|OPEN LETTER TO ADRIAN EBENS|
An open letter from Pastor Max Hatton to Adrian Ebens. I am making this an open letter so that others who might be inclined to be influenced by Adrian have the opportunity to be informed of his erroneous views as well.
All Scriptures quoted are from The New International version unless otherwise stated.
I am sure you will remember me for in late 2007 I tried unsuccessfully during the exchange of several emails to encourage you to join in a study of the Trinity doctrine with me. You tried to manoeuvre me around and around and try as I would you fended me off so that no study resulted.
Had you been willing to examine the subject more fully then it may be that today you would not find yourself in a state of apostasy. I genuinely grieve over the sad state that you find yourself in. I am sad about you but annoyed with you at the same time. My annoyance will be obvious as you read on.
I have had the opportunity to read your submission to the Biblical Research Committee and I have to say that I too found it far less than convincing. I know that the Committee rejected your position and despite the fact that you promised to accept their decision (I thought at the time that this was a foolish commitment to make) you have instead now denied their conclusions and refused their counsel to you.
You say Adrian that you cannot in good conscience accept their decision. I can understand that, but I believe that it is unfortunate that your conscience is poorly informed and conditioned for the available facts seem to be either unknown to you, you are blinded to their significance, or they are ignored. Your position that Jesus is a literal Son of God is untenable today; the evidence that you are in gross error is abundant and quite clear. I will explore that subject for you a little further on praying that you will be willing to listen to and accept the evidence. You will need to sincerely pray that God will help you to overcome your prejudices.
I have also read your Apology and Confession. In this document you advise that you were defrocked in early December 2009. Surprisingly, you widely distribute your Apology in mid January 2010. It didn’t take you long to get around to publicly exhibiting your Apology which reveals your conflict with the Church.
You apologise for having taught the Trinity doctrine to people, that was OK and a necessary part of your confession. However, you expand that by stating that your belief in “the Trinity as expressed in the 28 Fundamentals was offensive to God.” So our Trinity statement in our 28 Fundamentals is offensive to God in your estimation. A little further on you call such preaching a most offensive sin and transgression against the LORD in teaching and spreading the doctrine of the Trinity.” You also say that the teaching of the Trinity “is a dangerous, spiritualistice tool of Satan…” These statements were not a necessary part of your Apology. It may not have been your conscious intention, maybe it is something which filtered through from your subconscious, but quite obviously you are condemning in a subtle and offensive way the Seventh-day Adventist Church, it’s Ministers and others who believe and teach this doctrine.
You say that you want to be friends with people who believe these things but really is that all you are hoping for? Are converts not also in your mind? You make it difficult for those committed to belief in the Trinity to feel favourably toward you when you indirectly attack the Church and our treasured beliefs like this. It is quite clear to me that you are going to become a further problem to God’s Church and also to it constituents.
Adrian I have to tell you that history contains the records of multitudes of people who have claimed to love God and be faithful to him but all the while they maintained and taught gross error. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has had its share of these. You have now included yourself as being one of this group.
It has come to my notice that you have included your Apology on Facebook. Surely this was entirely unnecessary. This has the potential to scandalise the Church in the minds of uninformed people. I can only conclude that you were trying to solicit support in doing this and apparently you have had many responses of support. I notice that beside your usual website www.maranathamedia.com you also have two other websites www.god-head.com and www.adrianebens.com on one of these you acknowledge having received a large quantity of emails concerning your apology. You sure are advertising widely. I don’t know how he obtained it but today I received from William Van Grit, an overseas anti-Trinitarian, a copy of your apology. He was obviously quite glad to be able to report your situation to me. No doubt your Apology is travelling world-wide – as you must have known it would Adrian.
Your present situation is a great shame for you had the potential to do much good in the cause of God. My sincere plea to you once more is for you to again prayerfully reconsider your position. The following are my reasons for condemning your position as gross error. I pray that you will be willing to listen to an aged Minister of God’s last day Church who would genuinely like to be of help to you.
THE AMALGAMATION OF THE WRITINGS OF ELLEN G. WHITE WITH SCRIPTURE
In your writings Adrian you have made it evident that you have amalgamated the writings of Ellen White with Scripture in your thinking. This has been the common practice of other Adventists too and maybe this was the practice of those you associated with as you developed your theology? It results in your having a pool of material a hundred times larger than Scripture in which you get lost endeavouring to search for truth or find support for your beliefs. The writings of Ellen White were never intended to be used in such a way. Scripture stands alone as the basis for the formulation of doctrine. Sola Scriptura was the model proposed by the Reformers with great insistence and it is the model of the Seventh-day Adventist Church despite the fact that it is abused by a number of Seventh-day Adventists.
