More from David DePinho

Since sharing my initial testimony about leaving the Ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I have new information to pass on. I left Adventist because, through careful study, I found out the truth about Ellen G. White. That led me to reevaluate and ultimately reach different conclusions about other SDA doctrines

After posting my testimony I have been overwhelmed to learn I am not the only SDA minister to come to this conclusion. In fact, 8 other SDA ministers told me that they had learned what I had learned, but they had learned it years before me. The interesting thing is that these men had not left Adventism. Most said that the only reason they had not left their post as SDA Pastors, Educators or Chaplains is that they wanted to keep their jobs, they did not know what they would do if they lost their income.

There were other reasons for not leaving the Adventist ministry too. One pastor told me that he was agitating for change in the system. I can respect that and I think it is a laudable motive. However, I think the Adventists have a point when they preach that there is a time to come out of Babylon. Adventism, with its adherence and acceptance of Ellen G. White represents confusion at it's best. Honest people have to make a decision at some point to withdrawal their support of a Church system that teaches outright error of such significance no matter what the cost.

In this update, I would like clarify some of my conclusions from my initial testimony which can be read at and give a little more history. As a former Seventh-day Adventist pastor my story begins at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs Michigan during my work on my Masters of Divinity Degree there. I was taking a class called "Biblical Hermeneutics" from Dr. Gerhard Hasel. Dr. Hasel was a great professor with a sharp wit that his students enjoyed. His classes were top notch and his students learned a great deal from him. We even teased him a bit over the difficulty and rigors of his class. Once we put a sign on the classroom door that read "Hasel's House of Hermeneutical Horrors". But his class was worth it. He taught us how to carefully and honestly "interpret" scripture and other writings, which is what "hermeneutics" means, the science of how to interpret.

It was during that class that I happened upon a passage in Ellen Whites book "Early Writings". I found, on my own, a "Shut Door" reference that was difficult to understand. No one led me to it to criticize Ellen White. Since it was 1990 the internet was still in the future for the most part. The passage just happened to be part of my reading. The passage is long but the context is worth the time. Please notice the capitalized references to page 86 that the White Estate has added (not me) to lead readers to a defense of the passage added to Early Writings. Underlining is mine:

"The Open and the Shut Door "

"Sabbath, March 24, 1849, we had a sweet and very interesting meeting with the brethren at Topsham, Maine. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the city of the living God. Then I was shown that the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ relating to the shut door could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out with all their importance, and for God's people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, where the ark is, in which are contained the ten commandments. This door was not opened until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the holy place of the sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door of the holy place, and opened the door into the most holy, and passed within the second veil, where He now stands by the ark, and where the faith of Israel now reaches. {EW 42.1}"

"I saw that Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it (Rev. 3:7,8); [SEE PAGE 86. SEE ALSO APPENDIX.] and that since Jesus has opened the door into the most holy place, which contains the ark, the commandments have been shining out to God's people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question. {EW 42.2}"

"I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished and He had passed within the second veil; therefore Christians who fell asleep before the door was opened into the most holy, when the midnight cry was (Page 43) finished, at the seventh month, 1844, and who had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light and the test on the Sabbath which we now have since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God's people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about its being a test for us now. {EW 42.3}"

"The enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the holy place, that Jesus has shut, and to close the door of the most holy place, which He opened in 1844, where the ark is, containing the two tables of stone on which are written the ten commandments by the finger of Jehovah. {EW 43.1}

"Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty. {EW 43.2}"

"Satan knew this, and he was at work in mighty power to keep the minds of as many people as he possibly could wavering and unsettled on the truth. I saw that the mysterious knocking in New York and other places was the power of Satan, and that such things would be more and more common, clothed in a religious garb so as to lull the deceived to greater security and to draw the minds of God's people, if possible, to those things and cause them to doubt the teachings and power of the Holy Ghost. [SEE PAGE 86. SEE ALSO APPENDIX.] {EW 43.3}"

"I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to (page 44) strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such a one as themselves and had valued His power as a thing of nought. {EW 43.4}"

"Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints--those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away
God's people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. {EW 44.1}"

"Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God's people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also. (Page 45) {EW 44.2}"

"I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth. My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past."

