The Phenomenon Of Ellen White’s Inspiration— On The Christmas Tree

Garrick Augustus; December 16, 2012

029After publishing my essay on The Pope and His Christmas, I have received several comments of varying degrees from many readers.  The comments are in two categories, a minority of individuals who see this as an affront against the prophetic ministry of Ellen White, and a majority who embrace the “new light” and reformatory principle of the Bible on this matter.  Three readers have taken exception to the notion that Ellen White was called out for being in error in her councils to the Adventist Christians regarding our relation to the Christmas tree.  One reader, in particular, is deeply incensed that the specter of error should be placed upon Ellen G. White touching the Christmas tree and has requested my public address to his concerns.  His driving argument is that if Sister White is proven to be wrong on this point, then the fear is that many will summarily conclude that she might be wrong on other points as well.  To state it bluntly he said: “’if she’s wrong here then maybe she’s wrong there also,’ is what some will think.”  And while in the main, he is in strong agreement that Christmas and the Christmas tree are of pagan Babylonian origins, and an idolatrous image of heathenism, he finds himself struggling to, as it were, save Sister White from overt criticisms.   That you may see his concerns, as well as have a basis for my reply, I now, in harmony with his request, present his unedited e-mail below:

On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM, EST, David P Rehm, wrote:

Hello Bro. Augustus,

I have been getting emails from you from time to time (though I don’t know where you would have gotten my info from). Nonetheless, I just read through your “The Pope and Christmas” study and while I can, to a large degree, agree with what you are saying in the fact that Adventists have went, with what I call, “all-the-way” with Christmas.

First, let me explain myself a little. I have been a Seventh-day Adventist for 22 years (an historical Adventist I might add). I have since gotten married and have 2 children. We have always celebrated Christmas the traditional way – put up a tree, decorate it, buy presents, etc… Then we became more convicted that what we were doing was going too far. We stopped all the “glamor” that goes along with Christmas, etc… My kids do get a little bummed but we, as parents, feel we’re doing the best thing for them.

What concerns me in your study is your direct accusation on Sister White. Here is a paragraph from your study (emphasis mine):

“Adventists are partial to Christmas only because Ellen White has given her sweeping approval of its pagan practice through her approval of the tree. Shall we therefore continue in the perpetuation of this invention of the devil, by lying to our children and the world so that we may leave the office of Ellen White to glow with the air of “infallibility”? God forbids! We must be honest enough to acknowledge that she was wrong to endorse the birthday of the pagan messiah—Tammuz, December 25th. She was wrong to give endorsement of the attendant devil-inspired Christmas tree. She was wrong to have attached divine sanction to the practice of attaching gifts for Jesus on this altar of Baal. This is not the only time, though, when a prophet has been wrong, and so we need to acknowledge this fact and get over this blunder of Sister White’s as quickly as possible, by teaching the truths of the Scriptures on the birth of Christ, rather than perpetuating an error simply because it has her endorsement.”

Either Sister White was a prophet or she was not? – is the question. You acknowledge she is a prophet. Did she make this up on her own when she endorsed the tree?or did God give her this counsel? God absolutely did give her this counsel to write because many were (or would be) concerned about it.

As for your comment “This is not the only time, though, when a prophet has been wrong…”
Yes prophets have misunderstood but if she had misunderstood this counsel about the tree she would have been corrected. Don’t you think Jesus would have corrected her and given her counsel about what she wrote – esp. if it is so awful, as you state? For the length of her life that she wrote for the Lord He most assuredly would have.

As an example we have the “open and shut door” – she was wrong at first about it and then Jesus enlightened her on it and she then put forth the correct view.  When you start boldly accusing and proclaiming that “she was wrong and let’s just admit it” – you do great harm not only to yourself but others who read your “opinions”.You can shake the confidence of people in her writings – “Well, if she’s wrong here then maybe she’s wrong there also.” is what some will think. Please consider what I am saying.

Paul said “an idol is nothing” (1 Corinthians 8:4). Do you eat Chinese food? Most of the food at most of the restaurants are dedicated (or blessed) by Buddha as it comes in the door. It doesn’t mean when I eat it, knowing that it has been dedicated to Buddha, that I am doing something wrong. We can look at the tree in this way. Is putting a tree in the house any different than hanging a plant in your home? It’s the same principle. Sure some will that the tree is put up because it’s Christmas (a pagan festival) – but remember an idol is nothing.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not defending the tree – I am defending the Spirit of Prophecy in that you have just said, in a publicly sent study, that she is wrong. Since being convicted, some years we have put up a tree and others we haven’t. We don’t decorate it at all – nothing. We follow Sisters White’s counsel to write our blessings on paper and hang them on the tree. And either Christmas Eve or morning we read those blessings out loud.

Please stop doing the Devil a favor by your criticism of Sister Whitein basically saying she is a false prophet.

God Bless,
Bro. David Rehm

ps – I would kindly ask that you would reply “publicly” to this response to all your email subscribers/contacts and I would also ask you to include my complete email above. Thanks!

All emphasis and color renderings are mine—G.A.


My Reply:

Dear Brother Rehm:

I have read your letter, and am honoring your request to publicly respond to your concerns, about Ellen G. White’s views on Christmas and the associated “tree”.  I believe you were honest about your feelings on the matter, and judged from the response from two other readers, a reply to your concerns will address theirs too.  Indeed, we have come to such a place where we must “prove all things” (1 Thess. 5:21), and hold fast to that which we have proven to be “good,” hence the subject of Christmas and the attendant tree, falls in the category of the “all things” which must be proven from the Holy Scriptures.

I share your concerns raised, commend you and your wife for living up to your convictions, and modifying your approach in how you celebrate Christmas.  I also commend you for reading my article and requesting a public response on the office and ministry of Ellen G. White.  For after all, at the end of the day, we must all agree that she was either a Messenger of God or she was not.

Your new stand on Christmas is a more sure foundation than your previous “all the way approach” and as you mature in Christ, you will happily discover that Christmas was never His idea from the very beginning, and this new attitude of yours is driven by “conviction” from God’s Holy Spirit, as you agree.

