|A Perspective From the
Writings of Ellen G. White
e believe Rosalie Mellor makes a good point in the main article, and thus we allowed it to stand as you see it. Her concern is that too often, however well-meaning, we stifle genuine questions, discourage appropriate debate, and cast aspersion on those who don’t quite see it--on those who doubt.
However, the issue is complex, and we thought it appropriate to share the perspectives of Ellen G. White
, which themselves are far from uniform and uncomplicated. We invite readers to consider the implications of her comments against the background of the article. Notice that there are pitfalls on both sides.
“Jesus, in His treatment of Thomas, gave His followers a lesson regarding the manner in which they should treat those who have doubts upon religious truth, and who make those doubts prominent. He did not overwhelm Thomas with words of reproach, nor did He enter into a controversy with him; but, with marked condescension and tenderness, He revealed Himself unto the doubting one. Thomas had taken a most unreasonable position, in dictating the only conditions of his faith; but Jesus, by His generous love and consideration, broke down all the barriers he had raised. Persistent controversy will seldom weaken unbelief, but rather put it upon self-defense, where it will find new support and excuse. Jesus, revealed in His love and mercy as the crucified Savior, will bring from many once unwilling lips the acknowledgment of Thomas, ‘My Lord, and my God’”1
Though she described Thomas as “always troubled by doubts,”2 it’s interesting to notice that in one synopsis of the disciples’ habits and dispositions, the quality of doubt was attached to Philip, and not to Thomas: “Thomas, truehearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt.”3
Speaking on one occasion about those who “pride themselves on not receiving everything just as soon as it comes,” White said: “Like Thomas, they boast of their unbelief.” But Jesus did not commend the unbelieving disciple. “While granting him the evidence he had declared that he would have before believing, Jesus said unto him: ‘blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’”4
And here is a telling point: “If all should require the same evidence [as did Thomas], none would now receive Jesus and believe in His resurrection. But it was the will of God that the report of the disciples should be received by those who could not themselves see and hear the risen Savior. God was not pleased with the unbelief of Thomas.”5
“The faith of Thomas would have been more pleasing to Christ if he had been willing to believe upon the testimony of his brethren. Should the world now follow the example of Thomas, no one would believe unto salvation; for all who receive Christ must do so through the testimony of others.”6
Then she added the following: “Many who, like Thomas, wait for all cause of doubt to be removed will never realize their desire. They gradually become confirmed in unbelief. . . . At a time when faith and confidence are most essential, many will thus find themselves powerless to hope and believe.”7
1 The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments, vol. 5, p. 1151. (Italics supplied.)
2 The Desire of Ages, p. 663.
3 Ibid., p. 296.
4 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 492.
5 Early Writings, p. 188.
6 The Desire of Ages, p. 807.
7 Ibid., p. 808.