In this last sentence of this passage the White Estate would have us believe that EGW was talking about other churches loosing their burden for lost souls rather then EGW speaking of her own conclusions about the burden of Adventists for the lost. I ask you the reader, what Baptist church ever stopped having a burden for the lost?! Please read the White Estate note added and the EGW quotes used to mislead the reader.



"The 'false reformations' here referred to are yet to be more fully seen. The view relates more particularly to those who have heard and rejected the light of the advent doctrine. They are given over to strong delusions. Such will not have 'the travail of soul for sinners' as formerly. Having rejected the advent, and being given over to the delusions of Satan, 'the time for their salvation is past.' This does not, however, relate to those who have not heard and rejected the doctrine of the second advent."

"It is a fearful thing to treat lightly the truth which has convinced our understanding and touched our hearts. We cannot with impunity reject the warnings which God in mercy sends us. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah's day, and the salvation of men depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the flood.

In the passage above Ellen White is trying to argue that her previous words were about Baptists or other Christian Churches losing their burden for the "lost". It is obviously a weak and unsupportable assertion after reading the original document she is defending. But in the defense itself, Ellen White betrays her deception. Notice the last comparison to the flood. For clarity consider what EGW wrote about the similarity of Noah and the End Time.

"But the time comes when the last appeal of Noah is made to the guilty race. He bids them yet once again heed the message of warning and find refuge in the ark. He stretches out his hands in supplication with voice full of sympathy. With quivering lip and tearful eye, he tells them his work is done, but the loud, coarse mocking and scoffs and insults more determined are heaped upon Noah. Enthusiast, fanatic, crazy, falls upon his ear. He bids them all farewell, he and his family enter the ark, and God shut the door. That door that shut Noah in, shut out the world. It was a shut door in Noah's time. And the Lord shut him in. Up to that time, God had opened a door whereby the inhabitants of the old world might find refuge if they believed the message sent to them from God. But that door was now shut and no man could open it. Probation was ended. {TDG 235.2}

Clearly Ellen Whites use of the comparison with Noah shows that the loss of a burden for the "wicked world" was her own and not the Baptists! Probation ended in both instances in Ellen Whites mind. For years after 1844 Ellen White and other early Adventists taught that the door was shut in the identical sense as it was shut on the Ark just prior to the flood. Proof positive that her later defense is a deception or, to be gracious, just the musings of a very forgetful woman.

But back to the original Early Writings passage. I brought the passage to the attention of Dr. Hasel, for his insight. At the time I was not particularly upset by the passage. I trusted that there would be a perfectly acceptable answer to what she had written. I believed, at the time, that it would be ok and understandable for a prophet to misunderstand what God has communicated to her. But Dr. Hasel's response surprised me. I expected him to give me insights and perhaps a complete explanation for the reference that would make perfect sense. But instead, he did the unexpected. He stonewalled me.

He denied that Ellen White ever made the Shut Door statement, I had the book with me as we spoke, I lifted it to show him the passage, he would not look at it, he said he did not need to see it and that Ellen White had never wrote such a thing. I lowered the book as I looked at him bewildered. I could see that he was not going to engage with me on the topic any further, the conversation was over. Those who knew Dr. Hasel knew he was a man with a powerful personality and the conversation really was over.

There are a number of possibilities to that strange interchange. I will let you draw your own conclusion, or no conclusion at all. As I consider it I believe one possible conclusion is that since Dr. Hasel had just been through the Walter Rea controversy over Ellen White in the early eighties and he was tired of the topic. He knew what he thought on the subject and was just tired of talking about what he considered an old issue.

If I am right, I know I have seen this attitude a hundred times since then. The refusal of people to revisit something they have already made up their mind about. I hope that is not the case with you, the reader. I pray that you will be willing to slow down and really consider the evidence I am about to put forward.

