Are Ellen G. White's Writings Infallible?
By Robert K Sanders
Many Seventh-day Adventists have written to me with the belief that the mistakes made by Ellen G. White (EGW) in her writings such as Bible contradictions, failed visions, and her hypocrisy, were the result of her claim that she was not infallible. Did EGW view her writings as infallible?
Ellen G. White claimed to have the "Words of Eternal Truth". It is a shame that God did not tell Ellen which translation to use when he told her to use the language of Scripture. Perhaps if The Clear Word Bible was in print in her day, that would be the one that God would choose. Right? Those that claim that EGW's words are not infallible do not agree with EGW.
EGW: It has been presented to me that, so far as possible, I am to impart instruction in the language of the Scriptures; for there are those whose spiritual discernment is confused, and when their errors are reproved, they will misinterpret and misapply what I might write, and thus make of none-effect the words of warning that the Lord sends. He desires that the message He sends shall be recognized as the words of eternal truth." —Letter 280; 1906, page 4 (To "My Brethren and Sisters in Denver and Boulder," August 27, 1906); cited in Manuscript Releases Volume Five, page 151; Chapter Title: "Ellen White Comments on Her Work and Inspiration".
The facts are this:
- EGW did not claim infallibility for herself.
- EGW did claim infallibility for her Testimonies and books.
- And even more, EGW considered her writings equal to the prophets and apostles.
- She also claimed to have the amazing ability to tell the difference between truth and error which would make what she writes infallible.
- SDA Leaders teach that EGW is infallible.
“In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it, God alone is infallible. His words is true, and in him is no variableness of turning.” Letter 10. 1895, 1 Selected Messages, p. 37.
“Yet, now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You thereby insulted the Spirit of God.” Testimonies 5, p.64.
E.G. White is making a claim of infallibility for her Testimonies and anyone that would question them, "thereby insulted the Spirit of God."
“In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision—the precious rays of light shining from the throne.” Testimonies 5, p. 67.
“If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as were Korah, Dathan, and Abriam.” Testimonies 5, p. 66.
E. G. White compares herself to Moses, when Korah, Dathan, Abriam and others rebelled against the leadership of Moses, God destroyed them (Numbers 16). EGW was always putting the fear of God in those that would rebel against her Testimonies.
Are we really doing the work of the Devil and fighting against God when we see that the Testimonies contradicts the Bible? No. We would be doing the work of the Devil by accepting the Testimonies over the Word of God.
I have to plead guilty, as I "lessen the confidence of God's people in the Testimonies," but I do not plead guilty to rebelling against God for exposing EGW's heresy. A Christian cannot serve two masters at the same time. If you accept what EGW writes which contradicts the Bible as truth, then EGW is your master.
"God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil. In arraying yourself against the servants of God you are doing a work either for God or for the devil.” Testimonies 4, p. 230.
The Testimonies of EGW certainly are not the Spirit of God as they fail the Bible test. They are the result of her childhood brain injury, which caused her to be delusional when she went into her catatonic seizers which she called "visions." Were EGW's Testimonies in partnership with Satan? I will leave that for God to judge! We do know they fail the Bible test.
“In my books, the truth is stated, barricaded by a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the law was traced by the finger of God upon the tables of stone.” Letter 90, 1906.
Ellen considered her books as infallible as the Ten Commandments and she compared them both as written by the finger of God. This is blasphemy! EGW's books are full of Bible contradictions and non biblical doctrines. EGW could not have said it any plainer that what she wrote was infallible, when she said, "In my books, the truth is stated."
EGW: “In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There never was a time when God instructed His people more earnestly then He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.” Testimonies 4, p. 147 and in Testimonies 5, p. 661 (1876).
Bible: Heb 1:1-2 (NIV) In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Was this instruction to a small group of SDA’s in 1876 more earnest than when God instructed Israel by the prophets, or people of the world by Noah and more earnest than the teaching of the Gospel by Jesus? Or was it E.G. White’s vivid and colorful imagination? EGW gives herself a promotion, that her work is “more earnest” than that of the prophets, apostles, and Jesus. Is this not infallibility?
Hebrews 1:1,2, tells us that Jesus will speak to men in the last days and EGW changes the Word of God to tell us that it is "the Testimonies of His Spirit." By saying "the Testimonies of his Spirit," she means her writings. Which do you believe, Jesus or Ellen White?
Ellen White Enabled to Clearly Define Truth and Error. At that time [after the 1844 disappointment] 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. Selected Messages, Book 3, page 31, 32, paragraph 4, Chapter Title: "The Primacy of the Word".
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 Works, p. 302.
If EGW was able to "define truth" why did she contradict the Bible, have failed visions, and have non scientific health reform?
I was shown that the truth once published now, will stand, for it is the truth for the last days; it will live, and less need be said upon it in future. Numberless words need not be put upon paper to justify what speaks for itself and shines in its clearness. Truth is straight, plain, clear, and stands out boldly in its own defense; but it is not so with error. It is so winding and twisting that it needs a multitude of words to explain it in its crooked form. Early Writings, p. 96. (1853.)
