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Dirk Anderson and ellenwhite.org
Dirk Anderson on the Bible

How this page came to be.

Dirk took great exception to our quotation from his November 2003 email about his attitude toward the Bible. His chief concern, as he expressed it, was that he had written that email hastily, without doing the thorough investigation that he would have done when preparing material for the public.

Our excerpt from that email was as follows:

People seem overly concerned as to whether every word in the Bible is accurate or comes from God. We need to be realistic. Very few authors in the Bible claimed their writings were inspired. Why should we? Many of the stories are second-hand accounts. . . . I think people need to take the Bible for what it is and quit trying to make it out to be more than it claims to be.

On February 7, 2004, he provided us with what he called an "official quote on the authority of the Bible," and requested that we post it instead of our previous excerpt. Accordingly, we replaced the above with the following excerpt:

It is a fact that many of the authors of the Bible never claimed their writings were inspired, so I will make no higher claims for their writings than the authors themselves made. It is well known that many of the stories are second-hand accounts, sometimes written hundreds or thousands of years after the event. While I have no doubt the events occurred, it is possible that some of the clarity of the story was lost over time.

We fail to see how these two excerpts differ. But let us look now at Dirk's entire statement, and then we'll take it piece by piece.

Dirk's "Official Statement"

I view the Bible as an inspired source of guidance and instruction. I am not a fundamentalist, meaning I do not believe every word in the Bible came directly from the lips of God. I believe that God inspires people to write, but with the exception of the prophets, He does not dictate words to be transcribed. The writings of each Bible author are colored by their own personal experience and perspective on life. It is a fact that many of the authors of the Bible never claimed their writings were inspired, so I will make no higher claims for their writings than the authors themselves made. It is well known that many of the stories are second-hand accounts, sometimes written hundreds or thousands of years after the event. While I have no doubt the events occurred, it is possible that some of the clarity of the story was lost over time. For those Bible authors who claim inspiration, I accept their word and my limited studies in this area support that they are everything they claimed to be. I admit I have not had the opportunity to do an exhaustive study on the veracity of the Bible. Some of our web site readers have asked me to take on that project and I hope to do that some day. Despite what my opponents say, I assure you that I have great confidence in the Bible and it has proven an effective guide and inspiration in my personal life.

Okay, now let's take it bit by bit to see if we can tell clearly what Dirk is trying to say.

I view the Bible as an inspired source of guidance and instruction.

Good. Then Dirk should have no trouble saying that he believes that the four Gospels are inspired.

I am not a fundamentalist, meaning I do not believe every word in the Bible came directly from the lips of God.

While some evangelicals may find such a statement strange regarding the "words" of the Bible, Dirk is simply espousing Seventh-day Adventist theology, and the teachings of Ellen White.

Ellen White taught and Adventists teach that the Bible writers were inspired with divine thoughts rather than words, which they then put into their own words, of course being aided by the Holy Spirit in so doing. This simple concept explains why the grammar of Paul's epistles is different than that of the writings of John. Both were inspired with divine thoughts, and they used their own vocabularies, which differed, to express those thoughts.

It also explains why Christ and the Bible are both called the Word of God. Both Christ and the Bible are a union of divinity and humanity. Just as the union of the divine and human in Christ did not make Christ a sinner or imperfect in character, so also the union of divine thoughts and human words in the Bible resulted in its being, as Ellen White put it, "the one infallible rule of faith and practice" (Review and Herald, Jan. 10, 1888).

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.—Ellen White, Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1885.

Now back to Dirk:

I believe that God inspires people to write, but with the exception of the prophets, He does not dictate words to be transcribed.

We are unaware of where the Bible makes such a distinction, a distinction that that would make the Gospels somehow different from Isaiah and Jeremiah and Revelation when it comes to inspiration. Indeed, since John in Revelation was told to "write" what he would "see" (1:11), it can hardly be said that his prophecy was dictated.

The writings of each Bible author are colored by their own personal experience and perspective on life. It is a fact that many of the authors of the Bible never claimed their writings were inspired, so I will make no higher claims for their writings than the authors themselves made.

Thus, while "the Bible" is "an inspired source of guidance and instruction," Dirk feels uncomfortable calling the Gospels "inspired" if he cannot find where Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John said that they were inspired when they wrote their Gospels.

It is well known that many of the stories are second-hand accounts, sometimes written hundreds or thousands of years after the event. While I have no doubt the events occurred, it is possible that some of the clarity of the story was lost over time.

Does loss of "clarity" mean that the stories as recorded in the sacred Scriptures are inaccurate? Perhaps this explains why Dirk, because of the claims of some archeologists and historians, told us, "There are some difficulties with the flood story that need to be dealt with . . . . That is why I say that either the flood was local to the Middle East, or it occurred at an earlier point in human history." Of course we agree that the discrepancies between the opinions of men and the Word of God must be dealt with, but in the end, the Word of God must reign supreme.

For those Bible authors who claim inspiration, I accept their word and my limited studies in this area support that they are everything they claimed to be.

Out of the sixty-six books in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, how many are therefore inspired? We're afraid that we'd have to say that most of the Bible is not inspired, if we follow this rule.

I admit I have not had the opportunity to do an exhaustive study on the veracity of the Bible. Some of our web site readers have asked me to take on that project and I hope to do that some day.

This may be why Dirk has difficulty answering these questions: 1) Do you believe that if any of the Bible writers copied words from anyone without giving proper credit, that would prove them to be frauds? 2) Or, do you believe that an inspired writer can copy wording from someone else and still be considered divinely inspired? To further clarify his position, we have asked these questions more than once, but have not yet received a reply.

The difficulty is clear to see, and it has little to do with whether Ellen White was a true prophet or a false prophet. Dirk has invested a lot of time and effort into attacking Ellen White by accusing her of being a plagiarist. Yet it is well known that the Bible writers copied words from each other or from uninspired writings without always giving credit. Our deep concern is that this kind of attack on Ellen White ends up undermining the Scriptures, something we do not want to see at all.

Despite what my opponents say, I assure you that I have great confidence in the Bible and it has proven an effective guide and inspiration in my personal life.

Great. Then we anticipate that he will soon inform his readers that a Bible writer sometimes did use the words of others without giving credit, and is nonetheless still divinely inspired.


The above page was found at https://www.TruthOrFables.net/dirk_anderson_on_the_bible.htm on June 14, 2024.

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