A Critique of Faith and Works
(Continued--Page4)



Faith & Works by Ellen G. White:  A critique of Her Position.

Ellen G. White, as founder of the Seventh Day Adventism, has written a number of volumes on a variety of subjects.  Here she has written on the issues of Faith and Works.  Our comments are in Blue, while her writings are in "Black".


Chap. 5 - Faith and Works

MORNING TALK AT BASEL, SWITZERLAND, SEPTEMBER 17, 1885. PUBLISHED IN SIGNS OF THE TIMES, JUNE 16, 1890.

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). There are many in the Christian world who claim that all that is necessary to salvation is to have faith; works are nothing, faith is the only essential. But God’s Word tells us that faith without works is dead, being alone. Many refuse to obey God’s commandments, yet they make a great deal of faith. But faith must have a foundation. {FW 47.1}

 

This is where Ellen White starts to reveal her true beliefs about faith and works.  Here we see that she is advocating that faith must be coupled with works (of the believer) to be real faith and count before God.  And what she means by faith is an “active faith” or in other words doing something (i.e. keeping the commandments of God, the Law).  However, Paul taught that the Law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the Law, will live by them.   Here we see that Paul makes a clear distinction between faith and works.  Faith is not tangible, nor is it an action, it is a belief and confidence of the heart and mind.  Works are the actions, and deeds done by people.   If faith and works are the same, then how does James, or any of the apostles, talk of the two items separately?  But if one has faith, it may not benefit anyone else, but he can still be pleasing God, according to Heb.11:6.  If one only has only works, he may benefit man significantly, yet it is impossible to please God, and his deeds/works are sin, according to Paul, in Rom.14:23 (Also, Matt 7:21-24).   The Judiazers in Paul’s day were advocating the same action as Abraham the believer, but their reason for circumcision, was not from faith in God, it was from unbelief, specifically the finished work of Christ, and him crucified.  By advocating the need for circumcision, they were implying that Christ crucified for our sins was not enough, man must add something to the work of Christ.   So we have before us two of the same outcomes (Circumcision) or works/deeds, but different judgments pronounced by the apostles, because one had faith (Abraham), and pleased God, and the other (Judaizers) did not, and did not please God, because their actions were not based on faith, but unbelief.   As a result one was accepted by God and called the friend of God, the others were considered anathema, or condemned. But what does the Scripture say, “Cast out the bond woman and her son, for the son of the bond woman shall not be an heir with the son.” 

 

 

God’s promises are all made upon conditions. If we do His will, if we walk in truth, then we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. While we earnestly endeavor to be obedient, God will hear our petitions; but He will not bless us in disobedience. If we choose to disobey His commandments, we may cry, "Faith, faith, only have faith," and the response will come back from the sure Word of God, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). Such faith will only be as sounding brass and as a tinkling cymbal. In order to have the benefits of God’s grace we must do our part; we must faithfully work and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. {FW 47.2}

[3]

 

However, the foundation that Ellen is referring to here is a lie.  God’s promises are not all conditional.  For example, when God destroyed the earth with the flood, and then promised that He would never destroy the earth again with a flood, is that promise conditional?  If so, what is it that we are required to do to make sure that He does not destroy the earth with a flood again?  Likewise the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen.15) is unconditional, which is why God put Abraham to sleep and passed through the animal halves as a smoking pot.  And likewise again the New Covenant is unconditional, look at the terms of this covenant carefully again.   This is a grave fallacy on her part, and depraved religious men eat it up as if it is “manna from heaven” when in fact it is “dung from the devil”.  “…even the heavens are not pure in His Sight, how much less man, that maggot, who drinks iniquity like water” (Job.15:15b-16)

 