I wish to inform you and all my readers that it has never been, and never will be my intention to undermine the gift of prophecy as revealed in Sister White, and weaken confidence in her work.  Since you have received several of my previous studies, you will realize very quickly that I am a fierce defender of the gift of prophecy in the remnant church, and quote freely from Sister White’s pen.  Having said this, we must all agree also, that whatever Sister White teaches must come in conformance with the greater light—the Bible; this is a view she holds very strongly:

“God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word…Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible.” (EGW, Evangelism, p. 256)

In this regard, then, we must have the Testimonies agree with “the unerring standard,” and any attempt to countermand this “unerring standard,” must be scrutinized with great suspicion!  In this vein, I submit to you the following concerns:

  1. Christmas is a creation of Satan’s—deep in the mind of Nimrod, in the city of Babylon, lived this “vicar” of YHWH
  2. The Christmas Tree, was used to hang the heads of the enemies of Babylon, hence the hanging ball-like objects dangling from its bowers.
  3. The 25th of December has ever been recognized as Tammuz’s birthday (Tammuz, is the son of Nimrod).
  4. In the Bible, Ezekiel chapter 8, the Almighty condemned Tammuz worship and associated it with sun worship.
  5. In the Christian dispensation, Christmas was introduced into Christianity through the Roman Catholic Church, via the pagans of the early centuries.
  6. Christmas is a “mass,” commencing with a midnight worship assembly, and as such is a day of worship of the one whose birth was for centuries commemorated on that day—December 25, the birth of Babl-berith.
  7. The Christmas tree is denounced in the Scriptures as of “heathen” origins, and believers are admonished by the Almighty to “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” (Jer. 10: 2-4).  Further, observe that the word “learn” in the Hebrew, means to teach, to practice, to instruct.  Hence in the negative, it means “do not teach, practice or instruct” in the methods of the heathens.

Given the seven bible-based points listed above, can you in clear conscience and Christ-like obedience, in this day and age, teach that “God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship“? (Review and Herald, Dec. 11, 1879).  I know that each person must be persuaded in his or her own mind, but this now goes into the realm of countermanding the clear teaching of the Bible, and I submit to you, and everyone, I’d much rather to err on the side of the Bible a thousand times than to err the other way around.

This is where I’m coming from, my brother; I do not see any Scriptural principle to which Ellen White appealed, in setting her endorsement on the Christmas tree.  From the passages in her writings, the only motivation seems to be able to collect money for “these houses of worship.”  Interestingly enough, there are churches today who play “BINGO” among other games in order to collect money for their houses of worship, so even in this regard, Christmas is not unique.  Ellen White was well within her rights to make this statement about the Christmas tree, wrong-headed though it may be, because prophets also have a personal life and are known to speak by permission, and not from revelation, in their personal views, on social and theological matters which were not yet revealed in their time.

This brings me to the story of the two prophets, Old prophet, and the young prophet, and it is most relevant to examine their experiences at this point:  Read 1 Kings Chapter 13, and determine for yourself whose advise you would have followed—the entreaties of “the old prophet,” or the expressed words of God (YHWH)?  Realize that the choice is one which weighs between life and death, salvation and damnation.  The young prophet willfully chose to err on the side of the old prophet and great was his fall, he lost his life and his soul!

“He [the old prophet] said unto him [the man of God], I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.  So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.  And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:  And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,  But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.” 1 Ki. 13: 18-22.

How sad an ending to a disobedient servant of Christ!  My friends, I cannot be clearer in this conviction; though not myself a prophet, I have heard from heaven on this matter, and shall not join with the “merry-making” festival of Tammuz.  Follow your convictions and the advice of the old prophet if you will, but as for me and my house, we will follow YHWH.

My Brother, from your foregoing letter, it is very clear that your main concern is to protect the office of Ellen White from theological embarrassment; in that, you will not concede to the notion that she has left an uncorrected clerical error in her writings throughout her seventy-year ministry. Like you, I too felt the same way for a long while that Ellen White is infallible, but as my study of the Holy Scriptures deepened, I discovered the salient Reformation principle of “Sola Scriptura,” which when applied has ever been the final answer to all my theological questionings, and I was challenged to revisit my former beliefs regarding the infallibility of Ellen White, and have learned to accept her in the light of all the other prophets of the Scriptures—mortals who spoke at the unction of the Holy Spirit, but who were entitled to their private opinions while not thus endowed.  While they were all erring mortals, the Creator still anointed them to be his vessels of honor, their cultural and social norms notwithstanding.  I realize that Christmas is a very sensitive subject for most Christians, and a super sensitive topic for Seventh-day Adventists, because of the Ellen White factor, so I will be as careful as possible to share the facts of the Scriptures, and let the Holy Spirit bring conviction where He wills.

Firstly, as a minister of “the everlasting gospel,” the intent of my article was not to oppose Ellen White, or the Adventist Church, rather it is to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isa. 58:1.  The God of Israel had a hard time breaking the children of Israel from their Idolatry, and He appears to be having as hard a time in breaking modern Israel from similar apostasies. With all this said, let me now examine your letter, and respond as you requested:

In your opening, you stated, “I can, to a large degree, agree with what you are saying in the fact that Adventists have went, with what I call, ‘all-the-way’ with Christmas.”  This statement confuses me for this reason:  On the one hand you strongly “agree” that Christmas is pagan, and that our people have gone “all-the-way” with this child of the Papacy, yet you are, on the other hand, seeking redress on behalf of Ellen White, whose endorsement of this Christmas spirit has done more to help our church in their “all-the-way” celebration of this institution of the Papacy’s.  Then to make matters worse, you further agreed with me, and related your experience of the workings of God’s Holy Spirit on your heart thusly: “we became more convicted that what we were doing was going too far.”

My Brother, Who was it that “convicted” you with the thought that you were “going too far” with Christmas; God or Satan?   Since Satan does not “convict” anyone but accuses everyone, I am left to believe that the Holy Spirit of the Most High YHWH, the Ruach Ha-Kodesh, brought conviction to you and your wife’s heart that this pagan custom is vain, and to the extent that your children were “bummed” you still held on to those to convictions, and brought their joys to an end, because you felt you were “doing the best thing for them.”  It amazes me that after being “convicted” you are still forcing the issue of the Babylonian tree, simply to exonerate Sister Ellen G. White! At this juncture, I can only recommend that you restudy the story of the Old prophet and the “man of God” in 1 Ki. 13.

Though years of church membership mean nothing to me, I have been a member of the historic Seventh-day Adventist faith for a few years before your time, and have been and continue to be greatly blessed by the gift of prophecy given to this Church.  I would never have known as much in the Scriptures as I now do, were it not for reading plentifully of those inspired writings.  I am also reminded that truth is ever-unfolding, and Sister White has gone on record to make this statement clear: “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.” Counsels to Writers_and_Editors, p. 36.  This statement stands on its own, it speaks for itself, and needs no further elucidation.

“God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word….Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible.” (Evan. 256)

Next, you really raised the stakes on Sister White by charging:  “Either Sister White was a prophet or she was not? – is the question. You acknowledge she is a prophet. Did she make this up on her own when she endorsed the tree?or did God give her this counsel? God absolutely did give her this counsel to write because many were (or would be) concerned about it.”

