Author Topic: Lesser Light What does it mean  (Read 40031 times)

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John Thurber

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Lesser Light What does it mean
« on: February 13, 2000, 03:52:00 AM »
I am pleased to be invited to join you all, pardon the southern drawl. I have already been blessed to read your posts. May God bless us together.
My topic is one that is of concern when I read that E.G. White was just the lesser light. As if to say not as important to the church.  What are your thoughts on this.
I have a dear friend, Elder George Brown, former President of the South Central Division, and He too retired here in Avon Park. I asked him what his thoughts were on this subject, and I would like to share them with you.

The term "lesser light" was first used by EGW as a firm counsel against the erroneous belief among some early SDA's that the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy were to be given the same authority as the Bible in matters of faith and doctrinal standards. They viewed the Spirit of Prophecy as a second Bible. To combat this falacy EGW coined the term "lesser light". In doing so she eloquently defended the Protestant thesis of "Sola Scriptura." She insisted that the "Bible and the Bible alone is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested." (GC,introduction,p.V11). She further emphasized that the "Scriptures are the one and only authentic standard for faith and doctrine." The role of the so called "lesser light", EGW counseled was to defend, illuminate and elucidate the Holy Bible, and not to be a substitute for it or to be used in competition with it. As the "lesser light", the Spirit of Prophecy is a sure and reliable guide in which the believer can fully trust, because it is in perfect harmony with all the teachings of the Bible.
The term "lesser light" does not denote an inferior status. The fact is that there is no inferior or superior divine inspiration. All God-breathed inspiration are equal, whether given to Bible writers or to EGW. The writings of both the the Holy Scriptures and ot Ellen White are equally inspired. The distinction between the "lesser light" and by implication the "greater light", has nothing to do with inspiration, but rather with canonicity. EGW labeled her writings as the "lesser light," not because they are less inspired than those of the Holy Scriptures; but because they are not part of the canonical books of the Bible.
In the context of her appeal to the early believers to regard the Bible and the Bible alone as the "standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested" she is dramatizing the canonisity of Scripture. It is canonicity together with inspiration that makes the Bible the one and only standard of faith and doctrine. The messages of the Spirit of Prophecy are therefore divinely inspired to remind the church that the Bible and the Bible alone is God's supreme standard of faith and doctrine.

Please send your thoughts as we near the end of time I think it is good to be able to answer those who down play the lesser Light.
May God bless all of you. John


Laurie Mosher

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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2000, 05:39:00 PM »
   Dear Brother John,
    Thank you for this very important subject. On the adventist.online, of course, this subject came up frequently...and just as frequently, those of us who endeavored to "defend" ended up being "bombarded" by the liberals. The subject is still ongoing...and "almost" futile . Some of us were getting stressed out becaue it was so obvious to us that EGW was NOT inspired in degrees, no more than Paul or any of the other Bible writers were.

In fact, I was told by "Ole Abe" that EGW was no more inspired than Martin Luther , John Calvin, John Knox, Billy Graham, etc.

Ole Abe is my neighbor and the "Head Elder" in the church which I attend, so you can appreciate the friction we have.

  Anyhow, I appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts and beliefs of those on this forum.
Fortunately, all of us have the belief that each of us will be edified and our Lord glorified as we study, and pray together.

  May God bless you as you do service for Him.

  Keep "the" Faith,
    Br. Laurie  :)

 

[This message has been edited by Laurie Mosher (edited 07-12-2000).]

Keep "the" Faith,  Brother Laurie

Richard Myers

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Lesser Light What does it mean
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2000, 08:28:00 AM »
Amen, Brother John!

This is my understanding as to the correct principles involved. It has always seemed to me that we should point all to the Bible as the rule of our faith. It makes life simple. When prophets come along, and they will, they do not supplant the high holy position of the Bible, but rather are to be judged by it. We, of all people need to teach this actively.

Having established this as my rule of faith and teaching, I can share that the Spirit of Prophecy is inspired and points all to the Bible and Jesus as its author and our Saviour. If we had no need of a prophet, and even more than a prophet, then the Lord would not have sent one. We are blessed among all peoples to have the Spirit of Prophecy.

Here is just one example out of thousands that make the blessing stand out clearly. Through the Spirit of the living God, we were  told over a hundred years ago that meat was no longer safe to eat and that soon no animal food would be safe to eat. We will not find the date published in the Bible as to when this would occur, but God saw fit to tell us through Ellen White.

What does this mean? It means that many, many  young children will not get cancer because their parents believed God and were thankful for the light that came.

There are multitudes in the world that will be thankful also, unlike multitudes in the church that are not only unthankful, but disobedient and gainsaying. Let us look beyond the objections and do the work that the Lord has set before us. Share with those that are open to the truth meeting them where they are, remembering always that the revelation of God's love will open the door to a closed heart in many cases.

