Rebuttal to Vance Ferrell Checkpoints #243 about 1858 Great Controversy

The following is a reply to Vance Ferrell's "Checkpoints" #243 regarding the 1858 Great Controversy. I do not see any copyright restrictions, so include the whole issue here (scroll to bottom of page to see scanned in copy). What Brother Ferrell wrote is in black letters, and my comments are in >sienna. By no means do i claim to be 100% correct, but there are some factual errors in this Checkpoints that need to be corrected. If anyone has comments or information on this, please email me:

tengoku1 "at"

Daniel Winters May 7, 2003


#243 May 1, 2003

Pilgrims Rest

Beersheba Springs, TN 37305 USA



AS WE GO TO PRESS--This issue of Checkpoints was completed and about to be sent to our print shop, when word was received about an unfortunate development. So all the information in this Checkpoints has been taken out and will be made available at a future time.

About two years ago, Danny Winters, an American Adventist who lives in Japan, wrote and offered us free copies of the 1858 Great Controversy, if we would distribute them to Adventists. He said he had about 10,000 copies. >Actually, i sent the letter to him exactly 11 months ago, on May 7, 2002, but this is no biggie:) I said that us Adventists need this information most.

Happy at the prospect, I planned to send them out free, but first examined the sample copy he had sent me.

I found that Danny's email address and a web address was printed on p. v (roman numeral five), at a location where every reader, and those glancing through the book, would see it. So I wrote him that I had decided not to accept the offer. >Brother Ferrell may have wrote, but it was never received. Last year i sent him 2 letters and 2 emails, but the only correspondence from him was this letter which can be seen here.

The reason I did not accept Danny's offer was because he considers it his special mission to proclaim to Adventists that only the earlier Spirit of Prophecy books are inspired of God. He teaches that the rest are totally corrupt, were written by "someone else," and contain no messages from God. For this reason, I did not consider it wise to share his address with God's people. >Great! He found my special mission! Even i didn't know that, because i have never entertained that thot. I do believe the earlier Spirit of Prophecy books have been overlooked by most SDAs (including me), and want to shine the spotlight on those early treasures. I have never mentioned to anyone that the rest are totally corrupt and written by someone else and contain no messages from God. This is pure conjecture. If having my address in the book was the problem, why didn't he tell me so?

I have now been saddened to learn that a fellow independent ministry has mailed copies of that same book--with Winters' address in it--to 17,000 of the very cream of faithful Seventh-day Adventists!

This is a tragedy. Let me explain.

The book itself is outstanding. It is the fully inspired earlier edition of Great Controversy. Even though it is extremely small, it a useful addition to anyone's library. >This is not a direct cut on the 1858GC, but it is the first hint of a trend in this Checkpoints to downgrade this book because it is small.

The problem is that those 17,000 copies invite the reader to make contact with Danny Winters. At the front of the book, in the Foreword, Danny gives his email address and website, and encourages everyone who opens the book to go to them for additional information and materials. >This is what it says: "For your own free copy of this book, please download it at: For questions or comments, email Daniel Winters at earlysda "at"

However, when you go to his website--as I just did today--among other things, you will find that Danny and his associates are very concerned to obtain your name and address. The home page of the website has three requests for your name and address: an interesting questionnaire you can answer, a guest-book register, and an offer for still more books from something called "Echos from the Past." But, when you click on that, you are taken to a web page with Vern Bates' address, phone number, and organizational name: Echos from the Past. >There are no associates with Danny. All of this is done on my own, in my own room. I am NOT concerned to obtain anyone's name and address. If anyone wants to leave a message in my Guestbook, there is a place to enter the email address. This is common practice among all Guestbooks, such as the Macdonald Road SDA church's. There are not 3 requests for name and address.

Like Danny Winters, Bates considers it his sacred mission in life to annihilate the confidence of Seventh-day Adventists in the later books of Ellen White. But such teachings cannot be without terrible effects on those who receive it and the one giving it. Bates' destructive work has desolated his own life. Those who live in his area say he is a harsh person. >"Sacred mission to annihilate the confidence..." ??? This is pure conjecture bordering on slander. Just because someone has faults to overcome, does not mean the message is wrong. Most likely, all of us have areas of weakness.

