (Gen. 4:26).The women of Cain’s descent are referred to as the “daughters of men.” 

 

Prophets Sometimes Teach According to the Common Understanding of their Day

   It is a fact that prophets sometimes taught certain doctrines according to the common understanding of their time.   These doctrines are generally peripheral--NOT fundamental.  This is illustrated by several examples.

   John the Baptist taught that Christ was to establish the Kingdom literally in his day.  “John,” says Ellen White, “did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom.   He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes. . .John the Baptist did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom.  He expected Jesus to take the throne of David. . .”  Yet Christ plainly taught that he was not then to establish a literal kingdom and deliver Israel from their foes!  Ostensibly, this is referred to as a contradiction!  

      We can remember that while in prison John sent his disciples to ask Christ, “art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?”  But John after speaking with the disciples who had interviewed Christ and witnessed his works, restudied the writings of the prophets (the Bible of that time) and his “doubts” passed.  The genuine followers of God, the truly wise gave no concern to these discrepant teachings, but gladly accepted the light in its progressive form.  Why?  Because they saw that Christ’s message was firmly supported by the Scriptures and that obviously John was teaching according to the traditional or common thinking.  Victor Houteff put it this way:

   “Of necessity, any statements relative to a subject which is still out of sight in the unfolding of the Scroll, are made only in incidental terms of truth as it is at the time seen or commonly understood.  And if the common understanding of these incidental statements be wrong, the writer cannot be held responsible for that which he has borrowed from others, or seen but very dimly and therefore expressed very definitely. . . .

   “This circumstance is natural and common to every writer treating of Present Truth, beginning with the Old Testament writers, and continuing ever since, and will thus be until every component part of the Truth is made known.  This borne out in the work of John the Baptist.  He was to proclaim, not the setting up of the Kingdom, but the coming of the King.  But in announcing the one, he incidently had to answer questions concerning the other.  When speaking of the coming King, he expressed himself in terms of revealed Truth.  But when circumstantially alluding to the coming Kingdom, on which there was no special light in his day, he necessarily expressed himself in terms of the doctrines as then commonly understood.

   “Nevertheless, when the further unrolling of the scroll revealed that the kingdom was not to be set up at that time, then the honest, truth-seeking ones did not accuse either John or Christ, but joyously watched the scroll unfold, and jubilantly marched on with the Truth.   Not so, though, with the vast majority of the Jews.  Their pride of opinion, forbidding them to forgo their errors and to embrace advancing Truth, led them deeper into error.”

 

   Christ did NOT contradict the fundamental message of John the Baptist, instead he expanded upon it–a phenomenon some would call a contradiction!  Is this not one of the reasons why Christ was rejected by the Jewish authorities?  They said that he contradicted Moses and the prophets!

   The Passover is another example. 

 

   “The reason which Moses assigns for the Passover observance is that it is to commemorate Israel’s going out of Egypt Deut. 16:1-3.  John the Baptist, however, imputes its significance to the coming of Christ, “the Lamb of God.” John 1:29.   The apostles assign it to His crucifixion: “for even Christ our Passover,” says Paul, “is sacrificed for us.” 1 Cor. 5:7. And the significance of keeping the Passover, he then attaches to the ordinance of the Lord’s supper.  1 Cor. 11:26.  Similarly, Moses  did not explain that the Levitical priesthood in the earthly sanctuary (Ex. 40:15)  was only a provisional and thus temporary one, a figure of Christ’s priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary, as the apostles explained.  (Heb. 6:19, 20; 9:12, 26). . . .