Thank you, Brother John for sharing such an important principle. Again, welcome to the forum. :)

In His love and grace,    Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2000, 03:11:00 AM »
"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. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth."

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In His love and grace,    Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Daryl Fawcett

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Lesser Light What does it mean
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2000, 03:49:00 AM »
This is a good place to throw in another plug and again suggest the creation of another section called, The SOP Forum or whatever name that may be more appropriate.

:)

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In His Mercy & Grace,

Daryl.


Gary K

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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2000, 07:05:00 AM »
Hi All,

To me this "lesser light" is something that brings the Bible into a position of greater interest.

What I mean by this is, my reading of the SOP as a kid was for the history provided in the Conflict of the Ages Series. I went back to read these books in the middle of active drug addiction while disabled and unable to work. I found there a God who loved me, personally. This discovery brought about a desire to read the Bible and learn what it said and the principles found there.

To me this is the purpose of the SOP, to increase our love of the Bible and to help with our understanding of the overall principles found it.

Where EGW said that she wouldn't have been needed if we really had been students of the Bible is really true. When I got out my concordance and started to study the origins of where some of the words come from and how they were originally used whole new worlds of understanding have opened to my eyes. Many of the distortions in such vogue today become so plainly wrong it is amazing. If we would only prayerfully study in depth the winds of doctrine blowing through our church would just disappear.

Your brother in Christ, Gary K


Richard Myers

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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2000, 10:05:00 AM »
The depth of the Bible is so deep we can never fully comprehend it. We suffer greatly by not studying it more faithfully. While the Spirit of Prophecy helps us to understand what is in the Bible, I see it in another sense also. Tell me, Brother Gary, if you can agree with this.  There is information imparted to the church through the Spirit of Prophecy that is not found in the Bible.

This is a wonderful subject to study since God expects us to know more of this great blessing He has given to His people.

In His love and grace,  Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Gary K

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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2000, 10:46:00 AM »
Hi Richard,

There is specific information found in the SOP not found in the Bible, but all the principles behind those specifics are clearly given in the Bible. I just think that what she meant by what she said was that the Holy Spirit would have led us to the same conclusions that she gave us as to the specifics if we had truly loved the Bible and studied it the way God has meant for us to. We are given the promise that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth, and I just take that literally.

I didn't mean anything against the SOP. If you have read my posts over the last few months you would know that. I strongly believe in the SOP and clearly believe it has a place in our lives.

Your brother in Christ, Gary K

Just a short PS here. In upholding the truth on the SDA forum I have just come to the realization that if for no other reason than to alleviate the suspicions and fears of those who do not believe her I have to use the Bible to prove her points. I had gotten lazy that way. I have so much trust in her myself that I will just take her word for it, because I have never found anything in which she does disagree with the principles of the Bible. Being pushed into a really deep study of the Bible only strengthens my belif in her.

[This message has been edited by Gary K (edited 03-10-2000).]


John Thurber

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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2000, 01:10:00 PM »
Great threads Riichard & Gary I love personal testimonies of the blessings of the SOP. May we grow in this gift together.
God's blessings on this family as we enter the new Sabath.
John

Rungi

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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2000, 10:04:00 PM »
"To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn"--NIV (Isaiah 8:20)

If books written by a lady that had very limited knowledge can lead thousands to Christ Jesus, surely her writings are more than ordinary. I have never seen a point where the Spirit of Prophecy (SOP) fails to point the reader to the 'Bible and Bible only'. Though there are certain things that are not found in the scriptures, the principals are based entirely on the scriptures. [Gray said the same thing and I praise God for that]

By saying that her works are to be regarded as the 'lesser light', she has made it clear that her writings were never a 'new light' but only what is already there in the scriptures, but in a different style. She was called at a time when Satan had nearly covered and stained the Greater Light with errors and misguided interpretations. If the world had not lost all the truths and if humans had been serious students of the scriptures all along, there would never have been the need to have any 'lesser light'.

However, when introducing new people or non-adventists to Christ Jesus, let us base ourselves on the Scriptures alone first for they 'are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be PERFECT [emphasis added], throughly furnished unto all good works.' (2 Tim. 3:16,17). We can have SOP at the back of our minds, helping us with the interpretation of the scriptures, let us always put forward first the Bible. Let us base our personal studies on the Bible and use the SOP as an aid and not vice versa. I believe firmly, God will not be disappointed. I myself got converted reading 'Messages to Young People'. I have never quoted any passages from there when sharing but most of the things I have said are paraphrases of what is found there and in the rest of the SOP. I believe Sister White won't mind because they are God's inspired ideas and not her own.

