Question (No. 4)
Why are there so many different interpretations of the Bible? What is the cause of so much doctrinal confusion?
There are many reasons: the desire to hold on to tradi-tions, prejudice, preconceived opinions, poor scholarship, and more. But let us focus on three primary ones.
The most common cause of doctrinal confusion among Bible students lies in their so very frequently failing to view a subject in full perspective from the writer's point of view,—a failing which results in their seeing it from some foreign standpoint so narrowing their view that instead of gaining the writer's idea on the subject, they gain a false idea on it. And if the idea be to their liking, they magnify and zealously promote it as truth, whereas if it be not to their liking, they vigorously oppose it, and then lay it to the responsibility of the writer!
In other words, instead of viewing the content of a passage in the light of all that is revealed on the subject, a procedure which would insure the verses' reflecting the author's thought, some Bible students, losing sight of the Inspired author's point of view, magnify out of all due proportion the importance of these statement, thus placing upon it constructions which, though perhaps plausible enough when taken alone, are manifestly strained, warped, and untenable when viewed in the light of all other scriptures bearing on the subject,. Such wresting, needless to say, is unfair to the author, perilous to the one affected, and criminal of the wrester.
A second reason is, we are placing the opinions of men above God's. That is, we are failing to give proper place to Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Rather than study the Bible in the light of Inspired interpreters, we rest our conclusions on the discordant suppositions of learned men, so-called, "higher criticism."
In other words, a large class of professing Christians are
really saving in their hearts: As long as we believe that there is a God and a Christ, belong to a church, lead honest lives, and do an occasional good deed as opportunity affords, we are on the way to the Holy City. And sad to say, this loose and fatally delusive hope is even in our very own Seventh-day Adventist denomination.
Sadly, too, though the denomination was founded by the gift of prophecy, its present-day members—ministers and laity alike—are at continual variance among themselves over the prophetic gift, just as they are over other matters in the Scriptures. And among those who do hold that the writings of Mrs. White are inspired, the great majority are as ignorant of and as disobedient to them, as are those who profess no faith at all in them.
"The church" says the servant of the Lord, relative to this condition, "has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated." 1
Yet both classes in the church insist that they are good Christians! O what exceeding irony that such dreadful inconsistencies in sacred matters have overshadowed the minds of rational beings! Yea, what tragedy! Especially when the condition need never have been: for the Lord has made ample protection against it. 2
Without controversy, therefore, the Divine will is that we have all Truth and only Truth. And it must be remembered that "no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:20,21)
1Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 217, E. G. White
2 Sources drawn from: The judgement and The Harvest, pp. 91, 95; Why Perish, pp. 15, 16, and The Answerer book Three, p. 29, Anti-typical Elijah