Neil Livingston Replies


Daniel Winters

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Forenote by Ron Beaulieu: Although I do not believe and support the notion that the Spirit of Prophecy has been changed to any serious degree that would preclude what God intended and intends for us to glean from that source, I do not uphold the direct misrepresentation of any individual such as Vance Ferrell has apparently made of Daniel Winters. Neil Livingston makes the more integral, straight forward appeal to Daniel Winters in the following document. God would not have permitted the writings of His servant, Ellen White, to be perverted to the degree that His purpose is not still served when one candidly and sincerely searches her writings for present and ennobling truth. RB

"Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony..."(Letter 12, 1890.

The following is a reply to a letter from Daniel Winters sent to the web-page two or three years ago. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to respond. However, I was preparing two manuscripts for publication on this very subject, (1) The Editing the Testimonies, and later, (2) The Editing and Expanding the Great Controversy. Both manuscripts are now on the web page. The first manuscript, The Editing of the Testimonies, was published in "Historic Adventist" Landmarks, May, 2001. The indented paragraphs here are from the entire Daniel Winters letter, with the execption of some Ellen White quotations.

Brother Daniel Winter's Letter

Hello Neil: I've been in contact for awhile with Mr. Bob De La Torre, who gave me the URL for your site. I was very excited to see someone standing up for the truth at first, but in reading things, especially about Uriah Smith, I saw you were trying to uphold somebody who fought against the Spirit of Prophecy. This is puzzling to me why you would do this???

In reply I must first quote Ellen White, "You seem to have special bitterness against Elder [Uriah] Smith. . .." (Letter 11, 1890; 2SM, p. 81). From your above statement it is obvious to me that you have read the manuscript on the web-page, Uriah Smith, "Heretic or Saint." It is also obvious that you have totally ignored all the Ellen White statements quoted therein concerning Uriah Smith. Let us review just two.

(1) "The Lord has seen fit to counsel Elder Smith, to give him words of reproof because he had erred; but is this an evidence that God has forsaken him?" Ellen White askes, then replies, "No. 'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent' [Rev. 3:19]. . .." (ibid., Letter 11, 1890, "To Bro. and Sr. Garmire." See also, 2SM, p. 81; Manuscript Releases, Vo. 15, page 16; The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, page 701, emphasis supplied).

In 1902, twelve years after this statement, Ellen White commented on Uriah Smith becoming, once again, the Editor of the Revew and Herald in 1901:

(2) I feel very tender toward Elder Smith. My life interest in the publishing work is bound up with his. He came to us as a young man, possessing talents that qualified him to stand in his lot and place as an editor. How I rejoice as I read his articles in the Review--so excellent, so full of spiritual truth. I thank God for them. I feel a strong sympathy for Elder Smith, and I believe that his name should always appear in the Review as the name of the leading editor. Thus God would have it. When, some years ago, his name was placed second, I felt hurt. When it was again placed first, I wept, and said, "Thank God." May it always be there, as God designs it shall be, while Elder Smith's right hand can hold a pen. And when the power of his hand fails, let his sons write at his dictation. (Ellen G. White, "Older Workers to Be Honored and Conserve Their Strength," Manuscript Realeses, Vol. 20, page 220; Letter 47, 1902; "Elders Smith and Loughborough," Selected Messages, Bk. 2, page 225, (1902), emphasis supplied).

Brother Winters, from other articles you have written, Contradictions in the Letters and Manuscripts, "Concerniig the Production of the Conflict Series," I know you have a problem with the statements of Ellen White. No matter what statements are produced, you do not believe. How sad for you, brother. These two statements alone sre sufficent, although there are many others. You have read them in my article, but have chosen not to believe that the EGW statements are reliable.

In response to your last statement, " I saw you were trying to uphold somebody who fought against the Spirit of Prophecy," -- again you must study SDA history more closely. Uriah Smith stood before the pioneer brethren in 1891 and repented with tears after responding to a testimony sent directly to him. Ellen White relates the experience as follows:.

Yesterday, Wednesday [Jan. 8, 1891], the meeting was held in my room in the office and Elder Smith read the letter I had sent him, read it to them all, and said he accepted it as from God. He went back to the Minneapolis meeting [1888] and made a confession of the spirit he had occupied, casting on me very heavy burdens. Brother Rupert confessed also, and we had a very profitable, excellent meeting. Brother Smith has fallen on the Rock and is broken, and the Lord Jesus will now work with him. He took my hand as he left the room and said, "If the Lord will forgive me for the sorrow and burdens I have brought upon you, I tell you this will be the last. I will stay up your hands. The testimonies of God shall hold this place in my experience." It is seldom that Elder Smith sheds a tear, but he did weep, and his voice was choked with the tears in it. Now you see I have reason to be glad and rejoice and praise the Lord. Professor Bell was present. Elder Smith confessed to him the wrong that he had done him in the school trial in 1882. Oh, how glad I was to see and hear and know that these things that had barred the Spirit of God from coming into our meetings, were removed. (Letter 32, 1891, "To Brother and Sister J. S. Washburn," Jan. 8, 1891; See also, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 2, pages 6, 7, emphasis supplied).

