Some Notes on the Concept of Inspiration and Revelation

Speaker: Categories: Aug 10, 1985


[53min, 49sec / 55min, 52sec]


Just how does inspiration work? For instance, in the context of our current Sabbath School lessons, what did Moses "see" that enabled him to write Genesis? Did he just think about beginnings and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, discover how it all came about? Or did he experience a panoramic vision, something like Chronos, the special effects audio visual masterpiece currently being presented at the Reuben E. Fleet Space Theater. Did he then quite breathlessly scramble for words to express what he had just "seen"?

- How does inspiration work?

Does it make any difference how one answers that question? Could theological "truth" really be error, simply through a misunderstanding of the process of inspiration? And what happens when we go about applying these understandings in the formulation of policies - or when we single out key words in key texts to provide support for unique understandings of God's revelation to His children?

As Seventh-day Adventists we would seem to have a special need to understand this process correctly. Belief in a modern-day. special revelation, based on the same process of inspiration which guided the Bible writers millennia ago, is considered one of our "pillar truths." That belief, as we are aware, has recently come under special scrutiny, criticism, and has been defended most ardently and strenuously.

Some months ago, when invited to address FORUM, Dr. Tom Blincoe expressed his interest in this particular topic which had recently become the focus of much of his attention. His research and study qualify him to explore the implications of this issue with us.

He states, "Some of the current criticism of the writings of Ellen G. White is based on a concept of revelation/inspiration to which the Seventh-day Adventist church . . . does not subscribe officially. Because presuppositions largely determine conclusions, and we all want to avoid false ones, it seem(s) justifiable to engage FORUM in a serious consideration of the (topic)."


Tom Blincoe grew up in San Diego, graduating from San Diego Academy in 1936 and gaining his first work experience at Paradise Valley Sanitarium and Hospital. In 1945 he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from La Sierra College followed by internship and pastoral assignment in Michigan.

From 1948 to 1953 he was a member of the Bible department faculty at La Sierra until becoming chair of the Bible department at Japan Missionary College, 1953-62.

For the next twenty years. 1962-82. he was a member of the Department of Systematic Theology and Christian Philosophy at the SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University. He served as seminary dean from 1976-81.


His graduate education included a Master of Arts degree in religion, SDA Theological Seminary, 1952; a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Potomac University, 1960; and a Doctor of Theology degree, Union Theological Seminary, 1971.

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