Ellen G. White Writings

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Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6), Page 322

Chapter 24—Inspiration and the 1911 Edition of The Great Controversy

To make any changes at all in the text of a book written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, especially a book as widely circulated and studiously read as The Great Controversy, was recognized by Ellen White and the staff at Elmshaven as something that would raise questions in the minds of Seventh-day Adventists. There were many who, jealous for Ellen White and the Spirit of Prophecy, and not having thought the matter through, held, for all practical purposes, to a theory of verbal inspiration in the work of God's prophets. An action disavowing this stance was taken by the General Conference in session in 1883. But by 1911 this was either unknown or forgotten by Adventists generally. Here is the wording: 6BIO 322.1

We believe the light given by God to His servants is by the enlightenment of the mind, thus imparting the thoughts, and not (except in rare cases) the very words in which the ideas should be expressed.—The Review and Herald, November 27, 1883 (in MR, p. 65, and Selected Messages 3:96). 6BIO 322.2

Ellen White's clear-cut statements on the point in her introduction to The Great Controversy in 1888 should have given guidance to Seventh-day Adventists. There were also specific circumstances and incidents that should have educated the church to this end. But in spite of all this, many still looked upon inspiration as more or less a mechanical process. 6BIO 322.3

This inaccurate view on inspiration laid the foundation for questions when the new edition of The Great Controversy came out. 6BIO 322.4

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