Lesson 6: Testing the Prophets
Some of us have grown up in the Adventist Church. Some, like me, became a Seventh-Day Adventist later in life, but have been one for years now. And still others have just entered the Church. All, however, have probably encountered Ellen G. White’s writings, and no doubt have been touched, inspired, challenged, or even disturbed by them. But how can we trust them? How do we know she is a God-inspired prophet?
The Sabbath School lesson this week goes over the Biblical tests for confirming a prophet (or prophetess). In short, a true prophet is in harmony with the Bible (Isaiah 8:20), confesses Christ came in the flesh as God (1 John 4:1), and bears the fruit in their lives as one who abides in Jesus (Matthew 7:15-20). While often we can test a prophet by observing their fulfilled prophesy (1 Samuel 9:6, Jeremiah 28:9), prophecies are often times conditional, and thus not necessarily guaranteed to come about (see, e.g., Jeremiah 18:6-10, Jonah 3).
We know prophesy did not end with the last book of the Bible, Revelation (Joel 2:28, 1 Corinthians 14:5), and the lesson does a good job of laying out the Biblical tests of a prophet. It even begins us on a course to seeing if Ellen White fulfills those tests. But in the end, the lesson is too short and we must search ourselves. Life would be easier if she was alive and we could confront her ourselves, but we can’t. Life would be easier if our parents, mentors, or elders were always right and we could trust that she’s a prophetess, but they’re not. Not investigating and discarding Mrs. White comes at the cost of possibly turning a deaf ear to God’s revealed truth to us. Not investigating and trusting Mrs. White may mean we could be falling prey to the Devil’s false prophet. Our only option is to seek the Truth. Here is the challenge:
- Carefully read and study her writings, comparing it with Scripture. Don’t discard or accept on face value, but instead dig deeply. If her writings conflict with the Bible, cast them to the flames.
- Keep a close eye while reading her writings to see if she exalts and confesses the resurrected Christ come in the flesh.
- Examine historical accounts of Ellen G. White, from all possible, reputable, and well documented sources. See if she displays the fruits talked about in the Sermon on the Mount.