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The Ellen White Research Project: Exposing the Subtle Attack on the Bible's Authority
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Walter Rea
The White Lie

Walter Rea

We first had occasion to speak with Walter Rea, the author of The White Lie, around January of 2000. In our conversation, we asked him if the weapons used against Mrs. White could also be used to discredit the Bible writers. Indeed liberal theologians have accused the Bible writers of plagiarism for a long time, the same type of accusation Rea levels at Ellen White.

Rea responded to our question by saying that he:

  • does not take the Bible literally,
  • does not believe in a world-wide flood,
  • does not believe that God told Abraham to offer up Isaac, and
  • does not believe God told the Israelites to slay the Canaanites.

After finally making contact with bible.ca regarding their bogus plagiarized pictures charge (see Plagiarized Pictures?), which was excerpted out of The White Lie, their webmaster asked us to get Rea to send him an email acknowledging that his book was in error. We thus called Rea at his home in central California on November 19, 2003.

Rea told us that he doesn't have access to the internet, and so couldn't send an email. We asked him if we could get something from him in writing to send to bible.ca, and he told us that he doesn't have time to do that. We asked him, if someone proved, as we have done, that his book is in error, would he correct that for the next printing. He said, "No." The Bible has problems, he said. Why should people get bent out of shape if his book has problems too?

How credible, therefore, can we consider the information in The White Lie to be?

By no means, though, is Rea too busy to write any letters whatsoever. He told us that if we sent him a note, he would be happy to send us some material showing how the Bible is wrong. One example he gave us earlier in this conversation was how, in his opinion,

  • God never turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt.

"But what about, 'All Scripture is given by inspiration of God' (2 Tim. 3:16), and, 'Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.' (John 17:17)?" we asked. It mattered not what verse we quoted; his opinion about the Bible stories being wrong remained the same.

This skepticism of the Bible on the part of Rea is by no means new. As he wrote in his 1982 book, The White Lie,

Used in all Seventh-day Adventist schools and colleges as authoritative on Old Testament matters, Patriarchs and Prophets has been accepted by Adventists as the final word. No deviation from this norm is accepted in matters of ideas concerning Creation, geology, theology, or Christology.—p. 73, bold added.

In these words, Rea is complaining that evolution is not allowed to be taught in Adventist schools. He would have felt no need to complain about such a prohibition in 1982 if he at that time still believed the Bible.

Seventh-day Adventism tends to attract a particular type of individual. As one Catholic priest put it:

[Seventh-day Adventists] are the most fundamental of all the fundamentalist sects, holding to literal interpretation of the Bible . . . .—Kenneth Ryan, What More Would You Like to Know About the Church, p. 137.

Those of the fundamentalist type, those that still believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, often want to research Ellen White and Seventh-day Adventists. They should be forewarned that some of the weapons aimed at Mrs. White by her more outspoken critics are weapons that will eventually undermine their faith in the Holy Bible.

If you wonder if we are portraying our conversations with Rea accurately, feel free to talk to him yourself.

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