Inevitably the objection is raised–whenever one points out that unqualified love as used by E. J. Waggoner remains a term originating in spiritualism, universalism, and pantheism–that Waggoner and Jones were endorsed by Ellen White. Therefore, she believed in unqualified love. This is a false premise. Ellen White never used the terms “unqualified love” or “unconditional love.” Yet she did use another term synonymous with these two: free-lovism (yet another term used by spiritualists and universalists while Ellen White was alive). She rejected this concept completely. She called the sentiments associated with free-lovism “unholy spiritual love.” (For more on this topic, read from the Article section: Unholy Spiritual Love parts 1 and 2.)
We really ought to take a closer look at what Ellen White endorsed, and what she did not.
Ellen White wrote Waggoner, “You have been represented to me as being in great peril. Satan is on your track, and at times he has whispered to you pleasing fables and has shown you charming pictures of one whom he represents as a more suitable companion for you than the wife of your youth, the mother of your children.
“Satan is working stealthily, untiringly, to effect your downfall through his specious temptations. He is determined to become your teacher, and you need now to place yourself where you can get strength to resist him. He hopes to lead you into the mazes of spiritualism. He hopes to wean your affections from your wife, and to fix them upon another woman. He desires that you shall allow your mind to dwell upon this woman, until through unholy affection she becomes your god.
“The enemy of souls has gained much when he can lead the imagination of one of Jehovah’s chosen watchmen to dwell upon the possibilities of association, in the world to come, with some woman whom he loves, and of there raising up a family. We need no such pleasing pictures. All such views originate in the mind of the tempter.
“We have the plain assurance of Christ that in the world to come, the redeemed ‘neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.’
“It is presented to me that spiritual fables are taking many captive. Their minds are sensual, and, unless a change comes, this will prove their ruin. To all who are indulging these unholy fancies I would say, Stop; for Christ’s sake, stop right where you are. You are on forbidden ground. Repent, I entreat of you, and be converted.” —Letter 231, 1903. (Medical Ministry, 100, 101.)
In a letter dated April 9, 1906, to A. T. Jones, Ellen White wrote, “Elder Waggoner has been an injury. In the European field for a long time he has sown seeds that have and will bear evil fruit, leading some to depart from the faith, and to give heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of Satanic origin. Unless he is converted, he is not fitted to act any part in the ministry of the word. He is a decided transgressor of the seventh commandment.”
Despite this letter, A. T. Jones presided over the wedding of E. J. Waggoner to Edith Adams on September 17, 1906, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I personally have seen the photograph of the public record sent to me by Steve Emse, who helped me with some of the research for my book. See What Wondrous Love, 76-86 for the whole story, including what Waggoner wrote about love in 1898 and 1900.
In 1901, Prescott and Waggoner wanted an interview with Ellen White, which she refused to give. In 1908, she wrote this to Prescott: “I have been shown your peril during the time of your connecting with Dr. E. J. Waggoner. You both came to the [General] Conference [session] of 1901 enthused with what you supposed to be precious spiritual light. You were desirous of presenting this light to me, but I was shown that much of that which you supposed to be precious light was dangerous, misleading fables, and that I must have no conversation with you regarding these ideas that were filling your minds.
“The theories held by Ellet Waggoner were similar in character to those we had met and rebuked in several places where we met fanatical movements after the passing of the time in 1844. Dr. Waggoner was then departing from the faith in the doctrine he held regarding spiritual affinities.”—Letter 224, 1908, p. 1. (To W. W. Prescott, June 24, 1908.) (Vol. 12, Manuscript Releases, 62, 63.)
Spiritual affinities, aka spiritual wifery, is one of several manifestations of the concept embodied by unconditional love, unqualified love, and free-lovism. It is most definitely demonstrated as adultery—the transgression of the seventh commandment.
To make very clear just how Satan brings deadly errors into the church such as this one, Ellen White wrote this: “It is when Satan appears as an angel of light that he takes souls in his snare, deceiving them. Men who pretend to have been taught of God, will adopt fallacious theories, and in their teaching will so adorn these fallacies as to bring in Satanic delusions. Thus Satan will be introduced as an angel of light and will have opportunity to present his pleasing fables.
“These false prophets will have to be met. They will make an effort to deceive many, by leading them to accept false theories. Many scriptures will be misapplied in such a way that deceptive theories will apparently be based upon the words that God has spoken. Precious truth will be appropriated to substantiate and establish error. These false prophets, who claim to be taught of God, will take beautiful scriptures that have been given to adorn the truth, and will use them as a robe of righteousness to cover false and dangerous theories. And even some of those who, in times past, the Lord has honored, will depart so far from the truth as to advocate misleading theories regarding many phases of truth, including the sanctuary question.”—Manuscript 11, 1906. (Evangelism, 360, NOTE especially the last sentence, “even some of those who, in times past, the Lord has honored”.)
Ellen White has also given us this warning to protect us from the omega deception: “The time has come when we cannot depend upon the doctrine which comes to our ears, unless we see that it harmonizes with the Word of God. There are dangerous heresies that will be presented as Bible doctrines; and we are to become acquainted with the Bible so that we may know how to meet them. The faith of every individual will be tested, and everyone will pass through a trial of close criticism.”—The Review and Herald, May 3, 1887. (Evangelism 590, 591.)