The leaders of the Ellen White Estate have put forth a plausible answer to the Ellen White Shut Door comments but only if you don't look to closely. But for those willing to look carefully, there is an unmistakable key that exposes Ellen White as a fraud even if an honestly self-deluded or just forgetful one. What is more, if someone does look closely at the issues and evidence surrounding the early SDA teaching of the Shut Door they will discover the unmistakable evidence that shows EGW's statements are false and that the EGW Estate defense is either a terrible oversight, or worse, they are covering up.

The numbers of current SDA pastors and educators who have contacted me tells me that this evidence and the implications are not difficult to see if people will honestly look at the material that is available from the White Estate. All quotes I have used come from the White Estate Web Page,

The Keys to the Shut Door Question:
I believe I arrived at my conclusions by looking at the available evidence before reaching a conclusion one way or the other. I simply let the facts lead me where they would. I encourage you to let the evidence speak to you before you make your mind up as well.

So let me help you see these "keys" and identify them for yourself as we review the evidence. I want to start by supplying a framework to dispel confusion. The issues on both sides of the debate concerning the "Shut Door" doctrine of early Adventism are simply put:

"To "whom" was the door shut or open?"
and "What is the door?"
Finally, "What is the significance in early Adventist thinking of having the "door" shut?

If we can answer these questions one by one with clear evidence from the people of the time, we can make progress in understanding the issues and reaching a sound conclusion.

Let's start with the first part of the argument by defining possible answers to the "whom". Who would have a door "of any kind" open or shut to them? There are five possibilities on a scale that runs from the "wicked world" all the way to convinced Adventists in league with Ellen White, Joseph Bates etc.

1. The "wicked", the unconverted, pre-evangelized world.
2. Christian people who were never involved in the Millerite movement, ever.
3. Christian people who did get involved in the Millerite movement but later became disillusioned and no longer supported it.
4. Christian people who joined the Millerites but confused by 1844 still looked for answers concerning their 1844 disappointment.
5. Millerites who became Adventists and were in agreement and association with Ellen G. White after the disappointment of 1844.

Since this breakdown encompasses all the possible categories of people on earth, all "Shut Door" references by Ellen White and the early Adventist church will apply to at least one of these groups.

It should be recognized that the White Estate does not allow for the distinction between group one and group four. This is significant. Any reference of any kind to preaching the message of Adventism is treated by the White Estate as a reference to group one and as such is used to defend Ellen White against closing the "door" of salvation to the "Wicked World". Evidence will show however that references to evangelization between 1844 and 1850 by the early Adventists and EGW are references to evangelizing group two and group four and not group one. No passages that I have found indicate evangelization of the lost world represented by group one. The subject of Adventist preaching was the Sabbath and not Calvary. This is the compelling evidence that Adventists of the period from 1844-1850 were not trying to reach the lost, but rather non-Adventist Christians.

Notice these passages from EGW:

"Oh, my brother and sister, I wish all of God's people could get a sight of it as God has shown it me. The work of the Lord is going on. Souls are coming in to the truth, and soon the work will be all done. Keep up good courage, hope in God, let nothing weigh thee down. We have the truth. We know it. Praise the Lord. I saw yesterday our work was not to the shepherds who have rejected the former messages, but to the honest deceived who are led astray. I saw the false shepherds would soon be fed with judgment. Let the truth come out everywhere we go, the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. Cheer up. There are better days coming.--Letter 18, 1850, p. 1. (To Brother and Sister Hastings, January 11, 1850.) {5MR 91.1}

A clear reference to Church people who Adventists believed were deceived, not the un-churched.

"Let us not rest unless we have the abiding witness that our ways please God. Souls are coming out upon the truth all around here. They are those who have not heard the Advent doctrine and some of them are those who went forth to meet the Bridegroom in 1844, but since that time have been deceived by false shepherds until they did not know where they were or what they believed.--Letter 4, 1850, pp. 1, 2. (To Brother and Sister Collins, February 10, 1850.)

Another reference to churched people rather then the lost of the world. Notice that there is nothing here about people who were unconverted. The two groups mentioned here are groups two and four, not group one. It is a call to preach Adventist specific doctrine to other Christians rather then the Gospel to the lost that is the burden of the Adventists witness.

