The Spirit of Prophecy or the Spirit of Bitterness

Clear Water 7

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Many Adventists and former Adventists either have the Spirit of Prophecy or the Spirit of Bitterness. Where does the bitterness come from?

This week’s SS lesson focuses on the book of Joel, which speaks about the Holy Spirit and gift of prophecy being poured out in the latter days. See Joel 2:28-29. Paul reminds us again that the gift of prophecy will endure as long as God has a church. Ephesians 4:11-13. Still, with all the false prophets today, people are skeptical of anybody being a true prophet. That is nothing new. What prophet has ever been accepted in his or her own time or place?

A few days ago someone shared a website with me that bashed Seventh-day Adventists and Ellen White. This site said Adventists were a cult because we are trying to be saved by keeping the commandments. That is not true. We keep*, (treasure* or cherish* is the literal translation in the Hebrew) the commandments because we love Jesus. John 14:15. This site also said we are trying to work our way to heaven by keeping the Sabbath. I don’t know how they came up with that one. We don’t rest on Sabbath so we can be saved by working. That accusation, like most accusations you find on anti-Adventist or anti-Ellen White websites do not even make any sense if you just stop to honestly think about it. The Sabbath is not a sign of works. It is a sign of rest. The Sabbath is a sign we are NOT saved by works.

I have to wonder what spirit is behind their accusations. After all, I am not a Mormon, but I respect them and have no reason or desire to run an anti-Mormon website.  I don’t accept their prophet Joseph Smith, but again I have no desire to run an anti-Joseph Smith website. Each to their own, I say. So I wonder why some people have the obsession to bitterly bash Ellen White and Adventists. The point I am trying to make is, while I do not believe in Joseph Smith, I am still not angry and bitter about it. The anti-Ellen White and anti-Adventist websites often have a bitterness that you cannot ignore.

Problem is, Adventists have also been misrepresented by their own people, and Ellen White has been misrepresented by her own fans. Please keep in mind, if I wear my Tampa Bay Rays baseball jersey into Yankee stadium and start throwing my nachos at the Yankee fans, that I am not properly representing the Tampa Bay Rays. Just because a Tampa Bay Rays fan does something does not mean the Tampa Bay Rays did it. They would be appalled by it. Same with the Adventist Church and Ellen White. They do not condone the action of all of their fans.

I do not know if Ellen White would approve of a compilation book called Messages to Young People, where everything she wrote was literally and blatantly taken out of context and then placed in a book to beat young people over the head.

There is much counsel, which was written to specific people, and what God leads me to see in her writings may not be what He is needing everyone to see. What I read I need to pray and apply to myself instead of hitting my neighbor over the head with it. In a church district where I served years ago, we had a lady who read Ellen White all the time. I mean all the time. So much so, that she never had time to help with Vacation Bible School when we needed her, or to help with Community Services when a tornado struck. She could never help. She was too busy reading Ellen White books.

Ellen White was balanced. Not all of her fans are though. The Adventist Church is balanced but not all of its members are. Hopefully we balance each other out. That being said, I guess I do understand where some of the bitterness can come from. But please do not become bitter of Ellen White or anyone else for that matter, because of someone else’s misrepresentation of her. Please don’t judge a sports team by its fans.The team may be nothing like their fans.

Let me just come right out and say here, the point of my post is not so much addressing whether or not Ellen White is still relevant to today’s church or not, but regardless of what people believe, why do some need to be so bitter about it? That being said, I believe if the Adventist Church and Ellen White had been properly represented, regardless if people believe in them or not, at least they would not be so bitter towards them.

Could the spirit behind their attacks be found in Revelation 12:17?

“And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.”

Keeping the commandments is not a sign we are a cult. It is a sign we are God’s children!

None of us likes it when other people put words in our mouths. If you have visited a website bashing Seventh-day Adventists, I would like to invite you to a website where you can find the truth about Adventists. Even if you do not want to be one, its only fair that Adventists are rightfully understood. No one likes to be misunderstood.

Every month someone sends me a magazine which bitterly bashes Seventh-day Adventists. Again, I find this very strange that someone wants to spend their time, energy and money bitterly lashing out at any Christian denomination. Bitterly bashing people is just not in my psyche I guess.

While I have made a habit of tossing this magazine into the trashcan next to my mailbox every month, this time I did happen to open a couple pages. One page was an article saying that the Spirit of Prophecy is about the Holy Spirit and not Ellen White. Well of course it is. 2 Peter 1:21 tells us all the prophets wrote or spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. So when a prophet has the Spirit of Prophecy it is from the Holy Spirit and not from him or herself.  In other words, the Holy Spirit gives His own prophecies to men to share with us. The fact that Ellen White’s writings are from the Holy Spirit and not herself, gives it even more merit.