I have not always been an SDA and consequently I have not fallen into the trap that I have witnessed in the lives and practices of some others. Some of my friends were quite shattered when Walter Rea revealed that Ellen White was not as infallible as they had thought. Some eventually left the Church over it. Ellen White was a great blessing to the Church and I am sure we would not have what we do have as a Church apart from her influence. However, she did not provide writings that were to add to Scripture. Not only that but she steadfastly denied that what she wrote provided any such addition. What she says on this is so plain and clear and yet I have been absolutely astonished to see that those who regard her so highly have just ignored her counsel on the matter and have gone merrily on their way quoting her over and over as part of their doctrinal platform.
“ Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Proverbs 30:5, 6.
Some who would claim to be Ellen White’s best friends, have in fact proven to be among her worst enemies. They have depicted her in a way that she did not want and in fact positively denied. The result has been that Adventism has sometimes been depicted as a cult. Fusion can lead to confusion. This is what a non-Adventist opponent accused me of in an email just a few days ago – “You changed from following the Watchtower to following Ellen G. White.” In the minds of many, SDA are followers of Ellen G. White. Of course my antagonist was quite wrong, I do not follow Ellen White, rather I follow the Word of God. Make no mistake; I highly respect Ellen G. White. I am sad to say that the following counsel from Ellen White herself is just ignored by those who want to make her a doctrinal authority on a par with Holy Scripture.
Please note the following - First of all what our Statement of Fundamental Beliefs says, and then what our dear sister Ellen White herself said on the matter:
The first of the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists states:
The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.
The preamble to the Statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Church similarly states:
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
Now a review of what Ellen White herself said concerning her writings:
We then took the position that the Bible, and the Bible only, was to be our guide; and we are never to depart from this position. Manuscript Releases, Volume 17, page 345.
God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms…Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” The Great Controversy, page 595.
Let all prove their positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God. Evangelism, page 256.
The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. Our own views and ideas must not control our efforts. Man is fallible, but God’s Word is infallible. Instead of wrangling with one another, let men exalt the Lord. Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, “It is written.” Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline.
Ellen White is just as clear on the relationship between her writings and the Bible:
Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. When you make the Bible your food, your meat, and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God. I exalt the precious Word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands. 3 Selected Messages, page 33.
The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God’s Word is the unerring Standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word….Let all prove their positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God. Evangelism, page 256.
Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. 3 Selected Messages, page 30.
The Spirit was not given –nor can it ever be bestowed—to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. The Great Controversy, page vii.
Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible. Evangelism, page 256.
[Christ] pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same. The Bible is to be presented as the Word of the infinite God, as the end of all controversy and foundation of all faith. Christ’s Object Lessons, page 39.
My challenge to you Adrian, and to all who similarly misuse the writings of Ellen G. White, is to provide a clear reply to the question – “Why do you not honour Ellen White and confine your arguments on doctrine to a study of the Bible alone?” To be a genuine Seventh-day Adventist you must do this.
I would also request that you Adrian make your response publicly available as you have done with your Apology – publish your response on your website, one that is freely available to all. I can assure you that many Adventists will be looking for your response. No informed Church member will take much notice of you unless you honour Ellen White by admitting your error and following her counsel concerning her writings.
I move now to a study of Scripture that reveals that Jesus is Yahweh.
HOLY SCRIPTURE TEACHES THAT JESUS IS YAHWEH
We have the following evidence provided by a revealing Scripture study:
Hebrews 1:8-12 with Psalm 102:24-27
It is an inescapable teaching of Scripture Adrian that Jesus is Yahweh. Therefore, we cannot entertain the grave error that you propose, that is that Jesus is the literal Son of Yahweh, born from Him at sometime in eternity past. He cannot be a literal son. It is true that He did become a son through His birth from the Virgin Mary but that has nothing whatever to do with the origin you claim for Him in eternity. Of course it is legitimate for Jesus to be called Son of God because of the Incarnation, but, there is no excuse whatever for calling Him the Son of God because of a supposed literal birth from God in eternity. I will have more to say on this a little further on. Let me reiterate the teaching of Scripture – Jesus is Yahweh and therefore cannot be the literal son of Yahweh.
Please remember what Isaiah 43:10 says: “Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”
Jesus came in the role of the Son of God:
If Jesus cannot be the literal Son of God then we must accept the obvious fact that He came in the role of the Son of God. Jesus fulfilled many roles in the Plan of Redemption, He was the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Mediator between God and Man, the Angel of the Lord, Michael the Archangel, our Great High Priest, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Judge, our Advocate, and we could go on further yet.