Again from a vision in 1850 in Paris Maine:

Then I saw souls that were needy. They were honest, and they needed the prejudice torn from them that they have received from their leaders, (OBVIOUSLY A REFERENCE TO OTHER CHRISTIANS) and then they can receive the truth. I saw [that] the burden of the message should be the first, second, and third angels' messages, and those who had any hope in God would yield to the force of that truth. How mighty and glorious it looked to me. Oh, what privilege is ours, that of being among the children of God and believing the mighty truth--a poor, despised company, but how honored of God! {13MR 301.1}

I saw [that] if Israel moved steadily along, going according to Bible order, they would be as terrible as an army with banners. Said the angel, "Should any tarry that have the truth and can give an explanation of it from the Word of God? No, no! They must go quickly." {13MR 301.2}

Then I saw Brother D, that he must buckle on the armor. Said the angel, "Dost thou expect to be free from trials? Fight the good fight of faith. The angel of God will go before thee, and some souls will be benefited and receive the truth." {13MR 301.3}

Then I saw Laodiceans. [THE NOMINAL, OR FIRST-DAY, ADVENTISTS] (THIS UNDERLINED REFERENCE TO NOMINAL ADVENTISTS ETC. WAS ADDED BY THE WHITE ESTATE ON ITS WEB SITE, NOT BY ME) They will make a mighty effort. Will they get the victory? One who has the truth will chase a thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight. They are coming to conclusions that bring them into close quarters, and they cannot tell where they be themselves, for they are lost in the foggy, terrible fear that takes hold of them. Anguish of spirit will seize them. Dare they admit that the door is shut? The sin against the Holy Ghost was to ascribe to Satan what belongs to God or what the Holy Ghost has done. They said the shut door was of the devil and now admit it is against their own lives. They shall die the death. Look ye at the Pattern. Follow Him, for He is meek and lowly in heart. Shut your eyes to everything but the present, saving truth.--Manuscript 11, 1850. (Written December 25, 1850, at Paris, Maine.) White Estate Washington, D. C. April 12, 1984 {13MR 301.4}

This manuscript was only released in 1984, it took a good while for it to come out. It shows clearly that EGW felt that those who rejected the Adventist teaching of the shut door were lost, why? Because the door was shut to them! This could not be clearer. EGW is saying that the shut door is the very thing that causes these people to be lost. The idea that the door was "shut" and people were lost as a result is the point of the teaching in Adventism.

So integral to early Adventism was this idea that they were in the final closing moment prior to the Second Coming that EGW writes:

"I saw the commandments of God and shut door could not be separated. I saw the time for the commandments of God to shine out to His people was when the door was opening in the inner apartment of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. Then Jesus rose up and shut the door in the outer apartment and opened the door in the inner apartment and passed into the Most Holy Place, and the faith of Israel now reaches within the second veil where Jesus now stands by the ark. I saw that Jesus had opened the door in the Most Holy Place and no man can shut it; and that since Jesus had opened the door in the Most Holy Place the commandments have been shining out and God has been testing His people on the holy Sabbath."--Letter 5, 1849, pp. 1-3. (To Brother and Sister Hastings, March 24-30, 1849.)

The burden of this letter is to show that, in the last moments prior to the Second Coming, Jesus had opened the Most Holy Place door and the Sabbath doctrine had resulted as a new test for his people, while at the same time Jesus closed the first apartment door which was the Gospel message for the lost. Let's not miss this point. Remember that EGW considered the shut door of the Noah's Ark an apt example of the Shut Door of the Sanctuary outer apartment.

