Recently I’ve seen a fair bit written on how many Adventists tend to lower the Bible in order to raise Ellen White to the same level. Ellen White’s writings are considered divinely inspired by some, a claim she herself made for them. Because of the errors they contain, many Adventists who still want to see her as inspired have taken to trying to demonstrate that similar errors exist in the Bible. The intent is to show that not even God’s inspired prophets and writers in the Bible get things right all the time, so Ellen White doesn’t need to be any different.
I’ve got two articles on this phenomenon on my website –
Adventist pastor – Bible contains truth, but also “opinion”
Adventist pastor – uninspired statements by Paul in the Bible
The latest Proclamation! magazine of May/June 2006 has an excellent article on this by Dr Verle Streifling.
While looking for things on this issue and Ellen White’s amalgamation theory that certain races of humans resulted from mating between humans and animals, I found a few statements made by Samuele Bacchiocchi that put him in the category of Adventist I describe above.
In his Endtime Issues No. 74, 6 September 2001, he says the following regarding her amalgamation theory:
Whether or not Ellen White’s statements about the amalgamation between humans and animals, are correct or incorrect, it is not for me to decide. No one knows what happen before the Flood. All what Scripture tells is that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Gen 6:5].
As an aside, it’s noteworthy that Bacchiocchi won’t comment on whether or not her views that human-animal mating resulted in some of the human races we have today. Considering that he has plainly said that she is incorrect on other issues, why side-step this one?
And he says nobody knows what happened before the flood. If he was aware of what Ellen White wrote, he’d know she referred to both the time before the flood, and the time after it.
He goes on (emphasis mine here and below):
Do Inspired Writers Make Mistakes?
The method used to discredit Ellen White has been repeatedly used by critics to discredit the Bible. They point to the alleged mistakes and contradictions found in the Bible. This strategy is based on the popular assumption that people inspired by God never made a mistake, because they were constantly supervised by the Holy Spirit in everything they said or wrote. This popular assumption is faulty because it ignore the mysterious blending of the human and divine elements present in inspired writers. A careful reading of Scripture confronts us with the presence of the human element.
So he defends the criticism of the Bible. It’s necessary. He can’t continue with Ellen White as a prophet without degrading the Bible’s status.
The issue of the “mysterious blending of the human and divine elements” is well-covered in the Proclamation! article. I recommend that you read it. Click here if you also want to see other back issues.
Bacchiocchi then gives an example from the Bible:
To illustrate this point, let us consider Paul’s counsel found in 1 Corinthians 7:8: “To the unmarried and the widow I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do.” There is no question that Paul’s terse advice contradicts God’s explicit statement: “It is not good that the man should be alone” [Gen 2:18]. If God Himself stated at creation that living alone without a marital partner “is not good,” what business did Paul have to encourage people to remain single like himself? Would it not have been wiser for Paul to keep his personal opinion to himself?
Undoubtedly Paul did not foresee the problems his personal advice would cause during the course of Christian history.
Further on, Bacchiocchi makes this astounding statement (emphasis mine) –
Frankly, I wish that the Holy Spirit had restrained Paul from expressing his personal views and also guided him to write with greater clarity on such important issues as the relationship between law and grace. Countless scholars have tried to reconcile the apparent contradictions between Paul’s negation of the law [Rom 3:28] on one hand and affirmation of the law [1 Cor 7:19] on the other hand. Much of the existing confusion could have been avoided if the Holy Spirit had controlled Paul’s mind and literary style, to ensure that the apostle would define relationship between law and grace with clarity and simplicity for the lay person to understand.
It is evident that this is not the way God chooses to operate. He does not suppress the individual freedom, even when writing about eternal truths. What this means is that we do not reject Paul’s writings and discredit his ministry because some of the things he wrote are unacceptable.
Some of the things Paul wrote are unacceptable, says Samuele Bacchiocchi.