QUESTION: Eph. 4:11-13 says prophets will be active in the church until the end, and Joel 2:28, Rev. 12:17, and 19:10 teach that prophecy will be an identifying mark of the remnant who keep "the commandments of God". If Ellen White was not a true prophet, who else could it be? Is the Bible wrong?
The question states that, based upon Eph. 4:11-13, there must be prophets in the church until the end of time. Let us look at this verse:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
The reasoning is that since we have not yet "come in the unity of the faith" then we still require the various ministries mentioned by Paul, including prophets. The implication is that the office of prophet will continue to exist throughout the ages of church history until the very end of time.
Secondly, the question implies the prophet must be in a church that keeps the 10 Commandments of the Old Covenant, which would limit it to a few Sabbath-keeping denominations, of which only the Seventh-day Adventist Church claims to have a prophet. Therefore, since the SDA Church is the only Sabbath-keeping church with a prophet, it must be the true remnant church, and Ellen White must be a true prophet. This question even goes so far as to suggest that if Ellen White is not a true prophet, then the Bible is false!
There are serious problems with this reasoning. First, if Adventists want us to interpret Eph. 4:11-13 as saying that prophets are going to be active in the true church until the end of time, then they should be able to name all of the true prophets between 100 A.D. and 1844 when Ellen White received her "calling." We will not be holding our breath while the SDA Church compiles that list! More importantly, however, Ellen White died nearly 100 years ago, and there has been no "approved" prophet in the SDA church since then. Remember, according to the questioner, Eph. 4:11-13 teaches that a prophet will be in the true church until the end of time. Therefore, using this reasoning, since there has been no prophet in the SDA church since 1915, it should be safe for us to assume that their status as God's special remnant church ended in 1915!
Now, Adventists get a little uneasy when it is pointed out that they no longer have the "spirit of prophecy" in their church. However, they do have an answer to this. They say that even though Mrs. White died, she "lives on" through her writings. I'm not joking, this is what they actually say! Well, if that is the case, then the prophets of the Bible also "live on" through their writings in the Bible. Therefore, any Christian church that believes in the Bible could say they have the "spirit of prophecy" because the prophets of the Bible "live on" through their writings. Therefore, any Bible-believing church could identify themselves as the true remnant using Adventism's twisted logic!
Now, let us discuss the assertion that Joel 2, Rev. 12:17 and 19:10 prove that the "Spirit of Prophecy" will be manifest in a Sabbath-keeping church at the end of time. First of all, there is considerable doubt as to whether these verses even apply to the end-of-time. Joel 2:28 says:
And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
When Joel said "your daughters shall prophesy" was he talking about Ellen White? Not according to the Bible. The Apostle Peter says that Joel 2:28 was fulfilled in the outpouring upon Pentecost shortly after the resurrection of Jesus:
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
There is also some debate, even among Adventists, as to whether Revelation 12:17 is referring to the end of time. But even if it were true that all these verses are pointing to the end of time, what are the "commandments of God" spoken of by John in Rev. 12:17 that this "end-time" church is keeping? The best way to find out what John meant is to examine the other writings of John on the commandments. In 1 John 3:22-23 John tells us exactly what the commandments of God are:
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
John specifically states that believing Jesus and loving one another are the commandments of God. Thus, using Adventism's own logic, we can assert that any church that follows the Bible prophets and believes in Jesus and loves one another qualifies as the "true remnant" church.
Adventists who use such twisted logic to try and prove Ellen White's prophethood are using "smoke and mirrors" to get people's focus off the real method of determining who is a prophet. A person is not proven to be a prophet just because there are no better alternative prophets around at the time! Ellen White does not qualify as a prophet just because there are no better candidates among Sabbath-keepers. That is ludicrous! There is only one way to be proven a prophet. A prophet must pass the seven tests of a prophet. Careful research has shown that Ellen White failed 6 of the 7 tests of a prophet.