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The Ellen G. White Writings - Contents
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    An Examination of Areas of Authoritative Writings

    It has been suggested by some that the areas in which the prophet should be considered an authority may be limited. The Ellen White writings dealt with interests and activities in many areas. In how many of these was she an authority? It may be profitable to examine the evidence.EGWW 56.3

    To Comfort and Correct Those Who Err From Bible Truth. At the outset of her work the visions made clear to the early believers that God had led them in their experience and would continue to lead them if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus. Within weeks of her call she was commissioned by God to go into the field and meet fanaticism. This is hardly the work the church would choose for a maiden of 17 years. Reporting the experience, she relates:EGWW 56.4

    I pleaded with God to spare me from this—to send by some other one. The Spirit of the Lord again came upon me, and I was shown my faith would be tested, my courage and obedience tried. I must go. God would give me words to speak at the right time.... I waited no longer, but went trusting in God. I saw most of the brethren and sisters. As I warned them of their dangers, some were rejoiced that God had sent me; others refused to listen to my testimony.—Letter 2, 1874 (quoted in Messenger to the Remnant, p. 32).EGWW 56.5

    In the Fields of Doctrine and Eschatology. While during the period of joint study, in which the leading doctrines of the church were dug from the Word of God and united in a body of truth, Ellen White’s mind “was locked as it were” 6Her mind was unlocked in the winter of 1850-1851. and she could not understand the meaning of the scriptures under examination, she was used of God in a unique manner. Of this she wrote in 1906:EGWW 57.1

    When they came to the point in their study where they said, “We can do nothing more,” the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.—Special Testimonies, No. 2, p. 57 (quoted in Selected Messages 1:206, 207).EGWW 57.2

    We should note several statements from Ellen White on the point of doctrine:EGWW 57.3

    I believed the truth upon the Sabbath question before I had seen anything in vision in reference to the Sabbath. It was months after I had commenced keeping the Sabbath before I was shown its importance and its place in the third angel’s message.—Letter 2, 1874 (quoted in Messenger to the Remnant, p. 34).EGWW 57.4

    The Lord showed me in vision, more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, et cetera, and that it was His will that Brother Crosier should write out the view which he gave us in the Day-Star Extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord to recommend that Extra to every saint.—A Word to the Little Flock, 12 (quoted in Messenger to the Remnant, p. 37).EGWW 57.5

    At an early date the visions given to Mrs. White, although not leading in the development of doctrine initially, sparked Bible study. Note this from James White:EGWW 58.1

    At this time, a few days before the new time set in 1845, Ellen was with the band at Carver, Massachusetts, where she saw in vision that we should be disappointed, and that the saints must pass through the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” which was future. Her view of Jacob’s trouble was entirely new to us, as well as herself.—A Word to the Little Flock, 22.EGWW 58.2

    It was not long after this that she was dealing with views of coming events, basing her acceptance or rejection of points made by Eli Curtis on the light given her in vision. From her communication of April 21, 1847, in A Word to the Little Flock, we quote:EGWW 58.3

    I beg leave to state ... what I have seen in vision relative to these things on which you have written.EGWW 58.4

    I fully agree with you, that there will be two literal resurrections, 1000 years apart.EGWW 58.5

    I also agree with you, that the new heavens, and the new earth, will not appear till after the wicked dead are raised, and destroyed, at the end of the 1000 years....EGWW 58.6

    You think that those who worship before the saints’ feet (Revelation 3:9) will at last be saved.EGWW 58.7

    Here I must differ with you; for God showed me that this class were professed Adventists.... In the “hour of temptation”... they will know that they are forever lost; and overwhelmed with anguish of spirit, they will bow at the saints’ feet.EGWW 58.8

    You also think that Michael stood up, and the time of trouble commenced, in the spring of 1844.EGWW 58.9

    The Lord has shown me ... that ... Michael’s standing up (Daniel 12:1) to deliver His people, is in the future.—Pages 11, 12.EGWW 58.10

    Fifteen months later we find the light given to her correcting the doctrinal views of David Arnold and others at the Volney, New York, conference. The enlightening record is worth observing:EGWW 58.11

    Our first conference was at Volney in Bro. Arnold’s barn [August 27-28, 1848]. There were about thirty-five present, all that could be collected in that part of the State. There were hardly two agreed. Each was strenuous for his views, declaring that they were according to the Bible.... Bro. Arnold held that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 were in the past, and that the 144,000 were those raised at Christ’s resurrection....EGWW 59.1

    And as we had the emblem of our dying Lord before us, and was [sic.] about to commemorate His sufferings, Bro. Arnold arose and said he had no faith in what we were about to do; that the Sacrament was a continuation of the Passover, to be observed but once a year.EGWW 59.2

    These strange differences of opinion rolled a heavy weight upon me, especially as Bro. Arnold spoke of the 1000 years being in the past. I knew he was in error, and great grief pressed my spirits.... The light of Heaven rested upon me. I was soon lost to earthly things.EGWW 59.3

    My accompanying angel presented before me some of the errors of those present, and also the truth in contrast with their errors. That these discordant views, which they claimed to be according to the Bible, were only according to their opinion of the Bible, and that their errors must be yielded, and they unite upon the third angel’s message.EGWW 59.4

    Our meeting ended victoriously. Truth gained the victory.—Spiritual Gifts 2:97-99.EGWW 59.5

    What would have become of the emerging church, the object of Satan’s wrath, if the counsels touching the field of doctrine did not carry authority? Let her review the manner in which the messages made clear what was truth and what was error:EGWW 59.6

