Relating to New Light
Relating to New Light
From time to time individuals come with what they consider as “new light.” Accordingly, the question arises, “How should the Church deal with such?” In my response, I reference again the 101 Questions Adventists Ask by B. B. Beach and John Graz.
Should We Expect Additional Light?
Should we expect new light? Are the days of new truths in the past? Based on our understanding of the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen White, the Church ought not to think that God will not reveal additional or new light. Beach and Graz observe, “As Christians, we have, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an expanding understanding of truth. It is arrogant micro-religion to think one possesses all the truth; only God knows all the truth. Without the concept of a growing and expanding truth (and the universe for that matter), eternity becomes a bore.”
What Should Be Our Approach to New Light?
We are admonished as church leaders “to promote consensus rather than controversy.” Nevertheless, it is critical to understand that in “reaching out for consensus implies uninhibited search for truth.” Additionally, Ellen White contends, “New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to him who is in living connection with the Son of Righteousness. Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed”(Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 35).
On the other hand, as pointed out by Beach and Graz, “new truth does not invalidate established truth.” They explain, “What it does is add new dimensions and luster. More often than not, the Church will need to work on the plan of addition or multiplication rather than subtraction.”
Additional Advice on Dealing with New Light
In 1888, at the Minneapolis General Conference Session, Ellen G. White made the following astounding statement: “That which God give His servants to speak today would not perhaps have been present truth twenty years ago.” And to ensure that the aforementioned is not taken out of context to provide freedom, support or endorsement “for all kinds of rash, speculative individual doctrinal views” as pointed out by Beach and Graz, they referenced the following statement by Mrs. White: “The only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer; and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment” (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 293). If only we would subscribe to such sound advice, we would avoid unnecessary debates, arguments and wasted time and funds. Beach and Graz put it best when they penned, “Those who do not follow this prophetic counsel easily become a plague-spot within the Church.” As such, I encourage us to follow and adhere to the counsels given by the Spirit of the Prophecy.