Might I ask, brother Winters; Have you fallan on the Rock and become broken? Do you, dear brother, accept the testimonies "as from God?" Will you also "stay up the hand" of Ellen White? Can you say, along with Uriah Smith, "The testimonies of God shall hold this place in my experience." Like Uriah Smith, will you also weep, and your voice choke with the tears in it as you confess a wrong opinion of a faithful pioneer brother? From the above statements of inspiration it is obvious that Uriah Smith is one who will come forth in the special resurrection of those who have faithfully preached the three angel's messages.

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth,'" the angel told John. "'Yea,' saith the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.'" (Revelation 14:13, emphasis supplied).

I wonder, brother Winters, if you and I will be among those of which it is written above in the Heavenly Sanctuary -- "and their works do follow them."

Brother Winter's Letter (Continued)

Surely you understand the Spirit of Prophecy books HAVE been greatly altered. I've spent close to 1,000 hours reading, typing in, and translating the 1858: The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels, and I really doubt there are any paragraphs that haven't been altered at all in the current edition of the book commonly referred to as The Great Controversy. (the name has even been changed!).

The title of Hastings' book was The Great Controversy Between God and Man: Its Origin, Progress, and Termination. It was the policy, then and now, that no copyright restrictions be placed on a book title. As for changes in the writings of Ellen White, see, Neil C. Livingston, Editing the Testimonies, also, Editing and Expanding The Great Controversy, and, Attack on Early Writings,

"Uriah Smith gave editorial notice to the Hastings book in the Review and Herald of March 18, 1858, and described its contents," Arthur White wrote. "Ellen White's approach to the subject and breadth of coverage, based on the visions of the late 1840's and 1858, is very different from that represented in the Hastings book." (Arthur L. White, Volume 1, EGW, The Early Years, 1827-1862, page 375, emphasis supplied).

Perhaps, brother Winters, if you would spend "1,000 hours" more in contemplating with an open heart to obey the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, rather than wasting you time and effort searching for (what you consider to be) errors, you would receive a blessiing like millions of others have recieved.

Brother Winter's Letter (Continued)

The first 5 words in the book: "The Lord has shown me," seem to be taboo in all later editions of that book.

This is simply because later editions were "outreach" books aimed at non-believers. The 1858 and 1884 editions were directed toword Seventh-day Adventists. The statement "the Lord has shown me" is obvious to anyone who reads these wonderful books. By the way, Ellen White does make this statement in the "Introduction" and "Preface" to the later editions of The Great Controversy. Are you going to dump these later editions that have convinced millions to accept the three angel's messages, simply because Ellen White chose to omit the words "the Lord has shown me?"

Brother Winter's Letter (Continued)

Would you be happy to see someone take the words "And I John saw" out of your Bible? Would that be removing "grammatical imperfections?

This is quit a redundant argument for rejecting edited and expanded Spirit of Prophecy publications! Surely you are aware that the writings of Ellen White are not the Bible. Your problem is with "verbal inspiration." Ellen White was inspired, not each word. In most cases the Holy Spirit did not dictate each word to Ellen White -- or even to the Bible writiers. Much in Scripture is changed with the translation into English in any version. That is why the supplied words are in italic type-face in the King James version to add consistency and clarity. For example, try reading the King James version to someone unfimiliar with the Scriptures and leave out the italic words. Ellen White and Bible writers were inspired. They wrote out the visions and messages in their own words. Read again Ellen White's Introduction to The Great Controversy.

There were a few Adventist leaders and lay members who at the turn of the twentieth century believed in "verbal inspiration" of the Spirit of Prophecy. Verbal inspiration meaning that every word written was, not only inspired, but dictated by the Holy Spirit, and therefore must not be edited or changed in any way, shape or form! Unfortunately, there are historic Adventists today, including yourself, who believe this erroneous theory about the Spirit of Prophecy. For this reason Ellen White and her staff at Elmshaven were aware that to make any changes in her books previously published, especially The Great Controversy, would raise questions in the minds of some. In 1906, five years prior to the editing and expanding of the 1911 Great Controversy, Dr. David Paulson had written to Ellen White stating his belief in the verbal inspiration of her writings:

"In your letter you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the testimonies and say, 'I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the Ten Commandments,'" Ellen White quoted Dr. Paulson. (Letter to Dr. David Paulson, St. Helena, California, June 14, 1906 (Letter 206, 1906); See also, Selected Messages, Bk. 1, pages 24, 25, emphasis hers).

It is very important to note that in this statement the emphasis was not supplied, but was made by Ellen White herself. Now carefully note her reply to Dr. Paulson's statement:

"My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims," Ellen White replied to Dr. Paulson, "neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause ever made such claims." (ibid., Letter 206, June 14, 1906; 1SM, pp. 24, 25, emphasis supplied).

