Is Steps to Christ Now Too Hard to Read?

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On April 9, 2018 I received an email from AdventistBookCenter.com asking that I compete a survey "on behalf of AdventistBookCenter.com and the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists" because of a proposed project to distribute "large quantities" of the book, Steps to Christ. Three samples of quotations from the real Steps to Christ were listed along with a "modernized text." Apparently after 126 years someone thinks that English has changed so much that an update of the text is needed. This is despite the fact ALL of the words in Steps to Christ are the paragon of simplicity and we in the modern age can master computer talk, have Greek and Hebrew words included in the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, know our way around the features of smart phones, etc. This is pretty reminiscent of the excuse for the allegedly improved, but corrupt, translation of the Bible known as the Revised Version (RV) and subsequent new bible versions.

Satan's first temptation of man involved instilling doubt regarding what God had said and his Satanic Majesty has been inspiring his minions to corrupt the Word of God ever since then. Steps to Christ is, by the way, part of the Word of God. It is true that as it says in Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." That means that nothing Ellen White wrote can contradict that which was previously given us in the Holy Bible. Isaiah would have been found a false prophet if he had contradicted scripture written by Moses. The same goes for Jeremiah and the other inspired writers of Holy Scripture. The light in inspired writings God has graciously given us through prophets inspired by the Holy Ghost can't be knowingly ignored without the loss of one's soul.

The reason for the corruptions in the new bibles is because there are those who wish to promulgate their own beliefs. Ever since the King James Bible of 1611 was published, it has been the goal of the Roman Catholic Church to discredit it by alleging it has errors and that their corrupt bibles are better. Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Ph.D. in his book, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, exposes some of the beliefs and machinations of two of the principal players on the revision committee for the RV, Doctors Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. That whole book is well worth reading but I will provide some quotes from it below. All of this does have pertinence to the discussion on the proposed modification of Steps to Christ. First a problem is invented, i.e., the old version is too hard to understand. Then, if possible, an attempt will be made to change the text. If a change in the text is rejected, the next best thing is adding footnotes or marginal references from scholars to "explain" the text. Finally, when people have been lulled into false security, more changes in the text are introduced which readers are even less likely to notice.

Is this being done to the writings of Ellen G. White? Yes, it is. The attempt was made and rejected by the Ellen G. White Estate years ago. Now that the writings of Sister White are in the public domain and no longer protected by copyright anyone can modify them, add their own footnotes, etc., and publish them. David Kang, a Chinese Seventh-day Adventist pastor in a sermon I found on YouTube said that the Jesuits in China have published books like The Great Controversy with their own ISBN number which are being sold in official government book stores in China. He said that the negative things Sister White said about the Jesuits have been expunged. Since I don't read Chinese and probably never will (unless I receive the gift of tongues), I have to stick to evaluating publications written in English or Spanish. If you wish to listen to David Kang enter the search terms "david kang china" on the YouTube site and, as least as of June 2018, his video is one of the choices that will come up with the title "Jesuit Sabotage of E.G. White books in China - David Kang."

In more recent years, the Ellen G. White Estate hasn't been as incorruptible as in former years. All Seventh-day Adventists have probably heard of the book, The Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White. The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc. published, and the Pacific Press Publishing Association printed, a book purportedly by Ellen G. White titled The Ministry of Health and Healing with a copyright date of 2004. In the "Forward" to the book, the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate admit the book has been corrupted. It says "gender-inclusive language" has been used and different words have been substituted because some words in the uncorrupted edition "have little meaning today" and might be "misunderstood." It also talks of how the many new "Bible" translations have created a fresh interest in the "Holy Scriptures." In addition "unless noted, Scripture quotations" are all from "the New King James Version (NKJV)." The corrupt NKJV didn't exist at the time Ellen G. White wrote her books.

As noted, a recurring theme as the reason for corrupting the Word of God is that it's too hard to understand. Now our "helpful" theologians and scholars would like to claim that the writings of Ellen G. White are too hard to understand. Those of you who have read 1909 edition of The Ministry of Healing know that it's positively NOT too hard to understand. If you can't obtain a 1909 edition of The Ministry of Healing, the edition with a copyright date of 1945 is more available. From my perusal thereof, the only material way it differs from the 1909 edition is that on page 32 there is a quotation from the Revised Standard Version; a bible that didn't exist at the time Ellen G. White died. That was, as it were, the proverbial "foot in the door." Another edition was published in 2017 where it's admitted "the word intercourse has been replaced by the word communion" to "accurately convey the nineteenth-century intent." Who knows what else they may have modified (I haven't read that one cover to cover). I want Ellen G. White's books as they came from her and not as they've been modified and commented on by Seventh-day Adventist scholars.

Our scholars and theologians have been LYING to us and too many of US have studied so little of the real Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy that we are too STUPID to see what they are doing. Go ahead and be shocked that I have said this; someone else said this first. You can read in Revelation chapter 3 that the "Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" said 2,000 years ago that the church in our era was "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" and among other things advised us to "anoint thine eyes with eyesalve" that we might see.

I've chosen to review is the new Steps to Christ published by the Andrews University Press in 2017 and I have compared it to my Steps to Christ with an initial copyright date of 1892 and a copyright renewal date of 1908. First to be discussed will be changes in the text of the book and after that various notes by Denis Fortin, PhD, professor of historical theology at Andrews University. Except for one thing, the changes in the text are trivial but remember, the corruptions in the new bible versions also started with stealth and deception; i.e., with changes that some would consider trivial. Since much of Steps to Christ was assembled using materials Ellen White had already written, it's possible that some of the changes in the new Steps to Christ are supported by those materials.

Some background information is needed to correctly evaluate the comments in the "Publisher's Preface" and the notes of Dr. Fortin. Remember that one of the plans of Dr. Westcott was to introduce marginal readings to give alternate interpretations to the scriptures. Pastor M. L. Andreasen many years ago found that certain princes of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were trying change, and probably did change, Seventh-day Adventist publications to please certain evangelicals. Interestingly the Sabbath School Lessons for the second quarter of 1958 which dealt with Revelation chapter by chapter omitted discussion of Revelation 13. You can read more about the aforementioned in his book Letters to the Churches on page 9. On page 24 of the same book he says two men had suggested the insertion of notes and explanations in some of Ellen Whites books that would give readers the impression that she wasn't opposed to their new interpretations. On page 25 it states that the suggestion was rejected. Back then, Ellen White's books were still protected under copyright; they're not now so anyone can publish them with whatever footnotes they choose and that has been done with the new Steps to Christ.

According to the Publisher's Preface" on page vii of the new Steps to Christ, "Denis Fortin is eminently qualified to edit this anniversary edition of Steps to Christ" and it notes that he is a former dean of the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He was also a member of the "oversight Project Committee" listed in the corrupt Andrews Study Bible that, among other things, recommended publication of that Bible. Steps to Christ is written in VERY simple English. There is NOTHING in Dr. Fortin's comments that are helpful in explaining the text of Steps to Christ and there are some items of concern. You don't need Dr. Fortin's comments unless you think you have to know what words like ecclesiology, prevenient grace, semi-Augistinian, Arminian, etc. mean. You could live a whole life without ever knowing their meaning and do just fine.

The Clear Word Bible
What I Learned in Church
The New International Version
Faithpoints 10/5/18 Issue
King James Bible "Errors"
A 2019 Sabbath School Study Guide
The Queen James Bible
Church Service Bibles
For Further Reading

© Martin J. Lohne 2018. Written 6/16/18.