Some like to point out supposed contradictions in her writings. Bible skeptics use the same logic to discount the Bible that Spirit of Prophecy skeptics use to discount Ellen White. People can find things in the Bible to look like a contradiction, but once you study it out and think about it you realize it is not a contradiction. It’s the same with Ellen White. I have seen a handful of people myself, who have stopped believing in Ellen White’s writings, and then stopped believing in the Bible and God all together. Christians need to be aware, that the same supposed logic that will lead you not to believe in the writings of Ellen White will also lead you to stop believing in the Bible and God.

I hear people say Ellen White is too legalistic and conservative. This year I have been reading through the Testimonies to the Church, by Ellen White, and what I have been finding over and over is that she actually attacks legalism. She is far from conservative, and being legalistic and works orientated. In her writings I find grace and mercy. I find her to be very balanced, and if she has to go to either extreme she goes to the side of mercy. A lot of anti-Ellen White people have never read her for themselves. I invite you to do so. After all, you would not want someone telling people about you. If you are like me, you want people to get to know you personally instead of just going by what they hear. I invite you to get know Ellen White for yourself.

Here is a link where you can explore the writings of Ellen White and find the treasures of the Spirit of Prophecy.

Also if you have been to any of the anti-Ellen White websites, the links below may help you find factual and logical answers to some of her critics.

Here is a link where you can find out how to tell from the Bible if someone really has the gift of prophecy or not.

I hope you find it to be as great a blessing as I have. If you decide not to accept her as a prophet I hope we can still be friends. There is no reason to be bitter either way. The Spirit of Bitterness, accusations, and finding fault with other peoples religions comes from Satan, not from God.

And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 NLT


  1. William, I’m thinking about your patience, and this is a gift from the LORD, b/c you have become more like Him, and not like accusers. You are going to need this patience, as will we all, when it comes to holding onto all we hold dear in regards to our Faith in Christ. Thank God He never lets go of us, and we can know the Truth, and Love others in spite of their hatred. Bless You, Brother!
    Best sermon I ever heard in regards to finding the True Church was tonight on 3ABN Proclaim by Pastor Stephen Bohr. You may be able to find it on youtube…not sure. The Testimony of Jesus IS the Spirit of Prophecy. The wise will understand, but none of the wicked.


    1. Almost every program shown on 3ABN can be found at the “Programs by Request” website:

      Live programs will not be there for a few days. If it is a one time broadcast, they may not appear at all on the website. The website is hugely popular so it might be slow…


  2. THANK YOU!! I am grateful that GOD has given us freedom of choice but it is so sad what the “evil one” has done with poor choices! Miss you. GOD Bless- muchluv~dalene


  3. As I read your article, I couldn’t help but reflect on the “spirit” of those that attacked Jesus while on this earth.. The devil knows he has a short time, and is resorting to the same tackticks of false accusations……as he did then.


  4. Sometimes SDA people are misrepresented by members that say something untrue, and then that’s all they know about what we are like. To make a long story short, I grew up Catholic, but went because that’s all I knew. I knew being a believer wasn’t because I went to church, but the other way around. When I was 22 I became a member of a Baptist church because they were the ones reaching out, handing out tracts. Then I joined the group handing out tracts. Within a year, I was approached by a member of the church I am a member of now, who had a strong emphasis on the Sabbath and how many times “Sabbath” appeared in the Bible. But here’s the thing- I didn’t even consider giving it a chance & studying with him & a pastor for almost 8 years, because the person witnessing to me was mixing what he believed with the message, one thing being “You have to read all of sister White’s books before you can be really saved.” Big mistake. But may God forgive him, I appreciate him, cause he was the main person who cared enough to witness to me, and recently died in the 1st week of April.
    I have also encountered people who said S.O.P. is only referring to sis. White’s writings. Did SHE ever say that?! Is there anything she wrote anywhere that says that, or are people just paraphrasing something they thought they read somewhere? I hope I’m not coming across in a bad way, just sharing things that have happened to me. But I’m still a believer, and I’m still me, nothing changes that.
    A word of encouragement- no matter what you experience, learn to separate bad people/experiences from God. God is God and God is good, no matter how bad other things are. God is not the cause of evil, and He did NOT create it.


  5. I interpret “spirit of prophecy” in a broad context to mean that the people at the time of the end have an interest in, and actively study Biblical prophecy. We are not saved as a people group, as if we own Ellen White, and have her to fulfill that requirement. This attribute, along with keeping the commandments of God is a full description of the saints at the time of the 2nd Advent. These 2 attributes display the product of their relationship with Jesus; it is the fruit not the root.