By "later books," Bates means all those published after about 1881--and that includes nearly all of Ellen White's books! If you will check a chronology of when they were written, you will find that, prior to 1881, about all that Ellen White had published were magazine articles and a number of smaller booklets. Much of this was eventually compiled into Testimonies, Vols. 1-4. During those years, a few small books were produced, primarily A Sketch of Experience and Views; Spiritual Gifts, Vols. 1-2; and Spirit of Prophecy, Vols. 1-4.> Again the early works of Ellen White are "small" and "few". There is a factual error here as books commonly known as "Spiritual Gifts", were ALL published before 1881, so there are actually 4 volumes. Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4 wasn't printed until 1884, and is known today as the second edition of The Great Controversy.

--All the rest of the more than two dozen of her books, which we now have, had not yet been printed prior to 1881. Yet Winters and Bates maintain that the later books are suspect and best left alone. It is alleged that they were mysteriously written by someone else. Yet, as you and I well know, the same, solid message is to be found in all the books published under her name. >I've never said anything about them being mysteriously written by someone else.

So we have a tragedy in the making. The individual who mailed out the Danny Winters' edition of the 1858 Great Controversy booklet, Elder Lawrence Nelson, is a fine person; we all recognize that fact. He has helped many of the faithful for years, and probably will continue to do so in the future The reason why Elder Nelson decided to mail out the Winters' edition is explained in his April 1, 2003 letter, which accompanies each of the 17,000 books mailed out.

"We bring you good news! By receiving a special gift from Daniel Winter [sic., Winters] he has made it possible for each of you to receive this special edition of the original 1858 Great Controversy edition authored by Ellen G. White. Very few Adventists have seen this rare book. This is why we are thrilled to place this precious book in your hands."

"We are sending out some 17,000 copies, one to each name on our mailing list. Guard yours carefully as we cannot replace them as we do not have more" [italics ours]. >Brother Ferrell, in the last 3 years i've sent you 3 emails, and 2 letters. In at least one of them i asked you to please be careful with your quoting. If you leave out something, please mark it with ellipsis "...". Here is the sentence following "...your hands.>" -> "As you read it, you will notice how often Ellen White writes what was revealed to her by the Holy Spirit. She states 161 times "I saw"! This is why you will discover how simple these truths are presented, yet alive with divine power."

Prior to mailing out those books, Elder Nelson was counseled by several friends not to do it, since it would give Winters' website--which would lead Adventists directly to Vern Bates. >I called Elder Nelson today to verify this, and he said that NO ONE said anything negative to him about this book before he mailed it out. This is more totally false information by Brother Ferrell.

But, the above two paragraphs give Elder Nelson's two reasons for choosing to go ahead with the mailing:

First, all expenses were paid by Winters (who recognized this as a marvelous way to carry his and Bates' message to many thousands of Adventists). >This too is false. I only supplied the books, not the postage. It is not my message, it is the original Great Controversy - words from God! And, as noted above, i have no contact with Brother Bates.

Second, and probably the deciding factor: As you can see from the two paragraphs of his, quoted above, Elder Nelson truly believes that no printed editions of the 1858 Great Controversy are available anywhere else. He thinks that only Winters has a printed edition. >Elder Nelson said nothing of the kind.

But that idea, probably given to Elder Nelson by Danny Winters, is simply not true! Every one of our readers has a copy of the 1858 edition of Great Controversy in his or her home! It is not a "suppressed book." It is not a long out-of-print book. It is not a book you cannot obtain anywhere. >As far as i know, Verne Bates and the Review and Herald are the only ones printing this book, and the R&H copy is given the name "Spiritual Gifts Volume 1" which does not lead one to think this is the original Great Controversy. Fortunately, in 2001, this book by the R&H was separated from its two volume set, and advertised as "The Original Great Controversy". (^-^)

It is the entire back half of the book, Early Writings! All 41 chapters are there! >It is MOSTLY there, but not exactly like the original. I haven't compared every word in the whole book, but i did for chapter 18 just to see if it was 100% the same. There were several small changes, but there was one sentence totally missing from Early Writings -> chapter 18 "The Bible was kept from them, in order to conceal the truths which would condemn them." Altogether, it looks like around 92 or 93% of the material is the same. Here is a complete comparison of the first chapter in each book: Great Controversy Early Writings comparison

The first 117 pp. of Early Writings (pp. 11-127) consists of two of her earliest books: Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E.G. White (1851) and A Supplement to Experience and Views (1854). >With a number of changes.

