36. Doesn’t the belief in a modern-day prophet automatically make the SDA Church a cult?

No. What matters is whether the prophetic claimant passes the test of a prophet (Deut 18:14-21), with the prophetic utterances being carefully weighed against the precedence of scripture (1 Cor 14:29). Many 'mainstream' and 'orthodox' Christian denominations acknowledge the possibility of contemporary prophetic ministry.
The New Testament unequivocally lists prophecy as a spiritual gift (Eph 4:11), for the edification of the Church, and in preference to other gifts such as Tongues (1 Cor 14:1-4).  It should be remembered that the Early Church was full of prophets and prophetesses of different roles, shapes and sizes. 
There is no Biblical indication that this gift would suddenly cease effect arbitrarily after the 1st Century A.D.  Rather, Constantine the Great claimed to have visions from God, as did Martin Luther, Blaise Pascal, René Descartes, Emmanuel Swendenborg, Nat Turner, Benny Hinn and other modern Evangelical leaders, together with John Paul II, Joan of Arc and a whole host of other popes and professed saints – to name but a few. 
Likewise, the official position of the Assemblies of God USA (the largest Evangelic-Pentecostal denomination), acknowledges modern-day prophetic ministry:
“The Assemblies of God believes wholeheartedly in the contemporary prophetic ministry. We have some reservations, however, about current emphases that seem to go beyond the biblical description and guidelines for prophets and prophecies… The Assemblies of God believes the four gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers) were given to the Church, and that none of the gifts has been eliminated... Prophecy is a continuing gift of the Holy Spirit that is broadly distributed as the Spirit wills throughout Pentecostal churches.” (emphasis added)
Within this context, the Adventist claim of a contemporary prophetic ministry is not new or unusual.  If anything, the scriptures make it clear that the gift of prophecy would be bestowed in the last days (Joel 2:28-32).


  1. Adventist. Are Lutherans a cult for believing in Luther, Methodist for believing in Wesley, Church of Christ for believing in Campbell, Baptists and Presby-Reformed for believing in Calvin, or Roman Catholics for believing in Augustine, Aquinas and a whole bunch of popes and saints. These other men and woman were no doubt great Christian men and women, and no doubt had a version of the gift of prophesy in accordance with Eph 4:11. Are they all cults as well?

    1. As I have stated elsewhere on this site, you cannot compare the relationship between Ellen White and the Adventist church to the relationship between Luther and the Lutherans, or Wesley and the Methodists, etc. Lutherans do not have an official statement of belief stating that Luther is a "continuing and authoritative SOURCE OF TRUTH."

    2. Do you believe that the gift of prophesy is a spiritual gift identified in the New Testament's list of spiritual gifts - yes or no?

    3. Yes, it is a spiritual gift. BUT the Bible makes it clear that the gift of prophesy AFTER Jesus' death on the cross is not the same as the prophets in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the complete, final, and last revelation of God.

      "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." Hebrews 1:1,2

      God may give me a prophetic dream, but His last word is Jesus. He speaks through Jesus. Ellen White is not a source of truth. JESUS is truth.

      "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6

      Even in these last days, we are to test any manifestations of prophesy. We are to "test the spirits." If a person claiming prophesy goes against God's Word in even ONE instance, they are not of God. Ellen White denies that atonement was complete on the cross, when Jesus said "It is finished." Ellen White says that Jesus couldn't really offer me secure salvation assurance or eternal life until the Investigative Judgement is complete. Jesus offers me eternal life at the MOMENT of belief and promises me that I will NEVER perish (John 3:16, 5:24, Ephesians 1:13,14). Just these things ALONE are enough to discredit Ellen White as a true prophet, but the list goes on. Ellen White contradicts the Bible. She is not of God.

    4. Sorry but your arguments appear to have several flaws in it:

      1. The point being made in Hebrews is that prophets are only lesser lights of truth. In fact, to be technical, the Bible itself is only the word of God (lower case) and the truth (lower case). The Bible itself in John 1 makes clear that only Jesus Christ, being God incarnate, is the Word of God made flesh (upper case) and the ultimate Truth (upper case). That is the point Paul is making - he is not suggesting the gift of prophesy ended with Jesus Christ.

      2. The gift of prophesy is clearly listed as a spiritual gift, amongst being an apostle, teacher, evangelist, tongues and a whole range of others.

      3. The New Testament gives clear examples of those who exercised the gift of prophecy, AFTER Jesus Christ died, rose and left to heaven. Remember, the only 'prophets of old' we have before Jesus' death on the cross is the OT Testament prophets. Phillips daughters are obvious examples. Peter had a vision to eat unclean animals, which was a metaphor that he should take the Gospel to the gentiles. Paul was visited by Jesus (after Jesus had already ascended to heaven).

      4. By your standards, we shouldn't have the NT, or the NT is not authorative as 'truth', because it was written by men AFTER Jesus' death on the cross. An obvious example is John, who wrote the book of revelation from the isle of Patmos. It is extremely prophetic in nature, with a whole range of symbolic beasts, trumpets and seals, and again written much AFTER Jesus' death on the cross. Are you now saying then that the book of Revelation is not a source of truth?

      5. No one is denying that Jesus is the last word of truth. But that is not to say the gift of prophesy won't be given after Jesus death. Jesus has and always remains the ultimate Truth, but God will continue to bestow the prophetic gift into the future up until the end of time. Adventists do not teach, nor have we have taught, that any prophet, including Ellen White or anyone else, is more important or override Jesus as the Word of God, whose words and actions are described in the Bible.... cont.