JESUS THE UNIQUE OR ONLY SON OF GOD
You provide evidence that you are not up to date with available modern Scholarship Adrian. It is an error to teach that Jesus was “only begotten” because of the false rendering of the word monogenes found at John 3:16. Seventh-day Adventists who are interested in being informed of up to date scholarship ought to take notice of the Biblical Research Institute document The Only One Unique by Angel Manual Rodriguez. He states concerning monogenes, “When the term is used to describe Jesus, it simply means ‘unique,’ or ‘one and only.’ It describes the uniqueness of His nature.” Raymond E Brown states in The Anchor Bible, The Gospel According to John (i-xii) Doubleday Garden City NY 1966, “Literally the Greek means ‘of a single [monos] kind [genos]’.” Newman and Nida in their A Translator’s Handbook on the gospel of John, United Bible Societies, New York, 1980, were able to confidently state on page 24: “There is no doubt regarding the meaning of the Greek word used here (monogenes); it means ‘only’ and not ‘only begotten’.” Other authorities could also be cited.
Mono obviously means something like “one,” however, genes is not derived from gennao to beget, but from genos, a kind or class. Therefore, monogenes should be translated something like “unique” or “only.” Some Scholars have pointed out that if a Bible writer wanted to say only begotten he could have used the Greek word monogennetos. The following illuminating discussions should be studied closely.
MONOGENES is used in the Septuagint Version (LXX – the translation of the Old Testament into Greek) to translate the Hebrew adjective YACHID. It is translated in the KJV as "darling" Psalm 22:20; "my darling" in Psalm 35:17; "desolate" in Psalm 25:16; and "solitary" in Psalm 68:6. Problems in Bible Translation, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C.1954, page 197. It then states that “In harmony with the last two examples, see the Apocrypha, Tobit 3:15; 6:9; 8:12; 'only' meaning dear, beloved."
In addition to this Problems in Bible Translation states on page 202:
"The word monogenes, as we have seen, is generally used of an only child, the emphasis being on monos - only - rather genes - kind. Thus we find Plato writing of monogenes ouranos - the only heavens - Timaeus, 31. English translation by R. G. Bury, The Loeb Classical Library. A reference, one believed to be a contemporary of the apostle John, might be in place in this connection. Clement of Rome describes the legendary bird, the Phoenix, as monogenes. 'There is a certain bird which is called a Phoenix. This is the only one of its kind [monogenes].' First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chap. XXV. It should be noted that the Phoenix being a legendary bird, was certainly not born or begotten, but it could be monogenes, the only one of its kind unique."
This information has been available for a long time Adrian. Helpful comments can also be found in the SDA Bible Commentary on John 3:16. You really need to keep up to date with modern conservative scholarship. It is no good being stuck with tradition.
Hebrews 11:17, 18 provide positive confirmation that monogenes did not mean only begotten in New Testament times. Concerning Abraham it states: “He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’”
Galatians 4:22 debunks the idea that Isaac was only begotten for it says, “it is written that Abraham had two sons…” Genesis 16:15, 16.
Well much more could be said on the subject but surely what I have said is more than sufficient to show clearly that your claim that Jesus was literally born from God at some ancient time is a gross error.
CONCLUSION AND APPEAL
Adrian you have caused heartache and concern for a lot of people. You have exhibited an independent spirit. You have received an enormous amount of grace from the Church, Pastor Watts and others have done about all they could for you but you obviously have not been willing to listen and be counselled or advised. What a disgrace to be defrocked by God’s last day Church. It is very clear Adrian that you have not been the victim in all of this; rather you have been the aggressor. However, it could not go on forever and it has now been brought to a head. Do we hear sorrow from you that you have lost your credentials? No, you are right and the Church is in a state of apostasy. That is the conclusion that you have obviously drawn. Let me assure you my young friend, the truth is quite the other way around. You are in a state of apostasy. You are a heretic who apparently cannot learn. You know better than everyone else, so you think.
So what do you do now? I expect that you will advertise your case widely – try and gain sympathy – involve in another breakaway movement? What a dreadful shame. Your eternal destiny must be very much in the balance right now. Yes it is a dreadful shame but there is still the opportunity to take your case to God in order to really apologise and confess. God is still in control and His truth will triumph despite all of the difficulties caused by yourself and others of a similar mindset.
Adrian, all the confusion, all the tension, all of the heartache caused to your family, all of the disturbance you have caused in the Church, all, yes all, could have been avoided if you had been willing to accept such evidence as I have provided above. You will never be able to claim that you were unfairly treated. Abundant grace has been extended to you. Every assistance has been offered to you but you were unable to accept it. You just dogmatically shut your eyes to it all and determinedly just pushed on in your own direction.
I am wondering if you would be willing to place my Open Letter to you and your response on one of your websites which is open to all?
I will close now sincerely wishing you the blessings of God. My hope is that you will prayerfully reconsider your position.
In sincerity, one who would like to be your helpful friend,
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