To answer your second question, "Would that be removing 'grammatical imperfections?'" Ellen White approved all changes in the later versions of The Great Controversy. Again, see the articles on Bob's web-page, Editing and Expanding The Great Controversy, also, Editing the Testimonies, for documented references. See also, Verbal Inspiration, and, Attack on Early Writings.

Brother Winter's Letter (Concluded)

I know you are buffeted about by the enemy, and you are making a brave stand. I'm just asking you to see that the enemy has been working to make the Testimonies of none effect, and we need to be awake to his wiles. Daniel Winters,

I am reminded of an old saying, "We have met the enemy -- and the enemy is us!" How can one be "buffeted about by the enemy" while defending the published writings of the Spirit of Prophecy? To suggest that Ellen White was unaware of any changes to her published works while she was alive is just plain absurd! The idea that the writings of Ellen White have been tampered with, and therefore are not reliable, does more to "make of none effect the Testimonies" than anything that could possibly be done! You eroneously hold the position that the Testimonies were tampered with while Ellen White was alive to examine the "altered" manuscripts. She did this and approved the changes! Yet those who hold your view totally ignore what she herself stated on the subject!

Ellen White responded strongly to the accusation that she did not review her later publications. About the last revision of The Great Controversy in 1911 she stated: (1) "A few days ago, I received a copy of the new edition of the book Great Controversy, recently printed [July, 1911] at Mountain View, and also a similar copy printed at Washington. The book pleases me." (2) "I have spent many hours looking through its pages, and I see that the publishing houses have done good work." (3) "As a result of the thorough examination by our most experienced workers, some changing in the wording has been proposed. These changes I have carefully examined, and approved." (4) "I regard this new edition [1911] with great satisfaction." (5) "The book Great Controversy I appreciate above silver or gold, and I greatly desire that it shall come before the people." This document was "(Signed) Ellen G. White, Sanitarium, Cal., July 25, 1911; Letter 56, 1911; see also, 3SM, pp. 123, 124, emphasis supplied). These statements alone should be more than enough for anyone, yet you and others still persist in unbelief. Send to the Ellen G. White Estate for a photo copy of this document, "signed" in the handwriting of the Lord's messenger.

About the omissions in her first book, Experience and Views, published in August, 1851, Ellen White stated, "more recent views have been more full. I shall therefore leave out a portion and prevent repetition." (Experience and Views, page 9, emphasis supplied). The Lord gave Ellen White a "continuing" view of the great controversy between Christ and Satan over the 77 years of her ministry. Note carefully her own discription below:

"While writing the manuscript of Great Controversy, I was often conscious of the presence of the angels of God," Ellen White wrote in 1911. "And many times the scenes about which I was writing were presented to me anew in visions of the night, so that they were fresh and vivid in my mind. Signed, Ellen G. White," Sanitarium, Cal., July 25, 1911; Letter 56, 1911; See also, 3SM, pp. 123, 124, emphasis supplied).

As a result of the thorough examination by our most experienced workers, some changing in the wording [Great Controversy] has been proposed," Ellen White continued. "These changes I have carefully examined, and approved. I am thankful that my life has been spared, and that I have strength and clearness of mind for this and other literary work. (Signed) Ellen G. White. (ibid., Letter 56, 1911, emphasis supplied.]

Ellen White's advice to you and those who hold this erroneous view is: "In my introduction to The Great Controversy you have no doubt read my statement regarding the Ten Commandments and the Bible, which should have helped you to a correct understanding of the matter under consideration. . .." (Letter 206, June 14, 1906; 1SM, pp. 24, 25, emphasis supplied).

"The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God," Ellen White warned. "'Where there is no vision, the people perish' (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God's remnant people in the true testimony. . .. " (Letter 12, 1890; Manuscript Releases, Vol. 10, page 312; Selected Messages, Bk. 2, page 78; The Faith I Live By, page 296; Maranatha, page 158; The Publishing Ministry, page 360; Last Day Events, pages 177, emphasis supplied).

The question you should ask yourself, brother Winters, is this; "Was Ellen White still inspired when she approved the changes?"

In 1928, seventeen years after the publication of the 1911 edition of The Great Controversy, Leroy E. Froom wrote to William C. White, posing questionable doubts about the inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy. White closed his reply letter to Froom with a most important question. In closing I apply White's question, not only to you, dear brother, but also to myself:

Why will not our brethren study God's merciful dealings to us by imparting information to us by the Spirit of Prophecy in its beautiful, harmonious, and helpful features, instead of picking and criticizing and dissecting, trying to cut it up into little mechanical concrete blocks such as we buy for our children to play with and then ask somebody else to fit it together so that it will make a pattern that pleases them and leave out the particular parts of the pattern that they do not like? I pray the Lord to give us patience and guidance in doing what we can to help such ones to see the beauty of God's work. . .. Yours faithfully, W. C. White. (Letter, January 8, 1928, "W. C. White to L. E. Froom," emphasis supplied) (See also, "Appendix C," Selected Messages, Book 3, page 453).

Your brother in Him;
Neil C. Livingston