Does God hate wicked children?

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The following is number 8 in Dirk Anderson’s list of contradictions between Ellen G. Whites writings and the bible:

Ellen White:

“God loves honest-hearted, truthful children, but cannot love those who are dishonest. . . . The Lord loves those little children who try to do right, and he has promised that they shall be in his kingdom. But wicked children God does not love. . . . When you feel tempted to speak impatient and fretful, remember the Lord sees you, and will not love you if you do wrong.” (An Appeal to the Youth, pp. 42, 61, 62)

The Bible:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27).

His comments:

Ellen White was supposedly in constant communication with heaven through dreams, visions, and angelic visits. How could someone with a direct line to heaven be so terribly wrong about the character of God? Mrs. White said God does not love wicked children. This is in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ.

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing…” (1 Tim. 6:3, 4).

Our Response

The above quote by Ellen White is actually three quotes in one, the first from one article, and the last two from another. They are personal letters written to her little children while away at missionary work. Let’s take a look at the first quote together:

“Dear children, your mother has not forgotten you. She thinks of you many times every day. We hope you will be good and faithful children. I have been thinking, what if either of you should be taken sick and die, and your father and mother see you no more? Would you be prepared to die? Do you love God better than any one else? Can you forget your play to think of God, to go away alone and ask him for Jesus’ sake to forgive your sins? I know that much of your time is taken up with your studies, and with doing errands; but, dear children, don’t forget to pray. The Lord loves to have children pray to him. And if you really repent and feel sorry for your sins, God will forgive your sins for Jesus’ sake.

When you do wrong don’t conceal your wrong, but heartily and honestly confess it. This I believe you will do. I have confidence in you that you have tried to do it. Continue to do so, and we shall love you better than if you kept your wrongs concealed. God loves honest-hearted, truthful children, but cannot love those who are dishonest.” -AY 42.1.

Mothers may understand this better then most. Mrs. White is trying to explain to her children as simply as possible about the dangers of not knowing Jesus as their personal savior. Her work as a messenger began first in her home. As she strongly believing Jesus was soon to return it was her first priority to prepare her children, who have at this point reached the age of accountability, to meet him in peace.

While the bible shows special favor towards children, there will be children who will be lost because their decision not to believe in Jesus was due to the neglect of their parents of instructing them in the right direction. If Ellen White had not been thus, her children may not have accepted the Lord at such an early stage. If they had become infidels, I assume the critics would likewise accuse her. Thankfully, she was very responsible in this area of her life. Her words had a marked positive affect in her children’s lives, as we will read in a moment.

The warning against sin is quite serious, and it includes children:

Romans 6:23
(23) For the wages of sin is death…”

Ezekiel 18:20
(20) The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

2 Kings 2:23-24
(23) And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
(24) And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. (see also Ezekiel 9:6).

Ezekiel 9:5-6
(5) Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
(6) Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.

As these things can not be explained in theological terms, nor should we expect children to understand them that way, Ellen White used simple, direct words to explain the seriousness of sin.

Continuing in that letter, take a look at what else is in the context:

“Many times I ask myself the question, Will my dear children be saved in the kingdom? I cannot bear the thought of their being shut out of the City with the wicked. I love my children, but God says that only the good and holy can be saved. And if you will overcome your wrongs, love one another, and be at peace among yourselves, the Lord will bless and save you. You cannot be good, or do right, in your own strength. You must go to God and ask him for strength. Ask him that his grace may influence your hearts, and make you right. Believe the Lord will do it; trust him to do it. You can be little Christians; you can love and serve God.” -AY 43.1

Isn’t it obvious, by now, that her only concern was the salvation of her children and that these were the simplest ways that she could explain the seriousness of sin to them?

Notice the next quote:

The Lord loves those little children who try to do right, and he has promised that they shall be in his kingdom. But wicked children God does not love. He will not take them to the beautiful City, for he only admits the good, obedient, and patient children there. One fretful, disobedient child, would spoil all the harmony of heaven. When you feel tempted to speak impatient and fretful, remember the Lord sees you, and will not love you if you do wrong. When you do right and overcome wrong feelings, the Lord smiles upon you.”

A few critics may not like how she explained the reality of sin to her children, and will exploit a few words she used, but they will never tell their readers the result:

“By the blessing of God and his mother’s instructions, Willie (her son) has overcome the impatient spirit which he sometimes manifested when quite young, and he now possess a most affectionate, amiable, and obedient disposition. A.P.P.”

NOTE: This comment given by the White Estate, found at this link:

The bible says:

Proverbs 22:6
(6) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

It also says:

Ephesians 6:4
(4) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture (greek: education) and admonition (greek: attention, rebuke, warning) of the Lord.

In reality, these results demonstrate “good fruits.” It goes to show that her efforts were Godly and fruitful. We remind our readers that good spiritual fruits are one of the tests of a TRUE prophet (see Matthew 7:20).

In another letter to her children, dated October 30, 1859, she wrote:

“We do not wish to drive you, dear boys, but help you to do right. We love you. No others can love you as we do. None can feel the interest in you that we do. We feel very anxious that you should be kept from sinful ways and evil habits.”

Such are the concerns expressed by a compassionate mother towards her little children, and the manner in which she chose to warn them was nothing more then terms easier understood by children their age.


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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