May God guide us.

Rungi.

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PTL!!!105

[This message has been edited by Rungi (edited 03-10-2000).]

PTL!!!105

Laurie Mosher

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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2000, 05:03:00 PM »
   Amen to all of the above posts.
    Isn't it strange how all of us became converted by reading different books by EGW ?. For me, it was The Great Controversy. When I began to see that history was PROPHECY FULFILLED, I decided to take a closer look at what the Holy Scriptures had to say. and it wasn't until I was enrolled as a Theology student in one of "our" colleges, and the professor looked at me and said, "Laurie if you were the only person on planet earth, Jesus would have died for YOU." That 'blew my mind', and I realized that only a God of such love could die for a sinner, and isn't that what the Bible says? Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were YET SINNERS, Christ died for us."

  With a love like that, I (we) would be fools not to want to "fall in love" with such a loving  God!

 Br. & Sr. ,keep "the"faith!
    Br. Laurie

Keep "the" Faith,  Brother Laurie

Dugald T Lewis MD

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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2000, 06:29:00 PM »
I love this thread. You guys know how much I treasure the writings of the SOP. I almost sounded like a broked record on the compuserve forum and the online forum regarding my firm belief in the SOP.

Well, my father became a SDA after reading the book "Great Controversy".

I grew up reading as much of the SOP as I could. I made my decision to be a physician mainly through the writings of Sister White.

Two and a half years ago, I had the opportunity to begin extensive investigation on the medical ministry and had to get back to basics. I recognized that the medical ministry of our church was started by none other than Sister White.(not Dr Kellogg). Her writings spoke only of the love of Jesus and the elevation of Jesus as the Great Physician.

I have never read any other author who can stimulate my mind as much as sis White. I feel that when I have read her, I have read God's word to me. Many times, I would pick up any of her books and turn to a page that holds something appropriate for my circumstance. She has never failed to place emphasis and quotes extensively from the Bible. I view her work as an extension of the Bible and thank God for her writings.

I feel so sad when I see SDA's rejecting her writings. I know its only their loss as this christian journey demands every bit of encouragement we can find and there is no better place to turn to.

My friends, I have been blessed by this forum. Eventually, we will be known as the forum where all the EGW "nuts" hang out. I don't care what we are called, I know that this forum had to be established and i thank God for the foresight and insight given to Bro Richard for getting this into action.

Sincerly

Dugald      


Daryl Fawcett

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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2000, 03:01:00 AM »
I also was encouraged especially by "The Great Controversy" and "The Desire of Ages."

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In His Love, Mercy & Grace,

Daryl.


John Thurber

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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2000, 03:32:00 AM »
Thank you Dr. Lewis for your thoughts on the inspiration of the SOP. I believe the same Spirit that gave instrution to all the Bible writers is the same Spirit of God that gave us the SOP. Her writings are on the same par as scripture. It is called lesser light because it is given for the remnant church. I think it is rejected by many SDA's because it crosses to many social paths that the world offers.  My mother gave me MYP to read when I was a teenager, (A book that many say shold never have been published) some feel that it turns off many young people and turns them away from the church.  I remember being not happy with many things she wrote in the book, because I was wanting much of the world in those days, but I never doubted it was truth. In later days I could see more clearly how true the messages were important to me.
I do believe we need to read some of her counsil with our youth to help them see the love and reason behind certain statements to the youth.  I think every parent should read the book first to understand what God is telling us. The timeing is important. Not to be used as a club over their heads.
John  

Ivan

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Lesser Light What does it mean
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2000, 07:24:00 AM »
I was raised in an Adventist home.  In my teenage years, due to my desire to be accepted, I experimented in the pleasures of sin.  I left the church in search of the excitement these things promised.  It was not many years before these things proved to be the empty and meaningless lies that they are.  

God rescued me from the depression and gross darkness I had entered.  He spoke to my heart and led me to a book which quoted heavily from EGW.  Hope sprang up in my heart as light began to dawn on my soul.

The next book I was led to was The Great Controversy.  I could not put it down as I was deeply impressed by the faithfulness unto death of the martyers and the fulfilling prophecies of our day.  

The Desire of Ages came next.  A more graphic a real presentation of Christ, I had never heard.  

These things awakened a desire to know more.  I began to study the Bible, and as others saw my new love for study, they were very supportive.  One dear sister gave me a Strong's concordance.  As I began to compare text with text and original language with current interpretation, I became engrossed in God's Word, which became brighter and brighter as I studied.  

I had made the transition from the blackness of midnight to the blazing glory of noonday ---but it all began with the lesser light of dawn as seen through the writings of EGW.

But just as there is always more light to be seen in the study of Scripture, there is always fresh insight in the study of EGW's writings.
 