    1. You can choose to interpret the Bible any way you wish. A prophetic gift is clearly evident to those without a spirit of bitterness and denial. It is true we are not saved as a group. However, we are influenced by the group we associate with. If we do not seek association with the best available sources, then we are associating with something less than God offers us. The best associates and their actions are not perfect, often far from it, but they are the best available. Denial of any part of truth is still denial.

      When the Spirit of truth is come, He will lead you into all truth… He will show you things to come. John 16:13


  6. I grew up in the church, then got entangled with the world then the Lord Jesus called me back to the fold but, I never left the church. I was re-baptized in 2008 and I am a firm believer in God and I will follow the lamb withersoever he goes. Let us read the bible, Who is a prophet and what do they do? I have just recently started reading Ellen’s books and I love the truths in everyone of the ones i have read. Please read the books and find out for yourself, the Lord mightly used her. I plan on reading a lot of the books but THE BIBLE FIRST. What does Jesus say? “seek ye first the kingdom of heaven,” seek God first and HE will help you who is true people are. Funny in the beginning I did not care to read her books but as the Lord opens my heart, I find a lot of truths in her writings and the testimonies she had were powerful. MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU ALL, BELIEVE IN GOD AND KEEP HIS STATUTES WHERE BY YOU WILL BE SAVED. Let us get out and do the Lord’s work even in death, the world needs the word, heat all the tragedies, THE WORLD NEEDS THE WORLD PREACHED IN TRUTH.


  7. Good thoughts, William. Reading your blog took me back to my youth years, too many years ago! In those days EGW was often used by certain folks in a very harsh manner that had a negative impact on me and many of my friends. I remember once our SDA Phys Ed teacher was teaching us youngsters how to play tennis and he became the object of criticism by keepers-of-the-faith and we kids were told we shouldn’t be playing tennis because EGW said that competitive sports were wrong.

    Other admonitions by older people during my youth who hammered down on us about riding bicycles or taking photographs because EGW spoke against them in “Messages to Young People” caused my young mind to rebel against such nonsensical positions. Unfortunately, once one makes up their mind about something, it’s difficult to change. By the time I was in college, I had mostly relegated EGW to a position of being a very prolific writer, a leader; but a true prophet only in the minds of misguided people. Many of my friends felt the same. However, I must say that some of my other friends did find enhancement of their spiritual lives through study of EGW’s writings, possibly because they were fortunate to have good counsel from their parents or other mentors.

    I blame our early church leaders for the loss of the good influence of reading EGW that can be had in people’s lives. They made EGW into something she is not and that has left a blemish on our denomination and has had negative impact on generations since the early 1900s. They created the atmosphere wherein ranting against EGW flourished and brilliant people like Dr. Ron Numbers wrote books many years ago (“The White Lie”) and others more recently have created extensive anti-EGW web sites. Churches have popped up that keep the Sabbath but exclude any import to EGW.

    I grant all those people the right to search for truth, and to be critical thinkers, and to publish their opinions; but it seems a little over the top for this hatred to continue even today. It seems like we continue to be rough on God’s work on our earth and lose focus.

    For an old guy, over the past forty years I’ve gradually come to a middle ground view of EGW.
    I say give her a chance, and let your spiritual experience be enhanced if possible by her writings. The Bible first, and then amplification. For those who still have no belief in EGW’s prophetic gifts my suggestion is to disregard any of the compilations of her writings, much of which is taken out of context, and read “Conflict of the Ages” and “Desire of Ages”, among a few of her writings. And then make a decision.

    I’ve heard Dr. Wes Blevins give several testimonies of the positive impact he’s seen during his ministerial career on people’s decisions for Christ after they’ve read those books. Having been involved with school boards, I’ve found EGW’s book on education to be full of wonderful principals; some of which were obviously written for her time, and some of which are timeless.

    So, as you so aptly said in your blog, take a balanced view. And by all means, William, don’t throw any tacos at anyone, especially the opposing team, the next time you’re at a ball game. Ellen might have to have a little chat with you in your dreams.

    Keep up your good work. Your buddy, Art


  8. i have also just started reading the testimonies. i’m still in the 1st book and i have been convicted. i wish everyone would read these books i think we would find a change in our lives. don’t look at how many books there are to read pray about it and just read a couple pages a day. i have read many books this way. when i first started reading i did not like reading but over time i have come to love it. just set a time everyday and do it, make it a pratice you will be blest.


  9. Thank you for your balanced approach to this subject. Your attitude is refreshing and you struck a nerve of my own. I don’t believe it was God’s plan (or Ellen White’s) that we understand righteousness by faith. I think the plan is that we exhibit the principles in our own lives and our attitudes toward others; even when they are disagree with us.


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