Think of the implications of your statement in light of her above quote in which she counsels that we ought not take the position that “all our expositions of Scripture are without an error,” and maybe you will then discover that the only ones who see her as “infallible” are many church members—as she never heaped that title on herself! And the sooner we learn this fact, the better it is for us all.  Don’t you see it is virtually impossible to call a people out of Babylon, while at the same time we bring Babylon into our churches, my Brother?

As for your question: “Did she make this up on her own when she endorsed the tree?or did God give her this counsel?” You suggested for the answer that “God absolutely did give her this counsel…”  I must confess, you are incorrect in this position, and are virtually exposing Ellen White and the Office of the Spirit of Prophecy to derision by our enemies, because it is as clear as black from white that Ellen White did not hear from Heaven on this matter, nor could she have, and she herself stated this fact:

To prove that Ellen White was speaking by permission when she gave sweeping approval of the Christmas tree, I shall again cite another of her statements on the subject:

“Letters of inquiry have come to us asking, Shall we have a Christmas tree? Will it not be like the world? We answer, you can make it like the world if you have a disposition to do so, or you can make it as unlike the world as possible. There is no particular sin in selecting a fragrant evergreen and placing it in our churches, but the sin lies in the motive which prompts to action and the use which is made of the gifts placed upon the tree.  The tree may be as tall and its branches as wide as shall best suit the occasion; but let its boughs be laden with the golden and silver fruit of your beneficence, and present this to Him as your Christmas gift. Let your donations be sanctified by prayer.” The Adventist Home, page 482.

The reader should now see that Mrs. White was providing an answer which works for her and her family, but not which the Lord instructed her to teach the church at large.  Note that she gave absolutely no Biblical foundation for these views, rather she gave counsel, as would best work for her and her family, thus she declares, “we answer,” and “not the Lord answers…”  As a prophet though, she does have the authority to communicate to individuals, and to the church at large, her own private opinions under such circumstances, uninspired though they may be, and there is no particular sin or error on her part in doing so.  Personally, I wish she hadn’t.

Here is another recommendation which Ellen White gave to a family in her early ministry, one which she has never corrected in her published writings, and one which was patently opposed to the Scriptures.  Please note the following from the pen of Ellen White’s to the inquiring couple:

“I saw that it does not glorify God in the least for any of His people to make a time of trouble for themselves [by abstaining from swine’s flesh as food, and making it a test for fellowship].  There is a time of trouble just before God’s people, and he will prepare them for that fearful conflict.

“I saw that your views concerning swine’s flesh would prove no injury if you have them to yourselves; but in your judgement 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…If it is the duty of the church to abstain from swine’s flesh, God will discover it to more than two or three.  He will teach His church their duty…Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead…I saw that you both must speedily be brought where you are willing to be led, instead of desiring to lead, or Satan will step in and lead you in his way, to follow his counsel….You both are making work for repentance.”  (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 206-207.  Brackets and emphasis added)

I saw that you both must speedily be brought where you are willing to be led, instead of desiring to lead, or Satan will step in and lead you in his way, to follow his counsel. Some look at your set notions, and consider them an evidence of humility. They are deceived. You both are making work for repentance.

You can rest assured that Satan was not the one leading these brethren into the subject of diet reform, in conformance with the dietary principles of the Torah, rather, it was God’s Holy Spirit.  The simple truth is, the light on Health Reform was not then revealed to the church through the accepted channel of truth (Ellen G. White), and it was Ellen White who had to “retrace every step” in her rebuke of the couple for their interest in conforming with the whole Counsel of God!  She stated that “you have made this question a test,” yet five years later, when the light on Health Reform was given to her, the very same passages of Scripture  used by the couple in their inquiry to Ellen White were now used by her to sustain the “new light” on Health Reform given in 1863!  Since those times, our baptismal vow has a “test” question regarding unclean foods, including the abstinence from the use of pork, coffee and alcoholic beverages.   Ellen White stated of this couple that “Satan will step in and lead you in his way, to follow his counsel….You both are making work for repentance.” Who repented?  Who was being led by Satan on this matter? Who was being true to the Word of God?

Totally militant to her above counsel given the inquiring couple (Brother and Sister A), Ellen White would later teach an opposite doctrine on the use of pork—swine’s flesh, for food:

“You know that the use of swine’s flesh is contrary to His express command, given not because He wished to especially show His authority, but because it would be injurious to those who should eat it.  The tissues of the swine swarm with parasites.  Of the swine, God said, “It is unclean unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.”  This command was given because swine’s flesh is unfit for food.  Swine are scavengers, and this is the only use they were intended to serve.  Never, under any circumstances, was their flesh to be eaten by human beings.”  (Counsels on Diet and foods, p. 392. Emphasis and italics added)

Contrast Ellen White’s later position to her harsh counsel given to the couple and ask yourself the question: who was right from the start?  Notice that in her later teaching Sister White, with Bible in hand states: “Of the swine, God said, “It is unclean unto you…”  The same cannot be said of her attitude towards the Christmas tree, that “God said, ”select a fragrant evergreen and placing it in our churches!”  Even Ellen White grew in her knowledge of the Scriptures and has instructed us to make it our final rule of authority while respecting the counsels given in the Testimonies.  Let’s hear from her pen on this matter:

“You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies….‘The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all.’”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 664, 665.

“Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.”The Review and Herald, Jan. 20, 1903, p. 15.

“The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. Oh, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain!” Ellen G. White, in Review and Herald, Jan. 20, 1903, also quoted in Colporteur Ministry, page 125.

In March 1888, Elder G. I. Butler, still president of the General Conference, gave a series of talks to the students in Battle Creek College, while Ellen White was yet alive, and taught in his “Special Course” to theology students:  “The Bible is the standard. And that which comes up to the standard we ought to accept. But to go so far as to say, ‘I would give up the Bible before the testimonies,’ is a very wrong statement to make. And if any one says the testimonies contradict the Bible, I should advise him to cling to the Bible; for the Bible should be the test by which everything is tried.  Our enemies make great cavil of this, just because of some such unguarded, foolish statements. Do not do it. Such persons are but little short of being fanatical.”—GC President G.I. Butler, 1888, Talks to the Students of the “Special Course” at Battle Creek College, White Publications Document File, 105ff.  Read more at; EG White’s Writings in Relation to the Bible

To directly answer your question: “Did she make this up on her own when she endorsed the tree?or did God give her this counsel?”  I answer bluntly, this was her own opinion, and she has declared it so, and by no means did “God give her this counsel.”  This does not make her into a false prophet, it simply means that prophets are humans who have their own opinions in spiritual things, and sometimes their private opinions are wrong.  This is not a unique case with Ellen White, but with all the prophets, I have dealt with this challenge frontally, and cited several examples from the Bible, in my historic paper, Christ-Mass, Is it Christian? and shall presently quote from that article below:

Many authors of the Advent faith have grappled with the subject of Christmas celebration in general, and  “the Christmas tree” in particular, and would have denounced it as outrightly pagan except that by so doing they fear the theological backlash, which will come from the readers of Ellen G. White’s council on the subject.  This author will break from the majority and stand solidly on the integrity of the Scriptures and sacred history, even if he has to disagree with Sister White on this prominent heaven-condemned practice. Before I do, however, I might caution the reader that a prophet is allowed to have private opinions devoid of Inspiration.