From the "Story of Redemption: we read:

"While many were blaspheming and cursing their Creator, others were frantic with fear, stretching their hands toward the ark, pleading for admittance. But this was impossible. God had closed the door, the only entrance, and shut Noah in and the ungodly out. He alone could open the door. Their fear and repentance came too late. They were compelled to know that there was a living God who was mightier than man, whom they had defied and blasphemed. They called upon Him earnestly, but His ear was not open to their cry. Some in their desperation sought to break into the ark, but that firm-made structure resisted all their efforts. Some clung to the ark until borne away with the furious surging of the waters, or their hold was broken off by rocks and trees that were hurled in every direction. {SR 67.3}

The closing of the sanctuary door was compared to the closing of the door of the Ark by EGW on more than one occasion. Positive proof is provided below:

"But the time comes when the last appeal of Noah is made to the guilty race. He bids them yet once again heed the message of warning and find refuge in the ark. He stretches out his hands in supplication with voice full of sympathy. With quivering lip and tearful eye, he tells them his work is done, but the loud, coarse mocking and scoffs and insults more determined are heaped upon Noah. Enthusiast, fanatic, crazy, falls upon his ear. He bids them all farewell, he and his family enter the ark, and God shut the door. That door that shut Noah in, shut out the world. It was a shut door in Noah's time. And the Lord shut him in. Up to that time, God had opened a door whereby the inhabitants of the old world might find refuge if they believed the message sent to them from God. But that door was now shut and no man could open it. Probation was ended. {TDG 235.2}

"The long forbearance of God had ceased, the figures in the books of God's reckoning had been accumulating, the cup of the unjust was full. Mercy then ceased and justice took the sword of vengeance. . . . {TDG 235.3}

"There was a shut door in Noah's time. There was a shut door to the unbelievers in the destruction of Sodom, but an open door to Lot. There was a shut door to the inhabitants of Tyrus, a shut door to the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . who disbelieved, but an open door to the humble, the believing, those who obeyed God. Thus it will be at the end of time.--Manuscript 17, Aug. 14, 1885, "Shipboard Meditations." {TDG 235.4}"

Again in The Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4, published in 1884. {1BIO 256.3}

"After the passing of the time of expectation, in 1844, Adventists still believed the Saviour's coming to be very near; they held that they had reached an important crisis, and that the work of Christ as man's intercessor before God had ceased. (Page 257)

"Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners, while the bold and blasphemous scoffing of the ungodly seemed to them another evidence that the Spirit of God had been withdrawn from the rejecters of His mercy. All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they expressed it, "the door of mercy was shut."--4SP, p. 268. {1BIO 256.4}

WOW! How could it be any clearer? It is incredulous however, that EGW makes no reference to herself when all during this time she used the terminology of the "Shut Door" to people who she admits would understand it as a reference to the closing of the door of salvation and the end of probation for the lost world.

Now lets clarify by using a simple example. If I were to hold out my hand and say to you; "slap me five!" or similarly if I held my hand up and said "High Five!" since I am speaking a jargon that any American living today would understand, the person I said it to would slap my hand signifying excitement and agreement. The culture knows what those phrases mean. It was just so in EGW's time. A "High Five" would not be understood in her time 150 years ago and likewise we don't understand the "Shut Door" without a little background. But now that we have the background the conclusion is impossible to miss.

Ellen White and other early Adventists were not using the term "Shut Door" with their followers but giving it a different meaning then the very people they were trying to communicate with. Now that is clear isn't it? Remember: Ellen White herself said

"All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they expressed it, "the door of mercy was shut."--4SP, p. 268. {1BIO 256.4}

Dr. Robert Olsen, a former Director of the White Estate makes special mention of EGW's "oversight" when not counting herself among those who taught that the door of salvation to sinners was closed. In his article THE "SHUT DOOR" DOCUMENTS under item number 7 he writes:

"Ellen White appears to be saying that she immediately adopted "the true position" after receiving her first vision. However, such an interpretation of her words does not seem to be in harmony with other documents of the time, especially Otis Nichols' letter to William Miller. (this was written in 1849, four plus years after 1844!)

"It seems more likely that Ellen's first vision confirmed the validity of the 1844 experience and, with subsequent visions, led her gradually to the realization that, while the door of mercy had indeed closed for some on October 22, it had not closed for all. At first she was struck with the fact that there was no more hope for the "wicked world" or for those who denied God's leading in the Millerite movement. As the years passed she was evidently more and more impressed by that part of her vision which mentioned the 144,000 who were yet to be gathered out of the world before the Lord's return. What was intended to underscore divine leadership in the Millerite movement and to portray a large [p. 6] ingathering of souls was at first misinterpreted to mean that her work for the world was done.