    5. 6. The Bible makes clear in the book of Joel that in the last days people will be given the gift of prophesy, both old and young, both men and women. Therefore, the instances of the prophetic gift are likely to increase, not decrease, as we get closer to the end of time.

      7. As noted in the post, most denominations, including the Assemblies of God, acknowledge that the gift of prophecy can and will continue to be given to people by the Holy Spirit.

      8. Re Ellen White in particular, yes, she should be tested. However, don't confuse the notions of whether she is a prophet with the very different question of whether the Holy Spirit will bestow the gift today and in the last days.

      9. Re Ellen White and the notion of assurance of salvation, I think you are twisting things, probably because you no doubt believe in the Evangelical-Pentecostal notion of 'once saved always saved.' I think you will find that Adventists actually have a belief much more similar to 'mainstream' and 'orthodox' Christians on that issue. It is not different from the 'orthodox' view that despite the free gift of salvation, one can continue to rescind salvation until their own investigative 'Particular Judgement'. The notion of a 'Particular' Judgment is distinguished from the 'General Judgment' of the Second Advent. If you don't believe me, simply wikipedia 'Particular Judgment' or look up the Catholic Encyclopedia.

      10. For the above reasons, far from being reasons to discredit Ellen White, I think it merely demonstrates that you don't really understand the beliefs of either the SDA Church or even 'mainstream' and 'orthodox' Christianity. You probably think your views are 'mainstream', not realising in most cases they are themselves recent inventions, most likely by John Darby and others. Again, I suggest you wikipedia him as well.

      Thanks for you comment.

    6. And finally:

      11. As to claims that Ellen White denied the atonement finished at the Cross, see Post Number #50, which provides a very detailed explanation of that oft-cited claim.

  2. I agree for a Church to say it has a prophet does seem very cultish. However, that is probably because there is so many false prophets. To be fair, the scriptures clearly indicate that prophecy is a contemporary spiritual gift and in that I wholeheartedly agree with the statement by the Assemblies of God. Whether Ellen White passed that test is another matter, but at least she should be tested.

  3. Admittedly having a modern-day prophet does sound very cultish. However, it can't be denied that it is clearly a spiritual gift mentioned in the New Testament, along with others like tongues. The spiritual gift in the NT was very widespread and did not imply perfection or total dominance over others. For example, Peter and Paul were both technically prophets in that they both had visions (Peter re meeting Cornelius and Paul in his road to Damascus) but they certaintly were not infallible people or even theologically correct all the time. Paul told Peter to his face that he was wrong!

    If Ellen White is viewed within this NT context, there is nothing wrong with a Church saying it has ALL the spiritual gifts of the Church, including prophesy. However, if the SDA Church starts treating Ellen White like some infallible godling, then they are no different from all the other cults, including Mormons, Christian Scientists or dare I say Roman Catholic Church.

  4. Don't Roman Catholics treat the Pope in effect as a prophet, given they say he is infallible when dispensing with official doctrine? How then, does this make Roman Catholics any different from say Mormons, who claim to also have a Prophet as President? Or is it just because there are about a billion catholics out there - is it the numbers that count, as if God is a democracy?

    If anything, the SDA Church is very unusual in that its so-called prophet left no sucessor, which appears to be the usual set up for cults (including both Mormons and the Roman Catholic Church).

  5. Consider the position of the Uniting Church of Australia (a union of Presbyterean, Methodist and Congregationalist Churches, and the 2nd biggest denomination in Australia). In their statement of beliefs, under belief #10, they actually ascribe doctrinal status to the 44 sermons of John Wesley:


    The Uniting Church continues to learn of the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in the obedience and freedom of faith, and in the power of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, from the witness of the Reformers as expressed in various ways in the Scots Confession of Faith (1560), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), and the Savoy Declaration (1658). In like manner the Uniting Church will listen to the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty-Four Sermons (1793). It will commit its ministers and instructors to study these statements, so that the congregation of Christ's people may again and again be reminded of the grace which justifies them through faith, of the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture."


    That position is not so different from the SDA Church towards the writings of Ellen White. Nor is it that different from how Roman Catholics view and use the writings of St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and the other early Church Fathers, Lutherans view and use Luther, Reformed groups view John Calvin and John Knox, and Evangelical-Pentecostals use John Darby and Billy Graham.

  6. I note Martin Luther compared himself to OT prophets, claimed he was a messenger from God, and that others might consider himself a prophet, although he was too humble to admit it:

    "Do we not read in the Old Testament that God commonly raised up only one prophet at a time? Moses was alone in the Exodus, Elijah was alone in King Ahab’s day, Elisha, after him, was alone, Isaiah was alone in Jerusalem, Hosea alone in Israel, Jeremiah alone in Judaea, Ezekiel alone in Babylon, and so forth. Even though they had many disciples, called “children of the prophets,” God never allowed more than one man alone to preach and rebuke the people.........

I say not that I am a prophet, but I do say that the more they despise me and esteem themselves, the more reason they have to fear that I may be a prophet . . .

If I am not a prophet, yet for my own self I am certain that the Word of God is with me and not with them, for I have the Scriptures on my side, and they have only their own doctrine. This gives me courage, so that the more they despise and persecute me, the less I fear them."

    -(An Argument in Defense of All the Articles of Dr. Martin Luther Wrongly Condemned in the Roman Bull, 1521; from: Works of Martin Luther [PE], Vol. III, 12-14; translated by C. M. Jacobs)

    And I note some Reformed people do consider people such as Augustine and John Calvin prophets:


    This seems very similar to the SDA view of Ellen White. She never called herself a prophet either, although others used that term to describe her. She did claim to have a message from God though, expounded in the scriptures.