The examples are many in the lives of the prophets in Bible times, who at times believed and lived contrary to established truths, and who had their private opinions on the things of Yahweh, yet they still bore a true message from heaven, and were still recognized by heaven as “seers” of the Most High.  One need only look at the lives of Lot, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Elijah, to name a few, to readily see that they had personal opinions and practices which were contrary to heaven’s light, yet they were recognized as The Lord’s Anointed prophets.  Let’s take Lot, for example, who in his drunken stupor committed the act of incest with his daughters. (Gen. 19: 30-38)  While heaven endorsed his piety, it also condemned his evil practice, which has led to some of the more explosive middle-east turmoils to this day.  We can think of Abraham who enjoyed a polygamous relationship with his maid Hagar.  Then, of course, there is David, who stole the affections of Uriah’s wife, and finally plotted his murder to cover his tracks.  We may also look at Elijah, who taught and thought that he was the only true remaining worshipper of the Creator alive in Israel, only to hear the gentle rebuke, “I have reserved me seven thousand, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (Read 1 Kings 19).

I believe an example of recent times will be in order at this juncture.  I am thinking of Martin Luther, the great stalwart of the faith, who was commissioned by Heaven to teach the doctrine of “Justification by faith,” and thereby launched the Protestant Reformation.  Yet, this great man of GOD authored one of the most hate-filled manifestos against Sabbath keepers, in general, and the Jewish people in particular, which led to an untold amount of severe persecution against them.  Luther championed the idea that all Jews (Sabbath keepers) should be burnt at the stake.

It is a well-founded fact that from the anti-Semitic teachings of Luther’s, another German zealot in the person of Adolph Hitler, took his philosophy to its logical conclusion and within the span of five years, he had exterminated over 6 Million Jews! Luther’s personal prejudices notwithstanding, the GOD of heaven has used him in a marked manner to champion the Protestant Reformation.  What is true for Luther and all the prophets of Bible times is also true of Ellen G. White–they were not, and are not infallible in their personal views, even if these views are theological in nature.

How then shall we understand the comments of Ellen White regarding the celebration of Christmas, which are so explicitly contrary to everything Biblical on the subject?  Well, let me first allow the reader to see the statements in question, after which we shall analyze them under the Super Lenses of the Scriptures:

God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship.Review and Herald, Dec. 11, 1879

Let the several churches present to God Christmas trees in every church; and then let them hang thereon the fruits of beneficence and gratitude, –offerings coming from willing hearts and hands, fruits that God will accept as an expression of our faith and our great love to him for the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ. Let the evergreen be laden with fruit, rich, and pure, and holy, acceptable to God. Shall we not have such a Christmas as Heaven can approve?Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884.  (Also be found in The Adventist Home, p. 477; emphasis supplied).

I can simply say that in this instance Ellen White did not say, “I was shown…” or that “the Lord instructed me….”, etc. Neither was she quoting from, and or commenting on any relevant Scripture bearing on the subject. She simply gave her own private opinion on the matter, an opinion which is clearly discredited in the face of Scriptures.  This does not make her into a false prophet; otherwise, we need to view Lot, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Elijah in the same light as well.  From all that we have thus far seen, we can be certain that heaven is not “well pleased” with our adopting the “Christmas tree” into church fellowship, to launch a fundraising drive for the poor!

The Apostle Paul had to address the early church on matters touching marriage and divorce, and he did not fail to share his own opinion on the matter.  He clearly stated, “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” 1 Cor. 7:6.  Please read verses 11 and 25 as well.

I submit to all readers at this time that in her presentation on the “Christmas tree,” Ellen White spoke by permission and not by commandment from the Almighty.  Indeed, she herself stated this fact when she declared: “Letters of inquiry have come to us asking, shall we have a Christmas tree? Will it not be like the world? We answer…” The Adventist Home, page 482.

God will not hold you guilty, dear reader, if you chose the plain teaching of the Bible over the private opinions of Ellen White on the Christmas tree; and let no one, no matter how highly revered, place a guilt trip on you into believing that the above Ellen White statements are the final and authoritative words of YHWH on the subject!  They are not!  Better consult your Bible and sacred history first.  As Sabbath keepers, we have taken great pains to uncover all the historical arguments in favor of Sabbath worship, and simultaneously proved the falsehood of Sunday sacredness.  I challenge all truth-seeking minds to do the same for Christmas as we have done for Sabbath vs. Sunday, and make your decisions with an informed mind, on the weight of evidence, and not just accept a practice because Sister White sees it as “a Christmas as Heaven can approve.”

It is remarkable to hear Ellen White so freely quoted on this topic, yet the many other biblical counsels she has provided have largely gone unheeded!  In my experience, I have personally found that those who entrench themselves behind Ellen White on the Christmas tree, have with an equal but opposite zeal disregarded her time-tested advice on meat eating, health reform, dress reform, Sabbath reform, the wearing of jewelry, the 2300 days and the Sanctuary, amongst a plethora of other divine councils and admonitions penned by her!   It presents a very weak argument to defend Christmas and its tree with a “thus saith Ellen White,” while the Bible and history teach the very opposite; yet reject the admonitions of the same author, when the Bible and history uphold and defend those counsels which she has given, but which do not satisfy our carnal desires.

The idea that believers should hang “offerings, great and small,” on this devil-instituted symbol, is tantamount to offering “strange fire before the LORD.”  “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.”  Lev. 10:1.  “And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.” Num. 26:61.

In other words, we cannot expect the LORD’s blessings on gifts reserved for his honor, when they are served to Him on the altar of Baal-Berith!  Friend, there is no agreement with the altar of Yahweh, and the altar of Baal, they are patently incongruous.   When Elijah stood on Mt. Carmel against Baal’s prophets in defense of true worship, he purposefully refused to use the same altar dedicated to Baal worship for the offering of sacrifices dedicated to Yahweh. We are told, “And he [Elijah] repaired the altar of YHWH that was broken down… And with the stones he built an altar in the name of YHWH.”  1 Kings 18:30, 32.