   “The main question therefore, is not as to whether Sister White’s or Moses’ or this one’s or that one’s writings contain all messages for this day, but rather simply as to whether they are found in, and supported by, the Bible.”  7

 

   The examples do not stop there.  The disciples of Christ thought that the kingdom would take place in their time.  They expected to be alive when Jesus would return.(Acts 1:6, 7).  William Miller thought that the earth was “the sanctuary”(the common understanding of the day).   The Holy Spirit had not revealed to him that Christ was to move from the Holy to the Most Holy.  So Miller was compelled to teach the nature of the cleansing which all then commonly understood to be the Second coming.  This view was not corrected until Sis. White and other pioneers restudied the subject from the BIBLE and discovered that they had misunderstood the meaning of “the sanctuary.”(Daniel 8:14).  Did you know that Mrs White herself taught that it was acceptable to eat pork until she received the light on health reform?  She wrote:

   “I saw that your views concerning swine’s flesh would prove no injury if you have them to yourselves; but in your judgment and opinion you have made this question a test, and your actions have plainly shown your faith in this matter.  If God requires His people to abstain from swine’s flesh, He will convict them on the matter.” 

 

  .  How could Sis. White condone the eating of swine’s flesh when the Bible clearly tells us that we ought not to eat unclean foods (Leviticus 11:7,8)?  How?  Because she did not then have the light on health reform.  And there are other examples like this in her writings. 

   The early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers started to keep the Sabbath from six o’clock on Friday to six o’clock Saturday.  Then the angel instructed them to keep it as outlined in Scripture, from “even unto even”or from sundown to sundown. 

   Don’t you see that light is progressive and that the ultimate source of all truth is the Bible!

   Please note that in none of these cases do the latter messengers contradict the fundamental truths of each message.  The so-called contradictions are with the teachings of the common understanding of their time.  They harmonize in so far as their established teachings are concerned.  The basis for expansion on a former prophets’s message is that the latter one must show the “weight of evidence” from the BIBLE.    

   If you are still in doubt, consider the following from Ellen White herself:

   But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.

   “Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded.  Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by  one than by another.  And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony”

 

   “No truth is more clearly taught in the Bible than that God by His Spirit especially directs His servants on earth in the great movements for the carrying forward of the work of salvation. . . .Each has his part ot act; to each is granted a measure of light, adapted to the necessities of his time, and sufficient to enable him to perform the work which God has given him to do.  But no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the divine purpose in the work for his own time.  Men do not fully understand what God would accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all its bearings, the message which they utter in His name.”  12

 

   “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many, to UNLEARN.  GOD AND HEAVEN ALONE ARE INFALLIBLE.  Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed.  As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” 13

 

   The Rod does teach certain peripheral or traditional teachings from a different perspective; very much like the examples above.  But, again, We are speaking primarily about private interpretations of prophecy, especially about the future, passed on through traditions, but not necessarily based on Scripture. However, the Rod does not contradict or alter any part of the fundamental doctrines—the Sabbath, sanctuary, the state of the dead, etc. Thus it is in perfect harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy.  Let us not forget that the Bible is the Christian’s principal textbook—the ultimate test of any doctrine or practice.  Again, the Rod only  modifies  those teachings that have been taken for granted as truth—traditional or commonly accepted teachings that may be partially or otherwise supported by the Bible; teachings former leaders and even Sis. White herself may have shared. We must bare in mind that Inspiration emphatically states that: “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all of our expositions of Scripture are without an error.” 

 

   The Shepherd’s Rod does set aside some doctrines which we as Seventh-day Adventists have believed for many years, but only those which have crept into the ranks of the denomination through uninspired men , whereas it not only retains, but also adds “power” and “force”to, all the doctrines which have been authoritatively given to the denomination.

 

   Again,  the Rod does not arbitrarily amend traditional teachings, but does so by establishing its base on the Bible.

   We want to be clear, there is no question as to the Inspiration and veracity of Mrs. White’s writings. However, we do not judge the Bible by her writings, but should judge her writings by the Bible.   We must keep in mind that we are not given the license to harmonize the Bible with any other writings, but are charged to measure all others by It.  When Ellen.White said, not “all of our expositions of Scripture are without an error,” or that “we” have “many, many, [lessons] to unlearn,” she included herself?  “God and heaven alone are infallible,” she wrote.  She was simply expressing the phenomenon that has been repeated with every prophet or messenger of God.  Nonetheless, it did not make them any less inspired.