When witnessing, I use the Bible as my reference, but in interpretation I may sometimes use her words (without reference) simply because they convey the meaning better than my own.  I think she would have approved.

 

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Thank God for Jesus!  (Romans 7:24,25)


gorazd

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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2000, 07:28:00 AM »

Hi everybody.

It seems that what Dr. Lewis pointed out, that this forum will become known as the one where the EGW »nuts« hang out, is realy true. It was a pleasure to read all of your posts about the influence of EGW writings in your lives.

Her books were and are a big blessing to my spiritual life too and I agree with  Dr. Lewis that christians who do not accept them are missing very much - I can imagine how much more difficult would it be to discern some spiritual things and arrive to information about so many things as I did through studying her books, if I would not do it. I am not saying that Bible is not anough, but the help of EGW books is realy of big value, especialy in these days that we live - God knew very well what He was doing when arousing her spirit to write.

 I was greatly suprised when I found out how in American churches people misregard her work. I guess this is also much due to wrong use of her books when raising children, with holding them »as a club over their heads«, what satan then makes use of and confuses these people as they grow up and see that God does not work that way, as a tyrant. And then they throw away the baby with the water.

Praise God for the messenger that He has sent for our times.

May the Father in His mercy bless us,

gorazd.


gorazd

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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2000, 07:37:00 AM »
Hi Ivan, I haven't seen your post because I wrote off-line.

I praise the Lord for what you have written in your post!

"... the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isa 40.30,31

Your brother and friend, Gorazd.

[This message has been edited by gorazd (edited 03-12-2000).]


charlene

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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2000, 09:42:00 AM »
       

I love to be among those that love the Spirit of Prophecy the way I love each word that I read.  
In regard to children or even adults "being hit over the head with her quotes." I would like to stress the fact that none of us want to hear anything that might condemn us, or point out where we are wrong. Sister White's words are the practical application in our every day lives, of the truth of the Bible. The Bible is full of principles and standards, promises and requirements for the fulfillment of these promises. A lot is given in absolutes, generalities, symbols, parables, poetry and prophecy. All is the teaching of our god, through the same Spirit.  Ellen White gets to the specifics.

I guess my point is this.... When our 'sins' are pointed out by any source, we don't like it. As a child, we lack maturity to understand the love behind correction and guidance. Whatever source we use to point out the error, will not be looked at as a good place to go. We use Ellen White because she states it so simply, so the "wounded" one strikes out against the messenger because they don't like the message. Her works get a bum rap because of the immaturity and lack of understanding of the growing child/adult, no matter how lovingly they are used; it may still look like a hammer in the immature eyes.

One of the greatest challenges of the parent is to bring to adulthood a secure, responsible, independent, law-abiding citizen of this world, while keeping their motives pure and totally dependent and completely submitted to our God for the future citizenship of Heaven.  "In favor with God and man." WOW! Can it be done? Ellen White one of the greatest inspired sources for the family.

In His Love

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charlene

[This message has been edited by charlene (edited 03-12-2000).]

charlene

Gary K

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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2000, 01:02:00 PM »
Hi All,

The being hit over the head with the SOP is something that is real.

I had it done to me. It was not so much that my sins were pointed out to me, it was the manner in which it was done.

Along with EGW's counsel about sin, is counsel about how to reach the sinner and if only the first part of her counsel is used bad things result. The counsel then given becomes a personal attack rather than loving counsel on how to avoid the destructive things in life. The Bible is often used the same way.

Your brother in Christ, Gary K


Clive Nevell

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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2000, 05:13:00 PM »
I do NOT want to give the impression that EGW was a saint, speaking from the heart where would we be today without her. Many of our education instutions would not be there. Read the Australian years by her grandson and see the influence that EGW had on the church in Australia. Many of the pioneers were helped by her. The lesser light leading to the greater light, the Bible and Jesus Christ. That is always the theme of her books, not to glorify self but to up hold our Saviour. My favorite book is Steps to Christ, read it when you are feeling low, when the world seems against you, when there is friction in the church or home, never once have I failed to find the answer to lifes problems. What about the promises?
Let me share a few. My favorite edition is "Finding Peace Within" I carry it with me in the car and brief case, it has questions and answers in the back of our doctrines, my quotes and page numbers will be from it.

p.55 "Consentrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, Take me, O Lord, as whooly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use metoday in thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in thee. This is a daily matter. Each morning consentrate yourself to God for that ady. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate."

If only we would do that every morning , what a difference to the day it would be.

p.50 "If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in the place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had never sinned."

There is much more I could share from her books with you.

Isn't that good news, it does not matter how sinful a person is if only they will accept Christ as their saviour.

Regards
Clive