“In order to have the benefits of God’s grace we must do our part; we must faithfully work and bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”  Here Ellen reveals her ignorance of Biblical grace.  Grace and Works are mutually exclusive.  If you mix the two together, grace is not grace any more.  This is what Paul says in Rom.11:6.  So who are we to believe, the Scriptures or Ellen?  Also, she showing the “synergism” card, faced up, on the poker table here.  Synergism is were two parties work together or are required to work together to obtain a particular goal or end.  Our salvation is a “monergistic” work, where we are saved by God, and God alone.  “Salvation is of the LORD”, as the prophet Jonah stated while in the belly of the fish.  Synergism results from those who falsely believe that unbelievers are “partially dead” or “mostly dead” before regeneration, and also from the erroneous idea that man can do something good in the eyes of the Lord.  But the Scriptures teaches us, that “we were dead, in our sins and trespasses…” (Eph.2:1) and “you being dead in the uncircumcision of our flesh…” (Col.2:13) and “even when we were dead in our sins” (Eph.2:4), also that “there is none that doeth good, no, not even one” (Rom.3:12) and “there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom.3:11b)

Synergists reject these claims of God in the Scripture and embraces the Semi-Pelagian and Arminian views that man has the ability to do good before and apart from regeneration.  This is a rejection of that great doctrine, known to Calvinist as, Total Depravity and Total Inability.  In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, we find the story of the resurrection of Lazarus.  Lazarus had died and Jesus deliberately waited for his death before returning to his area.  When Christ called to Lazarus, he was completely dead, there was no life in him, no latent strength in his body.  He was completely dead.  But when Christ spoke, God quickened (made alive) him and raised him up.  This happened because God spoke, just as he did in Genesis.  His Word is powerful, and can raise the dead, and will raise the dead again.  The resurrection of Lazarus, was not a cooperative work between God and Lazarus.  Lazarus came to life, because God spoke His Word!  Lazarus did nothing to contribute to his resurrection, he was dead.   In the same manner, so is the unbeliever, he is dead and helpless (Rom.5:8) to save himself.  He cannot make any effort to save himself, and those who attempt to make an effort, are not in the faith, nor acting by faith. This is why in Hebrews 4 it states that “for we who have believed have entered His rest, and ceased from our works, just as God did from His.”   In Ephesians 2:8&9 where it says, “and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not a result of works…”, this means that man contributes nothing, and it (salvation) is wholly a gift from God.  If human effort would help, then it would not say, “not of works” since works are the actions and efforts of man.  Also, in Romans 9:16 Paul states that it (salvation) “does not depend upon the man who wills, or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy”.  This means that salvation is not determined by the man who wills, or excises his volition, nor by the one who puts forth his best effort (the man who runs), but it is entirely dependent upon God who has mercy.  The apostle John says a similar thing in Chapter 1 of his Gospel, “who were born, not by the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12)


[1]White, Ellen Gould: Faith and Works. Southern Publishing Association, 1979; 2002, S. 27 [2]White, Ellen Gould: Faith and Works. Southern Publishing Association, 1979; 2002, S. 30 [3]White, Ellen Gould: Faith and Works. Southern Publishing Association, 1979; 2002, S. 46

 

We are workers together with God. You are not to sit in indolence, waiting for some great occasion, in order to do a great work for the Master. You are not to neglect the duty that lies directly in your pathway, but you are to improve the little opportunities that open around you. . . . [BEGIN P.48] {FW 47.3}[1]

 

In one way we are thrown upon our own energies; we are to strive earnestly to be zealous and to repent, to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts from every defilement; we are to reach the highest standard, believing that God will help us in our efforts. We must seek if we would find, and seek in faith; we must knock, that the door may be opened unto us. The Bible teaches that everything regarding our salvation depends upon our own course of action. If we perish, the responsibility will rest wholly upon ourselves. If provision has been made, and if we accept God’s terms, we may lay hold on eternal life. We must come to Christ in faith, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. {FW 48.2}[2]

 

We are workers together with God. You are not to sit in indolence, waiting for some great occasion, in order to do a great work for the Master. You are not to neglect the duty that lies directly in your pathway, but you are to improve the little opportunities that open around you. . . . [BEGIN P.48] {FW 47.3}[3]

 

 

Faith and works will keep us evenly balanced and make us successful in the work of perfecting Christian character. Jesus says, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter in the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Speaking of temporal food, the apostle said, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The same rule applies to our spiritual nourishment; if any would have the bread of eternal life, let him make efforts to obtain it. {FW 49.2}[4]







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