 

Improper Scholarship

  Many, especially our leaders,  try to disprove the Rod’s message by choosing statements that appear contradictory with Sis. White.  The same could have been done with John the Baptist, Christ, Moses, the apostles, Miller and others. Other denominations do that with Mrs. White’s writings..  Have you studied the Baptist files on Ellen White?  They have tens of so-called contradictions and false prophecies from her!  The real test is to compare one’s message first with the Bible and then if it is in harmony with the fundamentals of the writings of the previous messengers, and find the “weight of evidence there.”  Then you can be certain that you have the truth.   Ellen White put it this way:

 

   Satan has the ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a mark of virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble.  Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room.  He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence.  God give sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight if evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith. 

 

   “Furthermore,” wrote Houteff, “the following example will sufficiently demonstrate that not only can the writings of any two persons, though in perfect harmony, be made to clash, but that also the writings of any one person can be made to appear self-contradictory.”1 Take for example the following two statements from Sister White’s writings:

 

   There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth: and the only safety for any of us in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience.  Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety.’

 

   Now let us compare this statement with the following:

 

   “Every soul must look to God with contrition and humility that He may guide and lead and bless.  We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us.  Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side, and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people.”  19

 

   “Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make, and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them..”

 

   Victor Houteff summarized the issue this way:

 

   “In all diligence, therefore, give heed to any supernatural manifestation in the church of God, irrespective of source, whether it be human or brute, small or great, black or white, rich or poor.  Unbiasedly compare its work with the Scriptures, and if it is in harmony with them, if it finds its foundation and prediction there, makes men loyal to the law and to the prophets, and adds light to the present truth, accept it whatever the cost in money, property, position, friends, and relatives, for it is your very life.”   

   “From this example, we can see very quickly that though two passages be inspired by the same Spirit, yet when treacherously manipulated, they can easily be made to collide with each other.  However, when the author’s object in making the statement is first considered in every case, then and then only can one rightly interpret his thought, and find it trouble-free.                                                                                                               

   The Rod contends that it is unequivocally supported by the “weight of evidence” from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and therefore  meets the above test.  The Rod cannot be disproved on a point by point basis from the Bible.   To disprove the Rod one would have to substantively disprove it point by point throughout its numerous studies;  carefully showing discrepancies from Scripture, not by using the same methods used by politicians and by church opponents.  But, we can dare say, that no one has ever truthfully and fairly disproved the Rod’s teachings.  Check carefully and you’ll see. They can only point out so-called contradictions with some of Sis. White’s statements, which are in fact, not contradictions at all but different perspectives.  When taken in depth, viewing the message fairly, the student will find perfect harmony with the Bible and the message of Mrs. White.  We believe that as you progress into the doctrinal portion of this publication, you will see for yourselves the vast amount of evidence to sustain its position.

 

 

 

-4-

That’s Your Interpretation, Or Is It?

 

   Rod-believing Seventh-day Adventists have been accused of having a faulty method of interpretation, or hermeneutics as it is termed in theological circles. “That’s your interpretation!” they would snugly exclaim.   Theologically trained skeptics and loathers have long used this line to try and absolve themselves from serious study of the Shepherd’s Rod message.  The truth is that the Rod’s “hermeneutics” is consistent with that used by E.G. White, Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, and by William Miller and his associates. Now if you think that their methods are outdated, consider this statement about Miller from Inspiration: “angels of heaven were guiding his mind and opening the Scriptures to his understanding.”1   In The Great Controversy, she tells us how He arrived at his methods of interpretation

   “Endeavoring to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and dispensing with commentaries, he compared scripture with scripture. . . He pursued his study in a regular and methodical manner; beginning with Genesis, and reading verse by verse, he proceeded no faster than the meaning of the several passages so unfolded as to leave him free from all embarrassment.  When he found anything obscure, it was his custom to compare it with every other text which seemed to have any reference to the matter under consideration.  Every word was permitted to have its proper bearing upon the subject of the text, and if his view of it harmonized with every collateral passage, it ceased to be a difficulty. Thus whenever he met with a passage hard to be understood he found an explanation in some other portion of the Scriptures.  As he studied with earnest prayer for divine enlightenment, that which had before appeared dark to his understanding was made clear.” 

