"Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible." This statement is made over and over again in their publications intended for public distribution.
Likewise they say: "The Bible is its own expositor." "One text explains another."
This all sounds well, but upon examination both statements are shown to be false.
In the first place, Seventh-day Adventists have a creed, the same as do other denominations, and have published this ever since 1872. They call it the "Fundamental Principles of Seventh-day Adventists." It's opening words are: "Seventh-day Adventists have no creed but the Bible; but they hold to certain well-defined points of faith." And then they are once proceed to define these "points of faith." What is this but a creed? Webster defines creed as "an authoritative summary or formula of those articles of Christian faith which are considered essential."
Opening the disciplines of the various orthodox churches, such as Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians, we find each beginning its articles of faith thus: "We believe." Then follows what they believe. Adventists say that all these churches have a creed, but they themselves have no creed. But their "Fundamental Principles" begin in the same way, thus: "They believe;" and then follow their twenty-nine articles of faith, telling what they believe. Hence, for them to say they have no creed, but other churches have, is a deception.
But the worst feature about this creed is that it does not contain their chief article of faith - that which they regard as the greatest essential of all. Strange as it may seem, this is omitted. Their greatest deception in this matter is not in having a formulated creed when they say they have no creed, but in failing to insert in their formulated creed the one paramount article of their faith.
The third article of their published creed says they hold:
"That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of His will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice."
This again sounds well; but it is false, absolutely false. Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain the full revelation of God's will to man, neither do they take these Scriptures as their "only infallible rule of faith and practice," for they hold that the writings of their prophetess, Mrs. E.G. White, are also given by inspiration of God; that these writings contain a fuller revelation of God's will to man, and that they are infallible. And, what is more, they make faith in these writings a test of faith and fellowship in their church. All this is susceptible of the clearest proof.
Over and over Mrs. White claimed her writings to be inspired of God, and placed them on a level with the Bible. She says:
"I took the precious Bible, and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met"(Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 605; Vol. 5, p. 664).
According to 2 Tim. 3:16,17, the Bible alone is a sufficient guide to heaven, thoroughly furnishing the man of God unto all good works. But Mrs. White adds her writings to the Bible; surrounds it with them, in fact. With the two thus placed together, she says "the cases of nearly all are met." The Bible alone, therefore, must be better; for that meets the cases of all.
The claim of infallibility was set up for Mrs. White's writings in 1911. In that year they declared her writings to be "the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles" (The Mark of the Beast, by G.A. Irwin, p. 1).
With them, therefore, the Bible is not their only creed, it is not its own expositor, neither is it their only infallible rule of faith and practice. On the contrary, faith in Mrs. White and her writings is the great thing - the chief, but unpublished, article of faith. It is not an uncommon thing to hear their older members say, "If I gave up faith in Mrs. White, I would give up everything." This shows that everything in this church is built on her. To disbelieve in her is the greatest of heresies, and at once brands one as an apostate. Before uniting with the church one hears little or nothing about Mrs. White; but, after uniting, one hears her quoted constantly as authority upon everything - doctrine, diet, dress and discipline.
Those who at first do not accept her visions, Mrs. White says,
"must not be set aside, but long patience and brotherly love should be exercised toward then until they find their position and become established for or against."But, "if they fight against the visions," then, she says, "the church may know that they are not right" (Testimonies, Vol. I., p. 328).
This shows that in the end, according to Mrs. White's own writings, faith in her writings is made a test of faith and fellowship in this church.
Consequently, all along, not only church members, but whole churches, have been disfellowshipped for disbelief in Mrs. White's visions. To get rid of members who did not believe in her inspiration, whole churches have been summarily disbanded by church officials without their consent, and reorganized, faith in Mrs. White and her writings being made a test for entering the new organization. In October, 1913, their church in St. Louis, Mo., was disbanded in this way. The last three questions asked those who desired to unite with the reorganized church were these:
"11. Do you believe that the remnant church must have the spirit of prophecy?
"12. Do you believe in the spirit of prophecy as vested in Mrs. E.G. White?
"13. Do you believe in health reform as taught in the Bible, and the spirit of prophecy?"
This is sufficient to show that "the Bible, and the Bible only," is not the creed of Seventh-day Adventists. It is the Bible and something else; it is the Bible and the writings of Mrs. White.
It is not honest, therefore, for them to publish to the world that they have "no creed but the Bible." Neither is it honest, in publishing their creed, to omit that which is their chief article of faith and great denominational test. It is only fair that the public should know of their deception in this matter.
They are not as frank and honest in this respect as are the Mormons. The Mormons have a creed, formulated by Joseph Smith in 1841, and adopted later by their general conference, which they publish as their "Articles of Faith." They do not hesitate to call this their creed. Neither do they in this creed suppress the fact that they believe in the Book of Mormon. Article VIII. Of this creed says:
"We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly, we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."
Why should not Seventh-day Adventists be as honest, and state in their creed that they believe the writings of Mrs. White to be the word of God? There must be something radically wrong with a denomination that will thus, with fair but false words and suppressed facts, attempt to deceive the innocent and unsuspecting public, and with a spiritual "gift" which requires so much deception to protect it.