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about ellen g. white

ellen g. white

The Prophet of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

A woman of remarkable spiritual gifts, Ellen G. White lived most of her life during the nineteenth century (1827-1915). Yet through her writings and public ministry she has made a revolutionary impact on millions of people around the world in the twentieth century. A large number consider her to have had the prophetic gift.

During her lifetime, she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 49 books; but today, including compilations from her manuscripts, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature and the most translated American author of either gender. Her writings cover a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, health, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, and management. Her life-changing masterpiece on successful Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been published in nearly 150 languages, with well over 100 million copies in circulation. Her crowning literary achievement is the five-volume Conflict of the Ages series, which traces the conflict between good and evil from its origin to its dramatic, soon-to-unfold conclusion.

Ellen White traveled widely in the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. As a young girl, she suffered serious health problems which threatened her life, yet she lived a full life to age 87. Her varied roles included speaking before audiences as large as 20,000. Her insights into healthful living continue to be remarkably accurate concepts widely accepted today by the scientific and medical community. She also helped to establish a system of hospitals, schools, and publishing houses that circles the globe.

[Description courtesy of the Ellen G. White Estate.]

Use of Her Writings With Respect to the Bible

Ellen G. White's Own Counsel

Note: Ellen G. White claimed her writings to be the lesser light to lead us to the Bible, the greater light. “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” (Colporteur Evangelism, p. 37) When we fail in this objective and make the Spirit of Prophecy the final word, we do a great injustice to the church and Ellen G. White and rightfully deserve to be called a cult!

1. “But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms.” (The Great Controversy, p. 595)

2. “The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit.” (Prophets and Kings, p.626)

3. “...Don’t you quote Sister White. I don’t want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now.” (Spaulding-Magan Collection, p. 174)

4. H.M.S. Richards’ Discussion with E.G. White [after she had dropped in on a service at the West Denver, Colorado, church when he was a young pastor]: “Now Sister White, there’s something else that I’d like to find out. How should I use your writings in preaching?” She replied: “Here’s the way to use them. First, ask God to give you your subject. When you have the subject chosen, then go to the Bible until you know for sure what the Bible really teaches on that point. After that, turn to the writings and see what you can find on the same subject and read that. It may cast light on it or guide you into other Scripture, or make some point clearer. When you go to the people, however, preach to them out of the Bible.” (Story by H.M.J. Richards’s son, H.M.S. Richards, repeated in Ministry Magazine, October, 1976, pp. 6-7)

Misusing Ellen G. White

Ellen G. White's Own Words on Misuse of Her Writings

When we use the Spirit of Prophecy to prove or defend a doctrine or truth, instead of the Word of God, we make the Spirit of Prophecy the yardstick of truth. This is misusing the writings of Ellen White.

“The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word.... Let all prove the positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God.” (Evangelism, p. 256)

When a truth is presented from the Bible and we refuse to accept it unless it can be proven from the Spirit of Prophecy, this makes Ellen G. White the ultimate authority. This is misusing the writings of Ellen White. “The Bible is our rule of faith and doctrine.” (Gospel Workers, p. 249)

When the main thrust of our message and witnessing is from the Spirit of Prophecy instead of the Word of God, we are substituting Ellen G. White for the Bible. This is misusing the writings of Ellen White. “Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the Word of God.” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 708)

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