Ángel Rodríguez’s Letter
THE DREAMS OF BROTHER ERNIE KNOLL
Brother Ernie Knoll claims to be having dreams from God. He was a local church elder and supposedly has identified himself as an ordained pastor. His local church did not re-elect him as church elder in part because of his dreams. There is little on his webpage about the history of his experiences with the dreams. Based on the little we know he at first did not see himself as a prophet. He was having vivid dreams for which he provided his own interpretations. At some point an angel interpreter was introduced in his dreams and guided and interpreted the dreams for him. Consequently he claimed to be receiving revelations from the Lord, that is to say he became a prophet. It is very difficult to evaluate such claims. Church members should not accept them based on the fact that the person is having dreams and that he is also claiming that an angel is involved. There are several things that we should keep in mind as we examine the evidence.
First, Brother Ernie states that he wanted God to communicate with him. This was something that he cherished in his heart. This is a little strange and lends itself to different interpretations. But perhaps what is more important is that we hardly find in the Bible a person who was eager to be a prophet. When called to the prophetic ministry those persons were not initially delighted. Very often their first reaction was to resist the divine call. This was also the case with Ellen G. White. This interest in being a prophet may have had some psychological impact on his experiences.
Second, his dreams deal with different topics but are not of deep significance for the church. A number of them are about his ministry and serve to encourage him to continue to do what he is doing. In others he deals with the health message, worship, the Lord’s Supper, the coming of destruction, and the need for reformation in the church—he particularly mentions the Adventist Book Centers. In one of the dreams, the KJV was identified as the Bible version that we should use. As I read that, I wondered about Bible versions in other languages. Why should the Lord limit Himself to one language? In some cases it is very difficult to find the purpose or the message of a dream.
Third, in many of the dreams Brother Ernie is the center of interest or they are about him. For instance, he dreams he is in heaven sitting at a large table. While there he begins to think about the sins he committed while on earth. I tried to find a message in the dream but I could not. It was about the burden of sin that he was still carrying while in heaven. To me this is a rather strange situation.
Fourth, he makes a great effort to demonstrate that he has the characteristics of a true prophet as found in the Bible. Therefore, Brother Ernie includes in the narratives of his dreams passages from the Bible and statements from the Spirit of Prophecy that support the message of his dreams. In other words, he is trying to demonstrate that his messages are supported by God’s previous revelations to his people. This makes his dreams almost irrelevant for the church. What we need to do is read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. But one of the dreams created a problem for him. In it tithe was discussed and the teaching was not in agreement with what the Bible teaches about tithing. The angel tells him that the individual decides to whom he or she should give the tithe. This is not what you find in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen G. White. Apparently Brother Ernie received quite a bit of reaction to this dream and some alleged that he modified it. But the truth is that he is still promoting this dream on his webpage. It has also been stated that he changed one of his dreams about the 144,000 because the original version of it contradicted the Spirit of Prophecy.
What can we conclude about the dreams? It is extremely difficult to assign the dreams to a particular source of origin. The last point we made about tithing as well as the overall nature of the dreams raise serious questions about their divine origin. But perhaps one of the main problems we face is that the influence of the dreams may lead people to rely more on them than on the Scripture. Consequently, they could be distracted from the study of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. This could lead them to emphasize our subjective experiences as a reliable guide in the search for truth. The times in which we live are dangerous times and the closer we stay to the Bible, spending time studying it, the safest it would be for the church. We do not deny that the Lord will pour His Spirit out on His people in an unprecedented way, but we should also be aware of the deceptions of the last days. I do not believe that Brother Ernie is trying to deceive anybody. I only call you, the reader, to be wise and prudent and wait for the Lord instead of spending time with dreams whose origin we cannot clearly verify.
Angel Manuel Rodriguez