The second and larger half of Early Writings contains an Introduction (pp. 133-143), followed by the complete 1858 Great Controversy In 150 pages (pp. 145-295). >As mentioned above, it is NOT 100% complete like the original.

Is anything missing in that Early Writings reprint of the 1858 edition? Nothing, except a number of "I saw" phrases. In addition, some paragraphs begin with different sentences. >161-134=27 places where "I saw" has been deleted. This somewhat true statement (93%?) by Brother Ferrell touches on the whole crux of the matter -> Are the words from God or not? This 1858 GC says that what the apostles wrote, "was dictated by the Holy Ghost". Testimonies for the Church #26 says even more forcefully: "The scribes of God wrote as they were dictated by the Holy Spirit, having no control of the work themselves."

On his website, Winters falsely claims that the only way you can obtain the 1858 edition is from him-- or you cannot get it at all. But, as with many other claims by the "down with Ellen White's books" group, that statement is false too. >On my website for over a year now it says: "Also, this book (called "Spiritual Gifts Volume 1"). was separated from Volume 2, and re-printed in April, 2001. It is advertised as "Original 1858 Great Controversy". Available at most ABC stores." This statement is so blatantly false Brother Ferrell, that surely your conscience is bothering you by now.

In addition to Early Writings, your copy of Story of Redemption has a somewhat larger presentation of the same material, primarily from Spiritual Gifts, Vols. 1-4 (originally published 1870-1884). >What is commonly called Spiritual Gifts Vols. 1-4 was printed between 1858 and 1864.

Happy at the prospect of mailing, to his complete mailing list, thousands of free Spirit of Prophecy books which he had been told were not available anywhere else, Elder Nelson went ahead with the project. >Who told him this???

It is a fearful fact that this Checkpoints warning will reach only a few of those 17,000 believers; there are large numbers who will receive no warning. Many of them will go to Danny's website and click for further information. Although he may not do it immediately, Winters and/or Bates will eventually mail them attack papers against the later Spirit of Prophecy books. >As of May 7, approximately 15 people have sent emails or signed the Guestbook saying they went there after receiving the book. Two of the people were "Anti Holy Ghost" people, and all the rest were happy to receive this book. I sent each an email in reply, stating my happiness for their happiness:) The only people i've sent more than one email to, are the 3 people who have asked for info on ordering the books. If anyone wants to try, please email me and see how many "attack papers" you get. Verne Bates and i have not communicated in over 1 1/2 years, so how could he send anything?!

(I have friends who have ordered from Bates the complete set of the Spirit of Prophecy booklets he offers for sale, which are the few books he has decreed to be "safe." They have told me they have spent well over a hundred dollars for a number of small booklets which did not provide hardly any of the rich amount of information available in the later Spirit of Prophecy books--the very books which he rejects.)

Elder Nelson is a very good man. We all make mistakes at times. Unfortunately, this one will have serious consequences. Many precious souls, now solid in those precious writings, will be led, by Winters' and Bates' false claims, to doubt the inspiration of most of the Spirit of Prophecy books. Many will go out from among us, never to return. And that is a tragedy. Worlds sink into insignificance, compared with the loss of even one soul. I have met or heard of many souls who have left the Third Angel's Message entirely after accepting some of this skepticism against the Spirit of Prophecy. >What false claims have i made in the book or on the website? None of them have been documented in this Checkpoints. The ones you've tried to document, Brother Ferrell, you've shown your "facts" to be full of "errors".

What you should do: If you have received the Danny Winters edition, turn to page v, and carefully ink out his email and website address. --Having done that, the book is perfectly safe. It is a fine little book and fully inspired by God, as are all her other books. However, the print is extremely small, and you will find the back half of Early Writings much easier to read. >If you are interested in reading a book around 92-93% the same as the original, that's fine with me! I'm sorry for the small type, but to get the book into 96 pages, that was the largest type that could be used. Actually, if the original books were getting fully presented to the church and world, i could save the little bit of money i get from teaching English, and use it for something else. (^-^)

I phoned Elder Nelson several times but he was not home, and this issue of Checkpoints must be printed now. Some of you may wish to urge Elder Nelson to immediately send a letter to everyone on his mailing list, warning them of the danger and instructing them to ink out Danny's address. (Others have already contacted him.) If enough write him, he may see the gravity of the situation. If he will mail that letter to his private mailing list of 17,000, many precious souls may yet be pulled back from the fires of skepticism. It is imperative that his letter to his mailing list be mailed soon. His address is: P0. Box 808, Myrtle Creek, OR 97457. >I talked to Elder Nelson this morning, and he said people have been ringing him at all hours of the day and night, waking him up, telling him how bad this 1858GC was etc.