What a legacy of an example he left for us to follow! We cannot offer offerings to the GOD of heaven on Baal’s altar, and expect to win His favor! Friend, let us not compromise with Baal worship when we are so close to the borders of the eternal world.  Elijah might well have reasoned, “it’s the end of day, we are all tired since we’ve been here from early in the morning; let’s just use this already established altar of Baal and get on with this aspect of the showdown.”  But no, he took the time to repair and build an altar in the name of Yahweh, on which he later offered his sacrifice.

Unless otherwise shown, I am convinced of this one thing, had Elijah offered his sacrifice on the altar dedicated to Baal, the story would have had a very different ending.  Friend, heaven demands that we make a conscious “difference between the holy and [the] profane” (Ezek. 22:26; Lev. 10:10); this is what Elijah did, and great was his reward!  The challenge is now ours in this evil and adulterous age to stand for the truth and righteousness though the heavens fall! —Christ-mass, Is it Christian? Garrick Augustus, 2008, pp. 3-5.

Before closing this thought, I believe it is fair to cite one other area of concern in Brother Rhem’s complaint: “When you start boldly accusing and proclaiming that ‘she was wrong and let’s just admit it’ – you do great harm not only to yourself but others who read your ‘opinions’.You can shake the confidence of people in her writings – “Well, if she’s wrong here then maybe she’s wrong there also.” is what some will think. Please consider what I am saying.”

Of a truth, having come this far in the discussion, I believe is safe to say that Ellen White is not being wrongly “accused,” nor are her views on Christmas and the associated “tree” being misrepresented.  What we have then is a question of credibility, and as such, we must be bluntly honest.  We must first of all be honest, honest with the Bible, honest with ourselves, and honest with the public at large.

If we try to represent an idea that Ellen White is inerrant, then it only takes one minor error to overthrow faith in her ministry.  If on the other hand, we are honest enough to confess that in this or that particular area, she did not have light, and thus rendered the popular opinion of the times, one which she herself shared, it will be much better received.  And for this, the Bible is filled with examples (I will not here state them), but suffice to say that Jacob was wrong to have four wives (baby mothers), but in the end, he became Israel.  God values honesty and the same with those who are “made in his image.”  When, on the other hand, there appears the slightest indication of dishonesty and cover-up, the floodgates of inquiry and research for more errors will have been opened, and this, my friend, does more “harm” and no good.  My ministry has been one which deals honestly with Ellen White’s writings, and have seen the conversion of Jehovah’s Witness to the Advent Message, with a full embrace of the office of Spirit of Prophecy in the Remnant Church.

Because you could not directly deal with Jeremiah 10, and honestly say that Ellen White’s counsel is in keeping with the Lord’s expressed command to “not learn the ways of the heathens,” you now seek for defense a statement of Paul’s which is taken out of its context: “an idol is nothing.”  Let’s examine this passage more closely: “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” (1 Cor. 8: 4-6).

The word “nothing” carries with it the meaning of “a non-living entity,” thus in other places he and other Bible writers call them “no gods,” in the face of which he pours forth the thought “that there is none other God but one,” the Creator.  Don’t mislead yourself and others with the thought that since “an idol is nothing,” you can have the heathen Babylonian tree on which to hang your gifts and prayers unto the True and Living YHWH, this will, in the end, lead to your shame!

As she matured in knowledge on these things, Ellen White would later condemn these holidays as the worship of heathen deities, for that is really what they are!  Contrasting her revised and illuminated understanding on the Christmas tree, with what she formerly held, one can clearly see the progression of Ellen White’s understanding of the pagan holidays.  in 1879 thru 1884 she gave broad and sweeping approval of them, then ten years later, in 1894 she would say “these days have no more influence for good than would the worship of heathen deities; for this is really nothing less.”

This is honest to goodness growth, and we can really trust this statement for it is prefaced with “From the light that the Lord has given me,” as opposed to “letters have come to the office asking….” Let’s now quote her in context:

“God would be well pleased if on Christmas, each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small, for these houses of worship.” Review and Herald, Dec. 11, 1879 ; see also Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884.  (Also to be found in The Adventist Home, p. 477; emphasis supplied

“The youth in this country [Australia] require more earnest spiritual labor than in any other country we have yet visited. Temptations are strong and numerous; the many holidays [including Christmas] and the habits of idleness are most unfavorable for the young. …But from their youth up they have been educated to the popular idea that the appointed holidays must be treated with respect and be observed. From the light that the Lord has given me, these days have no more influence for good than would the worship of heathen deities; for this is really nothing less. These days are Satan’s special harvest seasons. The money drawn from men and women is expended for that which is not bread. The youth are educated to love those things which are demoralizing, things which the word of God condemns. The influence is evil and only evil continually.” {FE 320.3-321, (1923); originally written in “Special Testimonies On Education, February 1894”} [Added by me].  Let the chips fall where they may!

I must confess that I have read broadly all the publications from our church on this question, and I have never seen the above statement reproduced in any denominational periodical or literature.  The matured Ellen White, based on “the light that the Lord has given” her, not only condemns the holidays, including the darling holiday of Christmas as the “worship of heathen deities but further declared that “These days are Satan’s special harvest seasons,” for the souls of our youth!  When we think we are bringing glory and honor to our Creator, we are instead, as it were, only offering up “strange fire,” which is like smoke with putrefying odor in His nostrils.

In closing, let me state where I see the harm: you cautioned me to “Please stop doing the Devil a favor by your criticism of Sister White in basically saying she is a false prophet.”  This is the greatest danger I see in your attitude and stand toward Ellen White’s writings, Brother Rehm, that you are, elevating her on a plane superior to even the Prophets of the Bible, and will cause much harm to her ministry.  It is not the devil’s work, of speaking the truth about the Bible prophets, that they were erring sinful mortals, neither is it the devil’s work with regard to Sister White and her writings either.  To teach for doctrines the commandments of men, however holy and well-favored of heaven, is not in keeping with the Messianic faith established through the blood shed on Calvary’s cross.

In Israel, the reason for the failures of their revivals and even reformations is that the “high places” were not taken down, and so the next generation, came and worshiped the “high places.”  I dare say, as long as the “high place” of Christmas is left intact in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we will never be able to experience true revival and reformation.  Thanks again for your letter, and may the Spirit of Messiah guide us into “all Truth.”  Sincerely, for true Revival and Reformation—Garrick Augustus.

Selected Reader’s Comments on Christmas Celebration Among Adventists


“I wish for you to think about me how to answer the question of Ellen White’s credibility, because I believe that she was inspired of GOD, but can’t help wondering how she could endorse the celebration of such a pagan holiday, even to the point of calling for churches to have Christmas trees in their sanctuaries during that time. I have always admitted that there are things she has written I don’t understand, much as there are things in the Bible I don’t get.  I fear looking down upon a prophet of GOD, and disregarding her letters because of something like this.”— K.T.