 

   Later on in the same book, she made this landmark statement: “But God will have a people upon earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.”   Miller himself put it this way: “I found that by a comparison of Scripture with history, all the prophecies, as far as they have been fulfilled, had been fulfilled literally; that all the various figures, metaphors, parables, similitude’s etc. of the Bible, were either explained in their immediate connection, or the terms in which they were expressed were defined in other portions of the word; and when thus explained, are to be literally understood in accordance with such explanation.” 

   Thus Sis. White authenticates Miller’s hermeneutics.  Like all messengers, he did not have the full understanding of everything.  He did not understand the investigative judgement because God had His hand over the prophecy, but God shows that he had the correct method of interpretation.  

   Mr. Miller adopted the following fundamental rules of interpretation which constitutes the most thorough and sound method anywhere.  Now please study them carefully as we will need to remember them later on.

 

   1)      Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible.  Matt. 5:18  

    2)     All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by a diligent application and study.  2 Tim. 3:15 -17

   3)      Nothing revealed in the Scriptures can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not          wavering.  Deut 29:29; Matt. 10:26, 27; 1 Cor. 2:10; Phil. 3:15; Isa. 14:11; Matt. 21:22;     John 14:13, 14; John 15:7; James 1:5,6; 1 John 5:13 -15.

  4)       To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know;   then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a  contradiction, you cannot be in error.  Isa. 28:7 -29; Isa 35:8; Prov.  19:27; Luke 24:27, 44, 45;   Rom. 16:26; James 5: 19; 2 Peter 1:19,20.

5)           Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself.  If I depend on a teacher to              expound 

              to    me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of                his sectarian 

              creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom, is             my rule, and not the 

              Bible.   Ps. 19: 7 -11; Ps. 119: 97 - 105; Matt.  23:8 -10; 1 Cor. 2:12             - 16; Ez. 34: 18, 19; Luke 

              11:52; Matt. 2:7,8.

6)         God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are oftentimes revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one.  Ps. 89:19; Hosea 12:10; Hab. 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Cor. 10:6, Heb. 9:9, 24; Ps. 78:2; Matt. 134:13, 34; Gen. 41: 1 -32; Daniel 2 & 8; Acts 10: 9 -16.

7)         Visions are always mentioned as such.  2 Cor. 12:1.

 

8)         Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are much in prophecy to represent future things, times and events–such as mountains, meaning governments, Dan. 2:35, 44; beasts, meaning kingdoms, Dan. 7:8, 17; waters, meaning people, Rev. 17:1, 15; day meaning year, etc.  Ez. 4:6.

 

9)         Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as figures, by the subject and Bible.  Mark 4:13.

 

10)        Figures sometimes have two or more different significations as day as used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time, namely: first, indefinite, Eccl. 7:14; second, definite, a day for a year, Ez. 4:6; and third, a day for a thousand years. 2 Peter 3:8.

 

11)        If a word makes good sense as it stands, and does no violence to the simple laws of nature, it is to be understood literally; if not figuratively.  Rev. 12:1,2; Rev. 17: 3 -7.

 

12)        To learn the meaning of a figure, trace the word through your Bible, and when you find it explained, substitute the explanation for the word used; and if it makes good sense, you need not look further; if not, look again.

13)        To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of prophecy: if you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood ) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event; but if one word lacks fulfillment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development; for God takes care that history and prophecy shall agree, so the true believing children of God may never be ashamed. Ps. 22:5;   Isa. 14:17 -19; 1 Peter 2:6; Rev. 17:17; Acts 3:18.