For additional information

How God Protected Ellen White's Writings, 48 pp.. April 2002, 8½ x 11; one: $4.00 + $2.50 / 10: $3.75 each + $5.00.

The history of that protection throughout her lifetime. Also includes four tracts exposing Bates' teachings to be error. Plus A. L. White's remarkable historical compilation from her writings: The Circulation of Great Controversy.> There are many factual errors in the "Bates'" tracts. One is noted at the bottom of this page. I wrote Brother Ferrell's webmaster who sent me these on May 19, 2002, showing 20 un-factual statements, but received no reply.

Do not Reject the Spirit of Prophecy, 32 pp., Sept. '99, 8½ x 11; one: $3.00 + $2.50 / 10: $1.75 each + $4.50. A large number of powerful Spirit of Prophecy quotations on the importance of the Spirit of Prophecy writings and the danger of belittling or rejecting them.

Why do I not print the book?

Why do I not publish the 1858 Great Controversy and make it available as a missionary book to be shared with non-Adventists?

At an earlier time, I considered publishing the 1858 edition ourselves, as a low-cost Great Controversy for the general public. But, upon examining it closely, I found that it gave far too little information about the special issues, Bible texts, and final events to be useful as a missionary book. It was just too sparse. Indeed, the final events, second advent, millennium, and events after the third advent are touched on in only 24 pages of Winters' edition (pp. 62-86)! We saw little reason to publish it, when our 46-cent 1884 Great Controversy covers the message fully and is extremely low in cost. A reprint of the 1858 edition would save only ten cents or so, while only touching on a few vital issues. >If we had an original copy of the Bible, and Hebrew was our native language, wouldn't we be extremely excited to find an original copy?! Isn't that what the excitement is over the Dead Sea Scrolls? I have purchased Brother Ferrell's edition of the 1884 GC, and enjoyed it tremendously, but was surprised to see the chapter headings had been changed (this was 10 years ago, maybe fixed now). Perhaps we know better how to say it than God did?

Why are the " I see " phrases missing?

Who took the "I see" phrases out of Early Writings, and why were they taken out? >27 times out of Early Writings, and ALL 161 times out of the 1884, 1888, and current 1911 editions, when talking about her own experience (vision). (You do mean "I saw" don't you?)

Ellen White directed that they be taken out of Early Writings, when it was published in 1882. The Lord guided her to do this because the book would be read by non-Adventists. What is the basis for that decision? >I do believe most of us would rightly be upset if a new version of the Bible took out the 35 times John uses the words "I saw" in Revelation. (I harp on this "I saw" thing because it is the strongest evidence that Ellen White was a prophet in vision. Take this out, and the book sounds like an ordinary history book). I do not believe Ellen White directed that they be taken out. Did the Bible authors write something and then direct part of it to be taken out later?!

The Mormon menace began about the year 1817, with Joseph Smith's writing of The Pearl of Great Price. In the late 1820s, he claimed to have received the plates; and, in May 1829, he was visited by "John the Baptist." The Book of Mormon was published that same year. In February 1934, Smith received a "revelation" to take the city of Independence, Missouri, by force and make it his headquarters. Ordered out of Missouri, he fled with 15,000 Mormons to Illinois in 1838.

Warfare by and against neighboring citizens, plus killings of dissident followers, continued for years. Smith taught that "blood atonement" was attained by killing followers critical of his sexual immorality, polygamy, and evil teachings. In 1843, at the height of the Millerite Movement, this false prophet in Illinois declared that God wanted Mormons to practice polygamy. Joseph's many wives ranged from age 15 to 59. Some of them he took from their husbands, which he said could have them back in eternity.

Citizens of three States were enraged by Mormon actions; and, on June 27, 1844, Smith was murdered by angry citizens. The next month, at Exeter, New Hampshire, the Midnight Cry began to be proclaimed and was carried "on the winds." In December, God anointed Ellen to be a true last-day prophet. In later years, one Mormon scandal after another spread across America.

