Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Bible, Ellen G. White, and plagiarism

If you are a Christian let me ask you a question. Do you believe that Satan mixes Truth with error? The Bible indicates that he does. Look at the fact that Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus during the temptation of Christ. The New Testament tell's us that Satan can transform himself "into an angel [messenger] of light."

So if Satan can and does mix Truth with error we must, as Christians, have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as our protection against error. Every teaching that we hear we must compare it with Scripture and have Holy Spirit guidence so as not to be deceived.

Here are some more thoughts as we look into the issue of Truth and error. Have you ever had an idea or a thought only to find out that somebody else already had the same thought or idea? Have you ever been talking to a friend and in your conversation with each other blurted out the same word, phrase, or even a sentance at the same time? As if you knew each others thoughts?

This can and does happen. Did you know that in the Bible itself we find different authors such as Isaiah and Micah saying word for word the same thing? God showed two different people the same vision and they wrote it down. The apostle John's book of "Revelation" has many visions comparable with both the pre and post exilic prophets of the Old Testament.

Here is another thought as we proceed in this short study. Do you believe that a person can receive a vision or a prophecy from God in this time of the Church Age? The Bible speaks about "the gift of prophecy" for New Testament believers. As a Seventh Day Adventist Christian I believe in the "gift of prophecy" and that God can share thoughts and visions with one who has the gift.

Now in doing so God may share with others, who have not had the gift of prophecy, things that they may have been trying to understand. Say many Christian's were writing information out that had a lot of Truth but they were not all correct in some of their understandings due to carnal human nature and reasoning. Could God share the correct information that had been written with a Christian who has the "gift of prophecy" and alow that person to re-write the information in the right manner, without the misunderstandings and without ever showing the person the other writtings?

I believe God could do that and as a matter of fact I believe that God did do that through the person of Ellen G. White. Ellen G. White has been accused of plagiarsim because many of her writtings contain similar and even some word for word information that other Christians had written. My question to other Christian's is; Why can't you believe in a modern miracle? Why is it so hard to believe that God can do great and wonderful things?

All true Seventh Day Adventist Christians realize that she sometimes used other literary sources, as God directed her. We also believe that Ellen White's use of literary sources and assistants finds parallels in some of the writings of the Bible.

Now, what about the Bible itself?

Here is something to consider; Did you know that scholars are now trying to prove that the entire Bible itself is a work of plagiarsim? There is a whole documentary online that "proves" it. The video states that much of Christianity, specifically Jesus, was copied directly from a Egyptian and Greek mythology, among others.

It's from the documentary Zeitgeist. Interesting film. Here's a transcript (with sources) of the portion of the film :http://zeitgeistmovie.com/transcript.htm The sources are there. So is it true? Read it and follow up. Is this simply another trick of Satan mixing Truth with error? To dismiss it because it doesn't conform to your beliefs is just ignorance. The full documentary is longer than 28 minutes. The link to watch it can be found here: http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

So have modern “scholars” “proven” that most all of the Christian Bible is a work of plagiarism?

Take the flood story for instance.

In Sumerian clay tablets dating from the third millennium BCE there is an account of a great flood whose hero is called Ziusudra. There is also a flood story in the second millennium BCE Babylonian legend of Gilgamish. In the Babylonian legend, preserved in much greater detail than that of Sumeria, the hero is named Utnapishtim. All these pre-date the Mosaic texts that have been found.

What about the fact that “word for word” passages are found in Isaiah and Micah? Who copied who? Did Isaiah copy Micah or visa versa?

And what of “Mithraism”? There is much speculation that Christian beliefs were influenced by Mithraic belief.

The worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell. They believed that the benevolent powers of the god would sympathize with their suffering and grant them the final justice of immortality and eternal salvation in the world to come. They looked forward to a final day of judgement in which the dead would resurrect, and to a final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things to bring about the triumph of light over darkness.

Modern scholars have found many of the Old Testament stories in religions that pre-date Jewish faith. Some found in ancient Egypt and Sumeria. So what does it all mean?