 

14)        The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith.  It must be a faith that requires a sacrifice, and it tried, the world and all its desires–character, living, occupation, friends, home, comforts, and worldly honors.  If any of these should hinder our believing any part of God’s word, it would show our faith to be in vain.  Nor can we ever believe so long as one of these motives lies lurking in our hearts.  We must believe that God will never forfeit his word; and we can have confidence that He who takes notice of the sparrow’s fall, and numbers the hairs on our head, will guard the translation of his own word, and throw a barrier around it, and prevent those who sincerely trust in God, and put implicit confidence in his word, from erring far from the truth. 6

 

   We will see that these methods of interpretation used by our forefathers completely authenticates the Rod’s message as gospel truth.  It is the standard, modern-day hermeneutics that is faulty and not the Rod’s.  The standard method has adopted the so-called “higher criticism,” which only undermines faith in God’s Word.

 

 Take it to the Men of Experience

   “There are a thousand temptations in disguise,” states Mrs. White, “prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience.  Lay it before them in a humble teachable spirit, with earnest prayer; and if they see not light in it, yield to their judgment; for ‘ in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

  This statement was quoted earlier.  We refer to it again because it is quite germane to our present discussion and is one of the most overworked and misused statements concerning new light.  Because our leaders at large have not embraced the Shepherd’s Rod message but instead have declared it erroneous, members are content to relegate the Rod to the dump without an objective study.  This is to say the least, perilous. The Jews rejected Christ because they trusted the decisions of their leaders.  Should we do the same?

    “The conditions which called forth the statement,” Wrote Mr. Houteff, “ were that Brother D, through claiming to have light, instead had darkness, which, rather than lighting up, only darkened the message which came through the Spirit of Prophecy.  In view of this fact, the “brethren of experience” of whom she is speaking are seen to be none other than the founding fathers of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination; those who shared with Sister White in the singular experience of establishing the message point by point, and not those who subsequently followed on to proclaim it.” 

   “Clearly, then, the only possible way in which these “brethren of experience” can be consulted at the present time is by giving heed to the voice which they left on record in their own written testimonies and in those especially of their leader and God’s spokesperson, Sis. White. . . .This truth is further demonstrated by the fact that if the statement from Testimonies, Vol. 5, means what our leading brethren would have us think it means, then John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Apostles, Luther, the Reformers, William Miller, and Sister White in 1844 and again in 1888, were all, one after another, dead wrong, for not one of them respected the decisions of their leading brethren who in their respective times were popularly acclaimed to be the “brethren of experience” and who having seen no light in the messages, denounced them and the messengers.  And Sister White never yielded to their judgment when they opposed her.

 

   Moreover, had she intended the statement in question to mean what is commonly understood, she never would have written:

 

   We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us.  Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people. . . . Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open.  The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time   

 

   There is something else to consider as well.  If one studies the entire chapter, you see from the context that Brother D was teaching contrary to the established or fundamental teachings of the faith, including rejecting the testimonies. 

 

   “Suppose that Brother D leads the people to question and reject the testimonies that God has been giving His people during the past thirty-eight years  .  .  .  . God had not passed His people by and

chosen one solitary man here and another there as the only ones worthy to be entrusted with His truth.  He does not give one man new light contrary to the established faith of the body.” 

   Clear it is that the Servant of the Lord was condemning teachings out of harmony with the established FUNDAMENTAL doctrines of the church.   So to repeat, the men of experience are not the present leaders of the church, but the original pioneers who first established the fundamental doctrines through much prayer, fasting, and study in the providence of God. 

   The Shepherd’s Rod does not teach contrary to the fundamental or established doctrines of the church.  The Rod does not teach that we should reject the testimonies, the seventh-day Sabbath, the sanctuary doctrine, the state of the dead, etc., but in fact, reenforces them.  Therefore, the statement in question does not apply at all to the Rod’s message.   

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