“I am with u in Spirit and Truth, in One accord Beloved. Very timely and well done. Thank you for sharing. I will be sure to pass it onto my whole list and even on facebook.  May Yahuwah ever Bless and give increase to this Message for understanding’s sake, that many may make the decision to observe Torah without compromise. In the Name of Yahushua Ha Mashiach, Amen.  Sincerely, Pastor B.”

“It’s interesting that you are sharing this article with me now. Until fairly recently, MAYBE 2 YEARS AGO, I struggled to completely come to terms with the reality that Adventists of all people could embrace that message and celebrate Christmas. While I do not ACTIVELY celebrate Christmas myself, I have to admit that after reading what Ellen White had to say, I appreciated Christmas celebration as a purely cultural issue, and fully accommodated its celebration NOT AS A MUST BUT AS OK, though SPIRIT OF PROPHECY CLEARLY POINTS OUT THAT IT CANNOT GO UNNOTICED AND THAT AS SUCH WE ARE TO SHARE GIFTS WITH THE WORLD IN APPRECIATION OF THE GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST. I struggled with her messages here and there, primarily because of this message and others. I am praying to THE LORD for guidance, and I believe that there are things she has written that I don’t understand, and perhaps never will. but she was inspired by God, I believe. What I am certain [is that] the Adventist Church does not teach that Christ was born on ‘Christmas’ day.”—T.K.

“Hello Garrick, I hope all is well with the family.  You gave me a big dose to chew on. This is an eye-opener and should help all of us to take a look at where we stand with God.  Pray for my family and I, while I do the same for you and yours. God bless your effort and the timely work you do.”—Elder I.C.

Below are some readers from Amazing Fact’s article on Christmas:

“Wow, this is a really heated topic.  My family and I personally don’t celebrate the holiday.  I’ve been reading the posts and I see both sides of the issue.  Many are wanting to defend and hold on to their traditions of the holiday and want to convince others that it isn’t that bad. Then there are the others, like me, that would feel shame and sin to kill a tree and drag it in our house and decorate it like a golden calf and invite people over to admire our decorations.  It just feels so wrong to even think about!

“I use to do this annual ritual every year and go into debt and pretend I was Santa when the kids went to sleep and lie to them in the morning that Santa had come.  I’m so ashamed and embarrassed now!  My eyes were opened about 15 years ago and that first year of not decorating and buying gifts was really hard.  I felt like I was committing a Christmas Crime for not joining the masses at the mall and not giving gifts and no longer going to Christmas Parties.  If it were a True Christian Holiday, why do so many non Christians celebrate it, why are there fairytale characters mixed in with our Saviors supposed birth, why do children expect gifts?  Aren’t we teaching greed?  It’s a recognized holiday, it is certainly not a Holy Day …. in my eyes.— Blissful One

“No high horse here…, I celebrated Christmas most of my life too (now 42), and I loved every waking moment of it, I couldn’t get enough, however, now that I’m a man…. and like many other things in life, we sometimes come to know the true state of things as we trust in God and His Word, i.e. that Sunday is not the Sabbath, etc. Likewise, Christmas has nothing to do with Christ, and just as feeble as our human attempts to make Sunday sacred are, no amount of whitewashing and celebrating can ever make Christmas, in any way, sacred. We can place all the needs based help and all the charitable giving we want into this basket, but it will still be done in honor of a god that is not Christ. If we truly believe we ought to be more focused on doing good one of the first places to start might be with the truth… I hear it can set us free.”— MichaelE

“I don’t know why some Adventist pastors are bent on arguing to defend the indefensible. These are the facts: 1. X-MAS is pagan 2. Christ was not born on 25th Dec 3. Christ did not command any Christian to celebrate Christmas. So why are we trying to justify it and encouraging fellow Christians to share gifts and the gospel on THIS sacrilegiously crafted day. I don’t want to believe that what the proponents of this day (including some Adventist pastors) are saying is that it is most appropriate to bring gifts or share the gospel (something I should be doing 365 a year) on this unholy and untrue 25th Dec. Let us remember what the Master Himself said : If you love me keep my commandment. And so long as it is not one of His commands, I don’t think I (as a Christian) have any business with Christmas. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.”— Rannobilsurveys2012

“I fully agree with the article. The celebration of Christmas is not biblical. So when we do celebrate the day who are we actually ‘worshipping’? If this does not come from God, then who does it come from…? We need to be watchful and sober… as followers of Christ, let us tell others of His love, spreading the gospel and witness for Christ!”—Dineom

“I agree with the article..when u research the origins of Christmas it is just eye-opening and amazing how Christians have been fooled to celebrate and include pagan practices in their lives..!”—Maritza 1990

14 thoughts on “The Phenomenon Of Ellen White’s Inspiration— On The Christmas Tree

  1. Perhaps one of the best articles I’ve read on the topic. My thoughts exactly. Thanks for having saved me the work of writing!


  2. An undecorated pine tree tree being brought into church AS AN OBJECT LESSON, to hang monetary gifts on for the work of the ministry, as E.G. White had proposed to wisely replace the traditional and uselessly decorated Christmas tree, that is what you call devil worship? You are being an “accuser” against Mrs. White on the matter. And yet you cant find one Scripture to prove it is sinful for Mrs. White to have proposed this object lesson to replace the uselessly decorated Christmas tree!!
    Jeremiah 10 mentions no specific tree, but focuses on ancient idol worshippers (pagans) cutting a [non specific] tree to make a *graven (shaped/carved) image that’s also decorated or veneered outside, anchored to a spot, and then worshiped as an idol…just as is seen in the following Scripture (since we are to compare Scripture with Scripture in sensible hermeneutics):

    “Isaiah 40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
    Isa 40:20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a *tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven [carved] image, that shall not be moved.
    Isa 40:21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    Isa 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in Isa 40:25 To whom [or what carved idol] then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.”

    Your Scripture references, Garrick Augustus, are totally being misapplied to do a work of “accusation” that’s totally unfounded. How sad!!

    To illustrate the reason for my stance, let me remind you that the cross was an ancient pagan symbol long before Jesus’ earthly sojourn, and yet Paul under inspiration made plain IN THE BIBLE that he would “glory in the Cross” (or what it stands for; Gal. 6:14), since the Cross symbol in Christianity took on a different meaning in Christ, compared to ancient pagans!! Decorated Christmas trees with balls, trimmings, lights, et al, are pointless to the informed Christian, useless and a waste of money we should be stewards of (so I do not support having traditional Christmas [decorated] trees at Christmas), but (as the prophetess, E.G. White counseled) no sin is involved in replacing that traditional Christmas tree with the object lesson of encouraging people to give to the cause of Christ at Christmas time via hanging their gifts on an undecorated evergreen tree in Church, instead of wasting money on decorating a tree with useless trimmings to celebrate Christmas!! Motive!!

