What Is Your Final Authority?
by Rolaant McKenzie
In the November 28, 2021 episode of the U.S. nationally-aired news television program called Face the Nation, Margaret Brennan interviewed White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Responding to her comment regarding the politization of matters of life and death and criticisms of him personally for promoting universal corporate/government-mandated experimental medical treatments, Dr. Fauci said:
Fundamentally, science is defined as knowledge gained through observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena. In an open and free society where the pursuit of scientific discovery, ethics and truth can thrive, empirical data is available for evaluation, questions, debate, criticisms, replication, and the formulation of theories based on this process. In such an environment, no scientist or acknowledged expert is above having his theories or conclusions evaluated for validity.
Legitimate science is incompatible with fallacious appeals to authority. In the context of Dr. Fauci's comments, his claim to represent science was meant to emphasize the idea that the scientific or medical pronouncements he and "authoritative experts" like him make, today, must be believed and obeyed without question or criticism.
According to the 18th fundamental belief of Seventh-day Adventism:
This tenet of Seventh-day Adventism is an expression of the belief that the writings of Ellen White are as inspired by God as the Bible. Even the claimed prophetic authority for her writings is described in words like those found in Scripture itself.
Though it is said that the Bible is "the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested", it is a common belief and practice of Seventh-day Adventists to use Ellen White's writings as an inspired, infallible interpreter of Scripture. It is like a table determining the length of the measuring tape instead of the other way around.
The second passage from Testimonies for the Church is reminiscent of what the author of Hebrews wrote in Scripture:
Ellen White makes it clear that what she writes is not her own opinion, but words from God, even going as far as making the claim that her writings are just as authoritative as those of the prophets and apostles in Scripture and constitute the most earnest present truth for God's people in these last days. According to her, those who critically question or are skeptical of her writings are deceived by Satan, will eventually reject the Bible itself, and end up on the road to damnation.
Just as the light of the moon is superseded by the rising of the sun, the revelation of God from the Old Testament is superseded by the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But Ellen White usurps this superior revelation with her writings.
Instead of Jesus being God's full and final revelation as Hebrews 1 teaches, Ellen White used her "inspired interpretation" of this passage to present herself as the latter-day authoritative prophetic "expert" whose writings must be obeyed and could not be doubted or critically measured against Scripture.
While God reveals Himself to humanity in a general way through His creation, the Scriptures are a special, supernatural way in which He communicates with us. It is the standard by which all ideas, doctrines, and beliefs are to be tested.
When you are outside walking on a woodland path on a cloudless day with the sun shining in its strength, you can clearly see the way to go. You do not use a flashlight to find your way across the path because the sun provides more than sufficient light.
Would-be latter-day prophets and prophetesses, in drawing followers after themselves, typically make claims to receiving special revelations from God that go beyond what the Scriptures teach and reinterprets them to bolster their own heretical belief systems. They distract from the glory, majesty, and completeness of Jesus Christ and His word. Perhaps they do teach a few good and true things here and there, but in time they point away from the sufficiency of God's word. They inevitably draw power and authority to themselves and lead their followers into damnable falsehoods.
In the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah, the greatest of prophets in Israel, appeared with Jesus on a high mountain. It can be said that the law and the prophets were epitomized with these two figures. But of Jesus, the Father's voice proclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Mathew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).
In the medical scientific realm, people like Dr. Fauci and his partners appeal to their authority as experts above reproach or criticism when promoting pharmaceutical products in which they have a vested interest. Ethical and credible evaluation using legitimate science take a back seat, and the consequences are catastrophic. Carefully following the scientific method would act as a standard against people like Dr. Fauci who abuse their positions in society for money and power.
Scripture warns us in many places against false prophets and teachers who make claims to speak on behalf of God and mislead people (Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20-22; 1 John 4:1-6). Do not accept the flashlights they offer, no matter how appealing, when the Son provides all the light needed to see the truth. Listen to Jesus!
Believe in the One who is the exact representation and essence of God, who sustains the entire universe by His powerful word, who became a man to live the perfect life we could not, to die the death we deserved to pay for all our sins, who conquered death by rising from the grave, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is the standard for truth, and we read about Him in the Scriptures inspired by the Spirit of God.