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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5) - Contents
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    An Unguarded Statement

    An interesting event occurred at one of the Tabernacle meetings. On Sunday, October 2, Ellen White addressed an audience of 2,500, including many Battle Creek citizens. She took this occasion to talk about herself and her work, and she spoke without notes. Reminding them that they had heard her speak many times, she declared that she bore exactly the same message now as she always had—the same message she had written in her books. “The truth that we proclaim today,” she said, “is the same truth that we proclaimed for the last fifty years.”—Manuscript 140, 1905. Then she startled her hearers by saying:5BIO 354.3

    “I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet. I do not claim to be a leader; I claim to be simply a messenger of God, and that is all I have ever claimed.”—DF 108a, W. E. Cornell report, in AGD to WCW, May 23, 1906.5BIO 354.4

    Her reference to the Sabbath meeting was to words she used in speaking of the appellations people had applied to her. Here are her words from the Sabbath meeting:5BIO 354.5

    They say she is a prophetess, they say she is this and that and the other thing—I claim to be no such thing. I will tell you what I want you all to know, that I am a messenger that God has taken from a feeble, very feeble child, and in my girlhood gave me a message, and here you see the effects that made me what I am, a cruel stone thrown by a hand and broke my nose, and thereby I have been made an invalid for life.... Now I want to tell you this, that Mrs. White does not call herself a prophetess or a leader of this people. She calls herself simply a messenger....5BIO 354.6

    Some who are not belonging to our church ... listen to Mrs. White, and you know what my testimony has been though, and the same testimony has been borne from that time that you have heard, and long before, to the people. I have not gone back on one sentiment on temperance, not one sentiment religiously. It is just the same, and that is why I was to write it, that it should go to the people, and that it should live all through the half century.— Ibid.5BIO 355.1

    What she said in the Sunday meeting was this:5BIO 355.2

    I want you [“those who have got the books that God has bidden me to write when that hand trembled so that it seemed an impossibility”] to read the books—Patriarchs and Prophets (I expected to have them here on the stand before us), Great

    Controversy, Desire of Ages, Ministry of Healing[, which] is nearly done, and a great many other books. I am not, as I said yesterday, a prophet. I do not claim to be a leader; I claim to be simply a messenger of God, and that is all I have ever claimed.— Ibid.5BIO 355.3

    Monday, the newspapers at Battle Creek heralded the news: The woman the Adventists had believed in all these years as a prophet had now come straight out and said she was not a prophet after all! This naturally brought questions from Adventists as well. Ellen White and church leaders found that an explanation must be made. She took opportunity on several occasions to explain carefully the thoughts she intended to convey by her statement. W. C. White observed in a way that throws considerable light on the matter, as follows:5BIO 355.4

    When she spoke these words she had in mind the ideas of the people regarding a prophet as one whose chief office was to predict events, and she wanted them to understand that that was not her place in the world. I am fully persuaded that John the Baptist cherished the same idea when he denied being “that prophet.”—WCW to A. M. Taylor, July 6, 1933 (see DF 108a).5BIO 355.5

    Within a few weeks Ellen White recalled for the readers of the Review what she said, and gave the following clarification:5BIO 355.6

    Sunday afternoon I spoke again in the Tabernacle. The meeting had been advertised, and there were present many citizens of Battle Creek who were not of our faith. At this meeting I assured my hearers that we held the same principles of truth that we had so many times set before them in past years....5BIO 356.1

    I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. I have not stood before the people claiming this title, though many called me thus. I have been instructed to say, “I am God's messenger, sent to bear a message of reproof to the erring and of encouragement to the meek and lowly.” With pen and with voice I am to bear the messages given me. The word given me is, “You are faithfully to reprove those who would mar the faith of the people of God. Write out the things which I shall give you, that they may stand as a witness to the truth till the end of time.”—The Review and Herald, January 26, 1905.5BIO 356.2

    But there was a continued misuse of her unguarded statement, and further explanations were called for. She prepared an article entitled “A Messenger,” which was published in the Ibid., July 26, 1906. In this she explained:5BIO 356.3

    When I was last in Battle Creek, I said before a large congregation that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Twice I referred to this matter, intending each time to make the statement, “I do not claim to be a prophetess.” If I spoke otherwise than this, let all now understand that what I had in mind to say was that I do not claim the title of prophet or prophetess.5BIO 356.4

    I understood that some were anxious to know if Mrs. White still held the same views that she did years ago when they had heard her speak in the sanitarium grove, in the Tabernacle, and at the camp meetings held in the suburbs of Battle Creek. I assured them that the message she bears today is the same that she has borne during the sixty years of her public ministry. She has the same service to do for the Master that was laid upon her in her girlhood. She receives lessons from the same Instructor. The directions given her are, “Make known to others what I have revealed to you. Write out the messages that I give you, that the people may have them.” This is what she has endeavored to do.—Ibid., July 26, 1906 (Selected Messages 1:35). Further explanations appear in this article, now published in full in Ibid., 1:31-35. We refer to some:5BIO 356.5

    Some have stumbled over the fact that I said I did not claim to be a prophet; and they have asked, Why is this?5BIO 357.1

    I have had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.5BIO 357.2

    Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord's messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be His messenger. “Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word.”...5BIO 357.3

    Why have I not claimed to be a prophet? Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word “prophet” signifies....5BIO 357.4

    God has made plain to me the various ways in which He would use me to carry forward a special work. Visions have been given me, with the promise, “If you deliver the messages faithfully and endure to the end, you shall eat of the fruit of the tree of life, and drink of the water of the river of life.”—Ibid., 1:31-33.5BIO 357.5

    After describing the breadth of the work she was commissioned to do, she declared:5BIO 357.6

    To claim to be a prophetess is something that I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them. But my work has covered so many lines that I cannot call myself other than a messenger sent to bear a message from the Lord to His people, and to take up work in any line that He points out.—Ibid., 1:34.5BIO 357.7

    I am now instructed that I am not to be hindered in my work by those who engage in suppositions regarding its nature, whose minds are struggling with so many intricate problems connected with the supposed work of a prophet. My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there. It embraces much more than the minds of those who have been sowing the seeds of unbelief can comprehend.—Letter 244, 1906, addressed to elders of Battle Creek church (Selected Messages 1:36).5BIO 357.8

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