    At that time one error after another pressed in upon us; ministers and doctors brought in new doctrines. We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds. Sometimes whole nights would be devoted to searching the Scriptures, and earnestly asking God for guidance. Companies of devoted men and women assembled for this purpose. The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error.EGWW 59.7

    As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me. I was given illustrations of heavenly things, and of the sanctuary, so that we were placed where light was shining on us in clear, distinct rays.—Gospel Workers, 302.EGWW 60.1

    Little wonder the pioneers averred: “We have the truth. We know it” (Letter 18, 1850). Nor did God’s leading in this line diminish as the years came and went. The limits of time preclude a detailed enumeration. The pantheistic crisis stood out as the most critical of them all. In the midst of this experience Ellen White told of the commission that came to her in regard to this insidious teaching that she declared would do away with God. Nothing less than the authority of her messages on this doctrinal point could have saved the church.EGWW 60.2

    I am instructed to speak plainly. “Meet it” is the word spoken to me. “Meet it firmly, and without delay.” But it is not to be met by our taking our working forces from the field to investigate doctrines and points of difference. We have no such investigation to make. In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies. The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given.—Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 50 (quoted in Selected Messages 1:200).EGWW 60.3

    No long investigation was necessary, nor was it to be undertaken. The Lord spoke through His servant, and the authoritative word saved the church.EGWW 60.4

    Lest any should think that Ellen White was ever eager to press in her views on doctrine, it should be noted that when she had no light she was silent. She was greatly perturbed at the divisive influence of the teachings concerning the “daily” that were pressed hard by some of the leading brethren.EGWW 60.5

    For a few years up to 1910 some were attempting to draw her writings in to settle the question. On July 31, 1910, she called a halt. She urged her brethren to cease pressing a point that had been shown to her to be of no vital importance, and of which she declared: “I have had no instruction on the point under discussion.” Selected Messages 1:164.EGWW 60.6

    As there was brought to her in 1914 a fine point as to just who would constitute the 144,000, she dictated the following significant statement:EGWW 61.1

    I have no light on the subject.... Please tell my brethren that I have nothing presented before me regarding the circumstances concerning which they write, and I can set before them only that which has been presented to me.—Reported by C. C. Crisler, her secretary, in a letter to Elder E. E. Andross, president of the Pacific Union Conference, Dec. 8, 1914 (quoted in Notes and Papers, p. 90).EGWW 61.2

    For many years the “Eastern question” raged, but she was silent, for she had no light from God on this.EGWW 61.3

    One point was clear in Ellen White’s mind. The truths firmly established under the influence of the Spirit of God were immovable. Observe these comments on this point:EGWW 61.4

    When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained.—Selected Messages 1:161.EGWW 61.5

    Those who passed over the ground step by step in the past history of our experience, seeing the chain of truth in the prophecies, were prepared to accept and obey every ray of light. They were praying, fasting, searching, digging for the truth as for hidden treasures, and the Holy Spirit, we know, was teaching and guiding us.EGWW 61.6

    Many theories were advanced, bearing a semblance of truth, but so mingled with misinterpreted and misapplied scriptures, that they led to dangerous errors. Very well do we know how every point of truth was established, and the seal was set upon it by the Holy Spirit of God. And all the time voices were heard, “Here is the truth,” “I have the truth; follow me.” But the warnings came, “Go not ye after them. I have not sent them, but they ran.” (See Jeremiah 23:21.)EGWW 61.7

    The leadings of the Lord were marked, and most wonderful were His revelations of what is truth. Point after point was established by the Lord God of heaven. That which was truth then, is truth today.—Selected Messages 2:103, 104.EGWW 62.1

    The continuing value of the messages presenting the light God had given to her was clearly seen by Ellen White as she neared the close of her ministry. On a November morning in 1910 she wrote:EGWW 62.2

    The Lord has given me much light that I want the people to have; for there is instruction that the Lord has given me for His people. It is light that they should have, line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. This is now to come before the people, because it has been given to correct specious errors and to specify what is truth. The Lord has revealed many things pointing out the truth, thus saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.—Letter 127, 1910 (quoted in Messenger to the Remnant, p. 82).EGWW 62.3

    Other Fields of Counsel. And so it was also with the Ellen G. White counsels in the fields of church administration, education, health, and the personal messages to individuals concerning their work and their lives. When she spoke her messages were based on the light God gave to her, and she spoke with authority. When she had no light on a subject she usually was silent or made it known that what she spoke was on her own responsibility so that none would be confused. A few quotations will illustrate the point:EGWW 62.4

    Her Testimony Letters.—Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me.—Testimonies for the Church 5:67.EGWW 62.5

    Told by One Who Does Not Falsify.—Unbelief is expressed by the words, “Who has written these things to Sister White?” But I know of no one who knows them as they are, and no one could write that which he does not suppose has an existence. Some one has told me,—He who does not falsify, misjudge, or exaggerate any case.—Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, and the Work in Battle Creek, p. 16 (1896).EGWW 62.6

    Ignorance of the Counsels Will Not Excuse Us.—I am instructed to say to our churches, Study the Testimonies. They are written for our admonition and encouragement upon whom the ends of the world are come. If God’s people will not study these messages that are sent to them from time to time, they are guilty of rejecting light.EGWW 63.1

    Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, God is sending instruction to His people. Heed the instruction; follow the light. The Lord has a controversy with His people because in the past they have not heeded His instruction and followed His guidance.—Letter 292, 1907.EGWW 63.2

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