My point is simple, if people want to believe that early Adventist Ellen G. White was not inspired by God to write what she wrote they can,… but remember, the same arguements that people use against her can be used against the entire Bible itself!

Me, along with thousands of Adventist Christians have gained strength, inspiration, and a closer walk with God through the study of her writings. Just as people try to find condradictions in Scripture people search for “hooks of doubt” to hang their hats on when reading Ellen White.
Ellen White wrote in the “Steps to Christ”:

“There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them. But without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall be continually liable to wrest the Scriptures or to misinterpret them. There is much reading of the Bible that is without profit and in many cases a positive injury. When the word of God is opened without reverence and without prayer; when the thoughts and affections are not fixed upon God, or in harmony with His will, the mind is clouded with doubts; and in the very study of the Bible, skepticism strengthens. The enemy takes control of the thoughts, and he suggests interpretations that are not correct. Whenever men are not in word and deed seeking to be in harmony with God, then, however learned they may be, they are liable to err in their understanding of Scripture, and it is not safe to trust to their explanations. Those who look to the Scriptures to find discrepancies, have not spiritual insight. With distorted vision they will see many causes for doubt and unbelief in things that are really plain and simple.”SC.111.001

“Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism, in most cases, is the love of sin. The teachings and restrictions of God’s word are not welcome to the proud, sin-loving heart, and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt its authority. In order to arrive at truth, we must have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey it. And all who come in this spirit to the study of the Bible will find abundant evidence that it is God’s word, and they may gain an understanding of its truths that will make them wise unto salvation.” SC.111.002

So in conclusion…it is up to you and God alone as to what course you will take regarding Truth. Now let us look at another issue regarding early Protestantism and the Church today.
So many people today watch all the TV specials about the “life of Jesus”. We hear all sorts of things. We hear that Jesus was married. We hear that he did not really resurrect from the dead.
I watched part of a special yesturday that claimed that the apostle Paul was really working for the Roman government [Paul being a Roman citizen] and that his writings where plagiarized, taken from wanna-be massiahs that Rome had arrested and killed.

It claimed that Paul was doing this to help Rome get control of those “fanatic Christian groups”. The funny thing about these TV documenteries is that they always have “proof” about their claims.
What are you looking for?

Sister Ellen White has stated; “While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light.” - Great Controversy, p.527

Wow! Is this you? Are you looking for excuses to disobey God’s word? Perhaps regarding the Sabbath issue?

Many are looking for all the negative aspects and rumors about another persons Christian faith. The Human nature loves to argue and justify itself. Here is something to consider; Martin Luther, founder of the entire protestant movement has much “dirt” written about him. Especially some of his comments about the Jews.

In On the Jews and Their Lies, written in 1543 three years before his death, Luther recommends that Jews be deprived of money, civil rights, religious teaching, and education, and that they be forced to labor on the land, or else be expelled from Germany and possibly killed.

He refers to Jews as “a brood of vipers and children of the devil” (from Matthew 12:34), “miserable, blind, and senseless”, “truly stupid fools”, “thieves and robbers”, “lazy rogues”, “daily murderers”, and “vermin”, likens them to “gangrene”, and recommends that Jewish synagogues and schools be burned, their homes razed and destroyed, their writings confiscated, their rabbis forbidden to teach, their travel restricted, that lending money be outlawed for them, and that they be forced to earn their wages in farming.

Luther advised “[i]f we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country” and “we must drive them out like mad dogs.”

So do we throw away the whole protestant movement because of Luther’s fallen nature? God forbid! We forgive him and move on. Now, Ellen White [early member of the SDA church] never made such hateful statements about other races yet people try and find “dirt” on her. There are videos about how terrible a Christian she was also.

What are you looking for? If you are looking for Truth you can find it. Jesus is not hiding under a rock someplace. As a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian I invite you to look at our teachings and compare them with Scripture. Read, pray, search the Scriptures for yourself. Stop looking for something to “hang your hat on”. Stand up, get serious about your relationship with Truth, the Christian Truth!

Written by, Eric W. King December 18, 2007 and some of this article taken from some earlier articles written by Eric on November 12,2007 & May 20,2007

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