    It is similar to the idea that making a graven image and looking in its direction as a means of focussing on divinity was/is considered idolatry (as is the case with the images in Roman Catholicism), yet Moses (and God himself who instructed him) were not misguided for making a bronze serpent (as an object lesson about the future Messiah), then lifting it upon a pole and telling the people bitten by snakes to look to it and be healed!! They were not worshiping the bronze serpent!! It was just an object lesson!1 And that is why too despite God told the Israelite never to make graven images as part of their religion, yet notice that atop the ark of the covenant are graven images of two cherubs, and yet they were not object of worship (but object lessons); God who appeared in the skekinah glory between the cherubims was the object of worship!! Motive is key here!!

    As Mrs. White made plain “sin lies in the motive which prompts to action”, and if the motive for an undecorated tree in Church is not about celebrating Christmas, but rather it was about prompting people (while in Church at Christmas time) to give to the cause of Christ why she instructed the Church to have undecorated evergreen trees in the church to hang offerings for the gospel ministry on them, then it is the work of Lucifer, “the accuser of the brethren” to call that devil worship!! Plain and simple!!


    1. It is clear to me that for some people, as Brother Derrick, no amount of Biblical evidence is sufficient to override any statement made by Ellen G. White, and so it is a waste of time to even mount a defense to “the work of Lucifer” accusations leveled against me. It is sufficient for the reading public to note that before the pagans brought trees into church worship, it was totally unknown to primitive Christianity!

      “Ephraim [SDA’s?] is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hos. 4:17. With sadness I look on and see the beautiful city reduced to an harlot, and many are too beholden to church governance, church offices, or Ellen White to see that the SDA Church is in a crisis, and that the way out of her dilemma is to first acknowledge her dire need for a spiritual Revival and Reformation–the most necessary and urgent of all her needs.

      Here is a simple directive from the Scriptures, one which every honest Bible-believer should embrace: “2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
      3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
      4 Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.” Deut. 12: 2-4

      There is no permission given in the Bible to hoist a “nondecorated” evergreen (pine tree) into the place of worship as an object lesson of giving to the cause of Christ. The silver and gold are his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. In the days of Moses, where there was a need to gather funds “for the cause of Christ,” there was no tree for the object lesson, yet the giving was so overwhelming that the people had to be told to stop giving! The idea that we need a tree to prompt us to give is unbiblical, and is a method of Satan, not of Christ!

      When Christians start to use Satan’s methods of gaining funding for their cause, then it is not of the Spirit of Christ, but purely of man’s methods and ways. Will they experience financial “success” in these methods? yes, but their work is not endorsed by heaven. Let’s take for example some churches playing the Lotto, some play BINGO, and others all sorts of board games to raise money for their church ministries. It is only a pity that we are so blind to see that when we labor with our human efforts we are not working in Christ’s (Y’shuah’s) lines but following the methods of Cain. I would hope that a people who profess faith in “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ,” would be able to identify idolatrous practices and divest themselves of them.

      Brother Derrick: you may have your tree and promote it around the world church, to take the trimmings off and keep it to the Lord, but as for me and my house we have seen the one who died on Calvary and are clear that this is not an act of worship to Him.

      Your contention that there is no scripture denouncing an “undecorated pine tree,” prompts the other question: Where does the Scriptures condemn a “decorated pine tree”? This type of reasoning is called “argument from silence”–a cardinal fallacy in logic. We cannot build our understandings of the Bible based on an argument of silence, (argumentum ex silentio), for very quickly we will permit EVERYTHING that the Bible does not explicitly condemn. The Bible teaches principles and the Holy Spirit gives us the specifics as we grow in grace Christlikeness.

      Case in point: There is not one verse in the Bible’s ten commandments which says: “Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s husband,” it only applies the coveting in sexual sins to the “neighbor’s wife.” Those who find truth in arguing from silence will have no difficulty in pursuing their neighbor’s husband, for there is not explicit condemnation against it. In fact they might well reason that Jesus said, “That whosoever looketh on a woman [not man] to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt. 5:28. So there we have it! Moses condemns the man for coveting his neighbor’s wife, and Jesus condemns the man for lusting after a woman in his heart. Very absent from both principals is the explicit notion of lusting after a man, on the woman’s part. There are many other examples which I could cite, but the one already shown should suffice to show that most times, if not at all times, silence in the Bible is a more confirmatory evidence than are explicit statements. For example there are no instances where the Bible promotes a woman as a priest or High Priest. There are today many who thus commit the grave error of arguing this point from the deafening silence in the Scriptures on this question, and are now marshaling an army of women to become pastors! Not realizing that the Bible’s silence is the strongest prohibition there is that this practice ought not to be pursued by Christians!

      Because spiritual things are spiritually discerned, those who walk by faith and not by sight, are gifted with the Spirit of discernment, and are watchful of the enemy’s artifices, and sound the alarm ere the enemy prowls.

      Brother Derrick demonizes me because on the authority of the Bible and sacred history I have demonstrated that Christmas is pagan and the placing of a tree (decorated or undecorated) into the place of worship to YHWH is heathen worship and idolatry. He has appealed to the brazen serpent to make his point. But even here his argument is flawed, as it is built on escapism (avoiding the issue). It is a straw man. Seriously, he argued with me on Facebook on this very point yesterday, and I shall here reproduce my response:

      It is unfortunate that this question is necessary in addressing the Christmas (pagan) tree. Whereas the brasen serpent was commanded by YHWH the pagan tree was not. When the brasen serpent became an idol (being worshiped, instead of being looked upon), then under inspiration the Lord allowed it to be permanently removed: “He [king Hezekiah] removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.” 2Kings 18:4 Notice the godly character of this King–he was never condemned by heaven for removing this idol, for he was under divine inspiration to doing so.

      I personally find it dishonest on the part of many SDA apologists who go out of the way to exonerate Ellen White from her foibles, yet the same ones do not give the same latitude to others. Here is a case in point. In its grievance against The Shepherd’s Rod, SDA theologians denounces it as erroneous for the following position they cited:

      It [The Shepherd’s Rod] twists the Bible texts in an effort to make them teach things they do not say: Rod (Vol. 2, p. 216, par. 1) says “Sometime after the seventh seal was opened these voices” in heaven were silenced for half an hour. But the Bible does not say “sometime after”; it says “when” the seal was opened there was silence in heaven. — Seventh-day Adventist Teaching versus The Shepherd’s Rod, 1934, p. 8; italics added, underscores are in original.