This is a complete capitulation to the detractors of Ellen White and the facts that current Ellen White defenders try to deny. How could it be that Dr. Olsen, arguably the most pro-EGW writer of his time, the director and representative of Mrs. Whites complete works held in trust by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is able to admit that Mrs. White's statements are misleading (although he would argue unintentionally), but the Church disallows that other honest investigators could honestly see something more revealing then a simple mistake?

The only real difference between what Dr. Olsen admits and I am writing to expose is the conclusion. Dr. Olsen says, it is no problem that EGW "Misunderstood" her heavenly visions and taught falsehood. But you be the judge: Dr. Olsen defends EGW with his words and hers:

"That seventeen-year-old Ellen should misinterpret one of her visions should elicit no surprise when one remembers that the Bible prophets found it necessary to study their own writings in the endeavor to find out what their prophecies meant (1 Peter 1:10,11). At one time the apostle Peter mistakenly believed in a shut door. In fact, he thought that, as far as the Gentiles were concerned, the door of mercy had never been open. Somehow he misinterpreted Isaiah 56:6-8, as well as Christ's command recorded in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8. Eventually, in the vision at Cornelius' house (Acts 10), Peter discovered "the true position."

"Concerning her own experience, Ellen White wrote:"

"Often representations are given me which at first I do not understand. But after a time they are made plain by a repeated presentation of those things that I did not at first comprehend, in ways that make their meaning clear and unmistakable.--Selected Messages, book 3, p. 56."

"For 60 years I have been in communication with heavenly messengers, and I have been constantly learning in reference to divine things.--Letter 86, 1906; This Day With God, p. 76."

But the Bible says in Deuteronomy 18:

20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

In other words don't listen to such a prophet.

Lamentations 2:14
Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.

Matthew 24:11
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."

1 John 4:1
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

I leave it to you, as a person of integrity before God, what other decision can be reached regarding Ellen White's trustworthiness then she fails to meet the test of these Bible passages on the issue of the Shut Door? Regarding the authenticity of her claims of inspiration?

It is not enough to point out the many fine and laudable contributions of Ellen White in other areas. Adventists must not forget that Ellen White became a recognized prophet within Adventism on the basis of this doctrine and other early false teachings that Adventists accepted at the time. However, we today, with the wealth of evidence before us, cannot with good conscience do the same. Our verdict must be consistent with the evidence.

With this evidence we can see Ellen White was speaking about herself when she denounced the fanatics who held on to the Shut Door doctrine when she wrote:

"But the idea that the work of the gospel was finished was soon renounced, except by some fanatical ones who would neither be counseled nor receive instruction". The Early Years Volume One

Remember, Dr. Olsen in his "Shut Door Documents" said clearly that Ellen White was one of those who would not soon renounce this heresy when he wrote:

"At first she was struck with the fact that there was no more hope for the "wicked world" or for those who denied God's leading in the Millerite movement. As the years passed she was evidently more and more impressed by that part of her vision which mentioned the 144,000 who were yet to be gathered out of the world before the Lord's return. What was intended to underscore divine leadership in the Millerite movement and to portray a large [p. 6] ingathering of souls was at first misinterpreted to mean that her work for the world was done."

One such occasion where more thoughtful people wanted to give up the shut door but Ellen White wanted to hold on to the idea is related by EGW herself.

"There was one sister there that was called very spiritual. She had traveled and been a powerful preacher the most of the time for twenty years. She had been truly a mother in Israel. But a division had risen in the band on the shut door. She had great sympathy, and could not believe the door was shut. (I had known nothing of their difference.) Sister Durben got up to talk. I felt very, very sad.

[p. 11] At length my soul seemed to be in an agony, and while she was talking I fell from my chair to the floor. It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. They were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. The Lord worked in mighty power setting the truth home to their hearts.