Surely, in view of this background, you can see why, back then, the Lord guided Ellen to later tone down the "I saw' and present the message to the world first, before telling interested seekers that Ellen was an inspired prophet of God? >The Lord "guided" Ellen to tone down the "I saw" statements?! This is pure conjecture that is throwing doubt on the Lord's Servant.

Does Winters have the only original edition in print?

Aside from Winter's edition, is there no printed edition of the original 1858 edition, with its "I see" phrases? >If you deem it necessary to correct Elder Nelson's spelling of my name, please make sure you get it right. Actually, i don't care what people call me or how my name is spelled. Here in Japan most people call me Denny because it's easier to say, and "dani" means "tick" in Japanese - haha.

There is an edition--and it is more accurate than Winters'! >True!

Contrary to false reports by Winters and others, the original text of the 1858 Great Controversy has been in print for years--and in a photo-static reprint of the original edition of the book! (By his own admission on his website, Winters typeset his edition himself. So it could contain errors.) >I never reported that, so i can't have gotten it wrong:) I do not admit anywhere on my website that i typeset this edition myself. Please Brother Ferrell, let's not be quite so loose with the facts. The webpage says that i typed in William Miller's "Evidences..." book. Having said that, it IS true that i put this book into electronic format (scanning and typing). In over 4 1/2 years on the internet, with probably around 2,000 downloads (not counting on-line browsing), no one has ever pointed out an error to me - but, recently i found one error in chapter 3 where it says "he" when it should really be "be". I'm very sorry, i've since updated the website, but the printed copy (English) has that mistake. There was one error in the original 1858 GC too, one opening quote does not have a closing quote. Let's all strive to do our best!

Go to your ABC and purchase the set, Spiritual Gifts, Vols. I and II. In Volume I you will find an exact photographic reprint of the original 1858 edition-with every "I saw" and "I was shown" in it. >Good advice! Even with the new Spiritual Gifts Vol. 1 being separated from Vol. 2, it will probably set you back around 6USD tho. I too had this book for many years, but as the title on the outside cover was different, did not recognize it for what it was - the original "The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels". Maybe that is why Brother Ferrell says in one of his "...Bates" tracts that the 1888 edition of the GC is: "the second edition of her most important book>". If even leaders who have printed thousands, perhaps millions of Ellen White's books do not even recognize the 1858 edition as being the first, how many other people can recognize it? This is why i call it "rare". Perhaps "overlooked" would be a better term?

"Satan was once an honored angel in heaven.." --Early Writings, 145.

"The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven.." --1 Spiritual Gifts, 17.

In addition, the print size is somewhat larger and easier to read in the Spiritual Gifts edition than in Winters' tiny print edition. >Yes it is! Please buy it and study to see if these things are so (^-^)

Where can I download the original edition?

On his website, Winters gives the impression that the only place you can download a copy of the 1858 edition is on his website. But the complete book, like all her other books, is available from the E.G. White CD Rom, from the E.G. White Estate or through your ABC. The access code is "1SG. ">I laughed when i saw this last paragraph - haha---sigh... Being on a CD Rom does not mean it is downloadable from the internet! Actually, from browsing the internet, it looks like there are around 6 or 7 places to download this book. I'm sorry if i gave the impression that i have a lock on it, because i don't, and don't want to. I want to see this book on everybody's website! The funniest thing tho, is that i was very kindly asked, and your own website Brother Ferrell, has the 1858 Great Controversy downloaded from my website!!!

Vance Ferrell


In "The Teachings of Verne Bates"> Vance Ferrell writes: "The truth is that God inspires the writer, who then writes the concept down in his own words.>"But actually: Is the Bible called the 'Concepts from God in various writer's own words', or 'The Word of God'???

     What does the Bible itself say: Matthew 4:4 - "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." John 14:24 - "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." There are many MANY more - 258 times in the KJV where the phrase 'word of the Lord' is used!!

     May we uphold God's prophets, and receive the attendant blessing (2Chronicles 20:20).

     Any comments or advice is always welcome:)

     The scanned in copy of this Checkpoints can be viewed here -> page 1 page 2 page 3

Back to top
Back to Earlysda home page