      So the Rod has been condemned for interpreting the word “when” to mean “after,” and for this the Adventists reject its teachings as erroneous. Yet in 1957, when the same Adventist scholars were exegeting the same passage, they noted in their commentary of Rev. 8: 1, the following startling remarks: ““In contrast with the spectacular events that follow the opening of the other seals, an awesome silence follows the opening of the seventh.” Please note that the word follows means after, in order and chronology, just as Houteff taught in his book. May the rules of grammar prevail! The word “when” is a time function, and more often than not does not mean an instant in time, but it shows a transient–as time passes, or in the passage of time, hence “after” in many instances is a more accurate sense of comprehending the word when, in so far as the Bible is concerned. In this example you note that the Adventist theologians made use of the same literary license that Houteff employed in his writings, yet they condemned him as a false teacher while lifting themselves up as the gate-keepers of truth on earth. How is that for consistency? I have written broadly on this topic and my book will be released this May. Please be on the look out for it: coming to bookstores everywhere–What Every Seventh-day Adventist Should Know About The Shepherd’s Rod.


    1. Brother Derrick, is the SDA church an “offshoot group” from any religious worldview? How about Christianity, is it an offshoot of Judaism? Just asking…

      In Adventism the word “offshoot” is a condescending term as is the word “cult” that has been broadly applied to us SDA’s by our Sunday-keeping brethren. Labels matter little, but Truth matters much.

      It it has never been a secret that I openly profess belief in the Shepherd’s Rod message, and my book will tell the rest of the story. The troubling thought though is after some members of the Biblical Research Institute met with me, they were very concerned about what my book will say. I will leave the rest of the the great disclosure when the presses roll the manuscripts into books.

      I am confident of this one thing: Neither you nor The SDA Church theologians as a whole has ever, and can never prove the Shepherd’s Rod message as a false doctrine, with sole dependence Sola Scriptura. Insinuations of error have been made against Christ and the Bible, but saying “there is error,” and actually PROVING the error are worlds apart, and the straw man approach of proofs that our theologians have used are well documented there for the reading public to muse on. Please read and study Micah 6: 1, and 9, and like the “wise men” of old, seek Him.


      1. You have ALREADY proved yourself to be a false teacher to me long before I even learned you were/are a “Shepherd’s Rod” (follower of Victor Houteff’s philosophies)!! I discovered that while engaging you on a series of topics in the past, and or read certain of your columns/articles online, but I had decided to give you the benefit of the doubts I had in my mind about you. But now that I discovered your association with this “Shepherd’s Rod” group, it all now begin to fall into place, Garrick Augustus. I thank God for the full knowledge I now have of your “offshoot” status, and I disassociate myself from you!! You “Rods”, “Davidians”, or whatever, are a continuing source of misguided teachings (a mixture of truth and error) in Adventism since the 1930s, and I rebuke you in Jesus name!! Goodbye!!


      2. I was talking with a pious Seventh-day Adventist apologist on Facebook, Derrick Gillespie of Jamaica, and although I have had exchanges with him over the past two years, for whatever reason was not aware of my belief in the message called forth in Micah 6: 9. And as is normative with all the pious ones, he has unfriended me, and consigned me to the flames of hell. This attitude of intolerance and bigotry is sponsored by a people who go around the world teaching “religious liberty.” If you are not as bigoted, and desire to go beyond the chicken-soup for the soul bible studies, please visit my blog: I will also post my conversation with Derrick the record. The shocking thing is to know that this brother goes around the world (via the internet) teaching his brand of Adventism, as an Ellen White apologist, yet he fails to recognize a cardinal teaching of hers: “Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true—in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.” TM 105.3


  3. “Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

    “Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”


    1. People have used the Bible to justify slavery, and now you’re using the Bible to justify your very uncouth behavior. I will simply slap my breast and declare: “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner, and please make room for other sinners like me in your kingdom.”

      I would highly appreciate it if you’d please send me the conversations we shared, as I no longer have access to them. I believe they were very engaging and wanted to review them for reference. I hope you can find it within you to do so. I have not blocked you from posting on my page, and never will, because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.” 2 Cor 3:17. Do you believe and PRACTICE this, Brother Derrick?


    2. Derrick I asked you to please send me copies of the electronic correspondences we had, and have not heard from you. I am wondering if you saw my request, or if your are ashamed of its being made public. Thanks.


  4. “Any, anywhere the army goes,
    Any, anywhere the army goes,
    Any, anywhere the army goes, satan follow. Satan follow the army band;
    satan follow the army band;
    satan follow the army band.
    Satan follow. ”
    This is a song I remember my grandmother singing. It depicts the journeyings of God’s children from the call of Abraham; verily from the fall of man, to this day. But “… Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.”
    Faith in the Living Word of God.


  5. I have recently been convicted that I shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. I loved your point on how Elijah would not even offer a sacrifice to God on the same alter, but we as Christians chose a day historically linked to pagan Gods and they “birth” as the day to celebrate our Saviors birth. I used to put up my Christmas tree in September because I lived the holiday so much. The kids would always make a birthday cake for Jesus and we would sing Happy Birthday to Him as we blew out the candles. This is our first Christmas not celebrating. I don’t want to let the kids continue to celebrate when I feel convicted that it is wrong. I know how it is to be a kid and look forward to Christmas. I didn’t want to celebrate it in another day, because then we’re still following tradition and celebrating the pagan holiday. So I prayed for God to help me find another activity we could do with the kids that doesn’t involve Christmas. We have decided to celebrate Hanukkah, even though we are SDA, this year. We will focus on Jesus being the light of the world, read scripture and light candles every night for the 8 nights. One thing I liked about this holiday is that Jesus was in the temple (John 10) during Hanukkah so it leads me to believe that He celebrated it as well. Do you know if Hanukkah is ok for us to celebrate? Thank you so much for writing this paper. Even though I have been convicted to not celebrate Christmas, I have been struggling with giving it up. I’ve had people reminding me that EGW said it’s ok, so there isn’t a problem with it. Now I understand that as her light grew, so did her support of Christmas. I cannot think you enough for sharing this info. Looking forward to hearing back from you about Hanukkah celebration.


    1. Hi LR:

      Praise God for you! Hanukkah is an excellent substitute for Christmas! But I will show you a more excellent way: If you say you are SDA and “not Jewish” you will lose out, but I can see that the Holy Spirit has impressed you to look to the “Jewish” system, for therein lies the Truth. Jesus told the woman at the well that “salvation IS OF THE JEWS, for we know what we worship.” (paraphrased). At our ministry, we’ve just celebrated the Saviour’s Birth in the season that Heaven declared it! When was that, you may ask? It was during the feast of Tabernacles which lasted for not one but EIGHT DAYS! Please plan on joining us next year, by God’s grace. Please take some time to watch this video during Tabernacles, about 6 weeks ago:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s