Sister Durben knew what the power of the Lord was, for she had felt it many times; and a short time after I fell she was struck down, and fell to the floor, crying to God to have mercy on her. When I came out of vision, my ears were saluted with Sister Durben's singing and shouting with a loud voice.

Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut door.--Letter 3, 1847. (To Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847)

The meaning of this is perfectly clear. Sister Durben was one of those who wanted to quickly give up her belief in the door of salvation being shut to the lost, but EGW provides a vision that held Sister Durben and the others in their error. Dr. Olsen had it right on the mark.


Primarily the question is "what is the "door" that is shut?" Along with that central question there are others that we will seek to answer such as…is there "one" door or "two"? If there are "two doors", how do these doors relate to one another? What do the early Adventists understand about these doors? What message are early Adventists preaching about these doors that is of such great importance? What did Ellen White have to say about these doors that she propagated and taught among early Adventists?

What is the "door" that is shut?

Early Millerites began referring to a "door" in their message in reference to the door of Matthew 24 where the bridegroom comes to take those virgins who are ready. Most scholars are careful to note that the story refers to Christians that are ready and Christians who are not because all are "virgins". That is to say it is not a parable of "virgins" verses "harlots" which would illustrate the saved and lost of the world. No, it is a passage that only speaks about professed Christians.

Consistent with this idea that the parable dealt with Christians, Millerites taught that the Christian world was being divided into two groups. First, there were those that accepted the message about the 1844 "Test" and later the "Tests" of the Sabbath and other special "truths" involving the soon coming of Jesus. Believers were therefore tested and saved based on their having accepted the "Test" issue. In the second group were those who rejected the message of time and later the Sabbath and made themselves "Babylon" and were confused, deceived and lost as a result of that rejection. However, the "Wicked World" is not even in the discussion, they are all lost from the outset by their having never accepted Jesus in the first place.

Later, Ellen White, as we read in the quote above began to introduce the idea of the two doors in the Sanctuary in heaven along with others such as Joseph Turner. The idea comes from the outer and inner apartments of the Sanctuary of Israel. There were two "apartments" and each had a door. With this new framework Adventists ushered in the idea of two doors and a new explanation for the 1844 disappointment. An explanation that was not possible using only the story of the Bridegroom of Matthew 24, which was a more simple, cut and dry explanation with only one door.

With the early teaching that only knew of the door of the Bridegroom, the Millerites/Adventists were left with only one simple conclusion with regard to those who were not following "truth" (to be equated with people who did not agree with Adventists) after 1844. Namely, that anyone who was not already an Adventist was lost. With the new understanding of Joseph Turner and Ellen White, the idea that "most" were lost but not all began to be taught, time was short now for the world, but not completely over. According to Ellen White and like-minded Adventists, some confused souls who had already begun to trust in Christ might still be saved.

Mrs. White believed and taught that those who were never Christian and/or were not still confused and struggling to find the truth in the Millerite experience of 1844 could not be saved. She did teach that the door of salvation was shut to all but those whose experience of 1844 had led them past the first door of the heavenly sanctuary and into the second door. Only those who had entered the first door by their Christian experience were capable of hearing the message of the second apartment.

Ellen White writes clearly about those that are already in Christ who need Adventist "present truth" but never about the lost who did not get in beyond the first shut door prior to 1844.

"The Lord has shown me that precious souls are starving, and dying for want of the present, sealing truth, the meat in due season; and that the swift messengers should speed on their way, and feed the flock with the present truth. I heard an Angel say, "speed the swift messengers, speed the swift messengers; for the case of every soul will soon be decided, either for Life, or for Death."--Ellen G. White, The Present Truth, Sept., 1849, pp. 31-32.

While the Ellen White Estate defends Ellen White saying that even those who did not enter in through the first door are capable of being saved in the writings of Mrs. White. They don't stop there. They add that Mrs. White was partially right in saying that there was a shut door or close of probation in 1844. They agree with Mrs. White when she says that those who went through the Millerite experience and then later rejected the experience of 1844 are hopelessly lost.

