In order to understand just how Sister White’s endorsing process works, we need to establish a time line in history. From the pen of Ellen White we know that Waggoner and Jones were preaching the 3rd angel’s message in verity. And the timing of this wonderful endorsement? 1890. Here is the quote: “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity.'”—The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.
Now, for the record, when did Jones promote Anna Phillips as a prophet? 1893, 1894. Here is what Ellen White said about that action and its consequences: “I know that we are living near the close of this earth’s history; startling events are preparing for development. I am fully in harmony with you in your work when you present the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the foundation of our faith. Satan is an artful foe, and he will work where he is by many least expected. I have a message for you. Did you suppose that God had commissioned you to take the burden of presenting the visions of Anna Phillips, reading them in public, and uniting them with the testimonies the Lord has been pleased to give me? No, the Lord has not laid upon you this burden. He has not given you this work to do…. Do not belittle the work by mingling with it productions that you have no positive evidence are from the Lord of life and glory….
“My dear brother, I wish to present before you some things concerning the dangers that threaten the work at the present time. The work of Anna Phillips does not bear the signature of Heaven. I know what I am talking about. In our first experience in the infancy of this cause we had to meet similar manifestations. Many such revelations were given, and we had a most disagreeable work in meeting this element and giving it no place. Some things stated in these revelations were fulfilled, and this led some to accept them as genuine….
“God has not called Anna Phillips to follow on after the testimonies He has given to His people, and repeat their purport. But such her work is and has been. Persons did exactly the same thing in the first experience in this cause. We had every phase of these false revelations to meet….
“You cannot be too careful how you talk of the gift of prophesying, and state that I have said this and that in reference to this matter. Such statements, I well know, encourage men and women and children to imagine that they have special light in revelations from God, when they have not received such light. This, I have been shown, would be one of Satan’s masterpieces of deception. You are giving to the work a mold which it will take precious time and wearing soul labor to correct, to save the cause of God from another spasm of fanaticism….” —Letter 103, 1894; Vol. 2, Selected Messages, 85, 86.
Now, does Ellen White’s 1890 endorsement mean that Jones’ support of Anna Phillips, a false prophet/spiritualist being taught of Satan the messages she gave to the church, is an unqualified “righteousness by faith” message? No! Neither was her 1890 endorsement a blanketed support for Waggoner’s message of unqualified love in 1898. In fact, as proof positive that both warnings given about Anna’s visions and Kellogg’s book included references to the fanaticism manifested shortly after 1844.
In the warning regarding Kellogg’s book we see the first mention of the alpha theory of heresy. “Living Temple contains the alpha of these theories. I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people. I knew that I must warn our brethren and sisters not to enter into controversy over the presence and personality of God. The statements made in Living Temple in regard to this point are incorrect. The scripture used to substantiate the doctrine there set forth, is scripture misapplied….
“Few can discern the result of entertaining the sophistries advocated by some at this time. But the Lord has lifted the curtain, and has shown me the result that would follow. The spiritualistic theories regarding the personality of God, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They estimate as nothing the light that Christ came from heaven to give John to give to His people. They teach that the scenes just before us are not of sufficient importance to be given special attention. They make of no effect the truth of heavenly origin, and rob the people of God of their past experience, giving them instead a false science….
“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” (Ellen White, Vol. 1, Selected Messages, 203, 204, 205, emphasis added.)
In the last nearly sixty years that unconditional love has been taught within this denomination, we have seen the first fifty years of this denomination’s principles accounted as error. Where we once taught that God’s love was conditioned by righteousness in the form of Christ’s merits, and time in the form of a second probationary period, we have seen the Sabbath lightly regarded, and marriage lightly regarded. Where once we were far more careful to be prepared for the Sabbath hours by doing all necessary work before Friday sunset, we see the carelessness of church members going to restaurants on Sabbath! Where once we disciplined church members for obtaining divorces without Biblical cause, we now see a monumental increase in divorce and remarriage in a manner described by Jesus Himself as adultery. The latest trends of emerging church mysticism is simply another manifestation of this concept of unconditional love.
What Waggoner wrote in Glad Tidings (1900) had already been written in the British periodical in 1898. And it was those things about unqualified love (aka unconditional love, free-lovism as promoted by spiritualists, universalists, and pantheists long prior to this point in history) that Ellen White refused to discuss with Waggoner and Prescott in 1901, just as I quoted previously. It had to do with the presence and personality of God—the uncaused, unqualified nature of God’s love which the Bible does not support.
Here is our danger. If we think that once Ellen White endorsed their messages presented from about 1885 to 1890 that she would also include future messages in that endorsement, then we would be greatly mistaken. This is simply not the case! In fact, she let Jones know she was “fully in harmony with [him] in [his] work when [he] present[ed] the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the foundation of our faith.” What then did she endorse? The message of righteousness by faith through the blood and merits of Jesus Christ.
“The efficacy of the blood of Christ was to be presented to the people with freshness and power, that their faith might lay hold upon its merits….
“For years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel’s message, in clear, distinct lines.”—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 91-93 (1896); Evangelism, 191.
So, even as late as 1896 she endorsed that message of presenting the “efficacy of the blood of Christ… that their faith might lay hold upon its merits.” But inherent in this endorsement is the word “merit” which is something earned. Christ’s merits means that Christ met the conditions of love which we could never meet. And yet, by obeying as He obeyed—by faith motivated by love in unconditional surrender of our wills—we are empowered to do His righteousness. And that is why Satan seeks to obscure the merits of Christ, and our cooperative work with Him, being yoked to Him, with the dangerous deception of unconditional love (aka unqualified love, free-lovism) which Ellen White stated in her letters I previously quoted to be “dangerous misleading fables,””doctrines of Satanic origin”.