Recently I had a discussion with a certain Pastor O of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Copied in below is a section of one e-mail he sent me 29 August 2001. In it he states that some of what Paul wrote is not really inspired, it is merely “opinion.”
The background to this was a discussion on Ellen White and the errors she made in her writings – both errors in prophecy and contradicting the Bible. Pastor O attempts to defend Ellen White by actually lowering the Bible to her level, instead of admitting that the Bible IS the word of God, and IS inspired, and IS inerrant and infallible. This is a common ploy when Adventists are confronted with proof that Ellen White contradicted the Bible and prophesied falsely. They start claiming that certain biblical prophecies failed, and in this case, Pastor O actually says that sometimes Paul just expressed opinions too. Sure, what he wrote WAS his opinion, BUT it was also inspired by God, and it is sad that Adventism has to launch an assault on the Bible in order to defend their “prophet” Ellen White, when they see irrefutable evidence against her.
This is the e-mail extract: grammar/spelling is his:
Also, you must remember that Adventist came from othe denom. with false doctrines and sometimes as the early Adventist demon. it was hard to get out of system but that was because of the other beliefs they had prior to becoming Adventist! And even in the Bible their are “grammatical” mistakes. That does not make it uninspired. The word of God is “Thought inspired” and so were the thoughts of Ellen Whites on many occasions. She never said her every thought was inspired because sometimes she expressed “opinions” Even Paul sometimes just expressed opinions. She may have been a prophet but she was also human and humans do err sometime in grammer.
What sort of opinions did Paul express? For Adventists, Col 2:14-17 seems to be one of these opinions.
The Pastor does say that the grammatical mistakes in the Bible do not make it uninspired, yet he was unable to show me one such mistake when I asked him to. Another case of trashing the Bible so we can excuse Ellen White (whose mistakes went a lot further than just the level of 3rd grade grammar.) And when he says that Paul just expressed opinions at times, he took his attack on Paul’s writings further than just grammatical errors.
I think this is sad. I have seen it quite a few times from Adventists, pastors included. Why do they not believe the Bible instead? Where is the honesty in smearing the Bible with mud, so that Ellen White looks squeaky clean?
Another interesting admission the Pastor makes is that Adventism came from false religions,and struggled to find true doctrine for a while. One wonders exactly how much of their original false teachings they have actually abandoned? If we turn to the Bible, and take Paul’s words there as inspired, texts like Col 2:14-17 show us that Adventism has not quite abandoned ALL the false teachings she inherited from the hodge-podge of different theologies which contributed to her development.
Note that the Adventist scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi also had problems with what Paul said. Some things Paul said are unacceptable to Bacchiocchi.