That is quite a defense. They admit EGW says that the Baptists, Methodist, Presbyterians who rejected Adventism are forever lost, but they say she allows those still open to Adventism a chance to be saved. Sounds incredible but that is the defense.

Ellen White used that same defense all her life in an attempt to keep her early shut door comments from looking totally nonsensical:

"I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents. There was a shut door in Noah's day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the Flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah: "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3)."

"There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven. There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38).

"Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John: "These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Rev. 3:7).

"I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.

"Those who did not see the light had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; (Page 261) but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan.--MS 4, 1883 (see also 1SM, pp. 63, 64). The Early Years Volume One Page 260.

Ellen White here includes those who heard the "First" and the "Second" Angels message, not just the third. She is saying that if anyone had ever heard the message of the Gospel and not responded prior to the cutoff of 1844 they were then doomed for eternity without the chance to be save. While she writes this words years later in an attempt to "correct" herself in regard to the Shut Door doctrine, she is still ringing the same heretical bell.
One last point before we close. The White Estate is comfortable with the explanation that EGW taught mistaken and confused interpretations for her visions.

Dr. Olsen wrote:

"That seventeen-year-old Ellen should misinterpret one of her visions should elicit no surprise when one remembers that the Bible prophets found it necessary to study their own writings in the endeavor to find out what their prophecies meant (1 Peter 1:10,11). At one time the apostle Peter mistakenly believed in a shut door. In fact, he thought that, as far as the Gentiles were concerned, the door of mercy had never been open. Somehow he misinterpreted Isaiah 56:6-8, as well as Christ's command recorded in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8. Eventually, in the vision at Cornelius' house (Acts 10), Peter discovered "the true position."

I would like to address this defense. The problem with this explanation is that Peter's errors were immediately corrected by God's direct revelation in vision. God's revelations did not compound Peter's confusion as is the case Dr. Olsen argues for Ellen White!

Don't the extraordinary claims of Adventism require extraordinary credibility to be believable? I would think so. But what we have instead is confusion, obscurity and false teaching by everyone's account, even the White Estate.

Perhaps the best way to close is with a short but clear examination of a quote from Ellen White from an early vision to bring comfort, to the disappointed Millerites.

January 24, 1846 Letter from Sister Harmon to Bro Jacobs.
Portland, Me., Dec. 20, 1845.

"While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them--when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, [MAT. 7:14.] cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. [MAT. 25:6.] This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters, [EZE. 43:2. JOEL 3:16. REV. 16:17.] which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming.

Clearly Ellen White expounds her understanding that the believers who got off the path fell among another group, the "wicked world which God had rejected". In this early vision Ellen White sees a group of Christians in a testing time, as they continue faithfully they march the path to Glory, but when these Christians fail and give up the "Truths" of Adventism they fall of the path and join the "wicked world" representing the lost who never got on the path to begin with.

The imagery is simple and striking. The Adventist mind saw everything in terms of the three angels messages. Current Adventist beliefs and actions show that the things that Ellen White and the early Adventists believed and preached were false teachings, even Adventists no longer teach them.

I call on you as a thinking person, in prayerful reflection to consider the content of this article. Can we as believers in God's word support trust and belief in the work of Ellen White when her visions led her to teach false doctrine as Dr. Olsen argues we should? Another way of asking the question might be, if for the first five years of her prophetic ministry Ellen White was a false prophet, at what point was she no longer a false prophet? Did some great dividing line occur that changed the nature of her deception? Did she repent of her false teaching? Or did she deny them? Did she confess her errors openly? Or did she pile layers of "words" over them to obscure them? An honest answer to these questions should lead to an expansion of the term "Babylon" for Adventists to include Adventism itself.

An error has occurred.
Error: AcuitiDocumentManager is currently unavailable.

exAdventist Outreach 12612 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix, AZ. 85029� (602) 973-4768
Copyright 1997 - 2021 exAdventist Outreach - Permission required to re-use content or images in print or electronic form.
For problems concerning this website contact us.
All scriptures appearing on this site are copywritten by their respective organizations.