Adventism cannot renounce any of EGW's false doctrines such as the Investigative Judgment, The Mark of the Beast, and The Remnant Church without renouncing their prophetess. This is what makes the Seventh-day Adventism a cult.
I testify the things which I have seen, the things which I have heard, the things which my hands have handled of the Word of life. And this testimony I know to be of the Father and the Son. We have seen and do testify that the power of the Holy Ghost has accompanied the presentation of the truth, warning with pen and voice, and giving the messages in their order. To deny this work would be to deny the Holy Ghost, and would place us in that company who have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. Selected Messages, Book 2, page 388.
EGW puts her stamp of approval on her non biblical three angels messages of Revelation 14. The failure of Christ coming in 1844 under the first angels message of Wm. Miller means that to deny this is to deny the Holy Spirit.
Between the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church when he speaks ex cathedra? (Speaks without error or infallible, from Saint Peter’s Chair as final authority on doctrines and morals) and E.G. White speaking through her visions and Testimonies as "coming from the throne of God?"
The Catholic Church teaches, “tradition” is of equal authority with the Bible (Bible and tradition); and the Seventh-day Adventists teach the (Bible and Testimonies) of Mrs. White’s visions and dreams as their authority of interpreting Scripture.
E. G. White was not infallible by her own admission. Her Testimonies and writings are not infallible even if she and the leaders of the Church have "White-washed" their members into believing EGW had the "Spirit of Prophesy."
What have the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church through the years claimed for the writings of Ellen G. White?
On February 7, 1887, the General Conference passed the following resolution, “That we re-affirm our binding confidence in the Testimonies of Sister White to the Church, as the teaching of the Spirit of God.” SDA Year Book for 1914, p. 253.
Question? If the Testimonies are as claimed by Adventism, “the teachings of the Spirit of God,” would they not be infallible?
“Our position on the Testimonies is like the key-stone to the arch. Take that out and there is no logical stopping-place till all the special truths of the Message are gone...Nothing is surer than this, that the Message and visions (of Mrs. White) belong together, and stand or fall together.” Review and Herald Supplement, August 14, 1883.
Question? What is the message that Seventh-day Adventism is built upon—Jesus Christ and the Bible or E. G. White and her Testimonies? By Adventism's admission, if you take away the key-stone, the Testimonies, their message falls. This would be like removing Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“It is from the standpoint of the light that has come through the Spirit of Prophecy (Mrs. White’s writings) that the question will be considered, believing as we do that the Spirit of Prophecy is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles, since it is the Christ, through this agency, giving real meaning of his own words.” G. A. Irwin, General Conference President, from the tract The Mark of the Beast, p. 1.
The highest officer of the Church confesses that E. G. White’s writings are the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles. Believing this, how can we test the writings of E. G. White as being true? The Roman Catholic Church has an infallible interpreter of Scripture, the Popes for nearly 2000 years, and now the Adventism has a "pope" to infallibly interpret Scripture. The good news is that God has given his true Church a true infallible interpreter of Scripture and He is the Holy Spirit—all else is Satan’s counterfeit.
"Her (Ellen White’s) abundant literary production includes tens of thousands of Biblical texts, coupled often with detailed expositions. Careful study has shown that her writings are consistent, accurate, and in full agreement with the Scriptures." Seventh-day Adventist Believe, A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988, pp. 224,225.
"The Bible and the writings of Ellen White are inerrant.” Sabbath School-Quarterly; Feb. 11, 1978, Teacher's Edition, p. 112.
"There is hope for every remnant believer today who sometimes feels confused at all the differing views taken by different scholars and commentaries. We have that was given for the purpose of settling the disagreements among the uninspired commentaries. What do you do when the scholars disagree? Do you have to become a better scholar than the best in order to settle the disagreement in your own mind? No, let me repeat. God has given to our church an inspired commentary to settle the disagreements among the uninspired commentaries. And we can still be thankful for that today." Morris Venden, The Pillars, p. 30.
"We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White's writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other." Ministry, October 1981.
"Shall we accept the view that a Seventh-day Adventist theologian is more dependable than a Seventh-day Adventist prophet? I highly respect many of our Seventh-day Adventist theologians. I have sat at their feet and been taught by them. I admire and respect them highly. I would like to remind you, however, that you can search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find a single text marking out theologians as having the gift of the Holy Sprit. The Scriptures indicate however, that prophets have a gift of the Holy Spirit. Ellen White had that gift and she was canonical insofar as doctrinal interpretation is concerned." Letter from D. A. Delafield trustee of the EGW Estate, to P. C. Drewer, June 24, 1981.
“As with ancient prophets, the talking is done by the Holy Spirit through her vocal organs. The prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Review and Herald, Oct. 5, 1914.
Did the Holy Spirit Speak through Ellen White's vocal organs? If this were true, then EGW would not have contradicted the Bible.
The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s infallible interpreter of Scripture for 2000 years.